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Darlene E. Kelley
donkeyskid@webtv.net                              
May 6, 1999
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Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Book compiled by Hermon Alfred Kelley   1897   
And Then They Went West
by Darlene E. Kelley    1998
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Several events took place
in the year 1865 that had profound effect on the destinies of the island
and the islanders.  The first was the publication on Feb 7th in the
volume of the Islander, of the prospectus of the Kelley Island Wine
Company.  By the end of the year, the company was fully organized and
had commenced to operate, having rented Mr. Charles Carpenter's wine
cellar and dock for temporary use, until the Company could erect a
larger cellar of its own.  The far reaching effect of this enterprise
was not realized and everyone was so optimistic over its future, that
the Capital Stock of $100,000.00 was soon subscribed for, and fully paid
up.  On May 14th another transaction took place, that was to lead to
even greater and more beneficial results.  It was the beginning of the
consolidation of the quarries, by he purchase of F. and N. Kelley for
$45,000.00 of the quarries and docks of Wm. S. Webb and the Webb and A.S
Kelley stone interests.  This was the largest transaction in real estate
since the settlement of the island, but put F. & N. Kelley into
possession of all the stone docks on the south shore of the island.
Graded schools were first instituted on the island that year.  Also in
this year, the Protestant people of the island who had been holding
religious services in Kelley Hall for sometime previously, secured the
services of Rev. Robert McCune, who came to officiate as a regular
pastor.  He was the first Protestant English speaking minister ever
regularly engaged on the island.  This resulted in the formation of the
Union Evangelical Church which developed into the First Congregational
Church.  Thus, it will be seen, that the material, mental, and spiritual
development of the island , went on together, chronologically at least.
Other events of minor importance, yet of great interest to the islanders
occurred this year.  The Island Queen which had served the island so
long, was considered to be inadequate to the demands of the growing
population and she was sold.  But before that event occurred, Captain
Orr had resigned.  He had sailed her since she was put into commission
in 1854.  Ill health was the cause for his resignation and Captain G.W.
Magle had taken his place.  The stockholders appointed A.S.Kelley and
W.S.Webb to find a better boat adapted to the trade with the results
that the Steamer Evening Star was purchased at a cost of $45,000.00.
The Star 340 tons, could carry twelve hundred passengers and was twice
as large as the Queen.  The Star reached the island for the first time.
on September 18th and was immeiately put on route with Captain Magle in
command. The Philo Parsons was also sold in August to Chicago parties,
and she was suceeded by the new Steamer, City of Sandusky; but proving
too large was replaced by the Island Queen on the Detroit-Sandusky route
and she ran till the close of the navigation season.  On September 30th,
the new Steamer, Messenger, commenced making tri-weekly trips between
Cleaveland and the islands,  The Star laid up in Sandusky on December
9th.  On Decmber 13th the Monitor was launched and started for Sandusky
manned by " The Experienced mail carrier Oscar Dean." Another event took
place that year was the building of an ice house by J.E. Woodford and
John Wing.  It was located on the shore of the lake,east of Table Rock,
near Addison Kelley's pond. Strangely enough,this was the first public
ice house of any size built on th island.  Before that the islanders had
gotten ice from Sandusky.  The grape crop was good, notwithstanding
complaints of rot in some vineyards.  The average price was 8 cents per
pound.   The school District No.1 shool house became inadequate to
accommodate the children, a third school was erected, and a graded
school system inaugurated.  It had been a custom of Addison Kelley to
give Christmas dinner and to invite to it all his nearest relatives
every year.  This custom was started in 1838.  Mrs. E.K. Huntingham, his
sister, was one of his guests on that occasion as the dinner was given
in his newly built home, which was then the only frame dwelling on the
island; all others being log cabins. He gave the twenty-eighth annual
dinner in his great stone mansion near Inscription Rock.  This house
like the other, was the finest on the island at that time.  It had been
completed that year,1865. Mrs. Huntington was present at the Christmas
dinner and is what she had to say about it.  " Yesterday was the
twenty-seventh invitation I have accepted to take a sumptuous dinner at
Brother Addison's and I assure you it has been food for reflection as
well as for the inner man.  Twenty-seven years ago, our Christmas dinner
table was spread in the house now owned by Adam Schardt. ( This house
was destroyed by fire later. )  There were great trees growing and great
logs about the grounds where now our vineyards are. Near the spot where
the elegant mansion stands, where we sat at meat yesterday, there stood
an old log house with only a clearing around it for a garden spot. (
This was built by Nicholas Hoskins in 1830.)  The land valued at eight
dollars an acre then, was dearer at that price than it is today if
valued at two thousand dollars an acre.  Twenty-seven years ago, there
were two frame houses on the island.  Our Christmas dinner table was
spread in the best one.( The other was the school house.) This year,
there are fifty.  The poorest of them, better then the best was then and
our dinner table was was sat in the best house in 1865.  A great change
for the better, is also noticeable in our transportation to and from the
island.  Then, we were at the mercy of the winds or some stray boat
going by; now , we have at our service, almost as good a boat as any
that were on the lake in 1837. Our roads on the island were then mere
paths winding about in the woods; so muddy and rough that the horses and
wagons were of no account, as they would stand a trip to the north side
and back, and no one would think of making the trip except from
necessity.  Now what a change; it is nothing but fun to ride over the
island.  The exports of the Island twenty-seven years ago would not
exceed 3,000 dollars, now it will exceed 400 thousand dollars.  Will the
physical condition change as much the next twenty-seven years as the
last twenty-seven years.  What a change there has been in our whole
country. In 1838 there was not a foot of railroad in the State of Ohio.
Now there is over three thousand miles of railroad in Ohio."  In its
prospectus. published in the seventh number of Vol. VI of the Islander,
Feb. 1865, the following argument was made for the creation of this
company.  As it gives an insight into the grape industry at that time,
this extract is given verbatum.    " The islands have a reputation that
is getting to be national, for excellant quality of grapes that they are
capable of producing; and as a consequence of good grapes---good wines
and brandies.  The latter have not as yet acquired the celebrity that
the grapes have and why?  We have allowed Cleveland, Sandusky,
Cincinnati,St. Louis and other manufacturers to do business that we
should have done ourselves.  From the excellant grapes, we have
manufactured the American Wine Company's best advertisement for the
present and future sale of their wines.  A reputation that should have
legitimately been kept at home and which is yet within our contol .  If
these manufacturers of wine who do their business from ten to five
hundred miles from here, can purchase boxes, transport the grapes a long
distance, bear the expense of an agent for 5 to 6 weeks in purchasing,
stand the loss by leakage and molding and after all this at the same
expense in manufacuring and make a large profit on the grapes they buy
here, why does not--nay who can be so blind as not to see that it must
be a great deal more profitably done here? "  In the first number of
Volume VII of the Islander, under the date of December 15th,1865 we find
the following items in the local page;   " The Company has been fully
organized and is now in good condition.  The company has rented Mr.
Carpenter's wine cellar for a period of five years as a temporary place
to make and store wine until it can build another cellar that shall
answer the purpose better.  The Company has also secured the services of
Chas. Farciot to superintend the manufacturing department. He comes
directly from the American Wine Company of St. Louis, with good
recommendation from the officers of said company.  They have bought a
little over a hundred tons of grapes which are this year unusully rich
in saccharin, the average price being 6 1/2 cents, the range being from
2c to 71/2 c according to quality.  A small quanity was secured from the
Peninsula and the neighboring islands but for the most part, the grapes
were produced on Kelley's Island.  The Capitol Stock of $100,000.00 has
been nearly all subscribed, there remaining only 25 shares unsold. ( It
was later increased to $200,000.00 ). "  Mr. Carpenter leased his dock
to the Wine Company in 1866 and they built a boarding house on the dock
for the convenience of its men engaged in constructing the New wine
cellars. This building was destroyed by fire in 1872, and here we must
temporarily abandon the chronological order of general events and follow
the logical order of the wine industry. The difficulties and vexations
of the grape and wine industry now started to take place.  The price
over the supply and demand did not give enough profit to warrent the
difficulties that the company encountered.  California came into the
market with wine made from grapes with a lower percentage going towards
maintanance of the growing and having reduced freight by rail, putting
down the price for wine, which yielded good returns to both producer,
manufacturer, and jobber.According to the account in the Islander it
stated that if there are any dividends made from the earlier years
business, not much could be made from    " Still wine". ("Still" not
sparkling like champagne.) He also stated that grapes were imported onto
the island from Put-in-Bay, North Bass and the peninsula because they
could be obtained at better prices or terms than some of the island
growers were willing to accept.About the time a company was formed,
according to Mr.P.Howlets, to build the wine cellar, quite a number of
persons who owned presses and had casks and cellars sufficient to store
their own wine, were induced to sell their presses and abandon wine
making. Thus it is with grape growing.  Nothing certain, Nothing sure.
He advised all growers to make their own wine and not depend on the wine
company in the future.  There was a curious circular in the form of a
letter written by "John" to his friend "Jim" and as it throws
considerable light on the wine company subject, I give extracts from it.
The account is disguised under an account of  suppositious ammunition
factory, a thing which never existed on the island, and is in part
follows;                     Kelley's Island, August 8, 1878----
" Friend Jim:  " Yours of the 10th ult. just received, and now as to
your inquiry as to how we are getting along on the island since you
left.  Many stock companies have been organized about here since you
left.  Sandusky Wine Company, Put-in-Bay Wine Company, Kelley's Island
Wine Co., also the large manufacturing firm of Wehrle,Werk,&Son of
Middle Bass. I believe they are all doing well,  Mr. Wehrle is doing a
profitable business and is spoken of as a capitalist. Shortly after you
left, we organized a company for the manufacture of
ammunition,firearms,etc.  Some eight years ago we increased our stock to
two hundred thousand dollars, and have just received a Nichols and
Lefevre gun,a thing that has troubled a few citizens along the south
shore of the island, but the gun will be mounted on wheels and will at
all times be fired north, so that none of the heavy stockholders living
along the south shore will in any way be injured.  We have an elegant
building were our gun and all our other machinery necssary to run such a
company are kept, it is a very fine structure built entirely out of
stone and cost us upwards of $65,000.00.  We made money like fun, while
we were doing business in the old building.  Our Superintendant is a
hard worked and a shrewed fellow and a "Natural Chemist," but somehow or
other his chemistry did not work as well whereas it did in the old
country, where he learned the trade. So he began to experiment on
refining our      'powder' as soon as the new building was put up but
for two or three years he could not make the thing work.  Great
quantities of ' powder' were returned to us damaged or spoiled and that
on hand in our vaults turned blue or molded and would not go off, and
consequently the large amount of powder thus spoiled by his trying to
refine it, cost the company not less than twenty thousand dollars.  The
old machinery was discarded and the finest there could be found in New
york was bought.  This machine was gold and knickle plated and a French
professor of chemistry was sent for, and our superintendant went on with
his work and this too turned out to be a failure, after enormous expense
to the company.  His attention was also called to the refining of our '
shot' and a large machine was bought in Buffalo for the purpose of
making our shot more effective. so that it would kill whatever it
penetrated.  This too, was a failure.  There is a government tax on all
manufactured goods.  The revenue officer got after us for not refining
as much shot as  the capacity of the machine required and we then
disposed of the machine as soon as possible, but with a trifling loss to
the company of but four or five thousand dollars.  So you see with all
three drawbacks and high salaries, the company has run into debt,
although we had a capital of one hundred and eighty-seven thousand five
hundred dollars paid up.  I  presume we could not get today, over twenty
cents on the dollar for the stock, but in the past year or two our
machinery has been discarded, and all our powder, and shot is now hand
made, as the term goes.  "Yours & c',    " John."                      
(For powder, red wine)        ( For shot,red brandy or champagne )  
It has been conjectured that this curious publication is
the work of Titus Hamiliton and Uri L. Ward in collaboration.  When the
eightenth ammendment to the constitution became effective, the wine
companies on the island, as elsewhere, were obliged to close and at
first this seemed an overwelming calamity to the island grape grower.
But the demand for grapes for private consumption created such a market
that the price of grapes rose above what had been prevailing for some
years before the  prohibition law went into effect and the grapes of the
island found ready sale. It is true that the acreage of grapes had been
gradually diminishing.  Grape root borer and other diseases hae reduced
the productivity of the older vineyards and together with the
prohibition law discouraged the grower from setting out new vines.

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