Reflections: Remembering Mrs. Alice E. Van Sickle

By Evelyn Long - The Sentinel

I have long been fascinated by the career of the late Mrs. Alice E. Van Sickle, a name that is unfamiliar to today’s generations.

While growing up, my mother would mention Mrs. Van Sickle and her writing career. I decided to research her and share that information with the readers of our local paper.

Mrs. VanSickle was a newspaper reporter and had been with the Morrow County Independent for nearly 30 years when she died at the age of 86 on May 1, 1932.

She also wrote for the Morrow County Sentinel, the Union Register, the Galion Inquirer, the Marion Tribune, Marion Star and Ashley Tri-County Star.

Born in Indiana she began writing love stories at the age of 14, attended public school and graduated from a private school. She taught school, later edited a small village newspaper at College Corner and worked for several other papers including one in Springfield.

Following her marriage to Nelson VanSickle, they moved to Cardington where she immediately became a reporter for the Independent and all of the above named in the vicinity.

She also gave a series of Sunday morning talks over two radio stations and was a friend of many public figures including the late Lowell Thomas who invited her to be a guest speaker on his nightly broadcast. She actively worked on the campaigns of several Republicans including former Governor Myers Cooper and Congressman Grant E. Mouser Jr of Marion.

She won many writing awards including recognition by the Ohio Women’s Newspaper Association. Her funeral was attended by government, political, and newspaper officials and others whose lives she had touched.

Although she had been ill the previous ten days, she had made an appearance (her last) at a meeting of the Cardington Community Parent-Teachers Association and had her story for that week’s edition written and lying on her night stand.

She had hoped to write until she was 90 years old.

Mrs. Van Sickle, a wisp of a woman with red hair coiled on top of her head, closed so many of her society stories with “One who was there.”

She also wrote and edited The Chautauqua Salute, a monthly edition in which she lauded every business place in Cardington.

Reading from the August 7, 1927 edition – in part she describes the Cardington Post Office as having “increased wonderfully the past year. We have a mighty good post office and post office force, carriers, both town and rural routes

are always pleasant and accommodating. Be polite in return”

She named the boys in town who carried the various newspapers: Ralph, Dale and Walter Lowther; Eli Herrod, Garnet Benedict, Robert Osborn, Francis Butts, Byron Schenck and Don Bachelder, “whose place is head

quarters for newspapers.”

Among others she critiqued in this edition were Gandee the Baker, Indian Service Station, Edgell’s Produce House and under her column “Chautauqua Manners” she advised “Remember others like to hear and see as well as you- don’t “hog” their chances. Politeness wins every time.”

I wish Alice were here today- she would be joy to learn from. She set some lofty guidelines.

July of 1926

Joseph Hickson died at the age of 76. The Mt Gilead resident had from 1884 until a few years before his death, engaged

in the manufacturing of brick, his plant was located along the T & O C Tracks in Mt Gilead. Prior to that time he was similarly engaged in Cardington, his factory being south of the school house and the old school house. He built the Beatty and Chase block, the Methodist Church and other public buildings were built of brick from his establishment. He had learned brick work from his ancestors the family originally from Minting, Lincolnshire, England, where they were engaged in brick manufacturing.

A top song in 1926: “Baby Face”

July of 1956

A benefit baseball game was being played on the Marengo baseball field for James Puttick of Marengo who suffered a fractured ankle playing baseball at St. Paris with Cardington in a state tournament game earlier in the month.

A top song in 1956: “Heart Break Hotel” by Elvis Presley

By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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