Mansfield’s First Golf Course: The Westbrook Outing Club

In its infancy, the Westbrook Country Club, or Outing Club as it was called at the time, was located a little closer to Mansfield.  Today the 9-hole golf course is covered in homes that sit just to the south of North Lake Park, with the only reminder of the club’s existence being the street named Westbrook Avenue.  Golf was quickly gaining popularity in the United States in the 1890s and it didn’t take Mansfield long to embrace the sport as well.  On September 28, 1900, a group of men met at the office of N. F. Thomas of the National Cash Register Company on West Third Street for the purpose of starting a golf club.  Thomas was elected temporary chairman, James Dickson secretary, and Charley Vogele treasurer.  They already had plans to place the course on property belonging to A. J. Heineman on West Fourth Street and supplies were to be ordered promptly.[1]  A short time later, the Westbrook Outing Club was organized with 125 members[2] and, on October 17, 1900, the Mansfield News reported the golf links were now open to members of the club.  Someone named Mr. Harrison of Dayton was on hand to give instructions in the game.[3]

westbrook009

In March of 1901, with a membership of 150, the Westbrook Outing Club decided to extend the lease on the Heineman property.  There were also plans to build a “summer house” on the grounds at the “terminus of the streetcar line at the park.”[4]  After delays, because of weather, the Westbrook Outing Club officially opened for the 1901 season on Jun 22.  200 people attended the reception: there were refreshments of coffee, sherbet and sandwiches and Charles Vogele presided over the lemonade bowl.  The new summer house was a welcome retreat and much sought after for its protection from the sun.  James Wagonhurst won the driving contest for the gentleman, with a drive of 175 yards, and Miss Daisy L. Pierce’s drive of 85 yards won for the ladies.  In the putting contest, D. L. Zahniser and Miss Mary L. King were winners and Charles S. Carter won for the best approach.[5]

16AUG1902p9

Before the opening of the 1902 season, there were again discussions of building a new clubhouse[6] and in May the foundation was laid.[7]   On the Fourth of July, 1902, the new clubhouse was formally opened.  The Mansfield News wrote that “no finer constructed clubhouse and no more elegantly designed summer house is to be found anywhere than at the Westbrook links.”  Henry Weaver drew up the plans for the structure, which included a “spacious kitchen, roomy toilets for both ladies and gentlemen, a large parlor with old-fashioned fireplace at the west side, and a broad portico extending around the north and east sides.”[8]  The club continued to grow and be successful.

westbrook010

On October 14, 1903, A. J. Heineman died suddenly[9] and the future of the club was in question.  The following year, the golf grounds were put up for sale for a price of $25,000.[10]  It was also around this time that the club was thinking about expanding to an 18-hole course and the current location didn’t provide them with enough land.  The club continued on Heineman’s farm through the 1906 season, but the lease we due to expire on April 1, 1907.  In 1906 the Heineman property was bought by Byron Balliett and, putting contest winner, D. Lester Zahniser who planned to lay it out in lots and sell it off as residential sites.[11]  In October of 1906, the Twitchell farm, northwest of the city, was secured for the future site of the Westbrook County Club.  The site consisted of 170 acres purchased for $14,025[12]  Soon after, the Westbrook Company was incorporated.[13]  Vernon Redding, Mansfield architect, would design a magnificent new clubhouse[14] and the old clubhouse was moved a mile and a half, over three railroad tracks and up a hill[15] by Fred Lewis to a new location.

Sources:

?[1] Mansfield News, 29 SEP 1900, p. 5.
[2] Mansfield News, 11 OCT 1900, p. 5.
[3] Mansfield News, 17 OCT 1900, p. 2.
[4] Mansfield News, 26 MAR 1901, p. 6.
[5] Mansfield News, 24 JUN 1901, p. 6.
[6] Mansfield News, 17 APR 1902, p. 5.
[7] Mansfield News, 12 MAY 1902, p. 8.
[8] Mansfield News, 05 JUL 1902, p. 8.
[9] Mansfield Semi-Weekly News:  09 August 1898, Vol. 14, No. 66
[10] Mansfield News, 7 APR 1904, p. 2.
[11] Mansfield News, 23 APR 1906, p. 3.
[12] Mansfield News, 9 OCT 1906, p. 2.
[13] Mansfield News, 20 NOB 1906, p. 6.
[14] Mansfield News, 9 NOV 1907, p. 6.
[15] Mansfield News, 9 MAY 1907, p. 10.

Mansfield City Basketball and Their First Road Trip

A photo of seven men posing in their basketball uniforms is located in the Sherman Room.  The only indications of their identity are the words Mansfield, Ohio across their chests, “’15-‘16” written on the Basketball in the middle of the group and the name of the studio, Oscar Grossheim, Muscatine, IA on the mat around the photo.  Six of the seven men show the somber expression typical in images from this time, one has a slight smile.  I wanted to know the identity of the individuals and what brought them to Muscatine, IA.

1916

1915-16 Mansfield City Basketball Team (Photo by Oscar Grossheim)

I first searched through the newspaper and, rather quickly, found an article of the Mansfield City Basketball team taking a “big western trip” in February of 1916.  This was the first trip of its kind for a local semi-pro team.  The team was “composed almost entirely of former college stars” who were located in Mansfield.  The article goes on to list six players who would be making the trip: Laurence Hughes, Merz Pecht, Robert Wilcox, Dean Leuthner, Glenn Davis and Douglas Miller.[i]

The Mansfield City basketball team had a successful record the previous year, though, according to newspaper reports, they didn’t get the support from the city they deserved.  They played mainly neighboring city teams, including Ashland, Bucyrus, Galion, Wooster, Polk, and Mt. Vernon.  Also on the schedule were some collegiate teams such as Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan, Marietta, and Baldwin-Wallace.  Some nationally known teams, like the New York Nationals and Buffalo Germans, even traveled to Mansfield to showcase their skills.  They even competed against the Mansfield High School team near the end of the season.  The high school team was one of the best to date and could “lay claim to the state championship”[ii] and included future football Hall-of-Famer Wilbur “Pete” Henry.  The high school team won all three games.  The city team finished with a record of 15-13, but despite the poor record won the Semi-Professional Championship of Central Ohio.[iii]

mhs_1915BB

Wilbur “Pete” Henry in 1915

The 1915-16 season started strong for the Mansfield City team.  In the first two games, they defeated the Ashland Y.M.C.A. 34-22 and 36-25.[iv]  On February 5, 1916, The Mansfield News announced the team would take a western trip, starting in Ft. Wayne, IN, then hitting Iowa and finishing in Minnesota.  They would play a total of 8 games on the trip.  They were given new uniforms by the Globe Clothing company and headed out on their first-ever road trip.[v]

The first game was on Tuesday, February 8, 1916, against the St. Paul’s Club of Ft. Wayne, IN.  The team “did not play true to form” and “there was evidence of a lack of practice,” and Mansfield lost the game 48-16.[vi]  The team next arrived in Muscatine, IA and played two games against the local team.  The mystery of the seventh person in the photo was solved as Floyd Dent, who was going to college in the area, also joined the Mansfield City team and would play the remainder of the games.  The Mansfield Globes, as they were now called, lost both games 43-21[vii] and 34-24[viii] respectively.  This is where the photograph located in the Sherman Room was taken, in the studio of Oscar Grossheim.  Grossheim was a well-known photographer in the area, his archive, containing 55,000 glass plate negatives is located at the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, IA.  They include the image of the Mansfield team and give evidence of who at least one individual is, the description in the archives lists D. H. Miller as manager.[ix]  Douglas Miller stands in the middle in a suit and bow tie.

Self-portrait_of_Oscar_Grossheim_(1910)

Oscar Grossheim Self Portrait (1910)

The team next made the short trip to Columbus Junction, IA losing again 18-12.[x]  Mansfield then traveled to Emmetsburg, IA and played a local side who had not lost at home in 3 years.  The run continued with Mansfield losing 48-21.[xi]  The team was next set to play in Osage, IA, but missed the train.  They had to travel by bobsled in near-zero temperatures to make the game.  Despite this, the Mansfield side nearly earned their first victory losing 26-22.  According to The Mansfield News, poor officiating cost Mansfield the game.[xii]  They next traveled to Ft. Dodge, IA losing 56-22[xiii] before making their way to Red Wing, MN for the final game.  Many of the players were sick, most likely from traveling by bobsled in near-zero temperatures and lost the final game 68-10.[xiv]  Despite the record, the team made a positive impression on their opponents and were invited back the following season.[xv]

 

map

Google Map of the teams neatly 2000 mile trip

These men would stay in the city most of their lives.  Glenn Davis and Floyd Dent would both be physical directors of the YMCA and Dent would go on to be instrumental in building up the Boy Scouts in Mansfield.  Merz Pecht would spend 32 years at the Post Office retiring in 1959 and Laurence, or Lawrence, Hughes worked at Westinghouse and farmed.  Dean Leuthner attended dental school at The Ohio State University and became a dentist in the city.  Douglas Miller was a car salesman and later ran the Mansfield Terrace Motel.  It is unknown what happened to Robert Wilcox.

Sources:

[i] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 05 FEB 1916.
[ii] Manhigan Yearbook (Mansfield, Ohio), 1915, p 93.
[iii] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 03 MAR 1915, p. 14.
[iv] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 24 DEC 1915, p14 and 27 DEC 1915, p9.
[v] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 05 FEB 1916.
[vi] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 09 FEB 1916,  p9.
[vii] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 12 FEB 1916, p7.
[viii] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 14 FEB 1916, p10.
[ix] http://www.umvphotoarchive.org/digital/collection/muspl/id/3996/rec/1
[x] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 15 FEB 1916, p11.
[xi] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 17 FEB 1916, p12.
[xii] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 17 FEB 1916, p12.
[xiii] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 19 FEB 1916, p13.
[xiv] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 19 FEB 1916, p4.
[xv] The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio), 21 FEB 1916, p10.

Mansfield Athletes: Wilbur “Pete” Henry

Mansfield Senior High has had many great athletes in its history.  Wilbur Henry left his mark on the football world 100 years ago.  Wilbur Frank Henry was born on October 31, 1897 to Ulysses Sherman Henry and Bertha Frank.  His father, Ulysses, was born in Lucas, Ohio and was a lifelong resident of the area.  Ulysses worked at the Ohio State Reformatory for 32 years and was once attacked with a hammer by inmate Thomas Wardell.  Wardell was reportedly associated with the Chicago Car Barn Bandits, a group of young men who shocked Chicago in 1903 with their criminal exploits and was a known troublemaker.  Despite this, Wardell was employed as a carpenter at the institution and one day attacked Ulysses as he walked through the carpenter shop. Ulysses survived serious injury and was back to work the next day, only because he was so much larger than his assailant.  Ulysses retired from the Reformatory on January 1, 1938 and died a short time later on January 30, 1938 at the age of 72.  Wilbur’s mother was a German immigrant who came to America as a child.  She died on July 31, 1949.

MHS_1913

1912 MHS Football, Henry is second from left in the first row.

Wilbur Henry, or “Pete” or “Fat” as he was referenced in his senior yearbook, got his father’s size and used it to dominate on the field.  He began playing football in the 1912 season as a sophomore.  Only one player returned from the previous year: senior and Captain, Arno Kalmerten, and the young team had a horrendous start to the season being outscored 332-6 in the first 5 games, including an 87-0 loss to Massillon and a 99-6 loss to Akron Central.  Mansfield earned their first win against Marion on November 2, 1912, 13-0 with touchdowns by Henry and junior, Percy Pecht.  The team finished strong winning three out of their last four games.  Henry and eleven others received their letter at the end of the season.

mhs_1914

1913 MHS Football, Henry is seated with “M” on his sweater.

mhs_1914BB

1913-14 MHS Basketball team, Henry is Second from left in back row.

The 1913 season didn’t end much better.  Captain Percy Pecht and the Mansfield eleven only won 2 games, but the defense played well,  with the only exception being an 88-0 loss to Toledo.  Mansfield’s two wins would come against Galion (45-0) and Medina (46-0), unfortunately, these would be some of the only points scored that season.  Mansfield scored a total of 104 points, while their opponents garnered 187.  There was also a new addition to the team: Henry’s classmate, John Tressel.  Tressel would prove to be a companion to Henry for many years.  It was also in Henry’s junior year that he first participated in basketball.  His size once again proved a valuable asset.  With his 190 lbs. frame, he was a “tower of strength on defense and broke up play after play.”  The team won the Championship of Northern Ohio, losing the state championship game against Marietta.

mhs_1915

1914 MHS Football, Henry in back row fourth from left.

mhs_1915BB

Henry for 1914-15 MHS basketball

The 1914 football season would be more successful under the new head coach, Harry R. Patton.  Henry was moved to full back under Patton.   The team finished 8-1, their only loss coming from Wooster (9-0).  Wilbur Henry led the team as captain and the defense only allowed 30 points in nine games played, 8 of them played at home, the only away game hosted by Bucyrus.  Henry must have been quite a site stepping onto the field, weighing well over 200 lbs. his senior year when others on the field averaged around 150 lbs.  At the finish of the season, players were given a solid gold pin instead of the traditional sweater with an “M” on it.

mhs_senior

1915 senior photo

mhs_JTsenior

1915 senior photo

In October of 1915, it was announced that Wilbur Henry and his teammate, John Tressel, had made the football team at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa.  The successful football program was started in 1890 and had a winning season every year except 1910.  In the three seasons before Henry and Tressel’s arrival, the team had gone 28-4 under Coach Bob Folwell.  Henry played and lettered his freshmen year, but was forced to leave school after contracting scarlet fever.  Folwell’s last year at Washington and Jefferson was in 1915, going 8-1-1, and it was rumored that Henry would follow him to the University of Pennsylvania.  Henry and Tressel returned to Washington and Jefferson for the 1916 season putting those rumors to rest.  The team would go 8-2 under new coach Sol Metzger.  1917 brought more success when Henry was elected captain and was named an All-American.  The 1918 season was cut short because of World War I.  Washington and Jefferson only played 4 games, going 2-2.  Henry only played in two of these.  Despite this, however, both Henry and Tressel won All-American honors.

1918 would be Tressel’s final college season.  He and Henry would team up to coach and prepare the team from the Mansfield Sheet and Tin Plate Company before Tressel left to play his only season of professional football for the Massillon Tigers and Henry returned to Washington and Jefferson for his senior year.  Henry’s eligibility was in question for the 1919 season, but colleges agreed to grant students a fifth year due to the shortened season and the Student Army Training Corps requirements, in which all able-bodied men were required to participate.  The University of Pittsburgh was not happy with Henry’s eligibility, even though they played other teams with fifth-year seniors and Henry agreed to sit out the game.  Pitt won the contest 7-6.  Henry would once again be named an All-American.

Wilbur “Pete” Henry would go on to play nine seasons of professional football with the Canton Bulldogs, New York Giants and Pottsville Maroons between 1920 and 1928.  He also served as coach of the Canton Bulldogs in 1926 and the Pottsville Maroons in 1928.  After retiring from his professional career, Henry returned to his alma mater and served as the freshman coach of the football team and head coach of the basketball and track teams.  He served as head coach of the football team in 1942 and 1945 and was the athletic director from 1932 until his death in 1952.  Henry was only 54 at the time of his death which was caused by sepsis due to gangrene in his left foot.  In 1949, his right leg was amputated due to the same ailment.  He was returned to Mansfield for burial and today the gym at Mansfield Senior High School is named in his honor.

Mansfield Baseball: Sandy McDermott

Mansfield has many great Baseball memories.  There was Ed Delahanty, who signed to play with Mansfield in 1887 at the age of 19.  He would go on to become one of the game’s greatest hitters, batting .408 for Philadelphia in 1899, going 6 for 6 twice and once hitting four home runs in a single game.  The first professional baseball game, where players were paid a salary, happened when the Cincinnati Red Stockings came to play Mansfield on June 1, 1869.  The Mansfield Independents were defeated 48-14.  Honus Wagner even briefly played here in 1895.

Mansfield loved baseball and this may be why player, manager and umpire, Thomas “Sandy” McDermott, made Mansfield his home after his playing days.  Sandy was born in Zanesville, Ohio on March 15, 1856.  Sandy only played one inning in the major leagues, when he went in at second base for the Baltimore Orioles on June 18, 1885.  He never had an at bat.  He had a long career in the minor leagues, playing for Akron, Columbus, and the Fall River Indians.  He also managed the Poughkeepsie Colts and the 1887 Mansfield Pioneers team, which included Ed Delahanty.

mcdermott

Thomas “Sandy” Mcdermott

Sandy had a better career as an umpire managing 126 games in 1890 and 1897, though it wasn’t without controversy.  Midway through the 1890 season, McDermott was released after being accused of being intimidated by Cap Anson of Chicago.  McDermott was reinstated as an umpire in 1897.  On June 1, 1897, after the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were leading 7-4, refused to continue playing the New York Giants because of what they believed to be biased calls by McDermott, McDermott was forced to forfeit the game to the Giants.  Things didn’t get any better the following week in Cincinnati.  Reds players kept complaining about the baseball and McDermott refused to change the ball.  This prompted a reds player to throw the ball in the stands when McDermott wasn’t looking.

The first mention of Sandy making Mansfield his home was on July 24, 1905 in the Mansfield News.  There was some confusion during a play between the Mansfield Independents and the Shelby Blues.  With a man on second and third and one out, Shelby hit a fly ball to left field.  The ball was caught and the runner at second, taking too big of a lead, was thrown out.  Meanwhile the runner at third had run home.  McDermott claimed that the run should not count as the completed double play ended the inning.  Others, including the sporting editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, said the run should count since the player reached home before the double play was completed and the second out wasn’t a force out.

Sandy’s past continued to follow him in Mansfield.  In 1910 in the Mansfield News, he tells of how he ran into Phil Osborne, an old time Mansfield Player, at the Smokehouse.  As soon as the two shook hands, Osborne wanted to ask Sandy a question.  Sandy didn’t need to hear it and knew it was about a call he had made in a game at Akron.  Sandy, umpiring behind home plate, had called Osborne out at third.  Sandy ran to the base, saw the third baseman still had the ball and called Osborne out.  Osborne claims the player dropped the ball.

McDermott had various jobs while in Mansfield.  He continued to umpire, worked as a bartender, a concessionaire at Luna Park, and a clerk at various establishments.  During the last years of his life, he worked for and lived with the family of John P. Flood, a former Mansfield baseball manager.  Sandy died, or as the Mansfield News put it “answered the call of the great umpire,” on November 23, 1922 after a three month battle with stomach cancer.  His body was returned to Zanesville for burial.

Sources:

The Mansfield News. 24 JUL 1905, p9
The Mansfield News. 26 JUL 1905, p9
The Mansfield News. 09 AUG 1910, p4
The Mansfield News. 23 NOV 1922, p2
Mitchell, Eddie.  Baseball Rowdies of the 19th Century: Brawlers, Drinkers, Pranksters and Cheats in the Early Days of the Major Leagues. p. 186.