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The Money

The Middle Bass Chapel Association needed to raise money to maintain the Chapel building and fund the pulpit and other educational, literary and scientific programs.  Methods of raising money documented in the Records Book included: member subscriptions, member and guest donations, fundraising activities and the lending library.

The Money - Member Subscriptions

Subscriptions (annual “membership fees”) were the primary fundraising method used by the Middle Bass Chapel Association.  At the Annual Meeting on August 7, 1882: “It was decided that an annual fee of fifty cents should be solicited from each member, the sum to form a contingent fund.”  The Secretary wrote letters to Middle Bass Club members asking them to pay the subscription fee of fifty cents for the Chapel each year.  Often times, a committee was formed to assist the Secretary in writing and sending the subscription letters to the Middle Bass Club members.  The subscription cost increased to a dollar in 1888 and stayed at this amount until 1907 which is the last year of the detailed records of the Middle Bass Club Chapel Association in the Records Book.  If necessary, a notice would be placed at the Chapel or the Club House to remind the Middle Bass Club membership to pay the Chapel subscription.  An attempt was made to modify the subscription process in 1899; the Middle Bass Chapel Association decided to write letters to the ladies of the Middle Bass Club instead of the gentlemen (who were considered the members).  After discussion the following year, the Middle Bass Chapel Association reverted back to the original subscription method of raising money for the Chapel, i.e., writing letters to each member (i.e., the gentlemen) of the Middle Bass Club soliciting $1.00 from each.  The Records Book notes that there were 80 subscriptions in 1881 amounting to $40.00 and 102 subscriptions in 1891 amounting to $102.00.  Clearly, subscription dollars were not sufficient to cover Chapel expenses.

The Money – Member & Guest Donations

The only notation in the Records Book of a monetary donation aimed at the Sunday school was from Rev. Dr. Kemp of the Episcopal Church in Massillon, Ohio.  Rev. Dr. Kemp preached in the Chapel on July 22, 1888 and contributed “twenty bills” for the use of the Sunday school.

To obtain member and guest donations, collection boxes were placed in the Middle Bass Club Chapel and Club House.  At the 1887 Middle Bass Chapel Association Annual Meeting on August 2nd: “A motion was made and carried that a contribution box be placed in the Chapel for voluntary offerings.”  The following year, at the Annual Meeting held on July 21, 1898: “It was mentioned that Mr. [Matthew] Shoemaker had suggested to some of the ladies the feasibility of placing a box in the Club House, during the fishing season, for contributions to the Chapel, as many of the visitors are guests of the Club and would probably be glad to contribute something.  Mrs. George Hafer was requested to confer with Mr. Matthew Shoemaker in regard to this.”  Unfortunately, collection box donations (contributors and/or dollar amounts) are not disclosed in the Records Book.  As mentioned earlier, the construction of the Chapel was paid for by the 1881-1882 Middle Bass Club membership.  However, once built the Middle Bass Club members and their guests (after 1882) donated to the Chapel fund using the collection boxes.  Thus, the Club House Guest Register books and the Middle Bass Club membership lists post 1882 provide the names of donors to the Chapel fund.

The Money – Fundraising Activities

To supplement the subscriptions and donations, the Middle Bass Chapel Association planned and supervised fundraising activities such as lectures, concerts, parties and “sales of fancy articles.”  The lectures, common in the early years of the Chapel, raised money for the treasury and provided educational, literary and scientific programs for the membership.  The concerts were held in either the Chapel or Rehberg Hall.  Middle Bass Club members participated in the concerts and/or invited the performers.  The parties documented include an extravagant 4th of July festival held at the Chapel as well as card parties.  The annual “sale of fancy articles” (i.e., upscale consignment sale) was held in the Club House lobby.  The Middle Bass Chapel Association Records Book details the fundraising activities below.

  1. On Friday, August 18, 1882, a lecture titled “Bent” was given by Rev. Colonel Anderson of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Toledo to benefit the minister’s fund. Besides the lecture, Rev. Colonel Anderson led a morning and evening service in the Chapel on Sunday, August 20, 1882.
  2. On July 22, 1883, Dr. Byers, Secretary of Ohio State Charities, addressed an audience at five o’clock in the afternoon. Byers was acquainted with members of the Middle Bass Club through the Republican Party in Ohio. During the Campaign of 1869, Rev. Dr. Byers gave the opening prayer at the Ohio Convention of the Republican Party of Ohio on June 23rd when they nominated Governor Rutherford B. Hayes.  Middle Bass Club member Mr. Welcome Otis Parker was a member of the Permanent Organization during the convention. (Source: History of the Republican Party in Ohio by Joseph P. Smith, 1856 -1898, p. 262)
  3. On August 15, 1885, a concert was conducted by Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Keith, Miss Keith, Mr. Avery and the orchestra. This concert contributed $82.50 to the Chapel fund. It is likely that Mrs. Ford was a Middle Bass Club member.  There is no indication which orchestra performed in the concert.
  4. On August 7, 1886, a concert performance was given by Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Keith, Miss Feideloly, Miss Potter, Miss Fuller, Mr. Fred Sholes, Mr. Gates and Mr. Keese. The Records Book mentions that the Secretary was authorized to send complimentary tickets to several parties and that Mrs. Francis Pilgrim Isherwood sold tickets for the concert the night before at the Club House. It is plausible that Mrs. Ford, Miss Potter and/or Miss Fuller were members of the Middle Bass Club.  The images/exhibits/MiddleBassClub/archive-docs/records-book.pdf does not indicate if the concert was held in the Chapel or Rehberg Hall or how much money was raised.
  5. On August 16, 1886, Rev. Dr. Kilwig of the Lutheran Church of Akron, Ohio delivered a lecture, “King’s English” which added $23.75 to the Chapel fund. Rev. Dr. Kilwig led a service in the Chapel the day before the lecture.
  6. On August 12, 1887, a concert performance was held in Rehberg Hall by Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Keith Mr. Chaspontier, Lanman, Dr. and Mrs. Baker and Miss Sawyer. This concert increased the Chapel treasury by $105.75. It is possible that Mrs. Ford and/or Mrs. Baker were members of the Middle Bass Club.  The Records Book does not indicate if the concert was held in the Chapel or Rehberg Hall.
  7. In 1888, Governor Charles Foster paid the $15 remaining balance from the cost of the Rehberg portrait to the Middle Bass Chapel Association. Unfortunately, the Records Book does not indicate how Governor Charles Foster obtained the portrait or the total cost added to the Chapel fund. Interestingly, a portrait of “Count” Rehberg hangs in our cottage in the Middle Bass Club.  Recently we discovered that the portrait is not a photograph; it’s a charcoal drawing over an underexposed photograph which was a popular form of art at that time.  According to the Toledo Blade on August 9, 1890: “Governor Foster occupies the cottage of C. E. Burke during his sojourn at the club.”  Clarence Elisha Burke bought our cottage in October 1889.  Perhaps the Rehberg portrait mentioned in the Records Book hangs over our fireplace? 

“Count” William Rehberg Portrait. Photo taken by Marie Demer Rader, Summer 2021

  1. On July 28, 1889, a concert was held at Rehberg Hall. Those participating included: Mrs. Gibsone, Miss Fuller, Miss Nellie Cook, Miss Amelia Hegmann, Mr. Singer of Vienna, Austria, Mr. Currier, Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Ecker. It is possible that Miss Fuller and/or Mr. Currier were members of the Middle Bass Club.  No fundraising amount was listed for the concert.
  2. On August 11, 1889, a lecture, “Across the Continent,” was delivered by Rev. Mr. T. F. Hildreth of the Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. The following day Rev. Hildreth preached in the Chapel.
  3. On August 9, 1890, Dr. Willits of the Third Street Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio delivered a lecture titled “Sunshine.” Willits delivered a sermon in the Chapel the following day.
  4. On August 18, 1890, recitations by Mr. Backus with music by Miss Dodge of Cleveland and Mr. Gibson of Toledo were conducted for the benefit of the library. The performance netted $29.05 for the benefit of the library. It is probable that Mr. Backus and Miss Dodge were members of the Middle Bass Club.
  5. On August 15, 1891, a concert was given by Mr. Alfred George Robyn of St. Louis who was assisted by Mrs. Ida Bond Young of New York and others. Robyn was a renown pianist, organist and composer. In 1891, Mr. Robyn was noted for a ballad titled You.

Alfred George Robyn, Portrait (left); You by Alfred G, Robyn, Cover (right)

Mr. Robyn was associated with Middle Bass Club member Henry Martyn Blossom Sr. from St. Louis, Missouri.  Besides being influential in the field of insurance, Henry Martyn Blossom Sr. composed Broadway musicals called operettas.  In fact, in 1904 he wrote the lyrics for The Yankee Consul which was composed by Alfred G. Robyn.

  1. On July 4, 1892, the Odium Club of Cleveland, Ohio gave a concert.
  2. On Sunday, August 3, 1896 a concert was to be given to benefit the Chapel. A committee comprised of Mrs. Oliver Rodgers, Mrs. David M. Massie and Miss Martha Rodgers were in charge. It is unknown if a concert occurred on this day.
  3. On July 4, 1898, a lawn fete party was held on the Chapel lawn. Alexander W. Scott was requested to place a notice of the lawn fete in the Toledo newspapers. At the May 24, 1898 informal meeting “Mrs. [James Scott or Oliver?] to have charge.  Mrs. George Hafer was appointed to look after the fancy work table, Mrs. Clarence Elisha Burke to see to a fish pond, and Mrs. Thomas C. Rowland and Mrs. Peter Frederick Berdan to see to the ice cream and cake, Mrs. [Samuel Bryant or E. M.?] Wood and Mrs. James Clark to have charge of the lemonade.”  The lawn fete was so successful that the Middle Bass Chapel Association planned to  have another one the following year.  Sadly, the lawn fete in 1899 never happened due to scheduling conflicts.
  4. On July 8, 1899, Miss Olive Colton delivered an Illustrated lecture in the Chapel. Olive Colton is the daughter of Middle Bass Club member Abram Walter Colton and his wife Catherine VanHorne. From the July 21, 1898 Trustee meeting notes by Secretary Miss Edna Rowland [daughter of member Thomas Chapman Rowland and his wife Sarah Jane Miller]: “The first subject brought before the  meeting was the consideration of Miss Olive Colton’s offer to give an illustrated lecture in the Chapel July 8th, for the benefit of the Chapel; the ladies to pay the expenses of herself and maid from Toledo to Middle Bass, and from Middle Bass to Put-in-Bay, also their hotel expenses for two days, and three dollars for filling gas tank.  The ladies decided to accept Miss Colton’s offer.” 

Olive Colton, Toledo 1894. Lisa Fine Personal Collection

The Guest Register page below shows Olive Colton’s maid, Katie Mohn (?), arrived on Saturday July 8, 1899.

Middle Bass Club Guest Register entry: July 8, 1899

  1. Each August from 1899 to 1908 (1908 being the last year of entries in the Records Book), the Middle Bass Chapel Association arranged a “Sale of Fancy Articles” in the Club House Parlor. In 1900 they added $61.00 to the Chapel treasury and in 1901 they raised an amazing $101.26.
  2. On August 10, 1900, a card party tallied $45.60 for the Chapel fund.
  3. In 1901, at the Annual Meeting on August 19th, the Secretary was instructed to write a letter to Mr. Charles Scadding making the necessary arrangements as to time and cost for an illustrated lecture he kindly offered to give for the benefit of the Chapel. It is unknown whether Rev. Scadding put on the lecture.

The Money – Lending Library

Another program that fulfilled the Chapel’s mission to provide literary programs was the lending library which also added money to the Chapel’s treasury.  The circulation library began in 1889 with $70 and a bookcase.   Mrs. Alexander W. Scott, Mrs. James Scott Rodgers, Mrs. Aaron Lufkin Kelsey, Mrs. Thomas C. Rowland and Mrs. Peter Frederick Berdan each gave $10. It should be noted that these ladies were Trustees in 1887 that advanced $10 to pay for Chapel improvements as the treasury had insufficient funds.  When the Middle Bass Chapel Association reimbursed the Trustees, they decided to donate those funds($50) to start a Chapel library.  Additionally, Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Bodman donated $20 and a bookcase for the cause.

The lending library supported itself and often times added money to the Chapel fund.  In 1890, the Middle Bass Chapel Association members voted to spend $20 of the $34.36 collected from lending books to purchase new books for the library.  In 1892, the Secretary [Miss Pamela Berdan] reported “$13 still remaining of the fund for the purchase of books.  Having been connected with the Book Club of Toledo, the Secretary was asked to make a list of books she thought would be available for the library and send it to Mrs. Alexander W. Scott.”  In 1897, Mrs. Alexander W. Scott and Miss Pamela Berdan were allotted $20 from the treasury to purchase new books. “It was thought best that the books be bought and sent to the island early in the season, not later than the middle of June.  Mrs. George Hafer was appointed to receive and catalogue them.”  In 1899, two new bookcases were added as the old ones were overcrowded.  Thankfully, one Middle Bass Club Chapel library book exists today; it resides at the Taliak family’s “Grape Cottage” which was annexed into the Middle Bass Club circa 1980.

Middle Bass Club Chapel Library Book (multiple pages).  Taliak Family Personal Collection. Photo by Marie Demer Rader, Summer 2021