• Avery's Cafe:  Keeper's House Docent Appreciation Brunch (September 13, 2018)

A group of Wolcott Keeper’s House volunteers gathered for an appreciation brunch at Avery's Cafe in Marblehead.  During the summer months, serving as docents they showed visitors through the restored home of the Marblehead Lighthouse's first keepers, Benajah and Rachel Wolcott, and the adjacent museum and gift shop.  Volunteer coordinator Bill Coder recognized volunteer Linda Price for 60 hours of service, and Patrick O’Keeffe for 56 hours.  Members of the group shared stories, including George McCormick, who hosted former owners of the 1820’s stone home, the Kellers.  The Kellers related how their grandmother was adamant about preserving the historic features of the House, even the copious vines nearly hiding the exterior. O’Keeffe told about a family from Indiana on a road trip to discover some of the historic sites in the midwest. “Seeing their eyes light up is just fun,” he said.  New volunteers David O’Neal and Todd Marsh were introduced.  Also attending were Paul Moon, Linda Huber, Becky Shemenski, and Kathy Leonard.  Karl and Carol Kessler, Barbara Sminchak, Ray Machar, Tom Wiseman, Nel Adcock, and Lynn Pedro were unable to attend. 

(L-R) Becky Shemenski, Paul Moon, Patrick O'Keeffe, Bill Coder, Todd Marsh, George McCormick, Linda Price, David O'Neal, Linda Huber


  • Genoa Town Hall:  Sesquicentennial (150th) Celebration (June 1-2, 2018)

The Ottawa County Historical Society had a fun-filled time helping Genoa celebrate their 150th birthday June 1 & 2, 2018.  There was a host of activities for the whole family to enjoy.  We greeted residents in the historic Town Hall both days and listened to folks share their history.  With folks having lived their entire lives in Genoa or folks born in Genoa and having moved away or folks having moved to Genoa at some point in their life, it was clear Genoa holds a special spot in everyone’s heart.  One story, in particular, truly captures why these events are so rewarding.  Saturday’s day of activities included an antique car show and one outstanding automobile has an incredible historic history----both in Genoa and the Marblehead Peninsula.  Bill Otto restores antique cars.  Traveling the roads near his farm in Tipp City, he came upon and purchased an old 1921 Model-T Ford truck.  During the restoration process, as he removed layers of old paint he began to see lettering which would eventually display “Claus Grocery” in Genoa.  Wanting to learn more, Bill wondered whether the store or any members of the Claus family still existed in Genoa.  Bill learned from directory assistance there were two listings for “Claus” in Genoa.  Calling the first listing, Dwight Claus turned out to be the jackpot.  Dwight’s grandfather, George Claus, owned and operated the Claus Grocery in Genoa and used a Model-T Ford truck for deliveries.  Eventually getting together, Dwight was able to confirm the car Bill had was in fact Dwight’s grandfather’s delivery truck!

But wait, there’s more to the story---the Marblehead Peninsula connection.  After hearing Bill’s story we were anxious to see the Model-T car and meet Dwight.  As Bill showed us the car and introduced us to Dwight, we started talking about the Ottawa County Historical Society.  Dwight then truly topped off the evening by indicating he was a descendant of Benajah Wolcott, the first Keeper of the Marblehead Lighthouse.  Benajah’s family residence is the Wolcott Keeper’s House on Bayshore Road which was restored by the Ottawa County Historical Society!  So the family genealogy is Benajah and his second wife, Rachel, had a son, Henry.   Henry and his third wife, Safronia, had a daughter, Emma.  Emma had a daughter, Iva.  Iva had a daughter, Marian Jane.  Marian Jane had a son, our Genoa’s Dwight Claus.  Benajah Wolcott is Dwight’s great, great, great, grandfather.   A perfect ending to a wonderful day.  Indeed!


The Claus Grocery Genoa, Ohio

1921 Model T Ford Truck


(L-R) Dwight Claus and Bill Otto



  • Oak Harbor Golf Course:  Spring Luncheon with OCHS Membership (April 29, 2018)

A beautiful day to meander through the pages of Along the Highways and Waterways of Ottawa County.  In his slide presentation, OCHS President Patrick O'Keeffe highlighted a few places of note from the newest Oral History book.


OCHS President O'Keeffe with audience


(L-R) Tom Wiseman and Lloyd Dayton


  • Bay Township Townhall:  "Harvesting History" Event (April 14, 2018)

The Society held its first "Harvesting History" event at the Bay Township Townhall.  Building upon the photo and story collection drive while preparing the county's 175th anniversary book as well as part of the Page & Stage Oral History project, the Society recognizes there is a treasure trove of history in family photo collections.  Our desire is to help preserve these photos as well as capture the background story surrounding the photo.  At the event Society members scanned photos and discussed family histories with fellow Township residents.  Personal appointments were also scheduled to gather more information on family histories.  Future events are planned in other locations around the county.

Clara Dracka (L) shares a family photo with Linda Huber (R)   Mark Segaard (L) displays an article to Rich Norgard (R)   Township residents Jodi Regal (L) and Clara Dracka (R) review family histories.


  • Catawba Island Club:  Fall Meeting of the OCHS Membership (November 12, 2017)

About 60 people attended as outgoing President Paul Moon gaveled his 10th fall membership meeting to order.  Here incoming President Patrick O'Keeffe presents a certificate of appreciation to President Emeritus Moon.



       Outgoing President Paul Moon


   (L-R) Patrick O'Keeffe and Paul Moon


  • Ida Rupp Library-Marblehead Branch:  Grand Opening (July 1, 2017)

At the Grand Opening of the Marblehead branch of Ida Rupp Library, OCHS President Paul Moon presented Library Director Tim Hagen with a copy of History of Ottawa County: The First 175 Years.  On hand for the celebration were fellow OCHS members Bill Coder, Sharon Coder, and book author Patrick O'Keeffe.  Also making a presentation was U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur.

  • Book Presentation OCHS President Paul Moon presents 175th book to Library Director Tim Hagen.
  • Kaptur Presentation U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur makes a presentation to Library Director Tim Hagen.
  • OCHS Members with Director (l-r): Bill Coder, Paul Moon, Sharon Coder, Tim Hagen, and Patrick O'Keeffe.