John William Oswald
John William Oswald was born in Ashland, Ohio, on October 5, 1842, son of Levi and Caroline Oswald. He attended the public schools in Ashland, served with the infantry during the Civil War, and later became a photographer.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Oswald enlisted as a private in the 23rd Ohio Infantry.[Harvey Scribner, Memoirs of Lucas County and the City of Toledo, vol. 2 (Madison: Western Historical Association, 1910), p.406]. This was the same unit in which future Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley served.(Toledo Times, 27 September 1921). It was at first commanded by William S. Rosecrans. Rosecrans later became one of the war's noted generals. The 23rd distinguished itself at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. Oswald survived the war without major injuries. He was mustered out at the end of July, 1864.
After leaving the service, Oswald trained as a photographist in Cleveland. He was married on May 5, 1865, to Cordelia Coldell. They had three children, a son and two daughters.(Scribner, p.408). In 1865, he co-founded the photography company of North & Oswald in Toledo, Ohio. Oswald's partner, A.C. North, sold Oswald his interest in the business in 1883. At that time W.E. McKecknie became his new partner. The firm's name changed to McKecknie and Oswald. Oswald was a member of the Brush and Lens Club of Toledo.(Scribner, p.407). In 1912, Oswald reached his seventieth birthday and retired from active participation in his company.(Toledo Times).
Oswald was an avid hunter and fisher. He continued to be a serious sportsman until a couple of years before his death. He was a member of the Howell Ducking Club which hunted around Cedar Point. He was also one of the founding members of the famous Castalia Trout Club and was one of the first Toledoans to fish on the Ausable River. In addition, he was a member of the Rubicon Lodge of the Masons and the Grand Army of the Republic. John Oswald died at home on September 26, 1926, at the age of 85.(Toledo Times).
John William Oswald's grave
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)