Behind the Camera: Burkholder Photography

If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, one of the most prolific early “writers” of and about Mansfield was John H. Burkholder.

Originally from Holmes County, Burkholder first came to Richland County around 1873 when he moved to Bellville from Navarre, in Stark County. He stayed in Bellville for about five years before moving to Mt. Vernon, where he operated a very successful studio for about seven years before moving to Mansfield in about 1885. In Mansfield, he opened a photography studio and photographic supplies shop on Main Street across from the post office. [Baughman, Centennial Biographical History of Richland County, page 376-7]

In addition to his studio photography, Burkholder was a strong proponent of in-home photography, and posted several advertisements in the local papers to advocate for this form of portraiture. As such, it is maybe not surprising that we have pictures of the interior of the Burkholder home surviving today, as seen below.

Burkholder operated his studio and shop in Mansfield from 1885 until 1918, with his brother George Burkholder serving as general assistant. In 1918, R. A. Spratt bought the shop from Burkholder.

A Selection of Burkholder Photos


“Believe in Witchcraft, do Some in Richland County”: The First Marriage and Divorce of Amos D. Norris

The name “Amos Norris” is written many, many times in the court records of Richland County in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so much so that late in his life one newspaper wrote that Amos “[seemed] to be known to known to all the attorneys of the city who claim that lawing is a pastime with him” [1]. I stumbled across his name when looking for something appropriately spooky for our blog post in October, and found a trove of tales about Amos D. Norris.

The somewhat odd life of Amos D. Norris began, appropriately, with an oddity. He was born on the leap day of 1840, February 29th in Bellville to William Norris and Rebecca Measel, and he would be a lifelong resident of Worthington Township. The real oddities don’t begin until he was a bit older, however.

He was a private in the Union Army during the Civil War, but only caught the tail end of the conflict. Having enlisted on January 1st, 1865, when he was 24, he served for not quite three months and was discharged on the 29th of March in the same year. He also claimed to have lasting disabilities due to his service, listing rheumatism and catarrh as ailments resulting from his time as a private [2]. Given that in 1890 Amos Norris was 50 years old and had been working as a farmer for decades (in addition to his hobby of “lawing,” that is), it seems less likely that his not-quite-three-month stint as a soldier caused his ailments than did his age and occupation.

Regardless, after his brief stint of service, Amos came back to Richland County and settled down. He married Eliza Snavely on the 30th of September, 1866, and they had a farm in Worthington Township, near Newville [3]. The couple began a family, and despite the death of two children in infancy, the family grew. Amos and Eliza had four children who survived infancy: Carrie E. Norris born in 1867, Joseph S. Norris born around 1871, William G. Norrise born in 1873, and Ada Norris (whose later married name was Ada Piper), born in 1877. The family was struck with tragedy when on July 6th, 1901, Joseph Norris died of tuberculosis, leaving behind a wife and a daughter under ten years old.

It was with Joseph’s death that things seemed to change for Amos and his family, although Amos was still financially sound as “a well to do farmer of Worthington Township.” Within a month of Joseph’s death, Eliza filed for divorce from Amos, in a “sensational” suit. Her suit alleged that Amos claimed “to be a wizard with the extraordinary power to make people sick” [4]. When the divorce was scheduled for court, the newspaper reported that ” the history of witchcraft will probably be entered into” during the divorce proceedings, and reported that 44 witnesses were to be called.

As it turned out, when the case went to court Eliza was the only witness called and she was cross examined for more than two hours. Eliza testified about the witchcraft her husband performed, which the newspaper wrote “was almost beyond belief in this enlightened age”:

Mrs. Norris claimed that her husband made her sick through the use of charms. She testified that her husband had a book on witchcraft and that he practiced the black art on her. She says that for one charm her husband would go out and hunt four leaf clovers and then swallow them. She said that she felt sick afterwards. She testified that her husband would cross her path when she was walking and would mutter strange words. She claims that it made her so weak that she was hardly able to walk. She testified that for another charm her husband put seven $1 bills in his shirt pocket. He would put his right hand on the pocket containing the bills and would touch her with his elbow. She stated that this also made her ill. For still another charm she claims that her husband wore something around his neck wrapped up in paper and inclosed [sic] with a little cloth sack.

Mansfield Daily Shield, 19 November 1901, page 2.

After this first day of testimony before a court full of spectators, Amos and Eliza agreed in private upon terms for the divorce to present to the court, which included Amos paying $1,075 in alimony to Eliza. However, the following day, Eliza was several hours late to court and when she arrived her lawyer declined to continue the divorce suit because she had used a different lawyer to settle the alimony with Amos. Because the lawyer refused to continue the suit, the divorce had to be dropped [5].

So it was that Amos D. Norris had two divorce suits for his first marriage, because this time around he sued Eliza for divorce on the grounds of extreme cruelty and gross neglect, claiming that Eliza “left his residence, and refuses to return to him and perform his household duties, such as preparing his meals, taking care of his home, [and] cohabitating with him as his wife” further clarifying that “the gross neglect is no fault of plaintiff [Amos]” [6]. He asked the court for divorce without further alimony than he had already paid, and also asked that the court deem that Eliza’s claim to interest upon his 180 acres of land was null because of their previous agreement.

Judge Brinkerhoff, who had of course been the judge assigned to the first divorce case as well, did grant the divorce on the grounds charged, but Amos was required to pay $200 more in alimony on top of the $1,075 he had previously given Eliza.

Amos seems to have continued his life as before his marriage, continuing to own and lease property in Worthington Township and farm some of his own land. It is not evident what Eliza did following the divorce, but apparently Amos had some hard feelings that he could not keep to himself after their split, because in 1904, within two years of their divorce, Amos and Eliza were back in court again. This time Eliza was suing Amos for slander, and asking a rather staggering $10,000 in damages [7].

After having come across this case in the Court of Common Pleas records, which only states the administrative details such as the lawyers involved and the damages requested or paid, I found myself wondering what Amos could have possibly said about his ex-wife in 1904 that could have landed him back in court with a slander suit with such a large sum on the line. While we will never know the exact words that Amos spoke, according to the Butler Enterprise the suit claimed that Amos spoke to other townspeople in a public space making accusations against Eliza’s virtue, indicating that Eliza “was an indecent and lewd woman.” In this case, the court case required a jury, instead of the now rather familiar Judge Brinkerhoff, which was empaneled in December. The jury determined that Amos had indeed slandered Eliza’s good name, but did not award the entirety of the $10,000 in damages requested, instead requiring that Amos pay $110 in restitution, which was still a significant sum [8].

Although this was the last time that Eliza and Amos appeared in court together, it was far from the last time that Amos graced the halls of the courthouse. For his further Misadventures in Matrimony, check back in next week!

As always, if you are curious about this or any other bit of Richland County history, stop in to the Sherman Room, use our resources online at, or send us an email at with any questions!


  1. Mansfield News, 08 September 1911
  2. United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Ohio > Richland > All > image 129 of 134; citing NARA microfilm publication M123 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)
  3. Mansfield Daily Shield, 27 July 1901, page 6
  4. Mansfield Daily Shield, 27 July 1901, page 6
  5. Mansfield Daily Shield, 19 November 1901, page 2
  6. Mansfield Daily Shield, January 20th 1920
  7. Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Appearance Docket Volume 53, Case 9461
  8. Butler Enterprise, 11 March 1904, page 7

Mayors of Mansfield

Mansfield was established in 1808, but was not incorporated as a town until early in the spring of 1828. When Mansfield was incorporated, the eligible male voters of the town were then empowered to meet and elect a city council on the first Monday of March annually, which would consist of one mayor, one recorder, and five trustees, all of whom must also be eligible male voters, and who would have a term of one year.

In the incorporation decree as reported in the newspaper, the duties of the mayor are described as follows:

6. That the mayor shall be a conservator of the peace within the limits of said corporation, and shall have the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace therein, both in criminal and civil cases; and in all his acts, as justice of the peace, he shall be governed by the laws defining the duties of justices of the peace, and shall be entitled to receive the same fees as justices of the peace are entitled to receive for similar services; he shall give such bond and security as is required by law of justices of the peace; he shall be authorized by law to hear and determine all cases arising under the laws and ordinances of the corporation, and to issue such process as may be necessary to carry into execution such laws and ordinances; and an appeal may be made from any final decision of judgment of the mayor to the court of common please of the county aforesaid, in the same manner as from that of a justice of the peace.”

Mansfield Gazette and Richland Farmer (Mansfield, OH), 27 February 1828, page 4.

Two prior (incomplete) lists of Mansfield mayors served as the initial sources and inspiration for this list. They are abbreviated as “Carrothers” and “Graham,” but the full citations are as follows:

John C. Carrothers, “Mayors of Mansfield,” Mansfield Daily Shield, 11 May 1919. Page 10, column 2.

A. A. Graham, History of Richland County, Ohio: Its Past and Present (Mansfield, Ohio: A. A. Graham & Co., 1880), p 520.
Both of these lists were published well after the initial names listed, and neither identifies any sources for their listings. Writing in 1880, Graham states that a full list of the Mansfield mayors was not possible, because the early city records (prior to 1846) had been lost, so it is unclear how Carrothers compiled his own partial list in 1919, which went as far back as 1835.

Thanks to the preservation of area newspapers, mayors back to the first Mansfield mayor, Simeon Bowman, in 1828 are able to be identified here, with some reliance on Carrothers and Graham. Where possible, these entries have been verified in local newspapers or directories. Where entries agree, they are simply both cited; if entries differ, most commonly when a first name was abbreviated in one listing but not the other, the more complete is used, and any differences are noted.

This is a living list. As more information is found, it will be updated and refined. If you have any information to be added to the list, please contact us!

  • 1828: Simeon Bowman

    Mansfield Gazette and Richland Famer, 30 April 1828, page 2, MRCPL Advantage Preservation; First name “Simeon” taken from Graham

  • 1830: Jacob Lindly [Lindley]

    Mansfield Gazette and Richland Farmer, 31 March 1830, page 3. MRCPL Advantage Preservation.

  • 1832: E Hedges

    Western Sentinel (Mansfield, OH), 11 April 1832, page 3. MRCPL Advantage Preservation.

  • 1835: J G Gilkerson


  • 1836: Joseph Berry


  • 1837: B. W. Burr


  • 1839: C. T. Sherman


  • 1841: S. C. Coffenberry


  • 1843: Job Hildreth


  • 1845: T. H. Ford


  • 1846: Joseph Lindley (Joe)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1846: T. H. Ford


  • 1847: Frederick Cook (Fred)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1848: S. J. Kirkwood

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1849: P. P. Hull

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1850: Hubbard Colby (in Carrothers: “H Colbu”)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1851: N D McMillen (in Carrothers: ” N D McMullen”)

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1852: Perkins Bigelow

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1854: Andrew Poe

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1855: Isaac Gass

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1856: George F. Carpenter

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1857: Stephen B Sturges

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1857: Wilson M. Patterson

    Mansfield Herald, 30 September 1857, page 3; Graham

  • 1858: Isaac W. Littler

    Mansfield City Directory; Graham; listed as 1859 in Carrothers

  • 1860: William A. Moore

    “New Mayor Sworn In,” Mansfield Herald, 11 April 1860. Page 3, column 3; Graham; Carrothers

  • 1861: B. S. Runyan [Runyon]

    Richland Shield and Banner, 3 April 1861, page 2; Graham; Carrothers

  • 1862: James Cobean

    Mansfield Semi Weekly Herald, 12 April 1862. Page 4; Carrothers

  • 1864: Darium Dirlam

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1866: Abner Slutz

    Mansfield City Directory; Graham

  • 1869: A. C. Cummings

    Mansfield City Directory; “Cummins” in Carrothers; Graham

  • 1871: John B. Netscher

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers; Graham

  • 1875: Isaac W. Gass

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1875: Jas. R. Richardson [Likely James]

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers; Graham

  • 1879: James G. Craighead

    Carrothers; Graham

  • 1881: C. G. Stough

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1885: George A. Clugston

    Mansfield Herald, 9 April 1885, page 6; Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1887: R. B. McCrory


  • 1891: J. Newlon

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1893: Fred Black

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1895: R. B. McCrory

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1897: J. P. Henry

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1899: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers (Carrothers has 1901)

  • 1901: Thomas R. Robinson

    Bellville Messenger, 5 April 1901, page 7; Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1903: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield Daily Shield, 7 April 1903, page 2

  • 1905: William F. Voegele, Jr.

    Mansfield City Directory; Carrothers

  • 1907: Huntington Brown

    Mansfield Daily Shield, 6 November 1907, page 1; Carrothers (1909)

  • 1911: W. E. O’Donnell


  • 1913: F. S. Marquis


  • 1915: George H. Lowrey


  • 1917: Henry G. Brunner


  • 1923: Carl H. Stander

    Mansfield News, 8 November 1923, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1925: Captain J. Earl Ports

    Mansfield News, 4 November 1925, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1929: Arliss F. Porter

    Mansfield News, 3 Jan 1929

  • 1930: C. S. Moore

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1932: Charles M. Lantz

    Mansfield News, 4 September 1932, page 2; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1935: E. A. McFarland

    Mansfield News Journal, 6 November 1935, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1937: Claude M. Hunter

    Mansfield News Journal, 3 November 1937, page 1

  • 1938: E. A. McFarland

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1939: C. M. Hunter

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1939: William J. Locke

    Mansfield News Journal, 8 November 1939, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1946: Roy B. Vaughn

    Mansfield City Directory

  • 1949: Thomas B. Wright

    Mansfield News Journal, 9 November 1949, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

  • 1955: Robert S. Lemley

    Mansfield News Journal, 9 November 1955, page 1; Mansfield City Directory

Henry Brunner, Mayor of Mansfield

This item was recently brought into the Sherman Room. It is a flyer from the original Armistice Day in Mansfield, a holiday which celebrated the end of World War I and which later became Veterans Day in the United States. The item inspired me to take a deep dive into Mayor Brunner, who issued the proclamation to close the city for a celebration on November 11, 1918.

Henry (“Heinie”) G Brunner’s parents were Henry Brunner Sr and Catharine (also spelled Catherine or Katharine) Kuhn, who both came to the United States from Germany in 1881. Henry (Heinrich) Brunner Sr was born in Germany to Margaret Daum on the 28th of June 1862 [1]. The pair were married in Richland County on 14 August 1883. Henry G Brunner Jr was born on 30 July 1884.

Henry G Brunner (Jr) worked as a mail clerk before becoming an insurance agent in 1911. Shortly after switching careers, on 11 April 1911, Brunner married Beatrice Wolff, who was, according to the Mansfield News, “one of the best known young women of Mansfield where she has always lived” [Mansfield News, 12 April 1911, p 7]. In the same year, Brunner planned to make his first campaign to be mayor, but ultimately withdrew his petition for candidacy when the Democratic party instead chose to nominate the county treasurer, Pierce J Wigton, as their candidate for mayor [Mansfield News, 7 August 1911, p 3]. This might not have been the best strategy for the Mansfield Democratic party, as Wigton lost the mayoral election to W. E. O’Donnell [Mansfield News 11 May 1919].

After withdrawing from the election in 1911, Brunner continued to work as an insurance agent and also took on new or expanded roles in the community and his family. In the fall of 1911, he became the secretary for the Mansfield Baseball Club [Mansfield News 24 October 1911], and in 1912 he had his first son. In 1915, he was selected as chairman of the local Liquor Board [Mansfield News 30 Jul 1915].

After O’Donnell, the next mayor of Mansfield was Frederick S Marquis, who was elected to two terms but died shortly after taking office for his second term. As President of the City Council, George H Lowrey served as acting mayor for the remainder of Marquis’s term, and in 1917 ran for election for a full mayoral term of his own.

Apparently not one to give up on an ambition, Brunner returned to the political arena in 1917 and again pursued the role of mayor. This time the Democratic Party did choose Brunner from among several individuals to be their candidate for mayor running against acting mayor Lowrey [Mansfield News 26 May 1917 p 5].

According to the Mansfield News, the Republican party were pleased that Brunner was the Democratic candidate selected, and seem to have expected that Lowrey would win the election without too much effort on their part. As one measure of this confidence, when the candidates reported their expenses, Brunner had spent $236.70 on his campaign while Lowrey had spent $139 [Mansfield News 17 November 1917, p10]. On the right is one of Brunner’s campaign posters.

Brunner won the election in 1917 by a margin of 274 votes [Mansfield News 7 November 1917, p 3], and had during his term an almost entirely Democratic city council, with only one Republican elected to serve.

Although he did not win a majority of the votes in 1917, Brunner proved to be a popular mayor during his term. When he ran for re-election in 1919, once again facing off with Lowrey, he won by an “exceptionally strong vote” with a majority and a margin of 942 votes [Mansfield News 5 November 1919, p 2]. Brunner served as mayor for six years, in total, and was succeeded by Carl H Stander in 1924[Mansfield News 30 Dec 1923].

Look for more materials about Mayor Brunner’s life after his terms as mayor and a guide to the mayors of Mansfield on the Sherman Room Digital Archives and blog in the upcoming weeks!

  1. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2021), Henry Brunner, 03 Jan 1942; citing Mansfield, Richland, Ohio, reference fn 5554; FHL microfilm 2,023,979.