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Historical Collections of Ohio
Henry Howe LL.D.
Erie County

Travelling Notes--
Sandusky impresses one with the extreme solid appearance of its business
and public buildings.  It is because the whole city lies upon an
inexhaustible quarry of the finest limestone,  and all the people have
to for structures is to blast and rear.  The outlook upon its harbor is
extremely pleasant;  it is so expanded and well defended.  In the very
heats of summer the breeze comes from the lake with a refreshing
coolness,  while the thought that steamers are continually plying to the
beautiful cluster of islands beyond the bay to give the visitor any
needed change he may require of scene,  adds to the attractions of the
city as he may walk its solidly lined streets.
Four things come in mind in connection with Sandusky, viz, lumber, fish,
lime and grapes.  It is a great lumber mart,  the lumber coming mainly
from Michigan,  and it is the greatest fish market on the globe.  Vast
quantities of lime are burnt,  especially over on the peninsula,  that
body of land forming the western boundary of the bay,  and put on the
map as Ottawa County;  and as to grapes,  there seems to be no end.  In
this county alone the vineyards aggregate nearly five square miles,
viz., 3,082 acres.  In 1885 the amount of wine manufactured amounted to
71,170 gallons.  One gentleman in Sandusky,  Gen. Mills,  an
octogenarian,  has in a single body a vineyard of eighty acres,  the
largest,  I believe,  in Ohio.  From this he makes a superior article of
sparkling Catawba wine, "Mills Brand" that,  having once tasted for
"medicinal purposes only,"  a a Rechabite in temperance in a season of
despondency would be sorely tempted for a revivication merely to yield
his willing lips.  The general tells me there is no money in the
manufacture of this,  a pure, honest article.  The public demand is for
cheap wines.  The consequence is they largely get adulterations,  with
which any vineyard has but slight connection,  an as a return for their
parsimony,  the imbibants suffer from disordered stomachs and splitting
headaches.
Looking on the map again one will see forming the east boundary of the
bay a strip of land about three miles long and a quarter of a mile
wide,  terminating in a point,  called Cedar Point,  on or near which is
a lighthouse.  In the summer season a steamer,  the "R.B. Hayes," 
continually passes to and from the city,  carrying parties thither for
picnics in the groves and bathing. The beach there on the lake side is
safe and beautiful for bathing,  and so expansive the view that one
standing there is affected by the same emotion as if grazing upon the
ocean.
Johnson's Island, at the mouth of the harbor,  is in plain sight from
the dock at Sandusky.  It will always be an object of interest to
travellers as the spot where the officers of the Confederate army were
confined.  Mr. Leonard Johnson,  son of the owner of the island,  has
given me some interesting items.  He was then a boy of about eight
years,  and often went into the prison with his elder brother.
The prisoners were always glad to see children,  welcomed and petted
them.  For amusement they had athletic games and theatricals.  In
summer,  he told me,  they were allowed to bathe in the lake,  about 100
at a time,  under guard.  One of their amusements was whittling and
carving finger rings,  watch charms, etc.,  from gutta-percha buttons, 
their work being sometimes very ingenious and beautiful.
The guard were principally recruited for this purpose in the lake
neighborhood,  and many had their families on the island.
Two men were drummed off the island,  one for stealing blankets,  and
the other a teamster,  for an offense of a different character. The
latter had a placard in front and one in the rear proclaiming his
malfeasance thus:

I SOLD WHISKEY TO THE REBELS.

His hands were tied behind,  and he was marched in the middle of a squad
of soldiers,  with their bayonets pointed towards him, those in front
having their guns reversed.  To the music of drums and fifes he was
conducted to the boat,  thence through the streets of Sandusky to the
depot.  It was an occasion of great fun and frolic and the derisive
shouts of the following crowd added to the mortification of the
teamster,  who was employed to cart away offal,  but sold whiskey to the
rebels.
Prominent among the public men in Sandusky at the time of my original
visit was ELEUTHEROS COOKE,  born in Granville, N.Y.,  in 1787,  died in
Sandusky in 1864:  a large,  fine looking ,  enthusiastic gentleman, 
social,  pleasing to meet,  and universally respected.  He was by
profession,  a lawyer,  was in the State Legislature and in Congress, 
and a pioneer in railroad enterprises,  having been the projector of the
Mad River railroad.  He had a wonderful command of language,  was an
orator very flowery and imaginative,  and indulged largely in poetical
similes.  On an occasion in Congress,  when Mr. Stanberry,  of Ohio, 
was assaulted on Pennsylvania Avenue by Felix Houston,  of Texas,  for
words spoken in debate,  he declared in a speech,  that if freedom of
discussion was denied them he would "flee to the bosom of his
constituents,"  an expression that his political opponents ran the
changes upon for a long time after.
He could talk for hours upon any given topic,  and on occasion when it
was necessary to get a new writ from Norwalk to detain for debt an
arrested steamboat man with his vessel,  he talked to the court sixteen
hours continuously to stave off a decision upon the defective writ by
which he was held.  In order to illustrate the legal question before the
court, he had gone into a review of the history of the human race,  and
got from the Creation down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus when
the necessary papers arrived;  then he stopped the harangue,  allowed to
old writ to be squelched,  the new writ was then served, when the
defendant paid his debt,  an sailed away in his steamer.
Mr Cooke had one trouble,  it was lifelong,  stuck to him closer than a
brother.  It was in his name, Eleutheros.  He was born in 1787,  the
year of the framing of the Federal Constitution,  and the name was given
in commemoration;  it was rom a Greek term signifying to set free.  It
showed his parents must have been fanciful and so he got his name alike
with poetical tendencies from them.  But the name liked to have been his
ruin,  that is political ruin.  He lost one election by its
misspelling,  more particularly by the German voters.  They spelt it in
various ways,  taking with it most unwarrantable liberties,  spelling it
"Luther,"  "Lutheros,"  "Eilutheros,"  "Eilros,"  etc.  When he had boys
of his own,  taking warning from experience,  he started them with names
after great statesmen.  The first was Pitt Cooke,  the second was Jay
Cooke,  and the third was to have been,  perhaps Fox Cooke,  or
something like it,  when the mother rebelled and the child was given the
good old-fashioned name of Henry D. Cooke.  Pitt died at fifty;  he was
a partner with his brothers in the banking business. Henry D. Became an
eminent journalist, had an interesting and valuable life;  was the first
governor of the District of Columbia,  appointed by Grant,  and died in
1881.  The history of Jay Cooke,  the great financier of our civil war, 
is dwelt upon under the head of Ottawa County,  where lies Gibraltar, 
his beautiful summer island home in the lake,  where he entertains his
friends with abounding hospitality and recreates with much fishing in
prolific waters.
In my original visit to Sandusky there was also residing here EBENEZER
LANE,  whose acquaintance I had the privilege of making.  He was among
the most eminent legal men of Ohio of that day; profound in scholarship
and frank and cordial in his ways.  In five minutes I felt as though we
had been lifelong friends.  His brothers in the profession idolized
him.  He was born in Northampton in 1793,  graduated at Harvard in
1811,  studied law under his uncle,  Matthew Griswold,  of Lyme, Conn.; 
early came to Ohio,  was soon Judge of Common Pleas and from 1843 until
1845 Judge of the Supreme Court,  when he retired from the bench to give
his attention to the railroad development of this region.
Sandusky never dreamed but what she would be the terminus of the Ohio
Canal.  It was the shortest and direct distance across the State from
the mouth of the Scioto on the Ohio to the lake,  and its harbor
expansive and safe.  Instead of that,  mainly through the efforts of
Alfred Kelley,  who then resided there and was one of the canal
commissioners,  Cleveland was made its terminus;  thus increasing the
distance by a winding torturous course of perhaps thirty or more miles, 
yet bringing the canal nearer the big wheat fields and coal beds, and
accommodating a larger farming population,  a more densely settled older
country.
The canal was a prime factor in making Cleveland,  the great lake city
of the State.  The people of Sandusky felt keenly its loss as a cruel
wrong,  and with the hope of retrieving the disaster started the
earliest in railroad construction;  so Judge Lane,  prompted by public
spirit,  left the bench to exert his powers in that direction,  in the
course of which he became president of the Lake Erie and Mad River
railroad, a link in the first continuous railroad line across the State.
Cleveland was also on the alert in railroad construction,  but a little
behind Sandusky,  and tapping the great coal-fields of south-eastern
Ohio and bringing down the iron of Lake Superior got a power for the
lead that was irresistible.  The diversion of Judge Lane from his
profession was a loss to his fame, as otherwise his reputation would
have become national,  from his unquestionably great powers.
On the publication of my original edition,  I got four of those whom I
regarded as the most influential men of the Ohio of that day to unite in
a joint recommendation,  two Democrats and two Whigs.  Those four were
Samuel Medary,  of Columbus,  editor of the Ohio Statesman,  called the
"Old Wheelhorse of the Democracy,"  Governor Reuben Wood,  of
Cleveland,  the "Tall chief of the Cuyahogas,"  Thomas Corwin,  of
Lebanon,  "The Wagon boy,"  and Ebenezer Lane,  of Sandusky,  and there
I rested,  fortified as the book was by a "Wheel Horse,"  a "Cuyahoga
Chief,"  a "Wagon Boy,"  and a "Judge."

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