Tag Archives: history
Recently we pointed out a large map cabinet that is located in our reading room. (If you haven’t seen it, be sure to go over and check it out on our Facebook page using this link: Warren County Records Center and Archives FB ) The outside is unassuming and seemingly just another piece of office storage. Contained inside though is a vast collection of the history of Warren County. One of our greatest reference tools for helping patrons and genealogists are the maps contained within our Records Center and Archives reading room.
One of our favorite uses of these township maps is to teach young students how to trace their local history by utilizing the information contained within the maps. We have been able to help these students create a real connection between where their schools and neighborhoods are to what was once there. What they have found are vast changes in the types of jobs that Warren County residents may have had, whether they lived in neighborhoods like we do today, changes in transportation within the county, and how the landscape has changed drastically in just a few short decades.
Creating this connection for patrons and students is always a joy to watch because it provides an understanding of how Warren County became what it is today. These maps also provide a quick reference point for old land records. We have helped people who were looking for old family plots of land or performing house histories to determine where and who owned the land! The maps included in our map cabinet date back to the early 1900’s and include township maps, Ohio railroad maps, cemetery maps, and even some county blue prints.
“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.
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.
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: