Saturday, June 27, 2020

Trying to Connect the Larkins and Ryan Families

My great great grandfather (second from left in picture above) was name Thomas F. Larkins. He was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1869 to Patrick Larkins and Bridget Ryan Larkins.

Below is a picture of someone whom I believe is a first cousin to Grandpa Tom.
This gentleman is James A. Ryan, born in Sandusky in 1870 to Mr. and Mrs. James Ryan.
Photo Courtesy Sandusky History website

I have searched through vital records and several genealogical databases, but I cannot confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bridget Ryan, mother of Thomas Larkins, was a sibling to James Ryan, the father of James A. Ryan. Because death records prior to 1908 did not require the parents' names, I just cannot be sure.

Yet another Ryan connection is from the guest booklet from my maternal grandmother Doris Wheeler Parker's funeral. She died very young, in 1943. Doris was the granddaughter of Thomas F. Larkins. Two members of the Ryan family called at the funeral home, Mayme and Edward Ryan. These two Ryans were the children of Patrick and Catherine Ryan. Patrick Ryan could be a sibling to Bridget and James Ryan as well!!

If anyone can shed some light on these Irish families from Sandusky, Ohio, please leave me a message! Thanks!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Getting to Know My Four Times Great Grandfather Thomas Stevens, Pioneer Teacher in Berlin Township

Thomas Stevens, my four times great grandfather, settled in Eldridge Township in 1818. In 1818, that was a part of Huron County. Today, the region formerly known as Eldridge Township is known as Berlin Township, and is now a part of Erie County, Ohio. Thomas Stevens was married to the former Sally Kendrick. Their two daughters were Lorinda and Polly. The name of Thomas Stevens is next to numeral 39 in the 1820 U.S. Census for Huron County, Ohio, pictured above.

Below is a biographical sketch of Thomas Stevens/Stephens from the "Firelands Pioneer" of June, 1962, written by Dr. Xenophon Phillips.


Thomas Stevens came in from the same place in February, 1818, and settled on L. 8 R. 4, where he resided till his death in 1835.  He was the second Justice of the Peace in the township, Daniel Butler having been the first. He made a good Justice and also a good school teacher. He taught the third school in the township. He taught over a year in all, in an old log schoolhouse, the first one built near the centre. It stood near the old block schoolhouse, since built.

Among his scholars were Horace L., Edwin I., Elihu P., Benjamin L. and Mary Ann (now Mrs. John Summers). Hill, Zalmuna, Zebah, Rebecca and Xenophon Phillips, (I learned the alphabet of him.) Nancy Anderson and Roswell Wood Jr., Lorinda and Polly Stevens Charles, David and Hiram Fox, Levi, Alvali and Mary Jones, and many others too numerous to mention here. He had some peculiar eccentricities, as a teacher. "When coaxing and flattering failed to secure attention to studies, he had a peculiar manner of scolding, which was so effectual, in most cases, that he seldom used his rod, though he kept one.

He would pace the room and commence and continue to repeat the word study,
and every time with increased emphasis and louder, till he reached the top of his
voice, in the meantime increasing the speed of his movements, and rubbing his
chin rapidly with his thumb and fingers. When he had reached his highest key-
note, all in the room would generally be attending to their studies, who were not
too much frightened to do so.

The branches taught at that time, were only reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic. And we had some good schools. I certainly never learned faster than I did at this school.

Mr. Stevens left a wife and two children: Lucinda (Mrs. widow Steen, now living in Florence) and Polly, (the first wife of William Poyer). Polly died some years since in this township. And Mrs. Stevens is living with her daughter, in Florence. Mr. Stevens, as I recollect him, was of short stature, small and stooped, somewhat; and on an emergency was very energetical. He was well educated, for his time. He understood English grammar, but generally refused to use his knowledge of it, in conversation, alleging that he was ashamed to differ so much from his neighbors.

I am tempted, in conclusion, to relate an anecdote of Mr. Stevens, here, in illustration of his traits and eccentricities, which lies revered in my recollection. I trust no offence will be taken or harm done by it. For the last thing I would do would be to give offence to relatives of this good neighbor and my first school teacher.

While quite young, in company with some other careless boys, I was playing on some coal prepared by him for the blacksmith; we were probably, though ignorantly, injuring it. He saw us, and came out of his house towards us. I believe when he first started towards us, he was rubbing his chin, and halloing coals, frequently. As he approached nearer, his voice raised louder, and every time
he halloed coal he jumped up from the ground, and every time he jumped up he struck his fists together above his head. Perhaps it is needless to say that we left the coal-pit before he got there. He doubtless had a laugh at the fright he had given us.


I wonder what Grandpa Stevens looked like! Was he tender hearted to his wife and children, or stern?  So many questions! Interesting to learn that he was short and energetical!! That could describe several of his desendants! Below is a family tree that goes from the generation of my maternal grandfather Steen Parker, back to Thomas Stevens. 

Great great great great grandfather Stevens died in 1835. So far I have not located a tombstone for him, though there is a brief will on file at the Huron County Courthouse. I am thankful that Dr. Phillips shared his recollections of Thomas Stevens with the "Firelands Pioneer."

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Historic Building at the Corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky

The apartment building at the northwest corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky, Ohio is now multi family unit. As I was leaving Sandusky Hardware yesterday, I noticed that in the little area between the hardware store and the apartment building, there appears to be some original stone exposed on the western side of the apartment unit.

Ellie Damm wrote in TREASURE BY THE BAY that the early residents of Sandusky were thrifty, and they quarried limestone to build many of the buildings that remain in our hometown today!

At what is now 1007 West Washington Street, there have been many different businesses, before it came a residential property. In the 1860s and 1870s, Louis Bittel had a saloon here. Louis died in 1876 and is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery.

Photo courtesy FindaGrave

Later there was a barber shop, music store, tailoring business, and a cafe at this location, just to name a few. Below is an advertisement from from the Sandusky Star Journal of June 17, 1919, in which Leo Gerhardstein was selling an upright piano.

There are so many stories in the buildings (and cemeteries!) in and around Sandusky, Ohio!!