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.

Jul 02

Online Resources for Local History Research

Posted on July 2, 2020 at 3:05 PM by Melissa Dalton

As the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives and activities, and our facility continues to operate at a reduced capacity, we thought it prudent to remind all our patrons and visitors of resources we have available online. We’ve highlighted some periodically, but today we’d like to provide a full listing to make your research a bit easier (we hope).

We have records on a few online platforms. As you may remember, FamilySearch imaged thousands of records housed here at the Archives. The records imaged are available on their website, and if you do not have a membership, you can create an account for free. Some of these records are not indexed, so you will have to perform a search using the “Catalog” feature on their site. From there, you can filter the search parameters to Greene County, Ohio. It is a bit tricky to find the unindexed records at times, but they do offer user tutorials and a help center if you have questions.

We’ve also uploaded many records to our Flickr page. There is some overlap with records on FamilySearch, but we’ve indicated below which are available on both platforms. Records uploaded to Flickr are hyperlinked to their respective collection for ease of use.

For all the records listed below, if a location is not indicated after the record series, the records are on FamilySearch only. Please note that we’ve also hyperlinked any transcripts or indexes we have available on our website. For a full list of indexes, please visit the Online Resources page on our website.

Auditor Records
  • Enumeration of white, unmarried youth: 1831-1833
  • Sale of School Land: 1836-1872 (Flickr and FamilySearch)
  • Duplicate Tax Record (from State and on use film at Archives): 1816-1838
  • Auditor’s Duplicates: 1839-1900
  • Abstract of Real & Personal Property: 1825
  • Personal Property Tax Lists: 1830, 1841 (Flickr and FamilySearch)
  • Real Estate Tax Lists: 1806-1820
  • Virginia Military District/Congress Lands Tax Lists: 1821-1824
  • Virginia Military Survey Record: 1792-1847 (Flickr and FamilySearch)

Bath Township Trustee Minutes (Flickr Only)
  • Bath Township Trustee Minutes, 2 Volumes: 1812-1848 (originals held at the Greene County Ohio Historical Society)

Clerk of Court Records
  • Emancipation Record of Free Blacks: 1805-1845 (Flickr only, but Index and Transcript on     Greene County Archives Website)
  • Naturalizations: 1898-1951 (Index on Greene County Archives Website)
  • Naturalizations Index: 1845-1861 (Index on Greene County Archives Website)
  • Common Pleas Court Chancery Record: 1821-1854
  • Common Pleas Court Civil Minutes: 1804-1813
  • Common Pleas Court Index to Final Record: 1882-1887
  • District Court Minute Book: 1852-1885
  • Superior Court Appearance Docket: 1871-1876
  • Superior Court Final Record: 1871-1875
  • Superior Court General Index D/R: 1871-1875
  • Superior Court Minutes: 1871-1875
  • Supreme Court Chancery Record: 1824-1851
  • Supreme Court/District Court General Index D/R: 1803-1873
  • Supreme Court/District Court Record: 1803-1860
  • Supreme Court Minutes: 1810-1818
  • District Court Appearance Docket: 1852-1885
  • District Court Record, 1861-1873: 1882-1884
  • Supreme Court Execution Docket: 1871-1878

Engineer Records (Flickr Only)
  • Survey Record, Vol 1-5: 1817-1883
  • Road Record, Vol A-C: 1804-1883
  • Levi Riddell’s Survey, Index & Vol 1-2: 1859-1914
  The below are in the Fieldbooks Collection on Flickr, yet are part of the Engineer Records
  • Galloway Fieldbooks, 0-18C, 23-32: 1850-1887
  • Xenia City, Level Book 36-37, 44-45: 1870-1876
  • Grinnell Road, Level Book 38-39: 1868
  • Bryson Road, Level Book 40: 1867
  • Road Improvement Xenia & Yellow Springs, Level Book 41: 1868
  • Paulin & Steele Ditches, Level Book 42: 1869
  • Paulin Ditch, Level Book 43: 1869

Greene County Covered Bridges (Flickr Only)
  • Greene County Covered Bridges: 1981-1987 (separate collection on Flickr, yet still part of the Engineer Records

Greene County Board of Commissioners (Flickr Only)
  • Commissioners Meeting Minutes, Vol 1-4: 1804-1824

Greene County Library District Petition (Flickr Only)
  • Petition List: 1926
  • Index available on Greene County Archives Website

Probate Records
  • Probate Court Estate/Case Files: 1832-1935
  • Marriage Records: 1968-2012
  • Marriage Certificate Returns: 1930-2006
  • Mother’s Pension Case Files: 1914-1936
  • Naturalizations Index List: 1861-1906 (Index on Greene County Archives Website)
  • Determination of Heirs: 1932-1963
  • Probate Court, Miscellaneous Index: 1806-1950

Recorder Records
  • Deeds, Vol 1-91: 1803-1901
  • Index to Deeds, Direct and Reverse: 1803-1965

Veterans’ Services Records
  • Civil War Pension Claims Applications: 1889-1892 (Flickr and FamilySearch)
  • Minutes of Soldiers Relief Commission: 1886-1982 (Flickr and FamilySearch, and Index on the Greene County Archives Website)

We hope you find this list beneficial as you continue your research during this strange time. And, if you have any questions about our records, please feel free to contact us! We are here to help!

Until Next Time!
Jun 26

From Railroad to Trail: The Little Miami Railroad

Posted on June 26, 2020 at 1:51 PM by Melissa Dalton

While going through some Parks & Trails boxes, Robin ran across a photograph of the painting of the Xenia Station housed at the Greene County Ohio Historical Society (Fig 1). According to the information sheet included with the photograph, the painter is unknown, but it is estimated that it was likely painted around 1848 due to the number of stars on the flag in the painting. As I looked at this photograph, I realized that although we have mentioned the Little Miami Railroad (LMRR) in other blogs, we haven’t truly discussed its history. This week, we explore the railroad that became a scenic trail!

Fig 1. The Xenia, Ohio Depot in 1848 (JPG)
Fig 1. The Xenia, Ohio Depot in 1848 (Greene County Ohio Historical Society)

The Little Miami Railroad had its beginning in March 1836 when the state legislature granted it a charter, making it the second railroad in Ohio. The line would run from Cincinnati to Springfield (roughly 80 miles), and would create connections to other railroad lines. The LMRR construction began in 1837 and was completed in 1848, and the line came through Xenia along Detroit Street (Fig 2). Various landowners transferred property and right-of-way to the line, which allowed for the railroad to grow.

Fig 2. Xenia City 2nd Ward, 1873 (JPG)
Fig 2. Xenia City 2nd Ward, 1873 (Greene County Archives, Engineer Map)

Xenia became a major hub as railroads grew, and several lines ran through the city: Columbus & Xenia (C&X), Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), Dayton, Xenia & Belpre (DX&B), and Little Miami (LMRR). The lines converged along Miami Street in the south side of town (Fig 3). At this junction, a depot was constructed, dubbed Xenia Station. According to Joan Baxter, the LMRR also had its own depot along Detroit Street near Second Street, on property donated by James Gowdy in the 1840s (Fig 4).

Fig 3. 1843 Tax Duplicate showing transfer of property to Little Miami Railroad Company (JPG)Fig 3. 1843 Tax Duplicate showing transfer of property to Little Miami Railroad Company (JPG)
Fig 3. 1844 Tax Duplicate showing transfer of property to Little Miami Railroad Company (JPG)Fig 3. 1844 Tax Duplicate showing transfer of property to Little Miami Railroad Company (JPG)
Fig 3. 1843 & 1844 Tax Duplicates showing transfer of property to Little Miami Railroad Company (Greene County Archives)

Fig 4. Xenia City 5th Ward, 1873 (JPG)
Fig 4. Xenia City 5th Ward, 1873 (Greene County Archives, Engineer Map)

After the Civil War, many small railroad lines faced fierce competition from larger companies, as well as financial issues, and many ultimately leased lines or were absorbed into the larger companies. The LMRR was not immune to this trend. By 1870, LMRR leased most of its line to the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), with a lease term of 99 years, and the lease was renewed in 1968, becoming a secondary line of PRR.

The 1970s witnessed a great decline in the use of railroads, and many stopped running. As the railroads went out of favor, there was a new initiative to repurpose the lines. By the 1980s, there was a push to create a Rails-to-Trails corridor using the LMRR line (Fig 5). Ed Dressler, Director of Greene County Recreation & Parks (now Parks & Trails) worked fervently to make Xenia the main hub, and was successful in that endeavor (if you would like to learn more about the Rails-to-Trails initiative, listen to Ed’s oral history!) (Fig 6). The Hub is located in Xenia and a replica of Xenia Station depot was constructed near the original location, and was dedicated in 1998 (Fig 7).

Fig 5. Abandoned Little Miami Railroad, 1987 (JPG)
Fig 5. Abandoned Little Miami Railroad, 1987 (Greene County Parks & Trails)

Fig 6. Xenia Station Concept Plan (JPG)
Fig 6. Xenia Station Concept Plan (Greene County Parks & Trails)

Fig 7. Xenia Station, June 1998 (JPG)
Fig 7. Xenia Station, June 1998 (Greene County Parks & Trails)

Today, the LMRR is now the Little Miami Scenic Trail, spanning 78 miles through five counties and two state parks. Get out and enjoy it today!

Until Next Time!

City of Xenia
Greene County Archives
Greene County Ohio Historical Society
Greene County Parks & Trails
Ohio History Connection

Jun 19

2020 Greene County History Week!

Posted on June 19, 2020 at 2:44 PM by Melissa Dalton

We would like to thank everyone for joining us throughout the week to celebrate the history of our great County! We’ve enjoyed sharing live tours of our facility, links to online collections, and our first virtual program. It’s been a great week, we hope you have found it informative. If you missed any of our content this week, we’d like to provide a quick recap here!

Greene County History Week 2020 logo (JPG)

As the pandemic limited our abilities to hold in-person events and programs, we took it all online! This week, we toured the Reading Room, Stacks, Map Room, and Microfilm Vault. To view the tours, click the titles of the rooms below:

Reading Room: Main location in facility for patrons to do research. Room holds many of our most widely used records.
Stacks: This is the main storage area in our facility. It holds records from many departments, and including materials such as paper, maps, blueprints, books, aerials, and photographs (just to name a few).
Map Room: This room holds the overflow of Common Pleas journals, survey records, and maps from various departments.
Microfilm Vault: This room holds all our microfilm/microfiche collection. It is temperature and humidity controlled to meet the recommended levels. Most records are not filmed unless they have a long-term retention period (longer than 10 years).

We also hosted our first virtual program on Wednesday! To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of Fairborn, we hosted a program titled The 1913 Flood, the Move of Osborn, and the Birth of Fairborn. It was attended by over 30 people, and is available to viewing on our YouTube channel.

Virtual Program, The 1913 Flood, the Move of Osborn, and the Birth of Fairborn (PNG)

This week, we also highlighted collections we’ve added to our Flickr page. Each collection is linked from our website to Flickr (see screenshot of collections below). We plan to continue to add collections to this page, so be sure to check back!

Collections available on Flickr (JPG)

Thank you for tuning in every day! This week has been a great success, and we hope to share more of our history and resources with you in this format in the future!

Until Next Time!