Monday, November 30, 2009

William Fink, Proprietor of Farmer's Hotel

While the name Wilhelm Finck is on the tombstone, the name for the same person in the 1870 U.S. Census for Erie County reads William Fink. it is very common for persons of German heritage to have variations in the spelling of their names as it appears on various documents. The Oakland Cemetery interment card for William Fink states that he died of typhoid fever, and is buried in Block 72, Range E. He was buried on December 4, 1871.

The 1870 Census lists the occupation of William Fink as: keeps boarders. The other persons listed in the family are:

Elizabeth age 42
Lizzie age 22
John age 19
William age 14
Rosa age 11
illegible age 3
Anna age 1

Birthplaces were indicated as Germany for William; France for Elizabeth; and Ohio for all the children. The 1870 Sandusky City Directory gives the name of the head of household as William Finke, who was the proprietor of the Farmer's Hotel, located on the south side of Water Street between Jackson and Decatur Streets.

Following the death of her husband, Elizabeth Fink married Samuel Wood. She continued in the hotel business for many years. Elizabeth Fink Wood passed away on 25, 1906.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

General John Beatty

John Beatty was born in Erie County in 1828. He moved to Morrow County, where he was engaged in the banking business. During the Civil War, John Beatty served in the Third Ohio Infantry. Eventually he became a Brigadier General in the Civil War. He wrote a book about his experiences in the Civil War, entitled THE CITIZEN SOLDIER; OR MEMOIRS OF A VOLUNTEER. From 1868 through 1873, John Beatty was a United States Representative to Congress from Ohio’s 8th District.

John Beatty died December 21, 1914, and is buried in the Beatty family plot at Oakland Cemetery. His grandfather, also named John Beatty, was an early land speculator in Erie County, and was the Mayor of Sandusky from 1834 through 1836.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chester John Thompson, Football Star

Chester John "Red" Thompson was born September 8, 1910, to Jay and Clara (Schoenewald) Thompson. Chester was the star center of the Sandusky Eagles football team. He also played football for Sandusky High School and the Sandusky Maroons.

A serious automobile accident claimed the life of Chester J. Thompson on October 3, 1932, as the football team was traveling home from Akron to Sandusky on October 2nd. The car's other passengers, Dallas Biechele, Allan Wuertz, Russell Furrer, and Edward Schaeffer, all received minor injuries. Mr. Thompson's funeral was held at the Andres Funeral Home on October 4, 1932, and he was buried at Oakland Cemetery.

A football is found at the top of his tombstone. Chester J. Thompson was just twenty two years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his parents, a sister Helen, and a brother Ellsworth. Chester's life was cut so short, that he did not have a chance to marry and have a family. A photo of Chester J. Thompson appears in the August 18, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register, along with his teammates from Sandusky High School. An obituary for Chester Thompson is found in the October 5, 1932 Sandusky Register.

Mrs. Hannah Cowan

Mrs. Hannah Cowan was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 4, 1803. She moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio in 1839. By 1844, her husband had died, leaving her to care for two young children on her own.

According to the November 28, 1882 issue of the Sandusky Register, Mrs. Cowan "was a woman of superior education and strong mind,and taking on her own shoulders the burden of life, she became a school teacher, a profession she followed for twelve years. Among her pupils were boys who have since become famous soldiers and public men, and often in the past twenty years she has been the recipient of personal attention from men who regarded her as their wise instructor in their boyhood."

Mrs. Hannah Cowan passed away on November 24, 1882. She was the mother of Mrs. Clark Center. For many years Mrs. Cowan had made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Clark. Hannah Cowan was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Shortly after her death, General Robert P. Kennedy wrote a letter to Rev. D. J. Meese, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Sandusky, which was reprinted in the Sandusky Register. General Kennedy stated about Mrs. Cowan, "...her patience, her piety and Christian character are still imprinted upon my memory..." He continued, pointing out that Mrs. Cown had laid the foundation for the superstructure of an education.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gift from My Family: Memories of Christmas Past

Paul R. Orshoski,Sr., was born on July 1, 1927. His mother was 100% German, and his father was 100% Hungarian. Paul married his sweetheart, who had roots to Connecticut settlers of the Firelands, and she also had English and Irish immigrant ancestors. Their six children truly represented the American "melting pot." Paul and his wife enjoyed watching the children participate in school, church, and sporting activities. The family loved Christmas...letters to Santa, cousins to visit, "pieces" to learn for the church Christmas play, and little ones who could barely get to sleep on Christmas Eve. Here are some pictures from Christmases past. A holiday tradition was to send a family photo along with Christmas cards to family and friends. Though Paul is in heaven now, his family cherishes the time we had with him.

The family started with a baby girl. This little one never grew tired of hearing stories about "the olden days."

Soon a little boy came along, named after his dad. He would grow up to coach youth athletics like his dad, too.

Then there were three. This baby girl would became a caring nurse in the years to come.

Christmas Eve usually involved Paul spending long hours assembling the toys that "Santa" brought, sometimes until the wee hours of Christmas morning.Oh how the children loved their presents!

There were a lot of smiles when another little boy was added to the family. This young man still keeps the family laughing today!

The family looks so calm, but there were hectic times more often than not.

Baby "Number Five" was a special gift. He would sing "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in Kindergarten, and later would also sing to his bride.

The baby girl of the family was the delight of her parents' hearts. "She keeps us young," they would say so often.

Stories of Orshoski Christmases past are now being passed down to the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thanks for the memories, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alois Trapp

This metal grave marker for Aloys Trapp is found in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Aloys Trapp died in 1860. The cemetery's interment card for Mr. Trapp lists his name as Ludrick Trapp, who was buried on November 19, 1860, at the age of 38. The 1860 U.S. Census shows an L. Trapp living in Erie County, Ohio, with a wife Saphronia, and children named: Bertha, Benjamin, Wilhelmina, and Frank.

A search of immigration records at Ancestry Library Edition indicated that Alois, Stephanie, and Bertha Trapp came to the United States aboard the ship Nimrod. It arrived in the United States on June 28, 1852. Bertha was only three years old at the time of the ocean voyage.

The Obituary Index of the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center contains a citation for a Mrs. Stephena Trapp, who died in 1914. According to the 1910 Census, Mrs. Trapp (listed in that census record as Stephannia Trapp) was living with her daughter Wilhelmina Wigand at Put in Bay, in Ottawa County, Ohio. Mrs. Trapp's tombstone from Crown Hill Cemetery is pictured online.

A collection of family documents from the Trapp, Weigand, Phillips, and Schraidt families is on file at Bowling Green State University's Center for Archival Collections. As is so often the case, there several spelling variations for the first names of Mr. and Mrs. Trapp. Keep an open mind in your genealogical research. Compare census records, cemetery records, and vital records, to find the connections within a family unit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steve and Emma Orshoski

Steve Orshoski was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on December 15, 1905 to Hungarian immigrants Joseph and Julia (Herzog) Orshoski. Joseph Orshoski worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. After living a few years in West Virginia (then Virginia), the Orshoski family settled in Bay Bridge, Ohio in about 1917. Bay Bridge was home to the Medusa Portland Cement Company, where Joseph Orshoski and many other Erie County residents found work. Steve Orshoski, and many of his brothers, sons, and nephews would eventually work at the cement plant as they became old enough to work. Steve and Emma are pictured (left) as a young couple fishing in Bay Bridge. The younger girl may be Dorothy, Emma's younger sister.

On July 25, 1925, Steve Orshoski married Emma Yeager, the oldest daughter of Huron residents Andrew and Lena (Piehl) Yeager. Steve and Emma had five children, a daughter and four sons. The Orshoski children grew up in Bay Bridge during the Depression and World War Two years, when money was scarce. Everyone worked hard, had gardens, and went fishing. Emma was a wonderful cook and homemaker. One of her special meals was "wiener stew," made with franks, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. After her children were grown, Emma was employed as a cook at the Erie County Children's Home, and later in the laundry department of Sandusky's Memorial Hospital.

Steve Orshoski died on March 18, 1971. After Steve's death, Emma's mother Lena lived with her for several years. It seemed to the grandchildren that Great Grandma Lena Yeager was very, very quiet, and Grandma Emma Orshoski was quite outspoken. Emma Orshoski passed away on November 10, 1979. Steve and Emma Orshoski are buried at Meadow Green Memorial Park. Two of their granddaughters still live in the unincorporated village of Bay Bridge, Ohio, on Sandusky Bay. Steve's younger brother Nick married Emma's sister Dorothy, so the children of these two couples were "double cousins."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mrs. Lois House Parker

Mrs. Lois House Parker passed away on November 15, 1937. A clipping from an unidentified newspaper provides this obituary for Mrs. Lois House Parker:

"Mrs L. G. Parker Taken by Death
Native of Perkins Twp.
And Resided in Castalia

Mrs Lois House Parker, wife of L. G. Parker and a well-known resident of Castalia died Monday evening at 6:20 o'clock at Providence Hospital. Mrs Parker had been a resident of Erie Co all her life, being born in PerkinsTwp. on March 18, 1903, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis House, and at the time of her death was aged 34 years, seven months and 28 days. Mrs. Parker is survived by her husband, an infant son, David House Parker; her parents Mr and Mrs Lewis House of Perkins; six sisters, Mrs Claude J. Minor and Mrs. Harold Groves, both of this city; Mrs. Gus Criblez, of Lakewood; Mrs (Rev) Herbert Thompson, of Salem, O.; Mrs William Doster of Perkins and Mrs. Byron Woolson of Cleveland; two brothers Guy House of Memphis, Tenn., and Byron , of East Cleveland. Mrs Parker was a member of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church here.The body has been removed to the Charles J. Andres Sons' Funeral Home and funeral arrangements will be announced later."

Lois was a descendant of Julius House, an early settler of Erie County. The death certificate of Lois House Parker is accessible through the database Family Search Labs. Mrs. Lois House Parker was buried in Castalia Cemetery, where her husband Lucius G. Parker would also be buried after his death in 1954.

Note: Lois House Parker's aunt, Mrs. Marian House Parker was married to George B. Parker. While both Lois and Marian had the maiden name of House, their spouses were from different Parker lines: George B. Parker having been from Perkins Township, while Lucius G. Parker was a Margaretta Township resident.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day Events in Sandusky, Ohio

You can read about Veterans Day events taking place in the Sandusky area at this link.

A photograph of the cemetery at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky is found here.

Thank you to all Veterans!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Enough to Break a Graveyard Rabbit's Heart

This past weekend two members of my high school graduating class passed away. One was a dear lady who had been battling cancer for several months. The other classmate was a woman who had been in an abusive relationship, and her death is being considered a homicide. It is so difficult to comprehend such sad events, since we were all together celebrating our 40 Year Class Reunion just a little over two months ago.

(Photo by M. Gentry)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Louis Traub, Civil War Captain

Louis Traub was born in Germany on August 4, 1817. He came to the United States in 1835. After working as a tailor in New York City for several years, he moved to Ohio in 1844. Louis settled in Sandusky, Ohio in 1847. In Sandusky, Louis Traub continued in his tailoring business, and also opened a restaurant which was known as the "Hesse-Cassel" in the 1880's.

Prior to the Civil War, Louis Traub was the commander of Sandusky's "Jaeger Company," a local militia unit made up primarily of men of German descent. The old Jaeger Company was the basis for Company F of the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, led by Captain Louis Traub.

Louis Traub was involved in many business ventures and community organizations, which are chronicled in his obituary in the August 18, 1881 Sandusky Register. Louis Traub died on August 14, 1881. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery. He was survived by his widow, ten children, and twelve grandchildren. Many former soldiers from the Jaeger Company attended the funeral and burial of Louis Traub. Louis Traub's wife Barbara passed away in 1885, and she was buried with her husband at Oakland Cemetery.

See SANDUSKY THEN AND NOW, available at the Sandusky Library's Archives Research Center, to learn more about the German heritage of Sandusky.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Irene Larkins and Tommy Parker go to California Aboard the Challenger

On June 11, 1939, Irene Larkins (sometimes spelled Larkin) and her grandson, Tom Parker, left for a trip to California on the "Challenger." Irene kept a diary of her travels. At 5:15 p.m., the whole family saw Irene and Tommy off at the train depot in Sandusky. The first night, they traveled through Toledo,Elkhart, and arrived in Chicago at 10 p.m. Irene wrote that Tommy was "thrilled to the sky." They sent a telegram to Irene's daughter Doris, and ate at a restaurant in Chicago.

While on the train, they visited the lounge car, where Irene could smoke a cigarette. They wrote letters on "Challenger" stationery. Many days, Irene included what they ate at their meals. On Monday, June 12, while traveling through Omaha, Nebraska, Irene had orange juice and bran with cream, and "very fine coffee." In Utah, Tom and Irene saw the Great Salt Lake and caught a glimpse of the Temple and the Capital Building. They enjoyed the view of the mountains. While going through the desert, it was very hot, even though the railroad cars were air conditioned. Irene passed the time playing rummy with a Mr. Terrell. Later a group, including an aviator from Alabama, a Dr. Rieger, and a German refugee, enjoyed scotch and sodas and sang songs. Irene wrote that they all felt merry!

Family friends named Grace and Mildred met Irene and Tommy at the train station in Los Angeles. While in California, Irene and Tommy got to go inside the studios of 20th Century Fox, as a family friend was employed there. They walked down Hollywood Boulevard, and saw the footprints of many movie stars. Tommy got to swim in the ocean. Of course they went to many "picture shows" while in California. One day they took a boat ride on a glass bottomed boat, and watched the diver swim right under the boat. On June 28, Irene and Tommy went to Forest Lawn Cemetery, where they saw th "Wee Kirk o' the Heather" and "The Little Church of Flowers."

Doris, Steen, and Grandpa Larkins wrote letters to Irene and Tommy while they were in California. By July 5, Tom and Irene were both getting homesick. Later that week, they traveled from southern California to San Francisco, where they saw freighters from all over the world. On July 11, 1939, they boarded the train for the long trip home. In Montana, they saw cowboys dressed in satin. On July 14, Irene made her last entry in her diary of her trip to California. They ate breakfast in North Dakota, and saw Native Americans in their traditional dress. Irene and Tommy had dinner in Minnesota, and noticed that the scenery was beginning to look more like Ohio, with scenes of corn fields and lakes.

While we don't know the details of the rest of the trip home to Ohio, it was wonderful to read the day to day activities of Irene and Tommy's train trip west in 1939. In a few short years, Irene would lose both her beloved father and her daughter, and America would go to War! I am sure that her travel diary provided her with good memories during those turbulent times in the early 1940's.

Below is a picture of Irene and Tommy aboard the G.A. Boeckling, on their way to Cedar Point in 1937. They were great traveling pals!

Joseph Ruemmele

Joseph Ruemmele is buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. He died on November 5, 1871. He was only 28 years and 9 months of age at the time of his death.

A search of the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database provides the military unit in which Joseph Ruemmele served. He was a musician in Company H of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.

The IGI portion of FamilySearch indicates that Joseph Ruemmele was the son of Charles F. and Mary A. Ruemmele.

While we do not know the exact connection, if any, another Mr. Ruemmele, August, was active in publishing a German newspaper in Sandusky in the 1850's. See the Sandusky History website to view an image of August Ruemmele.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Elijah Brown, Civil War Veteran

Elijah Brown was one of the several Sandusky residents who enlisted in the Massachusetts 55th regiment in 1863. You can read about the African American men who wanted to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War in the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register of June 6, 186, which was reprinted online. Most of the men from Sandusky who enlisted in the Massachusetts 55th Infantry served in Company I.

According to Elijah Brown's death certificate, available via Family Search Labs, he was born on December 13, 1844 to Bazil and Mary (Wilson) Brown. He lived at 916 Hancock Street in Sandusky, and his occupation was firefighter. Elijah Brown died on April 3, 1915, and was buried in Section 5 of Oakland Cemetery. A brief article about Sandusky's "Freedom Fighters" is found at the Sandusky History website.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

1852 Ad in Sandusky Newspaper about Oakland Cemetery

An advertisement in the December 30, 1852 issue of the Daily Commercial Register invites Sandusky area residents to have the remains of their loved ones re-interred at Oakland Cemetery "upon reasonable terms and in a proper manner." While there were other burial places in and around Sandusky, Oakland Cemetery appears to be the earliest cemetery owned by the city of Sandusky, which had substantial acreage.

A brief history of Oakland Cemetery is found on pages 327-328 of HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich:

In the year 1849 a committee of the council consisting of F. T. Barney, John M. Brown and Foster M. Follett was appointed to again select a location for a larger and more appropriate cemetery tract ; and in 1850 another committee, consisting of councilman Solomon. C. Moore, was appointed for the selection and purchase of a tract of land for the purpose of a cemetery and city poor farm. The negotiations of this committee resulted in contracting for a tract in Perkins township, and one hundred and thirty-six acres in extent, with Jane S. Williams, at the agreed price of four thousand seven hundred and one dollars and ninety cents. It was on this tract that the beautiful Oakland Cemetery was laid out. The project of erecting a poor house for the city seems to have failed, and the city sold such part of the land as was not required for the purpose of a cemetery. The portion retained comprises between fifty and sixty acres, and only a portion of it is as yet laid out.

The Oakland Cemetery is well adapted for burial purposes, the grounds being laid out in exceedingly good taste. A large and convenient superintendent's residence is built upon the tract. Although not within the city limits Oakland Cemetery is one of the institutions of the city, and owned by it. Its management and control is vested in a board of cemetery trustees, a body created by an ordinance of the common council of the city, and, at present, is comprised of the following persons : W. G.. Hastings, John G. Strobel and Louis Duennisch.

Oakland Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Erie County, Ohio. The website of the Oakland Cemetery provides a database for genealogical searches. Many early residents of Sandusky and Erie County are buried at Oakland Cemetery. The city of Sandusky holds Memorial Day services at Oakland Cemetery each May.