Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Firelands Historical Society, 1875

The nineteenth annual meeting of the Firelands Historical Society was to be held in Norwalk on June 30, 1875, according to the Sandusky Weekly Register of June 23, 1875. Former Governor and soon-to-be President Rutherford B. Hayes addressed the group during its afternoon session. An excerpt of his address appears below:
The early history and reminiscences of the Fire Lands have been collected and preserved. Here are your volumes which tell you what you want to know- what these men and women have done who first came to the Fire Lands. 
I have succeeded in getting all these volumes and read every word of them. Your Society has done efficient and noble service, and I trust you will go on in this work. You have made an important addition to it to-day in the record of the old lawyers of the Fire Lands. 
All this is interesting now, and far, far more so will it be in the future. Next year we are to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary since we became a nation, and now can you find anybody who can show any relic or scrap of history showing what his father or grandfather did one hundred years ago that will not point to it with satisfaction and pride? And this is what you are doing to-day – collecting and preserving the interesting history and relics of the past for your children and posterity. This is not only accomplished by these social gatherings, but socially they prove a great benefit by mingling together of the people, and this social feature is in itself a sufficient object for societies of this kind. We Americans have not too many holidays, when we can meet the young and old – men of various ideas and descriptions – and mingle and consult together. The more of these meetings you can have of the old inhabitants and others, the better. I trust you may have many of them.
You can read the full text of future President Hayes’ speech to the members of the Firelands Historical Society in September 1876 issue of the Firelands PioneerSeveral volumes of the Firelands Pioneer are housed in the lower level of the Sandusky Library. This resource contains dozens of historical and biographical articles about the earliest settlers of Erie and Huron Counties. It is clear through he words that R.B. Hayes saw the historical significance of this publication.  

On the same day that Governor Hayes spoke, another presenter was Sandusky attorney J.M. Root, who spoke about “The Old Lawyers of the Firelands.”

In his talk, he mentioned several Sandusky lawyers, including F.D. Parish, Eleutheros Cooke, and Lucas Beecher. You can read Mr. Root’s speech online.

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