Streetsboro Heritage Foundation
I was a Social Studies teacher employed by the Cleveland Municipal School District for 30+ years. I loved history and loved teaching school. However, some years were pretty tough.
One night I had given up on grading papers and started looking at various items for sale on ebay.
Yes, Ebay is the 1st reason the Singletary House Museum in Streetsboro, Ohio is what it is.
I set up a search called "Streetsboro History" and came across this item. I bid on it and won it. When it arrived I realized it was more than I had anticipated.
This is a letter dated March, 1844 sent from Streetsboro, Ohio to Mr. Othniel Hannum in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was written by his son Othniel Hannum (1814-1889).
Notice there is no postage stamp! The person who received the letter paid the amount written in the corner. That amount was determined by how far it had to travel.
I opened it and transcribed the contents which were a bit of a challenge. But really, I'd seen worse...
I checked back often on Ebay under "Streetsboro History" and came across several more letters sent from Streetsboro, over the course of 2 years. I bought them from sellers who lived in New York, Pennsylvania, & Illinois!
This letter was also written to Mr Othniel Hannum in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. It was dated February, 1837.
Othniel Hannum (1778-1863) received this letter from his daughter Martha Hannum (1816-1898).
This letter was dated February, 1843. It was written by Othniel's daughter Juliaette Hannum
I found it amazing that letters could be delivered to a person with nothing more than a name, a city, and a state!
I ended up with a collection of 11 of these letters, all written either to or from the Hannums.
I took one of the letters to the library to see what I could find regarding the name Hannum.
When I showed it to the librarian she said "Oh! You need to call Janet Dunlap!" When I asked who that was she replied "Well, she used to be Janet Hannum!"
SO I DID! And funny thing I discovered, she lived about a mile behind me!
I told her I had some mail that belonged to her from a long time ago. After much explaining about who I was and my interest in local history we made arrangements to get together so I could show her all the letters I had found.
After our phone conversation, Janet called her good friend Betty Defer. Betty was trying to get a group a people from the community together for the purpose of brainstorming ideas about what could be done with an old home she had lived in for years. This was a very special home in the community and WalMart was going to help pay to have it moved, since it sat in their newly proposed parking lot. I'd lived in northeast Ohio since 1980, and in Streetsboro since 1998, I knew what house she was talking about. I told her I was a Social Studies teacher who was retiring in 2 years, and that I would then have all kinds of time on my hands. I said "Let's open it as a local museum and I'll run it!"
So the 2nd contributing factor to the Museum resulted from Janet Dunlap calling Betty Defer and getting the ball rolling.
To read and see more about the TWO times our museum has been moved, click on "Singletary House Moves" button above.
Janet Hannum Dunlap's parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are not her only interesting connection to The Singletary House Museum!!!
Janet's grandparents Hannah (Cowan) & Martin Porter (right) were the 2nd owners of the Singletary House Museum! They purchased
the home & property from John Curtis Singletary in the 1890's.
Mr. and Mrs. Porter had 6 children but it was Edith Porter Hannum (1883-1965) and her sister Rita Porter Sperry (1891-1991) who spent their lives in Streetsboro.
Rita ran the 1st telephone exchange out of the Porter home. This switchboard on display in the museum dates from 1910
(far left) Edith & OR Hannum's wedding announcement. dates to October 6th, 1904.
(left) Mr. and Mrs. Otis Ray Hannum were married in the Porter home, now the Singletary House Museum.
(below left) Susan & her mother, Janet Hannum Dunlap enjoy tea at the Singletary House Museum in the room where Janet's parents were married.
Singletary House Museum Spring Tea, February 2013
A few years ago I made a scrapbook of the old letters I had found on Ebay. I invited Janet to one of our monthly meetings and surprised her with it. She was very excited and I was thrilled to give it to her.