Circling Joy…


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Meyer’s Lake Amusement Park Canton, Ohio

Meyer's Lake Carousel IV

The beautiful flowers.  The screams of the kids on the roller coaster.  The taste of the custard.

Meyer's Lake Carousel III

The carousel spinning and spinning…

Meyer's Lake Carousel II

The lights, the sounds, the horses…

Meyer's Lake Carousel I

All of these elements added up to one thing.  Pure joy, for all ages.

Every generation looks for a way to bring together people of all ages.  Meyer’s Lake was the glue that held all ages together for many generations in Canton, Ohio. Just say the phrase, “It used to be at Meyer’s Lake…” to a native of Stark County and watch her face light up with a certain joy not found in many other places.

The Carousel at Meyer’s Lake brought joy to many people from all over the country.  In the early 1970’s, when the amusement park came to an end, this Merry-go-round was packed up and shipped to Hartford, Connecticut.  It was unpacked, a sight was chosen, and it was assembled in Bushnell Park for many more generations to enjoy.

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Bushnell Park is situated at the base of the Connecticut State House


The 1914 Stein & Goldstein Carousel

My wife Alyson Bachtel Holland and I had the opportunity to ride this historic artifact that once brought children and adults of  Stark County a sense of pure joy!  As we chose our horse and we listened for the next bell, and the music to begin we felt nostalgic and we were drawn closer to the memories of our parents riding this carousel over and over., when it sat in Meyer’s Lake.  You can’t buy that feeling…

Listen now, as we take you on this ride, Circling Joy…




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2017.0.1128_The Strausbury FamilyThe Strausbury Family. Courtesy of the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.


Stark County History, Ohio, Like You’ve Never Seen Before!

Can you imagine having greater access to historic photographs from around Stark County? Well, imagine no longer! Many of the Stark County photographs, which were donated to the Ramsayer Library over the years, have been digitized!

The digitization of these historic photographs will greatly benefit the research community and the general public. Additionally, there are numerous instructional applications made by possible by this digitization project. For example, Mark Holland, the archivist, has the capability of projecting these digitally-captured, historic photographs for visitors when they come to stop by at the Ramsayer Research Library. Moreover, they will be incorporated into future audio-visual productions as well.


Digitization Process: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?



Who digitized these historic photographs?

Stephen Wendt, MLIS, digitized hundreds of photographs from the Stark County collection during his digital preservation internship at the Ramsayer Research Library. Stephen’s internship was affiliated with Kent State University’s graduate School of Information in Library and Information Science. In addition to his passion for digital preservation, Stephen is a professional genealogist. He assists the community with their genealogy-related requests! Stephen may be contacted here.


Many of the Stark County photographs, which Stephen digitized, concern the “Citizens of Canton” and the “Grand Army Band” photographs. The photographs are of various shapes, sizes and conditions-many of which, as you might expect, are in black and white.

2017.0.998_Don Millett                     Don Millett – Editor of the Canton Daily News.                                                              

1977.3.49.5_Sr. Symporose

Sr. Symporose – Principal of St. Marys School in Canton. 1955



Many of the photographs are from the late 19th century and early 20th centuries.



While most of the photographs were taken in Stark County, some of them were taken in other locations.

For example, the Grand Army Band traveled together by train, and these photographs were digitally captured as well! The Grand Army Band depicted in the slideshow below show them in action in Canton and across the country!


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Sharing Stark County past with researchers and members of the public is why we do what we do!



After all of the photographs are properly assigned a specific number (called an accession number), they are sent to the Ramsayer Research Library’s flatbed scanner for scanning. Each photograph is scanned front and back. Normally, up to three images are taken per photograph. Here is how the process works!


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All digitized photographs courtesy of the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

To submit a research request with the Ramsayer Research Library, please click on the following link: Research Request Form.


Memorable Tuba Solo…



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Left – Lola Vincent      Center – Mark Holland      Right – Marilyn Stevens

Mrs. Lola Vincent called last week to tell us the story of her grandfather, who played the Tuba for Representative William McKinley.

In 1878 George McKee was 16 years old played in the Hinckley Township Band.  As George remembers it, there were around fifteen bands in Medina County at the time.  The Medina County Fair Board would hold a contest every year to determine who would have the honor of playing at the county fair.  George recalls the contest that year being very close as the boys from the different bands had practiced all through the fall, summer, and spring.  Close until George’s band struck a Rare Rendition of “Dixie.”

George McKee

George McKee is in the center of the front row

During the playing of Dixie a young man stepped forward from the band with his e-flat tuba.  The young man took the lead in a rapid 4/4 time.  The crowd could not believe what they were hearing, and seeing! At the end of the song the crowd was silent.  The judges of the contest declared on the spot the Hinckley Band to be the winner and would play at the fair! The young man who gave the wonderful solo was George McKee! Congressman McKinley was one of the spectators who was in the crowd.  Years later President McKinley visited Medina County, and asked to see that “Hinckley Tuba player.

Mrs. Vincent has donated the Tuba, the newspaper article accounting the story, and a photograph of the Hinckley Township Band.  When I went out to her car to bring the tuba into the museum who stepped out of the car as Mrs. Vincent’s Chauffeur?  It was another good friend of our museum, Mrs. Marilyn Stevens, whom I had interviewed last fall for the Frank Onesto program.  Marilyn Stevens is Frank Onesto’s niece.  Lola Vincent and Marilyn Stevens have known each other for thirty years!

Small World!

Mark G. Holland, Archivist

McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Diebold Jail Cells…



The community we serve is not limited to Stark County.  We recently received a call from the City Archivist of Deadwood City, South Dakota.  Their community is creating a history walk and the location of the City Jail is one of the stops along the way.  Mike Runge, City Archivist called us after discovering an invoice created by the Diebold Company of Canton, Ohio dated 1885.  He requested some background information on the Diebold Company that made the City Jail in his town.

Tom Haas, Volunteer in our Ramsayer Research Library  received this call and went to work finding the information Mr. Runge requested.  Tom found much information on the Diebold Company itself.  He had to dig a little deeper to find out about Diebold making jail cells, and their locking systems.

Tom and I had two questions that were unanswered.  What root did the railroad take from Canton, Ohio to Deadwood City, South Dakota?  And, how long did the trip take?  I was out to Cherry Creek, South Dakota in 1988 for a church mission trip and it took us three days by bus.

Below is a link to South Dakota’s State Historical Society’s flickr page.  It shows the city jail with this caption: Deadwood Jail

First jail at Deadwood, 1876. The city was wide open and needed a jail. Miners carried a lot of gold, and gamblers, prostitutes, gunslingers, and thieves were out to get what they could.

Deadwood Jail


Mark G. Holland, Archivist

McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

My Family Connections



Before I started my internship here in January, I thought I might find a thing or two regarding my family, since they have been settled in Canton since the early 20th century. However, I didn’t expect to learn as much as I have about some of my family members.


One day Mark showed me an index of WWI privates from Canton. I was just flipping through the pages and came across a name I recognized, William Edward Edwards, who I know as Uncle Bill. He is my great great great uncle, and while I never met him, I grew up hearing stories about him from my family. He came to America from Wales in 1904 and joined the service on December 27th, 1917.

William E. Edwards WWI Canton, Ohio

Edwards served in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. He fought in the battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which is considered the largest and bloodiest military operation for the AEF. The operation was fought from September 1918, until the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which ended the fighting. Edwards was wounded in action in October 14th, 1918, which could have occurred when American troops were launching frontal assaults to break through the German defenses. He was honorably discharged on May 21st, 1919 and earned a purple heart for his service


On another day, I was looking through the letters from the Secret Gift collection. It contains the letters that were written in response to a December 18th, 1933 newspaper ad that offered $10 to families struggling with financial hardships. Sam Stone, or “B.Virdot” as the ad identified him, received so many letters that he changed the amount he gave to $5 so he could help more people. Sam Stone’s grandson, Ted Gup,  eventually found these letters and wrote a book about his grandfather and the letter writer’s called The Secret Gift.  As I was looking at the letters, I noticed the name “John F. Gatchett”. My great great grandfather was named John Franklin Gatschet, but went by Frank J Gatschet. I did some research and found Frank J Gatschet in Canton’s city directory at 3504 Fairmount blvd, which is the same on the letter, so it has to be him.

John Franklin Gatschet

John Franklin Gatschet


Gatschet’s Secret Gift Letter

At the time of this letter, my great great grandfather was divorced from my great great grandmother, so he is discussing needing money to support his 2nd wife and her three children. He was chosen to receive $5 to go towards clothes for the children. While I have seen a lot of family pictures, it was really neat to interact with a tangible item from my great great grandfather.  Overall, I have learned a lot during my time here and finding out about my family connections in Canton has been a fun bonus.

Guest Blogger:

Tess Hamilton, Intern, McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

How Young Is Too Young to be Interested in History?






Jason Lombardi, President of the Malvern Historical Society and Judy Cloud Pocock, Library Volunteer, McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

One never knows when working with children who have a special interest in history where it might lead.

Recently Jason Lombardi, President of the Malvern Historical Society, stopped by the library to donate some photographs.  In our conversation he shared that he had been interested in the history of his hometown since he was an elementary school student.

Next to his childhood home was a small cemetery which became his special project.  He made notes and kept records of the graves there.  He worked to physically maintain the cemetery.  This was not a summer project—he did it for years.

He spoke of his father driving him to Canton so that he could spend time doing historical research at the library on subjects which interested him.  His dad would patiently wait for hours for him to have the time he needed.

Today Jason still has an active interest in history although he did not pursue it as a career.  He contributes to Find-A-Grave and helps educate others through the Malvern Historical Society.

If you know a child who has an active interest like Jason—take the time to allow him or her to explore and do historical research.   One never knows where this time spent will lead—a rewarding career or perhaps a life-time of helping others learn about the past.

  • Judy Cloud Pocock – Guest Blogger, Volunteer McKinley Presidential Library & Museum


Brute Strength…


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McKinley Memorial the Most Beautiful One in the World

Lavish Scenic Outlay Surrounds the Mausoleum

Where Lamented President Will Rest – Architectural Triumph Rises…

…The headlines read on page 2 of the April 23, 1907 edition of the Stark County Democrat.


The Architectural Triumph Rising is credited to Harold Van Buren Magonigle who designed the McKinley National Memorial.  We hold the original plans drawn by Mr. Magonigle, and his associates in the Ramsayer Research Library.

The article above in the Stark County Democrat speaks of David Robertson, Foreman of the Stonecutters constructing the monument to our 25th President.  While David worked on the monument he lived here in Canton with his family at 119 Brown Avenue NW, very near the monument construction site.

1 - STARK COUNTY DEMOCRAT Tue Apr 23 1907 Canton, Ohio Page 2 Copy.jpg You may read the entire article here:

STARK COUNTY DEMOCRAT Tue, Apr 23, 1907 Canton, Ohio Page: 2


David Hay Davey Robertson, Joe’s grandfather


Margaret Walsh Robertson, Joe’s grandmother

Below is a copy of a letter to Davey from Harold Van Buren Magonigle.  Thank you Joe & Marsha for sharing this with us!


Davey was of course present for the laying of the cornerstone of the McKinley National Memorial.  Below is a photograph of the laying of the cornerstone on November 16, 1905. Davey is the gentleman on the far right of the photograph with his right hand on the front of the cornerstone.


Joe Robertson and his wife Marsha visited the Library this past October.  Joe had been here some thirty years ago.  At that time he found the McKinley Museum closed on a Saturday.  Evidently Joe contacted the right person because they came to the museum and opened it for him! Joe returned last year to the McKinley National Memorial to show his wife the result of his grandfather’s long and hard work.

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Thank you Joe & Marsha for the wonderful visit!

Joe, your grandfather was a leader who used brute strength to accomplish amazing things in his lifetime!

More later…

Linked to Research…

We help people find their happiness.  Call, Write, or Come into our archive to ask how we bring many people happiness and satisfaction.

Our archive website Ramsayer Research Library has two new features.  First, we have added a Search Engine to enable the researcher to search anything on our archive website!


Plus, our website has a new page called Quicklinks.  This new page contains six links to pages helpful to researchers, and we will be adding more…  We have added a line or two to each link to let you know why you want to go to these pages.  Stay tuned for videos on our McKinley Museum’s Youtube, and Facebook pages explaining in detail how to use the pages we have linked.


More Later…


New Found Home…

Simon Essig, Plain Township Pioneer, born December 27, 1754  was married to Julian Marg’ Schnarin.  They had twelve children together and settled in Plain Township, Ohio.

The Essig family had many reunions as documented in an invitation to a reunion, Thursday June 14, 1900 and by the Roller Monthly publication of Canton.



Invitation to Essig Family Reunion 1900

Edna Schea was inspired to paint Simon Essig’s home in Plain Township.  The location of the home is described in the 1900 reunion invitation as being located on the Middle Branch of the Nimishillen Creek, near Canton, Ohio.


Edna Schea’s rendering of Simon Essig’s home in 1908.

The donor who lives in Maine knew the artist briefly.  The artist painted this landscape in 1968 in Meriden, Connecticut.  Edna died December 23, 1986 and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, in Meriden, Connecticut.

Why Edna painted this landscape is a mystery.  Volunteer, Judy Pocock, and I have begun to put the pieces back together.  I had a nice talk with the donor of the painting, and she is very happy the painting has landed in a safe home.  Judy Pocock has found no direct link between Edna Schea, and the Essig family.

We will continue to investigate.

More Later…