Monday, March 30, 2009

Karl L. Ritter, also known as Ryder Keane

Karl Lewis Ritter was born in May, 1890 (some sources say 1891) to Henry and Magdalene Ritter. He graduated from Sandusky High School in 1909 and from Kenyon College in 1914. An article in the Centennial Edition of the Sandusky Register, December 31, 1922 reported that at that time Karl Ritter had been acting for five years on Broadway. Karl’s stage name was Ryder Keane. The three big hits which the Register article discussed were all mystery plays. “The Thirteenth Chair” ran for more than a year in New York. In Chicago, Ryder Keane appeared in the Rinehart-Hopwood thriller “The Bat.” In September 1921 Ryder Keane portrayed Charles Wilder in the Broadway play “The Cat and the Canary” which opened at New York’s National Theater.

By 1920 Ryder Keane was married to the actress Ilka Marie Diehl, a native of Cleveland. On her passport application, available at Ancestry Library Edition, Ilka stated that she was an actress on her way to Australia to perform in the play “Tiger Rose.” Portraits of Ryder Keane and Ilka Marie Diehl appear in the Billy Rose Theatre Collection of New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. Nine plays in which Ryder Keane had a role are listed in the Internet Broadway Database.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Program Announcement: The WPA Historical Records Survey, The Roots of Genealogy in Northeast Ohio

Join us on Wednesday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room. In commemoration of the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference (being held this year in Erie County April 2-4), Archives Librarian Ron Davidson will talk about the Historical Records Survey, a Great Depression-era project of the WPA, which helped to record and organize government records and historical documents throughout the U.S. Discover how the roots of this project are traced to nearby Cleveland, and learn more about the results of the project and its effects for today's researchers. Registration is requested. To register, call the Library at 419-625-3834.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Women at Work -- Matthews Engineering

Several employees of the Matthews Engineering Company, at King and Monroe Streets, are seen here in 1923. Manual typewriters are on the desks, and heat was provided by radiators along the wall. The Matthews Engineering Company manufactured lighting and power plants from about 1916 through 1926.

According to the June 1920 Sandusky High School Fram, a searchlight made by the Matthews Engineering Company provided protection for the palace grounds of the King of Siam.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women in Sandusky

(March is Women's History Month.)

From Mrs. T. D. West at the spinning wheel…. to Mrs. Emma Frank on a Sandusky golf course in 1931…
to Mary Eloise Evans, the first female deputy sheriff in Erie County…
visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to find photographs, obituaries, city directories, yearbooks, and many other sources of historical information regarding the women (and men) of Sandusky.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Woman's Endeavor

(March is Women's History Month.)

A gift from Charles E. Frohman, the newspaper entitled The Woman’s Endeavor was published on Saturday, March 21, 1908, selling for ten cents. The proceeds from the sale of The Woman’s Endeavor were designated to be used for the equipping and maintaining of a Women’s Rest Room and its associated activities.
Featured in the newspaper were articles about pioneers of Sandusky, the Underground Railroad, and histories of several area organizations, including the first Children’s Home, the Erie County Humane Society, and the first ladies literary society. Poems and jokes, as well as articles about fashion, cooking, and household hints, were also included.

Several local business owners purchased advertisements in The Woman’s Endeavor. Besides the many male doctors, dentists, and other businessmen who purchased ads, there were two advertisements placed by women business owners. Jessie Meenan ran a millinery shop in the Sloane block of Washington Row, and Marie Bruckner had a corset shop at 204 Columbus Avenue.

Three members of the editorial staff of The Woman’s Endeavor, Mrs. J. F. Hertlein, Mrs. J. T. Mack, and Mrs. T. M. Sloane, went on to serve on the first female jury in Erie County in 1920. Two female physicians were associated with this newspaper: Dr. Emily Blakeslee had an advertisement, and Dr. Carrie Chase Davis wrote a feature article in this publication.

Many women of Sandusky were active in the Women’s Suffrage movement. In 1903, a state suffrage convention was held in Sandusky. Marie C. Brehm, born in Sandusky in 1859, was a suffragette, and also the first legally qualified female candidate to run for the vice-presidency of the United States. She ran on the Prohibition ticket in 1924, with Herman P. Faris.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letters to George Anderson

Dr. George Anderson was Sandusky’s first physician and its second mayor, serving in the years 1829 and 1830. Dr. Anderson was active in the medical field as well as in local politics. He was active in the development of the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company, as well as in the creation of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. Dr. Marjorie Anderson, the great-granddaughter of Dr. George Anderson, donated several of Dr. Anderson’s letters, legal and educational documents to the Sandusky Library in 1937.

Senator Benjamin Ruggles wrote the following letter to Dr. George Anderson on February 9, 1827.

Washington Feb. 9, 1827

Dear Sir

Your letter dated January the 21st enclosing a petition praying that congress would grant a portion of the public lands to aid in making a turnpike road from Columbus to the city of Sandusky, has been read. The petition will be presented and laid before the Senate.

Some weeks since a bill was reported in the Senate agreeable to the prayer of a petition, which was forewarded last winter and signed by all the members of the Legislature. Gen. Harrison and myself will make use of every exertion to have the object of your wishes accomplished.

Very respectfully
Your obt. Sevt.
Benj. Ruggles

Benjamin Ruggles was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1815; was re-elected in 1821, and again in 1827. He was known as the “Wheel Horse of the Senate,” due to his deep work ethic.

Dr. Anderson received the following letter from Eleutheros Cooke, while Cooke was a member of Congress, on March 15, 1832. Eleutheros Cooke, father of Jay Cooke, was Sandusky’s first lawyer. House Rep. March 15, 1832

Dear Sir

I shall apply as soon as I can get an audience with our excellent friend Gov. Cass for a detachment of the U.S. Engineer corp. to make a survey and estimate on our Railroad. The increased hostility prevailing at head quarters on the subject of internal improvement is rather discouraging. Yet I not abandon the hope that Cass will act independently of this spirit and treat our road as a measure of national importance in a commercial military a& mail transportation point of view – I will give you the earliest information of the result of my application.

In great haste
very respectfully
your friend
E. Cooke

Both of Dr. Anderson’s transportation goals for Sandusky did become successful. A brief history of the Sandusky and Columbus Turnpike is found in an earlier blog post. Ground was broken for the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad on September 17, 1835. Through Dr. Anderson’s letters, we can get a glimpse into Sandusky’s past. Dr. Anderson died in 1834, after treating patients in a cholera epidemic. He is buried at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ogontz Garage

George M. Muehlhauser was the proprietor of the Ogontz Garage located at the corner of Decatur and Market Street from 1919 until 1951. Hewson Peeke wrote in his 1916 edition of A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio that though George M. Muehlhauser was only a little past the age of thirty-five, he had been more or less closely associated with business concerns in Sandusky for twenty years. Mr. Peeke considered Mr. Muehlhauser to be one of the hardest working and successful businessman in Sandusky.

Born in Sandusky on March 10, 1879, to C. A. and Elizabeth (Fettel) Muehlhauser, George M. Muehlhauser was the older of the two Muehlhauser children. George married Susan Eckler in 1900. They had four children: August, Mildred, George, Jr., and Wesley. George Muehlhauser had several jobs before opening the Ogontz Garage. He worked in his father’s furniture business, and had held positions with the Sandusky Automobile Company and the Dunbar Manufacturing Company.
In 1916, the Ogontz Garage was the local agency for Cadillac and REO cars. By the 1920’s the garage focused on REO and Packard vehicles. An advertisement (shown above) in the September 24, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal featured the REO Speed Wagon, a vehicle which was said to have “revolutionized transportation.” The REO Speed Wagon was a pneumatic tired truck which was used for hauling and making deliveries. It boasted “great power, endurance, and low upkeep.” Of course, the REO Speed Wagon was the basis for the name for the band of the same name. During the 1913 Perry’s Victory Centennial, the Ogontz Garage advertized in the souvenir program. Proprietor George M. Muehlhauser stated that his fireproof garage was “fully equipped for any and all repairs” for the tourists visiting Sandusky and the Lake Erie Islands for the Perry’s Victory Celebration.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Program Announcement: Depression-Era Dining (Brown-Bag Lunch Series)

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room (Terrace Level) on Wednesday, March 18, at 12:00 noon, for the topic, "Depression Era Dining." Hardships during the Great Depression dictated changes in every way of life, including diet. Housewives worked hard to create nutritious and filling meals for their families on very tight budgets. Cooks gathered recipes from the newspaper, from magazines, and from the latest in technology - the radio. Kitchens became smaller and more efficient. We'll take a look at some of the cookbooks of the era, and at some of the notable food authors and household names who got their start during the 1930s. We'll also look back at some of the popular recipes of the day. To register, call the Library at 419-625-3834.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charles J. Stark, Newspaper Man

Charles J. Stark was born in Wooster, Ohio in 1882. He was a graduate of Ohio State University, and served as President of Penton Publishing Co. in Cleveland for many years. About 1911, Charles J. Stark married Penelope Mack, daughter of Sandusky newspaper publisher, John T. Mack. Charles J. Stark came to the Sandusky Register in 1942, serving as Vice President. Later he was General Manager, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sandusky Newspapers until his retirement in 1965.

In the 1960’s, Charles J. Stark was President of The Robert A. Taft Memorial Association of Erie County. The purpose of this non-profit organization was to “perpetuate the ideals” of the late Senator, Robert Alphonse Taft. The group had annual dinners, and donated books on constitutional government to local school libraries. During some years, honor students from the various public and parochial schools in Erie County were invited to attend the annual dinner. By the end of the 1970’s, The Robert A. Taft Memorial Association was dissolved. Charles J. Stark died on December 17, 1978. He and his wife, Penelope Mack Stark, who died in 1974, are both buried in Knollwood Cemetery, Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

John T. Mack, father-in-law of Charles J. Stark, began his association with the Sandusky Register, first working with his brother I. F. Mack.
In 1874, John T. Mack bought an interest in the paper, and he became the business manager of the Sandusky Register. In 1909, I. F. Mack withdrew his connection with the Register, and John T. Mack became publisher and editor of the Sandusky Register. Son Egbert H. Mack was secretary and business manger, while another son, John D. Mack served as treasurer. John T. Mack remained at the helm of the Sandusky Register until his death on July 8, 1914.

To learn more about the Mack family and its longtime connection with the Sandusky Register, see Sandusky's Editor, by Charles E. Frohman, which focuses on I. F. Mack. This book is available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mrs. G. Hunter Brown

Mrs. G. Hunter Brown, nee Cornelia Moss, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jay O. Moss. Mrs. Moss is known for her success in securing the sum of $50,000 from Andrew Carnegie for the purpose of the building of a public library building in Sandusky in 1900.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Jay O. Moss lived for many years at 414 Wayne Street in Sandusky. The home was built in 1872, when Cornelia and her brother Augustus (known as “Gus”) were small children. A photograph of the J. O. Moss house is found on page 10 of Helen Hansen’s book AT HOME IN EARLY SANDUSKY.

In 1890, Cornelia Moss was married to George Hunter Brown. In 1900, the Brown family was living in Fishkill County New York, with infant Ursula. Mr. Brown’s occupation was listed in the U.S. Census as Vice President of a railroad. The family had a total of four servants living with them. By 1920 Mr. and Mrs. G. Hunter Brown were living in Manhattan, where at that time Mr. Brown was a wholesaler of sugar.

On December 31, 1909 the New York Times carried an article in the Society section of the paper when Mrs. George Hunter Brown gave a large dance at Sherry’s in honor of her daughter Miss Ursula Brown. Over 400 guests were received at the dance. The article gives details about the dresses of Mrs. Brown and her daughter. Mrs. Brown wore a gown of delft blue satin, while Ursula wore a white moirĂ© dress with blue chiffon and glad and silver lace. Three orchestras played at the dance, which occupied two ballrooms at Sherry’s.

Though Mr. and Mrs. G. Hunter Brown lived most of their adult life in New York, they are both buried in the family plot of Oakland Cemetery, near the graves of Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Moss. Mrs. Brown died at the age of 84 in March, 1950. Mr. Brown died on January 1, 1963, in his 96th year.

The photograph of Mrs. G. Hunter Brown was scanned from a glass plate negative. Three boxes glass plates were generously donated to the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

John Brown, Jr., of Put-in-Bay

Born in Hudson, Ohio in 1821, John Brown, Jr. was the oldest child of abolitionist John Brown and his first wife Diantha Lusk. During the Civil War, John Brown, Jr. served as Captain of Co. K of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry. In 1862 John Brown Jr. moved to Put-in-Bay, where he lived for the rest of his life, a well respected citizen. The 1880 Census lists John Brown, Jr. as a grape grower, living in Put-in-Bay with his wife Wealthy and children John and Edith. Edith would later marry Thomas B. Alexander, an actor and Mayor of Put-in-Bay for many years.

John Brown, Jr. died on May 2, 1895. Funeral services were held under the auspices of Science Lodge, F. and A.M. Masonic ritual was adhered to throughout the entire service. Judge E. M. Colver gave the eulogy. Judge Colver paid a glowing tribute to Mr. Brown, stating that John Brown, Jr.’s “name was connected with the greatest pages of America’s history.” The judge continued, “He was a disciple of truth and his life exemplified that great truism, ‘an honest man is the noblest work of God’ ”

Sanduskian James M. French paid tribute to John Brown, Jr. on behalf of the people of color of Ohio. He spoke of the sacrificial spirit of the Brown family. “The lesson to be carried away is that we should have a renewed inspiration for progress and advancement in our civil and educational lives, to show our appreciation for what was done in our behalf.”

Active pall bearers were appointed from the G.A.R. and the local Masonic lodges: H.G. Schumacher, T. F. Spencer, A. A. Magill, S. C. Wheeler, C. F. Steen, and S.R. Irvine. Honorary pall bearers were: Capt. John Stone, J. J. Stranahan, Jackson Jones, Home Ennis, Capt. George Brown, and D. P. Vroman

Lydia J. Ryall included a sketch of the life of John Brown, Jr. in her 1913 book Sketches and Stories of the Lake Erie Islands, available in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. An earlier edition of Ms. Ryall’s book, under the pen name Theresa Thorndale is found at Google Books. The papers of John Brown, Jr., including many letters, are found at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. The Genealogical Project of the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society features a page on its website dedicated to the Brown Family.