Monday, August 31, 2009

Dr. Charles Hope Merz

Dr. Charles Merz was born in Oxford, Ohio, Nov. 7, 1861. He attended Miami University and graduated from Western Reserve University College of Medicine in 1885. He was a physician in Sandusky for many years. Charles Hope Merz married Sakie Prout about 1891.

According to the book 10,000 FAMOUS FREEMASONS, by William R. Denslow,Charles H. Merz was the publisher of the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin. He was considered a scholar of Masonic history and wrote many books about the Masons, including GUILD MASONRY IN THE MAKING, available fulltext at Google Books.

Dr. Charles H. Merz died on October 14, 1947. He is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. The son of Dr. Charles H. and Sakie Prout Merz was also named Charles Merz. The younger Charles Merz was an editor and author best known for CENTERVILLE, U.S.A., THE GREAT AMERICAN BANDWAGON, and THE DRY DECADE. Charles Merz was the editor of the New York Times from 1938 until 1961. His editorials in opposition to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950's were influential on American thinking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A. W. Prout

Andrew W. Prout was born in Bloomingville in 1837. (Prior to 1838, Bloomingville was part of Huron County, but after 1838, Bloomingville was part of Erie County.) He moved to Sandusky in 1856. Mr. Prout was a banker, and also had an insurance business, and was treasurer of many local organizations. Andrew W. Prout was founder of the first interurban electric railway system out of Sandusky. His wife was Sarah M. Richmond. He was survived by a son and daughter, George R. Prout and Mrs. Sakie Merz.

The unincorporated community known as “Prout’s Station” was named for the father of Andrew W. Prout, who had the same name.The elder Andrew W. Prout was an early settler of Prout's Station. Andrew W. Prout died in 1913 and is buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Obituaries for Andrew W. Prout are found in the June 2 and June 3 issues of the Sandusky Register.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Henry Isaac

Henry Isaac is buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. He was born in Marshfield, England on November 10, 1821, and he died on February 2, 1897. An obituary for Mr. Isaac appeared in the February 3, 1897 issue of the Sandusky Register. The article stated:

Henry Isaac, an old and respected citizen of Perkins, passed away Tuesday afternoon at 1 o'clock, at his home. He had been ill three weeks and was aged 75 years. Mr. Isaac was born in Marshfield, Gloucestershire, Engl., and removed to this country with his family about twenty-two years ago, and has since that time resided there. He leaves a wife and five children, one son and four daughters, all grown, to mourn his demise. Two sons preceded him to the better land.

Biographical information about Henry Isaac is found in A STANDARD HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, by Hewson L. Peeke, in a sketch about his son. It lists the children of Henry Isaac and Susan (Aust) Isaac as: Marian, Henry J., Charles H., Amy Frances, Sarah, and Elizabeth. Henry and Susan's daughter Sarah became the wife of William Hertlein, and they lived on a farm in Erie County.

By searching the name of Henry Isaac in Ancestry Library Edition we find his family listed in the 1871 England Census in Ancestry's UK Census Collection. In 1871, Henry was age 48, and lived in Marshfield, Gloucestershire, England. The other members of his family were:

Susan Isaac, age 42
Mary Isaac, age 13
Henry Isaac, age 11
Charles H. Isaac, age 9
Amy F. Isaac, ate 7
Emily S. Isaac, age 5 (Other sources list her name as Sarah)
Elizabeth Isaac, age 2

In the Immigration Records portion of Ancestry Library Edition, a passenger record is found for the Henry Isaac family. In April of 1873, Henry and his family emigrated to the United States aboard the ship the City of Washington. Other members of the Isaac family who were on the ship were:

Susan Isaac, age 44
Mary, age 14 (in some records she is called Marian)
Henry, age 12
Charles, age 10
Fanny, age 8
Emily, age 6
Eliza, age 3

In 1880, the United States shows the Henry Isaac family living in Perkins Township of Erie County, Ohio. The Isaac names listed in the 1880 Census are:

Henry Isaac, age 50
Susan Isaac. age 50
Sarah Isaac, age 12
Bessie Isaac, age 10

While the exact names and ages of the members of the Henry Isaac family do not always match up perfectly, it is interesting to follow the path of a specific family through genealogical records available online as well as through traditional book and newspaper sources.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lindsey and Mary Ann Young House

The article below, from the August 23, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register,reports on the reunion of the House and Young families, held at the home of George B. Parker. Mrs. Marian Parker was the daughter of Lindsey House and Mary Ann Young House. (The article mistakenly lists Youngs as the surname instead of Young.)Attendees were descendants of Lindsey House and Mary Ann Young House.

The following biographical sketch of Lindsey House, son of Julius House and Mrs. House, the former Percy Taylor, appears in A STANDARD HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, by Hewson L. Peeke:

Lindsey House was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and was about three years of age when brought to Erie County, Ohio, by his father, Julius House. His education was limited to such advantages as were offered by the country schools of his day, and when he reached manhood he entered upon a career of his own in agriculture. The remaining years of his active life were passed in agricultural pursuits, and he was so successful in his operations that he was able to retire a number of years before his death, which occurred in his eighty-sixth year. He was not a seeker for political preferment, preferring the peaceful vocations of his farm to the activities of public life, but was nevertheless a man of influence in his community and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Edward Hudson Young wrote in OUR YOUNG FAMILY IN AMERICA, available fulltext at Heritage Quest, that Lindsey House married Mary Ann Young, on December 25, 1841.Lindsey and Mary Ann were the parents of nine children, including: Althea, Laura, Julius, Harriet, Elmina, Marian, Isabel, Lewis, and Rose. Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey House celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in Perkins Township in December of 1891.

The following obituary was carried by the Sandusky Register on June 26, 1894.

Mrs. Mary Ann House died on February 9, 1902 at Perkins, Ohio and was buried there, according to OUR YOUNG FAMILY IN AMERICA. In 2009, no tombstone or cemetery record has been found for Lindsey and Mary Ann House, though they were most likely buried in the Old Perkins Cemetery. During World War Two, most of the individuals who had been buried in the old Perkins Cemetery were re-interred at the current Perkins Cemetery, when part of Perkins Township was taken over by the United States Government so a munitions factory could be built.

The following article from the March 31, 1941 Cleveland Plain Dealer discusses Perkins Township at the time of the Second World War:

Many House and Young descendants still reside in Erie County today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio

The Harding Memorial is about 64 miles south of Sandusky Bay, but when traveling, I enjoy viewing monuments and tombstones in the towns we visit. The Harding Memorial is the final resting place of our 29th President, Warren G. Harding, and his wife, Florence Kling DeWolfe Harding. The memorial is circular, made from white marble from Georgia. The memorial was finished in 1927. Thousands of school children all across the United States contributed pennies towards the construction of the Harding Memorial. In the summer of 2009 the Harding Tomb was being renovated.

Not far from the Harding Tomb is the home in which Warren and Florence resided for many years. Warren G. Harding campaigned from the front porch of his Marion home when he ran for the presidency in 1920.

The front porch of the Harding Home is still a delightful place to be.

When President Harding died in office, on August 2, 1923, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone all traveled to Marion to attend his funeral.

Rev. Edward R. Jewett

Rev. Edward R. Jewett served the Methodist Church in Sandusky from 1845 to 1847. He was minister of the Bethel Church on Water Street in Sandusky in 1852. From 1844 to 1856 he served the Methodist Episcopal congregation in Bronson Township of Huron County.

A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF THE KELLEY FAMILY, by Hermon Alfred Kelley, states that Elizabeth Reynolds Kelly married Rev. Edward R. Jewett, and that they had no children. Rev. Jewett died on August 22, 1892. Rev. Edward R. Jewett and his wife Elizabeth are buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. A photograph of Rev. Edward R. Jewett is found at the Sandusky History web site.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Anne Hubbard Butler's Memorial Monument by Tiffany Studios

Anne Hubbard Butler was the adopted daughter of Watson Hubbard Butler and his wife, the former Susan Quay. Anne was born in 1918. Her maternal grandfather was Senator Matthew Quay of Pennsylvania. Anne's paternal grandfather was Jay Caldwell Butler, a Sandusky native who was the Captain of Company B, 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War. Anne Hubbard Butler's mother, Susan Quay Butler, died when Anne was only six years old. Sadly, Anne passed away at the age of eight, following an episode of whooping cough, on March 25, 1926. Anne's funeral was held at the home of her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard Butler. The following article about the memorial for Anne Hubbard Butler appeared in the January 1, 1927 issue of the Sandusky Register.


A beautiful statuary, white Vermont marble headstone, noted for its simplicity of line and its unusual fineness of design, has recently been placed in Oakland Cemetery to mark the last resting place of Anne Hubbard Butler. The beauty of the memorial has attracted much admiring attention.

At the top of the front of the stone there is a sculptured cherub head, below which is an all-over design of delicate Easter lillies exquisitely carved in low relief, and across the center of this carving is the inscription:

"Anne Hubbard Butler

which stands out in high relief, below which, at the base of the stone, is carved the text, "A little child shall lead them"

The back of the stone is without ornamental carving, deriving its beauty from the richness of the marble itself, on which appears a further inscription:

"Adored Daughter of Watson Hubbard Butler and Susan Quay Butler."

The memorial was designed, modeled, and made by the artist and sculptors of Ecclesiastical department of the Tiffany Studios of New York City, under the personal direction of its president and director, Louis C. Tiffany.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jacob Geiersdorf

Jacob Geiersdorf was born on June 10, 1833 in Bavaria, Germany, and died in Brooklyn, New York, on August 15, 1904. According to Mr. Geiersdorf's obituary, in the August 26, 1904 Sandusky Daily Register, he had been the former proprietor of the Lake House in Sandusky. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle the mentions saloon of Jacob Geiersdorf on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn in 1884.

Erie County Probate Court records show that on June 4, 1864, Jacob Geiersdorf married Caroline Zimmerman. Caroline's sister Barbara married August Kuebeler. Another sister, Christina, wed Jacob Kuebeler. The Kuebeler brothers established the Kuebeler Brewing Company in Sandusky, and each had beautiful mansions on the west side of Sandusky.

Caroline Zimmerman Geiersdorf died in September, 1911. Oakland Cemetery interment cards indicate that Jacob and Caroline Geiersdorf's burial plots lie just south of the Geiersdorf monument in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Father William G. Armitage

William G. Armitage was born in 1895 in Akron, Ohio. He was educated at Holy Ghost Missionary College at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania; St. Mary Seminary in Norwalk, Connecticut; and at St. Mary Seminary of Cleveland, Ohio. After serving parishes in Sandusky and Toledo, Father Armitage was appointed to Sandusky's Holy Angels Church on September 3, 1936. Holy Angels Church celebrated its centennial under Father William Armitage's leadership.

A history of Holy Angels Church, published in 1976, gives us insight into the life and character of Father William G. Armitage. During the 1940's, Father Armitage went to Mexico to study the Spanish language, so he could better serve the Spanish speaking migrant workers who attended Holy Angels.

Having a special place in his heart for young people, Father Armitage allowed children to roller skate in the old parish hall, and he was known to loan his vehicle to young men for their dates. Rev. Armitage sponsored festivals in the church parking lot, and he often was an anonymous donor of groceries and clothing for church members in need. When Vatican II provided new rules for the liturgy, Father Armitage was the first Catholic pastor in Sandusky to abide by the new rulings.

Rev. William G. Armitage was the minister of Holy Angels Church from 1936 to June 15, 1970. He died on November 11, 1971 in Sandusky. Father Armitage is buried in the Priests Circle of St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dr. Daniel Tilden

A biographical sketch of Dr. Daniel Tilden appears in Howard Atwood Kelly’s CYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN MEDICAL BIOGRAPHY. The sketch states that Dr. Daniel Tilden was born in Grafton County, New Hampshire on August 19, 1788. He earned his M.D. from Dartmouth College in 1812. He moved to Ohio in 1817, settling first in Cook’s Corners (now known as North Monroeville). He also lived briefly in Norwalk before settling in Sandusky in 1839. The biographer of Dr. Tilden wrote, “Dr. Tilden was a fine specimen of the doctor of the old school as developed on the western reserve, ready, staunch, faithful to duty…He died full of years and honors May, 7, 1870.”

Daniel Tilden had married Nancy Drake in 1814. Harriet Taylor Upton wrote in her HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE that Dr. Tilden was president of the Erie County Medical Society for several years, and he also served in the State Senate of Ohio from 1828 until 1835.

Dr. Daniel Tilden is buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. The history of Erie County’s medical professions appears in Chapter 16 of HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich.

While years of weathering have made it impossible to read the inscription on Dr. Tilden's tombstone, below are the words that are legible:

Going about doing good he ____
the sick, consoled the dying, ___
comfort to the poor___
___show the world____
___he hath loved ___

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Are there other Graveyard Rabbits?

If you would like to read blog entries from Graveyard Rabbits in locations other than the Sandusky Bay area, see the DIRECTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION OF GRAVEYARD RABBITS. The directory can be searched by author, title, or geographic region.

The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal can be accessed here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Elnathan Steevens

Near the northern section of Groton Township's Deyo Cemetery is the broken tombstone of Elnathan Steevens (sometimes spelled Stevens.) Two flags decorate the grave marker.

A record from the IGI portion of the FamilySearch database provides this information about Elnathan Steevens/Stevens:

He was born on December 6, 1770 in Killingworth, Connecticut. His father's name was the same name as his. On March 6, 1800, Elnathan married Pauline Parsons. Elnathan Steevens/Stevens died on August 10, 1838.

A lengthy inscription appears on Elnathan's tombstone, but I was unable to decipher it. If anyone knows more about Elnathan Steevens, please leave a message in the comments field. Thank you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mrs. Cordelia "Corky" Johnson

Morris and Cordelia Johnson are pictured in 1952, with the daughter of family friends. Cordelia Johnson was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Lerch. During the 1940's and 1950's, Cordelia, known fondly as "Corky," was a supervisor at Periodical Publishers, located on the west side of Sandusky, near Lions Park. Corky mentored the many young women who worked as typists at Periodical, listening to their problems, and offering counsel in a gentle manner. She was active in the Catawba Union Chapel, the Chapel Mother's Club, the VFW auxiliary, and the Rebekah Lodge. Cordelia's husband was Morris Johnson, who worked as a Sohio distributor of fuel oil for many years in the Port Clinton area. Morris also worked for twenty years at the Erie Army Depot in Port Clinton, Ohio.

Cordelia Johnson passed away on August 8, 1970, at the age of 60. She was survived by her husband Morris, a son from a former marriage, two grandchildren, a brother and a sister. Her funeral was held at the Catawba Union Chapel, located near the Miller Boat Dock in Ottawa County. There were so many people at Mrs. Johnson's funeral that some people had to sit in the back room, where they could hear the minister, but could not see him. "Corky" was a beloved person, missed by her family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and church family.

Morris Johnson later remarried, but he always stayed in touch with Cordelia's brother and sister. Morris Johnson died on May 25, 1982. He was buried with Cordelia Lerch Johnson in the Catawba Island Township Cemetery.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Otto Wagner Family Monument at Oakland Cemetery

A unique monument honoring the family of Otto W. Wagner is found at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Otto W. Wagner was the son of Julius and Louisa Wagner. Otto was engaged in the ice business in Sandusky. On October 2, 1909, Otto W. Wagner died, at the age of 55. His wife Kate had passed away in July of 1891. The Wagner monument is in the shape of a tree, with the branches cut off. A tombstone in the shape of a tree branch that is cut off usually symbolizes a life cut short. Obituaries for Otto W. Wagner are found in the October 3, 4, and 5, 1909 issues of the Sandusky Register. Beside the tree shaped monument are individual stones, shaped like tree stumps, inscribed with the names, birth, and death dates of Otto and Kate Wagner.

Jay O. Wagner, Otto's son, died on February 12, 1957. He was assistant cashier at the Citizens Bank for 53 years. Jay's tombstone is just north of the tree-shaped Wagner monument.

Chester J. Wagner lived to be 94 years of age; he died on April 18, 1976. Chester's obituary, found in the April 19, 1976 Sandusky Register, stated that Chester was a lifelong Sandusky resident, and he had been a realtor for many years. Chester helped to establish the Firelands Campus, a branch of Bowling Green State University. In the early days of the automobile, Chester J. Wagner was one of the first manufacturers of left-hand-drive vehicles in the United States. Chester's wife, the former Stella Bittner, preceded her husband in death in 1959. Chester and Stella's grave marker is located south of the tree-shaped Wagner monument.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Nelson Martin

According to his death certificate, Christopher Nelson Martin was born in 1827 to Richard and Sallie Teller Martin. Records on file at Erie County Probate Court list November 23, 1852 as the marriage date of a Nelson martin and Phebe Reed. The 1900 Erie County Census shows Phoebe martin's birthplace as England and her birth year to be 1834.

Christopher Nelson Martin died on December 30, 1909. His obituary in the January 1, 1910 Sandusky Register reported that Mr. Martin's funeral was to be held at his home in Crystal Rock. On January 9, 1910, Mrs. C. N. Martin placed a "Card of Thanks" in the local newspaper, in which she thanked the Knights of the Maccabees, the clergymen, and the funeral director, Mrs. John J. Marquart. The article ended with this phrase:

"Rest in peace dearest father,
Thou art gone but not forgotten."

Mrs. C. N. Martin passed away on August 4, 1915.

A 50-year History booklet, printed by the Village of Bay View in 2001, tells us that the father of C.N. Martin, Richard Martin, came to the area now known as Bay View in the early 1800's. He owned and farmed the land, which was known in the early days as "Martin's Point." Martin's Point Road is the name of the portion of State Route 269 which runs through the western edge of the Village of Bay View today. (Image below from Google Maps.)

Descendants of Richard Martin lived in the Crystal Rock and Venice areas of Erie County for many years.

The tombstone for Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Nelson Martin is located in the Castalia Cemetery. The shape of the monument is an open book lying atop a tree stump. (Click on images for an enlarged view.)

Though covered with lichen, and quite worn, the initials and last name of the couple appear on the pages of the open book, with their birth and death years listed below their names.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pitt Drake

The IGI section of Family Search lists Pitt Drake as being born about 1841 to Charles Ferris Drake and Maria Van Vechten Livingston Drake. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors network indicates that Pitt Drake served in Co. I of the 102nd New York Infantry during the Civil War.

An exciting tale of danger involving the Drake family is found in the chapter "An Eventful Night" in Theresa Thorndale's book SKETCHES AND STORIES OF THE LAKE ERIE ISLANDS, available through Heritage Quest. Pitt Drake's father Charles was the keeper of the light on Green Island. On New Year's Eve, 1863, the lighthouse on Green Island caught on fire. Pitt was at a neighboring island, Put in Bay, to celebrate New Year's Eve, and a terrible winter storm prevented him from making his way to Green Island. The weather let up on New Year's Day, and Pitt Drake found his family, cold and shaken, but alive. You can read more about the Green Island Lighthouse at the Touring Ohio website.

Pitt Drake died in Chicago in 1897. His obituary is found in the Grace Luebke Digital Collection hosted by the Harris-Elmore Public Library. The obituary stated that Pitt died on August 2, 1897. His remains were taken to the home of his sister, Mrs. Abram Gregoire, by his wife. The funeral was held at the Episcopal Church, and he was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Mr. Pitt Drake was survived by two brothers, Rush and Benjamin Drake, and a sister Mrs. Gregoire. Pitt Drake had been born in Sandusky in 1840 and learned the printer's trade at the Register office under the direction of Henry Cooke. He also worked on the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Drake suffered from heart trouble, and it is felt that the severe heat of the summer contributed to his sudden death.

A headline from the Chicago Tribune (subscription required), stated that Pitt Drake was "One of the Best and Most Widely Known Men in His Trade."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Second Lieutenant Dolsen Vankirk of the Ohio 65th

In the North Ridge section of Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery is a tombstone in memory of Lieutenant Dolsen Vankirk. At the top of the stone is the phrase "My Beloved Son." The inscription continues:

DEC. 31, 1862

Aged 20 Year 10 Mos.

A listing in the Ancestral File of the database FamilySearch states that Dolsen Vankirk was born in 1843 to Robert Vankirk and Helen Headley, in Sparta, New Jersey. By 1860, U.S. Census records show Dolsen living with his widowed mother and brother Edward in Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio, living in the household of a Mr. C. Carr.

On May 10, 1862, Calvin Carr wrote a letter to Ohio's Governor David Tod, requesting that Dolsen Vankirk Orderly Sergeant of Co. B., Ohio 65th Infantry, be promoted. He wrote, in part, "he hoped Tod would promote Vankirk to 2nd Lieutenant which would be very gratifying to his many friends and widowed mother, and that if necessary, he could obtain for Vankirk the endorsement of 100 names of prominent men in Sandusky." This letter is transcribed in a collection of Civil War Documents available at the website of the Ohio Historical Society.

Referring to the Ohio 65th's Capt. J. Christophel and Second Lieutenant Dolsen Vankirk, the author of the military report of the Stone's River Campaign wrote these words in: THE WAR OF THE REBELLION (Additions and Corrections to Series 1: Volume XX.): "I can cannot close this report without paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the soldierly Sweet, the conscientious Christophel, and the intelligent and noble-hearted Van Kirk, who fell while manfully encouraging their men in the trying hour of battle."

Second Lieutenant Dolsen Vankirk died on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Stone's River in Tennessee. It is clear that he was sadly missed by his family, as evidenced by the lovely monument which still is adorned with a flag at Oakland Cemetery.