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Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live

Current time in Vermilion -

The Kenton Stone

"...the identity of the person who etched words into the rock
behind the library may really be unknown."

TOUGH STUFF: This is “tough stuff” (it is for me anyway). And I have no idea how many folks caught the drift / meaning of an article I wrote for the Vermilion Photojournal several weeks ago - re: The Kenton Stone - which currently sits behind Vermilion’s Ritter PUblic Library but...

After carefully looking at the availble facts (along with local historian / geneaologist Ted Reising-Derby) I’ve concluded that the etching in the rock was not made by the famed frontiersman named Simon Kenton.

There is a documentable basis for my assertion; and I would welcome everyone to take a closer look at the story that has surrounded it since it was formally discovered in 1937.

For years the contention has been that Kenton etched the date and his name in the rock whilst he was being held captive by Indians in an area just south of our Vermilion. Part of the story goes that he was held captive for 3 years.

Records show that while Simon Kenton was, indeed, held captive by the Shawnee Indians it was from mid September to the end of December 1778. Those records further show that during captivity he was never near the place where the aforementioned stone was later discovered.

The following piece from Biographical Sketches of GENERAL NATHANIEL MASSIE, General Duncan McArthur, Captain William Wells, and General Simon Kenton: Who were early settlers in the Western Country. By John Mc Donald of Popular Ridge, Ross County, Ohio. Cincinnati: Published For The Author By E. Morgan and Son.1838 - affords us an idea of how the frontiersman was occupied just prior, during, and after 1784:

“...Simon Kenton described to his father and family, the fertility and the advantages of the new country of Kentucky, in such glowing colors, that the whole family agreed to accompany him to Kentucky. The whole tribe set off; their baggage was placed on a few packhorses, and moved to Redstone fort (now Brownsville). Here they made what was called a Kentucky boat. While engaged in constructing their boat, his father sickened and died, and was buried on the bank of the Monongahela. No stone or marble points to the place where lie the bones of the father of the celebrated Simon Kenton. Their boat was soon finished; and men, women and children, together with the little stock of animals, were crowded on board, and they floated down the stream to the fall of the Ohio. By this time winter was setting in. From the falls they made their way to Kenton's station, on Salt river, where they found themselves at the end of their wearisome journey. Here Kenton remained till July, 1784. Nothing took place worth noticing. Peace appeared tobless the country, and immigrants came pouring in. From the falls of the Ohio up Bear Grass, on Salt river, on Kentucky river up to Boon’s and Logan’s stations, on Ekhorn, and through the country, as far as the neighborhood of where Paris now stands, was checkered with stations.

It will be recollected by the reader that Kenton and Thomas Williams had cleared and planted a small piece of ground near Maysville, in 1777, and from this place they went and joined Col. Boon and his friends on the Kentucky river. In July, 1784, Kenton once more collected a party of adventurers and went to his old camp near Limestone, now Maysville. The Indians were then spread over that part of the country. Kenton and his party thought it too dangerous to remain here, and they returned again to his station on Salt river. In the fall of this year, 1784, he returned to his old camp near Limestone; built some block-houses and, in the course of the winter 1784-5, many families joined them. This station was erected about three miles from Limestone, and one mile from where Washington, in Mason county, now stands. This was the first permanent settlement made on the northeast side of Licking river. As the Indians made no disturbance this winter, many new settlements were commenced in Mason county. In the following spring. Limestone, now Maysville, was settled by old Ned Waller. Lee's, Warren's, and Clark's stations were made and new comers were constantly pouring in. During the whole of the year 1785, no interruption was given by the Indians to this infant settlement. The chastisement given them on the late expedition by General Clark. had in some measure broken their spirits... “

In brief, one will be hard put to place Kenton in the area of Vermilion in 1784. So what is the significance of the date - 1784? I can’t really find anything. The the Connecticut Western Reserve was formally petitioned in 1786, and the “Firelands” in 1792.

Reising-Derby speculates that it could, perhaps, have been a surveyer / pioneer named “S. Kenton” (no direct relation to the frontiersman) who marked the stone. And while that may be (as some say) a “stretch” - the theory really can’t be discounted altogether. Anyone who has done much genealogical / historical research soons finds that a number of persons share the same name.

It’s also interesting to know that Simon Kenton was illiterate and never learned to write his name until 1785:

“In March of 1785 a 16 year old boy named James Finley arrived with his parents in the [Kenton’s] settlement. James kept a diary that demonstrates both his fear of the wilderness and his great admiration of the seasoned frontiersman. That he could be of any service to Kenton was something that obviously amazed him. But that is precisely the tone of the following diary entry:

"Simon Kenton can write! I've really taught him how! Well, not write much, but today doing it the way I showed him how, he wrote his full name for the first time in his life. On a bond. It was jerky but you can read it. He was awful proud."

The bottom line then (in case it escapes ye yet) is that the identity of the person who etched words into the rock behind the library may really be unknown. But one thing for sure - it “weren’t” famed Frontiersman Simon Kenton.


L.S.E. Car #4

"The photo appears to have been taken from a window of the Pelton-McGraw grocery store."

IT’S REALLY NOT ABOUT CAR #4: The photo accompanying this commentary is a close-up view extracted from a photograph that has been published in several historical journals over the years. Generally it has been used to illustrate - sans any great detail - a time when the interurbans / electric trains ran down the middle of Liberty Street through the Village of Vermilion, O. It certainly is a nice picture. But it is so, so much more than just that.

Though it was feasible for persons to travel the entire interurban system (i.e. from Cleveland to Detroit) at the time these shadows were captured, the system - one that historians would someday consider to be “The Greatest Electric Railway in the United States” - was very literally “flying by the seat of its pants”.

Since its formation as the Lake Shore Electric Railway Company in late August of 1901 some workmen had been working 60 to 121 hours at a time without sleep. They apparently labored without complaint and, in turn, were properly rewarded. For their efforts the fledgling company paid double wages, provided them with clean / new work clothes when needed, and made free board and lodging available to them. The task given them was formidable, and their employer(s) certainly recognized it.

As an example of just how “green” the traction system was at the time of the accompanying photo it is interesting to know that just few months earlier - on a rainy Monday in 1901 - just two days before Christmas - a handful (or two) of company officials boarded a streetcar in Cleveland for an inspection tour of the traction system. Enroute they made a rest stop at the Kishman Farm on the very east side of Vermilion. [Note: This refers to the area near the former Lorain Ford Assembly Plant. Prior to Ford locating the plant in that area it was part of Vermilion Village.] In any case, their departure was delayed because one of the Board Directors, Henry Everett, was, purportedly, lost in the woods. In truth the delay was more likely a deliberate plan that would allow a few of the aforementioned workmen enough time to lay a temporary track over the Vermilion River wagon bridge.

The tracks over the Vermilion bridge were, as indicated, “temporary”. This was because the bridge wasn’t really made to handle the traffic that would eventually be generated by the newly formed electric rail system. It was, subsequently, reinforced and used by the L.S.E. until a new span, built especially for the electrics, was erected just to the south. But, back to the photograph.

The streetcar in the photo was, as is obvious, Car #4. It was borrowed from the Sandusky & Interurban Railway system which would soon be assimilated by the Lake Shore Electric company. It was likely being used for an inspection trip by company officials because of its utilility. If problems arose with either the track or overhead lines they could very easily be corrected due to the size and weight of the car. It would would finish its career as a Norwalk streetcar until it, very literally, fell apart.

Car #4, as many readers will readily recognize, is heading west, and has just passed the corner of Liberty and Main Streets. The photo appears to have been taken from a window of the Pelton-McGraw grocery store. That emporium was eventually razed and the Erie County Bank (currently occupied by municipal offices) building was built in its place.

Visible over and beyond the electric car is a very pristine Exchange Park. A newly installed cannon dramatically posed on the hill, overlooks the Kishman Fish Company, the entrance to Vermilion’s harbor, and the wetland wilderness beyond that would one day be transformed into one of the most attractive housing subdivisions in Ohio (i.e. the Vermilion Lagoons).

The Davis Bros. Store (now the Main Street Grill) - purveyors of dry goods, boots, shoes, wallpaper, groceries (“Butter and eggs taken in exchange for goods”), and probably a hundred other items is very visible on the corner. In the window of the store is an ornate kerosene glass banquet lamp surrounded by lace curtains that were then sold for $1.50 to $2.00 per pair.

And in the blink of an eye Car #4 was gone. But this really wasn’t about Car #4; but about life in a yesteryear before, during, and after the lens of some innominate photographer captured these shadows that we all might study and treasure a hundred or so years hence.

Ref: The Lake Shore Electric Story, Howard-Korach, Indiana University Press, 2000; Special Thanks to: Dave Rathbun; and interurban historian Dennis Lamont; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 10/30/08; Written 10/26/08 @ 1:58 PM.

Tony Beursken, Butch and Cat Carson

True (Vermilion) Sportsmen

ANOTHR GREAT SNAPSHOT: This snap was alson among those Vermilionite Rita Mayer allowed me to look through last week. On the left is Tony Beursken. The little fellow in the middle is "Butch" Carson. And the fellow next to Butch is his father "Cat" Harold Carson.

This is an extremely rare pic. I've never ever seen another photograph with "Cat" Carson in it. All three persons pictured worked at the Wakefield Company at one time. I believe Butch started there before he was out of high school.

"Cat" Carson was an "in-the-flesh" honest to goodness woodsman. He was the type of person you could literally place in a wilderness and he would survive. He could hunt with a sling-shot, and fish with a piece of thread and a thorn.

All three of these persons were sportsmen. Rabid sportsment; and noteworthy local personalities.

Todd Family Cemetery monument

The Todd Family Cemetery Monument"

PAINTING THE TOWN: As previously mentioned this is a preview piece for a new webpage that I am currently developing. Using a new software program in conjunction with Adobe's Photoshop CS4 & 5 I am able to take some already wonderful pix of Vermilion, O. and make them (at least in my view) more "wonderfuller"


This particular monument is on the very southwest corner of Maple Grove Cemetery (cemetery located on Mason Road just south of town). It's hard to miss. It's extremely impressive - beautiful.

Jillions of people visit the Cleveland Art Museum just to see statues like it. As some folks may have (or have not) concluded (by now) I was trained (whether I liked it or not) to be an art critic. And in this capacity I've got to say that methinks this sculpture is, in some respects, a warning to passersbye.

It's your choice - which way you want to go in life. Up or down. The suggestion is very clear...

July 17, 2010 7:43 AM


Dorcas Pendall at the Fischer dock

Dorcas Pendall at the Fischer dock

AGAIN - ANOTHER NEW THING: 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.

So stay tuned...

from The Vermilion News Thursday, October 24, 1901

The I. O. O. F. Have a Grand Time.

The Odd Fellows of Lorain County had a regular old time “blowout” at North Amherst last night. Lorain, Elyria, Oberlin, Wellington and Lagrange were well represented, and they didn't forget to bring the ladies along with them. The meeting was held by Yeager Lodge, the occasion being degree work, Elyria lodge team having charge.

After the meeting a banquet, which the ladies assisted in preparing, was served, after which all proceeded to enjoy themselves. While some tripped the “light fantastic,” the others found pleasure in various ways. A large number from Vermilion were present and report the most enjoyable time.

The members of the I. O. O. F. of Amherst is well represented in Vermillion, not only by a large membership, but by having the presiding officer, J. W. Krapp. [sic] of the Lake Ho


Died Suddenly.

As we go to press word comes to us of the death of Mrs. Theodore Welch at her home about 5 1/2 miles southwest of here. We aren't able to learn particulars, only that she had been ailing for some time past but she was not dangerously ill. She was lying down last evening apparently asleep when one of the family attempted to wake her it was found that she was dead.


Mr. Geo. Shadduck raised the largest sweet potato heard of in this part of the country. It weighed 3 1/2 pounds. It measured 18 inches in circumference.


Walter Sennef [sic], aged 14 years 11 months died at the home of his parents near Florence, Oct. 14, 1901. Funeral services were held at the Florence Congregational Church Oct. 16, the remains being taken to Maple Grove Cemetery for internment. His playmates acted as pallbearers.


We've No Time To Waste.

It is about time to again make an effort to get a government appropriation for our harbor. The piers are in very bad condition and a few severe gales might close the harbor completely. The attempt for an appropriation last year was unsuccessful, but as a number of other harbors received no appropriation whatever, we should not feel discouraged but try again. It is generally agreed among those who are posted, that as fine a harbor as any on the lake could be made here should occasion demand. We do not desire or expect to have very much money expended here, but the channel should be dredged in the protecting piers repaired so that a vessel drawing 10 or 12 feet and find safety or be docked anywhere along the riverfront or even part way to the bridge. As it is, even some of the larger fish tugs have difficulty at times in coming up the river without touching bottom.

The time is soon coming when every harbor will be used more or less extensively and although at present only a few yachts, fishing tugs and small schooners pay us a visit, we hope soon to see a change for the better here.

Why sit idly by and make no effort, or laugh at those who are tempted do something for the town? Boom Vermilion! Don't tell of her failings but of her good qualities. Every town has its disadvantages, but few more advantages than we. We want our harbor fixed up. Then let's commence Now and go at it with a determination to win.

It seems a shame that a barge like the craft that arrived here late last week, lumber laden, should be unable to get inside the peers without litering and even then be attracted here unless our harbor is improved.


A Disagreeable Experience.

Considerable difficulty was experienced by the Pendell and docking her load of lumber consigned to the Geo. Fischer company. The load measured somewhat over half a million feet an as she was unable to enter the harbor with that load, the Kimball in a small liter were brought into use. After several loads of been taken off the boat was brought a little way up the river and a considerable part of the load rafted up to the lumber yard, after which another attempt was made in the Pendell brought still further up the river.

It seems rather disheartening work bringing a cargo to this port and something should be done to improve the condition of the harbor this winter.

Several carloads of rails for the Lake shore electric railroad arrived this week and are being distributed west of town.



Arrived–Dorcas Pendall, Ashland, lumber. Tug, Jas. P. Devenue knew, Erie, light. Chas. Kimball, Cleveland, light.

Cleared–Kimball, Cleveland, Sand.


from The Vermilion News Thursday, October 31, 1901


Exchange says, it is reported that the W. & L. E. Ry. Co. Is looking for another porr, or harbor where they can find dockage room to enable them to handle coal and iron ore with more dispatch. It seems that Huron doesn't suit them. Vermilion ought to be on the lookout for such opportunities. One thing certain, we will never get anything unless we work for it.



Alyssa T. Minkler, born March 23, 1828, in Sydney, Delaware County., N. Y. Died Oct. 27, 1901. Age 73 years.

In early life she was brought by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Hill to Ohio. Her father reached the age of nearly 99 years, having died nearly 13 years ago.

The subject of this sketch was married April 16, 1843 Edgar Minkler who died seven years ago. She reared a family of six children four boys and two girls. All but one survive her. Her last wish was that she might see one of her sons whose home is in Portland, Oregon, and whom she had not seen for 17 years. Because of this she clung to life longer, perhaps, than she would have done otherwise. Having looked into his face, and smiling, asked if he was leading a life of prayer, and in a short time afterwards was no more.

The Church at Joppa, where the services were held on Tuesday afternoon, was filled beyond seating capacity. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. A. G. Rupert.



The funeral of Mrs. Theodore Welch who died very suddenly on last Wednesday evening, was held on Saturday afternoon at the house.

The funeral was largely attended giving every evidence of esteem in which she was held in the community. Rev. A G. Rupert officiated.

The deceased was 40 years of age and leaves a husband and five children.


from The Vermilion news Thursday, November 7, 1901.

Council meeting.

The village council met in regular session Monday evening with five councilmen present and Mayor Williams in the chair. Councilman Meeker was absent.

After the regular routine of business, several questions were brought up among which was the repairing of the hot water heater for the fire engine. The fire committee was authorized to put in order so that it can be used as cold weather is coming on.

The street committee reported that the streets are being graveled as fast as possible and Commissioner Schmoll has been trimming the trees about town is ordered.

About the only thing relating to sidewalks was concerning the walk along property owned by the Electric Ry Co. and a request from the Linwood Park officials asking the council to fill in and raise the grade so that a walk may be constructed from the park entrance to the new stone walk without laying a trestle or having so many steps as at present. The committee was instructed to investigate and report next meeting.

A petition from property owners on Liberty Street was read asking the council exact an agreement from the Electric Ry Co. to pave Liberty Street with brick and curb. After some discussion this petition was laid on the table, one of the councilmen suggesting that if the property owners wanted the street paved, that the railway company be made to pave between the rails and 18 inches each side in the balance be paid and paved for by the property owners. This proposition was dropped as it had already been provided for in the old franchise. The bills were then read but counting noses it was found that one member had left the room so no action was taken.

The mayor read an outline of what he understood the Council wanted of the Electric Ry Co. This brought on quite a discussion which ended in an expression as to what the council want in the matter in the request of the mayor to draft an amendment to the franchise to be submitted later. It was finally decided to adjourn the meeting until Wednesday evening.


Council met pursuant to adjournment at seven o'clock Wednesday evening with all members present. The claim ordinance was red and passed. Then the electric railway matters were taken up and took up time until 12:30 standard. Before they got down to work a box of cigars was presented by the fire company as a token of their appreciation of their assistance towards making firemen's day a success. The council thanked a fireman for their treat.

In compliance with instructions the mayor prepared three ordinances which were read by the clerk. After some consideration portions of the three ordinances were accepted in embodied into one. And finally adopted as a whole and passsed. Mr. Wood of the electric line was present and explained many things and at request of the council offered suggestions. The ordinance as passed provides for the proper grading of Liberty and Water streets and the macadamizing and graveling of same 14 feet each side of the rail. The drainage was also provided for also the expenditures and costs brought about by the difficulties. The crossing of the shore road and also that road on the east leading to Brownhelm was provided for.

On the whole the requirements as they now stand are reasonable and an early acceptance is looked for.

All macadamizing is to be completed by June 1, 1902. A part that on the south side of Water street is to be completed by December 15. The acceptance of the ordinance by the railroad company will practically cause the dissolution of the injunction, the costs being thrown upon the company.


Lamp dropped from the hangings Thursday evening in the Sherod market cause quite a blaze. An alarm was turned in but the fire was extinguished readily.



Will the lady who fell in a swoon last Thursday, in front of the post office, call at our store? She suffers from biliousness. Dr. Caldwell's syrup Pepsin will surely cure her. Sold by Nuhn & Trinter.


"It may interest some to note that the movie playing at the Liberty Theatre
(in the background) was a thing called “Song of the Islands”.

DECORATION DAY IN VERMILION 1942: A bit of historical trivia: Once upon a time folks commonly called the day we know as Memorial Day Decoration Day. It is, of course, a day of national remembrance for those who have died in the service of our nation. And though the name "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882 it did not - for some rather obtuse socio-political reasons - become more common until after WW2, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967.

When the photograph accompanying this piece was taken on May 30, 1942 the day was still called “Decoration Day”. Our nation had been actively involved in WW2 for approximately six months. Certainly no one - not the Girl Scouts, the Women’s Business Association women riding on the truck, nor the parade onlookers - could have had any idea of the horrors that were then unfolding in Europe, or the Pacific war theatres at that very time. It was a period of guarded innocence and cautious optimism in America.

It may interest some to note that the movie playing at the Liberty Theatre (in the background) was a thing called “Song of the Islands”. It is a romantic musical comedy starring Victor Mature and Betty Grable. The production had finished shortly after the war started in December of 1941. In retrospect there is some remote irony surrounding a screen play featuring people frolicking about a tropical paradise in the south seas whilst preparations for the historic Battle of Midway (June 4-7) were then underway. But, as indicated, no one could have had any idea of what was to come.

Neither of the buildings seen to the right of the theatre in this photo-sketch still exist. The structure with the dark facade abutting the picture-show building was split down the middle and contained two shops. One side housed the local Western Union offices. The “n” from the word Western which appeared on the sign over the sidewalk in front of the office is just visible between the bottom of the American flag and the head of one of the ladies seated in the bed of the truck. The other side housed The News Gift Shop.

The gift shop was operated by Bessie Roscoe wife of the local weekly newspaper editor / publisher Pearl Roscoe. She and her husband co-owned both enterprises. Aside from selling sundry small gift items in the store it also served as a stationary shop as well as a place where some of her husbands many (now very collectable) penny postcards, featuring various scenes about Vermilion, O. were sold.

The building with the light facade next door housed Wallace’s Restaurant. Few detailed accounts and / or photographs of this eatery (to the knowledge of this writer) survive. Those that do appear to show that the building was nearly equal in length to the Liberty Theatre. So it was of substantial size. There are also some written accounts which indicate that it was once owned and used for church dinners and other activities by the congregation of the old M&E Church.

Barely visible over the heads of the Scouts in the far right of the photograph are the old gasoline pumps at Glenn Fulper’s Standard Oil service station. The station was built on the site of the aforementioned church. In 1927, when the Vermilion Congregational and Methodist Churches voted to unite, the building was essentially abandoned. A few years later, while occupied by a local plumbing firm, the landmark church building was destroyed by fire and the Standard Oil Company purchased the property.

Today (2009) very few remember a time when Memorial Day was called Decoration Day. Most persons have also come to terms with the abject horrors committed by humanity against humanity during WW2. Only a spinkling of persons have some memory of a film called “Song of the Islands”, the Liberty Theatre or the shops that once stood next to it. And but for a photograph or two such as the one accompanying this essay the passions of those yesteryears are very nearly forgot. Perhaps that’s not the way it should be. But as Roman Statesman / philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca so aptly put it, “Time heals what reason cannot.”

Ref: Vermilion Area Archival Society; Roscoe-Tarrant photo collection; Published in the Vermilion Photojournal 1/29/09; Written 1/25/09 @1:23 PM.

Grand Street c.1900

"A Grand Street it was..."

SOMETHING OLD - SOMETHING NEW: The idea for this piece began as an idea for a coffee-table book of historical photographs of Vermilion, Ohio and, hopefully, it will (someday) be realized.

Originally the concept - as previously stated - was just a picture book. But after mentioning such a project in an issue of my weekly web page - Vermilion Views - a reader by the name of Scott Dommin suggested that it might be interesting if it featured photographs of how people, places, and / or things in the City of Vermilion, Ohio appear today along with photos showing how they appeared in the past. Ergo; the title "Now & Then".

"What a great idea." I told both myself and Scott.

[NOTE: This is going to take take some time.]


I've always been amused by the early pic of Grand Street. Things have drastically changed over the last 100 years (even the last 50). I well remember the two houses in the photo. They were across the street from The Vermilion News office and print shop. When I was a lad Gene and Yvonne Boyd (who owned and operated Anne's Lunch in the Fischer Building on Liberty street) lived in the house nearest the railroad tracks. At that time the house just to left in the pic was a rooming house. I recall that the Police Chief's, Harry Lechner, father lived there for a time after Mrs. Lechner passed. Another fellow who lived there at the time was a teller in the old Erie County Bank (where the city offices are currently located).

It's amusing (to me) that the street was once a mud hole. Despite that the auto in it could probably negotiate it quite easily. If you follow the "News Brief" section of "VV" you will eventually learn when the street was finally paved. At one time it was among the best (pavement-wise) streets in the village. Today city managers appear to be so nostalgic that it is likely that the street will soon look as it did a century back.

July 17, 2010 7:23 AM.

"The township was named after the principle river
emptying into the lake through its territory..."

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 south and west of Vermilion in the Berlin / Berlin Heights area. Methinks you'll find this history quite fascinating.

by Hudson Tuttle


...purchased lot five, range twelve, where he resided until au advanced age.

Hiram Judson came from Woodbury, Connecticut, and purchased lot seven, range eleven, in 1821, a valuable tract reserved on account of the supposed salt spring. In 182.5 he married Rachel Reynolds, and has since remained on this farm. They had three children: Elizabeth, Mary, and William. The latter remains on the old homestead. Mrs. Judson died in 1861. Mr. Judson is well preserved at seventy-nine years.

David Butler settled on the western limits of the township in 1822. He had a family of twelve children, none of whom now reside in the township. George, for many years, was a farmer, and well known as a farrier. He now resides in Milan,—his daughter, Mrs. William E. Squire, remaining on the homestead. Cromwell Tillinghast and wife came to Berlin in 1827, purchasing the tract of land on which they have since remained. They have four children: Mary (Mrs. Leman Hine, of Washington, D. C); — (Mrs. Fred. Otis, of Chicago); Oliver C, who married Miss Lizzie Reynolds, and remains on the old homestead, and Charles, residing on the Otis place. Two other brothers came from Connecticut at nearly the same time, George and William, and the Otis family came the same year. Joseph Otis purchased the farm of John Thompson, built a saw mill above the Parmenter bridge, and added greatly to the business of the section. Of his family, the three sons, James, Frederick and Edwin, after farming for some years, removed to Chicago, where they have become identified with the business interests of that city, and the daughter. — (Mrs. Sherman), resides in Norwalk.

Eliphalet Harris may be ranked with the pioneers of Berlin, although he first settled near Portland, now known as Sandusky. He was born in 1795, at Flushing, Long Island. He came, with his wife, a native of Glastenburg, Connecticut, in 1816, to the present site of Sandusky, then a marsh, covered with ducks and geese. He established the first tannery in the county of Huron; taught the first public school and singing school in the county, and assisted in setting up the first press, from which the Clarion was printed for many years, and as deputy sheriff, assisted in the first public execution—that of three Indians. He was a hard-working man, as the clearing of two farms testify, and the story of his struggles with privations and hardships, would make a volume stranger than fiction. On his first farm, near the city, he was one day briskly chopping. His large family were destitute and hungry. There was no meat, and little bread. He could do nothing for them, and chopped away with harder blows to overcome his feelings. Suddenly, he saw a large bear mount a log in the clearing and look at him. It was but the work of a moment to seize his ready gun, and a lucky shot laid bruin dead. Bear steak was the first meal the Harris family ate in Ohio. Mr. Harris had a family of twelve children, only two of whom are residents of the township, William and Daniel. He died at Berlinville, 18.57, aged sixty-two. Mrs. Harris died at Norwalk. Ohio, 1876, aged seventy-six.

Nathan Tuttle came from Sempronius, New York, in 1832. He married some ten years previously, Moriah Monroe from Massachusetts. He purchased a portion of the "fraction"' and of portions of contiguous lots, about a mile directly west of the Heights. They are still living at the ages of seventy-nine and eighty years, well preserved after the hardships they have endured. Of their four children J. M. is at Norwalk, having an elevator there; Lucy is the wife of Henry Hoak; David is in Wakeman, and Hudson resides on the homestead. He married in 18.58, Miss Emma D. Rood. They have three children: Rosa, Carl and Clair.

Robert Douglass came from Scotland to Canada, where after residing eighteen years, he removed to New York, and after three years, in 1833, he came to Berlin, purchasing a tract of land on the shore, where he resided until his death. His family consisted of eight children: Agnes, Margaret, George, Mary', Isabella, James, Betsey and Letitia. George became au active business man, and for some years before his removal to Toledo, where he now resides, handled a large amount of real estate in this adjoining townships. James is now the only member of the family in the town. He married Cornelia King in 1857, and resides on a farm adjoining the old homestead, a part of which he also owns, and is a leading farmer and fruit grower. In 187-4, he ran for state representative on the democratic ticket, and although the ticket was lost by two hundred and forty majority, he was elected by thirty-three votes, and re-elected against about similar odds in 1876.

L. B. Chapin came from Connecticut in 1841, and purchased a part of the Mulinick lot. He was a man of culture, and had practiced law. He set a good example by his thorough farming, and well kept farm. He died in . Leonard resides with Mrs. Chapin on the old homestead, and L. S. on the farm once owned by Charles Hine. Leonodus, the only other surviving child, resides in the west, and is actively engaged in railroad building.


On the first day of April, 1817, the first town meeting was held in Thompson's mill. A strange assembly of only thirteen rough men in grotesque costume, patched and mended until the fabric could not be distinguished, or of enduring buckskin, with coon skin caps and fawn skin vests. They had concluded that the township needed a government, and they did not wait for the State to supply them, but felt fully competent to make such a government themselves. The judges were not troubled to count the votes, as every voter was elected to office, and some had two. The following is the list of township...

Excerpts from: The Fire Lands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio; W.W. Williams - 1879 -
Press of Leader Printing Company, Cleveland, Ohio

Zella Joan Tarrant Bolyard

Zella Joan (Tarrant) Bolyard
12-16-1942 - 11-05-1976

ZELLA JOAN: She always hated her proper name. Ergo; that may be the reason - or one of the reasons - we usually called her "Butch". She was named after the local minister's (the First Congregational Church minister Earl T. English) wife Zella. She was, of course, one of my four sisters.

I really didn't have many photographs of her. Although when we were kids we took numerous pix with our Kodak Brownie. Where those snaps got to is anyones guess. They just disappeared. So I was certainly surprised (and pleased) to find this snap of her amongst a ton of photographs Vermilionite Rita Mayer allowed me to sift through last week.

This pic - as best I can tell - was taken in the gym of the Decatur Street School (soon to be Vermilion's Elementary school) during a Prom c.1960. It's not a great photo. But it'll do (with a little "Photoshopping").

Butchie was a talented musician (she played piano and, of all things, the sousaphone), and athelete (she played basketball and excelled at bowling). At one time whe was one of the top women bowlers in Ohio.

But alas, her life was short. Cancer took her at the age of 33 in 1976. As they say, "Only the good die young." Or at least that is true of her.


The Washington Post recently had a contest wherein participants were asked to tell the younger generation how much harder they had had it "in the old days." What follows are some of the entries:

In my day, we couldn't afford shoes, so we went barefoot. In winter, we had to wrap our feet with barbed wire for traction.

In my day, we didn't have MTV or in-line skates, or any of that stuff. No, it was 45s and regular old metal-wheeled roller skates, and the 45s always skipped, so to get them to play right you'd weigh the needle down with something like quarters, which we never had because our allowances were way too small, so we'd use our skate keys instead and end up forgetting they were taped to the record player arm so that we couldn't adjust our skates, which didn't really matter because those crummy metal wheels would kill you if you hit a pebble anyway, and in those days roads had real pebbles on them, not like today.

In my day, we didn't have rocks. We had to go down to the creek and wash our clothes by beating them with our heads.

In my day, we didn't have fancy health-food restaurants. Every day we ate lots of easily recognizable animal parts, along with potatoes.

In my day, we didn't have hand-held calculators. We had to do addition on our fingers. To subtract, we had to have some fingers amputated.

In my day, we didn't get that disembodied, slightly ticked-off voice saying 'Doors closing.' We got on the train, the doors closed, and if your hand was sticking out, it scraped along the tunnel all the way to the next station and it was a bloody stump at the end. But the base fare was only a dollar.

In my day, we didn't have water. We had to smash together our own hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Kids today think the world revolves around them. In my day, the sun revolved around the world, and the world was perched on the back of a giant tortoise.

Back in my day, '60 Minutes' wasn't just a bunch of gray-haired, liberal 80-year-old guys. It was a bunch of gray-haired, liberal 60-year-old guys.

In my day, we didn't have virtual reality. If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him.

Back in my day, they hadn't invented electricity. We had to watch television by candlelight.

In my day, we didn't have Strom Thurmond. Oh, wait. Yes we did.

PODCAST #189:This week the Vermilion Views Podcast #189 contradicts what I previously said I'd be doing. So forget that (for now). This time it's a "flash mob" at New York's Grand Central Station. I'd like to do a "flash mob" thing in Vermilion. These reality plays (or perhaps they should be called "plays on reality" are entertaining...

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.

Also, please note that all the video (MP4) podcasts (when used) are done in the "Quicktime MP4" format. If you don't have "Quicktime" it's easy to find and free to download.

NOTE NOTE:Past podcasts are not available in the on-line archive. They just take up too much disk space. But if one really, really, really wants to acquire a copy of a past cast it can be had by contacting me and I will place it on a disc and send it to ye for a minimal fee.

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'".

Pay particular note to the "Hope Homes" page during the next few months. They are constantly improving the lives of their youngsters and those around them. This is an exciting project accomplished by exciting people.

Although this years Vermilion High School Class of 1959 reunion is over classmates may want to stay connected with each other through organizer Roger Boughton. Ye can connect by mailing him @ 2205 SW 10th Ave. Austin, MN. 55912 or you can just emailRoger.

The Beat Goes On: The page is generated by the 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

Links to additional Vermilion Ohio pages:

For Persons who would like to donate to the cause (to keep these "Views" on-line you can send whatever you would like to me at the following address. And THANKS to everybody who has already donated to the cause. I doth certainly appreciate it):
Rich Tarrant
1041 Oakwood Drive
Vermilion, Ohio
Telephone: 440-967-0988 - Cell: 440-522-4459

or you can use PayPal: (NOTE: IT WORKS NOW)

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway

Vol.8, Issue 18, July 17, 2010

Archive Issue #383

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