HISTORY BLOG – Discover some little known stories about life on Kelleys Island in the 1800’s.

THANKSGIVING OVER THE YEARS – Islanders celebrated Thanksgiving much like we do today. Through articles, diary entries, weather reports and personal accounts, we can experience Thanksgiving through their words. From its earliest days (1840s) to 1892, read how they joined together on this day. Did you know that on November 23, 1880 – The whole head of the lake to the Bass Islands is full of ice. Over 60 vessels are frozen in.

PART 1 – IT’S 1854 AND OUR ISLAND CEMETERY IS ESTABLISHED – This is the history of our Island cemetery, which is quite old. It is a source of meditation, interest, research and an occasional lawsuit. And, it looks really different than what was originally planned.
PART 2 – THE EARLIEST BURIALS – John McDonald, Lydia (Estes) Norris, Lydia Kelley, Carro & Charlie True, William Cagney, Charles Reid, Thomas Quinn, Mary Morgan and George Clement. Many of these were children who died of Dysentery.

THE HAY SCALES – It’s November 1861, the hay has been harvested, winter is coming, now what? Mrs. Brindle deserves the best so “give her good honest living for her milk and butter by getting, as soon as possible, a good load of hay as is this hay.”

A MOST UNUSUAL COURT CASE – October 1877 – When you can find them, the Justice of the Peace dockets are a fun read that expose scandals, larceny, drunken brawls and sometimes paternity as this entry by Alfred S. Kelley, Justice of the Peace, shows. Civil Case No. 9 – Sarah O’Neill vs. Wm. Maher, October 1877
OCTOBER 1867 – OPERATING A SALOON & SELLING INTOXICATING LIQUORS – In May, John Reinheimer was accused of selling liquor to minors. This was followed by complaints of vandalism against Wm. Robinson; the first of several cases involving the Robinsons and the Reinheimers, as well as a charge of Assault & Battery. The Island had several Justice of the Peace officers and their dockets are a treat to read.

A White Painted Stone House With Chimney and Roof

HALLOWEEN 1868There were many traditions celebrated on Halloween. Most were of Celtic, Scottish or English origins and reflected the heritage of Island residents. Read how the Island ladies celebrated.

A Family Standing and Sitting Infront of a House

TRIESCHMAN’S MEAT MARKET 1871 – Now the Island Market – this building was once part of the Store on the Corner and houses a Reading Room, a shoe repair store and a barber shop. Read how the market first came to serve the Islanders.

THE HORSE CALLED OLD KATE 1873 – She was the horse that pulled the ice wagon in the summer, but she had a voracious appetite as this story shows.

JAMES ESTES & THE KELLEYS ISLAND SCHOOL – His death made our school possible.
THE CONTROVERSARY SURROUNDING THE SCHOOL BUILDING – It wasn’t smooth sailing to get this school built.

BASE BALL PART 1 – BASE BALL FEVER – 1869 – This is one of the first references to baseball on Kelley’s Island. While organized baseball had been around for several years, 1869 marked the first year that a recognized all-professional baseball team took the field. An Ohio team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was the first team to be openly paid a salary. They closed the 1869 season with a record 65 wins and no losses. This Ohio team fired up the baseball spirit of the islanders.

BASEBALL PART 2 – BASE BALL RULES OF 1860, CUSTOMS & A POEM – It was noted that the old rules of base ball were quite different than today’s rules, but many of the Customs remained the same. These Rules and Customs came from the Rules and Regulations of the Game of Base Ball Adopted by the National Association of Base-Ball Players March 14, 1860

PART 3 – BASE BALL: A WOMAN’S VIEW – While the men so enthusiastically gained proficiency in the sport, one woman offered the other side of the base ball issue. “We would like to know what benefit has been derived from base ball so far….”

STONE FENCES date back to 1856 – So what is the story about those walls that snake across the Island, looking like historic beasts?

THE HISTORY MUSEUM – Cornerstones, logos and signs. See how KIHA has evolved and what the heck is The Past Is Prologue?.

KELLEYS ISLAND’S NEW HISTORY MUSEUM OFFICIALLY OPENS JUNE 26, 2010. You can’t imagine how much the museum has changed.

THE 1920 INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC – During the influenza epidemic of 1920, this incredibly detailed study was done on the Island. It was the perfect place since it was isolated in the winter with minimal exposure, making it easy to trace origins and transmittal rates. There are loads of charts and graphs and the goal of interviewing everyone on the Island was fully accomplished. In all, 53% of the population contracted influenza and two died.  

1869 – CHECKERS ON THE BRAIN – The first mention of checkers appeared in 1869. The game board was set up at The Lodge and the lodge members took the game very seriously. The Lodge was the home of the Independent Order of Island Loafers.