Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hallie Quinn Brown

Hallie Quinn Brown was a noted educator, lecturer, and elocutionist. She also was an author and social and political activist.

Besides the five year lecture tour mentioned in my earlier post Brown made two other trips to Europe. Frederick Douglass sent a letter with Brown to introduce her to his “British friends”. She was a very successful fundraiser. In addition to other support she obtained a one time gift of $15,000 from Julia Emery, a British philanthropist. This money was used to build Emery Hall at Wilberforce University. The building still stands today and is scheduled for restoration and renovation.

Brown was an organizer and crusader for several civil rights movements. She was active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. When she saw a need for a national organization to support black women in America she helped establish the Colored Woman’s League of Washington, D.C. in 1894. This later became the National Association of Colored Women for which she served as president from 1920 to 1924. During her presidency the organization worked to preserve the Frederick Douglas Home in Washington, D.C. and set up a scholarship fund for women. She was also president of the Ohio Federation of Colored Women.

Her interest in clubs for women carried over to Europe. She was a member of the British Women’s Temperance Association, was given membership to the Royal Geographical Society of Scotland, and was elected a member of the International Council of Women. She helped establish, in 1895, the first British Chautauqua in North Wales.

In addition to being active in clubs Brown was very involved at Wilberforce University. She was a professor of elocution there and on the board of trustees. A member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Brown taught Sunday School classes on the Wilberforce campus.

Brown was a passionate Republican and envisioned elocution as a way to participate in politics. She spoke at the 1920 Republican convention in support of Warren Harding for the United States presidency. Harding ran a “front porch campaign’ from his Victorian house in Marion, Ohio. People came from all over to hear him. Brown was the first woman to speak from his famous front porch. In 1932 she actively campaigned for Herbert Hoover’s presidential campaign.

Brown authored eight books among them were: Bits and Odds: A choice Selection of Recitations, First Lessons in Public Speaking, Tales My Father Told, and Other Stories, and Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction.

She lived to be almost 100 years old but died on September 16, 1949 and is buried in the family plot in Massie’s Creek Cemetery.

The Hallie Q. Brown Memorial Library at Central State University was named in her honor.

LaVerne C. Kenon Sci, Historic Site Manager of the Paul Lawrence Dunbar House State Memorial, frequently does a re-enactment of Hallie Q. Brown. “I decided to interpret her because she was an ordinary person who achieved extraordinary heights during her lifetime of 99 years, six months, and six days,” said Sci. “She became an advocate for the disenfranchised in our society.”

WHAT: Paul Lawrence Dunbar House State Memorial

WHERE: 219 North P.L. Dunbar St., Dayton, OH

WHEN: weekly Wed.-Sun.

TIME: Wed.-Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. noon-5pm

COST: adults $6, Seniors $5, students $3, children 5 and under free

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Davy Crockett, the famous frontiersman, never lived in Warren County, but it's believed his relatives did. Andrew Crockett moved to Warren County in 1810. When Davy Crockett became famous with a young generation of baby-boomers through the Walt Disney movies, the Middletown Journal interviewed Clearcreek Township resident and Andrew's great-grandson, Chester Crockett (1889-1969) who assured readers his family was related to the famous frontiersman. However, descendants still living in the Springboro area have not found the source information confirming this relationship. Still, Chester lived closer in time to the legend of Davy Crockett. Chester's grandfather would have been Davy's first cousin. Certainly, Chester's parents and grandparents would have known of the relationship, and such a fact would make a strong impression on a young boy. No matter what their heritage or famous relatives, the local Crocketts played a large role in Warren County’s settlement. Before Andrew came to Warren County he had lived an eventful life. He was a bound boy, obligated to work for a period of time to pay for training or for a debt. In 1810, at about age 44, Andrew moved to Warren County. Andrew’s first wife had died in New Jersey. In November of 1812 he married Sarah Mullen of Warren County. Andrew and Sarah had three children. Sarah died in 1817. Two years later he married Margaret Freeman. They had one child, Susannah Sarah Ann. A few years of successful farming allowed Andrew to purchase some military lands in Clark County, perhaps as an investment. He ran into controversy over land titles and had to pay a second claimant for the land. When a third claimant came forward, he gave up the land. “The balance of his life was lived in limited circumstances” according to The History of Warren County, Ohio by Beers. In 1849, Andrew died. Marmaduke Crockett was the middle son of Andrew and Sarah’s children. He was a talented industrious young man. At the age of sixteen Marmaduke built a sturdy wagon. It was used to carry a heavy load of produce to Cincinnati and to bring back a load of merchandise. He worked as a farmer and freight hauler until he was 25 years old. As a freight hauler he may have noticed the opportunity for milling. For eight years Marmaduke worked in the milling trade in Springboro, Waynesville, and Mount Holly. He then returned to farming and was able to purchase a good farm on Lytle-Five Points Rd. Marmaduke married Jane S. Mullin in 1837. They had eleven children. Two died in infancy...., some married locally and some moved on. The eldest, Mary, married David Hare who was Postmaster of Springboro for a time. With Marmaduke's help, Mordecai set about raising cotton in Texas. The youngest, Elmer, practiced law in Cincinnati. Marmaduke was a leader in the community, a very caring man, and respected for his character and integrity. When he died in 1867 at the age of fifty-two, the book Memoirs of the Miami Valley reported his was “the largest attended funeral in the history of Springboro”.