Posted on January 14, 2021 at 5:12 PM by Melissa Dalton
A few weeks ago, Joan pulled a
guardianship file for Bruce B. Vandervoort. As a life-long resident of the
county, Joan recognized the name as the former owner of the fruit farm just
outside of Jamestown. This week, we look at the life of Mr. Vandervoort.
Bruce B. Vandervoort was born in
West Virginia on December 2, 1855 to Nicholas and Esther Vandervoort. Although
I wasn’t able to find much about his early life, he moved to Ohio sometime
between 1870 and 1880 as he was living in Clinton County, and working as a
school teacher, in 1880 (Fig 1). On June 23, 1883, B. B. married Nancy “Nannie”
J. Vandervoort in Clinton County (Fig 2).
Fig 1. 1880 US Census record as boarder in Green Township of Clinton
Fig 2. Marriage announcement of B.B. and Nannie Vandervoort, Xenia Daily
Gazette, 29 June 1883 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
Sometime in the late 1880s/early
1890s, Vandervoort became a horticulturalist and started a fruit farm on the
outskirts of Jamestown. According to one newspaper article, Vandervoort spent a
month in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to study apple production (Fig 3), and
his farm was 30 acres by 1903. At the time of his death in 1941, the fruit farm
had tripled in size, and was a total of 94 acres. There are several articles in
the local newspapers in which Vandervoort offered advice for planting and
harvesting, as well as giving updates on the farm and the expected fruit crops
for the year (Fig 4).
Fig 3. Article detailing Vandervoort Farm success, Xenia Daily Gazette, 6
Oct 1911 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
Fig 4. Article from Vandervoort regarding peach crop, Xenia Daily Gazette,
16 Mar 1903 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
B. B. and Nannie had five children
– Ora, Clara, Mary, Herbert, and Louis. In 1923, their son, Louis, confessed to
a chain of robberies in Xenia, Jamestown, Washington Court House, and
Wilmington. His family did not want to believe it until he showed authorities
where he hid the loot. Newspapers state that he did not sell any of the stolen
materials, and that the robberies were due to a “peculiar mental twist… in search
of adventure” (Fig 5). There is a bit of a story here, but we’ll leave it for
another blog post.
Fig 5. Young Farmer Charged with Store Looting, Xenia Daily Gazette, 20
Jan 1923 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
The Vandervoorts continued expanding
their fruit farm, even into their later years. Nannie passed away on August 2,
1936, and within a month, paperwork was filed with Probate Court to assign a
guardian to B. B. Vandervoort due to “advanced age and physical infirmity” (Fig
6). It was estimated at the time of filing that the personal property/life
estate value was likely $30,000, real estate value of approximately $25,000,
and another $4,000 in annual rents, for a total value of his estate at $55,000.
Today that equates to just over $1,000,000.
Fig 6. Application for Appointment of Guardian, B. B. Vandervoort, Box
775 Case 596 (Greene County Archives)
The guardianship was approved by
the Court, and remained in effect until B. B. Vandervoort’s death on January
23, 1941. Vandervoort was buried next to his wife in Jamestown Cemetery.
Upon Vandervoort’s death, his two
surviving children, Louis and Ora, each received $11,592.26 from the life
estate created by Nannie’s will ($204,156.06
today). They also were the beneficiaries of the family farm. We will
explore the life of the farm after Vandervoort’s passing in a future blog post,
so stay tuned!
Until Next Time!
Posted on January 8, 2021 at 10:30 AM by Melissa Dalton
This week, we take a final look at the Favorite Record Series from our Newsletter! In the December issue, Melissa highlighted one of her favorite records, Maps!
The Archives holds collections that document the rich and unique history of Greene County, Ohio. Each record provides a key to unlocking and understanding a piece of our collective past, be it a tax record that indicates a family member owned property, or a marriage record illustrating a distant relative married in the County, or a birth record demonstrating that same relative started and raised a family in the County. I review and write about a variety of these records every week, be it for the blog or a social media post. When it came my turn to write about a favorite record of the Archives, the first thing I thought of was maps.
Maps seem so general, but each week, they make an appearance in a social media post. They are full of information and help tell stories. A great example of this is using maps in conjunction with surveys. Surveys are complex; they are written using legal jargon, and many times, do not fully reveal a location. However, when you include a map, it all becomes so clear - landowners, neighbors, and property lines are evident. Maps clarify complex records or information, and provide a visual representation that may otherwise be lacking.
Our maps also demonstrate the changing landscape of Greene County over two centuries. The maps indicate development of the towns, villages, and cities of the County, as well as the highway systems, housing developments, parks, sewage systems, and even the changing election precincts as populations increased or decreased in particular areas. Some of the most interesting maps illustrate the path of the infamous 1974 Xenia Tornado, one of the worst in our nation’s history. These maps provide invaluable information to researchers in learning about the County and provide a great educational tool in the classroom to highlight local history topics. In particular, we use an 1896 Map of Osborn in a classroom activity to help students learn how to read a map, as well as some history of the village prior to moving to a new location after the 1913 Flood.
?1974 Map of the Path of the Xenia Tornado (Greene County Archives)
?1896 Map of Osborn (Greene County Archives)
If you are conducting property research or genealogy, don’t overlook or underestimate the value of maps. They may help clear ambiguities and may prove to be a valuable record.
Until Next Time!
Posted on December 31, 2020 at 11:53 AM by Melissa Dalton