Those Who Bootleg Together, Stay Together

Ever heard that age old saying “Those who bootleg together, stay together?” No? Okay we made up this saying,  but there have been a number of historic criminal couples whose stories have stood the test of time. Did you know Warren County has their own historic crime couple? The hard evidence we have for today’s short historical fiction story are the court documents, marriage license, and death records for Andrew Dudley and Rhoda Dudley (Lynch, Linch).

Andrew and Rhoda’s story begins in the progressive town of Harveysburg. These two love struck individuals were struggling to make ends meet. Andrew’s wife had died not long before he met Rhoda and he was desperate to find someone who could fill her shoes when their fateful relationship began. The two hashed out a masterful plan of how they could provide for themselves and Andrew’s family. Posing as a happily married couple, they began selling bootlegged liquor in their “house of public resort” that they smuggled in from contacts in their home state of Virginia.

Struggling to reach their target audience and a store room full of illegal alcohol, Andrew and Rhoda became desperate. This is when their criminal activity turned sloppy. The two were blinded by their ambition and began selling to minors and known alcoholics in the area. This is when their brief stint with the law began. The State of Ohio was able to put together a substantial list of clients in order to charge the two and ultimately their criminal activity came to an end.

Although Andrew and Rhoda didn’t make a life long career bootlegging and keeping a house of public resort, their story didn’t end there. They did go on to get married and raise a family together. They can be found in the 1880 census as married and living with their adult children, nieces and nephews, and even a grandson. The couple died in Harveysburg within a year and a half of each other, Andrew in October of 1889, and Rhoda in January of 1890.

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State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866

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State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866 (edited)

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Marriage Record – Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Lynch (Linch) – December 15, 1866



Murder & Mystery in a Small Town – “Based on a True Story”

Today’s “Based on a True Story” is one of intrigue, adventure, and the untimely demise of  a local celebrated Civil War hero. What we are presenting are images of county records regarding Captain William R. Hoel along with a short historical fiction story based on the events that led up to his death on May 23, 1879.

William Hoel had led an adventurous life prior to the inheritance of his father’s farm “Kildere”.  He began his career as a Steamboat Captain upon the Mississippi River and on October 19, 1861, William joined the Navy and was eventually promoted to Captain. Following the Civil War and his father’s death, Captain Hoel became a farmer in the quiet village of Waynesville Ohio. Here he fathered two children with his young and beautiful wife Elizabeth. This fairy tale of the celebrated war hero turned local socialite and doting husband and father was anything but. Captain Hoel put on a great face of enjoying his domestic and stationary life, but deep down he longed for the days where he was able to move about freely. This longing soon turned into anger and abuse towards his young wife. He blamed their supposed domestic bliss for his inability to live the life he truly dreamed of.

In the desperation to rid herself of her abusive husband, Elizabeth hashed out a plan with her close friend and confidant Dr. J.B. Hough. The local doctor was well known in the community and it wasn’t uncommon for him to visit the farm and attend to the hired help. Knowing Hoel’s rage and jealousy over his young and beautiful wife, she and the doctor planned a meeting and let slip to the hired help of their plans. Upon hearing this Captain Hoel hashed his own plan to interrupt their tryst with his pistol. What he didn’t know is that the intentions of Elizabeth and Doctor Hough were anything but romantic; they were prepared for his assault upon finding them together on that fateful day.

The story goes that Captain Hoel surprised the lovers and during a scuffle with the Doctor, Hoel was accidentally shot with his own pistol. There was a makeshift investigation where Elizabeth and Dr. Hough’s stories stayed consistent. No one truly knows what went down that fateful day, all that is known is Elizabeth spent her remaining days raising her two children on Kildere Farm in peace and quiet.

Be sure to tune in next week and find out what new “Based on a True Story” we come up with!

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Initial Verdict – Clerk of Courts – Coroner’s Inquests, Box 1 Folder 1 – In this record, the acting Coroner (Justice of the Peace, William Mannington) determines the cause of death was “a pistol ball fired from a pistol (in whose hands said pistol was I am unable to say)”

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Witness Testimony – Clerk of Courts – Coroner’s Inquests, Box 1 Folder 1 – In this testimony the witness claims to have seen Mrs. Hoel and Dr. Hough embracing and kissing, which led Captain Hoel to unlock the parlor door and storm in on the two

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Captain William Hoel’s Last Will & Testament – Volume 21 Page 221

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Captain William Hoel’s Last Will & Testament – Volume 21 Page 222

Historical Fiction: Based on a True Story

Historical Fiction has played a major roll in all modern cultures. People are fascinated with retelling stories that feature characters from history or recreating “the better times” by entering fictional characters into historically accurate events. The genres of entertainment that this topic covers includes movies, plays, books, music, and operas to name a few. We also like to refer to these as the “Based on a True Story” fictions. Examples of these in modern day would be series or movies such as The Crown, The Greatest Showman, and Braveheart to name a few.

What we would like to do is take some key characters and settings from the Warren County Records Center & Archives material and come up with our own historical fiction short stories. This series will debut on Monday and a new story will be featured each Monday in March of 2018. We encourage you to follow along with various characters, situations, and landscapes from our very own history!

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Who Wore It Better?

The legacy left by President Abraham Lincoln has inspired generations since his assassination on April 15, 1865. Today we are focusing on one in particular, his beard.


Image of Abraham Lincoln courtesy of Library of Congress, Image of Professor Alfred Holbrook, donated by Jeanne Longmuir

While visiting a group of first graders in December I shared some photographs donated to the Records Center from the National Normal University. We were discussing the changes over time of people’s needs vs. wants and how style has changed over time. These inquisitive young minds were quick to point out that Professor Alfred Holbrook (President of NNU from 1855-1897) resembled President Lincoln, and they are right.

The story behind his beard was that 11 year old Grace Bedell wrote to the Presidential candidate encouraging him to grow a beard because it would help fill out his very thin face. The history behind men’s facial hair is as long as it is fascinating and this story just adds to the interest of how one mans choice can influence a generation. The image of Holbrook dates long after President Lincolns death and it must be noted that the students at the National Normal University do not share this facial hair style with their elder counterpart. So although the trend had moved on, those who lived during Lincoln’s Presidency kept this trend alive.

For further reading check out the following links:

Library of Congress

Lincoln: A Beard Is Born

The Elusive House History

As the keeper of the historic Warren County Records, we get a lot of requests for the history on houses, properties, and previous property owners. Through our time spent with these records over the years we have found that this is no easy feat. We find ourselves wishing there was a database that existed where we could just type in the address and receive the information. Unfortunately this is not the case so we thought we would give you a glimpse into our best process in which to narrow down a date for your old house at a county archives.

The best first step is to check with any existing online databases within your county. It’s a far reach that if your house was built in the 19th century that the information will exist, but it’s worth a shot. In addition you can always google your address and see what pops up.

There are two best second steps to determine who owned the property before you. Sometimes if your county has old maps and you can narrow down where your property is on those maps, you can see who owned the property in that year. Many times these maps will also indicate whether there was a structure on the property. If this effort is fruitless you can contact whichever county department that keeps the historic deeds. For example in Warren County the historic deeds are kept in our Recorder’s Office. Have as much information ready when starting your search, such as: parcel id, your date of purchase, current property owner, and address.

Once you have determined who previously owned the property, the third step can be to research through the historic tax duplicates. In the case of Warren County, these are available through the Records Center and Archives. Our tax duplicates are organized by year, township, and property owner. By researching previously paid taxes, you can narrow the information down to when the property owner paid taxes on land and when taxes increased indicating a structure being built on the property.

Included below is a link from The National Trust for Historic Preservation titled “10 Ways to Research you Home’s History.” This list is a great way to aid your search outside of official county records.

10 Ways to Research Your Home’s History – National Trust for Historic Preservation

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Image The Centennial Atlas, 1903

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Image The Centennial Atlas, 1903

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Image The Centennial Atlas, 1903

The Struggle to Stay Dry

Warren County’s progressive stance on prohibition was short lived.  The county managed to stay dry from 1909-1915. Until prohibition was ratified within the U.S. Constitution (1919), the county put up a long hard fight to return to return dry.

Prohibition supporters were creative in their methods of gaining support within the community. They engaged the public by gaining support of prominent figures within the county, using flashy new vehicles as a wow factor, and bringing in people who were popular within the movement to speak publicly.IMG_5099

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One Year Anniversary!

One Year Anniversary!

This Day in History – October 4, 2016, the Warren County Records Center & Archives installed the 2116 Warren County Health and Human Services Building Time Capsule.

One of the coolest items we put into this new time capsule was a collection of images of what 6th grade students from Little Miami Intermediate thought Warren County would look like in 100 years. We didn’t want to share too much of what we put in this time capsule so the people who open it in 2116 would be surprised, but these were just too good not to share.

Thanks again to all of the students who submitted these wonderful drawings!10-4-2017 Class Drawing 1-110-4-2017 Class Drawing 1-210-4-2017 Class Drawing 1-310-4-2017 Class Drawing 3-110-4-2017 Class Drawing 3-210-4-2017 Class Drawing-110-4-2017 Class Drawing-2

Let’s Go on a Ride…

Now that the weather is nice we invite you to take a trip with us down the Little Miami Scenic Trail during the month of June. We would love to share some of the history of this trail prior to it becoming the recreation trail that we know today. Beginning in the north and traveling south, we will be highlighting locations and events in Warren County along the trail.
This Ohio Railroad Map of Ohio (located in the Records Center & Archives reading room, available for public use) dated 1912, provides an overview of where the Little Miami Scenic Trail utilized old railroad track lines.
Be sure to check back for posts and see if you recognize some of the history and sites along the trail!


Railroad Map of Ohio, 1912

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Edited Railroad Map of Ohio, 1912

The Precursor to Google Earth…

Lets be honest…we in the archives use Google Maps and Google earth all the time! It is such a quick and easy way to find areas of interest while conducting research or looking at old properties our patrons are looking up information on. Recently we visited Hunter Elementary School in the Franklin School District. We normally like to take our old township maps, like the ones we shared last month, the area where this school is had not changed much over the course of time (1856-1940).  While these maps are historically accurate and we could tell a lot of information about the land, it just was not enough visual information for these young minds.

Insert what the Records Center and Archives would consider the precursor to Google Earth, the aerial photograph! These images certainly are not as interactive, but they can still tell us a lot of information! The aerial photographs that we have in the Records Center and Archives are of the entirety of Warren County in the years 1954 and 1962. It just so happens that the area where the school is located changed most drastically between the times that these images were captured.

We love utilizing these images to help students and patrons help tell the history of their homes, properties, schools, and businesses. Some of the different ways you can utilize these records to tell Warren County history are changes in: transportation, population, natural landscape, recreation, etc.

For the Hunter Elementary maps we were able to see drastic changes in population growth because in the 1954 image the area around the school and the school was made up of farms, on the 1962 image the school was built and the area surrounding the school is now neighborhoods. Another big change in this area was the construction of Interstate 75! Can you look at these images and find any other major changes?


1956 Aerial Image


1962 Aerial Image


2017 Aerial Image


Wait, Landen Lake hasn’t always been there?

This is one of our favorite local histories to teach during our Education Outreach program at J.F. Burns Elementary School. In our blog post last week “Teaching With Township Maps” we pointed out how we can help kids to tell their local history through comparing these County Maps.
We like to take them back to 1903, 1944, and finally to a current map. I will point out where their school is located and then ask them to tell me what is currently across the street, Landen Lake. Then I ask them to tell me what is across the street on the earlier township maps. It is so much fun to see their eyes light up when they realize that Landen Lake has not always been there! It was once known as Simpson’s Creek, which we then proceed to ask them to tell us how they think it became a lake. Their answers are always interesting and full of imagination!
This is one amazing example of how the historic maps can be utilized within our community. These records are open and available to the public and our staff would love to help you research properties within the area!

Edited 1903 Deerfield Township Map


Edited 1944 Deerfield Township Map


Edited 2017 Deerfield Township Map