A blog dedicated to the discussion of topics relating to the history of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio, the Lake Erie Islands, and nearby communities; inspired by the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center and Follett House Museum. A service of the Sandusky Library.
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A view of the library, circa 1905
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On February 27, 1865, over one hundred Confederate States
officers, who were being held as prisoners of war at the Johnson’s Island military prison,
signed this letter of appreciation to Lieutenant Foster V. Follett, who was
serving in the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
The letter read:
United States Military Prison
Johnson’s Island, Ohio
Block 12. Company 25.
February 27th, 1865
We the undersigned Confederate
prisoners of war,
Block 12, Company 25, Johnson’s Island,
pleasure in expressing
our high appreciation of the efficiency, gentlemanly
bearing and kindness of
your self, in all your official and social relations
We desire to express the hope that
should the fortunes of war place you in a similar situation you may receive the same
kindness and generosity
at the hands of your captors.
The Confederate officers signed their name under the
“Calling Roll.” Signing the first page
of the letter of appreciation were:
L. A. Courtade, 1st Liet., 4th La. Regt.
John O, Daliet, 2nd Lieu., 9th La. Cav.
B. W. Lanier, Miles
John W. See, 2nd N.C. Battalion
A. Dapremont, 1st Lieut., Co. E
C. C. Cunningham, Capt. ___ Mo. Cav. Regt.
Chancellor A. Nelson, Capt. 49thVa. Regt.
L. Daigle, 2nd L., 4th La. Regt.
On February 10, 1958, Lieut. Foster V. Follett’s
granddaughter, Helen Follett Brooks,
sent a letter to "the Historical Society in Sandusky," accompanying a photocopy of the
Confederate prisoners’ letter to her grandfather. (Copies of both letters are now housed in the ArchivesResearchCenter
of the Sandusky Library.) She explained that someone in her family had told her
that Lieutenant Follett was so distressed over the poor conditions affecting
the Southern officers, that he would eat nothing that the prisoners did not
have. He wrote to his wife and asked her to solicit food from friends and
residents of Sandusky
to help relieve the poor conditions at the prison. The family has always
maintained that Lieutenant Follett’s early death was due to illness suffered
from his poor diet during his years in the Civil War. Foster V. Follett died on
October 12, 1882, and he is buried in OaklandCemetery.
Foster V. Follett’s acts of kindness during a time of war indicate his deeply
rooted core values.
Foster V. Follett was the son of Foster M. Follett, who also
had served in the Civil War. Foster M. Follett was known for his heroic efforts to aid the sick during the
Cholera Epidemic of 1849. The son of Foster V. and Portia Follett, whose name also was Foster Morse Follett, became a
well known comic artist.
From 1918 until its closing in 1963, the Perry and
Bretz Store sold men’s clothing and accessories at 136 East Market Street in
The 1919 Sandusky city directory lists Jay J. Perry
and Robert B. Bretz as the proprietors of Perry and Bretz. By 1927 the store
was run by Robert B. Bretz, Donald D. Perry, and Eugene J. Perry.
When Bretz died in 1947, his obituary stated that he had been
one of Sandusky’s oldest business men, having been in the clothing business in
Sandusky for sixty-five years. The Perrys continued to operate the store until 1963. An article in the July 8, 1963 issue of the Sandusky Register featured a going out of business sale for the Perry and Bretz store.
The Follett House Museum has two hangers in its
collections, one from the former Robert B. Bretz store at 117 Columbus Avenue,
and one from the former Kronthal and Bretz store.
Have you ever seen an old sign on a building that doesn't relate to what is in the building today, and wondered about the origin of the sign? There is a building like that on Washington Street with a story to tell.
The Overmyer-Zechman-Ball Company
opened its doors in Sandusky in January of 1926. The January 30, 1926 issue of
the Sandusky Star Journal reported
that the Overmyer-Zechman-Ball Company, along with Hilt and Auxter, were considered
“ultra modern” garages. The large brick garage buildings were located in the
700 block of West Washington Street, between Lawrence and Fulton. The
Overmyer-Zechman-Ball Company sold and serviced Dodge Brothers cars and Graham
Brothers trucks. Hilt and Auxter were the agents for Buick and Maron motor
cars. Both garages had large showrooms that faced Washington Street. The
buildings were designed and constructed under the direction of Sandusky
architects Millott and Parker, and the general contractor was Steinle and Wolf,
from Fremont. M.J. Callan and son did the excavating and cement work, and Klein
Structural Irons Works of Bellevue furnished the steel structural iron. Many
other local businesses had a part in the new building.
In 1931, Overmyer-Zechman-Ball Company displayed
automobiles at the Sandusky Auto Dealers eleventh annual automobile show, held
at 1014 Hancock Street on February 6 to 8.
According to Sandusky city directories, by 1932, the
Overmyer-Zechman-Ball Company had become the Overmyer Ball Company, and Smith
Motor Sales was in the building formerly occupied by Hilt and Auxter. In the
first half of the twentieth century, the automotive industry changed rapidly.
In the early 1950s, Overmyer-McCullough, Inc. was selling Dodge and Plymouth
vehicles at 709 W. Washington Street, and by 1960, there was no longer a
business in operation in Sandusky that included the Overmyer name. A variety of
different companies have been in business at 709 W. Washington Street through
Visit the Sandusky Library to learn about historic businesses in
Sandusky by browsing through several decades of Sandusky city directories.
According to the book, At Home in Early Sandusky, by Helen
Hansen, this double stone house, which no longer stands, was built at what is
now the 400 block of West Market Street by Leonard B. Johnson (of Johnson's Island) in 1846. William
A. Simpson bought the property in 1848. In 1866, Rev. J. George Lehrer owned
the west half of the house, and Julius Robrahn owned the right side. Until
1960, this property had several different residents. In the 1920 U.S. Census,
sisters Mary and Amelia Maul lived in one half of the house, where they both
worked as dressmakers.
In 1960 the double stone house was razed, for use as a
parking lot. This linkto Google Maps shows what the space looked
like in the fall of 2013. See At Home in Early Sandusky to learn more about
houses in Sandusky, some still standing. This book is available at the Sandusky
Library in the Reference Services area of the Sandusky Library, or you may buy it for $1.00 at the check-out desk at the library.
These two Valentines were donated to the Follett
House Museum from Mabel Wilcox Orwig. The full story behind the giver and receiver of these valentines is unknown. Each piece of paper was folded four times
and cut into scallops. Then holes were punched and pins were pricked through
the paper to create a decorative design.
The Valentine made with pink paper
had this inscription:
Long for thy
coming I’ve wailed and sighed
Breathless the air
love and calm is the night
Golden with stars
oh the heavens are bright
Long for thy
coming I’ve waited and sighed
Joanah my love
The Valentine made with white paper
had this inscription:
You are worthy of
May you always be
Call on me in
Re[me]mber the giver
These lovely handmade cards were
donated in the 1960s, but most likely were created many years before that time, in the nineteenth century.
Pin pierced designs have been popular for several centuries.
Clifford Marshall King was born in
Sandusky on December 17, 1879 to Judge and Mrs. Edmund B. King. After attending
Oberlin College for a time, Clifford M. King graduated from Western Reserve
University in 1901. He earned his civil engineering degree from Cornell
University in 1904. After college, he worked for the United States
Reclamation Service in the west. From 1908 to 1911, he was the
engineer for the city of Sandusky, and later became the Erie County Engineer. Mr. King was the engineer
in charge of the construction of the Cedar Point Chaussee.
In 1917, Mr. King was
commissioned a captain in the U.S. Engineers. During World War I he was an instructor in an officers’ training camp. He served overseas with
the 528th Battalion of Engineers. After returning home from military
service, Mr. King worked for the city of Cleveland in its engineering
On January 2, 1922, Clifford M. King died at Charity Hospital in
Cleveland, after a brief illness. He was only 42 years old. Mr. King was
survived by his parents and his wife, the former Edith Davis. Funeral services were held at the Masonic Temple in Sandusky, and burial
was in Oakland Cemetery. Mr. King
accomplished much in his brief life, and he was sadly missed by his family and
friends and associates.
The Sandusky Tool Company, pictured above in the
book Sandusky of To-Day, was established
in 1869 to succeed Allen, Dorsey and Tenner.
George Barney, Sr. was the company’s first president, and Stephen W.
Dorsey was its first superintendent. The company was well known for its fine
quality hand tools, including planes, hoes, axes and other small tools. A group
picture of the company’s employees was taken about 1870. Note that some of the
workers were quite young.
Here is a page from the 1886 Sanborn Map that shows
the location of the Sandusky Tool Company on Meigs Street, adjacent to Sandusky
J.A.Montgomery, who was associated with the Sandusky Tool Company
for many years, was considered a mechanical genius. He designed woodworking
machinery that was in use at the tool company for as long as it was in
existence. The innovation continued after his death in 1899. W.G. Schwer patented this plane the
Sandusky Tool Company in 1928.
Mozart Gallup was director, treasurer, and assistant
secretary of the Sandusky Tool Company in 1880, and on September 14, 1886, he
became the president and general manager. Mr. Gallup held the office of
president of the company until his death in 1923.
This picture of the Sandusky Tool Company was most
likely taken in the 1920s.
In 1924, the Sandusky Tool Company
was hit by a tornado, and within five years, the company closed.
To read more about the of the
Sandusky Tool Company see the publication The Sandusky Tool Company Story by Wilbert
G. Schwer, housed with the local history and genealogical books in the
Reference Services Area of the Sandusky Library. Five images of tools made by
the Sandusky Tool Company can be seen online at the Ohio Memory Collection.To
view actual tools made by the Sandusky Tool Company, visit The Follett House
Museum, where tools are displayed in a room on the attic level.
The picture above was taken from an
unidentified boat (possibly the Chippewa) as it was approaching the dock from Sandusky Bay about 1938.
At that time, the Moose and VFW both had their club rooms in the building at
the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street, in the former Post,
Lewis and Radcliffe building, now home to the Water Street Bar and Grille.
Buses can be seen transporting
people to the busy downtown and waterfront of Sandusky. In the early 1940s, two
bus lines were in operation in Sandusky, the Greyhound line and the Lake Shore
Coach Company. The Lake Shore buses succeeded the interurban trolley line that disbanded in 1938; their office was at 129 Columbus Avenue, in the former
interurban station.The Greyhound station was across the street, at 124 Columbus Avenue.
Jay Meek ran a drugstore in
the old Graham drugstore building, at 102 Columbus Avenue, now home to Daly’s
Pub. Across the street were the Seitz State Theatre building and the Stone’s
Grill Restaurant just to the north of the theater.