Norwalk, Ohio High School Class of 1907

norwalk-high-school-commencement-1907

Norwalk High School Class of 1907: Front Row: Ruth Jenkins, Irene Eline, Irene Bragdon, Myrtle Woodruff. Second Row: Lillian Smith, Eugene Bloxham, Arthur Young, Carrie Spurrier, Harriott Wickham, Robert Venus, Ruby Hoyt. Third Row: Sarah Barnett, Fred Osborne, Nina Humiston, Earl Sinclair, Florence Davidson, Inez Adams, Stephen Young, Fred French. Fourth Row: Homer Beattie, Florence Bascom, Alice McCammon, Sheldon Laning, Edna West, Harry Holiday, Cleo Collins.

How many times have you come across an old family photo, but have no idea of the identity of the people in it? Unfortunately, too often our ancestors neglected to scrawl identifying information on the backs of their photos. Fortunately for me, my grandmother Harriott Wickham (second row, third from left in the photo above) understood how important it is to record names of people in her photos for future generations. She not only preserved this photo of her graduating class, she also recorded her classmates’ names on an accompanying scrap of paper.

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Old Norwalk High School

The members of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907 are no more. But in their day, at the beginning of their adult lives, they were full of enthusiasm and hope for the future. As I gazed at their faces, so serious, yet so full of life, I wondered who they were and how they lived their lives? I decided to find out.

Not only had my grandmother recorded the names of her classmates, she kept a diaries during those years that describe many of them and tell of her interactions with them. Unfortunately, the diary for her senior year is missing, but she did preserve one for May 1908 to May 1909. From it, and from information I gleaned from research, I began to form a picture of these young people and their families; of where they came from and how they spent their senior year–and the rest of their lives.

What did they do? In small town America of the early 20th Century, young people went to balls, hung out at the library, formed societies, performed in plays and concerts, and played basketball (both boys and girls). They had séances and house parties and spent their summers in cottages on Lake Erie, lazing away the days and dancing at “The Grove” at Ruggles Beach at night.

Who were they and their families? What stock did they come from and how did they spend their lives after graduation? Because I have their names, I’ve been able to answer some of those questions. One of the young men in the photo became a U.S. Senator, but the rest of the the class led ordinary lives: some did not do well, some of them had successful careers. But each one of them has a story I want to tell.

Using my grandma’s diaries and research on the internet, I’m continuing to flesh out the stories behind these faces. Over the next year, I’ll post what I’ve learned–and what I don’t know. I ask your help as I take this journey: to correct my mistakes, and to add your stories to the tale of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907.

 

Please like this post and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you.

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10 Responses

  1. Despite spending 2/3 of my life in (southern) Ohio, I never knew the origin of the term, “Firelands.” What a great project. Thanks for your interest in Under Western Skies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my gosh…I am utterly impressed by your ingenuity, initiative andcuriosity…and, soooo intrigued to learn more! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your kind comment. I am glad you enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My pleasure 🙂

    Like

  5. I can feel your sincerity and sensitivity as well as commitment to this project. I look forward to reading your other postings. I am also on a similar journey but alas the only person I know in the photo is my Mom and the year of the school’s graduating class.

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  6. Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you are able to find more about your mom’s graduating class.

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  7. If you would like to know what ever became of Florence Bascom I would be more than happy to relate what I know as I am her only grandson and I lived with my grandparents for eight years.

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  8. I would like to know more about your grandmother. What was she like? Did she ever talk about her school days, or her classmates? I know she participated in extracurricular activities, for instance she was a romantic lead in the class play just before graduation. I’ve posted about it in the post at https://firelands.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/class-day-1907-bachelor-hall/. Thanks for commenting about your grandmother. It is good to learn about my grandmother’s classmates from those who actually knew them.

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  9. After graduating from high school Florence Bascom enrolled in the nursing program at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio graduated from that school in 1910. In 1917 she married Curtis T. Ziegler who was a stamp press engineer with the E. W. Bliss company of New York. After Bliss, grandfather went to work with some friends in Hamilton, Ohio and in a matter of a few weeks he was made the president The Hooven, Owens & Rentschler Co. of Hamilton, Oh. The parent company “General Machinery” had offices in Michigan and sometime in the mid to late 20`s the Zieglers moved to Detroit. In `39 Florence and Curtis had a house built on Bishop road in Grosse Pointe Park and lived there until their deaths in 1963. I lived in the Bishop road house from the time I was two years old until my mother remarried in 1958 and then we moved to a farm 30 miles north of Detroit. If you have a page on Facebook I can post pics there. Over the years I have found numerous articles in both the NY. Times, The Detroit News and the Grosse Pointe News about the Ziegler`s and have saved each and every one.

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  10. Thanks for this information. Your grandfather really advanced quickly in manufacturing. I would like to see the photos you have. Please post them to https://www.facebook.com/f1816/. Thank you again for sharing your memories of your grandparents.

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