Posts filed under ‘history’

Nov. 11th- Youth Lost- Medals worn- Remember

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey  2009)

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey 2009)

I have always tried to Remember those who fought on November the 11th – from granddads, uncles and my father- to my generation, my husband USAF, my cousins and to those friends who have lost their sons to war.

I was pleased and touched the last piece of art work produced by my son was in honor for another young man who gave his life for his country ( in remembrance)- Eric Barnes .

I was reminded on Remembrance Sunday, as I walked through the dining room, of my father . I hadn’t looked at his medals in a very long time as they hung over the sword he bought me ( The Sword of Charlemagne ) incase I ever did Camelot again. He was coerced into polishing up a sword for the theatrical production in which I was involved -a lousy job and one he decided he wouldn’t do again – hence the purchase of the sword !

There was a lot of dust, the ribbons had lost their sharp colours over the decades and they decidedly needed a clean . I knew some of his medals were gone – RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal, The Arctic Star and the Oak cluster – I had used them to pin my dolly’s clothes when I was just a little one.
Although I had written about his Royal Navy Career in the series along with my mother’s remembrances of those days of world war two –

I can’t really remember having ever “looked ” closely at the medals.
I was surprised at the number of theatres of war in which he had been involved. And then, I remembered this man , my father who had been in the Royal Navy before war broke out and had seen so much in those terrible years was only 28 years old when Victory was declared – my mother 26-. War is for the young they say ……

1939-45 Star

1939-45 Star

The 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East).Naval personnel qualify after 180 days afloat in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations between certain specified dates.


Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

THE ARCTIC STAR**** The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. •Royal Navy and Merchant Navy: naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia

Atlantic-L THE ATLANTIC STAR******
The Battle of the Atlantic took place between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 as German U boats, aircraft and surface vessels attacked the convoys transporting valuable supplies from America and the colonies to Britain.
Warships of the RN and aircraft of the RAF escorted the convoys, hunted the U boats, fought German ships and, despite some notable German successes, the allies won a comprehensive victory in the Atlantic

Italy_Star THE ITALY STAR Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Italy Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea in the Mediterranean between the above dates provided that it was directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre.
George 5th medal
George VI Medal *****The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The War Medal 1939–1945 was instituted by the United Kingdom on 16 August 1945 and was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines

My dad also earned the Royal Navy – Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

ww2-oak-leaf-midand the Oak Leaf –

Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.

HMS Speedwell
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches

Cyril Green:

1400 – Explosion in our ship don’t know whether we hit or what it is yet someone gave a scream.

1445 – Explosion was heater drain observation tank in boiler room exploding. 2 stokers seriously scalded and 1 fractured elbow.

We left Harmatris to two Russian tugs and proceeded to Polyarnoe (Russia) at all speed.

I should like Commanding Officers of all Minesweepers to know that I fully appreciate the good work in the difficult conditions in the past few days searching, escorting, and hunting under the nose of the enemy sea and air forces. It does everyone, but especially the Engine room department, great credit that all ships have been ready for service whenever called upon and I am sure that valuable lives and ships have been saved by the good work performed.

CommanderSenior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla “

The HMS Speedwell was a minesweeper and now a segue back to Lorain
and another naval man Admiral Ernest J King

Admiral King

Admiral King

His tribute space has the flags flying – not on a flag pole but a ship’s mast and a “minesweeper mast” at that rescued from the from the old American Ship yard.
Old Mast at American Shipyard
AK flag old

Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)

Photo - Lisa Miller

Photo – Lisa Miller



November 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

Politics – Park- Reservation- and a Presidential Candidate


November 3rd will find the local election upon us- I will be glad when it is over! I suppose the “characters of change” will find something else to rail about subjecting us to their Neolithic form of debate .

I worry for this community, as to the bottom feeding blowhards that have surfaced through the muck and mire of politics. Although, I have to admit some of the you tube antics/ music( music??? may not be the proper description ) and sign placements did give a few chuckles. Pity the characters get in the way of a decent debate ! To be expected I guess, the form of debate around here seems to be of the name calling , concrete and windows type.
I was researching through my back hard drives this morning for something I had saved on what is now known as Veterans Park. You see the little park that has witnessed so much
and barely missed the “wrecking ball” back in 2005 due to “politics” has now been designated a Lorain County Historical Landmark Site .
That little park from whence this city was platted finally has its due!
public square
The respect for this little green space wasn’t always the case – her story can be found here

WoM Logo  by  Scott Baklar

WoM Logo by Scott Baklar

As I researched through those files, I came across a post from the now defunct WoM Blog.

ED NOTE: I am irritated as I look for items I know were recorded and researched on that old blog – no longer available

. But I did save some things. One such post was written by Scott Bakalar ( and myself) in February 2006, when the then Editor of the Morning Journal John Cole was trying his damnedest to bring senior citizen housing to the little park- he and his cohorts had also tried to give away acreage to the Shawnee and it is all to be found in that WoM post
wordofmouth cole

There is a lot of information in that document , not only about the little park, the wheeling and dealing of politics and a certain Mr. Terry Casey
craig foltinand friends
Mayor Foltin’s email to Terry Casey 2005

Re: John Cole, longtime editor of the local newspaper. “I feel he should be briefed early (even in the next week or two) with the understanding that we are in very early stages and he will be the first to know if anything happens and when it becomes public,” Foltin wrote Oct. 11 in an e-mail to Casey. “He can personally squash any nay-saying and ensure broad community support.” – PD 3/5/05

If nothing else works, the Eastern Shawnee could file an aggressive claim for far more land than they actually need for casinos, threatening the state with millions of dollars in reparations. Then, the tribe could drop the claim in exchange for approval to open casinos.

“So the Indian gaming just gives us a few other options,” says Foltin as casually as if he were discussing dinner plans.

You could almost call that blackmail. And you’d think Foltin would worry about losing his Republican allies. He’s not. “The sense that I’ve gotten is that they aren’t mad at me,” he says. “They understand why I have to do this.

ED NOTE: THEY are presumably Republican Foltin’s political party comrades in arms! I didn’t and never will understand why this community spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to become a “reservation” but apparently the politicians understood!

WoM Logo  by  Scott Baklar

WoM Logo by Scott Baklar

Starting off a firestorm of wheeling, dealing, controversy and spending of taxpayer’s money. The fact that National Capital One (in whose direction we were pointed) and Terry Casey, spokesperson for National Capital One who had a less than a sterling reputation was never mentioned in the editorial. In fact although Dayton, Cleveland newspapers carried the story of Casey’s “faux paux” I could never find mention of that fact in any of Cole’s Editorials. The fact that National Capital One has pleaded guilty to securities fraud has not had any mention in any editorial I have seen since. And oh yes! the very person to whom Cole’s ability to “squash” was touted was that same Terry Casey in the infamous e-mail from Mayor Foltin.

Now Mr. Casey whose past in my opinion was iffy certainly
casey, terry l – Columbus News Index

Mr. Casey was the executive director of the Franklin County Republican Party when he fell on his sword and took the blame for a system that laundered campaign contributions and went on to be investigated by two elections agencies.

went on to bigger and greater things –
he was appointed by {our} Ohio Governor Kasich ” For a self-described long-time Republican operative and self-starter like Terry L. Casey, who Gov. Kasich appointed soon after he was sworn-in to lead the state’s Employee Relations Board at a yearly salary of $66,997

caused some further issues


Mr. Casey’s filing on May 12, 2014 with the Ohio Ethics Commission lists sources of income that include The Ohio Republican Party, Summit County Republican Party, State of Ohio and Simon Tanger, developers behind the Delaware County outlet mall. Those familiar with Gov. Kasich and his brand of take-no-prisoners politics, understand exactly why he would hire public officials with prior conviction records like Matt Borges and Terry Casey. They’ll do the dirty work.

GOP consultant Terry Casey denies plotting with Kasich against Libertarian challenger

Hopefully, Gov. Kasich, who is running as a Republican for the President of the United States, looks into the history of his appointees a little closer- should he succeed! Mr. Casey , for one, cost this community a great deal of money and polarized a community – along with the politics and press of the day .

Let the political rhetoric begin a new for November 2016 – but I for one will be glad when Tuesday in Lorain has come and gone!!!!

Yes! the seething, rotting, writhing , distorted views of political pundits comes and goes but a little park survives– hopefully so will the voters sanity – although I must say some seem to have lost it already- their sanity that is ;)

Washinton ave park one

October 31, 2015 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

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 .

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.
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
and at the opposite end of the site Admiral King Tribute site 2011.

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
As I walked the pathway on Pride Day,
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.

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,


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.
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
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 :

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
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

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-
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

” 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.

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 –
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 ” ;)

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 . 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.
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
Unfortunately, our website does not allow for numerous photos and in segueing from the last post
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 a thanks to Emerge
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
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)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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

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.
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.
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

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.

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
she imagines the 21,000 grape vines once planted there……….”

( General Quartus Gillmore)

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.

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

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….

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

( 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.

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.

March 10, 2015 at 4:47 pm 4 comments

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

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