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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Mar 22

Highlights of Xenia's Irishmen

Posted on March 22, 2019 at 9:27 AM by Melissa Dalton

Last weekend many families, friends and communities celebrated their Irish heritage. Some used their great-grandmother’s recipe to bake Irish soda bread, others listened to traditional Irish music while having a green beer, and some watched Irish lassies dancing at a fish fry.

Here in Xenia, several Irish immigrants and their descendants settled in and around the city and are buried at St. Brigid’s Cemetery.

Fig 1. Aerial photo of St. Brigid Cemetery in 1973 (JPG)
Fig. 1 Aerial photo of St. Brigid Cemetery in 1973 (Greene County Archives)

These families includes the Donovans; the Cullens; the Walshs; the Ryans; the O’Donnells; the Touheys; the O’Connors; the Kennedys, etc.

One such family buried at St. Brigid’s includes the Leaheys. Michael Leahey and his wife, Bridget, emigrated from Ireland to America in the 1880s and eventually settled in Xenia. Michael found work helping to construct and assist with the Dayton-Xenia traction line. This transit-car system was a convenient and reliable way to get to and from cities in southwestern Ohio.

According to the census record of 1910, Michael and Bridget had already welcomed nine children in their home. The family lived at 14 South Miami Avenue close to the railroad line where other Irish families lived.

Fig 2. 1910 U.S. Census Record of Leahey family (JPG)
Fig. 2 1910 Greene County Census Record (FamilySearch.org)

Two of the Leahey children, Michael and Frank, served during World War I and worked like their father, on the traction line.

Fig 3. Veterans' Graves Registration Card for Michael Leahey (JPG)
Fig. 3 Veterans’ Graves Registration Cards (Greene County Archives)

Another family buried at St. Brigid’s were the Cullens. Found in the early Probate Court Minutes are several naturalization records, including Michael Cullen’s. As a native of Ireland, he was naturalized in Xenia a year prior to the start of the Civil War. According to a death notice written in the Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight, Cullen worked as a foreman for the railroad. He passed away at his home on Spring Hill in 1900 due to “the bursting of a small blood vessel in his brain” (Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight, 1900). Spring Hill Park is between Home Avenue and South Detroit Street but sits along Ormsby Drive.

Fig 4. Greene County Probate Court Minutes, Book C, 1857-1861 (JPG)
Fig. 4 Greene County Probate Court Minutes Book C 1857-1861 (Greene County Archives)

One final highlight of Xenia’s Irish community is Patrick Henry Flynn. Flynn was the child of Irish immigrants and in 1890, he became the president of the Xenia Shoe Manufacturing Company. During the company’s heyday, they “employed 300 employees and produced 1,500 pairs of shoes daily” (Xenia Daily Gazette, 1983). Flynn was the father of five children and when he died in 1934, he bequeathed his estate to his surviving wife and children. The assets of his estate totaled $113,608.35. Today, this would be the equivalent of over $2,000,000. Patrick Henry Flynn certainly had the luck of the Irish.

Fig 5. Patrick Henry Flynn, Estate Record Case 2704, Box 751 (JPG)
Fig. 5 Patrick Henry Flynn, Estate Record Case 2704 Box 751 (Greene County Archives)

Until Next Time!

Sources:
FamilySearch.org
Old Resident of Xenia Died on Saturday Morning, Xenia Daily Gazette and Torchlight, July 21, 1900.
Rita Alwell, Shoe Industry Once Thrived Here, Xenia Daily Gazette, September 13, 1983
.


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