Tuesday, December 30, 2014

James N. Paul: "At Rest"

James N. Paul was born March 6, 1807. In 1870, James N. Paul was living in Sandusky, Erie County,  Ohio, with his wife, listed only as M.A. Paul, and their children, Charles, Harry and Alice. James worked as a ship carpenter. By 1880, Mr. and Mrs. Paul had in their household their son Charley, and two grandsons. James N. Paul died on December 29, 1893, at the age of 86 years, 9 months, and 23 days. At the very base of Mr. Paul's tombstone are the words, "At Rest." James N. Paul was buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. A brief obituary for James N. Paul appeared in the January 1, 1894 issue of the Sandusky Register.  Funeral services for Mr. Paul  had been held at the residence of his son Charles Paul on Meigs Street, with Rev. P. F. Graham of Trinity Methodist Church officiating.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

SNGF: December 27, 2014

Randy at GeneaMusings asked us what Genea-Santa brought us this year.  My favorite gift from Genea-Santa was a hug from my nephew Matthew, who came to the family Christmas all the way from Georgia! Matthew is named after my brother (his uncle) who is also named Matthew. Here is a photo of my two Matthews on Christmas Day.

Photo by Kellie K. (Young Matthew from Georgia at the left)

Thanks for the hug from Georgia! I sure do love my family!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Edmund H. Zurhorst

Hewson Peeke, in his STANDARD HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, wrote that "On the business history of the City of Sandusky there appears the name of Edmund H. Zurhorst written in bold and legible characters." Edmund Zurhorst was born in June of 1845 in Montreal, Canada, to William H. and Letitia (McKenna) Zurhorst. The family moved to Ohio in 1849.

Edmund Zurhorst found employment on lake and ocean vessels as a young man, and served in the United States Navy during the Civil War. After the war, he built and operated two steamers on the Great Lakes. Branching out into many different businesses, he became associated with the railroad, a lime company, and several other local businesses. During President Arthur 's administration he held the office of assistant in the New York office of the U.S. Customs House, and he has also acted as deputy collector of internal revenue for the Northern District of Ohio and as collector of customs for the Sandusky, Ohio, District. He was very active in the Republican Party.

Of Mr. Zurhort's family, Peeke wrote: "On September 23, 1874, Mr. Zurhorst was united in marriage with Miss Harriet West Keech, daughter of the late C. C. Keech, of Sandusky, Ohio. She died January 29, 1890, leaving three children: Christopher C., William K. and Mary L. William K. Zurhorst died October 28, 1902, as a result of disabilities received while serving as a soldier during the Spanish-American war in Cuba."

Often Edmund H. Zurhorst and his wife wintered in Hollywood, California. Edmund became ill in December of 1923, and he died on December 19. A lengthy obituary for Edmund H. Zurhorst appears in the 1923 OBITUARY NOTEBOOK, housed in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. The title of the article refers to E. H Zurhorst as an "Old School Politician." The obituary begins: "One of the picturesque personages of partisan politics of Sandusky and vicinity 20 to 30 years ago, was Col. Edmund H. Zurhorst, 78, taken by death Wednesday at Hollywood, Cal." Zurhorst was regarded as a relentless for in his political involvement, but in later years he took pride the "machine like" methods used in the old days. The article continues, "They called me a boss,...but I wasn't. I used to have the boys gather around me and then I'd tell 'em how I thought things ought to be done. They just generally agreed with me, that was all there was to it." Among the personal friends of Mr. Zurhorst were President Arthur, President McKinley, and the late Senator Marcus Hanna.

Edmund H. Zurhorst, and his wife Harriet, who died in 1890, are both buried in the family lot at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. A funeral took place for Edmund H. Zurhorst in Hollywood, California, conducted by the Knights Templar of Hollywood. Many former Sanduskians attended the funeral.

For more information about Edmund H. Zurhorst, read about him in the HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available at most larger Ohio libraries, and appearing online at Google Books.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Halsey Chapman Post

Halsey Chapman Post was well known merchant in Sandusky, Ohio. Mr. Post was born in Clinton, Connecticut in 1813. He moved to Sandusky, Ohio in the 1850's, and soon after settling in Sandusky, Ohio, Mr. Post became engaged in the lake fish business. He continued in that business until his death. H.C. Post was also associated with several other local business ventures, including the Sandusky Tool Company, the Sandusky Electric Light Company, and the White Line Street Railway.

On July 3, 1902, Halsey C. Post passed away at his home at the corner of Wayne and Madison Street. Rev. E. A. Steiner conducted funeral services at the Post residence, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery. Six employees of the Post Fish Co. served as pallbearers for H. C. Post. Honorary pallbearers were: Watson Hubbard, James E. Marshall, A. W. Prout, and George W. Paine. Mr. Post's wife, Sylvia, and his son, Lewis Post, had preceded Halsey C. Post in death. Mr. Post was survived by three children: Mrs. M. D. Leggett, Mrs. S. P. Brownell, and Joseph W. Post. Obituaries for Halsey C. Post appeared in the July 6 and July 7, 1902 issues of the Sandusky Register.

Several pages from Sandusky of Today related to the history of the fishing industry in Sandusky are found at the Ohio Memory Collection website.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sears Wish Book Post at Brady's Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia

Check out this awesome post about the old Sears Wish Book at Brady's Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia!  It surely brought back many happy memories of my childhood days looking forward to Christmas! Thanks for the memories!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Albert G. Otto, Sr.

According to his death record, Albert G. Otto was born in Long Island, New York to F.J.M. Otto and Sophia (Hutter) Otto, both natives of Hamburg, Germany. In 1884, Albert G. Otto earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. He practiced law for several years in Indianapolis, Indiana. By 1928, Albert G. Otto had moved back Sandusky, Ohio. He died from heart disease on December 16, 1928. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, a son, and four grandchildren. Funeral services for Albert G. Otto were conducted by Rev. T.J.C. Stellhorn, and burial was in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. An obituary for Albert G. Otto, Sr. appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal on December 17, 1928.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Parker Cousins in 1933

This past year I moved, and I keep finding things in assorted closets and drawers around our new place. This weekend  I ran into this picture of my mom, her brother, and her cousin from 1933. Pictured are: Steen Thomas "Tommy" Parker, Joyce Parker, and Richard "Dickie" Parker. They are at the farm of their grandparents, Leroy and Ada Parker. The Parker grandchildren loved to go to Grandma and Grandpa Parker's farm. They got together often, and holidays were especially memorable.

Friday, December 5, 2014

John Turk

John Turk was elected Judge of the Common Pleas Court for Huron County in 1832. He died in the fall of 1834 in Green Creek Township of Sandusky County, Ohio, according to a Rootsweb site. He was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery in Block 16.

John Turk was the father in law of Lucas S. Beecher, a well known lawyer and abolitionist in Sandusky, Ohio. According to the lineage books of the Daughters of the Revolution, John Turk Beecher was the name of the grandson of John Turk. Most likely John Turk Beecher was the namesake of his maternal grandfather.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday's Child: Millicent C. Tolleson

This lovely monument in memory of Millcent Charlet Tolleson is found in the western section of Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. According to her death record, on file with Family Search, Millicent C. Tolleson was born on August 3, 1903 to Victor and Rachel (Meinzer) Tolleson. She passed away on April 13, 1911, after a brief illness. An obituary in the April 14, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Millicent C. Tolleson was survived by her parents and one sister.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marriage Record of Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan at Holy Angels Catholic Church

This very brief marriage record of Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan was found at FamilySearch in the Ohio Diocese of Toledo Parish Records. My great great great grandparents were married at Holy Angels Catholic Church in December of 1856 by Father Alexis Caron. Their names were Latinized in the church records, and Father Caron's first name is not given, just his first initial. The records were very brief at this time. Here is view of the two-page portion of the volume which holds early marriage records from Holy Angels. Patrick and Bridget's names appear at the lower portion of the left page.

Ancestors on both my Mom's Cross and Larkins lines were very active in Holy Angels Church, which just celebrated its 175th Anniversary. Holy Angels is the oldest church in the Toledo Diocese. While I am not a member of the Catholic church, I am a person of faith, and I treasure the church records we are able to access at FamilySearch!

Happy Anniversary to the parish of Holy Angels in Sandusky, Ohio!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Graveyard Rabbit
of Sandusky Bay!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Uncle Tom Parker Wrote a Poem for His Yearbook in 1942

When my Uncle Tom Parker (whose actual name was Steen Thomas Parker) was a freshman at Sandusky High School, he wrote the above poem for the school yearbook, the Fram. He is pictured below in a portion of Classroom 229 at Sandusky High School in 1942. He is the second to the last boy in Row 3. Right beside him was George Orr, who was my childhood mailman. Great memories came across my path today, as I reflected upon the fact that my uncle and my former mailman were once high school freshmen!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: My Grandma Emma Yeager Orshoski and Her Youngest Son Cliff

This is my maternal grandmother, Emma Yeager Orshoski, and her youngest son Clifford Orshoski, shortly after Uncle Cliff entered military service, in the early 1950s. Miss them both very much! Whenever I would go to visit either of them, they were always more than happy to tell me family stories!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ottomar Zistel, 1861-1906

Ottomar Zistel was born in Ohio in 1861 to Louis Zistel and Anna Rosenkranz Zistel. He had a twin brother named Oswald. Louis and Anna were both natives of Germany. Louis was active in business ventures in Sandusky. He operated a saloon, was also associated with fishing and boating businesses. In 1890, Ottomar Zistel married Amelia Kratz. They had two children, Leona and Errol. The 1900 U.S. Census lists Ottomar Zistel as a pop manufacturer. On November 21, 1906, Ottomar Zistel and his friend Fred K. Marshall were in a boat, returning from a hunting trip. The boat capsized and they drifted about in the storm for hours. Ottomar and Fred were able to reach the shore of Cedar Point, but after they reached dry land, Ottomar died from exhaustion. Fred Marshall had assisted Ottomar Zistel to a nearby shanty, owned by Fred Freeman. Mr. Freeman tried to revive Ottomar, but it was too late. Fred Freeman cared for Fred Marshall throughout the night, and the morning, Coroner McClelland was called to the scene. An account of the accident appeared in the November 23, 1906 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Ottomar Zistel was well known in Sandusky. He was only 45 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife Amelia, and his two children. Funeral services for Ottomar Zistel were held at the Zistel home on Washington Street. Services were conducted by Rev. Ainlsee of the Emmanuel Church. Ottomar Zistel was buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. Amelia Zistel remarried, to William P. Walsh. After Amelia's death in 1949, she was buried beside her first husband Ottomar Zistel.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baptism Record of Louis J. Orshoski

This week I ran across my the baptism record of my great uncle Louis J. Orshoski, at FamilySearch. The record was part of the St. Mary's records found at the Ohio Diocese of Toledo Catholic Parish Record collection at FamilySearch. While the records are not indexed, it is relatively easy to find a record, if you know the approximate date of the event. My uncle Louie's first name was listed in its Latin version, which is Lucovicus. The parents of Louis Orshoski were Joseph Orshoski and Julia Herzog, though on the church record the surnames are spelled as Orzowski and Herzig. The baptismal sponsors were Stephen and Elizabeth Hurak. Sadly, when my Uncle Louie was just an infant, his mother died from consumption. It turned that since Grandpa Joe Orshoski already had several sons, and was now widowed, his godparents, the Huraks took Louis into their home and raised him. In the picture below, Louis Orshoski is held by his godmother Elizabeth Hurak. He is the infant wrapped in a blanket in the back row. His biological mother, Julia Orshoski, is the person in the coffin on the old steps of St. Mary's Church. His father, Joseph Orshoski, is the man in the dark hair, to the upper left of the coffin. Louie's five brothers are standing around their dead mother. How very sad for those young men to lose their mother while they were so young.

Louie went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, and he was a truck driver for many years. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Louis J. Orshoski died on March 5, 2007, He was survived by his wife Helen, a daughter, a son, five grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren, and two sisters and brothers from the Hurak side of his family. Mr. Orshoski was buried at Meadow Green Memorial Park in Huron, Ohio.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rev. Moses M. Marling

According to a biographical sketch found in the book BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL CATALOGUE OF WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON COLLEGE, Moses Morton Marling was born on November 5, 1835 to Samuel and Mary (Carter) Marling in Roney's Point, West Virginia. He graduated from the United Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1862, and he was ordained into the ministry on April 3, 1864. Rev. Marling served as a minister in the Presbytery of Kansas; Randolph County, Illinois; Roney's Point, West Virginia; Halsey, Oregon; and in Carlock, Illinois.

Rev. Moses M. Marling died on November 17, 1912 at the home of his nephew Arthur Terrill on Finch Street in Sandusky, Ohio. He was 77 years of age. Funeral services for Rev. Moses M. Merrill took place at his nephew's home, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery. So while Rev. Marling served as a minister in several areas all throughout the United States, he was laid to rest in Sandusky, Ohio, in a place where it appears he did not serve as a minister of the gospel. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Stumbled Upon Thomas Edison in the 1850 U.S. Census!

As I was helping a colleague research Alexander McClure, a merchant in Milan, Ohio, in 1850, I ran into Thomas Alva Edison in the U.S. Census for 1850! He is listed in the family of Samuel Edison, at age 3, and his name was listed as Alva. Somewhere along the way, there is a star beside the name of Alva, and the note at the bottom of the census page indicates that Alva is also known as Thomas Alva Edison! I am sure I am not the first person to run into our well known inventor on the census, but I was delighted when I found him there, on my way to looking for someone else! There is a statue honoring Thomas Alva Edison and his mother Nancy in Milan, Ohio. Nancy was age 40 at the time of the 1850 U.S. Census.

It is so fun see history come to life in genealogical research!

Charles H. Reed, Veteran of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy

Charles H. Reed was born in 1840 to E.H. and Charlette (Sweet) Reed. According to the 1890 Union  Veterans Census, Charles H. Reed served as a Private in Company E of the 8th Ohio Infantry in 1861, during the Civil War. By 1863 he was an Ensign on the USS Hastings in the United States Navy. After the Civil War, Charles H. Reed served as Lieutenant on another ship in the Navy, the Manseniosha. In the 1880 U.S. Census, Charles H. Reed was residing in Perkins Township of Erie County, Ohio, with his wife Bell, and their children Harry and Flora. By 1900, Charles H. Reed was living at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Erie County. Charles H. Reed passed away on August 27, 1913, at the age of 73. By this time he had become a widow, and his occupation was listed as sailor. Thank you for your service to your country, Mr. Reed! Charles H. Reed was buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Railway Station in Sandusky, Ohio

Recently I stopped by the railroad station in Sandusky, Ohio, on North Depot Street. The building also is home to offices for the Sandusky Transit System.

The station was built in 1892, for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. Though it was close to the end of the day, I was able to step inside the station and look around for a few moments. Here is what the waiting area looks like.

A window once used for ticket sales can still be seen in the waiting area.

A train went by when I was still inside the train station. This is the view through the station windows.

Though not in use any more, a baggage building is located near the train station.

My great grandmother, my mom, and I all went to this station in the early 1950s, when Gram Irene treated us to a visit to California to see my Uncle Tom, Aunt Ev, and cousins Patti, Tommy, and Shelley.

Though I honestly don't recall this trip, I heard many stories about it! Mom said that Gram Irene woke us up in the middle of the night, to see the Mississippi River, and Gram Irene read me book after book, as we traveled by rail across the United States! Below is a picture of me and my great grandmother, Irene Larkins Risko, around the same time as our big trip west.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Ancestor With Facial Hair

Randy at GeneaMusings has challenged us tonight to tell about an ancestor with facial hair. The only one I could come up with is my 4th great grandfather, Noah Young, seen in this picture with his wife, Anna, in the book OUR YOUNG FAMILY IN AMERICA.

According to the author of OUR YOUNG FAMILY IN AMERICA, Noah Young was the son of Morgan and Jane Losey Young. He was born in April of 1788 in Essex County, New Jersey. He married Anna Young in North Monroeville on March 20, 1811. Noah Young died on his farm just east of New Yaven, Ohio on July 5, 1858. Noah Young was a coroporal in the 6th Ohio Militia during the War of 1812. He served under his cousin, Captain Jacob Young. Noah appears to have a medium length white beard in the later years of his life.

Thanks for another fun Saturday night, Randy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dr. Robert R. McMeens

Dr. Robert Ritchie McMeens was born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in 1820. THE HISTORY OF SENECA COUNTY, by William Lang, tells us that Dr. McMeens graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in the Spring of 1841. He married Ann C. Pittenger in August, 1843. In 1846 Dr. and Mrs. McMeens moved to Sandusky, Ohio. During the Civil War, Dr. McMeens served as a surgeon with the Third Ohio Infantry. On October 30, 1862, Dr. McMeens died suddenly, while serving at the Battle of Perryville. The following tribute to Dr. McMeens was composed at a meeting of U.S. Army surgeons at Perryville, Kentucky on October 31, 1862:

Dr. Robert R. McMeens is buried at Sandusky's Oakland Cemtery. He was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame on November 2, 2006. Anna McMeens, the widow of Dr. McMeens, was the housekeeper for Jay Cooke at his home on Gibraltar Island. You can view several photos of Gibraltar Island at Lake Erie's Yesterdays. During a Civil War exhibit at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, a field kit and other Civil War items which once belonged to Dr. R. R. McMeens were on display.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: "Entering the Firelands" Marker

This historical marker which reads:


is located near the intersection of State Route 101 and Northwest Road, along the line between Erie and Sandusky County.

Several of these "Entering the Firelands" markers have been placed along the border of the Firelands by the Erie County Historical Society. A brief history of the Firelands is found at the website of the Firelands Museum:

The Firelands of Ohio is geographically a half-million acres of land off the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in northern Ohio. It was first called the Fire Sufferers Land, a name that was soon shortened to the Firelands. This tract was given by the Connecticut Legislature in 1792 to citizens of nine towns which were invaded and damaged by British troops during the American Revolution. The British were attempting to destroy manufacturing and shipping which aided the Continental Army.

Read more about the history of the Firelands at these online sites:

Firelands History

 Ohio History

Erie County History

Ohio History Central 

My ancestors Julius and Percy (Taylor) House were pioneer settlers in Perkins Township, which was a part of the Firelands. Many businesses, schools, a hospital, and a college have been named for this historic piece of land. The Firelands Pioneer, available at many northern Ohio libraries,  is a multi-volume journal which features articles about the early settlers of the Firelands. I am so thankful that the pioneers of the Firelands chose to write down their memories, so that we can understand what life was like for many of our ancestors!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Harry Mercer Orwig, Interior Decorator

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Harry Mercer Orwig was born in March, 1878. In 1900, he was residing with his parents Harry and Edna Orwig in Mansfield, Ohio. About 1905  Harry Mercer Orwig moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was successful as an interior decorator. The advertisement below appeared in volume 15 of the Weekly Bulletin of the St. Louis Medical Society.

On February 27, 1906, Harry Mercer Orwig married Mabel Amanda Wilcox at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sandusky, Ohio.

 Mabel Amanda Wilcox was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Wilcox. Mabel's father was a successful businessman in Sandusky, where he operated a department store. On October 28, 1953, Harry Mercer Orwig died at St. Mary's Hospital in in Richmond Heights, Missouri, at the age of 75. His remains were taken to Sandusky, Ohio for burial at Oakland Cemetery in the Wilcox family lot.  An obituary in the October 30, 1953 issue of the New York Times reported that before moving to Missouri, Harry M. Orwig designed the interiors of thousands of homes in New York.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Philipp and Mary White

Mr. and Mrs. Philipp White, longtime residents of Townsend Township in Sandusky County, Ohio, both passed away in the fall of 1898. Mrs. Mary White died on October 7, 1898. She was buried in the Castalia Cemetery.

An obituary for Mrs. Mary White appeared in the October 8, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Star.

Mr. Philipp White passed away on November 21, 1898.

A brief obituary for Mr. White appeared in the November 21, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Star.

Over one hundred years after they left this earth, Mr. and Mrs. White's tombstones are in excellent condition in the Castalia Cemetery in Erie County, Ohio.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Castalia Cemetery Tour Last September

On September 21, 2014, I led a brief tour of the Castalia Cemetery for the Castalia Area Historical Society. Here are some of the graves that we visited. We started at the Soldiers Monument.

The contract for construction of the Soldiers Monument in Castalia Cemetery was awarded to Hughes Granite and Marble Company of Clyde, Ohio. The cost of the monument was $2,500. Another $500 was spent for the monument foundation and site preparation. Hughes Granite and Marble Company was one of the best known granite companies in the United States. Among the many monuments produced by Hughes Granite were Ohio's monument to its Civil War soldiers who died at Andersonville, the McKinley Monument at Antietam, and all of the monuments dedicated to Ohio units at Shiloh and Vicksburg. The monument erected in Castalia Cemetery in 1904 was dedicated to 264 men of the area who had served the Union during the Civil War from the Margaretta Township area.

The tombstone of Mary Ann Fally is an example of a siltstone tombstone. My experience has been that many tombstones that were carved from siltstone are almost as legible today as they were over one hundred years ago.

Major Frederick Falley took part in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. He died in Margaretta, July 3, 1828, aged sixty-four.

A memorial to Hannah Snow, who was murdered in a massacre in 1813, along with her son Robert, is located on the back of the monument honoring Willard Snow.  Willard Snow escaped the attack. He died on January 22, 1875. Willard Snow served in the 40th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. An account of the Snow Massacre is found on page 392 of Harriet Taylor Upton's HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available on Google Books.

George Nickle served during the Civil War, in Co. M, 1st Regiment, Ohio Heavy Artillery.

Dr. Samuel B. Carpender was an early physician in Castalia, and also was an early postmaster at Margaretta Township. He was married five times, and four of his wives are buried in the Castalia Cemetery. Betsy (wife #4) died in 1854; Clarissa (wife #1)  died in 1823; Catharine (wife #2) died in 1824; and Welthy (wife #3) died in 1825.

August G. Miller was the superintendent of the Castalia Sporting Club. He fell from a ladder at the fish hatchery, and was killed on December 31, 1905. According to Glenn Kuebeler’s book, Castalia, Cold Creek, and the Blue Hole, Mr. Miller was born in North Prussia and he began his job as keeper of the Castalia Sporting Club in 1878. He was also a prominent farmer in this area. 

Wells W. Miller was born in New York, but moved to Castalia in 1852. He served as a Captain in the Ohio 8th Infantry during the Civil War. Eventually he taught school in Castalia, Ohio. Mr. Miller was one of Ohio’s best known agriculturalists, serving as Ohio’s ninth Secretary of Agriculture. Wells W. Miller and his wife Mary Caswell Miller are buried in Castalia Cemetery. A beautiful monument honors their memory. Mr. Miller died in 1906, and his wife passed away in 1913.

Having settled in Margaretta Township in 1838, Calvin Caswell was one of the largest wheat producers in Erie County. Mr. Caswell was an Erie County Commissioner from 1863 to 1868. He served as president of the Erie County Agricultural Society for a number of years. Caswell was also a member of the Margaretta Grange, and had served as a fifer for the Bay City Guards. Calvin Caswell was married twice, first to Louisa Ellison, and then to Serena Jackson Caswell. (After Calvin’s first wife died, he married his brother Daniel’s wife, who had become a widow in 1855.) An engraving of Mr. Caswell’s farm appears in the 1874 Erie County Atlas, which can be seen at the Sandusky Library.

In the book HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich (D. Mason & Co.., 1889), we read that Thomas Caswell was born in the state of Massachusetts, and resided in Steuben, New York, before settling on 500 acres in Margaretta Township, Erie County, Ohio. His wife was Elinor/Eleanor Force. Thomas and Elinor Caswell had a family of seven children. Their son Calvin Caswell was a prominent agriculturist in Erie County, and he served as Erie County Commissioner from 1863 to 1868.  During the War of 1812, Thomas Caswell served in a unit from the State of New York. Thomas Caswell died in Margaretta Township, Erie County, Ohio, on September 2, 1853, at the age of 60. 

Harriet Wray was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her tombstone features birds on it, and there is also an actual bird bath adjacent to her grave.  She was born on January 18, 1918 in Castalia, Ohio, the daughter of the late Karl and Flossie Mae (Smith) Ketterer.  She died on May 7, 2011, and had resided in Port Clinton prior to her death. Mrs. Wray was a second grade teacher at Sandusky City Schools for many years.

Several members of the Zehner family served in the military. Darwin Zehner and Daniel Zehner served in the Civil War, and George Zehner served in the Spanish American War.

This lovely monument at the Castalia Cemetery honors the memory of Jallier and Ruth Billings, who died in 1870 and 1891, respectively. In the 1855 List of Post Offices of the United States, available full-text on Google Books, Jallier Billings was listed as the Postmaster of the Castalia Post Office. 

A lengthy obituary for Mrs. Ruth Billings appeared in the April 11, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register. Mrs. Ruth Billings died on April 3, 1891 at her son's home. She was born Ruth Lapham on July 3, 1806 in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. At age 17, Ruth married Mr. Herman Kelley. In 1826, Herman and Ruth Kelley moved to New York State, and they moved to Republic, Ohio in 1834. Herman Kelley died in that year. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley had a family of six children. In 1838, Ruth Lapham Kelley married Jallier Billings, and they also had a family of six children. 
Mrs. Ruth Billings was buried with her husband Jallier Billings in Castalia Cemetery. She was survived by these children: Daniel Kelley, Benjamin Kelley, Oliver Kelley, Mrs. Adeline Stearns, Lafayette Billings, and Mrs. Ella Nickle. (Several of Ruth's children had died prior to their mother's death.)  The writer of the obituary of Mrs. Billings stated: "Mrs. Billings was of Quaker parentage and has always remained a believer in the forms and religion of her parents and family. The benevolent and helpful spirit, the kindness of brotherly love which has always been manifested by this body of believers, was the strong characteristic of this friend of ours. The helping hand was held out to all...." A decorative wreath is at the top of the Billings monument. In the background, a memorial to the Civil War soldiers from Margaretta Township can be seen next to the American flag.

Rev. Philip Ried (sometimes spelled Reid) was the first pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Castalia. 

Rev. Theodore Stellhorn had taught catechism to some of the young people in Margaretta Township in the early 1900’s, but in the summer of 1901, Rev. Ried was called to minister to three different parishes, those in Mustcash (an area of Western Erie County near Crystal Rock), Groton Township, and Castalia. Rev. Ried traveled between the congregations on horseback and taught catechism classes in his home. A building fund was started in 1905, and the cornerstone for the Lutheran Church in Castalia was laid on October 2, 1910. Dedication of the new church building was held on August 27, 1911. In February of 1912, only five months after the church’s dedication, Rev. Philip Ried died. He had been attending a session of Luther League in Toledo, when he was suddenly was taken ill. Rev. Ried had been well respected in the community. His obituary, from the front page of the February 6, 1912 Sandusky Daily Register reported that Rev. Reid was “a faithful worker and an excellent preacher as well as a man whose advice and counsel was sought in affairs of citizenship as well as religion, the Rev. Mr. Reid had none but friends. There were many manifestations of sorrow when the announcement of his death was received at Castalia.” Rev. Philip Ried’s parents outlived him by many years. At the Castalia Cemetery, there is a striking monument on the Ried family plot. The cross is inscribed with the words “Simply to thy cross I cling.” At the base of the Ried monument is the Ried surname, formed in the shape of tree branches.

There are thousands of stories told by the many tombstones in the Castalia Cemetery. I hope you have enjoyed hearing just a few of those stories.