Seventy-eight years ago today, at 7:50 a.m, Sunday, Dec. 7, Japanese aircraft appeared on the horizon over Pearl Harbor. Two hours later, 2,403 American troops were dead at what would remain the largest loss of American life in an attck until the September 11th terrorist attacks. It's one thing to recite facts but another to recall memories. Below is a video of some of the veterans that survived the attacks, recounting their personal experience during the events in their own words.
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.
For the second year, WCHS is holding its Christmas Tree Decorating Contest and Auction at Harmon Museum. Businesses, organizations and families from all over Lebanon have decorated 53, three-foot artificial trees. The finished trees are on display at the museum and up for auction, December 1st - 10th. The proceeds will go toward Harmon Museum’s children’s education programs. The display will be open during normal business hours but the auctions will be open online, continuously, until they close at at midnight on the 11th.
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!
Kevin Harris teaches at Sinclair Community College where he has led courses in Drawing, Printmaking and Digital Media since the year 2000. Prior to coming to Sinclair, Kevin held teaching appointments at the University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, The University of the Arts, Moore College of Art and Design and Lincoln University.
Kevin earned a BA from Hampton University and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati. He has also studied at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and frequently attends printmaking workshops at Making Art Safely in New Mexico. His work is included in the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum as well as in many corporate and private collections. He has recently been featured in solo exhibitions at the Dana L. Wiley Gallery, Dayton, OH and at the African American Visual Arts Guild (AAVAG) Gallery at Central State University-West and at Sinclair’s Triangle Gallery where he presented, MULTIPLY, an exhibition of four thematically intertwined bodies of work: MULTIPLY, Angels Tread, Dream Sequence and Urban Wordfare plus The Sticker Snatcher Books.
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!
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 (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"
Staff and volunteers of WCHS