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.

Feb 22

The Moorehead House and the Snediker Barn

Posted on February 22, 2019 at 10:27 AM by Melissa Dalton

There are two buildings left from the sketches from the Xenia Daily Gazette, but they were part of the same property – the Moorehead House and Snediker Barn (Figs 1 & 2). These two buildings became part of the Greene County Historical Society in the 1960s, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Fig 1. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Moorehead House featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated
Fig 1. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Moorehead House featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 21, 1974 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 2. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Snediker Barn featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated Au
Fig 2. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Snediker Barn featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 21, 1974 (Greene County Archives)

The Moorehead property, located on the corner of Detroit and Church streets, was originally part of the Warner & Addison Lewis military survey number 2243. It was parceled out over the years, and in 1854, the property was sold from Alfred Trader to A. M. Houston. At the time, there was a frame house on the property, but in 1860, Houston made improvements to the property, building a brick house. Houston also sold parts of the land, and it was around this time that the property took on its current boundaries.

Houston held the property until 1861, when he sold it to James Brown. Brown only owned the property for about three years, and there was no indications of improvements during that time. Brown sold to Daniel R. Harbine in 1864, and this is where we see more improvements to the property. The tax records indicate that there was a brick improvement in 1866, and from 1867 through 1869, this same improvement is listed. Harbine kept the property until 1875, at which time it was transferred to Margaret A. Fleming.

While Fleming owned the property, which was about ten years, we do not see any improvements listed in the tax records. Fleming sold to Hannah A. Seely in 1885, who in turn, sold to Elizabeth Moorehead in 1886. This is the family most people associate with the property, and it was in the family for almost eighty years.

Census records indicate that William and Elizabeth Moorehead (Fig 3), along with their two daughters, Mary and Margaret, lived on W. Church Street in 1880, but by 1900, they had moved into the house on N. Detroit Street (Fig 4), as well as welcomed a son, William. The Xenia City Directory also illustrates the Mary and Margaret were operating a business from their house (Margaret is listed as a music teacher on the 1910 census) (Fig 5).

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

Fig 4. 1900 U.S. Census record with Moorehead family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 4. 1900 U.S. Census record with Moorehead family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 5. 1901-1902 Xenia City Directory (JPG)
Fig 5. 1901-1902 Xenia City Directory (Ancestry.com)

Mary married William Mabon in 1901, and had a daughter, Helen, in 1906. Sadly, Mary died in 1913, at the age of 36. Neither Margaret nor William ever married, and both remained in the Moorehead home. When Elizabeth died in 1924, she left the property to Margaret, and all her stocks and bonds were divided amongst Margaret, William, and Helen as directed in her will.
In 1958, Margaret drew up a will leaving everything to William; however, in 1963, it was determined by the Greene County Probate Court that Margaret and William both needed guardians due to advanced age and senility. With Margaret’s approval, and the Court’s direction, Margaret’s guardian sold the Moorehead property (land, house, and stable). When the property became available, the Greene County Historical Society was interested in purchasing the property. Due to the generous donation of Charles Snediker, the Society was able to purchase the property for roughly $19,000 (equivalent to about $160,000 today).

Although the circumstances for the sale were rather unfortunate, it provided a wonderful opportunity to preserve some of Greene County’s great history. The Moorehead House (Fig 6) became a house museum, displaying life in the County, while the stable became the Snediker Museum (Fig 7), displaying agricultural artifacts. Both buildings provided a glimpse into early life in Greene County.

Fig 6. The Moorehead House after becoming part of the Greene County Historical Society (JPG)
Fig 6. The Moorehead House after becoming part of Greene County Historical Society (Greene County Archives)

Fig 7. The Snediker Barn & Museum after becoming part of the Greene County Historical Society (JPG)
Fig 7. The Snediker Museum after becoming part of the Greene County Historical Society (Greene County Archives)

These buildings served as the Society’s museum, but when the tornado struck in 1974, both the house and stable were damaged beyond repair (Fig 8). The Glossinger Cultural Center was a total loss as well; only the Galloway log house was able to be savaged (although it needed heavy repairs). A grant made restoring the Galloway log house possible, and the Society worked with the city of Xenia to make it possible to purchase another historic home to move to the property. In 1990, the Brantley Carriage House Museum was built and modeled after the Snediker Museum.

Fig 8. View of the Greene County Historical Society properties after the 1974 tornado (JPG)
Fig 8. View of the Greene County Historical Society properties after the 1974 tornado (Greene County Archives)

Today, you can visit all three structures – the Victorian Town House, Galloway Log House, and Brantley Carriage House, at the Greene County Historical Society’s complex. Although the original structures are gone, the current buildings still allow visitors to experience and learn the great history of Greene County. To learn more, or to find hours of operation, please visit the website.
This completes our series on the sketches by Richard Mauck of historic buildings in Greene County. We hope you enjoyed learning the history of each building, as well as some prominent families in the County.

Until Next Time…

Sources:
Ancestry.com
Greene County Archives
Hutslar, D. A. (1974). Crossroads: The Xenia tornado, a retrospective view. Ohio History, 83(3), 192-211.
Wilson, C. (2010). Historic Greene County: An illustrated history. San Antonio, TX: Historical Publishing Network.


Feb 15

A New Home for the Newly Freed: Celebrating Greene County's Free African Americans by Amy Brickey

Posted on February 15, 2019 at 9:16 AM by Melissa Dalton

When the Northwest Ordinance was signed in 1787, it was declared that the newly created Northwest Territory would not be a slave-holding territory. While abolitionists were happy for the news, so, too, were the enslaved peoples of the slave-holding south who longed for freedom (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Anti-Slavery Medallion by Josiah Wedgewood, 1787 (PNG)
Fig 1. Anti-Slavery Medallion by Josiah Wedgewood, 1787

After Ohio was established in 1803, free-born African Americans could move into its various counties without fear of being enslaved, and manumitted African Americans did not have to worry about being re-enslaved. However, there was a catch. All African Americans moving into Ohio had to register with the court, whether they had been born free or emancipated. To register and secure freedom papers, an African American had to appear in court with a white witness (sometimes two witnesses) who would verify the applicant’s good character and swear that he or she would not be a burden on the county. There applicants also had to pay a fee to register in each county. The fee started small, at $50, but soon rose to $500. For perspective, $50 in 1803 is the equivalent of $1,112 today, and $500 in 1830 is the equivalent of over $13,000.

Greene County, like other counties in Ohio, received newly freed, and free-born, African American residents. As a matter of fact, the Archives has a wonderfully preserved manumission book from the Clerk of Courts that bears the names of some 125 free Blacks who came to the county between the years 1803-1845 (Fig 2). The free Blacks from the manumission book came from Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In addition to this book, there are 59 more people listed in the deed records who were brought to Greene County to be freed. The deed records show these people migrating from Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Fig 2. Greene County's Emancipation Records (PNG)
Fig 2. Greene County's Emancipation Records

While these emancipation and deed records recorded the names of free and manumitted Blacks, they did not record all of them. Indeed, an article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle, a Lisbon, Ohio, newspaper from 1858, reported that 49 slaves had been emancipated from Fayette County, Kentucky, bringing the total of free African Americans living in Greene County to 849 (Fig 3).

Fig 3. An article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle, Lisbon, Ohio, 25 Sept 1858 (JPG)
Fig 3. An article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle, Lisbon, Ohio, 25 Sept 1858

The actual county population versus the population reflected in court records for free Blacks is evident through maps I created using ArcGIS software online. I created a small map using the data from the manumission book and deed record information for 1803-1860 (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Map showing free Black movement patterns, 1803-1860 (PNG)
Fig 4. Legend for Map showing free Black movement patterns, 1803-1860 (PNG)
Fig 4. Map showing free Black movement patterns, 1803-1860

Using birth location data from 1850 and 1860 census records, however, I was able to create a much larger, and more diverse, map showing the origins of Greene County’s free Blacks (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Map showing free Black birth locations, 1850 (PNG)
Fig 5. Legend for Map showing free Black birth locations, 1850 (PNG)
Fig 5. Map showing free Black birth locations, 1850

Census data indicates the total number of free African Americans residing in Greene County in 1850 was 647. By 1860, the number had reached 1,470 Black or Mulatto individuals, thus the map illustrates an even more diverse within a ten year span (Fig 6).

Fig 6. Map showing free Black birth locations, 1860 (PNG)
Fig 6. Legend for Map showing free Black birth locations, 1860 (PNG)Fig 6. Legend for Map showing free Black birth locations, 1860 (PNG)
Fig 6. Map showing free Black birth locations, 1860

By 1860, almost 1,500 men, women, and children had come to Greene County to live as free people. Notable residents such as Reverend Thomas Perkins, steward and pastor of Wilberforce University’s church, came to Greene County after being a former slave in Mississippi. The parents of elocutionist, author, and educator Hallie Quinn Brown had both been enslaved – her mother was emancipated by her grandfather, who was white, and her father was able to save enough money to purchase his own freedom. Throughout the year, but especially during Black History Month, the Greene County Archives would like to celebrate Greene County’s African American communities, and recognize the hardships endured by these individuals. Stop by the Archives to see our current exhibit by the same name, which will be up through the end of March.

If you would like to browse our Manumission records, please visit our Flickr page at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/127695569@N06/albums/72157648325339239

If you would like to see the story maps created for Manumission records found in Southwest Ohio, please visit: https://arcg.is/yXDeP0

For free Black census data story maps in Southwest Ohio, please visit: https://arcg.is/14j8fj0

Until Next Time…

References:
Anti-Slavery Bugle (Lisbon, Ohio) 25 Sept 1858, Newspapers.com
Anti-Slavery Medallion, Josiah Wedgewood. Image http://www.abolitionseminar.org/the-eighteenthcentury-atlantic-world/wedgwoodmedallion/.
Black Roots: Birth Locations of Ohio's Free Blacks in 1850 & 1860 from 11 Southwestern Counties, https://arcg.is/14j8fj0
Emancipation Record of Free Blacks, Greene County Archives
Tracking Freedom: Tracing the Origins of Ohio's Free Blacks from 1803-1863, https://arcg.is/yXDeP0


Feb 08

The Glossinger Cultural Center

Posted on February 8, 2019 at 12:59 PM by Melissa Dalton

We are getting close to the end of our series on the sketches of historic buildings in Greene County. This week, we look into the history of the Glossinger Cultural Center, which housed the offices and meeting space of the Greene County Historical Society prior to the 1974 tornado (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Glossinger Cultural Center featured in the Xenia Daily Gaze
Fig 1. Sketch by Richard L. Mauck of the Glossinger Cultural Center featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated August 21, 1974 (Greene County Archives)

As we learned last week, the Greene County Historical Society moved from Second and Monroe Streets to West Church Street (corner of King Street) after generous donations from Charles Snediker and John Glossinger allowed the Society to purchase said properties. The Moorehead property included a house and brick carriage house, and the house on the adjacent property became the Glossinger Cultural Center. The only building moved to the property was the Galloway log house.

The house that was to become the Glossinger Cultural Center was purchased through the donation of John Glossinger, and in turn, was named for him. Although it was used as the administration building, it did house many artifacts appropriate for the period and style of the home. By doing a bit of research on the deeds and tax records, we can provide a bit of history on the house itself.

In 1874, the large piece of property on the corner of King and Church streets was purchased by two individuals by the last names of Barrows and Butler. In 1875, the tax records indicate there were improvements made to the property, showing the completion of a house and stable on the property. Once complete, Barrows and Butler parceled out the property into four sections, each keeping a section for themselves, and selling the other two. The section of consequence is the one sold to William Foglesong.

Foglesong bought the property in 1875, but in 1877, he tried to sell the property as he was indebted to his lender (and apparently others). A legal battle ensued, and Foglesong and Samuel Crumbaugh (who was subsequently added to the case as Foglesong’s partner), were indicted for trying to defraud the creditors and delay or hinder collection of said debts. In the end, the bank gained ownership of the property, and they sold it to George K. Halladay in 1878 as part of the settlement (Fig 2).

Fig 2. Excerpt from the Greene County Common Pleas Final Record No. 18 p. 507 (JPG)
Fig 2. Excerpt from Greene County Common Pleas Final Record No. 18, pg. 507 (Greene County Archives)

Halladay owned the property for almost twenty years, and according to the tax records, added a dwelling to the property in 1890. In 1904, he sold a large portion of the property to Mary Little. Little made a few improvements to the property in 1905, but the tax records do not indicate what those improvements were. Little didn’t keep the property long, and sold to William M. Wilson in 1909. Wilson kept the property for about a decade, and sold to Walter R. Harner in 1921.

Walter Harner held the property the longest, owning it from 1921 to 1959. The tax records do not indicate much about improvements to the property, so we are not sure what sort of changes were made over the years. In 1959, Harner sold the property to Glenna and Harold Murray, who in turn, sold to the Greene County Ohio Historical Society in 1963, giving the house and property a new life as part of Greene County’s enduring history (Fig 3).

Fig 3. Glossinger Cultural Center prior to 1974 tornado (JPG)
Fig 3. Glossinger Cultural Center prior to 1974 tornado (Greene County Archives)

Sadly, roughly ten years after the acquisition, the 1974 tornado ripped through Xenia, destroying the Glossinger Cultural Center (Fig 4). The damage was too severe and the Society was unable to salvage the house. Fortunately, the Society was able to purchase another house, in the Queen Anne style, and moved it to the complex as a replacement. Today, that house still sits on the corner of King and Church streets.

Fig 4. Image of the damage to the Glossinger Cultural Center after the 1974 tornado (JPG)
Fig 4. Image of the damage to the Glossinger Cultural Center after the 1974 tornado (Greene County Archives)

We have two historic buildings left to cover – the Snediker Barn/Museum and the Moorehead House – so stay tuned!

Until Next Time…

Sources:

Greene County Archives

Hutslar, D. A. (1974). Crossroads: The Xenia tornado, a retrospective view. Ohio History, 83(3), 192-211.

NewspaperARCHIVE.com

Wilson, C. (2010). Historic Greene County: An illustrated history. San Antonio, TX: Historical Publishing Network.