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.

Jun 21

Celebrating Greene County History Week

Posted on June 21, 2019 at 12:19 PM by Elise Kelly

Every year in June we celebrate Greene County History Week. To kick off the festivities, the Greene County Historical Society had a tag sale fundraiser on Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th. Treasures of all kinds were found and purchased.

Fig. 1 Greene County Historical Society tag sale (JPG)
Fig. 1 Greene County Historical Society’s Tag Sale (Photo courtesy of Greene County Ohio Historical Society’s Facebook Page)

In addition, the Greene County Historical Society hosted the Chamber Women in Business Luncheon on Thursday the 20th. Our own Robin Heise, Greene County Records Manager and Archivist, was the guest speaker. She informed the audience how she preserves and makes accessible Greene County's public records. Many of the older historical records paint a picture of the lives of the people of Greene County, the small communities within the county, and the many businesses that have operated here. While looking through past records such as: birth and death registers; marriages; wills; estates; maps; land and tax records, one experiences a sense of identity or a connection to the past.

On Wednesday the 19th, the Greene County Archives sponsored a program that introduced the types of records held at the Greene County Archives and demonstrated how the records could be used in genealogy research. The program was free and open to the public. We had a good group that asked important questions.

Fig. 2 Intro Genealogy Class 2019 (JPG)
Fig. 2 Genealogy Program introducing types of records held at the Greene County Archives (Greene County Archives)

Later that afternoon, we invited the public and county departments to an Open House. Various exhibits and highlights of our records were on display and tours and light refreshments were provided.

Fig. 3 Open House 1 (JPG)
Fig. 3 Greene County Archives’ Open House (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 4 Greene County Archives Open House 2 (JPG)
Fig. 4 Greene County Archives’ Open House (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 5 Greene County Archives Open House 3 (JPG)
Fig. 5 Greene County Archives’ Open House – Exhibit Panel of Historical Receipts (Greene County Archives)

Today, Friday the 21st, we opened a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone of the County Jail in 1969. Next week’s blog will feature everything that we found in the time capsule. Stay tuned!

The final scheduled event for Greene County History Week is Beavercreek Historical Society’s Open House. The Open House will be held on Sunday the 23rd at the History Center located at 1981 Dayton-Xenia Road in Beavercreek. You’ll have a chance to learn about the beautiful, historical landmarks that dot Beavercreek Township!

Fig. 6 Beavercreek Historical Society (JPG)
Fig. 6 Beavercreek Historical Society’s History Center (Photo courtesy of Beavercreek Historical Society’s Facebook Page)

We want to thank all for sponsoring and attending our history week events. We look forward to next year.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Greene County Ohio Historical Society (Facebook Page)
Beavercreek Historical Society (Facebook Page)
Greene County Archives

Jun 14

Attorney and Writer, William A. Paxson

Posted on June 14, 2019 at 9:06 AM by Melissa Dalton

One of our volunteers ran across the Estate for William A. Paxson while processing the probate records. His estate sparked interest, and we all felt that the name rang a bell, but could not place it. After going through Broadstone’s History of Greene County Vol II, we realized what it was - he wrote a poem for the 1901 Courthouse Time Capsule (Fig 1)! Since we are gearing up for the 1969 Greene County Jail Time Capsule Opening next week, we thought it might be fun to dig a little deeper, and learn a bit about the author of this poem.

Fig 1. Untitled poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (JPG)Fig 1. Untitled poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (JPG)
Fig 1. Untitled Poem by William A. Paxson, 1901 (Greene County Archives)

William Alpha Paxson was born on July 6, 1850 in Beavercreek Township, and was raised on the family farm. Paxson received his early education in the local schools, and later, attended Ohio Wesleyan University. He began studying law with J. A. Sexton in Xenia, and attended the Cincinnati Law College to gain his formal education. Paxson graduated in 1874, and was admitted to the bar the same year. He married Rebecca C. Rankin of Fayette County in 1875 (Fig 2), and they had five children (although three died in infancy/childhood). The two surviving children were Frostie L. and William Stanley.

Fig 2. Marriage recrod for William A. Paxson and Rebecca C. Rankin (JPG)
Fig 2. Marriage record for William A. Paxson and Rebecca C. Rankin (Greene County Archives)

In 1876, Paxson started his own law firm in Jamestown, which is where he stayed the remainder of his career (Fig 3). His son, William, was an outstanding student, and followed in his father’s footsteps, even studying law under his father and later founding his own firm in Cincinnati.

Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Paxson family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 3. 1880 U.S. Census with Paxson family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Although Paxson was a well-known attorney in the area, he had other passions that fostered notoriety in the region. Growing up on a farm, he had a connection to the land, and owned hundreds of acres of farming land in Greene and Fayette counties. However, he may be best known in the region as writer and poet. He wrote on a variety of topics, but most focused on agriculture and politics. In 1901, he published a story of life in rural Ohio titled “A Buckeye Baron”. He also wrote another book that went unpublished, titled “Karomana”. Paxson also occasionally contributed his poems to the local papers (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Paxson poem titled "Come Home" published in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 23
Fig 4. Paxson poem titled “Come Home” published in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 23, 1913 (Newspapers.com)

Rebecca Paxson died in November of 1918 of an abscess of the lungs. Five years later, in 1923, Paxson married Mary A. Gray. Due to Mary having “considerable property of her own”, they decided to only bequest $2000 to one another in their individual wills. This meant that the remainder of each estate would go to others as assigned. It is evident in Paxson’s will that he was passionate about his writing and what happened to those precious items after his death. Paxson bequested his manuscripts and writings, as well as his typewriter, typewriter desk, and private library, to his children and grandchildren. Also of interest is that Paxson made it clear that his daughter, Frostie, was to get more out of his estate because she did not receive as much from her mother’s. Paxson felt it was only fair that she get an equal share as her brother, so he left her an additional sum (Fig 5).

Fig 5. Last Will and Testament of William A. Paxson (JPG)
Fig 5. Last Will and Testament of William A. Paxson (Greene County Archives)

William A. Paxson passed away on January 16, 1933 at the age of 82 (Fig 6). He was buried in the Old Silvercreek Cemetery next to his first wife, Rebecca, and their three deceased children (Fig 7).

Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (JPG)Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (JPG)
Fig 6. Obituary of William A. Paxson in the Xenia Daily Gazette (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig 7. Headstone for William and Rebecca Paxson, and their three children (JPG)
Fig 7. Headstone for William and Rebecca Paxson, and their three children (FindAGrave.com)

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Ancestry.com
FindAGrave.com
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com

Jun 07

Get Back...Get Back...Get Back to 1969

Posted on June 7, 2019 at 1:43 PM by Melissa Dalton

Where were you in 1969? This was the "year everything changed.” Richard Nixon became the 37th U.S. President; more than 400,000 young Americans flocked to a New York dairy farm to hear many talented music groups like the Grateful Dead; Astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon; and the first withdrawal of troops in Vietnam began.

Fig. 1 xenia-daily-gazette-Jan-20-1969-p-1(PNG)
Fig. 1 Xenia Daily Gazette, January 20, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig. 2 Woodstock Festival, aug 16 1969 - Flickr (PNG)
Fig. 2 Woodstock Music Festival, August 16, 1969 (Flickr.com)

In Greene County, the current County Jail was erected in 1969 and a timecapsule was placed in the cornerstone. Now, fifty years later, we will be opening this relic on June 21st. To commemorate the "year everything changed," we have created a new exhibit here at the Greene County Records Center and Archives to showcase local and national events from 1969.

Fig. 3 Exhibit Case (JPG)
Fig. 3 Greene County Archives’ Exhibit Case

Fig. 4 1969 Timecapsule (JPG)
Fig. 4 Exhibit Board in the Greene County Archives

Fig. 5 Exhibit Board 2 edited (JPG)
Fig. 5 Additional Exhibit Board in the Greene County Archives


At Kennedy’s Market in Xenia, they were selling “moon soil” (swiss cheese) and at Xenia Chrysler-Plymouth one could purchase a Fury III 2-Door Hardtop for $3115!

Fig. 6 xenia-daily-gazette-Jul-21-1969-p-9 (PNG)
Fig. 6 Xenia Daily Gazette, July 21, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

The first African-American Mayor of Xenia, James T. Henry was elected; a tornado blasted through Beavercreek in May 1969; the salary budget for the Greene County Common Pleas Judges was $16,557; and a section of Arrowhead Acres in Xenia was approved for construction.

Fig. 7 Common Pleas Court Salaries (JPG)
Fig. 7 Greene County Common Pleas Court Budgets 1957-1970 (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 8 arrowhead acres (JPG)
Fig. 8 Board of Greene County Commissioners Plat Book 2 (Greene County Archives)

Furthermore, at least four servicemen from Greene County perished in Vietnam; a sit-in protest occurred at Xenia High School; the first anniversary for Lee’s Famous Recipe on North Allison Avenue in Xenia was being celebrated; and the Merv Griffin Show was airing on Channel 12.

Fig. 9 Thomas Landrum (JPG)
Fig. 9 Xenia Daily Gazette, November 20, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig. 10 xenia-daily-gazette-Feb-27-1969-p-19 (PNG)
Fig. 10 Xenia Daily Gazette, February 27, 1969 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

1969 was certainly a year of peaks and valleys that will forever be remembered. What do you remember that happened in 1969? Let us know, we would be happy to hear from you!

Until Next Time!


Sources:
Greene County Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Flickr.com