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!