In the mid to late 1800's, Jean Jacques Louis Wuichet, often referred to as James L. Wuichet, wielded mallets and chisels to create the stone used in beautiful buildings all over the world.
Wuichet was born in
How he came to make
According to Burba, Wuichet traveled through
In 1833 Wuichet immigrated to
Gilmore hired Wuichet, in 1836, to work at his Gilmore & Scott quarry near Beavertown. The superior work produced by Wuichet attracted attention and he was encouraged to start his own business. After Wuichet started his business, he hired other stone cutters trained in the old world.
Burba writes, "His 'yard' was opened in a little oaken forest east of the canal and his first 'chiseling' was done under a big tree in the center of Green St. near the corner of Jefferson, then a rather wild looking place ... So well pleased was Mr. Wuichet with the location that he built himself a large and comfortable house on the scene of his first stone-cutting exploits in Dayton. .." In a death notice in the Dayton Daily Journal the Wuichet residence is described as "at the corner of Green and Logan Streets opposite
"The vault was designed, "In the Theme of
Wuichet married Sabina Dutoit, the daughter of Eugene Dutoit. They had seven sons and two daughters. Their sons became involved in various
Wuichet died on September 13, 1872 at age 70 and was buried at
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I really didn't expect to get a hit when I entered
My husband and I are members of the South Dayton Church of Christ. Our congregation owns the former
When I clicked on the entry, a photograph of our church building came up. The object for sale was a picture postcard mailed in 1911. I bought it and waited anxiously.
A few days later the postcard came. The picture was great. It has a very plain image of one of the stained glass windows. The windows were modified a few years ago and this shows how they looked originally.
And, then there was the message written in 1911, postmarked
This is where we go to Sunday School. Have all been having grippe and so have colds yet. How are you? As Ever, Elsie Clevenger.
Who was Elsie Clevenger?
I began to research. Elsie was the daughter of Arthur Elwood and Indiana Metz Clevenger. She was born in September of 1897 in
So, she was 14 when she authored the postcard. Elsie had two older sisters, Rhoda and Mary.
Clevenger graduated from Springboro Schools in 1915. At the
I was able to obtain a copy of Miss Clevenger's obituary through Warren County Genealogy.
Miss Clevenger died in 1953 after a four year illness. She was 55 years old at the time of her death and was buried in
The obituary mentioned she lived with a foster sister, Miss Inis Davis, at
Melvina Null Montgomery, a lifelong resident of the Springboro area, remembers Miss Clevenger. "She was a great one to work in the Springboro Grange and cooked great dinners,"
Bessie Baker, another Springboro resident, says Miss Clevenger was her eighth grade teacher in 1924. Baker lived near her teacher and used to ride to school with her.
I'm still searching for more information.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The murder happened on October 30, 1872. William Fogwell was returning from Dayton to his home in Greene County when he was shot. The murderer was concealed in a corner fence row near the road. Fogwell did not die immediately. He shouted, “Murder!” several times. Some neighbors responded to his calls. Fogwell was carried to his father’s house which was nearby. There Fogwell said he had seen William Ritchison in the flash of the gun. The weapon was a double barreled shotgun loaded with balls. Fogwell lingered for several days but died on November 8.
Authorities obtained evidence from the crime scene and the suspect’s house. A wheat field and clover pasture near the scene of the crime contained soft clay. Boot tracks were in the soil leading from the hiding place to Ritchison’s house. When Ritchison was arrested he was wearing boots. His boots were taken to the crime scene and inserted into the prints. One man testified, according to a November 1872 issue of the Xenia Gazette, “they fitted every time like a mold”.
The nails on the sole of the boot were unusually placed, some close together and some wide apart. The prints in the ground corresponded exactly with those in the boot.
Scrapes of paper were found at the crime scene. The edges were scorched and they were printed with words in columns. The paper had been used as wadding for the bullets in the murder weapon. At Ritchison’s house a “haversack’ was found. It contained “some gun caps, an old spelling book without covers and the leaves torn, and some paper wads”. The bullets extracted from Fogwell matched the balls found in Ritchison’s sack and the paper at the scene matched the spelling book. The shotgun at Ritchison’s house was examined and found to have been recently fired. Tests were done which showed it was possible to see a shooter’s face in the flare of the gun fire.
It was known, by several people, that the two men had had various arguments over the course of about five years. The most recent quarrel had been about some turkeys that belonged to Fogwell which Ritchison had shot. Fogwell had demanded payment for them. Ritchison refused. Fogwell, a township constable, had obtained a subpoena to serve Ritchison. It was in his shirt pocket when he was shot. Someone had warned Ritchison about the subpoena.
Ritchison was found guilty at a trial. Another trial was ordered because it was claimed a juror from the first trial had talked about the case outside of court before a verdict was reached. Ritchison was again found guilty at the second trial.
Ritchison tried to escape. When the escape failed, he hung himself in his jail cell. He was buried in his own yard, in an unmarked grave.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The last history blog told the story of Laura Woolwine who became Laura Bellini, a famous opera singer.
Laura was not the only star in the Woolwine family. Her younger sister, Dolly, became a stage star in the "Gay 90's".
Dolly was born in 1861 after the family moved from
The Woolwine family moved to
After training with Modjeska, Woolwine joined an acting company led by Nobles.
Milton Nobles and Dolly Woolwine were married in 1880. Nobles gave his bride, as a wedding gift, a fully furnished home at
Nobles, immediately after their marriage, wrote a stage play, "Love and Law" to present his wife to the public. She was an instant success. Milton & Dolly gained considerable fame both in Broadway plays and on tour. As melodramas waned in popularity, the couple made a transition to vaudeville.
A vaudeville program was made up of a series of separate unrelated acts.
Benjamin Franklin Keith, a theatre owner, is credited with bringing vaudeville to the
A New York Times article in May 30, 1903 said of them: "…the pair once again demonstrate their ability in the line of farce. Both Nobles and his wife have the rare faculty of so blending the serious and the comic that the right note of burlesque is obtained.."
Later in life
The Nobles had two children: Milton Jr. and "Dolly Junior". Milton Jr. was an actor and "Dolly Junior" a pianist.
When performing in
The Center also has numerous photos of the Nobles and Bellini and a copy of the book "Shop Talk" authored by Milton Nobles.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Woolwine was the oldest of four children born to William and Rebecca Conrey Woolwine in Lebanon.
As a child Woolwine sang in a local church choir and was recognized as possessing great vocal talent.
At fourteen she performed an operatic concert in Lebanon. Afterwards, amazed attendees encouraged her parents to provide for her an advanced musical education.
The family moved to Cincinnati to give Woolwine such an opportunity. There she became a student of Madam Rive. Rive arranged for her to audition for Parepa Rose, a famous opera singer who was appearing in Cincinnati. Rose advised that Woolwine go immediately to Italy for training.
Eventually Mr. Woolwine was able to obtain a job in Washington D.C. which provided the finances to send his daughter, now twenty years old, to Milan, Italy.
There Woolwine became a student of Lamperti and Bellini, both renowned teachers. She stayed in Europe for nine years and took the last name of her favorite teacher as her stage name. Her debut was in the La Scala in Milan, the largest opera house in the world at that time. She sang “Rigoletto” followed by “Iona”.
Hazel Spencer Phillips described Bellini in her May 20, 1948 column, “Our Museum” in the Western Star, a Cox newspaper: “Her success was assured from her first appearance. She was a radiantly beautiful girl and woman…Her voice was that very rare combination of coloratura and dramatic soprano. She had a clear sweet tone with controlled power and an attractive and gracious stage manner that added much to her popularity.”
Bellini toured the major cities of Europe. A Command Performance was given for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Following the concert, the Queen presented Woolwine with a medallion.
After returning to New York City, Bellini became the first to sing “Cavalleria Rusticana” in English. Musicians regard it as the most difficult and arduous role ever written for soprano voice. The notes are exceptionally high and low.
A prima donna who sings the role four times in a week in Europe is considered accomplished. Bellini broke all records by doing seventy-six performances of “Rusticana”. The management of the opera company presented her with a diamond brooch and bracelet on the eve of her seventy-fifth consecutive performance.
Ill health caused Bellini to retire from the stage and to open a studio in New York. After her mother’s death, she returned to Lebanon to live with her father. She had a studio in Cincinnati and some Lebanon students.
Although Bellini is considered one of the really great American singers of the nineteenth century, her later years seem to be ones of limited means. In the 1930 census she had boarders living with her and her total net worth is listed as $6,000.
Woolwine/Bellini died on April 8, 1931 and is buried in Lebanon Cemetery. No gravestone marks the burial site.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Stone quarries were the leading industry in Montgomery County Ohio in the mid to late 1800's.
In 1914 state geologist J. A. Bownocker published a book titled Building Stones of
The Bownocker book says the largest quarry in the
Burba lists many quarry owners. Among them he mentions John and Allen Fauver who ran the Wade quarries. He says they began to cut the stone. In earlier times Burba explains fire was built under the rock and thus cracked with the heat.
Stone from the local quarries was used to build many local buildings: several church buildings, the old
Canal building increased the demand for stone since it was needed for the building of the locks.
New quarries were then opened in
Only one road led to the quarries and transportation was a problem. To solve this dilemma a type of "railroad" was built from the quarries to the new canal. The rails of this railroad were made of tough hickory and the flat-bed cars that ran on it had grooved wheels to fit the rails. Gravity pulled the cars down the slopes and teams of horses were used to tow them across the flat areas. A stone yard was created between
According to Burba, in order to give a smooth or polished surface to the rough stone, stone cutting and dressing was introduced in 1836 by James L. Wuichet from
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Amanda Stokes, born in 1820 and raised on a farm near Waynesville, overcame personal tragedy and grief by serving those in need.
Stokes' fiancée was killed during the Civil War. She responded to this loss by selling her wedding trousseau and other personal items and raising about a thousand dollars. After serving in local hospitals, she volunteered to be a nurse for the Northern Army. Her parents, Ellis and Hannah Morgan Stokes, other relatives, and friends discouraged her choice. She persisted.
Accepted by the army, she served at
Hazel Spencer Phillips, an employee of the
While working at the
By the end of the war Stokes had spent most of her funds and had difficulty obtaining a pension. The loss of her papers contributed to the problem. In 1878, due in part to the efforts of "her boys", Stokes was appointed a matron at the Ohio Sailors' and Soldiers' Orphans' Home in
Finally, Stokes received a small pension, thanks to the persistent efforts of several citizens of
Stokes died on March 25th, 1885. Her services were conducted at the
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The witness said a black man, going by the name of Thomas Mitchell, had lived in Dayton for two or three years. He was a hard working and stable man; married and the father of a child.
Some men from Kentucky arrested Mitchell, took him before a magistrate, and said he was an escaped slave. The judge ruled they did not have sufficient proof and released Mitchell.
A few weeks later, armed men, hired by the slave owner, grabbed Mitchell on Main Street and attempted to put him in a sleigh and carry him off. Mitchell was rescued when his cries for help were heard. Legal proof of ownership was demanded by several people.
The case again went to a magistrate. This time new evidence was provided and it was ruled that Mitchell was indeed the slave of the person claiming him.
Several citizens took up Mitchell's cause and proposed that money be collected to buy his freedom. The owner's agent thought this could be arranged. A large sum was collected. Mitchell himself gave fifty dollars from his own savings.
But, the owner refused the deal and came to Dayton himself to take Mitchell back to Kentucky. When Mitchell met the man in the second story of a house and realized he was going to be taken, he tried to jump out of the window. He was restrained from doing so and forced to go south with the man.
On their way back to Kentucky the group stopped to spend the night in Cincinnati.
Later, a letter was received by a man in Dayton which told the rest of the story:
"Poor Tom Is Free Cincinnati, Jan. 24, 1832 Dear Sir:-In compliance with a request of Mr. J. Deinkard, of Kentucky, I take my pen to inform you of the death of his black man Ben, whom he took in your place a few days ago….Mr. D. and company, with Ben, arrived in this city on their way to Kentucky, and put up at the Main Street Hotel, where a room on the uppermost story (fourth) of the building was provided for Ben and his guard. …about one o'clock when they were in a sound sleep, poor Ben…threw himself from the window…He was… severely injured and the poor fellow died this morning about four o'clock. … Please tell Ben's wife of these circumstances…. R. P. Simmons"
Saturday, July 31, 2010
In 1950 Irvina Dearth wrote History of
In 1797 Edward came to the
His family consisted of his wife Elizabeth and five sons: Basil, James E., Asael, Isaac, and Samuel and one daughter, Priscilla. The couple had eleven children but five had died at a young age.
In a file, at the
In the spring of 1798 Edward built a flat boat and the family floated on it down the
In the Red Lion book Dearth recorded a story told by Newton Dearth, a grandson of Samuel, about the dogs on this early farm. A lane led from the house to the road. There were bars across the lane at the road and also near the house. At night the dogs put their paws on the bars by the house and waited for the wolves to come out of the woods. The dogs then chased the wolves to the set of bars at the road. The wolves then turned and chased the dogs back to the house. Dearth said they played like this for hours.
As to personality, Booz describes Edward as "pious and of quiet temperament" and of
Friday, January 8, 2010
By Rosalie Yoakam
Colonel John Bigger, an early pioneer of Warren County, Ohio, had a distinguished political career. He was first elected, in 1802, to the territorial legislature but it never met because the Ohio State Government was organized in its place.
He was then selected to be a Representative in the first Ohio State Legislature. This was followed by twenty terms in the state government. Bigger served a total of eight terms in the House and thirteen in the Senate. His service was from 1803-1833, from the first Legislature through the 32nd. He was Speaker of the House in 1821-22 and in 1825 was appointed to the first State Board of Equalization. He later became its President.
Bigger ran for governor of Ohio in 1826 but was defeated by Allan Trimble. He also served as a Presidential elector on the Clay ticket.
The book, The History of Warren County, Ohio, produced by the W. H. Beers Company of Chicago in 1882, says, “He was more frequently elected to represent Warren County in the Legislature than any other citizen of the county in its whole history.”
The Beers book says of his character, “Col. Bigger possessed powers of mind which enabled him to discharge the duties of the offices to which he was chosen with credit to himself and the entire satisfaction of the community.”
He also served as a nonpolitical executive. Bigger was on the first board of trustees of Miami University and a charter member of the directorate of the first bank of Cincinnati. Its charter was issued in 1803.
Bigger was born in Pennsylvanian on December 5, 1770. He married Hannah Bigger, his cousin in 1801. She was born in Pennsylvania on February 17, 1779 and was the sister of John Bigger who settled in Montgomery County, Ohio. Bigger Road in Montgomery County is named for the family.
Colonel Bigger bought land in the northern part of Warren County, near the Shaker’s Union Village, (now Otterbein Lebanon Retirement Community) from Judge John Cleves Symmes in about 1799. But, he was not able to get a deed to his land until an act of Congress was passed to relieve persons with written contracts to lands not actually in Symmes’ patent.
The Bigger family was members of the Dick’s Creek Presbyterian Church near the village of Blue Ball. He was a Ruling Elder there for almost forty years.
Hannah died on December 31, 1830. Her grave was found in 1949 in a small family cemetery on land north west of Lebanon on Green Tree Road. The property had once been owned by the family.
Colonel John’s second wife was Ann Robinson daughter of Captain John Robinson.
Bigger died on June 18, 1840. It is unclear where he is buried.
Hannah and Colonel John had two sons who achieved political fame. Samuel Bigger became the seventh governor of Indiana and Finley Bigger was the registrar of the United States Treasury under several Presidents.