March is Women’s History Month, and to honor its purpose of “commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history” we would like to showcase Louisa Jurey Wright.
Image courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society
Image courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society
Louisa contributed much to the city of Lebanon, Ohio. She attended the National Normal University, where she graduated and later became a teacher at Lebanon High School. Her biggest accomplishment came in the form of being the first woman Superintendent for the school from 1867-1868. Her accomplishment was summarized briefly in this article from the Western Star dated June 24, 1915:
In addition to her teaching career and brief position as the Superintendent, Louisa led an active social life. She was involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was known to have attended meetings for the Progressive Woman’s Club.
Western Star, November 8, 1888
Western Star, February 20, 1890
Western Star, July 20, 1905
The Lebanon City Schools sought to honor her memory in the 1960’s by naming one of their schools after her. The Louisa Wright Elementary School was demolished in 2018.
Ever heard that age old saying “Those who bootleg together, stay together?” No? Okay we made up this saying, but there have been a number of historic criminal couples whose stories have stood the test of time. Did you know Warren County has their own historic crime couple? The hard evidence we have for today’s short historical fiction story are the court documents, marriage license, and death records for Andrew Dudley and Rhoda Dudley (Lynch, Linch).
Andrew and Rhoda’s story begins in the progressive town of Harveysburg. These two love struck individuals were struggling to make ends meet. Andrew’s wife had died not long before he met Rhoda and he was desperate to find someone who could fill her shoes when their fateful relationship began. The two hashed out a masterful plan of how they could provide for themselves and Andrew’s family. Posing as a happily married couple, they began selling bootlegged liquor in their “house of public resort” that they smuggled in from contacts in their home state of Virginia.
Struggling to reach their target audience and a store room full of illegal alcohol, Andrew and Rhoda became desperate. This is when their criminal activity turned sloppy. The two were blinded by their ambition and began selling to minors and known alcoholics in the area. This is when their brief stint with the law began. The State of Ohio was able to put together a substantial list of clients in order to charge the two and ultimately their criminal activity came to an end.
Although Andrew and Rhoda didn’t make a life long career bootlegging and keeping a house of public resort, their story didn’t end there. They did go on to get married and raise a family together. They can be found in the 1880 census as married and living with their adult children, nieces and nephews, and even a grandson. The couple died in Harveysburg within a year and a half of each other, Andrew in October of 1889, and Rhoda in January of 1890.
State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866
State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866 (edited)
Marriage Record – Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Lynch (Linch) – December 15, 1866
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.
Clearcreek Township Map, Created in 1942 and approved in 1944
Hamilton Township Map, Created in 1942 and approved in 1944
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!