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 10

Up to His Old Tricks: Xenia's Town Drunk

Posted on November 10, 2016 at 9:07 AM by Elise Kelly

 In fictional stories, the character of the town drunk played different roles depending on the plot. “Otis” in The Andy Griffith Show and “Barney” in The Simpsons, were there for comic relief.
"Otis Campbell" of The Andy Griffith Show

The basketball-loving town drunk in Hoosiers, played by Dennis Hopper, changed his life around and helped Hickory win some games after he sobered up.

During the 1880s, the city of Xenia had its own town drunk. Edward Conklin had been arrested quite a few times for public drunkenness in the city during the late nineteenth century (See Below).

                     conklin 18851 red.jpg
                                     Xenia Daily Gazette, 1885

One night in 1885, Conklin found himself in deep trouble after he assaulted Thomas Scroggy Esq. 
On the 31st of May, 1885, Conklin staggered outside Glossinger’s Saloon and struck Thomas Scroggy Esq. Scroggy was leaving the saloon on his way back to Kyle’s livery stable when he was attacked. Scroggy stumbled a bit, regained his composure and asked Conklin “What did you strike me for?”

An officer was nearby and heard the scuffle. Scroggy insisted that the officer arrest Conklin. Conklin was immediately arrested and was taken to jail.
Below  is a map of the scene of events.
                                                1886 Sanborn Map
According to the officer’s cross examination, the officer asked Conklin, “Why did you hit Scroggy.” He replied by stating that…

Police officer testimony.jpg
"I then arrest Ed Conklin and on the way to the station house I asked Conklin what he had hit Scroggy for and he said because he called me a son of a *****" Bill Schuey was there when I arrested Conklin." I am a Police Officer[.] Edward Conklin Criminal File - Probate Court File Box, 419

When they reached the jail, Conklin refused to go in. The officer had to push him inside and lock him up.

This entire contentious episode started a week prior when Conklin and Adam Hornick were in a court case battle with Harvey and Clara Allen. The Allens attorney, Thomas Scroggy, had apparently said something about Conklin’s sister during the trial (See Below)

"I asked him what I had said that he didn't like. He said "you talked about my dead sister." I said "I have done nothing of the kind." The onley [only] reference to your sister, was maid [made] by you. He said "Yes you did, God d*** you" and I want you to know I don't like it." - Edward Conklin Criminal File - Probate Court File Box, 419

Conklin accused Scroggy on the night the trial had concluded. Conklin approached Scroggy on a street corner and yelled this at him after shaking Scroggy’s hand. A week later, Conklin was drunk again and went after Scroggy, hitting him over the head with a closed fist.

The judge found the defendant guilty of assault and battery. Conklin was ordered to pay one hundred dollars to Scroggy. In order to pay it, Conklin had to... (See Below).

            Edward Conklin Criminal File - Probate Court File Box, 419

Thomas Scroggy went on to become County Judge in 1899. Conklin on the other hand, reverted back to his old ways (See 1886 Article Below).

     dfgdfg                                         Xenia Daily Gazette, June 1886

It seems many people in the city were aware of Conklin's behavior.
I wonder if any of the temperance women who were protesting in the streets in Xenia ever encountered him?

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question:
How long did Thomas Scroggy serve as the Greene County Judge?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question:
In 1805, William Gordon opened a small brewery where in the county? Answer: Xenia, Ohio.


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