Lake Erie Islanders: Walter Ladd of South Bass Island
Sketches from the 1917 History of Northwest Ohio
(reference 4a in the Bibliography)
WALTER H. LADD. There is hardly a better known man in the Bass Islands than Walter H. Ladd. He has spent forty years in and around Put-in-Bay.
He first became known in that community in 1872, when he was about twenty-two years of age. His early life had been spent in Sandusky, where he was born in 1855. Coming to Put-in-Bay he put in the summer of 1872 as an employe in the Put-in-Bay Hotel boat-house. In the fall of the same year he returned to Sandusky and was employed there at different lines until 1878. In the summer of 1878 he was again at Put-in-Bay and has never left that community since then. He resumed his services with the Put-in-Bay House and until that old structure was burned on August 3, 1878. The following year he started in business for himself with a boat-house, his first location being in front of the Grove. Later this was condemned by the city and he then rented space on the Fox dock. That was the location at which his many friends and patrons found him until the fire which destroyed the dock in 1914. Since then he has continued his boating service at a temporary location.
After coming to Put-in-Bay Mr. Ladd married Elizabeth McElroy of Elyria. Most of their children are already established in business or in homes of their own. Walter S. is now postmaster of Put-in-Bay and also has a shoe and notion store; he married a daughter of Rudolph Siefield of North Bass Island. Mayme, the next in age, lives at home. Georgia who died in 1913 was the wife of Hal Frisbee of Cleveland. Ed R. is in business at Detroit. Harry is foreman for Charles Stenson of Port Clinton. Nathan H. is still at home with his father. Mr. Ladd's mother is still living, now eighty-five years of age, and makes her home with her son in Put-in-Bay. Mr. Ladd's father was one of the early settlers and a well known lake captain for many years around Sandusky, locating at what was then known as Bloomingville. He died in Hammot Hospital, Erie, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ladd has long been one of the stanch factors in the republican party at Put-in-Bay. In recent years he has not been so prominent a party man as formerly. For a long time he has held the office of presiding judge of elections, has served on the council, and everyone knows him for a sterling and upright citizen. During the winter season he spends his time at the United States fish hatcheries assisting in the propagation of white fish.
His friends tell a story in which he is highly commended for the heroic part he played in the fire which destroyed Fox dock a year or so ago. At the time of the fire a barge loaded with oil and gasoline in barrels was alongside the dock, and the fire communicated to this cargo. Mr. Ladd recognizing that the only way to save the shore end of the dock and the Commodore Hotel was to get the dangerous barge out of the way, rode out in a boat and fastened a line to the burning scow, and while the barrels were exploding and throwing burning oil and gasoline in every direction he towed the barge away out of the radius of danger and thus prevented what might have been a very disastrous conflagration, though only at the expense of some severe burns around the head and face from the liquid fire.
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Revised: 21 Jul 2008 07:49:45.
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