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.

Jun 14

Attorney and Writer, William A. Paxson

Posted on June 14, 2019 at 9:06 AM by Melissa Dalton

One of our volunteers ran across the Estate for William A. Paxson while processing the probate records. His estate sparked interest, and we all felt that the name rang a bell, but could not place it. After going through Broadstone’s History of Greene County Vol II, we realized what it was - he wrote a poem for the 1901 Courthouse Time Capsule (Fig 1)! Since we are gearing up for the 1969 Greene County Jail Time Capsule Opening next week, we thought it might be fun to dig a little deeper, and learn a bit about the author of this poem.

Fig 1. Untitled poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (JPG)Fig 1. Untitled poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (JPG)
Fig 1. Untitled Poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (Greene County Archives)

William Alpha Paxson was born on July 6, 1850 in Beavercreek Township, and was raised on the family farm. Paxson received his early education in the local schools, and later, attended Ohio Wesleyan University. He began studying law with J. A. Sexton in Xenia, and attended the Cincinnati Law College to gain his formal education. Paxson graduated in 1874, and was admitted to the bar the same year. He married Rebecca C. Rankin of Fayette County in 1875 (Fig 2), and they had five children (although three died in infancy/childhood). The two surviving children were Frostie L. and William Stanley.

Fig 2. Marriage recrod for William A. Paxson and Rebecca C. Rankin (JPG)
Fig 2. Marriage record for William A. Paxson and Rebecca C. Rankin (Greene County Archives)

In 1876, Paxson started his own law firm in Jamestown, which is where he stayed the remainder of his career (Fig 3). His son, William, was an outstanding student, and followed in his father’s footsteps, even studying law under his father and later founding his own firm in Cincinnati.

Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Paxson family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Paxson family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Although Paxson was a well-known attorney in the area, he had other passions that fostered notoriety in the region. Growing up on a farm, he had a connection to the land, and owned hundreds of acres of farming land in Greene and Fayette counties. However, he may be best known in the region as writer and poet. He wrote on a variety of topics, but most focused on agriculture and politics. In 1901, he published a story of life in rural Ohio titled “A Buckeye Baron”. He also wrote another book that went unpublished, titled “Karomana”. Paxson also occasionally contributed his poems to the local papers (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Paxson poem titled "Come Home" published in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 23
Fig 4. Paxson poem titled “Come Home” published in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 23, 1913 (Newspapers.com)

Rebecca Paxson died in November of 1918 of an abscess of the lungs. Five years later, in 1923, Paxson married Mary A. Gray. Due to Mary having “considerable property of her own”, they decided to only bequest $2000 to one another in their individual wills. This meant that the remainder of each estate would go to others as assigned. It is evident in Paxson’s will that he was passionate about his writing and what happened to those precious items after his death. Paxson bequested his manuscripts and writings, as well as his typewriter, typewriter desk, and private library, to his children and grandchildren. Also of interest is that Paxson made it clear that his daughter, Frostie, was to get more out of his estate because she did not receive as much from her mother’s. Paxson felt it was only fair that she get an equal share as her brother, so he left her an additional sum (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Last Will and Testament of William A. Paxson (JPG)
Fig 5. Last Will and Testament of William A. Paxson (Greene County Archives)

William A. Paxson passed away on January 16, 1933 at the age of 82 (Fig 6). He was buried in the Old Silvercreek Cemetery next to his first wife, Rebecca, and their three deceased children (Fig 7).

Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (JPG)Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (JPG)
Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig 7. Headstone for William and Rebecca Paxson, and their three children (JPG)
Fig 7. Headstone for William and Rebecca Paxson, and their three children (FindAGrave.com)

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Ancestry.com
FindAGrave.com
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com

Jun 07

Get Back...Get Back...Get Back to 1969

Posted on June 7, 2019 at 1:43 PM by Melissa Dalton

Where were you in 1969? This was the "year everything changed.” Richard Nixon became the 37th U.S. President; more than 400,000 young Americans flocked to a New York dairy farm to hear many talented music groups like the Grateful Dead; Astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon; and the first withdrawal of troops in Vietnam began.

Fig. 1 xenia-daily-gazette-Jan-20-1969-p-1(PNG)
Fig. 1 Xenia Daily Gazette, January 20, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig. 2 Woodstock Festival, aug 16 1969 - Flickr (PNG)
Fig. 2 Woodstock Music Festival, August 16, 1969 (Flickr.com)

In Greene County, the current County Jail was erected in 1969 and a timecapsule was placed in the cornerstone. Now, fifty years later, we will be opening this relic on June 21st. To commemorate the "year everything changed," we have created a new exhibit here at the Greene County Records Center and Archives to showcase local and national events from 1969.

Fig. 3 Exhibit Case (JPG)
Fig. 3 Greene County Archives’ Exhibit Case

Fig. 4 1969 Timecapsule (JPG)
Fig. 4 Exhibit Board in the Greene County Archives

Fig. 5 Exhibit Board 2 edited (JPG)
Fig. 5 Additional Exhibit Board in the Greene County Archives


At Kennedy’s Market in Xenia, they were selling “moon soil” (swiss cheese) and at Xenia Chrysler-Plymouth one could purchase a Fury III 2-Door Hardtop for $3115!

Fig. 6 xenia-daily-gazette-Jul-21-1969-p-9 (PNG)
Fig. 6 Xenia Daily Gazette, July 21, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

The first African-American Mayor of Xenia, James T. Henry was elected; a tornado blasted through Beavercreek in May 1969; the salary budget for the Greene County Common Pleas Judges was $16,557; and a section of Arrowhead Acres in Xenia was approved for construction.

Fig. 7 Common Pleas Court Salaries (JPG)
Fig. 7 Greene County Common Pleas Court Budgets 1957-1970 (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 8 arrowhead acres (JPG)
Fig. 8 Board of Greene County Commissioners Plat Book 2 (Greene County Archives)

Furthermore, at least four servicemen from Greene County perished in Vietnam; a sit-in protest occurred at Xenia High School; the first anniversary for Lee’s Famous Recipe on North Allison Avenue in Xenia was being celebrated; and the Merv Griffin Show was airing on Channel 12.

Fig. 9 Thomas Landrum (JPG)
Fig. 9 Xenia Daily Gazette, November 20, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig. 10 xenia-daily-gazette-Feb-27-1969-p-19 (PNG)
Fig. 10 Xenia Daily Gazette, February 27, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

1969 was certainly a year of peaks and valleys that will forever be remembered. What do you remember that happened in 1969? Let us know, we would be happy to hear from you!

Until Next Time!


Sources:
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Flickr.com

May 31

William Wallace Carr: A Nurse of a Different Kind by Amy (Brickey) Czubak

Posted on May 31, 2019 at 10:19 AM by Melissa Dalton

The Wright State University Special Collections and Archives has in its collections the papers of Alice Griffith Carr (Fig. 1), a Red Cross nurse who served during World War I, and also worked to improve and encourage better health in places like Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Turkey and Syria. While processing estate records at the Greene County Archives, I came across the estate of her father, William Wallace Carr, a Yellow Springs resident, who died on May 7, 1930.

Fig 1. Alice Griffith Carr (JPG)
Fig. 1: Alice Griffith Carr, courtesy of neareastmuseum.com

William Wallace Carr was born in Fayette County, Ohio, on June 5, 1843 to William and Sophronia Carr. A resident of Yellow Springs since 1857, Carr was also a nurse of sorts. A tree nurse. Carr established Carr’s Nurseries in Yellow Springs in 1870. A receipt from his estate on the company’s letterhead states that the nurseries’ office and tree packing grounds were a “ten minutes walk from the depot one hundred yards from traction line terminus of South High Street” (Fig. 2). It also states that they are “evergreen specialists.”

Fig 2. Receipt written on Carr's Nurseries letterhead (JPG)
Fig. 2: Receipt written on Carr's Nurseries letterhead, courtesy of the Greene County Archives.

To support the nursery, Carr owned several lots in the Village of Yellow Springs: lots #305-307, #523-549, #588-608, #645-685, 11.12 acres of land outside of the village proper, and 168 acres of land in Miami Township. All of this real estate was valued at $30,000 at the time of Carr’s death in 1930 (Fig. 3). That value today, with inflation calculated, would be a little over $454,000.

Fig 3. Valuation of William Wallace Carr's real estate (JPG)
Fig 3: Valuation of William Wallace Carr's real estate, courtesy of the Greene County Archives.

William Wallace Carr was not just a tree nursery manager, however. Michael A. Broadstone’s History of Greene County Ohio lists Carr as having filled several official Yellow Springs offices including: mayor, justice of the peace, council member, and school director. While Carr’s Nurseries no longer exists, the Carr family home still stands in Yellow Springs on Xenia Avenue, and there are many wonderful artefacts both at Wright State and at the Yellow Springs Historical Society that further examine the illustrious and industrious Carr family.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
"Nurse Alice Carr, Near East Relief and Near East Foundation." Near East Relief Historical Society. August 24, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2019. https://neareastmuseum.com/2016/08/24/unstoppable-alice-carr/.
Broadstone, M. A. History of Greene County Ohio: Its People, Industry and Institutions. Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1918.
Heise, Robin. "William Wallace Carr." Yellow Springs Heritage. October 21, 2014. Accessed March 16, 2019. http://ysheritage.org/william-wallace-carr/.
“William Wallace Carr.” Probate Court Estate Records, Box 685, Case 2034. Greene County Records Center and Archives.