Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ship Building in Huron: Fairbanks Church

Since moving to Huron, I have been intrigued by the shipbuilders, ship captains, fishermen, and lighthouse keepers of this town on the shore of Lake Erie. Hence, I was thrilled to come across the name of Fairbanks Church in my current project. Of course, my curiousity led me to research (on my own time) beyond was necessary for the house history. Here is a bit of what I discovered:

Captain Fairbanks Church came to Ohio around 1820 from Connecticut. He and Captain Augustus Jones established shipyards at Lorain and Huron and began building innovative vessels that were better at sailing and could carry large tonage. Captain Church had a prolific shipbuilding career in Huron. He built steamers, including the DeWitt Clinton and Great Western, and the 2-mast brig, Henry Clay. Captain Church died in 1843 at the age of 52.

The Great Western:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Underground Railroad Reminiscences

One of my current projects has given me the amazing opportunity to learn about the Underground Railroad and the incredible events that took place in Erie County, Ohio, and beyond. I found the following account presented to the Firelands Historical Society in 1887 to be particularly moving.

On December 25, 1859 or 1860 when H.F. Paden was a passenger conductor on the old Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railroad, he assisted nine fugitive slaves in their journey to freedom in Canada. Paden got the men as far as the Sandusky, Ohio, where he observed the following:

“Between them and their goal lay Lake Erie, its waters congealed by the forces of nature into a mighty bridge, thirty miles across, treacherous withal, liable to be swept by furious winds and cruel blinding storms of snow. To the certain and uncertain places of this bridge, alike unknown to them, with a pocket compass for their sole guide, these men were about to commit themselves, their hopes, their dearest interests, their very lives, with trustful confidence in a God of freedom, for one grand, final effort to achieve ownership of their own bodies and souls.”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Political Cartoons have been Around a Long Time

Here is an example of political humor following the 1912 Presidential Election in which Woodrow Wilson (D) won in a landslide defeat over Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive Party), William Taft (R), and Eugene Debs (Socialist Party). (From the November 8, 1912 issue of the Sandusky Register.)