Tag Archives: Warren County

Those Who Bootleg Together, Stay Together

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.

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State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866

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State of Ohio vs. Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Linch (Lynch) – November 15, 1866 (edited)

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Marriage Record – Andrew Dudley & Rhoda Lynch (Linch) – December 15, 1866



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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Teaching With Township Maps

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

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.


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


Franklin Plat Map, Proposed expansion of corporation limits dated 1877


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


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.


Marriage Consent, August 25, 1803


Marriage Consent, August 25, 1803


Marriage Consent, October 22, 1816


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.


Conrod Snyder vs. John Hopkins


Conrod Snyder vs. John Hopkins

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