Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Westchester County Archives Digital Collections

Online access to hundreds of historic maps, atlases and photographs from Westchester County, New York,  are found in the collections of the Westchester County Archives Digital Collections. The main categories are:
A suggested link under "Suggested Topics" on the right side of the webpage leads us to Cemetery Maps. Below is an image of just one of the many cemetery maps from the Westchester County Archives Digital Collections.

While I personally do not have ancestors from Westchester County, New York, what a wealth of information awaits family researchers who do have ties to this county. Happy hunting!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mrs. Lucy Allen, My Second Cousin Six Times Removed

Recently I came across this very old tombstone for Lucy Allen, wife of Jesse Allen, at the Perkins Cemetery in Erie County, Ohio. After doing some digging, I discovered that Lucy is my second cousin, six times removed! From the book The Hollister Family of America, available at the Internet Archive, I learned that Lucy was born Lucy Hollister, to Israel and Sarah (Skinner) Hollister, on May 17, 1791, in Glastonbury, Connecticut. (Lucy and I both descend from Lieut. Thomas Hollister.) Lucy first married Benoni Buck, Sr., a man who was originally from Connecticut, but who died in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio, on March 6, 1823. In 1828, the widowed Lucy and her five children all went west and settled in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio. On May 17, 1829, Lucy Hollister Buck married Jesse Allen. They had one son, Justice Israel Allen. Justice died in a fire in February 1851, at the age of 21. Lucy Allen died on November 24, 1849. She was buried in the old Perkins Cemetery. Jesse Allen, the second husband of Lucy, died of cholera on August 8, 1852. He too was buried at the Perkins Cemetery.

An open book, or possible Bible, adorn the tombstones of Jesse and Lucy Allen. I was delighted to learn that I am connected to this couple who lived so long ago in the same area as my House, Parker, and Hollister ancestors.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Morgan Monument at Oakland Cemetery

This large monument at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio honors the memory of several members of the Thomas Morgan family. In the book HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, eduted by Lewis Cass Aldrich, we read that Thomas Morgan and his wife Mary came to the U.S. from Ipswich, England. By 1860, Mrs. Morgan had passed away, and Thomas was living on a farm in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio.

 George H. Morgan was born George Hamilton. Because his parents died when he was very young, George was adopted by Thomas and Mary Morgan. George H. Morgan was raised on his family's farm, and eventually he purchased property adjacent to his adoptive father's land. An engraving of the George H. Morgan residence is found on page 32 of the Stewart & Page 1874 Erie County Atlas.

In 1854, George H. Morgan married Mary Jane Monfort. They had two children, Thomas Theron Morgan and Mary Julia Morgan. On November 22, 1902, George Hamilton Morgan died suddenly at his home in Perkins Township. An obituary in the November 25, 1902 issue of the Sandusky Register stated about George H. Morgan, "He was one of the staunchest farmers of Erie County and was well liked by all who knew him. He was a man of integrity, of character, a good neighbor and a devoted head of his household."  Funeral services for George H. Morgan were held at the family home, with Rev. Gray and Rev. Oswalt officiating. The Morgan monument lists the years of death of several others members of the family:

Thomas Morgan died in 1889
Mary Morgan died in 1859
Mary Jane (Monfort) Morgan died in 1909
Mary Julia Morgan died in 1927

Miss Mary Julia Morgan had this monument erected and placed at Oakland Cemetery. To read more about the Morgan family, and many other early residents of Erie County, Ohio, see HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, eduted by Lewis Cass Aldrich, found in many northern Ohio libraries, and also available full-text online.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Program from the Sandusky Theatre

On Saturday night, November 18, 1916, the musical comedy "Katinka" was presented at the Sandusky Theatre, at the southwest corner of Jackson and Water Streets in Sandusky, Ohio. The operetta was composed by Otto Hauerbach and Rudolf Friml. The producer was Arthur Hammerstein."Katinka" had made its Broadway premiere on December 23, 1915 at the 44th Street Theatre. When the show appeared in Sandusky, the Sandusky Theatre was almost completely filled. An article in the November 20, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that, "The company was excellent, the music tuneful, the costumes beautiful, the stage settings gorgeous, and the lighting effects artistic." The comedy was said to have been delightful. Alice Ryan played Katinka, and Burton Lenihan played Ivan. Two pages of photographs of the cast are found in the center of the program.

The play is centered on a young woman stuck in a loveless marriage in Russia, but the Katinka is really in love with Ivan. As the plot moves along, there are scenes from Russia, Turkey and Austria.

The number "Rackety Coo" was one of the play's most popular songs. While I do not know if any of my Sandusky area ancestors were able to attend this performance, I was delighted when a local collector allowed me to browse through this lovely vintage program. The full text of the vocal score of "Katinka" may be viewed online at the Internet Archive.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Polly Picket, 1804-1883

Mrs. Polly Picket is buried at Venice Cemetery, outside the former village of Venice, Ohio in rural Erie County, Ohio. In the 1850 U.S. Census for Margaretta Township, Erie County,  Polly Picket was listed as Mary Picket. She stated that her birthplace was Canada, and she was age 45. Three other people were listed in the household: Elenor, age 21; Nelson, age 29; and Charles, age 9. In the 1880 U.S. Census, Polly Picket was a widow, age 75. Mary "Polly" Picket died on November 16, 1883. Her death record is on file at FamilySearch. Polly Picket's tombstone was made by A. Montgomery of Sandusky, Ohio.

An inscription on Polly's tombstone is very worn.

The inscription may read:

Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord.
                   Rev. 14:13

but I am unable to be certain of the inscription, due to the weathering that has taken place. It is interesting to note that the tombstone of Adam and Eleanor Montgomery, at Oakland Cemetery, features the same verse from Rev. 14:13. Perhaps that was a favorite passage of scripture for Mr. Montgomery, the monument maker.

Rest in peace Polly Picket!

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 22, 1963: Where I Was on the Day JFK Died

On November 22, 1963, I was in the seventh grade at Margaretta Junior High School in Castalia, Ohio. Our class was just leaving Mrs. Arheit's music class, and on our way to Mr. Bracy's mathematics class when we heard rumors of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. It seemed unreal. I remember that we were asking Mr. Bracy if it was true, and he was visibly shaken, and he didn't really know any more than we did. After we got home from school, the television was broadcasting all the news, and it really was true that our President had been slain. That evening was supposed to be the lighting of the Christmas lights in downtown Sandusky, and I can remember thinking that I would surely rather be at a happy Christmas event, than hearing this tragic news. Later that weekend, our family went up to our great grandparents' home for Sunday dinner after church. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Orshoski had asked us for dinner. Because our family was big (we had five children in our family at that time), we set up a card table in the living room for the children.

As we were eating dinner, on the television screen, we saw someone shoot Lee Harvey Oswald! It was unbelievable! I had always been sheltered from "adult" topics and violence, and I could see the shock on my parents' face when they realized what had happened. It seemed like the end of the world to me, and I was sad about the death of the president, and the violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald too. It was a turning point in my life, marking the end of innocence. Everyone in my seventh grade class certainly remembers that November afternoon in 1963.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Bader

Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Bader are buried in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery. The following listing is found in the "Family Register of German Settlers" of the book SANDUSKY THEN AND NOW:

Bader, Joh, Georg, scissors sharpener, b. 1804, d. 1879; his wife Caroline, b. 1804, d. 1876

The 1860 U.S. Census for Erie County has the name of a George Baden in 1860. His wife Caroline was 58, and the children were: Kate, age 18; Elizabeth, age 16; and Rosina, age 12. All family members were born in Baden, Germany. George's occupation was given as scissors grinder.

Oakland Cemetery interment cards state that Johan Bader was buried on January 29, 1879, and Caroline Bader was buried on November 14, 1876.

A closeup of the inscription reads:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Links to Information about the Civil War Soldiers Buried at Johnson's Island

Below are some links which provide information about the Confederate soldiers, including many officers, who died and were buried at the cemetery at the site of the former Civil War prison at Johnson's Island, which is not far from Sandusky, Ohio. (Click on the links highlighted.)

*Information housed at the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center about soldiers buried at Johnson's Island Civil War Confederate Prison Cemetery, researched by Roger Long.

*Table of soldiers buried at Confederate Stockade Cemetery at Johnson's Island.

*Information about the Confederate Cemetery of the prison at Johnson's Island, which appeared in Southern Historical Society Papers, volume XXVII, Richmond,Va.  Jan. -Dec. 1899. 

*Confederate dead buried at Johnson's Island, from an Appendix in the book The Story of Camp Chase: A History of the Prison and Its Cemetery, by William H. Knauss.

*Information about the Confederate Stockade Cemetery from the National Park Service.

*POW listings from 1864, a joint project of the Sandusky Library and the Friends and Descendants of Johnson's Island Civil War Prison.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Military Monday: Dedicated To and In Honor of the Mothers and Wives of Erie County, Ohio

This plaque in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Sandusky, Ohio is dedicated to the mothers and wives who lost sons and husbands in World War One. The names of Erie County men who died in the Great War are listed. The plaque was given by the Women's Building and Rest Room Association in 1922.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Those Places Thursday: There Was Once a Margaretta School in Bay Bridge

From 1917 into the 1920s, there was a Margaretta Township  primary school in the small unincorporated area of Erie County known as Bay Bridge. This small community was the location of the Medusa Cement Company. Many of the employees were  immigrants from Europe. In the 1920 U.S. Census, the heads of household of over sixty families in Margaretta Township stated that they had been born in Hungary. This news article below, which appeared in the February 8, 1917 Sandusky Star Journal,  listed the names of youngsters in the Bay Bridge school who were on the Honor Roll, including the names of  my great uncles Frank and Andrew Orshoski.

In this article, from the Sandusky Register from April 2, 1922, Frank and Andrew Orshoski had perfect attendance.

So far, I have not found any pictures of the old school. By the 1930s, the children of Bay Bridge attended the Margaretta elementary school in Venice, Ohio. The map below shows the location of the Bay Bridge school from the 1920s.

Andrew and Frank Orshoski are among the young men who are standing around the casket of their mother, Julia Herzog Orshoski, who died in 1919, leaving Great Grandpa Joe Orshoski a widower with six young sons.

The old Margaretta school in Bay Bridge filled a need for the growing population of that small community. In the early 1960s the Medusa Cement plant closed, but the descendants of many former Medusa employees still live in the area.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Reproduction of a 1931 Good Housekeeping Cover

This thrift shop tin features a reproduction of the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine from November, 1931. My mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski, was born in December of 1931. Perhaps her mother or grandmothers read a copy of this magazine as they awaited the birth of the first granddaughter in the family. Mom told me stories so often of how her Irish grandmother Irene Larkins used to make delicious cakes. Mom is pictured below with her mother, Doris Wheeler Parker, her grandmother, Irene Larkins Risko, and her great grandfather, Thomas Larkins, in 1941.

Mom's paternal grandmother, Ada Steen Parker, was a marvelous cook, having lived on a farm most of her life. I am told her pies were scrumptious, especially at harvest time. My great grandmother Ada Steen Parker is pictured below, holding me as an infant, with Rusty the dog close by.

I often found vintage tins for Mom, and she seemed to love them, though I almost always found them at garage sales or thrift stores. This tin reminds me of my mom, and those oft told stories from long ago. Miss you Mom!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

H. William and Helena Curth

According to the book SANDUSKY THEN AND NOW, Heinrich Wilhelm Curth was born on May 9, 1820 in Hanover, Germany, and he settled in Sandusky, Ohio in 1850. In the 1867 McKelvey's city directory for Sandusky, H. William Curth is listed among several shoemakers in the business listings for Sandusky.

The 1870 Industry schedules for Sandusky, accessed at Ancestry Library Edition, indicate that H.W. Curth was employed as a shoemaker. He used hand tools to make and repair boots and shoes. SANDUSKY THEN AND NOW states that H.W. Curth was married three times. His first wife,nee Beka West, died in 1852. His second wife, nee Bernahardine Schulte, died in 1864. The third wife of H.W. Curth was the widow Helena Immel, whose maiden name was Schunk. According to U.S. Census records, it appears that Mr. Curth had children with each wife. Helena Curth died on September 16, 1889. H. W. Curth died on November 2, 1893. H.William and Helene Curth were laid to rest in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Both H.W. and Helena Curth came to the United States from Germany. They both suffered loss, and I think they worked hard to support their large family. May they rest in peace.