Monday, September 28, 2009


Reunions, whether informal or carefully planned, allow people to reconnect with family and friends from their past. Families, schools, colleges, military units, clubs and many other organizations hold reunions, some on an annual basis, and others not so frequently. In the first half of the twentieth century Sandusky’s local newspapers featured articles about family reunions, often in the neighborhood columns. Below is a photograph of a gathering of the Sprau family in 1916.

An article appearing in the June 18, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported on the sixth annual reunion of the Moyer family, held at York Center in Sandusky County. During the business meeting W. H. Moyer was elected president and Elmer Moyer was elected treasurer. The day’s events opened with the hymn “Blest be the tie that binds.” Rye Beach was chosen as the location for the seventh annual Moyer reunion. Cedar Point continues to be a popular site for family reunions, as it has been for several decades.

When the G.A.R. held annual meetings, they were called encampments. War stories and songs were shared at these well attended events. Individual military units held reunions of the surviving members of their group. The 30th Annual Reunion of the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry was held in Sandusky on August 27 and 18, 1896.

The August 7, 1912 issue of the Sandusky Register announced that veterans from the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry would meet at the West House for their thirty seventh annual reunion. Henry C. Strong was the president of the group of veterans of the 128th Infantry.

Descendants of pioneer preacher Rev. William Gurley were guests of honor at a Methodist centennial celebration held in Milan in April of 1912.

A Centennial Reunion of graduates of Sandusky High School was held in 1955.

Pictured below are Sandusky High School alumni and former faculty at a reunion held at the Rockwell Springs Trout Club in Castalia, 1950.

If you have vintage reunion photographs, consider donating them to the Sandusky Archives Research Center for future generations to enjoy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Strobel Field

On the evening of September 25, 1936, the new $100,000 Sandusky High School stadium at Strobel Field was dedicated, prior to the football game between Sandusky and Elyria High Schools. The 1937 Fram recorded that the stadium was built of reinforced concrete, with a height of thirty-seven feet, and was two hundred feet in length. Total seating capacity was between 5,600 and 6,000.The stadium featured a press box, broadcasting booth, two locker rooms, training rooms, and a coaches’ dugout. A quarter mile running track encircled the football field. The field had electric lighting, so that night games could be played.

According to articles in the September 25 and 26, 1936 issues of the Sandusky Register, the stadium was a WPA project, with Thomas C. Millar as superintendent of construction, and William Helm, field engineer. S.D. Downing was the WPA administrator in charge of the project. Harold Parker, architect for the stadium, said at the dedication: “Dedication of this stadium marks fulfillment of a dream or thought cherished during the past seven years to plan or supervise construction of a stadium for the board of education, the students and citizens, to be judged by those who know as a layout of the first rank not only in this section of the state but in this section of the United States.” Mr. Downing said, “The WPA of Ohio looks to this project with great pride, not only as a project, but in keeping people at work.” He presented the blueprints to Dr. C.R. Knoble, president of the Sandusky Board of Education.

The Sandusky Board of Education had purchased the property at the site of the new stadium, in 1921. It was named Strobel Field, in honor of C. J. Strobel, for his years of outstanding service to Sandusky City Schools. C. J. Strobel was a member of the Board of Education of Sandusky Schools for forty-eight years. When elected, he was the youngest member of the board, and when he left, he was the oldest member who had ever served on the board. Mr. Strobel also had worked at Citizens Banking Co. for fifty seven years. Mr. Strobel was considered an expert in the field of school finance.

On the night of the dedication, WPA officials, and school officials, including Frank J. Prout, Superintendent; Dr. C. R. Knoble, Board president; and Karl E. Whinnery, High School principal, sat on a platform under the lights. By 7:30 p.m. the bleachers and stands were packed. Frank J. Prout estimated the crowd in attendance to be 7,500 to 8,000, not including all the bands. A parade of bands was held, beginning at the southeast corner of the stadium. Drum majors led each band down the field. The combined bands played the “Star Spangled Banner” as the flag was raised.

The 1936 Sandusky Blue Streaks football team was coached by Bob Whittaker, who was coming into the September 25th game with 35 successive wins. The Blue Streaks beat Elyria, 16 to 7. Sandusky’s touchdowns were scored by Roy Gant and Harold Krause. Sandusky would finish that season with a record of 9 and 1, with the one loss occurring at the game between Sandusky and Toledo Waite. The 1937 Fram editors stated “We feel that as long as Whittaker-coached teams represent Sandusky High School these teams will continue to rank as one of the best in the state.”

To learn more about the history of Sandusky schools, visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. There you will find old yearbooks, newspapers on microfilm, and a Finding Aid which will guide you through our archival collections.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

J. W. Weier, Manufacturer of Weier’s Cream of Roses

In the 1880 Erie County Census, Jacob Weier is listed as a barber, the 20 year old son of Louis and Ernestine Weier. A newspaper article from the November 17, 1894 issue of the Sandusky Register states that J. W. Weier took first place at the Erie County Fair, for the category of “human hair goods.” He exhibited curling irons, hair products, and his well known Cream of Roses cream. In the 1888 Sandusky City Directory, J. W. Weier was listed as the manufacturer of Weier’s Cream of Roses, Curline for Ladies’ Bangs, Burdock Hair Tonic and Hair Restorer, with his place of business located at 712 Market Street.

The advertisement below appeared in a Postal Guide which was distributed to Sandusky residents about 1899.

Weier’s Cream of Roses was used for healing cuts and burns. Weier’s Circassian Pearl was recommended for freckles and tan. Weier’s Reliable Hair Renewer was used to remove gray from hair, and Weier’s German Hair Vigor was supposed to positively stop hair from falling out. Mr. Weier also sold wigs, waves, bangs and switches.

J. W. Weier’s listing in the 1900 Sandusky City Directory stated that J. W. Weier was of proprietor of the Weier Chemical Manufacturing Co., which manufactured Weier’s Cream of Roses and barber’s supplies, in the Odd Fellows Temple at 231 Washington Row. Jacob’s sister Louise Weier advertised ladies hair products and toilet articles at the same location. Later city directories list J. W. Weier as selling barber supplies.

On November 25, 1912, Jacob W. Weier was killed when his automobile crashed into Lake Shore Train No. 43 at the Hancock Street crossing, as Jacob was returning from a trip to Norwalk. Jacob W. Weier’s funeral was held at his Hancock Street residence, and he was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Jacob’s brothers, John and Henry Weier, had a prosperous salvage business in Sandusky for many years. After John and Henry Weier both died in March, 1925, the business was carried on by J. Leroy Weier, the son of John Weier.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Foundries in Sandusky

Now known as Sandusky International, the Sandusky Foundry and Machine Company was founded in 1904 by William Millspaugh. The company has long been recognized as an innovator in the paper making industry. The photograph below features a float from the Sandusky Foundry and Machine Company from around that time.
The Bay View Foundry was in operation from 1904 through the 1920’s. The firm produced brass, bronze, aluminum and iron castings. In 1920, E. Lea Marsh succeeded A. W. Link as the company president. Eventually Mr. Marsh moved back to Connecticut. His son, E. Lea Marsh, Jr. was a legislator in the state of Connecticut, and was the owner of a dairy herd which included Elsie the Borden cow.
The G and C Foundry, which is no longer in operation, manufactured cast and finished products for fluid power. It was incorporated in 1922 by M. F. Gartland and John Carroll. The plant was located on West Monroe Street on Sandusky’s west side. Employees from the pattern department stood outside the G and C Foundry in June of 1918.
The final chapter of Charles E. Frohman’s book A History of Sandusky and Erie County, is devoted to a brief history of manufacturing in Sandusky, Ohio. Visit the Archives Research Center to learn more about manufacturing in Sandusky, both past and present.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Program Announcement: Cemetery Walk: The Founding Fathers of Sandusky - The North Ridge

Join Sandusky Library's Museum Curator Maggie Marconi for a new Cemetery Walk - The Founding Fathers of Sandusky-The North Ridge - on Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 a.m. or Saturday, September 26 at 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. This year we will explore the North Ridge of Oakland Cemetery and the lives of some of the citizens who helped establish the city of Sandusky, including early elected officials, lawyers, and other people who helped make the decisions that shaped the city as we know it today. As this is an outdoor walking tour, please wear appropriate shoes and outerwear and be prepared to walk and stand for at least an hour. Registration is required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Vanished Settlement of "Africa" in Erie County

The July 1878 issue of the Firelands Pioneer features an article written by A. W. Hendry about a vanished settlement of African Americans in Erie County in the 1830’s and 1840’s.

The settlers resided in an area southeast of the city of Sandusky, across Pipe Creek. The area was known as “Africa,” because the residents were men of color. Samuel Carr and Frederick Swears were the first settlers, arriving in Erie County in the mid 1830’s. Samuel Carr lived on the bank of Pipe Creek. He sold produce from his garden in Sandusky. Mr. Swears had a grain farm and also raised cattle and hogs.
Mr. Hendry wrote that the land beyond the creek was overgrown, so the settlers cleared away the brush and timber, and built log cabins and cultivated the land for crops. Isaac Brown and Thomas Butler first settled in Pipe Creek, but later purchased fifty acres of land from John Beatty in Perkins Township. (This land was later owned by James Hinde.)

Other settlers in the Pipe Creek area were Basil Brown, George Robinson, John Hamilton, Benjamin Hill, Moses Thompson, William Thomas, George Carr, John Stoaks, Ben Johnson, Peter Gregg, two men with the last name of Jones, Samuel Floyd, William Butler, Benjamin Bell, William Harris, James Jackson, Dick Lett, and a Mr. Glinton. Rev. Thomas H. Boston settled in Erie County in 1839. In about 1843, there were over one hundred African Americans residing in the settlement. The residents built a log school house, which was sometimes used as a church. A Mr. Robinson from Rhode Island was a school teacher there. General John Beatty, in an address to the Firelands Historical Society on October 3, 1900, stated that he once attended a revival meeting at the home of “old Sammy Carr.” He said that “It was the most animated religious gathering I ever witnessed.” General Beatty also mentions a debate between the white young men of Milan Road and the African American young men of the Huron Road (now Cleveland Road.) A Mr. Brown took the floor and he “was not only a master of good English, but had a touch of humor in him, and a whole arsenal of sarcasm and invective.” Mr. Brown won the debate, and General Beatty’s team lost.

Following some unpleasant land disputes, most of the residents from this early settlement moved to Canada. However, the families of Rev. Boston and Basil Brown remained in Erie County. Visit the Sandusky Library to read about the vanished settlement of Africa, and hundreds of other accounts of the pioneer settlers of Erie and Huron County in the Firelands Pioneer, a multi-volume set of journals shelved in the genealogical section of the library’s Reference Services area.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mystery Photo: An Early Gas Station

Here is a view of the Cities Service Oil Co. filling station, circa 1920. Who knows where it was?

(The answer is posted in the comments.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letters Home, by Jay Caldwell Butler

In 1930, the book LETTERS HOME was privately published. Watson Hubbard Butler arranged the letters of his father, Jay Caldwell Butler, Captain of the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The dates of the letters range from September 10, 1862 through August 28, 1864. Following Jay’s letters, included in the book are a letter from his mother dated April 23, 1865 and a telegram to Jay’s father on June 19, 1865. Jay Caldwell Butler was born on September 3, 1844 to Samuel W. and Clara Boalt Butler. Jay entered service as a Private in company B of the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry on July 22, 1862. He moved up through the ranks, and was commissioned as a Captain on February 10, 1865.

Near Springfield, Kentucky on Oct. 7, 1826 he wrote to his parents about marching with his friends Charles Dennis, Alexander Hosmer, (called Alick in Jay’s letters) and his brother John. Jay wrote about the Confederates taking 25 prisoners of the 3rd Ohio Cavalry and killing six horses belonging to Union soldiers. He also told his parents that he had seen Dr. McMeens, a Sandusky physician who would die during the war.

Following the Battle of Perrysville, Jay saw 150 dead and wounded soldiers. He wrote to his parents, “Don’t be uneasy about us. We have good faith in the cause, and if anything should happen you will know it as soon as possible. Excuse the shortness and poor writing, as it is done by campfire. Give my love to all. All send love and are first rate and of good cheer. I could write a great deal more but have a chance to start this on its way. Good-by.”

While traveling from Kentucky to Tennessee on Nov. 9, 1862, Jay wrote: “This is a dreary, desolate, barren and deserted looking country. All the small towns that we have passed through have been deserted…The houses and stores are either closed or smashed to pieces. Everything is going to utter destruction. Just think of two such armies passing through Ohio.” In the same letter he tells of hearing about the death of Dr. McMeens, hoping the report was not true, but of course it was true.

On December 7, 1862, near Nashville, Tennessee, Jay wrote to his parents that the regiment had not had devotions for six or eight weeks, because the Chaplain was tending to the sick and wounded. The water in is tent was frozen solid, and even his hair was frozen, and he was unable to comb it. He had eaten a dish of mush and molasses with his friend Alick that day. He wrote to his parents, mentioning his three younger brothers, “Give Frankie a kiss and tell him I would like to see him as badly as he would me, also George and Charley.” In January 1863 Jay wrote to his mother, telling her about Sergeant Simon Huntington of Kelleys Island having to have his leg amputated.

In Winchester, Tennessee, in July of 1863, Jay and Alick heard the sounds of a piano, and they went into the house of a Tennessee family. Jay wrote, "…we were attracted by the sound of a piano and thought there would be no more harm in going into the house than standing outside listening, so we went in – and found one of very good appearance seated at the piano – and her Mother was sewing in her easy rocking chair. They greeted us very cordially and treated us exceedingly kind. We excused our abruptness etc. When another young made her appearance, they played and sang for us. Although they acknowledged themselves secesh (secessionist) yet they would not converse nor sing any southern songs for us. Thus we spent a very pleasant hour indeed.”

According to the Official War Record of Jay Caldwell Butler, during the Battle of Nashville, on December 16, 1864, Jay was severely wounded, and he lay of the field for several days before receiving medical attention. He came home for a time following his injury, but Jay never truly recovered completely. Following the war, Jay worked with his uncle, John M. Boalt, in the manufacturing of sashes, doors, and blinds. In 1873, Jay married Elizabeth Hubbard, and they had two children, Elizabeth and Watson Hubbard Butler. Jay Caldwell Butler died on July 13, 1885. Over sixty of Jay’s employees filed by the casket at the time of his burial. An obituary of Jay Caldwell Butler is found in the 1888 Firelands Pioneer. The wife and daughter of Jay Caldwell Butler are pictured at the Sandusky History website.

By reading the letters home from Jay Caldwell Butler (and other men, including Horace Harper Bill) one gets a sense of the actual experiences of a young Civil War soldier. Jay saw the horrors of war, but he also grew close to his comrades, learned how to be a leader, and he strengthened family bonds through his letters to and from home.

Program Announcement: Brown-Bag Lunch Series -- Moravians in Milan

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room (Terrace Level) as we explore topics in local history during our Brown Bag Lunch Series. The next session will be held on Wednesday, September 16, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The topic will be Moravians in Milan.

In the spring of 1804, Moravian missioner Sebastian Oppelt came up the Huron River, or Pettquotting to Native Americans, and settled in the area that eventually became the Village of Milan. Learn about the settlement, Moravian missionary work, Native American culture, and Milan's early history with Ann Basilone-Jones, Executive Director of the Milan Historical Museum.

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.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dr. Joseph Caldwell’s Ledger from 1833

In The History of the Fire Lands, by W. W. Williams, we learn that Dr. Joseph Caldwell came to Huron, Ohio in the spring of 1833, and he continued practicing medicine there until his death on June 13, 1866. Mr. Williams wrote that Dr. Caldwell’s death was “much lamented by many friends.”

A page from Dr. Caldwell’s ledger is found in the Business Collections of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. A record was kept of the Lewis Hoyt family’s appointments with Dr. Joseph Caldwell from September 1833 through June 1835.

On September 7, 1833, quinine was given to Lewis Hoyt. On September 10, Dr. Caldwell made a house call to the Hoyt family, and medicine was prescribed. Other visits to the doctor were made by Lewis Hoyt and his wife and children. The final item on the ledger was made on June 27, 1835, at which time liniment was given to Mrs. Hoyt. At the bottom of the ledger is an entry for interest for two years, which was listed as being 84 cents. Mr. Hoyt’s son’s account was $3.50. The total for two years of Dr. Caldwell’s medical services for the Hoyt family, including interest, was $20.56.

The Erie County, Ohio Cemetery Census Before 1909 provides the dates of death for Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell as well as for Lewis and Mercy Hoyt. Dr. Joseph Caldwell, who died on June 13, 1866, is buried in Scott Cemetery in Erie County. Mrs. Margaret Caldwell died on October 25, 1863. Stephen Caldwell, son of Joseph and Margaret Caldwell, died of cholera in 1834. He is buried near his parents in Scott Cemetery. Lewis and Mercy Hoyt are buried in Peakes Cemetery in Berlin Township of Erie County. Lewis Hoyt died on November 4, 1853, and Mrs. Mercy Hoyt (listed as Marcy on the tombstone) died at the age of 91 on August 20, 1878. It appears that Dr. Caldwell’s medical services helped Mrs. Hoyt to live a long life, in an era when life expectancy was under age 50.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Electric Cars Sold in Sandusky in 1921

In 1921, L. C. Steavenson was the dealer for the Milburn Light Electric car at 1206 Decatur Street in Sandusky. In 1917, Mr. Steavenson worked at the Milburn Wagon Company in Toledo. From 1915 to 1923, the Milburn Wagon Company manufactured Milburn Light Electric automobiles.

An advertisement in the March 19, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal for the Milburn Light Electric stated that it was “The All Season Car,” which started instantly on the coldest day, and was easy to handle. An article in the Toledo Free Press reports that the Milburn Electric car was popular in the United States. It was used by President Wilson’s Secret Service unit.

Leigh Chadwick Steavenson eventually moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he passed away in 1950. He was survived by his wife, the former Francis Koch. Mr. Steavenson was a Veteran of World War One, and he was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Sandusky.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sandusky High School Football, 1912

The Sandusky High School football team about 1912:Pictured are:
Top row: C. E. Fleming, Leonard Osberg, George Singler, Frederick Slackford
Middle: Charles Abele, Frank Field, Howard Earnshaw, Wilbur Schoepfle, Estes Drake, Bob Judson
Front: Bill Busch, Roy Hazen, Wilson Harris, Gene Close, Don Hand, George Giesler, Art Wieland

Charles E. Fleming would go on to teach chemistry at Sandusky High School for thirty four years. Leonard Osberg served three two year terms as the Mayor of Vermilion in the 1940’s. Robert Judson retired as plant manager from the American Crayon Company in 1964, having been with the company for forty seven years. Wilbur Schoepfle was a Navy Ensign during World War One. He majored in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. Wilbur moved to California, and lost his life in an automobile accident in Orange County, California in 1941. The football team photograph pictures the young men with all their hopes and dreams ahead of them, years before the two world wars were thought of, and without the responsibilities of a job and family.

Visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to learn more about the history of the people who have made Sandusky and Erie County their home.