SLIGHTLY DATED – The name of the village of Bellville is spelled “Belleville” on some very old records, going back to before the Civil War, but it hasn’t been spelled that way (except by accident) in about 100 years. A sign at the southern edge of the village, however, goes back to the original – to the puzzlement of youngsters like David Colledge, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Colledge of the Bellville-Johnsonville Rd. [News Journal (Mansfield,OH) Feb 13, 1966 - sub by Ida Maack Recu]
Mrs. Charles Keating Recalls How Library Was Started
Mrs. Charles Hedges Keating, the former Gertrude Adelaide Simpson, was the youngest daughter of Dr. John Simpson, (he was superintendent of Mansfield Public schools for 20 years) and Millie Jane Stringer. Gertrude Simpson and her mother attended a meeting on Feb. 17, 1887 at the home of Mrs. H. M. Weaver, corner of Park Avenue West and Sturges, to hear a professor, Mrs. J. S. Dixson, from Columbia college, New York City, talk about library work. This group of women was so inspired by the meeting that they decided to go ahead with plans for a library for Mansfield. This was long before Andrew Carnegie had made his millions and become one of the world's great philanthropists.
In Mrs. Keating's own words, she says, "There were many events planned, all by women, I think you'll find, to provide books for the new library. The first one of these was a recital given by Mrs. William Bushnell, then Katherine Lewis, who had just returned from Stuttgart, Germany, after a year's study of music abroad. This was very impressive to me. The recital took place at the Weaver home on June 18, 1887 and the price of admission was a 'book suitable for the library'. About 250 books were given on that day. A musical club, the Beethoven club, also sponsored a meeting and the price of admission was 'a book'.
Mrs. Keating continues, "The women talked the men of the city into providing a place for the library or a 'reading room' in the contemplated Memorial building, which was then only in the planning stage." (Most municipalities at that time were erecting statues or buildings in memory of their Civil War dead.)
"Another group," said Mrs. Keating, "was 'The Thimbles' club. They were women much older than I. One of the members, Miss Martha Mercer, was Mansfield's first librarian. She is the one who went to the Andrew Carnegie Foundation in New York City and obtained the grant to build our present library building." In 1903 a municipal library board was appointed by Mayor Huntington Brown to receive the $35,000 gift from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation for the construction of a library building in Mansfield. The city council guaranteed an annual budget of $3,500 for its support.
Mrs. Keating concludes, "The library today is an important factor in our community, reaching out into the county as well. I wonder how many of us that summer day, dressed in our proper garden party frocks and bearing a 'suitable' book, realized what a powerful vital force we were aiding."
Mrs. Keating was born Feb. 16, 1870, at Hayesville and the family moved to Mansfield when she was six weeks old. She was educated in the Mansfield public schools and at the Lasell Seminary, Auburndale, Mass. She has been a member of the First Presbyterian church since childhood, and as long as her health permitted took an active part in its many activities. She is an honorary member of both the Mansfield Garden club and the Nomad club. She is a charter member of the YWCA and belongs to the Mansfield Federation of Women. She is keenly interested in flowers and the beautification of Mansfield. Her greatest interest in her garden club was the plantings at the Union Station and the Mansfield General hospital, and other projects for improving the appearance of her "home town", to which she is devoted.
On June 6, 1900, she married Charles Hedges Keating, then a young attorney of Mansfield. Mr. Keating before his death on Sept, 14, 1948, was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lumbermans Mutual Insurance Co. Mr. and Mrs. Keating had only the one child, Mrs. Louis Ott. Mrs. Ott (Helen Simpson Keating) before her marriage was a member of the Mansfield Public Library staff and served as its first children's librarian. She is at present a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mansfield Memorial Library association, carrying on the "Simpson" tradition. [Mansfield News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) February 17, 1952]
Sixty-two years in the hardware business will end for the Kell family the first of the year. Arthur Kell, owner and operator of the store, has announced that he is selling the store to Lloyd Curtner of Millsboro Rd., Mansfield. Kell took over operation of the store 31 years ago upon the death of his father, Thad. "I've had the store long enough, " Kell said. "I'll take six months to decide what I'm going to do next." Known records of the store go back to 1877 when it was owned by a man named Walker. Before that a man named Boggs had the store. In 1891, Marshall Kell, Arthur's uncle, bought a half interest in the store which was then known as Walker Kell hardware. Thad Kell bought Walker's share in 1900, and it was the Kell Bros. Hardware. Thad Kell died in 1930. [Mansfield News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) December 29, 1961 - sub. by Ida Maack Recu]
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