VIPs of Greene County

Starting in 2021, we will be highlighting some of the VIPs of Greene County. Greene County has a rich history, and it is due to the work of many early citizens! These individuals contributed to the county in a number of ways - be it early settlers/pioneers, elected officials, educators, inventors, or those that provided invaluable resources or services to the community. 

As part of this project, the estate file of each individual will be scanned and posted below. In addition to the estate files, we will post a blog on the life and achievements of the selected VIP.

VIPs of Greene County

James Galloway, Sr. (1750 - 1838)
Estate File
Blog

James Galloway, Sr. was early pioneer of Greene County. He was born in Pennsylvania and served in the Revolutionary War. In 1797, Galloway moved his family from Kentucky to Ohio, settling in Old Town (near what is now Goes Station in Xenia Township). Galloway, Sr. became the first County Treasurer and his log house is now a fixture at the Greene County Historical Society.
James Galloway Sr (JPG)(Image courtesy of the Greene County Ohio Historical Society)
Hallie Q. Brown (1845 - 1949)
Estate File
Blog

Hallie Q. Brown graduated from Wilberforce University in 1873, and began teaching all over the United States. Brown was a magnificent elocutionist, who frequently lectured on the equal rights for African Americans. In 1937, she chronicled the lives of Wilberforce's pioneers in her book Pen Pictures of Pioneers of Wilberforce.
Hallie Q. Brown (JPG)(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
John Bryan (1853 - 1918)
Estate File
Blog

John Bryan was a well-known inventor, entrepreneur, poet, author, and philanthropist. Bryan moved to Miami Township in 1896, and bought hundreds of acres of land along Clifton Gorge and the Little Miami River, naming it Riverside Farm. Upon his death, he bequeathed his beloved Riverside Farm to the state of Ohio, which is now known as John Bryan State Park.
John Bryan State Park: Little Miami River through Clifton Gorge (JPG)(Image courtesy of Wikipedia, part of Creative Commons)
Helen Hooven Santmyer (1895 - 1986)
Estate File
Blog

Helen Hooven Santmyer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but her family relocated to Xenia when she was a young child. Santmyer attended Oxford University in England, and was one of the earliest female Rhodes Scholars. When she returned to the area after graduation, she taught at Cedarville College. Santmyer was an influential writer, a New York Times best-selling author, and women's rights activist. She was best known for her novel ...And Ladies of the Club, which was later adapted into a TV miniseries.
Fig 1. Helen Hooven Santmyer, courtesy GoodReads (JPG)(Image courtesy of Goodreads)
Col. Charles Young (1864 - 1922)
Estate File
Blog

Col. Charles Young was born into slavery on March 12, 1864 in Kentucky. After the Civil War, his family moved to Ripley, Ohio Young proved to be a bright man, excelling in school. Young went on to attend West Point, becoming only the 3rd African American to graduate from the Academy in 1889. Col. Young's accomplishments are vast. Young was a Buffalo Soldier; taught taught Military Sciences & Tactics at Wilberforce University; the first African American Superintendent of a National Park (Sequoia National Park) and first African American Military Attaché; even after retirement, was requested by the War Department to muster and train African American soldiers during WWI.
Major Charles Young (sometime between 1912 and 1916)(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Louise Geiger Weiss (1884 - 1959)
Estate File
Blog

Born of German immigrants in Xenia, Ohio, Louise Geiger completed her education through the eighth grade. When Louise was eighteen, she married Paul Weiss in 1902. The couple had four children, and lived on Phillips Street in Yellow Springs. As the family’s homemaker, Louise managed the home and children with care and pride. When the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920, Louise Geiger Weiss became the first woman to cast a vote in Yellow Springs. At the age of seventy-five in 1959, Louise died. She was buried at Glen Forest Cemetery in Yellow Springs. Her grave marker sits beside the graves of her husband and four children.



Louise G. Weiss Grave Marker (JPG)(Image from Find A Grave)
Arthur Ernest Morgan (1878 - 1975)
Estate File
Blog

Arthur E. Morgan was born in 1878 in Cincinnati, Ohio, but was raised in Mt. Cloud, Minnesota. Morgan had an inquiring mind and dreams of an utopian society. He also held strong beliefs regarding the standard of living for Americans. Morgan followed in his father's footsteps, becoming an engineer after an apprenticeship with his father. After the 1913 flood, Morgan was hired to create a flood prevention plan beyond any comparison. This work caught the eye of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he was appointed to direct the Tennessee Valley Authority, a post he held from 1933-1938. Morgan also was the President of Antioch College from 1920-1936, bringing the college back from the brink of closure. Morgan lived a long life in the service of his fellow man. His and his wife's (Lucy) ashes are interred at the entrance of Glen Helen Nature Preserve.
Fig 4. Arthur E. Morgan during tenure as a member of the TVA (JPG)(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Solomon Arnovitz (1906 - 1967)
Estate File
Blog

Solomon Arnovitz was born in Poland in 1906. He immigrated to the United States and married Sara Lee Engilman on March 18, 1931. The couple settled on King Street in the City of Xenia and had two children, Beverly and Theodore. Sol owned and operated the retail clothing operation, Sol’s Store in downtown Xenia. Sol was a successful businessman and an instrumental civic leader. He also helped launch the Greene County Joint Vocational School District, and he and his wife Sara, donated twenty-five acres of land for the school. On May 18, 1967, Solomon Arnovitz died on May 18, 1967 and is buried at Beth Abraham Cemetery in Montgomery County, Ohio.

Sol Arnovitz from Xenia Daily Gazette, 18 May 1967 (JPG)(Image courtesy of the Xenia Daily Gazette)
Bishop Daniel A. Payne (1811 - 1893)
Estate File
Blog

Bishop Daniel A. Payne was one of the most important African American figures during the nineteenth century. Payne was born to free parents in 1811 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was self-taught and opened a school in 1829. Payne moved north in 1835 and furthered his education with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He became a minister with the church, but left and joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1841, becoming the sixth bishop in 1852. He was one of the founders of Wilberforce University, acting as president from 1863 to 1876. Bishop Payne was an abolitionist, skilled writer, and staunch advocate of the education of African Americans. Bishop Payne died on November 2, 1893, and is buried at Mount Zion Cemetery in Lansdowne, Maryland.
Fig 1. Bishop Daniel A. Payne, circa 1891-1893 (JPG)(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)