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 28

On Petition: Greene County Residents Sign for a New Library District

Posted on December 28, 2018 at 8:34 AM by Robin Heise

On May 6, 1925, an article appeared in The Evening Gazette concerning the future of the Carnegie Library on Church Street (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Post card featuring Xenia's Carnegie Library (JPG)
Fig 1: Post card featuring Xenia’s Carnegie Library (Courtesy of Motter Family Tree/YS Heritage, http://motter.ysheritage.org/2013/02/25/carnegie-library-xenia-ohio/)

The article mentioned that the library was desperate for money. One board member stated, “It has been said that no one but women could manage the library on the meager funds the Greene County Institution is allowed.” Another article from The Evening Gazette on October 13, 1926 stated much the same about funding issues for the library. An informant, named only as a “Library official” claimed that the County was paying $3,000 toward the support of the library, but most of the money was being used to pay for heating, lighting, janitorial services, and librarian salaries.

Due to the funding shortages, some Greene County residents took to the streets to gather signatures on a petition for the establishment of a Greene County Library District. A little over 3,000 signatures were needed for the petition to be processed by Probate Court. Those gathering signatures were successful, gathering 3,949 names in support of the new library district. In the same October 13 article mentioned above, the advantages of creating a new library district were given. These included:

1. Plenty of clean, new books
2. The best recent books on all new subjects
3. Better school libraries
4. In addition, good circulating libraries for schools and other community centers
5. A skilled county worker to get acquainted with all parts of the county, to study the needs and tastes of all communities in the county district
6. Books delivered to communities and to schools regularly at reasonable intervals by book wagon, to individuals in emergency by parcel post
7. Overhead cost reduced to a minimum with a maximum of service

Many of the people signing the petitions may have read this article and recognized the importance of having a well-maintained library. Many organizations came forward to support the creation of the Greene County Library District including: The Greene County Farm Bureau; Pomona Grange; The Greene County Medical Association; The Greene County WCTU; The Kiwanis Club; The Central PTA, Xenia; The Woman’s Club; and The Spring Hill PTA.

Individuals also took out newspaper ads encouraging people to vote for the measure once it appeared on the ballots after being accepted by the Probate Court. Horace Ankeney was one such individual. In his article (Fig 2), Ankeney stated, “My life has been lived in the country and I have been especially interested in everything that will aid in developing the minds and spirit of our young people […] I intend to therefore to vote “Yes” for the Greene County Library District, November 2.”

Fig 2. The Evening Gazette, October 23, 1926, Horace Ankeney article (JPG)
Fig 2. The Evening Gazette dated October 23, 1926, Horace Ankeney article

E. J. Ferguson, Beavercreek Township resident, also placed an article in The Evening Gazette on October 27, 1926, urging support of the measure (Fig 3). Ferguson stated, “While we of the rural districts are enjoying the past years many privileges not heretofore possible, it seems to me that not one of the advantages we now enjoy is of more importance to us than a library made so easily accessible.” The Evening Gazette reported on November 3, 1926 that the measure had passed with 4,211 yes votes to 3,491 no votes.

Fig 3. The Evening Gazette, October 27, 1926, EJ Ferguson article (JPG)
Fig 3. The Evening Gazette dated October 27, 1926, EJ Ferguson article

I happened upon the probate record containing all 3,949 signatures a few days ago while processing. The signatures came from all over Greene County and from all walks of life. From college students at Wilberforce to illiterate residents who signed with an “X” as their signature, the names provide an amazing range of Greene County history. If you would like to browse through them or search to see if one of your ancestors signed the petition, you can find the digitized records on our Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127695569@N06/albums/72157701742821392. [Please note that some signatures were difficult to read and may not have been properly transcribed. If you find an error, or have questions, please feel free to contact us.]

Until Next Time…

Resources:
The Xenia Daily Gazette
Motter Family Tree/YS Heritage, http://motter.ysheritage.org/2013/02/25/carnegie-library-xenia-ohio/
Greene County Archives Probate Record


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