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.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

SNGF: Photographs Through the Generations

Randy, at GeneaMusings, gave us a new mission in the latest edition of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Here is the challenge:

1)   How many generations do you have photographs or portraits of your ancestors and descendants?  It can be any just can't be broken!

2)  Tell us the line, or better yet, show us the unbroken line.  Provide birth-death years, and the approximate date that the photograph or portrait was made.

3)  Share your generation picture line in a blog post of your own, or in a Google+ or Facebook post, or in a comment to this post.  

Though all my pictures show more than one generation, here is what I came up with. Below is a portrait of my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and my great great grandfather in 1941, when my mother was in the wedding of family friends.

Starting at the oldest generation, the individuals are:

Thomas F. Larkins, 1869-1944
Irene Larkins Risko, 1891-1961
Doris Wheeler Parker, 1910-1943
Joyce Parker Orshoski, 1931-2010

Here is a picture of my mom and I in 1961:

My name is Dorene, and I was born in 1951.

Here are my three children and two grandchildren, in November 2010.

So, that brings us to seven generations, going from Grandpa Tom Larkins down to my two young grandsons! Thanks for a fun Saturday Night, Randy!

Archbold Cemetery in Fulton County, Ohio

The Archbold Cemetery is located on the southern edge of Archbold, Ohio, in Fulton, Ohio. As one walks through the lovely cemetery, it is clear that there is a rich German heritage in Archbold, as evidenced by the German names on the tombstones.

This tombstone in the Archbold Cemetery shows the agricultural heritage of the area as well.

Over one thousand interments from the Archbold Cemetery are listed at FindaGrave. To read more about the history of Archbold, Ohio click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Mr. and Mrs. Simon Guckert

This lovely monument honoring the memory of Simon and Barbara Guckert is found in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. According to U.S. Census records, Simon and Barbara were both natives of Germany. Simon was born in 1828 and Barbara was born in 1829. An article in the October 21, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register indicates that Simon Guckert was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and he settled in Sandusky, Ohio in 1852. By the time of the 1870 U.S. Census, Simon and Barbara Guckert were residing in the 4th Ward of Sandusky, Ohio, and they had a large family of seven children, ranging in age from 1 to 13 years of age. Mrs. Barbara Guckert passed away at the age of 76 on October 1,  1906. After a brief illness, Simon Guckert died at his residence on Jackson Street in Sandusky on October 20, 1907. He was survived by two daughters, five sons, 26 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Rev. Theo. Stellhorn of the Zion Lutheran Church officiated at the funeral of Simon Guckert. The Guckert monument has S. Guckert across the front of the stone. The German words for father and mother, Vater and Mutter, are inscribed across the top of the Guckert monument, along with birth and death years for Simon and Barbara.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mrs. Emma Marsh Sadler, 1849-1930

Mrs. Emma L. Marsh Sadler was born in 1849 to George A. and Caroline Marsh. Emma's father was a pioneer plaster merchant in Ohio. In 1877, Emma L. Marsh married Charles Webb Sadler, the only child of Judge E.B. Sadler.  The wedding ceremony was officiated by Rev. E. Jay Cooke.

According to the Sandusky Star Journal of October 21, 1930, Mrs. Emma Marsh Sadler passed away on October 18, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Samuel Stanton, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Funeral services were held at the home of another daughter, Mrs. J. Frank Donahue, in Sandusky, Ohio, and burial was at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. At the time of her death, Mrs. Emma Marsh Sadler's son, C. Webb Sadler, was serving as Sandusky's City Manager.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Townsend Pitt Cooke and Henry Dell Cooke

In the eastern part of Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery is this simple cross monument, which honors the memory of Townsend Pitt Cooke and Henry Dell Cooke. These two men were sons of Pitt Cooke and Mary Elizabeth Townsend Cooke. Townsend Pitt Cooke was born in 1845. His occupation was bookkeeper at the Sloane House Hotel. He died on January 7, 1914 from heart disease. An article in the Van Wert Daily Bulletin, of January 8, 1914, stated that T. Pitt Cooke had been the favorite nephew of Jay Cooke, Civil War financier.

Henry Dell Cooke was born in 1850, and he died at the age of 71 on October 16, 1922, at the home of sister Mary E. Cooke on Wayne Street. H. Dell Cooke had been very active in Grace Episcopal Church, as a vestryman, Sunday School teacher, and choir member. He was a well respected real estate agent. This tribute from the obituary of H. Dell Cooke, which appeared in the  October 17, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register stated: "Those who knew him the best, his friends and business associates, admired him for those rugged qualities of truth and honor which mark the Christian gentleman, and which were in such rare measure his."

As you view the Cooke monument from the back of the cross, you can clearly see Route 250 in Sandusky, which is the main route to Cedar Point, a very popular amusement park.

T. Pitt and H. Dell Cooke have roots going back to some of the earliest residents of the Firelands. Their paternal grandfather was Eleutheros Coooke, Sandusky's first lawyer, and their maternal grandfather was a prominent Sandusky businessman, William T. Townsend.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: October 11, 2014

Randy, at GeneaMusings, has given us this challenge for this week's edition of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:

What day of the week was your Grandfather born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.

2) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandfather's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.

3)  What famous people have been born on your Grandfather's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

4)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

My maternal grandfather was Steen Leroy Parker.

Here are some facts about him:

  •  My grandfather, Steen L. Parker, was born on January 30, 1905, which was a Monday.  (I learned this at His birth date was listed at FamilySearch, in the  Ohio Births and Christenings database. (His name there was listed as Leroy Steen Parker, but he was always known as Steen Leroy Parker.)
  • A few things that took place on January 30 were:

On January 30, 1847 - The town of Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco. 
On January 30, 1862 - The U.S. Navy's first ironclad warship, the "Monitor", was launched. 
On January 30, 1894 - C.B. King received a patent for the pneumatic hammer. 
On January 30, 1933 - "The Lone Ranger" was heard on radio for the first time.
On January 30, 2002 - Japan's last coal mine was closed.
(These facts were learned at )

  •       Famous people born on January 30 include:
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Dick Cheney
Phil Collins
Christian Bale
Gene Hackman

(These names were listed at: )

Etta Couch

Family Search Labs features a database of Ohio Death Records from 1908 through 1953. In this database is found the death certificate of Etta May Couch. Etta was the daughter of Jacob and Sarah Martin Somers, having been born on April 17, 1882. Etta married Adin Basil Couch, and at the time of her death she and her husband were living in Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Etta May Couch passed away on October 25, 1918, and she is buried in the Sand Hill Cemetery.

The cause of death for Etta May Couch was bronchopneumonia, complicated by influenza. During the year of 1918, while the United States was at war, an influenza epidemic was claiming the lives of thousands of Americans.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Marker Honoring Michigan's German Settlers

While several of my ancestors of German descent settled in the state of Ohio, recently I took a brief trip to the delightful town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is also rich in German heritage. In Frankenmuth, you can find German food and attire, visit the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, and have a terrific chicken dinner! Read more about "Michigan's Little Bavaria" at the site of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce.