Archive for December, 2014

Lorain Dudes- Holidays Naughty and Nice 2014

dudes Chrismas

It is that time again- Mummy and Nog helped us make a ginger bread train and a gingerbread carousel. Mummy and I did very well on our train
BUT NOG and Braedyn – well see for yourself. Although NOG says the supports weren’t right , the icing bag broke and the candy canes were in pieces. I just don’t think NOG can cook!

But that is OK as Nog takes us to Red Lobster, where we get a special booth away from everyone else and then we go shopping for mummy.
The “elf” dude has been hanging around all over the house but when we went to Florida and Mummy and me and Braedyn went on the roller coasters

he stayed home to make sure NOG was being good, apparently she can be very, very bad at times. Braedyn can get into trouble without even trying he broke the drawer but then he fixed it

fix it

Even Pooh bah was bad riding MY 4 wheeler when I was in kindergarten
poohbah braedyn

I am good at fishin” though with my Dad – but I don’t want NOG to cook it- she names the lobsters after people and puts them in a pot. I think Santa doesn’t like that….

Nana though is always very good –


Hope you all have fun and don’t end up in Nog’s Lobster Pot for next year!!!!


December 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm 1 comment

Mayor George Wickens- the wrap up! Lorain


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Click on all jpg’s to enlarge

Part Six

wickens yellow
A yellowing, crumbling to the touch, page of a newspaper from May 1894 took me on a journey once more into the lives of my neighbors of the 1800’s. This small neighborhood, poised to become the 10th largest city in the state, full of promise , steel and manufacturing. One of her ‘great names”,( George Wickens) tinged with scandal was found in the words of that newspaper cutting from another neighbor, after she passed- whose family had been part of the birthing of a city.

Mayor George Wickens, had been pilloried in the press, small paragraphs recounting his troubles in various news print around the state. But what of Mida Pershing. “no spring chicken” according to George at the ripe old age of 26- earning a living through secretarial work, and then “unceremoniously imposed upon” by her boss, George. George Wickens, a pillar and strength of a fledgling city!


I have to think Mida must have been courageous, principled or very naïve to have taken on Mr. Wicken’s behavior in the public eye. Women of her time just didn’t cross that threshold and make of themselves the subject of gossip, but Mida did. I uncovered some small facts about Mida-
Mida was born in 1868 one of 7 children to George Washington Pershing and Catherine Cline.

Just a note here there are some discrepancies in the two “search for ancestors sites” as to her date of death. I will go with the date on the headstone North Murray Ridge Cemetery , Elyria 1947
mida grace
making her 79. She married Ray A Eldred (1876 – 1958) in October of 1901. Roy was 8 years her junior. Mida went on to have 5 children apparently – two dying early on
Helen ELDRED b: 15 AUG 1903 Children Nettie K. ELDRED Ralph A. ELDRED b: 5 AUG Walter P. ELDRED Ruth V. ELDRED

I wonder how the notoriety effected young Mida, she seems to have continued on in her religious beliefs and community endeavors Mida Pershing-EV_TE.1907_10_12_0005 (2)
Mida PershingTH_DA_CH.1903_06_15_0003

You see George Wickens settled the case against him in 1895

Just what the terms were of that settlement I haven’t been able to find on-line but one would assume the terms were satisfactory to Mida at the time .

Note:If anyone has more information on the case I would love to update the posts.

WIckens April 2 1895 settlerd
I don’t think Mida blackmailed George , I don’t think it was an evil political plot in this instance – However….

George on the other hand once again had further issues – this time with city council.
Dec 11, 1895

George was once again asked to resign :

PDF File of the complaint:
Jan 7 1896

George was adamant there was no such wrongdoing with the books for the cemetery account ( see above PDF file)

1896 The Lorain County Reporter
January 11, 1896

– The committee from the Lorain council appointed to investigate the books of Mayor Wickens, reported a shortage of over $250. The committee stated that the result was probably caused by bad book keeping. The mayor made a speech in which he stated that he was a victim of a conspiracy to ruin him. The council by a vote of eight to two requested him to resign his office, which he has thus refused to do. A strong undercurrent of public feeling has been aroused, and many do not hesitate to state that Mayor Wickens is being unmercifully persecuted by his enemies.

Just a few days later Mayor Wickens was exonerated and apparently the city owed HIM $17, but George resigned as Mayor of Lorain.
wickens resignation

George, however, did not give up on Lorain as his full obituary found here on Dan Brady’s site :

Pier head light placed on pier in 1875 Photograph courtesy National Archives

Pier head light placed on pier in 1875
Photograph courtesy National Archives

From 1872 for approximately 10 years he was a “contractor”

While engaged in the carpentry business in Lorain, Mr. Wickens built many of the older houses now located on the east side and was the contractor that built the old lighthouse which now stands at the end of the west pier of the river

lorain 19o8
George died in 1908 from pneumonia after inspecting the tunnel under the Black River-

Lorain’s fist big dig maybe??

NOTE Contacting the Engineering Dept. they have found mention of
” # Y-45 created sometime between 1915-1919, but determined lost in 1923″ but that too would have been AFTER George had died in 1908- The question then becomes IS THERE ANOTHER TUNNEL UNDER THE BLACK RIVER SOMEWHERE?????


From George’s obituary we learn :

He was mayor of the city when the plant of the National Tube company came to Lorain and had in his possession at the time of his death the first piece of steel ever turned out by the plant. In ’97 Mr. Wickens was elected as a member of the council from the second ward and later was a member of the boards of cemetery trustees and water works trustees. He was elected a member of the first board of public service in 1903. At the last municipal election he was again elected to the office of member of the board of public service by a large majority. He was also a member of the board of library trustees.

Carnegie Collage
Upon his death the trustees wrote:

The trustees of the public library issued a special resolution that was part of that same article. It stated, “Resolved that in the death of Mr. Wickens this Association has lost one of its most useful members. Identified with the earliest efforts to establish a free public library in Lorain, Mr. Wickens gave his time and thought most generously to promote the cause. He was never called upon to assist in the work that he did not promptly respond, often at great inconvenience and sometimes actual loss to himself.

“It should therefore be known to all the people of Lorain that the Public Library as it now stands is in a sense a monument to the public spirit and noble character of George Wickens.”

The Board of Trustees are J.W. Jones, E.M. Pierce, Mrs. J.H. Hills, Mrs. McIlvaine, W.C. Fisher, George Wickens, E.E. Hopkins, and F.A. Rowley.

And so we come full circle back to the History( makers) of Lorain of which he was such an integral part. His story “hopefully” preserved by the Lorain Historical Society who now occupy that self-same Library– The Carnegie Library- I wonder if among the artifacts there is another yellowing piece of paper telling more of his story……………

Again many thanks to Dan Brady, Frank Sipkovsky, Paula Shorf for their research and information……..

December 19, 2014 at 12:47 am 1 comment

Mayor George Wickens- Republican repeats-Lorain

Geo Wickens 1898

Geo Wickens 1898

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five
Click on all jpg’s to enlarge

We left Mida praying to the Lord to give her strength…( Part 5)

Evening Herald 1894

“When in the Mayors office she says he spoke a few words more about embalming and asked her if he should show her his person. She said no and he then asked her to kiss him. She says she sprang to one side of the table. He followed her , caught hold of her and kissed her on the ear. She says she then turned and confronted him and he said something which she does not remember and quickly left the room . He went to dinner and came back within 15 minutes and wanted her to say she thought he meant nothing wrong.

Oh George! had he been breathing in too much embalming fluid vapors, had his ardor cooled like a corpse on the table after leaving the room, perhaps realizing the seriousness of his behavior? In 1894 Lorain such behavior was indeed not accepted in polite society, especially in the puritanical Midwestern US who were desperately clinging to civilization among plank sidewalks, mud filled streets . Women were at a decided disadvantage it would take another 25 years for Mida to even get the right to vote – Democrat or Republican .

Now George was not the only “Republican Mayor” to be held up to the public for whispering naughty naughties to a “city employee” although the more squeamish newspaper ( Plain Dealer) of the 21st century day did not print in detail the intimate conversations of Mayor Craig Foltin and the “sex tapes”( 2003)
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 6, 2003:

The lurid details of a taped conversation that appears to be between Mayor Craig Foltin and a police dispatcher became public yesterday.
Two weeks ago, an anonymous person sent the six-minute tape to City Council President Kenneth Shawver. The tape includes several instances of sexual banteringThe phone rings and the mayor says, “Hey.””You have a great . . .,” a woman says.”Who is this?” the mayor jokes.
The two laugh as they discuss details from a recent night.Foltin also speaks about attending a retirement party, and a meeting with state, county and city officials on improvements to Colorado Avenue and going to court to acquire property from residents.
And a few paragraphs later:


After listening to the tape with a reporter, Foltin said the conversation was from 11/2 years ago, though he never conceded that it was his voice.
Listening to a portion of the tape, Foltin said, “I don’t remember any of those conversations.” After the entire tape was played, he said: “I think it’s tough to tell. I can’t tell if it’s me. What do you think?”
Foltin would not say whether he had dated a police dispatcher. “Right now, I am settled down and engaged to a lovely girl,” he said, declining to identify her. His fiancée does not work for the city, he said.

We at OH-13 are unsure of what the bigger laugh is: is it that he was enjoying a sexual phone conversation with an on-duty police dispatcher, he was too stupid to realize that the POLICE TAPE ALL THE CALLS, or that when presented with the calls, he knew when they were made, but was unsure if he was the one on them? Was he just listening in to calls between a police dispatcher and someone who sounded remarkably like him? Enquiring minds and political junkies want to know, even if Mayor Foltin isn’t sure about the whole deal.

Times don’t seemed to have changed much ( he said, she said , the media said) but to continue with George and Mida:


Evening Herald

She [Mida] said she was sick the next day, not having , not having slept any during the night , and told Mr. Wickens she wanted to go back to Mr. Lampman’s

Note: Mr. Lampman was a successful merchant and proprietor of a general merchandize store.He is mentioned in the warrant of May 1894 —(“Did Manford ( meaning Mr Lampman) ever talk like this to you?- Adultery is no sin- God won’t condemn the act; there are other virtues;”)

Evening Herald

He [Wickens] said he did not want her to go and asked why she was going . She told him and remained until after he returned from Dayton. She says when she settled up with him she swore at him and told her he had made her hate the Bible . She says he asked her three times to forgive him and she refused.

George really does have himself in hot water and another warrant was issued for assault.
Evening Herald

When the officer went to serve the warrants on the Mayor he was found in the office of the store. He seemed much agitated and said he would like a copy to the instrument left with him. The officer refused to leave the affidavit and the Mayor said he would consult his attorney. He has retained E.G Johnson, Q. A Gillmore and C.G Washburn.

George was indicted by the Grand Jury and Lorain *( the village of) was bitterly divided. From the Plain Dealer ( yes! the same newspaper that covered the other Republican Mayor Foltin and the “sex tapes”-in 2003- 108 years later….

In 1895 ( and bringing truth to the reasoning of the writers at the Evening Herald 1894:
Now several months must elapse with the people of Lorain all the time in doubt as to whether their Mayor is a libertine and a wretch of the most loathsome character or a man worthy of respect and esteem.

George was going to trial- was it the politics of the day? George’s friends seemed to think it had a bearing….
her complaint

The village of Lorain “named in 1874”


by the head of the Democratic Party”

and George considered himself a victim of “blackmail”

NOTE: Once again many thanks to Dan Brady for his help
and research
To be continued……….

December 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

Mayor George Wickens – changing times – Lorain

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

wickens-oval-portraitOh dear! Poor George when we left him last had not learned his lesson it seems. I can’t find much about Mida Pershing and will share what has been found at the end of this series. But George on the 26th of May 1894 continued on his conversation with Mida- would that he hadn’t.

But let us look at the man, what he built, and that which survives him . Part of the legacy he leaves today including the name that still rings through the centuries Wickens, Herzer, Cook and Baptista

Photo  Dan Brady

Photo Dan Brady

Note: George Wickens had various business apart from being the Mayor of Lorain – he had a furniture store , he was the owner and director of a funeral home and you can find the pdf of his story and his business below. Thanks to Paula Shorf( one of the authors of Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter) for the information:
234.The Wickens Company
George arrived in Lorain in 1873 and this is what met his eye

1873 Lorain Photo Floyd Babcock

The caption from the Wickens’ Booklet reads

” North Broadway is seen from the east side of the river- practically the whole town is shown. There is no bridge, the old plank bridge having been washed out by the freshet. Steve Moore’s ferry is carrying a horse and rider across. William Jones’ old shipyard on North Broadway is seem filled of lumber and here, in the picture, H.D. Root has just launched the steamer “Charles Hecock”

George started his first “shop” store on West Erie in the Bowen Hall in 1882
1882 wickens
George with his three children and then onto Broadway – a building that modern day Lorainites will be sure to recognize
then and now

George also had other properties

In his business life Mr. Wickens has been most successful and in the last twenty-five years has built up one of the most extensive furniture businesses in this section of the state. In 1900 he erected the three story business block on Broadway now occupied by the Boston Store. In the spring of 1899 a branch store was opened on Tenth avenue. In 1904 the five-story building in which the business in now located was erected, the store opening for business on December 13, ’95. The Parkside Chapel, identified with the undertaking business of Wickens and Ransom, was erected in 1903.” His funeral home – Parkside Chapel

Park side Chapel
pkside and gillmore

Regular readers please note: in the above narrative from the History of the Western Reserve Part three – what is now known as Veterans’ Park , the little park from whence this community was platted in 1834 WAS at ONE time also known as GIL(L)MORE PARK So we can add that to its series of names


The Parkside Chapel was next door to his residence, which ironically, segued into the building we know today as Walter Frey Funeral Home – sitting next to the Lorain City Hall.
But back to George and Mida- George had added to his many talents by graduating from the Clark School of Embalming in 1888- ( Note embalming became popular in the Civil War
Dr. Richard Burr, an embalming surgeon, is performing the embalming process on a soldier recovered from the battlefield. During the early years of the American Civil War, a new profession began to emerge.


It was Georges discussion with Mida and the sharing of his texts ( in the old-fashioned sense of the word) that was his the beginning of his public disgrace.
Evening Herald 1894

On May 26th 1894 she said he showed her , when they were alone, a book on embalming, showing her a picture of a nude man. She said he told her something about how to keep from having children . This was down in the office and he asked her to follow him up into the Mayor’s office and she did so praying the Lord to give her strength……….

To Be continued

December 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm 1 comment

Mayor George Wickens-Sex? sign of the times- Lorain

Geo Wickens 1898

Geo Wickens 1898

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Oh No! George – you didn’t??? We left George in conversation with his secretary , Miss Pershing, as to the question as to prostitution should be legal in the small town of Lorain.

As Mayor Wickens signed the completed Docket he looked up at Miss Pershing and stated:
“Mida, do you know that such things were more free, society would be in a better condition than it is today”

Miss Pershing expressed surprise at this and the Mayor said
“Well it is a fact”
The next day he spoke of the girl again , saying she got a quarter for staying all night with that man, and said
“half of the church people and preachers are doing the same thing, and they take it that if God justified Abraham , they have the same right……

And this is where George got himself in hot water. George, a young man of action , and an Englishman to boot- known for our dry and often misunderstood sense of humour, quick wit and daring to rush in where angels fear to tread. Yes! it seems George didn’t know when to let sleeping dogs lay and therefore brought down upon himself the wrath of the media, political adversaries and suffered embarrassment but was it deserved???

Click to access Sexual_Harassment_at_the_Workplace.pdf

From Thursday May 24th 1894 through Wednesday 29th Mayor Wickens had “all” presented in the Evening Herald in detail for the populace of Lorain to read and discuss:

“A day or two after [ (Part three) asking Miss Pershing to do some missionary work with the young woman accused of spending the night with a man for 25 cents-] he asked her what she thought of his proposition. She had forgotten and he said


“Why that one about Abraham”. He said 50 percent of the people , church members and all , are doing the very same thing and he thought there was no wrong in it!

It should be noted that Mayor Wickens and Miss Pershing were very ,very involved with the church, and possibly the very same church from what I have been able to deduce. George asked Mida not to say anything about their conversation and she consented. Apparently George however , curiosity perhaps getting the better of him, started on a path that would see him “exposed” to scandal, ridicule and arrest :

Evening Herald
On May 25th Miss Pershing says Mr. Wickens asked her if she had ever seen a man and she said No! she had always lived a decent, upright life and wanted to know why he asked such a question. He replied that he did not know but had she seen her brothers. She said no they had always treated her kindly and said if all girls had lived as she had there would be no bad women in the world.
He said he knew that or he should not have wanted her in his office.

Oh George! what were you thinking? Apparently , in his own words, admitted to being indiscreet but the Evening Herald called him a libertine . Libertine ?? I wonder which definition was meant by the Evening Herald/

lib·er·tine noun
1. a person, especially a man, who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters.
2. a person who rejects accepted opinions in matters of religion; a freethinker.


George! was Miss Pershing to be so used???
Word of warning this now gets hot and heavy especially for the days of 1894- I wonder what those citizens at the end of the 19th century would say about the “Rover Fest” and the behaviours demonstrated on the old swamp land 120 years later . No arrests there for lewd and licentious behaviours 😉

But George lived in an era where the community standards weren’t so “exposed” and such things were found scandalous . On Monday the 28th George Wickens at around 10 o’clock Mayor Wickens was formally charged of using obscene language in the presence of a female and of committing an assault.

He had a preliminary hearing in front of Judge H.L. Hecock ( unfortunate name considering the offenses before him 😉

Evening Herald
Squire Hecock’s office was crowded with a curious assemblage. In his private office sat the complaining witness, Miss Pershing her mother, brother, her sister, Mrs. Frank Brown and Mrs. Rev. J. Frank Smith. W.B Thompson represented the plaintiff.

Mayor Wickens came in alone at 3. The charge of using obscene language was first read. He pleaded not guilty.

“it’s a lie, before God it’s a lie” fairly hissed the plaintiff.

The assault affidavit was then read and again he pleaded not guilty and waived examination of both charges. Bond was fixed at $300 on the first charge and $400 on the second. The bondsmen are John Stang, Ed Gilmore, and Q Gillmore

Wickens hecock

At least one mystery is cleared up why was this newspaper cutting kept for 120 years in amongst Peggy papers- It seems the Gillmores were supporting George Wickens and in fact the same attorney who donated the portrait of General Gillmore back in the day Q.A Gillmore was retained as George’s attorney….

Attorney Quincy  Alanson Gillmore of Elyria

Attorney Quincy Alanson Gillmore of Elyria

To be continued………….

December 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

December 3rd- There Is No Peace- Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

My personal day of infamy- December 3rd- has come round again- How can that be? You see the day I lost you, my son, was just yesterday – last night and the pillow was still wet with tears cried in an exhausted sleep as I woke this morning to the rattle of the garbage truck.

There have been so many millions of words , hundreds of thousands of books written about grief and especially the loss of a son or daughter.
Looking for answers, looking for some verification you aren’t alone in your world of agony, you search the words of others. This loss that is so different for me than any other of the losses I have lived through. You wonder……

am I going insane?
Am I alone in this insanity? Do other mothers experience the kaleidoscope of the “being” that I have become- fragmented disjointed only coming to together briefly in a pattern of who I was once for just a brief turn of the day, week, month, year.. When am I supposed to be “healed? People tell me it will get better with time?” Can that be true???? Is there hope the agony will not continue in such terrible strength as to block out any happiness

Sometimes you recognize bits of you in their writings, breathe a sigh of relief when you realize you aren’t alone or insane, abnormal and that maybe you too may be to get better at wearing the mantle of mania that is named “grief”.
Maybe, you may one day have rest without exhaustion and peace ….oh peace…… if only for a few hours, a healing respite from the world where you now tread. Maybe you may be able to function without planning how to manage every day tasks whilst struggling with this crippling grief . You look to see where others are on this journey forced upon you. You hope there is some hope……….

Maybe as time passed it became easier, a hope …. that maybe depending how many months years you are “out from the death” or “into the grief” you will heal have some semblance of acceptance , of peace.

I remember reading, just after Chris died, the words of a mother whose daughter died of Hodgkins two months before Chris. She was my “gauge ” I would follow her thoughts as she wrote of her turmoil. You see I didn’t know how I would live through the next day, how I could endure the loss of you Chris?

I cleaned all the closets , threw away the non essentials getting ready for my own death in the first days after you died. I didn’t want those whom I would leave to have to deal with my earthly baggage. I felt sure I could not endure this gutting ache , this pain beyond description that crushed me , crippled me for too many days or weeks. Surely my heart would give out, my lungs that fight to breathe between the gasping breaths mingle with choking tears would stop fighting for air.

 Tim and Sue Lombardi,  Angela Ritchey  ( now) Murphy, Father Dan Divas

Tim and Sue Lombardi, Angela Ritchey ( now) Murphy, Father Dan Divas

My brain on fire with questions of why and at the same time dealing with the wickedness of selfishness, thoughtlessness and control

also visited upon us added to the flames . I was sure my very brain would burn out leaving no room for the every day tasks it sent my physical being.

And yet this morning I am still here but don’t ask how? I am better at dealing with the losing of you in public, when needs must . Techniques have been learned . These months and months of torture have taught the body how to endure and survive the hours. The brain has developed an automatic function , to quickly intercede and push down the memory or trigger moment but, that is all it can do. It functions to temporarily hold the Tsunami of grief at bay only for the wave to draw back gather strength and flood your being once more when you are out of the public eye or having to function in the world where time did not stop.

When you died Chris, I died, the Loraine that was is no longer. I look for you in every black Ford 150 that travels on the road. I wake in the morning still hoping this was just one horrendous nightmare. Time stopped , I stopped The me that I am now was born that December day the 3rd – born in grief and lost in sorrow. There is no I in Rest and Peace……

Chris Ritchey  BFA- CIA

Chris Ritchey BFA- CIA

December 3, 2014 at 2:59 am 1 comment



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December 2014