Category Archives: Local History

The Marching Mothers of Hillsboro

Click photo for info about The Hillsboro Story.

Several years ago we went to Southern State Community College for a performance of Susan Banyas’ play, The Hillsboro Story. It was about a protest by Hillsboro, Ohio’s black community regarding segregation of the town’s schools. In going through my records I came upon a series of photos I took and among them was one of two ladies who I think played some part in what became known as the Marching Mothers. Can anyone tell me more about this and the two women? I believe one’s name is Goodrich and the other Young.


Highland’s Bicentennial

The village of Highland will be marking its bicentennial in September of this year. Since many of us have connections to there it’s important that we share with them in their celebration. Here’s a flyer with all the details. I’m sure more will be made known as the date nears.

highland celebration poster

Wanna’ learn some local history?

The Arc of Appalachia is holding a series of programs regarding the ancient peoples who once inhabited much of our area. The Mound Builders who constructed such places as Seip Mound, Fort Ancient, Fort Hill, and the Great Serpent Mound.

Complete information may be found at their website:

arc of appalachia logo

The Melungeons of Carmel

Larry 'n NassauA few days ago there was a Facebook discussion between two individuals whose ancestors lived in the area around Carmel, Ohio. Back in 2002 I did a little research on that area, specifically about the Melungeon or Carmelite population that once were so common there. The result was published as a column in the Times-Gazette newspaper and raised a little stink because several Melungeons descendants, having never heard the term, thought I was calling them a name. In fact, I unknowingly was calling them a name by using the term Carmelite, which they perceived as being a derogatory term. Anyway, I decided to reprise the article which was based on a statistical study of these people and interviews with primary sources. Here’s the column as it was published eleven years ago.

“It would have been difficult growing up in this area and not heard of the Carmelite Indians who lived in and around the Highland County village of Carmel. I had always heard of these peoples but like many others, never knew much about them.

Continue reading The Melungeons of Carmel

Life in Lynchburg, Parts 1, 2, & 3

I got to looking around for information about a theater in Lynchburg and came across three YouTube videos of life in that fair village during what I’d guess to be the late 1930s. Even though I don’t recognize anyone it is a great flashback to a time and way of life long gone. Something any up and coming geezer could Continue reading Life in Lynchburg, Parts 1, 2, & 3

Jeff’s Corner, Where Everybody Knew Your Name

The walls were covered with carpet remnants donated by Dave Cokonougher, and the floor covered with peanut shells. It was a dark little room, formerly a barbershop operated by “Red” Barr. But it was a little lighter when the nail keg-covered lights were turned on, as well as a couple of beer signs and the small TV.

Table tops were old wooden spool ends placed atop single-leg, four-footed table bottoms that never held the tops level, and the L-shaped bar accommodated only seven tall bar stools purchased on Water Street in Chillicothe. Under the bar was a three-tap keg cooler purchased from Marian Wise, and one of the taps spewed “dark” beer mandated by Larry Chapman and a few other beer connoisseurs. Continue reading Jeff’s Corner, Where Everybody Knew Your Name

Dave Miley’s Greenfield

Dave Miley

A former Greenfield resident, Terri Bergen Robledo, recently began a group page on Facebook called Greenfield Ohio Friends Forever (GOFF). It has become very popular and much of the discussion focuses on remembrances of days gone by in our version of small-town America.

Several years ago long-time Greenfield resident, Dave Miley, penned a series of stories about his days growing up in our fair village. They were originally published on the now deactivated site where they remained archived.

With the interest shown by the GOFF group in reminiscing about the past I thought this might be a good time to reprise Miley’s stories. Hopefully they will bring a smile to anyone’s lips who ever grew up in a small, close, community.

Click HERE to read Dave’s stories.

Lynchburg a Tough Gig for the Pickers!

Dave Shaffer with pickers Mike & Frank

Many of you watched our Highland County neighbor, Lynchburg, be featured on last week’s episode of American Pickers. The pickers toured Lynchburg resident, David Shaffer’s, collection of all-things dusty but failed to pry Dave’s fingers from any of his prized possessions. One item in Shaffer’s collection is a Vincent motorcycle from the 1940s. He was offered $30k but decided it couldn’t be replaced and apparently didn’t need the cash. If you’ve ever been in Lynchburg, Dave’s store, more of a warehouse, is a downtown storefront with large glass windows. It is a kick just to press your nose against the glass and relive your transportation past. I’ve done it a couple of times and Continue reading Lynchburg a Tough Gig for the Pickers!

Physical Education Classes, circa 1918 McClain HS

Nate Cockerill tipped me off to these photos taken in the gymnasium at McClain High School, Greenfield, OH, in 1918. The physical education instructor in the boys photo was L.C. Bundgaard. If you attended McClain into the 1970s you’ll recall the various pieces of equipment seen in these photos. They were taken in what is now called the “old” gym and none of the exercise equipment seen here remains. Look closely and notice the absence of any obese students.



Colored News!

I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide just how far we’ve come but, while doing some research in the Hillsboro Press Gazette archives, I discovered their social news section, as recently as 1942, contained a regular column titled Colored News. Certainly a part of the “good ole’ days” we don’t need to revisit.

Colored News from 1939 Hillsboro Press Gazette.

50s Sock Hoppin’ & Royal Crown Pomade

Royal Crown Pomade, every greaser's best friend.

Some Facebook friends are giving some thought to reliving the 50s and 60s with a “sock hop” at the Greenfield Recreation Center (the old Armory). Their discussing it brought back memories of just such a thing in the 70s. Some group or organization rented the Armory and hired WLW DJ, Jockey Joe Kelly, to spin the hits.

This became a big deal and everyone, mostly the chicks, was all over them self trying to figure out what they still owned from the 50s they could still fit into. For me and my friends the options were pretty easy. A pair of jeans, pegged (tapered) at the ankles with the bottoms rolled into very thin cuffs. A white t-shirt with a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve and the other sleeve rolled into a thin cuff. A Zippo cigarette lighter in your jeans pocket and the hair slicked back into a “duck tail” with a slight “waterfall” of hair falling to the eye level. I capped the look with a silver Saint Christopher medal on a thin chain and a Continue reading 50s Sock Hoppin’ & Royal Crown Pomade

The Killing of Durward “Bud” Perry

Click photo to enlarge.

The violent death of anyone has inherent interest but the telling of the story should have a greater purpose. The robbery and murder of a Greenfield, Ohio cab driver in 1956 is a captivating story. It is also an example of how inaccurately we think about our past. We cling to the idea that somehow our past was a better time. A time when the streets of our villages and cities were both cleaner and safer. When people were more honest and reliable. Where doors could be left unlocked, windows left open, and children could roam their neighborhoods under the watchful eye of the “village.”

In researching the story of Durward “Bud” Perry’s murder I thumbed through a decade’s worth of archival newspapers. From the late 1940s to the late 1950s the lessons were clear, the good old days weren’t all that good. The headlines of the era were filled with much the same kinds of stories appearing in today’s newspapers, petty crime, vandalism, robbery, burglary of homes and businesses, arson, assault, and homicide.

Certainly there are differences, society today is far less Continue reading The Killing of Durward “Bud” Perry

Mr. Wert Ash’s Legacy, Let’s Make it Right!

Mr. Wert Ash, June, 1960

If you live in a city of 18 million souls the legacy you’re remembered by may not count as heavily as it would in a small town of less than 5000. Mr. Wert Ash lived and died in a small town and for decades his legacy has been stained by what small town’s are good at; accepting rumor and half-truths as fact.

During much of his life, this descendant of a grandfather who had experienced slavery first hand, was known as “Hammerhead” or “Hammer.” Few knew his real name but most in town knew him by those nicknames, didn’t know why he was called them, but knew that shouting those words at Mr. Wert Ash would drive him to a fit of anger, evoking oaths, threats, and at times hot pursuit.

I’ve recently been privy to a discussion about Mr. Wert Ash and no one present knew what his real name was but most knew who he was and what his nicknames were. Just as they didn’t know his real name, they didn’t know how he Continue reading Mr. Wert Ash’s Legacy, Let’s Make it Right!