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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Feb 12

Celebrating Black History Month

Posted on February 12, 2021 at 1:29 PM by Melissa Dalton

In celebration of Black History Month, we would like to review records, programs, and exhibits that highlight African Americans in our county.

Some of the most historically valuable records we hold here at the Archives are the Emancipation and Manumission records. These records were created as part of the Ohio Black Codes, which required persons of color to register with the local court prior to settling in the state. These records documented the freedom status of the individuals, and required a surety of five hundred dollars as a guarantee of “good behavior”. These records provide details such as names, physical descriptions, place of birth, and names of former owners.

Godfrey Brown Emancipation Record (JPG)

Godfrey Brown Emancipation Record

In Greene County, these records can be found among Common Pleas Court records and Recorder’s Deed records, but these records could have been recorded anywhere. There wasn’t a consistent place these registers were recorded, and each county could record wherever they deemed proper. Today, the Archives houses the original records, but they have been digitized and can be viewed online. The digital versions are available on Flickr and Preservica, and transcripts are available on our website.

Amy Czubak, a former intern, created an exhibit, Early African Americans in Greene County, to showcase and share the stories of Greene County's early African American community. Some of these individuals were formerly enslaved and emancipated from bondage; whereas, others were born free. Each of these men and women helped shape Greene County into the vibrant community it is today.

Early African Americans in Greene County exhibit (JPG)

Early African Americans in Greene County exhibit

On February 24, 2021 at 2:00 PM, we will host a special virtual program titled, Finding Freedom in Greene County. During this program, we will explore and examine the lives of freed slaves that settled in Greene County in 1859, using various records held at the Archives, including emancipation and manumission records. After the program, there will be a question and answer session. Registration is required to attend this event. Once registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Manumission Record for Nellie Piper and children, Deed Vol 37 p 554 (JPG)

Manumission Record of Nellie Piper and children, Deed Volume 37, p 554

We also have educational programs that discuss slavery in America, with programs appropriate for 4th grade through high school. These programs allow students the opportunity to use primary resources to learn more about the lives of former slaves and their journey to Greene County. All programs and materials are accessible via our website.

Wheeling Gaunt panel from exhibit (JPG)

Wheeling Gaunt from exhibit

Lastly, many institutions are hosting their own programs and events, so we highly recommend you check with your local museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to learn what they have planned for Black History Month. And, as always, if you have questions regarding any of our programs or events, please feel free to contact the Archives!

Until Next Time!


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