Thursday, January 16, 2014

William F. Schoenemann was born in Westphalia, Germany in 1851. He came to the United States in 1870, and soon settled in Sandusky, Ohio. As a young man, William worked for Klotz and Kromer’s machine works. After briefly working in the grocery business with Frank Herberlein, William F. Schoenemann operated his own grocery store on Market Street from the late 1870s to the 1890s. In 1896, he was also associated with Hans Paysen in the fish business. By 1900, William F. Schoenemann was an agent for Fleischmann & Company’s Pressed Yeast. Records at Erie County Probate Court indicate that William F. Schoenemann married Louisa Biglin on September 21, 1877.

Mr. and Mrs. Schoenemann had a large family of seven children.  William F. Schoenemann died at the age of 51 on December 21, 1902, after suffering a stroke. An obituary for Mr. Schoenemann, which appeared in the December 22, 1902 issue of the Sandusky Register, stated that the news of his death brought much regret. He was “well known, beloved, and highly respected by all who knew him.”  Besides his many business ventures, Mr. Schoenemann had been a director of the Wagner Lake Ice and Coal Company, the Erie County Investment Company, and the Citizens Banking and Trust Company, and was a member of the Ogontz Lodge of the I.O.O.F. He was survived by two sons and five daughters.  Mrs. Louise Biglin Schoenemann (sometimes spelled Schoeneman) died on April 4, 1953 at the age of 95. At the time of her death, Mrs. Schoenemann had been the oldest living member of Zion Lutheran Church. Her obituary appeared in the April 6, 1953 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

James Woolworth, Manufacturer

James Woolworth was born on May 4, 1824 in Westfield, Massachusetts to Chester and Chloe (Lewis) Woolworth. He came to Sandusky in 1852, and in 1854 he founded the Woolworth Handle Works, manufacturing handles for axes and other tools. An article from volume 11 of Wood Craft said about James Woolworth: “His business was well managed and he was very successful. In a few years the name of James Woolworth was known in all the handle markets of the world. He managed his business with great ability and he undoubtedly was the most active and progressive and largest manufacturer during his active connection with the business.”  For several years, James Woolworth’s brother Chester Woolworth was also associated with the Woolworth handle factory.

During the Civil War, the demand for handles increased and prices increased as well. James and Chester Woolworth paid careful attention to business, and the profits for the company were great. After the war, however, on October 18, 1872, the Woolworth Handle Works was destroyed by fire. A lengthy article in the June 26, 1873 issue of the Sandusky Register described the new factory, which had been rebuilt.  The article reported that the new Woolworth Handle Works factory was “an imposing substantial three story stone structure, with a slate roof and iron cornice and as far as possible proof against the fiery element.” The main part of the factory was 175 by 41 feet, and 35 feet in height. The machine shop was in a separate building. Twenty-five saws were constantly in use, manufacturing wooden implements. A three foot gauge railway connected the machine shop to the south side of the building, and to  the dock fronts on the north. Wood scraps from the factory were deposited in a wood yard, and delivered to various locations in Sandusky for use as fuel. Between the local Woolworth factory and the branch operation in Mound City, Illinois, the company employed 110 men in 1873. The Register article concluded by saying that, “the enterprise manifested by Mr. Woolworth under the recent difficulties is commendable and establishes the reputation he has always sustained as thorough business man and worthy citizen.”

In 1884 the Woolworth Handle Works was consolidated with the Turner & Day Company of Louisville, Kentucky, but James Woolworth continued to operate the plant at Sandusky as a branch.By 1886, however, the Woolworth Handle Works was no longer in operation in Sandusky. This Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the location of the former  factory along Sandusky’s waterfront.

There is a connection with the James Woolworth family and the Sandusky Library. In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. James Woolworth sold their home on Adams Street to the Library Association of Sandusky, as the future site of the Carnegie Library. Mrs. Woolworth presented a large bookcase to the library, and it is still in use in the Quiet Reading Room of the Sandusky Library. Mrs. Woolworth’s donation of the ornately carved bookcase represents the beginning of the Sandusky Library’s local history collection. Mrs. Woolworth was a member of the early board of the Library Association of Sandusky.

Stop by the quiet reading room at the Sandusky Library to see the ornately carved bookcase donated by Mrs. Woolworth.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Rev. John G. Ensslin

According to his death certificate, John George Ensslin was born in Bopfingen, Germany on September 9, 1840 to Casper and Mary Ensslin. Rev. Ensslin’s surname was spelled many different ways through the years, including Enszlin, Enslin, and Ennslin. After studying for six years at the Mission Institute at Basil, Switzerland, John G. Ensslin was ordained in 1868. In that same year Rev. Ensslin emigrated to the United States. After serving as a minister at two different churches in Michigan, Rev. Ensslin began his ministry at Sandusky’s Emmanuel Church on May 1, 1876.

Rev. Ensslin served as the pastor at Emmanuel Church for over thirty five years, officiating at many baptisms, funerals, weddings, and confirmations. Due to declining health, he resigned from active ministry in January of 1912. At that time he was the oldest active member of the clergy in Sandusky, Ohio. For eleven years, Rev. Ensslin also had charge of St. John’s Evangelical Church in Oxford Township. On January 6, 1914, Rev. John G. Ensslin died at his Jackson Street home in Sandusky. He was survived by three daughters and three sons. Mrs. Ensslin had predeceased him in 1910. Funeral services for Rev. Ensslin were held on Friday, January 9, 1914, at Emmanuel Church, under the direction of Rev. Theo. Eisen. Several clergymen from other cities were also in attendance. Burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Murschel Family Home on Columbus Avenue

According to listings in Sandusky City Directories, this lovely Queen Anne home at 615 Columbus Avenue was the home of the William Y. Murschel family. Members of the Murschel family lived at this residence from 1900 through the 1980s. This photograph was taken by L.C. Sartorius, a photographer in Sandusky in the late 1890s. Mr. Sartorius lived not far from the Murschel family on East Park Street. William Y. Murschel is most likely the gentleman seated in the chair on the porch.  William Y. Murschel, along with his father Jacob, built the Murschel House, a popular hotel opposite the New York Central depot for many decades. William Y. Murschel died on March 21, 1926. Mrs. Elizabeth Murschel passed away in 1946. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Murschel continued to reside at this home for several years.