Monday, May 31, 2010

Francis McQuown, Revolutionary War Soldier

On Memorial Day in 1939, the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marble tombstone at Oakland Cemetery, to honor the memory of Francis McQuown. According to clippings in a D.A.R. notebook housed at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, Francis McQuown first enlisted as a private in the Company of Edward Grimes, 7th Battalion, at Cumberland County, Maryland. Mr. McQuown was with the Maryland Militia in 1778, and advanced to the rank of Captain in the Sixth Class, Third Company, Fifth Battalion, Cumberland County, Militia.

In 1849, Francis McQuown came with his family to Sandusky, Ohio. He first married Jane Gregg, with whom he had eight children, and then married Agnes Smythe, and they had three more children. Francis McQuown died in 1855, at the age of 99. His grave is located near the Schade Mausoleum at Oakland Cemetery.

The surname McQuown became to be spelled McEwen in Sandusky. One of the sons of Francis McQuown, Thomas C. McEwen, was the postmaster in Sandusky in the 1860’s. He was initially appointed to be Deputy Postmaster by Abraham Lincoln, according to the Journal of the Proceedings of the United States Senate.
Another descendant of Francis McQuown was Miss Sarah Elizabeth McEwen. Sarah McEwen was associated with the Sandusky Library for over forty years. Miss McEwen passed away at the age of 91 in March of 1933.

To learn more about the family history of the McQuown/McEwen family, see the book Our McEwen Heritage: The James McEwen Faamily in America Since 1736, available full text at the Family History Archives of Brigham Young University.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

World War Two Memorial Plaque

On May 29, 1947, a bronze plaque was dedicated at Sandusky High School to honor the former Sandusky High School students who lost their lives during World War Two. The unveiling of the plaque took place in the lower corridor of Sandusky High School (now Adams Junior High) and the program was presented in the auditorium.
An article in the May 31, 1947 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that Jack Blough, vice president of the student council, presented the plaque to Sandusky High School. Principal Wayne C. Blough accepted the memorial tablet on behalf of the school. The Mixed Chorus and the A Cappella Choir sang vocal selections. June Sallee was the soloist during the vocal rendition of the Lord’s Prayer and Karl E. Whinnery gave the address. The program concluded with the combined choirs singing the Star Spangled Banner and Taps, played by Robert Bowers.

The names of the former Sandusky High School students who lost their lives in World War Two are: Norman Abele, Thomas Amato, Charles Askren, Harry Barber, Paul Baum, John Beatty, Nello Berardi, Robert Berardi, Leonard Bickley, Leroy Bossetti, Donald Brengartner, Davis Chaffee, Jimmie Davis, Don Dickman, Chester Dunkel, David Dunnigan, James Engel, William Fenker, David Fischer, Thomas Gall, Sam Gant, William Gast, Cletus Greek, Clyde Green, Edmund Grimani, William Gurtz, Guerdon Hansen, Charles Hecht, Robert Hedelund, Jack Himes, John Holzaepfel, Robert Howald, William Jarrett, Lee Keaney, Richard Knupke, Kenneth Kopp, George Kubach, Robert Lickfelt, Walter Luipold, Linford Mainzer, Charles Menefree, Lester Milkey, Kenneth Miller, Madio Muratori, Edward Meyer, Paul Patzke, Robert Pollack, Charles Poole, Robert Price, Don Reis, James Riggs, William Seeley, Leno Silvani, Robert Skillman, Tom Sletz, Ralph Sprau, Alvin Stiewe, Frank Thiede, James Van Dyne, Jack Wallace, Jack Ward, Ashley Waterfield, Jack Waterfield, Laverne Whitcomb, and Clifford Willeat.

These brave young men are still remembered today for their service to their country. Each May Sandusky remembers all those who died while in military service with services at the Ohio Veterans Home and at Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Log House on the old Castalia Road

The image below is a graphical depiction of one of earliest log houses in Erie County. Notes which accompanied this item stated: It stood on the Venice Road just off the Castalia Road and was occupied by the family of Isaac Mills. In 1847 it was bought by Orlando Ransom. The latter's daughter, Mrs. William Marshall was born there in 1848. Mrs. William Marshall, the oldest daughter of Orlando Ransom, donated this item to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

The book FOUR OHIO RANSOM LINES, by Mervin and Alberta Ransom, provides historical background information about Orlando Ransom and his family. Orlando Ransom was born in 1814 at Colchester, Connecticut. He taught school in Colchester, Connecticut for a year. In 1836 he traveled to Ohio by horseback. He stopped at Clarksfield in Huron County, where he taught school for one year. After he moved to Sandusky, Ohio in 1837, he taught school there until 1841.

In 1841 Orlando Ransom and his wife, the former Louise Newton, moved to Margaretta Township, where they rented a log cabin which was owned by Isaac Mills, a pioneer settler of Erie County. The Mills farm was located at the northwest corner of Homegardner Road and State Route 101. (State Route 101 was known as the Castalia Road in the 1800’s.) The first three Ransom children were born in the log cabin, Emma, William, and Clara Ransom. Shortly after Clara was born, Louise Newton Ransom passed away. This same year, Orlando and the children moved to the farmhouse on the Mills property, after Mr. Mills moved to Sandusky. Orlando married Ellen Osborne in 1852, and they had several children.

Orlando Ransom died in 1902, having outlived both his wives. He was survived by five sons and four daughters. Mr. Ransom was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Visit the Sandusky Library to learn more about the Ransom and Mills families. Ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Edwin B. Gerald, Sign Painter

Edwin B. Gerald was born on September 10, 1882, in Brooklyn, New York. He married Wilma Gossman in Ohio in 1906. In 1910, Edwin Gerald and his wife were residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At this time Edwin stated his occupation as being in the advertising business, specifically dealing in electric signs. About 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin B. Gerald moved to Sandusky, where Mr. Gerald worked as a self-employed sign painter.

The business known as Gerald Sign Service advertised that signs painted by Mr. Gerald would prove to be “business builders.” Edwin B. Gerald was the owner of Gerald Sign Service, but often the names Gerald and Abele appeared on his signs. To date, we have not discovered the significance of the name Abele in connection with Gerald Sign Service.

In 1974, George W. Bailey donated several photographs of advertising signs which had been painted by Edwin B. Gerald. Mr. Gerald may be the individual pictured below beside the sign advertising Cedar Point.
Edwin Gerald painted signs which advertised a variety of area businesses in Erie County.
In the photograph below, Mr. Gerald’s ladder and paint cans are visible.
Edwin B. Gerald died in Sandusky in October of 1957. Thanks to the generous donation of photographs of his signs, we can see a “slice of life” of local advertising in our community during the first half of the twentieth century.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Liberty Bell Replica in Sandusky

The local opening of the Independence Bond Drive was marked by the ringing of a replica of the Liberty Bell in Sandusky on May 20, 1950. The New York Times reported on March 28, 1950 that John W. Snyder, the Secretary of the Treasury announced that the replicas of the Liberty Bells, which were cast in France, would be of the same size, shape and tone as the original Liberty Bell, before it was cracked. The U.S Savings Bond campaign ran from May 15 to July 4. The replicas of the bells were mounted on trucks, and sent to each of the forty eight states, the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The first replica was poured on March 1, 1950, from detailed photographs and measurements taken by Professor Arthur Bigelow of Princeton.

Reinhardt Ausmus, local Veterans’ Service officer was in charge of local arrangements. Members of the Commodore Denig Post of the American Legion were designated as guards of honor for the Liberty Bell while in Sandusky. A parade was held on Saturday, May 20, beginning at the corner of Hayes Avenue and Perkins Avenue, and then proceeding to the Courthouse where it was to be on exhibit.

Frank Nims is pictured above, with his hand extended toward the replica of the Liberty Bell. Mr. Nims, who was blind, was the operator of the Erie County Courthouse concession stand for twenty two years.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Harry Binns, Dealer in Gasoline and Oils

The photograph below was taken about 1888. Harry Binns was a dealer in gasoline, oils, and other supplies related to oil lamps. If you look closely at the photo, a little boy and his hobby horse are pictured to the left of the horse and buggy. A barrel behind the horse reads “Standard Oil Co., Cleveland, Ohio.”

According to U.S. Census Records, Harry Binns was born in England in 1856. He appears on the 1880 U.S. Census in Miami County, Indiana, with his wife Lucy, who was 17 at that time. By 1888, Harry Binns was living in Sandusky. His office and home were located at the northeast corner of Harrison and Monroe Streets. An advertisement for the dealership of Harry Binns appeared in the 1890 Sandusky City Directory
By 1920, Harry Binns and his wife Luella were living in San Mateo County, California, and Harry’s occupation was that of owning a harness shop. Harry Binns passed away in California on June 22, 1932. An obituary for Mr. Binns appeared in the June 30, 1932 issue of the Sandusky Register. Mr. Binns was survived by his wife, four sons, Joe, Clyde, Perry, and Charles, and a daughter Mrs. Nelle Atkinson.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sandusky’s Columbus Avenue

Columbus Avenue was located in the very center of the 1818 Plat Map of Sandusky. Known as the Kilbourne Plat, downtown Sandusky was laid out in the shape of the Masonic emblem.

Local historian James A. Ryan wrote in the January 20, 1932 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal that while Water Street was the location of the very earliest Sandusky businesses, Columbus Avenue saw significant growth in development between 1850 and 1880. W.T. and A.K. West operated a dry goods store on Columbus Avenue before they opened the West House hotel located at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street in 1858.
William A. Graham operated a drug store on the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street.
Columbus Avenue continued to be part of the major transportation and business center of the city of Sandusky. Several modes of transportation can be seen at the foot of Columbus Avenue about 1900. (The steamers A. Wehrle, Arrow, and R.B. Hayes are visible in this image.)
Parades held in Sandusky were often routed down Columbus Avenue. A parade held by the Knights of St. John took place in 1910.
Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view a variety of books, newspapers, photographs, and other archival resources relating to the history of Sandusky and Erie County.

Friday, May 07, 2010

George W. Melville, Artist and Engraver

George W. Melville was an artist, designer, and engraver. He was born in Sandusky, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. William Gordon Melville in February, 1856. An early example of Melville’s work is found in the 1882 Sandusky City Directory, which features an engraving of the pump house and standpipe of the Sandusky Water Works.

The Melville engraving below lets area residents know that Sandusky photographer W. A. Bishop has his studio all on the ground floor. This image appears on the back of a photograph taken by W. A. Bishop of a Marsh family member.
By the late 1880’s, George Melville had moved to Chicago. He illustrated and published Gems of Wonderful Chicago and the World’s Fair and a book about the first twenty-four mayors of Chicago. He also created panoramas of the World’s Fairs in St. Louis, Portland, and San Francisco. His last years were spent in California, where he lived in Hollywood and was active in the St. Thomas Episcopal Church. He died in California in 1928.

Helen Hansen provides historical background information about the Melville family in Article 23 of At Home in Early Sandusky. At times, some family members went by the double last name of Melville-Milne, in accordance with Scottish tradition. The home of William Gordon Melville-Milne is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Edward Lea Marsh and Elizabeth D.G. Moss

When Edward Lea Marsh married Elizabeth D. G. Moss, the society page of the Sandusky Daily Star reported that the bride and groom represented two of Sandusky’s largest and best known families.

Edward Lea Marsh was the son of Edward H. Marsh and Caroline Mackey Lea. Edward’s grandfather, Edward Lockwood Marsh, was a pioneer manufacturer of plaster of Paris in Ohio.

Edward Lea Marsh’s father, Edward H. Marsh, also in the plaster business, was a personal friend of President William Howard Taft. Elizabeth D. G. Moss was the daughter of banker Charles H. Moss and his wife, the former Elizabeth Griswold Lane. Elizabeth D. G. Moss’s grandfather William Griswold Lane and her great-grandfather Ebenezer Lane were both well respected judges in Erie County, Ohio.

The couple was married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H .Moss on Wayne Street in Sandusky. The Moss drawing room was decorated with palms and ferns. The two ministers who officiated at the wedding were Rev. Winfield Baer, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, and Rev. Dr. Gilbert of Southport, an uncle of the bride. The bridal party was made up of the best man, Vaughn McFall; ushers, Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Perkins, Mr. McKinley, and Mr. Hargrave; maid of honor, Miss Emeline Moss; and bridesmaids, Miss Ethel Mack, Miss Adah Kunz, Miss Knapp, and Miss Carrie Marsh.

While not all the individuals in the wedding party have been identified, the bridal party is pictured below, in a photograph taken by W.A. Bishop. Edward Lea Marsh is the young man seated in front. His bride, Elizabeth D. G. Moss Marsh, is the third person in the second row.

Emeline Moss (later Mrs. Ira Krupp) is the second person in the third row. Caroline Lea Marsh, sister of the groom, is the fourth person in the third row.
The wedding guests were served dinner in the Moss dining room, and each guest received a box of wedding cake, decorated with the monogram M M. After the wedding dinner, the couple left for their cottage at Plaster Bed in Ottawa County. Later they were to take a wedding trip to Black Hall, Connecticut. Pictured below are the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lea Marsh in Plaster Bed in Portage Township of Ottawa County.
When future President William Howard Taft visited Sandusky on September 8, 1908, Edward Lea Marsh was standing next to Mr. Taft in a photograph taken that day. (to Mr. Taft’s left.)
Edward Lea and Elizabeth Marsh had two daughters. One of them is pictured with her first grade class in Sandusky about 1910. Elizabeth Griswold Marsh is third individual from the right in the second row.
Helen Hanson wrote in At Home in Early Sandusky that Edward Lea and Elizabeth Marsh moved to Lyme, Connecticut in the 1920’s. Edward Lea Marsh died on November 21, 1937 in Old Lyme, Connecticut. An obituary for Mr. Marsh appeared in the November 22, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Daily News. He was survived by his wife , son, and two daughters, and a sister. Edward Lea Marsh had just been to Sandusky earlier that month, while on a business trip with the United States Gypsum Company. He had visited with many of his old friends at that time, and appeared to be in excellent health. Mrs. Marsh died in Connecticut in 1960. While many members of the Moss, Marsh, and Lane families are buried at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lea Marsh were buried in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Edward Lea Marsh, Jr., who died in 1996, was an attorney in Connecticut for sixty years, and was elected as State Representative from Old Lyme in 1937. He was Speaker of the House of the Connecticut General Assembly from 1945 to 1946. Edward Lea Marsh, Jr. lived on a pioneer farm in Old Lyme, and one of his cows was “Elsie the Borden Cow,” who was once exhibited at the New York World’s Fair.