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.

Apr 07

The Attempted Ouster of the Infirmary Superintendent

Posted on April 7, 2021 at 2:27 PM by Melissa Dalton

We stumbled upon the story for this week’s blog after receiving a records request. While Robin was reviewing the Greene County Commissioners Minutes for said request, she learned of the attempted ouster, and subsequent reinstatement, of the Infirmary Superintendent in 1937. We were intrigued and wanted learn more, so we thought we would share it with our followers, too.

A. E. Kildow became the Superintendent of the Greene County Infirmary around 1925, and his wife, Mary, was named matron (it was commonplace for the superintendent’s wife to be named as matron). Kildow held the position for twelve years, but in 1937, several complaints were lodged against him and his wife for their alleged mismanagement the Infirmary. On April 5, 1937, the Commissioners signed a resolution requesting the resignation of the Kildows, with Commissioners Howard Batdorf and James Hawkins voting in favor of the resolution, and C. A. Jacobs voting against the measure (Fig 1). The Kildows refused to resign, and in August, the Commissioners signed another resolution for the prosecutor, Marcus Shoup, to prepare a removal letter (Fig 2).

Fig 1. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 98 (JPG)

Fig 1. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 98

Fig 2. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 154 (JPG)

Fig 2. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 154

If you are like us, you must be wondering what the Kildows did to cause the Commissioners to be so forceful in their attempts at removal. The Order of Removal provides the details we were missing in the early minutes. The Order makes several claims against the Kildows (Fig 3):

  • Mismanaged the stock room of the Infirmary, and their son, Forest, had stolen and sold groceries on a number of occasions
  • Removed provisions from the stock room to give to their daughter, Helen
  • Took several pounds of butter and cured meat, and had hogs slaughtered for personal use
  • Due to improper care, a considerable amount of meat spoiled and had to be discarded
  • Kildow was accused of immoral conduct with three female employees

Fig 3. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 168 (JPG)

Fig 3. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 168

Kildow denied all the allegations and filed an appeal with the State Civil Service Board of Ohio, claiming he was never given an opportunity to address the claims prior to the attempt of removal. The State Commission agreed to hear the case, and held a hearing on September 22, 1937 (Fig 4).


Fig 4. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 172

Just a couple weeks after the hearing, the State Commission issued their ruling. The Commission agreed that there was sufficient evidence of the Kildows’ lack of proper attention and/or mismanagement of the care and use of meat purchased by the County, but the rest of the allegations were unsubstantiated. Therefore, they modified the order from a removal to an unpaid suspension, from August 25, 1937 to October 6, 1937 (Fig 5), with the Kildows being reinstated after the suspension.

Fig 5. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 198 (JPG)

Fig 5. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 198

However, the animosity did not end with the reinstatement. In November 1937, the Commissioners attempted to reduce the salary of two employees, one being Forest Kildow, from $40 a month to $1 a month. The two employees filed a complaint against the Commissioners. Prosecutor Shoup agreed with the complainants, and maintained the Commissioners did not have the authority to reduce their salaries; therefore, pay was restored (Fig 6).

Fig 6. County Board Must Restore Workers Pay, Xenia Evening Gazette, 30 Nov 1937 (PNG)Fig 6. County Board Must Restore Workers Pay, Xenia Evening Gazette, 30 Nov 1937 (PNG)

Fig 6. County Board Must Restore Workers’ Pay, Xenia Daily Gazette, 30 Nov 1937

In January 1938, the Commissioners passed another motion to reduce the joint salaries of the superintendent and matron, from $1800 a year to $1200 a year (Fig 7). The Kildows filed an injunction seeking a restoration of the $600 reduction in their salaries. The case went to trial in June 1938. Commissioner Hawkins claimed the reduction was not “politics” but solely to demonstrate the services provided (Fig 8). On July 27, 1938, the trial judge, Frank Clevenger, filed his decision in the matter. Judge Clevenger found that the reduction was for political reasons, and done without notice, making the action illegal. The Commissioners were ordered to restore the salaries (Fig 9).

Fig 7. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 256 (JPG)

Fig 7. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 256

Fig 8. Kildow Salary Cut Action Considered, Xenia Evening Gazette, 21 Jun 1938 (PNG)Fig 8. Kildow Salary Cut Action Considered, Xenia Evening Gazette, 21 Jun 1938 (PNG)

Fig 8. Kildow Salary Cut Action Considered, Xenia Evening Gazette, 21 Jun 1938

Fig 9. Greene County Commissioners Minutes Vol 32 p 373 (JPG)

Fig 9. County Commissioners Minutes, Vol 32, p 373

After this last incident, the actions against the Kildows appear to have ceased. A. E. Kildow remained the superintendent until 1942, when he retired at the age of 70.

It’s interesting to note that throughout the attempted ouster and salary reductions, one County Commissioner, C. A. Jacobs, abstained from all voting on the matter, but never publicly stated why. Also interesting is that Kildow made a run for County Commissioner in 1944, running against the two incumbents, Ralph Spahr and Charles Greer, but was unsuccessful in his bid (Fig 10).

Fig 10. Kildow is Commissioner Candidate-GOP Content Seen, Xenia Evening Gazette, 3 Feb 1944 (PNG)

Fig 10. A. E. Kildow is Commissioner Candidate; GOP Contest Seen, Xenia Evening Gazette, 3 Feb 1944

A. E. Kildow died shortly after his run for Commissioner. Kildow died on April 15, 1945 at the age of 73 and was buried at Woodland Cemetery. Two years later, on June 26, 1947, Mary died at the age of 76, and was buried next to her husband.

Until Next Time…

Sources:

Ancestry.com

Greene County Archives

NewspaperARCHIVE.com



Apr 01

Greene County VIP - Hallie Q. Brown

Posted on April 1, 2021 at 9:03 AM by Elise Kelly

In March we celebrated Women's History Month. To conclude the celebrations, we have selected as our next Greene County VIP, the renowned, Hallie Q. Brown (See Fig. 1). Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to two former slaves in 1845, Brown was influenced by her parents’ involvement with the Underground Railroad. Their heroic activism empowered Hallie to commit her life to advocating for the rights of African Americans and women.

Portrait of Hallie Q. Brown (JPG)
Fig. 1 Hallie Quinn Brown photographed by F.S. Biddle between 1875 and 1888. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress, loc.gov)

In 1873, Brown graduated from Wilberforce University and taught all over the United States including, a plantation in Mississippi; the Columbia (South Carolina) City School District; Allen University, where she held the position as Dean; Tuskegee Institute, where she held the position of Dean of Women; the Dayton (Ohio) Public School District; Wilberforce University; and Central State University. Throughout her teaching career, Brown emphasized the importance of improving literacy levels for minority children and adults.

In addition, Brown helped establish the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1893; served as the NACW’s President from 1920-1924 (See Fig. 2); and served as President of the Ohio Federation of Colored Women’s Club from 1905-1912. Brown also was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Ohio State Republican Campaign Committee.

XEG Feb 12, 1921 (JPG)
Fig. 2 Xenia Evening Gazette, February 12, 1921 (courtesy of NewspaperARCHIVE.com) 

Brown was a gifted elocutionist and writer. She published several books including, Pen Pictures of Pioneers of Wilberforce in 1937 (See Fig. 3). Twelve years later, at the age of one hundred and four, Hallie Q. Brown died on September 16, 1949 in Wilberforce. Here at the Archives, we have Brown’s will record. According to her will, which was written and signed on the day of her death (you can see her signature at the bottom), she intended to pay off all her debts and bequeath one hundred dollars to her niece, Martha Cloyd, of Muncie, Indiana (See Fig. 4). A suitable monument was to be purchased and placed for Brown at her family’s cemetery lot. Her home, “Homewood Cottage,” located in Xenia Township, was to be sold to the highest bidder and the proceeds were to be divided between her nephew, Henry, and her nieces, Frances and Lois. The "highest bidder" turned out to be Central State University. The University paid $12,000 to Brown's family for the property. 

Pen Pictures of Wilberforce cover (JPG)
Fig. 3 The Greene County Archives' copy of Pen Pictures of Wilberforce
 
Hallie Q. Brown Will Record 1a (JPG)
Fig. 4 Hallie Q. Brown's Will Record, Box 1059, Case 6030

An inventory of her personal goods and chattles were recorded ( See Fig. 5). Her unfinished autobiography, As the Mantle Falls, was appraised at $500.00 in 1949. Brown's executrix, Frances Hughes, was unable to secure an offer for more than one hundred dollars. In 1951, the Librarian at Central State University purchased the book for the University's library for one hundred dollars. In addition, value appraisals were determined for the other books she had written; her stocks, securities, and household goods; and the property she owned. In 1949, the total appraised value for Brown's estate amounted to $19,521.15 (See Fig. 6) The equivalent of this total today is $215,361.57. 

A sale of Hallie Q. Brown’s personal property occurred on May 19, 1951 (See Fig. 7). Notice in the newspaper advertisement, it states, “many of the items listed are antiques.” I would think that these items that were owned and used by such a remarkable woman, would most certainly had/have historical significance and meaning. If you would like to see Hallie Q. Brown’s entire will record, please visit our website.

Hallie Q. Brown Will Record 1 (JPG)
Fig. 5 Hallie Q. Brown's Will Record, Box 1059, Case 6030

Hallie Q. Brown Will Record 2 (JPG)
Fig. 6 Hallie Q. Brown's Will Record, Box 1059, Case 6030
 
Hallie Q. Brown Will 3 (JPG)
Fig. 7 Hallie Q. Brown's Will Record, Box 1059, Case 6030

 Until Next Time!

Sources:
Greene County Archives – Hallie Q. Brown Will Record, Box 1059, Case 6030
Greene County Archives online exhibit via our Flickr page - “Votes for Women: Greene County Suffragists and the 19th Amendment
Robinson, George F., History of Greene County, Ohio, Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1902
www.hallieqbrown.org
www.loc.gov
www.newspaperARCHIVE.com


Mar 25

Irish American Heritage Month

Posted on March 25, 2021 at 10:33 AM by Melissa Dalton

March is Irish American Heritage Month, and one of the first celebrations of the Irish heritage in America is noted as the 1762 St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City. The Irish heritage dates back centuries, and it is estimated that roughly 4.5 million Irish immigrants came to the United States between 1820 and 1930 in the hopes of a better life. Today, we would like to highlight some of our records that demonstrate the rich Irish heritage in Greene County.

Many of the early Irish immigrants were vital in the efforts to build large infrastructure, including the canals and railroads. Around the mid-nineteenth century, Greene County witnessed a large influx of Irish immigrants as the railroad lines were being built throughout the region. This inflow also had an impact on the religious establishments of the area. As many of the immigrants were Roman Catholic, they were looking to other parishes to celebrate Mass within the community. In 1849, they pushed to have Catholic church built in Xenia – St. Michael’s Church, which is now St. Brigid Catholic Church (Fig 1).

Fig 1. St. Brigid Catholic Church, 1898 (JPG)

Fig 1. St. Brigid Catholic Church, 1898 (Greene County Archives, 1901 Time Capsule)

As the immigrants settled in the region, many sought to be naturalized as an American citizen. Although many researchers think they will find most naturalization records in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, or the like, they can be found here in Greene County, too! These records are dispersed throughout the Greene County Common Pleas Minutes, Probate records, and dedicated Naturalization records. For example, here are two naturalization records for Irish immigrants from 1860 and 1885. The first is for John Hutchison, a 24-year-old man who settled in Greene County (Fig 2). This entry indicates that on July 12, 1860, the Judge heard the oath of said Hutchison, swearing to support the Constitution and renouncing his allegiance to the Queen.

Fig 2. Naturalization of John Hutchison, 1860 (JPG)

Fig 2. Naturalization of John Hutchison, Common Pleas Minutes Vol 5, p 56

The second naturalization record is for Thomas McLelland (Fig 3). McLelland was born Dungannon, Ireland and came to the United States in 1880, settling in Xenia. McLelland worked as a farmer after his arrival, and he and his wife, Rachel, started their family. In January 1885, he filed the necessary paperwork for naturalization. In our records, we have his Declaration of Intention and the Facts for Petition for Naturalization.

Fig 3. Declaration of Intention for Thomas McLelland, 1885 (JPG)
Fig 3. Facts of Petition for Naturalization for Thomas McLelland, 1885 (JPG)

Fig 3. Declaration of Intention and Facts for Petition for Naturalization of Thomas McLelland (Greene County Archives)

These few snippets barely scratch the surface of the Irish heritage in Greene County. If you’d like to learn a bit more about some of the families and their connections, I suggest you check out my coworker’s blog from 2019!

Until Next Time!