Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Medina's Bicentennial - 200 Years of History


The Official Logo for the Medina County Bicentennial created by Judy Barabas.

The whole county is gearing up to celebrate 200 years of history for Medina County. While Medina County was formed in 1812, it wasn't until 1818 that the county administration was formed and the citizens started governing for themselves. (During those interim years, Portage County, which was the parent county, handled administration.)

Medina has changed a lot over the years. Not least of the changes is the outline of Medina. When it was first formed, Medina County also included the many townships that are now part of other counties. So the original shape of Medina was more of a horizontal long rectangle.

Green outline shows Medina County's border at its formation in 1812.
Map courtesy of Ohio Township Maps published by the Ohio
Department of Natural Resources
In 1822, Lorain County was formed and they took these following townships from Medina:

  • Camden
  • Pittsfield
  • LaGrange
  • Brighton
  • Wellington
Then, in 1827, Lorain annexed these townships:
  • Grafton
  • Penfield
  • Spencer
  • Homer
  • Huntington
  • Sullivan
  • Rochester
  • Troy
In 1840, Summit County was formed, taking these townships from Medina:
  • Richfield
  • Bath
  • Copley
  • Norton
But they received Spencer and Homer back from Lorain County. Later, in 1846, Troy and Sullivan were annexed by Ashland County.*

And for most of its history, Medina has been a rural, agricultural county. It wasn't until the 1980s that Medina became more suburban, a "bedroom community."

The next year will highlight and celebrate all of Medina's changes and improvements.

The Bicentennial web site is HERE.   Their Facebook page is HERE.

The kick-off of the Bicentennial will be at this weekend's Candlelight Walk and the festivities will continue throughout 2018. The whole list of events can be seen HERE.

One of the fun features is a 32 page coloring book that is available at these shops around town:
  • Miss Molly's Tea Room
  • Funtastic Toyz
  • The Book Store
  • The Medina County Convention and Visitor's Bureau
  • Medina City School Board Office
  • Medina Town Hall and Engine House Museum
And soon, there will be a special Medina Bicentennial License Plate,  also designed by Judy Barabas, to be available at a later date.

The November 15th Medina Gazette has a front page article  talking about the Bicentennial and some early Medina history. (Link not yet available.)

Get ready to...



On a side note, Judy Russell had a very interesting blog about DNA this past week. Did you know that all humans share 99.5% of their DNA? Only .5% is different. And that is what the DNA testing companies concentrate on. More incredibly, we share 98% of our DNA with chimps. Click HERE to read her full post.

*Source: History of Lorain County Ohio with Illustrations & Biographical Sketches, Williams Brothers, Philadelphia, 1879.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

In Honor of our Veteran Ancestors.

When I first started researching our family history, I had no idea how many of my relatives had served in the military. I myself served 3 1/2 years with the United States Air Force and four of my siblings followed me in joining the military; two serving in the US Army and two others served in the Air Force also. And our father had served in the United States Navy at the end of World War II. And still I wasn't aware of just how many of my family had served in the military. I just didn't think of us as a "military family."
Dad served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1947.
He was stationed at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
It was a slow accumulation of the awareness of our military service. Besides my immediate family:
  • Cousins; Danny Young (USAF), Mike Hedrick and Dennis Kinikin (Army), Dana Marshall (US Marines), Sharon Helmick Nicholson (US Navy) .  Vietnam Era
  • Uncles; Jack LaMarr and Charles Mason - US. Navy 1952-1961
  • Uncles John Mason (Army) and Ed (Bud) Dowdy - US Army during the Korean War
  • Uncle Floyd Young served in the medical corps during WWII and participated in the release of a POW camp that he later learned had held his wife's cousin, George Tanner (US Army).
  • Grandfather, John S. Mason - U.S. Navy 1928-1930
  • George Tanner, Army WWI.

Uncle John was wounded in action in Korea. While
recuperating in a Tokyo hospital he was visited by
two general's wives. This article appeared in his
hometown newspaper, The Marion Star.

Once I dug deeper into family research, I discovered a number of ancestors who had served during the Civil War:
  • William Johnson - 4th WV Infantry
  • William P. Williams - 3rd WV Cavalry
  • Daniel Kinikin - 76th O.V.I.
  • James Tagg - 91st O.V.I.
  • Otha Swain - 186th O.V.I.
  • James Tanner - US Navy. He served on riverboats in the western theater.
Here George Tanner is in his WWI uniform, sitting
next to his father, James Tanner who is in his Captains
uniform from the Civil War. James told all of his
children and grandchildren he had been a Captain.
However, he never rose above the rank of Seaman
Second Class
Joshua Johnson was taken prisoner at the
Battle of the River Raisin during the War
of 1812. Later released, he had to walk back
to Kentucky. Wounded prisoners had been
left behind and were murdered by the Indian
allies of the British.

War of 1812:
  • Joshua Johnson 
  • Jesse Burnett
  • John Parrish
  • Stephen Artis

Stephen Artis was a member of the DC
militia that was tasked with defending
Washington D.C. Overwhelmed by
superior British forces, they
retreated while the city burned.

The Revolutionary War:
  • Christian Young
Ruins of Fort Montgomery where Christian Young served during the
Revolutionary War. He would have been among the soldiers who constructed
the fort. He would have also been among the soldiers who deserted the fort
after it was attacked by superior British forces. They took to the rough
heavily forested hills surrounding the fort that sat on the edge of the
Hudson River, thereby avoiding becoming Prisoners of War.
By Doug Kerr from now in Binghamton, NY - 091408 964, CC BY-SA 2.0

Each of these individual's service in the military ties them, and me, directly into the history of our country. Researching their service and tying them to specific battles, hardships and privations, enlivens history and brings it into my home and into my heart. 

Once I realized that my family was indeed "a military family", I created a scrapbook of their service. It is the most popular item that I take to family gatherings and reunions. Nothing gets more attention from my non-genealogy family members than bringing out this scrapbook. 

This tradition of military service is continuing to the present generation, as Chris Bloomfield (U.S. Navy, named for his 6X great grandfather, Christian Young), Zach Beach (Army) and Dustin Mason (Army) have also served.

Zach Beach, U.S. Army Military Police

Chris Bloomfield, U.S. Navy SeaBee

So often in genealogy we get caught up in the collection of names, dates and places. Take a minute and think about the sacrifices that these special members of our families endured, so that we could live the lives we lead.

So this Veteran's Day, take a moment, or more, to  honor them...

WAYS to honor military service;
1. If the member is still alive, thank them for their service. Ask them questions about their time in the military.
2. Write about their service. When did they serve? Did the participate any any incidents or battles? Are there maps or books about that point in history? Etc.
3. Share their stories with family, however works for you. It might be a scrapbook, it might be maps and photos. Or maybe you have their military service medals...

Resources for researching military records:
Family Search U.S. Military Records Wiki
U.S. National Archives on Military Records
Cyndi's List on U.S. Military Records
Fold3 Requires a subscription or access through a library that subscribes (Cuyahoga County Public Library)
WWII Military Records : a Family Historian's Guide by Debra Johnson Knox.
U.S. Military Records : a Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present by James C. Neagles
Locating Union & Confederate Records : a Guide to the Most Commonly Used Civil War Records of the National Archives and Family History Library  by Nancy Justus Morebeck.
Military bounty land, 1776-1855 by Christine Rose.

This coming spring at the Library's Genealogy Slam! on April 28th I will be teaching a class on  how to research U.S. Military Records. More information will come in the spring.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Copyright - 20th Century Fox

… Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles & warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
These are a few of my favorite things…

Here are a few of my favorite genealogy things.

Today, one of my favorite newsletters, Genealogy Gems, arrived in my inbox. I always look forward to reading it and learning more about how the "experts" tackle various genealogical tasks. So, today, I will share with you some of my favorite online genealogical resources. Sources besides major databases such as Ancestry Library Edition,, Fold3, Heritage Quest, etc. The lesser known, but still vitally important resources.

One of the hallmarks of a dedicated genealogist is the willingness and the recognition of the need to constantly learn new techniques, skills and resources. These are a few of my favorites. Just follow the BLUE links to see if they could become your favorites.

Newsletters: these arrive in my inbox on a regular basis. I look forward to receiving, and learning from them.

  • Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library - as one of the premiere genealogy libraries in the country, they always have interesting articles on technique and new acquisitions.
  • Past Pursuits - from the Special Collections Department of Akron Summit County Public Library
  • Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - It posts multiple small articles each day about NEW or updated genealogy sources. While it is called a newsletter, it acts more like a blog. Dick Eastman is well known and respected in genealogy circles.

Most blogs are hosted on sites such
as blogger or Wordpress

Blogs: Like this blog, you have the option of getting email notifications when a new posting is available, or finding it via a search engine. These are often shared on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Here are some of my favorties:

Judy Russell, aka "The Legal Genealogist" - Judy is a frequent, and excellent, speaker at genealogy conferences. From her blog title you know that she specializes in legal records for genealogy purposes. For me this is a weak spot in my skill set, so I always learn from her posts. On Sundays, she posts about DNA testing in genealogy. I quote her often when working with library patrons.

The Accidental Genealogist by Lisa Alzo - Lisa is a genealogy author and speaker and her blog features her insights into eastern European genealogy research.

The Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) blog - they don't post often, but it is a quick way to stay in touch with the largest state genealogical society's happenings. 

There are blogs on DNA testing and any topic you can imagine. Just use your favorite search engine and have fun!

Facebook Pages: We all love FB, but are you using it to help with your research? Here are some of my favorite FB pages for genealogy:

Roadside History Of Medina is where residents of Medina County share their memories of life in Medina. I've lived & worked in Medina for 30 years and I am always learning something new on this page. I use the knowledge to help library members.
Medina County Ohio History and Genealogy - this page could use more activity. But is a great place to share what you have learned.
Medina County Ohio Genealogical Society for those researching families in Medina.
Ohio Genealogy! Just Ask! As the name implies, this is where you can ask questions about Ohio genealogy and get answers!

Besides FB pages that focus on localities, you should also look for pages for your family surnames. I found one that focuses on the TAGG family of southern Ohio and am now sharing photos and research with new cousins!

Twitter Accounts:  I do not use Twitter in the traditional manner. I do not follow the Kardashians or President Trump. I do not constantly tweet every thought that comes into my head. What I do, is follow the Twitter accounts of well known genealogy experts. And boy, do I learn a lot from them. Here are my favorites:
David Allen Lambert - The Chief Genealogists at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Besides all the genealogical tweets about Conferences, and resources, he tweets about archaelogical finds and odd things like "At funeral Directors Convention, 'Going Green' is the New Trend", an article from a Boston TV station.
Amy Johnson Crow is an Ohio genealogist and speaker that is often at the OGS conferences. Her blog often features interviews with other famous genealogists.
Judy Russell -see the entry under "Blogs" above.
D. Joshua Taylor - Host of the Genealogy Roadshow and president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
Amie Bowser Tennant - this is another speaker from the OGS who is an expert on using social media and mobile devices for genealogical research.

I don't follow these tweets as they are being posted throughout the day. Rather, I view them when I have a chunk of time to read through and follow the links imbedded in the tweets. It's like taking mini-classes on a wide range of genealogical topics.

Mailing Lists: When the Internet and Genealogy came together back in the 90's, mailing lists were the way to go to network with other genealogy geeks that shared an interest in a location, a surname, or an ethnic group. I still belong to many, but most of them don't post regularly. The one I still get weekly, if not daily emails from is the GeneaLib list for librarians who work with genealogy members. To see what mailing lists are available, visit Rootsweb.

Do you have any favorites to share with me?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Researching Medina County Cemeteries

Here I am again...Lisa Rienerth, a guest blogger for Kathy Petras! She was kind enough to let me do two blogs this month!

In the fall of 2015, I traveled all over Medina County and visited quite a few of the cemeteries located within the county. I took photographs at each cemetery, some of tombstones, some of signs and some of the surrounding area. I used these photographs to create a display at the library. I am going to post some of those photos today and include some direction on how to find your ancestor’s final resting place.
8296 Guilford Rd., Seville, Ohio. Right next to a farm. The owner's don't care
if you take photographs, but PLEASE be respectful of the property.
Let’s say you want to find your ancestor’s tombstone and you only know they were living in Medina County, Ohio when they died. So, instead of having to search all the cemeteries in the area around your ancestor’s last residence, there are a few steps you can take to make your search easier.

To show you how it's done I am going to search for a former Medina County resident, Carrie WILKINSON'S, grave site. The first thing to do is to check for an obituary. The Medina Library’s website has an obituary index for the Medina County Gazette (1850 - present) and the Medina County Sentinel (1899 - 1962).

The search for Carrie's obituary shows which paper her obituary is posted in and the date and page number.

The library has the microfilm and the readers to view it. You can either save the obituary or print it. Her obituary states she is buried in the Spring  Grove Cemetery.

My next source is the Tombstone Inscriptions Book. This reference book can be found in the local history room at the Medina Library. I looked up Carrie's name and found the page she is listed on. The listing confirms she is buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery. Information on where her plot is located is also listed on the page.

The Tombstone book has a table of contents which list quite a few of the cemeteries in Medina County. There are also maps of the layout of the cemeteries. However, not all the Medina County cemeteries are listed. 

 Which leads me to my next resource for cemetery information, I use Findagrave, because if somone else has taken a photo of the tombstone I am looking for and uploaded it to the website, it saves me time and money. However, we are at the mercy of volunteers so not all of the grave sites are listed and even if it is listed it may not include a photo. Carrie's listing gives the dates and no tombstone photograph.

Findagrave will also give you a map and directions on how to get to the cemetery. If you do a cemetery search it will give a list of cemeteries in Medina County. 

O.K., now you know where you are let's go! 
You need to be prepared so …pack a bag!

For a complete list of items you can take, check out Your Guide To Cemetery Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Now you are ready!

Coddingville Cemetery - Granger Twp

 Please remember that you need to treat the site with respect!
Be careful of the markers

Shaw Cemetery - Lafayette
Albert Munson Cemetery - Harrisville Twp. 

Spencer Cemetery - Spencer Twp. 

Do not try to excavate 
or try to fix any of the markers. Please use only water and/or soft cloth to help read old markers.
Friendsville Cemetery - Westfield Twp.
When walking among the stones be careful where you step. The ground is not always level.

Town Line Cemetery - Brunswick 
Photograph the entrance

Harrisville Township Cemetery

Photograph the surrounding area of the tombstone, it will help you find your way if you need to come back.

Albert Munson Cemetery - Harrisville Twp.

Photograph the entire plot – it will include other family members you may need to have information on.

Photograph the tombstone
Homer Reformed Church Cemetery
   One regular distance

Homer Reformed Church - Homerville
One up close

When you get home, don’t wait to download. Identify & Update right away so you don't forget the details. Also, consider becoming a member of Learn how to create memorials & upload photos. You never know who you might be helping!

Spring Grove Cemetery - Medina
I was able to find Carrie’s marker and I will be uploading it to Findagrave. I now have a possible birth & death year for her and her husband, Harry WILKINSON. 

Here are some photos from a few more Medina County cemeteries…Can you tell which ones they are?

I hope you enjoy your cemetery searches as much as I do! Happy Haunting...I mean Hunting! 

If you don't know the names of the last 5 cemeteries:
1. Black River Cemetery -  Chatham 
2. Myrtle Hill Cemetery - Liverpool
3. Mound Cemetery - Seville
4. New Horizon's Lutheran Church Cemetery - Homerville
5. Woodlawn - Wadsworth

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Serendipity? Or Something More?

Serendipity. Luck. Chance. Coincidence. Call it what you will, sometimes, it seems like our ancestors are reaching out from the grave to boost our research efforts. It is a phenomenon that is quietly talked about in genealogy circles.

The following is a true incident from my own research.

A few years ago, I was engaged in in-depth research on a particular family name in order to write a book about them. One individual was particularly well documented.

Reverend John H. TAGG was born in England in 1824 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1836 with his parents and siblings.. He was listed in school tax lists in Portage County, Ohio. He worked his way through seminary school and became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His itinerant ministry is well documented at the Archives of Ohio Methodist Church at Ohio Wesleyan. In the early years he traveled on horseback to visit his various assigned churches, often crossing flooded rivers. Later he was reassigned to a new church every 18 months.

This portrait of John Tagg hangs in the hallway of the
 United Methodist Church in Pomfrey, New York.

Finding this portrait was serendipitous. My sisters, daughters and I were visiting the Chautauqua region of New York. We stopped in the town of Pomfrey which was having a street market so we could lunch. We decided to get a meal that was being offered by the United Methodist church. Knowing that Rev. John Tagg had served in the area, I asked the lady dishing up our food if the church had any history on the preachers who had served the local churches in the 1800's. She asked me who I was looking for and I gave her John's name. "Follow me," she said. She led us through a circuitous root from the church's basement up to the hallway outside the current minister's office. There in the dimly lit hallway was a series of portraits of early preachers for the church. And there we found the above portrait of Rev. J. H. Tagg. We all got goosebumps. And all because we decided to stop for lunch.

John married a school teacher, Laura Ann Lilly, in 1846 and was listed with her in Portage County, Ohio in the 1850 census. By the 1860 Pennsylvania census, the small family consisted of the Reverend, his wife, Laura, 7 year old Alice and 1 year old baby “Clampa”. “Clampa” might have been a nickname because throughout the rest of her life she was known as Clara. The reverend lived a long life, finally dying in 1911.

1860 West Greenville,  Mercer County, Pennsylvania Census taken 11 June 1860.

Clara’s life was also well documented, as she became a teacher like her mother. She rose through the ranks in Ohio schools, and spoke at many of the teachers' conferences in the state. She eventually became a principal, and after her marriage at a relatively late age, became a Cleveland Public School Board Member. At one time there was a Cleveland elementary school named after her.

Picture from the 1 November 1924
Cleveland Plain Dealer

But Alice? After the brief appearance in the 1860 census, she disappeared. She was not in any other census records. Her sister’s and her parent’s life stories and obituaries make no reference to her, as if she never existed. What became of Alice? Why did she disappear?

One evening while working on this mystery, my sister Sara called. She listened to my frustration with the lack of evidence. I wondered out loud if the young girl had a disability that caused her parents to send her away and never mention her, or if she died. My sister, who is NOT a genealogist, listened politely and made comforting sounds on the phone. We finished our phone conversation and I went back to my unproductive search.

Half an hour later, Sara called back, “I think I found Alice!” she exclaimed. “What?” “Where?” and “How?” were my confused responses. Just by using a different search engine (I had used Google, she used Bing), Sara had found a cemetery listing for Alice TAGG in Conneautville, PA, one of the many locations her father had served as a minister. She had died in October of 1860, just months after her appearance in the census records.

Serendipity? Or Something More?

The family and I planned a visit to the cemetery to confirm that this Alice TAGG was the one we were looking for.

We arrived in the early afternoon. The cemetery is a sprawling location on the edge of town. We drove around a little bit and parked. Knowing that the tombstone would be old, I headed for the older part of the cemetery. My family spread out to other sections.

After searching only about 1/2 hour, I located her grave. My family joined me at the stone..

We stood in front of the tombstone. I had brought a picture of her father and a spray of lavender blossoms. My daughter had made an old fashioned yarn doll. As we placed these items at the base of the stone, we noticed that the surrounding stones were all for older adults. No children's stones were nearby. I realized that Alice was buried among strangers. Her father's frequent re-assignments would not have allowed her to form great friendships. And she certainly wouldn't have known the people buried around her. The fact that none of her families records ever mentioned her made us very sad for the little girl.

We read the inscription "Our Dear Ally daughter of J.H. & L.A. TAGG". The confirmation I needed to show that she was the Alice that we had been searching for. As we stood there, I promised Alice that she would have a place of honor in the book I was writing on the family, and that her name would never be forgotten again.

Just then, about twenty feet away, a commotion erupted in some nearby trees. Glancing up to see what was happening, we saw 4-5 bluebirds cavorting in the trees.

Had Alice heard??

I have blogged about serendipity in genealogy research before:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Haunted Medina County - Lisa Rienerth

Once again Kathy is allowing me to be her guest blogger! This time I thought that since Halloween is only a few weeks away it is time for some ghost stories. I am going to show you a few places you might want to visit in Medina County to help you get into the spirit (pun intended) of this spooky holiday!


The Corkscrew Saloon – 811 W. Liberty Street, Medina

This Victorian Home has had many names in the past 130 years. It is said that Nelson Burnham built the house for his daughter, Nell, in the late 1800's and was known as the Burnham Home. It is said to be the 2nd oldest building standing in Medina. The interior of the house was arranged at the direction of Mrs. Burnham herself who desired the structure to be one of convenience. Through the years it has had many names…The Homestead Restaurant, Great Expectations, Penny’s Poorhouse and it is now The Corkscrew Saloon. The spirits seemed to start making themselves known when it was Penny’s Poorhouse. Penny Codarini, the former owner, was always happy to talk about the haunting and felt that they must be children, due to the prankish types of incidents. Her and her husband experienced moved furniture, missing items, someone walking up and down the stairs and she even heard her name being called. Many patrons said they saw ghostly apparitions and one of the waitresses even saw a white cat that mysteriously disappeared when she went to get it out from under one of the tables. The new owners are not as open to talking about the hauntings, but some of the wait staff have a few tales to tell. The last time I was there I heard this story…They were setting up one of the upper rooms for a private dinner party. The table was all set with napkins and silverware and when the server came back up to make sure nothing was forgotten the silverware was all a mess and salt was spread all over the table….Like Penny said…Childish Pranks!

Medina Library – 210 S. Broadway, Medina

The Franklin Sylvester Room

The Medina Library has a century long history of serving the community. The original library was built on its current site with funds donated by Franklin Sylvester and opened in 1907. Unfortunately, Mr. Sylvester passed away in May of 1907, without getting to see his library completed. In his will, he left the library an additional $4,000 and stated that the library was always to remain named the Franklin Sylvester Library. However, the library is now known as the Medina Library…not the Franklin Sylvester Library. This may be upsetting to Franklin. However, even though his name is no longer used as the name of the library, it is the name of the library’s local history room. You can see Mr. Sylvester’s portrait as you enter the room. Mr. Sylvester’s presence has been felt by a few people in this room and some have seen a figure of a tall, dark man.

 The 1907 Room 

This room is the original part of the library. When a local ghost hunter group did a program here at the library a group of people went into the 1907 room. They were able to get responses to questions on a lighted meter. It seems that a young man may be in this room. While watching the responses on the meter a loud bang was heard as if someone had kicked the wood paneling. Others have felt a “presence” in this room…come and see if you do.

Robby’s Voice Recovery Center F.K.A. The Medina Steak House & Saloon – 538 W. Liberty

Harrison Blake built the building in 1858 as a stagecoach stop. It is also said that it was used as an underground railroad stop. Over the years the building changed hands and provided different services. It went from being a hotel to a brothel, a bookie joint to a grocery store, and a saloon to a steakhouse. Anna is one of the ghosts who haunt this restaurant. She is said to have died in the late 1890's. She is a friendly and helpful spirit. Some say that when a fire broke out on the second floor, Anna helped to contain the fire and saved the building. There are beams in the attic that still show the scars of this fire. Frank Curtiss is the other ghost. He died there Christmas Eve, 1922. It is not certain, but he may be the gentleman who hung himself in the upper hallway. There may even be another ghost, possibly Anna’s sister. She is known only as “M”. The former employees say that the ghosts weren’t mean, just mischievous. Silverware ended up being switched around on the tables, a plate on the wall got turned over, and sometimes spirits were seen walking through the building. Only time will tell if the new occupants will have anything to add to this history.

Spitzer House Bed & Breakfast – 504 W. Liberty

Built in 1890 by Ceilan Milo Spitzer, it is haunted by several ghosts. There are two haunted rooms in particular. One of the haunted rooms is called Ceilan’s Room and the second one is called Anna’s room. It is in Anna’s room that a ghost of a servant girl appears on a regular basis. The dining room is also said to be haunted. The voices of two men can be heard there. Other incidences include hearing the piano play, lights turning on and off, slamming doors and light touches and taps from an invisible source.

The Spitzer House stairway...see the fingers sticking through the railing


Cry Baby Bridge – Abbeyville Road

There are two bridges on Abbeyville Road.

One is a small bridge over a small creek.The other is a large train bridge. Both of these bridges have been identified as the Cry Baby Bridge.

Whichever one it is, it is said to be haunted. The story goes that in the 1950’s a young girl threw her baby off the bridge in an effort to hide her pregnancy. Supposedly if you park under or on the bridge (depending on which bridge you are referring to) and turn off your car it will not start again until it is pushed from beneath or off the bridge. It is also reported that you can hear a baby crying whenever it is a silent night.

The Witches Ball – Myrtle Hill Cemetery

There are two legends associated with this grave site. The first one is that there was a witch who practiced witchcraft near Myrtle Hill and was stoned by the townspeople. The second story is that there was an insane woman who poisoned her family and threw them down a well. In either case, it is said she is buried beneath the ball and some say that she was buried standing up. They say that the ball is warm when it is cold outside and cold when it is hot outside. It also is said that snow and leaves will never fall on the tombstone. Others have reported an eerie feeling of being watched while standing near the marker. The marker is actually just a unique stone marking the final resting place for the Stoskopf family.


River Styx Railroad Bridge

On March 22, 1899, Railroad Engineer Alexander Logan ran Train No. 5 along the Erie Railroad near the River Styx Bridge, traveling at nearly 80 mph. He would never meet his destination. The engine mysteriously jumped its tracks, turned over and crushed the engineer to death. No one knows what caused the train to derail, but most agree that Logan’s heroic decision to stay on the train and steer the engine saved the lives of others on board. Witnesses say that when Logan’s body was later recovered, his hand was still clutched to the throttle. Two weeks before this tragic accident, Logan confided to his colleagues that he believed he would die on that engine. Since the fatal accident, strange events have been reported on and near the River Styx Bridge. Just a few months later a local doctor and his friend witnessed a phantom train plunge from the bridge covered in flames. They said they actually heard the passengers screaming. However, when they reached the bridge to help, the train was gone. Some have been foolish enough to walk the trestle and were cut into pieces from on-coming trains and the bridge has been the site of some suicides. In addition, a strange fog has been seen to suddenly appear, and there have been a high number of car accidents on River Styx Road below the bridge, involving people who claimed to have seen something falling from the bridge. Are all of these strange incidents related to the 1899 train disaster? Or is there something much older and sinister at work here?

River Styx Cemetery –  River Styx Road

Locals say that they have sighted a ghost on multiple occasions at this cemetery. At around the turn of the century, a few residents supplemented their income by robbing local graves and selling the corpses to medical schools in Cleveland. Grave robbing became such a problem that the folks in River Styx started burying their dead in out-of-town cemeteries. One family even constructed an above-ground stone vault at River Styx cemetery in an effort to thwart would-be thieves. On the property is the abandoned underground vault built into the side of a hill and barred by a rusty metal gate.

**I went to this cemetery to get some photographs for this display. I had planned on entering the cemetery to take pictures, but got an uneasy feeling, and I couldn’t seem to talk myself into going past the wrought iron gate and into the cemetery. The whole time I was there it felt as if I was being watched. The brave person that I am…I quickly took my pictures and left.


Hinckley Historical Society f.k.a. The Hinckley Library – 1634 Center Road

This 1845 home belonged to Vernon Stouffer, founder of the Stouffer food corporation. It became a public library in 1973, and during renovations several staff members reported ghostly manifestations. The apparitions of a young woman in an old-fashioned blue dress and a man in a hat were seen on the stairway. A workman encountered a ghostly figure on the basement stairs. Others have felt strange presences on the upper floors and witnessed poltergeist effects, such as books being thrown off the shelves. It has been suggested that the ghosts are Orlando Wilcox and his daughter Rebecca, who lived in a cabin on the site during the Civil War.


Spencer Cemetery - East Main Street, Spencer

Spencer Cemetery is just east of the town center. Strange things are reported there from time to time--chiefly the bizarre sight of an actual, metal, real-world lantern floating free in the air as if held by invisible hands. According to local stories people have approached the lantern and passed their hands above, beneath, and around it, finding no strings or apparent trickery of any kind. Sometimes a smaller lantern is seen floating near the original.

These are just a few of the spooky places in Medina County. If you want to find more you can always check out one of the Haunted Ohio books by Chris Woodyard, at the library. Medina County is usually mentioned at least once in this series.

If you think your house is haunted and want to know who may be haunting it, sign up for my program, "Who Is Haunting Your House?". I am teaching how to research the history of your home and past owners. The program is October 31st at 7:00 p.m. at the Medina Library in the Community Room A.  If you have any questions about the program or you want to sign up for it, give me a call at 330-725-0588 x 2030 or click on the program link above.

FYI: Fellow librarian, Dan Halohan, wanted to know, if the Burnham House is the second oldest house in Medina, "What is the first?" which sent Lisa and I scrambling to find out. From going on the historic home tours, I knew that there is a house on Wadsworth Road that was built in the 1840's. With a little more digging we found a undated newspaper article (probably from the 1980's) that claimed that the Sillet House at 345 East Smith Road was the oldest house in Medina. Local antique dealer, Ross Trump, claimed that the house was built around 1840 but no later than 1845.
Further research revealed the house at 510 Wadsworth Road was built in 1848. If these dates are right, the Burnham House (AKA The Corkscrew Saloon) could, at best, be the third oldest house in the city.