The Dinner Guests
As we’ve mentioned, the author of the Recollection we are sharing was William H. Morgan. He was the son of Col. Henry Morgan and Annette Sharer Morgan. His Aunt and Uncle were John Sharer and his wife Katherine Ballou Sharer. The Olive Poisoning tragedy affected his family very profoundly. Here are his descriptions of the Morgan and Sharer family members who attended the dinner party.
My Uncle, John Sharer, one of mother’s brothers, and Aunt Kit were also favorites of mine. They too were outgoing and enjoyed parties. Their daughter Ann was about 7 years old. Uncle John owned the Sharer Jewelry Store, which was partially on the site of the present J.C. Penney Company. The Sharer home on South Union Avenue stood on the present location of the Columbia Gas Office.
My parents too enjoyed company and parties. Dad neither smoked nor drank but it never prevented him from entering into the fun. Fortunately his dislike of ripe olives probably saved his life. He always carried the title Colonel. It was not military, but had been conferred on him by a one time Governor of Ohio, George Nash, and was probably akin to a Kentucky Colonel, but there were considerably fewer of them in Ohio. Neither was mother a shrinking violet, being very outgoing.
The Other Members of the Dinner Party
The Brushes also were an interesting couple. They had one son, Stuart, a few years older than I was, whose wife, Kay, in later years became quite a well-known novelist. Neither are living. Lou Brush had been brought up in Alliance. Both of his parents taught at Mount Union College. Lou later got into the newspaper business in Salem. He was the type of person who would try anything. My earliest remembrance of him was of Dad taking me to a balloon ascension in Alliance when I was very young. One of the astronauts was Lou Brush, and I was duly impressed, and never forgot it. Maude Brush I believe originally came from Pittsburgh. She too had personality plus. They were a couple who would be an asset to any party.
The Morrises I had known and liked as far back as I could remember. Fred Morris was a very close associate of Father’s, being head of Sales at Morgan Engineering. Mother had known them both since school days. They too enjoyed a good time.
Dr. Sanford and his wife Jessie lived in Alliance, but his office was in Sebring. I did not know them well at the time although I learned to know Dr. Sanford very well in the 20’s after he moved his office to Alliance and became my dentist.
Clem and Mary Bates I did not know well at the time. Clem was head of the Buckeye Jack Company, then a well known Alliance industry.
So much for my knowledge of the guests at the Lakeside Club Party. There was no one in that crowd that would not have thoroughly enjoyed the evening. After these many years, it is still difficult to reconcile the tragedy that unfolded during the following week.
Tomorrow: The Dinner Party
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?