Memorable Tuba Solo…




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

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



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 Lambardi and Volunteer, Judy Cloud Pocock

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…


listen-now   watch-button-jpg

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.

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.


You may read the entire article here:

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

David Hay Davey Robertson

David Hay Davey Robertson, Joe’s grandfather

Margaret Walsh Robertson

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

Harold Van Buren Mogongale Letter


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.

1964.240.72.25 (WaterMark)


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.




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…

Fill The Form…

The Ramsayer Research Library has a new tool to make it easier for you to submit a request!

Request Form


Follow this link Submit Research Request and you can fill out the form and submit a question.

Please keep in mind we only have two volunteers and myself working on these requests.

We appreciate your patience!

We Help People Find Their Happiness!

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!

Archive Website (Search Engine)

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.

Quicklinks Page


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.

Roller Montly August 1900

Reunion Invitation for Essig Family June 14, 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.


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…

Bundles for Baker…








Welcome back to 70 Artifacts for 70 years! Look for our logo in platinum honoring the 70th anniversary of the Stark County Historical Society.

Bundles for Baker 70 for 70

If you ask most longtime residents of Stark County whether they remember listening to John Baker on WHBC their reaction is always the same.  First, a big smile crosses their face, and they give you an excited “yes!”

Today we add another oral history to our vast collection.  John Baker helped us learn more and add more to our collection on early radio and television in Stark County.


John is a gentle and humble man who is a veteran, a radio announcer, “actor,” television anchorman, advertising agent, and Plain Township trustee.

More dear to him than any of the former are his accomplishments as a family man and husband to Nancy.  Speaking about his wife, “Meeting, and marrying my wife Nancy was the best decision of my life!”


John and Nancy Baker viewing their “Bundles for Baker!”


Thank you to John & Nancy Baker for helping us learn more about our citizens of Stark County.  Thank you to Volunteer, Tom Haas who worked countless hours on this project, and saw it to completion.


To view or listen to John Baker’s oral history, or any of the oral histories we have in our collection, please call 330-455-7043 to make an appointment.

More Later…

Picnic at the Lake…




Welcome back to 70 Artifacts for 70 years! Look for our logo in platinum honoring the 70th anniversary of the Stark County Historical Society.

Petunia gardens, Roller Coasters, Skiing, Smooth Rich Custard, Monkey Island, Company Picnics for 10 thousand!

Only one place where you could find all of these amazing things!

Meyer’s Lake Amusement Park!

In the late 19th century and most of the 20th Century, in Canton, Ohio this was thee place to be!

Today we feature Jeffrey D. Brown and Raymond D. Fete’s fourth book on Meyer’s Lake: The Last Dance.

Meyer's Lake Park & Zoo


Volunteer, Tom Haas, and I had a really great time on Tuesday morning, sitting down with Jeff Brown who along with Ray Fete created four books on Meyer’s Lake from the mid 1980’s to the early 21st century.  We thank you Jeff for your contributions to Stark County, and your donation to our historical society!



Now it’s your turn.  This blog is posted on our Museum Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages and we look forward to your favorite stories of Meyer’s Lake!

More Later…