Posts filed under ‘history’

Memorial Day- 2015- Respect through the ages

A little over 2 1/2 years ago Lorain Mayor- Chase Ritenauer, Chief of Staff- Derek Feurestein , Ariel Vasquez of the Lorain Utilities Dept. met, along with the parents and family members of three of the young men who had lost their lives for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what was then a derelict waste and dumping ground .
swbef

We trudged , and I mean that literally, through bracken, weeds, over fallen trees and mud as Ariel explained his vision for what would become Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Ariel explained how each young man would have a tribute garden with a bench , signage and artwork along a path which would meander through what was left of a woods, flower beds and a view of Lorain’s lakefront a priority . The pathway would connect the two areas already in place known as, Settlers’ Watch 2009
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=390
and at the opposite end of the site Admiral King Tribute site 2011.
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=668
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/eric-barnes-heroes-walk-lorain-county-beautiful/

The plan was ambitious. Ariel and his crew, with the support of the volunteers and donations through Charleston Village Society, would have phase one completed by November 11th-2012.
marks photos
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/dedication-ceremony-eric-barnes-heroes-walk-the-coverage/
As I walked the pathway on Pride Day,
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/growing-with-pride-day-2015-a-history-of-pride/
I could not credit how far the area had progressed in the months and changing seasons since that walk of vision. The plants grown and tended so beautifully by our volunteer “Constant Gardener- Joe” . Thinking back to that day in 2012 I remembered the look on the faces of the others as we stumbled through the undergrowth – they weren’t so sure themselves this plan would come to fruition!
gavin ryan

Once more this morning, I walked in the sunshine, the blue of the lake sparkling as the waves danced and the wind blew the clouds around an azure sky, with my two grandsons- ages 6 and 3. We were putting out the flags for Memorial Day, a job they hold very dear.
braedynryan

As we went along, making sure each garden and area was recognized, I admonished Gavin telling him to make sure the flags never touched the ground. Being six, the question arose,


WHY?

I didn’t want to confuse them anymore than I usually do with my explanations and this was an important WHY? I said it was

out of respect for the young men and woman who gave their lives for their country, in this case the United States and the flag was very important as it was carried into battle.

But why can’t it touch the ground- NOG?

I knew from my own history- being English- how important the flag was to my father, uncles and grandfathers , they gave their youth and in some cases their limbs and their lives for their own flag. . union Jack

Even from Roman times the “standard” was considered extremely important –

The standard-bearer normally was in close proximity to the unit leader. When the standard ‘fell’, the unit members did not have a visual point to rally around or return and the possibility that the leader had fallen was great. Loss of a standard in battle was considered to be one of the worst things to happen – the Honor of the unit was lost. By the same token, capturing a standard by an opponent was considered to be a tremendous act of courage.

https://legioilynx.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/standard-bearers-of-the-roman-legions/
With England’s long history emblems and flags ( standards) were most important on the field of battle and like the Romans the disappearance of the a standard/ flag on the battle field may well mean the battle was lost.
But I wasn’t absolutely certain about the United States history and the flag not touching the ground– was there another aspect my grandsons should know about?

Once again, the search for a reason – apart from respect as I knew it had to be – sent me to Google. To my surprise, I was brought full circle back to this community of Lorain. As I googled the reasoning, I was directed to a site about the Civil War and my eyes beheld a familiar painting .
gillmore  scan
COPY RIGHT 1890 STORMING OF FORT WAGNER – “CHARGE OF THE 54 MASS(COL) RGT JULY 18TH 1863- (UNION) GENERAL GILLMORE
Yes the Storming of Fort Wagner – the movie Glory – and my dining room companion General Gillmore !!![

Among the troops who assaulted Ft. Wagner was the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of African-Americans led (as required by regulation) by white commissioned officers. Gillmore had ordered that his forces be integrated and that African-Americans were not to be assigned menial tasks only, such as KP or latrine duty, but instead they were to carry arms into battle. They and their assault on Ft. Wagner were the subject of the 1989 Civil War movie Glory, which starred Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick.

I eagerly read the following from that battle :
william_carney

There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, “I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground.” Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award.

There was also a poem and later a song from that proud moment coming out from that battle –flag groundres

The next time I walk the path with my grandsons- I will tell them the story of General Gillmore, whose father owned all the land
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/generally-gillmore-lorain-part-4/
upon which we walk, when we wander through Settlers’ Watch, Eric Barnes Heroes Walk, and Admiral King Tribute Site and how it was the men under his command who “never let the old flag touch the ground”

Who I am by  Christopher D. Ritchey

Who I am by Christopher D. Ritchey

May 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm 2 comments

Beltane -Angel feathers – fairy folk – and me

Green Man earth element

Green Man earth element

This evening is Beltane and many fire festivals across Europe, Ireland and Great Britain will herald its arrival.

At twilight, on Beltane Eve, fairy folk and magic abound, the veil between realms is thinnest now because the seasons are changing, the energies of nature are rising and with them the mysteries of new life approaching.
Beware then that the Fairy Queen doesn’t steal you away for an eternity outside time in her court sublime, and if you are spared – then welcome the May and enter the Summerlands the very next day. Celestial Elf http://celestialelfdanceoflife.blogspot.com/

I have tried and tried to remember when I first learned about fairies, it seems I knew about them before I could remember. My mum isn’t and wasn’t into fairies, I remember both grandmothers and their stories . The one, Nanny Bunyan was all romance with highway man and injustice in her poems to me as a child- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/my-gift-for-your-december-graces-fur-coat/
lordad
I can remember back to before I was three. My Nanny Hines was all gentle and loving but her stories were about family. So who told me about fairy folk ? There were so many days playing in the rockery at the end of our garden looking for fairies, fairy rings and building little houses for them. But I have no idea where my belief in the fairies came from- I just did believe in them with all my little innocent and child’s heart.

A few days ago one of the face book people put up the following picture with the caption ” Share if you believe”( the angel overseeing the rescue) As I looked at the picture ( and what I believe having had some experience is a photo shop sort of thing) I nearly wrote
angelwi

” Yes I believe in fairies”

I then realized the person sharing obviously did believe and who was I to make a sarcastic and unwarranted remark about what they believed to be true. My wondering mind then went to angel wings and feathers- no longer the child- I wondered why are angels usually depicted as having great bird wings with feathers .

angel collage

I know I am not blessed with an original thought- so I googled –why are angels depicted with feathers? Of course the answers made sense logically speaking :

1. Because when the Bible was written ( apparently the Bible as we know never said angels have wings man decided that ) that was the only way the writers could signify how angels traveled from one place to the other. The Bible was written so that most people could visualize the characters and how they operated.
2. In the space of little more than two centuries (from the 3rd to the 5th) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art -during that era paintings of angels were given wings to differentiate them from humans.

So after reading a much of a muchness to answer my question about angel feathers. Logically the reasoning angels are encumbered with great feathery appendages to their backs is because man needed to explain how angels flew or travelled and their only example of flying things were the birds, and their feathers hence feathers. After all butterfly- like wings would hardly hold up a man or woman those were saved for the fairies.

free-fairy-art-4-tn
And here I am again trying to find logic where there is none -except since feathery angel wings are man’s depiction it makes sense that photos of angels with wings hovering over an accident scene is also “man’s depiction”.

Ah beliefs, all entwined with stories that made sense in the man’s need for religion how many Catholics ( meaning the all-encompassing Christian beliefs” or those of Jewish face have used the word Karma in their everyday life and that comes from the oldest ( still practiced) religion today – Hinduism – http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/25/9-myths-about-hinduism-debunked/
Each of us has beliefs that are intertwined with other religions , our perception of angels not questioned and who is to say there aren’t fairies at the bottom of the garden , playing in the waterfalls – but one thing I know for sure there is something beyond our child like knowledge of this thing we call “life” and there are “no wings attached ” ;)
nikmiscelticso

April 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Charleston Village Society- clarification and report

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

One of the hats I wear is as Co- chairman of a non -profit organization called Charleston Village Society (CVSI) The organization came about as a “neighborhood preservation” organization – we are NOT the local “historians” of Lorain that particular job of work falls to the Lorain Historical Society http://www.lorainhistory.org/ . CVSI wanted to preserve the dignity of this – Lorain’s oldest neighborhood, preserve her housing , the quality of life, the stories of her past and the people who walked the same street as we who helped bring about “Lorain” .Personally, along with others, her stories appealed and sent some of us on searches of her history- a difficult task as much of Lorain’s earliest history and therefore, this oldest neighborhood, was unwritten, word of mouth and “buried “. Thanks to the estate of Peggy Gillmore -a direct descendent of one of Lorain’s founding fathers , we have found out a lot more of “yesteryear” from old newspapers etc.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/mayor-george-wickens-the-wrap-up-lorain/
During the past couple of decades we have tried to work on those goals of preserving this old neighborhood and adding to it . You can find back reports here http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/.
Unfortunately, our website does not allow for numerous photos and in segueing from the last post
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/pulse-magazine-treasure-town-a-blog-heartbeat/
I have reprinted our annual report here for 2014.

Charleston Village Annual Report 2014
Frank w hat and artist
The in-kind donations continue to help us thrive and survive with all the projects we have taken on in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. For every dollar in cash we receive three times the donations with in-kind support of materials labor and equipment. We could not attempt these projects or their upkeep without the partnerships and in kind donations. Such as the continuing sponsorship of our website https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/charleston-village/ a thanks to Emerge http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/
As in previous years 100% of all money collected goes toward the project for which it is designated.

We filed our IRS form for our non- profit for 2015 and were, I am pleased to say, accepted
E-File Postmark: Filed January 19th 2015- accepted January 19th-2015
charlsbal
The Charleston Pioneer Cemetery continues to be in the capable of hands of Diane Wargo Medina and she is developing a new blog page: ( still under construction) https://charlestoncemetery.wordpress.com/

Without Diane , her volunteers , tenacity and passion over the past three decades this old cemetery would be non-existent. She has been the driving force once more planting, clean-up and preserving the history of the people buried there still as well as fighting the ongoing battle of keeping the headstones from disintegrating . Although the cemetery is owned by the
city , Diane has been its keeper!
settlers watch
Settlers’ Watch: continues to bloom. We had a courageous band of volunteers who braved the terrible rain the day of Pride day 2014. We did weed and mulch but the rain and mud put paid to most projects that day. Many thanks to Lorain Rotary members and our own CVSI volunteers.
Digital Camera
The carvings from the tree lawn had to be removed and stabilized. The salt and weather etc has taken their toll, even though they were sealed every year.
GE DIGITAL CAMERA
Thanks to Carl Neilsen and the use of an indoor space, Ariel Vasquez, Frank Sipkovsky, Ernest Ritchey and Don Fugitt were able to work on the anchor carving. I am told it was a big job and the stabilization had to take place in stages. Thanks to Falbo Construction and new concrete plinths we moved the anchor to its new home along the Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.

The Lorain Lighthouse carving is due to be removed this spring to the Children’s Garden , the Portside Sign to the west of Eric Barnes Heroes Walk and the Heron will be at the entrance to the Marine’s Monument walk.

All the carvings are having to be stabilized and sealed once more . The Captain is still in need of a lot of work but hopefully, thanks to a donation from the Knights of Columbus we were able to purchase the very expensive chemicals needed.
admiral-king-tribute-space-yellow
The Admiral King Tribute Site
Many, many thanks once again to the Lorain Utilities Dept – under the direction of Ariel Vasquez and his crew. The donation and planting of the marigolds by Ariel Vasquez on Pride day brought a splash of colour in the much and mire of that day.

The Admiral King Site continues to draw interest on the internet and tourists. This year you could see the neighbors and community having picnics and waiting for the 4th of July Fireworks put on by the Port of Lorain. I am very pleased to say they were most respectful of the site and very little litter was to be found the next morning.

Chronicle Telegram

Chronicle Telegram

Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk – This year saw another feature added to the walk- The United States Marine monument ( Lofton Henderson Post) has been added. This too is a work in progress. However, the Marines held a dedication and erected a flagpole, with the United States of America Flag and that of the Marine Corps. Ariel Vasquez designed the area and the garden surrounding the place where the monuments will be placed in phase two.

We would be remiss if we did not mention one of our special volunteers . Joe Artim. Joe has been a wonder – you will see him every day working along the Eric Barnes Heroes Walk tending the garden areas of the young men who gave their lives for this community.
Joe has grown, purchased and planted so many wonderful plants. I cannot begin to describe how the area has flourished under his gentle care.
Joe also has been weeding and watering during the most dreadfully hot days and in the fall cleaned cleared and prepared the area of Settlers Watch.

The Crime Watch program continues to quietly look out for the neighborhood especially Veteran’s Park.

Lorain 365

Lorain 365

Outreach and Promotions Committee
Once more the committee decorated for the Trains and Trees at Black river Landing – this year we not only had the Lilac Lorain tree but added another tree.
1939899_10152505208586179_2402613586549576216_n
This tree was all about the ship captains and maritime history of this neighborhood. Donations for the trees came for the most part from the committees own pockets. Many thanks to Renee Dore, Frank and Carolyn Sipkovsky ,Don and Marianne Fugitt and Lisa Miller

Poster Boards and other artifacts were displayed at various “historical gatherings” and talks to various community groups continued .
We also continued the Guided Tours of Charleston Village and once again Frank Sipkovsky was your tour guide.

2th and Hamiton
This year has not been all about successes. We continue to lose more of Lorain early history in her housing stock in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. Even there though there has been a bright spark , we lost the Gow House to demolition due to the fact it had been uncared for and empty for nearly 40 years.
1031res
Lorain County did however take another foreclosed home diagonally opposite ( the Coleman Home) and rehabbed the structure. Unfortunately it too had been bastardized of its original architecture by the “business of rentals” and chopping the home into two and three units.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/history-demoed-another-rehabbed-pt3/

Peggy Gillmore 2007

Peggy Gillmore 2007


We also lost one of staunchest and longest members – Peggy Gillmore- the last Lorain Gillmore descendent of one of the Founding Families of Lorain. I am pleased to say the heirs have rehabbed this over a century home but so much of Lorain’s history has once again been lost. 403 Oberlin

The items from Peggy’s home , papers and photos led us on a journey that continues to this day . I personally wrote a series on Peggy’s family when , what I believe to be an extremely important portrait was seemingly not wanted by those I believe should be in the business of preserving Lorain’s earliest heritage. The series can be found here
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/

Photo Laura Watilo Blake

Photo Laura Watilo Blake


The General Gillmore Portrait is still in my living room, we have found those that would appreciate the portrait, the print of “Storming of Fort Wagner”and the genealogy of the Gillmore family etc. that will go with the portrait, However, we have, not as a group, had a vote on this as yet . The General and some of Charleston Village Society’s accomplishments were written about in Lorain County’s Pulse Magazine.
Peggy  map
We were also able to give a framed original of a mid 19th century map of this old neighborhood to the City of Lorain.

The map was also part of Peggy’s memorabilia as well an original Bible which we believe to Alanson Gillmore’s church – Christian Temple Disciples of Christ. We believe this to be one of the pulpit bibles damaged due to the Lorain Tornado. We have returned the Bible to the church and they concur they too, believe it to be one of the pulpit bibles-.
The Chronicle Telegram, once again has also been very supportive when covering events over the past year.
roverfest2014_banner_1200px
CVSI contacted the city with regard to the parking overflow for the July Rover Fest event- there was and has been a lot of controversy of this event . Our main concern was the overflow parking being utilized by Eric Barnes Heroes Walk. I am pleased to say the security for the area was in place and in fact no problems arose from this event.
hattravels
We are hoping to get the “pass the hat’ campaign off the ground this spring because as you see our finances are non-existent for the most part. We use every dollar donated 100 % goes to the project designated – This is 100% a VOLUNTEER organization

Our financials for the year end (2014) as follows. However, once again for every dollar donated 100% of the donation went toward the project for which it was donated. This is an “ALL” Volunteer organization

CHARLESTON VILLAGE SOC. End of year financial report 2014
Main Account:
Starting Balance carry-over 2013 $101.01
Ending Balance $101.01

Cemetery Fund
Starting balance carry-over from 2013=$15.97
Donations 2014 = $275.00
Expenses 2014= $0.
ENDING BALANCE 2014 = $290.95
Raffle Account
Starting balance carry -over from 2013= $43.35
Donations 2012 = 0
Expenses 2012 = 0
ENDING BALANCE 2014= $43.35

Settlers’ Watch
Starting balance carry-over 2013 = $19.76
Donations 2014 (Cash/Checks)= $695.00
Expenses 2014 = $597.74
ENDING BALANCE 2014= $117.02

Admiral King Tribute Site
Starting Balance carry over 2013 -$ 68.46
Donations Cash 2014 = $250.00
Expenses 2014= $96.75
Ending Balance 2014= 221.71

Eric Barnes Heroes-Walk-
Carry over 2013 = 447.99
Donations for 2014= $250.00
Expenses for 2014= $558.28
Ending Balance 2014= $139.71

We had a total of cash donations (including Gift Cards) in 2014 of $1,470.00 and our cash expenses came to $1,254.77 for all projects. A full accounting is available upon request.
As you can see our volunteers and in kind donors are the power that keeps the projects running. Without the donations of plants, rope, wooden pilings, aggregate, recycled benches, trash receptacles, paint, sealer, publicity, photographs and “at cost” and manpower none of these projects could be accomplished and maintained. The in-kind donations from our supporters are, by my estimation, 3 times the monetary value and are priceless. However all cash donations are gratefully accepted and CVSI is a 501c3 – Thank You
Respectfully submitted March 4th 2nd 2014 by Co- Chair CVSI Loraine Ritchey

March 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm 3 comments

PULSE MAGAZINE- Treasure Town- A Blog Heartbeat

pulseres
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for Lorain County’s PULSE Magazine by Kristen Hampshire. The experience was one of sheer pleasure, the professionalism with which Kristen handled the interview, made very difficult because I tend to ramble and give the “back story” before answering the question. The fact checking by the editorial staff, the photographer- Laura Watilo Blake, who was constrained by my boundaries.

The article Buried History leads off with the General Gillmore Portrait – unwanted , and the story that led to the 12 part series on this blog.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/

The cover , pronounced, Lorain’s little known identity of Treasure Town. I wonder how many in the county see Lorain and her buried treasure?

Photo Laura Watilo Blake

Photo Laura Watilo Blake

Kristen asked: ( paraphrasing)

Why do I embark on the history of Lorain, why is it important to you and yet like the portrait
inconsequential to most in this community?

I had been thinking about that very fact for a few days before the interview. Why do I care along with a handful of others ( even those that should care were unimpressed , didn’t even find the portrait worthy of a 1st look)? Why do a very few people get excited when uncovering Lorain’s stories but the majority of her 64,000 residents really aren’t bothered?

I believe, in my case, my penchant for theatre and years spent acting out the written word, the stories told , the donning of the character , the “fleshing out ” of that character as you read the script- the cold reading tells you the way of portrayal is part of the reason.

Morning Journal article

Morning Journal article

Kristen wrote :

” As Ritchey passes neighbors’ homes, she thinks about the people who have lived there. She sees the original plat of Charleston Village, and when she walks through Lakeview Park
http://www.metroparks.cc/lakeview_park.php
she imagines the 21,000 grape vines once planted there……….”

( General Quartus Gillmore)
NEWS-OH-EL_IN_DE.1867_08_07_0003

The article continues but the gist of the piece will tell you – I imagine the way things were when I look at one of Lorain’s falling down and abuse of historical properties, the mega rental units in what once was a beautiful family home.
housecarwilford

I can see the life before , the characters flesh out in my mind . I can see and hear Captain Wilford , his arm around his wife that night as the huge pleasure craft the The Alberta, came at the John Osborne cutting through the fog that night and into the wooden three-masted steamer .

Fannie Wilford’s terror can only be imagined as she stood with her husband, her children asleep below decks, a cruel ending to such a lovely day as the steel-clad Alberta towering above the little freighter bore down upon the hapless couple ……

The Alberta according to The Cleveland News Leader July 30th 1884 said of the Alberta. ‘This huge steel monster, during the few months she has been afloat has become the terror of the lakes. Proud of her reputation as one of the fastest side-wheel steamers on fresh water, she (Alberta) has been run in an extraordinarily reckless manner. “

Osbourne/Alberta shipwreck photos Bob Epson

Osbourne/Alberta shipwreck photos Bob Epson

“Tom! That boats going right through us!”
Very Quietly Captain Wilford answered
“I KNOW IT”

Behind the Waterfront (Bertram B Lewis)

“ Steam rushed from the freighter’s crushed boilers, the air was filled with shouts of seaman and those screams from those who had been sprayed by scalding water.”(Lewis) ……The steward, Mr. Austin (the same man who just hours before has held Sunday school services) rescued Addie and rushed her through the scalding steam holding his arm across his face and keeping the little girls face close to him. He handed her up to the deck of the Alberta and went back through the steam for the mangled and scalded sailors below”(HFMC)

I read this and like so many other actresses and actors, I flesh them out in my mind – they become more than print on a yellowing page, they become real! I take on their fear, their pain , their story- how would I portray my part. Is that why, as I look at the portrait of General Gillmore , reading his reports during the Civil War, I see the characters, I see the times in which they lived- they become people once more not just faded photos? The letters written by the same Fanny Gillmore – ( Wilford) who stood on a deck with her husband that night- the letters of life….
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/civil-war-letters-fannie-gilmore-lorain/

I see Fannie on her front porch, waiting- for who what – everytime I pass her house porch
And I get angry at the lack of respect. What I do know is their stories are important to Lorain, a town that needs a buried treasure , heroes and romance.

You can access PULSE MAGAZINE on line
http://www.pulselorainmag.com/Main/Home.aspx

( unfortunately this issue- Winter 2014 is not yet uploaded to the site- but you can contact Lorain County Chamber of Commerce . It is free to subscribers.https://www.loraincountychamber.com/

Oh and the portrait of General Gillmore is still staring at me waiting for a decision as to where he will find his home, along with other artifacts from Peggy Gillmore’s home.
vethist

March 10, 2015 at 4:47 pm 4 comments

Mayor George Wickens- the wrap up! Lorain

wickens-oval-portrait

Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/mayor-george-wickens-buried-on-the-back-pages-lorain/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/mayor-george-wickens-yellowing-journalism-lorain/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/mayor-george-wickens-reputation-sullied-lorain/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/mayor-george-wickens-sex-sign-of-the-times-lorain/

Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/mayor-george-wickens-changing-times-lorain/

Click on all jpg’s to enlarge

Part Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/mayor-george-wickens-republican-repeats-lorain/

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. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/

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!

harrasementres

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
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=11416742&PIpi=1963928
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
Mida-TH_EL_RE.1901_05_02_0001

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 : http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/06/meet-george-wickens-part-1.html

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

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


http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=281

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?????

Wickens-C

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:
http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/06/meet-george-wickens-part-2.html

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.”

http://www.lorainpubliclibrary.org/about-lpls/history-of-the-library/history-of-the-lorain-public-library-system

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 https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/mayor-george-wickens-buried-on-the-back-pages-lorain/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/mayor-george-wickens-yellowing-journalism-lorain/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/mayor-george-wickens-reputation-sullied-lorain/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/mayor-george-wickens-sex-sign-of-the-times-lorain/

Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/mayor-george-wickens-changing-times-lorain/
Click on all jpg’s to enlarge

melodrama
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 .

http://the1890s.blogspot.com/2006/05/sexuality-in-1890s-role-of-gentleman.html

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)

http://ohio13.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-news-and-old-news-on-r-side.html
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:

craig_foltin

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:

warrantres

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″

vorwerk

by the head of the Democratic Party”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/the-democratic-machine-lorain-ohio-politics-aside/

2510410355_0dbb8b2810
and George considered himself a victim of “blackmail”

blackmasil
NOTE: Once again many thanks to Dan Brady http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/ 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 https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/mayor-george-wickens-buried-on-the-back-pages-lorain/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/mayor-george-wickens-yellowing-journalism-lorain/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/mayor-george-wickens-reputation-sullied-lorain/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/mayor-george-wickens-sex-sign-of-the-times-lorain/

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
http://www.wickenslaw.com/

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) http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9781467111331/Lorain-The-Real-Photo-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
Bradwwickens

http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2013/03/smith-gerhart-1955.html

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.”

http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/06/meet-george-wickens-part-1.html 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 https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/ So we can add that to its series of names https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/veterans-memorial-park-fini/

walterfrey

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 http://www.civilwarundertaker.net/history.htm
burr
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.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/let-us-talk-burial-not-green/

embalming

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

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