Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elsie Clevenger

I really didn't expect to get a hit when I entered Springboro, Ohio in the search feature of e-Bay. But, an interesting item appeared. It said Springboro, Ohio Universalist Church.

My husband and I are members of the South Dayton Church of Christ. Our congregation owns the former Universalist Church building.

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 Waynesville, Ohio, and mailed to Florence Fraze in Indiana. It read:

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 Ohio.

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 Lebanon Museum I found a picture of Elsie Clevenger and Inis Davis. A note on the back read: teachers, taught mostly in Clearcreek Township.

At the Springboro Museum I discovered a 7th and 8th grades photo taken in 1920. The teacher was Miss Clevenger and the handwritten title said Old Red School. This was the building torn down to make way for the present Jonathan Wright Elementary.

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 Springboro Cemetery.

The obituary mentioned she lived with a foster sister, Miss Inis Davis, at 445 Warren Street in Lebanon. Her sister, Rhoda, had died in 1945. The article said Elsie was a former teacher in the Lebanon schools, a member of the Springboro Grange and the Lebanon Presbyterian Church.

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," Montgomery said. "She had red hair and lived in Lebanon with her sister, Rhoda and another lady."

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. Lebanon and Springboro schools looked through their files but found nothing. If anyone has more information, I'd be glad to hear from them.

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