Saturday, February 28, 2009

Burt I. Lamb, Sandusky Tailor

Burt I. Lamb was featured in the 1895 booklet entitled Men of Sandusky, a small publication which was printed by I. F. Mack and Bro., Printers. The booklet includes several photographs, a history of Sandusky, an article about the Soldiers and Sailors Home, and a page of interesting facts and statistics.
Mr. Lamb’s advertisement on page 65 of “Men of Sandusky” states that he “gives the highest grade of goods for the lowest grade prices in Sandusky. He does his work scientifically, studies the art of tailoring, is always up to date in style, and does honest work at honest figures, and guarantees absolute satisfaction in every case.” His tailor shop was in the Mahala Block, on E. Washington Row.

Horace Rand Lamb, the son of Burt I. Lamb and Hattie Davis, served as a First Lieutenant in World War One.
Hattie Davis Lamb’s father, Ira T. Davis, had a grocery store on Columbus Avenue and later was involved in the real estate and limestone business.

A genealogical web site indicates that Horace Rand Lamb was the grandfather of actor Christopher Reeve. Therefore, Burt I. Lamb and Ira T. Davis were Christopher Reeve’s great-grandfathers.

You can read more about the family of Ira T. Davis in Article 30 of Helen Hansen’s At Home in Early Sandusky and in Hewson Peeke’s Standard History of Erie County. Christopher Reeve mentioned Sandusky in his biography Still Me: A Life. He wrote about his grandfather Horace Lamb’s roots from a working class family in Sandusky.

Visit the Sandusky Library’s Archives Research Center to learn more about Christopher Reeve’s Sandusky ancestors, and perhaps your own ancestors as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

George Daniel, Mayor of Sandusky 1871-1876

George Daniel was born to John and Eva Daniel in Germany in 1834. The family settled in Sandusky in 1847. George was in the grocery business with his father, and later was a manufacturer of grape wine. A biographical sketch about George Daniel in History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, states that George Daniel was the oldest manufacturer of wines in Erie County.

In 1855, George Daniel married Agnes Iceman. They had ten children. Mrs. Agnes Daniel passed away on August 14, 1883. Mr. Daniel married Claudine Good in 1886. The first Mrs. George Daniel is pictured below:
George Daniel served his community in many different capacities. He was the Mayor of Sandusky from 1871 through 1876. He had been town treasurer in 1857; councilman for four terms; elected as a member of the Board of Equalization of Property in 1880; and was appointed commissioner of the fishery interest in 1884. In the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library is the document which lists the appointment of George Daniel as Postmaster of Sandusky in 1877, signed by President Grover Cleveland.

George Daniel died November 5, 1909 [corrected original post], and he is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Sandusky. A descendant of the Daniel family donated the photographs of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library. If you would like to share photographs of your ancestors with future generations, consider donating them to the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Joseph M. Root, Anti-Slavery Activist

Joseph M. Root was born in Cayuga County, New York in 1807, and moved to Ohio in 1829. Mr. Root was Sandusky’s Mayor in 1832 and 1833. In 1837 he was the prosecuting attorney of Huron County. Mr. Root was Representative to Congress from Ohio in the 29th, 30th, and 31st U.S. Congresses, and also served as a member of the Ohio State Senate for several terms.

In 1835, Joseph M. Root and Mary S. Buckingham were married in Norwalk, Ohio. They had five daughters. By 1850, the Root family was living in Sandusky, Ohio. Rush Sloane, in an address to the Firelands Historical Society, named J. M. Root among the “early and earnest friends” on the Underground Railroad in the Firelands. In 1848, Joseph M. Root had introduced a resolution to Congress which recommended that New Mexico and California have Territorial governments, but slavery was to be excluded in those new territories.

It has long been believed that the Root home at 231 East Adams Street was a “safe house” during the Underground Railroad. The Root home is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mrs. Mary S. Root died in 1876, and Joseph M. Root died in 1879. Both are buried in Oakland Cemetery with several of their daughters. Martha and Sarah Root were in the first graduating class of Sandusky High School. According to the 1914 Fram, Elizabeth B. Root taught in Chicago for forty years, and was considered to be the “Mother of Illinois’ first Teacher’s Pension Law.” You can read a biography and memoir of Joseph M. Root in the 1882 Firelands Pioneer, located in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. Book Three of Just Like Old Times, by Henry R. Timman also contains an excellent article about J. M. Root.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sandusky Cider and Vinegar Works / Struebe & Engels

Carl H. Struebe was the proprietor of a vinegar factory from about 1884 through 1900. The factory was located on the west side of Columbus Avenue, near the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad.

In the 1888 Sandusky City Directory, the proprietors of the Sandusky Cider and Vinegar Works were listed as C. H. Struebe and C L. Engels.

By 1902 C .H. Struebe was a manufacturer of carbonated beverages and he was also was a wholesale dealer of Schlitz’s lager beer. In 1902 Carl L. Engels was the president and manager of a dry goods store, the C. L. Engels Company on Market Street. This store was also known as “Sandusky’s Big Store.” Herb and Myers purchased the dry goods store from C. L. Engels in 1910.

C. H. Struebe and his wife moved to Detroit, Michigan to be near their daughter. Mr. Struebe died in 1923, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery. C. L. Engels died in 1935, after having been involved in several local business ventures, including the well known Engels and Krudwig Wine Company. Tributes to C. L. Engels are found on pages 27 and 37 of the 1935 Obituary Notebook located in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. Mr. Engels was also buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Pictured below are employees of the C. L. Engels Co. at a company picnic held at Cedar Point in 1902.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Laura Schaub's Valentines

The Valentine below was given to Laura Schaub by Esther Sutts, sometime between 1908 and 1919. Laura Schaub was the daughter of William and August Schaub, who were both born in Germany, and came to the United States around 1891. Laura had four older sisters, Alma, Minnie, Elsie and Florence. Esther Sutts was the youngest child of William and Mary Sutts. The Sutts family resided in Sandusky in 1910, but William and Mary had both been born in Pennsylvania.
Another Valentine which was given to Laura Schaub was signed simply: "To Lora Schaub from Lillian."

In July of 1919, eleven-year-old Laura Schaub died, the victim of heat stroke. She had been overcome by heat while playing outside at her home on Sandusky Street on Monday, July 28, 1919. Dr. H. C. Schoepfle was called. Little Laura seemed to rally for a time, but later had a relapse. She died Wednesday afternoon, July 30, 1919. Laura was survived by her parents and her four sisters. She was buried in Oakland Cemetery, after Rev. Theodore Stellhorn held her funeral services at the Schaub residence.

Several Valentines which had been given to Laura Schaub were donated to The Follett House Museum by Laura’s sister, Mrs. William Redding.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Underground Railroad in Sandusky

On Sunday, November 11, 2007, the “Path to Freedom” sculpture created by Susan Schultz was dedicated at Facer Park in Sandusky. The “Path to Freedom” features a life-sized representation of an African American man, his wife and child. Eight hundred feet of chain was used in the creation of the sculpture. Support for the project came from the Rotary Club, Lange Trust, and other community organizations. Ms. Schultz will speak about the sculpture in a presentation at the Sandusky Library on Saturday, February 21, at 2PM.
The November 12, 2007 Sandusky Register reported on the sculpture’s dedication. John Bacon quoted Frederick Douglass during the ceremony: “This contest has now ended. My chains are broken, and the victory brings me unspeakable joy.”

Sandusky residents played an integral role in aiding fleeing slaves reach freedom in Canada. Hewson Peeke in his 1916 History of Erie County wrote that the first runaway slave to reach Sandusky was in 1820. Captain Shepherd, with the help of an African American hostler known as “John,” took the fugitive across Lake Erie to Malden in his small sailboat.
Rush R. Sloane wrote in “The Underground Railroad of the Firelands,” from the July 1888 Firelands Pioneer, that before the year 1837 “the fugitives who escaped through Sandusky were conducted and aided almost wholly by black men.” Sloane lists the names of several Sandusky men involved in this endeavor: John Jackson, Grant Ritchie, Isaac Brown, John Hampton, William Wilson, Thomas Butler, Samuel Carr, George Robertson , Samuel Floyd, John and Alfred Winfield, John R. Loot (sometimes spelled Lott), Robert Holmes, Bazel Brown, Andy Robinson, Peter Anderson, Black Jack, William Butler, John Hamilton, Andrew Hamilton and Benjamin Johnson. Sandusky’s Second Baptist Church was an active station on the Underground Railroad. Fugitive slaves were fed and housed at the church while waiting for their passage to Canada. Rev. Thomas Holland Boston, former pastor of the St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Sandusky also aided many fleeing slaves, including Joe Daniel who hid at the home of Rev. Boston before he finally made his way to Canada safely. George J. Reynolds was a local carriage maker who was known to be a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Key officials, businessmen, and lawyers in Sandusky and Erie County enabled the work of the Underground Railway. Judge Jabez Wright and his son Winthrop hid fugitives in their cellar. United States Congressman Joseph M. Root was a radical abolitionist. Sandusky lawyers Rush Sloane and F. D. Parish both faced prosecution for their aid to runaway slaves. Sloane was forced to pay $6000 in damages and costs under the Fugitive Slave Law, while F. D. Parish was fined $1250 by the Circuit Court of the U.S. in 1849 after he sheltered two slaves from Kentucky.

Mr. Sloane wrote that among the “early and earnest friends of the line” were: John Beatty, F. D. Parish, Samuel Walker, R. J. Jennings, Clifton Hadley, J. N. Davidson, Isaac Darling and John Thorpe. Since 1848 the following men also assisted in the work of the Underground Railroad: John Irvine, Thomas Drake, William H. Clark, Sr., William H. Clark, Jr., L.H. Lewis, Otis L. Peck, John G. Pool, S. E. Hitchcock, Homer Goodwin, Thomas C. McGee, George Barney, Herman Ruess, C. C. Keech, Samuel Irvine, O. C. McLouth, J. M. Root, and H. C. Williams. Of course, countless other men and women, from both Huron and Erie Counties, also assisted fleeing slaves reach safety. Farmers would often provide shelter in their barns, while their wives would provide food and clothing.

You can obtain a free brochure about the Underground Railroad in Erie County at the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center at 4424 Milan Road. Another excellent resource located at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library is William Steuk’s The Underground Railroad in Sandusky, Ohio.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Calvin Caswell, Erie County Commissioner

Having settled in Margaretta Township in 1838, Calvin Caswell was one of the largest wheat producers in Erie County. Mr. Caswell was an Erie County Commissioner from 1863 to 1868. He served as president of the Erie County Agricultural Society for a number of years. Caswell was also a member of the Margaretta Grange, and had served as a fifer for the Bay City Guards. An engraving of Mr. Caswell’s farm from the 1874 Erie County Atlas is pictured below. Calvin Caswell was married twice, first to Louisa Ellison, and then to Serena Jackson Caswell. (After Calvin’s first wife died, he married his brother Daniel’s wife, who had become a widow in 1855.)

On February 7, 1879, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Caswell hosted a dinner for the members of the Erie County Agricultural Society. A napkin, which was a gift to the Follett House Museum, reads: “Welcome All, Grand Circuit of Feasting and Not Fasting.”
Calvin Caswell died in May of 1907. The Sandusky Register featured a lengthy obituary, which stated in part: “In the presence of hundreds of kindred and friends, farmers and citizens from the varied walks of business and professional life, the funeral of the late Calvin Caswell was held at the family home in Margaretta Saturday afternoon. The body of the deceased reposed in a magnificent casket of the McKinley pattern, surrounded by the rarest of flowers, and rising back and above a large floral crown, a Gates Ajar several feet in height, while at the head rested a pillow of carnations.” Calvin Caswell was buried in the family plot at Castalia Cemetery. A large sculpture was erected by Mr. Caswell several years before his death. A biographical sketch of Calvin Caswell is found in Patty Pascoe’s book, Elected to Serve Erie County, Ohio, available at Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

1895 Plan to Rob Milan Bank was Hatched at Sandusky

On Sunday, February 3, 1895, Louis Stoughton hired a team of horses and a surrey from the Herb & Hocke Livery in Sandusky, Ohio. Charles Hocke did not think it unusual for Mr. Stoughton to make this request, as he was a well known customer.
August Reuter, proprietor of Reuter’s Hotel, had seen Louis Stoughton and four other men at his establishment during the first weekend of February in 1895. Mr. Stoughton and the others had been playing cards and drinking at the barroom. Reuter noticed that the men were seen going in and out of the hotel frequently.
According to the Ohio Democrat, about 4 a.m. on February 4, a terrific explosion was heard at the Lockwood Bank in Milan, Ohio. The safe had been cracked and about $30,000 was taken by five masked men. (Later reports indicated the sum was $18,000.) An alarm was heard all over the village of Milan. L.L. Stoddard, a cashier at the bank, saw five men leave the bank building. He fired several shots at them, but they got away.

On February 5, a telegram from Sandusky stated that two Sandusky residents, Edward (also known as Louis) Stoughton and Sol Hirshberger (sometimes spelled Hershberg) had been arrested. A preliminary hearing was held in Mayor Buerkle’s court room in Sandusky on Thursday, February 7. Attorneys Mills and Starbird represented the two in question. Louis Stoughton and Solly Hershberg maintained their innocence. Charles Cramer said that four suspicious looking individuals were acting nervously at his restaurant on Water Street on Sunday night. After the robbery, Mr. Dougherty, an agent with the Nickel Plate Railroad found three empty canvas money bags. It was assumed that the robbers divided the money before three of the robbers got away. There were twenty witnesses involved in the hearing which was well covered by the Sandusky Register.

Louis Stoughton was found guilty on circumstantial evidence, and was sentenced to the penitentiary for one year. After serving a few months, Stoughton was released on parole. At the time of the 1895 trial, it was determined that Stoughton had secured the rig, and drove the robbers to Milan. Sol Hershberg was held as an accessory to the robbery.

Mayor Philip Buerkle’s court was the scene of the hearing for Louis Stoughton and Sol Hershberg in 1895. On February 16, 1911, a front page article in the Sandusky Register, reported the death of Louis N. Stoughton. He died in a sanitarium at Massillon, Ohio on February 14, 1911, after having been in ill health for some time. While in Sandusky, Stoughton was considered “a very clever and bright man. He was a friend of the fellow who was down and out.” Stoughton often remarked that if he had the money that he had given to friends in Sandusky who “happened to be broke for a day or two,” he could have lived in ease for the rest of his life. The article continued that in Sandusky Stoughton was known as “Kid” Stoughton, the “king of them all.”

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Reverend Thomas Holland Boston

Thomas Holland Boston was born to free black parents in Maryland in 1809. He moved to Sandusky in 1839, with his new bride Amelia Butler Boston. At first the couple lived with Amelia’s brothers William and Thomas Butler in Perkins Township. Rev. Boston was ordained by the Wesleyan Methodist Convocation at Troy, Ohio in 1843.

From 1873 to 1876, Rev. Thomas Holland Boston was the minister of the St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Sandusky. Rush Sloane wrote in the July 1888 Firelands Pioneer that “Mr. Boston has always been a devoted friend of the slave and his kindly services were always at their disposal. His house was constantly open to them and when he had no more room he was certain to find for them a friend in need where they could be taken care of. Ever since his first coming to Ohio he has been known as a reliable friend of the fugitive and a history of his many undertakings in their behalf would prove most entertaining were the facts at hand.”

Following his first wife’s death in 1865, Rev. Boston married Susan Bobo. They had three children, two who survived to adulthood, Georgiana and Sarah. Rev. Boston’s salary as a pastor was very low, so he also worked in various jobs in the area. He was said to have been very industrious in his labor. Rev. Boston officiated at marriages and funerals, and often ministered to the sick. When the congregation could not afford to pay him, he preached without pay.

Rev. Thomas Holland Boston died in 1892. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in block 13, with both his first and second wives and two of his daughters. Mr. Sloane concludes his article in the Firelands Pioneer with the statement that Rev. Boston was a kind-hearted man who had the respect of the entire community. Sloane continues “For him I have ever had a high regard, and with him had an acquaintance and friendship for many years.

To learn more about the history St. Stephen A.M.E. church, as well as several other area churches, consult the Church Collection of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. A Finding Aid will indicate specific items regarding each church in the collection.