Dr. Joseph H. Todd Cornerstone

Dr. Todd's cornerstone removed.

Walter Jones Construction Co. employees Jerry Jones, Terry Burkey (with sledgehammer), and Clarence "Bud" Barnes, helped remove the stone in 1974. © 1974 Wooster Daily Record

In 1974, the old home of the VFW located on West Liberty Street, in the area now occupied by the Wayne County Administration Building, was torn down. Long before the VFW occupied the space, the old house was best known as the home of Dr. Joseph H. Todd and a few generations of folks also knew it by it’s moniker, Christmas Knoll. The house was reported to have been built by John Christmas about 1835. Dr. Todd bought the house from Samuel G. Johnson in May of 1878 and lived there until his death at the age of 99 years, six months, and seven days in 1936.

Dr. Todd Cornerstone

Dr. J.H. Todd cornerstone on the Wayne County Historical Society campus.

Embedded in the foundation of the house was a cornerstone that displayed a crude skull and crossbones, Dr. Todd’s name and credentials, Masonic symbols, and the year 1885. Before the house was demolished, the VFW graciously donated the cornerstone to the Wayne County Historical Society where it has been on permanent display ever since. It is currently located in the small garden outside the Kister building entrance. Although getting a good view of the stone is best done in the early spring or late fall when the garden vegetation has died back a bit.

Kister Garden

Dr. Todd's cornerstone is located in the garden outside the Kister building entrance.

Sketch by Dennis Haas of the long-gone Christmas Knoll house of Dr. J.H. Todd.

The significance of the year 1885 inscribed on the stone is not known, but a good guess would be that was the year Dr. Todd added the octagonal tower to the home which he used as his private study. But it’s only a guess and there is nothing to substantiate the theory. As for the skull and crossbones and Masonic symbols we’ll have to surmise that was the stamp of the eccentric personality of Dr. Joe H. Todd. He had been a Mason since 1869 and up until his death was believed to be the oldest Mason in Ohio and possibly in America at the time.

Next time you are on the campus of the Wayne County Historical Society, be sure to look for Dr. Todd’s cornerstone in the garden outside the Kister building.


  1. Dr Joseph H Todd of Wooster Ohio is my great great grandfather.

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