A Slice of My Life: The Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians Logo


I grew up in Northeastern Ohio in a small town called Killbuck. Back in the day, on a long summer evening you could walk through town and hear play by play of the Cleveland Indians game. No, we did not have Walkmans or I-Pads.

People would leave the screen door open, or maybe have the windows up as they sat on their porch swings, listening to the Cleveland Indians game on the radio. And since EVERYBODY was listening to the game, you could walk all the way through town and never miss a play. Bob Feller was a god.

When the Indians weren’t playing, we’d go up on school house hill and watch the town men and boys playing baseball on a sandlot beside the high school. Since we lived catty-corner across from the lot, we couldn’t resist crossing the road to the ball field. Besides, everybody in town was there.

The elementary school was built on the spot in 1953, and the ball field moved farther behind the school.  I remember the bleachers and I remember that someone was selling snacks. Although I have no idea who sold the snacks, I would wheedle a quarter out of my Uncle Bill Anderson so I could buy a candy bar.

Summer evenings meant singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” joining in cries of “We wuz robbed” and “kill the ump”, breathing in the soft, warm dusty air, and catching up on town gossip. The men retired to their cars to grab a beer in between innings, and played until the air turned cool, the crickets chirped and the stars came out. Baseball didn’t just belong to the Big Leagues, but the Indians mania was strong in the ten-year stretch from 1947 to 1956 all over Ohio.

When the Cleveland Indians made it into the playoffs, we could shuffle through the brightly colored oak and maple and elm leaves as we strolled down the sidewalk, listening to other people’s radios. Even when my family moved too Columbus for a couple of years, the magic wove its spell.

I still remember the pudgy, blond math teacher I had in fifth grade in a Columbus Ohio school and his radio. He had a glassed-in office at the back of his classroom, and when the Indians made the World Series in 1948 (the last time they WON a series), he even let the kids forget about multiplication tables and cluster around his radio. ‘It’s history!’ He explained. Little did he know!

For a ten-year stretch, there, the Cleveland Indians won more games than they lost every year. Then I graduated high school and moved back to Columbus for college and Buckeyes’ football.  My sister reminds me that during that period, my father used to say, “The Indians never win a game after the 4th of July.”

If he could see them now!

Deviled Eggs and Other Devilish Foods for Halloween

Looking for Halloween food? How about something Devilish? Deviled eggs, anyone?

deviled eggs

Take a bite of deviled eggs.

From what I’ve read, deviled foods were popular in the 1700s, when all kinds of things were highly spiced, particularly with mustard and pepper and labeled “deviled.” Things odd to us today like deviled mutton and deviled tongue might be on the menu. Deviled shrimp and crab became popular in the 1800s and early 1900s.


Deviled Eggs

Deviled Ham

Deviled Ham Advertisement from 1905

And then in 1871, Underwood started marketing Deviled Ham, which comes in a very similar can today. If you automatically associate deviled ham with blah white bread sandwiches, check out the Underwood website for their modern recipes.

Rector’s Restaurant, NYC

The Rector Cook Book 1928

The Rector Cook Book 1928

My vintage cookbook from Rector’s, a competitor to New York City’s Delmonico’s in the 1880s, has several devilish recipes, none of which are terribly spicy.

Deviled Oysters does not sound too extreme with its “pinch of cayenne in oyster liquor and hot milk and cream to sauce the oysters.

Stuffed Deviled Crab Rector uses one pound of crab meat with a cream sauce that is seasoned with a few grains of cayenne and a teaspoon of dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce. Again, not too devilish hot.

Deviled Virginia Ham á la Rector achieves devilishness by simply smearing mustard on the ham and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. The  ‘á la Rector’ comes in the presentation–surrounded by a ring of rissotto.

The Rector Stuffed Eggs sound a lot like our deviled eggs. The recipe calls for mixing the yolks with parsley, cream (instead of mayonnaise). The eggs are seasoned with salt and pepper and a few grains of cayenne. George Rector also presents a recipe for hard boiled eggs stuffed with a pate de fois gras mixture. He assures the homemaker that they will perfectly acceptable if you use liverwurst instead of fois gras.

See a common thread here?  Cayenne pepper.  Recipes commonly call for mustard in deviled foods.


1925 Cook Book

1925 Cook Book Cover

Let’s jump up to the 1920’s and look at my vintage Buffalo Cooking School Cook Book. This book, inherited from my great aunt Maud, lists Deviled Crabs, Deviled Eggs, Deviled Fowl, Deviled Oysters, Deviled Sandwiches, and Deviled Tomatoes.

Those last two intrigued me. But I don’t think I’ll be making deviled sandwiches any time soon. Here’s the description:

Deviled Sandwiches. On Boston Brown Bread, you spread a mixture of almonds, sweet pickles, Worcestershire sauce, chutney, and cottage cheese, seasoned with a little paprika. UGH!

Deviled Tomatoes sound a bit more promising. Cook slices of tomatoes in butter, sauce with butter, mustard, sugar, hard cooked egg yolk and a raw egg, seasoned with mustard and vinegar.

Deviled Eggs.  This book has a totally different take on deviled eggs. Instead of stuffed hard cooked eggs, they slice the hard cooked eggs. Then they warm them in a sauce of catsup (!), mustard, butter, a little paprika and Worcestershire sauce.

I’ll save a discussion of Devil’s Food Cake for next Halloween, but if you want to read even more about devilish foods, this Smithsonian article covers everything.


Deviled eggs with paprika

Deviled eggs with paprika

Now on to my favorite--Deviled Eggs, as they are generally made today– with mayonnaise and mustard added to the yolks.  According to the History channel, commercially made mayo didn’t come along until early in the 20th century. That may explain the Rector recipe that uses cream.

At any rate, the least devilish item I can think of, and one of my family’s favorites, Deviled Eggs.

Deviled Eggs

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Appetizer, Salad, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Deviled eggs are not as devilish as the title suggests. Easy to make and endlessly adaptable, a favorite of all.


  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (Miracle Whip or Kraft Salad Dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (prepared)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon relish (sweet or dill according to your preference)
  • paprika or dried parsley (for garnish)
  • salt (to taste)


1. Slice eggs in half and scoop out yolks into a small bowl. Places whites on a serving plate.
2. Mash yolks with fork.
3. Mix mustard, mayonnaise or salad dressing and relish into yolks.
4. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture with spoon, or by piping.
5. Top with sprinkle of dried parsley or paprika.


Everyone has their own way to hard boil eggs for deviled eggs. I will just hand on a couple of my tips:

  • Use eggs that are at LEAST a week old (two is better).
  • Let eggs come to room temperature in pan of water before starting to cook.
  • Plunge cooked eggs into ice water and gently crack all over. Let cool completely before peeling.

If you are cooking for company, cook a few extra in case a few don't crack open nicely.

The yolks of six large eggs will yield about a cup of cooked yolk. Measure your seasonings proportionately to the number of eggs you have cooked (or quantity of yolks.)

Feel free to up the spiciness in your deviled eggs.

Toppings can vary according to your tastes. Some suggestions--cocktail shrimp, sliced olives, pieces of pimento, diced pickle, pieces of carrot or other raw vegetable. Let your imagination fly.

By the way, the argument continues to rage at our house about which sandwich spread is best for all things–including deviled eggs–Miracle Whip or Kraft’s Mayonnaise.  Oh well, there are worse things for a family to fight over.  But this family split guarantees that I’m not taking sides on which you use in your deviled eggs.

Why is Miracle Whip not “mayo”? Because food standards call for 65% vegetable oil in mayonnaise, and Miracle Whip has something less than that. That makes some people like it because of its taste emphasis on sweet and spicy rather than oily. But, whatever works for you and your family is what should go into your deviled eggs.




Doc James Woods: Character in Jesse’s Story

REVISED October 19, 2016

Illinois Land

Location of Land Jesse bought for Woods. 1847

Last week I wrote about 2 x great grandfather’s  Jesse Morgan’s 1847 purchase and sale of land to James Woods in Illinois. Thanks to the Illinois Archives and the Bureau of Land Management website for public land purchases, I could learn details of that purchase. As I said last week:

The sale coming only one month after the purchase, and Jesse’s mention of Mr. Woods in an August letter to Mary, both indicate that Jesse may have bought the land as an agent for Woods. If so, he made a hefty commission. Did you notice on the index that he bought the land for $200 and sold it a month later for $300? Way to go, Jesse. In August you were scrimping by living in the stable with your horses, and by October, you’ve made $100 with hardly any effort.

See last week’s post for the background, including the deed of sale when Jesse sold the land and a map of the land’s location.

Who is James Woods?

He sold the land to a man named James Woods, which made me curious. Who was this James Woods, also referred to as “Doc” Woods that Jesse mentioned at least three times in letters to his wife Mary as well as serving as Woods’ land agent?

[Warning:  Since I am patching together whole lives from scraps of information, the inferences I draw may be wildly off the mark. I am merely sharing one possible version of the story of Jesse Morgan and Dr. and Mrs. James Woods. Feel free to offer counter-possibilities.]

Since I had so little information–his name, probable occupation and the fact that he must have lived somewhere near Jesse and Mary in Holmes County–a search for James Woods on Ancestry was difficult. I resorted to searching line by line through census reports of the Killbuck village and township in Holmes County and found several Woods. Most of them were farmers, but I finally lit on a physician.

In 1850, the Woods family lived six houses away from Mary Morgan.  In 1840 they had lived in another county, but apparently moved  to Killbuck early in the decade, since Jesse mentioned them in an 1843 letter. Also, James B. Woods was Killbuck postmaster in October 1844, which could have been what motivated the move to Killbuck, and would have guaranteed he was well known in the community.

By 1860 Mary Morgan and her schoolteacher daughter lived with a family next door to the Woods family.

Following the lead on that census, I discovered that one of James Woods’ descendants had a public tree on Ancestry.com. While I do not generally rush to use information from family trees, this one was obviously well researched and sourced.

When I contacted the descendant, it turned out that he had a wealth of information, some of which shed light on Jesse Morgan and his letters.

The Litigious and Influential Mrs. Woods

I sent the Woods descendant copies of Jesse’s letters and asked what he thought Jesse was hiding  in his 1843 letter  when he warned Mary not to tell everything to Mrs. Woods. He replied that Mrs. Woods had a reputation for being litigious. He added that she was well connected and well regarded, so her opinion would definitely count for something.  So Jesse may not have been hiding anything in particular, but just being cautious around this woman of influence.

Sarah Cowan Woods, I learned, had several relatives who were lawyers and a cousin, who although he was a farmer, liked to play lawyer in the Holmes County court in Millersburg. Although Jesse was worrying about Mrs. Woods in  1843, her true colors showed long after Jesse was gone, when she went to court in 1871.

It seems that “Doc” James Woods drank a bit too much. (I know, I know. If this were a novel, the drunk small town physician would be a cliché.)  Besides her understandable frustration at having a husband who drank, Mrs. Woods was no doubt influenced by the Temperance movement, very powerful in the late 19th century. She may have also been emotionally unstable due to the death of a child between 1860 and 1870.

Whatever set her off, she decided to get revenge–and possibly make a few bucks–by suing everyone who ever served or sold liquor to her husband. She was represented by a most distinguished member of her family who was a Princeton graduate, a lawyer of high repute, and a future Congressman among other accomplishments. She won $800 of the $3000 she asked for. Still a considerable sum.

In 1870, the Woods were living in Millersburg, but the 1871 trial ended their life together and in 1880 we find J. B. Woods (James Woods) living in a Killbuck boarding house. The census lists Sarah Woods as a widow in Millersburg, where she works as a seamstress. Obviously she is not a widow, but she may wish she were.

This scandalous and well-publicized law suit not only ruined her husband’s reputation, and thus his career and their mutual source of income, but it also ruined their son James, who was just beginning his medical career. He fled town and died two years later.

An Unsavory Political Connection

Another bit of information the descendant shared shed light on a negative side of Jesse’s personality.

The politics that the Woods descendant described to me in an e-mail was a radical wing of the Democratic Party. During the Civil War the group would be called Copperheads–those opposed to Abraham Lincoln and his conciliatory policies toward the South.

James B. Woods was President of a small Democrat political organization in Millersville [Millersburg]. During the Civil War it sponsored speakers like Clement Vallandigham, an Ohio Congressman who supported slavery and the Southern cause. Immediately after the war, Woods’ group called for laws to control blacks, arguing strongly for legal segregation of the races. So, not a nice guy.

I have a letter that a nephew wrote to Jesse mentioning Jesse’s anti-German immigrant stance and the general prejudice against German immigrants. It is easy to believe that the politics of James Woods attracted Jesse. (The Woods’ descendant points out to me that prejudice against the wave of German immigrants in Ohio was widespread at that time, and I agree. See this earlier articleNevertheless, I believe that a tendency to be nativist would also incline Jesse to be among those who believed Negroes were inferior.)

Reunited in Death

James Woods (the father) survived twenty years after the lawsuit, dying in 1891. In 1900, Sarah Cowan Woods could  legitimately list “widow” on the census form in Millersburg.

Woods Tombstone

Tombstone of James and Sarah Woods and their son James.

Despite the tumultuous family life, some later family member decided the Woods and their son belong together in the Millersburg Ohio Oak Hill cemetery.

I do not know what happened to the land that James Woods bought from Jesse Morgan.  He never lived in Illinois. I hope he sold the land at a good profit to sustain him after his wife destroyed his career.


Coming Next

Before we finish up Jesse Morgan’s story, I’m going to share one of my mother’s recollections, appropriate for Halloween.   Oooooooo.

Research Notes on James B. Woods

(The first section lists the sources cited by the descendant discussed above on his family tree of James Woods. I did verify them on line through Ancestry.com)

United States Federal Census: 1840 (Union Twp, Putnam County, Ohio); 1850 (Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio); 1860 (Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio); 1870 (Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio; 1880 (Killbuck and Millersburg, Holmes Couty, Ohio).

Find a Grave, Oak Hill Cemetery Millersburg, Ohio

U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, Ancestry.com

“Ohio Obituary Index.” Database. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. http://index.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/ : 2009.

(My own research sources)

Letters to and from Jesse Morgan 1843-1847. In the author’s possession.

Index of Land Sales, McHenry County, Illinois (portion); and Deed of Sale Jesse Morgan to James Woods, 1847 Holmes County, Ohio; Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb Illinois. Photocopies. Received September 21, 2016.

Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. On Line http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/search/ Searched August and September 2016.

Personal correspondence from Philip Campbell, September 2016