On this Day in History. U.S. General Gordon Granger came to Texas, two months after the South's surrendered (four years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation), and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Below, an 1845 illustration of freed slaves carrying the Emancipation Proclamation.
The very popular Jeff Wilson once again paid us a visit to discuss material covered in his books Ohio Legends and Ohio Legends Volume 2. Every page in his books has a short story with an original, expressive illustration drawn by Jeff that brings to life a bit of Buckeye trivia or an oddity about an Ohio inventor, ghost, visionary, hero, crackpot or criminal. Jeff will be showcasing a special “Librarian’s Edition” of his Ohio Legends series that features a “perfect bound” cover and includes many stories never published before.
Ohio Legends Volume 1 & 2 are available in the Museum Shop.
Jeff Wilson is a free-lance cartoonist, writer and illustrator. A life-long resident of the Buckeye State, he lives in Vandalia, Ohio with his wife Patti and enjoys any good, goofy story about Ohio.
Use Wifi? Thank Hedy Lamar.
In 1942, the Golden Age of film actress/Mathematician teamed up with composer George Antheil to develop a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes using frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology. Though the technology was not employed until the late 50s, it was used during the conflict with Cuba and later would become the Bluetooth and Wifi we use today. The two were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
- Sylvia Outland, Art Curator
March 14th marked the return of the portrait, featured on Antiques Roadshow, of John Milton Charters and William Morris Charters (1846 - 1848) twin sons of Dr. William Morris Charters (1806 - 1883) and Cynthia Dutton Seely (1809 - 1860). Both portraits were painted, circa 1849, by Marcus Mote a Quaker artist living and working in Warren County. The Betsy H. Maple Trust, represented by Karri Hamilton daughter of Betsy Maple, (second wife of William Chester “Chet” Maple) personally delivered the painting the family gifted to the Harmon Museum. Both paintings descended in the family of Charters Dyche Maple (1899 - 1958) to his sons William Chester Maple (1935 - 2009) and Dixon Charters Maple (1929 - 2001).
Joyce Lovins Browning is a native of Ohio growing up in the Harrison and Okeana areas. She has been performing Living History for over 19 years. She retired after 20 years as the Naturalist Coordinator from Great Parks of Hamilton County in 2018, and now enjoys working as a part-time Tour Coordinator for Ohio Travel Treasures, sending groups on wonderful bus tour adventures. She'll be portraying Annie Oakley in our April Lunch and Learn.
Since childhood, I have always been drawn to antique objects; they bring a relevance and history which contemporary objects do not offer. This experience led to my exploration of historical drawings and etchings from the Victorian period, starting with Edwin Landseer, who was one of the most popular animal illustrators during this time period.
Images of animals and children started to proliferate at the turn of the century as people sent greeting postcards and also read magazines like Harper’s Weekly which contained stories written and illustrated in serial fashion. Printed magazines were available all over the country as reading became an important cultural activity and literacy increased. In addition, life was documented and shared in wonderfully illustrated children’s books. One can imagine domestic scenes by the fireside involving reading and the slow activity of embroidery.
Artwork and literature are rife with cultural symbols; they are a tool which teach our youth as well as shape adult behaviors. Morals abound in these tales, both about humans and animals. At this time, animals started to be seen as domestic companions and valued for their loyalty and compassion. Many of these prints show scenes of tenderness and altruism, while others illustrate acts of aggression and barbary.
These stories and the prints which accompanied them, had a profound effect upon public perception of the treatment of animals and children leading to new organizations for their protection including the Society for the Care and Protection of Animals (SCPA) and new child labor laws. Using research from this important historical period, I created a series of embroidered drawings on wool. There is a kind of nostalgia in these images, not of a perfect world, but a slower paced life with some sweetness. It is also important to note that the cultural awareness which awakened regarding children and animals unfortunately did not extend to all humanity, especially African Americans and immigrants. The resulting embroideries seek to shine light upon our collective potential for acts of altruism and bravery, amidst the presence of depravity. How can we extend the generosity of animals and children into contemporary society so that all people can find tenderness, sensitivity to others and begin to understand our collective value?
Amanda Stokes (1820-1885) was raised on a farm in Warren County. By the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, 41-year-old Amanda, against the advice of friends and relatives, obtained from the Surgeon General a commission as a hospital nurse with orders to report to Federal troops in the South.
Amanda worked in dozens of field hospitals near such battles as Stones River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Nashville and Atlanta. She fought for items she felt were essential in caring for "her boys." Finding little support from the U.S. government, she took her own money and spent it for the comfort of the soldiers.
One day, the ambulance Amanda was riding was crossing the Chattahoochee River. The horses became unruly and overturned the wagon into the river. Amanda escaped through a hole in the top of the ambulance, injuring her head in the process. In the accident she lost not only her personal belongings but also her commission. Attempts to apply to the Surgeon General's office for a duplicate proved fruitless since no copy had been made.
After the war, Amanda, with the aid of scores of “her boys,” was appointed Matron of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home at Xenia, Ohio. A pension of eight dollars a month was eventually granted to her by a special act of Congress.
Amanda died on March 28, 1885 in Xenia. She is buried in the Lebanon Cemetery with the simple marker: “Amanda Stokes 1820-1885 Army Nurse.”
- John Zimkus
In the 1970s and 80s, Lebanon played host to the Cincinnati Symphony for a series of concerts. What started as a concert for the July 4th Mini Festival soon grew into a concert series due to its popularity, More dates were added to include a number of musical guests. At its peak, concerts were held eight months out of the year. One four-part series was held, in the summer months, on the lawn at Berry Middle School and, during the winter months, the auditorium of the Junior High. The auditorium was actually built with hosting the symphony in mind. This all changed with the construction of Riverbend and the concert series ceased to be.
Samuel Robert Bailey (1847-1906) Around 145 years ago, Bailey was the first African-American teacher and principal in the public schools of Lebanon, Ohio. Born a slave in northern Alabama, in 1863 during of the Civil War, he left the war torn South as a teenager and went to Sandusky, Ohio. Although illiterate, he saved enough money working to enter Wilberforce University. Seven years later he graduated. In 1876, He was hired to teach in the “colored” school, or African Union School, as it was sometimes called, in Lebanon. Paid as much or more than most of the district’s 9 teachers, around 1879, he was designated “principal of the colored school” and overlooked a staff of one other Black teacher. In 1883, he became the principal of the Lincoln “colored” School in Kansas City, Missouri. When he left Lebanon, The Western Star newspaper proclaimed, “Mr. Bailey is an intelligent colored gentleman, fully competent, to discharge the duties to the high position to which he has ascended. He was a good citizen and we wish him success in his home in the West.”
- John Zimkus
Elizabeth Kimberlin (1917-1987) was a leader in community and statewide service programs as well as a local civil rights trailblazer. A graduate of Lebanon High School in 1935, she was denied the opportunity to apply for a college scholarship because of her race. Instead, she became a typist at the air force base in Dayton, and eventually working 21 years at Defense Electronic Supply Center (DESC) as provisioner traveling all over the U.S. visiting plants and purchasing of airplane parts, while at the same time overcoming prejudice against Blacks and women. Elizabeth was President of non-profit Lebanon Community Services, Coordinator of the Lebanon Food Pantry, and involved in many other organizations including being a trustee of the Ohio Division of the American Cancer Society, as it’s the only black member. In 1943, she organized the first Black Girl Scout Troop in Lebanon, and that year her troop became the first to integrate Girl Scout Camp Butterworth in Warren County. Elizabeth remembered, “Both colored and white girls were there together, and everything went fine. That was quite something for those days.”
- John Zimkus
Anna Middleton (1786-1861) On March 29, 1805, when she was 19-years-old, Anna Middleton became the first woman and the second person west of the Appalachian Mountains to become a Shaker. Anna was also a former enslaved African American. Anna was from Virginia and was freed by “her owner” shortly after coming to Ohio. Old Shaker records at the Union Village in Warren County called her, “honest and kind-hearted.” In 1805, because of her gender and race, the non-Shaker “world” would have treated Anna as a second-class citizen or lower. That was not the case at Union Village. Anna was a Shaker for 56 years. She died on April 10,1861; a month short of her turning 75. Two days after her death, on April 12, Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, South Carolina was attacked by Confederate troops beginning the Civil War. In 1895, 89-year-old Job Mullin from Springboro, a known member of the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped enslaved individuals obtain freedom, wrote, “I can give but three names of [UGRR] stations- Shaker Village, Waynesville, and Springboro.”
- written by John Zimkus
Traditional artist, Kelly Murray Frigard, has long pursued her interest in weaving, knitting, spinning, and felting. After a residency as a visiting artist in Canada's Northwest Territories, she received the Fulbright Fellowship, allowing her to study, for two years, in Finland and Sweden. Frigard also works in mixed media, metalsmithing, and drawing. She is currently a Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont College. Her exhibition, "Embroidered Tales" recreates antique lithographs, from children's books, in colored stitchery.
James Richard Mills (1932-2013) James Mills was Lebanon, Ohio’s first African-American mayor. He was born in Lebanon on August 8, 1932. A 1950 graduate of Lebanon High School, he served in the U.S. Army in Korea. He and his wife Loretta had three children. An avid musician, he was active in the Bethel AME Church, where he sang in the choir and acted as church treasurer. He was also a member of the Lebanon Kiwanis Club and the Lebanon Softball Association. For 39 years he worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation. After serving on the planning commission and community development committee, he was elected to the Lebanon City Council in 1993, and became Lebanon’s mayor in 1997, serving in that role until 2001. Mr. Mills died on October 12, 2013. James Mills once said, “Having been born and raised in this city, I have grown to really care about it and all the things that make it what it is today. . . I really want . . . to serve all the citizens of this lovely city.”
- written by John Zimkus
On this day, in 1815, the burned U.S. Library of Congress is re-established with Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of 6,500 volumes. The previous collection, then housed in the Capital building, had been burned on August 24, 1814 as part of an attack on Washington during the War of 1812. Invading British troops marched into Washington under order to lay waste to the unfinished Capitol and other public buildings. The resulting fires reduced all but one of Washington D.C.'s major public buildings to ruins, and only a severe thunderstorm saved the Capitol from being completely destroyed.
Unfortunately, a second fire, on Christmas Eve of 1851, burned the Library of Congress again, destroying nearly two thirds of Jefferson's original collection.
Nathaniel Grauwelman as well as various staff and volunteers.