NB Pioneer Days Series IV: LETTER FROM A HANCOCK COUNTY LADY PIONEER

WOW – Lived in Wagon – Raised Grain with a Three-Week-Old Baby in a Fence Corner!

NB Pioneer Days Series IV:  A First-Person Account

By Tom Boltz and North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, George W. Wilkinson, the editor of the North Baltimore Beacon, encouraged elderly local residents to write about their experiences in the settling of Henry Township and the founding of North Baltimore, Ohio.  He published their letters in a series of articles which he titled “Interesting Pioneer Sketches.”

The following article was written by Mrs. George Baker [Margaret (Weaks) Baker] (born 1822–died 1913).  Margaret Baker, who was six months pregnant with her first child, and her husband came to this area in 1841 many years before Henry Township came into existence.  Together they raised seven sons and five daughters. This article describes the life of a pioneer woman. This article is directly transcribed from the North Baltimore Beacon of November 15, 1901.

A LETTER FROM A HANCOCK COUNTY LADY PIONEER

Lived in Wagon—Raised Grain with a Three-Week-Old Baby in a Fence Corner—

My Battle Alone

Mrs. George Baker

We came to this part of the country in 1841 from Fairfield County in our wagons and settled, on the ridge, west of Van Buren.  I don’t know that what I can give you will be of much interest, but I will try and recall as much as possible that I think will be of interest to the BEACON readers.  My husband, who I married in Fairfield County, had lived here about a year in his youth, but upon the death of his father, his mother moved back to her old home.When we came here there was no land cleared to any great extent although several settlers were already here and were toiling away in their endeavor to clear enough soil to raise some provisions for both family and stock.  Arriving at our destination my husband and I lived in our wagon while we cut down and hewed the trees into lengths which we required to build our cabin. After the cabin was completed we put in a puncheon floor and made some puncheon furniture such as chairs, tables, cupboards, and a bed stead.  My eldest daughter [Hannah], Mrs. Wilse Decker, was born the following September we having settled here in June.

The cabin when completed was like all the settler’s cabins to a great extent but I will give it a brief description together with the furniture and the manner in which we made a bedstead.  A clapboard floor which divided the lower apartment and the loft separated the children’s bed room from ours. The loft was reached by a ladder in one corner of the cabin. Another corner was occupied by my puncheon bureau, another by my bedstead which my father had given me while in the other was the bedstead we made by boring a hole in each side of the cabin and putting in poles with a post to act as one corner and the two sides and the three other corners.  From this outside pole to the wall bed cords were stretched and thus a bedstead made.

Our nearest grist mill was east of Tiffin and Tiffin and Perrysburg were our nearest markets.  My husband left on Tuesday with a grist for the mill and didn’t return until the next week. Upon arriving there he found so many ahead of him that it would be impossible for him to get his grist before the next week and he decided to wait rather than make two trips.

We experienced some very hard times in those days because of the lack of markets and places to buy our supplies and also the high prices which we were compelled to pay.  In the winter time and also at nights I would spin flax and wool and in this manner clothed my family. During the day I worked in the field with my husband or if we had our crop out we would go into the wilderness and clear some more land.  Help was very scarce, and the settler’s wives were compelled to give considerable aid to their husbands. I would take my children into the field and spread a blanket down in the fence corner and set them on it and leave them to amuse themselves while I followed the cradler—we always hired a man to cut our grain with a cradle and he was called the “cradler”—with a rake and raked the grain in bunches which my husband and I would follow and bind I remember of following through the fields all day long with a baby only three weeks old.

The game was plenty and wild turkeys would often come right up to our cabin and fight our turkeys.  Mr. Baker would often go out in the morning and kill a couple deer before breakfast. He killed a large amount of game but never wasted any time in hunting to any great extent although he was quite a hunter.  If he would see a flock of wild turkeys or some deer while laboring in the fields he would come to the house and get the gun and kill them after which he would return to his work. In this way he kept us supplied with game and still advanced his farming also.

A little girl was lost in the woods and they searched three days while she was compelled to spend three nights in the darkness.  I well remember how they built great fires around through the woods hoping to keep the wild animals from her. Her little dog was with her when she wandered into the thicket and stayed with her until it met its death in the clutches of the most ravenous of the animals which inhabited this country in the early days, the timber wolf.  She slept at nights by these large fires until she was finally found.

In 1869 or about that year we were just getting in better circumstances and the dawn of success just breaking upon him, to reward him for his hard labor and sacrifices, he [her husband George] was suddenly called to that great beyond.  In apparently good health he went to Hammansburg to plaster a house for a Mr. Rantz and was found dead in bed the next morning. The death of my husband was a most cruel blow leaving me with eight children and the farm to take care of. The outlook was not very pleasant for me, but I resolved that with the help of my children I would finish the task which my husband had worked so hard to forward this far.  I will not take the time and space to tell of the hardships and struggles through which I passed until my boys were large enough to take charge, but let it be suffice to say that they were many and of a most severe kind.

The country around us was becoming more thickly settled by this time and the life of the settler was made more pleasant with the advance of civilization.  We finally decided to further improve our now good-sized farm with a new house and which house still stands and is in use. We had up to this time lived in the cabin erected by my husband and myself on our first arrival.

After this, times became better and my children having complete charge of the farm, I decided to move to town.  In 1890 accompanied by my youngest child and a boy of my daughter’s I moved to North Baltimore. If I had stayed on the farm until June I would have spent fifty years there. I am now eighty years old and my memory I find can recall a great many incident that happened that I had almost entirely forgotten.

WOOD COUNTY MUSEUM TO BE FEATURED ON WBGU-TV

One of Ohio’s First Humanitarian Movements….


The Wood County Historical Museum will be featured on the latest episode of WBGU-TV’s program, The Journal. The air dates will be: Thursday, March 7 at 8:00 PM, Friday March 8 at 12:00 PM, Sunday, March 10 at 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM. The episode is also available online at wbgu.org and will go out to The Ohio Channel to PBS stations in Akron, Athens, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Kent, Toledo and Youngstown. 

Museum Director Kelli Kling, Curator Holly Hartlerode, and exhibit photographer Jeffrey Hall speak about the Museum’s newest exhibit, For Comfort & Convenience: Public Charity in Ohio by Way of the Poor Farm. The exhibit depicts Ohio’s earliest form of public charity, the poor farm, representing all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Historical documentation from many counties are featured, along with 120 modern-day photographs of each county taken by Jeffrey Hall over the last two years. This exhibit was made possible by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Humanities Council.

The Journal covers a wide range of important topics such as legislative, education, health and economic issues affecting our region. Steve Kendall, the voice of WBGU-TV, serves as The Journal’s dedicated host.

The museum will be open for self-guided tours Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM and weekends from 1 PM – 4 PM (closed on government holidays). Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, with discounts for seniors, students, and military. Historical Society members receive free admission as well as a gift shop discount. The museum offers free admission to all visitors on the first Friday of each month, courtesy of the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau. The museum is handicap accessible and group tours are welcome. 

In conjunction with the Poor Farm theme, a monument in the Wood County paupers’ cemetery will be dedicated on Saturday, April 6 from 2:00 PM-4:00 PM. The cemetery is located on the Wood County Historical Center’s grounds. 

All events detailed at woodcountyhistory.org or by following the Wood County Historical Museum on social media. The museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green. 

Ribbon Cutting Planned

GRAND OPENING EVENT PLANNED AT WOOD COUNTY MUSEUM

New Exhibit Opening:” For Comfort & Convenience: Public Charity in Ohio by Way of the Poor Farm”

A grand opening celebration for the new exhibit, For Comfort & Convenience: Public Charity in Ohio by Way of the Poor Farm, will take place on Friday, February 22 with a ribbon cutting at 4:45 PM followed by a public reception and self-guided tours from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Exhibit photographer Jeffrey Hall will share remarks at 6:00 PM about his 5,000 mile journey to Ohio’s poor farm sites. This event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit depicts Ohio’s earliest form of public charity, the poor farm, by representing all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Historical documentation shared from many counties can be seen within diorama-style exhibits, along with 120 modern-day photographs of each county taken by local photographer Jeffrey Hall over the last two years.


This exhibit was made possible by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Humanities Council.

The museum will be open for self-guided tours Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM and weekends from 1 PM – 4 PM (closed on government holidays). Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, with discounts for seniors, students, and military. Historical Society members receive free admission as well as a gift shop discount. The museum offers free admission to all visitors on the first Friday of each month, courtesy of the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau. The museum is handicap accessible and group tours are welcome.  

All events detailed at woodcountyhistory.org or by following the Wood County Historical Museum on social media. The museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green. 

NB Pioneer Days Series IV:  A First-Person Account

Interesting Pioneer Sketches of the Lack of Religious Services in Pioneer Days


NB Pioneer Days Series IV:  A First-Person Account

By Tom Boltz and North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, George W. Wilkinson, the editor of the North Baltimore Beacon, encouraged elderly local residents to write about their experiences in the settling of Henry Township and the founding of North Baltimore, Ohio.  He published their letters in a series of articles which he titled “Interesting Pioneer Sketches.”

The following article was written by William Evilsizer (born 1816–died 1905).  It describes the religious life of pioneer families. This article is directly transcribed from the North Baltimore Beacon of October 18, 1901.

Interesting Pioneer Sketches of the Lack of Religious Services in Pioneer Days

William Evilsizer

Editor Beacon:  The pioneer or first settlers of this part of the state had their privations not only of temporal conveniences but the spiritual welfare was poorly provided for as far as human agencies are concerned.  The churches were scarce and far removed from each other. Those who came from other settlements where preaching was weekly and commodious places of worship provided for their comfort, realized for the first time that it was no small matter to be deprived of the means of grace.  There was but one house of worship in Vanburen in 1850 and a small frame church on the farm of Jacob Dirk.

I was about to leave the county because of society and the mud and water.  I went to Vanburen and bought 10 bushels of corn and paid $7 for it. It took me from noon to dark to get home on account of the mud.  I was determined to leave the country, but my horse died.

(Photo not original to this story – Ed.)

There was preaching at Levi Tarr’s place two or three times in the summer by the Church of God’s minister.  In the fall of 1849 a preacher came and wanted a preaching place. I was living in a double log house and, taking out my furniture, I gave him the use of one end of the house.  He commenced holding a protracted effort in December and all the people in the neighborhood attended. The people came carrying lanterns and hickory bark torches and it being good sleighing about all the time of the meetings, many came from a distance.  There were some very unruly ones. John Lewis had to stand by the window with a revolver in his hand watching his team. This meeting continued six weeks and after a few nights’ preaching the people began to come forward and seek religion, many tried to see who could spit the most tobacco juice when they began to come forward to the mourner’s bench and the preacher had to tell them that folks didn’t want to go to heaven through a flood of tobacco juice.  There were plenty of dogs in the congregation. When the preacher would speak in a loud tone one cur persisted in stepping before him and barking. Charles Grant took him by the fore-leg and carried him out over the people’s heads. We could say with Jacob “Surely God is in this place.” Our meeting resulted in the conversion of thirty-seven and a class of thirty-six was organized.

I spent the winter season largely in hunting and killed a good many deer and turkeys.  There were no roads in the county except the Otsego pike and the road from Findlay to Perrysburg.

ROARING 20s GALA FUNDRAISER

Fundraiser Blends 1920s History with Holiday Festivities………………


Relive the Jazz Age at a Roaring 20s Gala Fundraiser at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum, 13660 County Home Rd. in Bowling Green on Saturday, December 1 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

Come together at this annual event to enjoy the ritzy festivities of a speakeasy with 1920’s-inspired hors d’oeuvers, cocktails & mocktails, live music, and a holiday gift courtesy of the Historical Society Gift Shop.

There will also be a silent auction featuring a variety of themed Gift Baskets with local goodies from artists, merchants, and restaurants at the event. Some of the items include: a Zamboni ride & tickets to the Toledo Walleye, Glass Bowl from Toledo Museum of Art & a House Jazz Concert, courtesy of Jeffrey Halsey. An additional 50-50 raffle will also take place during the event.

Live entertainment will be provided by the BGSU Chamber Jazz Quartet.

The gala will take place throughout the museum, where visitors can have the last tour of the WWI exhibit “Over There! Send Word, the Wood County Boys are Coming!”  andThe Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County.”

Gala tickets are $60/person. For tickets, please call 419-352-0967 or purchase online at woodcountyhistory.org.

Event Gold Sponsors: Ed & Irma Wolf, Michael Penrod & Ken Housholder, and

Mike & Terri Marsh

 

THE 1918 SPANISH INFLUENZA STRIKES NORTH BALTIMORE

The flu came in three waves beginning in late 1918 and continuing until the spring of 1919…….


submitted by Margaret Bobb, NB Area Historical Society

Five percent of the world’s population died in the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic (H1N1 virus).  Approximately one-third of the world’s population (500 million people) became infected with the virus, and at least 50 million died worldwide with about 675,000 deaths in the United States.

The deaths began in the fall of 1918 in North Baltimore.  By December 5, Spanish influenza had taken the lives of twelve people.

The disease progressed very rapidly with some people feeling fine in the morning, sick at lunch and being dead by dinner.  Death certificates for those who died in N. Baltimore show that nearly all of the patients were under a doctor’s care for only a day or two.   Symptoms included high fever, difficulty breathing, and extreme aches and pains.  Some patients developed severe pneumonia and dark spots on their cheeks and turned blue before they died.

On October 18, 1918, North Baltimore Mayor Michael Roach issued a proclamation ordering that all saloons be closed until further orders, all businesses except drug stores be closed at 6 P.M. every day, public funerals were prohibited, people were not allowed to gather in crowds on sidewalks or business places, and burning leaves on streets was not allowed.

At the time of Mayor Roach’s proclamation there were about 300 cases of influenza in the community and three residents had already died.  All community schools were closed for an indefinite period of time to prevent the spread of the disease.  Doctors from Bowling Green, Findlay, Toledo, Hoytville, and Cygnet were called in to assist the local doctors due to a shortage of local medical professionals.  The only doctor who was able to treat patients at that time was Dr. Albert Henry.  Drs. Charles Cavett and Elmer Powell were in the service; Drs. Daniel Reddin and John Archer had come down with the disease themselves; and Dr. George Foltz had fractured his jaw bone when he was struck on the face by the crank of his automobile.  Even with assistance from doctors from surrounding communities there were still a large number of families who could not find a doctor to treat them.

Although most of the deaths worldwide from the influenza were people who were aged 20-40 and generally in good health, the average age of those who died in North Baltimore was 17 years.  Local deaths included infants/toddlers, teens, and young mothers and fathers with the first death (October 11) being 17 year old Howard Monthaven.  Monthaven passed away at the home of his parents on N. Tarr Street.   He was the second of four children in the family and his older brother, Horace, had been drafted.   Howard had operated the Hub Billiard Parlor in N. Baltimore for several years.  The funeral was held in his parent’s home with saloons and business places being closed during the funeral.

Other teens who died were:  Amos Ordway (age 19) who was a Hammansburg resident but died in the Columbia Hotel in North Baltimore, Tressa Swope (age 17), Frank Earlywine (age 19), and Mary Goodyear (age 15).

Three of the NB residents who died were infants or toddlers.    The first young child to be taken by the Spanish influenza was two year old Howard Sines.  Three days after Howard’s death, 16 month old Wilson Miller was taken, followed by 16 month old Gertrude Mundweiler.  Gertrude had been taken to a hospital in Toledo where she died; her mother, Lena, died of tuberculosis in January 1919.  Gertrude and her mother are buried together in Maplewood Cemetery.

Also included in those who died from the Spanish influenza were young fathers and mothers.  On October 16, Grover Cleveland Sines (age 32) died in his home on Summit Street.  He was the father of four children ages 10, 7, 4, and 2 and husband of Ethel who gave birth to their fifth child in eight months after Grover’s death.  His obituary states that two of his children were recovering from the influenza and two others were seriously ill—eleven days later his two year old son Howard died.  On October 22, Ada (Boyer) Simon died.  Ada was 28 years old and was the mother of Norman (age 5), and Frieda (age 10) and wife of Floyd.  On October 30 Georgia (Dick) McLaughlin (age 19) passed away.  She was survived by her husband of two years, Joseph and her 15 month old daughter, Marcelle.  The last death due to Spanish influenza was recorded on December 5, 1918 when 36 year old May (Williams) Sterling died.  May was survived by her husband Dallas.

The flu came in three waves beginning in late 1918 and continuing until the spring of 1919.  An article in the Weekly Beacon in late January 1919 stated:   “the flu has again struck and over 100 people are down with the malady.  About 50 pupils of the public schools are down.  Schools and business places will likely be closed soon to prevent further spread.”

Although additional cases of Spanish influenza were reported in North Baltimore in early 1919, no additional deaths occurred.   By the summer of 1919, the disease had disappeared worldwide and life in North Baltimore slowly returned to normal.

 

 

“The Bells of Peace”

What Is It All About? Read for information on Local NB plans……


The Bells of Peace Has Become the Major Armistice Day Remembrance in America

As of today, the NB Historical Center knows definitely that Holy Family, St. Luke’s and Village Hall will be ringing bells on Sunday (11/11/2018) @ 11 am.

If you know of any other churches or groups that want to participate, please let them know this:  The World War Commission is providing a downloadable certificate of participation that the NB Historical Center can complete and send to all who participate. Contact them by email–nboahs@nbpubliclibrary.org  or 419-257-2266 (or contact Margaret Bobb at 419-257-3579).

(Thank you to Margaret Bobb, NB Area Historical Society for this information)

What Is It All About?

What is the National Bell Tolling?

Bells of Peace: A National World War I Remembrance is a national tolling of bells to honor those who served in the Great War. The United States participated from 6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918.

Why should we toll the bells?
Tolling of bells is the traditional way to mark someone’s passing. On special national occasions, bells are tolled in honor of the fallen. 11 November is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended hostilities in World War I. In the war, 116,516 Americans died and over 200,000 were wounded.

When is the National Bell Tolling?
On Sunday, 11 November 2018 at 11:00 a.m. local time across the United States and its territories.

Where will the National Bell Tolling take place?
In communities, houses of worship, cemeteries, military installations, ships at sea–anywhere that Americans gather to honor their veterans.

Who is sponsoring the National Bell Tolling?
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is the sponsor. The Commission was created by Act of Congress in 2013 to honor, commemorate, and educate the public about American participation in World War I. The Pritzker Military Museum and Library, our founding sponsor, also endorses this event. Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion are partners, as are the National Cathedral and the Society of the Honor Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. State World War I commissions and other partners are encouraged to co-sponsor and publicize the event.

How can my community group participate?
At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, 11 November toll your bells slowly 21 times with a five-second interval between tolls. Groups that do not have bells can render the salute by other available means such as guns, cannons, rifles, and sirens. No bell? No worries. We are planning to create a special downloadable smartphone app that can be used privately or with public address systems.

Why is it important to toll the bells 21 times? 
The 21 tolls of the bell symbolize the nation’s highest honor. It is based on the 21-gun salute, whose origin is described here. We suggest you toll your bells 21 times and follow that with an individual toll for each veteran you wish to honor, stating their name before each toll. The ceremony could conclude with “Taps” or a solemn reading.

Where can I get more information?
At: www.ww1cc.org/bells. At this link, you will be able to find suggestions for songs, poems, and other content you can use for your community event. You can also upload photos, videos, and information about your event and find links to education and other World War I Centennial information.

A Look Back in Time: NORTH BALTIMORE IN WORLD WAR I

A North Baltimore man was the first Wood County serviceman to die in combat in World War I……


NORTH BALTIMORE IN WORLD WAR I

Vernon Wymer was the first Wood County serviceman to die in combat in World War I.  He was born in Galatea in 1900 to Charles and Ella Wymer and was living in North Baltimore when the United States entered the war against Imperial Germany.

Vernon Wymer, WW I

Vernon enlisted as a private in Company H, 2nd Infantry of the Ohio National Guard in July 1917 at Bowling Green, Ohio.

He trained with them until he was sent as a replacement to the American Expeditionary Force in France in early 1918.  He was then assigned to the 2nd United States Infantry Division as a rifleman with Company K, 23rd Infantry Regiment.

During the Second Battle of Marne, Private Wymer was killed on July 2, 1918 while his unit was attacking Germany army units holding the village of Vaux.

At the request of his family, Private Wymer’s body was returned to the United States for burial in 1921.  Several thousand people attended his funeral in North Baltimore.  He is buried in Weaver Cemetery, Bloom Township, Wood County beside his brother Gerald, who was killed in World War II.

Four other North Baltimore area residents also lost their lives in World War I either through disease or accident.  They are:

Charles B. Lawrence, Seaman 2nd Class, US Navy:  Lawrence died of Spanish influenza at the Naval Hospital of the Great Lakes on September 23, 1918 at age 25 years.  Surviving him were his parents Bassett and Nellie Lawrence.  Charles had attended Notre Dame University for 2 years prior to enlisting.  He is buried in Hough Cemetery.

John W. Weaver, Private, US Army.  Weaver died at Camp Forrest, Georgia on October 9, 1918 at age 27 years.  Surviving him were his parents Ichabod and Nancy Weaver.  He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery.

Howard W. Wrede, Yeoman 2nd Class, US Navy.   Wrede died of pneumonia caused by the Spanish influenza at the U. S. Naval Hospital in Norfolk, VA on October 13, 1918 at age 22 years.  Surviving him were his parents Albert and Minnie Wrede.  He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery.

Morris H. Neiman, 2nd Lieutenant, US Army.  Neiman died of pneumonia caused by the Spanish influenza at Camp Sherman (Chillicothe) on October 15, 1918 at age 28 years.  Surviving him were his parents Henry and Nettie; wife Helen; and 6-month-old daughter Betty Jean.   He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo.

submitted by Margaret Bobb, North Baltimore Area Historical Society

Bells of Peace

At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2018 the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will hold a nationwide tolling of bells known as Bells of PeacE: A WORLD WAR I REMEMBRANCE in memory of all those who gave their lives during World War I……


November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended hostilities in World War I.  In this war, 116,516 Americans died and over 200,000 were wounded.  Five young men from North Baltimore died in service of their country including 18 year old Vernon Wymer who was the first soldier killed in action from North Baltimore and Wood County.

At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2018 the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will hold a nationwide tolling of bells known as Bells of PeacE:  A WORLD WAR I REMEMBRANCE in memory of all those who gave their lives during World War I.  The tolling of bells serves as a reminder of the sacrifice and service of veterans of World War I, and all veterans.

American Legion Post 539 and the North Baltimore Historical Society invites the churches, schools, town hall, and individuals of North Baltimore to participate in this commemoration by tolling their bells at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2018.  Bells should be rung slowly 21 times with a five-second interval between tolls.  If you do not have a bell, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will be creating a special downloadable smartphone app that can be used privately or with public address systems.  It is suggested that you toll your bells 21 times and follow that with an individual toll for each man from N. Baltimore* who died during World War I, stating their name before each toll.

 

*WORLD WAR I CASUALTIES FROM NORTH BALTIMORE:

Vernon Arthur Wymer

Charles Bassett Lawrence

John H. Weaver

Howard William Wrede

Morris Henry Neiman

Contributed by Margaret Bobb, North Baltimore Historical Center (Thank You!)

“Sunburst” Shines on Main Street

Where else can you find this in North Baltimore?…


As you travel down Main Street be sure and check out the freshly painted sunburst over the entrance of the NBOAHS building (229 N. Main).  Thanks to the painting talent of Jim “Picasso” Kuhlman this special architectural feature has a new look.

Sunbursts were popular architectural symbols during the Victorian Era of the late 1800’s and were used as a symbol of prosperity.  Some architectural historians also think the full sunburst was used to represent the British Empire—“the sun never sets on the British Empire.”  The half sunburst/setting sun represents the decline of power and influence of the British Empire.

There are at least three other houses in North Baltimore that still have original sunburst architecture features.  Do you know their locations?

 

NBOAHS Bird Basket Raffle Winner Named

The winner of the Bird Themed Basket Raffle at the North Baltimore Historical Society Annual Fall Bazaar was…


The winner of the Bird Themed Basket Raffle at the North Baltimore Historical Society Annual Fall Bazaar was Celina Kuhlman of North Baltimore.

A big thank you to everyone who bought tickets!

HOW ANNA BRACY CHANGED MAIN STREET – The Great Fire of 1891

North Baltimore was a thriving community with twenty-three saloons in 1891. Although the town had passed laws regulating saloon operating hours, gambling, etc. these laws were loosely enforced. 


HOW ANNA BRACY CHANGED MAIN STREET
By Margaret Bobb
North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society

 Anna Caroline Harris was born on January 3, 1870 in Gilboa, Ohio.  Although her given name was Anna, her family and friends called her Nellie.   Anna’s father, Alexander Ruldolphus Harris was a farmer.   Her mother, Nancy Jane (Crawfis) Harris died six weeks after giving birth to her ninth child.  Anna was 10 years old when her mother died on October 20, 1880 and baby brother died on December 25, 1880.  She grew up on her father’s farm with her three brothers and four sisters.  Anna’s father remarried in 1882 and six half-sisters and two half-brothers were added to her already large family.

Anna married Andrew Duff Bracy in 1887 at the age of 17 and they raised six children (three boys and three girls).  Around 1890 the Bracy family moved to N. Baltimore where Duff Bracy was a farmer.  Four of their children: Forest (1893), Aetna (1895), August (1897), and Harriette (1900) were born in North Baltimore.

Beside raising her six children, Anna Bracy was a saloon owner.  Anna Bracy’s saloon was located on the west side of N. Main Street in the Dillinger Block [across from current LO8 Salon] and it was a popular place to buy beer and whiskey.  A large rectangular shed, which was formerly a bowling alley, behind the saloon was a popular place to gamble.

North Baltimore was a thriving community with twenty-three saloons in 1891. Although the town had passed laws regulating saloon operating hours, gambling, etc. these laws were loosely enforced.

However, Anna Bracy was frequently charged with selling alcohol to minors or selling outside of hours of operation set by the town.  She was also cited for keeping barrels of oil that were close to gas lights.

View of N. Main Street looking north in late summer 1891.

Here’s how Anna Bracy changed Main Street…

 On the night of October 30, 1891 there was a poker game going on in the gambling shed behind Anna Bracy’s saloon.  Around 11 o’clock a fight broke out and during the scuffle a coal oil lamp was knocked over which started a fire.  The shed behind the saloon was also the location where Mrs. Bracy stockpiled oil barrels.

Fortunately, a short time before the fire some of Bracy’s oil stockpile had been confiscated by town officials.  The men who were responsible for starting the fire disappeared into the night without reporting the fire.

A B&O railroad crew that was working near the depot noticed the fire and sounded the alarm.  The fire spread rapidly due to the brisk wind, drought conditions in the area, the wooden construction of most of the buildings, and other factors.

Although the Dillinger Block was constructed of brick, it was filled with highly flammable wood and other items.  Most of the saloons were built of local timber and heated by coal or wood burning stoves and lighted by kerosene or natural gas lamps.  In many cases whiskey was stored in wooden barrels and stove ash and smoking materials were handled carelessly.

Behind the Main Street businesses and along the alley business owners often built sheds, stables and fences, some of which were constructed from oil soaked wood from dismantled oil derricks.

In all, 17 businesses on the west side of the 100 block of N. Main were destroyed by the fire with two of them being saloons, including Anna Bracy’s.  The Henry Opera House was also damaged.

Twenty-four businesses on the east side of the street were destroyed, including ten saloons and the First National Bank on the north-east corner of N. Main and E. Broadway was damaged.

A view of N. Main Street shortly after the 1891 fire.

Most of the town’s businessmen began planning to rebuild almost immediately.  Some of the saloon keepers had purchased building supplies before the weekend was over.  As a result of the fire’s damage, town officials began to enforce already existing construction laws and very few new buildings were built of wood.  Rebuilding began almost immediately and by 1893 there was an entirely new look to Main Street, N. Baltimore.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910 the Bracy family moved to Butler, Michigan where Anna died on April 21, 1916.  Apparently Anna did not continue in the saloon business after moving to Michigan as her occupation is listed as “none” in the 1910 census.

A view of N. Main Street looking north from railroad tracks in 1899.

If you would like to know more about the fire of 1891, pick up a copy of North Baltimore’s Great Fire of 1891 written by Tom Boltz at the Historical Center ($8.00).