Shutout – Norwalk HS Girls’ Championship Game 1907

The Norwalk High School Class of 1907 boys’ basketball team did not play in the 1906-1907 intramural championship game. They were eliminated months earlier in the season by the juniors, who went on to win the boys’ championship game the evening of Friday, March 22, 1907. But the senior girls’ team did play–and won, shutting out the freshmen girls six to zip. [1]

I don’t have a championship photo of the senior girls’ team, as I do for the Junior boys’ team. But I can match faces to names with individual portraits of the team members that I clipped from their commencement class photograph.

Clockwise from top left, they are, Lillian Smith, Florence Davidson, Ruth Jenkins, Ruby Hoyt, Harriott Wickham, Florence Bascom, and Sarah Barnett aka, Sara Joslin.

Prim and proper here in their commencement dresses, these girls would have appeared differently on the basketball court in “long, dark woolen bloomers, long sleeved blouse to match the bloomers, dark stockings, and flat-heeled soft shoes.” [2] See the picture of the girls’ gym class at Norwalk High School in 1906 for an idea of what they wore in that class.

We may not think of girls in 1907 engaging in sports, but the “Athletic Girl” was all the rage at high schools and colleges during the first decade of the 19th century. It was an offshoot of the “New Woman” movement of the last half of the previous century. [3]

There was an active girls sports program at Norwalk High School in 1907, and basketball was an integral part of it. The gym teacher and girls’ basketball coach at the school was English teacher Miss Minnie Cleghorn, whom I briefly introduced in this blog on February 11th.

What inspired Miss Cleghorn to introduce basketball and physical education to Norwalk High School. We’ll look at that, and learn more about the “Athletic Girl” of the early 1900s, in a series beginning with my next post: Athletic Girl 1907.


[1] “Senior Girls and Junior Boys are Champions,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, March 23, 1907, page 1, column 3. and “Decides Basketball Superiority,” The Norwalk Evening Herald, March 23, 1907, page 4, column 3.

[2] Betty Spears, “Senda Berenson Abbott: New Woman: New Sport;” A Century of Women’s Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four, edited by Joan S. Hult and Marianna Trekel; National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, 1907, Reston, VA; 21.

[3] Robert Pruter, “Chapter 8: The New Athletic Girl and Interscholastic Sports”, The Rise of American High School Sports and the Search for Control: 1880-1930, Syracuse University, 2013; 145-148.

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Basketball: Two Games at Norwalk High School

Friday evening, February 8, 1907, a night of basketball at the School Hall of the Norwalk High School began with a game between girls’ freshman and sophomore teams. According to the Norwalk Daily Reflector, the six to one score in favor of the freshmen team, did not reflect the excellent play on both sides. The newspaper opined that the high level of play bode well for the future of the junior/senior girls’ team in the coming years.

One exciting game was followed by another. A boys’ team from Elyria High School had come to School Hall to play the Norwalk Squad. The game began in a rush and the high pace was sustained throughout the contest. At the half, Norwalk led 9 to 5, and they continued to lead the rest of the game, winning at the final whistle 14 to 11.

The Norwalk squad was represented by two seniors and three juniors: Captain Arthur Young, and Clifford Williams as forwards, Leonard Delameter at center, and guards Ross Culp and Sheldon Laning. (The seniors of the Class of 1907 are indicated by links to their WeRelate pages).


Arthur Young


Sheldon Laning





Lucy Rule, Harriott Wickham, Sarah Barnett, Sophie Harkness, Walter Evans, Leonard Delamater

The Norwalk High School girl’s team did not play in Norwalk that evening. They had traveled to Clyde, for a game against the “Clyde Maidens.” More about that in my next post.



“Basket Ball School Hall,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, 2/9/1907, page 1, column 7.

“Boys Won But Girls Lost,” Norwalk Evening Herald, February 9, 2017, page 1, column 6.

A Norwalk Weekend: Rough Basketball Play and a House Party

After his success serving as toastmaster for the Republican McKinley Banquet, Congressman-elect Jay Laning did not rest on his laurels, but headed out of town on a business trip. He left town shivering from near zero temperatures, but returned on Friday to more balmy weather, and a town ready to enjoy the weekend.

jolly-fiveBasketball was on the agenda. The weekend had started early for sports, when a newly formed group of young men who called themselves the Jolly Five lost to the Fremont Halycon in a game so rough that the Norwalk forward dislocated his shoulder.

The Norwalk boys team also had a close, physical game at the High Schools hall Friday night, losing to Sandusky 14 to 13. A sophomore-freshman championship followed that game, and the sophomores embarrassed their juniors, 59 to 2. At what point did the spectators melt away, I wonder.

Three students of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907 did not stick around for these games, however. Sarah Barnett, Cleo Collins, and Alice McCammon, accompanied by Norwalk High School alumnus Sophia Harkness left on the four p.m. train to Steuben for a house party hosted by Miss McCammon.


Sarah Barnett


Cleo Collins



Alice McCammon


Sophia Harkness









“Play Good Game,” The Norwalk Evening Herald, February 1, 1907, page 4, column 3.

“Sandusky Won,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, February 2, 1907, page 1, column 1.

“House Party at Steuben,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, February 2, 1907, page 1, column 2.


Temporary Derangement – Literary Nonfiction?

For Christmas last month, my daughter gave me a copy of Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. As most biographers do these days, Ms Goodwin writes in a genre called creative nonfiction, also known as literary or narrative nonfiction. [1] This genre describes real events in an entertaining way, using the craft of writers of fiction, especially the technique of point of view.

For instance, this is how Ms Goodwin begins the first chapter of Team of Rivals:

On May 18, 1860, the day when the Republican Party would nominate its candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln was up early. As he climbed the stairs to his plainly furnished law office on the south side of the public square in Springfield, Illinois, breakfast was being served at the 130-room Chenery House of Fourth Street. [2]

Ms Goodwin continues to describe Lincoln’s morning as she imagines he would have experienced it.

So, how did Ms Goodwin know what Lincoln saw and did that spring morning in 1860? From a variety of sources: newspapers, diaries and journals, letters, other document and accounts; and by personal observation, going to the square herself to get a sense of what it looked like that day.

I have used this genre (although not as skillfully as Doris Kearns Goodwin, of course) in the “Sufferers’ Land” story on this website, and more recently in last week’s post “Temporary Derangement.”

What did I use for sources for the latter story about the suicide of Calista Harris? Let’s take a look:

  • The title “Temporary Derangement” came from an obituary in the temporary-derangementNorwalk Daily Reflector article for April 24, 1906, the day after Mrs. Harris committed suicide.

  • The weather? I learned that from the Daily Reflector‘s April 23rd issue.

  • How about the address? Obituaries and other articles reported that Laura Joslin lived on Main Street, but I surmised the house number by consulting 1900 and 1910 Census records. Both had the Joslin’s living at 117 Main Street. I got an idea of what the house probably looked like in 1906 by looking at Google Maps. [3]

  • I learned what people in Norwalk were saying about the San Francisco earthquake from the Norwalk Daily Reflector and the Norwalk Evening Herald, and used the obituaries in those newspapers and the Sandusky Daily Register to piece together and account of how Laura Joslin found her mother’s body and her reaction (she fainted).

Is it a good idea to write nonfiction with the craft of fiction writers? It can get one in trouble if one plays too fast with the truth (David McCullough, for instance, has come under criticism for certain passages in his biographies: Truman and John Adams. And who can forget James Frey?).

What do you think of the literary nonfiction genre? Let me know in the comments below.


The “Temporary Derangement” post generated the most traffic to my blog since the “Sufferers’ Land” days. In future posts, I’ll do what my best to make this site as entertaining–and as accurate–as possible. If you think I’m going to far, call me out for it in the comments.

Thanks for visiting. I am thrilled when people actually read what I write.

This is the last of the Sarah Barnett posts. Here are the previous posts about her and her Tuttle, Joslin, Barnett and Harris heritage:

Next up: The story of how Myrtle Woodruff‘s pioneer family were among the first settlers of the Firelands.


[1] I prefer narrative or literary fiction. Creative nonfiction recalls to my mind that unfortunate term: creative accounting!

[2] Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2006, page 5.

[3] The house now standing on that lot is not the one the Joslins owned, it is too modern. But I can get an idea of the style by looking at the houses on neighboring lots from that era. When in doubt about the age of homes, I consult the tax records.

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Temporary Derangement

Laura Joslin went up the walk to her home at 117 Main Street, Norwalk, Ohio, after running errands uptown on a chilly Monday afternoon, April 23, 1906. Everyone uptown, it seemed, was still talking about the earthquake that had struck San Francisco last week. Fires still burned in that city, and the toll of death and injured continued to mount. Survivors, including some citizens of Norwalk, had been evacuated to Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado.

It is likely that Laura’s thoughts were not on that tragedy as she mounted the porch steps, but were on her mother Calista Harris. Ever since her mother had arrived from Clyde last year, Laura had not thought of much else. Although Calista was only sixty-eight years old, she had had a rough life, growing up on a farm, raising two children, and then losing her first husband. All that had taken a toll on her health, and she now suffered from various aliments, including blinding headaches. Last year she had come to Norwalk so Laura, her eldest daughter, could nurse her.

Laura’s life had not been a bed of roses, either. She had suffered the loss of her first husband at an even a younger age than her mother. Faced with raising two young girls on her own after his death, she had married Augustus Joslin, a well-off widower over thirty years her senior. Although that marriage had given her the financial security she needed, it also saddled her with the responsibility of nursing him as his health became progressively worse. Augustus had died last year, relieving Laura of that responsibility. But soon after he passed, her mother came to live with her–and forced her once again into the role of a nurse.

She crossed the porch and went in the front door. Quiet met her. Where was her mother? Laura passed through the front room to the kitchen  and stopped short. A knife and a length of clothesline lay on the table.

The image of the outhouse came into her mind.  She darted out the back door and ran across the yard to the little building, jerked open the door–and screamed. Her mother dangled from the rafter, a noose tight around her neck.

Laura grew faint, and, as the ground seemed to rise to greet her, the whole world went dark.




Is this little story an accurate account of what happened that April afternoon in 1906? I believe it is close to the mark, and will tell you why I think that in a post next week. But next up–New Year’s Eve, 1906 in Norwalk, Ohio.


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Laura Joslin – Tales of Tragedy

As we saw in my last post, Laura Tuttle, mother of Sarah Barnett of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907, lost her father Arad Tuttle when she was around twenty years old. Her mother, Calista Tuttle, remarried soon after Arad passed away. Calista’s new husband was Daniel Harris, eight years her senior, and a constable in the town of Clyde, Ohio. This was his third marriage. In 1880, Calista and Laura lived with him at 108 Vine Street in Clyde. Laura’s sister Melissa had left home in 1877 when she had married a man named Guy North and went to live with him in Bellevue, Ohio in Huron County.

On November 3, 1886, Laura married James Barnett in Sandusky, Ohio. By this time she was twenty-nine, much older than was customary for women to marry in those days. What was she doing in Sandusky? James Barnett’s family were in the fishing industry, so there would have been no need for him to visit Clyde. It is more likely that Sarah had left Clyde sometime between 1880 and 1886 and had found employment in Sandusky.

In August of 1887, a daughter was born whom James and Laura named Lelia. She was followed two years later by another daughter, Sarah, the object of all these posts. Now that we have reached Sarah, let’s take another look at her family tree.


Most likely, Sarah never knew her father. He died within a year or two of her birth, leaving her mother Laura a single mom with two young girls to care for. What could Laura do in this situation? In those days, there were not many options for young widows with children. She could move back to Clyde and live with her mother and stepfather. Or she could look for another husband. She took a cue from her mother and chose the latter option, In 1892 she married Augustus Joslin, the superintendent of the Norwalk Waterworks (or retired superintendent, he was sixty-seven years old when he married Laura).

Augustus had lost his wife only a couple years before, so he must have been lonely. However, it seems strange (to me, at least) for a sixty-seven year old man to marry a thirty-six year old woman with two young girls. And how did it seem to Lelia and Sarah, growing up with a father who could have been their grandfather. Because they were so young when their biological father passed away, Augustus was probably the only father they had ever known. What kind of father was he? Unfortunately, I have found nothing in the records that would allow me to make a judgement.

By 1902, Augustus’s health began to fail, and after suffering for two years, nursed by his young wife, no doubt, he passed away the day after New Year’s, 1906. Laura now had a nice home at 117 West Main Street for herself and her girls, and, one would think, sufficient means to last her the rest of her life. Fortune had smiled on her, but soon she would have another ailing elder relative to care for, and in a little over a year, she would be shocked by a terrible tragedy, right in her own home. We’ll learn about that in my next post, titled “Temporary Derangement.”


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Cousins on the Frontier – Calista and Arad Tuttle

My previous post concluded with the introduction of two of Arad Tuttle’s (1766-1825) sons. In 1850, Erastus, age 60, and Wolcutt, age 58, owned farms in close proximity to each other in Green Creek Township, Ohio, near the town of Clyde. Wolcutt had the largest family with nine children and grandchildren. One of his daughters was Calista Tuttle, who in 1850 was twelve years old.

Life in the 1850s in northern Ohio was still not easy, and especially for women. The main social events remained cabin and barn raisings, log-rollings, wood-choppings, corn-huskings, and sewing and quilting parties, as I described in the “Social Life on the Frontier” post of the “Sufferers’ Land” series on this website.

As with Platt Benedict’s daughter Clarissa, it was probably during one of these social occasions that Calista Tuttle fell in love: with a cousin, Arad Tuttle, son of her uncle Erastus. Although today, many people consider this to be incestuous, it is actually consanguinity. Many people of the time married their cousins (and still do today in much of the world). Charles Darwin, for example, married his first cousin Emma.

In any event, Calista and Arad married in 1855 and set up housekeeping on a farm near their families. They were both seventeen years old. The year following their marriage, their first child was born, whom they christened Laura. Four years later, they had a second daughter Melissa.

We’ve now come to Sarah Barnett’s mother, Laura, so before we go further, let’s take a look at Sarah’s family tree.


As you see, we still have a death and a marriage to get through before we get to Laura, so let’s continue with Calista’s story.

In 1860, Arad was farming land worth $2,000. But by 1870, he had left the farm and was working as a railroad conductor. The family’s net worth had also fallen by half during that period. What was the cause of this financial decline? Was Arad not a good farmer? Or was it because he had no sons to help him on the farm?

Arad did not have a long life. I don’t know how he died, or even when, but by 1880, Calista was married to Daniel Harris, a constable in Clyde, Ohio. Laura lived with her mother and stepfather at this time, but Melissa had married in 1877 and moved with her husband to Bellevue. Laura would not stay in Clyde much longer, as we’ll see in my next post, Laura Joslin – Tales of Tragedy.


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