Wednesday, May 22
Amtrak dropped me in Cleveland at 3:00 AM, at least an hour behind schedule. After a four-hour nap at a hotel in the central city, I awoke to begin my Sunbury adventure. Cleveland skyline from my hotel window:
I used the term “beginnings” in my title because the little village of Sunbury, besides being founded in 1816 by my third great-grandfather Lawrence Myers, was closely involved with the beginnings of genealogical inquiry on my Mom’s side of the family, when cousin Gail Myers discovered the historical connection back around 1990.
Folks here take their history seriously, as evidenced by this sign, also in the town square.As the sign says, Lawrence Myers’ inn, although its name while owned by the Myers family is not known, was located just west of the square.
The name “Myers Inn” was given to the building when it was acquired and renovated by the local historical society, under its long-time leader and excellent historian, Polly Horn. Polly took a whole afternoon from her busy schedule to give me a tour of the Myers Inn (of course) and other historic sites in the community. Wearing another of her hats, Polly is keeper of the society’s outstanding website. Although not known to be biologically related to the Myers family, Polly is extremely knowledgeable of their activities in, and importance to, her historic community. Because of this knowledge, and her generosity in helping us “Myers” relatives explore our past, I am naming Polly Horn an “honorary cousin,” the second friend I have so honored for family help above and beyond the call of duty.
The Myers Inn as it currently stands was built in the 1870s; long after Lawrence Myers died and the property was eventually sold by the family. However, enclosed within the structure are both Lawrence Myers’ original tavern, dating from 1820, and his one-room log house built even earlier, probably upon his arrival in 1816. Here is one corner of what the museum calls the “1816 room.” While it cannot be proven, this is undoubtedly the very room where my great-great grandfather Henry Bennett Myers was born on 15 Nov 1819!Lawrence was apparently fond of reading. One of his early efforts was to establish a public library in Sunbury, as evidenced by this newspaper clipping, copied from microfilm, framed and mounted on the wall of the 1816 room.Polly also took me to an early 19th-century house being lovingly restored by its owner, as a tribute to his late wife, who designed the restoration. And to the monument in the town square being erected to the famous Civil War general William Stark Rosencrans, who hailed from the area. You can read an extensive biography of Rosencrans on Polly’s aforementioned website. Of course, Polly also guided me through the community’s two cemeteries, resting place of at least six direct ancestors, and several dozen nth great aunts, uncles, and distant cousins. Next: details on those cemetery visits.