Sunday, August 01, 2021

Rollin B. Hubbard, Pioneer Citizen of Sandusky

Rollin B. Hubbard was a pioneer in the lumber industry in both Ohio and Michigan. He was born in Connecticut in 1817 to John Mills Hubbard, and his wife, the former Mabel Barnard. As a young man, Rollin made his way from Connecticut to Ohio, and he settled in Sandusky. 

In the 1840s, he purchased timber land in what is now Sanilac County, Michigan. He operated saw mills in Michigan. Later he went into business with his cousins Langdon Hubbard and Watson Hubbard. They operated R.B. Hubbard and Company, a large lumber business on the waterfront in Sandusky, Ohio. By 1886, the company had become known as R.B. Hubbard and Son. The 1886 Sanborn Map shows the lumber yard south of Water Street, between Lawrence and Fulton Streets, and the planing mill was located on the north side of Water Street.

R.B. Hubbard once served as president of the Second National Bank, and he served for several years on the Board of Education. Mr. Hubbard was very active in Grace Episcopal Church, where he served as a vestryman. Mr. Hubbard’s first wife was Anne Massey, who died in 1871; he married Dorothea Hoffman in 1881. 

Rollin B. Hubbard died on May 18, 1904, after a lengthy illness. An obituary for R.B. Hubbard, which appeared in the May 19, 1904 issue of the Sandusky Register, read in part, “A man of fine presence and bearing; a gentleman of the old school in all that means in high character and intelligence; wise in counsel, charitable in judgment; closely identified through a long and successful career with the commercial and educational interests of Sandusky, Rollin B. Hubbard has left his impress on this community and it is an impress for good.” You can read much more about the history of the Hubbard family in the book One Thousand Years of Hubbard History, compiled by Edward Warren Day (Harlan Page Hubbard, 1895) available at the Internet Archive.

R.B. Hubbard was buried next to his first wife in the Hubbard family lot at Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

"Mystery Photos" Taken by H.J. Epler

The photographs below were taken by photographer H.J. Epler in Sandusky, Ohio. Unfortunately we are not sure of the identity of these two individuals. All we know is that H. J. Epler took photographs of the men in Sandusky sometime between 1869 and 1873.

In the 1869 Sandusky City Directory, Harry J. Epler was listed as a photographer. He worked for A.C. Platt. In 1873 H.J. Epler was working on his own as a photographer. His studio was located at the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Streets in downtown Sandusky.

Erie County Probate Court records show that H.J. Epler married H. L. Agard on June 25, 1872. Helen L. Agard’s  father, Dr. Aurelius Homer Agard, was a well known physician in Sandusky, Ohio from 1856 to 1875, when he moved to California.

According to the book Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900, from 1876 to 1880, Harry J. Epler worked with Edwin J. Howard in the Akron area. By 1900, H. J. Epler was living with his wife Helen and their two children Charlotte and Don in Saratoga Springs, New York. City directories there, published in 1888 and 1892, list Harrison J. Epler as a photographer with Thomas J. Arnold in Saratoga Springs. Census, vital records, and directories have listed  H. J. Epler’s first name as Henry, Harry, or Harrison. Records from Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs indicate that Harrison J. Epler died in 1909, and his wife, Helen Agard Epler died in 1931. They are both buried in the East Hillside section of Greenridge Cemetery.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Performed at the Huron Playhouse in 1950

The play Uncle Tom’s Cabin was performed at the Huron Playhouse during its 1950 season, opening on July 26. The Huron Playhouse was founded in 1949 by Dr. Frederick G. Walsh of the Bowling Green State University’s Speech Department. Plays were performed at the McCormick Middle School in Huron, Ohio. William G. Bale directed Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Joann Herd played the character of Chloe, who opened the play with the singing of a Southern tune. Patricia Brewer played Eliza, who escapes slavery by crossing the icy river. Uncle Tom was portrayed by William Bale, who told the audience about the follies of slavery.

John Nagy was the technical director. He supervised the set construction, which included six different settings. The Sandusky Register Star News of July 27, 1950 reported that the audience was very appreciative of the actors, who gave two curtain calls. The play was based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, which greatly educated the general public about the effect that slavery had upon families. The Huron Playhouse was Ohio’s oldest continuing summer theatre when it closed permanently in 2018.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Erie County Farmers' Picnic

Here is a schedule of events at the Erie County Farmers’ Picnic held at Cedar Point on Saturday, July 23, 1892.

An account of the picnic in the July 25, 1892 Sandusky Register reported that the event was a “success in every way,” except for attendance.  Many farmers could not attend because of the late harvest, which kept many farmers at home working in the fields.  The article stated, “The programme heretofore published was fully carried out and nothing was left undone by the Cedar Point management that would add to the pleasures and comfort of those who were there to enjoy the day.” 

Musical entertainment was provided by the Great Western Band (above) and vocalist Ida Reynolds.


Charles Steen, pictured above with his wife Sarah, was the Vice-President of the Erie County Agricultural Society in 1892. Mr. Steen introduced the speakers of the day: I.F. Mack, Department Commander of the Ohio G.A.R. and General William H. Gibson, from Tiffin, Ohio.

Mr. Mack gave an address which focused on pensions for the Union Veterans of the Civil War. He indicated that the pensions for former U.S. soldiers compared favorably with the pensions given to the veteran soldiers of other countries.

When Vice President C. F. Steen introduced General William H. Gibson, of Tiffin, the crowd gave an enthusiastic ovation. General Gibson, considered an outstanding orator, was known as the “Grand Old Man of Ohio.” The Register carried a large portion of General Gibson’s speech, in which he praised the farmers of the United States. He spoke of the American wheat, corn, and cotton crops, and how wheat from the U.S. was sent to famine victims in Russia. He continued “This is a great farm and we don’t want any drones on it. I have worked ever since I was born and this is the best world I ever struck.” He encouraged the young men in the crowd to “get forty acres of land in any part of the state of Ohio” and “hang on to it.”  General Gibson concluded with patriotic remarks, stating that America was the most popular nation in Christendom, with bounteous wealth and infinite resources. 

To read the full article about the Erie County Farmers’ Picnic in 1892, visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, which houses decades of historical local newspapers on microfilm, or find the article on Newspaper Archive, a subscription service available free to Sandusky Library cardholders via our local history resource page.

 Pictured below is a picnic at Cedar Point in 1906, several years after the Erie County Farmers’ Picnic.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Paul F. Laning, Teacher and Railroad Historian

Paul F. Laning was a teacher at Sandusky High School for thirty years. He had previously worked for the Nickle Plate Railroad and taught at Kirtland, Ohio for five years. After retiring from Sandusky High School in 1968, he served as bailiff in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas for six years. Though Mr. Laning had been the head of Sandusky High’s English department, he was extremely interested in history, particularly the history of railroads. His Master’s Thesis at Ohio State University was: The History of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway in Ohio. 

Mr. Laning was a popular guest speaker for area clubs and organizations. In 1953 he unearthed an original account of the May 1838 trip of David Campbell, founder of the Sandusky Clarion newspaper, on the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, to and from Bellevue, Ohio. Campbell was amazed that the return mile trip of fifteen miles from Bellevue to Sandusky took only forty five minutes by rail (about 20 miles per hour). This story of the first commercial trip of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad appeared in the June 19, 1953 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News.

Featured in the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register and Star News, November 24, 1947, is an article about the History of Steam Railroads in Erie County, written by Mr. Laning.

He wrote that Eleutheros Cooke and other Sandusky leaders had been quite upset over Cleveland becoming the northern terminal of the Ohio and Erie Canal instead of Sandusky, but these civic leaders felt that Sandusky being chosen as a terminus for the the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad compensated for the loss of the canal. General William Henry Harrison broke ground for the railroad at the corner of Water and Meigs Streets on September 17, 1835.

The sketch map below, drawn by Mr. Laning, shows Sandusky’s Railroads and competing routes in 1854.

A rough draft of a speech Mr. Laning gave, entitled Sandusky and Cleveland: Railroad Rivals in the 1850s, is on file in the Transportation Collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Mr. Laning had a deep understanding of the history of Ohio Railroads, and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others.

Paul F. Laning died at the age on 90 on August 30, 1991. He had been a charter member and president of the Erie County Historical Society. He was also a member of the Firelands Historical Society, Ohio Historical Society, Mad River and Nickle Plate Railway Society, Erie County and Ohio Retired Teachers Associations and the Senior Men’s Fellowship Club of the YMCA.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Elmer C. Schacht, Inventor and Engineer

Elmer C. Schacht was born in Sandusky on July 24, 1896 to John and Lena (Bach) Schacht. He was a 1914 graduate of Sandusky High School, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering. (In the picture above, Elmer C. Schacht is the fourth young man on the left in the back row.)

In 1920, Elmer C. Schacht, co-authored a book with Theodore W. Gandy, entitled Direct-Current Motor and Generator Troubles: Operation and Repair. He was issued several patents during his many years with the Behr-Manning Corporation, in New York State. An article in the January 14, 1936 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Schacht's patents would revolutionize the manufacturing methods of the sandpaper industry. The process invented was known as electro-coating, and it allowed for abrasives to be deposited on the surface of papers electrically. Eventually Mr. Schacht became the president of Behr-Manning. He retired in August of 1961, after forty one years of service to the company. Mr. Schacht donated the Schacht Fine Arts Theatre and memorial garden to Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, where he had served as a trustee of the college. The Schacht lecture series at the Athens Academy in Athens, Georgia was named in his honor.

On February 1, 1986, Elmer C. Schacht passed away in Athens, Georgia, after a lengthy illness. Inurnment was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. You can read more about the life and career of Elmer C. Schacht in the February 6, 1896 and June 23, 1961 issues of the Sandusky Register, available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Popular Dainties

A 48 page booklet, Popular Dainties, was written by Mrs. Minnie Sanner of Lorain, Ohio in 1906. The booklet contained recipes for salads, relishes, garnishes, beverages and desserts. The same publication was given away by churches, clubs, and civic groups, but the individual organizations could put in their own advertising pages. The Sandusky edition of Popular Dainties contained advertisements from Sandusky area businesses.

Page 6 features several recipes with fruit and vegetables.

Recipes for several varieties of egg salad are found on page 14.

Notice the ad for expensive shoes at the bottom of the page. A $3.50 pair of shoes was the equivalent of $100 today. 

Instructions for how to make India Vinegar and French Fondant are found on page 34.

The last three pages of Popular Dainties were devoted to suggestions for church suppers, including several Mexican and Asian dishes.

You can read the Carson City, Nevada version of Popular Dainties at the Internet Archive.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Jennie Lincoln in the Civil War


Photo credit: Jennie Lincoln at about age 12; from Pierson Family Papers, 1821-1996
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

The name of Miss Jennie E. Lincoln appeared several times in the Sandusky Register in 1863 and 1864. She served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Relief Society. The Relief Society gathered donations of food and money, to provide aid to Civil War soldiers, as well as to the families on the home front.

An article which appeared in the December 1, 1863 issue of the Sandusky Register reported on donations of food and money which were collected from the residents of Sandusky, Perkins Township, Castalia, Oxford Township, Kelleys Island and Put in Bay. One hundred six families, including three families of color, were provided food from the generous donations of local residents. All the families to whom food was given had either a son or husband who was in military service for the Union.  A portion of the article appears below:

In January of 1864, several soldiers from the 122nd New York Volunteer Infantry arrived in Ohio, where they would become guards at the Confederate Prison at Johnson’s Island.

Some of the citizens of Sandusky housed the soldiers from New York. The Relief Society prepared a banquet for the soldiers. Captain Lucius Abel Dillingham, of Company I of the New York 122nd Volunteers, fell in love with the secretary of the Relief Society, Jennie Lincoln.

Capt. Lucius Abel Dillingham
Photo Credit: Archives of Michigan 

 Lucius A. Dillingham and Jennie E. Lincoln were wed in Sandusky, Ohio, in November, 1865, after the close of the Civil War. By 1880, Mr. and Mrs. Dillingham resided in Coldwater Michigan with their daughter Clara. Clara Dillingham, later Mrs. John Pierson, became well known as the author of several children’s books.

Capt. Lucius Abel Dillingham died in Stanton, Michigan in 1911, and his wife Jennie passed away in 1916. Both are buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Stanton, Michigan.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Jay Hoehlein, Great War Veteran and Photographer


Jay Lawrence Hoehlein, who served as a Sergeant during World War I, was born in Sandusky, Ohio on April 16, 1889 to Lawrence and Jessie Hoehlein. (The Social Security Death Index reported his birth year as 1888.)  During his military service, he worked in the photo laboratory for the Signal Corps in Washington D.C.

Here is a picture of Jay’s fourth grade class of the Ninth Ward School (later known as Monroe School) in 1897:

He is seated directly behind the young ladies who are labeled numbers 6 and 7:

After living in Kentucky for several years, Jay and his wife Katherine moved back to Sandusky, Ohio. From 1935 until his retirement in 1979, he operated a photographic studio in Sandusky, starting out at 234 West Market Street, and later moving to Central Avenue. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, his photography studio was at 502 West Monroe Street.

On June 11, 1935, he took this picture for the Third National Exchange Bank on West Market Street in downtown Sandusky.

In the summer of 1935, he took pictures of Miss Helen Koppenhafer and Paul Mayberry, both of Norwalk, as they got married aboard the steamer Chippewa. The beautiful bride pictured below, Lucille Holtz Moosbrugger, was photographed in 1938.

An article in the July 8, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that Mr. Hoehlein had the largest and most modern studio in Sandusky, and was equipped to handle all kinds of photography. The article ended with: “Hoehlein’s ideal is to render the greatest possible service at a price which will be entirely satisfactory.”   

On September 18, 1984, Jay L. Hoehlein passed away at the age of 96. He had been a member of Grace Episcopal Church and the American Legion Post 83. He was buried next to his wife, the former Katherine Horne, at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Peter P. Ferry, First Collector of Customs in Sandusky

Peter P. Ferry was the first Collector of Customs in the port of Sandusky. Mr. Ferry had been born in Marseilles, France, and he fought under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte during several campaigns. He emigrated to the United States in 1802, where he married Ann Lloyd Jones, a native of England.  Birth dates of Peter Ferry’s children, recorded in History of Monroe County, by Talcott Enoch Wing, indicate that the Ferry family lived in the Sandusky Bay area between 1816 and 1822. Ferry collected customs at both the port of Danbury and the port of Sandusky. Mrs. Malcolm Kelly donated these early documents signed by Mr. Ferry to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center

On December 1, 1817, Ferry requested the removal of the Schooner Elizabeth to a safe place for the winter months. He stated he would provide refreshments and pay for the labor of those who completed the task.

On July 15, 1820, he requested the attendance of Truman Pettibone at a Court of Enquiry at Sandusky to ascertain the value of the cargo of the Schooner Huron.

In 1822 Ferry and his family moved to Monroe, Michigan, where he was a justice of the peace, a school teacher, and served for several terms as Monroe County Treasurer. While justice of the peace, he often sentenced offenders to be lashed at a public whipping post. His son Elisha P. Ferry moved west, and served as Governor of the state of Washington from 1872 to 1880. Peter P. Ferry died in May, 1845, and he was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Monroe, Michigan.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Postcards of Downtown Sandusky in the 1950s


Above is a postcard from the Rich-Holt Company created in the 1950s. The view is looking north on Columbus Avenue towards Sandusky Bay.  At that time State Route 12 was routed to the city of Sandusky, but now the eastern terminus of State Route 12 is at State Route 53 in Sandusky County. You can see the signs for the Lasalle’s store, J.C. Penney and the Manhattan Clothing Co. The State Theatre is barely visible in the distance, on the 100 block of Columbus Avenue. Note the classic red and blue mailbox on the corner of Washington Row and Columbus Avenue, next to the Western Security Bank. 

In the Rich-Holt postcard below, the bodies of several vehicles are in shades of red and teal.

When shoppers went to downtown Sandusky in the 1950s, the ladies almost always wore skirts or dresses, and sometimes even hats and gloves. Do you have fond memories of shopping in downtown Sandusky?

Here is a George Canalos postcard with the view looking to the south:


The marquee of the State Theatre indicates that the featured films were “Never Steal Anything Small” with James Cagney and Shirley Jones, and a second movie entitled “Silent Enemy.”  

Visitors to Cedar Point could catch a ferry at the foot of Columbus Avenue at Shoreline Drive. For many years, the Boeckling building, on the left in the image, was used as an administration building for the Cedar Point company.

And we can't leave downtown Sandusky in the 1950s without checking out the flowers in Washington Park, next to the Boy with the Boot. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The All American: Newsletters from the American Crayon Company

Seventeen issues of The All American newsletters from the American Crayon Company are housed in the business collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The newsletters covered company news, information about the managers and employees of the company, photographs, poems, and travel articles. This item from the June 1922 issue paid tribute to the company president, L.L. Curtis, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.

George Koch described the Art Department of the Kroma division of the American Crayon Company in the July 1925 issue. He stated that the view from his office, which faced Sandusky Bay, often gave him inspiration for his work. The employees in the Art Department created cover designs for the various styles and sizes of products.

In this article by C.W. Hord, who was with the American Crayon’s sales department for many years, he describes the process by which “Old Faithful” was chosen as a trademark for the company.

Though the American Crayon company is no longer in operation, for decades the company provided jobs locally and in other states for hundreds of individuals. To view the historic newsletters, which range in date from 1921 through 1925, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Sophomore Literary Class, 1894-1897

Longtime Sandusky High School teacher Jean Beis donated the secretary’s book of the Sophomore Literary Class. The ledger contains the club’s constitution, by-laws, and minutes, from September 10, 1894 to May 3, 1897. Members of the club wrote essays which they shared with members at the club’s meetings. In the fall of 1894, Horton Force was the president of the organization. Horton was the son of Manning Force, the first commandant of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home.

In the fall of 1895 Arthur B. Court served as secretary of the Sophomore Literary Class. His signature was distinctive.

A thought provoking essay by Miss MacAaron was entitled “The Use of Bad Language” at the meeting of the Sophomore Literary Class of October 28, 1895.

Several essays were presented at the May 25, 1896 meeting, including A Trip to the Sun on a Bicycle, A Row to Cedar Point, and 1921 or the New Women.  It is interesting to see how young people spent their leisure time in an era long ago. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this unique ledger book from Sandusky High School students of the 1890s.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Thoughts Preserved in a Scrapbook by M.F. Cowdery

A large scrapbook that once belonged to prominent Sanduskian M.F. Cowdery is preserved at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The scrapbook contains a compilation of biographical sketches, engravings, poems, and religious passages, many from newspapers. Some entries are patriotic and others are written from an abolitionist perspective. Many articles and poems are sentimental in nature, bringing to mind thoughts of home and family. Below is a portion of a tribute to Dean Richmond, a former New York Central Railroad official who died in 1866.


Echoes is a poem written by Marian Ross, and originally appeared in a New York newspaper in October of 1866.

The tribute to General James McPherson, a native of Clyde, Ohio who died during the siege of Atlanta in the Civil War, was first published in the Memphis Avalanche. The article points out that General McPherson had been brave and gallant, even though it was written by someone from the South.

This poem was dedicated to “the cause of truth by Datus Kelley and his wife” by Mrs. Frances D. Gage on October 23, 1861. Kelley was the namesake for Kelleys Island, where he acquired and developed land, and lived from 1836 to his death in 1866.

Marcellus F. Cowdery was superintendent of schools for Sandusky City Schools in the 1860s.

He was also associated with the Western School Supply Company, which was a forerunner of the American Crayon Company. It is interesting to see what types of articles were important to an early educator in our community in the nineteenth century.