Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Nov 15

Betrayal and Murder: The Turbulent Life of Senator Arthur Brown Part II

Posted on November 15, 2019 at 9:41 AM by Elise Kelly

Picking up where we left off last week, it was only after several arguments and negotiations that Arthur agreed to end his relationship with Anne Bradley. It is interesting to note that Anne Bradley was thirty years younger than Arthur Brown and she was introduced to him by Arthur’s wife, Isabel. When they met, Anne Bradley was a divorced mother of two, (Matthew and Martha Clare Bradley) who was working for Salt Lake City’s Republican Committee (See Fig. 1). During Anne and Arthur’s secret relationship, she bore two additional children which she claimed were Arthur’s. He counter-argued that they were not his since the relationship was off and on.

Fig. 1 The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Wed__Dec_4__1907_ (JPG)
Fig. 1 Anne Bradley, Cincinnati Enquirer, December 4, 1907 (Newspapers.com)

When Arthur’s wife, Isabel, found out about the affair, Arthur purchased a revolver for Anne Bradley in order to protect herself from his wife. Only a couple of years later, Isabel Brown died of cancer in 1905. Anne Bradley assumed that since Isabel was gone, Arthur Brown would subsequently marry her. True to form, Arthur Brown kept postponing a wedding date and possibly was intent on marrying Annie Adams Kiskadden. Kiskadden was the mother of one of America’s most prominent actresses of the time, Maude Adams (See Fig. 2). Anne Bradley caught wind of this and followed Arthur Brown to Washington, D.C., where he was to argue a case before the Supreme Court.

Fig. 2 Maude_Adams (JPG)
Fig. 2 Photograph of the Actress Maude Adams (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Frantically, Anne searched for the hotel where Arthur was staying. Finally after three attempts, she found where he was staying (See Fig. 3). Once she checked into her room, which was only four doors down from Arthur’s, Anne entered his room in a fury, demanding that he marry her. While inside Arthur’s hotel room, Anne observed several letters that were written from Annie Adams Kiskadden to Arthur. Arthur turned to leave when Anne drew the gun that Arthur purchased for her, and shot him in the abdomen. Hearing the gun shot, the hotel manager ran up to the room and asked Anne if is she was Senator Brown’s wife. Anne responded by stating, “No, but I am the mother of his two children.”

Fig. 3 The_Raleigh_Hotel_-_Washington,_D.C (JPG).
Fig. 3 The Raleigh Hotel, Washington, D.C. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons)

The Washington Herald, reported that when asked if Anne felt justified in her actions, she replied, “I certainly do, and I do not feel that I have anything to regret, and I think I will have the support of my friends in the West in what I have done.” She also informed The Washington Times that Arthur Brown was the father of her two children and that he had ruined her life (See Fig. 4). Many friends, family, and strangers sent money to Anne in order for her to pay her legal expenses. Even restaurants in D.C. sent her free meals while she was imprisoned. Ultimately, Anne was acquitted based on temporary insanity.

Fig. 4 The Washington Times (JPG)
Fig. 4 Excerpt of The Washington Times Newspaper, December 9, 1906 (Image via The Library of Congress)

Anne Bradley returned to Utah only to experience further tragedy nine years later. In April 1915, her son, Matthew Bradley, shot and killed his half-brother, Arthur Brown, Junior (See Fig. 5). Matthew worked hard all his life yet never received any money from Arthur Brown’s estate. Knowing that his half-brother received a considerable amount of money from Brown’s estate, Matthew Bradley roiled with jealousy. The two brothers ended up quarreling over a trivial argument and Matthew, in a fit of anger, shot and killed his half-brother.

Fig. 5 Arthur Brown, JR. (JPG)
Fig. 5 Photograph of Arthur Brown, Jr., The Washington Times, December 9, 1906 (Image via The Library of Congress)

Can you imagine Anne having to visit the grave of the child of the love of her life, while also visiting another child in jail who was responsible for his death? We can envision that Anne’s spirit may be restless due to these tragic events. Whether she walks the streets of Yellow Springs where she was once called “Mrs. Brown,” we do not know.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Newspapers.com
The Library of Congress – Chronicling America
Nov 08

Betrayal and Murder: The Turbulent Life of Senator Arthur Brown

Posted on November 8, 2019 at 8:41 AM by Elise Kelly

In last week’s blog post, we reported on the events of our Halloween program, Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives. The post featured Harold Igo’s ghostly story “The Senator Walks at Midnight.” Today and next week, we would like to present and distinguish between the facts and fictions of this mysterious account of Senator Brown.

According to Igo, at the young age of nineteen, Arthur Brown graduated from Antioch College in 1862. Being an ambitious man, Brown announced to his classmates at graduation that one day he would be a United States Senator (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Arthur Brown (JPG)

Fig. 1 Portrait of Senator Arthur Brown circa 1895 (Image courtesy of United States Senate Historical Office via Wikimedia Commons)

Almost thirty years later, Brown returned to Yellow Springs accompanied with his supposed wife, Mrs. Kathryn Brown, originally from Utah. Claiming to be an heir of the Mercers, Arthur Brown was in town to settle the Mercer estate, which included a beautiful stone house. Arthur Brown promised his wife that this house located in Byron would soon be their home (See Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Wolf House (JPG)
Fig. 2 1594 Dayton Yellow Springs Rd. (Greene County GIS)

Upon settling their business in Ohio, the couple left for the nation’s capital. However, shortly after their arrival, Mrs. Brown shot her husband in his hotel room (See Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Xenia Daily Gazette, Dec. 13, 1906 (JPG)
Fig. 3 Xenia Daily Gazette, December 13, 1906 (Newspapers.com)

Surprisingly, Kathryn Brown was not actually married to Arthur Brown and her real name was Anne Bradley (See Fig. 4). Bradley had found out that Arthur Brown was currently married and had a family living in Utah. She also realized that she would never be living in the grand house along Dayton Yellow Springs Road. Enraged, Bradley fired a pistol at Arthur Brown severely injuring him. The bullet wound eventually killed Arthur Brown.

Fig. 4 Anne Bradley (JPG)
Fig. 4 Anne Bradley (Image courtesy of HWA via FindAGrave.com)

Astonishingly, Anne Bradley was acquitted on all charges and returned to Utah. Igo reports that about a decade later, a farmer returning home one night, spotted a man and woman walking along Dayton Yellow Springs Road. He gave them a ride to the stone house because they had mentioned they were interested in looking at it and possibly purchasing the property. When the driver arrived he turned to the couple and to his surprise, they disappeared. The driver described what the couple looked like to some folks and they had claimed that it must have been “Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Brown.”

In order to determine what really happened, we looked at maps, census, deed, will and estate records and newspaper articles.

Found in deed and estate records, as well as an 1896 Greene County map, the house had been owned by the Wolf family since it was built in the early 1800s. It was not until recently that the house was sold to someone outside the Wolf family. In addition, census records do not indicate that any Mercers lived in the Byron area at the time (See Figs. 5 & 6).

Fig. 5 Map of Byron colored (JPG)

Fig. 5 Map of Byron in Bath Township, 1896 Greene County Atlas (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 6 Deed Record (JPG)
Fig. 6 Deed Record of Wolf Property in Byron (Greene County Archives)

We also know that Arthur Brown did attend Antioch College and later obtained a law degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1872, he married a Ms. Lydia Coon and they had a daughter named Alice. However, only a few years later, Arthur Brown (who was still married), met and fell in love with a Ms. Isabel Cameron. Newspaper articles indicate that his wife, Lydia found out about the affair and tried to shoot her husband, Arthur. Lydia missed and Arthur filed for divorce.

Arthur Brown then moved with Isabel to Utah and the couple were married in 1879. In 1882, their son, Max was born. In 1896, Arthur Brown and Frank J. Cannon were elected as Utah’s first U.S. senators. Unfortunately, Arthur had a roving eye and began an affair with Anne Bradley during his political career. In 1902, Arthur’s wife Isabel, who was back home in Utah, read in local newspaper articles that her husband Arthur had brought Anne Bradley to Yellow Springs. She learned that he had introduced Anne Bradley as his wife. Again, Arthur wanted to file for divorce but Isabel had Arthur and Anne arrested for adultery.

Following Arthur and Anne’s arrest, what occurs next is straight out of a soap opera. Next week, we will learn about how Arthur met his lover and killer, Anne Bradley.

Until Next Week!

Sources:
FindAGrave.com
Greene County Archives
Newspapers.com
Wikimedia Commons

Nov 01

Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives!

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 12:21 PM by Melissa Dalton

Yesterday was Halloween and we held our inaugural Spooky Tales from the Greene County Archives program! We had a wonderful turnout (Fig 1), and would like to thank everyone that braved the dreary, albeit fitting, weather. For those unable to attend, here’s a bit about the program, and what you can expect for future events…Yes, you read that right! We plan to make this an annual Halloween program!

Fig 1. Melissa telling the Hamlet's Ghost in Osborn story (JPG)
Fig 1. Melissa telling the Hamlet’s Ghost in Osborn story

Spooky Tales follows Harold Igo’s ghost stories, which were published in the Yellow Springs News in the 1940s. Igo interviewed residents to learn the various legends and stories that spread throughout the Greene County region. The Yellow Springs Historical Society compiled the stories and published them in 2001.

For this event, we examined four stories: No. 6, House of the Fiery Ferns; No. 13, Hamlet’s Ghost in Osborn; No. 15, The Ghosts of Frogtown; and No. 20, The Senator Walks at Midnight. We read Igo’s story, and then dug into the details (Fig 2). We used census, cemetery, deed, court, will, and estate records to learn what really happened. In many instances, the “real” story is even more intriguing than Igo’s!

Fig 2. Robin relaying The Ghosts of Frogtown Story (JPG)
Fig 2. Robin relaying The Ghosts of Frogtown story

The first, House of the Fiery Ferns, is about the murder of a Yellow Springs resident, Denman Duncan (Fig 3). We published a blog about this story in October 2018, so if you are unfamiliar with the story, check it out to learn all the details!

Fig 3. Elise telling the House of the Fiery Ferns story (JPG)
Fig 3. Elise telling the House of the Fiery Ferns story

The second, Hamlet’s Ghost in Osborn, is about the murder of Billy Fletcher and the subsequent acquittal of the killer (who happened to be his step-son). This is another story in which we published a blog, and this story has many parts, so you definitely need to read about it.
As for the remaining two stories, we have not published any blogs. However, you can read both of Igo’s stories below (Figs 4 & 5), and we’ll work to get our findings published in some upcoming blogs!

Fig 4. No. 15 The Ghosts of Frogtown by Harold Igo (JPG)
Fig 4. No. 15 The Ghosts of Frogtown by Harold Igo (JPG)
Fig 4. No. 15 The Ghosts of Frogtown by Harold Igo

Fig 5. No. 20 The Senator Walks at Midnight by Harold Igo (JPG)
Fig 5. No. 20 The Senator Walks at Midnight by Harold Igo (JPG)
Fig 5. No. 20 The Senator Walks at Midnight by Harold Igo

As part of this program, we displayed records and newspaper articles for each story to allow the attendees to see what we used to separate the fact from fiction (Fig 6). And, of course, you cannot have a Halloween program without some Halloween treats (Don’t worry, our Archives friends! We made sure the treats were in a separate location from the records).

Fig 6. Attendees reviewing the records used in our fact-finding mission for each story (JPG)
Fig 6. Attendees reviewing the records used in our fact-finding mission for each story

As stated above, we do plan to make this an annual event, so if you have heard any interesting or juicy spooky tales of Greene County, we’d love to hear them! Maybe they will be featured in the future.

Until Next Time!