Jeanette “Teeter” Grosvenor is being celebrated by Geauga County Historical Society by naming a street in our Century Village Museum, “Grosvenor Lane”. Aside from her service in the Coast Guard “SPARS” in WW2 and her college years, Ms. Grosvenor spent her entire 95 years (February 2, 1924 - November 18, 2019) in Geauga County. She was family, friend, teacher and mentor to many who loved her and will always remember her unique personality and skills. For years to come, those who visit us will gently be reminded of her and perhaps be prompted to smile when they stroll along Grosvenor Lane. Her willingness to share her deep and abiding love of history and what seemed an almost photographic memory meant an encounter with Teeter was most likely going to be interesting and enlightening. Her family’s deep roots in Geauga County and especially Claridon Township lead her into a lifetime interest in family and local history. Her contributions to Geauga County History and the Geauga County Historical Society go beyond the deep understanding and knowledge of genealogy and history she so readily shared. Her many projects and publications will enable those who come long into the future to discover who their ancestors were and what they did. Geauga County Historical Society is especially grateful for her organizing our Shanower Library. As part of this important work Teeter brought us into the modern world when she transferred records of our artifacts from paper to searchable computer files. Ms. Grosvenor left as strong a legacy as any historian or genealogist could wish for. Of course Jeanette “Teeter” Grosvenor was so much more than historian and genealogist. Written by Ann Thomas
All About Teeter
Jeannette “Teeter” Grosvenor is well known in Geauga County as an expert in local history and as a highly respected genealogist. Therefore I was quite amused when she confessed that as a child, she disliked family reunions: “Why do I have to go to this dumb reunion? All they ever say is, ‘My, how you’ve grown and developed!’ or ‘How’s school?’ On her table was an invitation to the 122nd Reunion of the Keyt-Frissel-Battles families to testify to her descent from several founding families of this area. Teeter was born on February 2 (Ground Hog’s Day), 1924, at the Sperry Hospital on Tilden Avenue in Chardon to Belle and Ralph Grosvenor. Eventually there were four children in the family: June Kellogg (now deceased), Teeter, Ralph Jr. and Janice Stanek. They lived in the ancestral home on Claridon-Troy Rd., built in 1833 and still owned by family members. Baby Jeannette was called “petite” by an uncle who had served in France during WWI. “Petite” soon became “Teeter”, and the name is preferred by her today. Teeter attended Claridon School, at Rt. 322 and Claridon-Troy Road through 8th grade. Because she had started first grade early (the school needed more children), she entered Huntsburg High School as the youngest freshman. She finished her junior and senior years at Burton High School, graduating in 1940. Teeter worked at the Wettstein Restaurant and Bakery in Chardon and then at Standard Oil in Cleveland until she was old enough to join the Spars, the women’s branch of the Coast Guard, in 1944. She attended boot camp in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the Biltmore Hotel had been turned into barracks. From February 1944 to December 1945, she was stationed in New York City, riding the subway and taking the ferry to Ellis Island. There she worked for a pathologist where she became interested in becoming a medical technician. With help from the GI Bill, she earned a degree in zoology and bacteriology from Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State. Back home in Claridon, Teeter found that there were no openings close by for an internship in her field. One day Aura Michener, the principal of the East Claridon School, contacted her because she needed someone to finish out a year of 4th grade. Teeter had no intention of becoming a career teacher but she stayed at the school for 4 years, teaching 4th and 5th grades. A fire at the school in 1953 destroyed the third floor; a new gym addition was quickly partitioned for classrooms. Teeter then moved to Park Elementary in Chardon for 2 years as a 6th grade teacher. At this time she was taking college courses in education at Kent and Hiram through correspondence. Josephine Urpi, the county supervisor for elementary education, came to observe her for one day. That was her student teaching experience! In the early 1960’s Teeter left the classroom to become a self-employed carpenter. She had learned woodworking skills by watching and doing since many of her Grosvenor ancestors were carpenters. (Most of the women were teachers!) She turned an attic into an apartment for herself at the family home on Claridon-Troy Road. But Teeter specialized in designing and building kitchen cabinets: “Men don’t have a clue about kitchen cabinets!” Mary Lou Morgan, a very satisfied client, is still pleased with the cabinets Teeter designed and installed. They incorporated features innovative for the time, including slide-out shelves and corner lazy susans. However, Teeter’s teaching career was revived when Evelyn Jolly, the principal at Hambden Elementary, needed someone to finish the year in a third grade classroom. When Hambden Elementary closed in 1981, she and her good friends Elizabeth Newbury, school secretary, and Norma Chapman, cafeteria manager, decided the time was right to retire. Teeter retired with 25 years credit. Some of Teeter’s former students shared some memories of her classroom. Don Starr recalled that the class built a scale model of Claridon Elementary, under Teeter’s direction. Karen Gratton Allen remembered that Miss Grosvenor was very upset when the class could not tell her why Marco Polo was important; the lesson the previous day had stressed that Marco Polo’s travels had inspired Christopher Columbus! Darrel Little Kangas said that Teeter introduced her to history; from then on, history was her favorite class in school and remains a strong interest today. How did Teeter impart her love of history and genealogy to her students? She developed an elaborate Geauga County unit which included math problems based on dates found on gravestones. Her students carefully measured the walking distance between school and Hambden Cemetery. They researched local place names, such as how Woodin Road was named. And they developed three generation charts of their families. Some of Teeter’s favorite memories of her teaching days center on the skits she wrote with 4th grade teacher Sue Kronk and music teacher Jan Stewart. One play, “The Pied Piper of Hambden,” featured Jan’s music students playing recorders and Teeter dressed as a large but very bashful rat! They also wrote a play about local history, “Bondstown”, the original name of Hambden Township. Teeter’s advice to new retirees is to find an interesting project and devote your time and energy to it! She volunteered for years at Century Village (Geauga County Historical Society) working in the library and helping people with research. Now she assists Staff Genealogist Cheryl McClellan in the Anderson-Allyn Room, Chardon Public Library’s center for genealogy research. Teeter also enjoys travel and has visited every state in the USA as well as Scandinavia, England and Wales. Her favorite trip was to Alaska, especially Denali Park. Teeter’s many accomplishments include serving at sexton of the Claridon Cemetery from 1978 to 2012. A stone monument was dedicated there to honor her years of service. A lifetime member of the First Congregational Church of Claridon, she served for many years as church historian and initiated several performances and projects dealing with church history. With co-author Violet Warren, she researched county cemeteries and wrote A Monumental Work: Inscriptions and Interments in Geauga County, Ohio in 1983; she has since revised the work, including updated computer records in each township’s library. She also wrote The Raccoon Brigade, a record of soldiers associated with Geauga County, and with Jim Anderson, Geauga County, Ohio: A Pictorial History. In 1998, Teeter was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Chapman Award by the Geauga County Public Library system. Teacher, historian, genealogist, author, volunteer and friend: the Geauga County Retired Teachers Association is proud to recognize Teeter Grosvenor as a true Geauga Gem!
By Carane Ladd August, 2014
Century Village Museum
14653 E. Park St. Burton, OH 44021 (440) 834-1492 firstname.lastname@example.org