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.

Dec 13

Samuel Goe and the history of Goes Station

Posted on December 13, 2019 at 9:58 AM by Melissa Dalton

Robin recently gave me a stack on newspaper articles on the various powder mills of Greene County, and it occurred to me that we really haven’t had a blog post on Goes Station and the powder companies. There have been mentions of the area and companies in other blogs and Facebook posts, but little regarding the actual history. This week, we aim to tackle some of the early history of Goes.

If you have lived in Greene County for many years, or your family has roots here, you’ve probably heard the old urban legend that Goes Station was named for the many explosions at the powder mills, with residents exclaiming with each explosion, “There she goes!” But, do you know the real reason it is called Goes Station? It actually is named for a family that owned much of the land in the area, Samuel Goe and his heirs.

Goes Station is located between Xenia and Yellow Springs along US-68 (Fig 1). As you probably know, James Galloway Sr. was one of the original settlers in the region. The Galloway family settled in lands near what is now Goes Station, and around 1797, built the most well-known structure in Greene County, the Galloway log house. The land was sold to Robert Armstrong in the early 1800s, and in 1814, Armstrong sold the land to Samuel Goe (Fig 2).

Fig 1. Greene County GIS Map of approximate location of Goes Station (JPG)
Fig 1. Greene County GIS Map of approximate location of Goes Station (GC GIS Map)

Fig 2. Transfer of property from Robert Armstrong to Samuel Goe, 1814 (JPG)
Fig 2. Transfer of property from Robert Armstrong to Samuel Goe, 1814 (Greene County Archives)

Samuel Goe was born in 1767 in Ireland, but came to the United States prior to 1788. He married Alice Van Horn in 1788 in Pennsylvania. Samuel and Alice had six children: Isaac, John, Thomas, James, Sarah, and Jane. Samuel moved to Greene County in 1811 (Fig 3). Within a few years of moving to the area, he purchased the 307 acres from Armstrong.

Fig 3. Brief history of Samuel Goe (JPG)
Fig 3. Brief history of Samuel Goe (Greene County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society)

After Samuel’s death in 1815, the property was transferred to his heirs (Fig 4), but after this, the transfers and ownership of the property gets a bit complicated. However, it appears that James and John Goe acquired most of the property, as well as some of the surrounding lands. A few years later, James Goe transferred some of the property to his brother, Thomas Goe.

Fig 4. Property of Samuel Goe heirs, 1826 (JPG)
Fig 4. Property of Samuel Goe heirs,1826 (Greene County Archives)

However, it appears that by 1838, John Goe owned several tracts of land in the area, including acquisitions from Thomas Goe and Henry Jacoby (Fig 5). These tracts are probably the most well-known as they were some of the first to became part of the powder mills.

Fig 5. Transfer of property to John Goe from Henry Jacoby and Thomas Goe, 1838 (JPG)
Fig 5. Transfer of property to John Goe from Henry Jacoby & Thomas Goe, 1838 (Greene County Archives)

The succession of ownership of the lands in Goes Station, and how the various Goe landowners are related, gets very interesting. We are still digging into the genealogy of the family, and determining ownership, so we’ll continue this story in future blog posts! This process been a good a reminder that property research requires time and patience, and a great attention to detail, as it is easy to lose track of property in the records.

Until Next Time!

Greene County Archives
Overton, J. (Ed.) (1995). Revolutionary War Veterans of Greene County, Ohio. Xenia, OH: Greene County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society
Simmons, G. (2007). King’s black powder mills. Bellbrook, OH: G and B Simmons Publisher.

Dec 06

"Pig-Iron Mike" Escapes from Workhouse

Posted on December 6, 2019 at 7:59 AM by Elise Kelly

During the turn of the twentieth century, a woman dubbed “Pig-Iron Mike” created quite the raucous in the cities of Xenia and Dayton. In 1900, the Xenia Daily Gazette reported several instances in which “Pig-Iron Mike” had downed too many shots of whiskey and howled throughout the night. During the month of May 1900, “Pig-Iron Mike” was out at Lucas Grove (which is now Kil Kare) and was picked up by Officer Dodds for drunk and disorderly conduct. She was fined almost $33.00, which in today’s economy would be over $1,000. She was also promptly sent to the workhouse in Dayton for thirty days. She is listed as a prisoner in the 1900 census record (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 1900 Census (JPG)
Fig. 1 1900 Federal Census Record of Dayton City Workhouse (

After twelve days at the workhouse, “Pig-Iron Mike” escaped. According to the Xenia Daily Gazette, no special effort was made to retrieve her as long as she behaved in a proper manner.
A couple of months later in September 1900, “Pig-Iron Mike,” whose real name was Lydia or Lyda Simpson, had a wild gathering at her home on South West Street in Xenia (See Fig. 2). When the police were called, Simpson dashed out of the house and made her escape. However, she was soon summoned by the authorities, but she did not go quietly. Once taken in, her former sentence was reinstated and her new sentence was added. In total, Simpson was to serve thirty-eight days in the workhouse. For her second disorderly conduct charge, Simpson was fined $29.50, which in today’s economy would be almost $900.00.

Fig. 2 City of Xenia Map (JPG)
Fig. 2 Excerpt showcasing S. West Street, City of Xenia Map, circa 1920s (Greene County Archives)

Amusingly, “Pig-Iron Mike” broke free a second time from the workhouse when she pried off one of the boards to the fence surrounding the works. Three years later, Simpson was again picked up for drunken and disorderly conduct on Christmas. The headline in the next day’s Xenia Daily Gazette read, “Too much Christmas for these persons” (See Fig. 3). We certainly can ascertain that Simpson liked her liquor a little too much. “Pig-Iron Mike” had repeated stints in Dayton’s Workhouse, one in 1910 and one in 1911. During her term in 1911, she was asked whether or not she would be attending the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom. She defeatedly sighed, “I wouldn’t have anything to wear anyhow” (See Fig. 4).

Fig. 3 XDG Dec. 26 1903 (JPG)
Fig. 3 Xenia Daily Gazette, December 26, 1903 (

Fig. 4 Dayton Herald Jun. 20 1911 (JPG)
Fig. 4 Dayton Herald, June 20, 1911 (

Until Next Time!

Greene County Archives

Nov 27

The Ties that Bind Us: The Doss Family Criminals of Clinton County by Amy (Brickey) Czubak

Posted on November 27, 2019 at 2:13 PM by Elise Kelly

There are many times where doing historical research can lead one down a twisting, seemingly never-ending rabbit hole. The Doss family of Clinton County is exactly one of those research rabbit-holes. My first encounter with the Doss family was through a probate record for a little girl named Betty Miller. It was a dependent and neglected child case where little Betty’s mother, Clara Belle (aka Clarabelle or Clara Bell) Doss was charged with neglecting her daughter thus causing her to become dependent on the state for help. At the end of one of the court documents (Fig. 1) was a statement that read, “The Doss family has quite a criminal career. The State published a brochure on the record of this family. The mother was sentenced to Delaware 1920, paroled Sept. 1921, and returned in October 1922. He grandmother has been at Marysville at least twice. Other children in the family and the father have quite a record. They were all sentenced from Wilmington, Clinton Co.”

Fig. 1 Probate Record (JPG)
Fig 1: Probate court document concerning Doss family criminal behavior. Courtesy of the Greene County Archives

I began researching the family through newspapers and census data. Clara Belle Doss’ father was a man named George Washington Doss. George Doss married Clara Belle’s mother, Ollie (Olive) Frances Pierce in Union County on December 5, 1918. Interestingly, all of Ollie and George’s children were born before they were married. George Doss’ criminal behavior was documented in Clinton County’s newspaper, the Clinton County Democrat, on several occasions. Members of the Doss family were arrested for everything from petty larceny to arson, and from bastardy to attacking someone with a hatchet. Although their list of offenses would be too long for this blog, here are some examples:

· 27 January 1903: Henry Doss (George Doss’ uncle) appeared before the Mayor of Xenia on an assault and battery charge
· 14 April 1903: Henry Doss (same) sent to the “works” for abusing his wife
· 07 December 1903: Henry Doss (same) arrested for chasing his wife with a knife
· 07 October 1909: George Doss committed to jail for slashing someone with a hatchet
· 28 October 1909: George Doss shot the man he previously attacked with a hatchet
· 14 November 1912: Charles Doss (George Doss’ brother) sent to Mansfield for burglary and larceny
· 01 May 1913: Harvey Doss (George Doss’ brother) arrested for stealing cattle right after being paroled
· 31 August 1916: Ollie Doss (George Doss’ wife) arrested for forgery
· 06 September 1917: Ollie Doss and her sister in law, Goldie Doss (George Doss’ sister), arrested for larceny

Although George and Ollie had only been married since December 1917, George filed for divorce from Ollie on 12 July 1919 while Ollie is still in jail. The 1920 census for Clinton County reveals that Ollie and George’s children were all in the Clinton County Children’s Home as both parents had been incarcerated for various crimes (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Census Record (JPG)
Fig 2: 1920 census listing Ollie Doss as an inmate in the Union County Women's Reformatory

I reached out to the Clinton County Archives’ Records Manager Bobbi Hoffman, but she was unable to locate the brochure published by the state on the Doss criminal history. She did, however, inform me that Charles Doss, George’s brother, hung himself at the age of 64. Charles Doss’ son and daughter, Charles Jr. and Mary, had been arrested for theft by the age of 10. George’s father, Jesse James Doss, had to have his estate turned over to a friend when he died because none of his children were fit to handle his estate. Research rabbit-hole, indeed!

Fig. 3 Clara Belle and George Doss (JPG)
Fig. 3 Clara Belle and George Washington Doss courtesy of

“Appearance.” Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, OH), Jan. 27, 1903.
“Arraigned.” Clinton County Democrat (Wilmington, OH), Sept. 6, 1917.
“Arrested.” Clinton County Democrat (Wilmington, OH), Aug. 31, 1916.
“Burglary at Shanks Barber Shop.” Clinton County Democrat (Wilmington, OH), Nov. 14, 1912.
“Clara Belle and George Washington Doss.” Photograph., Mar. 9, 2019.
“Cutting and Shooting Affray.” Clinton County Democrat (Wilmington, OH), Oct. 7, 1909.
Greene County Archives probate records, State of Ohio vs. Clarabelle Doss.
Hoffman, Bobbi. 'Doss Family'. Email, Mar. 6, 2019.
“Judge Mills was in Midland on Tuesday.” Clinton County Democrat (Wilmington, OH), May 1, 1913.
US Federal Census 1920, Clinton County and Union County.
“Wife Claims Her Husband Chased Her with a Knife.” Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, OH), Dec. 7, 1903.