Sunday, November 29, 2020

Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Alvord

Frederick Wakeman Alvord was born on September 28, 1836 in Fairfield, Connecticut. By 1850, he and his parents Elisha and Louisa Alvord had moved to Sandusky, Ohio, where his father worked as a carriage maker. On July 19, 1866, he married Caroline Sprague in Erie County, Ohio.

By 1869 F.W. Alvord was engaged in the wholesale fish business with his father. The E. Alvord & Son wholesale fish business was on the south side of Water Street east of Wayne Street in downtown Sandusky. According to proceedings from the American Fisheries Society, in 1883 Alvord & Son caught over 23 tons of whitefish, and in 1884, they caught 30 ½ tons. During this time, from 1878 to 1885, F.W. Alvord also served as Clerk of Courts in Erie County. Mr. Alvord continued in the wholesale fish business until poor health caused him to disband the business in 1898. 

Mrs. F.W. Alvord was an early member of the Board of Trustees of the Library Association of Sandusky, serving in the 1870s and 1880s. Mr. and Mrs. Alvord had three children, Katharine Sprague Alvord, Frederick E. Alvord, and Sophia Louise Alvord Gawne. Katharine Sprague Alvord served as DePauw University's first dean of women, from 1915 to 1936.

Their son, Frederick E. Alvord, along with A.J. Peters, operated the Alvord-Peters Company for many years. The Alvord & Peters Company owned and published the Sandusky Star Journal from 1904 to 1929. F.W. Alvord died in Sandusky in 1908. Mrs. Alvord survived until 1917. Both were buried in the Alvord family lot at Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Mr. and Mrs. Ben F. Allen’s Invitation to a White House Wedding


In the fall of 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Ben F. Allen were invited to the wedding of Miss Jessie Woodrow Wilson to Mr. Francis Bowes Sayre. Jessie was the daughter of President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson.

The wedding was held at the White House on November 25, 1913. It was the thirteenth White House wedding. Sadly, Mrs. Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre died at the age of 45 in 1933 due to complications after surgery.

Ben F. Allen worked as the Washington correspondent for the Plain Dealer. He was married to Erie County native Blanche Drake, the daughter of former Ohio Senator John C. Drake. Mr. Allen died in an automobile accident while he was accompanying President Wilson on a road trip. His widow Blanche later married Fred Hiltz, a partner in Uthe and Hiltz drugstore in Sandusky, Ohio. At some point, family members donated this invitation to the 1913 White House wedding.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Castalia, by Burton Frye

Born in Huron, Ohio in 1920, from the age of nine, Burton Frye lived in Castalia, Ohio with his parents Roy and Mary Frye and his older sister Bernetta. He graduated from Margaretta High School, served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and was a graduate of Miami University.  He worked in the literary field as a writer, publisher, and a book reviewer.

Most of the books Burton Frye wrote were works of poetry, although his thesis on file at Miami University Libraries was a book of short stories, titled Stories of Soldiers and Italy. On February 12, 1949, The Book Shop, at 115 West Monroe Street in Sandusky, gave an autograph party in his honor.  Mr. Frye signed copies of his book, Castalia, a book of poetry. Although he had connections to Castalia, Ohio, he titled he book Castalia for the celebrated fountain in Greece. It is said that the waters found at the Castalian Spring inspired those who drank of them with poetic power.

The first poem in Castalia reads:

Who’s afraid to turn a word 

Into a scarlet-breasted bird,

Or bounce a statement quick as light

Into the brawl of wrong and right.

In the winter of 1950 Mr. Frye lectured at several schools in Erie County. He spoke on “Ballads and Ballad Makers” and “Modern Poetry: For or Against Us.” In his presentations, Mr. Frye sang ballads in both English and Italian, and recited lyric poetry. In an article in the February 17, 1955 issue of the New Orleans State newspaper, he was described as a "troubadour," who was performing in the city during Mardi Gras season.

Burton Frye passed away June 10, 1982 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He was survived by his wife, the former Virginia Chapin. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

1932 Map of the City of Sandusky

This map of Sandusky from 1932 was featured in an Erie County Directory.

An ad for the former Caswell Auto and Machine Co., which was located on Jackson Street, advertises service to R.C.A. radios, besides storing and repairing automobiles and selling oil, gasoline, and other supplies. Individual names of railroads are labeled on the map, including the B & O, New York Central, Lake Erie & Western, and the C.C. C. and St. Louis Railroad.

There is not yet a golf course near Mills Creek, but the Woodlawn Golf Course is shown between Old Railroad and Hayes Avenue, just south of Perkins Avenue. St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Cemeteries, found on opposite sides of Mills Street, are called the “German Cemetery” and the “Irish Cemetery,” though certainly people of many different ethnic backgrounds were buried in each.

There are no Perkins or Sandusky Plazas in 1932, and the map contains considerably fewer streets than a current map of the city. A few streets that still exist had different names in the 1930s, e.g., 52nd Street was called Austin Street, and Huntington Street was also known as Roosevelt Street.

Pictured below is a photograph from the Woodlawn Golf Course, which opened in 1931. The golf course only lasted about a year, due to financial difficulties. Mel Carrier was the golf pro (third person on the right). An old ad offered customers the opportunity to “play on velvet greens.”

Pictured below are: John Rheinegger, owner, Boyd Hamrick, and Chester Bohn, greenskeeper.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Philip Buerkle, Mayor and Publisher of the Sandusky Demokrat

Philip Buerkle was born in Bergen County, New Jersey, to Mr. and Mrs. August Buerkle, who were both natives of Germany. When Philip was a young child, he moved with his family from New Jersey to Sandusky, Ohio. He learned the printing trade when in the office of the Sandusky Herald. He worked as a journeyman printer in several different cities throughout the U.S., and returned to Sandusky in 1879. Mr. Buerkle worked at the Sandusky Tribune, the Sandusky Register, and later he became president of the Sandusky Demokrat Publishing Company. In the picture below, he can be seen in the upper window of the Demokrat Publishing building on Water Street.

In 1891, he was elected Mayor of Sandusky, and he was re-elected to that office in 1893. After his service as mayor, in 1897 he formed a partnership with A.C. Lermann in the insurance and real estate business. 

Philip Buerkle died on March 26, 1926, after he suffered a stroke. An obituary which appeared in the March 26, 1926 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal read in part, “For many years Mr. Buerkle was a leading figure among those of German birth and descent in Sandusky, and was prominent in German organizations.” He was survived by his wife, the former Sophia Giedeman, and two daughters, Mrs. W. B. Moon and Mrs. Charles J. Neff, and five grandchildren. The two sons in law of Philip Buerkle were partners in the Neff-Moon Toy Company from 1923 to 1927.

To read more about the business leaders of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy, President of the College of Saint Teresa

Image of Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy courtesy College of Saint Teresa Archives, Winona, Minnesota

Mary Molloy was born in Sandusky in 1880 to Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Molloy, who were both Irish immigrants. She graduated from Sandusky High School in 1899, and during her senior year won a silver medal from the Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution for her essay on “The Causes of the American Revolution.” Mary attended the Ohio State University, earning a degree in Philosophy in 1903. She earned a Master’s Degree in English Philology from Ohio State in 1905. In 1907, Mary Molloy got her PhD from Cornell University. Her doctoral thesis was entitled “The Vocabulary of the Old English Bede.” After leaving Cornell, Mary began teaching freshmen courses at the Winona Seminary. Soon she began teaching higher level courses, and eventually became the dean of the college in 1911, which by then had become the College of St. Teresa. A brief article about Mary Molloy appeared in the August 1, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Register, which reported on several local residents whose names had been listed in the book Who’s Who in America.

In 1922 Mary Molloy entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Rochester, Minnesota, and she became a Franciscan Sister in 1923. After a fire had done serious damage to Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy’s home parish of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Sandusky, Ohio, she contributed $5000.00 to the renovation.

The generous gift was designated for two new side altars and a communion railing made from Italian marble. These gifts were given in memory of her parents. 

Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy was devoted to excellence in parochial education. In 1928, she was named president of the College of St. Teresa. She wrote several books, including: Give Us Teachers, The Parochial Schools, Catholic Colleges for Women, and The Lay Apostate. Sister Mary Aloysius was the first woman to be appointed to the executive committee of the college department of the National Catholic Educational Association. She retired from the college in July, 1946. 

On September 27, 1954, Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy died in Rochester, Minnesota at the age of 74. She was selected as an honoree of the National Women’s History Project in 2006, for her contributions to education. A biographical essay about Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy is found in the book Women of Minnesota. You can read more about Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy in a book published when Saints Peter and Paul Church celebrated its 125th Anniversary, available in the local history section in the Lower Level of the Sandusky Library. Though the College of St. Teresa is no longer in existence, Sister Mary Aloysius Molloy will long be remembered for her leadership and her contributions to parochial higher education.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Miss Jennie Lewis, Latin Teacher

A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Jennie Lewis taught Latin classes at Sandusky High School from 1907 to 1923. In 1911, Miss Lewis was also an adviser to a girls’ Bible study group in Sandusky.

In the 1930s and 40s, Miss Lewis taught Latin at Toledo Scott High School. By 1958, she had retired from teaching and was residing at Lakeside, Ohio. According to an article in the October 6, 1959 issue of the Sandusky Register, she was the speaker at a monthly meeting of the Women’s Fellowship of the First Congregational Church. She spoke about her recent trip to Africa, where she participated in two safaris. 

Miss Jennie Lewis never lost her passion for learning. While in Africa, she met and talked with Dr. Albert Schweitzer. She died on January 10, 1961, at the age of eighty, and she was buried in the family lot at the Cheshire Cemetery in Delaware County, Ohio.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Sandusky Library: 125 Years

In commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Sandusky Library, here is a "re-run" of a post on the history of libraries in Sandusky:

The public library in Sandusky can trace its roots back to 1825 (only seven years after Sandusky was founded), when a subscription library was created, called the Portland Library. F.D. Parish, one of the city's first lawyers, was the first librarian, with about 300 books under his care. This organization was succeeded around 1840 by the Sandusky Lyceum, a literary study society; the Lyceum was in turn replaced by the Philomathesian Society in 1845. 

A page from a minute book of the Philomathesian Society

In 1855, the Young Men's Library Association took over the role of public library for Sandusky, until 1870, when the Library Association of Sandusky was founded. This organization was commonly known as the "Ladies' Library Association," because the membership of its board was composed entirely of women of the community. In 1886 the Library Building Fund Association was created to raise funds for the construction of a library building. In November 1895, the Library was incorporated and became the first free public library in the community. (Membership fees were no longer charged.) Originally located in the High School, the library operated in the Masonic Temple (seen here)from 1896 until 1901, when what is now the Carnegie wing of the present library was opened. Today's Sandusky Library has served the community at its present location for over 100 years, with expanded facilities for the 21st century.

Monday, November 02, 2020

"Vote for Jackson!"

While the exact date is not known, the letter above was written from William H. Hunter to Dr. George Anderson during Andrew Jackson’s 1828 campaign for the U.S. Presidency. William H. Hunter was a Democratic member of the 25th U.S. Congress. In his letter to Dr. Anderson, he is hoping to gain support for Jackson in northern Ohio. An article in the American Heritage magazine points out that in 1828, when Jackson ran against John Quincy Adams, Ohio was considered a swing state.

A transcription of Mr. Hunter’s letter appears below:

Dear Sir,

The friends of Genl. Jackson in this place and some of the adjoining townships have thought it advisable to call a meeting of his friends for the purpose of sending delegates to Columbus on the 21st instant. I hope that you will join us and urge the necessity of all attending who are friendly to the cause and can conveniently leave home. The administration is straining every nerve to carry its points. But it must fail. It only requires moderation, union and firmness to carry the old Genl. in. And as it is necessary that Ohio should go along with the other western states let us use some little exertion to carry her along with them. So far as my information extends the friends of the Genl. are rapidly increasing. In this village where at the last election he had not above 6 notes we can calculate upon at least 40 at the next. In other parts of the county I hear almost every day of an accession to our strength.

Fail not if you please to have a notice put in the Clarion of contemplated meeting.

Yours respectfully,

W. H. Hunter

An article in the July 19, 1828 issue of the Sandusky Clarion reported about a Jackson meeting which had been held in Tiffin on July 4, 1828. However in the October 11, 1828 issue of the Sandusky Clarion was an editorial penned by a writer who called himself “Common Sense.” The writer stated, “We are called upon to bow down and worship the military idol of the south, under the seductive appellation of the Tennessee farmer, the hero of New Orleans, the compeer of Washington, the spotless patriot, … and we are denounced as knaves, aristocrats, and the enemies of our country, if we do not.”

While Andrew Jackson was not liked by everyone in the Sandusky area, he did win the election of 1828. Read more about Andrew Jackson at Ohio History Central.