Who was Dr. Harry E. Dunlap?

Mary Ann Wise may have thought she had met the man of her dreams on a train coming from Toledo, Ohio in 1919.  A distinguished doctor by the name of Harry E. Dunlap had been fascinated by the 25-year-old Mary who, according to her, had never had the chance to have young men call on her as other girls her age had.  Mary wanted to find out more about the 35-year-old doctor (though his age was probably closer to 40) and, when asked, Dunlap said he was an Osteopath and a Christian.  The doctor asked her what more she could want and assured her he could support her.  The young couple got off the train and went to Mary’s sister, Edna Irene DeHart’s, home.  The next day, Mary accompanied Dunlap to the interurban station where he was intending to go back to his home in Bucyrus.  Before reaching the station, Dunlap proposed marriage and Mary accepted. The couple was married on Valentine’s Day, 1919, only 43 hours after they had first met.

The honeymoon phase of the relationship was even shorter than the courtship.  The newlyweds returned to the DeHart home and Mary told her sister the news.  Edna suggested having a belling, a custom where family members would ring bells and bang on pots the night of the wedding.  The custom dates back to the middle ages and was intended to keep evil spirits away from the newlyweds.  This is when the doctor had his first “fit,” as Mary called it, saying they were going to get the police and detective on his tail.  That night Mary stated Dunlap put a revolver and knife under his pillow and “made a proposition to me, so terrible, I can not repeat it.”  She said he then choked her and said he was going to take her to Canada, where she would be kept in a house and forced to live with other men.  Dunlap threatened to kill her and she screamed. Edna came into the room, staying with the couple the remainder of the night.[1]

Later, when they went to Mary’s mother’s home, Mary said Dunlap got down on his knees and begged for forgiveness. She also claimed that he offered to give her $1000 if she would not tell everything she knew of him.  When pressed further, the doctor told Mary and Edna he always prayed with his patients and then had them disrobe.  Mary accused Dunlap of being a “white slave crook,” and said one million dollars would not persuade her to go to Canada with him.  Dunlap left for Bucyrus alone, but continued to write and send Mary packages, usually containing references to Spiritualism, which Mary believed to be the work of the devil.

Who was Dr. Dunlap?

Harry Emory Dunlap was born on April 2, 1878, in Butler County, Pennsylvania to John Dunlap and Susan Marvin, one of at least 10 children.  Before coming to Ohio, Dunlap was married in Butler County to Lillie Christy on April 17, 1905.  Like Mary Wise, it was said the couple fell in love at once and quietly got married.  Also, like Mary, the marriage was short-lived.  While returning home on June 1, 1905, Dr. Dunlap, referred to as a “faith curist” by the Pittsburgh Press, found his wife leaving their home with her father William Christy.  Lillie claimed that Dunlap was jealous and threatened to chastise her if she looked at other men.  She also could no longer stand the scanty living conditions.[2]  Dunlap appears to have left the area a short time later.  In 1910, Lillie filed for divorce from Harry Dunlap.[3]

The next we hear of Harry Dunlap is his second marriage to Mary Amelia Bellamy, a Canadian native, in Huron County, Ohio on February 7, 1917.[4]  The marriage would last 14-months and was by all appearances a happy one.  Mary, or Millie, would die on April 12, 1918 of tuberculosis.  In Millie’s obituary, in the Bucyrus Evening Telegraph, Harry Dunlap is referred to as a clairvoyant medium.[5]  The death of his second wife was quite a blow to the doctor.  During his divorce proceeding from Mary Wise, he mentioned that Millie Bellamy was the “purest and sweetest woman that ever lived.”

Further events in 1919 would explain the doctor’s aversion to police and detectives.  On January 29, 1919, Mrs. Rose Scranton was murdered in Marion, Ohio.  On June 3, 1919, Dunlap, along with James Steel, were arrested for the murder.  Was this the reason the doctor was worried about police showing up to the house after his marriage to Mary Wise, fourteen days after the murder?  Could this also be the information that he offer a $1000 to Mary not to divulge? The answer my never be known. Mary never connected the doctor to the murder and Dunlap and Steel were exonerated as the judge declared “not one scintilla of evidence” connected them to the crime.  Though another clue to the life of Harry Dunlap was discovered during the trial.  While searching his room, a trunk was found containing letters from women from all over the state.  Also included in the trunk was a large collection of photographs of women and girls.[6]  Dunlap dismissed the letters and photos, saying they were all from female relatives.[7]

Mary Wise was granted a divorce for Dunlap in August of 1919 and refused the alimony she would have been awarded, saying the money was tainted.  Little is heard from Harry Dunlap after that.  In 1942 he shows up in Fostoria, Ohio on a World War II draft registration card.  At that time, he lists his occupation as Osteopath.  He again disappears until his death in Cleveland, Ohio on January 28, 1966.  Harry Dunlap is buried in an unmarked grave at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery in Bedford Heights, Ohio.


Sources:

  1. The Mansfield News (Mansfield, OH). 31 July 1919, p. 4.
  2. The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA). 02 June 1905, p. 10.
  3. The Butler Citizen (Butler, PA). 26 January 1910, p. 7.
  4. Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.                                                             
  5. The Bucyrus Evening Telegraph (Bucyrus, OH). 12 April 1918, p. 5.
  6. The Marion Star (Marion, OH). 09 June 1919, p. 3.
  7. The Marion Star (Marion, OH). 11 June 1919, p. 7.

Dr. Ada Ford

Ada Ford was born on March 16, 1877 to Samuel Nelson Ford and Elizabeth Cook.[1] The couple had one other child, Ada’s brother Hoyt Ford, on January 5, 1880.[2] Elizabeth died on November 28, 1885 from congestive fever[3] and Samuel remarried on September 13, 1877.[4] His new wife was Mrs. Anna Jane Beverstock, Elizabeth’s older sister. Anna’s husband, Charles H Beverstock, had died of “a fever of a malignant type” on August 26, 1872.[5] In 1881 Samuel Ford built an 11 room, 2-story frame home on North Diamond Street for $3,000.[6] Samuel Ford was a prominent figure in Mansfield business circles and started from humble beginnings, being born on a farm in Washington Township, Richland County, Ohio. After serving in the Civil War as one of the “Hundred Days’ Men” at the age of 17, Ford entered the lumber business at the age of 18. By 1869 he was in business for himself manufacturing lumber, sash, doors and blinds.[7]

1882 City of Mansfield Map

This work ethic was handed down to his children. Hoyt found success in the banking business, while his sister, Ada, would take a more unconventional path for women in her time and become a physician. Along with this work ethic, Ada had natural talent as well. She was an exceptional speaker, even at a young age. At 12 years old she was praised in Mansfield newspapers recitations given at local churches. After completing courses at Mansfield High School, Ada improved on these natural talents by attending the Emerson School of Oratory at Boston. She would then study osteopathy in Kirksville, Mo., then anatomy and physiology under Dr. William T. Eckley at Chicago. In 1909 she would receive her diploma from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Cleveland, part of Ohio Wesleyan University. That same year Dr. Ford would be hired as an Assistant Physician at Athens State Hospital; one of, if not, the first women in that position. Dr. Ford would be in Athens for less than two years before returning to Mansfield where she would open her own practice.

Dr. Ada Ford and others, Athens State Hospital, from Ohio University Libraries Digital Archives Collections (https://www.ohio.edu/library/collections/digital-archives/amhc)

Upon her return to Mansfield, she would live with her father and step-mother on North Diamond. Since the building of his home, Samuel had acquired more property including the former home of James A. Hedges. Sometime between 1902-1909, Hedges’ home was razed and a new home was built. Hoyt Ford would move into the home with his new wife, Carrie Ella Kerr, in 1907. A short time later, Hoyt Ford would build a new home at 425 Sherman Place. Dr. Ford and her parents would move into the new home, while the older home built in 1881 was sold to Dr. G. W. Baughman.

The Ford family home at 24 North Diamond (1913). The address would later be 32 North Diamond.

Dr. Ford continued to live with her parents and spent time traveling. She never married. She was involved in many local societies and civic organizations. In an interview in the Mansfield News on July 10, 1921, Dr. Ford spoke of many of the advancements women were making in professions at the time saying: “being a physician isn’t the only thing, of course, that women are succeeding at. I should think women would make the best juvenile judges. There is a broad field for the woman lawyer. For that work needs just a woman’s touch to make it most successful.” Dr. Ford went on to say that she was fortunate and didn’t have to experience the difficulties that many women in her position had to, but she did highlight the struggles and unpleasantness women had to endure to become a success in their field saying that any girl who “can go through all the unpleasantness, and get to feel just casual and indifferent toward it all,” can succeed “but she must learn not to even blink, she must look the bull right in the eye, even if sometimes she wishes the earth would open and swallow her.”

Dr. Ada Ford

Dr. Ford would retire from medicine around 1936 and spend the next twenty years traveling and working in the community. She was president of the Mansfield Telephone Co. and vice president of the Mansfield Building and Loan Association until her death on September 27, 1956, in her family home at 32 North Diamond. She was the last of her immediate family, as her brother Hoyt had died in 1945. At the time of her death, her estate was worth 1.8 million dollars. Her will stated that the money was to go into a trust fund established by her father and that the executors of the estate were to set up numerous philanthropic ventures. The S. N. Ford and Ada Ford Foundation was created.


Sources:

  1. Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  2. The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147
  3. Mansfield Cemetery and Mansfield Catholic Cemetery, Mansfield, Ohio, Vol. 1, p. 197.
  4. Richland County, Ohio Marriages 1872-1900, p. 108.
  5. Mansfield Herald (Mansfield, Ohio). 29 August 1872, p. 3.
  6. Mansfield Herald (Mansfield, Ohio). 12 May 1881, p. 6.
  7. Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 27 August 1930, p. 1.

Who Murdered Dr. Roby?

On Friday night, September 18, 1931, Dr. Harry G. Roby had just arrived home for the evening. Shortly after 8:00, Dr. Roby pulled into his garage and exited his Plymouth sedan. Carrying several magazines, a newspaper, and a small parcel, Roby had just reached the threshold of the garage when he was struck in the head with a two-foot-long, one and one-half inch thick piece of galvanized pipe. Roby received two more blows as he lay on the ground. Any one of the three would have been fatal. Two boys, Robert Logan and Robert Hunter, friends of Roby’s son, Harry Jr., discovered the body and ran to the front door to tell Roby’s wife, Hazel. A gruesome scene met Mrs. Roby when she left to investigate the boys’ discovery. A short time later, the residence at 516 South Main Street was abuzz with police and neighbors looking for answers.

Harry George Roby was born on September 30, 1888, in Rochester, New York to Frank Roby and Rose Doherty. The 1910 U.S. Census reported he was working as an errand boy for a motor company in Rochester. Three years later, Roby was in Cincinnati, Ohio, a graduate of the Cincinnati School of Dentistry, and recently married to Florence Koester. The couple had one daughter, Rita Mae, but three years later the marriage fell apart. Florence divorced Harry and sued for alimony and custody of Rita Mae. The following year, Dr. Roby was practicing in Toledo, Ohio, and married his second wife, Hazel Shoemaker, on August 8, 1917. Harry Roby Jr. was born August 24, 1918, and on January 11, 1920, a daughter, Mary Lou, was born in Toledo, Ohio, and a short time later the family moved to Elyria, Ohio.

Around 1921 Dr. Roby and his family moved to Mansfield, Ohio. On October 14, 1921, an ad appeared in the Mansfield News announcing the opening of his new dental office. The office was located at 63 ½ North Main Street above Lucas Bros. Drug Store. Roby would also become involved in the local boxing scene by promoting bouts and managing local bantamweight, Al Dundee, briefly in 1925. On April 13, 1925, Roby was able to arrange a bout between Dundee and Frankie Gerano at the Coliseum in Mansfield, Ohio. Gerano had won gold in the Olympics in 1920 and was the current flyweight champion. Gerano won the contest in 12 rounds. The Robys had another son, James, on January 19, 1927 By all appearances, Roby led a happy, prosperous life. He had a successful business and was a respected citizen and sportsman, but not all was as it seemed.

On April 6, 1930, Roby’s dental office was robbed. The thieves took teeth valued at $180, gold valued at $75-$80, and a revolver. The next year, on July 25, 1931, Mr. Roby’s wife, Hazel, filed for divorce. Mrs. Roby charged her husband with extreme cruelty and stated that he repeatedly beat her. Mrs. Roby also stated her husband had been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the past three years. A week later, for some unknown reason, the divorce action was withdrawn. Seven weeks later, Dr. Roby would be beaten to death outside his garage. Three theories were considered following his death: 1. Robbery, 2. A hired racketeer who was sent to kill Roby, and 3. Personal vengeance.

The robbery motive was quickly thrown out.  Roby still had $130 in cash, a diamond stickpin, a wristwatch, and $105 in gold on him when his body was found.  It was also questioned why the assassin would deliver two more blows to Roby if robbery was the only motive.  The police had little evidence.  No fingerprints were found on the galvanized pipe and neighbors, even though the area was well lighted, saw nothing unusual on the night of the murder.  A few days later, a friend of Roby’s, an unnamed blond woman, came forward and said that Roby had told her he “was to be put on the spot” soon.  Police believe that the last two weeks of Roby’s life were lived in fear.  It was believed Roby received a letter warning him of his death.  His home and office were searched, but no letter was found.  Numerous people were brought to Mansfield from Toledo to be interviewed about the case.  Little seemed to come from the investigation and very little information was given to the press by police.

In late October, letters were received by Mrs. T. W. Miller, wife of the millionaire president of Faultless Rubber Co. in Ashland, Ohio, which attempted to extort $1,000. The writer threatened that if the Millers failed to pay, their son, Parker, would be kidnapped. Mansfield dentist, Dr. Suter, was questioned and taken into custody for writing the letters. In January of 1932, it was reported in the Mansfield News that James Newsome, a convicted gas station robber, had confessed to murdering Roby. Newsome said he didn’t know why he murdered Roby, but he was just seized with a desire to murder. Later he also admitted to writing the letters to Mrs. Miller. Newsome later rescinded his confession, but handwriting analysis did connect him to the extortion plot. Dr. Suter was exonerated and given a clean slate. Police still felt Newsome was a possible suspect and began to question all his known associates. On February 4, 1932, it was reported that Mrs. Roby and her children were moving back to Toledo, and, in March, Dr. Suter took over Roby’s old office at 63 ½ North Main Street. The case went cold. Nothing else happened with the case until a year later when the galvanized pipe used to murder Roby mysteriously disappeared from the police station.

The case was closed and no longer mentioned in the local newspapers until February of 1956.  25 years later, Mrs. Alma Noblin in Toledo, Ohio was murder in a startlingly similar way.  The victim was found in her basement with five blows to her head.  Nothing was stolen and the murder appeared personal.  Authorities did not believe there was a connection in the cases, but Mrs. Noblin happened to be the sister of Hazel Sortman, the former Hazel Roby.  This murder, like Roby’s, was never solved, adding another layer of mystery to one of the unsolved murders in Mansfield.


Sources:

  1. Mansfield News, 20 SEP 1931, p. 1.
  2. Roby, Dr. Harry G., Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. 
  3. Roby, Harry G., Ancestry.com. Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. 
  4. Mansfield News, 14 OCT 1921.
  5. Mansfield News, 14 APR 1925,  p. 8.
  6. Roby, James Farmer, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  7. Mansfield News, 26 JUL 1931, p. 10.
  8. Mansfield News, 02 AUG 1931, p. 18.
  9. Mansfield News, 20 SEP 1931, p. 1.
  10. Mansfield News, 22 SEP 1931, p. 1.
  11. Mansfield News, 16 SEP 1932, p. 1.
  12. Mansfield News Journal, 08 FEB 1956, p. 2.

Mansfield’s First Female Physician: Dr. Lina Fink

We have already looked at Dr. Mary Jordan Finley and Dr. J. Lillian McBride, but another woman may be able to claim the title of the first female physician in Mansfield.  Dr. Emeline “Lina” Fink was only in Mansfield for a short time, but she trained and started her career here and there is a strong possibility she was an inspiration to other women in the community, particularly a young Miss Mary Finley.

Emeline S. Fink was born January 14, 1849, to John Fink and Catherine Sprinkle.[1]  She was part of a large family and the 1850 U.S. Census lists 1-year-old Emeline and six older children.[2]  On May 1, 1860, Emeline’s father, John, died[3] leaving his widow, Catherine, to care for the farm and children remaining at home.  The 1860 U. S. Census lists Catherine as a “lady farmer,” with children Emma, Emeline, and 4-year-old Franklin at home.[4]

Lieut. Solomon Fink from the History of Cowley County, Kansas by Millington, D. A and Greer, E. P, page 53.

It was around 1869 when the Finks first made their way to Mansfield, Ohio.  Emeline’s older brother, Lieut. Solomon Ellis Fink, had begun studying law before enlisting in the service.  When the war ended, he practiced in Revenna, Ohio with S. D. Norton before becoming an agent with the Ohio Department of Insurance.  A listing in the Mansfield Herald on November 18, 1869 states his office was in Mansfield, Ohio.  Solomon next appears in the Mansfield City Directory for 1871-72, listing him as an attorney and residing at 39 Wood St.

1871-72 Mansfield City Directory

In 1870 Emeline was teaching in Sheffield, Ashtabula, Ohio, still living with her mother, Catherine, and younger brother, Franklin.[5]  She was first mentioned in the Mansfield Herald on December 3, 1874.  A Miss Vina Strong was resigning her position as a teacher in the Fourth Street primary school and Miss Lina Fink was to take her place.  It must have been a short time later that she decided to study medicine.  The 1877-78 Mansfield City Directory lists her as a student of Dr. Alvah E. Keyes and living with her brother at 39 Wood St.  Their younger brother, Franklin, had also joined them to study law under Solomon at Geddes, Fink & Geddes.

Page 3 of Mansfield Herald, published in Mansfield, Ohio on Thursday, June 5th, 1879

On March 8, 1878, a notice appeared in The Findley Jeffersonian saying that Miss Lina Fink, of Mansfield, had recently graduated from the Homeopathic College in Cleveland and was soon to open an office in Mansfield.  She first practiced in Napoleon, Ohio for a year before coming to Mansfield in June of 1879.  Shortly after opening her practice, Dr. Fink assisted Dr. Ormes of Jamestown, N. Y., along with Drs. Keyes, Anderson, Erwin, and Dr. Campbell of Ashland in removing a 22-pound ovarian tumor from a Mrs. Voesch.  The patient did not survive the operation.[6]  Present to assist with the operation was Miss Mary Finley.  Two years later she would attend medical school in Philadelphia.

Page 2 of Ohio Liberal, published in Mansfield, Ohio on Wednesday, June 4th, 1879

Dr. Fink only practiced in Mansfield for a few more years.  The last time she is mentioned in the newspaper is on January 5, 1882, when she is elected medical examiner of the Americus Council, No. 1.  The next time she shows up in any record is in the 1900 U.S. Census, back in Sheffield, Ashtabula, Ohio.  She was still a practicing physician and owned a farm.  Living with her was her 14-year-old nephew, Melvin Fink.[7]  Solomon also left Mansfield. In 1886 he moved to Winfield, Kansas, and became one of the area’s pioneer residents.  Solomon died on August 18, 1912, in Winfield, Kansas, surrounded by his family.[8]  Dr. Lina Fink continued to practice medicine in Sheffield, Ohio until around 1915.  She died on Christmas Eve, 1929, and is buried in Edgewood Cemetery in Ashtabula County, Ohio.[9]


Sources:

  1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/98040325/emeline-s.-fink
  2. Year: 1850; Census Place: Canfield, Mahoning, Ohio; Roll: 707; Page: 488a
  3. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29912718/john-fink
  4. Year: 1880; Census Place: Sheffield, Ashtabula, Ohio; Roll: 992; Page: 607C; Enumeration District: 025
  5. Year: 1870; Census Place: Sheffield, Ashtabula, Ohio; Roll: M593_1170; Page: 371A; Family History Library Film: 552669
  6. Page 3 of Ohio Liberal, published in Mansfield, Ohio on Wednesday, June 18th, 1879
  7. Year: 1900; Census Place: Sheffield, Ashtabula, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0035; FHL microfilm: 1241238
  8. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14980780/solomon-ellis-fink
  9. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/98040325/emeline-s.-fink