Deed Research on Grandma Grace’s House


After posting my discovery yesterday that Grandma Grace’s house was no longer standing at 1911 E. 89th St., I decided to do some deed research and see if I could find out who ended up owning the property.

Deed researchers in Cuyahoga County are very fortunate in that the county has an online database of ALL deeds back to its very first days. I went to the web page of the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer at I learned that Don Stafford, Grandma Grace’s third husband purchased the house at 1911 E. 89th St. in 1944. Don and she lived there until she died in 1948 and he sold it in 1956. The buyer was Dr. Harry Grau, a Shaker Heights physician, who obviously was acquiring properties for investment purposes based on looking at his Cuyahoga County deed records online.

I didn’t double down to track owners after Dr. Grau but I did discover a property sale between Orca House at 1905 E. 89th St. and the Cleveland Clinic Foundations last summer. Orca House sold five contiguous properties, which no doubt included Grandma’s house, to the Clinic, as I wrote that I suspected in yesterday’s post.

Here are two images from the Internet that show Orca House and the house where Grandma Grace lived with Don Stafford.

I found a website with the name that provided the name of the last private owner and the 2008 valuation of the house and property: $40,500. If you are interested, go to

One more note: the days of Orca House probably are numbered. For one thing, it has been merged into another drug treatment organization, which probably led to the sale of its property, including the house at 1911 E. 89th St., to the Cleveland Clinic, as well as maintenance problems with its 125-year-old building. In my Google Search, I stumbled onto this TV report about a ceiling collapse at Orca House last year:

Once again, it is amazing what you can learn by doing a little searching on Google.

OMG!!! Grandma Grace’s House Is Gone!


Yesterday, I was driving east on Chester Ave toward University Circle. When I do this, I often look for the house at 1911 East 89th St., just off Chester,  where my Grandma Grace lived from 1943 until her death in 1948.

I posted about visiting this house in 2014:

In 2016 I posted again about Grandma Grace and her move to this house with her third husband, Don Stafford:

This time, there was no house; just a nicely graded and empty lot. It was a shock, to say the least!

The house is gone!!!

What the house looked like when I took this photo in about 2001.

What probably happened was that the Cleveland Clinic bought the house and had it razed. The Clinic complex begins a few hundred feet to the east and south of this now vacant lot. For some reason, I missed all this happening last summer and fall when I went by here on my way to Western Reserve Historical Society.

Eating Pizza in a Covered Bridge in Andover, Ohio


In my quest to accumulate information about the history of Andover, Ohio, where I grew up, I ran across a Google search result for the Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor. The company’s web page provides details of its origins:

At the Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor we invite you to discover a pizza parlor that gives you more than just pizza. At the North Kingsville and Andover locations, the restaurant itself is a piece of history.

These unique eateries are actually restored pieces of an original covered bridge known as the Foreman Road Bridge, named for its location in Eagleville, Ohio. Built in 1862, its entire 126 feet and 55 tons were constructed of local lumber. In 1972 Ashtabula County decided to replace the bridge and sold it to the highest bidder for five dollars. Then began the painstaking task of dismantling and preserving the timber.

Photographs were taken and matched to the carefully numbered crossbeams to insure that it would be reconstructed correctly. For three years the bridge lay in storage while awaiting the development of the plans and the approval of permits. Finally, in 1975 the Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor in North Kingsville, Ohio, opened its doors.

In 1977 it was followed by Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor II in Andover, Ohio. One-half of the bridge was required for each building. Only the original wood was used in the creation of the dining area. Although the atmosphere of early America lingers in the dining rooms, the kitchen boasts all the modern conveniences necessary for quality food preparation. The Covered Bridge has originated a special fine blend of spices and sauce. Fresh dough is made daily. The menu offers a variety of toppings, soups, salads, and sandwiches certain to please even connoisseurs. In the spirit of old-fashioned hospitality, we are happy to extend to you the very best in pizza.

The company also has a Facebook page.

I have heard that Ashtabula County had, at one time, the most covered bridges in the State of Ohio. There is a website listing all known covered bridges in Ohio, including the one that lives on in the form of two pizza parlors.

As some readers know, I moved away from Andover in 1960. I have been back to visit, and I was aware of the Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor — but to date, I have never stopped in.

I am planning a road trip to Andover to do some research at the Andover Library and other stops. I’ll make a point of having some pizza at the Andover Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor.

Historic Photo Website Has Andover Square Image


In my latest Google search for historic images of Andover, Ohio, I ran across a website that provided me with a wonderful image of stores lining part of the village square. The website is, with the tagline “Free Old Photo Archive.” Here is a screenshot (using the program Snagit by TechSmith) of what came up in this search:

In studying the page, I noted the link “Original” under the photo. Clicking on it provided me with a larger, higher resolution copy of the 1909 postcard. I have added it to my collection of historic Andover images on my PC, and now in this blog. It shows the northwest quadrant of the square with the Morley Block building at right and further left (west) the Gibbs & Co. store.

Searching further, I found another image showing a view looking north down the road (U.S. Rt 6 and Ohio Rt. 7) from the square, again from a postcard. Here is the “original” image of that additional view:

At the moment, these appear to be the only images of Andover available on this website. I will be checking back from time to time to see if more are added in the future.


Reconstructing International Conference Trips


During my career at Penton Media (aka Penton Publishing — see its Wikipedia page for a brief history) in Cleveland, I was fortunate enough to serve as editor-in-chief of  Metalproducing magazine (aka 33 and Metalproducing & Processing. Now defunct). This trade magazine covered the metals industry, including steelmaking. As a result, I attended meetings of the International Iron and Steel Institute, now known as World Steel.

I have never compiled an account of these international trips and it was a bit of a challenge to reconstruct when and where each annual meeting was held. Through diligent searching on the Internet, I found a record of the meeting sites during the years that I was involved with Metalproducing. Here is the outline of dates and sites. I intend to flesh out the details of each trip sometime in the future. I have noted when my wife, MJ, was able to travel with me in the outline:

International Iron and Steel Institute Meeting Host Countries and Cities
1990 – Australia. Meeting in Sydney.
1991 – Canada. Meeting in Montreal. With MJ.
1992 – Japan. Meeting in Tokyo.
1993 – France. Meeting in Paris. With MJ.
1994 – USA. Meeting in Colorado Springs. With MJ.
1995 – Brazil. Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. With MJ.
1996 – Finland, Meeting in Helsinki.
1997 – Austria. Meeting in Vienna. With MJ.
1998 – Taiwan. Meeting in Taipei.

I was able to visit other countries for other conferences and to tour new metal producing plants as well. International travel was a perk of the job that I enjoyed.

Visit to Andover Public Library on 2018 To-Do List


During my youth in Andover, Ohio, I often visited the Andover Library. I remember well the two-story building on the southwest corner of the town square. I would step through the door in the front left of the building and see books lined up on shelves all around the main reading room. Over the years, I borrowed and read all kinds of books from the library. An important factor may have been that my mother, Mary Huskonen, was a big supporter of the library.

One of my goals for 2018 is to visit the current Andover Public Library (see photo below) and review all its holdings related to the history of the village of Andover and the surrounding area.

Here is a brief history of the library I found on its website:

In the minutes of the Andover Mardi Club, a Ladies Literary Club, for October 9, 1934, “It was reported that Mr. Cole has offered free use of a room for use as a library and Mr. Richardson appointed chairman of a Library Committee.”

The Andover Public Library was then organized in June, 1935, as a school district library. Brenda Merrill, Mabel Nagle, and Marjorie Wilder had attended a district library meeting in Ashtabula where they were told if they could operate a library for one year with local funds, they would then be able to apply for state aid. This they were able to do, and subsequently applied to the state for $200 in aid funds.

Others involved in the formation of the library in addition to the three persons mentioned above were N.G. Richardson, Julia K. Orr, Annie C. Ward, Dr. Edward G. Haas, Walter E. Cole, and Dr. Neil Bishop. Richardson, local newspaper editor, was elected President of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until his death in 1938.

The first library was in the upstairs of a village-owned building located on the southwest corner of the Public Square; it had been a fire station. (In 1985 it was the Andover Appliance Center. This building has just recently been demolished.) The downstairs had a dirt floor. The village stored equipment and tools in the downstairs. The upstairs was heated with a potbellied stove. At the start, furniture was on loan from local citizens. Chairs were borrowed from the Opera House.

The first librarian was Mrs. Howard (Mabel) Nagle, who had been trained in the Cleveland Library System. Under her guidance, the books were classified according to the Dewey Decimal System which was unusual at that time for a small library.

The Andover Public Library was successful and in 1942 the library moved to the downstairs after a floor was put in; the upstairs was then used for storage and reference materials. Again in 1959, a change was made, when an addition was added to the south side of the building.

In 1967, the Andover Public Library moved to a new building (2000 square feet built for $35,000.00) on West Main Street, not too far from Public Square. The library building just vacated [was] returned to the village who in turn sold the building.

In 1983, the Board of Trustees applied for and received LSCA Title II Funds to be matched by local funds to add to the 1967 building. A nearly 2000 square foot addition was added to the north side of the building, with work starting in April, 1984. The new addition was formally dedicated in the spring of 1985, and at the same time, the Library celebrated 50 years of service to the community.

In 1990, the Board of Trustees sought and was granted LSCA Title II Funds with local matching funds to build 6431 square feet of additional space plus a remodeling of the existing facility.

This expansion, completed in 1992, has allowed us to offer quiet study rooms, a room for tutoring, and additional space for materials and computer workstations. Also, a room separated from the operating center of the library has been designated for public meetings.Andover Public Library at 142 West Main St., Andover, Ohio. Image from Google Maps.

Happy Boxing Day! But What Is Boxing Day?


I don’t have many lines extending back to England, Canada, or the former British Empire countries. But from time to time I have seen references to Boxing Day with respect to England, etc. I casually wondered what it was all about, but never enough to research it.

On Christmas Day, Dick Eastman posted an explanation in his Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter, aka EOGN, which I pass along here:

Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated on the day following Christmas Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations. Boxing Day occurs on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or a day later.

The term “Christmas-box” dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food.

Further details are available on Wikipedia at:

Duh. Of course, I could have looked it up on Wikipedia. I guess that shows how “casual” my interest was in knowing what Boxing Day was all about. Now I know. Thanks, Dick Eastman!

My 2017 Year-End Letter to Relatives and Friends


December 2017

Greetings from Brecksville,

This is the toughest year-end letter I have ever written. My trusted proofreader is not available to give her stamp of approval. It has been seven months since MJ passed away after a lengthy period of declining health. Fortunately, she was able to spend her last days at our home with family members. We were assisted in making her as comfortable as possible by a team of very caring professionals from Cleveland Clinic Hospice-at-Home. A few days after her passing, relatives and friends gathered in Brecksville for a Celebration of Life service for MJ. We miss her love and companionship every day.

But life goes on. I have been able to re-join many of the genealogical organizations that I belonged to before devoting full time to caring for MJ. Late in August, I traveled to Pittsburgh for a three-day conference held by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. In September, I traveled to Minneapolis for four days to participate in FinnFest 2017, which had the special theme of celebrating the centennial of Finland’s independence.

Also, I have been learning what’s possible with DNA testing. Based on shared DNA results, our family has made some connections with present-day cousins here and overseas, and we have exchanged information about common ancestors. I have tested with AncestryDNA, MyHeritageDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA.

I also have given presentations about genealogy and family history to four different groups. At a presentation in Geneva, Ohio, a cousin and his wife showed up and introduced themselves. I was aware of them from my research, but I had not met them before the presentation.

In October, I traveled with Son Kurt and Granddaughter Kayley to Cincinnati to visit Grandson Korey, who is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati. As part of the visit, we toured the Cincinnati Zoo, which is very nice. Also, Korey led a walking tour of the UC campus, so we could see where he is studying for a degree in computer science.

For the week leading up to Thanksgiving, I traveled to the Rochester, New York, area to stay with Daughter Karen and her family. It was a bonding experience with Grandkids Maegan, Kaelyn, and Matti. Karen and her husband Matt hosted a fine Thanksgiving dinner for their family and in-laws.

I am applying for a passport for possible foreign travel in the future. FinnFest 2018 is one possibility. It will be held in Tampere, Finland, with the FinnFest organization putting together a week-long group tour from the U.S. It would be in June, which is a great time to visit Finland. If I do go, it would be my third visit to the homeland of my paternal grandparents.

In closing, I hope this finds you in good health and spirits, ready to experience whatever is ahead for us all in 2018.

Wally Huskonen
Tel: 440-526-1238
Mobile: 440-666-9150

James S. Morley, An Important Collateral Relative


James S. Morley was not a blood relative, but he was very important to my family’s history. He and his wife, Jennie, raised my Grandma Grace as their adoptive daughter from the time she was orphaned at about age four, hence the somewhat tenuous collateral relationship.

James Selby Morley died on the 6 Jun 1900 in Andover, Ohio, after a full life as a successful entrepreneur and public official. Jennie, his widow, continued living in the Morley House, a large Victorian home on West Main Street in Andover. Grandma Grace inherited it sometime after Jennie passed away in  1927.

Grace provided a home for my father and mother, Walfrid and Mary Jane Huskonen, after they got married in 1934, and I was living there when the 1940 Census was enumerated.

Today, I found a biographical report on James in Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga, and Lake, published in 1893 by The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago. Here is his bio:

J. S. MORLEY, an old settler and the first Mayor of Andover, Ohio, was born in Leicester, Worcester county, Massachusetts, July 3, 1827. His grandfather, Walter Morley, was a member of one of the oldest and best known families of the Bay State. W. H. Morley, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and married Sybil Watson, a native of the same State and daughter of Robert Watson, born in Leicester, that commonwealth.

In 1834 the father of the subject of this sketch joined the westward emigration, coming overland by team to Ohio and settling in Andover. He was a warm friend of B. F. Wade, who came from the same neighborhood in Massachusetts. W. H. Morley was a blacksmith by trade, but later became a prominent merchant, and for many years did a thriving business in partnership with his oldest son, the subject of this sketch, under the firm name of W. H. & J. S. Morley.

Originally a Whig and later a Republican in politics, he was a leader in public affairs, serving for a number of years as Justice of the Peace. He was a Colonel in the State militia for a long time, and in various ways figured prominently in the early history of the county. He was the father of five children: J. S., of this notice; C. H.; Mary E., wife of B. Manley; E. W., and B. D. The devoted father died at the age of seventy-two, his loss being universally mourned as a public calamity.

The subject of this sketch was seven years of age when his parents came to Andover, where he was reared and educated and has since resided. He completed his education at Kingsville Academy and at Conneaut, Ohio, after which he was engaged in teaching for a short time, eventually embarking in the mercantile business, which he followed successfully for twenty-five years. He was for a time engaged in trade in Penn Line, Pennsylvania, after which he was a partner in a cheese factory for a number of years, since which time his efforts have been confined to Andover, where he has been a leader in business, materially contributing by his energetic and honorable methods to the advancement of his town and county. He is interested with his brother, B. D., in the ownership of Morley Block, and owns other valuable property, and is recognized as one of the most substantial men of the county. J. S. and B. D. Morley were engaged in the mercantile business for more than twenty years.

He was married at the age of twenty-two, in Penn Line, Pennsylvania, to Maria Dewey, a worthy lady, who was born, reared and educated in the Keystone State. They have had two daughters, one of whom, Addie, died in Penn Line; the other, Maggie B., is the wife of J. B. Tichenor, of Clyde, Ohio.

Mr. Morley is a wheel-horse of the Republican party, and has been elected by an admiring constituency to a number of official positions. He was the first Mayor of the town, served efficiently as Township Clerk and has been Postmaster of Andover for many years, being the most popular official in that capacity that the town has ever had. Fraternally he is a member of the local lodge No. 728, I. 0. 0. F. He is one of the most active temperance workers in the county and a generous contributor to all objects tending to advance the interests of his community, of which he is a representative citizen.

It is worthy of note that Mr. Morley was the proprietor and publisher of the first paper published in Andover. This was the Enterprise, au eight-column folio weekly. The first number was issued in December, 1872, and its publication continued until January, 1874, when the press and general printing outfit were sold and replaced by a new and better plant. The last number of the Enterprise was issued in June, 1875, when the entire plant and business were sold to parties at Sand Lake, Pennsylvania. Mr. Morley acted as Postmaster of Andover for more than a score of years.

Curiously, the bio doesn’t specifically mention that James and Maria were divorced by 1880, according to the 1880 Census. In fact, ex-wife Maria was living with their daughter Maggie in Clyde, Ohio, according to the 1880 Census. It also doesn’t mention that James eventually married Sarah Jane “Jennie” Perkins (born Howlett), the widow of James Perkins, before Grandma Grace came to live with them in the early 1880’s. I haven’t been able to find a divorce record for James and Maria, nor a marriage record for James and Jennie.

Here are my earlier posts about the Morley family:

Life and Times of Jennie Morley

William Henry Morley, Moving from Massachusetts to Andover, Ohio William Henry “W. H.” was the father of James–see the first paragraph at the top of the bio above.

More on Grandpa Wallace Dingman


Earlier, I posted about my maternal Grandfather Wallace Betts Dingman and how he worked “for the railroad.” Click here for that post.

I have done some more research which I would like to report on now. First, here is a photograph of Grandpa Wallace taken in 1918 when he reportedly was working as a switchman for the Bessemer and Lake Erie RR:

Wikipedia provides the following job description: “A switchman … is a rail transport worker whose original job was to operate various railway switches or points on a railroad. It also refers to a person who assists in moving cars in a railway yard or terminal.”

I also have a clipping of Grandpa’s obituary that ran on page 1 of the weekly newspaper Andover Citizen. Here is my transcription of that obit:

Funeral of Wallace Dingman
Funeral services of the late Wallace Dingman, who died at his home in Conneaut, Thursday morning of last week, were held Sunday, first at the home where there was a short service, and at 2 p.m. in the M. E. church at Williamsfield, where he had lived as a boy and young man. There was a large attendance at both places.

Mr. Dingman was popular with his railroad associates and a leader in their organization. He took great interest in the betterment of his fellowmen and had held important positions in different assemblies of railway men. His death at the early age of thirty-nine ends the needed usefulness of a man of much natural ability and sadly breaves the family of the support and loving counsel of a husband, father and son.

Deceased was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew S. Dingman, of Simons. He was married to Miss Grace Morley of this place and they moved to Conneaut where Mr. Dingman was employed by the Nickle Plate railroad. To the union were born a daughter Mary and son Wallace Jr, who with the wife, mother Mrs. Mary Dingman and a twin brother Walter, of Simons, survive. A brother Nelson died in Ashtabula hospital several years ago.

The funeral was conducted by Mrs. Scott, of the Christian Science faith, who was assisted at Williamsfield by the regular pastor, Rev. Stage. There was a great profusion of floral tributes of Easter lilies, narcissi, roses, and calla lilies from the railroad men, Mothers’ club, Mothers’ Hour, other organizations and individual offerings, testifying [to] the loving esteem in which the deceased was held. There were twelve autos attending the funeral procession from Conneaut to the services in Williamsfield. On every hand were expressions of the deepest sympathy for those who in their bereavement had suffered such a deep and untimely sorrow.

From clipping in possession of Wallace D. Huskonen from Andover Citizen, Friday, 9 Apr 1920, page 1.

Wallace’s cause of death is something of a mystery. On his death certificate, the certifying doctor wrote:

I have no knowledge as to cause of Death. He was treated by a Christin Cientist [sic].

The obit above identifies the Christian Science practitioner as “Mrs. Scott.”

More input on the subject was offered to me a few years ago by my brother Walfrid:

This is what I remember Mother saying so that is all it is but one fact can be verified by our grandfather’s death certificate.  The death certificate does not indicate a cause of death because he was in the care of a Christian Science practitioner.  This is true and Mother talked about this.  He, our grandfather, had been ill for some time with no improvement in his condition.  Someone suggested that he talk with a practitioner which he did.  His condition did improve.  To what extent and for how long, I have no information.  All I do know is that he went to a sale or auction, perhaps in Williamsfield, where an acquaintance saw him for the first time in quite some time.  The acquaintance said something to the effect he hadn’t seen him (Wallace) in some time and thought that he was dead.  Shortly after that his condition worsened and he died.
When Mother and Grandma Grace went to California, they visited in CS churches and I believe Grandma Grace would occasionally go to a CS church in Cleveland.
You may also know that Wallace was first buried in Williamsfield at the insistance of Grandma Dingman.  Grandma Grace also wanted an autopsy but Grandma Dingman would not allow it.  Sometime later Grandma Grace had Wallace exhumed and moved to Andover.
Reported to Wallace Dingman Huskonen by Walfrid via email on 2014 03 14.
The Christian Science practitioner undoubtedly was Jennie P. Scott. She was enumerated in the 1920 Federal Census as being age 48, married to Robert Scott, living in Conneaut Ward 1, Ashtabula, Ohio, and working “on own account” as a Christian Science practitioner.
This all suggests some further research: 1. Do employee records exist for switchmen for the B&LE and Nickle Plate Railroads? 2. Did Wallace belong to the Switchmen’s Union of North America? 3. Are there records for the Church of Christ Scientist in Conneaut?