Saturday, November 16, 2019

Augustus H. Moss, Pioneer Banker

Augustus Hitchcock Moss was born in the state of New York in 1810. He married his second cousin, Mary Esther Moss, in 1837, and the couple moved to Sandusky, Ohio.  Mr. Moss ran a general store at the western portion of Water Street in Sandusky beginning in 1837.  Later he sold part of his store to his brother Samuel, and kept part of the business as a hardware store until about 1850. 

At that time he became partners with his brothers in law, Truman and Horace Moss, in a banking business known as the Moss Brothers Bank. After the bank was nationalized in 1863, it was known as the First National Bank of Sandusky. By 1883 the bank was known as the Moss National Bank, with Augustus H. Moss serving as its president. In about 1903, the Moss Bank merged with the Second National Bank, to become the Commercial Banking Company. This bank failed in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

In 1842, Mr. Moss bought property from Oran Follett, at the northeast corner of Wayne and Jefferson Streets in Sandusky.

The Ohio Historic Places Dictionary states that the Follett-Moss-Moss residences in the 400 block of the eastern side of Wayne Street “provide a capsule history of the 19th-century styles in stone architecture in the city.” The A.H. Moss home was built in the Gothic Revival style. The home of Oran Follett, a personal friend of Augustus Moss, was located at the southeast corner of Wayne and Adams Street, at what is now 404 Wayne Street. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Moss, J.O. Moss, and his family lived next door at what is now 414 Wayne Street.

Augustus H. Moss died on December 6, 1888, after a brief illness. He had been known and respected among bankers throughout the United States. Mr. Moss was on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church for over forty years. He was a trustee of Kenyon College for several years, serving on the Finance Committee. A lengthy obituary for Mr. Moss appeared in the December 7, 1888 issue of the Sandusky Register. It read in part, “A gentleman of quiet, dignified bearings, yet courteous, genial and frank, his familiar form and face will be greatly missed from our business circles, from the street, from the church and the social circle in which they have so long been seen.” Funeral services for Augustus H. Moss were held at the family residence on December 8, 1888. Many local business men attended the funeral, and all the banks in Sandusky were closed from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in memory of Mr. Moss. Rev. R.L. Howell, rector of Grace Episcopal Church officiated at the funeral services. Pallbearers included Rice Harper, Oran Follett, R.B. Hubbard, W.P. Chapman, Homer Goodwin, John M. Boalt, Clark Rude, and J.A. Graham. Private burial services were held at Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Sandusky Automobile Company

In 1902, the Sandusky Automobile Company was incorporated with James J. Hinde as President; Edward J. Cable, Secretary; F.P. Zollinger, Treasurer; and J. S. Bennett, Vice President. The factory was located on the west side of Sandusky, on Camp Street, and  manufactured an automobile called the Sandusky.

The Sandusky Automobile Company re-organized in 1904, and a new line of automobile called the Courier was manufactured. The Brown family is pictured below in a “Courier” automobile in 1904.

Within a year of its reorganization the Sandusky Automobile Company went bankrupt. The building was later used by the Brown Clutch Company for several years.

J. J. Hinde was associated with other successful businesses. He was the senior partner in the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company until 1910.  He is said to have been the man who introduced the tractor to Henry Ford. His obituary in 1931 stated that he was a “farmer, industrialist, and globe trotter.” He was long considered a booster of the Sandusky community.

The Fall 1980 issue of the Northwest Ohio Quarterly, available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, features the Sandusky Automobile Company in its lead article by John L. Butler. The second volume of From the Widow's Walk by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann also contains an article about Sandusky’s early automobiles.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home

The postcard pictured above was created by the Alexander Manufacturing Company, and was taken of the hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1918. Below is a view of the hospital in 1928, with a closer view and a slightly different angle.

The original hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home) opened in January of 1899, with seven trained nurses employed to care for those veterans who needed in-hospital care. An annual report from the Home in 1902 gave this description of the hospital.

In the early 1950s, a new hospital opened at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. It was known as the John T. Haynes Memorial Hospital, named for the former chief surgeon of the Home, Dr. J.T. Haynes.

Fifty nursing home beds had become available at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1950. Today’s the nursing home facility at the Ohio Veteran Home has 427 beds in three separate units: the Giffin Wing, Secrest North and Secrest South. In continuous operation since it opened in 1888, over 50,000 honorably discharged veterans have been admitted to the Ohio Veterans Home in Erie County, Ohio. 

You can see some vintage pictures of the former Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at a previous blog post on Sandusky History.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

C.F. Schumacher Shoe Store

From 1898 until about 1927, Charles F. Schumacher sold boots and shoes in Sandusky. In the 1900 U.S. Census for Erie County, Ohio, Mr. Schumacher stated that he was a shoe merchant. He listed his birthplace as Ohio, and stated that both his parents had been born in Germany. Until 1915, the C.F. Schumacher store was in business on the 100 block of Monroe Street; around 1916 the numbering of addresses changed, putting his business on the 600 block of East Monroe Street. 

When you look at the words on the outside of the stairway on the exterior of the Schumacher store, the name of the store has an image of a shoe replacing the first syllable of the owner’s last name, creating a clever logo for the business.

In 1911, the C.F. Schumacher store sold Ball Band rubber footwear, which were a popular item at the time.

In 1922, the Schumacher store sold Educator shoes.

In the Erie County Commissioners’ Report which appeared in the Sandusky Register of December 31, 1919, C.F. Schumacher’s name appeared in the list of expenses because he had done shoe repairs for residents of the Children’s Home. 

On October 27, 1927, Charles F. Schumacher died at the age of 56. He was survived by his widow, a son, daughter, two brothers and a sister. Mr. Schumacher had been an active member of the First Reformed Church. Funeral services were held at the family residence, with the Rev. V.J. Tingler officiating, and burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Black Patti Troubadours at the Grand Theater

In 1905 the Black Patti Troubadours appeared in Sandusky at the Grand Theater (on Water and Jackson Streets, originally known as the Sandusky Opera House). The Black Patti Troubadours were a group of African American performers who performed musical comedy. They traveled throughout the United States between 1896 and 1915. The group was centered around a talented performer, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones

Image from the Library of Congress:

Madame Jones (as she was commonly identified) had a trained operatic voice, and the local press of her day compared her to the well known opera singer Adelina Patti. Madame Jones was the first African American performer at
Wallack's Theatre in Boston in the late 1880’s, and sang at the White House for President and Mrs. Harrison in 1892. She sang in concerts in the United States, South America, and in Europe.  After facing racial discrimination, Madame Jones formed her own entertainment troupe known as the Black Patti Troubadours.

Looney Dreamland was the name of the show in 1905. Voelckel and Nolan were the managers of the Black Patti Troubadours at that time. The show, staged by Robert Cole, was advertised as “a musical visit to Dreamland.”

Madame Jones sang “My Dear Southern Home,” “At  Home,” and “Old Man Moon” in the second act. She performed the leading role in the final act of the evening, a condensed opera performance.

The Black Patti Troubadours also had appeared in Sandusky on November 1, 1898. The performance, at the same location (then called the Nielsen Opera House), featured comedy, songs, a cake walk, and operatic masterpieces. An article in the November 1, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Star reported that the Troubadours had “irresistible and fascinating charm” during their stage performance. The Black Patti Troubadours were considered “one of the marvels of the metropolis” during their 1898 run in New York City.

To learn more about Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, you can read or listen to an NPR story from 2007.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Teacher and Students of a One Room Schoolhouse in Perkins Township

In about 1899, Miss Gertrude Taylor was the teacher at a one room schoolhouse in Perkins Township, on Columbus Avenue, south of Taylor Road. The picture was taken by Pascoe’s Gallery of Sandusky, Ohio.

Pictured in the photograph are: back row, Miss Gertrude Taylor, Mary Michel, Marie Strickfaden, John Von Eitzen, Morris Hills, Ethel House, Byron House, Henry Merriam, Vincent Morris, Ollie Merriam, Willie Michel; front row, Annabel House, Carl Oswald, Susanna Strickfaden, Edith Michel, Lloyd Hills, Beulah Taylor, August Von Eitzen, and Pauline Von Eitzen. The 1896 Erie County Atlas shows that the Taylor, House, and Hills families all lived very close to the school, so the children did not have far to walk to get to the schoolhouse.

Ethel House would go on to become very active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as Regent of the organization for a time. Her first husband was former prosecuting attorney and judge, Claude J. Minor. Following his death, Ethel became the wife of Bowling Green State University president, Dr. Frank Prout. When Lloyd Hills had completed his school years, he became the owner and operator of the Hills’ Supply Company, which dealt in paints and automobile accessories. Susanna and Marie Strickfaden were the sisters of Joseph Strickfaden, who operated a garden center in Perkins Township for fifty years. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this and hundreds of other archival photographs relating to Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Duennisch

Louis Duennisch was born in Saxony, Germany on September 4, 1842. In 1857 he and his widowed mother emigrated to the United States, settling in Sandusky, Ohio. For thirty five years, he was employed by the Sandusky Sash, Door & Blind Company, and its successors. Mr. Duennisch was made foreman of the shop when he was only nineteen years old. 

On July 2, 1867, Louis Duennisch took Margaret Newman as his bride; she passed away in 1875. He married Margaret Ebert in 1878, the daughter of Conrad Ebert, a native of Bavaria.. 

Between 1895 and the early 1900s, the couple traveled extensively in the United States and Europe. Descendants of the Duennisch and Ebert families bequeathed a photograph album to the Sandusky Library Research Center, which contains many pictures from their travels.  Below is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Duennisch in Madeira (part of Portugal, despite the caption).

For many years, Mr. Duennisch served as a trustee of Oakland Cemetery. The front page of the Sandusky Sunday Register of October 10, 1886 featured a story which reported on an electrical device which he had invented. Having heard of cases of “suspended animation,” in which a living person had been buried alive, Louis wanted to provide an escape method for an individual finding oneself in this unfortunate situation.  Insulated rings were to be attached to the body in the coffin, and these were wired to an alarm bell in the bedroom of the cemetery superintendent. At the slightest movement of an individual’s fingers, an alarm would ring loudly in the superintendent’s room. We do not know if this invention was actually implemented by Oakland Cemetery, but on October 10, 1888, it was lauded as “one of the grandest triumphs of electrical science.” 

Louis Duennisch died on October 4, 1918. He was buried in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Photographs by John G. Brittingham

According to the 1886 Sandusky City Directory, John G. Brittingham was a photographer whose work was “unexcelled and guaranteed.” His studio was at 707 Market Street (between Columbus Ave. and Jackson St.), and he resided at 1059 Columbus Avenue.

We do not know the name of the young lady in the cabinet photograph below, but Mr. Brittingham took this picture at his Market Street studio. This studio was later occupied by J.M. Lloyd, who was a photographer in Sandusky from about 1888 to 1893; it appears that Lloyd may have acquired the studio when Brittingham moved to Springfield Illinois. (According to A Directory of Early Illinois Photographers, published in 1977, John G. Brittingham was in business in SpringfieldIllinois in the late 1880s.)

Another picture taken by Mr. Brittingham features the names of the cities of both Springfield, Illinois and Sandusky, Ohio at the bottom of the portrait. Perhaps Mr. Brittingham traveled between Ohio and Illinois for a time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bridges over Sandusky Bay

There has been a railroad bridge over Sandusky Bay, connecting Bay Bridge in Margaretta Township, Erie County to Danbury Township, Ottawa County since 1854.  You can see pictured  above a representation of the bridge on the left side of an 1898 birds-eye map of the Sandusky area, published by the Alvord- Peters Company. 

Samuel Catherman received the contract for the construction of this bridge, and employed three hundred men during this project. The May 30, 1854 issue of the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register reported that once the railroad bridge was completed across Sandusky Bay, there would be continuous rail service from Sandusky to Chicago, a total of 271 miles. According to Dean K. Fick’s book The Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad, the bridge was commissioned by the Port Clinton Railroad and the Junction Railroad in 1854, but it was abandoned in 1858. It was reopened in 1872 by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway. Later owners of this bridge were: the New York Central Railroad, Penn Central Railroad and Conrail, and most recently the Norfolk & Southern Railway. 

In the 1850s, Sardis Birchard, uncle of Rutherford B. Hayes, tried to stop the development of a railroad bridge across Sandusky Bay, because he feared the bridge would interfere with ship traffic. Ultimately, it was impossible to stop development of the railroad bridge across the bay.  

Trains going across Sandusky Bay carried mail for the United States Post Office. These photographs of “fast mail” trains, from the early twentieth century, show the trains traveling on the railroad bridge across Sandusky Bay.

The bridge over the bay had a lift mechanism, to allow for the passage of boats.

In 1929, the opening of the Sandusky Bay Bridge allowed for automobile traffic across the Sandusky Bay.

In the 1960s, the four lane Thomas A. Edison Memorial Bridge, a part of State Route 2, was constructed parallel to the Sandusky Bay Bridge.

The portion of State Route 2 commencing at the approach of the Thomas A. Edison Memorial Bridge and extending through Erie County is known as the Jackie Mayer Miss America HighwayJackie Mayer is a former Sandusky resident who served as Miss America in 1963. Both the Sandusky Bay Bridge and the Thomas A. Edison Memorial Bridge were in use from 1965 until the mid-1980s when the State of Ohio removed the steel center of the old bridge because of the high cost of maintenance. Traveling over Sandusky Bay has been a key concern of local residents and officials for well over one hundred years. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the history of Sandusky and Erie County.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Visited Sandusky

The September 15, 1885 Sandusky Daily Register carried an advertisement for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, to be held at the Sandusky Fair Grounds (in the area now known as Cable Park) for “positively only one performance,”  on Thursday, September 17 at 2:30 p.m. Admission was fifty cents for adults, and twenty five cents for children. Streetcars ran directly to the fair grounds, and railroads brought excursion groups to the show.

A grand parade was held at 10 a.m. on the day of the performance. The show advertised the appearance of Sitting Bull, White Eagle, and fifty-two braves, along with Miss Annie Oakley, Frisking Elk, and the phenomenal boy-shot Johnny Baker. The show claimed to have the largest herd of buffalo ever exhibited. 

Buffalo Bill was to shoot at clay pigeons while on foot, but he would shoot at glass balls while riding horseback at full speed. The ad continued to state that the ten cowboys who rode bucking horses were wilder than the horses themselves.  Equestrian acts, lassoing, and steer riders rounded out the program. Proprietors Cody and Salisbury promised to “fulfill every promise.”

Charles E. Frohman, in his Sandusky Potpourri, recounted Sandusky’s only buffalo chase.  After Buffalo Bill’s September 17th show closed, a buffalo escaped near the railroad depot at North Depot and Mcdonough Streets. The buffalo ran out Hayes Avenue, as a dozen Native Americans pursued it on horseback. It ran through the yard of C. C. Keech’s residence, and kept going through neighboring fields, destroying corn stalks along the way. After an hour’s pursuit, the buffalo was caught and taken back to the depot.

(About twenty years later, the C. C. Keech home later became part of Sandusky’s Providence Hospital, now the South Campus of Firelands Regional Medical Center.)
While the chase was in progress, two cows belonging to Patrick Gagen were frightened, and ran away. Dairy farmer Louis Benckart and his sons found the two cows, and refused to give them back, stating that the cows damaged their fields. Mr. Gagen took legal action to recover the cows.