Saturday, March 11, 2017

Teddy and Taft Campaigning in Ohio

This photograph  was taken in Fremont, Ohio in May 1912 while William Howard Taft was standing on the Sandusky County Courthouse steps campaigning for President.

Known as a bellwether state, Ohio has been the scene of numerous political showdowns in the race for the presidency. Perhaps none excited residents more than the primary campaign of 1912. Fighting for his political life, President William Howard Taft set out on a week long campaign tour through his native state to battle his one-time friend and mentor ex-president Teddy Roosevelt. It was the first time a sitting president had campaigned during the primaries. Both men needed Ohio’s delegates to win the Republican Party’s nomination at the upcoming convention.
\This photograph is of Teddy Roosevelt campaigning in Fremont, Ohio, for Vice President twelve years earlier. The date was October, 18, 1900. Beside him is T. P. Dewey of Clyde, Ohio, who was a candidate for Congress. This photograph was donated by Thomas F. Dewey, Jr. in 1991. 

As Taft’s train steamed into Ohio on the 13th of May, Roosevelt was only hours behind. Thrilled at the prospect of so much attention, Ohioans along the campaign route quickly constructed makeshift speaker platforms, flew flags, decorated their homes and businesses, and organized bands and parades. With factories and schools closed, excitement reigned as thousands waited for the chance to see President Taft and the dynamic Teddy Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was on the attack from the moment the "Teddy Special" rolled across the state line, but he resisted calling the Ohio-born president a "fathead" as he had earlier in the campaign. When the platform collapsed just before his arrival in Marion, Ohio, Roosevelt climbed atop a freight car to speak to cheering crowds. In Sandusky, Ackley’s Band greeted Roosevelt’s train at the foot of the Columbus Avenue dock. Women and children, who made up more than half of the crowd, scrambled to catch "Teddy buttons" and candy tossed from the train.

At several stops, Taft’s train pulled away while he was in mid-sentence. At the State Theater in Sandusky, the president literally begged his fellow Ohioans for their votes. After 15 more speeches, the president grew so hoarse that he could barely utter a word. But Taft struggled on, traveling more than 3,000 miles before ending his campaign a day before the election.

As the returns rolled in, it quickly became apparent that Taft had lost the battle. Ohioans had turned their backs on their native son, presenting a grateful Roosevelt with a landslide victory. But in the end, Taft controlled Ohio’s state convention and that of nearly every other state, giving him enough delegates to win the Republican nomination. Furious at Republican Party bosses, Roosevelt bolted the party and made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency as an independent on the Bull Moose ticket.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dr. John W. Jones and the American Colonization Society

Home of Dr. John W. Jones, Shelby County, Ohio

The letters below were written to the American Colonization Society by Dr. John W. Jones, ancestor of  Charles Weiker, who provided the photograph of Dr. Jones' home in Shelby County.  According to Dr. Jones' letters, written in the early 1850s, he wanted to learn more about the organization and Liberia through its publication "The African Repository."

He states that he moved from Tennessee to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1834. He moved to Mercer County and then to Shelby County around 1838. He correctly believed that "the two races could not dell [sp] together much longer, apon [sp] one soil." Only eight years later the United States would be at war. 

The American Colonization Society existed until after the Civil War. The organization worked with the United States government to transport approximately 12,000 African Americans to Liberia. 

May 24, 1853

Dear Sir. I will now give you some information, abought my self and family. I am a colered man with one fourth of African blood, and my wife is about the same. I move from the state of Tenessee, in the year 1824 to the city of Cincinnati and live there ten years and move one hundred miles north in mercer county fuour years, sence then I move to Shelby county wher I now reside at present. We have six children four sons and two daughters my childen lives most of them in Cincinnati and are apose to going to Liberia and I am sorry for it. I have ben in the notion of going to Liberia for a few years past but, I have ben in debt So I could not go. If I could sell my little farm and pay my debts, my children wil come and see me this sommer if they can, and we will try to come on soam understanding, abought it. Please send me, the pamphlet containing abought going to Liberia and a few of the Liberia newspapers if you can. If I can sell my land and git some of my children to go with with me I want to go some time next year or the year, after. If the Lord is willen. Please to answer this letter, as soon as you can. I am a doing a great deale of good and have done, with the pamphlets.

Please excuse my orthographey.                                                                                 Dr. J.W. Jones


May 24th – 1853. Shelby County Ohio

John. W. Jones, to the Rev. W. Mclain.

Dear Sir. Some good friend a few years past sent me the African repository but it discontinued, in the year, 1851. I rote to Mr. D. Crista to have it sent to me and write to me and I would send him the money I got no anser from him. Last winter I herd that ther was some pamphlets in the post office for me, and I went and got two numbers befour January 1853. And they have come monthly sence. I wated for a letter from, Mr. D. Crista to know if he had paid for the year, I got no letter from him, so I thought he had not paid for them. I now sir send you two dollars, on the State bank of Ohio. I wanted for the post master to put it in and back this letter to you. And you can rite to me when to send you some more money. I wish for you to write my name, Dr. J.W. Jones, it is the name I am known by. I am indian doctor or botinast.

Dear Sir I have ben taking some notice of the American Colonization Society ever sence its formation, and think it riseing and importence, and one of the greatest blessings for the colored people in the united states of America, if they did, but think so but the most of them have and are blinded to their best intrust to the present day. By listing to a socitey of people, that is not their true frinds, but is dying away very fast. Our people is very ignert abougt Liberia and the goodness of the county, So I make a great allowance for them. For a very few of them can read or take news papers or the repository, to inform them selves. Very few of them are aware that the government is a making, any priperation to send them to Liberia, for they are astonuous, to hear that the different states are pasing sick streous laws as to prohibit them from going into any of the free states and settle. I do believe that the two races of people cannot dell to geather much longer, apon one soil, a greable to the bible. For the gospel must be prached to all, the nations of the earth be four the end of time. And who is better calculated to bear the glad tidings of the gosple to Africa then the colered people of the united states of America, with their own concent. All they want I think is information on the subject and let each state tell them planly to make a priperation for moving some where, out of this country.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Winter of 1912 in Fremont, Ohio

These photos were taken in Fremont, Ohio during the winter of 1912. Handling heavy snowfalls was much more difficult for residents who lacked the heavy equipment we have today. Below is what must have been one of the earliest snowmobiles! Sadly, we don't know the name of the creative individual who invented this early machine. Note that it even featured a lantern for lighting the way after dark!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Letitia Frazer's Plea for Parole for Her Husband, C. W. Frazer, Prisoner on Johnson's Island

The Hayes Presidential Library and Museums Manuscripts Division holds one of the largest collections of the Civil War's Confederate Officers' Prison located on Lake Erie's Johnson's Island. The most important of these collections is that donated by the late Charles E. Frohman, who wrote "Rebels on Lake Erie."

During a recent visit, Andrews Martin of Sandusky, Ohio donated this 2-cent "Black Jack" orange cover (above) addressed to Mrs. L. S. Frazer  Sandusky O. and postmarked Mar. 8 '65 with a double circle postmark beside it. It also contains  a partial strike of the examiner's oval (initials G. F. M.)  in the corner.

As we discussed the rare cover, we believed that it was probably addressed to a relative of Confederate "Brigadier General" John W. Frazer. Frazer was the commanding officer who surrendered Cumberland Gap to General Burnside without firing a single shot. Frazer acted as a brigadier general, but after his surrender of the Cumberland Gap, his nomination was rejected by the Senate of the Confederate States. He did spend time at Johnson's Island, but was also imprisoned at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.  

A quick check online turned up a letter in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. It was written by Letitia Frazer who traveled to Washington, D. C. to present her letter to President Abraham Lincoln asking for a parole for her husband, Captain C. W. Frazer, who was imprisoned on Johnson's Island. The letter is not dated, but ironically it was delivered to President Lincoln in an envelope marked "From Jay Cooke and Co., Washington, D. C."

 A transcription of this letter follows. 

To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln

President of the United States

Mr. President:

My husband Capt. C. W. Frazer has been a Prisoner of War on Johnson's Island since Sept. 1863. I have followed him all through the war and when he was captured I went to Sandusky, Ohio and remained there still to be near him though I could not see him felt comforted to know that he was safe. Now the Exchange has commenced and I am almost crazy to get him out of that Army, I know of but one way I earnestly entreat the President to allow me to try it. His interests are all in the Union, his family are all loyal citizens of Memphis. They need him sorely and desire him to come home. I pray the President to give him a limited time to report at his place of exchange on his parole of honor so that I may have the opportunity to convince him that his duty is at home and to leave the Rebel Army. I know he must be exchanged when his time comes then he will be lost to me so this is my last opportunity to convert him and save my husband. I do not ask this great favor for him, but on behalf of his suffering family. 


Letitia Frazer

From this letter, it appears that Mrs. L. S. Frazer, was the wife of Capt. C. W. Frazer and, as she writes, followed him to Sandusky, where she was living to be near her husband, who was imprisoned on Johnson's Island.

President Lincoln gave his permission immediately. Below is a scan of a photocopy of a document found in the Roger Long Papers. Letitia Frazer was allowed an "interview" with her husband after taking the oath of allegiance. Letitia was allowed to visit once every ten days until her husband was released.

The Roger Long Papers contain much more about Frazer's service and post-war life, including this photograph of Frazer's military coat.. Frazer served as adjutant in the 5th Confederate Infantry.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sailor George Earl Swank of Sandusky, Ohio

This photograph of George Earl Swank in his baseball uniform is from the Joyce Zeigler Collection. George Earl Swank was the son of Mr. and  Mrs. George Swank, who were one-time residents of Fremont, Ohio, but later moved to Sandusky, Ohio.

Swank served as a midshipman for two years in the fleet that took part in 1914 in the "Tampico Affair" in Mexico. His ship was sent to protect the large number of American citizens who resided there.  When Swank returned, he signed on as a deckhand on the sand sucker Recor, one of the vessels that made up the fleet of the Kelleys Island Lime and Transport Company. On April 17, 1915, Swank lost his footing on the dock while tying up the boat. He fell into the bay, probably striking his head on the dock.  Captain Omar Myers and a a group of men pulled Swank from the water within five minutes. Sadly, despite every attempt to resuscitate him, the 25 year-old Swank passed away a short time later at Good Samaritan Hospital.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Students at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1879

Carlisle Indian Industrial School Students, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1879
The above names appear on the reverse of this cabinet card.

1. Anna Laura, Daughter of Shooting Cat, Rosebud Agency
2. Alice Wynn, Daughter of Lone Bear, Pine Ridge Agency
3. Hattie, Daughter of Lone Wolf, Pine Ridge Agency
4. Mabel, Kiowa, from Fort Sill Indian Territory
5. Rebecca, Daughter of Big Star, Rosebud Agency
6. Stella Berht, Daughter of Chasing Hawk, Rosebud Agency
7. Grace, Daughter of Cook ?, Rosebud Agency
8. Ruth, Daughter of Big Head, Rosebud Agency

Miss Mary R. Hyde, Matron (center)

President Rutherford B. Hayes threw the support of his administration behind Captain Richard H. Pratt's efforts to establish the Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Pratt believed that through a curriculum of English, training in the trades and the white culture, Christianity, citizenship, and patriotism, Indian boys and girls would soon learn the "white man's way" and take their place in mainstream American society. During its existence (1879-1918), this first off-reservation school served as a model for other boarding, day, and off-reservation schools funded by the federal government.

Army Captain Richard H. Pratt, Superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School sent stereoview, cabinet card, boudoir images of the students to President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes in 1879. These were produced by commercial photographer John N. Choate. This image, along with others, are believed to feature the first group of students who entered Carlisle in the fall of 1879.  

Choate photographed the students in their traditional dress upon their arrival at Carlisle. Later, Choate photographed the same students in white man's clothing. For Pratt, the "before" and "after" images served as visual evidence of the program's success in assimilating Indian students. Pratt sent photographs to Christian reformers, Hayes administration officials, congressmen, and others who believed that Indians could be "Americanized" through education. Pratt did not send President Hayes images of students in their traditional dress.

Students were not allowed to speak their native language or wear their traditional dress, however they did gain a skill and learned to read, write, and speak English. The experiment created patterns of dislocation and separation and emotional and cultural disruptions in the lives of the students, their families, and their communities. As adults, most Carlisle students were caught between their own society and the white man's world. However, many discovered their own resilience, resourcefulness and ways of resistance. 

You can learn more about the school and these and other students through school records, publications, documents, and more photographs at  The Carlisle Indian School Resource Center . which represents an effort to aid the research process by bringing together, in digital format, a variety of resources that are physically preserved in various locations around the country." The center seeks "to increase knowledge and understanding of the school and its complex legacy, while also facilitating efforts to tell the stories of the many thousands of students who were sent there."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fremont Motorcycle Club

Fremont Motorcycle Club, 1912
 The black and white images on this post are from the U. B. Lust Collection that  is part of the Local History Collection. Lust was a Fremont jeweler, watch and clock maker, marksman, violinist, photographer, and in 1913 the president of the Fremont Motorcycle Club. The location of the Grand View Cottage is not given. 

This photograph was taken in the summer of 1912. The sign reads "Sunday, August 10, Fremont, Ohio, Professional Motor Races. George Stine was promoting motorcycle races at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds. Featured were professionals who club members had seen in Cleveland and Toledo. The event featured six races, ranging in distance from one to twenty-five miles. Races were geared for the professional and the novice. 

George I. Stine's "Motorcycles and Repairing" shop was located in Fremont at 412 South Front Street. The motorcyclist is unidentified. The "Excelsior" Motorcycle Company was established in Chicago, Illinois in 1907. Its motorcycle was the first to be clocked at 100 mph. The Schwinn Bicycle Company purchased the company in 1912.

This  unidentified motorcyclist was probably a member of the club as well. According to one article in the "Fremont News Messenger," the club may have had at one time as many as 55 members. The annual membership fee was one dollar

These two unidentified motorcyclists were also probably members of the club. The club made road trips throughout northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana. At least 18 made a Sunday road trip in 1912 to Sandusky, Milan, Clyde, Bellevue, and Norwalk under the direction of "Road Captain" Ralph Morris. In addition to Morris, members who made the trip were Ray Ochs, Ed. Zillis, E. H. Barringer, Frank House, Charles Truman, Arthur Burkett, Anson Douglas, President U. B. Lust, R. Schultz, Lloyd Beck, Forest Barr, Phil Rothacker, B. Heim, George I. Stine, Sard Hetrick, and ___ Netter.

George I. Stine, 1912

Further information on the Fremont Motorcycle Club is welcome!