Friday, October 31, 2008

Program Announcement: Early Sandusky Through the Eyes of Martha Cooke (Brown-bag Lunch series)

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room (Terrace Level) as we explore topics in local history. We will meet again on Wednesday, November 5, at 12:00 noon. The topic will be Reflections on Early Sandusky Through the Eyes of Martha Cooke. Local historian Janet Senne will bring the character of early Sandusky resident Mrs. Martha Cooke to life. Martha Cooke was married to Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky's first lawyer. "Mrs. Cooke" will share about her family, her home, and everyday life in early Sandusky. Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

William Griswold Lane

William Griswold Lane was born in Norwalk, Ohio in 1824 to Ebenezer Lane and Frances Griswold. When William was twelve years old he became acquainted with fellow student Rutherford B. Hayes, at the Maple Grove Academy, in Middletown, Connecticut. They became lifelong friends. William Lane attended college at Yale and Harvard, and spent a year studying law in Berlin, Germany.

After returning to the United States, William practiced law with his father. In 1850, William married Elizabeth Diodate Griswold. In February 1873 William G. Lane was appointed Judge of Common Pleas for the Fourth Judicial District.

William G. Lane died in October 1877, at the age of 52. Resolutions from the Court and Bar of Erie County appeared in the Sandusky Register. One resolution stated “In this death, the bench and bar have lost an able, impartial and upright Judge – one of the most esteemed, high minded and scholarly members of the profession – and this community a citizen of great mental and moral worth – a man just, honorable and honest in all his dealings with his fellow men and conscientious and faithful in the discharge of all the public and private duties that devolved upon him. While we mourn his loss we delight to honor his memory.”

The Lane family monument at Oakland Cemetery is a beautiful sculpture in honor of William Griswold Lane and his family. I.F. Mack wrote in an article in the June 1882 Firelands Pioneer, that Judge William G. Lane was “without doubt, the wisest counsellor we ever had at our bar.” A memorial tribute to Judge William G. Lane is on file at the library at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.

A view below of the Lane Family monument at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. Several family members’ names are inscribed on the stone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mystery Photo: An Easy One

It's been too busy here to post much lately, so I thought I'd do a quick "Mystery Photo." It probably won't be very difficult for most people, but I thought the view is interesting -- significantly different than it looks now.

Update: It looks like the secret is out. If you haven't seen Jason Werling's blog on the Sandusky Register website yet, go take a look at his "before and after" picture, taken from the top floor of the Feick Building.
It looks like we had a "ringer" in the comments. The photo above was taken from the Feick building in 1923. The large stone builing on Water Street was a winery, but it was probably the Engels & Krudwig Winery; the Dorn Winery was a block further east.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ulysses Thompson Curran, Educator and Judge, and His Son Charles, Artist

Ulysses Thompson Curran was the superintendent of the public schools in Sandusky from 1872 through 1880. After leaving the field of education, U. T. Curran practiced law in Sandusky. He served as Erie County Common Pleas Judge in the Probate Division, from 1899 to 1905. He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association.
Under Mr. Curran’s leadership, the “Sandusky Training School” was founded in 1874. New teachers were mentored by more experienced teachers to prepare them for their profession. Miss Mary Alice Chenoweth was the lead teacher at the training school. Mary Alice later changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener. She was a suffragist leader, an author, and was appointed to the U.S. Civil Service Commission by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920. (She willed her brain to Cornell University for medical research.)

On February 28, 1914, Ulysses Thompson Curran died at the home of his son Charles Courtney Curran in New York City. Charles Courtney Curran graduated from Sandusky High School in 1879. After high school, Charles Curran attended the Cincinnati School of Design, and later the Art Students’ League, and the National of Academy of Design in New York City. In 1888, he won the Academy’s Hallgarten Prize for his painting, A Breezy Day. Also in 1888, Charles Courtney Curran married Grace Winthrop Wickham, daughter of Huron County Judge Charles Preston Wickham.

After his marriage, Charles Curran studied art in Paris, where he developed his impressionistic style. Three works by Charles Courtney Curran can be seen at the Follett House Museum, including Laurel Among the Rocks, pictured below.

Charles Courtney Curran painted a portrait of his father, which is also on display at the Follett House Museum. Local author Patty Pascoe wrote about both U. T. Curran and Charles Courtney Curran in the book, Elected to Serve, available from the Sandusky Library.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Program Announcement: Home Movie Day

Join us in the Library Program Room on Saturday, October 18, at 2:00 p.m. for this celebration of amateur film and filmmaking. Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about preserving the home movies recorded on film during the 20th Century. The event helps to promote awareness and enjoyment of these movies, with the goal of preserving these films for future generations.

Home Movie Day at Sandusky Library will begin on the morning of Saturday, October 18. Between 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, you can bring your home movies to the Library Program Room where staff and experienced volunteers will examine the films to ensure they are in condition for viewing (or, if you wish, you can drop your film off before October 18 to the Archives Librarian). You can stay to learn more about preserving your films or you can return later for an afternoon of movie viewing. At 2:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room, we will gather to view the home movies brought in by members of the community and experience the joy of shared memories preserved on film! You'll learn about the importance of film preservation and how to care for your movies so that you can share these films for years to come. Registration is requested, but not required. For further information, contact Ron Davidson, Archives Librarian, at 419-625-3834.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Program Announcement: Baseball on Johnson's Island (Brown-Bag Lunch Series)

Bring your lunch and join us on Wednesday, October 8, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room. The topic will be Baseball on Johnson's Island. Ohio's First Baseball Game: Played by Confederates and Taught to Yankees? Johnson's Island Civil War Prison Camp was the site of a number of baseball games played by men held captive there. A highly organized and noteworthy game was played in August of 1864 before 3,000 spectators. This well-documented match game raises two interesting issues: this could be the first New York rules match game recorded in Ohio, and the prisoners may have taught the game to their captors. Writer and researcher John Husman will present supporting arguments based on first-hand accounts, primary news sources, and deduction. Registration is requested but not required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Irish in Erie County

During the first half of the nineteenth century thousands of Irish emigrated to the United States. The potato famine of 1845 left devastating conditions in Ireland. The Irish immigrants had hopes of starting a new life in the United States. Often the only jobs available were among the least desirable. As a result many Irish born workers built the canals and railways of America and worked in dangerous mines. Besides working difficult jobs, the Irish often faced discrimination. They encountered signs that said “HELP WANTED – NO IRISH NEED APPLY.” As a result the Irish found solace in churches and community organizations. Eventually the Irish were assimilated into American culture, along with thousands of other immigrants from many other countries. Today Americans of Irish descent are still known for their humor, love of family, and their sometimes feisty personalities. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in America since 1737.

One of the earliest Irish immigrants in Erie County was John Beatty, who was one of largest land owners of the Firelands. John Beatty led a group of fourteen families from Connecticut to Perkins Township in 1814. He was Mayor of Sandusky from 1833 to 1836. His brother-in-law was Rev. William Gurley, an early Methodist minister was licensed to preach by John Wesley, the “father of Methodism.”

Father R. A. Sidley (below) was born in Ireland in 1828. He was the priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Sandusky from 1863 until 1871. Father Sidley oversaw the building of the church which still stands today at the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Jefferson Street. Father Sidley left a bequest of over $13,000 for the building of a new school, which was completed in 1907. The auditorium of the new school was named “Sidley Memorial Hall” in honor of Father Sidley. For many years Sidley Hall was used for concerts, commencements, as well as amateur and professional dramatic productions.

Leonard Johnson, another local Irish immigrant, bought Bull’s Island in 1852. The name of the island was later changed to Johnson’s Island. During the Civil War there was a Prisoner of War Camp located on Johnson’s Island.
Wilson “Slip” McLaughlin, who was Chief of the Sandusky Fire Department for many years, was the grandson of Irish immigrant, Michael McLaughlin. “Slip” is in the center of the group pictured below at the fire station located at the corner of Meigs Street and Sycamore Line. Mr. McLaughlin’s obituary in the November 24, 1984 stated that he was a “champion of the underprivileged and public” and a public servant for fifty years.
Descendants of Irish immigrants to Sandusky and Erie County still live and work in Sandusky today. A walk through St. Joseph’s Cemetery will bring to mind many of those Irish Americans who have gone before us.