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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Nov 06

Superintendent of the Greene County Infirmary

Posted on November 6, 2020 at 2:30 PM by Melissa Dalton

While scheduling Facebook posts yesterday, I was looking through Robinson’s History of Greene County for our Who is it Wednesday posts. I came across the entry for Henry C. Bankerd, who eventually became the superintendent for the Greene County Infirmary. I typed up the post, but as I started looking into the man, I came upon some rather sad information involving his death, which was the result of suicide. Bankerd was a well-liked and respected man, and his death came as quite a shock to the community. As such, we want to take some time today to honor his memory.

Henry C. Bankerd was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 17, 1846 to Peter and Hannah (Griner) Bankerd. The family moved to Massachusetts for Peter’s work, sometime in the 1850s (Fig 1). However, in 1863, the family moved to Greene County when Peter Bankerd purchased a farm just outside of Xenia. Shortly after arrival in Greene County, Henry, at the age of 18, enlisted as a private in the Union Army, serving in Company D, 186th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His service lasted roughly one year, and he was mustered out in February 1865.

Fig 1. 1860 US Census with Bankerd family living in Lenox, MA (JPG)
Fig 1. 1860 US Census with Bankerd family living in Lenox, MA (Ancestry.com)

After his service was complete, Henry returned to Xenia to the family farm. His father’s work as a glass blower took him back to Massachusetts. Henry went with his father to learn the trade, but the family kept the farm in Xenia as their home.

Henry married Katherine Manor on June 18, 1868 (Fig 2). The couple had five children: Rosa, Esther, Mary, Peter, and Myrtle. After the marriage, Henry continued working with his father, and spent time in Indiana working as a glass cutter (Fig 3). However, upon returning to Xenia, Henry took up the task of running his father’s farm, becoming a proficient agriculturalist and farmer.

Fig 2. 1868 Marriage Record of Henry C. Bankerd and Katherine Manor (JPG)
Fig 2. Marriage Record of Henry C. Bankerd and Katherine Manor (Greene County Archives)

Fig 3. 1870 US Census with Bankerd family living in IN (JPG)
Fig 3. 1870 US Census with Bankerd family living in Indiana (Ancestry.com)


In 1896, Henry Bankerd was appointed as the superintendent of the Greene County Infirmary. Under his supervision, many great improvements were made to the Infirmary and farm, and Bankerd became a respected man by the residents of the Infirmary, as well as the citizens of Greene County. Bankerd remained in the position for ten years and resigned in 1906 (Fig 4). In 1908, Bankerd was elected as a Township Trustee.

Fig 4. 1900 US Census with Bankerd listed as Superintendent of Greene County Infirmary (JPG)
Fig 4. 1900 US Census with Henry Bankerd listed as Superintendent of Greene County Infirmary (Ancestry.com)

After resigning from the Greene County Infirmary, Bankerd suffered from nervous attacks, although he seemed to mask them well. However, weeks before his death, Bankerd was dealing with depression and had even written an unsigned letter of resignation from the elected office of Township Trustee. His family was concerned and took care to check on him regularly. On December 29, 1909, Bankerd stayed in bed until all members of the family had left the house. Once alone, Bankerd took his 32 caliber revolver and shot himself in the right temple, killing him instantly. His daughter, Myrtle, came to check on him about 30 minutes later, and found his body. She immediately called Dr. Clark Galloway (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Community Shocked by H.C. Bankerd's Death, Xenia Daily Gazette, 29 Dec 1909 (PNG)
Fig 5. Community Shocked by H.C. Bankerd’s Death, Xenia Daily Gazette, 29 Dec 1909 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

In the coroner report, Myrtle indicated that her father had been ill for three years, and over the last year, his nervous condition had worsened. Ultimately, his death was ruled a suicide (Fig 6). Bankerd was held in high esteem, and his death shocked residents. His family held a service at the First Reformed Church, and Henry C. Bankerd was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Xenia (Fig 7).

Fig 6. Coroner Report of H. C. Bankerd, 29 Dec 1909 (JPG)
Fig 6. Coroner Report of H. C. Bankerd, 29 Dec 1909 (JPG)
Fig 6. Coroner Report of H. C. Bankerd, 29 Dec 1909 (JPG)
Fig 6. Coroner Report, H. C. Bankerd (Greene County Archives)

Fig 7. Death Certificate of H. C. Bankerd (JPG)
Fig 7. Death Certificate of H. C. Bankerd (FamilySearch.org)


Until Next Time.

Sources:
Ancestry.com
FamilySearch.org
Greene County Archives
newspaperARCHIVE.com
Robinson, G. F. (1902). History of Greene County, Ohio. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.

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