Sunday, March 31, 2019

Miss Jean Beis, Sandusky High School Teacher and Librarian

Jean Beis is pictured above in the Sandusky High School Library, on page 20 of the 1952 Fram. Miss Beis was born Jeanette Beis, in 1894, to local attorney George C. Beis and his wife, the former Lucinda Zerbe. Jean graduated from Sandusky High School in 1912, and attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1917 with a degree in language. In 1941 she earned her bachelor degree in Library Science from the Western Reserve University in Cleveland. 

Miss Beis began teaching at Sandusky High School in 1920, where she taught Latin for several years. Eventually Miss Beis became the High School Librarian at Sandusky High School. In May of 1954, a slightly overdue book was returned to the High School library from the son of a former Sandusky resident. Though it was not collected, Miss Beis calculated the fine for the overdue book to be $539.70.

Miss Jean Beis is the second to the last person on the right, in the bottom row in the picture of the Sandusky High School faculty below.

In 1951 Miss Beis attended a class reunion. She is the person on the right in the picture below,  beside Letitia Adams and an unidentified male.

Jean Beis died on December 2, 1976  at the age of 82, at her home on Huron Avenue. She had been a member of the Sandusky Women’s College Club, Ohio State Retired Teachers’ Association, the Legion of Mary, and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Funeral services were held at the David Suitor Funeral Home and burial was in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Captain Otto J. Biemiller

Otto J. Biemiller was born in Sandusky, Ohio on March 28, 1865 to Christian and Margaret (Weber) Biemiller. He worked on Great Lakes fishing boats for over fifty years, having served as master of boats operated by the Post Fish Company and Lay Brothers Fisheries. Earning his first-class pilot papers in 1891, some of the boats that Captain Biemiller served on as Master were: the Anna Roberson, Erie, Silver Spray, Maythan, Markwell, the Driscoll, and the Canadian steamer Thistle.

On December 25, 1909, Captain Biemiller rescued the sons of Erie County Auditor, John Deist. William Deist, age 13, and Carl Deist, age 8, were ice skating on the Jackson Street slip when Carl fell through the ice, and William fell into the icy bay as he tried to rescue his brother. Though the ice was cracking, Captain Biemiller walked across the thin ice and grabbed Carl. William was then able to remain afloat while he waited for Biemiller to assist him. The April 23, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Captain Biemiller had also rescued a party in distress on Lake Erie in Vermilion in June of 1902.

In January 1938, Captain Otto Biemiller retired as Master of the Shearwater, a vessel used by the Ohio Department of Conservation, in conjunction with the fish hatchery at Put in Bay. Otto Biemiller died on January 2, 1942, after having been in failing health for some time. Funeral services were conducted by Dr. Donald Wonders at the Keller Funeral Home, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery.  

The Biemiller family was well known in Sandusky. Otto’s uncle, Andrew Biemiller, was a prosperous fisherman, and was owner of the Biemiller Opera House which he had built in the 1870s.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Katharine Sprague Alvord, First Dean of Women at DePauw University

Katharine Sprague Alvord was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1871 to Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Alvord. Katharine’s father was engaged in the wholesale fish business, and was a partner in the Alvord-Peters publishing company. After graduating from Sandusky High School in 1889, Katharine earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree from Columbia University. She studied for a time at Cornell University as well. 

She taught for several years at Oshkosh State College in Wisconsin in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  While at Oshkosh, a student made this sketch of Katharine, which is now housed at the Follett House Museum.

Katharine Sprague Alvord was DePauw University’s first Dean of Women, serving in that role from 1915 to 1936. A student duplex on the campus of DePauw was named in her honor. She is credited with starting most of the women’s organizations on campus at DePauw, and she encouraged dozens of female students to pursue advanced degrees. You can read a bit more about Ms. Alvord in this college publication.

When Katherine Sprague Alvord retired, she moved to Gaylordsville, Connecticut, where she died in 1960 at the age of 88. Miss Alvord’s final resting place is in the Alvord family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Funeral of Captain Adam Hartung

Adam E. Hartung was a lifelong resident of Sandusky, Ohio, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ Hartung. He had a twin brother named Daniel, and both men were firefighters for the City of Sandusky.

On the evening of November 11, 1907 the fire department was summoned to a fire at the Catawba Candy Company.  Adam Hartung, of the No. 4 Company, slipped while attempting to climb onto the hose wagon and fell, hitting his chest on the iron rail of the dashboard. He continued to the fire, but after returning to the fire station he became ill. It turns out that as Adam fell, he suffered a broken rib and the broken rib punctured his lung. Mr. Hartung remained ill for several months. He died on March 23, 1908 at his home on Hancock Street in Sandusky, at age 49, survived by a wife and six children, three brothers and two sisters. His funeral was held at the family residence, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery. City of Sandusky firefighters served as pallbearers.

Adam Hartung had been a city firefighter for twenty years. According to The Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, he also was a skilled carver of duck decoys. 

As you can see in the photograph, long ago someone noted that the funeral took place in 1896. After checking through the Ohio Obituary Index and Oakland Cemetery interment cards, it was determined that a child of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Hartung died in 1896, but Adam Hartung, Captain of the Sandusky Fire Department died in March of 1908. Don’t always trust handwritten records you may come across in your genealogical research. Be sure to verify dates against other records, as mistakes are often found.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Myrtle Louise Meagher, Music Teacher

Miss Myrtle Louise Meagher was born in Sandusky in 1882, to John E. Meagher, and his wife, the former Margaret Lotz. Myrtle was of both Irish and German descent. Myrtle’s grandfather, Henry Lotz, ran a grocery store in from the 1850s until his death in 1887 at the northeast corner of Shelby and West Washington Streets, where Joe Sundae’s is now located. 

From 1900 through the late 1920s, Myrtle was a piano teacher, having been a student of well known local piano instructor Paul Browne Patterson. The advertisement above appeared in the March 21, 1908 issue of the Woman’s Endeavor, a locally published newspaper edited by Sandusky women. Below is an advertisement which was in the Sandusky Star Journal on October 25, 1922. 

Also appearing in the Star Journal of October 25, 1922 was a brief article by Miss Meagher about the value of music. She maintained that the family and friends of a music student would benefit from music instruction, as well as the individual who was receiving the training. She held many piano recitals in her home studio on Shelby Street.

 By 1957 her health was declining, and she moved to a nursing home. Myrtle Louise Meagher died on June 4, 1965. Miss Meagher’s funeral was held at the Frey Funeral Home, and burial was at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sandusky City Schools Report Card from 1848-1849

This  report card from  the arithmetic class of Miss L. A. Barney  for the term that met December 4, 1848 to March 17, 1849 was given to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center by the Dean family. Miss Barney was a teacher in the Grammar School department of Sandusky City Schools.  

Names of the boys in the class were: Samuel Belford, John Dean, Benjamin Gregg, Robert Matthews, John Monroe, Christopher Mores, Max Rhobacher, James Van Fleet, and Joshua Watson. The young ladies in the class were: Mary Clarkson, Eliza Fisher, Margaret Garvey, Sarah Jane Jenks, Sarah Stephens, Sarah Willston, and Sarah Withington. Beside each student’s name were “exceptions to morals” in several catagories, and  the number learned for preliminary defitions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. At the bottom of the report card were the signatures of Miss L.A. Barney, teacher, and M.F. Cowdery, superintendent of schools. 

M.F. Cowdery was the first superintendent of schools in Sandusky, serving in that capacity until 1871. He wrote a history of Sandusky City Schools, entitled Local School history of the City of Sandusky, from 1838 to1871 Inclusive, published by the Journal Steam Printing House in February 1876. A copy of this brief history is found in the Schools Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. In the early history of Sandusky Schools, Mr. Cowdery recalled that before school buildings were built, classrooms were rented in the Methodist Chapel, Presbyterian Church, Grace Church, and a brick building in the Western Liberties. 

In February of 1844, a committee consisting of Moors Farwell, Alexander Porter, and Zenas Barker, voted in favor of purchasing lots near the East and West Markets, and one in the Western Liberties as the sites of school buildings. A high school building was to be erected on the public square. The Academy building, pictured below, was originally built on the east public square as the high school, but was also used as an early Courthouse for Erie County prior to the construction of the new high school in 1869 and the Courthouse in 1874.

M.F. Cowdery was still serving as superintendent of Sandusky City Schools when the new high school building opened in 1869.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fireman’s Ball Held in Sandusky in 1839

On March 6, 1839 a Fireman’s Ball was held at Bradley’s Cotillion Rooms in the city of Sandusky. While we do not have specific details about Bradley’s facility, most likely the ball was held in an upper floor of one of the two story buildings then in downtown Sandusky. 

On the list of managers for the Fireman’s Ball were F.M. Follett, L.B. Johnson, and E.B. Sadler. In 1839 Foster M. Follett was the chief engineer of the Sandusky Fire Department. Mr. Follett would later serve as the Mayor of Sandusky and the Erie County Auditor. Leonard B. Johnson was an early owner of Johnson’s Island, which was the site of a prison camp during the Civil War. E.B. Sadler was a well-respected judge in Erie County.

Ellie Damm noted in her book Treasure by the Bay that the city of Sandusky used horse-drawn equipment for fighting fires until 1919. Several early fire stations were built of limestone, with space for the horses at the ground level, and quarters for the fire fighters and their equipment on the upper level.  Pictured below are fire fighters are standing in front of the old Number Four Fire Station, located on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Osborne Street in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Sandusky’s Fire Department has been in operation since the 1830s. The very earliest firemen were equipped with substantial buckets filled with water, known as the “bucket brigade.” As time went by, fire engines were purchased, fire stations were built, and wells were dug throughout the city to supply water for the firemen. To read about the history of Sandusky’s Fire Department, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Exhibition of the Berlin Seminary in 1854

On March 17, 1854, under the leadership of Principal T.H. Armstrong, students of the Berlin Seminary in Berlin Township in Erie County, Ohio, gave an exhibition at the Congregational Church of Berlin Township. Over five hundred people attended the exhibition. 

Rev. F.A.  Deming from the Congregational Church opened the session in prayer. H.B. Luce gave a talk about education, and J. Kilburn spoke about industry. Other topics included beauty, self-made men, and several “ladies’ papers.”  As the evening progressed, H.C. Hill spoke about spiritualism (a very popular topic of the era), while M.M. Benschoter spoke about anti-spiritualism. Several women acted out a skit about human nature. A favorite number of the exhibition was given by a trio of young men, Orro Lovell, George Fowler, and John Tucker, who performed a ballad entitled “Sour Grapes.” 

An article which appeared in the April 15, 1854 issue of the Sandusky Register pointed out that Berlin had in its precinct those who could add to the community’s intellectual and moral enjoyment.  Students who attended the Berlin Seminary had the opportunity to board with area families. Tuition in 1853 was $3.00 for common English studies; $4.00 for higher level English studies; $4.50 for Latin and Greek languages; and a fee of twenty five cents was to be paid each term by all students for “incidentals.”  The Congregational Church at Berlin Heights is now known as the First Congregational United Church of Christ. A commemorative plate from the Congregational Church is found in the historical collections of the Follett House Museum.

Friday, March 08, 2019

The Study Club of the Presbyterian Church

In the Clubs and Organizations Collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research are two early nineteenth century club calendars from The Study Club of the Presbyterian Church. The Study Club of the Presbyterian Church of Sandusky, Ohio was organized in 1896. The theme for the club in 1901-1902 was “Travels in Italy and Greece.” 

The ladies met on Monday evenings from October through April. They discussed the culture and history of Italy and Greece, with three or four presentations at each meeting. On March 10, 1902, Bell West discussed Athens: Its Topography; Maria Warren discussed the Present Reigning Family of Greece; Harriet C. West gave a talk on the Orthodox Greek Church, and The University of Athens was presented by Alida Ayres. In 1902-1903 the Study Club focused on the Victorian Era. Members studied Victorian authors, leaders, artists, and social reformers.

If you would like to view the Club Calendars from the Study Club of the Presbyterian Church, inquire at the Reference Services Desk.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Knute Rockne Addressed the Sandusky Kiwanis Club in 1925

Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
A front-page article in the March 6, 1925 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that football genius Knute Rockne gave the address at a Sandusky Kiwanis banquet which was held at the Elks Club on March 4, 1925.  The Register article stated, “With raptor like forensic thrust and fairly bubbling with the college athlete spirit, the man who last year coached the first national collegiate football eleven in the nation’s history, gave what was unanimously declared to be the best address scholastic athletes ever heard here.” 

Sandusky City Solicitor Edmund H. Savord, a Notre Dame alumnus, introduced Knute Rockne to the crowd of two hundred fifty people. In his opening remarks, Coach Rockne recalled his summers at Cedar Point, where his boss had been J.F. Singler. Rev. William F. Murphy, who had officiated at the wedding of Knute Rockne to Bonnie Skiles, sat next to Rockne at the speaker’s table. 

According to Rockne, there were five components of success needed in football. They included brains, ambition, hard work, dependability, and proper psychology. Knute Rockne stated that the ideals of college athletes also “make for better men and better citizenship.”  In his closing remarks, Coach Rockne quoted the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Don’t foul, don’t flinch; and when you hit the line, hit hard.”   

Members of the Sandusky High School football and basketball teams attended the banquet. Each of the football players have been identified in this picture from the 1925 Fram, which covered the school year of 1924-1925.

The uniforms of the basketball players for SHS in 1924-25 were quite different from the high school uniforms we see today.

After Coach Rockne’s address, George W. Wiles led the group in singing. Sandusky High School’s “Victory” song was sung by the high school athletes first, and then sung again by all guests at the banquet. Lloyd Weninger, who wrote the words and music to the “Victory” song, was given an ovation. 


Saturday, March 02, 2019

“A Woman’s Club”

A poem titled “A Woman’s Club” appeared in the Sandusky Register on August 13, 1899. Written by Sarah Palmer, and originally appearing in the periodical Club Woman, the poem was said then to have been the best club poem ever written. The first twelve lines are:

What is a woman’s club? A meeting ground
For those of purpose great and broad and strong.
Whose aim is toward the stars: who ever long
To make the patient, listening world resound
With sweeter music, purer, nobler tones.
A place where kindly, helpful words are said
And kindlier deeds are done; where hearts are fed:
Where wealth of brain and poverty atones
And hand grasps hand, and souls find touch with soul.
Where victors in the race for fame power
Look backward even in their triumph hour,
To beckon others toward the shining goal.

Women in Sandusky and Erie County have met together informally as well as in clubs and organizations for many years. Hewson Peeke wrote about local women’s clubs in Chapter 23 of his book, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio. During the Civil War, the Ladies Aid Society of Grace Church sent food to soldiers in need. The Ladies’ Library Association of Sandusky worked diligently to raise funds for the building of a public library in Sandusky.

Members of the Benevolent Society of the First Congregational Church of Sandusky are participating in a quilting bee in the late nineteenth century in the image below.

Here is a photograph of Mrs. Charles Emrich’s Reading Club:

The Pythian Sisters decorated a car with a patriotic theme in an unidentified parade:

Five Red Cross volunteers are pictured at the corner of Wayne and Jefferson Streets during World War One.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view historic photographs and documents relating to women’s organizations in Sandusky and Erie County. Included in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are records from the Erie County Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Martha Pitkin Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Art Study Club, the Nineteenth Century Club, Business Women’s Club, United Ladies Sewing Circle, College Women’s Club, and the Catholic Women’s Study Club, and others.