How many know that a Civil War general who has a fort and several streets named after him in California was once a resident of Yellow Springs (or his family was while he was off to war)?
Although evidence indicates that William Rosecrans and family were renters rather than property-owners, one can find traces of their lives in Yellow Springs in the newspaper and letters, and in the glass of an attic window where the children scratched their name and initials.
What follows is a transcription of an article in the Greene County Journal reporting on a fundraiser festival during the Civil War given for the support of the troops, and at which General Rosecrans gave some remarks.
Besides what Rosecrans had to say, what is of particular interest is the kind of activities were typical for community festivals 150+ years ago. Given the greater difficulties of transportation, it is somewhat surprising that fresh oysters were popular so far from the ocean, and what would a “ring cake” have been, and why would there have been two of them?
Our Visit to Yellow Springs—The Festival—Remarks of Gen. Rosecrans, etc., etc.
On Friday last we concluded that we would visit the Yellow Springs, a place we had often heard of, but one which we had never seen. We felt a curiosity to realize all that our fair correspondent, “BELL BLUE” had said of that beautiful village, and its intelligent and hospitable inhabitants. It affords us much pleasure in saying that we found the statements of “BELL” perfectly true. We made the acquaintance of many of the citizens and found them warm-hearted and social. In the evening the Ladies’ Solders Aid Society gave a Festival which we had the privilege of attending, and which was, in truth, a magnificent affair. The gentlemanly proprietor of the Yellow Springs House, Mr. J. W. EDWARDS, generously permitted the Society to use his spacious mansion for the Festival, every nook and corner of which was thronged by joyous and happy citizens. The whole number present was upwards of three hundred, about two-thirds of whom were ladies.
We take pleasure in giving below the names of officers and Committees of the Society, as furnished to us by the Secretary, Miss JULIA HARLAN, to whose efficiency and good management the success of the Festival must be attributed:
Officers of the Soldiers Aid Society of Yellow Springs.–Mrs. COL. WILSON, President; Mrs. KELLOGG, Vice-President; Mrs. JAMES STEWART, Treasurer; Miss JULIA HARLAN, Secretary.
Managers.–Mrs. WEEKS, Mrs. AARON HARLAN, Mrs. DR. LE FEVER, Mrs. ARMSTRONG.
Festival and Table Committee.–Mrs. KELLOGG, Mrs. GEN. SMITH, Mrs. LAWRENCE, Mrs. JAMES STEWART, Mrs. COL. WILSON, Mrs. VAN MATER, Mrs. SIZER, Mrs. WEEKS, Mrs. DR. PROTZMAN, Miss BRYAN, Miss JULIA HARLAN, Mr. REED, Mr. SIZER, DR. LE FEVER, COL. WILSON.
Oyster Committee.–Mrs. AARON HARLAN, Mrs. WESTON, Mrs. FESSENDEN, Mrs. LE FEVER, Mrs. WARD.
Coffee Committee.–Mrs. MCINTOSH, Mrs. LADLIE.
Cake and Ice-Cream Committee.–Miss MARY CONDON, Miss JULIA HARLAN, Mr. ELMER HOPKINS, Mr. JACKSON ARMSTRONG.
1st Ring Cake Committee.–Miss LOUISA HARLAN, Mr. PRUGH.
2nd Ring Cake Committee.– Mrs. IRWIN, Miss WARD, Miss LOUISA HARLAN, Mrs. GEN. T. K. SMITH.
Fancy Table Committee.–Mrs. IRWIN, Miss WARD, Miss LOUISA HARLAN, Mrs. GEN. T. K. SMITH.
Inner-Keepers[?].–Mr. VAN MATER, Mr. J. STEWART.
Collectors for Tables.–Dr. LE FEVER, Mr. ANDERSON, Col. WILSON.
Grab-Bag Committee.–BESSIE SMITH, NANNIE MILLS, MAMIE ROSECRANS, ALTIE GRINNELL, JULIA SCAMMON, JULIA MILLS, BELL SMITH, JENNIE WEEKS.
Committee on Decorations.–Mrs. IRWIN, Mrs. DR.CHENEY, Miss LEONARD, Miss EMMA WILSON, Miss BRADSHAW, Miss FANNY RICE, Mr. H. GOODMAN, Mr. SIZER, Miss LADLIE, Miss BOTSFORD, Miss BIRCH, Mrs. CHEESEBOROUGH.
Musicians.–Prof. L. G. FESSENDEN, Leader; GEO. HUFFORD, WM. HAFNER, S. F. GREEN, S. T. MARSH, B. R. GASS, A. KING, L. W. TUILLACE.
The Yellow Springs House was decorated in a very appropriate manner, and was splendidly illuminated by magnificent chandeliers; the entire Hall wherein the Festival was held was lined with National Flags. The Supper furnished by the Society consisted of the choicest viands. The music discoursed by Prof. FESSENDEN’s String Band was delightful indeed. In short the Festival was a grand success.
Soon after supper General ROSECRANS being present was called upon for a speech. The General was introduced to the audience by Colonel WILSON. After the strain of applause with which he was greeted upon being presented to the company had subsided, the General spoke in substance as follows:
“Ladies and gentlemen: I have been requested to say a few words. I suppose I have a right to do so. I see a great many kind faces whose names are to me unknown: I shall have to trust to luck for an opportunity to become better acquainted at some future time. I do no think I should compliment the people of the Springs for their being here to-night. The cause which they have espoused has brought them together; they need no praise from me. Great as was the struggle that secured the Independence of this country—greatly as we revere our revolutionary mothers—the women of this age—the mothers, wives and sweet-hearts of the soldiers of this war are much greater. I have seen soldiers supplied with food and raiment by the women of the county, when it was not in the power of the Government to supply their wants. Let no man fancy that our county would be safe if our soldiers were removed from the front. Our safety depends on the utter overthrow of the rebels. The soldier is in continual danger. What is to console him for the privations he is suffering? The first thing that keeps him there, is that he may aid in preserving the Government; the second is that the soldiers’ liberties are preserved at home: his family provided for, he can look back to the place where his beloved ones are left and feel sure that during his absence they will be properly cared for and all their wants will be supplied.” [Great applause.] “Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you all good night.”
The receipts of the Festival, after all the collections were made, amounted to two hundred and seventeen dollars and seventy-six cents, a sum which will, under the direction of the Sanitary Commission, be the means of making glad many a sick soldier.
We are under many special obligatioins to Mr. GRAM, of the Neff House; Mr. EDWARDS, of the Yellow Springs House; Esq. HAMILTON, Col. WILSON, and Mr. JAMES STEWART, for the kind treatment we received.