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Mansfield Federal Building: Good things come to those who wait

There had been a discussion of a new Federal Building to house the Post Office for more than twenty years in Mansfield before the erection of the building on the corner of North Mulberry and West Fourth Streets. An article in the Mansfield News from December 7, 1907, said that many “smaller cities had secured public buildings though [they were] less entitled to them than Mansfield...”

Orin H. Booth: The man who brought the telephone to Mansfield

Orin H. Booth was born February 17, 1831, in Rochester, New York to Hiren and Sarah (McCleod) Booth. When Orin was about 4 years of age the family moved to Media County, Ohio. It was here that Orin developed an interest in the printing trade and, at the age of 19, Orin went to Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and lived with his sister Miranda and her husband, Dr. M. K. Hard where he worked as a printer...

Get to Know Your Mayors: Huntington Brown

Huntington Brown was born in Trumbull County, Ohio on December 30, 1849, to James Monroe and Mary (Hicks) Brown. His grandfather was the Hon. Ephraim Brown, who, along with Thomas Howe, was the original owner of Bloomfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. Ephraim Brown built the first saw-mill in that vicinity in 1815 and the first flour-mill in 1823...

J. J. King and the King Building

Jerome J. King was born May 4, 1842, in Troy Township, Richland County, Ohio to Squire Jacob and Polly King who arrived here from Pennsylvania. Squire King constructed a sawmill on the “branch of the Clear Fork of the Mohican that runs a short distance south of” King’s Corners. Jerome received his elementary education principally at the Lexington Union Schools...

YMCA Grand Athletic Carnival

In April 23rd and 24th, 1901 the Mansfield YMCA hosted “The Grand Athletic and Gymnastic Carnival” at the Memorial Opera House. Tickets were $0.25 and sold by Y members and at Osborn’s Drug Store. The event featured a military bayonet drill, parallel bar, tumbling, and artistic fencing exercises just to name a few...

H. L. Reed Arrives in Mansfield

In an earlier post, we looked at the early life of Horace Lafayette Reed before his arrival in Mansfield.  At the end of the Civil War, Captain H. L. Reed made his way to Mansfield and began working with his older brother, James Henry Reed.  J. H. Reed, a few years earlier, had taken over the popular business of Sturges & Pritchard, dealers in books, stationery, and wallpaper...

The Sherman Family: Lampson Parker Sherman

Charles Robert Sherman and Mary Hoyt had eleven children before Charles’ early death at the age of 40 on June 24, 1829. This created a situation where Mary was unable to care for all eleven children, who aged from 18 years to 3 months, and many went to live with prominent friends of Charles Sherman. Charles, the eldest, went to Dayton, OH to stay with a cousin and lawyer, Mr. Stoddard...

The Bust of John Sherman

The first time John Sherman met Abraham Lincoln was on February 23, 1861, the day the President-elect arrived in Washington D. C. He arrived in disguise with his valet and bodyguard William H. Johnson after evading a suspected assassination in Baltimore. Sherman wrote of meeting Lincoln and his wife in his autobiography...

The Historic Trial of Ansel L. Robinson

Ansel L. Robinson was arraigned Monday, September 12, 1870, for the murder of Mary Jane Lunsford. He pleaded not guilty and the trial was set to begin September 26, 1870. It took a day and a half to fill the jury. 120 potential jurors were examined before the required 12 were chosen...

Mary Jane Lunsford: The Discover of the Body

Nearly fifty people had visited the crime scene before Marshal John F. McKinley arrived at 8 o’clock on the morning of March 12, 1870. Earlier in the morning, Mrs. Thomas Casey and Mrs. Charity Harris knocked again on Mrs. Lunsford’s door and again there was no answer. They put a ladder against the house and attempted to ask a stranger to go up and investigate...

The Murder of Mary Jane Lunsford

In the early morning hours of March 12, 1870, William Braby had just finished playing for the night at the Philharmonic Hall. Around 1 o’clock in the morning, Mr. Braby noticed a man rush out from the corner where the Atlantic Hotel stood. The unknown stranger, dressed in dark clothes, hurriedly made his way up the street and crossed the street about a block in front of Braby...

Richland County Children’s Home

On October 12, 1880, an issue appeared on the ballot for establishing a Children’s Home in Richland County. If voted for, county funds not exceeding $50,000 would be used “for the purchase of a site, and the erection thereon of said home.”i There was a portion of the citizens who felt a children’s home was not needed in Richland County...

The Construction of Mansfield General Hospital

On January 20, 1914, members of the Board of Trustees of the Emergency Hospital met at the home of Frank B. Black on Blymyer Ave. to discuss the need for a general hospital in the city of Mansfield. At that meeting, members recognized there was an urgent need for a new facility.  The following year a committee was organized and tasked with raising the $100,000, which was the estimate of what the institution would cost...

The Quarantine of 1918

The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first instance the library had to close due to public health concerns. In late 1918, Spanish Influenza was quickly spreading across the country. The pandemic spread worldwide and was estimated to have killed at least 50 million people, 675,000 of them in the United States. It was a unique pandemic, as young and old alike were at risk. The city health board reported that not one case of Spanish influenza had been reported in Mansfield by Oct. 4, 1918...

Mansfield Bookmobiles Throughout the Years

The Mansfield/Richland County Public Library received its first book truck in 1931. The cost of the book truck, a 1931 Reo, was $1,010.03 and began operation on October 12, 1931. In those first few months, according to the 1931 Annual Report, it cost $31.03 to house and operate the book truck and librarians circulated 14,295 books...

Mansfield City Basketball and Their First Road Trip

A photo of seven men posing in their basketball uniforms is located in the Sherman Room. The only indications of their identity are the words Mansfield, Ohio across their chests, “’15-‘16” written on the Basketball in the middle of the group, and the name of the studio, Oscar Grossheim, Muscatine, IA on the mat around the photo...

Eligible Bachelors of 1880

Many traditions made their way to America with the immigrants that brought them. One of these is a leap day tradition where women proposed to men, rather than the traditional other way around. There are many theories in the origin of this tradition. One is that Queen Margaret of Scotland created a law in 1288 allowing women to propose on leap day, though there is no evidence to support this...

What Was There? The Corner of West Third and North Walnut

On April 20, 1927, Louis Freundlich purchased the site on the corner of Walnut and Third Streets for the erection of a new building. Prior to this, the site was the location of various frame structures. The Christ Marinis Candy store sat on the corner and George Wing Laundry next to that in the same building...

Mansfield Churches: First Congregational Church

78 years ago a Mansfield landmark burned to the ground. Only four blackened walls remained of the First Congregational Church. Hundreds watched as the spire, which rose over 200 feet above Park Avenue West, fell and the building crumbled. According to the News Journal, the question was often asked – “What if the Congregation Church spire should fall?” The answer: The flame-eaten spire toppled and plunged to the ground like a giant lance, impaling itself in the ground 50 feet east of the building...

Octavius D. Gass: The Father of Las Vegas

Pioneering and a sense of adventure run in the Gass family.  Octavius Decatur Gass, a grandson of Troy Township, Richland County, Ohio pioneer William Gass, is known by some as the “father of Las Vegas, Nevada.”  William Gass arrived In Troy Township in 1812 and built a small, fourteen square foot cabin on 80 acres of land he had purchased from the government at $2 an acre...

The Short Life of Patrick Purdy Hull

In Mansfield’s early years, mayors served only one-year terms. In 1849, Patrick Purdy Hull was elected mayor. Not much is known of his accomplishments as mayor, but he became known nationally after he served his one-year term. Hull was born between 1816 and 1822, depending on which document you look at. He was the son of Seth Hull, a tailor, and Esther Purdy...

Bromfield and Walt Disney’s Vanishing Prairie

One of the more interesting books in the Louis Bromfield Collection in the Sherman Room is Walt Disney’s Vanishing Prairie.  The book, which was released in 1956 as a companion to the 1954 Disney film, contains colorful images from the film along with text written by Louis Bromfield...

A Shootout with the Foster Gang in Shelby

In November of 1883, some of the most notorious bandits in the area came through Richland County. Five Members of the Foster Gang, who terrorized northern Ohio and southern Michigan, had just attempted to blow a safe in New Washington, Crawford County, Ohio the night of November 29, 1883. The Foster Gang was based in Parma, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and was well known by authorities in that area...

Mansfield’s First Christmas Tree

Legend has it that the first Christmas tree in the city of Mansfield was put up by German immigrant Peter Ott in the family parlor of the Wiler House. The story varies slightly depending on which article you read. According to Virgil Stanfield, the tree was put up for Christmas 1855 for the invalid son of the Wiler House operator, James Hervey Cook. Ott had a barbershop for some time in the Wiler house...

Mansfield Librarians: Miss Helen J. Fox

Helen Jennette Fox was born February 3, 1882, in Hayesville, Ashland County, Ohio to Joseph Benton Fox and Christiania Wallace. Joseph Benton Fox was an insurance agent and moved to Mansfield, Ohio around 1897-98 according to Mansfield city directories. Helen was the oldest of six children and the only girl. Her brothers were Frederick H (b. 1883), Ralph D. (b. 1886), George W. (b 1891), Homer Eugene (b. 1893), and Leo Ronald (b. 1896)...

A Mysterious Adventuress Comes to Town

Occasionally while researching a topic, you come across another story that diverts your interest. That was the case this week while I was researching the Federal Building on the corner of W. Fourth and Mulberry here in Mansfield. While looking up an article on the laying of the cornerstone, another article a few columns over caught my attention. It read: “Fluffy Raffles Located in Columbus Will Be in Mansfield Wednesday Evening.”

An Update on Dr. J Lillian McBride

In March of 2018, we posted a blog about the incredible life of one of Mansfield’s early female doctors, Dr. J Lillian McBride. At that time, little was known of her early years and life after she left Mansfield. Since then, more information has been uncovered and appears here in this update on the life of Dr. Julia Lillian McBride...

Mansfield Athletes: Wilbur “Pete” Henry

Mansfield Senior High has had many great athletes in its history. Wilbur Henry left his mark on the football world 100 years ago. Wilbur Frank Henry was born on October 31, 1897, to Ulysses Sherman Henry and Bertha Frank. His father, Ulysses, was born in Lucas, Ohio, and was a lifelong resident of the area. Ulysses worked at the Ohio State Reformatory for 32 years and was once attacked with a hammer by inmate Thomas Wardell...

Mansfield Librarians: Col. James E. Wharton

Col. James Edwin Wharton was born Jonathan Whitcomb Jr. to Jonathan and Lucy Whitcomb on September 7, 1809, in Heath, Franklin, Massachusetts.  He spent his formative years in this area, learning the printing trade in Greenfield, Franklin, Massachusetts, and starting the Fitchburg Gazette and working for the Worchester Spy newspaper.  Jonathan Jr. joined the Democratic Party, which went against his father’s views...

How Fred Hunt Saved Halloween

In the early 1900s, Halloween in Mansfield was a bit more disorderly with teens, and probably some who were old enough to know better, vandalizing property and engaging in other pranks. It got so bad that the mayor at the time, T.R. Robison, published yearly proclamations in the newspaper to discourage anyone with these ideas. The proclamation in 1901 warned...

Mansfield Baseball: Sandy McDermott

Mansfield has many great Baseball memories.  There was Ed Delahanty, who signed to play with Mansfield in 1887 at the age of 19.  He would go on to become one of the game’s greatest hitters, batting .408 for Philadelphia in 1899, going 6 for 6 twice and once hitting four home runs in a single game.  The first professional baseball game, where players were paid a salary, happened when the Cincinnati Red Stockings came to play Mansfield on June 1, 1869...

Rumors and the Arrest of two Young Men: The Clara Hough Murder

The murder of Clara Hough had taken the city by storm.  Nearly three pages of the October 1, 1885 Mansfield Herald was dedicated to the crime.  Rumors filled the newspapers and every stranger was suddenly a suspect.  The citizens demanded answers as three other murders had remained unsolved in the last fifteen years (John FoxCharles Leonard, and Mary Lunsford)...

A Demon's Deed: The Clara Hough Murder

Clara Melissa Hough was a domestic working for the family of Joseph W. Dougal, an agricultural implement dealer.  Dougal’s home was located at 175 West Fourth, about where 454 West Fourth would be located today, near Penn Avenue.  Clara came to Mansfield from the small town of Madisonburg, outside of Wooster, Ohio.  In the 1880 U.S. Census, she is living with her grandmother, Magdalen, and working as a teacher...

Mansfield Librarians: Miss Mary Ebert

here were various options available to Mansfield residents to secure reading materials before the formation of a public library.  In 1868 the Young Men’s Christian Association opened a reading room above W. B. Mercer’s Drug Store on North Main Street.  William Mercer was the father of future head librarian Martha Mercer.  The Mansfield Lyceum was organized in 1871 and had a reading room and a librarian, who was elected annually...

Genealogy: Researching Your Home

There are many resources available at the library to help you research the history of your home.  Whether you are looking for the owners of the property, the residents of the home or you are curious who may have died in the home, the following tools and resources will help you get that information...

Cabinet Card: Lily and Maggie Berno

The photograph below was taken around the mid-1880s at the Seiler Photography Studio.  It depicts two young girls, the back of the cabinet card lists their names as Lily and Maggie Berno.  Lily is about 2 years older than Maggie...

Mansfield Librarians: Miss Martha Mercer

One of the most important librarians in Mansfield History spent the majority of her life in this city.  Miss Martha Mercer was born about September 1859 to William Boyd Mercer, a druggist, and Johanna Holland Morrison, who came to Mansfield around 1856.  Little is known of the life of Miss Mercer prior to becoming a librarian, but a few articles in the Mansfield Herald in 1887 and 1889 mentioned her performing in local plays.  It was around 1890 that Mercer became a librarian, taking over for Miss Mary Ebert, in the newly constructed Soldiers and Sailors Building...

The Evolution of the Library Card

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month and I thought we could use this as an opportunity to explore the evolution of the library card and how patrons borrowed materials in the early days of the library.  Before the Civil War, when the Mansfield Library Association was located on the corner of North Main and West Third in the Z.S. Stocking building where the Carrousel Park now sits, the library was non-circulating...

The Historic Blockhouse

A. A. Graham states in his History of Richland County that blockhouses “sprang up, like mushrooms, almost in a single night” as pioneers felt the need to protect themselves from local Indians when war was declared with Great Britain in the spring of 1812. Two blockhouses were constructed on the square here in Mansfield. One blockhouse was created by a company of men under the direction of Capt. Williams of Coshocton and another by Capt. Shaffer of Fairfield County...

Who Was Jacob Laird?

Jacob Laird was born July 7, 1839 in Richland County, Ohio to William Laird and Mary Bender on a farm north of Mansfield.  Jacob spent his young life in the area until the outbreak of the Civil War.  When he was 23, Jacob entered the service, serving in Company E of the Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.  He served three years and was mustered out on June 17, 1865...

Mansfield High School: A Model Structure in 1892

hen the Mansfield High School was built in 1891-92 it wasn’t without controversy.  A May 31, 1891 article from The Mansfield Evening News reported the new structure was the subject of “street gossip.”  The gossip concerned irregularities and possible favoritism in the selection of the site for the new school, as well as the price paid for the site and manner of payment...

Vasbinder Fountain

The dedication of the Vasbinder Fountain should have been a joyous occasion.  Siblings, David and Jane Vasbinder, gave the fountain to the city and in the speech given by Henry Hedges, he thanked them for sharing their good fortune with the people of Mansfield.  Col. B. Burns accepted the fountain on behalf of the city...

Mansfield Astronaut: Dr. Michael L. Gernhardt

July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing.  Mansfield has its own astronaut; Dr. Michael Landon Gernhardt was born in Mansfield, Ohio on May 4, 1956.  Gernhardt graduated from Malabar High School in 1974 before attending Vanderbilt University and later earning a master’s and a doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania...

Newly Digitized Richland County Newspapers

The Mansfield-Richland County Public Library has partnered with the Mansfield Memorial MuseumThe Ohio Genealogical Society and the Richland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society to digitize newspapers from Richland County, Ohio.  The project was made possible as a result of a $7,885 grant from the Gorman Foundation.  Those looking to research the newspapers can access the content from anywhere; there is no membership or login required.  This service is completely free to those interested...

1943 Mansfield Senior High Annual

The 1943 Mansfield Senior High Annual doesn’t resemble the Manhigan of other years.  That’s because there was almost no annual produced that year.  World War II was raging in Europe and many items at home need to be rationed.  Shortly before graduation, parents appealed to the board and Principal Glenn G Rohleder stating that something needed to be done to give the students an annual... 

Mansfield Mausoleum

In 1909, a group of men came together and put forth the idea that Mansfield needed a mausoleum.  John Weil and R.S. Barr where responsible for this project.  Also on the board of trustees were F. H. Marquis, G. P. Krause and Huntington Brown.  It was said Mansfield needed to keep up with communities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Columbus, Springfield, Ill, and others

Young Purdy and the Purdy Building

The Purdy name has been associated with Mansfield since its earliest days.  James Purdy and James Stewart arrived at the new village of Mansfield in 1823 and Stewart stayed immediately, while Purdy continued south through Cincinnati and Louisville.  It is said that while in Louisville, Purdy saw a slave being mistreated and decided the south would not be to his liking...

MANSFIELD HIGH SCHOOL: CLASS OF 1904

The Class as it appeared on graduation day, June 10, 1904.

GEORGE MANNER SCHRACK: FROM ENTERTAINER TO MINISTER

George Manner Schrack was born February 18, 1890 to James Reed and Susan Amanda (Manner) Schrack.  His obituary states that his maternal great-great grandfather came to Richland County in 1818 and settled the land which would eventually become Malabar Farm.  He attended school at an early age in Fredericktown, Ohio and later studied dramatics at Kings School of Oratory in Pittsburgh, PA, graduating in 1914...

THE RAZING OF JOHN SHERMAN’S MANSION

John Sherman’s home was razed not long after his death on October 22, 1900, it stood for only four more years.  There were those who wished to save the property and others for various reasons, either financial or they were not a fan of the former senator, who hoped the property would be demolished...

HARRY GRANT OLDS: FROM MANSFIELD TO BUENOS ARIES

H. G. Olds only spent a short time in Mansfield, but it was the place where he met his wife and one of the last places he stayed for any length of time before departing for South America. Harry Grant Olds was born in Sandusky County, Ohio on November 3, 1868 to Henry Harrison Olds and Georgianna Judd Apthorp. Henry Harrison Olds was a Civil War Veteran, having served as a sergeant in Company B of the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry...

Hog Day in Mansfield

On February 15, 1862 an image, most likely taken from the image above, appeared as a sketch in The New York Illustrated News.  In 1922, Richmond Smith, son of Hiram Richmond Smith, had a copy of the “relic” as The Mansfield News referred to it.  The Photo and accompanying photograph, which appeared in The New York Illustrated, paints quite the picture of our little “rural village.”

The Sherman Room Digital Archive

There is a new digital archives website available from The Sherman Room at the Mansfield Richland County Public Library.  There are postcard images, photographs, school newspapers, Civil War Letters and, for the first time, digital copies of school yearbooks.  This is just the beginning.  In the future, we will be adding many more materials from our collection to the archive.  There is also a feature where you can contribute your own items to the “Digital Community Scrapbook” and share items through many social media platforms...

The Branyan Brothers and Lyman May

Lyman A. William May, or Billy, as the photo above suggests he was called, was born November 30, 1937 in Ohio.  He was the son of Hubbert and Salina (Hough) May.  Hubbert died July 12, 1844 when Lyman was just six years old.  No death record was found for his mother, but she may have passed away prior to 1850 also since Lyman is recorded living with the family of Jacob and Matilda (May) Cleland in New Haven, Huron County, Ohio in the 1850 US Census...

The Presidents Daughter and the Violinist

Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I on April 6, 1917, the American Red Cross bolstered their efforts in raising money to support the war.  One of the ways this was accomplished was to have concerts throughout the country with a majority of the proceeds going to the Red Cross.  One such concert happened in Mansfield on June 2, 1917...

The Old "Y" on Clover Hill

When Roeliff Brinkerhoff first came to Mansfield to study law, he stayed at the Mansion House on the corner of West Market St (Park Ave West) and Walnut, which was a popular spot in 1850s Mansfield.  The property would be bought by the Baptist Church in 1860 and is today the site of the Farmers State Bank building.  In 1852 Roeliff married Mary Lake Bently and the couple stayed in Ashland at the Samsel Hotel and later a small cottage was purchased...

A Murder in Independence

On the night of Monday, April 1, 1878, Marshall Lemon received word of a murder committed at the village of Independence (now Butler), Richland County, Ohio.  Lemon, accompanied by policeman McKinley, immediately caught a freight train to the village to investigate, arriving about 1 a.m.  When they arrived in the village, Samuel Bowersox had been arrested and was being held in the saloon he owned...

Jack Crouse and Paul Harris's Hike East

The above photograph was taken September 19, 1921.  It shows two young Mansfield men, Jack Crouse and Paul Harris, sitting with their Knapsacks inscribed with the words “Mansfield, O to the U. of Penn. Pennsylvania, PA. 700 Mi.”  The photograph is available through the Library of Congress’s digital archives and can be downloaded here.  Little information is given other than names and the date of the photograph...

Who was Gertrude Elinor Sturges

Gertrude Elinor Sturges was born in Norwood, New Jersey on March 21, 1887.  Her parents were Arthur Dimon Sturges and Iantha B. Wescott.  Iantha was born in New York and Gertrude’s father, Arthur, was born in Mansfield, Ohio to Edward and Mary (Mathews) Sturges.  According to Edward’s obituary, he arrived in Mansfield around April of 1820 at the age of 14, and joined his brother, E. P. Sturges’s business.[i]  Edward and his brother, Eben, would go on to be some of the most successful businessmen in the young city of Mansfield....

Whats in a Name: Miss Belle Phipps

Isabelle “Belle” Phipps was born on February 10, 1859 in Independence (now Butler), Ohio.  She was the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Teeter) Phipps and the great-granddaughter of Revolutionary War Veteran Samuel Phipps, Sr.  Samuel Phipps, Sr. and his wife, Mary, moved to a farm in Butler, Ohio around 1815.  Being one of the original land purchasers, he bought the northeast ¼ of section 30 in Worthington Township, 160 acres, for $262.40.  Samuel died January 5, 1841 at the age of 105...

History of the Hudson and Essex Building

With the opening of the new Hudson and Essex restaurant at 51 East Fourth St., many people have been curious about the history of the building that housed the National Electric Supply Co. for over fifty years.  The 1921 Sanborn map shows homes sitting at the site of the building, being that the whole block between North Diamond and North Franklin at that time was residential...

The Newman Building and Quality Furniture Fire

The Month of February has brought fire and destruction to Mansfield a number of times.  A few weeks ago, we looked at the fire that ripped through the Baxter Stove Co. in 1899.  75 years ago, another fire destroyed a Mansfield Landmark and other neighboring businesses.  On February 13, 1944 a fire, which started in the Ringside Nite Club at 28 and 30 East Third St., devastated half a city block on North Park St. causing $500,000 in damages...

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Came to Mansfield

“IF A MAN DOESN’T HAVE SOMETHING HE WILL DIE FOR HE ISN’T FIT TO LIVE.  HE DIES WHO FAILS TO STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH”

These words were spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his first visit to Mansfield on September 23, 1962.  Dr. King was here to speak at the dedication of Mt. Hermon Baptist Church’s new building at 292 Charles St. where his uncle, Rev. Joel L. King, Sr., served.  Rev. Joel King was the youngest of 10 children and, after the death of his parents, was raised by Dr. King‘s father, Martin Luther King, Sr...

The 1899 Baxter Stove Co. Fire

It was cold this past week, but 120 years ago Ohio recorded it lowest temperature.   On February 10, 1899 a temperature of -39 ⁰F was recorded in Milligan, Ohio, a small community in Perry County, Ohio.  The day before that, Mansfield Fire Fighters battled one of the worst blazes Mansfield had seen in -20 ⁰F temperatures...

What Happened to Jacob Garver

On March 2, 1908, Jacob Messmore Garver went missing after leaving a bar in Bellville, Ohio.  The town was in shock and it was one of the most mysterious disappearances in the village to date.  Garver was a respected man, had no known enemies, and his only known flaw was indulging in the drink.   On August 24, 1890, he married Huldah Ellen Bibler in Marion County, Ohio and the couple had 5 children with one on the way...

Past Faces: Rev George M. Grau

The Sherman Room has a number of portrait photographs; some having limited information written on the back.  One set of photographs is that of Rev. George M. Grau.  According to 1880 and 1900 census information, George was born in 1848 in Pennsylvania and lists his parents as being German.  In 1877 George married Mary Haarstrick.  Mary was born in Germany in 1850 and immigrated to the United States at the age of four...

"Human Fly's" Come to Mansfield

During the early 20th century, the “Human Fly” was a spectacle that would bring out thousands of people.  An individual, often wearing everyday clothes and not using any special apparatus or climbing gear, would scale the side of a building to the delight of the crowd.  This happened numerous times in Mansfield.  One of the early accounts recorded in the Mansfield Shield from 1916 tells of “Crazy Jack” Williams.  On April 20, 1916, a crowd estimated at around 2000 people watched as Williams scaled the Smith Building where Maxwell’s was located...

The "Crazy Idea" of Eastern Time

One hundred years ago, on January 1, 1919, the “crazy idea” of switching to the Eastern Time Zone was adopted.  According to the Mansfield News, the official time to advance your clocks one hour was at 2 a. m. on January 1, “but there [was] nothing to prevent [anyone] from doing it before [they went] to bed the night before.”  Mansfield was placed in the Eastern Time Zone by a Congressional Act through the Interstate Commerce Commission, making it one of the border towns for the time zone...

The Christmas Murder of John Payne

On December 26, 1923, John Payne eagerly awaited the return of his foster daughter, Bertha, who had spent Christmas at her grandfather’s with her father, Willard Pettit, and Uncle Wilbur.  John was a tenant on the Huron Valley farm 6 miles north of Shelby, OH, which was owned by A. C. Morse, head of the Shelby Seamless Tube Company...

Christmas Ads From 1918

This was the scene for Christmas over 100 years ago on North Main St., busy shoppers going in and out of the numerous stores which lined the street.   On the right side is HL Reed Co., followed by SH Knox & Co., which would later be The Mansfield Dry Goods Co. and expand into Berno’s next door...

Park Ave. East Underpass

In mid-summer of 1924 the underpass or subway on Park Ave. East was completed.  Prior to this the street and railroad were at the same level and with the popularity of the Lincoln Highway there became a need to reduce traffic at the crossing.  The Park Ave East crossing of the Pennsylvania main line had also become one of the most dangerous crossings in the city, resulting in the death or injury of many citizens...

Ebert and Donnellan: Early Streetcar Motormen

On August 8, 1887, Mansfield rode into the future on one of the first electric streetcar railways in the country.  This photograph shows one of the first motormen, George Ebert.  In a newspaper article from 1932, they identify the other man as Edward Donnellan and the residence in the background belonging to John Nunmaker on Springmill Street near Mulberry...

Whats in a Name: Edna Schwartz

Edna Schwartz, or Swartz as it appeared on her grade cards, was born November 25, 1890 to Samuel W Schwartz.  Samuel was born in 1854 in Lafayette, Ohio.  In his obituary, it states he made money selling apples in Shelby during the Civil War, later worked as a saddler and harness maker and then entered the shoe repair business.  Edna’s step-mother was Cora (Emmens) Schwartz.  She married Samuel in the mid to late 1890s...

Thanksgiving at the Vonhof

Much of the same traditional fare we enjoy today is on this menu from The Vonhof Hotel for Thanksgiving, 1894, including turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and, one of the most popular foods at the time, raw oysters.  There is no price listed for the meal, but in 1899 an advertisement in The Mansfield Evening News listed an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner at The Vonhof for 75 cents.  By 1921 the price had doubled to $1.50...

The Sherman Family: Hoyt Sherman

Earlier we looked at John Sherman’s oldest brother Charles and his impact in Mansfield.  In this post, we will take a closer look at one of his other 10 siblings, Hoyt Sherman.  While not making an impact in Mansfield, Hoyt was another successful member, and lawyer, of the prolific Sherman family...

The Girl Graduate: Plymouth High School 1907

In the Sherman Room archive is a graduation book for Wilda Claire Strong.  These books were the predecessors of yearbooks as we know them today.  The book contains information about the class of 1907 from Plymouth High School, including photographs, class autographs, notes on teachers and class officers and newspaper clippings of items important to a young graduate at the time...

Mansfield Welcomes Sears

With the news of Sears filing bankruptcy this week, we take a look at the history of Sears in Mansfield.  The first store opened on August 17, 1929 at 37 West Third St., next to the library.  This building would later become the home of Richmond Brothers and finally W.H. Oswalt Office Furniture before becoming part of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.  Later, it was demolished to make room for additions to the library...

Richland County Ghost Stories

In October many people come into the Sherman Room looking for information on The Ohio State Reformatory, the Bissman Building, or the Ceely Rose House. These, among others, are ghost stories and haunted locations which many of us who live in the area are familiar. This interest in the paranormal isn’t a new phenomenon; ghost stories have circulated in the community since settlers first planted roots in the rich soil in which Richland County got its name...

The Murder of Constable Smith

On November 27, 1899, Ezra Moore shot and killed Constable William Smith of Chicago Junction, now Willard, Ohio, and wounded Marshal Conklin of Plymouth about a mile past the Richland County line into Huron County. The trouble started with $25, which Myron, Ezra’s son, owed to J.W. Webb for a buggy. Webb sued and received judgement for the $25. A week before the killing, Marshal Conklin went to Moore’s farm and placed an attachment on the buggy...

Genealogy: Newspapers

One of the most underutilized resources in genealogy research is newspapers. Most people know newspapers are great sources for obituaries, but they can also be used to find information like birth announcements, engagements, marriages, anniversaries and divorce notices, legal notices, family reunions, and community news...

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio Churches: Part 2

Here are some more of the many images of churches on postcards from Mansfield, Ohio. Enjoy.

The Murder of a Bootlegger

It’s easy to see the effects prohibition had on large cities, such as Chicago, making millionaires out of individuals like Al Capone, who had an estimated net worth of $100 million in 1927. While it was more easily enforced in rural communities where the citizens supported the temperance movement which lead to prohibition, newspapers during the 1920s are littered with individuals getting caught for bootlegging, operating stills and drunkenness. Mansfield was no exception...

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio Churches

A sample of the many images of churches on postcards from Mansfield, Ohio. This is just a small sample of the churches which have been located in this city. Enjoy.

Genealogy Databases at MRCPL

he Mansfield/Richland County Public Library recently gained access to new databases to help with your genealogical research.  We still have access to Ancestry Library Edition as before, but have enriched the collection with African American Heritage, HeritageQuest and Fold3...

What’s in a Name: Russell Karns

In the Sherman Room, there is a collection of cards for the promotion of a Russell Karns from third grade through eighth grade in the Mansfield, Ohio, Public Schools. Using tools like Ancestry.com and other resources available in the Sherman Room, we are able to get a glimpse into the life of Russell...

Jockey Johnny Reiff’s Richland County Connection

On June 10, 1907, an article appeared in The Mansfield News celebrating the victory of Johnny Reiff, an American Jockey who had just won the Derby at Epsom Downs in Epsom, Surrey, England. It stated that Reiff was born in Richland County near Olivesburg and had left the area about 10 years prior. This may or may not be true...

The Unsolved Murder of Ethel Dudley

On February 3, 1920 one of the most brutal murders to date happened in Mansfield, Ohio. 18-year-old Ethel Dudley was on her way home from working the late shift at the Perfect Rubber Company when she was cruelly attacked. She left work at 10:00 p.m. and headed towards her home on Daisy St..

Mansfield, Ohio: 1900 Souvenir Letter

In 1907 Mabel C. Miller was unable to find a post card of Mansfield High School to send to a Mr. Frank S. Kenyon in Wauseon, Ohio. Instead she settled for a booklet of images, which included among other sites, Mansfield High School. Below are the images included in the booklet and the note written to Frank...

The Early Life of H. L. Reed

Horace Lafayette Reed was born in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio on November 13, 1840.  He attended school in the area, became a teacher, and was to begin teaching in the fall of 1862 when he decided to answer President Lincoln’s second call for troops in June of 1862.  Reed enlisted on August 1, 1862 as a private in company I of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry...

Prof. La Cardo: “A Drunken, Howling Fraud”

130 years ago, in 1888, this advertisement appeared in The Mansfield Daily Shield and Banner promising a spectacular out-door exhibition for the Fourth of July at the county fairgrounds. The main attraction was Prof. La Cardo, an aeronaut, who would perform while hanging from a hot air balloon. Flight and ballooning had become a popular attraction ever since the first balloon flew in Versailles, France 105 years previously in 1783...

The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co.

The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co. started in Mansfield in 1867 and continued into the 1920s, but who were the men behind the names Aultman and Taylor?  After these brief biographical sketches are some photographs of The Aultman & Taylor Machinery Co...

The Sherman Room Yearbook Collection

According to NPR, the school yearbook can be traced back to George K. Warren (1832-1884).  When technology had advanced to be able to make many copies of a photo from a single negative, Warren convinced college students to buy many images and share them with their friends at school...

Michael D. Harter – A Lonely End to a Successful Life

Michael D. Harter was born April 6, 1846 in Canton, Ohio to Isaac and Amanda Zenobia Harter. Michael’s father, Isaac, was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings. Isaac first arrived in Canton in 1822 when his sister, Mrs. George Dewalt, arranged for him to be indentured to William Christmas, a leading merchant in the city...

The Sherman Room Grandfather Clock

Upon entering the Sherman Room, one of the first items that catch most people’s eye is a grandfather clock sitting across from the entrance. The clock has an ornately gilded brass face; a silvered dial with raised brass numerals; and a sweep seconds hand with a hand painted revolving moon dial. The moon dial rotates, eventually displaying the phases of the moon and changing scenery...

An 1889 Chicago murder and its Mansfield origins

In August of 1889, a chance meeting of two men at Weltmer’s Boarding House in Manfield, Ohio would lead to the death of one and a prolonged Chicago trial of another. William E. Purdy, no known relation to the Purdy family in Mansfield, who claimed to be from Mt. Vernon, Ohio and Samuel E. Reininger, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania were both young men searching for work and, apparently, spending their money almost as fast as they could make it...

The Sherman Family: Charles Taylor Sherman

John Sherman wasn’t the only Sherman to make an impact on Mansfield, Ohio. His brother, Charles Taylor Sherman, was already an established attorney in the city when John arrived in Mansfield in 1840. Charles was the oldest child born to Judge Charles Robert Sherman and Mary Hoyt Sherman...

Postcards: Lexington, Ohio

In the spring of 1812 the first cabin was constructed in what is now Lexington, Ohio. Amariah Watson brought his wife and four children from Knox County and soon after his arrival he constructed a sawmill and a gristmill. Watson got along well with the local tribes in the area and made friends by grinding their grain in his gristmill...

The Boy Scouts and a trip of a lifetime through the Midwest

In the summer of 1920, the Boy Scouts of Mansfield, Ohio made and unprecedented cycling trip through three states: Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. They traveled 959 miles during the trip and were entertained by other scout troops along the way. The trip was also highlighted by a visit with then Senator and future President, Warren G. Harding, and a stay on Paul Tappan’s Yacht on Sandusky Bay...

The Mansfield Tire and Rubber Company

On March 21, 1912, the Mansfield Rubber and Tire Company turned out its first tire. This was a short time after The Mansfield Rubber Company had been reorganized with new capital and new executive personnel on February 10, 1912. At this early stage, the company was already getting orders of large amounts according to attorney J.E. Ladow, one of the company’s largest stake holders. Back in 1912, a tire cost approximately $50 and one was lucky to get 1,000 miles out of it...

The Early Presbyterian Church in Mansfield

Around the year 1815 Rev. George Van Eman, an itinerant Presbyterian preacher, delivered his first sermon in the village of Mansfield, Ohio. The following year Rev. Van Eman, along with James Scott, organized the first Presbyterian Church which consisted of seven females and six males. They held services in homes, the block house and, depending on the weather, in a grove where South Main Street and Lexington Ave. join...

The Flood of 1913

A while back we looked at the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, but about 8 months before that the city of Mansfield had to deal with another natural disaster that closed businesses and put a halt to normal daily life.  The Great Flood of 1913 destroyed more than twenty thousand homes and took the lives of 428 people in the state of Ohio...

The Remarkable Life and Tragic Death of Dr. R. Harvey Reed

Robert Harvey Reed was born on October 8, 1851 in Dalton, Ohio, a village about 13 miles east of Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio. According to Robert G. Patterson, at an early age Reed was taken into the home of his uncle, Robert H. Reed, who raised and educated him. It was his uncle’s second wife, Eliza, who became a mother figure to him. R. Harvey attended Union High School at Dalton...

Early Baseball in Mansfield

Baseball is known as America’s Pastime and Calvin Coolidge called it “our national game.” While we celebrate opening day this week lets look back at a game that played a vital role in Mansfield history...

A Romantic Marriage, Mysterious “Death” and Continued Absence

A strange and mysterious event happened in Bellville, Ohio almost 120 years ago.  The marriage of Ida B. Thrailkill and George C. Rundelle was believed by many in the community to be a happy affair.  The couple had reputably met through an advertisement in the Cincinnati Enquirer, but accounts vary on whether Ida placed the ad or answered it...

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio School Buildings

In 1908 A. J. Baughman wrote in his History of Richland County that “The first schoolhouse built in Mansfield was a frame building, paid for by subscription, and cost two hundred dollars. It was situate on East Fourth street near the big spring. This was in 1818. What a change between then and now....

Dr. J. Lillian McBride

The medical profession has mainly been dominated by men for most of its history, but Mansfield had at least two female physicians prior to 1900. Dr. Julia Lillian McBride and Dr. Mary J. Finley were pioneers in their field and broke into a profession that was dominated by their male counterparts...

The Mystery of Charles Albert Leonard

On September 9, 1881, a young 19-year old Charles Albert Leonard left work at M. V. B. Finfrock’s Drug Store located at 66 N. Main St. and headed to supper as normal. It was noted that he ate very little and had been complaining about his stomach for about two weeks. Charles had, “expressed intention of calling upon his brother, J. C. Leonard, a cadet engineer, who had been visiting his brothers in the city...

African-American Genealogy: Getting past 1870

African-Americans face unique challenges while conducting genealogy research. While the process is largely the same in the early stages, when researchers hit the year 1870 things can become difficult. This is true for African-Americans all over the United States, not only the South. Many families came north during The Great Migration from 1920-1970s...

North End Oral Histories

In 2011 the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library partnered with The North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) to conduct oral histories to help preserve the stories of the residents of Mansfield, Ohio’s North End neighborhood. Below is a promotional video for the project...

Mitchell Chapel A.M.E. Church

On October 27, 1896 the Mitchell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church was dedicated on Glessner Ave., but the church’s history goes back many years before this. The earliest records of the church in Mansfield, Ohio were said to be in the possession of the late Alice Poindexter Cole, but no minutes were kept. The church met briefly on Diamond Street...

“Auntie” Bradford

Frances Ellen Bradford, or “Auntie” Bradford as she was commonly known, was well known in Mansfield in the years after the Civil War. Very little is known about her early life, but according to her obituary in The Mansfield Shield & Banner on July 16. 1887, she was born in Texas on the plantation of Sam Houston, though this is unproven...

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio City Parks

Mansfield, Ohio is commonly referred to as a “City of Churches,” but at the turn of the century Mansfield also has its fair share of parks.  In A. J. Baughman’s History of Richland County, Ohio, from 1808 to 1908, he states that Mansfield is a “city of about twenty-four thousand people and covering about three thousand acres of ground...

The Assassination of John Fox of Bellville, Ohio

“MURDERED! A DARK AND BLOODY DEED, John Fox of Bellville, Shot by an Assassin.” This was the headline in the March 14, 1883 edition of The Ohio Liberal. While riding home from Mansfield on March 8, 1883, John Fox was shot in the back twice and killed. His brother, Daniel, escaped with a wound to the leg and made it to the home of a neighbor. The event caused much excitement in the little village of Bellville, Ohio and the nearby city of Mansfield...

What’s in a Name: Mansfield Public School Report Cards

In the archives of the Sherman Room, there is a set of Mansfield Public School report cards for a Ruby Rodecker. The cards range from 1894-95 through 1905-06. Little can be know about Ruby, or Reuben, Rodecker from these cards other than he was a very good/excellent student earning marks of 90 or above in a majority of his subjects and he was never tardy or truant...

The Election of 1912 Comes Through Mansfield

The fight for the Republican nomination for presidency in 1912 was a hard-fought race and in May, made its way through Mansfield. Theodore Roosevelt, who was president from 1901-1909, was becoming more and more dissatisfied with his successor, whom he initially supported, Ohioan William Howard Taft, and threw his hat in the ring declaring in February 1912 that “The fight is on and I am stripped to the buff...

Genealogy: Maps and Atlases

Historical atlases and maps are of vital importance while conducting genealogical research. It’s important to understand the town or county in which your ancestors lived in order to get a full picture of their lives. Street names, county boundaries and even natural landmarks (like the moving of the Tuscarawas River in Massillon, OH) can change over time...

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 was was know by many names, including “the Big Blow,” “the Freshwater Fury” and “the White Hurricane.” According to the National Weather Service 258 lives were lost on the Great Lakes and 12 ships sank, while 30 more were crippled...

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

On this date, December 16, 1888, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, on the triangle of Marion Ave. and Park Ave. West, was dedicated. The first sermon was delivered by Dr. S. A. Ort of Springfield. There were many differences of opinion that resulted in the separation of the St. Luke’s congregation from The First Lutheran Church, which has set at the corner of Park Ave. West and Mulberry since 1894...

Genealogy: City Directories

Before the advent of the telephone book, city directories provided valuable information about Mansfield and other communities. Early directories contained lists of individuals, their addresses, and occupations. Later directories included additional information and could include: a yearly calendar, street maps, railroad schedules, and engravings of public buildings...

Ohio State Reformatory Postcards

Included in the Sherman Room archives is a large collection of postcards. As these get scanned I hope to be able to share them here. This first series looks at the Ohio State Reformatory. If you would like to see more of the photos the Sherman Room and the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library have available...

The Central Park Cut-Through

Central Park has always been an important aspect to Mansfield. On June 11, 1908 during the centennial celebration for the city of Mansfield, General Brinkerhoff made a speech saying...

Helen Purdy Weaver

Sitting in the Sherman Room, above the yearbooks are two copper pots, “receptacles for flowers” according to the inscriptions. Three of these were presented to the library in honor of Mrs. Helen Purdy Weaver after her death, two remain. Mrs. Weaver was born in 1850 in the Purdy home which set on South Main Street. She was educated here, in Mansfield, in the public schools and attended the Women’s Seminary at College Hill in Cincinnati...

The “Woman in Black”

During the end of 1906, there was a sensation in the area known as the “Woman in Black.” She would appear to people, peaking through windows or by standing in front of them as they walked the streets in the early morning or late evening and then dart away out of sight. Was this simply a prankster trying to frighten people, an individual with a more sinister agenda, or something that cannot be explained...

Mr. Cram’s Autograph Collection

Donald D. Cram coached many sports teams in Marion and Richland County, youth sports were a great passion of his. He began his career in newspapers after high School with his father. In 1936 he accepted the post of physical director of the Mansfield YMCA, that same year he organized the city’s first Soapbox Derby...

Infamous murders: Ohio’s first serial killer?

In 1837 the village of Richland was laid out in Cass Township. John Long was the first settler there and his was one of the only houses for some time. However, it didn’t take long for the village to grow and, in a short time, there were about 200 residents. The village had taverns, stores, and shops to meet the demand of the residents and those traveling through the area...

Carnegie’s Gift to Mansfield

As mentioned in our last post, starting a library in Mansfield was no easy task. It took the work of many dedicated individuals and the building where the library is currently housed is no exception. Ohio received $2.8 million in grants between 1899 and 1915 from Andrew Carnegie which were used to build 105 public libraries throughout the state....

The Early Library in Mansfield

One of the earliest references to a circulating library in Mansfield was the District School Library. According to an article in The Mansfield Herald from March 4, 1857, “about one hundred and fifty books are loaned, each time of opening” out of a collection of about 450 volumes...

What is the Sherman Room?

This is the question I most often hear in regards to the Sherman room. To put it simply it is the local history and genealogy room of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library. The room houses local history resources, Ohio history resources, general genealogy sources, newspapers on microfilm going back to 1823, yearbooks and much more...