Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
The West Huron Sporting Club
Scope and Content
The West Huron Sporting Club ledger is part of the larger Charles E. Frohman Collection. The ledger was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in 1967.
The West Huron Sporting Club held its first unofficial meeting on September 13, 1884. Individuals met to establish a club for hunting, fishing, and games and lawful sporting purposes. Activities would take place on property of “persons having franchised the marsh lands lying northward of Huron Township, Erie County, Ohio.” The nine founding members included E.B. Sadler, George Hinde, Joseph Faber, E.W. De Witt, Charles A. Dildine, John R. Lea, E. Hinde, Augustus (Gustavius) Dildine, and James Gallaway. The club’s first cabinet members included: E.B. Sadler, President (and chairman); James Gallaway, Vice President; E.W. De Witt, Secretary; and Charles Dildine, Treasurer.
Meetings were held annually on the first Saturday in September; however, they were also held throughout the year as needed. The office of Sadler and De Witt was located in Sandusky, Ohio. The first annual meeting was held on September 5, 1885.
On February 11, 1888, the club filed incorporation papers with the State of Ohio. According to the application, members described the organization as “a club for hunting, fishing and the protection of fish and game of all kinds found on the premises owned and controlled by said club and for the purchasing and leasing lands and marshes for the purposes aforesaid.” By 1900, membership had reached approximately 200.
The club purchased and leased land and marshes located “in Huron Township… South West of Cedar Point and the marsh lands lying north of Perkins Township… adjoining the Sandusky Bay” in Erie County for their activities. Disputes over land and hunting rights were continuous. In 1898, the club filed a petition against Andrew Teasel, James Bickley, John Parker, Allen Nichols, and Thomas Curtis prohibiting them from hunting or trapping on land and marshland owned by the club.
West Huron Sporting Club v. Teasel sued over non-members hunting on club-owned property and the legality of those land claims. The lawsuit lasted until 1908. It seems that around 1900, the organization encountered another dispute from the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company. An amicable settlement between the Cedar Point and West Huron Sporting Club resulted in the transfer of titles and interests between the two entities. West Huron Sporting Club received possession of the marshland in the area while the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company was given ownership of the sandbar.
In early 1908, legal battles caused the West Huron Sporting Club members to consider selling their lands to other potential local hunting or fishing clubs composed of Sandusky residents and members of the former club. It is unclear what year the club ceased to exist. Possible successors of the West Huron Sporting Club include the East Bay Sporting Club and Wyandotte Club.
In 1912, the Cedar Point Resort Company purchased land from the West Huron Sporting Club, including the old club building. The company constructed an automobile roadway connecting Rye Beach to Cedar Point. It also dredgied a channel so ships could enter the Sandusky Bay from Lake Erie without going around the Cedar Point Light.
The Cedar Point Chaussee was opened on July 19, 1914. It was closed in 1917 due to storm damage. On January 9, 1938, the old club building (located just north of Route 2 near the Cedar Point Chaussee) was demolished as a result of a chimney fire. In 1954, Dr. Dean Sheldon bought 54 acres of land along the lake including the original location of the 1914 Cedar Point Chaussee. By the late 1970s, 465-acres of land, including that of the original West Huron Sporting Club, were purchased by the state of Ohio and later became known as Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve.
Scope and Content
This record, spanning the years from 1884 to 1899, consists of one ledger book belonging to the West Huron Sporting Club. The ledger contains a list of founding members and various officers, the organization’s constitution, rules, regulations, meeting minutes, and payments received and paid out. This ledger contains a total of 112 hand-written pages.
One other ledger of this organization is known to exist. It is housed at the Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University. Bowling Green, Ohio. It contains corporate records (1881 to1893), board of director minutes, articles of incorporation, club constitution, and capital stock.
Ledger : 1884-1899