We have been posting a lot of interesting stuff on Facebook (Kelleys Island History Museum) as well as on this website. But then we realized that not everyone is on Facebook or may not have had time to check out website’s historical postings.
In keeping with the theory that once something gets replaced it becomes “history,” we thought you would enjoy catching up with our more recent posts. Here is a compilation of our online posts along with the historical tidbits that have appeared on our website over the past years. We hope you enjoy reading them.
Thanks to Bill Deubel for donating two great old Kelleys Island telephone books: The Fall of 1935 and summer 1932, each just 6 or 4 pages long plus the covers! Some entries include 3-digit phone numbers for the U. S. Custom House, The Villa, the Telegraph Office, the Sisters of St. Michael's Parish the KIL&T Co. Scale House west and the south crusher and everyone who had a telephone. You can view the 1935 telephone book HERE.
Our thanks to Dave Glick for this article. He sends us packages of old newspaper clippings from the Marblehead area. February 2, 1928 – “Logan A. Bickley, Sandusky and Steve Feyedelem, Kelleys Island, are arranging an airship service for the Lake Erie islands for the coming summer. They will transport passengers from the mainland to the islands and also between the islands, and will seek the contract for transporting the mail between the islands and mainland, which has been carried by boat, auto, or sleds heretofore.”
ST. PATRICK'S DAY AT KELLEY'S ISLAND - 1890
"There is no doubt but Irishmen all over the State 'will take a deep interest' in the speeches delivered at Kelley's Island Monday evening, March 17. The cause of Ireland is near and dear to every lover of liberty, and when Irishmen recollect the interest taken in the liberation of Ireland by such men as O'Connell, Grattan, Emmett, Parnell and others, they cannot but love to read of speeches delivered by men in this county referring to 'Ireland's wrongs and her ill treatment by the English government.' Then let us all, immaterial what our nationality may be, advocate on the 17th of March the price of liberty and do all in our power to place Ireland where she belongs, among the nations of the earth, a free and independent country.
Quite a large number of Sanduskians went to Kelley's Island this afternoon on the steamer American Eagle to take in the St. Patrick's Day exercises.
Tim Mulheron made a great hit at the Kelley's Island celebration Monday night. He sang 'Mrs. Fogarty's Wedding Cake' and 'The Irish Patriot' and each was encored a half dozen times. It is said that he was the whole show as far as vocal music was concerned."
Kelley's Hall was the place where Islanders met, socialized and held large parties; parties that often had dinners. Since the stove in the basement had to be replaced, a New Year's Ball was held to raise money for a new stove.
January 1877 - "The New Year's Ball Monday evening, the proceeds of which are to be used to pay for that 'horrid stove,' was a financial as well as social success. The receipts bring $64.06. We hope those who staid at home and twirled their thumbs, because somebody else went, enjoyed the serenity of body and mind to which that delightful past time is conducive." The new stove was purchased by the Trustees of the Township, but Islanders found that "we are now as bad off as we were in the first place for the stove has been but a few days in the Hall and it is not safe to build a fire in it now....We cannot believe that the stove was thoroughly examined before it was bought, for any person looking at the inside of it would think that an earth-quake had passed through it." The Trustees spent $35 for the stove and apparently bought it used. The stove would be a 'hot topic' for months.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – November 1888 - November 3, 1888 – "Damage to the telegraph cable occurred somewhat regularly and we find that our Kelley's Island friends should have their cable repaired by Tuesday night, so as to be able to get elections returns."
November 10, 1888 – "Official returns for the Presidential election for the island: Cleveland and Thurman-147; Harrison and Morton-141. The Harrison and Morton pole on Kelley's Island is said to be a sight to behold. At least a dozen flags and ensigns are floating therefrom." The island was the scene of much celebrating but also an unfortunate accident as a result of the returns.
"The Republicans had their final 'blow out' on last Wednesday evening. The Harrison and Morton Club had a grand torch light procession, about 90 being in line. While marching up Lake Street a bright light was seen about 40 rods out in the lake in front of N. Kelley & Co.'s stone dock. The boys took it to be a large turpentine torch displayed from the deck of the barge Plummer, but it turned out to be a serious and disastrous fire. Every man belonging aboard had gone ashore and were in some of the saloons when the fire broke out. The fire burst forth all over the cabin and was past control before the crew ever heard that anything was wrong. Had even one man been left aboard he could put out the fire before any damage could have resulted. It is supposed to have had its origin from the cook stove. The hulk lies right in the way of vessels passing up this shore enroute to Put-in-Bay or the stone docks here."
But to return to the procession. "Some of the houses on the line of march were beautifully illuminated. Those particularly noticeable, being: Henry Elfers, Fred Elfers, F. M. Kelley, G. P. Bristol, Herman Suhr, Addison Kelley, Mrs. H. Kaster [Koster] and the Himmelein House. Mr. Addison Kelley borrowed a very fine rooster of Geo. P. Bristol and put him in the window. The lights were turned down awaiting the procession, when it came in sight around the corner of the street, the lights were turned up to their utmost capacity which so dazzled his roostership that he 'wilted' right down, so that but few saw him at all. Some of those philosophically inclined, attribute his actions to the fact of his being a Democrat.
After the procession disbanded, the members wended their way to Kelley's Hall to trip the light fantastic toe. Here were finally congregated some 250 'fair women and brave men' (and children) the like of which was never before seen on the Island. The patriotic Harrison and Morton ladies served the supper, and in just 1½ hours from the time the first person sat down to the tables the last table was out of doors and the floor cleared for the dancers. 200 invitations were issued, every Republican voter received one, and also 15 or 20 of the Democrats who were known to enjoy a good thing when they see it. It is said that one or two of the latter tore up their cards when received. This certainly showed very poor taste, as they were issued with the very best of feeling, and intended as a compliment.
The Cleveland and Thurman pole was gathered to its fathers last week. The Harrison and Morton pole will be left until after inauguration day, and should the movement on foot for making this place a signal display station prove successful the pole will be left standing for the purpose of hoisting signals thereon. It is 85 feet out of ground and stands on the hill directly in front of the telegraph office, the location being all that could be desired."
Gen. Benjamin Harrison and Hon. Levi P. Morton would be inaugurated President and Vice-President on March 4, 1889.
HALLOW'EN October 1869
"The last evening in October is supposed to be the favorite time for Fairies, mischief-making beings, &c., to be about. That evening this year being Sabbath evening, the young folks in this vicinity decided it would be more proper for them to come Saturday, the 30th. Quite a number of leading spirits, still in the flesh, assembled at West Point to 'pull the rail,' 'burn the nuts,' and several other tricks said to be legitimate business on that night. We did not hear of their seeing any Fairies or other spirits, except when they looked in the glass."
"It is one of the frequent inconsistencies of nature that Halloween customs once prevailed largely among the cool, clear-headed Scots. One way of questioning the future was for the young people to go blindfolded to the kale (or cabbage) yard and pull up the kale stalks. According as the stalk seized is large or
small, straight or crooked, so will be the future spouse. The quantity of earth clinging to the roots denoted the amount of property possessed by the unknown one, and the taste of the pith indicated the temper, whether sweet or sour.
Another custom was to go out after dark and sow a handful of hempseed and go through the motions of harrowing it with a stray branch or anything that came to hand, at the same time saying: 'Hempseed, I sow thee; he that is to be my true love, come after me and pull thee.' Then, on glancing over the left shoulder, the face of one's lover will be seen. It ought to go hard with a young man who, on a dark night, could not make certain that his pretty sweetheart should catch a glimpse of the right face.
Nuts and apples are closely associated with Hallowe'en. Apple seeds were named and thrown into the fire where their movements indicated the future behavior of those whose names they bore. Apples entered into the more rollicking sports. A horizontal stick was hung from the ceiling by a string, having on one end a candle and on the other an apple. The stick was set revolving and the participants in the game, with hands tied behind the back, endeavored to bite the apple as it turned. It will not need many trials to convince one that it is not an easy task.
Another game similar is bobbing for apples. Into a tub nearly filled with water were put as many apples as would float easily. Then each one with his hands tied behind him endeavored to seize an apple with his teeth. These are the social games and spells. There were others containing an element of the weird and mysterious, those that must be carried through in silence and solitude. A maiden who combed her hair before a mirror at midnight, eating an apple the while, keeping her eyes steadily fixed upon the mirror, would see her future husband come and look over her shoulder.
Another weird and mysterious charm was to go at night to a burn or brook, where 'three lairds' lands meet,' and dip your left sleeve in the running water. Then go home and go to bed, hanging the sleeve to dry before the fire. At midnight your true love will come and turn the sleeve to dry the other side. The large rooms
and immense fireplaces of old times, with blazing logs casting flickering lights over the walls and dense, swaying shadows into the corners, were very favorable to trying Hallowe'en charms."
It shall be unlawful for the owner or owners or any person having the custody or control of any horse, mare, mule or other beast of burden or of any ox, steer, heifer, cow, calf, swine, sheep, goat or goose to herd, stake out, tether, tie or in any other manner, any of the animals herein named upon any of the streets, public grounds, alleys or parks of said Village, so that the rope, chain, strap, or other thing by which said animal is tied shall extend across any street or sidewalk in said Village of in any manner interfere with the free use of said streets and sidewalks fort the purpose of travel or passing over the same. August 1890
August - Wilbur F. Ramsey, is 95 years old, lived on Kelleys Island from 1932 - 1936, and is the son of Wilbur D. Ramsey, who was the Protestant preacher there during that time period. He and his son, Donald, will be attending the dedication of Kelleys Island's first historical marker at the German Reformed Church on August 8th (2:00pm). We would like to recognize Mr. Ramsey as well as other people who have ties with this historic church. Stop by the sign-in table before the event, pick up your name tag and give us a couple of sentences about how you are connected to the church’s history. Let’s prove that history still lives on!
July - A question recently surfaced about Maple Syrup on the Island - Here's what we found: Cunningham's point was once covered with Maple trees and was often referred to as Carpenter's maple grove [a popular camping ground]. In the cemetery deed dated 1895, a Maple Tree, one foot in diameter, was used as a boundary marker for the cemetery when another 1.33 acres was purchased from Fred and Matilda Meyer. In March 1966 we find our first reference to Maple Syrup – "As spring approaches collecting sap from the Maple tree becomes the rage and so indefatigable are they in their efforts to procure a little of this saccharine fluid that we begin to wonder if they have not, like some old people, got sap on the brain." History is so sweet!
July - THE HAMILTON MANSION ON NORTH BAY – What do YOU remember about this grand old house? It was built in 1883 after fire destroyed the Hamilton home. The KI Lime & Transport Co. owned it and it was leased as a church retreat at one time. Reports indicated it had 2 red stained glass doors, 14 rooms, 5 or 6 bedrooms and a maid's room, and 7 marble fireplaces. So many people wandered through it before it came down. Are there any pictures of the inside? Here's a tidbit - It was one of Sabra's servant girls that almost cost Dr. Fann the election in the first election of the newly formed Village.
July - You've seen the quilt - now here is the story behind it from Terri herself: In 1994 my Aunt Sis, (Florence "Sis" McKillips) who at that time was on the Board of the Kelleys Island Historical Association, asked me if I would make a quilt as a donation, that could be raffled off as a fund raiser. Previous to this, her son-in-law, Russ Matso, made several wooden clocks for the fund raiser. It is now 2015 and I have done a quilt every year since. This year the quilt is in memory of my Aunt Sis, who passed away on my birthday in 2013. She and her four brothers, Jack, Alvin, Lawrence (her twin brother), and Francie Betzenheimer, were born in the parsonage next to the church, and she lived until 2011 when she moved down the street to live with her daughter, Beatrice Matso. The parsonage house has never had running water, there is a cistern under the house and a pump in the kitchen, and that is how they got their water. She never had an indoor bathroom until she was 90 years old and moved in with Bea. She was a very kind and loving woman who worked hard all her life. She was a very active member of the Zion United Methodist Church and was the church secretary for 60 years. She loved working outdoors in her yard and flower garden. She loved her family, grandchildren, and friends very much and we miss her every day.
June - We are certainly becoming a hot spot for people doing genealogy! Denise Scott came to the museum and we showed her everything we had on her family - MERVO. Then she mentioned VEROCK and we found a High School Diploma in our archives! What a surprise. Denise wrote: "Leslie, thanks so much for the information you found regarding my grandma's family. I so appreciate you taking the time to share your findings!" You too can search our collection, just go to our website and click on Our Collection. Download the Word document and search for your family.
An ancestor of Elizabeth Selfe (the woman who mysteriously disappeared and was found dead on the island in 1877) visited the museum on Saturday. Jim Selfe Sr. and Jr. were excited to find this family story in Leslie's newest book (Kelleys Island 1877-1884 - The fire, the Great Grooves & a mysterious disappearance), which is available in our Gift Shop. He donated Elizabeth's bible (which she signed in 1845) and a picture of the log cabin the family lived in at Pelee Island. These and other island history books cam be found at https://kimuseum-public.sharepoint.com/island-history
Another mystery picture from the KI history Museum archives - this is a B&W postcard, probably a school photo. Handwritten over the surrounding plastic are the names Tootie and Aunt Ruthie. Girls have mid-calf dresses and high button shoes. The collection no. is 2014.17.62. Can you add anything?
May - Look what we found – Rev. C. E. Haley of St. Michael’s Church “has formulated plans to organize an association to be known as Kelleyites, Incorporated, its membership to consist principally of persons who do not reside the year around on the island.” He proposed an annual Homecoming Day (now hosted by the KI Landowners Assoc.). It is unclear whether the Dollar-A-Year Club ever got off the ground. Haley served the Island from 1942-1956.
May - Another unidentified school picture. Looks like the Stone School house so it would be before 1901. It is our inventory no. 2014.17.38.
March 1870 – "Ho everybody that fisheth! Come unto the waters about Kelley's Island and shake your fish lines. The bass are now biting like 'all possessed.' One boat caught yesterday alone 101 fish, 95 bass and six of other varieties. The fish were not all fastidious as to bait; port rind and minnows alike seeming to satisfy their appetites." From the book Kelleys Island 1866-1871, The Lodge, Suffrage & Baseball, available in the Gift Shop
April 1861 - "…the Island will send her gallant company of Citizen Soldiers to the seat of war. We feel confident no troops will win more trophys of victory or bring home more honorable scars than the Union Guards. Well may we expect much from them. Their drill and equipments are perfect, their officers of proved courage and ability. Their firing is precise. But the maneuver they most excel in is the remarkable swiftness with which they can retreat to a safe position under cover.
May success go with them. May they return again to their homes and fight their battles over again in the home circle. Exalted is the Citizen Soldier who leaves the endearments of home for the defense of its land [and] inmates, to encounter the storms of war, and when peace and victory shall rest upon his standard, return again and lay aside the implements of destruction for the pruning hook and grape shears of domestic life. Hail Columbia." From the book: Kelleys Island 1810-1861 – The courageous, poignant & often quirky lives of island pioneers by Leslie Korenko – Available in the museum gift shop.
March 1893 - ST. PATRICK’S DAY - “The Jovial Dramatic Club, of this island, presented a drama in four acts, entitled ‘Little Ruby.’ The part of Little Ruby by little Kittie McGettigan was rendered in a very satisfactory way. Kate McGettigan as Mrs. Goldworth, Maggie, Haley as Laura, Matt Kennedy as John Goldworth, Wm. Sternenberger as Rupert Levick, the villain, Mike Brennan as Walter Armstrong, ‘Jack’ Brennan as Abel and Frank Martin as Mr. Maxwell, the real estate agent, were splendid-in fact, they were above criticism. Katie Duignan, Teresa Brennan and Nora Stokes were the other prominent members of the cast.
The entertainment concluded with a comic farce, entitled ‘More Blunders than One.’ In this much credit is due Master Johnnie Brennan, who took the part of Young Melbourne. Although it was his first appearance on the state in anything ‘dramatic,’ he was as much at home on the stage as though it were his daily task. Jack Brennan made the blunders. Jack has full control of the Irish brogue and the audience took special pains to testify its admiration for his gymnastic ability which, I think, is Irish too.
The band furnished splendid music. The hall was thronged to its utmost capacity long before the performance began, and the drama was of such an excellent character that it held the audience to the very end, with the exception of the certain ladies (?) who sat on the north side, very nearly the center of the hall. Though my belief is not Catholic, and I am not partial, I will say that they have never failed yet to gain the appreciation of their audiences, so it is hoped that the source of this disrespect has been considered and no hard feelings have been maintained, and I will promise those ladies (?) that on next Thursday evening when we give our ‘literary and musical’ if we scan our audience a dozen times through we will fail to see anybody giggling and in every possible way showing such disrespect for both themselves and the performers. I am informed the entertainment netted about $65.”
February 1878 - “One of the pleasantest social gatherings ever enjoyed on the Island was given last evening (Feb. 15th). A few of the ladies took it into their wise heads to get up a little party on their own account and in their own way. So on Friday morning they quietly united their congenial friends to come to the Hall that evening. Without further explanation we put in an appearance at 8 o’clock and soon after the party had all assembled, there being about 50 present, varying in age from 10 years to 60. The first part of the evening was occupied in chatting of olden times, when we used to meet together for social enjoyment, vying with each other to see who could do the most to make these meetings the most agreeable, and the same spirit seemed to come over the party last evening. Time seemed to fly. 9 o’clock came before we were aware of it and in came the Band as by magic, which betokened a dance and in less time than it takes to write it, the floor was filled with five sets for a Quadrille. The old, the young, and the middle aged, the Grandfather, son and Granddaughter entered into the dance as none other than the Islanders can. Their whole heart was in it and their toes too.”
January 1868 - The grounds East of the Hall – This place was left large for the purpose of erecting sheds to protect the horses of persons who come here to attend public meetings. It was thought that persons living at a distance would erect sheds for Hall purposes but as yet the ground remains unoccupied except for one building erected this season by some enterprising Germans [at their church]. Horses are hitched to the fence where they do more or less damage every week, besides being in the way of ‘passers by’ and exposed to the cold rains and wind. A merciful man will be merciful to his beast. Many hands make light work. ‘No so.’ Mr. Monigan said when he was splitting wood after four men sawing.
Facebook 1-1-2015 - We fixed it! Some people let us know that it was way too hard to search the PDF document that contained our inventory, after all it is 70 pages long. So we uploaded it in a WORD format. When you click on the link you can download the file, open it in your Word program and search to heart’s content. Let us know how this works for you. Just click on Our Collection.
December 1861 - "The week now about to close, usually a lively and pleasant one being the commencement of the holidays, has passed off we believe, to the entire satisfaction of all the citizens of the Island and particularly so, to the recipients of the annual visit of Old Santa Claus, who has been unusually bountiful and lavish with his gifts to his favorites. The little children, yes and the large children too, came for a goodly share of his generosity. How much of this was due to their labors in the vineyard last fall, the Old Saint has not informed us. This, however, is pretty generally conceded to be one of his fundamental rules; to deal out, in proportion to the merits of each particular recipient of his favors. Laziness, prodigality and selfishness usually proving a sufficient bar to keep him from them altogether. Be wise then ye little ones, and let him have no cause to pass you by when another Christmas shall have come.
Facebook 11-26-2014 - For Johnson's Island Prison buffs - 1864 POW Listing from the Johnson's Island Civil War Prison. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center acquired a very important document about the POWs at the Johnson's Island Civil War Military Prison. The document lists, by Block and Company (which may refer to their housing arrangements) the prisoners incarcerated there in the Fall of 1864. The Friends and Descendants of Johnson's Island, with the assistance of Heidelberg University students, will be incorporating the information from these lists into their overall POW database. Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are now uploaded as of April 1, 2014.
October 1861 - The subscriber, having a barn full of well cured hay, that the dews of heaven never touched since it was first cut, desires to inform the poor, half starved horses and horned cattle of this neighborhood through their human owners, that it is most all for sale…at the barn, casks down as soon as weighed, or $20 per ton on three months time, with good security. Now fellow citizens, do not oblige the good old Mrs. Brindle this cold winter to steal her living in the streets, eating the straw all out of her aristocratic neighbor's sleigh and wagons and ready to dodge in at any pair of bars left open to annoy the biped part of the population. But give her good honest living for her milk and butter by getting, as soon as possible, a good load of hay as is this hay… W D. Kelley
August 4, 1853 "Robbery on Kelley's Island - Mr. True, who has been spending a most agreeable two weeks on the island, communicates the following to us: On the morning of Thursday, August 4th the wife of Mr. Webb of Kelley's Island discovered that the safe in their sleeping apartment had been opened and nearly $700 in Gold, Bank Bills and Notes, stolen. The key to the safe had been taken from its hiding place, the money taken and the thief, after having attempted to relock it, had returned the key to its place. A young Irish girl 13 years of age, who lived with the family and who had that morning gone to school as usual, was called upon by Mr. W. and asked if she had seen any person about the house on the previous evening while Mr. and Mrs. W. were visiting a neighbor. She replied by denying that she had stolen any money. This at once fastened suspicion upon her.
The Tri-Motor has a long history in the area. Island Airlines, operated from the Port Clinton Airport, served the islands of Lake Erie as "The World's Shortest Airline." Residents and visitors of the islands depended on the airline for mail, supplies, transportation, as an ambulance and many other services. The 'Tin Goose' flew the island route for almost 50 years, from the 1930's until the 1980's. Thanks to the liberty Aviation Museum for their work in hosting the restoration of a Ford Tri-Motor. www.LibertyAviationMuseum.org
Facebook -7-27-2014 – Congratulations to Claudia and Michael Schodowski who had a lovely ceremony in the historic Stone Church. We at the museum wish them an 'historic' life together
July 4th weekend, we had some descendants of early Island settlers come into the museum. We were pleased to meet Bob Lane (John & Mehitible Titus and the Lewwe families) and Mollie Sevcik (the Dwelle family). Bob was searching for family stories and he found them in several Island books by Leslie Korenko in the gift shop. Mollie started at Herndon’s Gallery (on the former Dwelle property) and came into the museum where she was pleased to discover many of her family heirlooms on display. Another visitor was Thomas Campanella who is related to the Stokes family.
We love it when people come into the museum, but we really like hooking them up with their relatives. Recently Howard Erne of Georgia came in. He is, of course, connected to the Erne family. Leslie has set up a Genealogy page on her website – one of the few places where you can connect for lost family relations.http://www.kelleysislandstory.com/Pages/GENEALOGY.aspx
Our little Museum welcomed the Firelands Council of Historical Societies on Sunday June 29. About a dozen members trekked to Kelleys Island, had lunch and toured the museum. This great groups brings all the museums in the Firelands under one umbrella for promoting and sharing information. It is a great way to share experiences, get ideas for displays and gift shop items and see how other museum handle their operations. Their website is bare bones, but it is located at http://firelandsohio.ericebinger.com/
The downtown park has a new monument commemorating the activities surrounding the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 2013. Instrumental in the project were (from L to R) Greg Ritchie, Cindy Herndon, Russ Maust, Chuck Herndon, Steve Merkel, Chris Arnold and Doug Boldon.
July 1859 - “Saturday morning [July 2] at about 20 minutes past 7, the great aerial ship Atlantic, which ascended from St. Louis at 6:40 Friday evening with Wise and his companions aboard, was seen by many of our citizens passing just North of the city, in a Northern-easterly direction. It remained in sight about half an hour. Two men could be seen distinctly in the car. The balloon was seen by the citizens of Kelley’s Island, as the subjointed note will show: The balloon Atlantic (boat attached) passed over the Island, one man in sight, this morning at 7½
6-19-2014 - A great group from the Lake Erie Islands International Consortium visited the Island for two days, June 2-3. They toured the Island, attended presentations by Leslie Korenko at the Stone Church and toured the Museum. Kevin Pape and Pete Legere did presentations at the school, and they banded birds with Tom Bartlett. The KI Audubon Club generally kept everyone busy exploring the island. The group's motto is 'Celebrating our Shared Cultural and Natural Resources." Here is the group on the steps of the Ki Wine Co. after a relaxed lunch and meeting.
June 22, 1860 - “No brighter day ever fell sparkling from old father Time’s selicious glass than the one which dropped down into old Erie’s blue bosom yesterday. A bantering contest went on between Wind and Sun; neither dared do his best, so whether it was coats on, or coats off, either was comfortable; the frolicsome waves were [present] with delight, a soft blue [haze] hung around the Islands and headlands and shaded down into the watery distance.”
Another voice from the island’s past. We recently heard from Marilyn Robinson of Colorado who made inquiry about her family, the Schlumbohm’s. We were able to connect her to another family member and they are now comparing notes. Alfred Schlumbohm (1883 - 1908) was her grandfather. He died in a tragic island accident caught between two railcars while working on the island railroad. He died in the arms of his wife who gave birth to my father one month later.
April 1889 - Easter - The Easter celebration of the Eng. Congregational Church Sunday school was held at the church on the evening of that eventful day; the ladies of the church did all in their power to make the evening a pleasant one by decorating it with the choicest flowers. These with the recitations and singing by the scholars, made the evening very pleasant.
3-21-2014 - So, you thought THIS winter was bad? Imagine the lake frozen well into April, long before the airplanes were even invented. WINTER 1867 - Provisions were becoming decidedly scarce. Of flour, there was but a small quantity on the Island and a number of families had been entirely out for several days, but those who had a supply had kindly furnished those who had not, thereby keeping all in food and bringing nearly all to the bottom of the barrel. Ten days more would have caused actual suffering on the Island. The [Evening] Star had on board a bountiful supply of provisions, and the cargo was quickly transferred to the land and from thence to the various parts of the Island. An enterprising butcher had taken over a supply of fresh meat, and in a few moments after the Star landed, the retail business had commenced, and a crowd was gathered about his market, purchasing as rapidly as he could cut and weigh the beef.
1876 - ST. PATRICK'S DAY –”At about 8 o’clock p.m. a goodly number gathered in the Hall to attend the entertainment given by the Catholic Church in honor of St. Patrick. We note first 12 little boys who spoke a dialogue entitled ‘When I am a man.’ All acquitted themselves with great credit. The next was ‘The Old Maid,’ personated by Miss Mary Brennan who performed her part well. Then came ‘The Jealous Husband.’ Miss Agnes Martin personated the jealous husband with Miss Katie McGettigan as the wife. This was the best play of the evening. The lady had fallen into the habit of smoking and the strong odor of tobacco smoke in the apartments made him suspicious that someone was calling there in his absence. After some little difficulty he found that it was his better half who did the smoking and thereafter they smoked together, though he was still convinced that where there is smoke there must be some fire.
Miss Bowman [Bauman], Miss McLaughlin and several others whose names we did not learn, did well in their several characters and several of the young men acquitted themselves admirably. Mr. James Smith Jr. delivered with force and spirit a fine selection, very appropriate to the occasion.
At about 10 o’clock, supper was called and the table was soon filled and shortly after refilled. Everything about the table was nice. After supper it was every man for himself, first one and then another making a speech or singing an Irish song, ‘The Wearing of the Green’ and others, all having a good time without the least disturbance. Much credit is due Father Metternich, Miss O’Connor and Miss Katie McGettigan who had charge of the affair. At about 1 o’clock the festivities concluded with three hearty cheers for the Ancient Order of Hibernians [an Irish-Catholic organization]. By Jacob Rush”
Facebook 3-4-2014 - It is with great sadness that we share the news that Frannie (Frances) Minshall passed away on Sunday March 2. She was 91 years old. If you visited the museum or passed by the quilt ticket table at any of the Island festivals you probably met Frannie. She was a great supporter of the Historical Association and her quick wit, earthy humor and remarkable enthusiasm and energy will be sorely missed.
1-11-2014 - We just love it when we get letters. One recently came from Brian Williams who wrote about his mother (Olive Heckel Williams) and grandmother (Bertha Maag Heckel). His grandfather Ralph Heckel, lost his life in a quarry explosion on the island in 1926 at the age of 36. His grandmother raised all four children by herself. Olive graduated from the island high school, the first in her class of five. We like collecting stories about Islanders. Our thanks to Brian for sharing.
1-11-2014 - What an exciting morning. Cindy and Leslie met at 11 am yesterday (Friday) to mail out the newsletters and walked into a flood! A pipe burst in the back room ceiling, raining down drywall and insulation over about 1/6 of the storage area. Fortunately, there was not a lot of damage (except for the ceiling of course) and a crew of about 10 people pushed 3 inches of water through the rooms and out the garage door. Yes, we have insurance, and yes, the newsletters went out. Our thanks to Chuck & Cindy Herndon, Leslie Korenko, Bernie Koshla, Patti Fresch, Steve James, Bobby Skeans and Dave Rich (among others) for pitching in and helping.
THE WINTER – 1867 - Provisions were becoming decidedly scarce. Of flour, there was but a small quantity on the Island and a number of families had been entirely out for several days, but those who had a supply had kindly furnished those who had not, thereby keeping all in food and bringing nearly all to the bottom of the barrel. Ten days more would have caused actual suffering on the Island. The [Evening] Star had on board a bountiful supply of provisions, and the cargo was quickly transferred to the land and from thence to the various parts of the Island. An enterprising butcher had taken over a supply of fresh meat, and in a few moments after the Star landed, the retail business had commenced, and a crowd was gathered about his market, purchasing as rapidly as he could cut and weigh the beef.
HALLOWEEN - Islanders celebrated Halloween with many traditions. Most were of Celtic, Scottish or English origins and reflected the heritage of the Island residents. Hallowe’en was traditionally a time for marriage divination. One story indicated that if a maid walked backwards down a stairway, by candlelight, while gazing into a looking-glass, she might see the face of her future mate.
July 22, 2013 - Facebook: You know, the island had FIVE churches in its history: German Reformed (Protestant); St. Michael's (Catholic); Evangelical (Methodist); Congregational (Protestant); and Greek Orthodox, although the denomination varied occasionally with the leader of the flock and the names of the churches were often confused in Island news reports. In any event, every family had its family bible. We have eight of these old bibles on display. Some were quite large, and others, surprisingly small. Most had entries on the family's births, deaths, and marriages handwritten inside. On display now at the Museum.
July 15, 2013 - The Life Boat will be going home this year. It was found on the old Hamilton property on the North Bay and adopted by the Great Lakes Historical Society and its Inland Seas Maritime Museum. They restored it; not an easy task. Since our museum was not up and running yet, the restored boat went to the Lake Erie Island Historical Society at Put-in-Bay in the 80's. Now that the Inland Seas Museum has moved to Toledo, this rare Francis Metallic Life Boat will be going back. This will be your last chance to see it, so be sure to stop by.
7-8-2013 - Check out the new exhibit: a Band Uniform from one of the two Brass Bands. Yes, we said TWO Brass Bands. In May 1892 the announcement was made that "Kelley's Island can now boast of two brass bands, the result of the first band having some difficulty which resulted in a split-up. Mr. Simon Huntington is leader of one, while Mr. Fred. Elfers has charge of the other." The bands played at the June 7 Decoration Day exercises. The uniform is dark green with black cord trim. There are little gold harps embroidered on the collar and gold braid trim on the hats.
5-20-2013 - The latest issue of the KIHA newsletter has a first-hand account of a flight on the Tin Goose (1944) written by Roger Williams. "When we were nearly at the end of the strip, we became airborne, but I could hear the underbrush scraping the bottom of the fuselage." Wow!
5-12-2013 - Facebook - The Museum staff has been working diligently this year to present NEW displays. One unique feature this year will be the William McKillips flight suit (along with original goggles!). We will be open for Memorial Day weekend, still working out details.