Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hector Jennings, a Man of Service

Hector Jennings was born in Elmira, New York, in 1804, and died in Sandusky, Ohio on January 27, 1900. He was married to Delina Cummings in 1825. The family settled in Sandusky about 1838.

The January 29, 1900 Sandusky Register stated, “His early steps in learning's paths were taken under the guidance of his mother, who at the same time instilled a profound love for God and fellow men which gave rise to qualities of uprightness and honesty in his character which he retained through life. They were also productive of a strong love of liberty, which made him ever the champion of the oppressed and down trodden. During the days before the war his home was very often the refuge of the fugitive bondsmen.”

Mr. Jennings was an ardent foe of slavery, and he was pleased that several of his sons enlisted for service for the Union during the Civil War. He tried to enter the conflict as well, but he was barred due to his advanced age.

Through military records accessible via Ancestry Library Edition, we learned that James Jennings was a Colonel in the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. H. C. Jennings was a Corporal in the 65th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. William and Wesley B. Jennings both served in the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; William as a musician, and Wesley as a First Sergeant. The daughter of Hector Jennings, Mrs. Caroline Cady, was reported to have ministered to prisoners, and residents of the hospitals and the soldiers’ home.

Though many of his children moved away from this area, Hector Jennings, his wife Delina, son Wesley B. Jennings, and daughter Mrs. Caroline Cady are all interred in Block Two of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sandusky High School’s Centennial Reunion

The Centennial Reunion of alumni of Sandusky High School was held on May 28, 1955. Tickets to the banquet were sold for $2.00 per person.

Reunion events included a band concert on the Sandusky High School lawn at 4:00, dinner at the Junior High School at 6:15, a program at Strobel Field at 7:45, and a dance at 9 p.m. at the Junior High featuring the fourteen piece band of Jimmy Dulio. During the program at Strobel Field, several special people were introduced to the crowd.

Charles E. Frohman served as the Master of Ceremonies. Principal Wallace Glenwright and Mayor Richard Fuller both gave remarks of welcome. Former school administrators James T. Begg, Frank J. Prout, Karl E. Whinnery, and Wayne C. Blough were introduced. Retired teachers attending the reunion were Miss Lucy Carter, Miss Elsie Denham, Miss Bessie Taylor, Miss Edith Howell, Miss Berta Jackson, and Miss Marie Reiff. Superintendent Carl L. Mackey spoke to the Sandusky High School alumni, and several musical numbers were presented. Harold C. Kaufman directed the A Cappella Choir and led the choir in three songs, including “Halls of Ivy.” The combined band and choir of Sandusky High School performed the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The program ended with a musical benediction sung by the high school A Cappella Choir.

The Sandusky Register Star News of May 28, 1955 contained a special feature devoted to the Centennial Reunion.

A copy of this special edition newspaper is housed at the Sandusk y Library Archives Research Center. Included in the special feature are pictures of graduating classes, a history of the one hundred years of Sandusky High School, and brief biographical sketches of outstanding graduates of Sandusky High School. An article entitled “A Century Stream of Teaching at Sandusky High” began with this paragraph:

Tennyson’s quotation “Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever,” referred to a little flowing brook, might also be applied to the stream of education which has been flowing through Sandusky High School for the past 100 years, and which, from all indications, will flow on indefinitely.
The newspaper issue contained commemorative ads from many businesses, including this advertisement from the Ohio Bell Telephone Company.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Leo Long, Grand Army of the Republic

Oscar Long donated his father’s badge from the Grand Army of the Republic to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Leo Long was a veteran of Company E of the 186th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. In a Sandusky Register article from May 29, 1932, Leo Long recalled a battle from the Cumberland Gap in which the Union band played “Yankee Doodle” after running down the Confederate flag and replacing it with the Stars and Stripes. Mr. Long fondly recalled the Union victory on that foggy Kentucky morning during the war.

For many years Leo Long served as Commander for the McMeens Post No. 19, Grand Army of the Republic, an organization made up of Civil War Veterans. When Leo Long died on March 26, 1934, G.A.R. services were conducted for him at Oakland Cemetery. Two Civil War veterans of advanced age, Charles Cooper and Abraham Eddy, attended the funeral. Officers of the Santa Clara Camp, United Spanish War Veterans also paid tribute to Leo Long. A squad from the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home sounded taps at the gravesite of Mr. Long.

Memorial Day of 1934 was the last time the McMeens Post of the G.A.R. was active in Erie County, Ohio. An article in the May 31, 1934 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that the three remaining members of the local G.A.R. would keep the post alive inactively as long as possible, but the organization passed out of active existence at that time.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Military History of the Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry by Franklin Sawyer

During the Civil War, Franklin Sawyer was the commanding officer of the Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry from May of 1862 until the unit was mustered out. A prominent lawyer from Norwalk, he achieved the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. Mr. Sawyer wrote a book about his unit, called A Military History of the Eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. It was published in 1881 by Fairbanks and Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

A copy of this military history, donated by Hattie Bretz, is housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The book originally belonged to Hattie’s father, William Bretz, who served in Co. E of the Ohio Eighth Infantry. A reprint of this book, with additional photographs, was published by the Blue Acorn Press in 1994. This edition of Franklin Sawyer’s books is found in the Local History and Genealogy collection in Reference Services.

General Sawyer tells about the Eighth Ohio’s participation in many battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. During the Battle of Antietam, a barn on a nearby farm was used as an operating room. Wounded and dying men covered the ground around the barn. Sandusky native Horace Harper Bill, who was then with Company K, died at Antietam. In the author’s preface, Franklin Sawyer stated, “There were many individual acts of bravery and fortitude, on the part of both officers and men.”

Many men from Sandusky and Erie County were in Company E of the Ohio Eighth Volunteer Infantry. Sawyer’s book lists the names of all the officers and soldiers in each company. The unit’s chaplain, Rev. Lyman N. Freeman, had served as rector of Grace Church in Sandusky from 1845 to 1850. Zenas W. Barker, Jr., the son of the former Mayor of Sandusky, died at Oakland, Virginia on August 28, 1861. Wells W. Miller, who was a Captain in the Ohio Eighth Infantry, went on to serve as Ohio’s Secretary of Agriculture. To read many more details about the Eighth Ohio, visit the Sandusky Library to view this historic accounting of the unit.

After the war Franklin Sawyer was elected to the Ohio legislature. He died in Norwalk, Ohio on August 22, 1892. Reunions of the Veterans of the Ohio Eighth Infantry were held for several years. A reunion was held at the Dixie restaurant in Sandusky on September 18, 1922. According to the Sandusky Star Journal of August 7, 1922, four of the former soldiers of Company E of the Ohio Eighth Infantry were living in Sandusky. Their names were E.E. Warren, William Braby, Charles Chapman and Romeo Foster.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mrs. Erastus Cooke

Fannie Anderson, born in New York in 1807, was the sister of pioneer Sandusky physician Dr. George Anderson. On November 1, 1826, she married Erastus Cooke; they had three children, James, George and Emma. 

By 1829 the Erastus Cooke family was residing in Sandusky, Ohio; Mr. Cooke served as Sandusky’s postmaster from 1836-1841During the cholera epidemic of 1849Mr. Cooke died of the dreaded disease (the same illness that had earlier killed her brother, Dr. Anderson), leaving Fannie a widow with three children. Shortly after Mr. Cooke died, both of Fannie’s sons became sick with cholera, but they both survived. 

According to an undated newspaper clipping, Mrs. Fannie Anderson moved from Sandusky to Fremont in 1869. Later she moved to Saginaw, Michigan, where she resided with her daughter Mrs. William H. Mills. In 1879, Fannie Anderson Cooke passed away in Saginaw, Michigan at the home of her daughter. Her remains were brought back to Sandusky, where she was buried in Block 61 of Oakland Cemetery. An undated Memorial said about Mrs. Cooke, in part, She was identified with every good work: well may they say: She stretcheth out her hand to the poor. Yes, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy. Through many trials she came out triumphant.” 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Aerial View of Milan Road and Perkins Avenue from 1970

On May 18, 1970, photographer Thomas Root took this aerial picture of the intersection of Milan Road and Perkins Avenue. The Mr. Wiggs Food Mart was where Michael’s is now located, at 904 East Perkins Avenue. In the strip of stores just east of the Food Mart were a record store, a barber shop, beauty shop, Elaine Powers salon, the Medic Discount Center, the Top Value redemption center, and a laundromat. St. Stephens United Church of Christ can be seen just across the street from the shopping center, with its semi-circle drive in front of the church building. Lum’s Restaurant was at 2904 Milan Road, to the west of the Food Mart, where Little Caesar’s and Soba are now in business. The Sands Motel and Cocktail Lounge were across the street from Lum’s. The popular Ponderosa Steak House was at 2916 Milan Road, to the south of Lum’s Restaurant. Dan and Red’s Union 76 service station was at the southeast corner of Milan Road and Perkins Avenue, and a Sohio station was at the southwest corner of that intersection. To the north of the Food Mart was the Sandusky Monumental Company at 807 East Perkins Avenue. The Memorial Monumental Works, next door to the Sandusky Monumental Company, had an address of 2704 Milan Road. You can just barely see samples of tombstones on the lawns of both of the monument businesses.

In 1970 on Tuesdays after 4 p.m., you could buy a rib-eye steak dinner at Ponderosa Steak House for 99 cents.

This is an advertisement from Lum’s from the holiday season of 1970:

Visit the Sandusky Library to see decades of historical Sandusky city directories, which can help you to learn more about the past residents and businesses of Sandusky.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Theodore Roosevelt on the Campaign Trail in Sandusky in 1912

On May 15, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt spoke in Sandusky, Ohio while he was campaigning for president on the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party ticket. Roosevelt had already served as United States President for two terms, from 1901 to 1909, following the assassination of President William McKinley.

In this closer view, you can see TR addressing the crowd from a platform at the foot of Columbus Avenue:

According to the May 16, 1912 issue of the Sandusky Register, about 2,500 people were in the crowd. Roosevelt arrived by train in Sandusky on Wednesday morning, May 15, 1912. Ackley’s Band entertained the crowd until his arrival. The train, consisting of two Pullmans and a day coach, was due at 8:45, but did not get to town until 9 a.m. Roy H. Williams introduced Mr. Roosevelt. When Roosevelt saw veterans from the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, he addressed them as “boys” and “comrades.”

In the picture below, Theodore Roosevelt can be seen raising his hat with his typical enthusiasm:

Sandusky Mayor George T. Lehrer is seated on the left of the platform. According to the Oyster Bay Historical Society, Mr. Roosevelt’s speech in Sandusky was one of fourteen speeches he gave in Ohio in May 15.

President William Howard Taft also visited Sandusky, Ohio on May 15, 1912. President Taft spoke from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. to an enthusiastic audience at the Sandusky Theatre. The theater held 1,500 people, but it was estimated that several thousand people cheered and applauded Taft as they waited outside the theater for a glimpse of President Taft.

Though Theodore Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft campaigned vigorously in 1912, in November of 1912, Woodrow Wilson became the 28th United States President. On May 12, 2012, Gib Young portrayed Theodore Roosevelt at the foot of Columbus Avenue, re-enacting the visit of TR one hundred years after his original visit

Monday, May 11, 2020

“The Belle of Sandusky”

This advertisement for the silent film “The Belle of Sandusky” ran in the Sandusky Register on May 31, 1925. Walter Steiner directed the film, which was shot in Sandusky on May 17 and 18, 1925. The movie was shown for a week at the Star Theatre, beginning May 31, 1925. According to the Internet Movie Database, Walter Steiner also directed “The Belle of Kenosha” in 1923 and “A Romance of Seattle” in 1919.

Local residents who appeared in the film were: James A. Ryan, Mrs. Leroy Beutel, William A. Hart, Mathilda Botson, Frank Brown, Nora Richey, Walter Thorin, Evelyn Danke, Vivian Close, Paul Auxter, Fred Richey, Walter Brown, Francis LaDuke, Norman Borman, Edith Jeffrey, and Mrs. Clara Brooks. James Esposito played a “hootch hound.” At the last minute, Sergeant Al Tremper and Patrolman Henry Scherer of the Sandusky police force were added to the cast. They played policemen who were trying to catch the villains as they tried to make a getaway on the New York Central train. The Sandusky Register reported that crowds of Sandusky residents followed the crew making the film, and commented on “the seeming excellence of the cast.”

While we are not certain if the photos below are from the filming of “The Belle of Sandusky,” these pictures of three men in a 1925 Ford appear to be staged, as if for a movie.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Arthur Phinney, Educator and Lawyer

Arthur Phinney was born in Gorham, Maine on March 28, 1837 to James and Cynthia (Mosher) Phinney. He was educated at Dartmouth and Yale, graduating from Yale in 1864. His first job after graduation was with the statistical division of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. From 1867 to 1870, Mr. Phinney was the principal of Sandusky High School. It was while he was at Sandusky High School as principal that the original high school building (later Adams Junior High School) was constructed. This building served as the main high school building for Sandusky City Schools until 1957.

In Sandusky, Mr. Phinney studied law in the office of Homer Goodwin, later entering the law department of the University of Michigan. In December of 1872, he was admitted to the Ohio Bar. During his long career as a lawyer in Sandusky, Mr. Phinney was associated with several different law partners, including Judge S.F. Taylor, Judge E.B. King, U.T. Curran, and Judge A.E. Merrill.

On July 15, 1868, he married Sara E. Bell. Mr. and Mrs. Phinney had three daughters. Mrs. Sara Bell Phinney died on January 7, 1898. After the death of his wife, his health failed, and he passed away on May 21, 1899. Lengthy obituaries were carried in the Sandusky Register on May 22 and May 25, 1899. Several members of the Erie County Bar Association gave eulogies at the May 23, 1899 meeting of the Erie County Bar. Judge Linn Hull said about Mr. Phinney, “He was a man of the highest character. No one can say that Arthur Phinney ever did a dishonorable act as a man or as a lawyer. He was honorable to his brethren of the profession and always honest and sincere with the court. And what higher tribute can be paid to him than to say that in the evening of a life of 62 years – as a New England boy, as a college student, a college graduate, a teacher, a citizen and a lawyer – there is not a spot upon his character and the reputation that he has left behind.” John F. McCrystal also spoke highly of Mr. Phinney. He said in part, “Whatever he undertook her performed with all his might. He put his whole soul into whatever it was.” Arthur Phinney’s funeral took place at the family residence on May 23, 1899. He was buried at Oakland Cemetery next to his beloved wife.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Dedication of the Erie County Services Center

On Sunday, May 2, 1982, the Erie County Services Center at 2902 South Columbus Avenue was dedicated, in the former Erie County Home.

The cover of the booklet states that the Erie County Services Center was dedicated to the Boards of Erie County Commissioners who first built this sturdy structure in 1886 and who remodeled it into a valuable office building for use from 1982 forward; and to the memory of those persons who made it their home during the period from 1886 until 1976; and to the residents of Erie County for their continued use as a public building housing public offices from this day forward.

A brief history of the building was included in the dedication program.

The names of Erie County Commissioners, architects, engineers, and contractors associated with the remodeling of the Erie County Services Center appeared on the back of the dedication program.

The Erie County Services Center has been a part of Erie County history for over one hundred thirty years, and has served a wide variety of purposes in its long years of existence. To learn more about the history of Sandusky and Erie County, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Pictorial Section from The Bell in 1931

Students at St. Mary’s High School in Sandusky published a journal called The Bell (now a yearbook). A copy of the May, 1931 edition is housed in the Schools Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. At the top of the front page of the pictorial section of this issue is a picture of Rev. William C. Zierolf as well as a scene taken at dismissal time at the end of the school day. The faculty is pictured at the bottom of the page (below). From left to right are: Miss Evelyn Bing, Miss Lillian Fievet, Mr. Ramond Helmer and Miss Olga Gundlach.

Pictured below in a scene from the annual St. Mary’s High School play are: Paul Hemrick, Dorothy Riesterer, Eula Sheets, Charles LeClair, Elizabeth Donahue, Geraldine Mack and Kenneth Polta.

Individual pictures of members of the St. Mary’s 1931 graduating class are pictured on page 2. Several of the young ladies appear to have a hairstyle known as the “Marcel Wave,” which was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.