Saturday, January 31, 2009

Castalia Cemetery

The Castalia Cemetery is located at 407 Bardwell Road in the Village of Castalia, Ohio. Margaretta High School can be seen in this photograph, just west of the Cemetery.

Castalia Cemetery is owned and maintained by Margaretta Township, one of the nine townships of Erie County, Ohio. An index to the 1880 United States Census of Margaretta Township is found online.

One of the earliest burials in Castalia Cemetery was that of Mrs. Snow, who was murdered in a massacre in 1813, along with her son Robert. Willard Snow escaped the attack. He died on January 22, 1875. Willard Snow served in the 40th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. An account of the Snow Massacre is found on page 392 of Harriet Taylor Upton's HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available on Google Books.

Friday, January 23, 2009

William Gordon Melville-Milne

According to Helen Hansen's AT HOME IN EARLY SANDUSKY, William Gordon Melville-Milne was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1819. He emigrated to Canada, where he married Catherine Kennedy. The couple moved to Missouri, where Mr. Melville-Milne worked for E. F. Osborn, the owner of a large flour mill.

In the mid 1840's, Mr. Osborn moved to Sandusky to serve a superintendent of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. He sent for William Melville-Milne to move to Sandusky in 1847, to assist in the operations of the railroad. In February, 1861 William Melville-Milne died at age 41. He left a widow and eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood.

In her book, Mrs. Hanson explained that some branches of the family used the Scotch double name of "Melville-Milne." Some family members used only "Milne" as their surname, but many dropped the "Milne" and went by the last name of "Melville." (This is just one example of how family history can be quite confusing.) There are streets in Sandusky named for both of the surnames Melville and Milne.

Sons of William Melville-Milne, who were known as William and Charles Melville, ran a drug store in Sandusky which was in operation for fifty years. Another son, George W. Melville, was an engraver in Chicago. The Melville-Milne home, which was located at 319 Lawrence Street is pictured on page 36 of AT HOME IN EARLY SANDUSKY. It was originally built by officials of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leonard Beatty Johnson

Leonard Beatty Johnson was born Ireland in 1807 and moved to Canada with his parents in 1822. Leonard's mother was related to John Beatty, who was a pioneer settler of Erie County.

By 1832, Leonard B. Johnson moved to Sandusky where he had a stove and tinware business. Later he started a Lime kiln business. In 1852, Bull's Island was purchased by Leonard Johnson. He changed the name to Johnson's Island. In the fall of 1861, the U.S. Government leased several acres of land on Johnson's Island to be used as a prison for Confederate officers.

Leonard Beatty Johnson was married to Permelia Rust Nettleton. They had a family of six children. a grandson of Leonard B. Johnson was Reber Nettleton Johnson. Reber was a successful violinist, and he taught at Oberlin College for many years.

Leonard B. Johnson died on January 20, 1898, and his wife died in 1906. They are buried at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky. To learn more about people of Irish descent who settled in Sandusky, see the Sandusky History web site.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Charles Cross, First Catholic Mayor of Sandusky

Charles Cross was born in London about 1812 and came to the United States as a young man. The Sandusky Daily Register of December 3, 1889 carried an article entitled “An English Colony” in which the writer, Hudson C. Ward, describes the trip. In June 1830 the New York packet ship the Hudson sailed from Portsmouth, England to New York. Many other families from England were on the ship, including Dr. I. B. Ward, who settled in Zanesville, Ohio.
(Hudson C. Ward was actually born aboard ship during the ocean passage to America. He was too young to recall the trip, but his parents told him the story of their journey to America.)

Charles Cross, Mr. Ward wrote, “was very devoted member of the Roman Catholic religion all his long life.” Mr. Cross was the Mayor of Sandusky from 1853 through 1856. He also held other positions in the community, including Justice of the Peace and secretary of the board of trustees of the Water Works.

On November 18, 1889, Charles Cross passed away. (His wife Patience Matilda Manning Cross had died many years before her husband.) Charles Cross is buried in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jesse and Julia House Taylor

Julia House was a twin to Julius House. Julia House married Jesse Taylor on February 21, 1807. Their tombstones are located at Perkins Cemetery in Erie County. Julia died on October 28, 1867, and Jesse died in 1852.

In the June 1865 "Firelands Pioneer," Truman B. Taylor retells his grandmother Julia's account of her trip from Glastonbury, Connecticut to Perkins Township in the fall of 1815. Fourteen families packed up their belongings into wagons which were pulled by oxen and horses. They had to wash their clothes in water pails, and hang them up to dry on a fence or a pile of brush. Julia's brother Julius got sick during the trip and we left behind with relatives in Erie, Pennsylvania until he could recover.

Provisions the settlers took included bread, bacon, butter, and cheese. The roads were poor, often with deep ruts which were filled with mud or water. Nights were spent stopping where the travelers could find pasture for the animals. Sometimes the owners of cabins they saw along the way would let the "Connecticut Yankees" sleep on the floor of their cabin.

After reaching Ohio, the settlers had to clear the land and build cabins. The prairie grass was so high that "a man could set on a horse and tie the grass over his head.: Money was scarce, but after breaking up the sod, the farmers produced successful crops.

In speaking of those who had died before her, Julia wrote "Their memory will ever live fresh in the hearts of grateful descendants, and when the weight of years is upon us, coming generations will be taught to do them reverence." Indeed we do give reverence to those pioneers who had such determination and bravery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter at Oakland Cemetery

To the left, twin evergreens tower over the hundreds of tombstones at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Below, in the western part of Oakland's grounds,the many graves of Veterans remind us of their faithful service to their country in all kinds of weather. Thank you for your service to the U.S.A.

William Kelly, Builder of the Marblehead Lighthouse

William Kelly was born in Ireland in 1779. His first wife was Jane Reid, and his second wife was Lydia Hartshorn. William and Jane had eight children, and after Jane's death, William and Lydia Kelly had five children.

In the early 1800's William Kelly emigrated to the United States. He moved to Sandusky in 1818, where he was the city's first stone mason. William Kelly is best known for his work building the Marblehead Lightouse. The structure was begun in 1821. It is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. Below is a photograph of the lighthouse in the winter months.

William died on December 7, 1867. He is buried in Section 2 of Oakland Cemetery. A collection of William Kelly's original account books are held by the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center. An excellent biographical sketch is also found on the R. B. Hayes web site.

A granddaughter of Mr. Kelly was Mrs. Eunice Brown Dewitt, who was a tireless worker on the home front during World War One.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Confederate Cemetery at Johnson's Island

In 1861, Johnson's Island, a 300 acre island in Sandusky Bay, was selected as the location for a prisoner of war camp, built to house primarily Confederate officers. (While my ancestor, James Cross, served in the Ohio 123rd Infantry during the Civil War, my husband's ancestor, Ancel Spragg Paul, was 2nd Sergeant in Company F of the 48th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry. Thus I am interested in the history of the soldiers and sailors who served in both the North and the South.) Johnson's Island was thought to be a good location for the prison, due to receiving supplies easily by ship,as well as being an efficient location for keeping the inmates imprisoned.

The prison had barracks for the prisoners, a hospital, and a mess hall. Outside the prison, were barns, barracks for officers, and other buildings. The Ohio 128th Volunteer Infantry was the main infantry that guarded the prison, though at times other units were brought in. While some of the prisoners did lose their lives at Johnson's Island, others prisoners had occasion to engage in recreational activities such as baseball games and amateur theatrical productions.

On June 8, 1910 over one thousand people witnessed the unveiling of the Confederate Cemetery Monument at Johnson’s Island. Moses Jacob Ezekiel sculpted the monument, which had been commissioned by the Robert Patton Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Funding was obtained by donations from Masons and military organizations from several states. After the unveiling ceremony, several former Confederate officers were escorted to dinner at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home where they toured the grounds. There was also a parade in which former soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies participated.

Listings of the soldiers who were buried at the cemetery at Johnson's Island are found in several sources, including this list from as well another listing from the U.S. Civil War Center.

Below left is the tombstone of Second Lieut. B. J. Blount, who served in Co. H of the 55th North Carolina Infantry, C.S.A. Below right is the tombstone of Lieutenant James Lawshe,who served in Co. C of the 18th Mississippi Cavalry, C.S.A.

In sharp contrast to the hundreds of grave markers at the Confederate Cemetery, and the statue of a solider overlooking Sandusky Bay, you can see the outline of several roller coasters from the Cedar Point Amusement Park across the Bay.