Sunday, May 16, 2021

Isaac Curtis Brewer III and IV

A portrait of Isaac Curtis Brewer III is among the many photographs taken by Willard A. Bishop of prominent Sandusky men from the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. This Mr. Brewer was the husband of the former Sarah Morton, and was well known as a civil engineer. He was born in Massachusetts in 1824, but moved to Conneaut, Ohio by 1870. In 1872 he bought a home in Sandusky, at 519 Huron Avenue. From 1864 to 1887, he worked for the Lake Shore Railroad. Mr. Brewer died on June 5, 1896, and he was buried in Conneaut, Ohio following Masonic services. 

Isaac Curtis Brewer IV was born on January 29, 1868. The younger Mr. Brewer worked as an assistant engineer in the city engineer’s office, but by 1900, he was the superintendent of the Jarecki Chemical Company, which made fertilizer from the byproducts of fish. Isaac C. Brewer IV is pictured below, with other employees of the Jarecki Chemical Company, next to a load of fish. He is the second man from the right.

The first marriage of Isaac Curtis Brewer IV, to Annette Fitch, ended in divorce. Following the divorce, Annette Fitch Brewer left Sandusky with her young son, Isaac Curtis Brewer V. She wrote a book chronicling her cross country adventure, as well as the child custody dispute. By 1920 Isaac Curtis Brewer, IV had married Martha Anthony. 

On June 29, 1933, I.C. Brewer IV fell to his death in Sandusky Bay, near Battery Park. Dr. John Yochem reported that Mr. Brewer, who had a history of heart trouble, had either suffered a stroke and fell into the bay, or possibly he had slipped and fallen into the bay to his death. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Charles J. Andres Sons' Funeral Home, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery

A page from the Brewer family Bible, now in the collections of the Sandusky History Archives Research Center lists the birth of Isaac Curtis Brewer V as August 14, 1899 in Ashtabula, Ohio. He attended college at Kenyon College, and served in the U.S. Army during World War I, he later married and moved to Iowa.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Jacob Hemminger Saloon Building

The building at 333 West Market Street, where the Now and Then Shoppe was located, was originally the site of Jacob Hemminger’s saloon. The Ohio Historic Places Dictionary states that the building was constructed between 1884 and 1886, and was built in the High Victorian style. Decorative brackets are visible along the top of the structure, and decorative trim adorns the tops of the windows.

When Jacob Hemminger ran his saloon, he rented rooms out on the upper floor. The saloon was popular with Sandusky residents of German descent, and it served wines and beers that were produced locally. 

A typical saloon in the 19th century, this one at an unknown location on Market Street

In the 1910s and 1920s, the Erie Hotel was in this building. Other hotels at this site were the Starbird Hotel and the Paris Hotel. Businesses later in the twentieth century at 333 West Market Street included Brinnon’s Paint store, Bernie’s Paint and Wallpaper, and the Worth-More Furniture store. 

For more information on the historic architecture of Sandusky, see Ellie Damm’s book Treasure by the Bay.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Sketches in Europe, by George Feick, Jr.

George Feick, Jr. was a member of a long line of architects and builders in his family, spending much of his career in the family firm, the George Feick and Sons Company. According to his obituary in the November 30, 1945 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, he spent a year in Europe and the Near East studying building designs following his graduation from the Cornell University School of Architecture. A book of his architectural sketches is in the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. 

Dated in 1906 (when he was about 25 years old), the sketch book features drawings created while he visited Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and several other locations.

To learn more about the Feick family, see Building America: A History of the Family Feick, by Anita Gundlach Feick,  in the Family Histories collection of the Sandusky Library.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Cholera Cemetery Headstones

Have you ever wondered why there are only three headstones in the Cholera Cemetery? It has been something that has bothered me since my first visit to that cemetery. In preparation for an upcoming program, I decided to dig into this question, and the real answer was strange and just raised more questions. Just as a refresher, the largest outbreak of cholera here in Sandusky was 1849. All of those who died, 382 people, were buried in what is now called the cholera cemetery. This cemetery did exist before the outbreak, but after the cholera epidemic it was mainly thought of as the cholera cemetery. Shortly after the outbreak was over, the cemetery was abandoned, and Oakland Cemetery became the new city cemetery. Once Oakland Cemetery was opened, the cholera cemetery fell into disrepair and was not maintained.  

Now, fast-forward to December of 1893. The Sandusky Register runs an article about the Cholera Cemetery. It states that the headstones are stacked in the corners of the cemetery and the cemetery itself has been plowed for planting crops, and pigs may have been butchered in one corner. This caused an uproar in the community. The Sandusky City Council formed a committee to investigate what happened. In less than a month this special committee reports to the City Council. They find that the head of the Cemetery Committee, Voltaire Scott, paid a Peter Cann to move all the headstones from the Cholera Cemetery to Oakland Cemetery. Cann was paid $25.00 to move the headstones (about $733 today). It seems that Scott asked each member of the Cemetery Committee if they would agree to having the headstones moved to Oakland Cemetery. While each member of the committee did agree to this, there was never formal vote at either a Cemetery Committee Meeting or a City Council meeting. It also seems that Scott never checked to see if the headstones were moved. This resulted in the stacked headstones as described in the Register article. Scott, after only consulting with one committee member, leased out the land to be farmed by a local farmer. It is interesting to note that Scott was invited to be interviewed as part of the special committee’s investigation to this but decided not to show up.


Once all of this comes out, the City Council decides to act! First, they hold a vote that the headstones should be replaced in the cemetery at the expense 
of Voltaire Scott. This vote fails by a small margin. There is never another vote to move the headstones back to the Cholera Cemetery. Next, a motion is made to impeach Scott since all his actions were done without authority by the City Council and made those acts illegal. This motion is tabled to be brought up another time but as far as my research goes, Scott was never impeached or punished for his actions in anyway. Finally, the City Council votes to build a fence around the cemetery and put up a monument to honor those who died during the first cholera outbreak. This project will be funded by selling off land that is technically part of the Cholera Cemetery. I can find no record of the city ever selling land that was connected to the cemetery. An iron fence was built sometime before 1924 but I was unable to find out when that fence was built. The current monument in the cemetery was built in 1924 and funded by private donations.  

Of course, none of these answers the question where are the headstones from the cemetery? The short answer is, who knows! I was able to track down about a dozen of the headstones that are now in Oakland Cemetery. The rest are, unfortunately, lost to history. There may be something in the old legend that they were broken up and used in paving projects around town. Sandusky was doing some major road work in 1894 and those headstones would make good gravel. It also raises the question, where did the three headstones that are currently in the Cholera Cemetery come from. Are they originals that made their way back into the cemetery or were they put there later? If they are the original, how did they get back in the cemetery? If put in later, then who put them there? As I said in the beginning, the story of the missing headstones is strange and raises many more questions that will probably never be answered. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Mr. and Mrs. John Hauser

John Hauser was born on December 4, 1826 in Wuerttemberg, Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1847. In 1855 he married Margaret Schmidt, a native of Bosenbach, Germany; though Margaret was not yet age eighteen, her mother gave written permission for the couple to be married. Below is a portrait of Margaret Schmidt Hauser in her later years.

Henry Hauser, their first child, died in infancy.  The Hausers had five more children, three sons and two daughters. 

John Hauser was a painter by occupation. He worked as a master painter for the Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railway (later merged with the Baltimore and Ohio) and the Mad River Railway, which became a part of the Big Four. During the Civil War, he served with Company B of the 145th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. When he wasn’t working, several hobbies kept him busy: he was quite fond of music and drama, and he was associated with German theatricals in Sandusky for several years. Additionally, he was an avid hunter and an enthusiastic botanist. He also was known as an expert in the repair of stringed instruments. 

On February 23, 1900, John Hauser passed away at the age of 73. Funeral services were held at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Emma Wirth, on Market Street. Burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Mrs. Margaret Hauser died on December 22, 1901 in Sandusky. She was survived by five children. An obituary in the December 23, 1901 issue of the Sandusky Register stated about Mrs. Hauser, “The deceased was a highly respected citizen of this city and her death came as a shock to all who knew her.” 

Two of the grandchildren of John and Margaret Hauser were well known in academic circles. Dr. Norbert Lange was a chemistry professor at Western Reserve University, who is known for writing the classic text Handbook of Chemistry (now in its 17th edition). Dr. Lange and his wife were the benefactors for The Norbert A. and Marion Cleaveland Lange Trust of Sandusky Library, which has provided cultural and educational programs for Erie County residents for over twenty-five years. 

Norbert Lange’s cousin, Dr. Elmer H. Wirth, was a professor at the University of Illinois from 1922 through 1947, serving as Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy for several years. He was the author of seven books and more than 300 articles on pharmacy.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Israel Cook, Postmaster at Four Corners

Israel Cook was appointed Postmaster at Four Corners on January 25, 1831, by William T. Barry, then the Postmaster General of the United States of America. Four Corners was the name of the community now known as North Monroeville, located close to the intersection of State Routes 99 and 113 in Huron County, Ohio.

Israel Cook was a son of Asaph and Thankful Parker Cook. He was a brother to Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky’s first lawyer. (Some family members spelled their surname Cook, and others spelled the name Cooke.) Israel Cook was born on December 4, 1801. He moved with his family to Huron County in 1818, and he died on January 28, 1854.

The tombstone of Israel Cook is pictured below, between that of his father, Asaph Cook, and his sister, Sarah Cook Farwell, the wife of former Sandusky Mayor Moors Farwell. They are buried at the North Monroeville Cemetery.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sandusky Boat and Equipment Show in 1940

From April 26 to April 28, 1940 the Sandusky Boat and Equipment Show, sponsored by the Sandusky Sailing Club, was held at the Sandusky Junior High School (later known as Jackson Junior High.)

The Boat and Equipment Show ran from Friday through Sunday. Model sail yacht races were held in the swimming pool, as well as demonstrations of life saving and artificial resuscitation. Movies were shown in Room One.  Meetings of the I.L.Y.A. (Inter-Lake Yachting Association) and I.L.S.C. (possibly the Interlake Sailing Class Association) were held during the weekend. The Boat and Equipment Show had over fifty exhibitors, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Lyman Boat Works, Darst Works, Sandusky Boat Works, Worthy R. Brown, Inc., and several other companies from Sandusky, Toledo, Cleveland and Detroit. Music was provided by the Sandusky High School Orchestra and Mr. Aldrich’s High School Band Quartet known as the “Singing Sailors.”  On Sunday evening at 8 p.m. a Dutch folk dancing group from Holland, Michigan performed in the closing ceremonies. The eight young ladies were led by their instructor Miss Mabel Apel, the daughter of Sandusky City Commissioner George J. Apel. 

An article in the Sandusky Star Journal on April 29, 1940, reported that total attendance for the Sandusky Boat and Equipment Show was 4,000 over the three-day event. Many local businesses advertised in the program for the Boat Show, including Maus Shoes, who sold a shoe called the Yachtshu which claimed to be slip proof on the wet deck of a boat.

As was discussed in a previous blog post, the Junior High School was the location of many community events in Sandusky from the late 1920’s through the  1940’s. This is from a car show at the Junior High from 1936:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Graefe Family’s Many Contributions to Sandusky

 Dr. Philip Graefe was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1823. He came to Sandusky in 1848, before moving briefly to Orange, New Jersey for a year or two. After returning to Sandusky, Dr.Graefe practiced medicine here until his death in 1884. Hewson Peeke wrote about him in his 1916 book, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio: “His skill and promptness in meeting and combating the various ills to which mankind is subject, and his devotion to his patients, gained him the good will of the people, and a place of note among the more popular and successful physicians of this section of the state.” Besides being a well respected physician in Sandusky, Dr. Graefe also was associated with both the Third National Bank and Citizens Banking Company.

The oldest son of Dr. Philip Graefe and his wife, the former Dorothea Kranz,  also was a physician.

Dr. William Graefe was born in 1851 in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Cleveland Medical College in 1870, and then studied in some of the leading hospitals in Europe for three years. He worked as a physician and surgeon in Sandusky for more than forty years, and also served for twelve years on the Board of Education for Sandusky Schools. Dr. William Graefe died on December 27, 1923. In an editorial on the front page of the December 29, 1923 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal read in part, “In the death of Dr. William Graefe, Sandusky has lost a ‘builder.’ Not only was Dr. Graefe of high standing in his profession but he was deeply interested in civic affairs and in the city’s welfare.”

Another son of Dr. and Mrs. Philip Graefe, Dr. Charles Graefe, also worked as a physician and surgeon in Sandusky for many years. He was born in 1859, and was educated at Oberlin College, the University of Wooster, and the Western Reserve College at Cleveland. He spent three years studying at hospitals in Europe. Dr. Charles Graefe also served on the Board of Education for several years. He passed away on March 9, 1929.

A third son, Henry Graefe, was prominent as a banker in Sandusky, having been affiliated with the Citizens Banking Company since it was founded in 1884. After his death in 1919, the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce adopted resolutions which conveyed the high esteem with which the banker was held. The son of Henry Graefe the banker, Dr. Henry Graefe followed in the family tradition in the medical field, and also served as an officer of the Citizens Banking Company. Helen Hansen wrote in her book, At Home in Early Sandusky, that the ladies of the Graefe family generously gave their time to public service, working with a variety of community service organizations. Visit the Sandusky Library to read more about the Graefe family and other pioneer families of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bailey’s Official Railway and Business Guide to Sandusky, Ohio

In 1871, two thousand free copies of Bailey’s Official Railway and Business Guide to Sandusky, Ohio were distributed by the Sandusky Journal Book and Job Printing Office, operated by A.D. and J.C. Kinney. Timetables for three railroads were included in the small publication. 

The Lake Erie Division of the Baltimore and Oho Railroad carried passengers, as well as freight and mail:

The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad had a northern and a southern line in operation in Sandusky in 1871.

The Cincinnati, Sandusky and Cleveland Railroad also had lines going both north and south.

The local advertisements are indicative of the significant businesses in Sandusky in the 1870s, which included the ice industry, fishing, lumber and lime industries, and a variety of professional services and retail stores. On page 1 of Bailey’s Guide, Dr. J. Castello claimed he could cure patients with tape-worms in three hours. His office was located at 102 Market Street in downtown Sandusky. Several hotels and restaurants had advertisements in the Guide, hoping to attract the many passengers who traveled to Sandusky by rail.