Author Archives: wcrcarchives

About wcrcarchives

The Warren County Records Center and Archives was dedicated in honor of the former Warren County Recorder, Edna L. Bowyer on June 22, 2001. We offer on-site records storage, records delivery, records retention and disposition management, records management training, document imaging, and microfilming services.

Timeline of an Absconder: Auditor Al Graham

Last week we had posted a #whenwasitwednesday where we shared a story about  four Warren County Treasurers who were accused of embezzling roughly $127,000. Well it turns out that this story was much more complex than originally thought. It appears that the treachery extended to multiple representatives within the county, the guiltiest party being Auditor Al Graham.

What we have provided for your enjoyment is a newspaper trail that helps us put the pieces of this sordid affair together. In the caption for each picture is included the  source, date, and notes summarizing the speculation of his whereabouts while on the run leading up to his eventual capture, sentencing, and imprisonment.

Before the Chase…

On the Run…



The Dayton Herald, March 10, 1890 – Discusses how Al Graham returned to the area and was eventually discovered, disguised as a “Minister of the Gospel”



The Piqua Daily Call, March 10, 1890 – The absconding Auditor has been sentenced



The Marion Star, March 13, 1890



The Award We Won – OHRAB Achievment Award

Today the Warren County Records Center & Archives had the pleasure of accepting the OHRAB Achievement Award, awarded by The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. We won this award: for our work furthering the digital accessibility and archival preservation of Ohio’s public records, exemplified by the innovative use of its website to make its records easily available to researchers around the world.

We, as a department, have worked hard over the past few years to ensure the effort we put into digitizing, preserving, and indexing our historical records was not just for our use. It seems pointless to have these amazing records organized if they are not available to everyone. So thanks to our fearless leader, Jen Haney Conover, who made her vision for the Records Center & Archives a reality.

The purpose of making sure we share our work with anyone with internet access is because these records are typically hard to get a hold of. Many people aren’t comfortable trying to navigate public records, we are only open normal business hours so access can sometimes be an issue, and it can be extremely disheartening to reach out to us only to find out we do not have what you are looking for. Our end game result would ultimately be for as many people as possible to use our website for research and for each individual to find something truly unique to their story. By receiving distinguished awards such as this it helps put us in the eye of the County Officials and the eye of the public to help spread the word and for that we are truly thankful!

We hope you have had the chance to browse the indexes and images available on our website so far. If you haven’t please feel free to check out The Warren County Records Center & Archives County Index page.

warren county archives staff ohrab award 1-15-2019 (1)

Warren County Archives Staff left to right: Jana Wells, Shayla Wheat, Jen Haney Conover, Jenifer Baker, Tori Roberts, and Ted Hitchens

warren county commissioners and archives staff + tina ratcliff - ohrab award - 1-15-2019

OHRAB Award Acceptance, Warren County Commissioners Meeting – January 15, 2019


Warren County OHRAB Achievement Award – Accepted January 15, 2019


The Miami Valley Park and Fair – Beginnings

Finding the start of the Miami Valley Park and Fair was much easier than it has been to find the middle and end. So what I am bringing to you today is the evidence of when it began.

There are books out there that discuss its existence in much more detail but unfortunately we do not have access to them at this time. What I was able to find in our records and which prompted this research is Exhibit A from The State of Ohio vs. James C. Governy, where James was charged with selling liquor within 2 miles of an agricultural fair.

I was also able to find a Western Star Article dated December 11, 1890, discussing  The Miami Valley Park and Fair’s picturesque setting and receipts totaling $8,000 for the first year. In addition to these resources, we were also able to find a write up in the Warren County Atlas, 1891, a map showing where the Fair Grounds were located in 1891, and a map labeling this property as Franklin Fair Co. in The Centennial Atlas, 1903. Stay tuned as we uncover more rich history from Franklin, Ohio’s history!



Spanish Influenza as Reported in Warren County

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War II, it also marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Flu. There was a great article written by Megan Huang on National Archives: Pieces of History Blog regarding the specifics of the Spanish Flu, including just how deadly it was overall.

We are going to focus on the peak of the outbreak and present how it was reported in Warren County in The Western Star. While searching through the papers ranging from 1917-1919 the majority of the articles span from October 10, 1918, through November 7, 1918. The articles include an order from the Mayor of Lebanon closing all public gathering places at the height of the pandemic, obituaries of Warren County citizens, and advertisements from local businesses capitalizing on the flu. Many of the deaths reported in The Western Star followed along the trend of this flu, which targeted middle aged and healthy individuals.

The surprising factor of our research is that, despite the deadliness of the Spanish Flu, there just was not a lot of coverage. Even the short time that the flu was covered, the headlines were minimal and were primarily focused locally. This fact does not seem to be unique to Warren County, this seems to be the norm for many news outlets.

Western Star - October 10, 1918 - Spanish Flu - 1

The Western Star, October 10, 1918

Western Star - October 17, 1918 - Spanish Flu (1)

The Western Star, October 17, 1918

Western Star - October 17, 1918 - Spanish Flu (2)

The Western Star, October 17, 1918

Western Star - October 31, 1918 - Spanish Flu (1)

The Western Star, October 31, 1918

Western Star - October 31, 1918 - Spanish Flu (2) - 1

The Western Star, October 31, 1918

Western Star - October 31, 1918 - Spanish Flu (2) - 2

The Western Star, October 31, 1918

Western Star - October 31, 1918 - Spanish Flu (2) - 3

The Western Star, October 31, 1918

Western Star - November 7, 1918 - Spanish Flu - 1

The Western Star, November 7, 1918

Western Star - November 7, 1918 - Spanish Flu - 2

The Western Star, November 7, 1918

Western Star - November 20, 1919 - Spanish Flu

The Western Star, November 20, 1919

Woman Stabbed by “Ghost”…or was it a “Ghostwriter”

Case No. 6607: The State of Ohio vs. Mary Shannon

CRIMINAL(S): Mary Shannon

DATE OF CRIME: July 17, 1947

VICTIM(S): Florida Turner / Mrs. Floyd Turner

CRIME: Stabbing with intent to wound

DETAILS: While in the Blair Brothers Hospital for severe injury, Florida Turner reported that on July 17, 1947, she had been attacked. Mrs. Turner stated that as she was peeling potatoes in her kitchen in Red Lion, Ohio, her sister-in-law Mary Shannon walked in and stabbed her in the chest with a long bladed pocketknife. While in the process of being arrested Mary Shannon gave false information to the sheriff stating that her name was Mary Downing and she was a “ghost”, later found to be a ghostwriter. Once placed in the Warren County Jail, Mary Shannon was evaluated by Drs. Edward and Robert Blair and was found to be mentally unwell. Mary was sent to Lima State Mental Hospital to recover and after a period of time was returned to Warren County where she was sentenced.


SENTENCE: Placed on probation for the period of three (3) years and required to report regularly to Sheriff Gerald W. Couden once every two months

Robert M. Blair - Sanity Opinion

Common Pleas Case File #6607 – Sanity opinion, Dr. Robert M. Blair


Common Pleas Case File #6607 – Sentencing

Woman Stabbed By Ghostwriter - The Time Recorder - Zanesville, OH - July, 18, 1947 - pg. 1

The Time Recorder – Zanesville, OH – July, 18, 1947 – pg. 1

License to Drive…to Your Local County Courts: A Guide to the New Ohio Drivers License Requirements

I’ve added a new line to my resume, expert in State of Ohio ID requirements. Okay maybe that’s taking it a step too far. What I do know is that the Warren County Records Center and Archives has had a major influx of people seeking out their Public Records in order to obtain either the Standard DL-ID Card or the Compliant DL-ID Card. If you don’t know the difference you can check out all of the information, including deadlines and requirements, at the Ohio BMV Website.

What many people do not realize is that the changes in requirements for these new Compliant IDs are to comply with federal regulations and the process should be approached with a new level of preparation. Here are the key elements that you will need to prove in order to obtain your new Compliant ID:

  • Full Legal Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Legal Presence in the US
  • Social Security Number
  • Ohio Street Address

There is a long list of documents you can provide that will prove these requirements for you. Where it gets tricky and where we get involved are in the following records:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Certified Copy of Marriage
  • Certified Copy of Divorce Decree

While the Warren County Records Center & Archives may house many of these historic documents, we are not qualified to certify them and we are also not permitted to provide any records that are newer than 100 years old (there may be some exceptions). This rings true for many of the Records Centers across the State of Ohio.

What do I mean by a certified copy? – A certified copy is a copy that has been signed and sealed by the qualifying department, think of a fancy embellished seal or imprint on the record. This is what makes the record official and proves that it is not counterfeit.

So why do you need these records and where do you go to get them?

Birth Certificate:

Why do I need it? – In order to prove your legal presence in the US, if you were born in the US, you will need to provide an Official Certified copy of your Birth Certificate. This is a state issued record so you will be able to obtain a copy of this in any Ohio County.

Where do I get it?Warren County Health District

Marriage Record or Name Change:

Why do I need it? – If your name appears different from that on your Birth Certificate you will need to provide a Certified Copy of your Marriage Record or a Certified Copy of Name Change. This record is kept at the Probate Court at the county in which you received your original record. So for example if you were married in Warren County, you can only obtain a Certified Copy from Warren County Probate Court.

Where do I get it?Warren County Probate Court

Certified Copy of Decree of Divorce, Dissolution, or Annulment of Marriage:

Why do I need it? – If you have been married more than once and have changed your name with each marriage, you may have to provide a Certified Copy of each Marriage Record along with a Certified Copy of each Divorce Decree. The reason once again is to prove the legal name changes from what is listed on your Birth Certificate. This record is kept at the Clerk of Courts at the county in which the event took place. For example, if your divorce was finalized in Warren County, you can only obtain a Certified Copy from Warren County Clerk of Courts.

Where do I get it?Warren County Clerk of Courts

My hope in providing you this information is so that you are able to obtain your new license with less headache, because let’s be honest it can be extremely frustrating waiting in those long lines only to be told you do not have what you need! Although we cannot provide these records for you, our department is always happy to help point you in the right direction in order to find the correct location to obtain them! Please share this with anyone you believe may benefit from this information. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at or 513-695-1815.

State ID Requirements -0002State ID Requirements -0003

Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 4

Now that I am at the final week of my internship, I have to say that I had such a wonderful time here. Once I got to know everyone and knew what projects I was expected to do, I had no problems. Everyone here is nice and welcoming, with a dash of light-hearted sarcasm that I really enjoyed. Come and visit them! I have had many jobs in the past and I was glad to leave every one of them, simply because it was not what I wanted to do with my life. This time around, it will be tough leaving a job that I thoroughly enjoyed.

From working on chronologically and alphabetically organizing Child Services, re-housing blueprints of highways, researching the Foster family and putting together their family tree, to processing estate dockets, I have completed a variety of tasks. Now that we finished the Foster, Ohio exhibit, I feel honored having worked on something that will stay up in the reading room for two years. Pictures do not do the exhibit justice so I hope that you consider going to see it. (All of my panels are on the top shelf, excluding the property map that Autumn did (not in picture)).

8-24-2018 Lauren's Final Blog

While I liked some projects more than others, I pretty much loved everything I worked on. I gained experiences that I can take with me when I find a place where I can start a career, so every new experience I could get was helpful. Again, I am thankful to everyone here at the Warren County Records Center and Archives for this opportunity and one of the best summers I have had since my archaeology days. I cannot wait to share my experiences when school starts up again! And, in the words of Forest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 3

From Archaeology to Archives

Growing up, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up (and I didn’t simply say “I don’t know”) I usually replied with a job that dealt with history. For the longest time I specifically planned to be an Egyptologist. When I graduated from high school and started at Wright State, however, I had no clue what I would choose to study. That was until I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test and my results indicated that I might choose to study a major that was geared towards my passion of history. That is when I decided to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology.

Finally, with a plan and career path in mind, I focused on the archaeological side of anthropology. For several summers, I participated in the archaeological field school under Dr. Robert Riordan at Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve. It was through this experience where I found that little Lauren was right and that I love archaeology. Touching an object, whether it was a projectile point or the pieces that came off from making a point (a flake), that has not seen the light of day for over 2,000 years makes you appreciate how short our lives really are. Blink then it is over, and someone 2,000 years from now will be excavating our bones and trash while hypothesizing how we lived. For a couple years, I wanted to continue to chase this feeling and be an archaeologist.

New Picture (7)

So if I loved archaeology so much, why I am pursuing an archival career?

Thanks to another archaeology class, taught by Dr. Lance Greene, I did research on the land that Wright State is situated on. I learned about the families that used to live on the land that I walk around all the time. We would explore the woods and look at the Rockafield Cemetery that is at Wright State, named after the family that used to own the land WSU is on. While still applying archaeological skills by looking for former foundations around the woods, I was able to look through documents that helped stitch the pieces together. After that, I then became an intern for the Special Collections and Archives at school. I did many projects but I always enjoyed cleaning and helping preserve some of the older ledgers. The idea of preserving objects for future eyes to appreciate just as much as I do gives me a stronger sense of purpose. And know you know why I chose to follow the archival, or even museum, path.


I really miss the unpredictable nature of archaeology. I come to my internship knowing what I will do and having an idea of what I will come across. Digging is more random. I could have come across a significant artifact or absolutely nothing. I also made a lot of memories and met a lot of people that I often think about. However, I love archiving more. I like the researching aspect and preserving the past for the future. So that is how I have ended up interning here at Warren County’s Special Collection and Archives.

One thing I know so far is that I seem to circle back to learning about Warren County’s history, whether it is prehistoric or more recent.

Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 2

Every so often, I will have moments where I come across something that makes me pause and appreciate reading documents from the past. Sometimes, it is a signature of a historically famous person, such as William Henry Harrison or someone else that was prominent to Warren County, but lately it is random stories that I have come across while skimming through the Western Star.

I mentioned in the last blog that I am looking through the microfilm reels of the Western Star to find information about Foster, Ohio and the Warren County Board of Elections. When thinking about the past, I typically picture proper people who have a no-nonsense demeanor. That perception still has not changed. However, some of the writers, with their stiff upper lip, gave whacky titles to some stories over the years that continually catch my eye; usually leaving me asking “Whaaaaat?” Unfortunately, I did not get dates for most of the stories that I will mention below but hopefully you will enjoy seeing pictures of some of the articles that I came across.

First, I will start with articles that I do not have pictures of but were on the same page. These were ones that I came across about a month ago and I apologize that I do not remember all the details and that I did not think to take pictures, but I do remember the gist of the articles. One was titled along the lines of a young boy that was drowned by his cat. Apparently, the child was playing with his cat near shallow water and somehow he fell in the water, face down, and the cat just stood of him. Not sure what prevented the kid from pushing the cat off but, sadly, he died. This article was followed up by an article titled “Man Strangled by False Teeth.” The story went exactly how you think: this gentleman swallowed some of his fake teeth and choked to death. I could not make those stories up if I tried.

Next, I came across an article with this picture –

7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon

I found what year May 18th fell on a Thursday in the 1890s and it was the year 1899, but really, what was the Boogum?  I have tried finding out what this strange creature was but with little luck. I did find another article from the Los Angeles Herald, pretty much stating the same thing but with a more detailed picture (here is the link Los Angeles Herald). Far from cute, the Boogum had to have been a very peculiar attraction that I would have definitely passed on seeing.

The next article I want to bring up was evidence of very slow news on that particular day.

7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon (2)

When I found this article, I remember telling my coworkers that it was in 1912. I have seen odd-shaped food before, but a potato that was shaped like a dog? I wish there was a picture of that.

Lastly, this is something I found that took place in Foster.

7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon (3)7-18-2018 Guest Blogger Series - Lauren Lyon (4)

This article came from July 24, 1902. The reason I find this hysterical is that this guy just ran around, in the nude, in the Foster area for several weeks and there were over fifty people, with dogs, trying to find this guy. I never found a follow up article saying whether or not they found the guy, which makes it all the more hilarious.

*Guest blogger: Archival Intern, Lauren Lyon

Guest Blogger Series: Words From Our Intern, Lauren – Post 1

Lauren's 1st Blog Pic

Since starting my internship at the Warren County Records Center and Archives early May, I have already been involved in a few projects. I have alphabetically organized over seventy boxes from Child’s Services with the other intern, Autumn; cleaned documents and placed them into folders; read through various ledgers and documents from the early 1800s and mid-1900s; indexed information from the ledgers (one of which is the Black and Mulatto Record Book that is now online); also researching and looking through microfilm reels of the Western Star while preparing for two upcoming exhibits. Yet, I know this is just the beginning of what it means to work in an archive.

This internship is not my first experience in an archive. I have also worked at Wright State University’s Special Collection and Archives, back in 2016. Having completed my first year in the Public History program at Wright State, I already had an idea of what skills I would need to be an effective archival intern. Getting to apply those skills at the Warren County Records Center and Archives has been a completely amazing experience! It is a very humbling experience to work with such important documents, such as the Black and Mulatto Records Book. This is because I am learning about people who lived in a very different world than what we live in today.

Also, we are currently researching the Board of Elections and Foster, Ohio for upcoming display cases. I have lived in Greene County all my life and have never heard of Foster, Ohio. Learning about the history of that town from its beginning as Foster’s Crossing in the 1800s to what it is today, even actually taking a field trip there, is incredible. Foster is not a place that, with a simple Google search, people can learn everything about. Therefore, after looking through old newspapers, like the Western Star, and finding something fascinating about Foster’s history is a very rewarding feeling and I am so excited for this exhibit!

I am very thrilled to have my internship here and I cannot wait to see what else I will be able to work on and where this experience takes me in the future!

*Guest blogger: Archival Intern, Lauren Lyon