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!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Healing Of Our Veterans Through Equine Assisted Services (H.O.O.V.E.S)

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." – GEORGE WASHINGTON

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ghost Stories with Mike Gilbert on Saturday October 29th in the Hayes Museum Building

Mike Gilbert Presenting at History Roundtable 2016

It's not too late! There is still one session left in the 2016 fall series of History Roundtable with Mike Gilbert! If you love a good ghost story, come join us for an interesting discussion of local ghost lore. We meet in the Hayes Museum building from 10 to 11:30 on Saturday October 29th!

You can preregister by contacting Nan Card 419-332-2081, ext. 239, or! The cost is only $5.00. 

We thank Mary B. Wonderly, M.D. for making the 2016 series: History Roundtable with Mike Gilbert possible!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

St. Joseph's Catholic Church - Toussaint, Carroll Twp., Ottawa County, Ohio

After receiving the photograph below, Sandra Zenser researched and wrote the following history of the St. Joseph's Catholic Church - Toussaint in Carroll Twp., Ottawa County, Ohio. We welcome Sandra's guest post.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church - Toussaint
by Sandra L. Zenser

Add caption
The photo shows St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, parishioners, church leaders (believed to be l-r: Father Thomas McCarthy, Bishop Samuel Stritch1, and Father Albert Fate), with the church parsonage in the background. The celebration is possibly a first communion, ca.1922. The picture was donated to the Carroll Township History Committee by Betty Youster Dubbert, granddaughter of Fred and Akie Swope, and hangs on the wall of the historic 1880 Carroll Township hall/museum. Church records have the Swope family as members in 1860.

The church was located next to the Catholic Burial Ground, now known as St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Duff-Washa Road in Ottawa County, Ohio. Early church records have the Toussaint pastor as Rev. Amadeus Rappe in the year 1841. The Mass would have been celebrated in members' log cabins. Eventually in 1845 a log chapel was built on a half-acre tract at this location. The log chapel served its purpose until 1861 with the erection of this wooden structure. In 1944, the St. Joseph’s Church building was thought to be in danger of collapse and the Bishop felt that the small number of parishioners did not have the resources to build a new church. St. Joseph’s Church was torn down in 1945, one of the oldest parishes in the diocese, the first church in Carroll Township ceased. Catholics living in the Toussaint territory would become part of the Bono parish (Lucas County). 

What remains are the cemetery, privately owned by the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, and the parsonage home (built in 1916 according to diocesan history), a private residence since 1942.

Catholic Church records refer to this parish as Toussaint, French word meaning “All Saints”. However, to the locals it is Frenchtown as it was a French Canadian settlement where early settlers gained their livelihood by hunting, trapping, and fishing. Possibly the reason for the church not referring to this area as Frenchtown is because of  Frenchtown, Michigan and a St. Joseph’s Catholic Church there. The Toussaint River is just south of this property and Toussaint being a French‑Catholic name. So to eliminate confusion in the diocese, it opted to call this parish Toussaint.

 1Bishop Samuel Stritch, bishop from 1921 to 1930, later becoming a Cardinal as Cardinal Stritch Catholic High
  School is named after him on east side of Toledo in Oregon.