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.
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It is the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, where Nazis killed more than 1 million men, women and children. More than 6 million Jews (more than 25,000 times the population of Warren County) were deliberately murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators over the course of the Holocaust (they also murdered millions that Hitler felt were unfit for his vision of new Germany).
We must remember today, and learn from the events that led to such atrocities, so we never allow something so horrific to ever happen again.
Today, January 20th, is Inauguration Day. However, it wasn't always this way. The first Inauguration Day, in 1789, was on March 4th. This four month period was needed to count votes and relay numbers to Washington.
This lengthy Lame-Duck period created several problems throughout history. In the months following the 1860 election, as states succeeded from Union, Lincoln was unable to act and outgoing president, James Buchanan. chose to do nothing. The final straw was in 1933, when president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had to wait months to enact his New Deal plan in the midst of the Great Depression.
With the advancement of technology, such a long period was no longer needed. Congress ratified the 20th Amendment in 1933, changing Inauguration Day to January 20th, The first time a president was sworn in on this day was four years later, when Roosevelt was sworn in for a second term.
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.
Self-taught artist, Marcus Mote, was a painter, photographer and teacher. Having been born Quaker, and the religious constraints the Quakers have on art and self-expression, he might never have been able to pursue his passion at all if not for the encouragement and clever thinking of his parents, Mote went on to become one of Warren County's most famous artists and, arguably, the father of art education in schools.
- written by Jeanne Doan, Assistant Director
The Warren County Historical Society began 2019 with lots of plans: a series of Lunch and Learn presentations, new programs, and traditional events. Then came Covid-19. No one predicted what a dramatic effect it would have. At the time of the shutdown, the Archaeology and Native American Artifact room, on the ground floor of the museum, had become a depository for overflow from other storage spaces.
During the shutdown, volunteer time was used effectively to clean and reorganize multiple storage spaces. The now clutter-free artifact room badly needed a make-over. Damp, dark, and outdated, the room cried out for help. Enter Mr. Doug Baird, a specialist in fossils and Native American artifacts.
After inspecting all the artifacts in the display cases and boxes in the vault, Mr. Baird informed us that WCHS has "the finest collection of fossils and Native American artifacts I have seen outside of the Smithsonian."
WCHS staff and volunteers have been working hard to clean, repaint, and rearrange. Display cases were resurrected from the basement of Glendower. Mr. Baird and his assistant sorted and relabeled the artifacts. The project was completed late November.
We want to extend our thanks to everyone who has been key to this transformation. The Harmon Museum looks forward to unveiling our new comprehensive display honoring our ancient Ohio beginnings.
December 18th saw the close of the exhibition of the work by the Cincinnati Brush and Pallett Painters Society (Oct 30 - Dec 18 2020). Established in 1963 as the Brushettes, The Brush and Palette Painters is "a group of women committed to creating art in a supportive environment, painting En Plein Air as conditions allow." These talented women created a showcase of their finest work, 135 pieces, for display at Harmon Museum. They also came to paint, on site, several times during their exhibition.
On this day, December 14th, in 1887, Wood, Harmon & Co began selling the properties in the first ever sub-division. William Elmer Harmon knew the American dream was to own land and had an idea to make that dream accessible to even low-wage earners. Sub-diving a large property. Harmon said of the plan, “It is simply the installment plan applied to real estate and I am sure it will work.” Harmon's younger brother, Clifford, and uncle, Charles Wood, agreed and pooled their money together ($3,000) to purchase land south of Loveland. There, they founded the first sub-division, Branch Hill. The 200 lots sold out in four days.
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.
In October of 2020, guests took a walking tour, with Historian Grant Sheehy, through Lebanon's historic downtown. Or went up the hill, to Glendower Mansion, Two tours on four nights, unraveled the spooky stories of some of Lebanon's unlucky residents and invoked the darker side of this idyllic little community.
October 23th & 24th, as well as bonus dates, October 31st & 31, all Sold Out!
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."
Nathaniel Grauwelman as well as various staff and volunteers.