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.

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Feb 17

The Trubee Poisoning Affair

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 10:08 AM by Elise Kelly


One of the benefits of volunteering at the Greene County Archives is that one has more opportunities to do genealogy research.

One of our volunteers, Kathy Haller, often does her genealogy research here at the Archives after she finishes her volunteer work for the day.
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Kathy Haller

A couple of weeks ago, we found a Xenia Daily Gazette article that reported on a tragic incident that involved some of Haller's ancestors. Emmanuel Trubee, a farmer born and raised in Greene County (Beavercreek Township), lost three of his sons within a month's time in 1893.
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                                          Xenia Daily Gazette, July 7, 1893

The boys, Frank (age 11); Charles (age 13) and John (age 15) all became violently ill during the month of June 1893. Frank was the first to pass away. The morning Frank died, his brother Charles awoke feeling extremely nauseous. For two weeks, Charles laid in bed suffering from vomiting fits. While Charles was bedridden, his older brother John died.

Surprisingly, Charles recovered and for a few days was feeling better. Soon after, his health took a turn for the worse and Charles passed away the evening of Friday, June 30th, 1893.

Cause of Death
The County Coroner, M.A. Broadstone, investigated all three of the deaths. Broadstone wondered if the family was drinking contaminated well water. He interviewed Emmanuel Trubee and Trubee informed him that the well did emit a foul-smelling odor and they stopped drinking it a while ago. 
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                                         Coroner's Report July 1893

The Coroner then asked Mr. Trubee if he had been ill. Trubee stated his stomach hurt for a short while, but he thought it was from working in the hot sun or being among the sick in the family. He was advised to take some pills from a Dr. Moist. After that, Trubee reported that he had felt better ever since.

The Trubee family had a milking cow but, when the boys became ill, no one in the family had the time to tend to it.

The coroner wanted to perform an autopsy on all three boys. Mr. Trubee permitted him to exhume the bodies and perform the autopsy. This was reported in the Xenia Daily Gazette.

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                                   Xenia Daily Gazette, July 7, 1893

According to the Coroner's autopsy, the boys' stomachs all had very diffused appearances and their livers were hard and had dark patches on them. The milking cow that the family formerly owned was also examined. It turned out, that the cow had "milk sickness." This can be very hard to detect (See Below).
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                                           Coroner's Report July 1893
The coroner determined that the children died from milk sickness and not from poison of any other nature. Milk sickness is very rare today however, it was prevalent during the nineteenth century in the Midwest.

When families migrated to the Midwest, they let their cattle graze in frontier areas where white snakeroot grew. White snakeroot is a poisonous perennial herb.The migrants were unaware of this plant and its properties. Those drinking the milk from the infected cows suffered extreme stomach pains. The cow would sometimes tremble after having eaten the white snakeroot.

What an incredibly distressful and heartbreaking experience Emmanuel Trubee faced with the loss of his three boys. Unfortunately, several other parents during this time, had to go through similar experiences.

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: What book did M.A. Broadstone write?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: What is the name of the housing development that is at the intersection of New Germany-Trebein and Trebein Roads? - Answer: Wolf Ridge

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