Mayor George Wickens- buried on the back pages- Lorain

November 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm 5 comments

George Wickens

George Wickens

When I wrote about “Veterans Park” and its over 200-year-old history as the first public square of the little settlement on the Black River and the birthplace of what became Lorain, I touched upon an Englishman- George Wickens . George Wickens , Lorain businessman, a man held in high esteem and the namesake of Wickens’ Place the little lane that runs parallel to what is now Veterans Park.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/veterans-memorial-park-the-englishman-commeth/
In that post you will find links to a series on George Wickens by Dan Brady of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/search?q=Wickens. The obituarys in the newspaper reports of the time extolls the leadership, the abilities and much-loved regard for this native son of England who made Lorain his home.

Mr. Wickens, whose death(19th March 1908) came as a great shock, was one of Lorain’s most highly respected and prominent men and his demise is mourned by all. In his death the city loses a man who took a great interest in all things pertaining to the welfare of the city and her citizens and whose place Lorain will be unable to fill.

Elyria Chronicle March 19th 1908 courtesy  of Dan Brady

Elyria Chronicle March 19th 1908 courtesy of Dan Brady

His funeral was almost one of “state” for that time.

I had a soft spot for George, I had written a short story based upon the drawing of his son George
CVSI_sketch

and the fact like Captain Thomas Wilford
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/capt-wilford-a-hero-of-the-inland-seas/
and myself, we were transplants from England who ended up here on the shores of Lake Erie. Coupled with the fact, although generations apart, we trod the same streets, saw the same homes ( well most of them) in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood.

Gillmore Home, Wickens Home, Captain Wilford's home

Gillmore Home, Wickens Home, Captain Wilford’s home

Yes! George was by all accounts beloved, admired and a shining example to his community. So it came as a bit of a shock when looking through the artifacts from Peggy Gillmore
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/history-mystery-lives-of-lorain-gillmore/
I found a crumbling yellow newspaper article- The Evening Herald June 16th 1894. Titled:
DOUBT IN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE OF LORAIN AS TO THE CHARACTER OF THEIR MAYOR. the almost full page article continued to list the “shame and the accusations”
I was fascinated by the article as to the thinking and what was acceptable at the time and a few quotes from George that made me chuckle and remember the English aren’t exactly without a sense of humour. I believe this “case of a woman’s accusation” and indeed one other accusation where he was publicly vilified in the press- having experienced that myself on occasion 😉 needed to be explored further. ( Republicans and Democrats having at it in 1894 )

My problem was trying to find the outcome of the cases pending against George. Thanks to Paula Shorf and with special appreciation to Dan Brady it has taken many weeks but I am able to say George came out of both his reputation intact, although his regard for others substantially damaged ( as well as the politics of the day). But as always with these things just a paragraph buried in the back told the rest of the tale. So before giving “airing” to his supposed actions I will quote George from the article itself
Note George Wickens became Mayor of Lorain in April 1894 , just two months prior to the scandal!

” A statement from the Mayor”
Lorain, O., June 16th 1894
To The Evening Herald
Inasmuch as you have printed certain rumours affecting my character as a man and as a citizen, I ask the privilege of saying to the public through your columns, that, while I am not informed as to the specifications of such charges, I deny generally and specifically each and every one of them, reflecting in the least degree upon my character as a citizen, and honour as a man, and ask the public to withhold judgement until the truth shall be known.
Yours Respectfully Geo. Wickens

My respect for George has risen two-fold – one he had the courage to take on the media of this town – maybe that is also an English trait 😉
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/veterans-memorial-park-fini/
Title: The Evening herald. : (Lorain, Ohio) 1894-1901 Place of publication:Lorain, OhioGeographic coverage:Lorain, Lorain, Ohio | View more titles from this: City County, State
Publisher:Frederick A. RowleyDates of publication:1894-1901Description:Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 22, 1894)-v. 7, no. 287 (May 4, 1901).
Frequency:Daily (except Sun.) Language:English
Notes:”Republican.”
Editors: Rowley & I.H. Griswold, 1895-1899.
LCCN:sn 84028328OCLC:10922716 Succeeding Titles:The Lorain times-herald. (Lorain, Ohio) 1901-1932

and then the Lorain Times became the Lorain Journal and The Journal and then the Morning Journal..
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/morning-journal-lorain-going-going-oops/
thatwoman

Oh! for goodness sakes looks like over a hundred year later George and I fought for the same park, the same neighborhood and took on the same “newspaper” – How is that for history repeating itself- “an Englishman cometh indeed!

Two – He also it seems had similar penchant for run on sentences ( guilty as charged!)

Yellowing Journalism
wickens rebuttal

To Be Continued ……

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Entry filed under: Brit take, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, media, men of substance. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red- Remember Mayor George Wickens- Yellow(ing) Journalism- Lorain

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