The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 1
By
 Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       On January 1, 1906 the elected candidates from the November election took office. The following were the elected office holders for the city of Ashtabula; Hiram D. Cook, Samuel F. McDonald and R. H. Pardee, Council-at-Large; B. S. Bliss, President of Council;  John Ronberg, First Ward; Frank Morrell, second ward; George Aunger, third ward; E. R. McCune, fourth ward. Fred R. Hogue took office as City Solicitor.
       Hiram D. Cook and R. H. Pardee would eventually become Mayors of Ashtabula. Samuel F. McDonald would later become Vice Mayor. If McDonald had not of died at such a young age, more than likely he would have became Mayor. In all likelihood he would have eventually held an office higher than Mayor of Ashtabula.
       The first official act of the new Mayor was to declare that gambling devices and gambling must stop or else. Mayor Pfaff also ordered that all saloons must be closed by 10:30 p. m. and be closed on Sundays.
       The ordinance had been on the books for years. Whoever was the Mayor was determined how well the ordinance was enforced.
       You know the good old days weren’t always so good. However wouldn’t it be nice to bring back the turn of the century moral values and the way they dressed? Even the poor people dressed well at social occasions or if they were going out in public to be seen by a lot of people.
       One of the pictures for my column today was taken at the turn of the century at Woodland Beach Park in Ashtabula. Can you imagine going to an amusement park and walking the beach afterwards dressed so well? Today some people don’t even dress for church like they should.

Woodland Beach Park (about the turn of the century - 1900)

       On January 9, 1906 the Emergency Hospital Board of Geneva announced that their new emergency hospital was ready for occupancy. Mrs. Victor Wright, who was a trained nurse, was secured as the first superintendent. The emergency hospital was dedicated on February 1, 1906. Two patients were immediately admitted.
       Alonzo Thornton, familiarly called “Doc” and known as the colored barber on Main Street, died on January 11, 1906 at Ashtabula General Hospital of pneumonia.
       Mr. Thornton was born in Page County, West Virginia and was fifty-three years old. He had been a resident of Ashtabula most of his life making his home with his mother Mrs. Clara Lewis.
       Mr. Thornton’s shop was located on the west side of Main Street. He was an active member of the barbers union and at the time of his death he was the treasurer of the organization.
       All barber shops in the Ashtabula area were closed on the day of the funeral. Alonzo had a wide variety of friends from all over the county as a barber would have. He was buried in Edgewood Cemetery.
       A barber shop at the turn of the century was more than just a barber shop. It was a social gathering for a lot of people. Barber shops at the turn of the century offered many more services than just getting a hair cut as I have mentioned before.
       You don’t know how I miss going to the barber shop.  
       In January of 1906 three Ashtabula men and two Cleveland men filed articles of incorporation for the Palmer Automobile Manufacturing Company. According to the incorporators an automobile had already been built and would be on exhibition at the Cleveland Auto Show. At the time it was not known yet whether the factory would be located in Cleveland or Ashtabula. About a week later the directors decided to start manufacturing the automobiles in Cleveland with the company’s headquarters located in Ashtabula. The directors did state that they hoped to have a factory built in Ashtabula before the end of the year.

The Palmer Runabout

       On February 5, 1906 the Ashtabula City council gave the approval and appropriation of eighty dollars to move the old Emergency Hospital building to the grounds of the new hospital to be used as a pest house. Many historians including myself thought the old Emergency Hospital was abandoned and later torn down. Amazing how lost history can enlighten you.
      At the Lyceum Theater in Ashtabula, “The Village Fool”, a comedy, was playing the second week of February. 
       The last services were held in the Old First Methodist church on February 4, 1906. It was located at the corner of Park and West 46th Street where the Ashtabula Towers sit now. The old church building stood for years and the M.C. Robinson Company used the building for years for storage. The old church was dedicated in 1861.

Old First Methodist Church on Park Avenue - Picture is courtesy of Mike Penna.

       On Sunday February 11, 1906 the new Gillmore-Smith Methodist-Episcopal Church (First Methodist Church) on Elm Avenue was formally dedicated.

First Methodist Church, Elm Avenue - Picture is courtesy of Joe DiDonato.

       On February 17, 1906 Mr. and Mrs. Russell C. Humphrey observed their thirty-second anniversary. They lived in the house on Bunker Hill at West Avenue. Their grandson is Ralph Humphrey of Humphrey Insurance fame.
       On February 22, 1906, Mrs. Josephine Lydia Smith-Cobb, a great granddaughter of Moses Cleaveland passed away at her home at South Main Street in Ashtabula. She was sixty-two years old and was buried in Ashtabula with the funeral being held at the First Baptist Church.
       The Charles L. Scrivens auto dealership for 1906 dropped the Auto Car and Packard from his dealership. He would now sell The Cadillac and the Buick Automobiles from his dealership on Spring Street (West 46th Street. Thus the dealership became the first Buick dealership in Ashtabula County.
       On March 26, 1906 two representatives from the Young Men’s Christian Association were in Ashtabula to talk about forming a Y. M. C. A. for Ashtabula.
 
 The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 2
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       Last week I mentioned the way people dressed at the turn of the century. The picture for my column today was taken at the turn of the century at Woodland Beach Park in Ashtabula. Can you imagine going to an amusement park and walking the beach afterwards dressed so well? Today some people don’t even dress for church like they should.
       I would like to congratulate the Jefferson High School Scholastic Bowl team and their advisor John Patterson for being the best dressed team in the county. They should receive bonus points for taking pride in their selves and their school. Let’s face it. The clothes make the man or woman! Clothes can make you look more successful and more intelligent and you don’t have to be rich to wear a jacket and tie even if you only have one of each. Jefferson High School looked like they had already won the competition.
       On April 8, 1906 Asa Lawrence and Nancy Emeline Smith-Case of Plymouth celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Mr. Case was a very prominent citizen of the Ashtabula area. He was one of the original stock holders of the Ashtabula Shaft and Pole Company, the Ideal Foundry, the American Fork and Hoe Company, the Ashtabula Bank Company and the National Bank of Ashtabula which he was at the time the vice-president.
       I believe that anyone married sixty years or more deserves to be mentioned in my column.
       In April a meeting was held to talk about the formation of the Ashtabula Automobile Club (AAA) at Morrison Hall. There were forty automobiles in Ashtabula at the time. Another meeting would be held to officially form the club.
       On April 1, 1906 there were 2,411 students in the Ashtabula City schools. This did not include the Harbor Special school district. This was almost double the students just ten years ago in 1896 which was 1,250 students.
       On Aril 18, 1906 at 5:10 a. m. the San Francisco earthquake occurred. Many people of Ashtabula had relatives living in San Francisco. Many of them were injured but none of the relatives were killed. The City of Ashtabula (government) sent one thousand dollars for the relief efforts of San Francisco. Another thousand dollars was raised among the churches of Ashtabula.
       On May 1, 1906 the teachers of the Ashtabula City school district received raises. Their new income was to be from forty dollars per year for the first year to fifty-five dollars for the fifth year. If you taught the eighth grade or above you received any where from three to six dollars more.
       The average salary in Ashtabula in 1906 was about seventy dollars per month.
 
 The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 3
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In March of 1906 authorities from the Ashtabula County Infirmary and Ashtabula Health department raided the home of eighty-seven year old Miss Eliza Humphrey.
       Miss Humphrey had made her home in the old cheese factory that stood on the east banks of the Ashtabula River behind the Ashtabula General Hospital.
       Eliza was the granddaughter of Ambrose Humphrey, one of the first grist mill owners in Ashtabula County. Eliza’s father William died when the schooner “Parrott” sunk in a sudden storm just west of Ashtabula, losing all hands.
       The eccentric Eliza inherited property from her father and chose to live with her goats on the river flats below the Ashtabula General Hospital known as Lisa’s Island. A severe flood came down the Ashtabula River valley and washed all the building away.
       Eliza then had to seek another home for herself and her goats.
       Eliza’s new home was to be the old cheese factory nearby. The old cheese factory was built in the mid-1800’s because of a nearby spring. At one time, cheese making flourished in Ashtabula. After the cheese factory closed down Eliza was able to buy a man’s share in the old cheese factory by trading one of goats for the share of the old cheese factory.
Cheese Factory - Ashtabula
Eliza Humphrey and her "kids".
       According to then historian Ed Large, Eliza told him that she went to work for Badger, the man she purchased from partial stock in the cheese factory, husking corn in order to buy back her goat.
       Eliza lived in the old cheese factory many years and in the beginning was paid little or no attention to except for being known as the “Goat Woman”.
       No one paid little attention to Eliza as she went around with her mall cart picking up rubbish to others but treasures to her to store in the old cheese factory. She was always accompanied by three or four goats when she came to town sometimes pulling her cart.  After many years of treasure hunting, many were beginning to notice.
       I have found at least three different articles over the years written on the “Goat Woman” of Ashtabula. All of them vary on the reasons why the health department and the Ashtabula County Infirmary raided Eliza’s home at the cheese factory.
       Some of the reasons of the articles have been for health reasons or that Eliza was ready to leave the cheese factory. I’m going to relate to you the story that was written in 1906. The original article probably relates a more accurate description of what really happened.
       People who lived near the old cheese factory began to notice “trash” as the neighbors called it, pilled up around the large building and a foul smell to anyone living downwind of the building.
       After many complaints the health department and the Ashtabula County Infirmary intervened.
       The Ashtabula County Infirmary (County Home) was able to get a court appointed guardian to commit Eliza to the Infirmary. In return the Infirmary seized all of Eliza’s assets.
       Eliza was able to take a few belongings with her to the infirmary along with her favorite goat, Bill. All of Elisa’s goats and dogs were “disposed” of except for one of each.
       Inside the building through a door that only opened wide enough for a person to squeeze through were piles of boxes, barrels, tubs, stoves and every kind of article that may found in a junk yard. Once inside the building there were piles of rags all over the building. In one room plies of clothing reached to the ceiling. In some rooms garbage or treasures as Eliza called it were packed so high that a person would have to crawl over it to a small opening near the ceiling that was once called a doorway to get to the next room.
       In her bedroom or boudoir were so much of Eliza’s treasures that the trunks and boxes underneath her bed had been elevated her bed a full four feet from the floor. I would imagine Eliza had to climb upon boxes just to get into bed.
       After reading this account to my wife, she asked if I were related to Eliza Humphrey. I ask her why she thought I was related to Eliza. Then she pointed that we had a two car garage with an attic that was so full of my “treasures” that I could not even park my push lawnmower inside. After almost thirty-six years of marriage I think that I have lost a wife and gained a mother. Anyway boys and girls, let’s get back to Eliza.
       A search was personally conducted by the infirmary superintendent Lewis and his wife. They would search for any thing of value including money.
       It was rumored that Eliza had money stashed all over the building. At first she would not tell anyone where her money was hidden. Without her directions, finding the money was like finding a needle in a hay stack.
       Finally realizing she would probably spend the rest of her life in the infirmary she told the superintendent’s wife where her money was hidden.
       After clearing a room out of countless boxes and trash or treasures, a pair of men’s overalls was found containing gold and silver coins. Another sack of coins were also found.
       However Eliza had a very large amount of paper money. She told where the money was but according to superintend the money could not be found. Also were found other valuable items which included deeds for seven city lots.
       Officials spent a week looking for the money and other valuable items.
       Did Eliza have much more money hidden away or was the money really found?
       Eliza had lived in the building for over twenty years. It was torn down within a month after Eliza was evicted from the building.
       Some of neighbors were glad Eliza and the building was gone. Others thought that Eliza was sweet old woman who never bothered anyone. They questioned the right of the authorities to take such violent action against a sweet old lady and her property.
       Eliza begged to keep one dog at the infirmary with her. The rest of her dogs were shot. The rest of her property was sold including all of her goats with exception of her goat, Bill.
       One of the reasons for getting Eliza out of the building was her health was said to have started to fail. However in the infirmary Eliza got up every day, dressed and took care of her goat and dog.
       An interesting note is that the board, clothing and medical attendance cost the Ashtabula County Infirmary for an inmate was $2.75 a week in 1906.
       Eliza lived out the rest of her days at County Infirmary. She died on September 14, 1912 at 93 years of age. She is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery.
       Eliza’s goat, “Bill”, had been sold to the Empire house when Eliza was unable to take care of Bill herself. The goat was Eliza’s first goat. Bill died one day before Eliza. He had no teeth and was said to be fifty years old.
       I suppose the passing of Eliza’s favorite goat Bill the day before she died was poetic justice to the “Goat Woman of Ashtabula”.
       Ralph Humphrey is the great-great-nephew of Eliza Humphrey. Ralph will be my subject for my next very interesting Biography.  Ralph will tell you about his goats!      
 

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 4

By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In May of 1906 Mr. and Mrs. Sebastiano Aspto of Swedetown lost their third child in ten days to pneumonia. Of their seven children, the three children were the youngest. Their ages were eight months, two and three years old. They were all buried in St. Joseph Cemetery.
       It was not an uncommon occurrence for a family to lose a child at the turn of the century. If a child could reach puberty they would a have good chance to reach adulthood. However losing three children in such a short span was unusual even in 1906.
       In 1906 the government was waging war with anti-trust laws. Even though Standard Oil was the most remembered target of the anti-trust laws local insurance companies and even the local ice companies were ruled illegal through the anti-trust laws. In Ashtabula in the spring of 1906, people were going without ice. If there hadn’t been a settlement in the late spring of 1906, Ashtabula would have had to go the summer without any ice.
       In 1906 many larger companies did not buy their electricity from the City of Ashtabula. Two of those companies were the Ashtabula Printing Company (the Beacon Record) and the Ashtabula Telephone Company who had their own generator. The Beacon Record’s generator weighed nineteen tons.
       On May 15, 1906 the Ashtabula Automobile Club (AAA) was official organized in Ashtabula in the office of attorney Clifford.  J. King, the first president of the club. To celebrate the occasion the first automobile parade in the county was held on May 22, 1906.
       The parade was started at North Park as twenty-two automobiles entered the parade with eighty-two passengers. The parade of automobiles went across the Spring Street Bridge (West 46th Street) to South Ridge East. From there the parade headed towards Conneaut. All along the route grownups along with children stood along the roadway to see the automobiles pass by. Farmers stopped in their fields and leaned on their plows to see the parade of automobiles. Very few people in Ashtabula had never seen that many automobiles assembled together at one time.
       The County Infirmary (County Home) was passed in Kingsville. Some of the residents at the Infirmary were in for a special treat. Some had never seen an automobile.
       The parade entered Conneaut on Main Avenue and headed back to Ashtabula from State Street to North Ridge. Some of the automobiles stopped in Conneaut to partake in refreshments. Some of the larger automobiles decided to race back to Ashtabula thus becoming the first auto race in the county. The autos made it back to Ashtabula in less than thirty minutes. Quite a feat considering the automobiles of the time and that Route 20 was still a dirt road.
       One interesting note is even though Conneaut had a lot less automobiles than Ashtabula, the drivers stated that Conneaut’s roads were in a lot better condition than Ashtabula’s roads. “The handsome new street markers were very easily legible from the center of the street.” One driver was quoted as saying.
       Unfortunately the makes of the automobiles were not stated in the Beacon Record. The paper did however state the names of the drivers. Their names were: Charles O. Tinker, Clifford J. King, Ernest Dunbar, Fred Seymour, Roger Griswold, Charles Hoff, Victor Latimer, William D. Richards, Dr. Oscar P. Griggs, John J. Wilson, Julian Goddard, Walter McKay, Willard Morrison, Mrs. Jay M. Amsden  (yes, a woman driver), W. Herbert Young, Dr. H. Milton Brown, R. P. Riedenbach, James Bonnar, Tracy H. Paine and John Stanhope. (If you counted the names, there are only twenty names listed not twenty-two as that is all the Beacon Record named.)
       The newspaper only stated the woman driver’s husband’s initials and last name. I did a little research as with the rest of names as initials were commonly used at the turn of the century to save space in the newspapers. These days when the newspaper doesn’t have the space, they leave out entire sentences, paragraphs and even pictures out of my articles from time to time. Anyway ladies the lady’s first name was Laura.
       If any of the readers out there are related to any of the forenamed people and you have a picture of them and their car, please get in touch with me.
       Unfortunately the first automobile fatality occurred in Ashtabula County just before midnight on Saturday, May 19, 1906.
       There were six people in the automobile that was traveling from Cleveland to Buffalo. The accident occurred just east of Conneaut on Ridge Road. The driver of the automobile had previously got turned around in Conneaut and went down Harbor Street before he realized his mistake. After getting back on Ridge Road, the driver hit a smooth place in the road that had just been paved by the state a few months before with macadam. It was customary for automobiles to speed up on this section of road.
       However traveling at night time on an unknown road in 1906 was dangerous. The diver of the car stated that the automobile was traveling about thirty miles per hour. The automobile approached a sharp curve and the driver of the automobile was unable to negotiate the curve striking a trolley pole and overturning.
       Mrs. Albert W. Young who was the wife of a prominent Cleveland man was thrown from the automobile head first into the trolley pole. She suffered massive head injuries and died almost immediately.
       All the people in the automobile were seriously injured except for the driver who was the Young’s chauffer. Mrs. Young’s husband was also very seriously injured.
       The other couple’s son had his legs amputated and was not expected to survive.
       Ten minutes after the accident a Conneaut & Erie traction car came upon the wreckage and transported them to the Erie hospital without stopping along the way.
 
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 5
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 

       In January of 1905 F. E. Crawford of Hartsgrove, a member of the Ashtabula County Board of Deputy Supervisors, started a petition that stated that all people (men in most cases) who wanted to vote in the city of Ashtabula would have to register to vote. The petition would be sent to the respective senator and state legislative.

       A law was passed that under the 1900 census that all people in cities with a population of 14,000 or more would have to register all voters. Crawford’s petition ask that the law be amended to include all cities with a population of 11,800 or more. The cities that would be included under the amended law would be Ashtabula, Ironton, Piqua and Marietta.
       The first registration of voters in Ashtabula would take place in the fall of 1908 preceding the presidential election.
       On May 21, 1906 a rear window of the Carnegie (Ashtabula) Public Library was broken with a brick. After ransacking the library the thieves made off with forty dollars taken from the librarian’s desk.
       In May of 1906 a Michigan man was traveling and looking for a desirable place to settle. Upon arriving in Ashtabula he found that Ashtabula showed more general activity and promise than any city he had visited of its size. After he had looked the city over and decided to stay in Ashtabula, he bought a well established grocery store on Center Street within eighteen minutes after deciding to settle in Ashtabula.
       The man’s name was J. S. Decker. I wonder if the man visited Ashtabula today he would decide to stay.
       On June 6, 1906 Geneva High School graduated twenty-five which was a school record.
       On May 12, 1906 the Ashtabula Car Ferry was launched at Detroit, Michigan.
       The ferry was owned by the J. W. Ellsworth Company of Cleveland. The ferry could transport thirty railroad cars of coal. After the Ashtabula Car Ferry was launched it would receive the finishing touches and then be sent to Ashtabula. The Ashtabula Ferry then would be put in service where she would make her maiden voyage to the Canadian port of Port Burwell. The ferry transported coal for the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
       The Ashtabula Car Ferry arrived in Ashtabula 7:00 a. m. on Saturday, June 30, 1906. Captain Benjamin T. Haagenson was the first captain. There were thirty-two crew members on the 350 feet ferry.

Picture is courtesy of Joe DiDonato

       The ferry did not carry passengers in the beginning however it was licensed to carry twenty-five guests. The Ashtabula Car Ferry was in service for over fifty years but that is another story.
       On May 29, 1906 the Chamber of Commerce of Geneva was organized by Mayor Wetmore of Geneva. With a few changes the Geneva Chamber of Commerce used the same by-laws and constitution of a board of trade that had existed in Geneva in 1887.
       The first president was C. I. Chamberlin who was unanimously elected.
 
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 6
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In May of 1906 the Christian Science Society purchased the old chapel next to the First Presbyterian Church and moved the old chapel to Elm Avenue. A lot was leased from George E. Ducro where the building was to be used as a Church.
       The old chapel was moved on Saturday, July 7, 1906. Up to this time the building was the largest building ever moved in Ashtabula.
       At the county track meet held at the fairgrounds in Jefferson on May 30, Ashtabula High School easily walked away with the Ashtabula County championship. Four records were broken.
       On June 1, 1906 fourteen buildings were destroyed in the business district in Jefferson which included the Gazette building. Help was needed from the Ashtabula and Andover Fire Departments to put out the blaze.

       On June 7, 1906 the 34th commencement was held at the Lyceum Theater graduating thirty-four students from Ashtabula High School. The class was the largest graduating class ever up to that time at any Ashtabula County high school.

       At Harbor High School six were graduated at Turva Hall on the same day as Ashtabula High School’s commencement.
       The girl’s basketball team at Ashtabula High School finished their season by defeating Painesville High School a second time in two weeks by a decisive score. The very first Ashtabula High School girl’s basketball team went undefeated.  I bet that other school with a different name didn’t do that!
       In June of 1906 Grand River Institute celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary. Diplomas were awarded to nine graduates, four girls and five boys. The commencement was held in the Congregational church.
       In June of 1906 Ashtabula merchants; The Globe Clothiers, John Ducro and Sons Furniture, C. W. Herrick & Co., The W. H. Hunt Co., Tuner & Smith and Digby’s T Store purchased a new $1,000 Cadillac from C. L. Scrivens Cadillac on Spring Street. The automobile was to be given away to one of the customers of those businesses. A ticket would be given away for each dollar purchase at those stores.
       Alright Ashtabula merchants, purchase a Cadillac from Nassief and we will give one away next summer. We could have entertainment and a fair for one weekend and it would attract a lot of customersfor the business in downtown Ashtabula. If we get real energetic we hold another event at the Harbor later on in the summer. Of course then again if you can’t get any help from the City of Ashtabula our efforts might be doomed. Why does that sound so familiar?
       Anyway folks, this was the first automobile given away in a contest in Ashtabula County and it was a Cadillac. Who knows what 2006 will hold?
       The workers at the Lake Shore car shops went back to work after a two week strike. They received the raise they sought. The workers received a penny raise from seventeen cents to eighteen cents an hour.
       In July of 1906 the Ashtabula Township board of education created the first busing of students in this area by taking bids to “haul” students to the new centralized school. Most of the “buses” were converted wagons.
       On July 18, 1906 the telephone in the telephone booth at the Lake Shore depot was stolen. The phone was later found near the tracks without the money. As you may remember this was the first telephone booth in the county. I suppose the thief thought that money really talked.
      
 
       The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 7
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In July of 1906 workmen discovered an ancient Indian burial ground on the river bank at the rear of St. Joseph’s church.
       The first skeleton found was the remains of a horse. Then the remains of several adults and a half grown child were found underneath a mammoth cherry tree that had long been cut down. Later on several more adults and small children were later discovered.
       The theory that the site was an Indian burial ground was the fact that the bodies were found in a sitting position which was a favorite mode of burial for Indians. One skeleton was found with a horse.
       On August 4, 1906 a Syrian, one of the Simon Brothers, Depot Street fruit dealers, was injured as he jumped off a Rapid Transit Company car while the car was going a pretty good speed. He accidentally landed on his head and shoulder and was rendered unconscious.
       Simon was taken by Ducro ambulance to the General Hospital. He had a badly bruised shoulder and right side with a severe cut on his head above the temple. Simon would recuperate.
       The four Simon brothers were Ashtabula City Solicitor Tom Simon’s grandfather and great uncles.
       In August of 1906 rural letter carrier Hawkins out of the Kingsville Post Office purchased a new automobile to deliver mail in instead of the usual horse and wagon method.
       In August of 1906 Rome Township celebrated its centennial anniversary.
       According to the Beacon Record in 1906, Ashtabula had at least two millionaires in Andrew C. Tombes and Charles H. Richardson. Quite a feat considering that a million dollars then is equal to about a hundred times that now.
       In August of 1906 John L Sullivan the first world famous American boxer came to Ashtabula to put on a fighting exhibition between him and his sparring partner James Berry. Several thousand were on hand to witness the event.

       James Berry challenged all comers. Seven locals challenged Berry. They were quickly deposed of.  He fought five of them one after the other.
       In August of 1906 the old light house at the Ashtabula Harbor was dismantled. Everything that was salvageable of any value including the lens would be dismantled to be used again. The old lighthouse stood for more than forty years.
       On August 26, 1906 one of the worst fires in Ashtabula history occurred east of the river at the Harbor. The fire started at the McKinnon Iron works at the corner of Bridge Street and Columbus Avenue.
       The fire was discovered about 1:15 a. m. by officers John Hummer and Patrick Shannon while patrolling their beat. They happened to look east of their position and were startled to see the sky illuminated with reflection of flames. A total of nineteen building were destroyed by fire.
       There were 129 divorces in Ashtabula County in 1905. In 2004 there were 323 divorces and 245 dissolutions which comes to a grand total 568. There were no such thing as dissolutions in 1904 or a no fault marriage. It has to be someone’s fault if not both.
       The population of Ashtabula County in 1900 was 51,448. The population of Ashtabula County has about doubled since 1900. However the divorce rate today is over four times that of 1905.
       In 1900 the spouses and the children suffered in the divorce. Today the children suffer the most. In today’s society most couples usually get over a divorce. However the divorce will usually affect a child for life. The sanctity of marriage is not what it used to be.
       Of the ten boys who graduated Ashtabula High School, eight or eighty percent will attend college in the fall. That was down from one hundred percent the previous year.
       Mrs. Thomas Cooley of Detroit arrived on September 8 for visit with Ashtabula relatives and friends.
       The first used car advertised in the classified section of the Beacon Record was for a 1904 Rambler advertises by L. C. Finch of Jefferson.
 

The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part 8

By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In September of 1906 one of the headers for an article in the Beacon-Record read “Old Slave Succumbs. William Sauls, Well Known Colored Resident, Passes To His Reward.”
       William Sauls, one of the best known and oldest black residents of Ashtabula passed away after a three month illness from complication of diseases.
       Mr. Sauls died at his home just off South Main Street. He was about seventy years old.
       William Sauls had resided in Ashtabula since 1865. He had come from the South before the end of the Civil War as a fugitive slave via the Underground Railroad.
       For forty years he had been employed in the family of Dr. William S. King. He had no known surviving relatives.
       His funeral was held at the home of Dr. William King on Sherman Street (West 50th Street).
       Through my years of research I have compiled quite a history of the black community of Ashtabula. All of it can not be mentioned in the space that I am allowed.  I hope to have all of the information compiled in my book, The Complete History of Ashtabula. This city has had a glorious history. Do not forget the past. It is also your future.
       In the fall of 1906 the high school students of Ashtabula High School were moved to the old high school on Division Street (where Ball Gymnasium sits now). The reason being was that the second floor was being added to the new school and basic remodeling was being done to the fairly new school to ease overcrowding.
       Mr. and Mrs. Harry Reynolds and family became new residents of the city of Ashtabula when they moved from Monchester, New Hampshire.
       What was unusual about the newcomers to mention them in my column? Included in their family was a set of four year old triplets, the only ones in Ashtabula County. The boys, Roy, Dana and Harry were all identical.
       Their father had come to Ashtabula becoming one of the owners of the Ashtabula Business College. The family resided on Main Street.
       However exactly a month after the newspaper account of the triplets came out, tragedy struck the Reynolds family. Apparently the triplets had gotten into some type of poison. Dana had indigested enough poison to cause death.
       Dana was the talkative one and the leader of the triplets. He was buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery.
       Miss May Rollins, a well known stage actor in 1906, came back to Ashtabula from New York to visit her mother. Miss Rollins had left Ashtabula four years previously and became very well known in the United Stated in just a short period of time. She appeared in many Broadway plays including an appearance at Madison Square Garden.
       The first hit and run accident involving an automobile occurred on September 26, 1906 at the corner of Main and Center Streets.
       The speeding automobile had stuck a street car. Everyone on the car was shook up but no one was injured. The automobile received a dented fender but kept on going. Since there were not that many automobiles in Ashtabula in 1906, the motorman and the conductor of the streetcar easily recognized the driver of the automobile.
       In football Geneva beat Painesville 29-0 in the opening game of the season.
       In October 1, 1906 in Geneva fire struck the Main Circus who had just settled in to their winter headquarters two days previously.
       All the animal’s screams could be heard for miles while they were cremated alive. Camels, lions, tigers, bears, horses and many other animals were all lost in the fire.
       Two men also lost their lives trying to save the animals and were found lying next to the horses. The only animals saved were the elephants. As soon as Bob Tyler released the chains from the elephant’s legs, the elephant charged through the huge barn doors. The only other animal that was saved was a bear cub.
 
The Twentieth Century of Ashtabula 1906 - Part - 9
By
Darrell E. Hamilton
 
       In October of 1906 almost all the greenhouse firms in Ashtabula City were being enlarged. The firms of Dunbar & Hopkins, Griswold Greenhouse Company, Roger Griswold Jr., E. A. Adams’ Sons, and F. C. Ball were all erecting new buildings for increased capacity. At the time Ashtabula had the largest greenhouse complexes in the world. Yes, readers the world. Greenhouses were not the only industry where the city had the largest or the finest or both in the world. You would find it difficult to believe now when you look around good old Ashtabula.
       In October of 1906 the city council of Ashtabula passed an ordinance for the sale of the municipal lighting plant even though the city owned electric company was making the city several thousand dollars a month.
       The Socialists Party of Ashtabula asked that Mayor Pfaff veto the sale of the city owned electric company. Amazing enough, this is the first issue that I agree with the Socialists Party.
        A petition was presented by the leading citizens of Ashtabula to the Mayor of Ashtabula requesting him to veto the sale of the electric company.
       The Central Labor Union of Ashtabula also asked that the Mayor Pfaff veto the sale of the city owned electric company.
       October 11, 1906 Mayor Pfaff vetoed the sale of the Municipal Lighting Pant.
       It is really ironic that the Socialist party would ask the Mayor to veto anything. Their theory is that the council should have absolute power as today. They are the ones who wrote our present city charter. The city manager has no veto power. In other words there is no watch dog over the council.
       Once the Socialist got their charter passed in Ashtabula in 1915 with an appointed city manager, the council was able to sell the city owned electric company without anyone stopping them. This is just as it is today. Apparently their charter backfired on them.
       The sermon at the Prospect Presbyterian Church on October 14, 1906 was “The Sins of the Pious”.
       In 1906 a new block on Bridge Street was being planned. In 1906 there were a lot more buildings on Bridge Street than today. Of all the building on Bridge Street in 1906, not one building was vacant. There was a waiting list for prospective merchants to obtain a store front.
       Actual work on South Main Street paving was finally commenced on October 22, 1906 with brick. The first brick was laid on November 9, 1906. Have you ever wondered why and even in 1906 some construction projects seem to start right before winter and not in the spring?
       The actual paving of South Main Street would actually be delayed several times before the paving would be completed in 1907.
       New voting precincts and wards were drawn up for the City of Ashtabula. This is something that should be done by law every ten years or right after the federal census. However this had not been done in present day Ashtabula for almost twenty-five years.
       A national highway was being planned and laid out between Chicago and New York. Two men in an automobile came through Ashtabula taking pictures and laying out the route of the new proposed National Highway. The highway would later on become known as Route 20.
       A newer house on Samuel Avenue was being advertised for rent at twelve dollars a month.
       The new St. Joseph Church on Lake Avenue was formally dedicated on November 11, 1906. This was a fitting dedication of the church as the first meeting of the Catholic services occurred in Ashtabula in 1856 with the Rev. Charles Coquerelle of Painesville presiding over the new Ashtabula Mission fifty years previously.
       Rev. Mathew O’Brien was the pastor of the new St. Joseph Church in 1906.
       In November of 1906 steps were taken for the formation of a YMCA in Ashtabula as temporary officers were elected.
       In 1906 Ashtabula and Geneva High Schools shared the County football championship.
       In November of 1906 the City of Ashtabula purchased for their twelve police officers 32-calibre, long barrel, self acting, six shooting Smith & Wesson revolvers.   
       Previously the police officers of Ashtabula had to purchase their own revolvers out of their own pockets.
       In November of 1906 Williamsfield received their fist telephones. A new telephone company was organized with twenty three subscribers to phone service.
       In December of 1906 the Untied States Government purchased the lot at the corner of Booth (44th Street) and Main Avenue from the Elks Lodge for $14,000 to build a federal building with a new Post Office located downstairs.
       The very first police officer to kill a man in the line of duty in the City of Ashtabula occurred on December 4, 1906 when patrolman John Hummer had to shoot a twenty-five year old man in self defense. The man had just shot two men wounding both of them and shot at others. He came at patrolmen Hummer with a knife after he had emptied his gun.
       Playing at the Lyceum Theater was the play, “A Thoroughbred Tramp”.
       In December of 1907 the village of Madison went “dry” by a vote of 211 to 57.
       On December 29, 1906, exactly thirty years after the Ashtabula train disaster, a locomotive with a freight train crashed into a trolley car killing one and seriously injuring nineteen others on the trolley car. The dead victim was seventeen year old Leonard Newbold who died shortly arriving at the hospital. Both of his legs and one of his arms had been severed.
       Occupants were scattered all along the tracks. Two women were found on the front of the locomotive.
       The engineer was charged with manslaughter as he was going to fast by law through the city.