The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 – Part 1


Darrell E. Hamilton

       In 1904 the Chief-of-Police was required to report to the proper Federal authorities in Washington the amount of business done by the officers under him for the fourth quarter of 1904.
       In the last quarter of 1904 there were 1,044 arrests made. There were 104 arrests per patrolman as compared to 57 per patrolman in the city of Cleveland. It would have been interesting to obtain the arrest record a for 2004. However at the time of the writing of this article, the records were unavailable.
       The Ashtabula General Hospital on January 6, 1905 had a dozen patients in their care. An interesting note is that one patient was from Albion, Pennsylvania and another patient was Ashtabula County Prosecutor Taylor.
       An ad ran in the newspaper on January 9, 1905 for a girl to do general housework. The only qualification was that the girl had to be able to speak English.
       In Geneva Walter L. Main sold his circus for $120,000 which was headquartered in Geneva for many years. Mr. Main had been in the circus business for twenty-two years. Most of the people that worked for Mr. Main would retain their jobs with W. P. Hall of Lancaster Missouri, the new owner. Mr. Hall had not decided when or if he would move the circus to Missouri. A decision would be made in the spring.
        On January 17, 1905 near where the mall sits now, a driver of a meat wagon owned by John Austin made a fatal error. He turned his wagon into a driveway into the path of a trolley car. Motorman J. H. Bowman reversed the lever and applied the air brake but the shock of the meeting caused the air hose to burst and the car slid ahead into the wagon and horses. Both men in the wagon were injured along with the motorman. Both horses were instantly killed.
       A youngster named William Fulkerson was going down the path to the river valley, beneath the viaduct ( 46th Street Bridge, or for you old people like me, Spring Street Bridge). He came across a neatly wrapped package which he opened. Inside he found the body of a baby.
       He was advised to take it to the mayor in which he did. The baby was then turned over to the Chief-of- Police.
       The body was covered with powered lime and inclosed in a one pound candy box.
       On January 30, 1905 the Washington school building opened its doors for the first time for school children. The building was built at a cost of $19,989.86. The building contained five rooms on the first floor and five rooms on the second floor with cloak rooms. The huge basement also contained play rooms. The building also had forced air heat which was unusual as most new school building of that period heated with boilers.
       The Washington School building replaced three rental properties that the Harbor Special School District used for schools. One of the buildings replaced was the Swedish school house. Eight rooms were used on opening day for grades first through the fifth grade.
       Well children of Washington Elementary, you have a reason for a celebration at your school. Say a prayer for the old school that Sunday and save a piece of cake for me.
       One of Ashtabula’s largest manufactures was the Worsted Mills. It was a clothing manufacture which had only been located in Ashtabula for three years. The company employed 235 people and was a major supplier of clothing for the East coast.
       On February 7, 1905 Dr. Dwight Case died after sustaining a fall while on a house call. At fifty-eight he was the oldest physician in Ashtabula. Dr. Case was born in Windsor on December 16, 1846. He graduated Western Reserve Medical College at the age of twenty-three after attending Oberlin College.
       His office was located at the corner of Center and Park Streets. No one alive can remember Dr. Dwight Case. However some of you may remember his son, Dr. Clarence Case who practiced medicine in the same building. He took over the practice after his father died.
The Case Building - Picture is courtesy of Mike Penna.
       The Case Building later on became the office for Dr. Reginald W. Shelby whom practiced medicine in the building for many years. Hopefully Dr. Shelby will become one of my subjects for my biography column.
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 – Part 2
Darrell E. Hamilton

      In 1905 there were no high school yearbooks for the public high schools in Ashtabula County. It would not be until 1908 before the first high school yearbook would be published at Ashtabula High School. However group pictures were taken of the various classes at the high schools. In February of 1905 group pictures were taken of the various classes at the front steps of Ashtabula High School (Park Avenue Building). Seniors also had there pictures taken and exchanged pictures just as they do today. If you or anyone you know are in possession of any of theses photographs, please get in contact with me.

       In 1905 ice skating was a very popular in Ashtabula County. Even with the girls who wore dresses and coats that almost touched the ice, ice skating was very popular with them. Many romances were started on ice skates that sometimes ended with marriages.
       For the boys it was twofold. Ice skating had became so popular with them that hockey became the new raging sport in Ashtabula County. Hockey teams were organized in hopes that other towns would organize hockey teams.
       The Kingsville pond became the main “playing field” for the teams. The pond was illuminated with forty light bulbs for night play long before any Ashtabula County football field was illuminated.
       In February of 1905 plans for a lift bridge for the Harbor was already in the works. A model “The Cowing Patent Lift Bridge” was on display in E. H. Burrill’s store show window on Bridge Street.
       The model was built for the St. Louis Exposition and took first for this kind of Bridge.  The model was constructed as to lift from each side. It would not be until the early 1920’s until an actual lift bridge would be constructed at the Harbor.
        In March of 1905 a former Ashtabula county resident, General Adna R. Chaffee, was the grand marshal of the inaugural ceremonies for President Theodore Roosevelt. General Chaffee was born in Windsor Township and was schooled in Ashtabula County. He later attended West Point.
       On March 7, 1905 the Pennsylvania Road House on West Avenue was destroyed by fire. Two locomotives were severely damaged by the fire. If it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of the employees, many more locomotives would have been destroyed.
       The exact cause of the fire could not be determined. Many large oil containers exploded turning the building into a mass of twisted steel and partially consumed timbers.
       Within two days the Pennsylvania Railroad officials had signed a contract for the erection of a new engine house and work had been commenced. The work was to be completed in thirty days.
       With the event of rural mail delivery, many rural post offices were being discontinued. As was with the case of Saybrook Post Office, it was closed permanently on March 15, 1905.
       In Jefferson sixteen out of twenty-four divorce cases were dismissed. It was a lot more difficult to obtain a divorce at the turn of the century than today. If the parties didn’t have a valid excuse for a divorce, then the divorce was denied. It many instances the judge told the parties to go home and kiss and make up. In one case that I ran across in my research, the judge actually made the parties kiss and make up in front him. I suppose in those days the judges acted also acted as a marriage councilor.
       In Colorado Jesse F. McDonald was elected governor. Jesse McDonald was born and raised in the City of Ashtabula. He was schooled in the Ashtabula City Schools. His sister, Anna McDonald, taught school for some time in the Ashtabula Schools.
       At the age of twenty-one Jesse and his two brothers left Ashtabula to seek their fortunes out West. Their fortunes were obtained as Jesse became known as a mining expert. Before becoming governor, Jesse was the mayor of Leadville, Colorado.
       The McDonalds of Ashtabula would also become one of the more prominent people of Ashtabula but that is another story.
       At the turn of the century there were no homeless shelters, welfare or any other kind of assistance unless the assistance came from a church or perhaps the Salvation Army. However neither one could supply lodging. In the winter months, hobos could count on the city jail for lodging and at least one free meal. They didn’t have to commit a crime. All they had to do was to ask and it was given.
       However this practice was very expensive to maintain for the city. It was decided by the city that the hobos would be obliged to earn their free board and meals by cleaning the streets and shoveling coal at the hospital.
       The Ashtabula City owned electric company had a net profit of $8,647.28.

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 3

Darrell E. Hamilton
       If you have been following my column, you should know that the first automobile purchased in Ashtabula was a Milwaukee steam carriage. The buyer of the automobile was Charles L. Scrivens. In June of 1902 the first Automobile ad from a local dealer was ran in the Beacon by the (Charles L.) Scrivens’ Cycle Store.
       Charles Scrivens decided two years later to move to Cleveland and purchase a drug store and ice cream manufactory on Euclid Avenue. He sold his business in Ashtabula to Charles Williams. Within two years Williams went bankrupt. Charles Scrivens purchased his old business and stock out of the bankruptcy sale. Scrivens then sold his business in Cleveland to his brother.
       The bicycle shop that Charles Scrivens purchased back in the bankruptcy sale, he had opened on March 1, 1892. Charles was quoted as saying that he had missed Ashtabula and had wanted to move back. The bankruptcy auction was his excuse to move back to Ashtabula.
       What poor Charles didn’t know was that there is a giant magnate underneath Ashtabula several hundred feet deep that draws people back to Ashtabula. The magnate only affects certain people. Some of you that have been afflicted with this phenomena know what I am talking about.
       Charles reopened his bicycle shop. In addition to the bicycle business he handled automobiles, a full line of professional and amateur photographers’ supplies and talking machines that he brought from his store in Cleveland.
       With the re-opening of his bicycle shop, Charles decided to sell the Cadillac automobile. Thus Charles became the fist Cadillac dealership in the county. He also became the first dealership in the county to run an automobile ad with the picture of the automobile.

The first automobile ad that ran for a local dealership in Ashtabula County.

       His dealership was located on Main Avenue which amazingly a Cadillac dealership is still located on Main Avenue.
       With that bit of information uncovered, you’d think that Nassief Cadillac would give me a new Cadillac Escalad. No? How about the use of one for a year? A test drive? Maybe Mr. Nassief would let come by on a Sunday afternoon when they are closed and let me touch the Cadillac emblem on one? Better yet, do you think that Todd would sell me a new Cadillac for what they sold for a hundred years ago?
       Well, so much for my dream vehicle. I suppose I’d better get back to reality and 1905.
       The Ashtabula City owned the electric company had a net profit of $8,647.28 for 1904. This was quite a profit in 1905. Even at that some people were very skeptical.
       Electric in the home was used almost exclusively for lighting in 1905. There were no radios in 1905 and every major appliance was operated by hand from the washing machine to the talking machine.
       Gas was cheaper to light a house than electric. Some people felt that the municipal “light” company would be put out of business by the gas company. Even with new inventions for the use of electricity, some people thought that the city shouldn’t own its own electric company. Even with profits of twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars of month, in the early 1920’s, members of the Socialist party along with help from our current charter, convinced the council to eventually sell the city owned electric company. However that is another story.
       The Second Congregational Church on Lake Avenue opened its doors for the first services in the new building on March 19, 1905. The church building cost $17,410 to build. Formal dedication services would be held in a few weeks.
       An article was run on a former Ashtabula resident, Frank Cooper who later became a resident of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Frank had started out as a type setter for the Ashtabula Sentinel when it was still located in the Village of Ashtabula in 1844 at age nineteen. Frank ended up in Black River Falls and after sixty-one years he still worked as a type setter even though he ended up being half owner of the Jackson County Banner in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
       An interesting note is that Bill Naskali will be with the Star Beacon for fifty-one years on March 31.
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 4
Darrell E. Hamilton
       In April of 1905 an automobile became stuck in the mud on South Main Street. The automobile was blocking the street car tracks. Several men tried to push the automobile out of the way but were unable to. Finally a line was attached to the street car to the automobile and the automobile was pulled out of the mud.
       If you have been reading my articles with regularity, you should remember that the very first automobile ever towed in Ashtabula was by a horse. I suppose that would have been poetic justice.
       On April 29, 1905 the South Main Street sewer project was finished. The people on South Main finally had sewers.
       On May 2, 1905 the Ashtabula Telephone Company announced that there were 1, 545 telephones in commission in Ashtabula.
       In May of 1902 the R. S. Griswold and the Dunbar & Hopkins Greenhouse plants announced they were expanding. Ashtabula would become the greenhouse capital of the world. The biggest output of the greenhouses was lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers in that order. In a two week period over 25,000 baskets of vegetables were shipped to Pittsburgh alone.
       In May of 1905 Jones Street was changed to Grove Avenue. I. B. Read had petitioned the city council to change the name because he had purchased several lots on the street and was in the process of building several houses and developing the street. He thought that the sell of the houses`` would go smoother if the street was named Grove instead of just plain “Jones”.
       In May of 1905, the telephone company devised a scheme to make rats work for them.
       The subterranean tubes for the reception of the cables having been laid, a rat is let loose at the starting point. Having run a little way, a trained ferret, with a string to his leg, is turned in after him. The tubes run into manholes at intervals, and the rat, furtively glancing back, sees the glaring eyes of his arch foe rapidly approaching. By the end of the section of tube the rat is either overtaken or falls into the manhole, and then another rat is requisitioned to run the next block. At the end of each section the string is removed from the ferret’s leg and a small rope, which is then attached to the end of the string, is hauled through.
       The scheme was supposed to have been tried in Ashtabula apparently without success as the scheme was never mentioned again in the newspaper.
       After many accidents involving horses and automobiles, the State of Ohio passed a law that an automobile had to come to a stop and shut off their vehicle if the driver of a wagon or buggy put his hand up to stop the automobile.
       The law also specified that an automobile speed limit be twenty miles an hour on the highways and eight to fifteen miles an hour in the cities.
       The fine for violation of either one of these laws would be from five to fifty dollars. Another interesting note is that all fines collected would go to the schools where the offense occurred.
       On May 17, 1905 in Rock Creek the First National Bank of Rock Creek was organized with a capital of fifty thousand dollars.
       An order by the War Department to remove the old “Swing Bridge” at the Harbor was ignored by the City of Ashtabula and the county commissioners. The bridge was supposed to have been removed by May 15, 1905. On May 20 Col. Dan Kingman came down from Cleveland to inspect the work and found the “Swing Bridge” still in operation.
       The War Department had stated that the bridge deprived the port from large ships and deprived the county of countless thousands every season. The case would go to court. Stay tuned.
       In April of 1905 builders John M. Seymour and Walter S. Wilkerson proposed a thoroughfare between Samuel and Nathan Streets, maybe further, for the purpose of building lots for new homes. The property was purchased from Frank Babbit and contained five and one-fourth acres. The allotment was to contain twenty-nine building lots. The street was to be named Perryville Avenue.
       So when the residents of Perryville Avenue have a block party this summer for the centennial of their street, please save a piece of cake for me!
       1905 will extended longer than the usual four parts. Since this is the centennial year for many events that happened in Ashtabula County in 1905, I’ve decided to elaborate a little more on 1905. If you have any comments, suggestions or contributions, please get in contact with me. All of my articles with additional pictures are on the web site at www.
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 5
Darrell E. Hamilton
       The Ashtabula County Field Day Meet was held on May 30, 1905. The meet was held every year since 1895 at the Fair grounds in Jefferson. The Ashtabula High School Panthers won the meet with Geneva High School coming in a close second.
       Some of the winners of the meet were Leggett, Ashtabula High School, 100 yard dash – 10.4 seconds; Harvey, Ashtabula High School, discus throw – 104 ft. 6 ½ in; Leggett, Ashtabula High School, 220 yard dash - 23.5 seconds; Bishop, Geneva High School, running high jump - 5 ft. 4 inches; and Van Orman, Rock Creek High School, running broad jump – 18 ft. 8 ½ inches.
       New Lyme won the previous year with Jefferson winning the meet in 1903.
       Memorial Day was the grand opening day Woodland Beach Park. Woodland Beach Park was located where the present Pinney Dock is located right next to Lake Shore Park.
       Woodland Beach Park drew people from all over Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York and sometimes further. About sixteen hundred people arrived on two excursion trains from New Castle and Pittsburgh alone to enjoy a day at Woodland Beach Park.
       The Ashtabula Harbor broke its own record for the most ore received in a port in one month. For the month of May 1905 the Harbor received 914,041 tons of ore. The Harbor also had 228 ships visit her port for the month of May.
       In June of 1905 high schools from around the county held commencement exercises. Ashtabula had a graduating class of twenty-two while Geneva had a graduating class of twenty. Having a high school diploma at the turn of the century was about equal to having a two year college education in 2005. In some cases it would be equal to a four year college degree of today. A prime example of this is that you did not need a college education to teach school at the turn of the century.  
       The graduating class of 1888 held a reunion which was to become an annual affair. The reunion was held at a classmate’s home on Center Street. Every one of the classmates showed up for the reunion except one. The late Lena Campbell was unable to come to the reunion because of death.
       Times have sure changed. The class of 1969, Ashtabula High School has twenty-four departed classmates (twenty-five if you count the high school) which out number the entire class of 1888. I think that we had more classmates attended from out of town that actually lived in the city. If we could had the percentage the class of 1888 had, we would had almost three hundred classmates alone attend.
       By the way, Ashtabula High School is not dead. It is only sleeping! It will live in the hearts of all of us. Enough said.
       In June of 1905 George Amsden and Rufus Van Voast of Ashtabula graduated medical school to become medical doctors. Amsden graduated Harvard while Van Voast graduated Yale.
       Also C. Stuart Mygatt graduated the dental department of Western Reserve University.
       Judge Theodore Hall expired on June 16, 1905. Judge Hall was a judge in Ashtabula County for the common pleas bench and a former city solicitor for the City of Ashtabula for five years.
       Judge Hall was born in Ashtabula on August 29, 1838. Hew attended Allegheny College and in 1860 he began reading law in the office of the late Judge Sherman. He was admitted to the bar in 1861 and began practicing in Ashtabula County. Judge Hall’s brother and son were also attorneys.
       Judge Hall’s funeral was held at his home on Prospect with J. P. Ducro being in charge of the funeral. He was “cosigned to the earth” at Chestnut Grove Cemetery.
       Many times I will go to a cemetery and try to find a grave of someone that I wrote about or would write about. I have walked every foot of Chestnut Grove Cemetery. I’ve been there at all different times of day including dusk. So far I have not encountered any ghosts. I wish I would have met some ghosts. The first thing I would have done was to interview them. Can you imagine the history they could share?
       Well, I’ve become side tracked again!
       The Beacon-Record as it was called in 1905 was beginning to take a more modern kind of look. In the past classified ads were placed at random throughout the newspaper. Classified ads now were placed in a heading of their own. Even though there were only five classifications, help wanted, for sale, for rent and business opportunities were a lot easier to find. Even the legal notices looked very similar to today’s legal notices.
       However I have also noticed that more and more obituaries resemble the obituaries of 1905. Before the Star Beacon started charging for full obituaries, most obituaries seemed to be cut and dry. Now a lot of the obituaries seem to be more “poetic”.  
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 6
Darrell E. Hamilton
       On June 22, 1905 the Twentieth Century Limited while running at a speed of about sixty miles ran into an open switch in Mentor, Ohio. The engine left the rails and plowed up the ground in front of it. Two coaches following it were crushed and took fire.
       The train was eastbound and was traveling at a high rate of speed. At the time Mentor had a population of less than one thousand and the Twentieth Century Limited did not stop at Mentor.
       The result was fifteen people were badly injured and eight people were killed. Among the dead was the engineer, Allen Tyler, of Collinwood, Ohio. The fireman was so badly injured that he was not expected to survive as with at least a half a dozen other people.
       Four days later a train jumped the tracks at the Ashtabula Harbor with two cars going into the river. An Italian by the name of Frank Morara was severely injured in the six car pileup.
       On July 15, 1905 George Orr, age 35, a book binder, whose home was in Franklin, Pa. was killed just west of the Lake Shore depot at Kingsville. Apparently George Orr had fallen from a train.
       The body was so terribly mangled so as to be almost unrecognizable.
       The following is a word for word description of the body from the Beacon-Record. I am suggesting that if you have a weak stomach, skip the following paragraph. I also suggest that you do not read the following paragraph at the breakfast table.
       “The head, both arms and both legs were cut off and the vitals and bones were torn from the body and limbs in a manner almost unbelievable. The head was found wedged in a crossing frog so tight that a sharp instrument was required to dislodge it. The trunk lay a little further on and the liver and one lung were several feet from the body while the heart lay fully three hundred feet from the head. The bones of the skull were forced from that member and the bones of legs were similarly dissected. The face was not disfigured greatly except for the opening at one side where the bones were forced out.”
       The remains were discovered by a Swedish tramp sailor by the name of Frederickson who was on his way to the Ashtabula Harbor. The accident had just recently happened as some of the organs were still warm. Papers on the torso help identify the man. Even though he was from Franklin, Pa., he was well known at the Kingsville Presbyterian and Prospect Presbyterian churches. He was unmarried.
       One hundred years ago the railroad was the most popular means of travel for people and freight.
       The total number of people killed for the fiscal year of 1905 in the United States was 3,798. Of that number 537 were passengers. Someone almost every day of the year was injured or killed in Ashtabula County by a train.
       The railroad was a way of life in Ashtabula one hundred years ago. Many times it was a way of death.
        Gossip papers could have not been very successful a hundred years ago in the United States.
       The local newspapers across America were not very discreet. The newspapers not only printed divorce cases but why and the actual words that were stated during the court proceedings not matter what was said with the exception of four letter words.
       Obituaries were usually printed in detail no matter what the person died of. Today obituaries in most newspapers are a little more discreet. Suicides were usually printed in detail. Today most suicides are not mentioned unless a person is well known.
       If it were not for the Beacon-Record printing almost in detail the happening at the turn of the century, I would have never known who bought the first automobile in Ashtabula and the make of the automobile. I can also tell you the names of people who bought the first twenty automobiles in Ashtabula, probably more. I have found the first automobile accident, the first speeding ticket, the first automobile dealership, the first woman to buy an automobile in the Ashtabula County and what was the top selling automobile in Ashtabula County in 1905. However that is another story and some of my findings might surprise you.
       The Ashtabula Township board of Education met on June 26, 1905 and voted that the Bunker Hill School and the school territory associated with it be transferred to the Ashtabula City school district.

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 7

Darrell E. Hamilton
       On Sunday July 2, 1905 Miss Vera Cook and Don Anderson eloped and were married in Ripley, New York. The bride was but sixteen years old. There was no mention of the groom’s age but he was employed by the Ashtabula Hide and Leather. Most times the groom was of legal age but the bride was not.
       The couple had told their friends and family that they were going to Conneaut on the trolley car to visit friends. However once they reached Conneaut, the couple boarded a train to Ripley, New York.
       Niagara Falls did not become the honeymoon capital by accident. A girl only had to be sixteen and a boy only had to be eighteen to be married in New York State without the parents consent. Therefore hordes of young couples flocked to New York State to get married.
       Since Ripley was the closest city in New York State to Northeastern Ohio, Ripley, New York became a common marriage grounds for many couples before the legal limit for marriage was lowered in Ohio in the 1970’s.
       Both set of my wife’ grandparents (Brumagin-Curtis and Mongenel-Smith) were married in Ripley, New York. If your ancestors have lived in Northeastern Ohio very long, chances are you have a relative that was married in Ripley, New York.
       One interesting note is that a bridal shower at the turn of the century was called a kitchen shower. In September of 1905, Miss Orpha Harmon of North Ridge East gave a kitchen shower for Mary Crozier of Conneaut.
       On July 3, 1905 the Ashtabula General Hospital had been opened for a year. The first annual report of the hospital for the year ending July 1, 1905 was submitted. The number of patients admitted during the year was 243.  Amazing enough 196 patients were male while only 47 were of the dominate tribe (female).
       It surely looks like the writing on the wall was there at least a hundred years ago. Of course single men wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.
       To celebrate the occasion the hospital had lawn-fete with Japanese lanterns and a carnival. A queen for the lawn fete was also chosen.
       The preceding paragraphs were the good news for the hospital. The bad news is that within a year’s time the hospital was already over crowded.
      The capacity of the hospital was taxed and then overtaxed. The hospital capacity when built was for thirty patients. However officials thought that it would be many years before that space would be needed. The hospital only had beds for twenty-four patients. The extra rooms were not ready to accommodate any patients.
       When the capacity reached twenty-nine, beds, cots and mattresses on the floor were set up in the hallways.
       When the capacity reached thirty-four, something that was done that might surprise a lot of you especially anyone interested in the history of the Ashtabula General Hospital.
       Not only were nurses imported from Cleveland to help intern physician Dr. S. H. Burroughs and the already overworked nurses at the hospital, the old Emergency Hospital was opened up again for patients in September of 1905.
       A lot of the history that was written of the hospital states that the old Emergency Hospital was forgotten and soon torn down. This is not so according to the Beacon Record. The old Emergency Hospital had admitted two patients.  Before the old hospital breathed her last, she would admit others and would serve in another capacity.
       On July 4, 1905 little Bernice Logan, two and one-half year daughter of Mr. Mrs. John Logan, was killed by a street car in front of her Bridge Street residence.
       The family was having supper when the little girl wondered out onto the street to play with some children. When the street car came down Bridge Street, all the children got away from the tracks including little Bernice Logan. However little Bernice had ran to the opposite side where her house sat. She then decided to run back across the tracks to her house.
       Little Bernice did not make it back across the tracks. The motorman dropped the guard and tried to stop the car but the grade and the load made it impossible to stop. The little girl was stuck, knocked down and ran over with her head being completely severed from the body.
       On July 5, 1905 Victor Latimer purchased a new Cadillac from the Charles Scrivens auto dealership.
       In 1905 there were one hundred and four licensed milk dealers in the city of Ashtabula.

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 8

Darrell E. Hamilton
       On June 12, 1905 the cornerstone of the old First Methodist Church was removed and a lead box was removed from the cornerstone that had been deposited forty five years ago. Inside the lead box were many paper documents which included a bible, local newspapers of 1860, historical documents of the church and many other documents associated with the church. The lead box had been sealed with solder and the documents inside the box were almost were almost in a perfect state of preservation. Those items along with new items would be placed in a copper box in the new church on Elm Street.
       June 29, 1905 the cornerstone was laid for the Gillmore-Smith Church (First Methodist Church).
       On Saturday July 1, 1905, workmen went to work on the new Methodist church and discovered the marble slab had been removed from the stone that contained the leaden box from the old church cornerstone. During the night someone had removed the old box, cut it open and taken all the contents with the exception a few publications of earlier days.
       Nothing of real monetary value was inside the box. As far as my research has taken me, the items were never recovered.
       The Kingsville Centennial officially opened with church services on the morning of July 2, 1905 at the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. On Sunday afternoon a Union service was held in the Park.
       On Tuesday many local politicians were on hand to greet people and to give speeches. That evening many historical sketches were given on the different time periods of Kingsville. Later that evening reunions were held at the Kingsville High School.
       On the morning of July 4, 1905, the final day of the celebration, many sporting events were held which included a greased pig contest. A concert by the West End Band of Ashtabula started the evening activities. Music was also furnished by the Pierpont Band and the McNutt Martial Band. A chorus under the direction of Mrs. F. A. Brooks also performed.
       On July 5, 1905 the very first automobile accident on Main Street occurred. Victor D. Latimer came around the corner of Spring Street (West 46th Street) onto Main Street when Frank Cunningham was attempting to turn down Spring Street with the Stroll House baggage wagon. They could not avoid each other in time to prevent a collision. Luckily no one was seriously hurt and no major damage was done to the wagon or the new Cadillac.
       If you read last week’s article, you should remember that Mr. Latimer had just purchased the Cadillac on the same day of the accident.
       Another amazing fact that I have found is that the Cadillac was the number one selling automobile in New York and Ashtabula County.
       You may remember my article when Charles Scrivens purchased his business back through a bankruptcy auction. The man, whom had purchased the business, a Mr. Williams, acquired a Ford dealership. However I could not find that Mr. Williams had ever sold a Ford automobile before he went bankrupt. Mr. Scrivens choose not to sell the Ford but opted to sell Cadillac, Autocar and the Packard automobiles instead. Of the three automobiles, Cadillac was the lowest priced automobile selling between $750 to $950.
       The annual report of vital statistics for Ashtabula County for the year ending March 31, 1905 was released on July 27, 1905.
       There were 896 births in Ashtabula County which was the same in 1904. Of the total 492 were white males, 403 were white females and only one colored male child was born.
       There were 551 deaths in 1905. 317 were white males, five were colored males, 227 were white females and two were colored females.
       There were 64 new citizens in Ashtabula County acquired by naturalization. I was surprised to find that most of the new citizens were not from Italy or Sweden. Of the 64 total, Forty-four were from Russia while Italy, Sweden and Norway had only five each.
       July 29th must have been a slow news day for the Beacon-Record. Under the heading of “Harbor and Marine” was the following statement: “A wild rabbit was seen running across Columbus Street Saturday morning.”
       If any of the Columbus Avenue residents see a wild rabbit crossing your street, make sure you phone the Star-Beacon!

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 9

Darrell E. Hamilton
       George Brockway in his shop on Spring Street was busy shoeing two oxen. The Beacon-Record stated that the last time an oxen had been shoed in these parts was when the late A. I. Buck of Eagleville made a specialty of shoeing cattle and oxen and were brought from remote parts to be shoed.
       The animals Brockway shoed weighed 3,700 pounds and took eight shoes each to shoe the cleft-footed oxen.
       The first “flat” or apartment building ever erected in Ashtabula was erected in 1905 by N. P. Robinson.
       I could not find a N. P. Robinson in any of the city directories and any of the historical archives readily available to me. I am inclined to think the name should have been M. C. Robinson. Hopefully I will have this verified before my book on the complete history of Ashtabula is published.
       Never the less, the apartment building was three stories tall and contained nine apartments. It was located off Park Avenue behind the Masonic Temple. It stood until the early 1950’s when it was a razed to make a bigger parking lot for Carlisle-Allen department store.
       The Alpha Apartments were the first apartment building built in Ashtabula. The apartments were located on Park Avenue just behind the Masonic Temple. The picture was taken in the early 1900's.
       Mrs. Mary Campbell died at the home of her daughter Mrs. Elmer Osburn on July 25, 1905. She was sixty-eight years old and was born in Canada. She had come to Ashtabula thirty-five years prior to her death.
       So what makes this woman notable to be mentioned in the history of Ashtabula? 
       Mary Campbell was at the train depot on the night of December 29, 1876. She was waiting for the train to start for Jefferson when the bridge collapsed with a train loaded with passengers. With the screaming of women and children in the valley, she wasted no time in going to their aid. She was the very first woman on the scene of the train disaster. If it had not been for Mary, many more victims would have been buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery. Mary Campbell deserves to be remembered in Ashtabula history.
       On July 29, 1905 the very first Oldsmobile ad appeared in an Ashtabula County newspaper. The ad was for S. E.  Gaskell & Son. They were the first Oldsmobile agents for Ashtabula County. Silas and George Gaskell first sold the Oldsmobile out of their shoe store on Main Ave. I wonder if you got a free pair of shoes if you bought an Oldsmobile. Don’t laugh. It was common for retailers at the turn of the century to give away free items for a purchase of a larger item. Usually the items they gave away were well worth receiving.
       On July 29, 1905 the very first Oldsmobile ad appeared in an Ashtabula County newspaper. The ad was for S. E.  Gaskell & Son. They were the first Oldsmobile agents for Ashtabula County. Silas and George Gaskell first sold the Oldsmobile out of their shoe store on Main Ave. I wonder if you got a free pair of shoes if you bought an Oldsmobile. Don’t laugh. It was common for retailers at the turn of the century to give away free items for a purchase of a larger item. Usually the items they gave away were well worth receiving.
       A “dog” ordinance passed in July of 1905 that by city council was probably needed. It provided that anyone who allows a dog to run at large in the city shall be subject to a fine of not more than ten dollars and that all dogs in all places shall be muzzled between July 1 and October 1; that officers shall pick up dogs running at large advertise for owners, and if not called for in ten days, shoot them.
       The ordinance became effective with the legal publication on July 29, 1905.
       What was appalling was the way the Police of Chief interrupted the ordinance and the way the council sat back and did nothing.
       I am a certified animal lover. Anyone who knows me personally knows this to be true. Our dog was seventeen when she died. I took her death worse than some of my relatives when they died. Hey, she didn’t owe me any money! However the following paragraphs prove that the good old days weren’t always so good.
       The council ordered the police to enforce the ordinance.
       The police chief made the statement that any dog found running at large without a muzzle is liable to sudden death.
       The policemen would canvass the neighborhoods looking for dogs without muzzles. It did not matter whether the dog was with his master or not. Even if the owner stated that his dog did not bite, the policeman would shoot the dog while the owner was standing there.
       The very first day eight dogs were systematically murdered. The newspaper states the dogs were sent to dog heaven. “Murdered” is my word. By August 13, four days after the first dog was shot, twenty dogs were had been killed.
       At one point a policeman drove a wagon while two policemen sat in the back of the wagon with shot guns. They would shot any dog without a muzzle. While going down North Main Street, the policemen in the wagon came up on a rig occupied by an Italian and his two dogs without muzzles. One of the dogs was immediately shot and killed. The Italian immediately took off saving his remaining dog.
       The systematically killing went on close to two months before the policemen “let up”. I wonder if there had been a k-9 unit in 1905 if they would have shot their own dogs.
       The killing of the dogs in this manner would be one of the two biggest reasons the ever popular Mayor McMillan would not be reelected.
       On August 23, 1905 John M. Zaback, founder of the Zaback Funeral Home was married at St. Joseph Church to Miss Mary A. Mahony.
                         The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 10
                                                                  Darrell E. Hamilton
       An ordinance that was passed by the Ashtabula City Council on July 28, 1902 was never enforced. The ordinance provided that the speed limit for automobiles and bicycles on any of the streets of the city shall not exceed a rate of eight miles an hour.
       Since there were no stop signs in Ashtabula in 1905, automobiles and bicycles had to slow down to five miles an hour at all intersections. Bicycles also could not be ridden on the sidewalks.
       Any person violating any of sections of the ordinance shall be upon conviction be fined not less than five dollars nor more than fifteen dollars for the first offense and not less than twenty dollars nor more than fifty dollars for a subsequent offense.
       Even though the police were told to enforce the ordinance it would still be awhile before anyone was actually convicted of a violation of the ordinance at least with an automobile.
       Have you ever wondered how policemen caught speeders before radar or any other modern device was invented? I did say “policemen.” There were no women on the Ashtabula police department until the 1950’s and that was as a dispatcher. However that is another story.
       Distances would be measured between street corners. The officers would be given stop watches to determine the speed of all violators including bicycles. This would seem to be a crude method but a lot of speeders would be eventually caught in this manner.
       Within five days the bicycle part of the ordinance was enforced. Arthur Corlew was first person to be found guilty of riding his bicycle on the North Main Street sidewalk. Corlew was fined one dollar and costs which totaled $5.85.
       Dean C. Metcalf who was a member of the elite class of 1904 of Ashtabula High School drowned in Lake Erie on July 19, 1905. As you may remember in one of my previous articles every male member of the class of 1904 attended college along with some of the female members of the class.  Dean would be the only male member of the class not to finish college. Four members of the class of 1904 attended Purdue University along with Dean.
       Except for one every member of the class of 1904 attended the funeral. Male members of the class acted as pall bearers. Dean C. Metcalf was buried in Edgewood Cemetery.
       On September 7, 1905 the new centralized school was opened in Ashtabula Township near Sweet Park. This school paved the way for an eventual high school for the Township.
Left to Right: Edna, Harry, Emily and A. D. P. Young - Picture was taken in Ashtabula in the early 1890's. Picture is courtesy of Sharon L. Hamilton.
       A.D.P. (Addison Davis Perry) Young died at his home On North Ridge East on September 5, 1905.   A. D. P. Young was from Beaver, Pennsylvania. Before coming to Ashtabula he had taught school in Pennsylvania.  
       Mr. Young had come to Ashtabula County in the late 1860’s when he married Emily Simons of Simons, (Williamsfield) Ohio.  Emily was the sister of Norris Simons, the ticket agent that was on duty the night of the train disaster of December 29, 1876.
       After their marriage on January 1, 1868 A. D. P. Young worked for the railroad as an expert accountant being transferred from Pennsylvania.
       In the 1890’s Mr. Young defeated long time incumbent Hubbard of over twenty years to win the race as Ashtabula Township clerk. Since the all the Beacon newspapers were destroyed accidentally by the Ashtabula Public Library prior to 1900, the details of over a decade of Ashtabula have been lost forever.
       Mr. Young lived on North Ridge East just west of the present Trash and Treasures Barn (Harmon homestead) where a vacant lot is now. The family lived there until the 1960’s before the house was torn down. A. D. P. Young was my wife’s great-great grandfather.  Mr. Young, his wife and son Harry are buried in Edgewood Cemetery. He was also survived daughter Edna Smith.
       With two breweries being planned to be built in Ashtabula in 1905 a beer war was being waged in Ashtabula in September of 1905. Beer was being sold for five dollars a barrel.
       The world famous Sousa Band performed at the Lyceum Theater in Ashtabula on September 21, 1905. John Philip Sousa was known as the “March King” of America. Sousa came to Ashtabula right after touring Europe.
       In September of 1905 William Harvey of Harpersfield was judged by doctors to be insane due to the excessive use of tobacco which he almost lived on. On September 14, Harvey was taken to the State Mental Institution in Newburg. Five days later he escaped and started for home on foot. Once reaching his brother’s house where his wife was staying with his brother and his wife, the trio noticed that he was acting even more strangely than before. The mental institution was notified and was on the way to take than man back to the mental institution.
       Harvey was not known as a violent person. However before the authorities could arrive, Harvey shot his wife and then himself with a shot gun killing himself and his wife. Another good reason to stop smoking!

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 11

                                                                            Darrell E. Hamilton
       The very first automobile garage and showroom in Ashtabula County was located on Spring Street (West 46th Street). Charles Scrivens had sold automobiles out of his store on Main Street.
       Mr. Scrivens had secured a lease on the old Armory building across from the Stoll House. His automobile dealerships would be moved to the new location as soon as the old armory was remodeled. The building was to have a garage for automotive repair and a large showroom with large windows to display big touring cars. The building was scheduled for occupancy on January 1, 1906. The building was located where the present parking deck is now located.
       “The talking machine and camera business would be continued at the old stand.” Well boys and girls, what this quote meant is that Mr. Scrivens would be selling his merchandise (other than his automobiles) out of his original store on Main Avenue.
       The English language has changed over the past hundred years. The preceding paragraph is just a small example. For some, especially the younger generation, you may not know “old stand” meant. There were a lot of words and phrases like these just as there are today that the older generation might not understand. Of course there are some today I really don’t want to understand. If a person could go back several hundred years, there would be a good third to half of the English language you wouldn’t understand. Reading the words and actually living in the culture is two entirely different worlds.
       On September 26, 1905 the first woman to purchase an automobile purchased a touring automobile from the Charles L Scrivens auto dealership. Mrs. Eva French of Andover became the first woman to own an automobile in Ashtabula County. Unfortunately there is no mention of the make of the automobile. Maybe there is some relative of Mrs. French in the Andover area that could shed some light on the subject.
       Ashtabula and Painesville High Schools opened the football season playing to a scoreless tie.
       Conneaut was unable to field a football team in 1905. Ashtabula High School along with Geneva, New Lyme and Jefferson High Schools, the only high schools in the county with football teams. Austinburg High School (Grand River Institute) was able to put together a football team after the season had started however before the season ended they would disband the football team. . Most of the high schools were forced to the play majority of their games against out of county schools.
       On October 26, 1905 Ashtabula defeated the Ashtabula Business College football team by a score of 21-0. Sometimes the county high schools played non-high school teams just to have more games on their schedule.
       In Dorset a sixty-four acre farm with a seven room house and good outbuilding were advertised for twenty-two (22) dollars per acre or less for cash.
       The very first coupon that I have found in an Ashtabula newspaper appeared on October 13, 1905. The coupon entitled the holder to one fifty cent package of Dr. Howard’s specific for the cure of constipation and dyspepsia at half price, twenty-five cents. The coupon was good at Canfield Drug Store on Main Avenue in Ashtabula.
       A man was locked up for slander after he accused a Portuguese woman of being a witch and putting a curse on him. After hearing the case, the judge released the man. The article never mentioned if the woman was his mother-in-law.
       A new house on Jefferson Street in Ashtabula was advertised for rent for ten dollars a month.
       M. C. Robinson moved into their new house on Division Street (West 44th Street) in November of 1905.
       The very first girls basketball game held in Ashtabula was played between Ashtabula and Harbor High Schools on November 10, 1905. Ashtabula won the game 18-3. Lorretta Lynch scored six points while Altine Alcott scored twelve points for Ashtabula. Laura Starkey scored all three points for Harbor High School all on free throws. A special note is that Harbor High School played the entire game without committing a foul.
       The score does not seem very high for a basketball game. However they were very handicapped in the uniforms they had to wear. There were no high school yearbooks in Ashtabula for 1905 however the 1908 yearbook picture should give you an idea of the uniforms girls had to wear in 1905.


The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1905 - Part 12

Darrell E. Hamilton
       On October 26, 1905 a Syrian woman, age 30, had her husband arrested for assault. This may not sound so unusual except that her husband was only fourteen. What is even more remarkable is that the couple had been married for ten years.
       Needless to say the couple was not married in the United States.
       The wedding occurred when Joe Thomas was but four years old after the custom of his people of betrothal at birth. So, at four years old this boy had a wife that was twenty years old.
       Needless to say a question popped in my mind which probably popped into many of the readers minds. At what age was the wedding consummated?
       I never found the outcome of the case against the boy husband. Presumably the case was dropped. One interesting note is that the couple had two children.
       In 1905 primaries were not held as we know today. There were no primary elections held in May. Conventions were held in which delegates from the respected parties nominated who they wanted to run for office. Usually on the local level the conventions were held anywhere from June until October.
       The Socialist convention was held on June 23, 1905 for Ashtabula City and Township. The Socialists nominated Victor King for Mayor, William E. Boynton for Solicitor and eight other candidates for city offices. Three candidates were named for Ashtabula Township offices.
       One interesting note is that I could not find that William Boynton was a registered attorney in Ashtabula. I don’t know what the qualifications were to become City Solicitor in 1905 but you would think being attorney would be a prerequisite for becoming City Solicitor. However to get candidates elected the Socialist party would try anything and say one thing and do another. History has already proven this fact. Our present City Charter is a fine example also.
       A county Socialist convention would be held at a later time.
       On October 13, 1905 the Democratic conventions were held throughout the city.
       After the last city wide election was held in 1903, the Democratic Party took a lesson from the Union Party. Mayor McMillan was nominated by the Union Party to run as Mayor even though he was a Republican. The Democratic Party nominated three republicans to run on the Democratic ticket in November.
       The Democratic Party nominated Rudolph H. Pfaff for their choice as a candidate for Mayor. Pfaff told the Democratic Party that he would not be a candidate for Mayor on the Democratic ticket. The Democratic Party ignored his request and nominated Pfaff again on a second ballot. After much pleading, haggling and down right begging, Pfaff accepted the nomination to run for Mayor on the Democratic ticket.
       A week later the Republican Party held their convention.
       The Republican Party was closely divided. They were so closely dived that two men were nominated to run for Mayor. Mayor John McMillan and Charles B. Cook both headed the ticket that the party sent to the election board. However two people running for the same office with the same party could not be placed on the ballot.
       The Election Board supervisors made a thorough investigation. Both men had the same number of votes to be nominated however neither one of them had enough votes to be nominated.
        After many witnesses, arguments and haggling at the hearing, the election board decided to place John T. McMillan name on the ballot for Mayor of Ashtabula.
        The divided Republican Party for Mayor and the killing of people’s dogs in the summer of 1905 would lead to the defeat of Mayor T. McMillan.
       The voter turnout was the heaviest ever in the history of Ashtabula up to that year.
       McMillan was narrowly defeated by Pfaff, a man who never sought the office on the Democratic ticket. Thus, the first person ever elected Mayor of Ashtabula on the Democratic ticket was elected in 1905. Two other Republicans were also elected on the Democratic Ticket for City offices.
       The Socialist candidate received just 146 votes for Mayor.
       In Geneva and Geneva Township all the Republican candidates for all offices including the county and state were all carried by a heavy Republican majority.
       The proposition to establish a free park for Ashtabula City and Ashtabula Township received more than a thousand votes than the negative vote. The proposition was to establish a park in the Ashtabula Gulf between Mary Street (West 24th) and the Lake Shore tracks.
       On November 11, 1905 Ashtabula High School defeated Collinwood in football 26-0. Geneva also beat Jefferson 36-0. Ashtabula High School would also become county football champions of 1905 with only one loss to Cleveland Central High School.
       On November 13, 1905 the oldest person in Ashtabula County died. Mary A. Hesford of Saybrook was ninety-eight when she died. It is quite a contrast to today’s oldest people in the county. Today we have a group of people over one hundred years of age, one being one hundred and eleven years old.
       The world famous high wire artist Mille Luellitia (Letita Luella Westcott) died at the home of her sister at the corner of Gulf Street (58th Street) and Runkle Avenue on November 13, 1905.
       Millie had just performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa but came home when she was stricken with acute appendicitis. She was urged by doctors to have an operation but she opted not to have the operation. Her condition improved and she was thought to be well when her condition quickly deteriorate. By the time the doctors operated, it was already too late.
       Death by appendicitis was a common occurrence at the turn of the century. Most of the time the patient never had the operation or waited until it was too late.
       Millie was just thirty-six years old. She is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery. She was survived by one daughter, Venus age five.
       On November 14, 1905 the businesses of John M. Zaback and Gregory, Burwell & Co. merged. The new name of the companies would be known as Gregory, Zaback & Co. The new firm included John. M. Zaback, Arthur. L. Gregory and Charles W. Askew. Mr. Zaback would be in charge of undertaking in downtown Ashtabula. Mr. Askew would be in charge of the Harbor undertaking business. Mr. Gregory would be in charge of the furniture business.
       The very first five and ten cent store in Ashtabula opened in December of 1905. Nothing in the store was over ten cents. H. L. Jacobs & Company opened on Main Street and advertised thirty-five sales ladies to give you prompt attention.
       On December 22, 1905 Charles H. Bliss died. Mr. Bliss was the very first florist in the Ashtabula area. His residence and greenhouses were located on Grove Avenue. Mr. Bliss had just retired and sold his business. He was sixty-three years old.
       I do hope that the readers have enjoyed the extended version of 1905 history. I’ve tried to pick out articles that might be of interest to everyone. Trust me; I could have easily extended 1905 to twenty parts.
       History is more than just names and dates. I’ve tried to convey to you the life of the people in 1905 Ashtabula and the life of Ashtabula as a city.

       The Gregory-Zaback Furniture Store was located about where Hershey's Ice Cream Parlor      &  Cafe sits today on Main Avenue.