Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sanduskians Honor Deceased Veterans in 1911

During the last week of May in 1911, Sanduskians honored their deceased soldiers and sailors with several services. On Sunday evening, May 28, the Rev. C. Argyle Keller of the First Presbyterian gave a Memorial address at the Presbyterian Church. The seats in the front pews of the church were reserved for Veterans.

The May 31, 1911, Sandusky Register reported that as many of the seventeen hundred members of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home as were able “fell in line behind Ackley’s band and proceeded to the little cemetery outlying the institution grounds, where they decorated the graves of fallen comrades.” The Civil War veterans were in advanced years by this time, and Josh B. Davis, chairman of the general committee for Memorial Day arrangements, said that the members of the McMeens Post of the G.A.R. would be riding in street cars instead of marching in the Memorial Day parade, as they had in the past.
Memorial Day services were also held at Oakland Cemetery. Over four hundred wreaths had been obtained for placing on the graves of soldiers who had lost their lives. Sandusky Boy Scouts, under the leadership of Charles E. Stroud, performed the actual decorating of the graves. Oakland Cemetery’s Superintendent, Christ Schlenk, had given the Scouts the names and locations of each grave to be decorated. Charles E. Stroud led a group of Sandusky Boy Scouts for many years.
Benjamin Deeley, pictured below, was the chairman of the decorating committee. Mr. Deeley had served in both the Ohio 123rd Infantry and Ohio 8th Infantry, and he was an active member of the McMeens Post of the G.A.R.
Veterans arrived in street cars at Oakland Cemetery, and were met by comrades from the Soldiers Home. They marched forward together at the start of the ceremony. Ackley’s Band played patriotic selections, and Rev. Ross W. Sanderson gave the invocation. The main address was given by I. F. Mack, Past Commander of the Department of Ohio G.A.R. The Woman’s Relief Corps also conducted services. Mr. Mack later stated that “I never saw so many flowers there,” after his return from Oakland Cemetery.

To honor the sailors who had lost their lives, the steamer Arrow traveled out into Sandusky Bay, midway between Sandusky and Johnson’s Island. There, hymns were sung, and flowers were strewn upon the water. The Woman’s Relief Corps were in charge of the services on the Arrow, with Rev. Ross W. Sanderson saying the prayer.

The Sandusky Register carried several articles about Sandusky’s Memorial Day celebrations in 1911, including front page articles on Tuesday, May 30, 1911, and Wednesday, May 17, 1911. These articles can be accessed on microfilm at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

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