Ending the Season With a Loss

norwalk-lost-both-games-3-1-1907One-hundred and ten years ago today, both the boys and the girls basketball teams at Norwalk High School suffered losses in the last extramural game of the 1906-07 season. But they were close games, according to The Norwalk Daily Reflector and The Norwalk Evening Herald. What else would they say?

The boys played Fremont in what for that time was a high scoring game: the final being 34-30. Fremont, according to The Norwalk Evening Herald, claimed to have the best high school basketball team “between Cleveland and Toledo.” Knowing you lost to the best might have taken away some of the sting–but it was still a loss.


“Old” Norwalk High School

In a rematch on their home court against their nemesis from Clyde, the girls team once again lost a close one, this time 13 to 10. After the game, the Norwalk High School Athletic Association hosted the visitor at a reception where “sandwiches, fruit, cake and chocolate were served.” Unlike the previous meeting at Clyde, no there was no dancing.

Although there would be no more games against other high schools for the season, basketball was not over for Norwalk High School. Inter-mural Championship games were scheduled for later in the month. I’ll post about those at the appropriate time.

But next, we’ll resume our series about the girls basketball coach Minnie Cleghorn, and the “Athletic Girl” movement of the time.



“High School Teams Beaten,” The Norwalk Evening Herald, 3/2/07, page 4, column 4.

“Norwalk Lost Both Games,” The Norwalk Daily Reflector, March 2, 1907, page 3, column 3.


Another Away Game Loss to Clyde by the Norwalk High School Senior Girls – 1909

girls-basketballYesterday’s post described how the Norwalk High School Senior Girls team was defeated in an away game against Clyde High School due to a mistake by the Clyde referees–at least that’s how the Norwalk Daily Reflector reported it.

Harriott Wickham, who played on that Norwalk team, described in her diary another game in a 1909 against Clyde High School–with a different excuse for losing.

Friday, Mar. 5 – ‘09. We went to Clyde to play basketball tonight, and we got beat, – of course. We don’t stand any sort of chance on their floor, which is waxed for dancing. Not being used to it, we slide all around, and can’t get the ball or play team work. The score was 18 to 5. Afterwards, we danced, which of course, we good Episcopalians should not have done. Mr Bregheimer went with us to referee. I think he is a peach, only he didn’t dance with us, which of course wasn’t nice. [1]

Excuses! Excuses!

In 1907, the Norwalk team attributed their loss to a bad call by the umpire, in 1909, it was a waxed floor. Funny that didn’t affect the play of the Clyde team.

As in 1907, the Norwalk team in 1909 was treated to an after-game dance by their hosts. Girls’ sports in this era seemed to be as much social events as they were competitive athletic contests. The 1907 team was chaperoned by the mothers of two of the players. In a game in 1906, however, that responsibility was taken on by a Norwalk High School English and Physical Education teacher: Miss Minnie Cleghorn. In my next post, we’ll see who she was, and introduce a series of posts about the “athletic girl” movement of the time.



Unpublished Diary by Harriott Wickham, 1908-1909.

“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.


Away Game in Clyde for Norwalk High School Girls’ Basketball Squad

clyde-maidensWhile back in Norwalk, the freshmen girls defeated the sophomores, and the boys’ senior team bested Elyria High School, the girls team traveled to Clyde High School to take on what the Norwalk Evening Herald called “the Clyde Maidens.” Unfortunately, the girls’ team did not echo the boys victory back in Norwalk, but left Clyde with a narrow loss, only their second in four years.

The Norwalk girls were ahead almost the entire game, but in the waning moments of the second half, the Clyde team spurted to a 9 to 8 lead. Then came a controversial call, at least according to the Norwalk papers. A foul shot with seconds remaining on the clock missed, and the Norwalk girls’ protested interference–but to no avail. The referees were from Clyde, and they ruled that no foul had been committed.

Good feeling must have been quickly restored, however. The Norwalk Daily Reflector reported that the visitors were entertained with a dinner and dance and had an enjoyable time.

Players on the Norwalk side were Florence Bascom, Harriott Wickham, Florence Davidson, Gladys Young, Edna Goodhue, Ruth Jenkins, and Ruby Hoyt traveled by train to Clyde, chaperoned by Harriott’s and Ruby’s mothers. Young women 0f their class in that day and age were not allowed to travel on their own.

Norwalk High School Class of 1907 Girls’ Basketball Team


Florence Bascom


Harriott Wickham



Florence Davidson


Ruth Jenkins



Ruby Hoyt










“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.



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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Arad Tuttle and the Settlement of Sandusky County, Ohio

log-cabin-image Sarah Barnett’s great-great-great-great grandfather Arad Tuttle , whom I introduced in my last post, was a contemporary of Platt Benedict, founder of Norwalk, Ohio in 1817. Their stories of settlement on the frontier of northern Ohio must have been similar. However, whereas I had an abundance of information to draw from about Platt Benedict for the series of “Sufferers’ Land” posts on this site, few details are available about the story of Arad Tuttle and his family.

Although I have found no evidence, it seems that Arad Tuttle probably was among the first pioneers who in 1820 settled twenty miles west of Norwalk in Green Creek Township, located in Sandusky County, seven miles southwest of Clyde, Ohio. Many of his family came west with him, but  records are so sparse, I have not been able to figure out how many. Two of his children are important to Sarah’s family history–Wolcutt and Erasmus Tuttle–and we’ll look at them later in this and subsequent posts.

What was life on the frontier like for the Tuttle family? You can get an idea from the “Sufferers’ Land” series of posts on this website. But if you want an account closer in location to where the Tuttles lived, Sherwood Anderson, author of the novel Winesburg, Ohio, based on his youth in Clyde, gives the best account for my money. In Winesburg, Ohio he wrote this about a fictional family of early pioneers in the area where the Tuttle’s settled:

winesburg-ohio-sherwood-anderson-paperback-cover-artThe Bentley family had been in Northern Ohio for several generations before Jesse’s time. They came from New York State and took up land when the country was new and land could be had at a low price. For a long time they, in common with all the other Middle Western people, were very poor. The land they had settled upon was heavily wooded and covered with fallen logs and underbrush. After the long hard labor of clearing these away and cutting the timber, there were still the stumps to be reckoned with. Plows run through the fields caught on hidden roots, stones lay all about, on the low places water gathered, and the young corn turned yellow, sickened and died.

When Jesse Bentley’s father and brothers had come into their ownership of the place, much of the harder part of the work of clearing had been done, but they clung to old traditions and worked like driven animals. They lived as practically all of the farming people of the time lived. In the spring and through most of the winter the highways leading into the town of Winesburg were a sea of mud. The four young men of the family worked hard all day in the fields, they ate heavily of course, greasy food, and at night slept like tired beasts on beds of straw. Into their lives came little that was not coarse and brutal and outwardly they were themselves coarse and brutal. [1]

Arad Tuttle died in 1825 at the age of fifty-nine, perhaps worn down by the travails of life on the frontier. His sons continued the work he had begun, and by 1850, they owned several prosperous farms in close proximity to each other. [2]. And what was the reason for their relative wealth? A big factor had to be that they sired many children who could help work the land. According to the 1850 Census, Erastus, age 60, still had three children living at home, and his brother Wolcutt, age 58 had ten children and grandchildren. In my next post, Cousins on the Frontier: Calista and Arad Tuttle, I’ll focus on two of these men’s children, and explain why they are important to Sarah Barnett’s story.

[1] Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio,  1976, pp. 64-65

[2] U.S. Census, Green Creek, Sandusky, Ohio, 1850.

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