Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fremont, Ohio St. John's Lutheran Church Confirmation Classes: 1902 and 1904

St. John's Lutheran Church, Fremont, Ohio confirmation class photographs  (May 18,1902 above and May 22, 1904 below were shared with us by Joan Jahns, Fremont, Ohio. The tall boy in the center of the photograph is Will Jahns. Others are unknown.




Second Row, seated from the left, Nettie Jahns, sister of Will Jahns. Others are unknown.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hayes Presidential Center Hosts Former White House Chef John Moeller at the Catawba Island Club May 1 and 2


Former White House Chef John Moeller is celebrity chef for two fundraisers for the Hayes Presidential Center.You don’t have to be elected President of the United States to enjoy a meal worthy of a Commander In Chief. Simply make reservations to attend one of two fundraisers benefiting Fremont’s Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.

In partnership with the Catawba Island Club in Port Clinton, the Hayes Presidential Center hosts former White House Chef John Moeller on Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2. Moeller was chef to Presidents George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. He not only will prepare meals that include food favorites of those presidents, but also will share details of his fascinating career with attendees of both events.


Seating is limited to 125 for the Dine Like a First Lady Luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. May 1. The three-course luncheon costs $50 per person. Advance reservations are required.


Only 100 seats are available for the Dine Like a President Dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. May 2. This five-course feast features wine pairings from Rodney Strong Vineyards, selected 2013 American Winery of the Year by “Wine Enthusiast.” After dinner, Chef Moeller speaks on the topic Cooking for the President. Cost for the dinner is $125 per person. Seating is limited to 100; advance reservations required.


Both events take place in the elegant lakeside dining room of the Catawba Island Club. For reservations call Hayes Presidential Center Development Director Kathy Boukissen at 419-332-2081, ext. 226. 


The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center - site of the nation’s FIRST presidential library – celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016!

Dressed for Life: First Ladies' and Red Dress Collection Exhibit Opens April 1 at the Hayes Presidential Center


One of the causes championed by former First Lady Laura Bush while in the White House was women’s heart health. She provided voice and star power to the National Institute of Health The Heart Truth ® campaign's The Red Dress ®fashion show in New York.
The Hayes Presidential Center picks up on that White House initiative with its newest exhibit Dressed for Life: First Ladies’ & Red Dress Collection.® The exhibit opens April 1, 2015 and continues through January 4, 2016 and is made possible through title sponsorship from The Fremont Company 

Nine red dresses worn by First Ladies are featured, as well as 10 dresses modeled by celebrities in past Red Dress Collection® fashion shows. Included are dresses worn by First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Caroline Harrison, Rosalynn Carter, Laura and Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Lucy Hayes. Celebrity dresses, made by top international designers, include those worn by Venus Williams, Heidi Klum, and Emmylou Harris.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Hayes Presidential also is actively promoting heart-health awareness for all ages and sexes through a series of special programming:
• Let’s Move is a monthly children’s exercise program that begins in April and continues through December. It is sponsored by Richard Binau Insurance & Financial Services and Ohio Mutual Insurance Group .

• Walkers’ & Wagging Tails' Club kicks-off in April and is sponsored by ProMedica Memorial Hospital . Membership is free and walkers (and their pets) are challenged to walk their way to health by logging 300 miles. Those achieving the goal receive free T-shirts.

• Former White House Chef John Moeller headlines a pair of fundraising events. On May 1 & 2, he prepares a lunch and dinner at the Catawba Island Club in Port Clinton. The limited seating events are fundraisers for the Hayes Presidential Center. click here to view an event flier. (For reservations, call 419-332-2081, ext. 226.)

• Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear features speakers discussing women’s health, as well as free blood pressure checks. Dates and topics will be announced later.

• The Kids Lunch Box Series also sponsored by ProMedica Memorial Hospital aims at getting the youngest Americans started on the road to health early in life. Children learn to make healthful lunches, while sampling foods that taste good and are good for their bodies.

• First Ladies' Man an evening with Andy Och, producer of C-SPAN's "First Ladies: Influence & Image" series. Andy shares his experiences traveling across the country visiting sites important to First Ladies past and present, and numerous facts and stories that did not make it into the series. Cost $10 per person.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mouse Island and the Hayes Family

View of Mouse Island by Platt Studios
Charles E. Frohman Collection


Cabins ca. 1912

There is something romantic in that idea of having an island all to one’s self. Ex-President Hayes felt it years ago when his children were young, for he bought a mile or so off the [Catawba] Peninsula, a small island ” …. so wrote Henry Howe in his history of Ohio. Howe further described the island as "a very small affair, so small one might someday take a fancy to pick it up, slip it in his vest pocket as he would his watch and walk off with it.”

In 1874, then Governor Hayes purchased Lake Erie’s Mouse Island jointly with Fremont attorney Ralph Buckland and Dr. L. Q. Rawson. The private island, sometimes called Hat Island in early records, was acquired from Ira Dutcher of Catawba.

Hayes believed it would be a great spot for his family to camp, boat, swim, and especially fish (Lucy’s favorite past time). When Hayes returned to Ohio during his presidency, the family spent time on the island. In 1879, Hayes purchased Dr. Rawson’s portion of the island. And at the turn of the century, the Bucklands exchanged their portion of Mouse for land Hayes and the Bucklands owned jointly in Omaha, Nebraska.

Through the years, Hayes had numerous opportunities to sell the island, but his children and their friends continued to enjoy time spent each summer on the heavily wooded island. President Hayes’ son Birchard and his children Webb, Scott, and Walter, built two cabins, a boat house, dock, ice house, tennis court, and a hand ferry to shore. They also supplied the island with water.

The brothers worked each summer to repair damage brought on by the previous winter’s storms. But time and weather continued to take a toll on the island’s structures. With Scott’s move to Los Angeles and Admiral Webb Hayes away much of the time, there were fewer opportunities for the Hayes grandchildren to visit the island. Even though time spent at Mouse became rare, it was not until 1966 that they finally decided it was time to part with the “emerald isle” the family had enjoyed for more than 90 years!  

Native Stone Chimney 1912

Fireplace 1912

Titled "Hayes Construction Company"
Birchard Hayes and Sons Scott and Walter
on their Newly Built Dock

Dalton Hayes and Elizabeth Boarding Their Boat the "Owl"


Mr and Mrs. Birchard Hayes at the Cabin

The Dock 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Louis Rau, Company H 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry


Private Louis Rau, Co. H, 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry



Wedding  photograph of Louis Rau & bride Mary E. Seitz Rau

April 21, 1879


Home of Louis and Mary E. Seitz Rau
626 Mills Street, Sandusky, Ohio

 Spring/Summer 1880


Some weeks back I received information about a Civil War soldier who served in the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry raised by Fremont, Ohio attorney Ralph Buckland. The regiment was made up largely of residents of Sandusky and neighboring counties. 

Jack Smith of South Bend, Indiana shared these photographs of his great grandfather Louis Rau, who was born in Prussia February 25, 1843. He was a farmer and the son of John Rau. At the age of 21, Louis Rau was recruited at Sandusky, Ohio, December 1, 1861 by Captain Anthony Young and served in Company H under Captain Michael Wegstein. Rau fought at the Battle of Shiloh, the Siege of Corinth, and the Siege of Vicksburg. 

At Vicksburg, Rau became so ill with intermittent fever and diarrhea, he was determined unfit for field service. He was given a 30-day furlough and discharged on a surgeon's certificate of disability on December 1, 1864. He then served in the Veterans Reserve Corps. February 25 1865, he re-enlisted in Captain William Fisher's Company F of the 107th  Ohio Volunteer Infantry for one year. He fought at Sumtersville, South Carolina and at Swift Creek. On July 13, 1865, Rau was transferred to Company C. of the 25th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was honorably discharged at Charleston, South Carolina at the end of his term of service on February 24, 1866.

Rau returned to Sandusky, Ohio and married Rosa Bader, whom he divorced in 1875. Four years later, on April 21, 1879, he married Mary E. Seitz. They were the parents of three children: Louis, born Feb. 17, 1880 died August 7, 1880; Anna M. born May 7, 1881; and Laura M. born January 20, 1883.

The family lived at 626 Mills Street in Sandusky. Louis Rau worked in Sandusky's fisheries. Louis Rau died of a heart attack at the age of 72 on March 27, 1916. He is buried in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery.

                                         Oakland Cemetery
                                       Courtesy of Find a Grave

Louis Rau sparked a strong interest in the Civil War for his great grandson Jack Smith, Smith began collecting original images of Abraham Lincoln in 1959. His collection of more than 750 images was one of the largest known collections. It was acquired by the Indiana Historical Society in 2003. The collection is cataloged and appears online. 


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Traditions Shattered by the Civil War’s Carnage


During the early years of the 19th century, death normally occurred within the privacy of the home where family gathered to comfort the dying and await their last words. Amid prayers and rituals, family and friends reverently carried the loved one to the cemetery for burial in a consecrated space, most often beside other family members. Religious rituals carried out at the gravesite brought reassurance of spiritual continuity and dignified the meaning of life itself.


Shiloh, the bloodiest battle in American history until that time, shattered those fundamental beliefs and traditions. Families, who waited anxiously at home to learn the fate of their loved ones, were shocked when news came that there were more than 23,000 casualties!

Emanuel Fink
Courtesy of Ron Claypool


And so it was for Jane Ames Fink, the wife of Emanuel, who had enlisted at Elmore in the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The son of a Dunkard minister, Emanuel had married Jane ten years earlier. Although she had four small children, Jane managed to travel the 300 miles to Louisville, Kentucky, where she learned that her wounded Emanuel had been taken. 

Battle of Shiloh




Louisville, Kentucky was a staging area for Union military operations. Its steamboats plied the waters of the Ohio River, carrying men and materiel to southern battlefields. When Ohioans learned of the masses of wounded and dead at Shiloh, soldiers’ relief societies filled those same steamboats with tents, clothing, bandages, medicine, and food. On their arrival at Shiloh, supplies were distributed and the boats were re-loaded with thousands of the most severely wounded. Many of Ohio’s wounded were taken up river to Cincinnati; Louisville, Kentucky; and New Albany and Evansville, Indiana.
According to Jane’s obituary, written many years later, she expected to care for Emanuel until she could bring him home. But it was not to be. When she arrived, she found that Emanuel had died and was already buried.  The Civil War’s scale and duration, the size of its battles, and the number of casualties were unprecedented and unexpected. Both North and South described it as a “harvest of death.”
Jane Ames Fink
Courtesy of Ron Claypool



If it could be imagined, Jane and her children were more fortunate than most. They knew what had happened to Emanuel. There were tens of thousands of families who never learned the fates of their loved ones. At least half of the Civil War dead were never identified.


Like many widows, Jane Fink rejected the idea of leaving her husband in an anonymous grave far from home. But very few had the money or the means to bring their loved ones home for burial. For most of the Civil War generation, those traditional burial customs were gone forever. But somehow Jane had found a way. Emanuel’s remains were transported to Elmore, where he was buried in the “little graveyard near the railroad bridge.”


With four little ones, Jane had no choice but to carry on as best she could. With the pension allotted by the government, she bought a house west of Elmore where she lived until their children were raised. Four years prior to her death in 1900, Jane Fink had Emanuel removed from that “little graveyard” to what was then known as the Guss Cemetery where she too was laid to rest.

Fink Monument
Courtesy of Find A Grave



Courtesy of Find A Grave


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Anna Wood Clark: Civil War Nurse with the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

During this 150th commemoration of the Civil War, many have learned more about the regiments that fought for both North and South, uniforms, battles, generals, and their very own ancestors who served in the rank and file. But little progress has been made in identifying women who served as nurses. It has not been for the lack of trying, but rather that there were so few records.

Their stories were often discovered long after the war in reunion minutes, letters, diaries, obituaries, county histories, and family reminiscences. And so it was with Anna Amelia Clark, who passed away at Catawba Island at the age of 89 in 1936. Her occupation as a nurse during the Civil War was recounted in her obituary, but it was largely based on an interview given six years earlier to a “Progressive Times” reporter at her home on West Third Street in Port Clinton, Ohio.


Born in Painesville, Ohio in 1847 to James and Emma (Welsh) Wood, Anna, moved a short time later with her family to Adrian, Michigan. When the Civil War broke out and President Lincoln called for 60,000 troops, the men of Adrian soon raised a regiment known as the 4th Michigan Infantry. Anna, only 13 years old, went with her father to serve as a nurse for the troops of the 4th Michigan. She was joined by Anna Aldrich, the daughter of another member of the regiment. 

The 4thMichigan left for Washington D.C. where they were equipped for battle and reviewed by President Abraham Lincoln himself. Anna recalled that Lincoln shook her hand and that of her friend Anna Aldrich and a third lady who had joined them in Washington.

The 4th Michigan wore Americanized Zouave uniforms that included a fez hat, sack coat, tan gaitors, and loose trousers. Since there were no organized medical teams for regiments, neither Anna nor her fellow nurses had uniforms.  They wore dark wool dresses and carried bandages and canteens of water and whiskey.


Riverview Cemetery
Port Clinton, Ohio
Courtesy of Find A Grave

Anna recalled that first battle at Bull Run with deep regret. As she moved among the dead and wounded, she came upon a Confederate boy probably fifteen years old. The standard bearer of his regiment, he had been hit by a shell. Severely wounded, the boy asked Anna to place the flag in the ground above him so that he would be found and identified. It was against orders and Anna could not comply. She gave the boy a drink and in a few moments he took his last breath.

Anna recalled the ferocious fighting of the Seven Days Battles that took place in the spring of 1862. So many were killed that the dead – North and South were rolled into blankets with no identification and placed together in a single trench.  At Malvern Hill, Colonel Dwight Woodbury of the regiment was killed.


Battle of Malvern Hill 

Anna continued to serve with the regiment until the fall of 1862 when she contracted malaria in the swamplands of Virginia. After her recovery, she returned to Washington with her mother and grandfather in the spring of 1865. They were present in Ford’sTheatre when John Wilkes Booth took the life of President Lincoln.

Obviously intelligent and educated, Anna, later in life, learned shorthand and took down the speeches of Reverend Moody, transcribing them for publication. She also wrote articles for magazines and newspapers. Anna married Edwin Babcock and later Lemuel Clark. When she died in 1936, the reporter believed that two Civil War veterans were still alive in the county, but Anna Wood Clark was the only Civil War nurse in Ottawa County.  She is buried in the Riverview Cemetery.