These are Brigadier General Durbin Ward's pistols which he carried during the Civil War. Durbin Ward was a law partner of Thomas Corwin. He was also a Democrat and a state's rights advocate. Everybody thought he would sit out the Civil War, Democrats were all for letting the south go. But when Lincoln called for volunteers in April of 1865, Ward, who was trying a case in court in Lebanon, left the Court House and went to Washington Hall (now the site of the LCNB drive thru in downtown Lebanon), and was the first to volunteer for the Union. He was in his early 40's and jointed the 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. These pistols are Colt Navy revolvers. They are not a matching set as one was made by the Colt works in Connecticut and the other by Colt in London.
Colonel Lewis Drake was an early pioneer to Warren County who came from Pennsylvania on horseback with his first wife. Legend has it he particpated in a shooting contest with Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton and won. His second wife (the first had 12 children before she died) was Rachel Lincoln Drake, daughter of Abraham Lincoln's Great Uncle John who is buried in Pioneer Cemetery. The Colonel and Rachel begat Dr. Issac Lincoln Drake and a whole line of well known Drakes issued thereafter. Think Drake Road and you get the drift.
FOX 19 recently did a focus on Lebanon and our very own John Zimkus was interviewed twice about Harmon Museum. Watch the segments below.
(this one was filmed at 5am)
Predominantly a floral painter, Martin Rettig was the younger brother of John Rettig. Born in 1869, Martin studied under Duveneck at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and would later become known as an authority on the works of Duveneck. He was one of the first decorators at Rookwood Pottery, where he stayed from 1882 through 1885. He worked primarily in Limoges, France, in the Japanese style typical of Rookwood at the time. Martin was the president of the Cincinnati Art Club from 1918 through 1920 and passed away in 1956, leaving a large body of floral oil paintings as his legacy.
Dubbed as the “Wizard of Scenic Creation”, John Rettig was best known for his set designs, creating many open-air pageants in Cincinnati, North Africa, and Mexico. The son of a German beer brewer, John was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He took an interest in art at an early age, beginning to paint frescos when he was just fifteen. He studied at the McMicken School of Drawing and Design
(a division of the University of Cincinnati) and graduated in 1881. He later studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati under Frank Duveneck and Henry Potthast before traveling to Europe to study in Paris with Collin and Courtois. As an artist, he was a painter, sculptor, muralist, and theatrical set designer. With his younger brother and fellow artist, Martin, he decorated and modeled Rookwood Pottery. In 1903, he traveled back to Europe and spent most of his time in Northern Holland, in a fishing village named Volendam, which later became his second home. John was the president of the Cincinnati Art Club from 1890 to 1892 and again from 1908 to 1910. He passed away, in Cincinnati, at the age of 75. His paintings are on display in private and public collections around the world.
After his decisive victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra in 33 BCE, the now uncontested emperor, Augustus Caesar, decided he should have a month named after him (July was already named afer his great uncle, Julius Caesar). Due to his successful military campaigns during what is now known as the month of August, the Roman senate agreed to name the month after the reining emperor. However, since, August only had 30 days, not to incinuate that their emperor was in any way inferior, the senate took a day from February's 29. (Back then, the calendar year began March 1st and alternated between 31 and 30 days (except for February which got the remaing 29.) Then they had to flip the number of days in the remaining months around to not have three 31 day months in a row. Seems like a lot of work!
by Nathaniel Grauwelman
Today marks the day I was born but it also marks something else. On August 28th, 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic speech to the masses that gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
My favorite college history professor played this speech for us, one day in class, and cried in the wake of its weight. I was lucky enough to find this on LP at a local antique mall. There's just something electrifying about hearing it.
"This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: 'My country, ‘tis of thee...' And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men (and women) and white men (and women), Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
We still have a ways to go for equality, but at least we're making progress.
Nathaniel is the Marketing Manager with WCHS
In continuing with the family tradition, Zach Lykins joined the Armed Forces. He chose the Marine Corps and was immediatly sent to Afghanistan right out of high school. Listen to his oral history in the interview below.
by Dwight Rowe and Ron Hoffmann
On the morning of July 13, 1950, a B-50D Superfortress bomber, tail number 49-0267, from the US Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC), 97th Bomb Group, took off from Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas and began its long journey in-route to England with a planned stopover at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio: the aircraft was heavily loaded. It was flying over Warren County, Ohio at around 2:54 in the afternoon when the bomber suddenly fell from the sky and crashed approximately 4 ½ miles north east of Mason Ohio. The crash occurred west of State Route 741 and north of Hamilton Road and was being flown by Captain John Adams Jr who, at the time, had 1020 hours flight time. All sixteen crewmembers on board the aircraft were instantly killed in the crash.
Clyde Shutts of Lebanon provided eyewitness testimony to the crash and said he was in his barnyard when he heard a racing engine. He said when he looked up, he saw the plane spiraling, nose down, toward the ground, and it appeared that the plane tried to pull up but then he lost sight of it as it went behind the trees. Mr. Shutts said he then heard a loud explosion.
Additional eyewitness said the plane was flying at approximately 7000 feet when it began a fast decent followed by a stall at approximately 4000 feet where it began a spiral and nosedive and hit the ground. The Air Force Crash Report stated the B-50D created a crater in the ground that was approximately 125 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep. Upon impact, the explosion it created was deafening. Jerry Hoffmann of Clearcreek Township, Warren County, Ohio was 12 years old at the time of the crash and remembers hearing the explosion almost 11 miles away in Ridgeville. The loud explosion was caused by the fuel the plane carried for its 4 Pratt & Whitney R-4360 prop-driven engines and the deadly cargo it carried in its bomb bay: a Mark-4 nuclear bomb.
The Mark-4 nuclear bomb, in use from 1949-1953, was based on the earlier Mark-3 Fat Man bomb design that was used on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. Luckily for Warren County on that overcast and drizzly day, the bomb did not have its physics-package installed at the time of the crash.
The physics-package is the part of a nuclear bomb that carries the fissile material which is imploded or exploded (depending on nuclear bomb design) to cause the nuclear reaction. The Mark-4 weapon on the B-50D that crashed in Warren County did have its high explosives installed though causing the exceptionally loud explosion. The high explosives are used to detonate the physics-package of the atomic bomb.
Almost immediately after the crash, spectators began to arrive at the crash scene, and it was a gruesome sight as there were body parts hanging from the trees and on the ground. The local fire department arrived to extinguish the fire, and began putting up barricades to control the spectators. All highways leading to the crash site were jammed due to spectators trying to get a peek and figure out what was going on. It was estimated that 5000 people came to view the crash site that day. United States Air Force officers from Wright Patterson Air Force Base began arriving shortly afterwards. They took charge of the crash site and brought in bulldozers and clamshell diggers. They were searching for the nuclear bomb but did not tell anyone what they were looking for.
Today, after almost 68 years and the loss of 16 lives on that fateful day in Warren County, there are no visible signs to remind us of that horrendous crash and the nuclear bomb that exploded in Warren County. Representatives of the Auto Pilot Branch, Aircraft Laboratory, HQ AMC were at the scene also to aid in the finding of parts of the auto pilot equipment and conduct further investigation into the possibility that the auto pilot may have caused the accident; the only identifiable part of the auto pilot found was an aileron servo motor.
After a lengthy investigation by the US Air Force, Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, and Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer, the cause of the crash could not be determined because, as the crash report states: “ Due to the lack of information regarding the flight during which the accident occurred, and the almost complete disintegration of the airplane upon impact, it has been impossible to determine what part, or parts, of the airplane failed or malfunctioned, or any other cause factors to which the accident can be attributed.”
*This article first appeared in the HistoricaLog for Summer/Fall 2018 as "B-50D Plabe Crashes with Nuclear Bomb Onboard in Warren County, Ohio"
The annual Civil War Encampment at Glendower Historic Mansion is seeking sponsorship! Sponsors will have their logos printed in our program and as well on signage at the event. If you would like to be a sponsor, please fill out the application form and return it to Harmon Museum 105 S. Broadway, Lebanon, Ohio.
Entertainment Sponsor ($300) - This year, the lovely ladies of Lafferty Pike will be entertaining guests with music, song and dance.
Education Sponsor ($250) - Guests will get the opportunity to experience close quarter drill, learn campfire cooking, learn about period firearms first hand and more!
Gunpowder Sponsor ($250) - Gunpowder is expensive. Who doesn't like to hear things go boom?
If you have any questions, please contact Vicky at 513 9320-1817 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bedle Station was the first settlement in Warren County and consisted of three buildings. Two were lost to lime long ago, but the last had been converted into a Victorian home and lived in until the 1970s! An order for demolition was put in for the removal of the building but our mission to preserve and present history led our director to intercede. Now, with the help of a team of volunteers, the cabin is being cleared of debris and will be moved to its new home in the park next to Harmon Museum. Learn more about the recovery/renovation project on the Dayton Daily News page.
"I am almost finished with 'The Pioneers' by David McCullough. It’s an enjoyable, very readable account of the Ohio Company’s opening of Ohio at Marietta a good 8 years before the first settlers in Warren County Ohio. It is an easy read and should be required in all Ohio Schools. I wish he would write one about our settlement of Ohio. We have just as interesting stories to tell." -Vicky Van Harlingen, Director of WCHS
C.F. Payne is an artist-illustrator whose artwork has graced the covers of Time Magazine, Readers Digest, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Book Review and Sunday Magazine, MAD Magazine, der Spiegel, U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic Monthly, Texas Monthly, Boys Life and more. He has been commissioned to paint countless politicians, authors and entertainers. He has illustrated ten children’s picture books, including The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber, written by John Lithgow.
His artwork has been exhibited at The Cincinnati Art Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, The Selby Gallery at Ringling College of Art and Design and numerous college and university galleries.
Internationally recognized artist, John Vakaleris, recently wrapped a month long show of his work, that was on display in the Mote Gallery, at Harmon Museum. To show his appreciation, the artist has donated his work, Vakaleris Vacation, to Harmon Museum, with the intent that the piece be sold and proceeds used to benefit the museum. The work is oil on canvas and measures 30" x 30". The painting is currently up for sale at the artist's suggested price of $3,600.
This morning (June 21st), the sun rose on summer and the longest day of the year. Solstice is Latin for "sun standing still," which references the sun's placement in the sky, in this case, at it's highest point of the year.
This day has been celebrated for thousands of years and is one of the first astronomical observations of humankind.
Long thought to be an ancient site for such observation, Stonehenge (5,000 years old) is visited each year by thousands to view this morning's sunrise. You can too with the new 360 degree camera they recently installed; just turn the clock back to sunrise by clocking the blocks at the top (23:54 our time and has a yellow box around it).
Happy Solstice and happy Summer!
Various Members of the Warren County Historical Society