If you live in Kings, you may or may not know where your town's name came from.
Ahimaaz King founded the Great Western Powder Works in 1877. A wooden dam was constructed to divert water from the Little Miami River into a canal the powder mills used.
Kings built his employees homes, a general store, schools, a church, etc. Almost the entire village of Kings Mills was created to house the employees of King's mills, the first home being Ahimaaz's own. Built in 1885 and patterned after his uncle's located in Xenia, the King Mansion is still a local landmark.
In 1887, Gershom Moore Peters, an employee of Kings', a former Reverend and King's son-in-law, founded Peters Cartridge Company nearby. Peters had invented a machine which simplified and improved the process of manufacturing shotgun shells.
By the time the two companies merged, they were known nation-wide.
In July of 1890, a rail car accident at the station triggered an explosion killing twelve. The resulting fires would destroy many of the company's wooden framed buildings including the station, the freight house, two Peters office buildings, the shell factory, the cartridge loading plant, a warehouse and six employee homes.
As World War I approached, the company began receiving large ammunition orders. With the money, they were able to construct buildings out of brick and reinforce them with concrete, including the factory (that we all recognize) in 1916.
Remington Arms purchased the Peters Cartridge Company in 1934 and it would cease operations in 1944.
There's always something new to see at WCHS properties! We've been working hard to present our ever growing collection in new and exciting ways!
The foundation for the Beedle Log Cabin has been dug and concrete poured.
Currently, in progress at Harmon Museum, we're building and furnishing a Mid-Century Modern Apartment. Our Archeological exhibit received a face-lift and our pre-historic artifacts have been given new life with updated displays. The agricultural collection, in the Farm Heritage Gallery, has been thinned and organized to better showcase the items on display before rotating new items in from storage. And, we'll be able to welcome guests into it all through the Broadway entrance with newly redone front steps.
Glendower Historic Mansion may be closed for the season but the upper floor's wings have been opened up to show the Maid's Quarters and Wash Room to better convey the life of those that also lived in the home.
The newly renamed Armstrong Conference Center (the Old Post Office) has a wonderful sign along with the new Armstrong Gallery of Flight. This gallery is dedicated to the men and women, of Warren County, that made great strides in the frontier of the skies and above.
Carrie Nation: “Lebanon is The Vilest, Wickedest Town Of Its Size I Have Ever Been In.”
by John Zimkus, WCHS Historian/Education Director
Carrie Nation was a flamboyant temperance advocate, and one of the most famous women in America at the turn of the 20th century. She was colorful in her actions, almost always having a hatchet in one hand, and the Bible in the other. She was, however, not very colorful in dress, typically wearing stark black-and-white clothing. She was in many ways bigger than life. She stood 6 feet tall and weighed about 175 pounds.
She was born Carrie Moore in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1846. She got the last name of Nation in 1874 when she married David A. Nation. He was her second husband and 19 years her senior. David was an attorney, as well as a minister. (He first husband was a young physician, Charles Gloyd. She left him after a few months of marriage because of his alcoholism.)
Carrie Nation began her temperance work in Medicine Lodge, Kansas when she started a local branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. On June 5, 1900, she felt she had received a heavenly vision. Responding to the revelation, Nation gathered several rocks — "smashers," she called them — and proceeded to Dobson's Saloon. Announcing "Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard's fate," she began to smash the saloon's stock of liquor with her stones.
Carrie’s husband joked that she should use a hatchet next time for maximum damage. Nation replied, "That is the most sensible thing you have said since I married you.” The couple divorced in 1901. By that time, she was nationally known for her attacks on the “demon rum.”
Between 1900 and 1910, she was arrested some 30 times for her "hatchetations," as she called them. Nation paid her jail fines with the money she earned from lecture-tour fees, sales of souvenir hatchets and hatchet pins, and photographs of herself. The sale of souvenir hatchets, at times, earned her as much as $300 per week.
Carrie, because of her barroom destructive ways, was physically assaults numerous times. Many saloons across the country erected signs in their establishments with the slogan — "All Nations Welcome But Carrie.”
In the fall of 1904, The Warren County Fair Association announced that “Mrs. Carrie Nation” would be a “Special Attraction” at the Warren County Fair that year. She was scheduled to speak at 2 p.m., on Wednesday, September 21, 1904, the second day of the four day fair.
Lebanon’s Western Star newspaper, on September 22, reporting on her speech said that Carrie “at once grabbed a cigarette from the mouth of a youngster and proceeded into a short address in which she poured broadsides into the saloons.” It said the fairground crowd “jeered and hooted at her.”
After her talk, Carrie traveled the quarter mile or so south to the heart of Lebanon. She “made a round of the business houses and saloons,” the village’s highest concentration of bars was on E. Mulberry Street in 1904. As she visited the area, she proclaimed the Bible “was her hatchet” on that day. Carrie Nation remained in Lebanon for two more days, leaving on Friday, September 23, 1904.
According to The Western Star, “Carrie Nation’s opinion of Lebanon was not such as would give the town a good recommendation unless people will consider the source. She said, ‘Lebanon is the vilest, wickedest town of its size I have ever been in.’” The newspaper went on to say, “Carrie behaved so badly on the streets that the Marshal [Elmer E. Smith] finally ordered her out of town.” The paper then proclaimed, “She was voted not only a freak but a nuisance.”
Carrie Nation’s visit to Lebanon, Ohio did not turn out all bad for her. It was estimated that she sold $100 worth of souvenir hatchets at 25 cents each. One hundred dollars in 1904 would have a buying power of about $3,000 today.
Carrie Nation died in 1911, nine years before the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution went into effect on January 16, 1920. It prohibited the sale or manufacture of alcohol in the United States. Despite her campaign against the evils of liquor, some historians believe “the establishment of Prohibition was the efforts of more conventional reformers, who had been reluctant to support her.”
She was such a dynamic force 120 years ago, that if the question was put of US citizens back then, or even today, “Which individual did the most to bring on Prohibition?” — I am sure, the answer overwhelmingly would be Carrie Nation.
The following Western Star article was taken from our archives.
May, 1882. "Waynesville, Ohio, May 29. Although this is an old settled neighborhood, and the primitive snakes in the main, have long since disappeared; except the black, garter and rattlesnake and occasionally some of other species, we are once in a while greeted with the report of some monster of this uncanny tribe.
For several years it has been reported that the track of one above the town, of unusual size, had, on different occasions, been seen in the dust, where it had crossed the pike. This report made the timid fearful, while the generality of the people did not seem to fear or care anything about it; and it has been reserved until yesterday to develop one of the most remarkable specimens ever seen, in or out of snake season, and the story thereof is so well authenticated that the more incredulous of the neighborhood on big snake stories are forced at last to lend an attentive ear.
About one mile north of this place is a little village called Crosswicks, in which several colored families reside. Among the rest is John Lynch, who has two boys, Ed. And Joe, aged respectively thirteen and eleven years. These boys were at a small creek on the south side of the village fishing, yesterday. After sitting on the bank a short time they heard quite a stir among some old reeds, grass and brush behind them, and on looking round they saw a huge monster approaching them rapidly. They screamed and, paralyzed almost with horror, started to run, when the snake, or whatever it might be—for they never saw aught like it before; came close up to the older one, and suddenly throwing out two long arms, or forelegs, seized the boy in its slimy embrace, simultaneously producing two more legs, about four feet long, from some mysterious hiding place in its body, and dragged the boy some one hundred yards down the creek to a large sycamore, twenty-six feet in diameter at the base, hollow, and with a large opening on one side. Through this aperture the monster attempted to enter with the boy who by this time was almost dead with fright and unable to make any resistance.
Three men—viz., Rev. Jacob Horn, George Peterson and Allen Jordan—were quarrying stone a short distance above where the boys were fishing, and hearing their screams and seeing the creature yanking one off, hurried in an attempt to rescue the child. They reached the tree just as the snake, who, failing in its first attempt to drag the boy into his den, became alarmed, probably by the cries made by its pursuers, unfastened its horrible fangs and dropped the more than half dead child to the earth. The little fellow was picked up and carried home, and Dr. L.C. Lukens, of Waynesville, summoned to attend him.
In the afternoon about sixty men, armed with clubs, dog, axes, &c., gathered around the sycamore-tree and concluded to cut it down and destroy its fearful tenant. They began cutting, when, becoming alarmed for his safety, the formidable snake leaped from the aperture, threw out its fore and hind legs, erected itself about twelve or fourteen feet, and, with the velocity of a race horse, crossed the creek and ran up a small hill, climbed over a rail fence, breaking it down, and, continuing north a mile, followed by the pursuers, until he reached a hole in a large hill under a heavy ledge of rocks. Some of the men and dogs were so terrified at the beast’s first appearance that they only thought of getting out of the way. But the braver portion followed until the frightful thing made good his retreat underneath the ground.
It will be watched for and killed if possible. It is described as being from thirty to forty feet long, sixteen inches in diameter, and the legs four feet long and covered with scales the same as the body. Feet about twelve inches long and shaped like a lizard’s, of black and white color, with large yellow spots. Head about sixteen inches wide, with a long, black forked tongue and the mouth inside deep red. The hind legs appeared to be used to give it an erect position, and its propelling power is in its tail.
Dr. Lukens said this morning that the boy, his patient, was badly bruised and scratched, horribly frightened, and that he lay in convulsions and spasms until three o’clock this morning, when he fell asleep, but frequently wakened with fright and terror, yet the Doctor thinks he will recover in a few days.
The foregoing is vouched for by the persons whose names are given above, and many more can be given if necessary, the material points having been furnished your correspondent by Judge J. W. Keys, one of our oldest and most influential citizens."
There's a lot more to tell about Lt. Burns (like how he was a Medal of Honor recipient) but that's for another time. Burns is also the main character in author Carol Tonneson's newest book, The Westerner: A Postcard to the Girl He Left Behind, out later this summer!
Jeanne Doan, Assistant Director & John J. Zimkus, WCHS Historian
Three women, of varied backgrounds, joined together to become the nucleus of the women’s suffrage movement in Warren County: Lucile Blackburn Berry, Mary Proctor Wilson and Ladora Scoville Owens (once owner of Glendower Mansion).
The first meeting of what would become the Equal Suffrage League met in the Lebanon Opera House on April 22, 1912. After a committee was formed to nominate officers, Wilson was chosen as the first president and Owens as the vice president. Representatives from each township were selected and Berry was picked to represent Turtlecreek.
On June 27, 1912, the committee met at Wilson’s home at 108 N. Broadway, located at the northeast corner of Silver and Broadway (The Breakfast Club stands there now). There, the League arranged for the Dr. S. D. Fess, the Republican candidate for Congress in the sixth district and the president of Antioch College, to deliver a non-partisan address at the Lebanon Opera House. There, he put himself on record for the women’s suffrage proposal. Fess would win that election and later be elected a US senator from Ohio.
In 1912, multimillionaire real estate magnet and Lebanon native, William Elmer Harmon (you can learn all about him in a previous post) appointed his good friend, Owens, to be a board member of the newly established Harmon Civic Trust. Harmon had stipulated that at least two members of the Trust’s board of trustees must be women. Owens was one and Berry was the other. The League made arrangements with the Trust to hold regular meetings at Harmon Hall.
By 1914, Lucile Blackburn Berry was the president of the Equal Suffrage League. On July 23, 1914, The Western Star reported that the League had “held a very enthusiastic" meeting on July 17. At the meeting, Berry "...gave a report of the results of the recent circulation of petitions. There were 1,049 signatures obtained in the County." Wilson, along with another couple, the Chapmans, were chosen to present the petitions to the Secretary of State in Columbus. Nearly 150,000 names were signed to the suffrage petitions, 46,000 more than necessary.
The Western Star headline, on July 30, 1914, read, “Ohio Suffragists To Descend on State Capitol Today." And descend they did. At 4:30 that afternoon, bands accompanied suffrages from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron and other areas to form a procession that marched from the Ohio Suffrage Organization's Columbus headquarters, in the Chamber of Commerce Building, to Capitol Square.
Harriet Taylor Upton, the organization's president, spoke along with several others including the president of Ohio State University and Representative W. B. Kilpatrick. The counties presented their petitions and, as planned, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman and Mary Proctor Wilson presented Warren County's.
Congress wouldn't draft the 19th amendment (giving women the right to vote) until 1919 but Ohio was quick to ratify it on June 16, 1919. The also passed a law stating that, if the amendment wasn't a law by the 1920 election, women would be about to view in Ohio regardless. However, by August of 1920, the amendment would gain the backing it needed (36 states) and pass into constitutional law. Thanks, in part, to a teacher (Berry), a newspaper editor (Wilson) and a socialite (Owens) who came together to fight for all Americans' right to vote, regardless of gender.
Learn more of the story at Harmon Museum's newest exhibit, "Women Leading the Way."
On February 28th we hosted our Opera Tea in honor of famous opera soloist and Lebanon resident, Laura Bellini. Born in Lebanon, Ohio, Laura Bellini (1848-1931) was a soprano opera singer of note on three continents. Her magnificent singing voice was discovered when she was in a local church choir.
Christopher Milligan, the General Director & CEO of the Cincinnati Opera and Natalie Drury (Soprano Soloist).
Orange or Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
Orange Marmalade or Raspberry Jam
Twinings Lady Grey Tea
Cumber Stack Sandwich
tomato stuffed with blue cheese and bacon salmon on pumpernickel, grapes.
The BonBonerie Bakery’s Opera Cream Cake
We were pleased when attendees referred to the tea as both "elegant" and "wonderful."
April 24th - The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company joins us for "A Celebration of Shakespeare"
October 23rd - "A Shaker Tea" with Special Guest: the Whitewater Singers
December 18th - "A Dickens of a Tea" It is rumored that Dickens himself will be joining us.
For tickets and more information, click here.
Life-long Warren County resident, author and historian, Fred Compton, spent the more than half his life working at The Golden Lamb. Starting in 1966, as a busboy, Fred worked there throughout high school and college, graduating from Miami University in 1973 with a journalism degree. After graduation, he continued at The Golden Lamb for what he thought would be the summer.
He would stay for 35 years.
Compton has been collecting and chronicling Lebanon history for over forty-five years. Author of several books, including Tales from the Innside and Acadia Publishing's Lebanon: Images of Lebanon and Lebanon's Bicentennial book (availible in our gift shop). A much sought after speaker, Compton has presented throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He lives in Lebanon with an ever expanding collection of Golden Lamb memorabilia and cheap Chinese watches.
A sold out crowd enjoyed Stengal's Catering before Local author and historian Fred Compton took the podeum at our November 2019 Lunch and Learn.
Remember that time the SWAT team raided the Golden Lamb? Fred Compton remembers. 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of local author Fred Compton’s book The Golden Lamb: Tales From The Innside. To mark the occasion, Fred returns to The Warren County Historical Society to share some of the stories that didn’t make it into the first book for various reasons. Find out what it takes to get rid of a dead body in a dining room and what happens when the local SWAT team decides to storm the third floor. Hear about a future political leader who just needed some serious direction, a particularly memorable late-night telephone call and how a big piece of “Ohio’s Oldest Inn” gained new life several blocks away.
Fred Compton spent the more than half his life at The Golden Lamb in a number of different roles. Starting in 1966 as a busboy Fred worked there throughout high school and college, graduating from Miami University in 1973 with a journalism degree. After graduation he continued at The Golden Lamb for what he thought would be a summer job.
He wound up staying 35 years.
You can see upcoming Lunch and Learn topics, as well as purchase tickets, under our "events" page.
How many women out there have exercised their right to vote? On this day in 1872, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and two others, registered to vote at a barbershop in Rochester, NY, becomming the first women to do so. How'd they do it? Well, Anthony threatened to sue the registrars personally if they didn't let them. On Election Day, the ballots were secretly cast (the ladies dressed as men). Two weeks later Anthony was arrested and fined $100 (about $2,000 today), which she refused to pay.
It'll be more than 40 years before the 19th Amendment will grant women the right to vote in the US. On November 2, 1920, more than 8 million American women will exercise their right to vote.
2020 is all about Women's Sufferage at Harmon Museum with talks and an exhibit featuring the women who fought for the vote in Warren County!
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.
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"
Beedle Station was the first settlement in Warren County and consisted of three buildings. Two were lost to time 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.
Jonas Seaman traveled from New Jersey to the Ohio Country and bought a $4 license to operate a “house of Public Entertainment” on Broadway in the newly-founded village of Lebanon in 1803. He probably never have imagined that more than 200 years later his establishment would still be offering food and lodging for travelers. Today, the Golden Lamb is recognized as the oldest continually operating business in Ohio.
The Golden Lamb owes its early success due to location – halfway between the great river town of Cincinnati and the National Road (now U.S. Route 40). Seaman’s establishment got its name from the sign hung outside the business – an image of a golden lamb – because many early travelers could not read.
Robert Jones took over the property in 1926 and began transforming it into the restaurant and hotel that it has become. The Jones family still owns the Golden Lamb today. A fire at the Golden Lamb in 1928 forced the Jones’ to purchase second-hand pieces to replace furniture that had been lost. Little did they know their purchases would become a beautiful collection of Shaker artifacts and rare antiques that are still in use today throughout the restaurant and hotel.
Throughout its 200+ years, the Golden Lamb has hosted, entertained and provided lodging for many notable guests, but none more honorable than 12 United States presidents. From its early days as a stopping point between Cincinnati and the National Road to its historic legacy as a political stop in a battleground state, United States presidents have visited the Golden Lamb before, during and after their time in our nation’s highest office. Presidents that have visited the Golden Lamb include:
Staff and volunteers of WCHS