About

“19th-Century Wellington” is an exploration of the people and landmarks that made up this rural Ohio town during its first decades. My intent is to share the information I have gathered through years of personal research, and hopefully connect with others who are engaged by the topic.

©19th-Century Wellington, 2013-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to 19th-Century Wellington with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the Author:

Nicole M. Hayes has fifteen years’ work experience in museums and archives, and has been employed by organizations including Harvard University, Plimoth Plantation, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the National Museum of Ireland. Hayes received her master’s degree in American history and historical archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. A native of Massachusetts, she currently lives with her family in Wellington, Ohio.

37 thoughts on “About

  1. Donna Clodwick-Ewell

    I love your articles. I have been interested in my family history for a long time. I haven’t done much research lately. Your stories have me interested again. I have Clifford, Howk, and Mead’s in the Clodwick side of my family. Thank you for inspiring me to start searching again. Donna

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write that! You don’t know how timely it is for me. I have been debating whether to keep going with the blog, since it is a great deal of work to research and write each entry, and at times I have wondered if I was the only one reading it! Thank you for sending positive vibes my way and inspiring me to keep going!

      Reply
      1. Karin Hootman

        I have just discovered your blog and find it extremely interesting! I did a google search for the “history of Magyar Street in Wellington, Ohio” and your blog was in the list. Do you have any information on why this street was named Magyar Street? My ancestry goes back to the Magyars of Hungary according to a census notation from my great grandmother. They immigrated to the Cleveland area. When I came across the name of this street, my curiosity was piqued.

      2. Armchair Historian Post author

        Thank you for reading! It is an interesting question about Magyar Street, and one I do not know the answer to off the top of my head. I can tell you that the street was already so-named by at least 1852, when it is labelled on a plat map of the village. I also have an 1857 map of the town that shows it as Magyar. If I can find anything else out, I will post it. I am not aware of any Hungarian community in Wellington, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one here.

      3. Armchair Historian Post author

        Karin, I have been thinking a bit about your question. My inclination is to guess that the street was named after someone living on it early in the town’s history (pre-1850). There are still Magyars living in Pittsfield and Elyria, so that seems to me the likeliest possibility. A check of the early tax records might confirm or refute that theory. As an aside, there are a number of other streets in the village that were also named after early residents–Adams, DeWolf, Johns, Dickson, etc. Without further investigation I could not definitively say that the name has nothing to do with Hungarian history/culture, but it seems implausible to me.

  2. Joshua

    I was surprised to find a Wellington history blog while searching for resources relating to an article I’m writing regarding the schisms of First Congregational Church in 1843 and again in 1852.

    If you’d like, I’d love to compare notes. You can see my senior thesis, which dealt heavily with Wellington and compared religious thought in the town to Oberlin and Elyria. It can be found on my portfolio at http://jfahler.weebly.com.

    Contact me through that page if you’d like to collaborate on a post. I made a post long ago, but my blog now is mostly about travel in Asia. Here is my now ancient post – maybe it could be re-written and re-posted on your site?

    Blog: http://www.joshintaiwan.com
    Post: http://joshintaiwan.com/2010/04/14/wellington-free-congregational-church/

    Best,

    Josh

    Reply
  3. Guy Wells

    Wonderful to learn of your blog. We live only blocks apart, but I got word of it from China (cf. previous post by Josh). There’s much we should talk about and share (for starters, my great-grandparents–Levi and Mary Stemple–were also innkeepers at the American House in the 1890s). For now, though, this “best wishes” will have to suffice.
    Happy Holidays,
    Guy Wells,
    Wellington, Ohio

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Mr. Wells, it is a pleasure to connect with you. After I began exchanging messages with Joshua, I was trying to figure out how to arrange an introduction with you! I would be very interested to know if you have run across any information about Noah Huckins in your own resources? And it would be my honor to meet with you, perhaps after the holidays?

      Reply
  4. Jack Siffert

    Thank you very much for the blog post. You are welcome to contact me about helping with the cause. We are actively looking for all help we can get. My name is Jack and I am the president of the Lake Shore Railway Association and the one who is responsible for trying to bring this event together. Hopefully I will just be a small part of a large effort to make this a once in a lifetime event. With everyone’s help it will be.
    Jack

    Reply
      1. dean

        I have an old brick house on west rd. I do not know how old it is or the history of it. It sits out by itself. It’s a two story south of 303. The outbuildings are falling down and it is on a small hill across from Caley park, up the street on other side.

  5. Kyle

    What a fascinating blog. I love historic Ohio, particularly small towns. I had a strange experience the one time I was in Wellington. I went there on a sunday drive in the fall of 1995 and went to eat at the only restaurant listed in the AAA Ohio tour book. We got there and the restaurant was closed down, but the tables were all set (ketchup and everything). It had a classic small town diner look to it. I asked around to see what happened and find somewhere to eat, but was only told it was tragic and not to ask. 20 years later I am still curious. Any insights into my vague tale of mystery?

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Thank you very much. I am sorry, but I really don’t know the answer to your restaurant question. I asked a few local folks and no one I spoke with could recall anything particularly tragic happening in the mid-1990s. You don’t by any chance recall where in town the place was, or it’s name?

      Reply
  6. newcrazytown

    This is the most fascinating blog I’ve read to date. Every installment is a highlight of my reading week. Thank you so much for providing this great pleasure that I take in reading your work.

    Reply
  7. Patricia Bolt

    I was just reading your story about the icehouse and the making of the pond by Charles Horr on what is probably Montrose Way. I live at 439 Courtland St. I would love to know more about our house and the land. All I know is the front of the home faces the Forest St. extenaion. In 1960, that must have been woods and it was done for the view.
    Thanks for your informative stories!

    Reply
    1. Guy Wells

      If my Google Maps search is right, 439 Courtland is the southern driveway of two that lead to homes tucked in behind the regular line of homes on the East side of the street. Assuming that’s your home, it’s a few years older than you think. In 1959-1960, it was occupied (owned?) by M/M Virgil Peterson, to whom I delivered the Cleveland Press. At the time, it seemed nearly new, and the other set-back house (until recently Molly Adams-Kunz) had not yet been built. It may later have been re-oriented to face North toward Forest St., but in 1960 it had a front door & porch facing South. At the time, Forest St. extension was unpaved and only went 3 or 4 houses south from Dickson St.–nowhere near the Peterson’s. The Grand Ave extension had only just begun to develop, so the Peterson’s had a pretty secluded homesite. Hope this helps.

      PS–checking the county auditor’s record for your home, I wonder if the home has been added to since it was first built. (Their YOC is 1957.) I remember it as a simple rectangle, but it’s been more than a few years.

      Reply
  8. Patricia Bolt

    Thank you, Mr. Wells for this info! I thought 437 (owned by Molly Adams) was built before ours. You are correct about the size of the house. It was a rectangle. I think the garage may have been added later. The front of the home definitely was facing north, towards Forest St. We have tried to improve the back of the home, since you see that first as you come up the drive. How could I find out past owners? I only know I (and my husband at that time) purchased it from Mike and Becky Young in 1985. I believe it was built by Giles Anderson, along with several others in the area. I’d love to know the history of how that area (Grand Ave extension, Montrose Way, Pleasant St) developed.
    In the late 1800’s, how far south did Courtland St go?

    Reply
  9. Armchair Historian Post author

    Ms. Bolt: To learn about the past owners of your house, you have to do what is called a “chain of deed.” I wrote a little bit about the process–and some of the other resources available for local research–in a very early post called “Starting from Scratch.” You can search that title in the blog search box, or click the August 2013 sidebar link and scroll through the topics. Basically, you go to the county Recorder’s Office in Elyria with your address–and preferably your parcel number(s)–and you manually trace the chain of sales back until the time when the house was first built.

    Once you have owner names you can also look at the county tax records, which are available in hard copy in Elyria or are digitized (pre-WWII, I believe) and publicly available online. I included the link to the tax website in the post I mention above.

    The Wellington Genealogy Group is currently digitizing the Village Council records, which include information like votes to incorporate additions of land around town and lay out/name streets. We are still working with the materials dating pre-WWI at present. Another source of information would be “The Wellington Enterprise,” available on microfilm and in hard copy via the library and historical society. The library also holds several atlases, including the 1896 “Atlas and Directory of Lorain County, Ohio,” which would show you the configuration of the town at different times. (I happen to have a copy of the 1896 and it shows Courtland ending at Pleasant Street.) I believe that the subdivision you are interested in was added in the twentieth century, so I personally don’t know much about the development of that section of town.

    Reply
  10. Guy Wells

    I’d echo Armchair’s advice about using the title office, with the caveat that it’s easy to be tempted by the array of research possibilities the Recorder’s archives offer and start following a dozen other lines of inquiry too. Sometimes tunnel vision is a good thing. To check on whether there’s a list or other info. on things built by Giles Anderson, you might try contacting his daughter, who still lives in town. Check with me directly for contact info.

    Reply
  11. Patricia Bolt

    This evening, I took my walk in the cemetery, as I have done many times. It was so exciting to see the names of the people I have been reading about all week. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      That is one of my favorite pastimes, too! I wish there was a way that I could key a map of the cemetery to the individual stories, in case someone reading is looking for a particular person. Thanks again for your interest in the blog!

      Reply
  12. stuart bradley

    I wrote a blog entry about the connection between the Howk family and the Bradley family and gave you credit with a link to your blog. I hope you are OK with it. I will probably add a little more material to the entry in the next couple of days. Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Lee Hawkins

    Hi Nicole,

    I just want to say that the articles I’ve read here are excellent! I think someone shared a link to your post about McCormick Middle School’s impending demolition…I really hope you got to connect with someone like Calvin Woods to check out the old building. I was just there on Friday afternoon photographing aspects of the building, including the roof (which shows what is left of the sheet metal ornamentation on the top of the old Union School), the cafeteria, the auditorium (a 1930s WPA project…and also something sad to see go), the Roar Room (below the auditorium basketball court, and a fallout shelter), and a few shots inside the corridors. I need to go back next week and shoot more, provided I can fit it into my schedule and the school’s. I attended McCormick in the late 80s/early 90s, and graduated from WHS in 1996 (and actually I had Ms. Bolt for three years of Deutschklasse!) and even though school was something I didn’t enjoy thoroughly, I hate to see such a wonderful historic structure go down so unceremoniously after nearly 150 years of service.

    The good thing, though, is that the school will be somewhat immortal, however, as the photos I’m shooting of McCormick are spherical panoramas (please check out my website to see some examples). This means I will be able to create a virtual tour that will be publicly available on my website.

    I also wanted to help identify the likely restaurant in the AAA travel guide from the 1990s…it was probably the Wellington Inn, which was in the building just north of where Bob King Realty now is (which was originally the post office) and just south of the old Oberlin Savings Bank building, which I now believe is the Lor-Met Credit Union. I have no idea what’s in there now, as I live in North Olmsted now and don’t get to Wellington often.

    I too also never knew all you have found about the opera house. It’s a shame that history has overall been vastly ignored and uglified for “practical purposes” in Northern Ohio. A gym is nowhere near as special or useful as the opera house sounded to have been. And there is a pretty nice auditorium at McCormick Middle School that the community is also losing that would function nicely as a performing arts center with some TLC. Alas…money is always short and memories even shorter… It’s a shame…

    But keep up the excellent work on the blog! You have a new fan here!

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Thanks so much for the message! I would love to see your images of the building’s roof. If you are willing to share one or two of your best shots, I would be happy to post them here–fully credited, of course–for all to enjoy. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll PM you.

      Reply
  14. Jim Benedict

    I stumbled upon this blog by accident while researching the “Benedict’s Block” building. Very interesting (and detailed) information. My lineage contains: Clifford, Peirce (NOT Pierce!), Perkins (by marriage), Benedict (direct), Waite, Yoxtheimer, Andrews, Brown, Wickenden (and I’m sure more that tie in to Wellington history somehow!). I do have some old ‘family reunion’ photos but unfortunately not many of the individuals are identified. I look forward to further readings on your blog!!!

    Reply
    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      Thanks for reaching out! I love it when people stumble upon the blog while researching their own family history–that is precisely why I started putting all this information online. Happy hunting!

      Reply
      1. Dennis Thompson

        Hello,
        I am another area historian working mostly on my family’s history in Elyria, but I get involved in many other topics in Lorain County. I have been researching abandoned bridges in the county and have been doing field work photographing sites around Wellington when I came across your blog. Love it! I have been catching up with your archives as I have the time, and I came across your question of the location of the original town hall. The 1874 county atlas photo you printed shows it on the west side of the street, a real puzzle, and one naturally wonders if they had not updated it from the original location. But the 1857 county map, which is closer to the 1846 date of the second town hall, (it is very hard to locate a good copy) shows it where you would expect, on the east side, several buildings south of the hotel. No old public building is indicated across the street If you could send me your email, I do have some links and scans you may be interested in.

  15. Armchair Historian Post author

    Funnily enough, Dennis, I just recently solved that particular mystery. There were four Town Halls, one of which was housed in the “Free” Congregational Church on the opposite side of South Main Street. If you look up the “Town Hall” post and scroll down to the bottom, you will find the complete update. And thanks for the kind comments!

    Reply
  16. Betty Derrer

    I just came across your blog, and so enjoyed reading about my former home town of Wellington. Its been over 30 years since I resided there, but it lives on in my heart. I think my father was the only Albanian who ever lived in Wellington! His name was John Shakir, and he operated the Queen Restaurant for over 50 years. Virginia Willard wrote a very lovely story about him for the Wellington Enterprise, I believe in 1976. Many summer nights, after the restaurant closed for the evening, my dad would walk with me to the park, where I would “entertain” him singing and dancing in the arch the Town Hall. I guess that was my little Opera House.
    I also attended first grade through 12th grade at Wellington high school between the years of 1956 and 1969. I’m so glad that my sweet school lives on in my heart, and I’m not forced to watch it picked apart bone by bone until it is nothing more than a memory.
    Again, thank you for your blog, and for keeping Wellington past alive in people’s hearts.

    Betty Derrer

    Reply
  17. Jim Kissinger

    I have been working with information for several years now on Wellington families.. My late wife is a direct descendent of the Tripps and the Vischers from Wellington in the 1800’s I have numerous pictures of them and other citizens of Wellington.. have donated quite a bit to the Spirit of 76 museum but have so much more.. including numerous documents on different land holdings by these families and others dating from the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s… I need to find someone who would be interested in having these, as I need to find a home for more of this information. Jim Kissinger, Fullerton, CA

    Reply
  18. Village of Wellington

    Looking for a line drawing of the town hall would you happen to have one or can you point me in the right direction?

    Reply

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