Tag Archives: research

Unsolved Mysteries from the Archives

While processing miscellaneous Clerk of Court State cases, our Archives Technician Tori Roberts came across these beautiful house drawings. We wanted to see if we could locate this house within Warren County, so we put the information out to our Facebook page to see if the community might know. Unfortunately no one recognized the house but we did get some great feedback about where to share the image and a suggestion about the fact that the house may have never been built!

Upon further review of the case of Hartman vs. Lindsay we determined that Charles Hartman was contracted to perform work to the foundation and cistern on the property to be paid by the architect Joseph R. Lindsay. There  was a dispute of whether the work was completed and money still owed to the plaintiff. Unfortunately the case went on for almost 2 years and there is no mention of the property address or owner. We are looking for any clues or suggestions for where this house could have been. The case dates from November 1910 through 1912.

 

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Broken Down: Our Biggest Preservation Project

Continuing our discussion of preservation during Preservation Week 2018, we would like to highlight the biggest preservation project we’ve taken on to date, our Estate Records. This is an ongoing project that includes multiple step rehousing, removing materials that will further deteriorate the records, and finally scanning what we can so that we no longer have to physically access the oldest records.

What we’ve done is broken down each step in the images below:

Step #1 – Rehouse the files from wooden shelving units to cardboard boxes. This step was done years ago. It is always best to store like items together, so moving paper records from lacquered wood boxes was the first step of preserving them in their current condition.

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Step #2 – Refile the records from their original accordion style non archival quality folder to new flat archival quality folders. This doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference but the ideal way to store paper is flattened and in paper based folders that are designed to absorb some of the acidity of the paper to keep it from deteriorating further. While we are transitioning the documents we are also flattening them as best we can, we let time and the environment they are stored in do the rest.

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Step #3 – Digitize as many of these records and make them available to search online. This is the final and most time intensive step in the process because of the fragility of the records and we don’t want to expose them to more light than necessary. This step helps people who are unable to visit the archives access these historic records and if they are needing copies of the record all we have to do is hit print, as opposed to copying it and exposing it to light multiple times.

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I refer to this as the largest project based on the sheer volume of records we have. We are duplicating these efforts for many of the other records we house including our historic court records and smaller collections within each county department.

If you would like to view the digitized images we have uploaded thus far, go over and check out our website. We will be uploading additional images as they become available, so if there is a record you would like to view and there are no images please contact us direct. Warren County Old Common Pleas Estate Packets Index

 

 


Preservation vs. Conservation

These words are often used interchangeably. Here at the archives we use these two methods together to provide the best future for the records that we maintain. To preserve would be to keep the records in their current state and prevent them from further deterioration, which is the primary method of maintenance that we use. To conserve many of these items to their original state is unfortunately just not time conducive and it’s costly. Our department, along with other county departments have taken on some large scale preservation and conservation projects.

I wanted to provide you with examples of both so you can see how the two can be different.

Preservation Efforts to Protect Original Volumes

Here are examples of original volumes that we have that have had no preservation efforts vs. volumes that have had a cover applied to them. Unlike conserving a book and taking it back to its original form, the cover simply preserves the book so that no further harm comes to it.

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Conservation Efforts to Restore 1856 & 1867 Historic Warren County Maps

The Records Center received the two wall maps pictured below in deplorable condition. Had we tried to utilize them for any purpose we would only have done further damage. Due to their historic significance, it was important to hire a conservator to come in and try to restore the maps to their original condition (or as close as the damage would allow). Unfortunately we do not have any images of what they looked like prior to work being done, but we have been told that they were filthy, folded up, and falling apart in pieces. All of the work done on them meets archival standards, including the framing.

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1856 Warren County Wall map

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1867 Warren County Wall map


pre·serve 1. maintain (something) in its original or existing state.

April 22nd – April 28th is National Preservation Week 2018! We obviously take preservation very serious as archivists, so this week we will be sharing some of the projects we have worked on or are working on. These projects reflect how our department helps to contribute to keeping past and future Warren County records around as long as possible. In addition we will have a special edition of our blog post Friday that will help you learn how to better preserve your personal records!

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Justice for Father O’Donoghue

Today’s post is a teaser for a future “Based on a True Story” story. We recently had a patron in who is writing an article about a murder case from Morrow that took place in the 1880’s. He was trying to tie up loose ends on the story following his extensive research using newspapers and other outside sources, unfortunately their stories just weren’t adding up. What we would like to present to you today is a preview of the article that we will be sharing with you as it comes available. We rarely get the chance to share the research that our patrons have completed, so it’s a big deal to make sure we highlight all of his hard work!

Characters:

  • Timothy Greene: Railroad Worker & Murderer
  • Father J. B. O’Donoghue: Reverend of the Morrow Catholic Church & Victim
  • Mrs. Greene: Murder’s Wife & Victim

Synopsis:

When his wife is publicly shamed it pushes Timothy over the edge. In this thrilling story of a local railroad worker turned murderer we find out if there is any justice for Father O’Donoghue. This tale is full of intrigue, thievery, murder, and plot twists that will keep you wondering!

Release Date:

  • To Be Announced
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State Record, Volume 10, The State of Ohio vs. Timothy Greene

 

 


A Wickedly Kidnapping

Even the mention of the Ullery boys would generate distaste to the citizens of Warren County in the early 1800’s. This wicked and notorious band of brothers had a string of illegal gaming, horse racing rings, and illegal taverns scattered throughout the area, capitalizing on the locals’ need for entertainment and socializing. Some may have even referred to them as local “gangsters”. Beginning in 1816, the law had put together enough evidence to formally charge them with causing an affray. The local law were going out on a limb that this brief stint with the law would rid the community of their dastardly business. They were very wrong.

The Ullery boys continued to plague Warren County. Petty charges were brought against them over the next two decades, resulting with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. It wasn’t until the spring of 1836, that the law finally got them on something they couldn’t get out of. The youngest Ullery boy, Stephen, was desperate to prove himself to his older brothers and to bring in revenue to their illegal endeavors. He had spotted a young mulatto boy passing through the area and he hashed a plan of capturing him and returning him to his home state of Kentucky with the claim that he was a runaway slave. Little did Stephen know, the local law enforcement had been tipped off to his plan. On May 30, 1836, Stephen and two of his friends took Commodore by force and were able to transport him through Cincinnati across the Ohio River to Kentucky.

This is when their foiled plan came to an end. Instead of being greeted by a local slave catcher, Stephen was greeted by law enforcement. The trial of Stephen Ullery vs. The State of Ohio was wrapped up within a year where he was found guilty of “unlawfully and wickedly kidnapping Commodore Perry, a free mulatto person in the state of Ohio and attempting to extradite said Commodore to the state of Kentucky.” This was the end of the Ullery boys ring of crimes that spanned over 20 years within the county.

Unlike many individuals, Commodore Perry managed to escape the fate that many people did not. He is found in later census records as a Tin Laborer in Troy, Miami County, Ohio, and he even served in the Civil War.

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

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The State of Ohio vs. Stephen Ullery, October 1836

 

 


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.

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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