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.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trommer Extract of Malt Company, Fremont, Ohio

The Trommer Extract of Malt Company

Nearly everyone experiences a bellyache from time to time. Most of us know why it happened. It may have been a “touch of the flu” or that we ate too much or we ate the wrong food – too spicy, too greasy, or too rich! If it lasts very long, we are off to the doctor, who generally gets to the root of the problem fairly quickly. 

During the nineteenth century, stomachaches were even more common than today. Known as dyspepsia, colic, bilious fever, heartburn, intestinal catarrh, or cacogastritis, a stomachache was often a symptom of something much more ominous than overeating! Bacteria from poorly cooked or rotting food, parasites, an inflamed appendix, gallstones, dysentery, ulcers, or cancer were some of the serious conditions that brought on a stomachache.

There were thousands who manufactured and sold patent medicines during this period when diseases were poorly understood. Sold as tonics, elixirs, and bitters, the products were often advertised as a cure for everything from that stomachache to ingrown toenails and baldness.  And the tens of thousands who were desperate for relief made up a ready market. Finding “magic in a bottle” or even a temporary “fix” could become a lucrative business. Many contained dangerous levels of alcohol, morphine, or cocaine. Others were harmless, while still others were actually beneficial.

One of these was Trommer Extract of Malt produced at 117 S. Arch Street in Fremont in 1874. The well-respected Civil War surgeon Dr. John B. Rice secured the rights from a German chemist to make and sell the tonic everywhere but in Germany. Made from Canadian barley malt, the elixir contained the enzyme diastase and malt sugar as well as alkaline salts and bitter of hops. Trommer Extract featured only 2% alcohol. Still, alcohol did have its place! The company prescribed a tablespoon of the tonic mixed with cold water, milk, or wine to be taken three times a day immediately after meals. “Any kind of spirituous liquor may be added in quantities to suit the taste and requirements of each case” - so said the label.

Dr. John B. Rice

Brothers Stephen and Ralph Buckland, Dr. Gustavus Gessner, and Dr. Robert Rice invested heavily in the company. With the help of energetic agents across the United States, Trommer Extract of Malt became a booming business. Sold in amber-colored bottles stamped with the company’s name, Trommer Extract of Malt went for a dollar each. The “Improved” version retailed at a $1.50. Sales reached nearly $65,000 by 1890 and $150,000 by 1905. From its London offices, the company distributed the tonic throughout Europe.

There were no outlandish “cure-all” claims. Trommer was sold as a help for “sick headaches, loss of appetite, indigestion, consumption, asthma, diarrhea, and the debilities of females and aged.” To be perfectly fair, the tonic was probably beneficial to many in relieving indigestion. Diastase, the first enzyme discovered, aided in breaking down foods. For those recovering from illnesses, Trommer Extract probably “settled the stomach,” much like we would use today. Sufferers of chronic illnesses may have found that the “improved version” (with cod liver oil) increased the appetite. Although Trommer Extract of Malt was not “magic in a bottle,” it had its place in many homes across the nation until the company was officially dissolved in 1933.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

13 Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War

13 Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War by Senator John McCain and Mark Salter
Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Senator John McCain and Mark Salter have teamed up for a sixth time to bring us their perspective on the history of  Americans at war. 13 Soldiers tells the personal stories of thirteen remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain and Salter focus on real soldiers who exhibited extraordinary bravery, sacrifice, obedience, initiative, and love. McCain and Salter believe they are the best America has to offer.

Elton Mackin
Courtesy of Susan Smith

One of those 13 soldiers is Elton Mackin of Lewiston, New York, a Marine who served in World War I and later in life settled in Norwalk, Ohio. This highly decorated Marine fought in every Marine Brigade battle from Belleau Wood to the crossing of the Meuse on the eve of the Armistice. Mackin was awarded the United States Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and two Army Silver Star citations. Several summers ago, I discovered at the Hayes Presidential Center, four cassette tapes of a 1973 interview with Elton Mackin by the late Dr. Carl Klophenstein, Professor of History at Heidelberg University. Transcribed by Assistant Julie Mayle and Intern Becca Dickinson, the interview now appears on the Hayes Presidential Center website. Contact with Mackin's family brought the donation of photographs and a copy of Mackin's manuscript "Flashes and Fragments." His manuscript and the interview were later adapted by Marine Corps historian George B. Clark and published in 1993 as Suddenly We Didn't Want to Die: Memoirs of a World War I Marine.

Published by Presidio Press 1993

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Join Us for History Roundtable with Mike Gilbert!

Officers of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Vicksburg 1863

Orin England, A. G. Tuther, Eugene Rawson, Milton Williamson, Henry Buckland
(left to right)
Ralph P. Buckland

History Roundtable with Mike Gilbert


 Sandusky Countians have strong links to the Civil War.   Sandusky County, Ohio men formed substantial elements of the following Ohio regiments: 8th, 21st, 25th, 49th, 53rd, 55th, 57th, 67th, 72nd, 100th, 101st, 111th, and 186th as well as the 169th ONG and the 3rd, 9th, and 10th cavalry units. The county's largest single contribution of men was the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry recruited by Fremont attorney and Ohio Congressman Ralph P. Buckland. By war's end, 65% of the county's military-age men saw service in the Civil War.
There were two Medal of Honor winners: John Miller of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Gettysburg and Charles McCleary of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the Battle of Nashville. Major General James Birdseye McPherson of Clyde, Ohio, commander of the Army of the Tennessee, was the highest ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War.

Hayes Presidential Center’s newest educational program History Roundtable with Mike Gilbert explores those connections.

Recently retired from Fremont Ross, the ever-popular Mike Gilbert taught history for 38 years. Topics related to the Civil War always have been a passion of his and he has spent many hours researching the war’s history. Gilbert assisted the Hayes Presidential Center during several of its multi-year grants that focused on History for elementary, high school, community college educators.

Earlier this year, Curator of Manuscripts Nan Card approached Gilbert about launching a roundtable discussion series at the Hayes Presidential Center. Their conversation resulted in History Roundtable.

In its inaugural year, the six-part series focuses on “Sandusky County in the Civil War Era.” The first session is Saturday, Sept. 20. Each session takes place 10-11:30 a.m. in the Hayes Museum. Cost is $5/each or $25/for all six. To pre-register please call Nan Card at 419-332-2081, ext. 239.


Sept. 20- Tales of the 72nd OVI 

Sept. 27- 
E. J. Conger: On the Trail of Lincoln’s Assassin 

Oct. 11- 
Fremont’s Civil War Doctor John Rice 

Oct. 18- 
Buckland, Sherman and Shiloh 

Oct. 25- 
Women’s Roles in the Civil War 

Nov. 1- James McPherson: A Life Cut Short


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Charles and Jessie Biehler Family's Sacrifice in WWII

Robert Biehler
Armored Reconnaissance Division,
 Entered the U.S. Army November 11,1942

Earl Biehler
North Africa, Christmas 1942
Inducted into the U. S. Army January 8, 1942

Donald Biehler
Enlisted in the U.S. Navy October 2, 1944
Discharged September 14, 1945

Louis Biehler
Served with the 164th Infantry in the Negras, in the Philippines
Killed May 7, 1945 Philippines

Fred "Fritz" Biehler
Entered the U.S. Army January 9, 1942
Military Police

Lester Biehler
Served with the U. S. Army Communications Headquarters Division,
330th Infantry
since October 29, 1942
Participated inn the landing at Omaha Beach 
Killed July 5, 1944
Carentan, Normandy, France

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Mildred Biehler Lipstraw of Oak Harbor, Ohio, at the Hayes Presidential Center. She had seen our news release regarding the Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project.
 She wanted to tell me of the extraordinary sacrifice of her family during World War II.

Mildred is one of twelve children of Charles and Jessie Caris Biehler, who originally lived not far from Rocky Ridge in Ottawa County, Ohio.  According to Mildred, the family moved to Sandusky County around 1927, where her father managed the Sandusky County Farm Bureau Co-op. Three of her brothers were employees of the Co-op

It was humbling experience to learn of the Biehler family's sacrifice. Six of Charles and Jessie's sons served during World War II. Two did not survive the war. Lester and Louis were killed in action. Lester was killed in Carenton France just after the D-Day invasion. Louis was killed in the Philippines May 7, 1945.

Mildred remembers that in November 1948, a Military Honor Guard accompanied the bodies of her brothers Lester and Louis home to Fremont. The Honor Guard remained on duty through the days prior to the memorial service held for these young heroes . They rest in the Veterans Circle at Fremont's Oakwood Cemetery.

It is with much thanks to Mrs. Lipstraw for providing the Hayes Presidential Center with copies of her brothers' war time photographs and other documents about their service. They will be added to the Center's Biographical File, but we wanted to share the Biehler family's sacrifice for our country's freedom during World War II.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Post #114 Donates $1000 to the Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project

Julie Mayle, Manuscripts Assistant and Officers of the Auxiliary of the American Legion, John A. Fador Post, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Just as the Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project was getting underway, Jeannie Gloor, Sergeant-at-Arms of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary of Oak Harbor, Ohio, contacted Nan Card at the Hayes Presidential Center. The auxiliary had read about the Hayes Presidential Center's project. They said, " We believe recording and preserving the experiences of veterans is very important and we would like to support this effort."

On behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary American Legion, John A. Fador Post #114, President Kathy Johnson. Vice President Becky Scherf;  First Vice President Liz Smith; and Jeannie Gloor, Sergeant-at-Arms presented Julie Mayle, who heads the project for the Hayes Center, with a check for $1.000! The 73-member auxiliary is deeply devoted to supporting America's veterans who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our nation.

The funds will help cover travel, scanning, copying, and recording costs; expansion of our Veterans Tribute displayed on the wall just outside the Library's research room; archival boxes and folders for storage of donated military documents, letters, and photos; veterans' packets, and educational kits for use by students in future years. Eventually, Julie and Nan hope to use materials for an exhibit at the Hayes Center.  

Jeannie Gloor said, "It is such a great gift to these veterans and their families.. It takes a lot of courage for them to get their story out."

Julie interviews veterans and records their memories. Then, she transcribes the recorded interviews and scans letters, documents, and photographs. Originals are returned to the veteran along with a typed transcription and CD with their scanned documents and photographs. These can be shared with their families. Another copy is kept permanently at the Hayes Center for research in the decades ahead. Lastly, the audio interview and scanned images are placed on Youtube and Historypin.

Card said, "This will be a great help! Julie and I have found it so very rewarding and a privilege to speak with veterans about their experiences. We are deeply grateful to the auxiliary for their thoughtfulness, deep commitment, and generous support!"

If you or someone you know, is a military veteran or is active military and would like to participate, please contact Julie Mayle, Manuscripts Assistant (, or Nan Card, Curator of Manuscripts (, at the Hayes Presidential Center, 1/800-998-7737 x239. Julie and Nan would be pleased to arrange an interview at a time and place that is convenient for you. We also would encourage participation of U S citizen civilians who were actively involved in supporting the war efforts - USO workers, defense workers, WAVES, medical volunteers, etc.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

326 Military History Detachment Visits the Hayes Presidential Center

Members of the 326 Military Regiment

Tasked with collecting and preserving U. S. Army history, Captain Nathan Davis, Staff Sergeant Jeff Vanwey, and Sergeant First Class Deane Barnhardt of the 326 Military History Detachment spent time at the Hayes Presidential Center learning about document preservation and conservation from Nan Card, Curator of Manuscripts.

Captain Davis (center) is educated as a historian. Sergeant Vanwey (left) is a photojournalist and Sergeant Barnhardt (right) a broadcast journalist. Currently, their focus is collecting military documents, photographs, soldiers' experiences, and artifacts associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom and operations in Afghanistan. The team also records, photographs, and collects veterans' experiences personally and at Army commemorations, and reunions.

After collecting, recording, and preserving the Army's historical materials, the team forwards it to the U. S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The collections are then eventually processed and made available for research to historians and members of the U.S. Army.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jim Robenalt Donates Replica of U.S.S. Michigan to the Hayes Presidential Center

Jim Robenalt of Tiffin, Ohio views his replica of the U.S.S. Michigan now on display as part of the Hayes Presidential Center's new exhibit, Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed
Photograph by Julie Mayle

The U.S.S. Michigan was the United States Navy's first iron-hulled vessel. She was laid down in 1842 and launched the following year. She operated on the Great Lakes. During the Civil War, she was armed with a 30-pounder Parrott rife, five 20-pounder Parrotts, six 24-pounder smoothbores, and two 12-pounder howitzers. The U.S.S. Michigan provided a level of security against possible invasion by Confederates from the Canadian shores.

Tiffin, Ohio resident built a replica of the U.S.S. Michigan to enhance the Hayes Presidential Center's current exhibit, Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed. Through artifacts, documents, letters, diaries, and photographs, the exhibit tells the war time experience of the Confederate officers imprisoned on Lake Erie's Johnson's Island.
March 1864, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered the Michigan to "prepare for active service as soon as the ice will permit." That fall John Yates Beall and 20 Confederates launched their secret plan to free Confederate officers incarcerated at the Union prison on Johnson's Island. The Confederates seized the Philo Parsons and captured and burned the Island Queen, but Commander Carter discovered the plot before Beall could reach Johnson's Island on the Philo Parsons. Beall reluctantly gave up the plan to free the prisoners and fled to Windsor, Ontario where he stripped and burned the vessel.
In 1905, the Michigan's name was changed to the U.S.S. Wolverine.  She was turned over to the Pennsylvania Naval Militia, which she served for 11 years making training cruises in the summer for the Naval Reserve. It was the Wolverine who towed the brig USS Niagara from port to port during the 1913 centennial celebration of Perry's Victory on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. In 1927, the Wolverine was pushed up on  Misery Bay at the Presque Isle State Park. After fundraising for her preservation failed, she was sold for scrap. However, her prow was donated and today, after restoration, she resides at the Erie Maritime Museum.


Friday, May 23, 2014

A Look Back to Memorial Day Sandusky County, 1987

Memorial Day
Sandusky County Ohio
This Memorial Day, we once again remember and honor those who have sacrificed so that we might continue to enjoy America's freedoms. A look back  shows Boy Scouts Randy Witte (top) and Ben Everett (below) with Tom Klyne (reading names) and Charlie Nopper placing the American flag on each veteran's grave at the West Union Cemetery in Gibsonburg, Ohio, May 26, 1987.  These photographs are part of the Fremont News Messenger photographs donated to the Hayes Presidential Center.

Memorial Day
Sandusky County Ohio

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Octagon

The Octagon


Jacob's Folly
East Norwich, Columbus, Ohio
Photograph by Dr. Thomas Langlois

Dr. Thomas Langlois was an Ohio State University professor who served as director of the Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie’s Gibraltar Island for more than two decades. Much of his research, photographs, and published works are today located at the Hayes Presidential Center. A quick glance at the collection reveals that the late Dr. Langlois had many interests far beyond his research of Lake Erie. One of them was octagonal structures. During the1940s, he took pictures of many of these unusual buildings throughout his travels in the U.S. and Canada.
It was President Thomas Jefferson who first designed the octagonal house, but it was Orson Squire Fowler who popularized it some 30 years later. Fowler was better known for his phrenology research, the “science” of reading a person’s character by studying the bumps on an individual’s head. Today, phrenology seems strange beyond belief, but Fowler lectured, wrote, and published extensively on the subject from his New York offices.

He became interested in architecture when he decided to design his own home. It wasn’t long before he grew fascinated with the octagon, claiming it was superior to other forms of architecture in lighting, heating, and ventilation. He soon published plans for octagonal cottages and homes that used scrap lumber and gravel for walls. Fowler believed the octagonal home was more in accord with nature, economical, and healthier to live and work in than other buildings.

In 1958, the Columbus Dispatch Magazine” featured an article with 17 Ohio octagonal structures that Dr. Langlois had photographed and researched. It wasn’t long before readers wrote the magazine to tell about other octagons. Within weeks, six more structures were documented. Today, some 53 Ohio octagonals have been identified. While some have been  demolished, others have deteriorated. Many have been lovingly preserved. There were barns, schools, and courthouses. Of Ohio’s 88 counties, Ashtabula features the most. Many of its early residents were from New York, the state where more octagons exist than any other.  

Researchers across the U. S. have worked to create a website ( Organized by state, they have included articles, drawings, and photographs of octagonals as well as round and hexagon structures. No doubt many Ohioans will recognize or recall some of the octagons that appear on the site. 
I was pleased to make some of Dr. Langlois’ photos available for the Ohio portion of the site. One is featured above. It is his 1946 black and white print of a 20th century octagon built by William Jacobs on E. Norwich in Columbus. Jacobs called his octagon an “experiment” in ventilation without using windows. Others called it “Jacobs Folly.” It featured an early form of air conditioning and a roof and floor made of concrete with a tunnel underneath. After spending nearly $40,000, the walls still “sweat” continuously and heating costs were exorbitant. Jacobs finally sold it in 1937 for $4500. The new owner added a second story and divided it into apartments. Finally, in the late 60s, it was

Below are several more of Dr. Langlois' photographs of octagonal structures.


Octagon Home
Chatham, Medina County, Ohio
 by Dr. Thomas H. Langlois
Octagon Home
Pleasant Home Road, Wayne County, Ohio
by Dr. Thomas Langlois


Octagon Home
Richfield, Summit County, Ohio
by Dr. Thomas Langlois

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jacob Kuebeler and the Kuebeler Monument at Oakland Cemetery

Erecting the Kuebeler Monument
Oakland Cemetery
Sandusky, Ohio
Charles E. Frohman Collection

When Jacob Kuebeler passed away in the spring of 1904 at his home in Sandusky, Ohio, the local paper heralded the millionaire as its wealthiest citizen. Indeed, he was! Jacob Kuebeler had gained his wealth through years of hard work. One of sixteen children, Kuebeler was born in Herigen Hessen, Nassau, Germany in 1838. At the age of 22, left his homeland, arriving in Sandusky just before the Civil War. The following year, he married Christina Zimmerman. They were the parents of two daughters.

For the next four years he toiled in a Sandusky brewery. After spending a short time in Akron at the Oberholz Brewery, Jacob returned to Sandusky. With his brother August, he founded a small brewery in Sandusky. It was known as Jacob Kuebeler and Company. Only 20 barrels could be produced each day, but Kuebeler’s product was an immediate favorite. Kuebeler had only a single horse and wagon to make deliveries.


Jacob Kuebeler and John Stang
Courtesy of Sandusky History

The business grew and in 1893, stock was issued under the name Kuebeler Brewing and Malting Company. Three years later, Jacob Kuebeler’s brewery merged with the Stang Brewery with Jacob Kuebeler as its president. The Kuebeler brewery was one of the largest businesses in the city and later became part of the Cleveland and Sandusky Brewing Company.


Kuebeler also invested in local enterprises. Among them were the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company, Diamond Wine Company, Oak Harbor National Bank, Gilchrist Transportation, and others. Kuebeler’s brewery and businesses were responsible for much of the local employment.

According to the Sandusky Register, more than 3,000 people paid their respects at the Kuebeler home. The funeral cortege was a half mile long. It seemed only fitting that this great brewer and businessman should have a monument worthy of his accomplishments. To that end, Joseph Carabelli, the successful Italian sculptor and stone cutter of Cleveland was commissioned to create an appropriate marker for Jacob Kuebeler’s gravesite at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Sandusky’s cemetery was typical of the park-like cemeteries of the Victorian era that flourished after the Civil War and spread rapidly throughout Ohio

Carabelli, designed monuments for all of Cleveland’s most prestigious families, including that of John D. Rockefeller. For Kuebeler, Carabelli created a magnificent obelisk that weighed 80 tons and was 48 feet high, twice the height of any monument in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Above is a rare image produced from a glass plate negative in the Charles E. Frohman Collection. Taken in September 1907, the picture features Joseph Carabelli himself. He and his workmen were about to hoist the Kuebeler obelisk atop the sections that make up the base of the monument. Carabelli, wearing a vest, is pictured standing near the obelisk. Today, Carabelli’s work on the Kuebeler lot still remains the tallest monument in Oakland Cemetery.Below is a photo taken by local commercial photographer Ernst Niebergall.

Kuebeler Monument
Photograph by Ernst Niebergall
Charles E. Frohman Collection

Sunday, May 11, 2014

National Museum of the Great Lakes: A Must See!

Hayes Center Communications and Marketing Director Nancy Kleinhenz and Nan Card, Curator of Manuscripts, with Ohio Magazine staff  at Destination Toledo  (Convention and Visitors Bureau) event held at the new National Museum of the Great Lakes. 

Last November, my blog post featured a fundraiser to support the National Museum of the Great Lakes located at 1701 Front St. (right off 280) on the Maumee River. Well, in late April, it became a reality. 
This past week, Hayes Center Communications and Marketing Director Nancy Kleinhenz and I had an opportunity to visit. It's a must see! The Great Lakes Historical Society can certainly be proud of its accomplishment. Both educational and entertaining, the museum emphasizes the important role the Great Lakes has played throughout our nation's history to the present day.  Designed by Hilferty of Athens, Ohio, its  48 interactive exhibits make use of photographs, artifacts, ships' logs, and documents of the Great Lakes Historical Society.  The videos, photos, and artifacts that make up the displays capture the interest of visitors of all ages.(I wanted to spend more time writing messages in Morse Code!). 

The museum ship S. S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker, once the largest freighter on the Great Lakes, was recently docked just behind the museum. It's impressive!


Community Day at Schedel Gardens in Elmore Ohio

Hayes Presidential Center display manned by Events Coordinator Joan Eckermann and Curator of Manuscripts Nan Card at beautiful Schedel Gardens during Community Day at Elmore Ohio on May 10.
Saturday was weather-perfect for organizations to publicize their events and artists to display their creations. Visitors delighted in the extraordinary natural beauty of the grounds and the lovely Celtic music by the Twisted Strands while  watching featured artist Jan Pugh founder of Packer Creek Pottery create her fabulous ceramic pieces.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project: Preserving the Past

Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project
Hayes Presidential Center
              On this Memorial Day...
"As citizens we must listen to our veterans. If we do, we will hear stories of pride and courage, anger and pain, laughter and joy. We'll hear of actions that humble and inspire us. We'll also hear of moments that break our hearts. These stories represent the best of our nation."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey

 A large part of the  Hayes Presidential Center's mission has been to preserve the letters, diaries, pictures, and objects of past generations. To that end, the Hayes Presidential Center has launched the Northwest Ohio Veterans' Oral History Project. The program has met with immediate success. More than 50 veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Korea, and the Iraq War have shared their experiences and memories. 

The program focuses on recording and collecting the personal recollections of America’s war veterans in order to preserve an authentic record of wartime events from World War II to the present day.
If you or someone you know, is a military veteran or is active military and would like to participate, please contact Julie Mayle, Manuscripts Assistant (, or Nan Card, Curator of Manuscripts (, at the Hayes Presidential Center, 1/800-998-7737 x239. Julie and Nan would be pleased to arrange an interview at a time and place that is convenient for you. We also would encourage participation of U S citizen civilians who were actively involved in supporting the war efforts - USO workers, defense workers, WAVES, medical volunteers, etc.

We are deeply grateful to the following individuals who have helped support our efforts with financial contributions

Ann Cain

Anonymous Donor

Patty D. Pascoe
In memory of her father Christopher Dahm WWII veteran

Glenn Kuebeler

Dorothy Damore
In memory of her father Malcom Taylor WWII veterans

Kristie Miller

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed

              'Digs' add to prison's history

The Hayes Presidential Center’s latest exhibit - Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed – opens May 1, 2014 for a seven-month run. Visitors are presented with new information about the Johnson's Island Civil War Prison, near Marblehead, gleaned during archaeological exploration of the prison site.
Officers housed at the prison were educated and cultured - the elite of Southern gentry. This influenced prison life and the amazing array of artifacts that survive - like this violin.The exhibit, funded by the Sidney Frohman Foundation and the Friends & Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison, continues through Jan. 4, 2015. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $7.50/adult, $6.50/seniors age 60+, and $3/children ages 6-12.
Privy to History: Civil War Prison Life Unearthed advances the history of Johnson’s Island with facts uncovered since the 1965 publication of “Rebels on Lake Erie” - the seminal history of the prison written by Charles E. Frohman. Collaboration with David R. Bush, Ph.D. of Heidelberg University’s Center for Historic & Military Archaeology, makes possible the display of numerous artifacts recovered from the site during excavations of the prison latrines. A visual timeline chronicles the prison’s creation, arrival and treatment of prisoners, and diversions POWs employed during their imprisonment - including jewelry making, theatrical productions, and photography. 

An episode of the History Channel’s History Detectives is included in the exhibit. It explores the amazing story of a particular Confederate officer who fashioned a camera from a tobacco box and used oyster tins to produce photographs of his fellow prisoners.