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November 3, 1888 – "Damage to the telegraph cable occurred somewhat regularly and we find that our Kelley's Island friends should have their cable repaired by Tuesday night, so as to be able to get elections returns."

November 10, 1888 – "Official returns for the Presidential election for the island: Cleveland and Thurman-147; Harrison and Morton-141. The Harrison and Morton pole on Kelley's Island is said to be a sight to behold. At least a dozen flags and ensigns are floating therefrom." The island was the scene of much celebrating but also an unfortunate accident as a result of the returns.

"The Republicans had their final 'blow out' on last Wednesday evening. The Harrison and Morton Club had a grand torch light procession, about 90 being in line. While marching up Lake Street a bright light was seen about 40 rods out in the lake in front of N. Kelley & Co.'s stone dock. The boys took it to be a large turpentine torch displayed from the deck of the barge Plummer, but it turned out to be a serious and disastrous fire. Every man belonging aboard had gone ashore and were in some of the saloons when the fire broke out. The fire burst forth all over the cabin and was past control before the crew ever heard that anything was wrong. Had even one man been left aboard he could put out the fire before any damage could have resulted. It is supposed to have had its origin from the cook stove. The hulk lies right in the way of vessels passing up this shore enroute to Put-in-Bay or the stone docks here."

But to return to the procession. "Some of the houses on the line of march were beautifully illuminated. Those particularly noticeable, being: Henry Elfers, Fred Elfers, F. M. Kelley, G. P. Bristol, Herman Suhr, Addison Kelley, Mrs. H. Kaster [Koster] and the Himmelein House. Mr. Addison Kelley borrowed a very fine rooster of Geo. P. Bristol and put him in the window. The lights were turned down awaiting the procession, when it came in sight around the corner of the street, the lights were turned up to their utmost capacity which so dazzled his roostership that he 'wilted' right down, so that but few saw him at all. Some of those philosophically inclined, attribute his actions to the fact of his being a Democrat.

After the procession disbanded, the members wended their way to Kelley's Hall to trip the light fantastic toe. Here were finally congregated some 250 'fair women and brave men' (and children) the like of which was never before seen on the Island. The patriotic Harrison and Morton ladies served the supper, and in just 1½ hours from the time the first person sat down to the tables the last table was out of doors and the floor cleared for the dancers. 200 invitations were issued, every Republican voter received one, and also 15 or 20 of the Democrats who were known to enjoy a good thing when they see it. It is said that one or two of the latter tore up their cards when received. This certainly showed very poor taste, as they were issued with the very best of feeling, and intended as a compliment.​​

The Cleveland and Thurman pole was gathered to its fathers last week. The Harrison and Morton pole will be left until after inauguration day, and should the movement on foot for making this place a signal display station prove successful the pole will be left standing for the purpose of hoisting signals thereon. It is 85 feet out of ground and stands on the hill directly in front of the telegraph office, the location being all that could be desired."

​Gen. Benjamin Harrison and Hon. Levi P. Morton would be inaugurated President and Vice-President on March 4, 1889.​


 HOW DO YOU SEE US?​ Just 10 questions, less than 2 minutes to complete. The Kelleys Island Historical Association (KIHA) is conducting a really short survey. It is time we looked at who we are and what we mean to the community, and thanks for helping us out.​ 

Just click on the green picture 

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​or cut and​​ paste:​ 

into your browser.


​​​Our thanks to Leslie Korenko for putting this grant together and to the William G. Pomery Foundation for awarding us this grant and making this marker possible.

Marker Church Website.jpgThe German Reformed Church

The German Reformed Church was organized on Kelleys Island in 1865.  The congregation built this church from island stone in 1866 on ½ acre of land purchased from Alfred S. and Hannah Kelley.  By 1871, the congregation, one of five on the island, heard services in German and had 25 families as members, including those of Baumler, Beatty, Becker, Boker, Burger, Cattenach, Dodge, Elfers, Fischer, Gerlach, Hess, Huber, Jordon, Keifer, Lange, Nowalk, Pringnitz, Renter, Schaedler, Scheele, Smith, Stoll, Suhr, and Trieschman.  Rev. A. William Von Kaske was the congregation's last resident minister, leaving in 1915.  The church's final service, a funeral for William Burger, was held in 1942.  The church's Ladies Aid Society was able to maintain the building until 1957, after which it was left vacant.  The Kelley's Island Historical Association leased the church in 1981 and was granted the deed in 1986.

Parsonage pic.jpgThe Parsonage

The congregation of the German Reformed Church built a parsonage on land purchased for $51 from Mrs. An​​ne Twidney on August 8, 1888.  By 1915, the island’s population and the congregation had dwindled and the latter could no longer support a resident minister.  The church’s trustees rented the house to the Betzenheimer family.  Florence (“Sis”) Betzenheimer McKillips carried on her mother Emma’s role of caring for the German Reformed Church and parsonage even after both buildings became part of the Kelleys Island Historical Association in the 1980s.  The association granted Mrs. McKillips use of the house until her death in 2013 at the age of 92.  It has no running water and is serviced by a hand pump in the kitchen and an outhouse in the back yard. ​

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​In 2015 our displays  featureed sport fishing and ice fishing and our Annual Meeting guest speaker was Tory Gabriel, from Sea Grant/OSU who talked about The History of Lake Erie Fishing. He is part of the research teams studying Lake Erie. He did a great job - some people arrived late - but it was standing room only!

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So many people enjoyed our Ice Fishing (without the ice) interactive display. They were able to sit in an actual ice shanty and 'fish' for little magnetic fish. This was a first for many people. Loads of great comments.​​