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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Jul 02

The Gearhart Brothers of Greene County

Posted on July 2, 2019 at 10:09 AM by Elise Kelly

During these summer months, fans will fill baseball stadiums to watch their favorite teams play. Many boys in the stands will dream of making it in the big leagues and to one day play for a team like the Yankees or the Reds.

Fig. 1_Beavercreek News, June 18, 1969, Front Page (JPG)
Fig. 1 Beavercreek News, June 18, 1969 – Found in the 1969 Greene County Jail Time Capsule (Greene County Archives)

In New Lebanon, Ohio, five brothers played for Dixie High School’s baseball team during the 1920s and 1930s. One of those brothers, Lloyd Gearhart, went on to play outfield and first base for a minor league team named the Atlanta Crackers.

Fig. 2 Lloyd Gearhart (JPG)
Fig. 2 Dayton Daily News, June 19, 1945 (Newspapers.com)

In 1947, the New York Giants came calling for Gearhart and acquired him for $75,000! Gearhart was a skilled ballplayer who threw left-handed and batted right-handed. During his time in the majors, he hit a home run at the Polo Grounds in New York. Sitting in the stands that day was the Governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey.

After Gearhart’s short but successful stint in the Major Leagues, he went on to play for minor league teams in Jersey City, New Jersey, Havana, Cuba, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Fig. 3-1902_Indianapolis_Indians (JPG)
Fig. 3 1902 Indianapolis Indians (Image via Wikipedia Commons)

When his playing days were over, Gearhart became a scout for the New York Mets and managed a farm team for the Mets in Virginia.

By the 1970s, Lloyd Gearhart retired from baseball and settled in Greene County, where he served as Xenia’s Director of Recreation and Parks Department. He later became the Manager of Sports Activities at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home in Xenia. During Lloyd’s tenure in Greene County, his brother Russell Gearhart, served as the Greene County Clerk of Courts from 1952 up until his death in 1976.

Fig. 4 R.E. Gearhart (PNG)
Fig. 4 Russell E. Gearhart (Xenia Daily Gazette, September 23, 1976)

Prior to Russell's tenure as the Clerk of Courts, he worked at a stemmery, where he met his first wife, Mildred Fawley. A stemmery is a facility where tobacco leaves are stripped for the production of tobacco products.

Fig. 5 Marriage License Russell Gearhart (JPG)
Fig. 5 Greene County Probate Court Marriage Record Book 1931-1938 (Greene County Archives)

 After he left the stemmery, he worked for Xenia City Schools. By 1948, he began working in the County Clerk’s office and four years later, Russell Gearhart was elected the Clerk of Courts in 1952.

When Greene County’s new jail was constructed in 1969, a time capsule was placed in the building’s cornerstone. For posterity, Russell Gearhart added a couple of items in the time capsule. He included a brief biography of himself that was typed on his office’s letterhead, a School Days photograph of his son, Rickey Allen Gearhart, and an Auto Title holder with Gearhart’s portrait on the front.

Fig. 6 Auto Title holder, Russell E. Gearhart, Clerk of Courts (JPG)
Fig. 6 Russell Gearhart’s brief biography along with a photograph of his son, Rickey Gearhart. (Greene County Archives)

Fig. 7 Auto Title holder, Russell E. Gearhart, Clerk of Courts, front view (JPG)
Fig. 7 Auto Title holder (Greene County Archives)

When Russell Gearhart died at the age of sixty-six in September 1976, he was remembered as a very loyal and hardworking man. He was a member of several fraternal orders and the Spring Valley Firemen’s Association. His brother Lloyd was also fondly remembered. In 1995, Dixie High School in New Lebanon named its baseball field in his honor. Lloyd Gearhart died in 2001.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Greene County Archives
Newspapers.com
Society for American Baseball Research
Wikimedia Commons
Xenia Daily Gazette

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