Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guest post from alumnus Lawrence B. Siddall ’48

Class of 1948 member Lawrence Siddall recently submitted an essay for our community, writing the speech he'd give to our student body in the Chapel, if able to travel to WRA. Mr. Siddall is a retired psychotherapist and a former Peace Corps volunteer, and his essay is a wonderful reminder of how connected our community is throughout the ages. Thank you Mr. Siddall!
What I Would Say if I Were to Give a Talk in the Chapel
By Lawrence B. Siddall ’48
Greetings to you all. It is a real pleasure to be with you today. I spent three years at Reserve, graduating in 1948. Here it is 2014. It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 65 years since I sat where you are in this historic chapel. That means I’m 84 this year, old enough to be your grandfather. It makes me think that if, in 1948, we had an alumni member give a talk who had graduated 65 years before, he or she would have been from the Class of 1883. That would have seemed like ancient history to us. You may be thinking the same thing about me. Incidentally, 1883 was one year after the Trustees of Western Reserve College, which was founded on this campus in 1826, decided to move the college to Cleveland.

Do you know where the term western reserve comes from? It’s connected to the state of Connecticut, which in colonial times had land claims that stretched westward into what would become Ohio. These claims in northern Ohio were collectively known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. Much of the territory was wilderness and home to American Indians. It must have been a huge challenge for David Hudson and his fellow Connecticut pioneers to make the trek out here and settle this town in 1799. 

Read entire essay here... 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Lincoln Chair celebrates 100 years in Hudson!

This month marks the 100-year anniversary that James W. Ellsworth brought Lincoln's chair back to Hudson.
Archivist Thomas Vince with Lincoln's chair.

Western Reserve Academy's benefactor, James W. Ellsworth, was just 12 years old when Abraham Lincoln's train stopped in Hudson in 1861. We believe he was there, as it would have been a great occasion for the town that had voted solidly for Lincoln in the election of 1860.

Ellsworth attended our school in the late 1860s, and when his son was born in 1880, he named him Lincoln Ellsworth. After his retirement to Hudson, James W. Ellsworth rescued and reopened WRA, shaped and restored the campus, and eventually left his entire fortune to endow the school. And along the way, he became quite a collector of American antiques and implements which also were willed to the school. Among his treasured items is a chair that once was in the chambers of the Lincoln and Herndon Law Office in Springfield, Illinois. Ellsworth bought it at auction in March, 1914. It now can be seen in the WRA Archives.

Our Loomis Observatory founder's descendant visits campus

Doc Loomis of Medina County, a descendant of the founder of WRA's Loomis Observatory, visited the WRA archives and the 175-year old building last spring. Loomis, a missionary Bishop with the Anglican church, brought some genealogical books to share with WRA Archivist Tom Vince, who had extended the invitation. Loomis was amazed at how much material about Loomis and the Observatory is in the Archives. Opened in September, 1838, the landmark building was 175 years old this fall.
Outside the door of the historic Loomis Observatory are visitor Doc Loomis with Archivist Tom Vince.
At the transit telescope, one of the instruments Loomis bought in England, are visitor Doc Loomis with WRA Archivist Tom Vince.