Saturday, December 17, 2011
The Hayes Presidential Center created The Wildlife Art of Bob Hines in celebration of the 100th year of Hines’ birth. Set for exhibition February 15 through August 14, the exhibit includes an array of original artwork from private and public collections. It is made possible through sponsorship from The Fremont Co., Diversified Insurance and Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
In early November, students from Hancock Elementary are the first of nearly 300 4th grade students from five Sandusky City Elementary Schools to visit the Hayes Home and Hayes Museum. Their firsthand learning experience was made possible by The Sidney Frohman Foundation, who sponsored the students' participation in the Hayes Center's Curriculum Connections educational program. The Sidney Frohman Foundation is one of six original Curriculum Connections sponsors. Students. teachers, and the Hayes Presidential Center were pleased that the Sidney Frohman Foundation chose to sponsor students' onsite visit again in 2011!
Developed by the Hayes Presidential Center staff, Curriculum Connections is a three-part program, providing a "classroom satellite" experience by incorporating Ohio's Social Studies Academic Content Standards into a pair of DVD resources given to teachers for classroom use before and after students' onsite visit.
In a time of tight school budgets and greater emphasis on meeting curriculum goals, schools have been forced to cut back or eliminate visits to Ohio's historic sites. In the words of one teacher: " The Sidney Frohman Foundation's sponsorship of the Curriculum Connections program gave our students "a special opportunity to see the real thing! The historic past takes on new meaning for them! "
Curriculum Connections allows teachers and students to better connect with our nation’s past, Ohio’s history, and our local history while addressing Ohio’s Social Studies and English/Language Arts Academic Standards.
The program finds sponsors, like The Sidney Frohman Foundation, that are willing to cover admission and/or transportation costs for school children to visit the Hayes Presidential Center.
Hayes Presidential Center Development Director Kathy Boukissen is seeking additional sponsors for school systems that do not have adequate funding for a visit. For more information about Curriculum Connections or to donate to the program contact Kathy at 419-332-2081, ext. 26 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
• Center Executive Director Thomas Culbertson opens the series with his 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 presentation Rutherford B. Hayes: Citizen Soldier. The lecture takes an in-depth look at what inspired a 39-year-old lawyer, husband, and father to enlist in the Army despite having no prior military training. Culbertson’s talk also examines the effects the war had on Hayes’ life and career.
• An archaeologist who has spent years researching on Johnson’s Island, discusses discoveries he has made at the site of a former Confederate prisoner-of-war camp beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. David Bush, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology at Heidelberg University. He has been excavating the Johnson’s Island site for more than 20 years. Recently, Bush authored a book about the camp titled I Fear I Shall Never Leave This Island: Life in a Civil War Prison. The work combines letters written between a prisoner and his wife, with archaeological evidence Bush has unearthed. A book signing will follow the lecture.
• On Thursday, Dec. 15, Civil War expert and collector Larry Strayer shares the story of how he got involved in collecting Civil War memorabilia, and how his collection has evolved over 40 years in Battlefield & Homefront Exhibit - An Inside Look at Civil War Collecting. Numerous items from Strayer’s collection are on display in the CIVIL WAR: Battlefield and Homefront exhibit. Following his lecture, Strayer will invite participants to view the exhibit with him.
Major funding for CIVIL WAR: Battlefield and Homefront is provided by
Diversified Insurance partnered with Auto Owners Insurance.
Additional funding is provided by Croghan Colonial Bank
Saturday, October 22, 2011
After learning of my attempts to discover Sandusky County's African American Civil War soldiers, Wayne took photographs of their gravesites while walking Oakwood. Below is the photo he gave me of David J. Vance's tombstone. Others that Wayne shared with me are posted on the Hayes Presidential Center's Civil War Research page, where short sketches of each African American Civil War soldier appears. (With the help of Charles Weiker, we recently discovered the service of two additional soldiers. Both have been added to the page.)
Oakwood Cemetery, Fremont, Ohio
Monday, October 3, 2011
1843 - 1924
January 12, 1899
About the middle of August 1864, General Kilpatrick received orders from General Sherman to take such regiments of cavalry as he wished and to the rear of the Confederate army near Atlanta and destroy all railroads, so that it would be impossible for them to move out of the city by rail. On August 17th General Kilpatrick was ready to move, with five regiments of cavalry and about 3,000 men. One of the regiments selected was the Third Ohio Cavalry of which O.M. Mallernee, J. M. Kelsey, J. Setzler, Henry Grabach, Robert Benfer, Jacob Trott, Joseph Britenburg, Orrin Buzzell, and Theodore Rickey of Clyde [Ohio] and vicinity, also John and Augustus, brothers of Henry Grabach, and the late F. VanHorn of Monroeville, husband of Mrs. Elvira VanHorn of Clyde were all members. They were ordered to carry five days rations and none but sound men and horses were allowed to go. One of the survivors now living here tells the story of what followed in the following way:
“We started in the morning, going to the extreme right of Sherman’s army and far to the left of the Confederate army (under command of General Hood) marching all night and stopping early in the morning for an hour’ s rest and to feed, but made no fires to cook coffee. By this time we were in the rear of the Confederate army. Then we started again as fast as our horses could stand it, and when night came we again stopped to feed, but built no fires nor unsaddled horses. About midnight we struck the first railroad, which we tore up, built fires and heated the rails in the middle and bent them around telegraph poles to make them unfit for further use, and as soon as the job was done we went on as fast our horses could carry us.
H. Grabach had his horse shot, but fortunately for him he found a horse without a rider, and he went on. By this time we were badly demoralized and it was necessary to halt and reform our lines and commands, and soon the command was again on the move, but unfortunately, the Third Ohio Cavalry was put on as rear guard. We counted off our thinned ranks by fours, and every fourth man held horses while numbers one, two, and three were deployed on foot as rear guard to hold the enemy in check and give the balance of the command a chance to retreat in good order.
While on this rear guard fighting we had many men killed and wounded, and among them was Lieutenant George Garfield, a nephew of General J. A. Garfield, who was wounded in the neck and shoulder, so that he was unable to hold up his head; but the comrades, among them John Grabach, who were near to him, put him into a rubber blanket and carried him back a little ways and then again used their guns upon the enemy. But we were so hard pressed that they carried him back further. He was losing blood and was in such a condition that without care he would have died in a short time. When Garfield saw they could not carry him further, he asked if anyone of them would stay with him, whereupon John Grabach informed him that he would stay and care for him. Grabach immediately gave his arms to Lieutenant Charles Kelsey, a brother to our townsmen, James and A. I. Kelsey, who was the last man to go. In a few minutes the enemy were there, and at once traded their poor shoes for Grabach and Garfield’s good boots and the next squad traded coats etc., but offered no personal harm.
After the escape of Kilpatrick’s force the wounded were picked up, both Union and Confederate, and all the Union men that were able to be moved were sent to Andersonville prison hospital, where John Grabach was installed as wound dresser.
Up to this time, no guard had been placed over Grabach, who was the only sound Union soldier. Only his duty to his comrades kept him seventeen days after the fight, Wheeler Forgerson, a cousin to our townsman, Tom Forgerson, bunkmate of Grabach, died from a wound received in the charge, and a few days later Lieutenant Garfield had so far recovered that he was able to be moved, and he was sent to Libby Prison, an officers’ prison in Richmond, Virginia, and the other wounded had died or were on the way to recovery. Then one day an order came to the hospital from Captain Wirz for all sailors and marine men to fall in for exchange, Whereupon Grabach made up his mind he was a sailor. But the officer in charge said there were too many, and he wanted only sailors and marines, and all others should fall out. Many fell out, but Grabach still insisted that he was a marine. When they arrived at Captain Wirz’s headquarters, the roll was called. Finally a name was called and no one answered, and soon another name was called without an answer. When it was called again, Grabach answered and also another soldier, whereupon an investigation followed and the other man was decided to be the right one. Captain Wirz ordered a guard to take charge of Grabach, and after the roll was finished there were four more men than they had on the roll, and Captain Wirz ordered the guard to take them to the guard house and put them in stocks, and pointing to Grabach, he said, “ and that _____ put him in the spread eagle stocks.” They were placed there but the guards were more humane than the officers and took them out of the stocks with a promise that if any of the officers came around they must at once be placed in the stocks again until they were gone.
Again he was a prisoner, and this time he was taken to Millen, being the first of a lot of 35 to be put into this prison stockade, but in a few days it had been increased five thousand. One day after a few weeks of prison life he with a squad of others was taken outside of the stockade to carry in some wood. When the opportunity offered, Grabach dropped behind a big log and again made his escape, and commenced his lonely march by night and sleeping in woods and fields by day, and after many nights of marching, hunger, and cold he was again recaptured.
Again he was a prisoner of war and was being taken to Florida. While going through Savannah with other prisoners he again made his escape, this time by playing off sick, being apparently in such condition that he could not go any farther. Here in the city of Savannah for several weeks he was cared for by a German family and often went downstreet where almost every day some prisoners were being put aboard transports for exchange. One day he found an opportunity to fall into the ranks of prisoners for exchange. He got on board the transport as one of them with much difficulty. This time he was successful in gaining his liberty and in due time arrived in Annapolis, Maryland, and then came to his home near Clyde, Ohio, and in a few weeks rejoined his regiment at Gravelly Springs, Mississippi, where he was mustered out of the army in February, 1865, having been a prisoner about five months, and about four months after his term of three years service had expired.”
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Peter Godette married Sarah Barber in 1797 in Craven County, North Carolina. They were the parents of John Godette, who married Clarissa Jackson. The laws of North Carolina allowed free people of color to have a license to carry guns. The names of John Godette and his sons William Godette and James Godette appears on lists dated September 1851; June 1852; and September 1854.
As mixed raced people they were free and had rights, but conditions before the start of the Civil War became unsettled and unsatisfactory for them. The relationships between ethnic groups was of a fluid nature among early working class people, before legalized slavery and stringent laws unnaturally and unnecessarily strained and defined color lines.
For whatever the reasons, decisions were made within the family of John and Clarissa Jackson Godette. Some of the family would remain in Beaufort County, North Carolina and continue their lives there. Those who chose to stay were: John and Clarissa Godette, their son, William Godette and his family; and their daughter, Ellen Godette Cannon and her family.
Those who chose to go with a group of 60 people for the migration to Ohio were three of John and Clarissa Jackson Godette’s children and their families: Elizabeth “Patsy” Godette Laughinghouse; James and Elizabeth Driggers Godette; and John and Linda Godette Blackwell. They left before the start of the Civil War and made their way northward to Ohio, settling in the communities of Oberlin, Pittsfield, and Kipton in Lorain County; Fremont in Sandusky County; and Elmore in Ottawa County.
James Godette, Sr. and Elizabeth Driggers Godette; and two of their daughters, Henrietta and Josephine
Friday, September 9, 2011
The secret to Hughes’ success was quality. He purchased stone directly from quarries in Scotland, New York, and Vermont. The company employed as many as 55 master stonecutters, sculptors, and engineers. Its most skilled sculptor was James B. King who, like several other Hughes employees, came from Scotland to work for Hughes.
Perhaps the company’s greatest success came when the state of Ohio selected its designs to memorialize its Civil War dead. Competing against 11 other firms, Hughes won the contract to create 34 monuments for Ohio’s fallen at Shiloh battlefield near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Employees described their efforts as a “labor of love and duty.” In addition to creating the monuments, the company agreed to deliver them to the site. The monuments were transported to Tennessee by rail and barge. Each 16-ton monument was raised from the river up the 100-foot bluff to the battlefield.
In the spring of 1902, during a ceremony at Shiloh, the state dedicated the monuments to its native sons. One Ohioan accurately predicted “the beautiful memorials… will stand and be admired by future generations when the memory of those who created them has been forever buried in oblivion.” And so it is.
Hughes Granite and Marble Company may be lost to time, but its inspired work lives on as part of the sacred landscape of Andersonville and the Civil War battlefields of Shiloh, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Antietam, and Chickamauga.
Monday, September 5, 2011
She traveled with him to Nashville, Tennessee, where he served as Acting Medical Director of the Tenth Division. He oversaw the Union’s 800-bed military hospital. Anna returned to Sandusky when her husband left Nashville with his regiment. She immediately began working with the Sanitary Commission to provide medical supplies for soldiers in the field.
A sketch of Anna McMeens in Woman's Work in the Civil War (published 1867) highlights her contributions during the conflict. It states that after the Civil War, and while at Gibraltar Island, she took part in missionary work among the sailors of Lake Erie.
If anyone can identify the organization or the Lake Erie's sailors missionary work in which Anna McMeens participated as early as 1867, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Martha Laughinghouse Weiker holding son Charles. Son Walter stands at her side (ca. 1888)
Around 1769, a shipwreck occurred along the treacherous shoals of the North Carolina coast. The only survivors of the vessel were a small boy and his small body servant. That child was Andrew, who along with his slave, was taken in by the family of Thomas and Patience Smith Laughinghouse of Beaufort County, North Carolina. When questioning the boy (who must have been well off because he traveled with a servant) neither he nor his servant, due to their young ages, could tell the Laughinghouse family what Andrew’s last name was. Andrew was raised as one of the family and adopted the Laughinghouse surname as his own.
Martha’s oldest family lineage is through her mother’s side, stretching to the saga of Margaret Cornish, who at the age of nine, was kidnapped from her homeland of African Angola in the Mbundu nation within the kingdom of Ndongo and was put aboard a Spanish slave ship. The ship was captured by an English pirate ship that took its selected human cargo to Jamestown in 1619.
Margaret Cornish, along with her generations of descendants, lived their lives through a myriad of changing laws in the English colonies that slowly and blatantly circumvented their rights because of their mixed bloodlines. But they persevered despite difficulties.
In time, laws and events would converge and create a situation for free people of color. Just before the start of the Civil War, unsettled and unsatisfactory conditions relative to slavery as practiced in the South, led to the organization of a group of 60 people who migrated to Ohio. Members settled in Oberlin, Pittsfield, and Kipton in Lorain County, Ohio; Fremont, in Sandusky County, Ohio; and Elmore in Ottawa County, Ohio. Patsy and her daughters eventually settled Fremont around 1863.
In 1874, Martha married Philip Weiker at the Four Mile House. Following their marriage they located to a farm in Riley Township. Years later they moved into Fremont, where they built a house on the corner of Ohio Avenue and Mulberry Street. The residence still stands today. Philip and Martha had 10 children of their own. They also raised 2 other children.
Martha was a devoted member of the A.M.E. Church on Second Street for more than 50 years. She took an active part in church work, becoming an honorary member of the Missionary Society. After living a full life with family and friends, and perhaps, sometimes pondering over the miles and years before and after the migration that brought her family North, she passed away in 1932 at the age of 84.
A version of this article appeared earlier in Lifstyles 2000.
Monday, August 29, 2011
For meritorious conduct, he was promoted to gunners mate, and was discharged from the U. S. ship Carondelet as gunners mate in charge. On May 17, 1865, he enlisted in Company C, 5th U.S. Veteran Volunteers, for one year, and was discharged March 25, 1866.
After his discharge he lived in Fremont, Ohio, two years, then moved to Sandusky where on February 1, 1869, he was married to Mrs. Nancy E. Reed. One year later, they came to Clyde, which has since been his home. He wife died in 1887, since which time he and his daughters have lived in the home on East Street where he died.
Besides possessing a remarkable naval and military record, deceased was an industrious, hard-working man, who had the respect of all who knew him. One daughter, Maria Evans, and four step-children survive him.
The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Naval Historical Center) provides the following proud history of the Carondelet.
She was an ironclad river gunboat, was built in 1861 by James Eads and Co., St. Louis, Mo., under contract to the War Department; commissioned 15 January at Cairo, III., naval Captain H. Walke in command, and reported to Western Gunboat Flotilla (Army), commanded by naval Flag Officer A. H. Foote.
Between January and October 1862 Carondelet operated almost constantly on river patrol and in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in February; the passing of Island No. 10 and the attack on and spiking of the shore batteries below New Madrid, Mo., in April; the lengthy series of operations against Plum Point Bend, Fort Pillow, and Memphis from April through June, and the engagement with CSS Arkansas on 15 July, during which Carondelet was heavily damaged and suffered 35 casualties.
Transferred to Navy Department control with the other ships of her flotilla on 1 October 1862, Carondelet continued the rapid pace of her operations, taking part in the unsuccessful Steele's Bayou Expedition in March 1863. One of those to pass the Vicksburg and Warrenton batteries in April 1863, Carondelet took part on 29 April in the five and one-half hour engagement with the batteries at Grand Gulf. She remained on duty off Vicksburg, hurling fire at the city in its long siege from May to July. Without her and her sisters and other naval forces, the great operations on the rivers would not have been possible and Northern Victory might not have been won. From 7 March to 15 May 1864, she sailed with the Red River Expedition, and during operations in support of Army movements ashore, took part in the Bell's Mill engagement of December 1864. For the remainder of the war, Carondelet patrolled in the Cumberland River. She was decommissioned at Mound City, III., 20 June 1865, and sold there 29 November 1865.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
A Veritable Flotilla of Rare DART Boats at the Toledo Classic and Antique Boat Show August 27 and 28
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
From that day forward, Mary Norris relied on faith, family, friends, and hard work. There were no government programs to serve as a safety net for families on the frontier, struggling to survive in an economy built on physical labor. As Norris tells it, not only did his mother spin, weave, wash, cook, sew, and can, but she worked in the fields and handled the family’s finances.
His childhood memories of his mother’s grief and “grim drudgery and grind which had been the common lot of eight generations of American farm women” never left him. That vision of loss and of so many grown old before their time drove Norris to find ways to improve the lives of America’s farm families in whom he believed so deeply.
Today it is difficult to comprehend that only 10% of America’s farms had electricity during those years. Norris knew that hydropower could dramatically change their lives. Tempered by childhood adversity, the “Gentle Knight,” as many called him, was up to the challenge. From 1912 to 1933, right through the Great Depression, he fought on, enduring presidential vetoes and resistance from his own party. In the end, he was victorious. The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Rural Electrification Act that soon followed, tamed the Tennessee River and brought flood control, hydropower, and light to thousands of poor farm families across a six-state region. One insightful journalist wrote that “the powerful senator had fought for the poor and the beaten down…and he seemed never to forget that in his own time he had been among them…” .
Among the Hayes Center’s holdings is the Charles E. Frohman Collection. The wide-ranging archive of unique materials chronicles the lives of those who shaped the future of the Erie Islands and the communities of Lake Erie’s Western Basin. It is a rich collection of books, papers, photographs, and maps of which more and more are digitized. Through support from the Sidney Frohman Foundation, some 2,400 photographs now appear online at Lake Erie’s Yesterdays through OhioLINK’s searchable image database.
Recent efforts have focused on photographs of ships that once plied the waters of the Great Lakes. The photographs were taken and collected by Louis Baus. A long time Cleveland, Ohio photographer, Baus worked independently and then as a staff writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A native Clevelander, Baus in his later years was fascinated by commercial shipping on the Great Lakes. As a member of the Great Lakes Historical Society, he spent many days traveling and photographing American and Canadian vessels.
Before his death in 1949, Baus had compiled 18 albums of more than a thousand pictures of Great Lakes ships. There are pictures of tugs, freighters, ferries, mail boats, lumber and car carriers, barges, and the ports and harbors they called home. His original black and white prints fill most of the albums, but Baus also collected drawings, pen and ink sketches, and photographs by others. For each vessel, he wrote a capsule history.
You can search Lake Erie’s Yesterdays for a picture of a single ship by entering its name or the entire collection by entering “Baus.” Whether viewing his albums in their entirety at the Hayes Center or online, one gains a sense of those vibrant days when vessels carrying wheat from the Great Plains, ore from Minnesota, and timber from Michigan dominated the Great Lakes. At the same time, one can’t help but be struck by the number of ships lost in storms, collisions, and groundings, taking lives and fortunes to the bottom with them.
Louis Baus’ passion for the region’s waterways extended beyond the Great Lakes. Between 1896 and 1933, he traveled and photographed the entire length of the old Ohio Canal - from Cleveland to Portsmouth. In 2004, the University of Akron purchased Baus’ collection of photographs of canal boats, crews, passengers, locks, and businesses along the canal ways. His more than 400 photographs can be viewed on the university’s website.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
One of the most well known in the community was Sarah Ellen Drew, wife of Thomas Drew, who came to Fremont in 1880. In March of 1933, Sarah, was interviewed by Juel Reed of the Fremont News Messenger. That interview provides a rare glimpse into the life of a child born into bondage in Frederick County, Maryland and enslaved in Loudon County, Virginia as a young woman during the Civil War.
At the time of the interview, Sarah, 95 years of age, was living alone at the home she and her husband had built at 541 Second Street in Fremont. Her husband had died 25 years earlier. She had also lost a son and a daughter.
Sarah was born into slavery on a plantation owned by the Crummel family of Frederick County, Maryland. She said, “I did everything around the farm – milked cows, rode horses, did all kinds of general work.” Sarah stated that later she “went into service across the Virginia line. There were lots of tobacco fields there – no cotton – they don’t raise it there – not far enough south.”
Sarah frequently went with her master and mistress to Baltimore and Washington, D. C. Shortly after President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, she attended an affair at which he was present and had the privilege of shaking his hand. She recalled, “He was a wonderful man – not handsome – but so kind looking. We all loved him.”
Two months after the firing on Fort Sumter, Sarah heard the first rumblings of guns near the Loudon County, Virginia plantation, where she lived. “I can still see them bringing the wounded men in – wagon load after wagon load. Some of them were screaming and praying for someone to shoot them and put them out of their misery. Every church was full and they quartered them in every house. Even the place where I was in service had some. I remember seeing 15 of them on the floor of one room. And the way they were buried! They died like flies, and even yet I can see them burying men in boxes that weren’t fit to put a dog in they were so rough. They died so fast they had to get rid of the bodies in some way, I guess.”
When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Sarah returned home to her father, her mother having died the previous year. “We were crazy with joy. Remember, we were in bondage all those years, and the thought of being free was almost too much.”
Sarah’s three brothers fought in Union regiments. Immediately after the surrender, she received a letter from one of her brothers stating. “We ate breakfast in Richmond this morning and not a shot was fired. But the panic was awful. Women and children ran all over screaming. We had to order them inside the houses.”
When freedom came, her father moved on a small farm of his own, and a few years later, Sarah married Thomas Drew, who had come from Jefferson County, Virginia. Three months each winter, Sarah did housework for wealthy families in the vicinity. When one of them, the Raifsnyders, came to Fremont in 1880, Sarah came with them.
Recalling her arrival in Fremont, Sarah laughed, saying, “It was the furtherest I’d ever been up north. Do you know what impressed me the most – the board walks! I’d never heard they had them up here, but I never saw them before. Down south we had flagstones.”
Sarah recalled the celebration in Fremont the following spring when the Hayes family returned to Spiegel Grove. A short time later, her husband Thomas and their children joined her in Fremont. When the Raifsnyder family moved away, Sarah worked for the Stanley Thomas and Grund families.
She later worked for the Hayes family. She recalled, “They were grand people. I don’t know as there were any nicer white folks any place. Whenever they were short handed at the Grove they always called me. Sometimes I cooked for them and some times when they had big affairs I’d usher. And Mrs. Hayes! She was the most wonderful person to work for you could imagine. Why, I remember that several times she drove me home. They had a white horse – his name was Nimrod – and the carriage would bring me right up here to my door.” Henry Drew, Sarah’s son, also worked for the Hayes family. Application for probate of will of Thomas Drew by his widow Sarah Ellen Drew
She remembered the days when Colonel Webb Hayes and Fanny Hayes, children of President and Mrs. Hayes, were young. “After Miss Fannie married and went to Washington, she used to come back here to visit real often. She had a colored nurse for the baby, and she used to bring the nurse over here to visit me.”
In her final years, Sarah Drew lived for a time at the Sandusky County Infirmary. Benefiting from an “old age pension,” Sarah moved to Oberlin, Ohio, where she resided with her granddaughter, Sadie Whiteside. Sadie (born Sarah Ellen Drew) was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah’s son, Cornelius Henry Drew.
Sadie had married Leander Dixon, a son of William M. and Elizabeth Dixon. William M. Dixon was a Civil War veteran and member of Fremont’s Eugene Rawson G.A.R. Post. After the death of Leander, Sadie Drew Dixon married William Whiteside. Sarah Ellen Drew died at Sadie’s home in Oberlin in January of 1940 at the age of 102. Services were held at the Warren A. M. E. Church in Fremont, Ohio, where Sarah Drew had been a devoted and active member. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Fremont.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Through the holdings of the Hayes Presidential Center and the L. M. Strayer Collection, Battlefield and Homefront explores the wartime experiences that changed forever the lives of Ohio soldiers and the families and communities who supported them.
The exhibit provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the sacrifices and suffering of soldiers and families who lived through four long years of war.
On loan from Civil War expert and dedicated collector Larry Strayer are photographs, documents, and artifacts of Northern Ohio soldiers. Included are the field trunk and a rare canvas and wood cot that belonged to Dr. Robert R. McMeens of Sandusky who served with the Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry and became Acting Medical Director of the Tenth Division. McMeens’ name appears on the cot that was patented in 1858.
Although desperately ill, McMeens refused a furlough, believing it was his duty to follow his “friends in their fate.” On the night of October 29, 1862, Dr. McMeens performed two surgical operations on soldiers wounded at the Battle of Perryville. Hours later, he collapsed and died. McMeens’ possessions, including his cot, were brought back to Sandusky by his devoted attendant.
Following his death, his widow Anna cared for soldiers in hospitals in Washington, D. C. Featured in the exhibit is her autograph book that is a part of the Hayes Presidential Center’s holdings. The book contains more than forty signatures of prominent individuals including that of President Abraham Lincoln.
Through decades of research, Strayer has gained extensive knowledge of Ohio’s role in the Civil War, its regiments, and the soldiers who fought for the Union cause. Strayer says “that the families of Civil War veterans and their descendants were more inclined to save martial artifacts such as guns and swords rather than cups, spoons, bedding, and cots” that were necessities in soldiers’ daily lives. Although it may take years to accomplish, Strayer finds it especially rewarding to once again, bring together groupings of individual soldiers’ Civil War possessions.
CIVIL WAR: Battlefield & Homefront is made possible through funding from Diversified Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance. Exhibit hours are 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday and noon until 5 pm Sunday. The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is located at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues in Fremont, Ohio. The facility is affiliated with the Ohio Historical Society.