The Poland Historical Society's mission is to preserve the past of one of Ohio's first settlements. Over the years that hard-working membership has been in decline, but a new strategy will not only increase the interest, but will bring Poland history to the residents in new ways.
"We've been declining in membership, so we are trying to build it back up," said Society member Ted Heineman.
He said the move is on this year to present the history of Poland in a different way by taking it to the people with traveling displays. The first display is already up for Poland residents to enjoy. There is a display case set up in the lobby of Poland's First Place Bank that showcases a vast collection of vintage Valentine's Day cards dating back to 1900-1910. The collection was donated by the Bishop Family of Poland.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Ted Heineman, a trustee with the Poland Historical Society, shows one of 129 grave markers that pay tribute to the local men who fought in the Civil War. On April 17, Heineman will be giving a special presentation on 29 of the men who served in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The presentation will take place at the Little Red School House on U.S. 224 and Struthers Road.
"The Poland Historical Society maintains the Little Red School House on U.S. 224 at Struthers Road," Heineman said. "In that building are other items on display that we want to make more available to the public."
He said one way to accomplish that goal is by having satellite display cases around the Village and Township where residents frequent. The members believe the antique cards display is a hit and they are already talking about similar displays at various locations such as the Poland Library.
As for the historic school house, Hieneman said the goal is to open it more for the public. He said at one time it was open once a month, but the present members are trying to make it available at least once a week.
Another move is increasing talks and presentations to schools and to the public. Late last week, Society member Sue Holloway visited Poland Union Elementary to talk to the students about their community's past.
"Sue Holloway had the undivided attention of second-grade students at Poland Union Elementary School during her presentation about Quailwood and White Saddle," said Society Vice President Laurie Fox. She explained that Messenger Miller, his wife Ethel Hull Miller and their daughter Janie built a log cabin on a huge plot of land called "Quailwood" on Clingan Road in 1929. In addition to many other animals, the family purchased a beautiful pony with natural white markings that looked like a saddle, and they named her "White Saddle." White Saddle was born in 1903 and came to America from the Shetland Islands. She won many awards at the Canfield Fair and the Ohio State Fair. "White Saddle died in 1940 and is buried on the property where she was raised by a loving family," said Fox.
A special guest to Holloway's presentation was Sara Hill Strock, a Poland resident with family ties to Poland's first settlers, who told the students about riding White Saddle in the 1930's with her classmates when they were students at Poland Union. Ethel Hull Miller wrote books about White Saddle which at one time her books were nearly as popular as Anna Sewell's classic, "Black Beauty." Her book is among the collection at the Little Red Schoolhouse along with other popular children's books she had written.
The second-grade teachers, Linda Watts, Lynne Stoll, and Phyllis Jeswald from Union will continue their community history lesson when the three second-grade classes visit the Little Red Schoolhouse at the end of April.
Another scheduled presentation will be at 7 p.m. April 17 at the Little Red School House. Heineman will be the presenter and will talk on Poland's involvement in the Civil War. He also serves as publisher and historian of the Riverside Cemetery Journal.
He said Riverside has 129 Civil War graves, many which are located on a hill in the cemetery that was set aside for veterans. His talk will center in on 29 of those graves that are connected with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
He said each grave represents a Poland family, many whose descendents are still living in the area. He said one grave is of particular interest as the veteran was born in 1810, making the fellow 51 when he was mustered into service for the Union.
With all the history the Society will be sharing with the public, the hope is that more Poland residents will get involved to continue preserving the rich history of Town One, Range One of the Western Reserve.
The public is invited to the next regular meeting of the Poland Historical Society on April 17. Following the meeting, Heineman will present his program.
The Historical Society will also have a display this year at Celebrate Poland on June 29 and 30.