Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meet Pvt. Cornelius Quinn – Part 2

By the early 1930s, Cornelius Quinn was one of a handful of surviving Grand Army of the Republic veterans in Lorain.

On Memorial Day 1933, that number had dwindled down to three: Mr. Quinn, August Baldwin and Stephan Harris. At the ceremonies that year in Washington Park, the three surviving Union army soldiers occupied seats of honor.

From May 24, 1934 Lorain Journal
Only Quinn and Harris were still alive in 1934. The two were once again the guests of honor, riding in the parade and given special seats on the speaker’s stand.

In one article with the headline, “LORAIN HONORS LAST TWO OF BOYS IN BLUE,” the Lorain Journal of May 31, 1934 reported, “A hush fell on the crowd when the aged veterans, last of the city’s “Boys in Blue,” were introduced by Shaw and assisted to the edge of the platform where they acknowledged the well wishes of their fellow citizens. Year by year the “thin blue line” has grown thinner. Another year, perhaps two, will find the last of them gone to join their comrades “over there.”

In 1935, under the headline, “G.A.R. Vets Missing at Memorial Day Exercises,” the Lorain Journal reported that Lorain’s two surviving Civil War veterans “were both ill at their homes and unable to take part in the parade and the ceremonies at Washington park.” The paper also noted, “Absence of Civil War veterans from the observance was keenly felt. A hush settled over the audience that gathered at  Washington park when W. T. Shaw, general chairman of the Memorial Day committee and parade marshal, told the gathering that the veterans of the Civil War were not present.”

In 1936, Cornelius Quinn didn’t have to wait until Memorial Day to be featured in the newspaper. He made the paper in March with the unusual story below that ran in the Lorain Journal on March 27.

Dogs That ‘Sing’ Yankee Doodle Pets 
of Lorain Civil War Veteran, 92

When Cornelius Quinn, 92, Civil War veteran of 114 E. 20th-st. wants to hear the tune “Yankee Doodle” he doesn’t have to leave his easy chair or listen to himself hum it.

He just calls into the room his two dogs and they howl it.

In this unique way Quinn, one of two living veterans who fought for the abolition of slavery, brings back to his memory those days when he marched with Sherman to the sea.

Today, tho Quinn enjoys fair health, his lungs are not as strong as they were in his fighting days – but his dogs carry on.

The two dogs are a mother and her daughter, the mother a fox terrier and the daughter a mixture of poodle and fox terrier, but mostly poodle.

They learned the tune from the father of the younger dog, a poodle who died of old age about a year ago. Before his death he started the tune and the other two joined him, but now either Quinn or his wife has to get them started on their duet.

In Mrs. Quinn’s bedroom is a small twin brass bed in which the two dogs sleep at night. It is equipped with a mattress and she is now making a comfort for it.

Next: A 1936 interview with Mr. Quinn and Mr. Harris

Monday, May 30, 2016

Meet Pvt. Cornelius Quinn – Part 1

A few weeks ago, I received an excellent suggestion for a Memorial Day post from regular contributor Rick Kurish.

Rick wrote, "As a Vietnam veteran myself, I have a special affinity for military veterans and all the virtually anonymous persons who have served. Since Memorial Day is fast approaching, I thought I would share the service of one such individual.
"His name was Cornelius D. Quinn, and as it turns out he was the last surviving Civil War veteran in Lorain County. He passed away on April 8, 1940 at age 96, and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. I have attached the brief notice of his passing (at right) which appeared in the Chronicle Telegram of April 9, 1940.”
"Cornelius was originally from the Cincinnati area and enlisted in Company D, 48th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry on October 30 1862, at the tender age of 16. On January 17, 1865 he was transferred to Company F, 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. A few months later on July 24, 1865 the 48th, 83rd, and 114th Ohio Infantry Regiments were consolidated to form the 48th Ohio Battalion.

"Since Cornelius reenlisted after his first 3 year enlistment ended, he attained Veteran status and was sent to Galveston and Houston, Texas until May 1866. The unit was finally mustered out of service in 1866.
Rick found an online link to the history of the 48th Ohio Infantry and the battles in which Cornelius was involved. Rick observed, "As you can see from reading the history of movements and battles his unit participated in, he had his share of military service. Previous to his enlistment, his world probably consisted of a few square miles around his home in Cincinnati, but he answered the call to serve.

"For most of the men who served, the Civil War was the defining event of their lives, and in later years they were proud of their service, and greatly enjoyed the company of other surviving veterans at unit reunions, and in larger organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.).
"According to the Chronicle Telegram article, Cornelius lived in Lorain for 60 years before his death. In the 1930s he was living at 114 East 20th Street in Lorain. Thank You, Cornelius!”

And thank you, Rick, for your excellent suggestion, as well as your service.

Next: There’s much more to the story of Cornelius Quinn and his fellow local soldiers. Stop back here tomorrow to watch it play out against the backdrop of a grateful Lorain in the 1930s. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day in Lorain – 1912

I close out this week with a look back at Memorial Day in Lorain back in 1912, when there were still many surviving Civil War veterans. The holiday, which we will be observing this coming Monday, was celebrated very differently back then.

Here's the account of the 1912 Memorial Day observance as it was reported in the Lorain Times-Herald on Friday, May 31, 1912. There are some stirring sentiments quoted from the speeches made that day regarding patriotism that are still very appropriate today.

Thousands Cheer as Old Soldiers Pass in Parade--National Colors Adorn Homes--Speakers Pay Glowing Tribute to Boys of '61 and Tender Hands Strew Flowers on Graves

Lorain celebrated Memorial day in a quiet manner, though the celebration was none the less earnest than in former years. War-scarred veterans marched to the tap of the drum and the blare of brass as they passed through lines on either side of which stood young and old, joining in the tribute to the heroes whose deeds have meant so much to the nation. Graves of the departed veterans were decorated and the living members of the Grand Army of the Republic were decorated with the national colors and were paid homage wherever they went. In all parts of the city the spirit of the day was in evidence. Flags and bunting adorned nearly every house in the city.

Little folks carried tiny flags and older persons wore the national colors and bottonierres of their favorite flowers.

The observance of the day began at 10 a. m. when the parade formed at the loop and moved south to Ninth street thence to Washington avenue and to the public square. It was a small procession but an impressive one. The whole affair was quiet and unpretentious. The public paid its tribute to the old soldiers without any fuss or ostentation.

Heading the procession was the colors guard, followed by August Baldwin, who in the absence of W. S. Pole acted as marshal.

Immediately following the marshal came the drum corps and the German Military society. The Siebenbergen society came next and was followed by the members of the G. A. R. Faragut post in automobiles. In this same division were the "True Blue" ladies as they were called by the banner on their vehicles, members of the W. R.C. The Sons of Veterans came next in line and then the Kusiosko Polish hand of this city and several Polish societies. The last division included school children, carrying flags. This division was in charge of T. C. Cook.

At the public square the parade disbanded and the big crowd gathered about the band stand from where the exercises were conducted. To the accompaniment of the band, the audience, under the direction of Griffith J. Jones sand "America," and Marshal Baldwin introduced Rev. F. W. Tyler, who made the principal address and C. F. Adams, who gave a brief talk. Several selections were rendered by the band and the German Military society and one of the Polish societies fired salutes.

Mr. Tyler's talk was somewhat brief, but none the less stirring. He paid a glowing tribute to the valor of the men who enlisted in the Civil War. He denounced anarchists and others who come to America to seek to tear down her institutions. "Although the anarchists may shake his dirty hands in your faces," he said to the old soldiers, "this starry banner shall never be torn down." He said the men who come here and who are parts of the movements known as anarchism, the Black Hand and the like, should be sent out, deported. He said the doors should be open to the men of the Old World who desire to come here to make America their home, to become citizens and supporters of the Union.

Mr. Tyler laid much stress on the necessity of teaching patriotism in the schools and said the free school is the institution on which America shall build her hopes for the future.

Mr. Adams spoke briefly: "If these resorts out here would close and could all be quiet for a day and let the nation mourn it would be better for us all." He advocated the observance of Memorial day as a solemn occasion, devoid of frivolity and amusements. He called attention to the need of every American realizing his full sense of duty in order that the ideas for which the soldiers of the Civil War had fought might be carried out. "The day is one of sorrow, but it also one of joy, because we know that in the hour of the nation's need the men of a generation ago sacrificed their lives on the altar that the country might live and that its sacred institutions might stand."

At 7 a. m. members of the G. A. R. and the W. R. C. were taken to the cemeteries in automobiles where they decorated the graves of the departed soldiers. During the day there were hundreds who went to the cemeteries and who paid a like tribute to the hero dead.

If you're wondering what those G. A. R. veterans looked like in 1912, this photo will give you a pretty good idea. It comes to me courtesy of historian and archivist Dennis Lamont and it depicts a 1911 gathering of the McLaughlin Post 131 of the G. A. R. from Mansfield, Ohio at Lorain for the big Ohio Grand Army of the Republic encampment.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

LaGrange’s Civil War Monument – Part 3

Historical material on file at the Elyria Public Library reveals how the LaGrange Civil War monument came to be erected.

In the late 1890s, there was a wooden soldiers’ monument on the east side front of the cemetery. A letter by Mrs. Ida Sheldon appeared in the Elyria Republican in January 1896 expressing the opinion that “LaGrange must have a new soldier’s monument. The old one is a disgrace to our neat little village.”

It wasn’t until a few years later that action was taken and a $2000 bond issue for the purchase of a statue was approved by voters. Mayor I. A. Freeman then appointed a committee that included (besides himself) F. B. Gott, J. M. Starr, H. M. Powers, and soldiers Edson (Ted) Hastings, Murray Powers and William Wolcott.

Mr. Wood of Lima, Ohio was awarded the contract for the sculpture.

On Decoration Day 1904 when the monument was dedicated, the speaker was John Chamberlin, son of Wells Chamberlin, one of the soldiers that marched in the parade that day.

Here are a few views of the monument at different times of day from last Sunday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LaGrange’s Civil War Monument – Part 2

Like many Civil War monuments erected in the early years of the 20th Century, LaGrange's statue has a dedication date that's in question. Often these monuments have no dedication plaque on them, making it difficult to know exactly when it was erected unless someone kept a newspaper clipping of the event.

Most histories of LaGrange's monument state that it was erected and/or dedicated in May 1903. However, the date appears to be off by one year.

A small item that appeared in the Elyria Reporter in both the May 24 (below) and May 26, 1904 editions notes, "Hastings post No. 207, G.A.R. will dedicated the soldiers and sailors monument May 30, at 10 a. m. All soldiers in the county are cordially invited. E. G. Johnson and A. E. Lawrence are expected to be present to give the addresses."

By the way, if you're really interested in learning about the history of LaGrange, the book LaGrange Ohio – An Early History (1995) by J.R. Johnson is a great reference. There's a copy for sale on Ebay right now.
The book includes some great vintage photos from the monument's dedication ceremonies. (The Elyria Public Library had photocopies of two of the photos from the book, which I've reproduced below.)
Other material from the files of the Elyria Public Library recount an unfortunate event involving the LaGrange monument that took place in late November 1957. Vandals hurled tar on the north side of the monument and then plastered the tar with feathers.
Here is a photo (below) showing the vandalism that I believe ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on November 21, 1957.
On that same day, the Lorain Journal included a small item under the heading “Monument Given Tar, Feathers" which stated, “The LaGrange public square monument was the target of pranksters early yesterday morning when it received a coat of tar and feathers. The incident is being investigated by sheriff’s deputies, who were informed by village officials that four or five unidentified men in a car were seen loitering about the square at the time the vandalism is believed to have occurred."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

LaGrange’s Civil War Monument – Part 1

LaGrange’s Soliders’ Monument circa 1953
Last week I wrote about Lionel Sheldon’s brick stable down in LaGrange. With Memorial Day coming up next week, it’s a good time to pay another visit to LaGrange, this time to take a look at its wonderful soldiers’ monument in the town square.

The article below about the monument ran in the Lorain Journal on May 7, 1967 – 49 years ago this month. It explains how the Civil War soldier atop the monument originally faced north, as well as revealing a little-known typographical error that once graced one of the monument’s stones.

Mrs. Albert Wilcox was interviewed for the article. She mentions her great grandfather, Charles Rounds, a native New Englander, walked from the East Coast all the way to LaGrange Township so that he could clear a plot for his new farm.

Tomorrow: Tarred and feathered

Monday, May 23, 2016

Avon Lake/Sheffield Lake G.A.R. Highway Rededication Ceremonies

The new G.A.R. Highway sign at the Avon Lake western border
(previously masked in my earlier post)
The weather cooperated nicely on Saturday morning for the ceremonies celebrating the rededication of U. S. Route 6 through our area as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. The newly installed G.A.R. Highway signs were unveiled in official ceremonies in which Peter Hritsko of the James A. Garfield Camp No. 142, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War shared unveiling duties with the Mayors of Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake.

It’s important to remember that the designation of U.S. Route 6 as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway was first proposed in 1934. It took all fourteen U.S. 6 states a while to pass official legislation, with the formal, national coast-to-coast dedication taking place in May 1953.

Anyway, first up Saturday morning was the Avon Lake ceremony. Strangely, there were no representatives from the media there (unless you count one bumbling blogger who kept getting in the way).

Here are some of my shots from that ceremony, which featured some members of the organization dressed in Civil War costumes.

Peter Hritsko and Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka
About an hour later, the ceremony for Sheffield Lake’s rededication of its portion of the highway took place. Sheffield Lake now has three G.A.R. Highway signs: one at the eastern end of town, one at the western border and the one near the Boat Launch.
The ceremony was held at the new sign near the eastern border of Sheffield Lake, located just a few hundred feet from the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry compound.
Here are some of my shots.
Peter Hritsko with Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring 
The Morning Journal has a nice article by Carol Harper about the new G.A.R. Highway signs that you can read here. It includes some video, and also identifies some of the people dressed in period costume shown in my photos.
There was also a ceremony for Bay Village on Saturday which I was unable to attend.
So now there is a brand new G.A.R. Highway sign just two hundred feet from my house (below).
And there is the newly installed sign at the eastern end of town, located approximately in the same spot where Sheffield Lake’s original G. A. R. Highway sign stood (and I first noticed back in the 1970s).
What more could a history lover and old road junkie ask for?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mystery Sign

Alert motorists heading east on U. S. 6 out of Sheffield Lake recently may have noticed this mystery sign, which is located just inside the Avon Lake border near the entrance to the Aqua Marine Luxury Apartments.

Well, this Saturday morning it will be a mystery no longer. That’s because it will be unveiled as the latest Grand Army of the Republic Highway sign honoring the Union forces that served during the Civil War.

The sign’s dedication ceremony is scheduled – rain or shine – at 9:30 am. Its actually part of a three-city coordinated G.A.R. Highway effort. The same day, Sheffield Lake is having a ceremony at 11:00 am (at the same location), and Bay Village at 12:30 pm (at the Avon Lake/Bay Village border).

I’m pretty happy about it. If you had told me thirty years ago that this G.A. R. Highway sign revival was going to be taking place in Lorain County (and its neighboring counties), I never would have believed it.

Kudos once again to Peter Hritsko and the James A. Garfield Camp #142, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War for their fine effort in ensuring that those veterans and their contributions to this country are not forgotten.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lionel Sheldon’s Brick Barn in LaGrange – Part 2

I didn’t have to drive down to LaGrange to see if Lionel Sheldon’s brick stable was still standing.

That’s because I was able to determine that the farm was still in the Thompkins family, and came up with an address. Consequently, I found the brick stable in a Bing Maps view (below). The farm is quite impressive.

I was also able to see the brick stable during my ‘drive’ along Rt. 303 via Google Maps (below).

Of course, I decided to drive down there anyway on Sunday to get a picture. Although it was sunny when I left my house in late morning, by the time I was out on Route 20 the sky was dark and it began to sleet.
I kept going, and the weather began to clear up as the brick stable slowly loomed into view from Nickel-Plate Diagonal Road (below).
From there it was only a few minutes before I got my shots from Route 303. The sky wasn’t the greatest, but I was just glad it wasn’t still snowing.
On the way home, I stopped for a photo of the Carlisle Township offices (below).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lionel Sheldon’s Brick Barn in LaGrange – Part 1

One thing that I’ve noticed when scrolling through Lorain Journal microfilm of the 1950s is the preponderance of articles about old landmarks.

This is great for me, because back then the Journal had both the journalistic and photographic resources to cover these stories well. I like to feature these stories on the blog, because much of the information is not easily available anywhere today.

One article that I’ve had for many years (and finally decided to type up) is the one below about a vintage barn (actually a stable) on Route 303 just west of LaGrange with historical significance. The article by James Howard appeared in the Lorain Journal on Thursday, May 5, 1955.

West of LaGrange
Imposing Barn Symbol of Dream That Failed
By James Howard

A two-story brick stable, one and a half miles west of LaGrange, stands today as a memory of an unfinished dream.

The building, its imposing lines in sharp contrast to the ordinary farm construction, was erected more than 100 years ago by Lionel Sheldon, former Lorain county lawyer who achieved national fame before his death.

On Rt. 303
The stable is located on a farm now owned by Harry Thompkins, on Rt. 303, and is one of the oldest landmarks of the area. Neighbors still talk today of the stir created when Sheldon built the stable and announced further plans to construct a house, barn and other buildings all of brick made from clay on the farm and personally shaped in Sheldon’s own kiln.

Ralph Sanders, old time resident of the LaGrange area, lives across the road from the Thompkins farm in a brick home built by his father and Sheldon from the same kiln used for the stable.

“I remember my father talking about Lionel,” says Sanders, “and how the Sheldon estate was going to be the best farm in this part of the state. He would have done it too, only he reached for higher things and made them.”

Fame Changed His Mind
The fame that changed Sheldon’s mind about creating a farm estate began when he became a lawyer.

He had lived in LaGrange since 1833, when his father, Allen, moved the family from Worcester, N. Y., and gradually acquired a 500 acre farm in the LaGrange area.

Lionel was admitted to the Elyria bar in 1851, the year of his father’s death. For the first few years of his law practice he lived in Elyria, but always spent summers on the farm and began his plans for the building program.

His first public office came in 1856 when he held the office of Lorain county probate judge for two years.

But it was the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 which brought about the great change in Sheldon’s life. He entered 2nd Ohio Cavalry as a captain and later became a major in the same regiment.

Met James Garfield
At the organization of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry he formed a lasting friendship with the colonel of the organization, James A. Garfield, later president of the United States. Sheldon became colonel and was a brigadier general before the close of the war.

After the war Sheldon resumed the practice of law in New Orleans, living through the exciting days of the reconstruction. His friendship with President Garfield helped him when he entered politics and was elected to Congress in 1868, 1870 and 1872. In 1878, he was one of the presidential electors of the state of Louisiana.

For the next 10 years, Sheldon’s career is unknown except he was known to have been legal counsel for the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1887. To this day, his place of death and burial are unknown, due to incomplete records.

Throughout the years, Sheldon never forgot LaGrange and his deeds remain a pleasant memory to old time residents.

Donated To Church
Mrs. John King, who has compiled a personal history of the community tells of old Methodist church records mentioning Sheldon’s name. “I have seen the books where Lionel contributed $200 for the building of the church,” says Mrs. King, “and in those days, it was a lot of money.”

Today, Lionel Sheldon is not remembered in LaGrange for his national fame, but as a man who never completed his one personal dream. But his kindness and character had a far reaching effect, summed up perfectly by Mrs. Avery Wilcox, who at 96 is one of the oldest residents of LaGrange, and who remembers Lionel when she was a little girl.

“There is just one way to describe Lionel Sheldon,” says Mrs. Wilcox. “He was a real gentleman.”

Lionel Sheldon
(Courtesy Wikipedia)
Since the above 1955 Lorain Journal article, Lionel Sheldon’s date and location of death have apparently been documented, according to this Wiki article. He passed away on January 17, 1917 in Pasadena, California.

So is the brick stable still standing out there on Route 303? Did I end up driving through Sunday’s crummy and wacky weather to find out?

Come back here tomorrow for the answer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Journal Moves to its New Plant – May 1955

The dark clouds this past Friday night cast an appropriate gloom
over the Morning Journal’s empty offices
It’s sad driving by the Morning Journal’s empty offices and plant down at the Devil’s Elbow and seeing the large AVAILABLE signs on the building. It really drives home the reality that the paper hasn’t been printed in Lorain for a long time.

Here’s the link to the paper’s April reporting of the building being officially available for sale or lease.

But back in May 1955, it was a different story; the future was bright for the Journal and newspapers in general. The paper was in the process of moving from its longtime home (since 1920) on Seventh Street to its brand new plant.

Here’s part of the front page of the last edition printed at the old plant – Saturday, May 7, 1955.

And here’s the front page of the first edition printed on the new presses the following Monday.
I’ve mentioned before how my grandfather worked at the Journal’s Seventh Street plant for years as a linotype operator and repairman. Grandpa had a nice short walk from his house on Sixth Street. He had already moved on to another job by the time the Journal made the move to its Broadway plant in 1955.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mrs. David Beach’s Long Walk: From New York to Chicago Through Lorain – May 1912 – Part 3

New York Globe photo of Mrs. Beach dressed for rain
After its extensive coverage of Mrs. David Beach in its May 14, 1912 edition, the Lorain Times-Herald included one small update of her progress after leaving Lorain.

The front page of the May 15, 1912 newspaper noted that she had left Sandusky that morning on her way to Oak Harbor, and that “her route includes crossing a mile and a half over Baybridge.”

Mrs. Beach finished her long walk, arriving in Chicago on May 28, 1912. Her achievement appeared to be well-covered in newspapers across the country.

From the May 31, 1912 Fort Collins, Colorado Weekly Courier
From the May 28, 1912 Kingston, New York Daily Freeman
The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook for 1913 included a detailed listing of her journey (below).
It’s still quite an achievement more than a hundred years later, especially in view of the primitive road conditions at that time and her defiance of some generally accepted health principles (such as drinking no water at all on her journey).

Mrs. Beach later published a book about her walk, entitled My Walk From New York to Chicago.
I close out my look back at the remarkable Mrs. David Beach with the outspoken interview that she gave the Lorain Times-Herald reporters in her hotel room during her visit to Lorain. It appeared in that paper on May 14, 1912.
Yes, Ladies, You May Wear High Heels and Stays, But Don’t Eat Meat, Says Fair Walker
In her room at the Hotel Lorain last evening, Mrs. David Beach, of New York, author, musician, and now-famous woman walker, talked of her ideas concerning diet and health. Her maid busied herself about the room, preparing for the usual routine of massage and bathing that follows each day’s stint on the road. Mrs. Beach’s heavy walking shoes were unlaced and taken off.
She talked rapidly, but distinctly with just a trace of “Eastern” accent.
“This trip of mine,” she began, “is a bigger thing, a broader undertaking than a mere attempt to make a name for myself or to make money. I am doing this to educate the people to the right way of taking care of their bodes.
"Degeneration Threatens American”
“America needs a health awakening. The stomachs of Americans threaten to curse the degeneration of the nation, and all the doctors in the world won’t help America very much in making the radical change in the physical being of her citizens that is necessary to the nation’s welfare.
“Food of the wrong kind is the cause of all disease. You look skeptical, but that is true, nevertheless. I have studied the effects of food for nine years.
“The doctors do as well as they can. I wish to say nothing against them. As a whole, the medical profession is an honorable one. Every doctor I have ever known has been a conscientious worker in his profession. But while you are pinning your hope for health salvation upon the doctors, do not forget that America’s greatest cancer specialist died of cancer.
No Cancer in China
“In vegetarian countries cancer is unknown, as are nearly all the rest of the diseases common to meat-eating people. In China and Japan, where rice is the principal food of all the people, a case of cancer is never seen.
Here the reporter thought he saw a loop-hole. “How about leprosy in China and yellow fever and malaria in other vegetarian countries?” he asked.
“The climatic conditions are responsible,” was the answer. “China almost the home of leprosy, is an unsanitary country, poorly drained. Water undermines the ground throughout nearly the whole Chinese empire. The people know practically nothing of sanitation.
The Body Its Own Judge.
“If you doubt my word as to the strength-giving powers of a strictly vegetarian diet, write to the government food experts. They will tell you that grains, vegetables and fruits have more nourishment, weight for weight, than meats.
“People often ask me, ‘How shall I start? What shall I eat? I can only say that eating is a matter of temperament. Foods suited to the needs of one person are not suited to the needs of others – and I am talking strictly of the foods included in what is generally called the vegetarian diet. A family of three members may require three different kinds of vegetable foods. The individual himself is the best judge of what he needs. His own body will tell him if he is treating it right.
“Don’t overload the stomach with indigestible matter. That is the most important thing. A meal of roast beef, potatoes, pastry and coffee, contains almost no nourishment aside from that in the potato, and it takes a good stomach to assimilate that. The meat juices simply act as a stimulant, just as the coffee does.”

“The Hobble An Abomination.”
The reporter was getting anxious about a question he had in mind.

“What do you think of the women’s styles and mode of dressing?” he interposed.

Mrs. Beach’s answer came like a flash.

“The tight skirts–I mean the hobble kind–are an abomination. It is preposterous that the American women will tolerate them. They are absurd, both from the standpoint of beauty and utility.

“But I do believe that most women are better off with stays, if they are properly designed–sufficiently loose, and rather long in front. I wear them myself on the road.

“The American woman’s shoes are not as bad as her hobble skirts. I am not crank enough to say that a woman should wear low heels at all times. When one attends a society function, for instance, one must be properly booted to be well dressed. The ‘French’ heels, of course, are unthinkable at any times. For a dress shoe a woman may well wear a heel high enough to make her foot look shapely and trim, if it is broad enough at the base to support her ankle properly.

“Even on my tramp, I found that I could not do without heels on my shoes. The ones on my walking shoes are an inch high, and the full width of my foot."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mrs. David Beach’s Long Walk: From New York to Chicago Through Lorain – May 1912 – Part 2

Mrs. David Beach
(Print currently on Ebay)
Here’s how Mrs. David Beach’s arrival in Lorain was covered in the Lorain Times-Herald on Tuesday, May 14, 1912. She seems to have really captured the imagination of the city.

The amusing report includes some nice quotes from Mrs. Beach and a detailed explanation of her vegetarian diet. For you local history buffs, the piece also provides a great snapshot of what the area roads were like back then.


Mrs. David Beach, Walking from New York to Chicago, Reaches City After Hardest Day’s Journey of Her Trip – Despite Rain and Heavy Roads, Graceful Walker Jumps Ditches and Sets Fast Pace

Mrs. Beach is expected to arrive in Huron, completing the second leg of her trip to Sandusky at about 3 o’clock. At 2:30 she was nearing Huron, her pace made difficult by slippery roads. Walking at her regular 3-mile-an-hour rate, the pedestrienne left Vermilion at 11 a.m.

Trudging for half the 29-mile jaunt from Cleveland to Lorain over country brick pavements washed with rain and sleet, and for the other half over slimy clay roads, Mrs. David Beach, of New York, musician, author and just now pedestrienne enroute on a 1000-mile walk from New York to Chicago, arrived in this city at 6:50 last night. Yesterday’s “hike” was over pavements and clay roads. Today’s 31-mile stroll to Sandusky, which Mrs. Beach began at 6 o’clock this morning after having spent the night at the Hotel Lorain, will be over a sandy route. She expects to make better time.

From the city limits to the Hotel Lorain her route was lined with thousands of cheering Lorainites. East Erie avenue looked as if a circus parade were passing. Near the city limits, Mrs. Beach was met by a police escort, without whose aid she probably would have been unable to reach her hotel.

At 6 o’clock this morning she was off on her journey again, taking the shore road with Sandusky 31.5 miles away, as the day’s destination. Tomorrow her stunt is a trifle of 26.6 miles to Fremont. On Thursday she will cover the 33 1-3 miles to Toledo,

In Lorain last night Mrs. Beach had covered 711 miles. It was her 30th walking day since she left New York city on April 10th.

Despite the fact that yesterday had been one of her hardest days since Mrs. Beach left New York city on April 10th, the woman walker, who says she is trying to educate America to a vegetarian diet, was striding sturdily along when two Times-Herald reporters met her at what used to be Lake Breeze about four miles east of the city. One of the reporters made the “hike” because it was a part of his day’s work. The other went along, he said, to help carry the first one in.

“I’m feeling fine, thank you,” was Mrs. Beach’s answer to the reporter’s first question. “The weather and the roads have been bad – about the worst I have encountered, but I feel no ill effects. I could ‘do’ thirty-five miles today if we had not had to stop in Lorain.”

“I suspected you were reporters,” Mrs. Beach remarked, as the two intrepid journalists swung into her stride without halting her. “I am getting so I can spot you.”

Pinned to the front of her sweater was a bouquet someone had handed her on the road, and in her hand she carried a couple of tulips. “The people treat me finely,” she said, as someone in a farmyard shouted, “Hello, Mrs. Beach.” Everyone seemed to know her.

She talked almost incessantly. Apparently devining the reporter’s thoughts, she said: “For the first few days, I tried to avoid the newspapermen, because talking so much took my breath from my walking. But now, I have become accustomed to it, and I can walk and talk all day.”

She spoke to every man, woman, child and dog on the way, keeping up a running fire of comment meanwhile about her methods of dieting and the care of herself.

“I wish you to understand first of all,” she said, “that this enterprise is not directed to money-making or advertising. I am paying nearly all of my expenses. The automobile that accompanies me and carries Mr. J. G. Beatty of the New York Globe, my chauffeur and my maid, is my own machine. I am simply trying to prove that a strictly vegetarian, uncooked diet will sustain the human body through such a strain as that which I am giving mine.

“People eat too much of the wrong kind of food. You meat-eaters sit down to a heavy meal of potatoes, roast beef, perhaps, indigestible pastry, and a cup of coffee. There is almost no nourishment in any of it, except perhaps in the potatoes, and it takes a good stomach to handle the starch in them. The body is stimulated by the meat juices and by the coffee. The stomach, overloaded as it is, can draw no strength from what has been eaten, and the body is almost no better off than it was before the meal was taken.”

Lectures like these the reporter assimilated mentally while his unaccustomed feet floundered frantically in the slippery mud to keep the pace.

“Three miles an hour is my regular gait,” Mrs. Beach said. “But, on days like this, when I have been delayed, I generally increase the rate to four.”

Topographical obstacles like tree roots, ditches and boulders, seemed to have no effect whatever on the persistency of her two-and-a-half foot stride. The ditches she jumped, generally, picking her ground carefully, however, with a sort of “road” instinct. Anyone who wished to talk with her had to drop in at her side. There was no pause whatever in that four-mile-an-hour progress.

At the city limits at the Root road interested spectators began to appear in groups ahead. The escorting party began to grow, until the sidewalks at Century park were reached, it looked like a young parade. A short distance east of Kansas avenue, Mrs. Beach was met by her police escort, Capt. Hugh Reilly and Patrolman Willis Routson. A half-dozen automobiles waited at the end of the East Erie avenue pavement at Kansas avenue.

Then the real crowds began to appear. Followed by a procession a half-block long, with small boys darting about and yelling as if a circus parade were in progress, Mrs. Beach made her way through lanes of people who lined the sidewalks and cheered or clapped their hands as she passed. Her talk, however, never seemed to stop. She discussed vegetarian diet with the reporters, police officers and the purely amateur members of her escorting party.

At the Loop, the policemen held up the following automobiles and made a lane for the walker to reach the opposite side of the street. All the way to the Hotel Lorain, Broadway was lined almost solidly with people.

Mrs. Beach went straight to her room. Preparations had been made for her in advance by the members of the automobile party. Her maid, who is an expert in Swedish massage, began the usual routine of bathing and rubbing that follows each day’s jaunt.

Supper came after the rib-down had been finished. The meal consisted of a salad, made from fresh, green vegetables, dandelions, cabbage and the like – all uncooked – with a little onion added, and set off with a French dressing of olive oil. Salt, used for seasoning, is first dissolved in lemon juice. Then came a “banana soufflĂ©,” a dish made of sliced, ripe bananas, beaten and flavored with salt lemon juice and raw, ground rice. The meal closed with a drink of fruit juice.

Breakfast she does not eat until after nine or ten miles have been covered. Then she stops beside the road and partakes of her day’s first meal from the supplies in the machine. Breakfast begins with a glass of pineapple or other fruit juice; three patties, made of ground wheat, chopped figs, raisins and prunes. Occasionally there are ground oats in the patties, but oats, Mrs. Beach says, are for very heavy work only. Then comes a bowl of grated apples, mixed with orange juice. A glass of fresh juice takes the place of coffee.

The second meal comes at 3 p.m., a tablespoon or two of olive oil with lemon and perhaps two of the grain patties.

On her walk, Mrs. Beach drinks no water. Her machine carries fruit juices, which are used as a thirst quencher. “Because I dissolve the salt I eat in lemon juice, I do not become thirsty often,” Mrs Beach explained. “Even at my home, I do not take a drink of water oftener than every two or three weeks.”

Mrs. Beach has lived on a vegetable diet for nine years. Until she began her 1000-mile walk, however, she had not confined herself to uncooked foods. “But I like the uncooked diet so well, that I will probably stick to it all summer,” she said.

The machine, which accompanies her, carries an amazing amount of luggage, changes of clothing, 16 pairs of shoes, foodstuffs in the way of grains, such as oats, barley, wheat and millet, and machines for grinding the grains and cutting up the fruits.

On the road she wears the sweater jacket always, occasionally putting on a rain coat when it rains unusually hard. Her shoes are two sizes too wide for her, with high, laced tops, and inch-high heels. She tried lower heels but found them not so well adapted to walking. The short, grey skirt is a permanent walking fixture. For rainy days he has a “sou’-wester,” and for sunny days a broad straw hat. Some times she carries a stick, picked up along the road, but uses it very little in aiding her progress.

Leaving the Cleveland public square at 6:30 yesterday morning, Mrs. Beach’s route lay westward along Superior and Detroit avenues to Rocky River. Rain was falling when the start was made, and the rain soon turned to sleet. The walker’s clothing was drenched. At Rocky River Mrs. Beach waited nearly two hours drying her clothes and changing her shoes, of which the machine which accompanies her carries 16 pairs.

From Rocky River the course lay to the southwest over the paved North Ridge road to West Dover, and thence northward to the lake shore road. At 3:30 she stopped at a farm house a couple of miles east of Beach Park for a rest and a drink of fruit juice, which the well-stocked automobile carries.

From Lakewood several people accompanied Mrs. Beach to Lorain, and at Avon the party was augmented by the addition of several others, the amateur short-distance pedestrians acting as an escort.

When the two Times-Herald reporters met the party, Mrs. Beach was walking in the lead. She wore her well-known walking clothes of a white sweater jacket, a soft felt hat that ties on her head, and a grey skirt that reaches just below the tops of her broad-toed, low-heeled walking shoes.