Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Doris Wheeler

Doris Mary Wheeler was the only child of Clifford Wheeler and Irene Larkins Wheeler. She was born July 26, 1910 in Sandusky, Ohio. For part of her young life, Doris was raised by her grandfather, Thomas F. Larkins and his second wife Emma. Doris attended St. Paul's Lutheran Church, and she was confirmed by Rev. J. A. Griffith. When in her teens, Doris participated in a beauty contest held at Cedar Point.

Doris Wheeler married Steen Parker in 1927. Sadly, Doris died from cancer when she was only in her thirties, on May 6, 1943. She died before her mother and beloved grandfather. Doris Wheeler Parker is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. She is buried next to the second wife of her maternal grandfather, Thomas Larkins. Doris was very close to her step grandmother, Emma Larkins. As is often the case in certain Irish surnames, the last name of Larkins is sometimes spelled without an "s" on the end, and sometimes it is spelled with the final "s." The stone memorializing Doris Parker and Emma Larkins is found in Oakland Cemetery's 11-B section, south of the main entrance.

Pictured below are Doris and Steen Parker and their son Steen Thomas Parker, fondly known as "Tommy" about 1927.

A newspaper article from the Sandusky Star Journal, April 21, 1921,reports about a club to which Doris and her school friends belonged.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Alonzo Camp Scranton

According to the GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, DESCENDANTS OF JOHN SCRANTON OF GUILFORD, CONN., Alonzo Camp Scranton was the son of Israel Scranton. He was born on November 29, 1814 in Rochester, New York. While living in Erie County, Alonzo C. Scranton was an employee of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. In 1844, Alonzo Scranton married Jane Elizabeth McDowell. The 1860 U.S. Census shows Alonzo and Jane living in Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio, with sons Alonzo C. Scranton, Jr., John M. Scranton, and William Scranton.

Alonzo C. Scranton died on April 27, 1878 in Sandusky, Ohio. He is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Jane Scranton married Oliver P. Cowdery after the death of her first husband. The obituary index of the Hayes Presidential Center indicates that Jane Scranton Cowdery died in Thornville, Ohio in 1918, at the age of 91.

A genealogical website from Michigan hosts a photograph of the tombstone of Alonzo C. Scranton, Jr. He died on March 18, 1927, and his tombstone shows that he served in Company A of the 4th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chapel and Residence at Oakland Cemetery

An online brochure from the City of Sandusky states that the residence and chapel at Oakland Cemetery were constructed about 1875. The chapel was renovated and rededicated in 1975. Beautiful stained glass windows are found in the chapel. Funerals at the Oakland Cemetery Chapel are available at no cost, but donations are accepted.

Oakland Cemetery is located at 2917 Milan Road, just south of Perkins Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio. A map of Oakland Cemetery is found at the FindaGrave site. A small diagram of the chapel and residence are located on the eastern border of the map of Oakland Cemetery.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Scott Cemetery

Scott Cemetery is a joint project, between Milan Township, Huron Township, and the city of Huron, Ohio. The cemetery is located in the northern section of Milan Township, just south of the Huron Township boundary, on Huron-Avery Road. The cemetery is surrounded by farmland, and the facilities of the NASA's Plum Brook Station can be seen in the distance.

Charles C. Cleveland served in Company F of the Ohio 197th Infantry during the Civil War. He was a member of the G.A.R.

Ethel Swanbeck, who was the first woman to serve eleven consecutive terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, is buried in Scott Cemetery with her husband Carl Swanbeck.

Several listings for persons buried in Scott Cemetery are found at the FindaGrave website. An index of names of persons buried in Scott Cemetery prior to 1909 appears online as well. The former general manager of the Detroit Tigers, Jim Campbell, is buried at Scott Cemetery. Mr. Campbell passed away in 1995. Jim Campbell Boulevard in Huron is named for Jim Campbell.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frank J. Seitz

Frank J. Seitz was a merchant tailor in Sandusky, in business with his father William Seitz, and his brother Will. He was also a director of the Third National Exchange Bank, and was active in many community organizations.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 20, 1927, Frank Seitz was on his way to a boxing match at Rye Beach, riding along with Moe Frohman and Freeland Smith, in John Klee's vehicle. At 8:40 p.m. the Klee automobile, a Studebaker sedan, was in an accident on Cleveland Road, at the embankment of Sawmill Creek. The Studebaker failed to make the bend in the road, and left the highway, landing against the east bank of Sawmill Creek. Frank J. Seitz died at the scene of the accident, having suffered severe head injuries. The three other men were hurt, but not seriously. Mrs. Seitz, the former Anne Hess, was on a tour of Europe at the time of her husband's death. She made her way home, after receiving news of the accident by a wireless message.

Funeral services for Frank J. Seitz were held at the Masonic Temple, following a viewing of the body at the Seitz residence of Jefferson Street. Hundreds of area residents paid their respects. A private burial service was held for the family. Frank J. Seitz is buried in Oakland Cemetery. There are five separate newspaper articles which reported on the death of Frank Seitz. They are filed in the 1927 "Obituary Notebook" located at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Today the Sawmill Creek Resort is a hotel and banquet facility located not far from the scene of the 1927 accident which claimed the life of Mr. Seitz.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mrs. Ida Gant

On May 31, 1962, the Sandusky Register featured a front page article about Mrs. Ida Gant, who died at the age of 101 in Sandusky. Ida was born into slavery in Oconee County, South Carolina during the time of the Civil War. (The exact date is not known.) She used to tell her children and grandchildren about how the slaves would hide their masters' valuable silver and watches in cabbage heads, so the Yankees would not steal them.

In 1917, after their home was mysteriously burned, Ida and her husband Lucas moved to Sandusky. The only possessions they brought were the clothes on their back. Lucas found work at the Farrell Cheek Foundry, and passed away in 1928.

The Gant family had several children. At the time of her death, Ida had outlived all her children except for one son, Arthur. She was survived by seventeen grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren and a great-great grandson. One grandson, London Gant, was an all-star athlete at Sandusky High School. He earned twelve athletic letters, for competing all four years in football, track, and basketball. London Gant was the second African American athlete at the University of Cincinnati. An injury sidelined his football career. London Gant's tombstone is in Block 77 of the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemtery.

Another descendant, Herman Gant, was also an outstanding athlete at Margaretta High School. Herman Gant died at the age of twenty one while serving in South Vietnam.

Ida Gant's descendants attended schools in Erie County, were very active in area churches, worked in Sandusky's factories, and many served their country in the Armed Forces during several different wars. Ida and Lucas Gant were among the founders of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Though there is no marker for Ida Gant at this time, she is buried in Lot Number 8, in Block 77 of the North Ridge at Oakland Cemetery. Her lot is just south of the marker for Samuel Cromer. (Click on the image for a larger view. London Gant's marker is visible behind the marker of Samuel Cromer.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

If you come to Ohio
And you can't find me,
I'll probably be
In a cemetery.

Headstones, footstones,
And epitaphs too....
I love to see them all,
I really, really do!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Andrew and Lena Yeager

Andrew Yeager and Helena "Lena" Piehl Yeager are pictured to the left in the early 1950's. Andrew Yeager was born in Germany on November 12, 1876 to Lawrence Yeager (Lorenz Jaeger in his native language) and Maria Schweighardt. In 1881, the Yeager family came to United States. Andrew’s younger brother Frank was born after the family settled in Ohio.

Volume 38 of GERMANS TO AMERICA lists the following family members on the voyage aboard the ship “Pereire,” which traveled from Havre to New York:

Jager, Laurent age 34
Marie age 32
Andre age 6
Emma age 4
Louise infant

On September 30, 1903, Andrew Yeager married Helena “Lena” Piehl, daughter of Ferdinand Gotthold Piehl and his wife Augusta Jaensch Piehl, who were immigrants from Posen, Germany. Andrew, known as Andy, worked as a tenant farmer. He raised sunflowers at his home in Huron, Ohio. Lena was a wonderful cook and baker. Sugar cookies were one of her special treats. Lena was quiet and gentle natured. Her height was less than five feet.

Andrew Yeager died in April of 1958, while Lena Yeager lived to be 97, passing away on October 15, 1978. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Yeager are buried in the Union Corners Cemetery, just off Route 250, between Sandusky and Milan. The cemetery is associated with St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Pictured below is the Piehl family about 1906. Lena Piehl Yeager is the first person on the left, in the back row. Click on the image for a larger view.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rev. William Gurley

William Gurley was born in County Wexford, Ireland in 1757, and was converted under the ministry of John Wesley. During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, he saw his brother piked to death, and was nearly killed himself.

In 1801 Rev. Gurley, often called “Father Gurley,” emigrated to the United States with his family. He moved to the Firelands in 1811, having purchased land from his brother-in-law John Beatty. Rev. Gurley preached the first Methodist sermon in northern Ohio in a log school house. He had a thick accent and a quick Irish wit, and was very earnest in his speaking.

Rev. William Gurley and his family moved to Zanesville during the War of 1812, but came back to northern Ohio in 1819, eventually settling in Milan. He preached all over the Firelands, walking five to eighteen miles and back, to preach sermons to the settlers.

Two of Rev. Gurley’s sons became Methodist ministers. His great great grandson was Sandusky physician Dr. J. D. Parker. Rev. Gurley died in 1848 at the age of 91. He and his wife are buried in Perkins Cemetery. The author of the Gurley Family History, Albert E. Gurley, states that “few men have every lived that were more honored and respected than was this illustrious man.”

You can find the MEMOIR OF REV. WILLIAM GURLEY full-text at The image of Rev. Gurley below is courtesy of Google Books:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Steen Thomas Parker

Steen Thomas Parker, son of Steen Leroy and Doris Wheeler Parker, was born on October 27, 1927. His first name was the maiden name of his grandmother, Ada Steen Parker. His middle name was the first name of his great grandfather, Thomas F. Larkins.

Known as Tom, or Tommy, he graduated from Sandusky High School in 1945, where he was very active in student organizations. During his childhood, he spent a lot of time at his Grandpa and Grandma Parker's farm in Perkins Township, as well as at Cedar Point, where his grandfather was a concessionaire.In 1939, Tom's grandmother, Irene Larkins Risko took Tom on a train trip from Sandusky, Ohio to southern California. Tom Parker attended the University of Princeton before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, Tom served in the Naval Air Advanced Training Command Unit in Jacksonville, Florida.

Tom married Evelyn Spinello in 1947, and they had three children. Later, they divorced, and each re-married. Tom spent most of his adult life living in California, but he moved back to Sandusky in the 1970's. Steen Thomas Parker died in May, 1977, and burial was at Meadow Green Memorial Park in Huron, which was known as Restlawn Cemetery in 1977. Family members recall Tom's wonderful sense of humor, and were saddened that Tom's life ended while he was so young.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Conrad and Anna Zoellner

The 1900 U.S. Census listing for the Conrad Zoellner family indicates that Conrad Zoellner was born in Germany in 1838. His wife Catrina Zoellner was born in Germany in 1848. The couple had a son John, age 25 in 1900, was born in Ohio. Conrad's occupation was "day laborer."

On April 4, 1908, Anna Catharina Zoellner passed away. Her tombstone inscription was in German, with the word "Mutter" at the top of her tombstone. Conrad Zoellner died on December 1, 1923. His tombstone inscription was in English, with the word "Father" at the top of his tombstone. During the Great War, there was a trend for persons of German descent to try to appear more "Americanized" due to an increase in anti-German sentiment. People anglicized their names, German newspapers published in the U.S. ceased publications, and German Lutherans stopped having services in German. This tendency is certainly reflected in the tombstones of Conrad and Anna Catharina Zoellner, who are buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rev. J. A. Griffith

According to the BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY OF PASTORS OF THE AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH (c1962), John Adam Griffith was born on February 22, 1885 in Ashville, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Griffith. Rev. Griffith married Golda Wheeler in 1910, the same year that he graduated from Seminary at Capital University.

Rev. J. A. Griffith served as the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sandusky from 1919 until 1957. Prior to coming to Sandusky, he had also been a minister in Lancaster and Youngstown, Ohio. He was a past president of the Erie County Ministerial Association. In 1952, Rev. Griffith authored a book of inspirational poems, entitled GARLANDS GATHERED FROM GOD'S GARDEN. This book is housed in the Local Authors Collection of books at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, as well as at the library of the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center.

In the 1960's a local area business owner, speaking to a group of high school students, credited Rev. J. A. Griffith with successfully helping him to turn away from alcoholism. Rev. Griffith officiated at several weddings, funerals, baptisms, and confirmations for members of my extended family. Though I was very young when I met him, I thought the pastor looked like an angel, with his white hair and gentle spirit. Rev. Griffith is pictured below at a baptism in March, 1952.

Rev. J. A. Griffith passed away on January 13, 1963. He was survived by his wife, two brothers, two sisters, and several nieces and nephews. He was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Mrs. Griffith died in 1974.The symbol of the Luther Rose appears on the tombstone for Rev. and Mrs. Griffith. Though Rev. J. A. Griffith did not have any biological children, he was mentor to many young people who attended St. Paul Lutheran Church. During the years of Rev. Griffith's service in Sandusky, St. Paul Lutheran Church was located at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Tyler Street.

Below is a photograph of Rev. J. A. Griffith with a Confirmation Class, about 1923.