Tuesday, July 28, 2009

History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton

In 1910, Harriet Taylor Upton, along with H. G. Cutler and the collaboration of “a staff of leading citizens,” wrote a three volume set of books entitled History of the Western Reserve. It was published by the Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago and New York. In the introduction Mrs. Upton stated: “In writing this homely history of a vigorous, prosperous people, the author has purposely kept away from usual lines. The reader will find little geology, topography, or zoology; little of that which is military or political, but instead, the home life of the pioneers and the domestic conditions of today are treated in great fullness.” Mrs. Upton felt that women should be represented in her book, because “women, as well as men, laid the foundation of Western Reserve and helped build its walls….” She spent two years researching and writing the book, which is available in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, and is also found full text on Google Books. An Every-Name Index to the History of the Western Reserve, a project of the Lake County Genealogical Society, provides ease in searching the three volume set.

In Volume 1, Mrs. Upton wrote about the pioneers and surveyors of the Western Reserve, as well as roadways, mail routes, religious organizations, the press, cemeteries, and schools of the region. Also included in Volume 1 is a chapter devoted to each of the twelve counties of the Western Reserve, including: Trumbull County, Lorain County, Lake County, Geauga County, Summit County, Medina County, Erie County, Huron County, Cuyahoga County, Ashtabula County, Mahoning County, and Portage County.

In Volumes 2 and 3 are biographical sketches about hundreds of residents of the twelve counties of the Western Reserve. Many biographies also include photographs. Volume 3 of History of the Western Reserve features a biographical sketch and photograph of Erie County residents J. J. Dauch and Carrie Chase Davis. See the Every-Name Index to check for other names.

According to Ohio Authors and Their Books, Harriet Taylor Upton was born about 1861. She was the wife of a Warren lawyer, George M. Upton. Mrs. Upton was president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association for eighteen years, between 1899 and 1920. She was appointed vice-chairperson of the Republican National Executive Committee under President Harding. Besides knowing President Harding, Harriet Taylor Upton also personally knew President Hayes, President Garfield, President McKinley and President Hoover. Harriet Taylor Upton was named to the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1981. Harriet’s home for sixty years, the Upton House in Warren, Ohio is continuing to undergo restoration, and achieved National Historic Landmark status in 1993.

Mrs. Alice Kelley Hertlein wrote about Mrs. Upton’s encouragement in the Erie County women’s activities in the Women’s Suffrage movement. Mrs. Hertlein’s article appears in the January 1921 issue of the Firelands Pioneer. An earlier blog post recalls the first female jury in Erie County, on which Alice Hertlein served.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

City Officials' Picnic on Johnson's Island, 1910

In 1910, representatives from several different Sandusky city departments had a picnic at Johnson’s Island.

Seated in the boat are: Mr. Hornig, Mr. Gremelsbacher, Mayor George Lehrer, chief of police, C. A. Weingates; Lee Mears (with banjo), unidentified, Health Inspector, Jacob Bickel, and Water Works employee Frank Schoefflin.

Standing are: Fred Thompson, Patrick Regan, Jack Weltlin, City Engineer Smith, John Bing, unidentified, unidentified Dan Loveland, Health officer Dr. Reader, City Treasurer, Al Wiesler, unidentified, City Auditor Joseph Loth, Water Works Superintendent Nathaniel Cronenmet, and City Solicitor, George Steinemann.

Standing in last row are: George J. Lehrer, Lawrence Holtz, Park Superintendent Jacob Roth, unidentified, Hayes Loth, and Charles Gremelsbacher.

An article by Karl Kurtz from the October 28, 1978 Sandusky Register also features this photograph from the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Semiannual Encampment of the Ohio G.A.R., 1869

Several Sandusky residents, along with two hundred fifty delegates to the Semi-Annual Encampment of the Ohio Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) took a trip to Put-In-Bay on July 22, 1869. The steamers “Evening Star” and “Reindeer” transported the excursionists, commanded by Captains Kirby and Orr. The Sandusky Register of July 23, 1869 reported: “It was noticeable that the entire party, fully one-third of which was ladies, were in the best of spirits. The occasion was a joyous one, and the weather was as perfect as could be desired. The citizens present vied with each other to make the occasion a memorable one in the annals of the Grand Army of Ohio…”

During the Ohio Encampment, several speakers were heard. Gen. J. Warren Keifer made an address in Sandusky on July 21st, which was published in the July 22, 1869 Sandusky Register.
When Gov. R. B. Hayes spoke, “he assured the audience that the speakers present had been warned not to occupy more than five minutes.” An important topic of the encampment was the necessity of establishing a children’s home for the orphans of veterans.

The McMeens Post of the G.A.R. was the topic of a previous blog entry. Post 19 was named in honor of Dr. Robert McMeens, a Civil War Physician. Larry Stevens, in his Ohio in the Civil War web page, lists these Erie County posts of the G.A.R.:

McMeens Post 19 --- Sandusky
Arthur Cranston Post 73 --- Milan
Gen. M.F. Force Post 142 --- Ohio Soldiers' & Sailors' Home
Geo. E. Fowler Post 153 --- Berlin Heights
Thomas Neill Post 423 --- Castalia
H.G. Delker Post 428 --- Vermillion
Sam Edwards Post (611) --- Sand Hill
Moses Martin Post 649 --- Huron
J.T. Toland Post (695) --- Sandusky - Ohio Soldiers Home

While not all details are known about these Erie County Posts of the G.A.R., some details have been gleaned from historical newspaper articles. The General Manning Force Post 142, at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home was named for General Manning F. Force, an officer in the Civil War, who was Commandant of the Ohio Soldiers Home from 1888 until his death in 1899.
The J. T. Toland Post 695, also located at the Ohio Soldiers Home, was named for Colonel John T. Toland, of the 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who was killed at Wytheville, Virginia on July 18, 1863. The George Fowler Post 153 was most likely named for a corporal in Company G of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Arthur Cranston, namesake of Milan Post 73, began service as a private during the Civil War, later appointed a cadet at West Point. and was a lieutenant when he was killed in the Modoc War in 1872. The H. G. Delker Post 428 was named for prominent Vermilion business man Henry G. Delker. The Sam Edwards Post 611 at Sand Hill, Moses Martin Post 649 at Huron, and the Thomas Neill Post 423 the Thomas Neill Post were all named for Civil War Veterans who lost their lives during wartime service. Thomas Neill, Jr. and his brother Foster Neill, both in Co. G of the Ohio 123rd Infantry, were imprisoned at Andersonville, Georgia, during the Civil War. Foster Neill was part of a prisoner exchange, and he was returned North during the war, but his brother, Thomas Neill Jr., died while he was being held prisoner at Andersonville.

While these Erie County Posts of the G.A.R. are no longer active, the Thomas Neill Woman’s Relief Corps, No. 275 is still active in Castalia, Ohio. The members of the group provide an annual scholarship to a graduating senior at Margaretta High School, and members place flags on the graves of area veterans prior to Memorial Day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

P.T. Barnum's "Greatest Show on Earth" Visits Sandusky

P. T. Barnum was one of America’s most well known showmen and entrepreneurs. He is probably best known for his association with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In 1881, he merged his show with competitor James Bailey, to form the Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, which would later become the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
On Friday, July 19, 1878, P. T. Barnum’s “Greatest Show on Earth” visited Sandusky, following a show in Cleveland, Ohio. The Sandusky Register carried a lengthy article on July 20, 1878, which gave details about the event. Railroads brought carloads of people to Sandusky, as did steamboats. The steamship Hayes brought two hundred sixty visitors to Sandusky to see Barnum’s exhibit. The reporter wrote, “There is a magnetic power about the name of Barnum that draws like a gigantic mustard plaster. The simple announcement that his show is coming creates a fever of excitement among the juveniles and stirs up the more sluggish blood of grown persons, for all realize that when Barnum comes they will have an opportunity of witnessing a more imposing street parade, viewing the animal wonders of a more extensive menagerie, and attending a grander arenic display than any other manager can afford delight his patrons with..”

Fred Lawrence, press agent for P. T. Barnum, gave a representative of the Sandusky Register a tour of the stables, museum, and pavilions before the opening of the show. The stables held not only the performing stallions, but also large animals used to transfer the tents, baggage, and chariots between the railroad station and the show grounds. Four hundred persons had their meals in the large canvas dining hall, though The West House did serve one hundred members of the Barnum troops on July 19. The first exhibition tent was the Museum, which contained automatic figures, sea monsters, and preserved snakes and birds. The next tent featured a wide selection of animals, a group larger than any other traveling show in the country.

Captain Costentenus” was a major attraction in the 1878 “Greatest Show on Earth.” He was a person of Greek heritage who was tattooed from head to foot, as a punishment when he was imprisoned by the Chinese Tartary. Another person who traveled with the Barnum show as an exhibit was Col. Goshen, a giant who stood eight feet tall in his stocking feet. The last tent was the “ring,” where daring equestrian feats were performed by a fearless riders and trained stallions. An estimated twelve thousand people attended the Barnum shows the afternoon and evening of July 19, 1878. The Register reporter stated that “the horses seem almost endowed with human intelligence.” The writer concluded with the statement that all who witnessed the performances felt that Mr. Barnum “can justly lay claim to having the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’”

Next to the Register’s feature article about Barnum’s circus was a small article about two pickpockets from Cleveland, named “Papes” and “Mollie Matches.” They followed the Barnum show to Sandusky, but after being alerted by authorities in Cleveland, Marshal Berrigan ordered the two would-be thieves out of town.

The core exhibit of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut features the life of P. T. Barnum. Visit the museum’s website to learn more about P.T. Barnum and his many accomplishments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mystery Photos (Back by Popular Demand)

It's been a long time since we posted a "mystery photo" (still looking for good ones). This one comes with an extra question:Where was this photo taken? What is the significance of this scene?

You can post your answers in the comments. If no one guesses, we'll post the correct answer in a few days.

Update: Here is a related photo that might give you a little hint (or it might not).

Update II: One More Hint. (The first two were a little too obscure, weren't they?) . . .

Answer: These scenes show what it looked like before and during the construction of the Cedar Point Causeway in 1956. The first image shows the view from First Street looking into the clearing being cut in the woods for the road. The second image is at Venetian Drive and First Street, with the bay in the background. The third image shows the roadway being built, circa April 1956. (The Library owns a set of more than 200 photographs showing various stages of the construction of the causeway.)This image showed how it looked in 1953, before construction began. Prior to the completion of the causeway, the only access to Cedar Point was via the chaussee or by boat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Program Announcement: A History of Combat Medicine

Join us in the Library Program Room on Thursday, July 23, at 7:00 p.m. when Dr. James Banks, Director of the Crile Archives in Cleveland, will survey the development of combat medicine from WWI to the present, tracing the history of General George Washington Crile’s service in WW I and some of his research on shell shock and related injuries. Out of that experience he and three others established the Cleveland Clinic in 1921. Dr. Banks will then look at the impact of WW II, particularly psychological wounds and include clips from Let There Be Light a documentary based on several hundred WW II patients at Mason General Hospital. Then onto Vietnam and PTSD, and related issues of “Invisible Wounds of War” based on a recent one day symposium of the same name.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Sandusky of To-Day" (when "To-Day" was in 1888)

One of the more fascinating and informative items in the Sandusky Library's collections is the publication, Sandusky of To-Day, published by I.F. Mack & Bro. in 1888. It was designed as a promotional document to encourage people and businesses to settle in Sandusky, but for us today (no hyphen anymore) it is an invaluable historical document that gives an interesting snapshot of local business and commerce during that era. Its full title is Sandusky of To-Day (Historically Reviewed) Its Facilities and Inducements for the Investment of Capital, Comprising Sketches of Its Extensive Fisheries, Its Lumber Interests and Complete Railroad Connections, While Affording All the Advantages of a Lovely Lakeside Residence.

As you can tell from this subtitle, a significant portion of the volume describes local businesses, and gives us a good picture of the dominant industries of the time -- an entire chapter on "our fish interests," for example.

As you can see on the image of page 29, Sandusky was said to be the largest fresh water fish market in the world at that time. It was estimated that 1000-1500 men were employed in the profession, and that 500-600 tons of fish or more per day were harvested.
Other industries and businesses received attention in the book -- "our lumber interests," ice companies, wineries, breweries, tool factories, and many others.

And not surprisingly, much was written about the "Cedar Point Pleasure Resort," "the Coney Island of the West."

Unfortunately, due to its condition, access to the original book is restricted, but for those with a research need, the original document may be used under strict conditions in the Archives Research Center. A digital copy is also available; ask a reference librarian for more information.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Fox Sisters Orchestra

For the first twenty years of the twentieth century, the Fox Sisters Orchestra provided musical entertainment for Sandusky area events. Pictured are:
Back row: Renata Fox Rheinhardt, Thelca Fox Herbert, Mrs. H. G. Fox, Marcella Fox Mayer
Front row: Coletta Fox, Sylvani Fox Erney and Olivia Fox

Mrs. Helen Bonn Fox was born in Trippstadt, Germany and came to the U.S. when she was four years old. Her husband Henry G. Fox was a dry goods merchant in Sandusky. The couple had a very large family, but Renata, Thelca, Marcella, Coletta, Sylvani, and Olivia were the family members most involved in music. The Fox Sisters Orchestra played at church and hospital charity events, high school commencements, and provided entertainment when Sarah Bernhardt was the featured actress in the 1912 motion picture “Queen Elizabeth.” During the Spring of 1904, the Fox Sisters gave free concerts at Sandusky’s Big Store.

According to her 1943 obituary, which is found in the 1943 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library, Mrs. Helen Bonn Fox taught music for seventy five years. Two of her daughters became nuns. Olivia Fox was Sister Renata, and Angela Fox was Sister Norberta, both with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Miss Coletta Fox, who died on February 10, 1971, taught violin and piano in Sandusky for seventy years. Coletta had also been a member of the Ackley Orchestra.

The Fox Sisters provided local musical entertainment in an era before television, and when radio was in its infancy. They are mentioned in the book The Guitar in America: Victorian Era to Jazz Age, by Jeffrey Noonan. This title is available to borrow through any ClevNet library.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Program Announcement: Through the Lens of Ernst Niebergall (Brown-bag Lunch Series)

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room as we explore topics in local history. Our next session will be held on Wednesday, July 15, at 12:00 p.m. For more than four decades, local photographer Ernst Neibergall captured daily life in Sandusky and surrounding areas with his fourteen cameras. Niebergall, a German immigrant, carefully composed the photographic gems that today tell the story of the Sandusky of a bygone era. Gil Gonzalez of the Hayes Presidential Center will share with us a selection of Niebergall's work from the Charles E. Frohman Collection at the Hayes Center. 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, July 08, 2009

Laura Cooke Barker

Laura Elizabeth Cooke was the daughter of Pitt Cooke and Mary Townsend Cooke. (Pitt Cooke was the brother of Jay Cooke, the Civil War financier.) Laura is pictured above in her wedding dress on December 8, 1886. Laura’s groom, Franklin S. Barker, was a photographer in business with Mr. W. A. Bishop at the time of his wedding. Later Frank worked as an accountant in Sandusky.

Laura Cooke Barker wrote several books . Her first book was entitled A Strange Experiment, published in 1897 by the Philosopher Press of Wisconsin.

Laura’s book of poems, Mezzotints, was also published by the Philosopher Press. The Sandusky Register reported in its April 29, 1900 issue that Laura’s poems were “especially interesting from a psychological standpoint, showing how the mind of the woman of strict orthodox training refines and interprets human desires.” Society Silhouettes, a collection of short stories, was published in Cleveland, Ohio in 1898.

Two of Laura’s later books were published by the Roycrofters, a small handicraft community with a publishing company in East Aurora, New York. Looking Upward was a collection of inspirational verse, published in 1928. The Immutable Law was published in 1921, shortly after the death of Laura’s husband. According to an article which appeared in the October 30, 1921 Sandusky Register, The Immutable Law was “a study of contrasted temperaments upon which play fires of avarice, sorrow, hatred, love, cynicism and lesser passions.” The dedication of this title read: “In undying remembrance of my well beloved husband, Franklin Sydnor Barker, born in spirit and his inheritance of ecstasy eternal on April 3, 1920.” Accompanying this dedication was the Biblical verse, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away, and he that overcometh shall inherit all things.” It appears that Laura devoted herself to her writing, following the death of her beloved husband Franklin.

Mrs. Laura Cooke Barker died on April 30, 1927, following a lengthy illness. She was survived by her sister, Mary Cooke. Laura was buried next to her husband in the North Ridge section of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Letter from Rev. Leverett Hull in 1850

On April 27, 1850, Rev. Leverett Hull wrote a letter to his wife’s parents about the birth of their little girl. At first Rev. and Mrs. Hull were going to name their daughter Belinda, but it turned out they named her Puella Follett Hull, after the name of the daughter of Oran Follett, a dear friend of Rev. Hull. In 1925, the original letter was donated to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library, now the Archives Research Center, by Puella Follett Hull Mason, the little girl whose birth brought such joy to her parents.

Here is a transcript of a portion of the letter:

We are all well at home except Mother, and she is not so unwell but that she has been able to take another boarder. Now as this this boarder is a somewhat remarkable personage. I will try to give you some description of her – she has dark hair and very ruddy complexion and is altogether a fine smart girl, all the neighbors say – Her name is “Belinda Susanah Linda Luta Grindor (or something else) Hull,” youngest daughter of Leverett and Sarah Hull, all of this place. Now don’t be scared about this – because Mother and Belinda are getting along first rate – and Mrs. Bell says Belinda (i.e. Miss Hull)-looks like a baby a week old and we only took her in last Saturday at 7 o’clock in the morning and this is Monday. So she is now just two days old – all this I read with not a little surprise and joy as you doubtless will and made the best of my way home and found it ever so –

Sadly, Rev. Leverett Hull died of cholera on September 3, 1852.
Following the death of Rev. Hull, Mrs. Hull and the children moved to the Cincinnati area. Puella Follett Hull married William L. Mason in 1878. Mrs. Mason wrote two books about genealogy: A Record of the Descendants of Richard Hull of New Haven, Conn. and Lineage of the Tracy Family with Notes of the Lord, Garrett, Russell, and Other Intermarrying Families. Both titles are available full text on Heritage Quest, a database to which the Sandusky Library has a subscription.

To access Heritage Quest, go to the website: www.oplin.org/databases. You will be asked to enter the name your library as well as your Sandusky Library card number. Heritage Quest is available to all Sandusky Library card holders, and is accessible from your home computer.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wolcott Griswold Moss

The above photograph was taken at the residence of Thomas M. Sloane about 1915. The home, now located at 1415 Columbus Avenue, was first built in the 1840’s, as the residence of Sandusky’s first lawyer, Eleutheros Cooke. The house was dismantled in the 1870’s, and rebuilt a mile down the road. The Cooke House is now a museum, available for tours.

Seated in the Ford Roadster are Rush Richard Sloane, son of Judge Thomas M. and Sarah Cooke Sloane and Wolcott Griswold Moss, son of Augustus L. and Caroline Curtis Moss. Young Rush Richard Sloane was a descendant of one of Sandusky’s Mayors, Rush Sloane and also of Pitt Cooke, brother of Jay Cooke, Civil War financier. Wolcott Griswold Moss’s grandmother, Mrs. J. O. Moss was the person who successfully persuaded Andrew Carnegie to provide funds towards the building of the Sandusky Library.

Sadly, on August 3, 1915, Wolcott Griswold Moss was killed in an automobile accident in Lyme, Connecticut. He was buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. The funeral for Wolcott Griswold Moss took place at the residence of Thomas M. Sloane.