The party hostess: Helen Sebring Gahris
We return today to the oral history provided by William H. Morgan for a description of the dinner party and its hostess.
The Lakeside Club of Canton had scheduled a dinner dance for Saturday, August 23rd, and Mr. and Mrs. W. I. Gahris of Sebring, who were members, thought it an excellent opportunity to entertain Col. C. C. Weybrecht, who had returned from France only a month before and a number of their mutual friends. The old wooden club house stood on the west shore of Meyers Lake, and the property also contained a nine hole golf course.
Mrs. Gahris, wishing to make her table more festive, brought candy, nuts and a jar of ripe olives, which she had purchased at the L.M. Barth grocery in Alliance.
The Gahris party consisted of: Willard I. Gahris & Helen Sebring Gahris (Sebring, Ohio); Col. Charles C. Weybrecht & Emily Brosius Weybrecht (Alliance); Col. W. H. Morgan & Annette Sharer Morgan (Alliance); John C. Sharer & Katherine Ballou Sharer (Alliance); A. Fred Morris & Ella Bullock Morris (Alliance); Louis H. Brush & Maude Snowden Brush (Salem, Ohio); Dr. Willis F. Sanford & Jessie Williams Sanford (Alliance); Clem Bates & Mary Bates (Alliance)….
I knew the Gahrises but not so well as the Weybrechts. They too were outgoing and enjoyed a good time. They were also somewhat younger than most of their guests at the Lakeside party. Bill, as he was known, was an official of the Sebring Pottery which was owned by Frank A. Sebring, the father of Helen Gahris. One of Helen’s brothers, Frank H. Sebring was married to my first cousin, Margaret Ramsey, the daughter of Mrs. Willis H. Ramsey, Dad’s sister. The Gahrises had one daughter, Gretchen, about 7 years old at the time of the tragedy.
Tomorrow: The Dinner Guests
Table of Contents
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Who was Col. Weybrecht?
Part 3 – The party hostess: Helen Sebring Gahris
Part 4 – The dinner guests
Part 5 – The dinner party – August 23, 1919
Part 6 – The first effects of the tainted olives
Part 7 – The similarities in the symptoms become obvious
Part 8 – Other members of the dinner party are contacted
Part 9 – The first information published in The Alliance Review
Part 10 – Jessie Sanford struggles
Part 11 – Funerals are held for the dead
Part 12 – The final victim
Part 13 – Aftermath for the Morgan Family
Part 14 – What happened to the other guests at the Gahris dinner party?