Friday, May 11, 2012

Portraits of Huron’s Past: Andrew and Emma (Frye) Linker

            A series of tragic events led Andrew F. Linker to Huron, Ohio, in the late 1800s.  Andrew Phoenix Linker was born on a farm on Galloway Road in Perkins Township on May 22, 1870, to John C. and Margaret Linker.  Andrew’s mother, Margaret, died in 1878, and his father, John, died in 1888 after being run over by a train.  Since adulthood, in the legal context, was not reached until age 21 at this time, Andrew came under the guardianship of family friend, Gustavus Graham.  Soon, Andrew came to live with the Graham family and helped maintain their farm at 3419 Cleveland Road in Huron Township (currently owned by the Barnes family).  Further, Andrew became the sole heir of Gustavus Graham after the Graham’s only daughter, Cora, committed suicide in December of 1888.
            In 1902, Andrew married Emma Josephine Frye.  Emma, the daughter of Jacob and Emma Frye, was born in April of 1878, was raised in Huron, and graduated from Huron High School in 1894.  She attended college in Berea, Ohio, where she obtained a teaching certificate.  Emma taught in a one-room school house in Huron prior to and after her marriage.  After Andrew and Emma’s wedding, the newlyweds lived with the Graham family.  Andrew and Emma were blessed with three children, Lurella Belle born in 1904, Ivan Graham born in 1905, and Donna Rose born in 1921.
            The Linkers were quite active in the community and served on many committees.  Their involvement included the Erie County Grange, the juvenile Grange, the Women’s Council of National Defense, the County Health League, the Erie County Fair, the Knights of Pythias, the Rye Beach Food Club, the Farm Bureau, and the Sandusky Library Trustees. 

            Tragedy visited the Linker family when Ivan Linker died in July of 1919, at the age of 13.  Ivan had been swimming with some friends at Rye Beach.  The waves were large and the strong undertow caught Ivan and pulled him out of reach of his friends.  His body was not recovered until the following morning. 
            Andrew’s primary occupation was farming; yet, as the hard times of the Great Depression overtook the country, the Linkers, like most American families, could not survive on farming alone.  Around 1930, the Linkers opened their home to tourists as the Ridgewell Inn.  In addition, two chicken coops that sat north of the house were converted to cabins and then rented to tourists.  Later, the Linkers added a gas station to their offerings, which was located across the street on the corner of Cleveland Road and Camp Street.  Later, the Ridgewell Inn also offered tennis courts and a miniature golf course for the guests.  The Linker’s continued to welcome tourists into their home until Andrew’s death in 1942.

            After Andrew’s death, Emma remained in her home for the next eight years.  She was having difficulty maintaining the property and her daughters encouraged her to sell.  Being fiercely protective of her home, Emma would not sell the property to just anyone.  She especially would not sell her home to someone that intended to turn the house into a liquor establishment because she was strongly opposed to the use of alcohol.  In 1950, Harold Barnes was looking for land along the lakeshore upon which to grow roses.  Emma agreed to sell the property to Harold since his intentions were agricultural.  After selling the property to Harold, Emma moved to Sandusky.  She remained in Sandusky until the time of her death in 1959.  Emma was buried with Andrew and Ivan in the Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky.

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