Ministers License Books – January Record Series Highlight, 2022

For our first record series highlight of 2022, we would like to showcase our “Minister License” books. The Records Center and Archives houses 3 volumes of these ministers license records in our reading room. The official title on the first volume of these records was stated as “Record of Licenses to Solemnize Marriage January A.D. 1823” and follows with the heading “Record of Licenses to Ministers of the Gospel to solemnize marriages”.

Minister Licenses were kept locally under the County Courts, more specifically the Probate Court following it’s establishment in the mid 1850’s, until June 4, 1976, when they were transferred to the Ohio Secretary of State and remains to this day. These records hold immense history for both the citizens who were ordained in Warren County but those who were ordained in multiple counties and for the history of the local churches.

The first entry is for one Reverend Joshua Carman who “produces a license from the Court of Common Pleas within and for the County of Green to solemnize marriage which said license is under the hand & seal of the clerk of said Court for the County aforesaid ad dated the 2nd Day of August A.D. 1823”

Ministers License Volume 1, 1823-1876

One of the first female entries is for one Mary Emma Spencer who “is a Minister of the Gospel of the Orthodox Friends Church” dated December 26, 1888.

Ministers License Volume 2, 1875-1934

The final entry is for the 3rd volume of the series is for one Charlie W. Whetsel who “on the 25 day of October A.D. 1965 a Minister’s License, issued from the Probate Court of Greene County, Ohio, to Charlie W. Whetsel, a Minister of the Gospel of the denomination usually called Methodist Church, was presented in the Warren County Probate Court is hereby allowed.”

Ministers License Volume 3, 1934-1965

“Shop Local” – Holiday Shopping in Warren County, 1903 Edition

These days we love to talk about shopping local. Many of the small towns here in Warren County are known for their local shops and artisans and many of them are destinations for holiday shoppers. This week we are taking our followers on a shopping trip through Warren County where shopping local was the only choice for many in 1903.

The first items on our shopping list this year are going to be items to spruce up our houses before we host our many Christmas get togethers. The best locations within the county to find such things would be in Lebanon at the Business block of Suemening & Sieker on Broadway for wall paper & carpets, Unglesby & Sons for new furniture (second location in Franklin), O.W. Morris & Co. for new chinaware, and finally the Racket Store who are known for their tinware.

Today’s shopping list consists of all the fixings for Christmas dinner. Our first stop will be to get our Christmas ham at E. J. Ehle Meat Market located in Lebanon at the Brandon & Burr Block. Next will be the very important cranberry sauce and stuffing from Val. E. Dombaugh’s grocery in Mason. Finally for dessert we will visit Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Merrit in Harveysburg at their confectionary for pies and cookies. Don’t forget to get your last minute Christmas cards sent out and grab those final items that you forgot at the Post office and grocery in Pleasant Plain at W. H. Kenny’s.

Wrapping up our local shopping trip, we finish up our last minute Christmas present shopping. Our first stop is Randall & Shimp’s Store and J.H. Holzlin’s Shoe Store in Lebanon for the perfect outfit for the men in your life. Then we stop in at C.H. Creighton’s jewelry store in Morrow to find the perfect earrings or mantle clock for the women in your life. For the kids in our life we will be swinging by Frank Sherwood’s General Store in Oregonia where they have a vast selection of toys. Lastly we will head over to Waynesville National Bank to get out money for those hard to buy for teenagers!

Disgraceful Outrage in Warren County – guest blogger Jeffrey Lucas

With the Gubernatorial election between Unionist John Brough and Democrat Clement Vallandigham approaching in October of 1863, mass meetings for both parties were held in communities all over the state of Ohio.  Lebanon was no exception.  The Unionists held one at the Fairgrounds on September 15th and included speakers Lewis D. Campbell and John Sherman.  The following excerpt from the Cincinnati Enquirer describes the one held by the Democrats on Friday the 18th and the tensions at the time.

According to the Cleveland Daily Reader, on the evening of this meeting, an arrest attempt was made at the Lucas house in Deerfield for an assault on their Post Office earlier in the day.  During this confrontation William Trump was shot twice with a revolver and killed.  This newspaper article states that the shooting was done by George Lucas, son of “the old man Lucas.”

The Warren County court records show that George Lucas and his son, James K. Lucas (age 19), were arrested for this incident.  On the 21st of September George Lucas was bonded out by Granville Stokes, former state senator, and James was bonded out by his father for $2,000 each.  An indictment of second degree murder was made against James and in April of 1866 the prosecuting attorney did not further prosecute that charge.  At that time an indictment for manslaughter was made against James for the killing.  On March 2nd, 1867 a jury found him not guilty of this charge.

As a descendant of George Lucas, the discovery of this information was very enlightening.  I would like to share some details about the Lucas family relating to this incident that I have gathered during my research in Warren County.  This map shows the Lucas property in Union Township in 1856.  George had 70 acres, his brother Aaron had 48 acres and his sister Christina Dill (heir of James H Dill) had 52 acres near Deerfield.  You can see William Trump’s father, John Trump, on the map as well and I believe he is near the Post Office that was attacked.

Warren County Wall Map, 1856

At the time of the incident, George was living with his wife Mary (who was 7 months pregnant with my grandfather), their ten children and one grandchild.  This included their eldest daughter Susanna married to Hezekiah Barr, who had been serving in the 35th Ohio Infantry Regiment since 1861.  George’s brother Aaron also had a son Caleb serving in the 35th Infantry for the same period.  My grandfather was born in Deerfield two months later on November 22, 1863 and apparently named after the Democtratic supporters:  Granville Vallandigham Lucas.  Three days later Susanna’s husband was wounded in battle at Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, was wounded again at Atlanta in July 1864 and survived to be discharged in December 1864.  Aaron’s son Caleb also survived his term of duty.

George Lucas sold all his land in Warren County in March of 1864 and moved his family to La Porte County, Indiana on land he had bought from his father’s estate twenty years earlier.  He died there on Christmas Day in 1878.

George Andrew Lucas

James Lucas stayed in Warren County to answer the charge against him and I believe he lived with Granville Stokes in Clearcreek Township.  In December of 1864 George sent his permission for James (age 20) to marry Granville Stokes’ daughter, Virginia Pocahantas Stokes, the “Goddess of Liberty” at the mass meeting the day of the killing.  They married on January 9, 1865.  After his acquittal in 1867 they stayed in Warren County and had a son, James Brent Lucas, in 1868.  By 1870 they had moved up to La Porte County near his father George.  In 1880 he was living in Effingham, Illinois working as a railroad engineer when I believe these pictures were taken of them.

William Trump was buried in the Danberry Cemetery in South Lebanon.  George’s parents (Francis Lucas and Christina Keever), his mother-in-law (Susanna Ullery Monfort) and her second husband (Jesse Cousins, murdered in December of 1864 with the Roosas) were also buried there.  Ironically these headstones were moved to the Deerfield Cemetery in the 1950’s and are located on the land that George Lucas had owned and where the William Trump killing took place.  It is my understanding that only the headstones were moved, not the remains.  Here is a picture I took 15 years ago of the headstones of Jesse and Susanna Cousins not knowing that the one behind them on the far left is that of William Trump.

Deerfield Cemetery 2006

During that first visit to the Warren County Genealogical Society in 2006 I was told to go into the Records Center and ask for some files for George’s father, Francis Lucas.  I was amazed when I was presented with all the original documents from his estate settlement which lasted from 1843 until 1854.  That really got me hooked on genealogy and they have provided a multitude of records concerning my family since then.  A recent lucky search on the internet led me to the newspaper article that connected this case to my family.  I wish transcripts were available to fully understand what happened that night but without them we must draw our own conclusions.  You never know what you may find when you dig deep and pay attention to the details.  And sometimes you may not be comfortable with what you find.

Morrow Brewing Company

When tipped off about the Morrow Brewing Company by our Archives Specialist, Tori Roberts, I did not know how popular this old stone structure would be or the history we would uncover! What started as a few cool pictures discovered on someone’s FLICKR account has turned into some new discovers of this historic property.

Google Image, Morrow Brewing Company

The easily accessible information we gained from the internet gave us the simple run down of how this building was once a brewery began by John Scheer in the mid 1800’s. Scheer had immigrated from Baden, Germany, and learned the trade of brewer while living in Cincinnati. He continued to operate the brewery until at least the late 1800’s when a Mr. Rauscher took over the business. In 1902, the brewery ceased to produce alcohol and switched to soft drinks after the county went dry. After the building no longer brewed drinks, it opened up to other businesses, including growing mushrooms.

From what we were able to locate within the archives, this history is not all wrong, the early information was just incomplete. It appears that John Scheer did not enter into the brewing business alone. When reviewing the 1856 Warren County wall map there is no John Scheer listed on that site in Morrow, nor is there a John Scheer listed on the Morrow directory. Instead it lists “L. Durain’s Brewery” and “L. Durain – Brewer & Grocer”.

Warren County Wall Map, 1856
Warren County Wall Map, 1856

Upon further research, it turns out that together Louis Durain and John Scheer purchased the property where the brewery was built from Thomas Ireland in March of 1854. We believe they entered into this partnership because Louis married a relative of John Scheer, a Miss Barbara Scheer. Based on Barbara’s age, we would assume that it was John’s sister, but we unfortunately are unable to definitively determine that based on our records alone.

Marriage Record, Louis Durain and Barbara Scheer, April 28, 1850
Image courtesy of Family Search

It appears that Louis Durain and John Scheer continued to own and operate the brewery together until Louis and Barbara sold the property to Scheer in May of 1867, after which Scheer operated the brewery with a multitude of additional partners. John Scheer is listed on the Warren County 1867 wall map Morrow directory as the “Brewer” and Durain is not listed at all. On the Warren County Atlas, 1875, map of Salem Township it lists the brewery name as “Scheer Thompson & Co. Brewery” and then on the Warren County Centennial Atlas, 1903, the brewery name is listed as “Morrow Brewing Company”.

Warren County Wall Map, 1867
Warren County Atlas, 1875
Warren County Centennial Atlas, 1903

While we were unable to find any of the later history of the brewery in the records here at the archives, we did find a newspaper notice that the brewery had been sold to firm from Xenia in 1904. History In Your Own Backyard did a wonderful job of sharing the history of this interesting and cool historic property.

The Western Star, October 20, 1904, Image Courtesy of Ohio History Connection

Transcription Tuesday – Intern Edition

Check out the update from our summer intern, Melissa Kelhoffer:

As an intern for Warren County Records Center & Archives, I have been working on quite a few projects the last couple of months. I have learned to process records that have come into the center. This means to remove all harmful materials like staples, paper clips, tape or other adhesives that may degrade the record. Next I place the records into archival safe materials like a photo sleeve, paper and manilla folder to give it the best conditions for preservation. 

I have been transcribing Warren County Land Record Indexes as well.  I have over 5600 entries and I am just on book 2 – 1823! These records can be difficult both to read and handle. They are generally large books, the paper and bindings are delicate, and the handwriting can be difficult to read at times.  

Warren County Land Record Index

I am working on a special project, with several other employees, that will be on permanent display in the Common Pleas Court. My part required that look through all of the Commissioner’s Journals for information on the Common Pleas Court houses. We spent some time in the second courthouse, The Silver Street Courthouse. It is a truly beautiful courthouse, although now it is used to house Ohio Means Jobs.   

FOR LEASE: Old Court House for a Term of 20 Years

The history of Warren County Court Houses is extensive, dating back January 3, 1806, when the Commissioner’s accepted the original building located at the North East corner of Broadway and Main. If this intersection sounds familiar to you it is because this is the main intersection that runs through Lebanon, Ohio. It is the intersection where the famous Golden Lamb is located, where the Lebanon (Carnegie) Public Library is located, and where the City of Lebanon Government building sits.

Warren County 1875 Atlas

It is the very corner where the City of Lebanon Government building currently sits that Warren County built their first Court House. The building was originally two stories and consisted of a courtroom on the first floor and offices on the second floor. During the research for our newest exhibit on the history of Warren County Court Houses we uncovered some interesting facts about this particular building.

The first fun fact that we discovered is that once Warren County built a new building at the North East corner of Silver and East Streets, they offered up the former building for lease for a term of twenty years beginning in June of 1835. This offer was then taken up by the City of Lebanon at just $86.50 per year for the term of twenty one years! That would be the equivalent of $2707.60 in today’s money, which is quite the bargain.

Warren County Commissioner’s Journal, Volume 6 Page 246

The second fun fact is that the once two story building was later turned into a three story building by the Masonic Lodge in 1844! The City of Lebanon continued to use this building until it burned down in September of 1874.

Warren County Centennial Atlas, 1903

Jail Matron Appointment, $20 Per Month Salary

Jail Matron Appointment, Alice Gilmour, at $20 per month.

Here at the Records Center we have worked at getting any miscellaneous boxes of records processed and put where they belong. While processing a box of records from the early 1900’s we ran across a small stack of Jail Matron Appointment documents that peaked our interest.

The history of Matrons appointed to either the Warren County Jail, Warren County Children’s Home, or the Warren County Infirmary has not been readily available to us so we are putting together a list of the women who have served in these roles throughout our history.

Western Star, September 11, 1913

The earliest record in the small stack of papers is for the appointment of Alice Gilmour by Sheriff Waldron C. Gilmour at the rate of $20 per month. Be sure to check back for updates on the many Matrons and their roles within Warren County!

Blames Booze and Cigarettes: Harley Beard, Franklin Native, Murderer

While processing the index for our birth records, Tori Roberts ran across a note in pencil on Harley Beard that stated “Electrocuted at Ohio Penitentiary 1914”. Now this was such a strange occurrence because the record as I said was a birth record, not a death record. This clearly sparked interest, because whoever wrote this note must have been invested in the case in which Harley Beard was sentenced to death by the electric chair.

Warren County Birth Record, Volume 3

Initial research into Harley turned up his portrait, as it’s called, which seems more like what we would call a mugshot. The description on the entry for Harley on Ohio Memory is “Harley Beard, of Lawrence County, was electrocuted December 4, 1914, for the Murder of Bob-Mary-Nancy Massie. On May 13, 1914, Harley, a 18-year-old farm hand brutally killed Nancy (76) and her son and daughter Bob (44) and Mary (40) at their farm house in Lawrence County, Ohio. Nancy and Mary were found with their throats slit and Bob with his skull crushed the following day, and Beard was captured and confessed to the murders.”, State Archives Series 1000 AV; Box 1, No. 44

While this explains the crime and subsequent sentence of electrocution at the State Penitentiary, it does not explain why there was a penciled in note on Harley’s birth record in Warren County. If the murders took place 150 miles away and 18 years after his birth, why would the Warren County employee find it necessary to include this in Harley’s birth record. Thankfully the Western Star shed some light on Harley’s history in Warren County. Born to Arthur Beard and Elizabeth Truss, Harley was one of at least 8 children. In March of 1901 there was an article printed in the Western Star titled “Could Not Support His Eight Children” where the article details that one of his daughters, Rebecca Helen Beard aged 14 years, “came into Squire Corwin’s office crying, and said that her half-brother took liberties with her and that she was afraid of him.” This article provided some background into the type of household that Harley was being raised in. Rebecca was sent to the Warren County Children’s Home following this incident. Unfortunately, even though the Warren County has these records, they are not open to the public. By age 16, Harley had landed himself in the paper by escaping from the Warren County Children’s Home.

Western Star, March 14, 1901
Western Star, July 11, 1912

The final tragic detail of Harley Beard’s short life was his letter where he “Blames Booze and Cigarettes” and “Warns Young Folks to Refrain from use of either.” While this may have been the reason Harley chose to focus on, it seems that further into his letter it becomes apparent that his wayward childhood and unstable home life led Harley to his untimely fate. “I never had a chance. I was motherless and fatherless, and if I would have had a chance I would never have been put in the penitentiary.”

Western Star, December 10, 1914

We have an update on Harley Beard’s unfortunate upbringing.

In our earlier blog post we mentioned that Harley had spent time at the Warren County Children’s Home. While thumbing through the records we found out that not only did Harley spend time in the home but so did his 5 siblings: Rebecca Ellen, Mary, Wilbert, James, and Ellsworth.

The youngest, Ellsworth, was only 5 when he was taken to the home. All of the children spent time in the home and were occasionally loaned out to various households within the county, most likely to provide an extra set of hands around the house or farm. Ellsworth ended his time at the Children’s Home by being taken to the “Reformatory at Mansfield by Probation Officer April 6, 1911 at the age of 12.

#DYK: Warren County Courthouse Condemned

Did you know that in February of 1879, the Silver Street Warren County Courthouse was what we would call “condemned” and being called to be demolished immediately???

Warren County Commissioners Journal, Volume 13 Page 413

Thankfully the county explored alternate plans for the building and thought it was important enough to fix. If you compare the images from the historic lithograph dated in 1875 to the updated photograph dated 1903, you can see the structural improvements that were made to the front of the building, ensuring it’s safety for future generations. In the 1903 image you can also see the addition to the rear of the building.

Warren County Courthouse Lithograph, Warren County Atlas, 1875
Warren County Courthouse photograph, Warren County Centennial Atlas, 1903

In the Commissioner’s Journal Entry it is said: “the Court House Building in Lebanon said County and find on excavating alongside of outside walls of building, the plank foundations on which stone walls are built has become extremely rotten and thoroughly decayed as to be useless for the purposes for which they were originally intended so much so as to endanger the safety of the building owing to the decay of said timer foundations the outside walls have settled outward to such an extent to crack the brick walls causing them to crack in some places also to strain and break the timbers supporting Copola over court room so as to make the same dangerous and unsafe and from the general condition of the building caused by a general decay of the foundations. I deem said Building unsafe for occupancy and should be taken down this in my Judgement is the best and most economical plan that can be adopted from the fact the entire outside foundations will have to be taken out and rebuilt on solid ground involving the shoring up of entire Building and the taking out of the entire west wall from foundation to roof.” -Henry Bevis, Architect

Good Riddance 2020…Hello 2021

2020 Top 5 Countdown

As we wind down 2020, the Records Center & Archives reflects on the year and their top moments. We would like to share our top 5 with you this week!

In at #5 is our oral history program! While we haven’t been able to conduct oral histories, that hasn’t stopped us from sharing our experience with others. In 2020 we participated in two presentations where we shared our experiences in creating and conducting oral histories with other archivists. In addition, our employee Ted Hitchens worked diligently at transcribing our existing oral histories. We are so proud of the histories we have preserved and we are hopeful for the future of this program and preserving other Warren County residents histories.

In at #4 are our new exhibits! While it feels like a lifetime ago, we created 2 new exhibits in 2020:

– 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, located at the Warren County Administration Building and a smaller duplicated version located at Warren County Board of Elections

– Exploding a Forgotten Town into a Booming Society: Kings Mills, located in the Records Center & Archives reading room

– Rightfully Hers, NARA Pop Up Exhibit, was located in the lobby of the Common Pleas Court Building

In at #3 is our Recorder’s Office Digitization Project! Over the past year our Microfilm Department has been working diligently at digitizing the bulk of our Recorder’s Office records so that they can be more accessible. This project has been a great example of how we work with other departments to help support our mission statement combined with their needs. We want to extend a huge shoutout to our Microfilm staff, Jana Wells (recently retired), Shayla Wheat, Donna Barnes, and Maria Hummel (summer intern) for digitizing over 50 oversized volumes. Thank you ladies for all of your hard work!

In at #2 is our ability to continue with our Education Outreach Program despite the social distancing of 2020! At the beginning of 2020, our school visits were off to a great start until March and quarantine quickly changed for everyone. Since being back in the office we were able to duplicate the presentation that is typically shared in person and upload it to the Warren County Records Center and Archives YouTube page!While this is no match for the impact of seeing our primary sources in person, it has given us the chance to keep the relationships we’ve built with the local school communities open. Be sure to head over to our YouTube page and check them out if you haven’t yet!

In at #1 is our indexing and digitization progress!

As part of our mission statement, we want to provide the highest level of accessibility to our historic records as we can. Although this year has been challenging, it has given us the chance to step up our indexing and digitizing and making it all accessible to you! Included, but not limited to, in this long list of projects we’ve completed are:

– Naturalization Index and Images
– Commissioners Indexes 4 & 5
– OCP Boxes 60-65
– Birth Record Index & Images Volumes 1 & 2
– Death Record Index & Images Volumes 1-3

If you haven’t had a chance to check out all of the records we have made available, we encourage you to head over to our website and take a look!