Rainy Day & the Olympic Club
SHOPTALK: On the desk this week at the shop is a view of the Olympic Outing Club from the river. By and large the club retains that 20th century look and, of course, attitude. Several generations of Olympics have come and gone since the club was created over a century ago.
I was thinking of Leonard Fogarty just the other day. Leonard was a for real Irishman / politician from Cleveland’s Westside. He used to tell me that when he came to town he’d find himself at the print shop talking with either my dad or granddad. He was an unforgettable person. His son, John L.(eonard) bought a home in Vermilion when he retired from the printing business in Cleveland and has lived in town for a hefty number of years now.
The Club introduced many great characters to the local townsfolk. And the tradition continues.
MORE DONATIONS: Nancy Kneisel dropped by the other day with a bag of artifacts for the museum. Her father, Roy, was an amateur / professional photographer who took some great pix of our pretty city during his lifetime. I’ve shared some of them with Viewers in the past and will continue do so in the future.
Among the very cool things Nancy donated is small souvenir program from the 1899 graduating class of Vermilion High School. The class consisted of eight students.
KITCHEN WORK: I hope to get the print shop kitchen painted during the next week or so. When that’s done we’ll be able to see how we want to handle the flooring in both the kitchen and bath. It’ll probably be vinyl with a vintage flavor. But before that we’ll have to lay down a think subfloor. (The floor in the kitchen and bath are the ceiling for the lower rooms.)
NEW BOOK: I’ve begun putting the material together for a new book. Though I am inclined to refer to it as a book of biographies that is probably a misnomer. Though the stories are, in essence, biographical in nature they are not authorized nor extravagantly detailed. They’re more on the order of work sketches of personalities (mostly local) of 20th century Vermilion: People of Interest. (I don’t have a title yet.)
A 4-man team of church guys (George Spreng, Jack Johnson, Larry Howell, and myself) will be preparing and serving a wonderful French Toast breakfast from 7:30 to 10 AM. This is, beyond the shadow of any doubt, the very best French Toast you’ll ever have – and that’s no lie.
You don’t have to be a member of the church to attend the breakfast. We welcome all. The price is what you think it’s worth (i.e. a “free-will offering”).
So put it on your calendars and join us. You won’t regret it.
FOR VHS CLASSES '63-'64-'65: The date of the 1963-64-65 VHS Class(s) Reunion this coming summer is August 16 at German’s Villa Banquet Hall in (where else?) Vermilion. For more info the best bet would be to email – Ruthie Bauman Tanner. Grazie.
NEW MUSUEM SCHEDULE: Beginning now the museum will be open six days a week from 11 AM to 3 PM. We will be closed on Sundays and Holidays.
Private tours during those hours and during the evening can be arranged by calling the museum, or stopping in to see us.
FIVE-OH-ONE-CEE-THREE: The museum is a 501(c)(3) organization. Consequently, all donations to the museum are tax deductible. This is retroactive to November of 2011.
VISITING HOURS: We are located at 727 Grand Street in Vermilion across the street from Vermilion's historic E&R Church. The museum is open Monday thru Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM. A small admission donation of $3 (for adults) is requested. Children accompanied with an adult will be admitted free. For Special Tours call: 440-967-4555.
We are closed on Sundays and holidays.
MEMBERSHIPS: Memberships to the VERMILION NEWS PRINT SHOP MUSEUM are now available. Funds generated will go toward the aforementioned renovations and maintenance of the shop.
If you would like to become a member the VNPSM you can send a check or money order to:
Vermilion Print Shop Museum727 Grand Street Vermilion, Ohio 44089440.967.4555.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK:Take the time to visit us on Facebook. Click on the badge below and stop in. We'll keep adding pix as we go along. If you're in the area come on in. I try to be there in the a.m. most everyday. If you see a Chevy Silverado in the drive with the plate "MRCOOKR" stop by and see what's cooking.
By Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, VA - Who would have guessed it? The teacher I most hated in all of my high school years was Jack Armstrong. Arrogant, charming, suave, intellectual, full of himself, too busy to grade my writing, he started teaching me in the seventh grade when he was 23 and fresh out of college. He followed the class of ‘59 up to high school and taught another 30 years long after I had graduated and left town for college and life beyond.
And yet when I heard today of his death, I was up all night thinking of him. I could not sleep. Oh, that I had thanked him.
He was my English teacher who taught me (besides my father) to love the poets, writers and the English language. He made me build vocabulary when I had more important things on my mind. He made me learn the life spans of all the great poets, as if they were relevant. He made me write.
Yes, old fashioned, he required of his students that we write a story every week and they were due on Fridays. I worked my heart and soul out for Mr. Armstrong. When he collected the stories each Friday, he made a mark in his gradebook and shame on anyone who did not hand in his story on time for he earned a dreaded X in his gradebook.
I began to notice, however, that we never received our stories back, nor did we ever see what grade we had received on them. I had always earned A’s in English classes from testing on material covered so I didn’t think much more about it, and I kept writing religiously and handed my stories in on time each and every Friday.
Then, at the end of my junior year and after the last class, we did little more than laugh that day at anything that moved and hand in our literature books, mine well- read and well- loved because of the poets…”The soul selects her own company and slams the door on all the rest…” it was then I asked Mr. Armstrong about all my stories. “You never handed any of them back!” I said.
He walked over to the closed storage shelves just under the windows and with a sheepish look, he pushed them open. There, stacked by the zillions were our stories, all ungraded, unread, and crammed into the space awaiting the janitor to throw them away.
I stared at those stories so arduously written, so dedicatedly typed on two fingers, arduously, as if I were planting seeds one by one in the deep, moist Ohio soil, and on Father’s Royal typewriter set up on my bedroom desk for writing assignments, no less. The horrible reality hit me. My teacher had not read even one of my splendid stories, nor any of the stories my classmates had written all year long.
I turned back to my teacher, my face white with fury. “You didn’t read my stories!” I said, choking, barely able to speak. I had never felt such rage in my life.
“No, Mary, I didn’t read your stories. The truth was”…he looked at me with an impish smile, “I didn’t have time. I was so busy with all my other classes and after school high school activities. But I knew you were a writer, Mary, and I wanted you to keep on writing,” he added softly.
I stared at the man with such blazing wrath. Hell hath no fury like a 16 year old would be writer when she hears her teacher hasn’t read even one of her brilliant stories. “I shall never come back to your classroom again!” I shouted as I stomped out of his classroom. And, sadly, I never did. Oh, how I hated the man for which I had worked so hard for week after week, year after year, and whom I now had so bitterly learned had never read even a word of my work! How could I ever forgive him?
MY anger was quickly forgotten, however, but the odd thing was I went on writing a story every week…all through high school, college and throughout life and I discovered it didn’t matter one whit whether anyone read my stories or not, or even if they pleased anyone or not because I had discovered a great secret about myself…I loved writing… and the happiest times of the day was when I took up pen to a blank sheet of paper and let my brain spill forth thoughts, dreams and ideas.
Now, unfortunately, Jack Armstrong is gone. I never had a chance to thank him for what he did for me. He got me writing and he set a rhythm of production for me with the pen that has lasted a lifetime. Oh, our dear old teachers! Now, at age 72, I have lost so many of them and each loss is painful. Only my math teachers, Ed Zemke and Roger Watkins are still alive. Why is it that knowing they are still in Vermilion where I was born and raised means so very much to me?
“The soul selects its own society and slams the door on all the rest.” Or so said Emily Dickenson: 1830-1886. Let our society always revere our teachers. It’s never too late to thank a teacher. Be sure you take the opportunity do it before it’s too late. So, here’s my belated gratitude. Thank you, Jack.
mwb, class of ’59, VHS
THE REAL “BOYS OF SUMMER”: Any person who spends a' fair amount of time wandering through the history of 20th century Vermilion, Ohio will soon note the appearance of Glen P. Martin during the late 1920's, and his continued presence there until he was summoned to his final home on July 7,1976.
In Vermilion Village Mr. Martin was best known as a crackerjack salesman and owner of a Pontiac dealership/ garage on the corner of Liberty and Grand streets at the site where the local ambulance service is now headquartered. In addition to this he was also a very energetic sponsor and, ofttimes, manager of local athletic teams (VPJ 03/23/06). What folks may not know is what might have been responsible for his very palpable athletic enthusiasm. No small part of it may have to do with the family into which he was born in about the year 1897.
Glen (Glenvil / Glenville was his given name) Porter Martin was the third of nine sons born to Elmer P. (1872-1916) and Ida Mae Martin (1675-1958) of Norwalk, Ohio. (They were, incidentally, also the parents of two girls; Lina and Ada.) If being born not only into a large family - but a family with an adequate number of boys to form their own baseball team wasn't enough to inaugurate a lifelong interest in athletics even the good Lord himself would have been left scratching his head.
No one was ever disappointed. Although living in a house with 9 boys did apparently have its moments. One of Glen's daughters, Jill Martin Young, recently recounted this story to me:
"One night when the, kids were being rowdy my grandfather marched them up to bed. He yelled "Get upstairs to bed' all you boys!" When he heard a cry coming from top of the stairs he asked, "Who's that? Why are you crying?" A timid voice said, "Mr. Martin, can I go home now?" My grandfather neglected to do a head count and sent one of the neighborhood boys to bed with his own kids."
And there were also some not so good moments. In 1916 Glen's father accidentally lost his life while working at the Norwalk Iron Mills. Mrs. Young gave me this account of her grandfather's death:
"One of my cousins told me a story about the day he died. My grandfather left for work 3 times, turning back twice, because he just felt he should not go in that day. But finally he decided that it was foolish and went to work anyway."
Adding the following anecdote:
"My cousin paused and said we would probably have had more uncles had it not happened. My Uncle Bun (Vernon) [the youngest boy] was about a year, maybe two when my grandfather died."
But the Martin brothers were a team, and the team played on with their mother and sisters always in the stands. They did not play in an organized league but came together whenever and wherever their brother Glen, who was their manager, could book a game. In 1937 one brother, Alvin told a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, "We may not be the best in the land but we give the customers their money's worth."
Later that summer The Vermilion News reported that the Martin Bros. would play the clowns at the Olympic Outing Club as part of the Vermilion Centennial program. The following summer they would challenge Vermilion businessmen to a game of softball at the high school diamond. By this time the oldest was 43, and the youngest was 20 years his junior.
In ensuing years both tragedy and triumph would visit the boys as it won't do in all our lives. And eventually their final game on earth was played. But you can bet that somewhere in the eternal scheme of things, beneath a clear blue sky, the Martin Bros.; the Genuine Boys of Summer play still. (Pictured back to front: Vernon (Bun), Alva, Glen, Bert, Elmer, George, Lester, Ted, (Clarence not pictured).
AGAIN - ANOTHER NEW (NOW OLD) THING: Initially I said that "This will not take the place of the "Macabre" stuff all the time - but will supplement whilst I search for more macabre stories to tell." But methinks that it's carved out a niche for itself and the "Macabre stuff" with have to find another.
So stay tuned...
Vol. IX – NO.50 – May 24, 1906.
Daniel Frazier, plaintiff in a suit in the court of common plea for damages for assault against Hendrick W. Lamoreaux, has filed a reply to the defendant’s answer The parties live at Milan and it is claimed defendant went to the plaintiff’s shoe repairing shop on a recent occasion and assaulted Frazier. He pleaded guilty to assault before a local justice and was fined. The suit for damages followed Lamoreaux answered by claiming tht he acted in self-defense, and in his reply plaintiff denies this claim.
While passing through a lane on the Baumhart farm west of town about four o’clock Friday afternoon Sam Linglebaugh who works for Geo Baumhart found the body of a man lying under a tree. He immediately gave the alarm. It was found to that of Wm. Krapp, well known about town. Earlier in the day he was seen by others at about the same place, who talked with him and he seemed to be all right then so it is not known at what time he did the fatal act which ended his career.
The body was brought to the undertaking rooms of A.E. Beeckel. The coroner found that he had come to his death by taking carbolic acid, it is thought about four ounces. Mr. Krapp was about 48 years of age and at one time wa engaged in the liquor business here. He had on several occasions threatened to make way with himself and it seems took a most horrible and certain method to do so.
The sympathy of the community rests with the wife and some of the deceased.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the German Reformed Church.
Mr. Wm. Krapp was born Nov. 8th 1857 in Vermilion Ohio. Here he grew to young manhood. He entered the bonds of holy wedlock December 11th 1880 with Martha Reifert. To this union two boys were born, John and William, both of who with their mother survive the departed. Mr. Krapp died May 18, 1906 having reached the age of 48 years, 6months and 10 days. He was a kind husband, and indulgent father, a true friend. Our heart felt sympathy goes out to the bereaved household.
Mrs. Kelley’s funeral took place last Thursday at the house. Rev. Boyer, of Henrietta delivered the sermon. As the services were at the house there were not as many present as there would have been if they had been in one of the town churches but a good many were in attendance.
The burial was in Brownhelm. Of immediate relatives, Mrs. Kelley leaves four sons and two daughters to mourn her untimely death beside a good many other near relatives.
Graduating exercises were held Wednesday evening.
Miss Irma Worth was the only young lady to graduate. She and two young men completed the class.
One of the worst nuisances the people of Vermilion have to put up with is the lack of sense displayed by some of the locomotive engineers. Where there are watchmen and gates we do not see the use of the unearthly screeching and whistling often indulged in. As these are ofttimes trains every few minutes, this holding the whistle open all through town is enough to awaken the dead. So far as danger is concerned, a persons passes the gate at his own risk, as he does when he walks the tracks. All the crossings in the main part of town will on the Lake Shore railway, soon be protected and we believe this whistling should be restricted. It is also very annoying to those who attend church Sundays. The ministers having to cease preaching and wait until the engine is far enough away to give him a chance to be heard.
[VV. Ed. Note: As most Vermilionites currently know this “unearthly screeching” by the trains does not happen anymore in Vermilion proper. New safety / double gates were installed at the remaining crossings in town and the trains have no need to signal any longer – unless there is some emergency. Anyway the moaning and groaning about the noise was not really heeded until at least a century had passed. Now folks can moan and groan about something else.
Arthur Slyker had his back quite severely injured while working on the docks Thursday. He was struck by an ore bucket.
Mrs. Wheeler is reported quite ill.
The remains of Mrs. Albert Kelley of Birmingham were brought here for burial Thursday. Mrs. Kelley was fatally burned by the explosion of a gasoline stove Sunday evening, which resulted in her death half an hour later.
Walter, the little three-year-old son of Supt. And Mrs. W.E. Crandall of Amherst died at the home of his parents after a brief illness of one week.
The remains were brought here for burial last Thursday. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall formally [sic] lived here and have the sympathy of their many friends in their bereavement.
The annual school picnic will be held at Linwood Park Friday May 25th.
The News is one day late this week but we hope it will be as welcome as though it was right on time. It was but a little thing that caused the delay but the stork brought it – and it is these little things that grow to be the men and women of the future.
[VV. Ed. Note: This is an offhand reference to my mother’s (Ella Gwendolyn Roscoe-Tarrant) birth on the 24th of May – the day this particular edition of The News was to be published.
The ferocious Automobile is again out for victims. This animal is very docile under proper management and can be tamed but a little carelessness on the part of the trainer or “Choofer” as some call him is apt to result most disastrously to someone. In this it resembles greatly the Lion. It is also fearless not even a streetcar or brick blocks will s top it when it once gets a crazy spell. The only thing we know of is to cut off its feed of gasoline, which has a very quieting effect.
[VV. Ed. Note: Quite an negative indictment of the automobile by Editor Roscoe. Little did he know that he, too, would soon given in the craze and become a “Choofer” himself.
The morphine habit and other narcotic habits are becoming too common. Inebriation from cocaine or morphia [aka morphine] is acquired much quicker than is generally known. And is far more dangerous than is generally known. When this dreadful habit fastens on a man, he had better be dead, for he is “dead while he liveth”. The strongest minds have not been able to throw it off. It is a kind of lunacy or delusion that holds its victims, producing a kind of artificial mind. An attempt to quit is attended with such distress that it is given up – trial after trial results in in despair, often suicide is the result. All this is known but people are not impressed with the quickness of the mind changes. It is the mind as well as the body, and the inveterate grasp of death is greater than is generally known. It is found out when it is too late. It is worse than death. It is a slow and awful death.
[VV. Ed. Note:108 years later we still struggle with this problem. It is currently so bad in the U.S. that I sincerely believe that there will one day be a generation of Americans – Gen. Zero – who never really lived. Perhaps we have loved our children so much we refused to see where they were headed until it was far too late.
Early Sunday morning Philip Baker discovered smoke pouring from the roof of a nearby house occupied by Frank Ritter and his mother and gave the alarm. Soon two streams of water were on the building and in a short time all signs of fire and smoke had disappeared. The house was thoroughly saturated with water.
The fire was difficult to get at being between the siding and plaster at the rear but did not do much damage.
The house was owned by C. Schindler and insured.
This is the first fire that the firemen have had the use of the waterworks at and all are much pleased with system.
The engineer went to the powerhouse and started the pumps and put on 90 lbs. pressure. This was done very quickly. Vermilion has had but two fires since the water system has been installed. The Counter residence, unoccupied and Knott’s Mill.
Mrs. Burch of Townsend, Jefferson Co., Montana is the guest of her brother C.S. Schaffer and wife. She is 73 years of age and arrived Friday and expects to spend several months here. When she went west the ox team was the principle method of travel, a person cannot help but think of the wonderful change from that time. 90 miles an hour is often exceeded.
Mr. Schaffer has not seen his sister for 46 years and is much pleased to have her with him again.
The News will soon celebrate its tenth birthday.
Sweet Potato and other plants now ready for sale by L.U. TODD, Vermilion, Ohio.
Mr. Geo P. Wahl and family have moved to Linwood Park for the summer.
Mrs. P.J. Miller is slowly recovering from an attack of appendicitis.
BORN – To Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Roscoe, Thursday evening, May 24, a daughter.
[VV. Ed. Note: This is, of course, the official notice of my mother’s (Ella Gwendolyn Roscoe-Tarrant) birth. Now I know she was born on a Thursday evening.]
Jacob Goetz is building a cottage at Linwood and expects to have it ready for its owner soon.
Mrs. Martha Kuhlman, a daughter of Conrad Hageman underwent an operation for appendicitis at the Lorain hospital last week. She is getting along nicely.
The finest lot of new rowboats came over the L.W. & M.S. Ry. from the east for N.A. Foster’s Emporium, call and see them and you will be convinced they are the finest in Vermilion.
Capt. Bell spent Friday night at home.
What Vermilion needs are a few small cottages that will rent for a reasonable sum.
Don’t’ forget that a new Telephone directory will be issued about June 1st.
“Cloudy” Noel is putting the finishing touches on seven fine new rowboats.
The L.S. & M. S. flowerbeds will soon be things of beauty. The flower train was here Tuesday morning.
C.C. Baumhart has returned from the wreck of the M.J. Wilcox near Gloucester. The contract has been let for the raising of the boat and cargo of coal.
N.A. Foster has leased ground between the Water Works pumping station and Rainy Fish house and is having a bot house built for those who do not wish to go to the bridge boathouse for his boats.
H.S. Miller is among those in the liquor business who will close his establishment this week. It will be reopened however as a confectionery and cigar stand. Soft drinks will also be sold. The room has been neatly papered and finished and will require but little work to make the change. Mr. Miller has been in business for thirty years with but few vacations. We wish him success in his new line of business.
The steel trust is laying low and hoping the administration will tire itself out punching holes in the oilcan.
Forest fires have been raging in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. Several towns and villages have been destroyed.
C Chicago man shot his stepson because he stayed all night in a saloon. He wasn’t’ satisfied apparently to see the boy half-shot.
Miss Bertha Krupp the wealthiest young lady in German, is engaged to m]be married, and while the name of her fiancé is being kept secret it is safe to assume that he is a big gun.
[VV. Ed. Note: Bertha married the counselor of legation Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, who was later granted the right by royal Prussian decree to bear the name Krupp as a prefix to his own family surname.
The wife of an army contractor wants $181,358 for ice furnished the troops during the civil war. Someone will next put in a claim for the ice on which all other claims have been kept.
[VV. Ed. Note: I never knew my grandfather / Editor Roscoe – but I now know whence my persistent facetiousness is derived. It’s inherited.]
The Russian douman [sic] is “attempting to force a demand for amnesty on the Czar.” It will be a relief to the czar to have something forced on him that does not have a fuse attachment.
[VV. Ed. Note: The Editor meant to write the word “Duma” in the above comment. Under the pressure of the Russian Revolution of 1905 Sergei Witte issued a manifesto about the convocation of the Duma, initially thought to be an advisory organ. In the subsequent October Manifesto Nicholas II pledged to introduce basic civil liberties, provide for broad participation in the State Duma, and endow the Duma with legislative and oversight power.
A Chicago scientist has figured out that the world will last at least 100,000,000 more years, instead of the 50,000,000 heretofore claimed. The period was extended probably to allow further time for the completion of the panama canal.
[VV. Ed. Note: More factiousness.
[VV. Ed. Note: More factiousness.
VERMILION EAGLE SCOUTS 1910: The organization we all recognize as the Boy Scouts of America was formally incorporated by Chicago publisher /entrepreneur William Dickson Boyce (1858-1929) on February 9,1910 in the District of Columbia. Of approximately 55,062 troops now in existence in our nation it may be that Vermilion's BSA Troop #2 was among the first organized. The first Vermilion troop was established about the same year (1910) by the Reverend Williams - who was then pastor of the First Congregational Church.
Initially, the troop was comprised of nearly 30 boys. Their first uniforms were impractical copies of US Army uniforms of the era and were quickly discarded and replaced by a more practical one designed by the British founder of world-wide scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powell (1847-1941). The early scouts wore knickers with leggings, and a button-down coat with a metal insignia. Both the scouts and their leaders wore the rank they earned on their campaign ("Smokey the Bear") hats. Scout leaders were then allowed to earn merit badges and rank along with the boys.
In the early 1920's the BSA modernized their uniforms to a style familiar to that of today's scouts. The coats and leggings were dropped, and neckerchiefs became an additional accessory. In the summer shorts and knee socks were worn. During the colder months the boys wore knickers and knee socks - trousers replacing the knickers in 1944. The campaign hats were commonly used until 1944 when the field cap (then used by soldiers in World War II) was added.
The uniforms on the scouts in the accompanying photo reflect the BSA dress changes that came about in the 1920s. The boys standing at attention for Pearl Roscoe's camera in front of the Vermilion News office on Grand Street during early spring of 1926 were likely Vermilion's BSA Troop #2's first Eagle Scouts. On the left is Louis Gegenheimer, and beside him is Frank Blattner.
Gegenheimer was the son of Captain and Mrs. Charles Gegenheimer and Blattner was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Blattner. Both families and their sons are/were well known and respected families in our community.
In the realm of scouting, Eagle is the highest level/honor that can be achieved. To become an Eagle Scout in the 1920s each candidate was asked to demonstrate skill and knowledge, and obtain merit badges, in 21 separate fields of endeavor that ran from taxidermy, to carpentry, to aviation, to astronomy etc. One of the benefits of mastering these skills was to enable each Eagle an ability to accept responsibility both in local and national emergencies (among other things). Attaining this rank was no small matter in 1926 - nor is it today.
I have vivid recollections of Frank Blattner in his later' years (I can actually remember the sound of his voice). Frank was a well-spoken, very candid, fellow who always seemed to have a pipe in his mouth. He was a master plumber with Brushaber, and lived near the tracks on Washington Street with his wife and daughter.
Of Louis Gegenheimer, I have no luculent memory. I understand that he graduated from Case University and worked for the Timken Roller Bearing' Company in Cleveland. The family, for ever, lived in a tidy home on Exchange Street. There were seven children in the family. One, of his sisters was Edna Hull (Englebry & Hull Coal Co.) who incidentally, is Vermilion resident Lucile Clark's mother. Another sister is Vermilionite Alice Jane McClurkin, allaround nice lady and very talented pianist.
But I digress. Frank and Louis were the first of what eventually became numerous scouts to achieve the rank of Eagle in Vermilion. It may interest folks to know that the original troop still exists. Today it is Troop #477 led by Vermilion native Larry Howell, and it is still sponsored by the Congregational Church.
THE FIRE-LANDS: I found the following information re: the early inhabitants of our area to be extremely informative. Methinks you will also.
I am getting better at transcribing these passages so there are fewer mistakes. But I like to read as I go - and sometimes I fill in the blanks. So tread carefully this trail through yesteryear.
The following series will take thee to the townships south of Vermilion. Methinks you'll find this history quite fascinating.
…Mr. Brooks located at Sprague's corners, on lot thirty-seven. He was a soldier in the Revolution, and was in several important engagements, amongst others those of White Plains and Monmouth, and was twice wounded. He died at the age of ninety-one. His son, John Brooks, Jr., married Adeline Squire, and settled a short distance south of Florence corners, on the east side of the road. They are both deceased, and the last of the family moved to Kansas a short time since. Joseph Brooks, another son, married a daughter of Eli S. Barnum, and settled across the road from his brother John.
In 1811, Town Clark with his widowed mother, with several younger children, and George Brooks, her son-in-law, and his family of wife and child, moved in from Onondaga county, New York. The Clark family bought and settled where Mrs. Solomon G. Sprague resides. Seven years after, Mrs. Clark married a Mr. Downing, and removed to Michigan. Mrs. John Hill, aged seventy-six, is the only member of the family now living in the township. George Brooks settled in the south part of the township. In 1836, he removed to Michigan, and afterwards started for California and died on the way.
These were the only inhabitants of the township until after the war. They were among the earliest settlers of the Fire-lands, and their situation was one of complete isolation, shut off by woods from neighbors in every direction. To obtain their grinding, they had to travel on foot through an unbroken forest to Newburgh, near Cleveland. Ezra Sprague, when making such a journey, on one occasion lost his way near where Elyria now is, and lay out in a storm all night. He had been sick with ague for some time previous, but, it is said, after the drenching he received that night he never suffered another shake.
Although the pioneers of Florence never suffered for provisions to the endangerment of life, yet they were compelled to live in the simplest manner. Grated or “jointed" corn, potatoes and milk constituted the only articles of food they had for weeks at a time. A wild onion grew abundantly on the river bottoms, and other wild but hardly edible vegetables were frequently gathered, and gave, at least, variety to the meal. All kinds of provisions were high during the early years of settlement of the township, and they could not be procured short of Huron or Sandusky. Pork sold for twenty dollars per barrel, flour for sixteen dollars, tea two dollars and fifty cents per pound, and salt ten dollars per barrel. Joab Squire once carried two hundred pounds of maple sugar to Sandusky, which he exchanged for two barrels of salt, the trip requiring three days. At another time he went to Huron and bought twenty-five pounds of bacon at twenty-five cents per pound, and lugged it home on his back.
There was scarcely any money in circulation, and exchanges were made principally in the products of the soil. The first specie currency which circulated amongst the settlers of Florence, was what was called "cut money." A silver dollar was cut into ten or twelve pieces and passed for shillings, a kind of inflation that was popular with all. The first paper money which the settlers were unfortunate enough to possess, was the notes of the Owl Creek bank, in the denominations of six and a fourth, twelve and a half, thirty-seven and a half, and fifty cents. The bank was of the wildcat description, and soon collapsed. Perhaps the greatest hardship endured by the first settlers was in the matter of necessary clothing. Common factory cloth was worth fifty cents a yard, for which one bushel of wheat was usually exchanged. Homemade woolen cloth was four dollars per yard. Flax was raised, and summer clothing manufactured, but suitable material for winter wear was not so easily provided, sheep being difficult to raise in the new country. The masculine portion of the inhabitants depended almost entirely on buckskin for clothing material, and although it answered very well the purpose of wear and tear in the woods, it was anything but comfortable to the wearer. After a wetting and drying, the garments would be as stiff as if made of sheet-iron.
During the progress of the war the inhabitants lived in. almost constant fear of Indian massacre. 1811, the settlers joined in the erection of a blockhouse, just north of the present residence of Mrs. Solomon Sprague. It was used as a dwelling by Mrs. Clark and her family, but was the fortress to which the inhabitants fled for safety in the hour of danger. Whenever a report of the approach of Indians reached the settlement, the settlers would remove their families to the blockhouse, and they would all remain there for days at a time. On one occasion, while a man was going with his family to the fort, a circumstance occurred, which created the greatest excitement. A young man, with a gun, was sent some distance ahead of his family to keep a lookout for Indians. When within half a mile of the blockhouse, the report of a gun was heard, and the young man came running back with the intelligence that he had seen two Indians, one of whom shot at him, at the same time showing a bullet-hole in his coat. The alarm spread rapidly, and all the inhabitants collected at the blockhouse, and made every preparation they could for an attack, which, they expected, would be made that night. The women and children were sent into the room above while the men with guns, pitchforks and clubs awaited below the expected assault. During the night the alarm was given by the occupants of the second story that Indians with fire brands were approaching in the direction of a small building that stood near the house with the evident intent of setting it on fire, which would communicate it to the fortified building. Thus amidst the greatest excitement they spent the night, no one in the house showing any disposition to sleep, except the individual whose coat had been pierced with a bullet the evening before, which fact was regarded as significant, and no savages appeared. As the morning dawned, the fact…
Excerpts from: The Fire Lands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio; W.W. Williams - 1879 -
Press of Leader Printing Company, Cleveland, Ohio
COOL ACQUISITION: Terry Diener of Avon Lake and Vermilion's Olympic Outing Club [who is, incidentally, my brother -in-law] donated this beauty to the print shop museum last week. It's a Zenith shortwave radio that was probably made around 1953.
It still works and is on display on the 2nd floor of the museum. Stop in and see it in person.
One evening a man was very impressed with the meat entree his wife had served. "What did you marinate this in?" he asked.
His wife immediately went into a long explanation about how much she loves him and how life wouldn't be the same without him, etc.
Eventually, his puzzled expression made her interrupt her answer with a question of her own, " What did you ask me?"
She chuckled at his answer and explained, "I thought you asked me if I would marry you again!"
As she left the room, he called out, "Well, would you marry me again?"
Without hesitation, she said, "Vinegar and barbecue sauce."
LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: After giving it much thought this link has been "put-down". During the last year most of the folks who used to use this page as a bulletin board have acquired their own and, consequently, no longer need this forum from "Views". I have, however, kept links (in the links section) to Larry Hohler's "Hope Homes" in Kenya - and to Bette Lou Higgins' Eden Valley Enterprises sites. They are historically and socially relevant projects. I suggest that you visit these sites on a regular basis to see "what's shakin'".
Persons interested in the history of the Lake Shore Electric Railway (which was the subject of a recent past podcast series) - "the greatest electaric railway system on the planet" may want to go to Amazon.com and purchase a book called "Images of Rail - Lake Shore Electric Railway". It was put together by Thomas J. Patton with the help of my friends Dennis Lamont and Albert Doane. It'd make a nice gift.
Another great book with Vermilion Roots is, "Grandmas’ Favorites: A Compilation of Recipes from Margaret Sanders Buell" by Amy O’Neal, Elizabeth Thompson and Meg Walter (May 2, 2012). This book very literally will provide one with the flavor of old Vermilion. And ye can also find it at Amazon.com. Take a look.
THE BEAT GOES ON: This page is generated by a dreaded Macintosh Computer and is written and designed by (me) Rich Tarrant. It will change weekly ~ usually on Saturday. Bookmark the URL (Universal Resource Locater) and come back at your own leisure. Send the page to your friends (and enemies if you wish). If you have something to share with those who visit this page, pass it on. And if you see something that
is in need of correction do the same. My sister, Nancy, is a great help in that respect. It only takes me a week to get things right. And follow the links. You might find something you like. If you experience a problem with them let me know. Also, if you want to see past editions of this eZine check the new archives links below.
If you're looking for my old links section (pictured) I've replaced it with a pull-down menu (visible in the small box next to the word "Go"). If you're looking for links to more Vermilion history check that menu.
How the old links menu looked
or you can use PayPal: (NOTE: IT WORKS NOW)
Vol.13, Issue 5 - April 12, 2014
© 2013 Rich Tarrant