Monday, December 16, 2013

A Christmas Tradition

Early Christmas Postcard

Christmas is only a few weeks away and I am opening and enjoying each of the few Holiday greeting cards that appear in my mailbox. Even though I know those from my accountant, car dealership, and insurance man aren’t truly Christmas greetings, but rather reminders of their services, I still welcome them!

Everyone has a special Christmas tradition. Exchanging Christmas cards was perhaps my favorite. Years ago, I sent and received dozens of Christmas cards. Those beautiful cards sent by friends and family were filled with greetings, notes, photographs of kids and pets, and those printed annual letters of family happenings. I read them all, grateful that once each year, faraway friends and family remembered and cared to keep in touch!  Like so many others, I decorated doorways, mantels, and our Christmas tree with them. And, when the Holidays were over, I read them again, saved addresses, put photos in frames, and packed away those beautiful cards to be looked at again the following year.

The tradition of exchanging Christmas greetings between friends and family that began in the 1870s is rapidly vanishing. Today, every hour of every day is jam packed. During the Holidays, it’s doubly so. The cost of cards and postage has gone sky high! E-cards (and emails in general) are faster and oh so much cheaper! There’s Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Instagram. And, the cost of those once ever-so expensive long distance calls, are now hidden in our cell phone plans.

It was the German lithographer, Louis Prang, who, in 1875, began mass producing affordable cards that made it possible for Americans to begin the tradition of exchanging greetings at Christmastime. His earliest cards featured children, robins, flowers, plants, and snow scenes. They were things of beauty - often adorned with ribbons, lace, satin, and fringe. Although Prang’s cards were the most popular, they were not the cheapest. Prices ranged from 75 cents to $1.25. To stimulate interest, Prang ran design contests with prize money reaching as high as a $1,000.  By 1890, all sorts of companies were producing Christmas cards. The market was flooded with cheap cards. Prang quit in frustration.

It was really the postcard boom that ended the production of those beautiful early Victorian cards. The “penny postcard” made it inexpensive to buy and send cards. Many of the early American, German, and British cards featured beautiful colored illustrations of birds, bells, angels, dolls, toys, trees, religious scenes, and Santas. Originals are still sought after by collectors. Postcards with Santa Claus wearing a robe in brown, green, blue (like the one above), purple, and even pink remain among the favorites. Embossing and silver and gold embellishments make them even more special.

Today, many of the designs have been reproduced and are for sale in stores and on the Internet. I’ve purchased some and I plan to do my part to continue the tradition of exchanging Christmas greetings. May you continue your favorite tradition and spread the joy of the Holiday Season!
A version of this post appears in Lifestyles2000.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

H2Oh! Making Waves: National Museum of the Great Lakes Fundraiser Auction

National Museum of the Great Lakes
1701 Front Street
Toledo, Ohio 43605

After nearly six years of planning, the Great Lakes Historical Society, in collaboration with the city of Toledo, the state of Ohio, and a number of generous donors, is in the final stages of preparation for opening its new National Museum of the Great Lakes, slated for spring of 2014.
On December 14 from 6:30 to 10, the museum will play host to its annual fundraiser, H2Oh! Making Waves. It will be the first time the public will have an opportunity to see inside the new museum located at Maritime Plaza on Front Street.
The evening features a selection of Great Lakes cuisine from aboard Great Lakes freighters prepared locally by Chef Marcel and assisted by culinary students from Penta Career Center.
Guests will be able to bid live for items such as a Kentucky Derby trip via a private Lear jet; a sail aboard an award-winning luxury sailboat; a wedding package aboard the "James M. Schoonmaker."  A dozen themed baskets valued at $500 each will be raffled. And, of course there will be the drawing of the "Luck of the Lakes" Raffle, $100 per ticket with prizes valued at more than $35,000, including cash prizes as high as $10,000. Tickets for "Luck of the Lakes" are on sale and will be limited to 1,500. "Luck of the Lakes" tickets can be purchased by attending the auction, calling 440-967-3467, or visiting

The new museum is unique among traditional maritime museums. It will offer a blend of original Great Lakes artifacts  coordinated with interactive hands-on exhibits, bringing both entertainment and education to a diverse audience.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Lt. Charles J. Hammer: 147th Infantry Regiment WWI

Charles J. Hammer
Fostoria, Ohio

Charles J. Hammer, born in Fostoria in Seneca County enlisted in Fremont, Ohio, in the 6th Ohio National Guard in 1917 at the age of 25. At the outbreak of WWI, the Ohio National Guard protected tunnels, viaducts, bridges, docks, and railroads throughout the state. The 6th Ohio spent part of its time at Mingo Junction. Company K, 6th Ohio was federalized March 17, 1917. It became part of the 147th Infantry.
Charles J. Hammer
Mingo Junction


Camp Sheridan
 Montgomery, Alabama

The 147th Infantry was part of the 37th Division, originally known as "Ohio's Own" and later the "Buckeye Division." The division trained at Camp Sheridan outside Montgomery,  Alabama, which was constructed as training took place. As pictured above, the camp was largely made up of tents.

Charles J. Hammer with his future wife Helen Keller

2nd Lt. Charles J. Hammer
Final Day of Service
December 24, 1918

Charles Hammer left the service as a second lieutenant in December of 1918. He served as Sandusky County, Ohio's auditor from 1953 to 1965. He was a member of American Legion Post No. 121. He passed away in Fremont June 25, 1992 at the age of 99. These photographs and others of Lt. Hammer were donated to the Hayes Presidential Center. 
(The 147th was shipped overseas in June 1918. After further combat training, the 147th was ordered to the Baccarat Sector. They fought at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, St. Mihiel, in Belgium at Ypres-Lys, and Lorraine.) Learn about Sandusky Countian Clarence Childs who also served in the 147th on Paper Trail.
World War I centenary commemorations will take place in 2014 and continue through 2018.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Federal Duck Stamp Contest to be held at Maumee Bay State Park

 Artwork of Bob Hines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, is proud to announce the 2013 Federal Duck Stamp Contest to select the 2014-2015 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, also known as the Duck Stamp.

The most prestigious federally-recognized art contest in the nation, the Federal Duck Stamp Contest will be held Sept. 27-28, 2013 at the Maumee Bay State Park Conference Center in Oregon, Ohio.
The Federal Duck Stamp Program is the most successful conservation program in our nation’s history, and has generated more than $850 million to help protect and conserve more than 6.5 million acres of wetlands and grasslands for wildlife habitat. By purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp, hunters, birders and wildlife enthusiasts continue to contribute to the conservation of America’s natural resources.

The Federal Duck Stamp Contest will this year honor 1946 Duck Stamp artist and conservation leader Bob Hines. Biographer John D. Juriga, M.D. is author of the book Bob Hines: National Wildlife Artist. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will honor Hines by hosting a public dedication ceremony for the Bob Hines Refuge Ranger Station at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, September 26, 2013. Learn more in an interview with Juriga about his interest in wildlife artist and conservationist Bob Hines.

Duck Stamp by 1946 Artist and Conservationist Bob Hines

The contest will culminate in selection of the nation's 81st Duck Stamp and will be a celebration of one of the world's most successful wildlife habitat conservation programs. Viewing of the artwork and judging process is free and open to the public.

Bob Hines
1912 -1994

Ohio native Robert Hines (1912-1994) holds the distinction of being the only National Wildlife Artist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hines developed his love of nature growing up along the verdant banks of the Sandusky River in Fremont, Ohio. Despite almost no formal art training, Hines’ innate talent led him to become an internationally recognized wildlife artist and a pioneer of the conservation movement. His work illustrated a weekly newspaper feature, and numerous wildlife guides and books – including those by author Rachel Carson (a close personal friend) and Robert McClung (of Grizzly Adams fame).
In 2012, the Hayes Presidential Center hosted the exhibit The Wildlife Art of Bob Hines in celebration of the 100th year of Hines’ birth. The exhibit featured more than 100 pieces of original Hines artwork, published works, and manuscripts from the private collection of John Juriga, M.D. Juriga published his biography of Hines as part of the centennial commemoration.  


Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Birdseye View of the Battle of Lake Erie

A Birdseye View of the re-enactment  of the Battle of Lake Erie
during the Bicentennial of the War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie
as seen from the B-17 "Yankee Lady"
Jess Maiberger and her dad with the pilots of the "Yankee Lady."

On the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, all of us here in Northwest Ohio have been reliving the War of 1812 through museum exhibits and re-enactments. On Labor Day weekend we were privileged to experience the Tall Ships and a re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie.  Thousands witnessed the event that took place on Lake Erie not far from Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island, where Oliver Hazard Perry sailed out to meet the British fleet 200 years ago. There were hundreds watching the action from their boats, but my assistant Jess Maiberger and her dad had one of the most unique views of the battle! They were aboard the "Yankee Lady," one of only 9   remaining  WWII B-17s! She is owned by the Yankee Air Museum of Belleville, Michigan
"Yankee Lady" and her pilot

Another view of the "Yankee Lady" by Jess Maiberger

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ensign Lysander C. Ball of the U.S.S. Vindicator

Gunboat U.S.S. Vindicator at Vicksburg
Grant Dickinson Collection
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Ensign Lysander C. Ball, Jr.


Grant Dickinson Collection
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Lysander C. Ball, Jr. enlisted in the U. S. Navy at the age of 23 in July 1862 at Fremont, Ohio. He served as an ensign aboard the gunboat "U.S.S. Vindicator" as part of the Mississippi Squadron. Ensign Ball sent this carte de visite of the "U.S.S. Vindicator" at Vicksburg to sisters Alvira and Elvina Ball, living at home in Fremont, Ohio.  Ensign Ball initially served on board the "U.S.S. Petrel," which was captured and destroyed by the Confederates on April 22,1864. He was then assigned to the "U.S.S. Vindicator." The vessel was reworked for use as a ram and was assigned command of the 5th District of the squadron on July 4th, 1864 and deployed off  Natchez, Mississippi. 
Following the Civil War, Ensign Ball returned to Fremont and married Hannah Morrison. The were the parents of five children: Martha, Charles, Elvira, Alma, and Evelina. After farming in Sandusky County, Ball moved to Lisbon County, North Dakota.
Died January 17, 1902
Lisbon, Ransom County, North Dakota

Sunday, August 4, 2013

George Burton Meek, Clyde, Ohio: First American Killed in the War with Spain

George Burton Meek
Killed aboard the USS Winslow
Thaddeus B. Hurd Collection
Fireman 1st Class George Burton Meek of Clyde, Ohio, is believed to be the first American  killed in the War with Spain. He was killed in action on board the  torpedo vessel USS Winslow at Cardenas, Cuba on 11 May 1898. He was buried at Clyde, Ohio 11 May 1899. The state of Ohio erected the monument pictured below in his memory. It was unveiled at Clyde, Ohio, 11 May 1916.
Monument Dedicated to the Memory of George Burton Meek
McPherson Cemetery
Clyde, Ohio
USS Maine Mast Memorial 
War with Spain 
Courtesy of
Brenda Ransom

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Andrew Burns, 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry & 3rd Mississippi Colored Troops (53rd U S Colored Troops)

Lt. Andrew J. Burns
 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

3rd Mississippi (53rd U.S. Colored Troops)


The following letter is a transcription of a Civil War letter written by Andrew J. Burns of Ashland, Ohio, to his former captain, Seth M. Barber, 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Barber lost a leg during the Vicksburg Campaign.

Burns, who enlisted at the age of 21 in Company H of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major of the 3rd Mississippi Infantry (53rd U. S. Colored Troops) in April 1864. The image here is a scan of the original that Burns sent with his letter to his former captain, Seth M. Barber of Ashland, Ohio. Burns was discharged from the service as a lieutenant.

Sniders Bluffs Miss
March 18th 1864

My Dear Capt.
Your kind and very welcome letter of Feb.28 is before me and was read with much pleasure. The letter giving the account of the expedition spoken of in my last I saw in the Commercial of the 17, but I presume you have seen it and that it is not necessary for me to say anything more about it. But since that one we have been on another in the same direction, but of considerable greater magnitude. The fight was over, but for the number engaged, I do not know of a more desperate fight. There was a regiment of black soldiers and one of white, the 8 La and the 11 Ill. The very first man I saw was a soldier of the white regiment and he gave the colored soldiers the highest praise for daring and bravery. In every instance where their officers displayed courage, they were fully sustained by their men. One Captn of the 8 showed the coward. The cavelry were particularly spoken of for their good conduct.

Nothing was to bold or daring for them to do. The Maj of the 11 with about 240 men were in a fort just outside of town and although surrounded by 3 [?] regiments, they succeeded in holding it.
The rebels demanded a surrender three times and were told first if they wanted them to come and get them. The second time that “they couldn’t see it” & the third time after being entirely surrounded, they demanded their surrender of the place in ten minutes, that if they surrendered they would be treated as prisoners of war, but if not they would not be responsible for their treatment. The brave Maj told them to go to _____ that if they wanted them to come and get them, that he did not want to see that flag back again.

But while all of this had been transpiring, a body of some four or five hundred hand-picked men dashed down into town with the intention of capturing Col. Coats who commanded the expedition, but the darkies rallied and defeated them with great slaughter and drove them back in great confusion and those at the fort thought it best to retire with them. They fired at each other [?] less than 20 feet apart some of the houses had a shell through every room in it, one of them, the one in which Col. Coats was quartered. We lay in the town all day Sunday, but the rebels did not see fit to attempt another attack.

When the rebels, were in town many of the citizens joined them & fired from their houses. One man of the 11 who was wounded declares he saw a woman shoot him but not in time to save himself. There was one woman killed, but I did not learn wheather it was the same one or not. When we left the town (Sunday night), quite a number of houses were burnt.

The opinion that the whole expedition was for cotton for private speculation has gained ground. And has caused considerable discontent.  There were between three and four thousand bales sent down the river. Since we have got back our Col one capt & two Lts have resigned and gone home & more are determined to resign.
It is generaly understood here that that one reg. is to go to Skipwith’s Landing, one to Goodrich Landing & one to Milliken’s Bend, to guard plantations & ten regts are to go to Yazoo City, but it is not certain yet what regiments will go to the different places.

Now as to the success of making soldiers of the blacks. The account above will be sufficient to judge from. There appears to be a determination among them not to be taken prisoners. There are some who can never learn military and perhaps there may be more among the blacks, but generaly they learn to drill as well as anybody. We have black men whom I will put by the side of any white soldiers. Perhaps you may think I am boasting, but I feel perfectly safe in saying it. I am glad to see the spirit exhibited of the people at home. It is such a spirit as will nerve the arm of the soldier. It is singular to me that some people have been so long in finding out that the south have rejected in scorn their overtures of peace and waking up to the true state of affairs.

I see by our latest papers that Chase has declined the nomination for president and that General Grant has mounted the topmost round of military fame. All that I have seen appear to rejoice to see the hero of so many victories in which we have participated properly rewarded. I do not see any particular credit in volunteering where it takes such large bounties and the fear of the draft before them. If I was at home, I would not give one dime for bounty. They hold off until the prize is nearly won and then come in for an equal share with a bait of from $200 to $500. I assure you I would not have shed many tears if Ashland Co. would not have raised her [?] with a draft. Perhaps the most effect would not be so good, but I can’t help feeling that kind of spirit.

But my sheet is nearly full. Enclosed please find a phtg. Do you know it? & [William] Buchan is well and sends his kindest regards, says he intends to write soon, but is quite busy now. He is asst  adjt and has considerable to do right now. Maj Robinson I suppose is at home before this time. My kindest regards to old acquaintances in Ashland. write often to your friend

Andrew J. Burns


Monday, July 15, 2013

Tony Jannus at Cedar Point: Lake Erie's Yesterdays on Pinterest

August 1914
Photograph by Ernst Niebergall
Charles E. Frohman Collection
Above is a picture of Tony Jannus, one of America's most famous early flyers. Jannus was a test pilot for Tom Benoist, who built airboats at Sandusky, Ohio. During the summers of 1913, at the centennial celebration of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Victory on Lake Erie, and 1914, Jannus flew exhibition flights and took local residents on flights over Lake Erie. On New Year's Day 1914, Jannus flew one of Benoist's airboats on the United States' first scheduled passenger flight, between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Jannus' flight heralded in commercial aviation in the United States. His fete proved that scheduled flights of cargo and passengers could be economically viable. More on Jannus, his life, and the upcoming commemoration of that first scheduled flight in an upcoming post...
You can see pictures of Tony and the Benoit airboat on Pinterest on my Lake Erie's Yesterdays board. There are also some of early fliers Harry Atwood and Glen Curtiss making flights over Lake Erie near Sandusky and at Cedar Point. More photos from the Charles E. Frohman Collection can be found by googling Lake Erie's Yesterdays OhioLINK.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football

The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football
by Vince Guerrieri
Everyone loves a football rivalry! And Ohio surely has some great ones! Sports journalist Vince Guerrieri, brings to life the highlights and history of the more than century-old rivalry of the high school football teams of Sandusky and Fremont.  It all began in the fall of 1895  when the Fremont, Ohio high school football team traveled to Sandusky, Ohio to play its very first game against the Blue Streaks. Since then, Fremont Ross' Little Giants and Sandusky's Blue Streaks have met more than 100 times!  
Rather than a statistical record, The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football chronicles the great games through the decades. Along the way, you meet an Olympian, an NFL draft pick, a Heisman Trophy winner, and dozens of coaches and players whose talent and passion for the game have led them to personal success. 
John Garvin
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Guerrieri skillfully weaves into his narrative the history of the two northern Ohio towns and how they first came to play the game. (Above, I have added a picture of John Garvin, a graduate of the Naval Academy. He was the man who brought the first football to his hometown of Fremont. He not only organized and coached the team, but also played quarterback!)

Blue Streaks and Little Giants also features year-by-year game results and some great photos from private collections, the Sandusky Library, and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
Conducting more than a dozen interviews and consulting as many newspapers, Guerrieri takes you inside the tradition that began before the forward pass. As Guerrieri concludes, "the game of football grew up around it, the OHSSA, the NCAA, and the NFL." You can get your copy of Blue Streaks and Little Giants through The History Press.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Celebrate the 4th by Attending the Independence Day Concert at the Hayes Presidential Center

Join the Hayes Presidential Center for its annual observance of the Fourth of July by attending the Independence Day Concert.

Concert time is 2:00-3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4 and features the Toledo Symphony Concert Band. The signature element of this annual event is the presence of Civil War reenactors who provide unique percussion to performance of the 1812 Overture by firing a series of cannon. The effect is thrilling!

Admission to the Independence Day Concert is FREE thanks to major sponsorship from
Crown Battery and Hal & Diane Hawk . Additional support is provided by Mosser Construction Inc, Richard Binau Insurance & Financial Services, & United Ohio Insurance Co.
Attendees are reminded to bring their own seats and come prepared for the weather (sunscreen and/or bug spray.) Snacks and drinks can be purchased at a refreshment stand. Free parking is available on the grounds of the Hayes Presidential Center and adjoining city streets.

Monday, June 10, 2013

1913 Flood in Fremont and Tiffin, Ohio

Homes Damaged on Fremont, Ohio's
South Front Street
Flood of 1913
In a guest post earlier, featured the devastation in Dayton, Ohio caused by the 1913 flood that wreaked havoc throughout much of the state. The torrential rains created severe flooding of the Sandusky River, that resulted in the destruction of 50 homes and damaged more than 550 more in Fremont, Ohio. Three individuals died in the flood, one of them after rescuing hundreds of flood victims.   The damage to the Ballville Dam, businesses, residences, county roads, and bridges reached more than $1 million. A few miles upriver, in Tiffin, Ohio, 19 lives were lost and 500 homes were damaged.

Now on Historypin, you can see a slideshow of 35 historic photographs from the Charles E. Frohman Collection, showing some of the destruction suffered by residents. The photographs were taken by Sandusky, Ohio photographer Ernst Niebergall

Called to action, the city police and fire departments monitored river conditions, warned residents to evacuate the area, and rescued people from homes and businesses. Help came from the local Company K, 6th Ohio National Guard, and after several days, further assistance was requested and received from Battery B of Toledo and from Cleveland's Troop A.

Chambers of Commerce in several Ohio cities and even Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sent aid. The New York Central Railroad assisted with communications, after long distance telephones went out. Relief was also received from the state of Ohio and the Red Cross. Churches and other organizations, such as the Elks, provided food and shelter. School rooms became temporary shelter for the sick when the hospital reached capacity.

Read more about the 1913 Flood in Fremont, Ohio at Sandusky County Scrapbook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest Speaker Lou Schultz Discusses Ohio Frontier's Role in the War of 1812 at June 2nd Program

       Lou Schultz
Lou Schultz whose extensive collection of War of 1812 materials is the core of the current Hayes Museum exhibit War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier is guest speaker for a 2 p.m. Sunday, June 2 lecture in the Hayes Museum. Admission is free. All are welcome.

Schultz’s interest in the war’s history began at an early age. In the third grade his school visited sites related to the war including the Hayes Presidential Center. The inspiration of that trip led to a lifelong passion that included collecting artifacts and manuscripts from the war. The bicentennial of the War of 1812 has further ignited Schultz’s interest. He not only helped the Hayes Center create its exhibit, but also is a member of Ohio’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

His lecture focuses on the fact that Ohio was the scene of many of the major engagements of the War of 1812 in the Northwest. Not only did the British and their Native American allies invade Ohio on several occasions, but also it was from Ohio that the amphibious operation that culminated in the Battle of the Thames launched.

Schultz explains that the war marked the end of the long struggle by Native Americans to preserve their independence and resulted in the opening of Northwest Ohio for settlement. “The War of 1812 is an exciting, but little known chapter in Ohio history. This program will serve to heighten awareness of the importance of the War of 1812 in the history of our state and will serve as an introduction to the War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier exhibit currently on display at the Hayes Presidential Center.” Schultz says. Lecture attendees can view the exhibit before or after the lecture. Hours are noon-5 p.m. on Sunday.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Civil War Regimental Colors of 72nd OVI

Regimental Colors of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
The picture above is of the 72nd Ohio Regimental Colors prior to its recent preservation by the  Sandusky County Historical Society. On May 9th, I had the privilege of attending the unveiling of the now beautifully restored 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry regimental colors at the Sandusky County Historical Society in Fremont, Ohio. Sandusky County, Ohio has always been mindful of its history. And now, thanks go to the historical society and its members and the many donors who made the restoration possible!
Years ago, the historical society loaned the 72nd OVI colors to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center for an exhibit that focused on Sandusky County in the Civil War. Using newspaper articles and diaries and letters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, its unique history was uncovered. Perhaps the short article below is worth republishing to better appreciate it and the sacrifices of the men of the 72nd during the Civil War .
Preserve the Colors or Die
"Remember when the banner is unfurled, that the cords of affection in your regiment reach back to us; and that every heart in Sandusky County will thrill with the fortunes of the 72nd Ohio.  If it be its fate to fall, every household in Sandusky County will shed a tear over its loss."
With those final, dramatic words, Fremont, Ohio, Mayor Homer Everett presented the regimental banner, emblazoned with a "soaring eagle" to General Ralph Buckland who was leaving with some 900 Sandusky County, Ohio soldiers for the Civil War battlefields.
Civil War soldiers had a nearly-sacred regard for the American flag and their regimental banners.  Many sacrificed their lives in battle to protect their colors.  When Confederate forces captured the 72nd Ohio's banner during its first battle at Shiloh, the soldiers of the 72nd were humiliated and Sandusky Countians were shocked.  After apologies and explanations by General Buckland, the women of Sandusky County set to work to make a new banner for the regiment.  Buckland promised it never again would be lost.
It never was.
Even during the desperate retreat from the Battle of Brice's Cross Roads, when Rebels captured two-thirds of the remaining men of the 72nd Ohio, the flag was saved.  Color Bearer Archibald Purcell ripped the flag from its staff, wrapped it around his chest, and concealed it beneath his shirt as he fled from the Confederate cavalry.  Later, Purcell said, "I thought if I were killed, the Rebels would never find the banner hidden beneath my shirt and it would have been buried with me."
Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard kept the original banner his troops had captured at the Battle of  Shiloh.  He later gave it to his chief of staff General Thomas Jordan, who bequeathed it to his daughter.  Years later, Miss Jordan donated the banner to a fundraising auction in New York.  Ohio Governor Asa Bushnell learned of the flag's existence and asked a friend to bid on the banner for him.
In October 1896, Governor Bushnell presented the banner to Medal of Honor winner Captain Charles McCleary and 72nd Ohio veterans, who had gathered at Clyde, Ohio, for their annual reunion.  After 34 years in the South, the "soaring eagle" of the 72nd came home to Sandusky County. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

David Chambers and the Great Dayton Flood by Jeff Satterly & Robert Muhlhauser

The following is a guest post from, a fascinating new web project that compares historic photos of natural disasters with Google Earth images of those same areas today. 2013 marks the centennial anniversary of the floods that sent Ohio's rivers overflowing and levees and dams bursting throughout the state. Check out Jeff and Robert's article about David Chambers and 1913 Dayton, Ohio Flood. 

David Chambers and the Great Dayton Flood
 Jeff Satterly and Robert Muhlhauser
The week of March 21st through March 26th marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the greatest natural disasters to ever hit the United States. A series of storms caused flooding and even tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest and parts of New England during this week in 1913 and left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, and caused billions of dollars in damage.

While there were undoubtedly many powerful and heartbreaking stories following the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, one particularly powerful one comes from the Chambers family. David Chambers heroic story told by two of his grandchildren was documented by The women tell the story of the 24 year old father of three and his brave efforts that saved many. 

View of B.L . Lehman and Besko restaurant 
 on 134 West Fourth Street Dayton, Ohio 1913

The Chambers lived in North Dayton, in a home that was elevated about the level of the flood waters. When David saw the widespread damage the flood had caused to the city, he selflessly chose to leave the safety of his home, climbing into the family’s 16-person boat and rowing it out into the flood waters. David delivered supplies to victims all over the Riverdale area, and managed to save the lives of more than 150 Dayton residents.

134 West Fourth Street Dayton, Ohio Today 
Tragically, David’s heroism ended up costing him his own life. When a stray log struck the side of his boat, David was tossed overboard, where he ultimately died in the flood waters. The death of her husband left David’s wife, Stella, on her own to raise three daughters, all of whom were under the age of seven. During a period of financial instability, Stella was forced to place the girls in an orphanage. In the end, however, the girls were reunited with their mother. David was buried in the flood section of Dayton’s Woodland Cemetery.

View of the flooding at the corner of Fourth and Main Dayton, Ohio 1913

By the end of the flood, March 26th, the damage was widespread. 14 square miles of the Dayton were underwater, and more than 360 people were dead. Some 20,000 homes were completely destroyed, an estimated 65,000 people were left homeless, and all told, the city had suffered close to $100 million ($2 billion in today’s dollars) worth of damage. The cleanup effort took more than a year to complete and Dayton’s economy didn’t make it back to pre-flood levels until more than a decade after the disaster.

View of Corner of Fourth and Main Streets, Dayton, Ohio Today

Thanks so much to Nan Card for letting us share a piece of this historical project on Ohio’s Yesterdays. We’re humbled by the interest in this project, and we really hope you enjoyed this snippet of history!
We’d also like to thank some of the great archives and archivists who have done so much to work to help preserve the amazing history of the 1913 flood, including the Dayton Metro Library and historian Trudy Bell. The amount of history compiled at these two websites is truly amazing. Lastly, thanks to Jason from .Insurance who lent us some of the resources we used to help prepare content for the web and publish our blog, and inspired our Mapping History Contest. Don’t forget to check out for more images, and for information on our Mapping History Contest – help us figure out the locations pictured in historic photos from 1913 and you could win $100!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jack Day's Bay View Hotel

Jack Day

Like so many before and after, John “Jack” Day, Jr. came to South Bass Island never intending to stay, but he soon made it his home. His father, John, Sr., was the son of Irish immigrants. He worked as a builder and contractor near Poughkeepsie, New York. Eventually, the Day family settled in Detroit, where Jack learned to build organs. But in 1887, at the age of 20, Jack came with his father to South Bass Island to work on the new town hall. When the hall was finished, Jack stayed on to manage a restaurant and later the Oak Point House. He helped with the construction of the Victory Hotel and leased the Gibbons property before moving to Ballast Island. There, for seven years, Day managed a club.

Jack Day's Bay View Hotel

Jack was persuaded to return to South Bass Island and purchase the Gibbons property that he had leased earlier. There were 5 acres of fruit trees and a 15-room house on the property. Day soon moved the structure forward on the lot and added a third floor, verandahs, and an “outside dining room.” Jack Day’s Bay View Hotel grew to 50 rooms. Like other South Bass Island hotels, it became a respite for city dwellers hoping to escape the summer heat and ever-present smoke and dirt.

Jack Day's Barns

Day’s careful management brought hundreds of vacationers back to Bay View year after year. It became a focal point for many Lake Erie yacht gatherings. According to the “History of Northwest Ohio,” Day credited much of his success to his wife, May Belle Millen of Norwalk. In addition to their hotel business, the Days raised Mildred Welch, who later married Bernard McCann.

Jack took part in Put-in-Bay’s civic life. He served as chairman of the park board and street commission, on the town council and school board, and as mayor for several terms. After his wife’s death, he continued to manage the Bay View with the help of a cook, and in his later years, the Jack Day Tourist Home. In the spring of 1958, Jack fell ill shortly after returning from Florida. He was flown to the mainland, where he passed away a short time later at Magruder Hospital. Jack Day, 91 years old, was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery on the island he had loved for a lifetime.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Parks Canada Announces Launch of Twitter Feed on 70th Anniversary of Loss of WWII Pilot Jack Zimmerman and His PBY-Catalina

Parks Canada launched a national Twitter feed focusing on the work done by the Agency’s underwater and terrestrial archaeological teams. The new Twitter feed (

The launch of the new Twitter feed coincided with the 70th anniversary of Second World War American PBY-5A Catalina foundering in the St. Lawrence. The PBY was piloted by Fremont, Ohio native Lt. Col. Jack Zimmerman, legendary TWA pilot, who joined the Army Air Force early in WWII. He headed the North Atlantic Wing Air Transport Ferry Command.

After conducting inspections of the air field at Mingan, Ontario, Zimmerman and eight crew members departed for the return flight to Presque Isle, Maine. Facing strong headwinds and swells of five to six feet, the PBY failed to lift off. Hitting the top of the waves, the cockpit filled with seawater that entered behind the wheel well. In a matter of minutes, the entire cockpit filled with water, causing the nose to submerge. Four of the crew escaped. Lt.Col. Zimmerman and four others were lost as the plane sunk into the waters

Parks Canada underwater archaeologists discovered the wreckage of the aircraft while conducting a research survey in May 2009, near the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada.

Lt. Col. Jack Zimmerman

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

As part of the launch, Parks Canada unveiled a short documentary about the discovery of the aircraft by Parks Canada archaeologists. This video features Parks Canada underwater archaeologists and members of the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) as well as first-hand testimonies from local residents who witnessed the actual plane crash. You can check out the documentary with a picture of Lt. Col. Zimmerman supplied by the  Hayes Presidential Center.  Follow the You Tube link below.

For updates follow the Parks Canada Archaeology Twitter feed at @PCArchaeology and in French at @PCArcheologie

Monday, February 18, 2013

War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier

Visitors examine portraits of some of the key players in the War of 1812.On June 18, 1812, President James Madison declared war on Great Britain over the forced service of Americans in the British Royal Navy, trade restrictions, and increasing British influence among Native Americans. The year 2013 marks the bicentennial of the major events of the war on the ‘Ohio Frontier’ - a region bordering Lake Erie that included areas of Ohio, Michigan, and Canada. A 1:64-scale model of the brig 'Niagara' is on display.During the War of 1812, the Ohio Frontier played a pivotal role as the Army of the Northwest struggled against Great Britain for control of the Great Lakes. Through the holdings of the Hayes Presidential Center and the Lou Schultz Collection, the War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier explores America’s early defeats and its eventual victories at Fort Meigs, Fort Stephenson, on Lake Erie, and at the Thames – successes that inspired a sense of pride throughout the young nation. This exhibit is made possible through sponsorship from the Sidney Frohman Foundation .