Medina changed when John Rapp moved to town a long time ago. Rapp made history by being the first person from Medina to fight in a foreign conflict. Growing up in Austria in the late 18th century, John grew up in conflict. The Napoleonic Wars started exploding all around him. The Napoleonic Wars are a set of conflicts between France and rival countries in the early 19th century. This grew from the fire of the French Revolution just a decade ago. A key figure in this conflict became the House of Hapsburg. This royal group of leaders in Europe made up most the monarchs in the continent at that time. John decided to join this very influential group to fight the wars at the age of eighteen. Rapp, eventually captured by the French forces, fought the French for the duration of the war. As part of group of men force to serve on the enemies side, Rapp unwillingly fought for the French in Napoleon’s last set of battles where he was finally driven out of power and sent to Elba. The group of battles that finally forced Napoleon from power was called the War of the Sixth Coalition. The major conflict caused massive casualties on both sides. John had survived the bloody war. At this time, he decided to leave Europe for America.
When arriving in this great country, John Rapp needed a place to go. He wanted to find a place that which gave him comfort and solace. A place like his forested and lush homeland of Austria. He heard of a place out West called Ohio that fit his needs and the needs of other central Europeans in the early 1800s. This new place created a way for John to escape the problems of his old country and start someplace fresh. His walk West game him clarity and a chance to use his keen survival skills that he learned during his time in war. At the time of Rapp’s arrival, Medina has just started as a city and made up primarily of a few hunting shacks, farm houses, a few dirt roads. John needed a place to survive the Ohio winters. His enlistment of the surrounding people of Medina helped greatly when the time came to build the Medina County Home. Original construction of the Home began in 1854. The 29’ x 59’ brick building cost $ 2,200 to be erected. The home raised cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens, and large gardens. The home became important to the lives of the people who had no close family in their elderly age. it became detrimental to John himself in his later years. John had diabetes and from this he lost both legs and his eyesight to this disease. The Home took in John and gave him a place to stay when his family wasn't around for him. The Medina County home is a staple of Medina and helped give this city an identity. John Rapp and others of this time period helped shaped the future and history of the great city of Medina, OH.