Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mouse Island and the Hayes Family

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

Cabins ca. 1912

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

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

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

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

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

Native Stone Chimney 1912

Fireplace 1912

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

Dalton Hayes and Elizabeth Boarding Their Boat the "Owl"

Mr and Mrs. Birchard Hayes at the Cabin

The Dock 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Louis Rau, Company H 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

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

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

April 21, 1879

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

 Spring/Summer 1880

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

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

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

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

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

                                         Oakland Cemetery
                                       Courtesy of Find a Grave

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