Monday, July 27, 2015

History Hall Part V...John Henry Mathews

Our final installment of highlights from the Anthology on History Hall  (published July 2014) and Lake County, Ohio will examine a very prominent figure from our past.  John Henry Mathews may have been born in Hoosac, New York in 1785 but his arrival in Painesville, Ohio in 1808 and marriage to Martha Huntington, daughter of Governor Samuel Huntington and Grandon- Fairport landholder in 1813 were initial footnotes in county history.

Mathews was a physician by trade, having studied in New York.  His practice in Northern Ohio began around 1808 in Painesville.  His legacy was this.  He was believed to be the first physician to ever perform trephination, the making of a burr hole into the skull to relieve intracranial diseases.  This surgery on a ten year old boy led to a complete recovery and gained him world-wide acclaim internationally.

A less important decision made in 1829 cemented his legacy in our county history to this day.  He commissioned Jonathan Goldsmith, mentioned in an earlier part of this series to build him a home at 71 North State Street.  The Mathews home is generally acknowledged as one of Goldsmith's finest architectural builds.  This famous house was moved in the '50s to the campus of Lake Erie College.  John died in 1862 and his wife in 1866.  Both are buried at Painesville's Evergreen Cemetery. Their original home is now a campus office and listed on the national register as a NHS.  Both sites merit visits by any early American history lover.

This story and more than 100 others may be found in the book on History Hall.  Many of the notable Lake County pioneer families mentioned in the book have sites still in existence and accessible for viewing- a mere one tank trip!

source - article by Jan Bathhurst in the book History Hall...released July 2014

Monday, July 20, 2015

History Hall...Part IV - Jacob & Edward Prouty

" Mommy, why is our street named Prouty?"  Ever wonder how streets get their name?  The anthology of History Hall released last July can answer the question posed above.  For those living in Concord here is the history in a nutshell.

Jacob and Selima Prouty moved from their home in Spencer, Massachusetts or Simsbury, Connecticut in the early 1820's to Concord.  Genealogy records indicate the original spelling might have been Proutey, Proutee, Prout, le Proute or Prowty among others.  The Prouty name has roots back to Plymouth Colony circa 1670.  Jacob purchased parcels of land totaling in excess of 275 acres between 1824-1837.  Tax records in 1845 indicate the majority of acreage was land in the same area as the current roadway.  Edward Prouty was their son and his marriage to Betsey Woodruff ( of Lula Sawyer fame) alongwith tax records of 1870 indicate the family had attained prominent county status.  Jacob was a Trustee of Concord and an election judge.  Paul Bosley Sr., another prominent name in county history related stories of the Inter-urban Stop 68 being near the Sawyer House being within walking distance of their home and a gasoline station.

Jacob's son Edward was a farmer and public officer in his years.  His children were also prominent in their day.  Son Harry was a noted lawyer and other son Willis was a school director, trustee and supervisor in Concord.

The Prouty family plot is located in division 13 of Evergreen Cemetery in Painesville.  An obelisk marks the spot.  In Button Farm Cemetery at 10100 Hoose Road a family burial plot for their sons was still there in 1999.

source - History Hall...article by Marianne T. Wiley

Thursday, July 16, 2015

History Hall...Part III The Pioneer Master Builder

The anthology book 'History Hall of Lake County, Ohio Fairgrounds' was released last July.  Over 180 portraits, photos and illustrations trace an important era in our county's beginnings.  In Part III of this series, a brief retrospect of noted Western Reserve architect / builder Jonathan Goldsmith is highlighted.  Goldsmith was born in 1783 in Connecticut and began his career as an apprentice in the shoe and carpenter trades.  A marriage in 1808 tied to Abraham Skinner of New Market- Fairport-Painesville fame brought Goldsmith to Ohio.  His career was soon to take off.

Goldsmith was well-known in local architectural circles for his craftsmanship as a builder with an affinity for Greek revival homes and public buildings.  From 1819-1843 he built more than 59 homes and public edifices, many for prominent citizens of Painesville, Mentor, Willoughby and Cleveland. In Painesville, he is credited for the Dr. John Mathews' home now located on the Lake Erie College campus, The Morley House at 231 N. State Street, Eber Howe home at 205 Mentor Avenue. Uri Seeley House at 969 Riverside Drive, Fifield Tavern at 571 East Erie Street plus four others.  

Other Lake County builds include The Sawyer House on Mentor Avenue, The Corning-White House at 8353 Mentor Avenue and one Willoughby Home-The William P. Robinson residence now located at Hale Farm in Bath, Ohio.  Twelve other promiunent Painesville homes have been demolished over time.  These include the original 1825 Fairport Lighthouse (rebuilt in 1871), Painesville Academy, Bank of Geauga, The Mountain House and Painesville-Fairport RR.

Notable Cleveland builds included the Millionaire Row homes on Euclid Avenue of Judge Shelock Andrews, Williams Brothers, Peter Weddell's Cottage, Judge Samuel Cowles Mansion, Ashbel Walworth House and a half dozen more.  Sadly these estates have been demolished.

Goldsmith passed at age 64 in his home 'Ingleside' in Painesville.  Ingleside stood where the Painesville Fairgrounds now stands.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

'Deja Vu All Over Again' highlights Harbor Fest Weekend

Since 1825 and the opening of the Erie Canal, Lake Erie has become a significant part of maritime and early American history.  In fact both Madison and Fairport Harbor share common histories.  Both were leading ports in the 19th c.  Early pioneer families made their homes there, early industry had shoreline origins and over 52 sailing vessels were built in this eastern portion of Lake County.  The Madeline is a 92-foot tall ship that was built in Fairport in 1845.  Nearly her entire 30 year career was spent in Upper Michigan in a variety of commercially based transportation needs.  She may now call Traverse City, Michigan her home port as she travels the Great Lakes but this weekend she once again arrives in her port of origin as part of Harbor Fest 2015.  In fact if you have been monitoring her arrival 'live' on the Fairport Harbor Historical Society website she is nearly at her intended destination right now.  Make your destination this weekend - Fairport Harbor - N.E. Ohio's Best Kept Secret!

Here is the 'Rest of the Story'
When: Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12
Where: Osborne Dock, Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park

Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • Madeline Deck Tours - tickets available thru FHHS/Lighthouse Museum.
  • Maritime Singers & Storytellers - Hourly shows daily by Tom Kastle as well as The Hardtackers.
  • Refreshments by local vendors.
Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 6pm
  • Fairport Harbor Lighthouse & Marine Museum Tours - tickets available at museum
  • Sunday Art Show & Chinese Auction - noon to 7pm featuring noted N.E. Ohio maritime artist Bill Csatary and new for 2015 the matted county photos of local photographers Brian Fowler & Roxana Rojos
  • Free Concert on Sunday by the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight @ 5pm
Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 6pm
  • Sand Sculptor Carl Jara
  • Windsurf Simulator Demo by Wind Surf Ohio
  • Jasmine Dragons Acrobatic Demostration
  • Sand Castle Lessons with Doug Smith
  • Face Painting by Rocket Dust Design
  • Lake Metroparks Guarded Beach, Kayak and SUP demo & rentals

Monday, July 6, 2015

A History of History Hall Part II - The 'Rest of the Story'

1876 marked the United States centennial and celebrations were underway in all corners of the country.  Philadelphia held a world's exhibition and local communities held activities looking back at their own histories.  The early settlers of Lake County were no different.  Some had fought in the Revolution, others helped in the founding of the country, some settled the west and some were now the children and second generation residents of Lake County.

On September 20, 1876 a Pioneer Picnic was held at Alfred Morley's grove in Kirtland.  Well attended and offering recollections of the past, both oral and artifact curiosities - the picnic would become an annual event.  The picnic sites rotated to Perkins Camp in Concord and Capt. Burridge's grove in Mentor.  Attendance swelled to nearly five thousand.  In 1887 the picnic moved to the newly formed Lake County Fairgrounds on Bank Street in Painesville.  As mentioned in part I, an economic panic took place in 1893 and an ensuing depression a year later ended the era of the fair.  Pioneer Picnics continued but struggled as a central location failed to materialize and attendance bottomed out.  Also of note- the original pioneers were aging and by 1910 a final picnic was held in the park in Fairport.

While the Log Cabin was the main topic in part I of this series, it is interesting to mention that around 1910 the arrival of the summer estates and Cleveland Industrialists led to the rebirth of the Fairgrounds and all its history.  Some of the prominent names of this era of rebirth included William P. Murray of Murray Stock Farm, Henry A. Everett of Leo Doro Farm, Liberty Holden of Gold Horn Farm, Samuel Runner of Cherry Farm and James Corrigan of Nagirroc Farm.  These gentleman farmers desired a place to showcase their livestock and products.  Within a year or so and at a cost of $40,000 the 65 acres of land once belonging to Benaiah Jones and his son-in-law Jonathan Goldsmith became the new and current site of Lake County's Fairgrounds.

Part I highlights the building of the Log Cabin and its history.  Both part I and II are short synopses.  One may read the entire story of History Hall and the early pioneer families in the anthology that was released in July 2014.

source - article - A History of History Hall by Carl Thomas Engel