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Darlene E. Kelley
donkeyskid@webtv.net                              
May 22, 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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     Perhaps no institution, for it was a veritable institution, was
more popular nor received a larger share of criticism and ridicule than
the so called " Lodge " which had no organization, no roll, no officers
and no membership; yet was attended for many years by almost every man
on the Island with faithful regularity.  When the Island was young, so
to speak, there were no clubs, theatres, or real lodges of any order
such as Odd Fellows or Masons.  Therefore, the only place for the men to
meet for imformal discussion or to loaf, was at the only store on the
Island.  This was located for some years on the dock at the foot of
Division Street and for this reason, after the store had been moved to
the building " on the corner, " the Islanders always said they were
going to the dock, when in reality they meant that they were going to
the store.  It is true that the store was near the dock, even after it
had been moved from it to the building at the corner of Division and
Water streets.  According to Mr. Eratus Huntington, the name " Lodge "
was derived as follows:  "There may be many here now, who do not  know
how the institution "on the corner" derived its name.  For the benefit
of such, I would say it came from an article written by W.S. Webb some
ten or twelve years ago." (Our quotation is from Mr. Huntington's
article in the 1874 volume of the Islander.)  " The name complete was,
"The Independant Order of Island Loafers."  This was soon ' boiled down'
to simply " The Lodge " by which name it has ever since been known."  In
justice to the men who frequented the lodge, it must be borne in mind
that it was a public meeting place because over forty years it was the
only place on the Island where a stock of general merchandise was kept
and where a dozen eggs could be exchanged for its equivalent in sugar or
other necessities.  Practically every man on the Island spent their
leisure time there.  Furthermore,the post office was there and everyone
went for the mail.  There never has been a free delivery.  In summer,
the lodge was not well attended except in the evening, for the store was
open every night until about nine o'clock.  But in the winter time, the
men had little to do and they commenced to gather almost as soon as the
store was opened in the morning.  Addison Kelley was the first
storekeeper.  He acted as Agent for the firm of Datus and Irad Kelley
for about thirteen years or until 1848 when the dock and store became
the property of his Uncle Irad Kelley, who put his son George in charge
of the store and made him his partner.  The business being carried on as
the firm of I. and G. Kelley.  The store on the dock was two stories
high and answered its purpose very well, but it became at last, too
small for the growing population.  A new store building was erected by
George Kelley about 1850 at the Northwest corner of Divsion and Water
streets.  The business was purchased in 1854 by William S. Webb who
exchanged his quarry for it.  Mr. Webb than sold a half interest in the
store to Mr. A.S. Kelley, facetiously referred to as the "fat man" in
many an article which appeared in the Islander. He eventually bought out
Mr. Webb and conducted the business for many years assisted by Mr. Jerry
Dean at first and also by Mr. Kelley's nephew Erastus Huntington who
went into the store after his return from Oberlin College and he
employed his cousin Henry Kelley to assist with the store.  Let us give
as an illustration a description of a winter day at the store or Lodge.
The sketch of course imaginary, yet it is historically accurate as to
details, for its like was duplicated with variations every day in winter
for almost forty years.  The time is February 1863.  Mr. Jerry Dan opens
the store, lights the fire in the big sheet iron stove and sweeps out
the accumulation of tobacco cuds, cigar stubs, burnt matches, an other
extraneous matter of the preceeding day.  The postmaster arrives and as
this is a contract day for the mail to go to the mainland, he makes up
the mail which has accumulated during the preceeding three days.  The
mail went and came twice a week in the winter, provided it was possible
to make the crossing.  Several people arrived at the store inquiring if
Dean was going to cross that day and if so, that they were going to town
(Sandusky) with him.  It was considered unsafe for anyone to cross
alone, or in company, unless they took a boat along.  The mail carrier
Oscar Dean, always took a boat not only to carry mail in, but because,
no matter how firm the ice might appear, it sometimes broke up suddenly
and cracks appeared in solid ice like magic and widened so rapidly that
unless one had a boat, it was impossible to cross them.  Experience had
taught the Islanders that it was safer and cheaper to pay a dollar to
the mail carrier for the priviledge of accompanying him, then going
alone.  Passengers were only so in name.  If the ice was good, the men
walked besides the boat, which was shod with runners, and went over the
ice like a sled.  Women rode if the ice was good.  If the ice was rough,
the men helped to haul and when they came to open water, they sat in the
boat and helped to navigate it, by pulling at the oars or fend off
floating ice with pike poles.  However, on this day there was little
prospect of open water, for the weather had been very cold for several
days.  Some of the " passengers" brought skates.  While waiting about
the store for the appearance of the mail carrier, others entered and
joined the circle.  The discussion that day, was mainly about the cold,
and whether it had been cold enough to kill the buds on the grape vines.
Some one went to a nearby vineyard and returned with a cutting from one
of the vines which all examined and it was placed with an end in a jar
of water to see if the buds would start in the warmth of the room. Other
pieces that had been placed in water of preceeding days were also
examined and found to show signs of life.  The Mail carriers arrival put
an end to the conversation and they all started for the dock.  The iron
clad skiff was lying near it on the shore, where it had been drawn up
and turned bottom up to keep it free from snow and ice.  There were
always several, usually school boys, who were proud to help to carry the
mail bags, the oars, pike poles and the express  packages to the boat
and turn it right side up and run it out on the smooth ice ready for the
start.  Along the shore there was usually one or more windrows of ice
ranging in height from one to two feet, to eight or ten feet.  On this
occasion, there were three, and the farthest out was about on a line
with the end of the dock a hundred feet from shore.  The mail carrier
had a pair of steel ice creepers which he strapped to his feet when he
got to the ice.  He then clambered over the piles of ice in the windrows
and took the hold of the painter or rope at the bow of his boat.  There
was a loop in the end, which he threw over his shoulder as he started
off on his long cod walk.  Everyone was as warmly dressed as possible,
for even a moderate wind drove the cold through ordinary clothing, so
that one felt almost bare to its blasts.  And now  we will bid good-bye
to the little company as it slowly wends its way across the ice and
becomes at length mere specks of black in the distance, and return to
the store with the crowd, that had gone to the dock to see the party
off.  They gathred around the stove to warm themselves, already chilled
through with a few minutes of exposure.  The checker board was brought
near the stove.  It had been on a small table near the wall.  Two men
sat down to play and were immediately surrounded by a gallery of
watchers and advisors.  Tobacco pipes were lighted, being filled from
the common bag of tobacco which was always to be found in an old cigar
box on a beam over the door.  Soon, the air was thick with smoke.
Conversation was animated, the loudest and most continuous speaker
usually kept the floor until he was talked out.  The conversation ranged
to Darwinism as evolution was then called to a dicussion     of who
should bring an armfull of firewood or who should go to the lake for a
bucket of water.  It being a favorite winter sport to bulldoze some
victim into doing these little chores.  Getting water in summer
consisted of going to the dock with a bucket attached to a rope long
enough to reach the water.  The bucket was dropped into the water and
hauled up by the rope.  In winter, it was necessary to chop a hole  in
the ice at a convenient place,  The hole froze over on cold nights and
the man who got the first bucket of water the next day, often had to
chop out ice three or four inches thick.  
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To be con't in pt 2

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