Saturday, April 28, 2012

1940 U.S. Census is Now Available

The information from the United States Census for 1940 was released to the public on April 2, 2012, 72 years after having been collected. Pictured above is one page from the 1940 Census for Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio. Mrs. Angeline A. Corso was the Census Enumerator for Enumeration District Number 22-19 of Erie County. Listed on this page are the families of industrialist William Millspaugh, piano teachers  Florence and Elizabeth Deike, and Sandusky physicians Dr. Fred Schoepfle and Dr. Lyle Steen Hill. By viewing the 1940 Census, you can learn more about the ages, birthplaces, and occupations of family members, as well as a listing of  names of all those residing within each family unit. The 1940 Census is one of the thousands of databases available at Ancestry Library Edition, a ClevNet database. Another free resource which provides access to the 1940 U.S. Census is My Heritage. The census records are not yet fully indexed, so until then, you will need to browse by census tract. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to start searching.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Scott’s American Hotel

In 1865, Voltaire Scott and his father Jacob Scott bought a two story frame hotel on the southwest corner of Water and Wayne Streets. The hotel was originally known as the Steamboat Hotel, and was later known as Verandah Hotel. In the pioneer days of Sandusky, Water Street was the most northern street of the city. Sometimes the waves on Sandusky Bay were so high that they almost touched the entrance to the hotel. The old strap railroad ran right past the hotel. According to the advertisement pictured above, from the 1874 Sandusky City Directory, guests could request a feather bed, and the table was “always supplied with the best the market affords.” When Jacob Scott moved to Wisconsin in 1876, Voltaire Scott took over as proprietor of Scott’s American Hotel. An advertisement which appeared in the 1878 Sandusky City Directory stated that “Strangers and the public will find Scott’s American a pleasant home, every comfort and accommodation extended to all its patrons.”

Voltaire Scott established a park across the street from his hotel. In 1895 he installed the “Boy with the Boot” statue, along with statues of dolphins and maidens. In the evening hours, colored lights illuminated the park. The electricity was controlled by a switch in the hotel.

Mr. Scott willed the contents of his park to the city of Sandusky, along with funds to maintain it. The tornado of 1924 severely damaged Scott Park, and the statues were stored at the city greenhouse. In 1935, the “Boy with the Boot” was given a new home in Washington Park. After being damaged by vandals, the statue in Washington Park was replaced by an identical one made of bronze. The damaged statue was repaired, and is now on display at the City Hall building on Meigs street.

The hotel at the corner of Wayne and Water Streets had several different owners after Voltaire Scott’s death in 1899. The building was razed in 1923. An interesting story from the January 12, 1911 issue of the Toledo Blade reported that in 1911 a plumber who was working at the former Scott’s American Hotel found $1,300 in currency in the basement of the building. The article reported that Voltaire Scott did not have much faith in banks, so he kept his money in an old vegetable can in the basement. Eventually the money was turned over to descendants of Voltaire Scott living in Michigan at that time. Ironically, the property at the southwest corner of Wayne and Water Streets is now home to the Citizens Banking Company.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fair Pony Farms

The billboard above advertised the well known herd of ponies from the Fair Pony Farms in Sandusky, Ohio. Most likely, the ponies were owned by W.H. Millspaugh. An article in the March 15, 1917 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Millspaugh’s herd of Welsh ponies were the largest herd of its kind in the world.

Most of the ponies were kept at the Erie County Fairgrounds, while twenty brood mares were boarded at the Floyd Smith farm in Castalia, Ohio. William H. Millspaugh, who was the founder of the Sandusky Foundry & Machine Company, purchased the best Welsh ponies from several different herds. He was looking for individual Welsh ponies which had proven value in breeeding or in winning prizes. His purchases resulted in a total herd of over eighty miniature ponies. Mr. Millspaugh exhibited the ponies at local fairs. The prize Welsh pony was “Temptation,” a chestnut pony with a blaze face. Children, when accompanied by an adult, were invited to visit the ponies at the Erie County Fairgrounds on Saturdays and Sundays. The Millspaugh ponies were featured in the Plain Dealer Weekly in September, 1919.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Program Announcement: Brown Bag Lunch - Kelleys Island and the Civil War

On Wednesday, April 18, at noon, in the Library Program Room, Kelleys Island author Leslie Korenko will explore Kelleys Island history and lore, and take a look back at the contributions of Kelleys Island soldiers during the Civil War.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The William T. Townsend House

The large stone house at 515 West Washington Street was once home to early Sandusky businessman William T. Townsend and his family. The house was built of native limestone in 1844, with the two story porch added later. William Townsend operated a dry goods store in Sandusky in the early part of the nineteenth century. He and his brother Kneeland Townsend owned several parcels of land in the Firelands. Helen Hansen wrote in At Home in Early Sandusky that William Townsend was the first merchant to advertise in the Sandusky Clarion in 1822. He also served as Sandusky’s first recorder, and he was president of the fist Sandusky bank in 1834. William T. Townsend and his wife, the former Maria Lamson, had six daughters and a son.

Sadly, during the cholera epidemic of 1849, within a period of four days, William Townsend, Mrs. Townsend, their daughter Sarah, and a sister of Mrs. Townsend all died of cholera. At the time of the tragic deaths of the Townsend family members, Mary Townsend had already married. She was the wife of Pitt Cooke, a son of Eleutheros Cooke, and a brother to Jay Cooke, the Civil War financier. Mary and Pitt Cooke took in the orphaned Townsend children, and raised them with their own six children. The Pitt Cooke family lived in Brooklyn, New York from 1866 to 1873, but they kept this home as their summer home. Elmer B. Otto, owner of Esmond Dairy, purchased this house in 1907. Through the years this house has had several other owners, and it was used as apartments during most of the twentieth century. To read more about the William T. Townsend house, see Article 13 in At Home in Early Sandusky, as well as page 20 of Ellie Damm’s book Treasure by the Bay.

William T. Townsend played an important role in the early development of the city of Sandusky. Mr. Townsend and his wife and daughter are buried in Block 9 of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. The Townsend lot at Oakland Cemetery is pictured on a stereographic image by A.C. Platt.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Sandusky Division of the A.H. Jackson Manufacturing Company

In 1899 a division of the A.H. Jackson Manufacturing Company opened in Sandusky. The founder of the company was Amos H. Jackson, who served in the U.S. Congress from 1903 to 1905. Mr. Jackson, who settled in Fremont, Ohio in the 1880s, also operated factories in Fremont, Tiffin, and Fostoria. The company, which became known as the “Jackson Underwear Company” manufactured women’s and children’s muslin and flannelette undergarments. Pictured below are a group of men connected with the construction of the Sandusky branch of the Jackson Underwear Company, located at the northeast corner of North Depot and McDonough Streets.

Many of the employees of the Jackson Underwear Company were female.

By 1911 the manufacturing division of the A.H. Jackson Manufacturing Company was still at the northeast corner of North Depot and McDonough Streets, while a retail department was located at the southwest corner of Market and Wayne Streets. An advertisement in the February 11, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Register indicated that beginners would be able to earn a salary while learning on the job.

Amos H. Jackson passed away in Fremont on August 30, 1924. The Jackson Underwear Company ceased operations in Sandusky in the early 1930s.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Dr. Alta F. Cook

Alta Fremont Cook was born in Huron County, Ohio in 1850 to Dr. Thomas M. Cook, and his wife the former Mary L. Cole. Dr. T.M. Cook had been a regimental and brigade surgeon with the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Alta F. Cook followed in his father’s steps, and he too became a physician, having graduated from the University of Michigan in 1881. The 1888 Sandusky City Directory listed both Dr. T.M. Cook and Dr. A.F. Cook, physicians and surgeons, as having offices in the Sloane Block in downtown Sandusky. After the elder Dr. Cook’s death, Dr. Alta F. Cook relocated his medical office to the Odd Fellows’ Temple on Washington Row (shown below, circa 1965). For several years, Dr. Alta F. Cook served as the Acting Assistant Surgeon for the Marine Hospital Service in Sandusky. The Marine Hospital Service had locations in cities with ports throughout the United States, to provide medical service to sailors in the Merchant Marines, Coast Guard, and other federal workers working as seamen.

In 1881, Dr. Alta F. Cook married Alice Gilmore in Ypsilanti, Michigan. They were the parents of a son named Ralph C. Cook. After Alice passed away in 1898, Dr. Cook married Miss Etta Zimmerman. They also had a son, Kenneth Cook. On May 14, 1909, Dr. Alta F. Cook died suddenly at his office from heart disease. He was only 58 years old at the time of his death. Dr. Alta Cook had been prominent in the medical profession in Sandusky for many years. He had been active in the Erie County Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Dr. Alta F. Cook was buried in the family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Friday, April 06, 2012

When the Methodist Church was on Washington Street

The church now known as Trinity Methodist Church had several locations in Sandusky before it occupied the building (shown above still under construction) on Washington Street, between Jackson and Decatur Streets in downtown Sandusky in 1874, where the Merry-Go-Round Museum is currently located. This stereograph image was created by Sandusky photographer A.C. Platt in the 1870s or 1880s.

Here is a picture of Washington Park in 1894, which features several Sandusky churches:

The Congregational Church can be seen at the left. Zion Lutheran’s congregation worshipped in the former Beatty Church, a small two story building just northwest of the Congregational Church. The tall steeple of the Methodist Church can be seen on the south side of Washington Street, while the First Presbyterian Church can be seen on the north side of Washington Street. The First Presbyterian Church was built in Sandusky in 1853, and it remains in that location today.

By 1915 the steeple of Trinity Methodist Church had changed significantly.

Because the United States Government wanted to build a post office in Sandusky at the site of the Methodist Church, around 1917 the Methodists stopped meeting at their building on Washington Street. Services were held at various locations for a few years. Construction was begun on the new building for Trinity Methodist Church in 1922, at the corner of Wayne and East Jefferson Streets.

Methodism in Sandusky and Erie County has a rich and interesting history. If you would like to learn more about the history of churches in Sandusky, the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has five archival boxes which all pertain to the history of area churches. Inquire at the Reference Services desk for more information.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Victor J. "Ump" Moore, Erie County Sheriff

Victor J. Moore was born in Sandusky, Ohio on April 20, 1896, to George and Sarah Moore. His nickname was “Ump.” On April 26, 1918, he enlisted in the United States Army. He served with Company A of the 308th Engineers during World War I, and was honorably discharged from military service on January 21, 1919. The biographical sketch in Patty Pascoe’s book Elected to Serve states that Victor J. Moore had been a prominent football player for Sandusky High School, and he also played for the Sandusky Maroons and the Esmond football teams. Victor “Ump” Moore is the third man from the right in the front row of the team picture of the Maroons from 1923.

In his twenties Moore worked as a lifeguard at Cedar Point, at the same time Knute Rockne worked at the amusement park. (It was at the Cedar Point beach that Knute Rockne developed the forward pass.) He served as Erie County Sheriff from 1932 to 1936, and later worked as the purchasing agent for the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, retiring in 1966.

An article by Bob Kinney in the Sandusky Register of February 13, 1970 reported that V.J. Moore was the youngest member of the “Last Man’s Club.” This group was begun by fourteen World War I Veterans in the 1930s. The group met only on Friday the 13th. The first meeting was held in Cua’s restaurant. One of the themes of the club was that the last man remaining was to open a champagne bottle, which had been with the men since the club’s beginning. Mr. Kinney wrote that there was also a “Last Man’s Club” comprised of World War II veterans, and a third club had also started up with another group of fifty veterans. Victor J. Moore died of pancreatic cancer on February 24, 1972. He was survived by his wife Alena, two sons, a daughter, a stepson, a stepdaughter, and several other relatives. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery.

The Sandusky Register article from February 13, 1970 listed these names as the last six surviving members of the original “Last Men’s Club:”

V.J. Moore

Dr. Frank Maher

Marc Freeman

William Ferback

George Eger

Dominic Cua
If our calculations are correct, the last man surviving from this group was William C. Ferback. He died on March 17, 1980 at the age of 91.