Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Mar 15

The Stained Glass in the Courthouse

Posted on March 15, 2019 at 7:37 AM by Robin Heise

When it was decided to build a new courthouse in Xenia at the turn of the century (the 20th century), there was a great deal of work put into the design and building of the structure (Fig 1). The Commissioners’ Minutes illustrate just how much time and energy went into the building, all the way down to the wall hangings and room furnishings (Figs 2 & 3). There are copies of contracts scattered throughout the minutes, and it appears not one item was left to question. However, in April 1902, those contract details were tested.

Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5, Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5,
Fig 1. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette about the decision to build a new courthouse, dated March 5, 1900 (Newspapers.com)

Fig 2. Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, p 238 (JPG)
Fig 2. Excerpt from Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pg 238 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 3. Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, pgs 246-247 (JPG)
Fig 3. Excerpt from Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pgs 246-247 (Greene County Archives)

The courthouse was to have a beautiful bell tower, and fine art/stained glass window, both of which were items of admiration within the community as construction continued on the building. On Friday, April 25, 1902, Xenia and the surrounding area experienced a windstorm. Xenia has had its fair share of crazy weather, and this storm pelted the region. As the wind continued, it rattled the unfinished courthouse. By Saturday evening, the beautiful stained glass window could no longer withstand the winds, and shattered into thousands of pieces, leaving only the outer portion of the window intact (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight about the destruction of the fine art win
Fig 4. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight about the destruction of the fine art window, dated April 28, 1902 (Newspapers.com)

The window, which cost roughly $450 in 1902 (equivalent to just over $13,000 today) would have to be replaced. Seeing as this seemed to be a noted event within the newspapers, we went to the Commissioners’ Minutes to see what they had to say about it. Well, it turns out, nothing. It appears this little bump was not considered noteworthy, and it might have been because of their contract.
As stated earlier, the County was sure to design a fairly tight contract, detailing the finer points. While glancing through, the section below was spied (Fig 5). It states: “The Contractor shall be fully responsible for safety and good conditions of work and material in his contract until the completion of his contract… The Contractor shall also be fully responsible for any damage that may accrue to the property or other contractors or any portion of the structure, that in any wise results from the neglect or acts of his employees.”

Fig 5. Excerpt from the Greene County Commissioners' Minutes, Vol 15, p 229 (JPG)
Fig 5. Excerpt from the Greene County Commissioners’ Minutes, Vol 15, pg 229 (Greene County Archives)

The stained glass window was replaced without further incident, and still exudes its beauty today (Fig 6). The window is on the second floor of the Courthouse, on the north side of the building, which faces E. Market Street.

Fig 6. View of stained glass window from inside the Courthouse (JPG)
Fig 6. View of stained glass window from inside the Courthouse (Greene County Archives)

Until Next Time…

Sources:
Greene County Archives
Newspapers.com

Mar 08

A Return to Greene County

Posted on March 8, 2019 at 10:48 AM by Melissa Dalton

Hello, Greene County blog readers! I would like to re-introduce myself in this blog post. My name is Elise Kelly and between the years 2015-2017, I served as the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Greene County Archives. During my tenure, I wrote many blog posts, visited several classrooms teaching children about our local history, and assisted the general public with research and reference services.

Fig 1. Elise presenting the Slavery in America program to Warner Middle School (Xenia) 8th Graders (
Fig. 1 Elise presenting the Slavery in America program to Warner Middle School (Xenia) 8th Graders (Greene County Archives)

In 2017, I took a position elsewhere but have happily returned to what I consider my “second home.” I am now serving as the Multimedia Archivist/Assistant Public Outreach Coordinator for the Greene County Archives.

As the Multimedia Archivist/Asst Public Outreach Coordinator, I am responsible for the appraisal, transfer, preservation and access of Greene County’s multimedia public records that are transferred to the Archives for long-term preservation. One important aspect of this is the data entry of all of the multimedia records into our records management system. This aids in tracking, inventorying, and controlling all the material stored both in the archival and non-archival storage areas.

Fig 2. Mutlimedia records (JPG)
Fig. 2 Multimedia records (Greene County Archives)

In addition to these responsibilities, I provide research and reference services for our county departments and the general public; I assist our Public Outreach Coordinator with our department’s public outreach program; and I coordinate the transfer of master microfilm.

Prior to coming to Greene County in 2015, I worked at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and lived in a former whaling town named New Bedford. I studied at the University of Dayton and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Art History. In addition, I have a Master of Arts degree in Public History from Wright State University. On a more personal note, I love spending time outdoors, especially hiking and cycling the Greene County and Five Rivers Metroparks’ trails.

Fig 3. Greene County Parks & Trails Indian Reserve Cedar Cliff Falls (JPG)
Fig. 3 Greene County Parks & Trails Indian Reserve Cedar Cliff Falls (Greene County Archives)

It is wonderful to be back serving all who (physically and remotely) visit the Greene County Archives and I look forward to hearing from some of you through our social media outlets.

Until Next Time!

Mar 01

Orphans of Greene County Benefit from Trust

Posted on March 1, 2019 at 9:54 AM by Melissa Dalton

Sometimes things do not work out exactly the way you planned, even after death. Mrs. Louise (née Springer) Greet specified in her last will and testament that upon her death, she should be buried next to her husband. Almost a year later, Greet’s body was exhumed in Xenia and transported to Harmony Cemetery in Brazil, Indiana. Here was where her husband, George was buried. Both have shared the same grave marker for nearly a century now.

Fig 1. Obituary from page 7 of the Brazil Daily Times, November 10, 1921 (JPG)
Fig. 1 Obituary from page 7 of the Brazil Daily Times, November 10, 1921 (Findagrave.com)

Fig 2. Woodland Cemetery Internment Records Vol. 3 outlined in red (JPG)
Fig. 2 Woodland Cemetery Internment Records Vol. 3 outlined in red (Greene County Archives)

Another stipulation found in Greet’s last will and testament had a far-reaching and valuable outcome. According to Greet’s will, one fourth of her estate would be allotted to the Children’s Home in Xenia for the use and benefit of orphan children of Greene County. If the Children’s Home would cease to exist, the monetary funds would be distributed for the care of orphan children in Greene County.

Fig 3. Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (JPG)
Fig. 3 Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (Greene County Archives)

For several decades, this trust fund helped orphaned children obtain eye glasses, clothes, school books, doctor/dental visits, medical operations, Christmas presents and even field trips. This generous and compassionate woman personally understood the needs of orphaned children.

Fig 4. Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (JPG)
Fig. 4 Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 5. Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (JPG)
Fig. 5 Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 6. Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (JPG)
Fig. 6 Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (Greene County Archives)

Louise and her siblings stayed in the Greene County Infirmary after their father, Gustavus Springer died. Springer, a German immigrant who served with the First Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Calvary during the Civil War, died before the age of forty. Since the family was left destitute, the mother, Johanna and her four children had no place to go except to the infirmary. In 1872, at the age of six, Louise was taken in by Mary Mulford. During this time period, Louise would have been more or less an indentured servant. After their mother passed away sometime before 1880, her siblings were sent to live at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home in Xenia and the Montgomery County Infirmary.

By the age of thirty-four in 1900, Louise was working as a laundress for a well-to-do family in St. Louis, MO. You can see in the census record that the family had a cook, a coachman, a butler, a nurse and a laundress.

Fig 7. 1900 Census Record (JPG)
Fig. 7 Census Record, 1900 (FamilySearch.org)

Within two years, Louise married an English immigrant named George Greet in Big Horn, Wyoming. George was a cattle rancher in a well-established cattle and sheep ranching area of Wyoming. The couple lived together for nearly twenty years. In 1920, George was visiting his sister in Knightsville, IN, when he passed away. Louise died less than three months later in Xenia and was buried in Woodland Cemetery. As mentioned earlier, Louise’s body was later exhumed and interred next to George in Harmony Cemetery (Brazil, IN).

As we finish up this blog post, it is important to note that the records found in Louise Greet’s trust are helpful because they contain the names and records of the orphaned children that benefited from Greet’s charitable contribution. An example of this is a death record of an orphan child’s father. A trust record can be a unique and useful genealogy resource.

Fig 8. Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (JPG)
Fig. 8 Louise Greet, Trust Record, Box 666, Case 386 (Greene County Archives)

Until Next Time!

Sources:
FamilySearch.org
Findagrave.com
Greene County Archives