Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Wylie Walleye, seen above at the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center in Ottawa County, will be the center of attention tonight at midnight! Wylie Walleye will be dropped at the stroke of midnight in downtown Port Clinton. Click here to read more about the Walleye Drop!

Ira P. Scofield

Ira P. Scofield served as a Corporal in Company I of the 145th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. At the time of his death in 1908, he was a resident of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home, now known as the Ohio Veterans Home. Ira P. Scofield is buried in Venice Cemetery.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Jay C. Butler, 1885-1980

According to the book GENEALOGY OF THE BARNEY FAMILY IN AMERICA, by Eugene Dimon Preston, (Barney Family Historical Association, 1990), Jay Caldwell Butler was born on October 22, 1885 to George Reber Butler and his wife, the former Susan Caldwell Barney. He was named after his father's brother of the same name, Jay Caldwell Butler. The elder Jay Caldwell Butler was a veteran of the Civil War who had died in July of 1885. In the 1930 U.S. Census, Jay C. Butler, the son of George and Susan Butler, was living with his wife Helen in Cleveland, Ohio, and was working in the real estate business. Jay Caldwell Butler died on December 30, 1885. He was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Mrs. Helen Butler died in 1981, and she too was buried at Oakland Cemetery.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ohio Civil War Websites


Pictured above is the monument at Castalia Cemetery which honors those who served in the Civil War from Margaretta Township, Erie County, Ohio. Here a few more websites related to the Civil War in Ohio.

Click here for information on how you can obtain a free brochure about Civil War destinations in and around Erie County, Ohio.

Pietro Zurma

Pietro Zurma died on December 27, 1929 in Sandusky, Ohio. According to his death certificate, he had been born in Forli, Italy in 1854, to Mr. and Mrs. Florian Zurma. Records at the Ellis Island website show that Pietro Zurma, along with his wife Antonia and daughter Maria, came from Italy to the United States on August 30, 1906. The Zurma's were on there way to see Pietro's son Florian Zurma who resided in Sandusky, Ohio. Pietro and his wife and daughter also settled in Ohio. They traveled on the ship the Napolitan Prince, and departed from Naples. See lines 5,6,and 7 on the image of the passenger list below. (Click for a larger view.)

An obituary for Pietro Zurma appeared in the December 27, 1929 issue of Sandusky Star Journal.

A picture of Pietro is found on his tombstone.

Sadly, Pietro Zurma is buried not far from his three grandchildren, all children of his daughter Maria Zurma Macrelli. Alfredo, Rosa, and William Macrelli died in Sandusky the 1920's at a very young age.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mary "Mollie" Larkins Weis

Mary "Mollie" Larkins was my great great grandaunt, the sister of my great great grandfather Thomas F. Larkins. Aunt Mollie was born on March 8, 1872 to Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan Larkins. (Her tombstone, however, reads 1873 as the year of her birth.) She was the fifth of the seven Larkins children, all baptized into the Catholic faith. In September of 1899, Mollie Larkins married Solomon Schlenk. Solomon Schlenk died on January 14, 1909, when he was only 41 years of age, leaving Mollie a young widow.

Between 1920 and 1930, Mollie Larkins Schlenk married John J. Weis. They lived on McDonough Street in Sandusky, Ohio. Mollie Weis passed away on December 26, 1938. Sadly, her husband John J. Weis, and her brother, John Larkins, had both died previously in the same year that Mollie died. Mollie and John J. Weis are buried at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. What a sad Christmas for the Larkins family, to lose Mollie the day after Christmas.

Below is a family picture (of poor quality, I'm afraid) of several Larkins family members. Aunt Mollie is the short lady standing beside her brother Tom.

Mollie's sister in law, Mary Louise Cross Larkins, and her niece Irene Larkins, are pictured in the front row of the family picture.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  from the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay!

Friday, December 23, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Advice for Future Generations

The prompt for Week 52 of 52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, by Amy Coffin of We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Advice

Do you have any advice for future generations who may be researching your family? For example, was there a name change or a significant relocation in your past? This is intended to be a very flexible question. Answer it any way you wish.

The advice I would like to give for future generations is to ask your older family members lots of questions! Record them on paper, or video, or on your computer! When I was very young, I had seven of my eight great grandparents all living. Of course, I was too young to know that I wanted to ask them questions!! Luckily, my mom, aunts, uncles, and other relatives and neighbors of my ancestors did answer lots of questions for me when I was "bitten" by the genealogy bug! Having just lost my mom a little more than a year ago, you cannot imagine how many things I have realized that I should have asked her! Like about her experiences in the workplace, and holidays when she was a girl....

Ask lots of questions, and record them in whatever way works for you! Your descendants will be so glad you did! Pictured below are just a few of my mom's grandchildren and great grandchildren, who were lucky enough to hear some stories from their beloved Gram/Nana.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Our grandsons are enjoying the blue hippopotamus in Sandusky's Washington Park. The large building behind them is the Erie County Courthouse, where many of the boys' ancestors had marriages, births, and deaths recorded at Probate Court. The large brightly colored animals once were located in the Kiddie Land section of Cedar Point.

Ohio Supreme Court Did Not Take Action to Stop Demolition of Seneca County Courthouse

Click here to read the latest news about the possible demolition of the Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio.

Infant Thomas L. Charity

Thomas L. Charity was the infant son of Raymond and Virginia (Linz) Charity. He died at University Hospitals in Cleveland when he was three months and 21 days old, on December 23, 1946. His death certificate, available at Family Search Labs, stated that the cause of death was meningitis and pneumonia. An obituary for Thomas L. Charity appeared in the Christmas Eve issue of the Sandusky Register Star News. Little Thomas was buried at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Sandusky. He was survived by his parents, two brothers, and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Tucker of Milan, Ohio, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Linz of Sandusky, Ohio. It is heart breaking to think of losing a child so young at Christmas time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thomas Arthur Larkins, 1894 - 1937

My great granduncle, Thomas Arthur Larkins, was the youngest child of Thomas F. Larkins and Mary Louise Cross Larkins, born in Sandusky on September 19, 1894. He was usually called Art, so people did not confuse father and son. When he was a teenager, Uncle Art worked at the bathhouse at the beach at Cedar Point. Mom often told us the story that once when my Great Grandma Irene wore a bathing suit that her brother didn't think was appropriate to the Cedar Point beach, Uncle Art made her go change clothes. He thought she had too much flesh showing for a proper young lady of her times! Thomas Arthur Larkins can be seen in the back row of his graduation class photo that appeared in Sandusky High School's yearbook, The Fram. Art is the third individual from the left, in the back row. He was rather short, and he had thick, wavy hair.

By 1916, Uncle Art had moved to Franklin County, Ohio, where he worked on the railroad. Art's father and grandfather both had worked on the railroad in Sandusky, Ohio, Grandpa Patrick Larkins on the old Mad River Railroad, and Grandpa Thomas F. Larkins on the New York Central Railroad. Art married Audrey Burrell, and they had a son named James A. Larkins in 1919. After Art and Audrey divorced, Art married a lady named Opal. Uncle Art died on December 21, 1937, at the age of 43. It seems so sad to me that he died before his older sister and his father, and at Christmas time! Thomas Arthur Larkins was buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. A few years ago, my brother took Mom and I to find Uncle Art's tombstone, but no stone remains. The office said that it is possible that at the time of his death, perhaps there was no stone erected, or that over the years it could have sunken beneath the ground. Mom left a bouquet of silk flowers at the spot that where we think Uncle Art was laid to rest. Rest in peace, Uncle Art!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fifth Grade Gingerbread House Project

One of my "Graveyard Rabbit in training" grandsons made this gingerbread house in his
Grade Five Class today. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

News Story about a Lawsuit Filed to Stop Demolition of Seneca County Courthouse

Click here to read an article from the Sandusky Register about efforts to stop the demolition of the Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio. To access the website of the Seneca County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, visit the url:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Military Monday: Walter M. Wright

Walter M. Wright, born December 5, 1929, served as a Sergeant in the United States Army during the Korean War. He passed away on September 11, 2008. Walter M. Wright was buried at the Cemetery of the Ohio Veterans Home, following a military funeral held at the Giffin Chapel at the Ohio Veterans Home. A lovely wreath adorns the tombstone of Walter M. Wright in December, 2011. Thank you for your years of service to our country!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Calendar: My Childhood Christmas Stocking

In the early 1950s my great grandmother, Irene Larkins Risko, made a Christmas stocking for me. My stocking was made of green corduroy. On the stocking was a Santa, train, church, drum, toy soldier, teddy bear, and a Christmas tree, made from different colors of felt. A small section of colored plastic created the look of stained glass windows for the church. Sequins adorned the drum and Christmas tree. The wheels of the train were created with two different sizes of buttons. The teddy bear has appliqued paws, and Santa had furry material for his beard and his hat. It looks like the stocking may have been made from a store bought kit. Grandma Irene, who lived at 146 East Market Street, was within walking distance of three dime stores in downtown Sandusky. Neisner Brothers was just across the street on East Market Street, and around the corner on Columbus Avenue there was an S.S. Kresge and an F.W. Woolworth store.

Though Gram Irene made a stocking for me and my brother, by the time my baby sister came along, she had suffered a stroke, and she could not do any more sewing, crocheting, or other craft projects very easily. Mom hung the two handmade stockings up year after year at our house, and the next four children in our family had stockings from the store. "Santa" filled all the stockings, whether they were homemade or store-bought! Now my baby sister has custody of the stockings of all the six Orshoski children, and she often graciously hosts the family gatherings at the holiday time. Great Grandma Irene passed away on September 17, 1961. I think she would be pleased that the stockings she made still make an appearance every Christmas season!

*This blog post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Geneabloggers.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Doris Wheeler's Letter to Santa

On Saturday, December 21, 1912, the letter below appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal. Since my maternal grandmother, Doris Wheeler, was only two years old, her letter must have been written by either her mother or her grandparents.

An advertisement from the popular Sandusky department store, the Herb & Myers Company, also appeared in the December 21st issue of the Star Journal.

In time, Doris married Steen Parker, and they had three children. Sadly, she died when she was only 32 years of age. She was the joy of her Grandpa Tom Larkins' heart! Doris is standing in the four generation photo below. Also pictured in the photo are her mother, Irene Larkins Risko, her grandfather, Thomas Larkins, and her ten year old daughter, Joyce Parker.

Though her life was short, it is good to recall that Grandma Doris had hopes and dreams and loved the holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

To Teach the Future Mother...

This advertisement from the Butterick Publishing Company appeared in the December 16, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register. The patterns for the Butterick rag doll and clothing were designed "to teach the future mother to dress the future child." In 1907, for twenty five cents, Butterick would mail customers a pattern for the Butterick rag doll as well as patterns for a kimono, dress, guimpe and coat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Halsey J. Brooks, 1894-1932

Halsey J. Brooks was born on June 4, 1894 to Charles L. and Harriet Elizabeth (Ferber) Brooks. According to U.S. Census records, Halsey grew up in Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio. By 1925, Halsey J. Brooks was the vice-president of the Harten-Brooks Motor Company, which operated an automobile dealership in Sandusky at the corner of Hancock Street and Huron Avenue. Fred Harten was the president of Harten-Brooks. In the September 2, 1925 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, the Harten-Brooks Company advertised Ford, Chevrolet, Overland and REO automobiles. A small ad for a Ford read:

1924 Model

This car is in dandy shape, has excellent tires, top, and locking steering wheel. The first $350.00 takes it. See it at Harten-Brooks, Cor. Hancock St. and Huron Av.

The Sandusky Register of October 7, 1928 reported that Halsey J. Brooks and Meta Steffen at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. Steffen, who resided on Meigs Street. Rev. C.J. Hollister officiated at the wedding. The bride's gown was made of peach georgette over satin crepe. Meta carried a bouquet of roses, gypsophilia, and ferns. After the wedding ceremony, a wedding dinner was served at Martin's Tea Room, for sixteen guests, and a reception at the Steffen home followed.

On December 14, 1932, Halsey J. Brooks, after having contracted pneumonia. He was only 38 years old at the time of his death. Funeral services for Halsey J. Brooks were held at his home at 1227 Waverly Road in Sandusky, Ohio, with Rev. W.H. Munk, pastor of Salem Evangelical church, officiating. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers were: Gordon Millott, George J. Doerzbach, Dr. L.F. Meyer, Robert Butts, Fred Harten, and J. J. Reamer. Active pallbearers were: Lyle Brooks, Manson Brooks, Ralph Brooks, Rollin Steen, Ralph Nickerson and John Wohler. An obituary for Mr. Brooks, which appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal on December 17, 1932, stated that "the services at both the house and grave were largely attended. Many beautiful flowers testified to the high esteem in which the deceased was held by a host of friends." Mrs. Meta Brooks never remarried. She passed away on June 6, 1976, and she was buried next to her husband.

Though I never met Halsey Brooks, his sister Mildred Brooks was married to my Great Uncle Rollin Steen. Halsey Brooks was in attendance at the Steen family Thanksgiving celebration in 1927. (The newspaper spelled his name Halso Brooks in the brief article about the Thanksgiving dinner.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Grizzle Gray and Hezekiah Meeker

Mrs. Grizzle Gray, wife of J. Gray died on Dec. 17, 1837. Hezekiah Meeker, who is remembered on the same tombstone, at Oak Bluff Cemetery in Berlin Township, Erie County, Ohio, died on May 13, 1827. Mrs. Gray and Mr. Meeker are most likely related, but to date the exact connection has not been found. The book HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, tells us that Hezekiah's parents, Stephen and Polly (Platt) Meeker, were early settlers of the Firelands.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sheri's Christmas Video Series

For a good holiday laugh, hop on over to Sheri's blog at The Educated Genealogist. Her holiday video series is sure to bring a smile!

Moses A. Doyle, Civil War Soldier and Sandusky Mail Carrier

At Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery is this partially visible tombstone which honors the memory of Moses A. Doyle, a Civil War veteran and a former mail carrier for the Sandusky Post Office. According to one of his marriage records, Moses A. Doyle was born in Westchester, New York in 1848 to Andrew and Susan (Ryan) Doyle. While still a resident of the state of New York, Moses A. Doyle served in Company B of the Seventh United States Infantry. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System lists his last rank as that of Sergeant. By 1870, according to the U.S. Census, Moses Doyle was age 23, and residing with his wife Candace and his infant daughter Amelia, in Sandusky Ohio. His occupation was listed as house carpenter. In the 1880 Census, Moses and Candace Doyle were the parents of four children, and Moses was still employed as a carpenter. By 1900, Moses A. Doyle was a mail carrier in Sandusky, Ohio. Moses stated that his parents had both been born in Ireland.

The Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 Collection, at Family Search, holds a death record for Candace R. Doyle, who died on February 15, 1910. The record informs us that the parents of Candance Doyle were Simeon Galloway and Amelia (Fox) Galloway. Moses A. Doyle married secondly, Mrs. Eleanor Duncan. Eleanor passed away on March 1, 1924. After Eleanor's death, Moses A. Doyle married for a third time. His third wife was named Nettie Hughes. Sadly, Nettie died on May 11, 1935.

Moses A. Doyle died on December 13, 1936. A brief article which appeared in the Steubenville Herald Star of December 14, 1936, stated that Moses had been appointed as a letter carrier 52 years prior to 1936, and he was one of the first three letter carriers in Sandusky, Ohio. Moses A. Doyle survived the Civil War, outlived three wives, and he delivered mail to Sandusky residents in all types of weather. He lived a full life, and served his country and his community very well. Having been born to Irish immigrants, he probably endured prejudice against his Irish family ties at various times in his life. It was people like Moses A. Doyle who helped to help create the diverse population of Erie County, Ohio, which has long been considered to be typical of the "melting pot" characteristics of these United States.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ohio Veterans Home Museum

A Museum and Library is housed in the Mack Building on the grounds of the Ohio Veterans Home, formerly known as the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home. Separate rooms are devoted to Americans who served in wars from the Civil War to the present. Elias Laughlin is just one of the many thousands of Veterans who once resided at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home. Elias Laughlin is buried in the Cemetery on the grounds of the Ohio Veterans Home.

During the month of December, the Ohio Veterans Home Museum has Christmas trees decorated from a variety of different historical time frames.

Hundreds of historical photographs, documents, and military weapons and other memorabilia can be seen throughout the Ohio Veterans Home Museum. Admittance to the museum is free, and hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday.

Click here to view a brochure about the Ohio Veterans Home Museum.

Anna Linn Ramm, 1876-1895

Miss Anna Linn Ramm was born on May 18, 1876 to Mr. and Mrs. William Oswald Ramm, who were residents of Sandusky, Ohio in the 1890's. Anna worked as a servant for the family of Dr. C.H. Mills of Toledo, Ohio. On the evening of December 11, 1895, Anna Linn Ramm cried out in pain. Dr. Mills' mother in law, as well as a druggist, were at the Mills home when Anna became ill. The druggist rushed to the pharmacist for some medication, but by the time he arrived back at the Dr. Mills' residence, Anna had died. The coroner stated that the cause of death of Anna Linn Ramm was heart failure. Anna's parents took the Lake Shore Railroad to Toledo, so they could accompany the remains of their daughter home to Sandusky. Anna Linn Ramm was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. She was aged 19 years, 6 months, and 24 days at the time of her untimely death.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adam Kolb

According to the U.S. Census for Erie County, Ohio, Adam Kolb, a widower, was residing in Sandusky at this time. He stated that his age was 37, his occupation was machinist, and his birthplace was Baden. Also residing at the Kolb residence were Adam's sons Albert, age 11, John, age 10, George, age 8, and his mother Elizabeth, age 68.

An article in the December 16, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Adam Kolb has died on December 15, at the Odd Fellows' Home in Springfield, Ohio, where he had resided for two years. Before moving to Springfield, Adam Kolb was a machinist at the Big Four shops for many years. Funeral services for Adam Kolb were held at the home of George Dressel on December 17, 1907. Mr. Kolb was survived by two sons, Albert and George. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery. Adam Kolb's tombstone features the Odd Fellows emblem of three links, which represents friendship, love, and truth.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Early Sandusky Methodists Had Strong Convictions

Recently I checked out the book entitled History of Ohio Methodism: A Study in Social Science, written by John Marshall Barker in 1898. This book is also available fulltext at Google Books. The portion of the book that was intriguing to me was the section on "Methodism in Sandusky," found on pages 415 through 418. The author discussed the various buildings which housed Methodist churches in the city of Sandusky up to 1898.

Two individuals who were well known leaders in Sandusky, both started churches based on their differences of opinion with the leaders in their home Methodist churches in Sandusky. John Beatty, who served as Mayor of Sandusky from 1833 to 1836, broke away from the mainline Methodist church in 1835 over the issue of anti-slavery sentiment. John Beatty and several others built a separate Methodist church in the public square of Sandusky, which did not last too long, after the main benefactor, John Beatty, passed away. Philander Gregg, who was also a Mayor of Sandusky, along with others, led a group of individuals away from the home church over the issue of instrumental music in the worship service in 1853. This group also erected a church building on Decatur Street. This society disbanded in 1855, and the church building was later home to the Second Baptist Church. Below is the section of the book History of Ohio Methodism: A Study in Social Science which discusses the two men who helped form their own Methodist churches in Sandusky.

Eventually, Philander Gregg moved west, where he died in 1899. Philander Gregg is buried in Union Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri. John Beatty is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery, where a large granite monument honors John Beatty, his wife, the former Mary Cooke, and several of their descendants.

John Beatty and Philander Gregg were strong civic leaders, who also had strong moral and religious convictions! My ancestors, Julius and Percy (Taylor) House, moved to Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio, from Connecticut in 1815. The group of "Connecticut Yankees" who traveled together were led by John Beatty.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Joel Cheek Farrell

Joel Cheek Farrell was the youngest son of Herbert Farrell and Ritchey Cheek Farrell. Herbert Farrell was the founder of the Farrell Cheek Company in Sandusky, a plant which manufactured steel castings. Farrell's maternal grandfather, for whom he was named, was Joel O. Cheek, who was best-known for founding the Maxwell House Coffee Company.

In the early 1950's, Joel C. Farrell was the Vice-President of Farrell Cheek Company in Sandusky. He was married to the former Nancy Sprow, and athe couple had two children, a son and a daughter. About 1963, Joel C. Farrell moved to Florida. He died in Florida, early in November of 1968, at the age of 46. According to Mr. Farrell's obituary in the Sandusky Register, he died in Daytona Beach, following a brief illness. A private family funeral service was held for Joel C. Farrell, and he was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog Caroling 2011

Footnote Maven, the creator of the lovely image above, has invited us to go Blog Caroling again! One of my favorite carols is "Away in a Manger," which is sometimes called simply, "Cradle Hymn." The lyrics to "Away in a Manger" are:

Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
'Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

This song was often sung by my parents, myself and all my siblings at Grace Lutheran Church in Castalia, Ohio, on Christmas Eve.

Nativity image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Mrs. Almona Gill Severance

According to the IGI portion of FamilySearch, Almona Gill was born in Erie County, Ohio on November 20, 1856 to Edward and Esther Young Gill. She married Rev. Claude M. Severance in Japan on July 12, 1892.

In an article about Rev. Severance from MEN OF VERMONT, we learn that Almona Gill was a graduate of Oberlin College, and she was in the mission field in Japan when she met Rev. Severance, who also was in Japan as a missionary. The following passage was written about Mrs. Severance in The Missionary Herald, following her death on December 7, 1898:

Mrs. Severance's health had been infirm for some time, the result, it is believed, of her faithful and self-sacrificing labors. She faced death with calmness and trust, and from her home in Cleveland, Ohio she entered into rest on the 7th of November last.

Mrs. Almona Gill Severance is buried in the Sand Hill Cemetery in Erie County, Ohio.