Thursday, February 28, 2013

Program Announcement: Tecumseh and the War of 1812

Monday, March 4, 6:30PM, in the Library Program Room

We continue to commemorate the centennial of the War of 1812. Join us in the library program room as Dr. George Vourlojianis, professor of History at Lorain County Community College, speaks about the Shawnee leader Tecumseh and the War of 1812. Dr. Vourlojianis has also taught at Kent State University, and is a past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and past trustee of the Cleveland Grays Armory Military Museum, the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Lorain County Historical Society.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Martha Pitkin and the Sandusky Chapter, D.A.R.

Mrs. E. Lea Marsh, nee Elizabeth Diodate Griswold Marsh, is pictured below. She is one of the many descendants of Martha Pitkin, whose name is associated with the Sandusky chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The founder, organizer, and first regent of the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the D.A.R. was Mrs. Jay Osborne Moss, who was born Frances Griswold Boalt. The local chapter was organized on April 27, 1897, with fourteen charter members. Mrs. Moss was a direct descendant of Martha Pitkin. Judges Ebenezer Lane and William G. Lane were also directly descended from Martha Pitkin and her husband Simon Wolcott.

A history of the Martha Pitkin chapter of the D.A.R. was reported in the May 1, 1927 Sandusky Register, on the thirtieth anniversary of the organization’s founding. Mrs. Curtis Schaufelberger, historian, wrote about Martha Pitkin: “Martha, a young woman of religious character, was possessed of a natural brilliancy of intellect, which was later on developed by an education in London. In addition to these attributes she was endowed with great beauty.” Charles Knowles Bolton wrote a “versified narrative” which describes the courtship of Martha Pitkin and Simon Wolcott. The title is On the Wooing of Martha Pitkin. Martha Pitkin was born in England. She came to the United States in 1661. Her first husband was Simon Wolcott. Among their descendants were five Connecticut governors. Martha’s grandson Governor Oliver Wolcott was a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. After the death of Simon Wolcott, Martha married Daniel Clark. Martha Pitkin Wolcott Clark died in 1719, and is buried in East Windsor, Connecticut.

The records of the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are located in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. Included in the collection are financial records, historian’s records, and several scrapbooks.

Reminder: Those interested in learning more about genealogy and the D.A.R. are invited to the Genealogy workshop sponsored by the Martha Pitkin Chapter, at the Sandusky Library, beginning at 10:30AM Saturday, March 2.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Charles L. Alexander, World War I Veteran

Charles Lester Alexander was born in Sandusky, Ohio on April 20, 1894 to Mr. and Mrs. William H. Alexander. On October 29, 1917, Mr. Alexander enlisted in the United States Army. During World War One, Charles L. Alexander served with the American Expeditionary Forces in the Meuse-Argonne, a major operation of the U.S. Army during the Great War. He was honorably discharged on March 17, 1919. After his military service, Mr. Alexander worked for the United States Post Office in Sandusky, Ohio for forty years, retiring in 1959. Charles L. Alexander passed away at the Hill Haven Convalescent home in Columbus, Ohio on February 16, 1975. He had been an active member of the Progress Lodge 85 and Second Baptist Church. Funeral services for Charles L. Alexander were held at both the Charles J. Andres Sons Funeral Home and at Second Baptist Church. Burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

James Monroe (1821-1898), Reformer and Abolitionist

James Monroe was born in 1821 in Connecticut to Quaker parents. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1846, and he earned his theology degree from Oberlin College in 1849. Monroe taught at Oberlin College from 1849 to 1862. From 1856 to 1859, he served in the Ohio House of Representatives, and was in the Ohio Senate from 1860 to 1862. From March 1871 to March 1881, James Monroe was a Representative to the United States Congress. According to the book James Monroe: Oberlin's Christian Statesman and Reformer, 1821-1898, he was a minister in Sandusky, Ohio during the winter of 1848-1849. 

James Monroe was known for his strong abolitionist views. His former home can be toured in Oberlin, Ohio, where the story of his abolition activities is told. Mrs. John Mack donated the portrait of Professor Monroe to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Sandusky had many ties to Oberlin throughout the years. Former Sandusky resident, Francis Drake Parish was a trustee of Oberlin College from 1839 to 1878, and longtime newspaper editor, I.F. Mack was a graduate of Oberlin College.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hewson L. Peeke, Lawyer and Author

Hewson Lindsley Peeke was born on April 21, 1861 in South Bend, Indiana to George Hewson and Margaret Bloodgood Peeke. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts.

After teaching school in Illinois, Hewson Peeke moved west to the Dakota Territory where he was admitted to the bar in 1883. In about 1885, when his father, the Rev. George H. Peeke was assigned as Pastor of the Congregational Church in Sandusky, Hewson Peeke moved to Sandusky as well.

Hewson Peeke was admitted to the Ohio Bar, and practiced law in Sandusky for many years. His obituary, in the 1942 Obituary Notebook, stated that he was known as the “dean of the County Bar Association” in Erie County. Mr. Peeke was admitted to the United States District Court in 1895; U.S. Court of Appeals in 1905; and to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1918. In 1902 and 1906, Hewson L. Peeke ran unsuccessfully for Representative of the 13th District, under the Prohibition ticket. He was a staunch follower of the old Prohibition Party, following the motto “The Wets Cannot Win.”

Local history was a favorite topic of Hewson Peeke. He was the author of two histories of Erie County, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, published in 1916, and The Centennial History of Erie County, published in 1925. Another book he wrote was Stories of Sandusky, which many consider to be fictionalized accounts of people and incidents in Sandusky, Ohio. Mr. Peeke also served as the President of the Firelands Historical Society for several years.

Peeke wrote acomprehensive study of the history of drunkenness in 1917, Americana Ebrietatis: The Favorite Tipple of Our Forefathers and the Laws and Customs Relating Thereto. George Sargent, an editor from the Boston Evening Transcript praised Peeke’s book. He wrote in an article which was reprinted in the November 20, 1917 Sandusky Register that Hewson L. Peeke was “as impartial as the apostles in dealing with this subject and leaves his witnesses to be examined and cross-examined by either side. The collection of material which he has gathered gives a history of drunkenness and drinking customs in America, and while it is not the only one in the country, it is probably the finest in existence in private hands.” A copy of this unique title is found in the Local Authors Collection of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Hewson L. Peeke died on February 17, 1942. His funeral was held at the First Congregational Church, and he was buried at Oakland Cemetery. The entire local bar association attended the rites, and the active pallbearers were: Judge E. H. Savord, Judge W. L. Fiesinger, and Attorneys Earl Webster, C.E. Moyer, James Flynn and Wilbert Schwer.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Program Announcement - Brown Bag Lunch Series: Mary Todd Lincoln - After the Assassination

Wednesday, February 20, at noon.

This program will feature the story of Mary Todd Lincoln after the assassination of her beloved husband, President Abraham Lincoln. "Women in History" member Charlene Connors will relive that fateful night at Ford's Theatre and then relate Mary's story as she faced a hostile country and extreme personal heartbreak.   Registration is not required.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Program Announcement: African American Genealogy Workshop

This Saturday, February 16, 1PM-4PM

Deborah Abbott of the African American Genealogical Society of Cleveland will present a three-hour workshop on researching African American genealogy, beginning at 1:00PM on February 16, in the library program room. The program will begin with a brief introduction on genealogical research, followed by instruction in researching pre-Civil War sources, including slavery records and courthouse documents, and conclude with information about a variety of more recent sources, including Freedman’s Bureau records, vital records, and African American newspapers, such as the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier.

Dr. Abbott is a trustee of the Ohio Genealogical Society and past-president of the African-American Genealogical Society.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

George J. Lehrer as Abraham Lincoln

From the 1940s through the 1960s, Sandusky resident George J. Lehrer toured the United States portraying former President Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lehrer’s tall, thin frame, and his excellent voice made him an ideal Lincoln impersonator. Besides his portrayal of Lincoln, George J. Lehrer also gave other educational, patriotic, and inspirational presentations. When George J. Lehrer presented the Gettysburg Address at Cedar Point on Memorial Day of 1962, all the amusement parks rides were stopped during his performance, in honor of Lehrer’s portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1906 George J. Lehrer produced a Sandusky High School play entitled “Every Man,” which was performed at the Sandusky Library’s Carnegie Hall. Mr. Lehrer was a charter member of the Actors Equity Association, and a member of the Association of Directors of the Actors Guild. He acted on Broadway, and for a time he was associated with the Lloyd-George Studios, which created stage scenery and costumes. On August 25, 1966, George J. Lehrer passed away at the age of 77. At his death, he was survived by his wife, three sons, a daughter, and nine grandchildren. George J. Lehrer’s father, George T. Lehrer was a former Mayor of Sandusky.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Enoch Weller, Sandusky City Fireman and Civil War Soldier

Enoch Weller was born in 1828 in the state of New York.  By 1860 he and his family were residing in Sandusky, Ohio. According to historical files in the Archives Research Center, in 1860 Enoch Weller was chief engineer with the Sandusky Fire Department. On June 3, 1861, he enlisted as a First Lieutenant with the 24th Ohio Infantry, for three years’ military service during the Civil War, eventually achieving promotion  to Captain. On January 2, 1863, Captain Weller was killed in action at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee.

The remains of Captain Enoch Weller were returned to Sandusky, Ohio. His funeral took place on February 8, 1863. Members of several local organizations attended Captain Weller’s funeral, including the City Council, the Fire Department, Masons, the Jaeger Band, Union Band, and Hoffman’s Battalion Band. Rev. T. F. Hildreth officiated at the Methodist Church. Following the funeral, a procession marched from the church to Oakland Cemetery.  An article in the February 9, 1863 Sandusky Register reported that “the procession was one of the largest and most imposing ever witnessed in this city, and was alike honorable to the living and the dead.”

Also appearing on the February 9, 1862 of the Sandusky Register were "Resolutions from the Sandusky Fire Department on the Death of Major Weller." The Resolutions read:
At a meeting of the Fire Department of Sandusky, Ohio, held February 8th, 1863, the committee appointed by the Chief Engineer to submit Resolutions expressing the feelings of The Department on The Death of Major Weller, reported the following, which were unanimously adopted. Whereas, through the dispensation of an allwise Providence, Major Enoch Weller, of The Fire Department of Sandusky, has given up his life in defense of his country, therefore be it:1. Resolved that as a Fireman we have lost one of our most noble, active, upright and faithful members, one whose loss cannot be repaired or forgotten by the whole Fire Department.2. Resolved, that as a brother Fireman none were brave, as a Fireman none were more competent to command, as a Chief he maintained his position with honor, his loss we deeply regret and long shall mourn.3. Resolved, that in rallying to his country’s call, none felt a deeper interest, none showed a nobler or more energetic spirit. As a soldier he was skillful and brave, when he unsheathed his sword, he did it for the right his country and he wielded it with an earnestness that showed he fought for his country.4. Resolved, that we tender to the family of the deceased our heartfelt sympathy in this deep affliction. They have lost a most worthy husband and father, one who was kind to all and beloved by everyone.5. Resolved, that as an evidence of our regard for the memory of our deceased brother we wear the usually badge of mourning, and drape our engine house with crepe for the period of thirty days.6. Resolved, that these resolutions be published in the Sandusky Register and Bay Stadt Demokrat. Also, a copy presented to the widow of the deceased by our Chief Engineer, C. J. Parsons.CommitteeS.M. White, Jr.M. HickA. BauerE. Goodspeed

Monday, February 04, 2013

Fisk Jubilee Singers Performed in Sandusky

On February 13, 1901, the Fisk Jubilee Singers appeared at the Congregational Church in Sandusky. Members of the congregation hosted the singers at their homes. Mr. and Mrs. John Work were the guests of Dr. and Mrs. Steiner; Miss Napier and Miss Hayes were the guests of Mrs.  P. R. Muenscher; Miss Nettie Crump and Miss Grant were the guests of Mrs. Thomas Pate; Mr. Walker Rider and Mr. Giddens were the guests of Judge Merrill; and Mrs. Spence, the group’s chaperone, was the guest of Mrs. Huntington.

Sandusky businessman James M. French was host to Mr. Fred J. Work.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers, vocal students at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, have been traveling and singing worldwide since 1871. A photograph of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in Sandusky is displayed on the website of the Special Collections of the Fisk UniversityLibrary.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Schnaitter-Smith Families on Perry Street

A recent donation of materials to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center helps to bring family histories to life. Two houses on Perry Street tell the story of the Schnaitter and Smith families, whose lives played out on their front porches during the early 1900s. Although most of the photographs from the Howard collection were unlabeled, we became history detectives to discover more about the pictured families.

Merchant tailor Frank Schnaitter married Christina. Their five children were Antoinette (Nettie), Frank (1880-1913), Edward (see previousblog entry), Gertrude, and Florence. The children were raised in a beautiful Victorian house at 812 Perry Street.
The Schnaitter home prior to 1920

Bicycles were popular at the turn of the century when Nettie Schnaitter, at around age 20, began spending time with Freeland Smith. She enjoyed riding with Freeland and his sister, Lottie.
Freeland Smith and Nettie Schnaitter. The two boys could be her brothers Edward and Frank. March 28, 1897.

Left to right: An unidentified woman, Lottie, and Nettie pose with their bicycles in front of Nettie’s house. The two boys talking on the porch could be Nettie’s brothers Edward and Frank. March 31, 1897.
Freeland Smith worked as a bookkeeper at Donahue Hardware at 735 Water Street, and he and Nettie Schnaitter were married around 1903. Nettie soon gave birth to Elizabeth “Betty” Smith, James “Bud” Smith, and Frank “Pink” Smith.
In 1910, a house was built at 808 Perry Street, beside Nettie’s childhood home where her parents and siblings were still living. Soon after, Freeland opened Smith Hardware, which he and Adam Smith later managed. The Smiths lived with the Schnaitter family for several years, and Nettie’s daughters, Margaret “Polly” Smith and Patricia Gertrude Smith, were born in 1911 and 1917, respectively.

By 1915, Freeland and Nettie’s family had moved into the house at 808 Perry Street . That same year, the address numbering system changed, so 812 became 810, and 808 became 806 Perry Street.

Nettie’s children spent happy times playing on the front porches of both houses.
Children, likely Elizabeth, James, Frank, and Margaret Smith stand near the Perry Street homes.
Elizabeth and James Smith, Seymore Bloker, Roy Seebeck, and Frank and Margaret Smith pose on the porch of 808 Perry Street.
Margaret Smith plays with a doll and buggy on her front porch of 808 Perry Street. February 15, 1914.
Even though Nettie was about 7 and 19 years older than her younger sisters, they seemed to be close. Many photographs show Nettie’s children spending time with their next-door neighbors, Aunts Gertrude and Florence Schnaitter.
Left to right: Gertrude and Florence Schnaitter stand beside Nettie Smith. Frank and Margaret Smith, holding a doll, stand in front. All are bundled in winter clothes. The photo is probably dated around 1915.
Likely Elizabeth and Margaret Smith standing with their Aunt Gertrude Schnaitter.

Around 1920, the front half of the house at 810 Perry was moved to 5th Street.
House at 810 Perry Street after the front was moved.
Gertrude married A. R. Warner and moved to Deerfield, IL, while Florence married Claude Miller. Then the elder Frank Schnaitter died in an ice boating accident in 1928. By 1930, Florence and Claude were living alone at the 810 Perry Street house.

In 1939, Freeland was working as the vice president of Smith Hardware. By 1940, Florence and Claude had moved to Cleveland, and Claude’s brother, Edmund Miller, was renting the 810 Perry Street house for his family. The next year, Freeland, Nettie, and their three youngest children, now adults, had moved back into the old Schnaitter home at 810 Perry Street.

Freeland passed away in 1949 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery. Nettie lived in the 810 Perry Street house until her death in 1967.

Elizabeth married Harold Stockdale, and their family settled in Sandusky. She died before her mother, in 1959. James Smith married, settled his family in Sandusky, and worked as chief engineer at Union Chain. He passed away in 1984.

Frank Smith went on to study art. He supervised art instruction in the Sandusky school system and founded the Sandusky Cultural Center. He died in 1999. Margaret Smith worked as a dental hygienist, spent several winters helping Florence and Claude with the charter dishing business, and was active in several local organizations.  Patricia Smith married Dean Howard and settled in Peoria, Illinois. Both Margaret and Patricia passed away in 2009.

Today, both homes on Perry Street are still standing.
The 806 Perry Street house today.
The 810 Perry Street house today.