Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Edmund H. Zurhorst

Hewson Peeke, in his STANDARD HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, wrote that "On the business history of the City of Sandusky there appears the name of Edmund H. Zurhorst written in bold and legible characters." Edmund Zurhorst was born in June of 1845 in Montreal, Canada, to William H. and Letitia (McKenna) Zurhorst. The family moved to Ohio in 1849.

Edmund Zurhorst found employment on lake and ocean vessels as a young man, and served in the United States Navy during the Civil War. After the war, he built and operated two steamers on the Great Lakes. Branching out into many different businesses, he became associated with the railroad, a lime company, and several other local businesses. During President Arthur 's administration he held the office of assistant in the New York office of the U.S. Customs House, and he has also acted as deputy collector of internal revenue for the Northern District of Ohio and as collector of customs for the Sandusky, Ohio, District. He was very active in the Republican Party.

Of Mr. Zurhort's family, Peeke wrote: "On September 23, 1874, Mr. Zurhorst was united in marriage with Miss Harriet West Keech, daughter of the late C. C. Keech, of Sandusky, Ohio. She died January 29, 1890, leaving three children: Christopher C., William K. and Mary L. William K. Zurhorst died October 28, 1902, as a result of disabilities received while serving as a soldier during the Spanish-American war in Cuba."

Often Edmund H. Zurhorst and his wife wintered in Hollywood, California. Edmund became ill in December of 1923, and he died on December 19. A lengthy obituary for Edmund H. Zurhorst appears in the 1923 OBITUARY NOTEBOOK, housed in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. The title of the article refers to E. H Zurhorst as an "Old School Politician." The obituary begins: "One of the picturesque personages of partisan politics of Sandusky and vicinity 20 to 30 years ago, was Col. Edmund H. Zurhorst, 78, taken by death Wednesday at Hollywood, Cal." Zurhorst was regarded as a relentless for in his political involvement, but in later years he took pride the "machine like" methods used in the old days. The article continues, "They called me a boss,...but I wasn't. I used to have the boys gather around me and then I'd tell 'em how I thought things ought to be done. They just generally agreed with me, that was all there was to it." Among the personal friends of Mr. Zurhorst were President Arthur, President McKinley, and the late Senator Marcus Hanna.

Edmund H. Zurhorst, and his wife Harriet, who died in 1890, are both buried in the family lot at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. A funeral took place for Edmund H. Zurhorst in Hollywood, California, conducted by the Knights Templar of Hollywood. Many former Sanduskians attended the funeral.

For more information about Edmund H. Zurhorst, read about him in the HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available at most larger Ohio libraries, and appearing online at Google Books.

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