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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Dec 14

An Extraordinary Life Cut Short

Posted on December 14, 2018 at 9:44 AM by Melissa Dalton

Almost a year ago, Joan emailed me a few headlines regarding the life and death of Dr. Isaiah S. Tuppins. As I read the articles, I was amazed by this man, and saddened that his life was cut so short. However, Dr. Tuppins’ story is one of perseverance and the will of the spirit, and this week, we highlight him.

Isaiah S. Tuppins was born in Tennessee in 1856 to free parents, James and Zilpha Tuppins. The Tuppins moved to Xenia in 1858, raising their large family. Isaiah worked hard, obtaining work as a farm laborer and later, a barber, in Xenia (Fig 1). Isaiah wanted more, and decided to move to Columbus sometime in the late 1870s. He found work as a barber in a shop on Long Street, eventually taking over as owner of the shop (Fig 2).

Fig 1. 1870 U.S. Census with Tuppins family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 1. 1870 U.S. Census with Tuppins family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 2. 1882 Columbus City Directory (JPG)
Fig 2. 1882 Columbus City Directory (Ancestry.com)

After moving to Columbus, Isaiah met Ms. Ellanore Guy. The two married, and had two daughters (Fig 3). Isaiah always longed for more out of his life, and not long after marriage, he decided to pursue a career in medicine. He applied, and was accepted, to the Columbus Medical College. While a medical student, Isaiah continued working as a barber, and picked up other jobs, to earn money for his growing family. In 1884, Isaiah graduated with honors, and was the first African American to graduate from the college. His accomplishments were praised in the local papers, and spoke of the admiration and high regard of his fellow classmates (Fig 4).

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

Fig 4. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 10, 1884, of Dr. Tuppins' graduation (JPG) Fig 4. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 10, 1884, of Dr. Tuppins' graduation (JPG)
Fig 4. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 10, 1884, of Dr. Tuppins’ graduation (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Isaiah opened a medical office in Columbus, and continued in the barber shop business as well (Fig 5). However, he decided to move his family to Rendville, Ohio, a mining community with a large population of African American miners. He sold his interest in the barber shop in Columbus, opened a physician office in his new community, and became a prominent name in Rendville. Isaiah was so well liked and respected that he was elected mayor, becoming the first African American mayor in Ohio.
Fig 5. 1884 Columbus City Directory (JPG)
Fig 5. 1884 Columbus City Directory (Ancestry.com)

Sadly, Ella passed away, leaving Isaiah to raise their young daughters. Isaiah soon met Nancy “Nannie” Simpson, and they married shortly thereafter (Fig 6). Nannie became pregnant soon after they married. However, misfortune struck the young family once again. Isaiah fell ill suddenly, and died on January 10, 1889, at the age of 33 (Fig 7). His body was transported back to Xenia for burial at Cherry Grove Cemetery. Three days later, on the day of Isaiah’s funeral, his daughter, Nancy, was born.

Fig 6. Marriage Record of Isaiah Tuppins and Nancy Simpson (JPG)
Fig 6. Marriage Record of Isaiah Tuppins and Nannie Simpson (Ancestry.com)

Fig 7. Perry County Death Record with Isaiah Tuppins outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 7. Perry County Death Record with Isaiah Tuppins outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 8. Notice of Death of Isaiah S. Tuppins in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated January 12, 1889 (JPG) Fig 8. Notice of Death of Isaiah S. Tuppins in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated January 12, 1889 (JPG)
Fig 8. Notice of Death in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated January 12, 1889 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Every article we found spoke to Isaiah’s good will, and ceaseless search for knowledge. He didn’t let obstacles stop him. He was a man held in high esteem of all whom he met. Isaiah was ambitious, and accomplished so much at such a young age. We can only imagine what else he would have achieved if he had lived another 30 years.

Until Next Time….


Sources:
Ancestry.com
NewspaperARCHIVE.com


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