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.

Based on a True Story…Bandit Killed in Franklin Bank Robbery

Have you ever wondered where the ideas for those “based on a true story” movies come from? Our Archives Technician, Tori Roberts, has been processing Coroner’s Inquests that date back to 1873 and during this project she has come across some interesting cases ranging from bizarre accidents to infamous murders from all over Warren County.

Today’s “based on a true story” movie includes a bank robbery, police pursuit, kidnapping, a shoot out, and escape! Continuing on with our celebration of William C. Schenck’s 244th birthday and his accomplishment of founding Franklin, Ohio, we are highlighting a bank robbery that occurred in Franklin. The Coroner’s Inquest found included information on a victim listed as Tony Ziano, alias Thomas Lee. The summary of his death was “by violence, being shot four times, the bullet which caused his death being thru the head from the right temple to the left.”

This information of course peeked our interest and upon further investigation it was discovered that Tony was part of a trio who robbed the Franklin National Bank on December 5, 1935. It appears that following the robbery the three bandits exchanged fire with a Marshall, which led to the death of Tony and the non-fatal injury of the Marshall. The other two bandits managed to escape this exchange in a stolen vehicle where the owner and her sister were tied up in the car! According to articles in The Western Star the body of Tony Ziano had not been claimed following his death and the trail of the escaped bandit’s went cold after they escaped north past Columbus.

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Coroner’s Inquest, December 5, 1935

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Western Star Headline, December 5, 1935

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Western Star Article, December 5, 1935

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Western Star Article, December 16, 1935

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Franklin Birthday, Plat Maps, and Transportation Expansion

“The town of Franklin was laid out in the year 1796 by W.C. Schenck and D.C. Cooper as they thought…” – Recorded 12th August 1802

Continuing our celebration of William C. Schenck’s 244th birthday we would like to highlight some plat maps that we have here in the archives. The first of the two plat maps is dated 1802, originally platted in 1796. The second plat map we have is dated 1877, and proposes new corporation limits that will expand on the town.

In the less than 100 years between these maps there are significant differences in the layout of the town. William C. Schenck was a huge proponent of the Miami Erie canal prior to his death in 1821. As you can see the canal in 1877, cuts directly through the center of town. This advancement in transportation through the city led to the growth of Franklin and very likely led to the expansion proposed in the 1877 Plat Map. Another big change is the suspension bridge that crosses the Great Miami River. One change is that is not as obvious are the modifications to the river itself, in the 1877 plat map there is an addition of a hydraulic basin and hydraulic race.

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Transcription of Original Franklin Plat Map, Recorder’s Deed Book dated 1802

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Franklin Plat Map, Proposed expansion of corporation limits dated 1877

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Transcription of Original Franklin Plat Map, Recorder’s Deed Book dated 1802

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Franklin Plat Map, Proposed expansion of corporation limits dated 1877

 


“I Consent.” Invaluable Historical Records

The Warren County Records Center and archives receives a number of research requests each year. One of our favorites to handle are the marriage consents. These consents accompany our marriage record and marriage license issued records and date back to 1803.

Generally the requests that we receive regarding these relatively unknown records come from genealogists or people conducting their own family history. Early in the 1800’s the information included in a typical marriage record was: Groom’s name, Bride’s name, Date of marriage, County Clerk who issued paperwork, and sometimes the officiant name. For those people who are trying to trace their lineage back through earlier generations it is extremely inconvenient when there are no birthdays or parent’s names included in the paperwork. The reason the consents are so valuable and cool is because if someone were underage at the time of their marriage, their parent or parents would have to sign over their consent for the marriage to take place. With this additional information, researchers have been able to find family information that might forever be lost otherwise.

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Marriage Consent, August 25, 1803

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Marriage Consent, August 25, 1803

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Marriage Consent, October 22, 1816

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Marriage Consent, October 22, 1816


Vote Counting Controversy…

As we have seen in the past, the election results are not always as cut and dry as they seem. This Court of Common Pleas case “Conrod Snyder vs. John Hopkins,” following the election of Sheriff in 1823 is the perfect example!

The declared winner for Warren County Sheriff was John Hopkins, which would be the 4th year in a row in which he served as Sheriff. Prior to Mr. Hopkins, Conrod Snyder had held the position from 1817-1820. These two men, along with Allen Wright, were on the ballot of 1823.

Following the election, Mr. Snyder claimed that he was the rightful winner and accused the Clerk of Common Pleas Court along with two Associate Judges of counting the votes without waiting for the required amount of days to pass. The Clerk along with the Judges counted the votes four days after the election as opposed to the required six days. As a result they had failed to receive the poll books for Franklin Township.

As we can see from the images below, Mr. Snyder was the clear winner over Mr. Hopkins. Following the controversy, Mr. Hopkins submitted his resignation as Sheriff of Warren County. Conrod Snyder would serve just this one additional year, John Hopkins was elected to the post of Sheriff the following election season.

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Conrod Snyder vs. John Hopkins

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Conrod Snyder vs. John Hopkins


German Speaking Citizens and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

In celebration of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati beginning today, we have shared one of our records that references the German population in Warren County.
 
Ohio experienced large migrations of German immigrants and German descendents from its infancy in the early 1800’s. Many of these German citizens came to the state from Pennsylvania. By 1860, there were 328,249 German immigrants living in Ohio. This number increased significantly by 1900, to 458,734. During the early migration the General Assembly of Ohio established a resolution to distribute German Laws in German for all of those living within the different counties who could not read English. For Warren County there were 20 copies sent and all 20 were distributed amongst the varying townships.

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This entry from the Warren County Commissioners Journal, dated June 6 1832, details the approximate households within the county of those citizens who could only speak German.
 
“The County Commissioners being by resolution of the General assembly of Ohio requested to distribute the German laws among the inhabitants of the several counties and twenty copies being forwarded to the county of Warren the Commissioners thereof direct that the said twenty copies be distributed as follows
To Clearcreek Township 4 Vols
Franklin 4
Deerfield 2
Union 1
Turtlecreek 2 Del’d to James Cowan one of the townships trustees August 17th, 1832
Wayne 1 Forwarded by Noah Haines to township Clk August 17th, 1832
Salem 2
Hamilton 3
Washington 1
And direct the Auditor to forward the same to the Trustees of the several Townships to be by them handed to such of the German inhabitants (if any there be) as can read German and not english”
Fun facts about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati:
~First held in 1976
~Largest Oktoberfest held within America, more than 500,000 people attending annually
~Held in September, according to its origins as a wedding celebration  of Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1810)
~The event is kicked off with a “Running of the Weiners” race where dachshunds are dressed in bun costumes
For more information make sure to check out:

Fascinating Finds in the Archives

To coincide with our “I Found it in the Archives” contest, we have included some of the coolest items we have within our archives. The Federal Land Office in Cincinnati distributed certificates to those citizens who purchased federal lands recently acquired from the Northwest Territory and the Northwest Ordinance. These records are fascinating because they contain some notable signatures including President Thomas Jefferson, President James Madison, and first Governor of Ohio Edward Tiffin. Another fascinating fact is that one of these certificates was issued to General William C. Schenck, the founder of Franklin, Ohio.

(For more information regarding our “I Found it in the Archives” contest, please check out our facebook page: Warren County Records Center & Archives Facebook)

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Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, Daniel Antrum, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, October 23rd 1806

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Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, Colbert Watson, signed by President James Madison & Governor Edward Tiffin, July 12th 1813

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Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, General William C. Schenck, signed by President James Madison & Governor Edward Tiffin, August 20th 1812


History and Primary Documents in the Classroom: Our Experience with Educational Outreach

Educational Outreach success! We would like to thank all of the teachers from the 2015-2016 school year who invited us into their classroom and gave us the chance to interact with their students. There is no greater success than knowing you are reaching out to younger generations to share your passion for history and for these primary documents. It was incredibly rewarding to see and hear their reactions to the content provided and to answer the many questions they formed around these historically rich documents.

During the summer of 2015, our intern Shelby Dixon established our Educational Outreach program. In the process of creating lesson plans and activities, that are free and accessible to teachers, she also reached out to a number of teachers in regards to in-class visits. Our first brave soul Emily Roewer requested that we come to her 3rd grade social studies class to help them out with their local history. This visit was so great! We were able to tailor Emily’s requests as far as the materials we brought for her students which included: large aerial photographs, maps dating 1875-2004, and estate packets for important local figures.

Once we got our feet wet with this first visit other teachers quickly came on board and we ended up visiting with 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders. This being our first year with the program we appreciate all of  the teachers and schools who provided us with this invaluable learning experience. We look forward to revisiting many of these schools and improving the curriculum provided for the students.

Please stay tuned for new lesson plans this summer and feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in having us become a part of your classroom. Have a great summer!

 


Come One, Come All to Our Spectacular 3 Ring Circus

While doing some research within our archives I ran across an old hotel ledger from the National Hotel, located across the street from the Warren County Court House during the mid 1800’s. In a detailed bill, dated May 12th 1858, Charles Johnson is charged $1.50 for hay for elephant and $0.80 for oats for elephant. His stay spanned  February 22nd through May 10th. Can you imagine strolling through town and coming upon an elephant during your visit, in Lebanon Ohio, in the winter? Upon further research I was able to locate famous elephant trainer Charles Johnson, located within the index of the Circus Historical Society. This index lists him as an employee for George F. Bailey & Co. in 1866. It appears that this may be our infamous traveler who stayed in Lebanon with his elephant!

Animal menageries and the circus were present within the United States as early as 1793. In the early years they were ran as separate attractions until 1830, when promoters found a way to combine the two for one spectacular show. Exotic animals were a main attraction even prior to their participation in the show. Prior to films and mass produced photographs, this was the only opportunity for many people to view such spectacles. These shows capitalized on their popularity by traveling throughout the country by both wagons and railroad cars.

Warren County hosted a number of these traveling shows and was lucky enough to have their very own circus owner living in “The Ridge” community. James S. Totten owned and operated the “The Great Eastern Circus and Hippodrome.” The Warren County Ohio GenWeb Project has a great write up written in 1944, by Hazel Brooks. Brooks writes “Mr. Totten was the first man to transport his circus entirely by railroad.” Unfortunately due to the popularity of Barnum, Mr. Totten’s circus went out of business and some of the animals were given to the Cincinnati Zoo.

In addition to housing an elephant for some months, Warren County hosted numerous shows throughout the decades when circuses and menageries were popular. While looking through advertisements you can chronicle the changes these shows underwent through the years. What was once a small show with performances mainly by people with animals on display eventually transitioned into elaborate performances that included performances and tricks done by lions and elephants. Although many of the records for these smaller circuses do not surface often, it makes these small discoveries a treasure for local history and folklore.

 

For further reading:

Warren County Historical Society GenWeb Project

Circus Historical Society

 


Harveysburg Free Black School

In honor of Black History Month we are sharing a fascinating story of slavery, education, abolition, freedom, and overcoming adversity. In 1831, Dr. Jesse Harvey (1801-1848) and his wife Elizabeth Burgess Harvey (1801-1888), members of The Society of Friends, started one of the first free black schools in the Northwest Territory. Dr. Harvey built the one room school building on his own land in Harveysburg, Ohio. The Harvey’s were known as active abolitionists within the area and were confirmed conductors of the Underground Railroad. The school was commonly referred to as the East End School and remained open from 1831-1906, when it merged with the Harveysburg School District.

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Warren County Map, 1856. Map details the property owned by Dr. Jesse Harvey and Stephen Wall.

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Warren County Map, 1867. Map details property where the Free Black School was located (African School)

Colonel Stephen Wall (1791-1845), a southern plantation owner from Richmond County, North Carolina, reached out to Dr. Harvey regarding a group of mulatto children that he would like to provide an education for. Shortly after the school was established Mr. Wall sent eight of his mulatto children, along with one of their slave mothers, to live in Harveysburg. In Col. Wall’s last will and testament he emancipated all eight of his children and provided them with financial security, which included all the land Col. Wall had purchased in the Harveysburg area.

Captain Orindatus Simon Bolivar Wall, Col. Wall’s most renowned child, went on to become many great things such as a shoe and boot manufacturing shop owner,  recruiter and Captain in the Union Army, lawyer, politician, and much more. The Wall children used their land to further propel their success. Deed records show that part of the Wall property eventually became the site of Zion Baptist Church. The remainder of the property was sold off to fund their future success. The freedom that Col. Wall had given his children along with their secure financial future allotted them the opportunity to overcome adversity. All of his children went on to become independent and productive members of society.

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Deed Record, Volume 32 Page 6

Further reading regarding the Wall family and the Free Black School can be found at the following links:

Karen S. Campbell Blog “Captain Orindatus Simon Bolívar Wall ~ From North Carolina to Harveysburg to Oberlin to Washington D. C.”

Dallas Bogan Article, 2004


#turnpiketuesday

Roads to people nowadays are a part of our lives. It’s never a question of whether we will be able to get from A-Z, our GPS will choose the fastest route utilizing the many roads within the county. In the early 1800’s this was not the case, typically there were only roads that led from one town to the next and the roads built to navigate through town. Early settlers traveled by waterway or trails that were established by the Native Americans to navigate through the county. One way that people could ensure a road that ran to their property was to propose said road to the county and pay for it. Neighbors would  occasionally get together to accomplish this goal. Many of the major routes throughout Warren County were established this very way.

Warren County Records Center & Archives has a book with a map collection of proposed free pikes within the county from the late 1800’s. The maps themselves are hand drawn and hand painted with extraordinary detail. They provide us with a snapshot of how the residents and county officials envisioned progress within the county. In addition to documenting potential progress these maps can be utilized for analyzing current progress, genealogical information, and change in the natural landscape as a result of progress. No matter the end use, these maps are beautiful and provide researchers with a rich opportunity to examine primary documents at their finest.

Map - Lebanon and Deerfield Turnpike

Lebanon and Deerfield Turnpike

Map - Halls Creek Free Pike

Halls Creek Free Pike

Map - Williams Road Improvement

Plat of The Williams Road Improvement