This stereoscope card shows the president’s house built for Horace Mann at left and Main Building at right of early bare-bones Antioch College.
The Mann house was lost to fire.
This stereoscope card shows the president’s house built for Horace Mann at left and Main Building at right of early bare-bones Antioch College.
The Mann house was lost to fire.
The colony of Owenites referred to in the Duke’s Diary lived in a huge log house near the Cascades. They numbered one to two hundred and shared all their goods among them. They hoped to establish themselves permanently by starting small factories of various kinds, to be operated by the members. They failed, and the community broke up in 1827.
In 1827 Elisha Mills, emigrating from Cincinnati to the western country, bought the Yellow Spring and glen lands from Martin Baum and Lewis Whiteman (who had acquired them from Davis) for $6, 135. On May 27 of that year he advertised the opening of the “watering place” on June first. The ad tells us that “there are six cottages of frame and brick, each 50 feet by 24, containing in all 48 rooms, calculated expressly for families.”
William Mills was the son of Elisha, who was to become literally the founder of the town. He was born January 5, 1814, and is said to have played with the Indians when they returned occasionally for visits during the summer. Mills went to Miami University but his father withdrew him before he finished his course. Elisha Mills’ interest in the town is evidenced by his efforts to incorporate a turnpike from Cincinnati to Springfield in 1838. Part of this document is shown on the facing page.
Two years after the opening of Elisha Mills’ original hotel, the “Farmers Record and Xenia Gazette” Volume I, No. 30, Thursday, July 30, 1829, carried a story about the Yellow Springs of Ohio, written by a man who signed himself “A Virginian.” It is presented here in full.
The first railroad to be built north of the Ohio River was the Little Miami, chartered in 1836, to connect Cincinnati with the newly constructed national trail. Part of the track had been laid from Xenia to Clifton when the project ran out of funds.
William Mills made a landmark in Yellow Springs history by obtaining half a million dollars in Boston for investment in the railroad, on the condition that the road go through Yellow Springs. The road was completed with eighty-four miles of track between Cincinnati and Springfield and was opened in August, 1846.
The coming of the railroad made Yellow Springs more accessible as a resort, and also made it the center of trade for the region. By 1850, several hundred people had settled here and the town had a cider mill, a carpenter shop, a flour mill, a grain elevator, two general stores, a lime kiln, a tin shop, a painter and a shoemaker.
Previous post showing the cover pages here.
It was not explained why the pages refer to “Green” county even though it states that the county was named after Nathaniel “Greene”.
Judge of Common Pleas Court, Hon. Horace L. Smith.
Probate Judge, James M. Stewart.
Clerk, J. F. Havanstiet.
Sheriff, R. R. Grieve.
Auditor, W. R. Baker.
Commissioners, John B. Stephenson Jas. W. Pollock John W. Fudge.
Treasurer, John A. Nesbit.
Recorder, Samuel M. Adams.
Surveyor, George A. McKay.
Pros. Attorney, Marcus Shoup.
Coroner, M. A. Broadstone.
Infirmary Directors, Homer Thrall John B. Lucas Wm. B. Todd.
Representative in Congress from the 6th District, George W. Hulick.
Representative of Green County, J. B. Cummings.
MIAMI TOWNSHIP OFFICERS
Justices, W. T. Drummond, at Yellow Springs; Edward Russell, at Clifton.
Trustees, F. W. Johnson, Arthur Forbes and R. J. Grinnell.
Treasurer, S. W. Cox.
Clerk, Towne Carlisle.
Constables, D. S. Funderburg and Geo. Wilson.
Assessors, J. J. Reed, Harry R. Estle.
Interesting Events in the Early History of the County
1780: August 6, Chillicothe, the Indian village, (now Oldtown) was burned by Indians driven away.
1796: John Wilson was the first man to make a permanent home in the county, having settled in Sugarcreek Township April 7th.
1803: First Justice, Joseph C. Vance; first Clerk, john Paul; first Sheriff, Nathaniel Lamme; first Prosectuing Attorney, Daniel Symmes. The county was formed from Hamilton and Ross counties May 1st, and named after Nathaniel Greene. August 22 Court ordered a bounty of 50c for each wolf killed in the county. First Supreme Court held October 25th. First Common Pleas Court held in Nov. First survey of wagon road from Springfield to Xenia made in December.
1804: Total amount of taxable property returned by listers in June, was $393.04. The first jail cost $9.50.
1805: First representative elected was John Sterritt. First marriage in county, Ann Gowdy and James Bull. First flouring mill operated by Owen Davis.
1806: James Gowdy was the first merchant in Xenia. First crime of stealing leather to half-sole a pair of shoes, in which case the thief was tied to a sugar tree in the public square at Xenia and given one lash on the bare back.
1810: The first newspaper in the county was edited and published by a Mr. Pelham.
1828: Infirmary erected.
1846: First powder mill built.
1871: O. S. & S. O. Home erected at Xenia.
[handwritten names and dollar amounts]
Interesting Events in the Early History of Miami Township
1804: First settler, Lewis Davis, whose home was near the spring on what is known as the Neff Grounds.
1807: Salt, $4 per bushel; Calico, 85c to $1 per yard; Whiskey, 3c a quart.
1809: First log cabin in Yellow Springs, now part of the Yellow Springs Hotel, erected by Elisha Mills.
1816: First Township officers elected; Jacob Mills, J.P.; Joel Van Mater, Clerk; Jacob Miller, Treas.; Wm. Stephenson, Jonathan D. Miller, Geo. Sroufe, Trustees; Richard Davidson and Sebastian Sroufe, Constables; Mrs. Jehu Carlisle born, and who is now the oldest person living, born in the corporation.
1822: March 3rd the first township road was laid out.
1825: Township laid off in four school districts in October.
1826: Bates & Lewis first merchants in Clifton. Timothy Bates first Postmaster at Clifton.
1827: Postoffice located in A. B. Johnson’s orchard. Samuel W. Cox, Sr., was the first blacksmith.
1830: Oliver Farnsworth edited and published the first newspaper in Yellow Springs.
1832: Isaac Thorn first physician.
1834: Benjamin Deaver, first tan yard in Yellow Springs.
1835: Clifton incorporated.
1836: John Hammond first carpenter. George Confer, Sr., put up the first cider mill.
Even though actual stamped mail is on the wane, postcards as tourist souvenirs are still fairly common. Back in the 19th century a different format of collectible tourist card became popular for viewing on a stereoscope. Local professional photographers would provide numerous views of notable locations, and these collections can provide a remarkable range of slices of life for the time.
A couple of these were found among the papers of the Mary E. Morgan collection, and they show slightly different aspects of local landmarks.
One bearing the legend “Scenery on Neff Grounds, The Great Summer Resort at Yellow Springs, O.” on the reverse shows an early view of the Cascades in Glen Helen.
Another entitled “The Woods. Home of William Means, Yellow Springs, O.” gives a different perspective on the fancy main entrance gate (William Means purchased Mills House from Mills and renamed it “The Woods”).
Although most of the records indicate disease as the cause of death, there are a few surprises in these pages – “Accidental, kicked by mule in abdomen” was undoubtedly tragic, but “Suicide, carbolic acid” leads one to wonder about the kind of desperate determination that would lead to such drastic (and likely massively painful) action. Of course, the happier surprise is “Heart disease, supposed to be over 100.”
The index to all pages can be found here.
May 2, 1913 — Still born — Still born — Yellow Springs, Ohio
May 3, 1913 — Grace Shaw — Carcinoma — near Yellow Springs, Ohio
May 11, 1913 — Mary L. Ault — Paralysis — New Deputy, Ohio
May 14, 1913 — Richard H. Johnson — Gastritis of old age — Wilmington, Ohio
June 2, 1913 — Dr. John McCauley — Pul. Tuberculosis — Xenia, Ohio
June 20, 1913 — Price Gay — Abscess & rectal fistula — Xenia Infirmary, Ohio
June 25, 1913 — Mrs. Jennie Scott — Mitral insufficiency — Yellow Springs, Ohio
July 12, 1913 — Laurence C. Hightower — Accidental, kicked by mule in abdomen — near Yellow Springs, Ohio
August 6, 1913 — Elizabeth Brown — Cause not given, age 85+ more — Springfield, Ohio
August 9, 1913 — Hettie Matilda Young — Hypertrophy liver — near Yellow Springs, Ohio
August 11, 1913 — John H. Newsome — Accute mitral insufficiency — Dayton Asylum, Ohio
August 12, 1913 — Margaret Smedley — Carcinoma of liver — Springfield, Ohio
August 16, 1913 — Alfred Benning — Tuberculosis — Yellow Springs, Ohio
August 16, 1913 — Jane Ann Garrison — Mitral Insufficiency — Near Hustead, Clark Co., Ohio
September 3, 1913 — Mary Bell Sroufe — Cancer — Yellow Spgs, Ohio
September 24, 1913 — Marie B. Hutchinson — Paralysis — Springfield, Ohio
October 14, 1913 — Mildred Strode — Pneumonia — N. of Yellow Spgs, Ohio
November 7, 1913 — Benjamin Grimes — Heart disease, supposed to be over 100 — Yellow Spgs, Ohio
November 8, 1913 — Ellen L. Moore — Suicide, carbolic acid — Yellow Spgs, Ohio
December 8, 1913 — Perry W. Newsome — Supperation hepatitis — Cleveland, Ohio
January 3, 1914 — Barbara Welch — Mitral Insufficiency — Chicago, Ill.
January 12, 1914 — Sarah Ann Barkley — Chronic catarrhal pneumonia — Dayton, Ohio
January 20, 1914 — Infant, Jenkins — Congestion of lungs — near Enon, Ohio
January 22, 1914 — Wm. H. Brown — Pneumonia — near Yellow Spgs, Ohio
January 27, 1914 — Margaret C Wallace — Tuberculosis — Yellow Spgs, Ohio
February 2, 1914 — Julia May Wallace — Tuberculosis, pulmonary — Yellow Spgs, Ohio
How many people are aware that Yellow Springs once had its own money system?
When one thinks of Arthur Morgan, one usually associates him with either engineering projects or the presidency of Antioch College, but he was also responsible for setting up a local economic system to help participants through the ravages of the Great Depression.
As his son Ernest recounts in his own autobiography Dealing Creatively with Life:
“Dad put forward a barter plan…There were to be two levels of barter: local and regional. The local organization was to be the Yellow Springs Exchange. It would handle transactions through the use of a local currency, or scrip…The local exchange needed a central retail outlet, so Dad bought our building and we moved the Antioch Bookplate Company from Xenia Avenue [the Kings Yard building currently housing Bonadies] to Dayton Street [not 888 Dayton Street, but part of the building where Atomic Fox now does business]…People brought in all manner of merchandise and produce, some of which was bought outright for scrip and some taken on consignment.”
In a letter from Ernest to Mary E. Morgan in 1994, in which he donated samples of scrip to the Historical Society, he described the qualities of the paper:
“You will notice that I printed them in different shades of the same colors, and on mottled paper. This would make them impossible to reproduce by photo-engraving. Furthermore, the mottled paper was hard to find.”
In addition to the “currency” just described, it was found necessary to print “coins” of smaller denominations for making change. These were printed in black on red card stock with a plain back reverse side.
In the same letter Ernest recounted an episode related to the scrip printing:
“…At one point the Bookplate Company acquired a Waite Press, made in England, for making prints from steel and copper engravings. It weighed some 10,000 pounds and I hired the firm of Muth Brothers to bring it to our shop. That was a Dayton firm which specializes in moving buildings and monuments. It was they who moved the eighty-ton Morgan Memorial Boulder three miles, to the Antioch campus.
“There was a man named William Pringle, from whom I obtained four beautiful bookplate designs, engraved on steel, which I printed on that Waite press.
“One day Pringle and I were having dinner together, and the conversation drifted to the topic of engraving. Suddenly I realized what he was driving at. If he made the necessary plates, would I do the necessary presswork — on U.S. currency?! I pretended I didn’t catch on.”
B-88 was described by Ernest Morgan: “Painting by serigraphy specialist Douglas Mazonowicz from a cave painting in the Shelter Los Cabollos in Spain.” The artist lived in the Yellow Springs area for a while and concentrated on reproducing cave paintings.
B-92 incorporated a photograph from a slide by Paul Rybolt when a student at Antioch College.
B-93, painted by Tom Till (previous blog posts on Tom Till can be found here and here), was inspired by the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. For at least one catalog there was a confusion in the numbering sequence, where this design was designated B-96, and vice versa.
B-96 was from a composition by 17-year-old Jane Rosenblum.
B-97 was another Rybolt photograph.
Tucked in among other assorted documents and photographs were two intriguing (and quite old) images.
One bears the following handwritten legend on the back: “J. K.
S. Quarry along Corry St. looking S. R.R. on top right side” It is curious that the figure in the photograph is a woman. Did she actually work there, or is she a sightseer?
The second identifies the individuals in a handwritten legned on the back: “Mrs. John Birch Aunt Lucy & Uncle Jimmy More who lived at the corner of Xenia Ave. and Allen St. when we lived on Xenia Ave. Aunt Lucy who was part Indian outlived her husband many years altho she had many children while in slavery she did not know of any of their whereabouts.”
In an attempt to further identify “Aunt Lucy” and “Uncle Jimmy” Dave Neuhardt did some research and found an entry in the 1900 census for a “Lucy Moore” living in Yellow Springs (aged 101!). Later he added, “I also found Lucy and James Moore, living in Miami Township in 1880. She was a housekeeper and he was a laborer. That entry shows her having been born in Virginia in 1802 (rather than 1799, which is what she apparently told the census taker in 1900). James (Jimmy, apparently) was much younger, having been born in Georgia some time around 1820.” Dave eventually found a July 23, 1903 death notice in the Xenia Gazette archives: “Mrs. Lucy Moore, the oldest colored person in Greene county, was buried here last Sunday. She died at the age of about 104 years. Mrs. Moorehad lived here over 60 years and about two years ago because of her extreme age and failing health, she was taken to the Infirmary, where she died on Saturday morning.” Since there was no place of burial mentioned, Dave suggested that she likely would have been buried in the Infirmary’s cemetery if there was one.
Many pioneers and travellers in the Ohio Valley stopped to rest at the Spring. Josiah Espy, from Pennsylvania, came through on August 21, 1805 “allured by enthusiastic accounts he had heard. . . and with the intention of seeking a place to settle.” Here is part of his diary for that day:
“There are the most celebrated mineral waters in Ohio and beginning to be much frequented. They are situated about 70 miles North of Cincinnati and about a mile and a half West of the Little Miami. The country around them is more hilly and less fertile than is usual in that State, but it may be considered as pretty well calculated for wheat.
“The Yellow Spring is a beautiful, bold, and limpid water, issuing out of nearly the top of a hill about 80 or 90 feet high; the country back of the spring being nearly on a level with the ground at the top of the hill out of which the spring issues. Down the face of this hill the water flows in rapid descent to a beautiful brook below leaving a sediment or deposit nearly the color of half-burned brick which has accumulated to amazing size. It it, indeed, the greatest curiosity in the neighborhood. The face of the hill or projection, composed entirely of this deposit, is from 50 ot 80 perches in circumference, and is in its center, from appearance, 30 to 40 feet deep. The face of the hill on which this sediment has been deposited appears incapable of producing much vegetation—a little shrubbery are the chief which grow on it.
“The water of the spring is intensely cold. It has not yet been analysed, but is supposed to be strongly impregnated with iron (some think copper) and calcareous earth, and I have observed on its surface a dark, oily substance in small quantity. Considering the intense coldness of the water and apparent hardness, it is surprising what may be drunk with perfect safety . . . it usually operating as a diuratic, sometimes as a cathartic.
“It is now most used in rheumatism and eruptions of the skin, and with great efficacy. At present the only convenient improvement that appears is two excellent shower baths, which are much used.”
Lewis Davis kept his interest in the spring, as can be seen in the advertisement for lots in “Ludlow,” the name of the settlement in this period.
In 1814 the sixth edition of “The Navigator” was published in Pittsburgh, a book “containing directions for navigating the Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers.” The Yellow Spring is described at length starting on page 243, reproduced actual size at left.
The early growth of the town as a watering place was marked on May 8, 1826 with a visit by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar who stopped briefly on his way by stage from Cincinnati to Columbus. He mentions the Owenites, a group who tried to establish a utopian community here.
“We stopped on our way at a small village, Yellow Springs, to see the spring from which the place derives its name. The village occupies a woody elevation on the shore of the Little Miami (sic), rushing through a deep, rocky valley. The place is small, and was bought by a society of twelve gentlemen, under the direction of Mr. Lowndes. These gentlemen intended to found a sect upon Owen’s system; there had been one established here previously, but dissolved on account of the majority of them being worthless creatures, who has brought neither capital, nor inclination to work. Mr. Lowndes, whose acquaintance I made, said that he expected new and better members. The locality is healthful and favorable for such an establishment. The spring originates in a limestone rock, the water has a little taste of iron, and deposits a great quantity of ochre, from which it takes its name . . .They have no baths fitted up, as yet there is only a shower-bath. The former will most probably be established, when it becomes a place of public resort.”
UNDER the greenwood tree,
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither: 5
Here shall he see
But winter and rough weather.
(William Shakespeare, As You Like It)
Maybe it’s the influence of the proximity of John Bryan State Park and especially Glen Helen, but perhaps more than any other municipality in the area, Yellow Springs reveres its trees, even to the point of arranging pavement around them.
The most majestic of trees like all mortal things are subject to the natural forces of decay and predation, but Yellow Springs is well served by the Tree Committee by ensuring that such trees as are necessarily lost are replaced, if not by the same species, by varieties more likely to endure future problems, and many of those trees planted by the Committee are memorials to former Yellow Springs citizens.
In the photograph shown below from the John Ott collection (donated to the Historical Society by the estate of Mary E. Morgan) entitled by Ott “Walking Down His Street” trees are a dominating visual element, so much so that only small portions of buildings are visible.