Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lydia Mahala Todd West

Lydia Mahala Todd was born in 1824 to Amos and Lurana Strong Todd in Cortland County, New York, and moved to Sandusky as a youngster. In 1844, Lydia married William T. West, a Sandusky merchant, and co-owner of the West House. Their wedding was the first wedding in the upper part of Grace Episcopal Church. In 1892, William T. West built the Mahala Block on East Washington Row, and named it after his wife’s middle name.

During the cholera epidemic of 1849, Mrs. West was a hard worker, and helped to alleviate the suffering of those taken ill. She gained a reputation for kindness to the soldiers during the Civil War. The December 25, 1902 Sandusky Register reported that “in later years charity and aiding the poor and needy have been her main objects.”

Mrs. Lydia Mahala Todd West died on Christmas Eve in 1902. Her obituary was headlined with the phrase “Death of an Esteemed Lady.” The funeral services for Mrs. West were largely attended, and many floral tributes were sent. The active pallbearers were four African American employees of the West House Hotel. Among the mourners at her funeral was Ban Johnson, president of the American Baseball League. While it is not known how they met, the Sandusky Evening Star stated that Ban Johnson knew Mrs. West well. Mrs. West was survived by her husband William T. West, and her children: Mrs. C. L. Hubbard, Mrs. W. B. Jordan, George C. West, and William G. West. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery.

The William T. West family is the subject of Article 11 in Helen Hansen’s book
At Home in Early Sandusky, available at the Sandusky Library. The book is also for sale at the ongoing book sale of the Sandusky Library’s main circulation desk.

Pictured below is the wedding handkerchief of Mrs. Lydia Mahala Todd West, from the collections of the Follett House Museum.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kiwanis Christmas Party, 1926

On Tuesday, December 21, 1926, the Sandusky Kiwanis Club hosted a party for forty-five children from the Erie County Children’s Home. The festivities took place at the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church. Each club member was responsible for one of the youngsters’ gifts. J. F. Starkey, dressed as Santa Claus, gave each child a gift of candy, nuts, and oranges. Christmas carols were sung by all. Heenan Elliott entertained the children by doing impersonations. At the end of the luncheon, the children sang a song of thanks to the Kiwanians.

In 1926, Mr. and Mrs. John Ritter were in charge of the Children’s Home. The committee responsible for the Kiwanis Christmas program was made up of: W. P. Bittner, Dr. A. J. Funnell, and Dr. H. L. Brown. Mrs. Clara “Ma” Bock, the club’s caterer (pictured below), was given a pin by the Kiwanis Club members at the Christmas party.
At the time of the Kiwanis Christmas Party, the children whom they hosted resided at the facility pictured below. The Erie County Children’s Home opened at its Sycamore Line location in May, 1901. The home closed in 1960 because of increasing operating expenses to maintain a facility not filled to capacity. The photo below was taken by Robert E. Frank, when the building housed offices for Erie County’s Sanitary Engineering division. The former Children's Home building is now privately owned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Charles Bauman was born in Ehrenstetten, Baden, Germany in 1835, and came to Sandusky when he was eighteen years old. Mr. Bauman was engaged in the wall paper and decorating business in Sandusky for forty-nine years. During the Civil War, Charles Bauman enlisted in Company F of the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Music was important to Charles Bauman. He was a member of the old Great Western Band, and was leader of the Germania Reed band. For a time he was also associated with Ackley’s Band. On August 17, 1902, the Sandusky Register reported that Ackley’s Band serenaded Mr. Charles Bauman on the occasion of his sixty-seventh birthday. The band arrived at the Bauman residence on South Decatur Street shortly after midnight. After the band played several selections, they were invited in for refreshments. When Mr. Bauman and his wife celebrated their golden anniversary on December 7, 1906, Charles was quite ill. Although he was sick, his wish was gratified.

Charles Bauman died on December 16, 1906. He left behind his wife, five sons, and six daughters. Charles Bauman was buried at Oakland Cemetery. In the photograph above, Charles Bauman is wearing a uniform. He had been a member of the I.O.O.F. as well as the G.A.R., but the uniform does look similar to the Knights of the Maccabees uniforms of the 1890’s. If you know the exact type uniform pictured in the portrait of Charles Bauman, please leave a message in the comment area of this blog post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Miss Wilma Fernau

While the photographer remains unknown, above are five different poses of Wilma Fernau, who was born in 1902. Wilma was the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Fernau, who were both born in Germany. One pose features Wilma reading a magazine; another shows Wilma on the telephone, which was a relatively new device in the early twentieth century. The Sandusky City Directories list Wilma’s occupation as a stenographer. Wilma Fernau never married. She passed away on December 28, 1980 in Sandusky, Ohio. She is buried in the family mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery.


Oakland Cemetery Database
Sandusky City Directories
Ancestry Library Edition

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Five-and-Ten" Stores in Sandusky

According to the second edition of the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the definition of a “five-and-ten” (also called “five-and-ten-cent store”) is “a store offering a wide assortment of inexpensive items, formerly costing five or ten cents, for personal and household use.”

From the nineteen thirties through the nineteen sixties, Sandusky had several five and ten cent stores. In July of 1919, the S. S. Kresge Five and Ten Cent Store leased the southeast corner of Market and Columbus Avenue for twenty five years. By 1941, there were two Kresge stores in Sandusky, both on Columbus Avenue. In 1941, Neisner Bros., Inc. was located at 133 E. Market Street, opposite the Feick Building. The 1962 Sandusky City Directory, under the section “Department Stores – 5 cents to $1.00.,” listed the W. T. Grant Store at the Sandusky Plaza, the S. S. Kresge Co. at 202 Columbus Ave., Neisner Bros, at 133 E. Market St., and two Woolworth stores, one at 220 Columbus Ave. and one at the Sandusky Plaza.

The first F. W. Woolworth store in Sandusky was located downtown on Columbus Avenue. Later there was an F. W. Woolworth store in the Perkins Plaza, and for a time the Sandusky Mall also had a Woolworth’s, located where the T. J. Maxx Store is presently. The downtown Woolworth’s closed on Christmas Eve in 1971.

Below is a scene of the east side of Columbus Avenue at the time of the January 5, 1960 fire at the Woolworth building. Both the Kresge and F. W. Woolworth buildings can be seen.
Views of the interior of the S.S. Kresge Co. in 1930 show a lunch counter, and several items for sale for under one dollar.

Today the five and ten cent stores are just a memory, while larger discount stores and department stores are found along Route 250 in Perkins Township. Library staff members recall watching donuts being made at the downtown Sandusky dime stores, buying candy before seeing a movie, seeing counters filled with household items, buying paper doll and coloring books, and grabbing a sandwich and a coffee at the lunch counter. If you have memories of the old Sandusky five and ten stores, please leave a comments section of this blog posting.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sandusky Newspapers on Microfilm

Two men are reading the Sandusky Register in December 1914. The front page headline story was about the fire which destroyed Thomas Edison’s factory in West Orange, New Jersey on December 9, 1914.

In the Archives Research Center at Sandusky Library you will find hundreds of reels of microfilmed copies of local newspapers, including the city's first newspaper, the Sandusky Clarion, founded in 1822, and its descendant, the present Sandusky Register. While there is no comprehensive index, you can view the “Charles E. Frohman Index to the Sandusky Register and Star Journal”, which is a selective index to our newspaper collection, covering roughly 1840-1975. Since the films are arranged chronologically, searching the newspapers by date is easily done.

You can find details about the social, political, business, and educational activities of area residents from the years in which they lived here. Interesting facts about your ancestors can help add human interest to the genealogical data you already have collected.

In old newspaper ads, it is fun to note how the styles and prices have changed throughout the years.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Concert in 1887

On Thanksgiving Night, November 24, 1887, “Ye Old Folkes” Concert was held at the Opera House in Sandusky. Mrs. John Mack donated the original concert program to the Sandusky Library. The November 25, 1887 Sandusky Daily Register gives a detailed account of the event. The reporter credited Mrs .S. W. Butler and Mrs. Leeson as the chief organizers of the concert. The paper stated: “Mrs. S. W. Butler proposed and planned the concert, and almost alone, through many discouragements, worked it through.”
Concert participants wore costumes from the style of “ancient days.” Hymns and tunes were sung, with Mr. A. J. Nusley serving as the “singing master.” A quartet called the “Foure of Ye Men Singers,” including Mr. Talcott, Mr. McFall, Mr. Lockwood and Mr. Stroud, were a crowd favorite and performed several encores. (Walter Talcott’s obituary, found in the 1926 Obituary Notebook in the Archives Research Center, details Mr. Talcott’s talent.) Miss Fannie Loomis sang a solo called “Jedediah.” Mrs. Norbert Becker sang a song as “Jubilee Pendegrass.” Another hit of the evening was “My Johnny was a Shoemaker,” sung by May Elwell as “Belinda Bugler.” Malcolm Jennings “rendered a solo with fine effect.”

Attorney S. C. Wheeler sang a solo entitled “Ri Ti Tu Ri.” The Register says that Mr. Wheeler was “called out a second time and finally led off the stage by the ear by Deliverance Higgins.”
The newspaper article listed the program from the concert, and stated that the concert would be “long remembered as one of Sandusky’s greatest local events.” To find historical documents, newspapers and photographs from Sandusky’s past, visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Broderson’s Home Service Store on McDonough Street

Adolph and Martin Broderson were partners in the grocery business in Sandusky for over fifty years. (Adolph G. Broderson died in February 1955, and Martin Broderson died in January 1954.) Pictured above is the Broderson’s “Home Service Store” on the southwest corner of Polk and McDonough Streets. Visible in the store windows are advertisements for Sunbeam bread, Salada tea, and Esmond dairy products, and a Coca Cola sign can be seen on the side of the building.

Products could be purchased here on credit. A former Polk Street resident tells that when her grandmother sent her to the Brodersons’ store to pay the bill, she always received a piece of penny candy in return. An earlier blog entry features more photographs of grocery stores in Sandusky.

Monday, November 10, 2008

General Henry A. Axline, “Father of the National Guard of Ohio”

Henry A. Axline was the youngest soldier to serve in the Civil War from Muskingum County. He served in Company G of the 159th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

After the Civil War, Henry A. Axline held the positions of Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel of the Ohio National Guard. During the Spanish American War, Henry Axline was Colonel of the Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, taking command at Camp Bushnell. During the Johnstown flood, Henry A. Axline took the first relief train of Ohio troops to that city.

General Axline was the Adjutant General of Ohio from 1886 to 1890, and again from1896-1898. William Taylor Alexander, author of The Centennial History of Columbus, called Henry A. Axline “the father of the National Guard of Ohio.”

Active in Veterans’ organizations, General Axline was often a speaker at Campfires, military reunions, and Memorial Day exercises. The Sandusky Daily Register of May 18, 1914, reported that “as a public speaker General Axline had but few equals.” At the time of his death he was chief of staff of the national encampment of the G.A.R. Henry A. Axline died May 18, 1914 in Zanesville, Ohio. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. (He was buried in Sandusky because his daughter and son-in-law were residing in Sandusky at the time of his death.) Henry A. Axline married Helen Westlake in 1874. They were both graduates of Ohio Wesleyan University. Their daughter Tella Axline was married to Claude B. Dewitt, pictured below. (They later divorced.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Veterans Day, November 11: J. Elmer Bauer and G. Lynn Hughes, Musicians in the Great War

Two soldiers from Erie County, John Elmer Bauer and G. Lynn Hughes, both served in Infantry Bands during World War One. George Lynn Hughes was born in Huron in 1888. He entered the service on May 26, 1918, and was associated with the 125th Infantry Band. John Elmer Bauer, also known as Elmer Bauer, was born in Sandusky on January 6, 1896. Bauer entered the service on May 26 1918, and was a musician with the 39th Infantry Band. The August 30, 1919 Sandusky Star Journal reported that Bauer and Hughes, along with Harold Fort and Herb Lechler, were organizing a musical group called “The Harmony Four.” In 1921 J. Elmer Bauer and G. Lynn Hughes ran a music store called the Bauer-Hughes Music Company, located on Decatur Street. Later, Mr. Bauer ran the business alone as “Bauer’s Everything Musical.”

G. Lynn Hughes worked at the Hinde and Dauch Paper Co. for thirty-seven years. He passed away in 1971. J. Elmer Bauer moved to Pinellas County, Florida, where he died on April 8, 1975. Mr. Bauer’s obituary in the St. Petersburg Times stated that in the eight years that he played the organ at the Tramor Cafeteria, he closed every evening’s performance with “God bless America.” Pictured below is J. Elmer Bauer at the organ:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Program Announcement: World War I in Sandusky

The First World War, "the war to end all wars," ended 90 years ago this November. Join us in the Library Program Room on Sunday, November 9, at 1:00 p.m. as Archives Librarian Ron Davidson presents a discussion of World War I in Sandusky. Using original documents from the Library's Archives Collection - letters, photographs, newspaper stories, and other accounts - he will present observations of what life was like for Sanduskians during the Great War and the effects of the war on people and society. Registration is requested but is not required.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Veterans Day, November 11: Corporal Isaac F. Mack and Sergeant Selden A. Day of Company C, 7th O.V.I.

Selden A. Day is pictured in his uniform from the Spanish American War, in which he served as an officer in the Artillery. The photograph was a gift to Sandusky newspaper publisher, Isaac F. Mack. During the Civil War, Selden A. Day and Isaac F. Mack both served in Company C of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Isaac F. Mack was a Corporal and Selden A. Day served as both a Corporal and a Sergeant while in the 7th infantry.

Selden A. Day had a long record of military service to his country. He served in the Civil War as well as the Spanish American War. His monument at Arlington National Cemetery bears the inscription: “Breveted First Lieutenant, 3 June 1864 for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia; Breveted Captain, 13 March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. “

Selden Day’s wife was quite well known in her own right. Alice Chenoweth was born in 1853 in Winchester, Virginia. When she began writing, Alice legally took the pen name of Helen Hamilton Gardener. She authored seven books, was a vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and was the first female member of the United States Civil Service Commission. President Wilson appointed her on April 13, 1920. Upon her death (subscription required), Helen willed her brain to science .

Isaac F. Mack was one of the most prominent and influential citizens of Sandusky, Ohio. He was associated with the Sandusky Register from 1869 until 1909. He was a charter member of the Western Associated Press, which went on to become the Associated Press.
Mack was elected Commander of the Ohio Department of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1892. He was very influential in securing Erie County as the home of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home, now the Ohio Veterans Home. The I.F. Mack building at the Ohio Veterans Home honors his memory.

To read more about the life of Isaac F. Mack, read Sandusky's Editor, by Charles E. Frohman, available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Program Announcement: Early Sandusky Through the Eyes of Martha Cooke (Brown-bag Lunch series)

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room (Terrace Level) as we explore topics in local history. We will meet again on Wednesday, November 5, at 12:00 noon. The topic will be Reflections on Early Sandusky Through the Eyes of Martha Cooke. Local historian Janet Senne will bring the character of early Sandusky resident Mrs. Martha Cooke to life. Martha Cooke was married to Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky's first lawyer. "Mrs. Cooke" will share about her family, her home, and everyday life in early Sandusky. Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

William Griswold Lane

William Griswold Lane was born in Norwalk, Ohio in 1824 to Ebenezer Lane and Frances Griswold. When William was twelve years old he became acquainted with fellow student Rutherford B. Hayes, at the Maple Grove Academy, in Middletown, Connecticut. They became lifelong friends. William Lane attended college at Yale and Harvard, and spent a year studying law in Berlin, Germany.

After returning to the United States, William practiced law with his father. In 1850, William married Elizabeth Diodate Griswold. In February 1873 William G. Lane was appointed Judge of Common Pleas for the Fourth Judicial District.

William G. Lane died in October 1877, at the age of 52. Resolutions from the Court and Bar of Erie County appeared in the Sandusky Register. One resolution stated “In this death, the bench and bar have lost an able, impartial and upright Judge – one of the most esteemed, high minded and scholarly members of the profession – and this community a citizen of great mental and moral worth – a man just, honorable and honest in all his dealings with his fellow men and conscientious and faithful in the discharge of all the public and private duties that devolved upon him. While we mourn his loss we delight to honor his memory.”

The Lane family monument at Oakland Cemetery is a beautiful sculpture in honor of William Griswold Lane and his family. I.F. Mack wrote in an article in the June 1882 Firelands Pioneer, that Judge William G. Lane was “without doubt, the wisest counsellor we ever had at our bar.” A memorial tribute to Judge William G. Lane is on file at the library at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.

A view below of the Lane Family monument at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. Several family members’ names are inscribed on the stone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mystery Photo: An Easy One

It's been too busy here to post much lately, so I thought I'd do a quick "Mystery Photo." It probably won't be very difficult for most people, but I thought the view is interesting -- significantly different than it looks now.

Update: It looks like the secret is out. If you haven't seen Jason Werling's blog on the Sandusky Register website yet, go take a look at his "before and after" picture, taken from the top floor of the Feick Building.
It looks like we had a "ringer" in the comments. The photo above was taken from the Feick building in 1923. The large stone builing on Water Street was a winery, but it was probably the Engels & Krudwig Winery; the Dorn Winery was a block further east.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ulysses Thompson Curran, Educator and Judge, and His Son Charles, Artist

Ulysses Thompson Curran was the superintendent of the public schools in Sandusky from 1872 through 1880. After leaving the field of education, U. T. Curran practiced law in Sandusky. He served as Erie County Common Pleas Judge in the Probate Division, from 1899 to 1905. He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association.
Under Mr. Curran’s leadership, the “Sandusky Training School” was founded in 1874. New teachers were mentored by more experienced teachers to prepare them for their profession. Miss Mary Alice Chenoweth was the lead teacher at the training school. Mary Alice later changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener. She was a suffragist leader, an author, and was appointed to the U.S. Civil Service Commission by President Woodrow Wilson in 1920. (She willed her brain to Cornell University for medical research.)

On February 28, 1914, Ulysses Thompson Curran died at the home of his son Charles Courtney Curran in New York City. Charles Courtney Curran graduated from Sandusky High School in 1879. After high school, Charles Curran attended the Cincinnati School of Design, and later the Art Students’ League, and the National of Academy of Design in New York City. In 1888, he won the Academy’s Hallgarten Prize for his painting, A Breezy Day. Also in 1888, Charles Courtney Curran married Grace Winthrop Wickham, daughter of Huron County Judge Charles Preston Wickham.

After his marriage, Charles Curran studied art in Paris, where he developed his impressionistic style. Three works by Charles Courtney Curran can be seen at the Follett House Museum, including Laurel Among the Rocks, pictured below.

Charles Courtney Curran painted a portrait of his father, which is also on display at the Follett House Museum. Local author Patty Pascoe wrote about both U. T. Curran and Charles Courtney Curran in the book, Elected to Serve, available from the Sandusky Library.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Program Announcement: Home Movie Day

Join us in the Library Program Room on Saturday, October 18, at 2:00 p.m. for this celebration of amateur film and filmmaking. Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about preserving the home movies recorded on film during the 20th Century. The event helps to promote awareness and enjoyment of these movies, with the goal of preserving these films for future generations.

Home Movie Day at Sandusky Library will begin on the morning of Saturday, October 18. Between 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, you can bring your home movies to the Library Program Room where staff and experienced volunteers will examine the films to ensure they are in condition for viewing (or, if you wish, you can drop your film off before October 18 to the Archives Librarian). You can stay to learn more about preserving your films or you can return later for an afternoon of movie viewing. At 2:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room, we will gather to view the home movies brought in by members of the community and experience the joy of shared memories preserved on film! You'll learn about the importance of film preservation and how to care for your movies so that you can share these films for years to come. Registration is requested, but not required. For further information, contact Ron Davidson, Archives Librarian, at 419-625-3834.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Program Announcement: Baseball on Johnson's Island (Brown-Bag Lunch Series)

Bring your lunch and join us on Wednesday, October 8, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room. The topic will be Baseball on Johnson's Island. Ohio's First Baseball Game: Played by Confederates and Taught to Yankees? Johnson's Island Civil War Prison Camp was the site of a number of baseball games played by men held captive there. A highly organized and noteworthy game was played in August of 1864 before 3,000 spectators. This well-documented match game raises two interesting issues: this could be the first New York rules match game recorded in Ohio, and the prisoners may have taught the game to their captors. Writer and researcher John Husman will present supporting arguments based on first-hand accounts, primary news sources, and deduction. Registration is requested but not required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Irish in Erie County

During the first half of the nineteenth century thousands of Irish emigrated to the United States. The potato famine of 1845 left devastating conditions in Ireland. The Irish immigrants had hopes of starting a new life in the United States. Often the only jobs available were among the least desirable. As a result many Irish born workers built the canals and railways of America and worked in dangerous mines. Besides working difficult jobs, the Irish often faced discrimination. They encountered signs that said “HELP WANTED – NO IRISH NEED APPLY.” As a result the Irish found solace in churches and community organizations. Eventually the Irish were assimilated into American culture, along with thousands of other immigrants from many other countries. Today Americans of Irish descent are still known for their humor, love of family, and their sometimes feisty personalities. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in America since 1737.

One of the earliest Irish immigrants in Erie County was John Beatty, who was one of largest land owners of the Firelands. John Beatty led a group of fourteen families from Connecticut to Perkins Township in 1814. He was Mayor of Sandusky from 1833 to 1836. His brother-in-law was Rev. William Gurley, an early Methodist minister was licensed to preach by John Wesley, the “father of Methodism.”

Father R. A. Sidley (below) was born in Ireland in 1828. He was the priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Sandusky from 1863 until 1871. Father Sidley oversaw the building of the church which still stands today at the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Jefferson Street. Father Sidley left a bequest of over $13,000 for the building of a new school, which was completed in 1907. The auditorium of the new school was named “Sidley Memorial Hall” in honor of Father Sidley. For many years Sidley Hall was used for concerts, commencements, as well as amateur and professional dramatic productions.

Leonard Johnson, another local Irish immigrant, bought Bull’s Island in 1852. The name of the island was later changed to Johnson’s Island. During the Civil War there was a Prisoner of War Camp located on Johnson’s Island.
Wilson “Slip” McLaughlin, who was Chief of the Sandusky Fire Department for many years, was the grandson of Irish immigrant, Michael McLaughlin. “Slip” is in the center of the group pictured below at the fire station located at the corner of Meigs Street and Sycamore Line. Mr. McLaughlin’s obituary in the November 24, 1984 stated that he was a “champion of the underprivileged and public” and a public servant for fifty years.
Descendants of Irish immigrants to Sandusky and Erie County still live and work in Sandusky today. A walk through St. Joseph’s Cemetery will bring to mind many of those Irish Americans who have gone before us.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

October is Archives Month

Once again, October is Archives Month, and the Sandusky Library will be offering several local history events in commemoration.

This year's theme is "Elections in the Archives." Therefore we'll start the month with a program on Saturday, October 4, at 2PM in the library program room, where we will have a sort of "show and tell" from the library's archival collections, describing elections and the electoral process in Sandusky, from the very first local election in 1824 to more recent times. There will be plenty of artifacts and historical documents to view, and we might even talk a little about Archives Month and the importance of archives in our lives.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Genealogical Research with High School Alumni Publications

High School alumni directories can be very helpful in genealogical research. The page below shows both the maiden names and married names of female graduates. Since the directory was current to 1909, by searching the 1910 United States Census, more details about the graduates can be gleaned, such as place of birth, occupation, and the names of children and spouse. (U.S. Census records are available at the Archives Research Center on microfilm, as well as through the databases Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest. See the Reference Staff for assistance.)
Laura Beattie married the Rev. Charles Dinsmore, and moved to Waterbury, Connecticut. Evelina Ball had become Mrs. George W. Perkins. Charles Henry Arndt had become a minister serving a church in Germantown, Pennsylvania. A. J. Weis was employed by the Keystone Fish Company in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The listings in the directory will provide the names of the classmates of your ancestors. By then searching through the appropriate Sandusky High School “Fram,” you can view photographs of various clubs, teams, and organizations, which give further details about the students of Sandusky High School throughout several decades. Yearbooks from St. Mary’s Central High School and Perkins High School can also be found at the Archives Research Center.

In 1994, the Sandusky High School Alumni Association published an Alumni Directory, which is shelved immediately after the collection of high school yearbooks from Sandusky High School. The Alumni Directory serves as an index to the yearbooks, giving the year of graduation, and providing the maiden name of females. An address that was current in 1994 is also listed. At yearly class reunions, current addresses of living graduates are usually proved in a pamphlet given to attendees.
Alice Reber Johnson is just one of the many persons whose names are listed in the “Complete List of Living Graduates of Sandusky High School from 1855 to 1909.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Program Announcement: The History of the "Tin Goose"

On Monday, September 22, at 7:00 p.m. join us in the Library Program Room when Sandusky resident Dale Hartlaub presents a talk on the history of the "Tin Goose." The "Tin Goose," the Ford Trimotor airplane, was used for many years to transport people and cargo between the Lake Erie islands and the mainland. An avid collector of "Tin Goose" memorabilia, Mr. Hartlaub will also talk about the artifacts from his collection. Registration is requested but not required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Program Announcement: German Immigration to Ohio (Brown-Bag Lunch Series)

Bring your lunch and join us on Wednesday, September 17, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room was we explore topics in local history. Becky Hill, Head Librarian of the Hayes Presidential Center, will discuss the German roots of a large percentage of Northwest Ohio residents. Germans in this area came mostly from two different migrations - one usually through Pennsylvania in the 1700s; the other direct from Germany in the 1800s. She explains the differences in the people, the trips, and their heritage. Registration is requested but not required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oliver Hazard Perry’s Victory at the Battle of Lake Erie

Oliver Hazard Perry became a national hero after his victory at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. Perry’s words to William Henry Harrison, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” have become immortalized. The New York Times covered the celebration of the 45th anniversary of Perry’s Victory in 1858. In 1911 A.G. Field’s minstrels featured a reproduction of Commodore Perry’s victory in “The Naval Review,” which played in Sandusky on May 12. In September 1913 citizens of Sandusky hosted a two-day celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. The September 8, 1913 headline from the Sandusky Register stated that the Perry Parade was “to be the grandest street spectacle ever witnessed here.” Every downtown street was decorated with flags, bunting and electric lights. 5,000 people marched in the parade, in which there were twelve bands and one hundred floats.
The U.S. Brig Niagara was reconstructed and sailed into Sandusky Bay from Erie, Pennsylvania. Participants in the grand celebration included former President William Howard Taft, Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles, and the governors of eight states:Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, Governor Samuel Ralston of Indiana, Governor James McCreary of Kentucky, Governor Woodbridge Ferris of Michigan, Governor John Kinley Tener of Pennsylvania, Governor Aram J. Pothier of Rhode Island, Governor Edward Dunne of Illinois, and Governor Francis McGovern of Wisconsin. Rev. A. J. Carey of Chicago honored the over one hundred African American seamen who served under Commodore Perry. The festivities concluded with a banquet for eight hundred guests at the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point.

Perry’s Victory inspired books, songs, and paintings, and the city of Perrysburg was named after Oliver Hazard Perry in 1816. You can visit the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put in Bay. From atop the Doric column, one can see for miles across Lake Erie. On June 2, 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt established the Perry Victory and International Peace Memorial as part of the National Park Service.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The "Big Four"

The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company, also known as the “Big Four,” was formed on June 30, 1889 by the consolidation of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railway Co.

The 1899 advertisement below suggests that the Big Four was the best line for traveling to Sandusky and the Islands. After arriving in Sandusky on the train, passengers could then connect with a steamer to go on to Cedar Point, the Lake Erie Islands or Detroit.

The Big Four eventually became part of the New York Central Railroad. Later the New York Central merged with Pennsylvania Lines to become the Penn Central Railroad. By 1976 Penn Central merged with other eastern railroads to become Conrail.

Above are pictured four workers on the “Big Four” Railway. Railroads have been an important part of the history of the Sandusky area, beginning with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, which was the first railroad to be built and operated in Ohio. Ground was broken for the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad on September 17, 1835.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Beatty Church on Washington Square

John Beatty, the Mayor of Sandusky from 1833 to 1836, founded a church in Sandusky in 1835, after the Methodist Church voted against hosting an antislavery speaker. He withdrew his membership from the existing Methodist Church and formed a new Methodist church, commonly known as the “Beatty Church.” It was located at the west end of Washington Square, along Jackson Street, facing Washington Street. After Beatty’s death, most of the membership of the Beatty Church returned to the parent church.

During the Cholera Epidemic of 1849, the building formerly known as the Beatty Church housed a cholera hospital. Hewson Peeke wrote in The History of Erie County that the city of Sandusky had seized the building for use as a hospital. Charles E. Frohman devoted an entire chapter of his book, Sandusky's Yesterdays, to the “Cholera Days” of Sandusky.

In 1855 the Baptist Church purchased this building. Rev. Justin D. Fulton was the minister of the Baptist Church in Sandusky from 1855 to 1859. Former Sandusky dentist Frank Sage wrote in the January 19, 1923 Sandusky Register that Rev. Fulton was “fearless in attacking with fiery zeal, public wrong, abuse of all descriptions.” Rev. Fulton later pastored churches in Boston and New York. He wrote several books, many of them expressing his anti-Catholic sentiment. Justin D. Fulton married a Sandusky girl named Sarah Norcross after he had moved to Boston.

The German Lutherans of Sandusky purchased the building in 1862. (The Lutherans actually traded buildings with the Baptists, paying an additional $2,000 in cash.) Rev. J. G. Lehrer was the Lutheran minister in 1862. The History of Zions Lutheran Church tells of Rev. Lehrer’s direction of the congregation toward order and progress. Members who failed to live up to their calling were disciplined, and sometimes excluded from the congregation. The Lutheran church held services here until November 12, 1899, moving to the building they still use today, at Columbus Avenue and Jefferson Street. Eventually the building on the courthouse square was demolished.

The old stone church in the Courthouse Square hosted many different groups of Sanduskians, with some very strong-willed men in leadership positions. Several church histories, historical files, and microfilmed church records are available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library for further research.
View of the Beatty Church and Erie County Courthouse from Washington Row, circa 1890.