Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jan 20

How Greene County Funded the Railroads

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 11:32 AM by Elise Kelly

When the country entered the mid nineteenth century, a great surge of industrialization began along with the expansion of the railroad.

One of the first railroad lines constructed in Ohio was the Little Miami Railroad in 1841.

Railroad tracks in Greene County - Part of Greene County Parks & Trails Collection

It started in Cincinnati and traveled sixty-five miles north to Xenia. Once the line reached Xenia in 1845, the slow-moving train made its way down Detroit Street.
                       1962 Photo of South Detroit Street at at West 2nd Street

Five years later in 1850, the Columbus and Xenia Railroad (C&X) opened. During the mid nineteenth century, Xenia became a railroad hub because of the many railroad lines that passed through it.

                          Xenia Station Hub - now the Bike Path Hub

It was not until the construction of the interstate highway system in the mid twentieth century, that railroads were replaced as the predominate mode of transportation.

Here at the Archives, we have a couple of railroad and turnpike record books. Recorded in one of the books are notes declaring that the Greene County Commissioners wanted to purchase or subscribe to capitol stock of the C&X Railroad Company. The issue was voted on during the 1874 county election. The ballot measure stated that the citizens vote for or against the purchasing of the stock in any sum but not to exceed 30,000 shares.
                            Greene County Rail Road and Turnpike Record

It passed, and the county became subscribers to the capitol stock of C&X. The county invested in one thousand shares at fifty dollars per share. However, there were conditions....(See Below)
                        Greene County Rail Road and Turnpike Record
"That said road be located on some eligible rout from or near Columbus in Franklin County to the Town of Xenia in Greene County or so near thereto as the ground will permit, in the judgement of the principal Engineer of the Columbus and Xenia Rail Road company, having reference to a Western connection, and that the stock hereby subscribed shall be payable in bonds of the County of Greene of not less than one hundred Dollars each and to be due on the first day of January 1865."

The bonds were to bear a rate of interest of seven percent per annum, payable semi annually at the Xenia Branch of the State Bank. The cashier of the bank, E.F. Drake was to be notified.

In December 1851, after construction was completed on the Columbus & Xenia Railroad, Samuel T. Owens surveyed the C&X Railroad as well as the Little Miami Railroad. He was paid $3.00 for his services.

There were eighty-four "sharees" of the Little Miami Railroad stocks and one thousand "sharees" of the (C&X) railroad stocks. The values for both shares was $50. Several Greene County individuals were subscribers. Some Greene County surnames included: Wolf; Coffman; Moody; Read [Reed]; Harshman; Blessing; Cox; Funderburg; Maxwell; Ankeney; Trollinger; Bull; Bradfute; Collier; Maxton; Winans; Nash; Townsley; Snodgrass; Frazier; Dodd; Harbison; Mendenhall; Grindle; Bell; Owen; Confer; Webb; Berryhill; Swigart; and Gest.

The railroad & turnpike record book is a wonderful genealogy resource, especially if you are having a hard time finding proof your ancestor lived in Greene County.

Before we conclude, I want to share something interesting that was glued to one of the pages of the record book (See Below).

This is a blacksmith bill. Check out the different prices for the horse shoes and nails. During the mid-nineteenth century, horse travel was another important mode of transportation!

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: Columbus & Xenia Railroad later became part of what railroad company?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: What street in Xenia was Sol's Department Store located on? Answer: Main Street


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