Tuesday, September 22, 2009
By Rosalie Yoakam
Jesse Sanders must have been excited and anxious when he pulled his invention out of the village of Bellbrook on a sunny July morning in 1844. He had been working on the grain reaper for four years, having started in 1840. Now, he was going to give it a trial run.
Two strong horses pulled the machine from his workshop and up a hill to a wheat field owned by Jacob Haynes. The grain there was ripe and ready for harvest.
Farmers in the area, at that time, usually gathered wheat by hand. In the early days of our country it was cut with a sickle or scythe. The grain fell into disorderly clumps scattered across the field. Then some stalks were gathered into a bunch called a sheaf and tied with string. Several sheaves were leaned against each other and left in the field. This allowed the grain to dry.
In 1794 a Scottish farmer invented a long handled scythe with an attached cradle. The cut grain fell into the cradle and then was dropped into an orderly pile on the ground. Even with this invention, though, harvesting grain was labor intensive. A mechanical reaper would be a welcome tool.
So, a group of local farmers had gathered to watch Sanders’ invention. As the horses pulled the machine around the field, the grain was drawn into the reaper, and a strip of cut wheat was left behind, ready to be bound into sheaves. Everyone was very excited.
Among the group of bystanders was a stranger, a peddler who had come to the village tavern the night before. He was very interested in the machine, asked questions about its operation, and offered suggestions for improvement.
After the demonstration Sanders decided to refine his design before applying for a patent. He was delayed in doing so because of a lack of funds.
When Cyrus McCormick began, in 1847 in a factory in Chicago, to mass produce a reaper, similar to Sanders’ design, Greene County friends suspected the stranger had stolen Sanders’ idea.
The story is recorded in Robinson’s History of Greene County and is also mentioned in Broadstone’s History of Greene County Ohio: Its People, Industries and Institutions. Robinson’s says, “...thus robbing Bellbrook and Jesse Sanders of fame and fortune.” While Broadstone’s says, “Sanders never realized anything for his labors and died a poor man after giving to the world one of the greatest inventions of the age.”
But, Sanders’ friends and the books were wrong. In fact, McCormick of Walnut Grove, Virginia had invented a mechanical reaper in 1831 and his son, Cyrus had patented it in 1834, six years before Sanders began his work.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Reverend James Smith
By Rosalie Yoakam
The importance of the preservation of letters, journals, and diaries from the past are illustrated by three journals created by Reverend James Smith of
In 1797, on the third of his journeys, Smith rode from
About a half day's ride up the river from Waynesville he described the following sight. "We were saluted with a view of one of those enchanting plains which are known in this country by the name of pararas. Here we could see many miles in a straight direction and not a tree or brush to obstruct the sight. The grass in the parara we found higher than our heads on horseback as we rode thru it."
After traveling extensively through the
Smith brought his family to the
Soon after his death, Smith's widow and children completed his aim by moving onto the property near Caesar's creek. They recognized the value of his journals and carefully saved them
Smith's descendants became involved in the legal profession in
Some copies of Smith's journals were made in the grandsons' law office. One copy found its way into a historical library at
From the preacher's hand came a gift to the future, a glimpse into the past.
Friday, July 31, 2009
By Rosalie Yoakam
Hallie Q. Brown, a child of former slaves, became a professor of elocution and a world renowned lecturer who gave voice to scores of disenfranchised people.
Born on March 10, 1850 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brown was the fifth of six children of Thomas and Frances Brown. Thomas had purchased his freedom from his Scottish mother and Frances was freed by her maternal grandfather.
During Hallie’s childhood Thomas worked as a steward and express agent for riverboats. The family owned much real estate and was active in social causes. Their house was a station on the Underground Railroad and they provided space for visiting ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal church. These early experiences instilled in Hallie a respect for education and human rights.
Shortly before the Civil War ended the Brown family moved to a farm near Chatham, Ontario, Canada. There, teenaged Hallie practiced giving speeches by standing on a tree stump and addressing the farm animals.
When Hallie was twenty, the Brown family moved to Wilberforce, Ohio. There she and her brother attended Wilberforce University. She received a Bachelors degree from the university in 1873.
Upon graduation she taught, during the Reconstruction era, in plantation schools in Mississippi and South Carolina. She then worked as dean of Allen University in Columbia before returning to Dayton where she taught public school from 1887-1891. At this time she also taught night school for adult migrants.
After her Dayton career, Brown was a principal at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama for a year where she worked with Booker T. Washington. Next, she was offered the post of professor of elocution at Wilberforce University. But, before she assumed the position, she decided to travel and lecture.
Chautauqua schools were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The schools combined education with entertainment using lectures, concerts, and plays and were often given outdoors or in tents. Brown had attended a Chautauqua Lecture School.
Following this training Brown began to travel widely as a lecturer and elocutionist. She traveled to every state in the United States except two; Vermont and Maine. In 1894 she went to Europe and stayed for five years performing in numerous European countries. In England she appeared before Queen Victoria on two occasions.
Her program was diverse consisting of 90 memorized pieces and varied in content from Shakespeare to Mark Twain. She was especially skillful in presenting the poetry of Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church Review said of her: “Miss Brown possesses a voice of wonderful magnetism and great compass. At times, she thrills by its intensity; at times, it is mellow and soothing. She seems to have perfect control of the muscles of her throat, and can vary her voice as successfully as a mocking-bird.”
My next column will recount the political and social activism of this dynamic woman.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ON A SNOWY SATURDAY in January, I talked with Esther Doster, 96, and her son, Howard, a
Esther was born and raised on the family farm on
Education has played a major part in the family history. About 1900, Wilhelmina Hahn was hired to teach at a one-room school east of Jonah's Run Church. She met Daniel Underwood at church and they soon married. Esther was the oldest of their four daughters.
As a child, Esther attended Haines School, a one-room school located about one-half mile north of her home. She attended Haines from the first grade through the sixth grade. The schools were then centralized and Esther attended Kingman School in Clinton County from the seventh grade through her senior year. She was transported to school each day in a horse-drawn school wagon.
During high school, she played basketball and was on the debate team. She graduated from Kingman as valedictorian in 1921.
"I won a scholarship of $25 to Wilmington College and thought I'd go to college for a long time," Esther said. "I planned to take science courses. Papa talked to the president of Wilmington College. I saw Papa's hand shake and I realized he didn't have as much money as I thought. I decided to make the best of it and not take the higher-cost science courses. I went one year to Normal School (teacher training at Wilmington)."
After Normal School, Esther taught for one year at White Chapel, a one-room school north of Wilmington near Xenia.
"I walked to school every day. Well, actually, I ran," she said. "There were three country schools within hearing distance of the bell and it was a matter of pride that your bell wasn't the last one to ring."
She lived with a family in the "nice community."
"I think I was paid $90 a month," she said.
She hired a boy to make the fire in the classroom stove, sweep the floor, and wash the chalkboard. He was paid $3 a month.
"When they trained us to teach in the country, they said you don't want to use anything to hit the students that will leave marks. Some teachers had used boards. We were told to use a rubber hose," Esther said.
"I think they meant like a garden hose size but I got one about the size of your little finger. I only used it once.
"I had a sore foot with a corn on it. I'd hung the hose up on the wall. We were getting ready to go on a field trip. I always felt the children should be marched out in some order - not fly out like geese. One student sitting close to the hose got out of line and stepped on my sore toe. I grabbed that hose and gave him a lick. We were all shocked."
As a student in a one-room school, Esther said she had a wonderful teacher, Inez Ridgeway Wilson, who taught her health practices that she used when she taught at White Chapel. One was to have the students make their own paper cups to drink water from the bucket. It was common practice at that time for everyone to drink out of the same tin cup from the well or the same dipper from the bucket.
She also had the children brush their teeth each day. Once a man from the county office came to observe her teaching.
"He told me that he could see I understood the problems," Esther said.
She also adopted from Wilson the practice of hanging the temperance motto, "Not too much of anything and some things none at all," on her classroom wall.
She had 25 or 30 students. "I had all eight grades," she said. "Some came that were 4 years old. The oldest was 16. It was a busy time."
After teaching a year at White Chapel, Esther returned to Wilmington College. While at Wilmington she played basketball, helped found a sorority and a dramatics honorary. She graduated with honors in 1926.
Next followed three years of teaching high school English at Highland. She also coached the basketball team and the class plays. In 1929 Esther received a high school life certificate for teaching English, history and home economics.
Although she had dated William Doster off and on since 1922, she postponed marriage because at the time most school boards didn't hire married women. Teaching jobs were scarce and boards chose to hire men or single women.
In 1930 Esther quit her teaching job and married William. They set up housekeeping in the house on Brimstone Road. They had four children: three boys and one girl.
William was elected to the Harveysburg school board and served for "perhaps 26 years," Howard said. He was president of the school board for many of those years.
When her children were in grade school, Esther and a friend, Helen Wall, taught monthly temperance classes in fifth through eighth grades. Her son, Howard, remembers learning the same temperance motto that used to hang on her classroom wall at White Chapel.
In 1960 Esther returned to teaching. She taught high school English at Harveysburg and then at Clinton-Massie when Harveysburg, Kingman, Adams Township and Clarksville schools consolidated.
Esther has retired from teaching and now lives in
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Easter Sunday plays a special role in the lives of the Glaze family.
The day represents both a holy day in their religious faith and the time when their homestead in rural Wayne Twp. returned to the family. Travis and Anne Glaze's home radiates a family's love and strong religious faith that has kept them strong through bad times.
The house was built by Anne's great-great-great-great-grandfather, Moses McKay, in 1818. McKay was a Quaker from Virginia and a strong abolitionist.
Just before McKay left Virginia, he freed the slaves he had purchased. Twenty-two of the freedmen followed him to Ohio to help build a brick transitional Greek Revival farmhouse.
An 1836 addition included a two-story porch and a fireplace with a false hearth, which concealed a room large enough to hide eight people. The house became a station on the Underground Railroad.
In 1900, the McKay family lost control of the house when the Gons family bought it. It was later purchased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and slated for demolition to make way for Caesar Creek Park.
Through the efforts of several people, including McKay relatives, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corps was persuaded to spare the house, which was sold via sealed bids.
After several more owners, the house was bought back in 1996 by Howard Doster, the great-great-great-grandson of Moses McKay and the father of Anne Glaze.
"I first heard about the house about 20 years ago when it was owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I visited the house and entered through a hole in the basement wall," Doster said.
"Four years ago I revisited the house and found that the owner was the manager of a Cincinnati auto factory.'
Knowing that plant managers were frequently transferred, Doster kept an eye on the house for two years "watching for the inevitable `For Sale' sign to appear," he said.
"I saw it on Easter Sunday afternoon, April 7, 1996. The next day I made an offer and bought the Moses McKay house without even getting inside to see it again."
The Glaze family moved in in mid-May 1996, and celebrated the wonder of two triumphs: the return of the McKay house to family ownership and the survival of their first-born son, Nathaniel.
Nathaniel had been born on Jan. 28, 1996, just 5 1/2 months into the pregnancy. He weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces.
"When his weight dropped to a mere 1 pound and 6 ounces during his first week, we prayed hard," Anne Glaze said. "It took him 31 days to get back to his birth weight."
They turned to others for help.
"We were used to helping other people. This time we had to ask for help. It was hard to do," Travis Glaze said. "Our (South Dayton Church of Christ) family was extremely helpful."
During the health struggle, the family obtained a large wooden stick that they notched for each day that Anne and then Nathaniel were in the hospital.
The heavily-notched stick is proudly displayed in their home "to remind us to trust in God," Travis Glaze said. "It is so easy to forget when you get back into a normal routine."
Nathaniel went home from Miami Valley Hospital on May 9, just 2 1/2 weeks before the family moved into the ancestral home and 101 days after he was born.
On Jan. 10, the family was blessed with a second son, Eric Joshua. But this pregnancy also developed complications.
Anne Glaze went into preterm labor midway through the pregnancy. A premature birth was averted through the use of bed rest, prayer, and anti-contraction drugs. Eric Joshua arrived months later weighing 8 pounds.
The family realizes the magnitude of their blessings.
"We've seen God work miracles," Travis Glaze said.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
By Rosalie Yoakam
John Hivling was born on July 14, 1779 in
When he was elected sheriff of
While serving as sheriff, Hivling bought a corner lot at
Hivling next bought a thousand acres outside of town and lived there for a short while. His property was north of present day
In 1815 Hivling entered the mercantile business when he bought out a storekeeper named
Hivling was an early supporter of the Little Miami Railroad locating in
When the Xenia Bank was organized, he was appointed President of the bank. It later became the State Bank of
Hivling was a charter member of the
Broadstone's History of Greene County, Ohio states, "He was interested in the first bank, …Little Miami Railroad, and in every feature of the life of
Robinson's says, "In all his business connections, in banking, in railroad management and in mercantile matter, he was noted for his clear practical good sense."
The Hivlings' had thirteen children, eleven girls and two boys. Oral history says that when the daughters married the parents gave them a cameo pin, a gold watch and chain, and a new house as wedding gifts.
John Hivling died on November 4, 1860 and is buried in
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
THE SHAKER MAN
"Shaking here and shaking there,
People shaking everywhere.
Since I have my sins confess'd,
I can shake among the rest."
The Believers sang the chorus as loud as they could. Richard McNemar must have smiled to hear the song he wrote and to see people shaking or dancing in place.
The group had entered the large meeting room single file, men through one door and women through another. They sat on the floor in ranks with the men facing the women. After a few moments everyone stood up and began to sing as loud as possible. They sang for about an hour before being seated again.
A man then delivered a talk. At the end of his speech, he announced they were ready for "divine worship". The men took off their coats and hung them on wooden pegs on the wall. They lined up on one side of the room. The women lined up on the other side, facing the men. Each person danced in his or her own place, in time to a lively tune sung by a chorus. Some dancers jumped up and clapped their hands while others whirled on their toes and shouted. "Divine worship" lasted for about two hours.
Many people called this group the Shakers because of their actions during worship.
Richard had not always been a Shaker. When he was twelve years old, he became a member of the Presbyterian Church. As Richard grew in knowledge, he began to teach and preach. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1798.
In the spring of 1801 The Kentucky Revival took place. Richard was the minister of the Cabin Creek Presbyterian Church in
The following year Richard accepted an offer to be the minister at the Turtle Creek Presbyterian Church in Warren County, Ohio. The building was located on
Four years after The Kentucky Revival three Shaker missionaries came west seeking those who had been involved in it. They found Richard in
A few months later, after days of study with the Shaker missionaries, Richard and his family decided to join the Shaker faith. Most of the Turtle Creek New Lights members also became Shakers.
When people became Shakers, they gave their land and possessions to the group. They became a part of a commune, a community of people who lived, worked, and worshiped together.
The new Ohio Shakers built a village they called
Three of the
Richard became an important Shaker leader. He helped establish Shaker communities in
The Shakers created many inventions that made work easier for themselves and others. They developed some farming tools and raised sheep, cattle, and hogs. Quality products were made and sold to "the world". Some of the products sold were brooms, preserves, garden seeds and herbs as well as furniture, boxes, cloth and some articles of clothing. The Shakers were the first to sell seeds in packets.
Elder Richard was a writer. In fact, he wrote so many books, booklets, brochures, poems and songs that he has been called the Father of Shaker literature. But that isn't all he did. He was a cabinetmaker, a weaver, a farmer, a singer, a printer, a pharmacist, and a bookbinder.
Indeed, Elder Richard was a very busy man. For example in 1823 he was in a hurry to finish printing a book. Each morning he got up very early, ate a cold breakfast, which he had set out the night before, and was at the print shop by 4 A.M. He worked all day until it was too dark to see, ate a piece of pie or bread, drank a cup of milk, and went to bed.
In 1839 Elder Richard died and was buried in the Shaker graveyard of
Believers: The name taken by those who were members of the religious group called the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing.
dwelling houses: Large plain houses, in which the Shakers lived. They were built with two front doors, one for men and one for women. Men lived on one side of the dwelling house and women on the other. Inside the house were two stairways, one for men and one for women. In 1818, there were 634 Shakers at
out buildings: i.e. sawmills, mechanic's shops, schools, broom shop, herb shop
commune: a community where all property is owned by the group and not individuals
Monday, May 4, 2009
By Rosalie Yoakam
John Shroyer, an important figure in the history of Oakwood, was born in 1794 in Frederick County, Maryland.
Accompanied by his brother Jacob, he moved to
John met Elizabeth Shonk who had moved to
John Shroyer and Elizabeth Shonk were married in 1817. They had six children.
The Shroyers first bought 160 acres of land on the east side of
John was a Jeffersonian Democrat and a member of the German Reformed Church. He was a strong supporter of education.
The Shroyer farm house was at
The house was torn down in 1960 and an apartment building built in its place.
John Shroyer died in 1876 and Elizabeth in 1895. Both are buried in David's Cemetery.
Monday, April 27, 2009
James Galloway, Sr. and Family
By Rosalie Yoakam
James Galloway Sr. was an early pioneer of
Galloway was born in 1750 in
The Galloway family moved to
Perhaps this service impressed
The family built a log house near what is now Goes Station on US 68. The house has been moved several times and is now located on the grounds of the Greene County Historical Society in
The original house location was near the destroyed Old Chillicothe. Tecumseh, the famous
James Galloway Sr. served as the first county treasurer and held the position for sixteen years. His son, James Jr. was the first
At the age of eight-eight James Sr. died and was buried in the church yard at old Massies creek.