Vermilion Ohio, A Good Place to Live
SHOPTALK: This week pix of Alta Weiss and her Weiss All-Star semi-pro baseball team are featured on the desktops. Alta, as many already know, is an extremely interesting person. To my knowledge no one has yet written a definitive biography of her. There are several books about her available: “Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings” by Deborah Hopkinson with illustrations by Terry Widener; and there is another by Barbara Gregorich that is not specifically about Alta, but features her along with several other female baseball players of an era. It is called “Research Notes for Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball”. In addition to those books a local organization known as Eden Valley Enterprises and its Director, Bette Lou Higgins, have presented dramatizations of Alta’s life in many places across Ohio over the years. Eden Valley has likely done more to publicize Alta than any other individual or organization anywhere on the planet.
I know that I’ve written about Alta many times in the past. And at risk of being terribly redundant I’m doing it again. After almost 20 years of delving into historical matters I’ve found that some of these things bear repeating again, and again and again.
ALTA: Alta Weiss was the 2nd of three daughters born to Dr. George & Lucinda Zehner Weiss on 9 February 1890 in Holmes County, Ohio. The family moved to Ragersville, Ohio when she was five, where her father established a medical practice. While is said to have enjoyed many outdoor activities and sports growing up baseball became her passion. At the age of 14 she was playing ball with adult men as a first baseman on her hometown baseball team. Her father noting her abilities, helped establish a 2-year high school in 1905 mainly to further develop Alta’s baseball skills via the high school team. While she played first base, it was on the pitcher's mound in 1907 that she became a noteworthy all across northern Ohio
While vacationing at Linwood Park in Vermilion, Ohio, an impromptu game of catch between Alta and some young men caught the eye of the local mayor H.R. “Squire” Williams – and the rest is history.
After some coaxing the Squire managed to get the team manager [pun intended] of the semipro Vermilion Independents to give her an opportunity to play with his team in two exhibition games at the local amusement park, Crystal Beach. Alta took the mound and struck out 15 in the first game, and then another 9 in the second. The Independents immediately signed Alta. In her semipro debut on September 2, 1907 she allowed just one run in five innings. She pitched seven more times that fall in Vermilion, Elyria, Sandusky and Cleveland, becoming such a sensation that the game in Cleveland was played at League Park.
In her game in Sandusky two county social workers came onto the field and made her stop pitching. Due to the fact that Alta was only 17 they said she was too young to participate in the semi-pro sport.
The next season Alta's father put together a semipro team, named it the Weiss All-Stars, and set up a barnstorming schedule across Ohio and Kentucky. Alta changed the uniform to skirt-like bloomers, as dresses were too cumbersome and pants too unladylike. This maroon uniform (pictured) is now displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. With a repertoire of a fastball, outcurve, knuckler and spitball, Alta would routinely pitch the first five innings of each game, then shift to first base for the remaining innings. The All-Stars did quite well Alta's baseball career became sporadic after 1910. College and the death of her best older sister, Irma, her best friend and travelling companion Irma at the age of 22 took their toll on the star player.
After earning her medical degree Alta helped her father and eventually took over the practice of another Sugarcreek, Ohio doctor during World War I. In 1925, she established her own practice in Norwalk, Ohio marrying a Ragersville native named John E. Hisrich in 1927, although they separated in the late 1930s. Hisrich died in 1946. Following her father's death in 1946, Alta returned to Ragersville, where she phased out her father’s practice and finally retired. In her later years, she was happy to tend to the needs of her ten feline friends, reading three newspapers everyday and watch the neighborhood children play ball from the front porch of her home in Ragersville.
AND NOW, THE REST OF THE STORY: Vermilionite Tom Hoffman stopped in to visit me at the museum on Friday P.M. Among the things Tom told me was that he was the person who happened to find Vermilion Police Chief Frank Todi deceased at the Police Station (now the lady’s room at the comfort station in Exchange Park). He said he found the chief sitting in his chair behind his desk, eyes open, looking out the window. Initially, Tom indicated, Mr. Todi didn’t appear to have anything wrong with him – and upon further investigation (“Chief? Chief?”) – he could see that Todi had bit the dust.
A bit excited after noting the Chief had metaphorically “left the building” Tom ran across the street (almost getting hit by a car) to Doc & Ding’s (Jeffery)Park Market in the Fischer Building and told them. They ran over and verified that Todi was indeed dead. They told Tom not to touch anything.
He had no intention on touching anything, but left the scene telling the Jeffery brothers he’d soon return. They apparently didn’t know it but Tom was working for Ed Fisher, the undertaker. In the meantime Dr. Halley was called to verify Todi’s demise.
Tom went to Fisher and told him about Mr. Todi. They got things together and Tom, along with Fisher, did revisit the station. And that’s the “rest of the story.”
BUILDING A HOUSE: This is an old snapshot of Alva and Wayne Boone taken back around 1952 or ’53. They are in the process of digging the footer for their home on Perry Street (east side just south of the tracks). I don’t know that many people do such things (i.e. dig their footers with shovels) today. But Alva did, and he also laid the blocks for the home. It was nothing fancy. But it was solid and very adequate. Alva and his wife Esther raised 5 children there.
I remember the trees in the background. Both were pear trees. And just beyond the tree on the right my buddies, Tom and his cousin Jake Boone and myself, placed a large pickle cask in a small depression in the field and used it as a “fort”.
The dog is our (the Tarrant) family dog Mister Chips. Chips liked to have his picture taken (and I’m not exaggerating). Somehow he always appeared in neighborhood snapshots.
SCARY-CLAUSE OF CHRISTMAS PAST: When I initially saw this photograph several years ago I was truly appalled by Santa’s appearance. I never thought I’d use it in an article near Christmas because Santa [at least to me] looks like the main character in a slasher film. And then – last August my sister “Ginny” Tarrant-Wilkes gave me a clipping of the original newspaper article featuring the photo, and I, albeit very cautiously, began to change my mind about it.
The article apparently came from Vermilionite Rich Parsons who is in the photo along with many other [now] well-known Vermilion youngsters. Thus far, I’ve only recognized one face – my brother-in-law Dave Wilkes. And as best I can determine the photo was taken during the Second World War around 1941 or ’42. The following names are provided as they appeared with the newspaper article. Unfortunately I’m not able to place names to only one of the faces:
Donna Ruetinek David Rathbun, Diane Rathbun, Richard Parsons, Ruth Meltmar, Richard “Dicky” Baker, Harriet Cisco, David Wilkes, Karin Kishman, Janet Iden, Gretchen Kishman, John Dickason, Arthur “Arty” Copeland, Hannah Dickason Martha Paulson and Fr. Brissel.
The photo was taken west of town near Rumsey Park (just west of Volunteer Bay) where Virginia “Ginny” Hain-Osberg (1910-1985) operated a pre-school for local youngsters. Although these persons are a tad older than myself I know / knew many of them. Many of them still live in Vermilion. What follows is just a very little about a few of them:
Dave and Diane Rathbun who grew up in the area where these shadows were captured still live in town. Their maternal grandfather was Henry Hain, General Manager of the Sherwin Williams Paint Company in Cleveland. Hain had purchased the Rumsey Park property following the death of its legendary owner Al Rumsey in 1921. Ginny Hain-Osberg, the pre-school mentor, was the Rathbun children’s Aunt. It may interest some to know that years later Dave would marry one of the pretty little girls in the picture: Karin Kishman. And Karin, by the way, happens to be the younger sister of another girl in the group: Gretchen. The Kishman girls are the children of Lester and Anna who owned and operated Vermilion’s Kishman Fish Company. Gretchen also married another noteworthy Vermilion guy named Richard Neiding (1934-1983). Richard was the son of a prominent Vermilion carpenter / developer named Conrad Neiding.
Dick Baker (1935-1993) was a talented high school athlete who, at one time, operated the F.E. Baker Ford dealership (currently the site of the Vermilion Deli and Grocery and Edward Jones Investments firm).
Rich Parsons is still a familiar face about town. Before he retired Rich and his wife Pat operated the local BMV for many years as well as a fire protection company on Liberty Ave. Those businesses were located in the building now occupied by the Freeman-Eckley boat sales company just above the Parsons Marina.
My brother-in-law Dave Wilkes is obviously another very familiar face [at least to me]. As I have previously indicated he is the only one I really recognize amid this happy gathering. Dave is a retired mechanic and a vehicle parts specialist having worked in both the auto and trucking industries. He is also a retired member of the VVFD. I have known Dave so long that I consider him to be a brother – sans in-law. But back to the photo:
As mentioned it is my thought that in the Santa “get-up” worn by the Rev. Fr. Paul J. Brissel (1897-1964) in this photo he would have been better received in a horror movie intending to scare the “bejesus” out of everyone. And if it were not, however, for Rich Parsons having provided the article with a positive context for it, this photograph would have remained forever buried at the very bottom of the history museum archives.
YESTERYEAR'S NEWS: The following clips are dictated transcriptions from past issues of The Vermilion News. I think you will find them both interesting and fun...
Vol. XIV, No. 27 - VERMILION, OHIO THURSDAY, December 8, 1910
MRS. ALBERT KISHMAN DEAD
The NEWS is called upon this week to chronicle the death of a beautiful character, a wife and mother, Mrs. Albert A. Kishman, who with her husband and four children moved here from Iowa nearly 2 years ago. She was taken ill very suddenly with heart trouble the day before Thanksgiving and had been preparing to entertain a number of relatives at Thanksgiving dinner at their beautiful new home east of town which was erected this summer and which the family has occupied for a short time. Mrs. Kishman grew steadily worse until Monday at midnight when she passed away. Her sister Mrs. W. D. Giffin and husband of Plymouth, Ind. are here and other relatives are on their way to attend the funeral Friday morning at 10 o'clock standard at the home of at the house Rev. Pretzer of the local Reformed Church. Rev. Lohmann of Crestline will conduct the services and burial will be made in Brownhelm. A message from a brother in Alaska was received Tuesday evening. An obituary will be published next week.
New Office Created
The Village Council took one important action at its regular meeting Monday evening by adopting an ordinance providing for a sealer of weights and measures. The ordinance also places him under a $200 bond. The ordinance will appear in the NEWS.
The Standing committees report to on various unimportant matters.
The sidewalk question was discussed to some but no action taken.
The subject of the Lake Shore people dumping stone into the river also dirt which was filling up the channel was talked over and steps will be taken to prevent any injury to navigation.
After ordering payment of bills meeting adjourned.
Louis Ott, Son of Mr. And Mrs. Christian Ott, Succumbs to Tuberculosis
After an illness of several months Louis Ott, 17, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christian Ott, Sixth street, died about 6:15 Saturday evening of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was the first of a family of 10 children to answer the call of the Grim Reaper.
The funeral was held at the house Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Rev. G. W. Johnson officiating. Burial in Ridgelawn Cemetery. – Elyria Telegram.
The family formerly resided in Vermilion and have many friends here who sympathize with them in their bereavement. Another son has been ill for some time is spending the winter in Florida. A brother is with him.
Among those who attended the funeral Tuesday afternoon were: Mrs. Brummitt at Toledo; Mrs. Margaret Rick and daughter, Miss Margaret, Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Blattner, daughter Miss Alma, Mrs. John Parsons and daughter, Miss Helen and Mrs. Bertha Englebry.
Mrs. Black is very ill in her home on Grant Street.
JACOB MILLER DEAD
Jacob Miller died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Katherine Gegenheimer at Axtel, Monday evening December 5, 1910, age 89 years. Funeral services were held at residence Thursday at 10 o'clock.
Miss Eddy enjoyed a fun sleigh ride Tuesday evening.
Harry Fox spent Saturday and Sunday at Lorain visiting his sister, Mrs. Dorothy Fox.
Mrs. C. Sperry is reported slightly better at this writing but still continue to be confined to her bed.
Mr. Ira Judson, undertaker and furniture dealer was in Cleveland on Tuesday. He expects from now on to carry a full line of furniture.
Margueritte Sprankle who had her arms and wrists so badly sprained last week, by falling from a wagon while playing, is sufficiently recovered as to be able to attend school again.
Adelia Ann Klady was born in Florence, July 18, 1842. She was the daughter of Isaac and Julia Klady. She was united in marriage to George W. Pelton July 5, 1858. After their marriage they moved to Vermilion Township, near Axtel where they have resided ever since. To them was born one son, Eugene, who resides in the old homestead. After the death of her husband which occurred a few years ago, Mrs. Pelton continued to live at the old home, spending a considerable time visiting relatives and friends. About five weeks ago she came to the home of her sister Mrs. Baker. A couple of days after coming she was stricken with the same disease with which she had been stricken once before. All was done that could possibly have been done for her recovery and restoration, but all in vain. As time went on she gradually grew weaker until the end came, having died November 30, 1910 at the age of 68 years, 4 months and twelve days.
Mrs. Pelton was kind and thoughtful woman, interested in others and in others welfare. She was a kind mother and, in every way, manifested a spirit of sympathy and tenderness.
A good citizen, loved and honored by all who knew her. She leaves to mourn her departure one son, Eugene, and one granddaughter, Mrs. Levengood. Also three sisters, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Hazen, Miss Klady and two brothers, James A. and A. B. Klady besides other relatives and many friends.
The funeral was held from the home of Mrs. Baker in Florence on Saturday morning. December 3rd, conducted by Rev. A. G. Rupert of Berlin Heights. Interment at Maple Grove Cemetery.
A number of Huron people were shopping at Sandusky Saturday.
Earl Oaches has returned home from the lakes for the winter.
A band has been organized in Huron. They use a room in the Krock building for practice.
Chicken thieves are busy and Huron. George Henderson’s coop was visited one night this week and ten or twelve taken.
Schaeffer Bros. will erect a fish house for J. Lay on the site of the old Hudson brothers house which was burned.
News of Nearby Towns
The funeral services of Isaac Hazel were held at the home on Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock.
Several pupils of the East Quarry are confined to their homes suffering with chickenpox.
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schultz, son, Saturday, December 3, 1910.
C. Eirwachter fell Sunday and fractured his wrist.
Mr. Edwards fell on the slippery walks on his way home Saturday evening and broke his ankle.
The three months old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Santo who passed away Monday was laid to rest in Wendegh’s corners Cemetery, Tuesday afternoon. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Lindenmeyer.
All of the neighbors are busy butchering in our neighborhood.
Conrad Kimmel breads Grezenbach, born in Germany, August 22, 1863, was united in marriage to Lenore Hall, November 6, 1884. He departed this life December 3, 1910, at the age of 47 years, 3 months and 9 days. He leaves to mourn their loss, a wife, three sisters, two brothers, and a stepfather.
The Huron Telephone Company has increased its capital stock from $10,000 to $40,000. C. M. Brady as president and E. E. Parker, Sec.
LOCALS and PERSONALS
Mrs. M. E. Edson was taken to Huron Rd., Hospital, Cleveland the first of the week for treatment. Mr. Edson has been in poor health for several months past.
Mrs. F. W. Wakefield spent Monday at Cleveland.
C. Roscoe spent Monday at Milan.
Miss Lottie Goodell who has been spending the past few months with relatives and friends in Lorain and Vermilion made her farewell visit to the society. She leaves soon for her home in Kentucky.
Amherst’s boast of having the youngest high school pupil in Ohio in Georgia Standen, who passed the Boxwell examination at ten and entered the Amherst high school at eleven. She can graduate from college at eighteen.
BORN – to Mr. and Mrs. Parsons, a son, Thursday, December 1, 1910. [NOTE: The first name of the father was obliterated so I’ve no idea whose son this refers to.]
Ray Mr. and Mrs. William Troxel and daughters return to the first of the week from a visit with relatives and friends at Fremont and Burgoon. [Burgoon is a small community in Sandusky Co. Ohio.]
John F McCrystal as receiver of the Duplex Stamping Co. collected $343.50 dispersed $200.83 has on hand to the credit of the receivership a balance of $146.67. He filed his report in the Court of Common Pleas Wednesday morning.
At Vermilion the catch is been quite fair and the fish houses have a stock of fish in their refrigerators for the winter supply. Some of the nets are still in the lake but the fishermen are bringing them in as rapidly as possible, preparatory to laying up. Some of the tugs may go to Erie.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY
CHAPER XI.THE ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY—THIRD INFANTRY.
…relieve the One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio, and on the 10th left that place for Romney. Here it was employed in scouting duty along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and while so doing one company of the One Hundred and Sixteenth and a small detail of the One Hundred and Twenty third were captured by McNeil's Cavalry.
But this loss was comparatively trifling as against that that fell to the regiment at Winchester on the 13th of June and the days following, and although the men fought like demons, this regiment making three desperate charges in attempting to break through the rebel lines, it was of no avail; they were surrounded, their retreat cut off, and the command, with but few exceptions, were captured and taken to Richmond. The officers were confined in Libby prison, but a few managed to effect their escape. The privates were exchanged in the course of a few months and sent to the parole camps at Annapolis, and at Camp Chase, O.
About the 1st of April, 1864, the regiment was re assembled at Martinsburg, and from thence moved to Winchester, the city of their recent downfall. From here it moved, under General Sigel, up the Shenandoah and engaged in battle at New Market, on May 15th, but with heavy loss was compelled to retreat to Cedar Creek. Here General Sigel was succeeded by General Hunter in the command of this branch of the army. On the 5th of June Port Republic was fought and two thousand prisoners taken from the Confederacy. After this commenced Hunter's retreating fight from Lynchburg to Salem, a retreat memorable for its disasters, and when the command arrived at Gauley Bridge it was in a most forlorn and pitiable condition. On the 6th of July the regiment reached Parkersburg, and thence marched to Martinsburg, which latter place it left two and a half months before with seven hundred men, but on its return could muster but two hundred and fifty.
With the Army of West Virginia the One Hundred and Twenty third fought at Snicker's Ferry on July 18th, and afterward joined in the pursuit of the rebels with alternating success and reverses for somedays. Then the regiment joined the army under Phil Sheridan. It participated in the battle at Berryville, on September 19; at Strasburg; at Cedar Creek, on October 19th, when Sheridan made his famous ride and turned disaster into victory; at Hatcher's Run, on the 2d of April of the following year; at High Bridge, where the One Hundred and Twenty-third was again captured and taken to Appomattox Court House. But at this place the whole of Lee's army surrendered to General Grant, and thus the prisoners were rescued. The regiment then returned to Camp Chase, O., where on the 12th of June the men were mustered out of service.
Roster Field and Staff.
William T. Wilson, colonel; mustered out with regiment.
Henry B. Hunter, lieutenant-colonel; discharged December 8, 1864.
HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY OHIO With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich - Syracuse, N.Y. D. Mason & Co., Publishes 1889.
VERMILION ARTIFACT #278
PAUL, AMALIA (Metrakis) AND STEVE (Demou): I have this pic tacked up on one of our scrap boards at the museum along with sundry other Vermilion things. I thought some might provide some folks with a walk down memory lane.
From what I could tell their pic was snapped in the Metrakis home on the northwest corner of Ohio and Perry streets. All three were natives of Greece.
Steve was born March 13, 1936 in the small village of Alea Argos, Greece and came to America in 1952 settling in Lorain. He had attended grade school in Greece, and in Lorain he also attended Whittier school for a brief time.
Steve began his food service career selling hot dogs at the Lakeview Park concession house. In 1956, he served in the United States Army where obtaining the rank of SP 5. He was a Korean War veteran. In 1958, he returned to Lorain and began his first business Steve's Variety at the Loop (corner of West Erie Avenue and Broadway Avenue). In 1964, he built the Nest Drive-In Restaurant in Vermilion. In 1973 he purchased the Stoffer Coffee Cup in downtown Vermilion [NOTE: I’ve no idea where that might have been located]. After quitting the restaurant business, he began a small painting company and remodeled many rental properties. He was very active in the local Chamber of Commerce, Lions and Masons. He died in 2009 at the tender age of 73. [He was a great guy.]
Paul and Amalia (I called her Emily) owned and operated Paul’s Snack Shop next to the newsstand in beautiful downtown Vermilion. I know that Paul had invested in the enterprises of many of his Grecian friends over the years. I suspect that Steve may have been among them.
When Paul and Amalia retired they returned to their homeland. Paul passed into the Great Beyond in 1984 and Amalia died in 2000.
WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?
A little boy was taken to the dentist. It was discovered that he had a cavity that would have to be filled.
"Now, young man," asked the dentist, "what kind of filling would you like for that tooth?"
"Chocolate, please," replied the youngster.
LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: After giving it much thought this link has been "put-down". During the last year most of the folks who used to use this page as a bulletin board have acquired their own and, consequently, no longer need this forum from "Views". I have, however, kept links (in the links section) to Larry Hohler's "Hope Homes" in Kenya - and to Bette Lou Higgins' Eden Valley Enterprises sites. They are historically and socially relevant projects. I suggest that you visit these sites on a regular basis to see "what's shakin'".
Pay particular note to the "Hope Homes" page during the next few months / years. They are constantly improving the lives of their youngsters and those around them. This is an exciting project accomplished by exciting people.
Although this Vermilion High School Class of 1959 reunion is over classmates may want to stay connected with each other through organizerROGER BOUGHTON. Ye can connect by mailing him @ 2205 SW 10th Ave. Austin, MN. 55912 or you can just emailRoger.
Persons interested in the history of the Lake Shore Electric Railway (which was the subject of a recent past podcast series) - "the greatest electaric railway system on the planet" may want to go to Amazon.com and purchase a book called "Images of Rail - Lake Shore Electric Railway". It was put together by Thomas J. Patton with the help of my friends DENNIS LAMONT and ALBERT DOANE. It'd make a nice gift.
Another great book with Vermilion Roots is, "Grandma's Favorites: A Compilation of Recipes from MARGARET SANDERS BUELL by Amy O'Neal, ELIZABETH THOMPSON and MEG WALTER (May 2, 2012). This book very literally will provide one with the flavor of old Vermilion. And ye can also find it at Amazon.com. Take a look.
MARY WAKEFIELD BUXTON'S LATEST BOOK "The Private War of William Styron" is available in paper back for $15.00 with tax and can be purchased locally at Buxton and Buxton Law Office in Urbanna, ordered from any book store, Amazon.com or Brandylane Publishing Company. A signed, hard back edition may be purchased from Mrs. Buxton directly for $30.00 by writing her at Box 488, Urbanna, VA 23175 and including $6.00 for tax, postage and packaging.
THE BEAT GOES ON: This page is generated by a dreaded Macintosh Computer and is written and designed by (me) Rich Tarrant. It will change weekly ~ usually on Saturday. Bookmark the URL (Universal Resource Locater) and come back at your own leisure. Send the page to your friends (and enemies if you wish). If you have something to share with those who visit this page, pass it on. And if you see something that
is in need of correction do the same. My sister, Nancy, is a great help in that respect. It only takes me a week to get things right. And follow the links. You might find something you like. If you experience a problem with them let me know. Also, if you want to see past editions of this eZine check the new archives links below.
If you're looking for my old links section (pictured) I've replaced it with a pull-down menu (visible in the small box next to the word "Go"). If you're looking for links to more Vermilion history check that menu.
How the old links menu looked
For Persons who would like to donate to the cause (to keep these "Views" on-line you can send whatever you would like to me at the following address. And THANKS to everybody who has already donated to the cause. I doth certainly appreciate it):
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"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
Vol. 16. Issue 40 - December 8, 2018
Archive Issue #821
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