Saturday, February 29, 2020

“Midsummer Eve” at Monroe School in 1916

An article in the January 28, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that every student in Monroe School was assigned to play a part in the musical, Midsummer Eve, to be performed at the auditorium of the Sandusky High School auditorium. In the play, the main character Dorothy, played by Dorothy Wiegel, visits the toy department of a large department store, and then has a dream about an imaginary land of dolls. Dorothy gets lost, and is rescued by elves. In the dream she becomes a fairy, and is involved in the Fairy Court.

A nine piece orchestra provided music for the play, under the direction of Harold Foster. George F. Anderson did the orchestration for Act Two. Many children of local Sandusky residents took part in Midsummer Eve, including the two children of James Begg, James T. Begg, Jr. and Eleanor Begg.  James T. Begg was the superintendent of Sandusky City Schools from 1913 – 1917, and served as a Representative in the United States Congress from 1919 to 1929. Elmer Frank, who played an elf in the school play, later studied music in Europe and founded the Sandusky Choral Society. The son of prominent Sandusky businessman, J.J. Dauch, Wade Dauch, also played an elf in “Midsummer Eve.”

According to Ellie Damm’s book, Treasure by the Bay, Monroe School, also known as the Ninth Ward School, was built in 1894 by George Feick, and served students in the north central section of Sandusky. Until Jackson Junior High was built, grades one through eight attended Monroe School.

Midsummer Eve was so popular at its first performance on February 29, 1916, that another performance was given on March 6. Later in the month, Monroe School students performed scenes from the play at the assembly hall of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in Sandusky, along with several patriotic musical numbers.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Job Fish Taught School in Erie County for 53 Years

Job Fish was born in Niagara County, New York, in 1828, to Elias Fish and the former Betsy Van Wagner. He traced his Quaker ancestors back to Thomas Fish, who resided in Rhode Island in the 1640s. Elias Fish and his family moved to Geauga County, Ohio in 1843, where Job attended the local schools. Two of his teachers were Joseph W. Gray, the founder of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and his older brother Charles Fish, an attorney in Cleveland. 

The young Job Fish worked as a driver on the towpath of the Erie Canal in the summer of 1843. He attended the Western Reserve Seminary in 1845 and 1846, and Dr. Lord’s school in Kirtland in 1846 and 1847. Later he studied law at the law office of his brother Charles. When he was 17, he started his own debating school. In 1848 and 1849, Fish began giving lectures in various towns in northern Ohio. He settled in Erie County in 1854, and he taught in the county for over fifty years. 

Hewson Peeke provided a listing of the schools where Job Fish taught in his book A Standard History of Erie County (Lewis Publishing Co., 1916.)

Mr. Fish also conducted sessions for the training of teachers.

An article about Job Fish in the Firelands Pioneer began with the sentence, “No one has exercised in Erie County a larger influence as a teacher than the venerable Job Fish.” The author said of Mr. Fish, “All his life his greatest interest has been in human beings. His heart went out to each and every one of his pupils: and so manifestly genuine was his desire to help them make the utmost of themselves that all their natural timidity and reserve vanished, and they freely and unconsciously unfolded to him their better natures, which were thus in the most favorable condition for development.” Mr. Fish never had to resort to punishment, threat, or exhortation. Dozens of students made Mr. Fish their confidante and counselor. Job Fish could speak in nine different languages, and he learned how to read French, German, Spanish and Dutch after he was fifty years old. 

On February 27, 1923, Job Fish died in Illinois at the age of 95. His wife had passed away in 1904. He was survived by three sons and three daughters. He was buried at the Shadyside Cemetery in Auburn Corners, Geauga County, Ohio.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Bonnie Schwerer Danced and Whistled Her Way to Fame

An article in the Sandusky Register of July 2, 1965 said about Bonnie Schwerer, “People who resided in Sandusky prior to 1950 probably remember the former Bonnie Schwerer as the girl who danced and whistled her way to fame with the late Ted Weems Orchestra.” Bonnie Schwerer grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, and she took dance lessons at the Kay Lutes studio, once located in the building at the intersection of Monroe, Elm, and Hancock Streets.

In the 1950 Bonnie Schwerer, who used the stage name Bonnie Ann Shaw, appeared as a featured singer and whistler with the Ted Weems Orchestra. She is pictured below as a young woman in a photo taken by the Torow Studio.

Bonnie married and had three daughters. Following a divorce, she moved back to Sandusky to look after her parents. Bonnie Schwerer Moran died in 2003, after a battle with lung cancer. She was fondly remembered by those who had known her so well in her hometown of Sandusky. Obituaries for Bonnie Moran appeared in the Toledo Blade on May 11, 2003, and in the Sandusky Register on May 10, 2003. 

In the picture below, a young Bonnie Schwerer is pictured with fellow musician Rosemary Schultz, and an unidentified young woman.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

D. C. Richmond’s Justice of the Peace Docket, Perkins Township

Former Sandusky Library Board member, Mrs. Sakie Merz, donated her grandfather’s Justice of the Peace Docket to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library. The entries were recorded in the 1840s in Perkins Township of Erie County.

The first entry, dated November 18, 1844 was an assault and battery case. Horace J. Bell took an oath and stated that Thomas McGee unlawfully assaulted him. At first Mr. McGee pleaded Not Guilty, but later he pleaded Guilty and was fined six dollars.

The docket contains several other assault and battery cases, as well as cases dealing with perjury, attempted rape, and cases involving goods and chattel. Many lists of witnesses and bail payments are also on record in the Docket.

Half of the Mr. Richmond’s ledger contains the Minutes of the Proceedings of the 4th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 11th Division of the Ohio Militia, from 1838 through 1843.

Below is a page from the Militia Minutes which shows that William D. Lindsley was chosen to be the Colonel of the Militia, and H. J. Carpender selected as Lieutenant Colonel, on January 12, 1839.

David Chester Richmond was born in Connecticut on January 21, 1815. He moved to Erie County, Ohio in 1837, and married Sarah Burr in 1838. He died on February 17, 1888. Mr. Richmond was active in the Ohio State Board of Agriculture and the State Horticultural Society. He served in the Ohio General Assembly from 1872-1876. The Cyclopedia of American Horticulture concludes its biographical sketch about D. C. Richmond with this statement:  “Colonel Richmond was a conspicuous example of the influence which a man of ability and enthusiasm may exert in the uplifting of agricultural conditions in his neighborhood and in the states.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

Charles P. Caldwell's Farewell Poem

On page 11 of the 1924 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library is the final farewell of Charles P. Caldwell to his family and friends. Mr. Caldwell was a veteran journalist who worked for the Sandusky Register for several years. He was born in Bristol, Ohio in 1852, and attended Hiram College when James A. Garfield was on the faculty. After working on newspapers in Warren and Cleveland, he came to Sandusky in 1872, to work under I.F. Mack at the Sandusky Register

In his early years at the Register, Mr. Caldwell was reporter, local news editor, telegraph editor and proofreader, all at the same time. While at the Register he met many well-known people, including James Blaine, William McKinley, Senators Foracker and Sherman, President R.B. Hayes, Governor Charles Foster, Jay Cooke, and Andrew Carnegie. Two of his earliest stories at the Sandusky Register were the notorious lynching of William Taylor in 1878 and the 1882 American Eagle disaster. In 1892, Mr. Caldwell was appointed Deputy Collector of Customs. He continued to work in the Customs office until 1919, when he was transferred to Dayton. He retired in 1922, and moved back to Sandusky, where he resided until his death on February 10, 1924. 

 After Mr. Caldwell died, a poem was found in his pocket, which he had written on July 4, 1922. He asked that the poem by printed in the Sandusky Register after his death. The poem read:

By Chas. P. Caldwell

It is a solemn thought as death draws near
That I must part from those I hold most dear.
‘Tis certain when I came upon this earth
I had no choice whatever as to birth,
And, likewise, to my last expiring breath,
I’ll helpless be to stay the hand of Death,
For He who gave us life alone controls
The destinies of our immortal souls.
Death is the common end of all mankind,
And to that fate ‘tis best to be resigned.
So live that when the end of life draws nigh
You’ll not be stricken with the fear to die.

The light grows dim! Shades of eternal night
Foretell my soul is soon to take its flight;
And ere these final parting lines are read
The writer will be numbered with the dead.
Life will have vanished like a passing dream,
And left Death’s awful hush to reign supreme-
When all that’s mortal to my grave descends,
‘Twill be a mute farewell to kin and friends.
The rains and snows will beat upon my tomb;
The brightest sun cannot dispel its gloom.
When in the darkness of unending night,
I lie at rest, obscured from human sight,
I hope that you may sometimes be inclined
To hold a friendly thought of me in mind.

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Victorian-Era Valentine

This ornate card is housed in the historical collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. It is decorated with flowers and lace, which is typical of the Victorian era. Inside the card is a verse that reads:

Return My Love
Love is dangerous, they say;
But what am I to do-
When you and I met the other day,
I fell in love with you.

But if you will return my love,
I don’t mind what they say;
Our vows will be registered above-
So name the happy day.

The card was sent to Miss Capitola E. Rockwell of Prout’s Station, Erie County, Ohio. The small envelope is embossed with a floral design. The one-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp was first issued in 1870.

By searching the name of Capitola Rockwell in the FamilySearch database, we learn that she married Charles O. Merry in Erie County, Ohio, on April 3, 1879.  Their marriage license was filed at Probate Court of the Erie County Courthouse.

Charles and Capitola Merry were married for sixty-five years. They had four children, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. You can read much more about both Charles and Capitola Merry on pages 1051-1053 of Hewson Peeke’s book A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio (Lewis Publishing Company, 1916.)  The lovely card which was sent to Capitola before she wed was not signed, so we do not know if it was sent by her future husband or by another suitor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Movietone’s Presentation of “Mother Knows Best”

In 1929, the Movietone movie, Mother Knows Best, played at Schine’s State Theater in Sandusky on February 7, 8, and 9. The movie was based on Edna Ferber’s novel of the same name. In the film, Madge Bellamy portrayed actress Sally Quail, whose professional and personal was being dominated by her mother. Many critics felt that the film was loosely based on the life of actress Elsie Janis. The movie was part a silent movie, but it did have some scenes in which the characters spoke.

Advertisements for Mother Knows Best appeared in both the Sandusky Register and Sandusky Star Journal. Both papers featured a contest in which pieces of a puzzle could be put together to form a scene from the movie. The first 25 people to solve the puzzle correctly would win two tickets to the movie.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Boy Scouts Celebrated Twelfth Anniversary in 1922

An article,“Whole Nation Celebrates Scout Birthday,” appeared in the February 8, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, reporting on the anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Sandusky celebrated along with the rest of the U.S. 

To mark this twelfth birthday, Sandusky scouts took a hike to the Plum Brook Country Club. The photograph above shows the Scouts and their leaders on the steps of Sandusky High School, just before they left for the anniversary hike. Some of the boys are holding their sack lunches. In the Register article, Paul R. Savanack, the Scout executive for Sandusky said, “The normal boy has over 3000 hours of unorganized time on his hands in a year to use as he thinks best. That is the reason the scout work is filling such a place in the lives of the boys from 12 to 20 years.” 

In 1922 there were twelve local scout troops in Sandusky, with over 200 members. Dr. Charles E. Stroud had started the first Sandusky Boy Scout troop in December 1910.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

The Sandusky Booster

Albert B. Pierpont owned and operated Pierpont Advertising Service, at 605 E. Washington Street in Sandusky, Ohio. Pierpont Advertising was the publisher of The Sandusky Booster from about 1927 to 1942. The publication’s purpose, as told in its masthead, was to “Boost Sandusky by Patronizing Sandusky Store Owners.”  A microfilmed copy of The Sandusky Booster from February 7, 1930 is available at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The publication stated that it provided economical advertising for Sandusky merchants, who offered values for Sandusky housewives. 

Ebertshauser’s Grocery, at Decatur and Jefferson Streets, advertised fancy roasted Alaskan reindeer meat, and Lusitania Portugal sardines. A haircut at Patterson’s cost thirty five cents, and a marcel wave was fifty cents. John G. Heyman, a local coal dealer, ran two advertisements in The Sandusky Booster, and stated that “I can make it hot for you!”  The Citizens Banking Company promised safety, courtesy, promptness, and cheerfulness. The Pelican and Martin’s Confectionery sold a variety of sweet treats just in time for Valentine’s Day. Silk stockings were a popular item sold by the Kugel Brothers store “on the Avenue.”

Here are a few more advertisements from Sandusky businesses in 1930:

The prices of groceries and lunches were very reasonable in 1930. Mulheran’s Restaurant at the Sloane House featured a thirty five cent lunch plate and a fifty cent dinner (about $7.50 in today's money).

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, to view The Sandusky Booster as well as several decades of the Sandusky Register and other local newspapers, dating back to 1822.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Sandusky’s 14th Semi-Annual Hancock Street Sale in 1925

From February 3 to February 14, 1925, a sale was held by several merchants whose businesses were located on Hancock Street in Sandusky.  A large advertisement which appeared in the February 1, 1925 issue of the Sandusky Register stated, “The Whole Street Ablaze with Bargains – Come, Get your Share.” In the 1920s, the H and S Modern Baking Company (maker of Betsy Ross Bread) had their main bakery at 625 Hancock Street, with another retail store located on Columbus Avenue. At that time, baked goods from the bakery were still transported by horse and wagon.

L.A. Biehl, who had a drug store at the northwest corner of Monroe and Hancock Streets, sold valentines for one cent, and advertised Crane’s candies during the February sale. Shoppers could get to Hancock Street easily via the streetcar, which ran down Hancock Street.

Image circa 1900
The many ads in the Sandusky Register for the Hancock Street Sale were indicative of a different era. Lange’s Grocery still made home deliveries, and the Hoffman Coal Company served the many Sandusky residents who heated their homes and businesses with coal. Al O. Pietschman sold button hooks and shoe horns for one cent each. Pusch’s and the Parrot Art Shoppe both sold ladies’ bloomers, along with many other products at their stores.

Browsing through historical newspapers can provide hours of learning and entertainment, as one notices how some things change over time, yet some things remain the same. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view local newspapers dating back to 1822, available on microfilm and online.