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.

View All Posts

Dec 11

The Last Chapter of a Family Saga

Posted on December 11, 2015 at 10:05 AM by Elise Kelly


If you recall from last week, we discussed a long-standing Christmas tradition that was initiated in 1894 by Wheeling Gaunt in Yellow Springs, OH.  Before Gaunt moved to the Ohio village during the 1860s, he and his sister, Louisa, were enslaved in Kentucky.

After finding a wealth of information on Wheeling, we began to wonder what had happened to Louisa?
Wheeling Gaunt
Wheeling Gaunt

Full Circle

Our search kept running into brick walls until finally we analyzed Wheeling's will record. Low and behold, found in the will's codicil, was this... (See Below)

will record
Upon Wheeling's request, Louisa was to be taken care of by Wheeling's wife, Elizabeth after his death. Wheeling was lovingly looking after his sister.

What we found intriguing about this record, is that it is the missing link that provides the answer to whether or not Wheeling Gaunt and Amanda Taylor were related. You are maybe asking, "How?" In order to understand this, you may want to familiarize yourself with who Humphrey and Amanda Taylor were. (Please Review Previous Post).

Now that you are caught up, it is important to note that when we were initially looking into Humphrey and Amanda Taylor, we noticed that in the 1870 and 1880 Xenia Census Records, the couple was listed as living in a household with a woman named Louisa Chandler.

                                      1870 City of Xenia Census

Was this the same Louisa Chandler, sister of Wheeling Gaunt? It turns out it was. Recorded in a deed record book is a description of Louisa Chandler deeding land to Amanda & Humphrey Taylor.

                                       Deed Record Book 77 Pg. 202

Written in the deed is the sentence ..."Louisa consideration of one dollar and natural love and affection which she has for her daughter and her son-in-law to be paid by the daughter Amanda Taylor and the husband of her said daughter Humphrey Taylor..."

Louisa Chandler was Amanda Taylor's mother. That makes Wheeling Gaunt, Amanda's uncle. This explains why such affectionate words were used in the deed between Wheeling and Amanda. (See Previous Post)

Tragedy Hits Home: Finishing a Family Saga
Announcement found in the Courier-Journal, 1895.
At some point after 1880, Louisa relocated to Madison, Indiana. (See article to the left. We believe Louisa was visiting Mrs. Wheeling Gaunt because Wheeling had died in 1894).

Sadly, during this time period, both her grandsons (sons of Humphrey and Amanda Taylor) died at a young age.

Tragically, her daughter Amanda soon succumbed to consumption and passed away in the County Infirmary.  

Seven months after Amanda's death, Humphrey remarried a woman named Celia Smith. Surprisingly during this period, Louisa (Humphrey Taylor's mother-in-law) issued a lawsuit against Humphrey. She claimed she did not know what she was signing in the deed that she granted to Humphrey. (We speculate she might have been angry that he was marrying so soon after her daughter's death). Louisa won her claim, however, Humphrey counter-sued. Before a decision was made on the case, Humphrey died of dropsy at the age of 46.

Stated in a Xenia Daily Gazette advertisement, Humphrey was known for being...(See Below)

News Article
                                Xenia Daily Gazette, April 3, 1885
Throughout the city of Xenia, people remembered Humphrey's whistle when he strolled by.

As we conclude this family saga, we are thankful that we have the privilege to bring you interweaving tales of local historical narratives that make Greene County so wonderful.

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: What is dropsy?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: During the 16th Century, what country began the tradition of decorating fir trees during Christmas? - Answer: Germany


You must log in before leaving your comment