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.

Jul 21

1864 Civil War Letter by Wilson Penewate

Posted on July 21, 2017 at 5:01 PM by Jessica Cromer

1864 Civil War Letter by Wilson Penewate to his Sisters Mary and Hannah (1)
From Wilson S. Pennewit Probate File Box 361

Civil War Letter P1
Civil War Letter P2

(Punctuation was added below for ease of reading.)

“60th Regt near Petersburg, Va. Sept. 12, 1864

Dear sister,
(I)t is with the greatest of pleasure that I grasp my pen in hand to inform you where and how I am. I went to the hospital on the 16th of June. I was at citypoint(2) near Petersburg, Va. I was down with my breast(3). I got up with my Regt on the second of this month. (T)he last letter I got from you was at Alexandria. (W)e are about 3 miles from Petersburg. (T)hey are still pecing away at it. I have know military news of importance to tell you. (W)e have a pretty hard time here. (W)e won’t get more than half rations here. (T)here is but 5 of us left from Green(e) Co. in Co C. Captain Kyle(4) is agoing to resign. I wrote you to letters while I was at citypoint, one on the 15th and the other on the 20th. Mary(5), if John(6) don’t get that money from Hains(7) I whant you to get 15 or $20.00 of Jonathon Davis(8) and send to me for it is hard to do without it here. I lost your and Hanahers likeness and my knapsack and $5.00 worth of tobaca in the fight at Spotsylvania(9). (W)e don’t get half a nuf to eat here. I want you to send me yours and Hanahers likeness. (Y)ou must let Hanah(10) read this letter for I have no more paper and had to beg this. I would like to know what kind of time you have at camp meeting this year. I would like to be there and take dinner with you but I am so afraid I won’t have the privilige very soon. (W)e have had a dry summer here. (W)e haven’t seen no fences nor corn fields nor wheat fields this summer. I saw William Burn at the battle of the Wilderness(11). I would like to be at spring valy(12) this evening if I ever get home the army may go for me. I and the army is plaid out with one another. (W)ell I must bring this letter to a close thes few lines leaves me in good health. Hoping when they come to hand they may find you all the same. I give my love to all inquiring friends so no more til the next time. (Y)our Brother as ever,

Wilson Penewate(13)
Direct to
Co. C 60th Regt OVI(14)
2nd Brig 3rd Division 9th AC
via Washington DC”

(1) Wilson (1843-1887) would have been 21 years old at the time he wrote this letter.
(2) City Point, VA was the Union Army’s headquarters during the Siege of Petersburg.
(3) Breastworks were barriers about breast-high that protected soldiers from enemy fire (Civil War Trust, Glossary of Civil War Terms <>)
(4) Captain Thomas B. Kyle was in Company C scheduled for a three year service (273).
60th Reg OVI Co C Cpt Kyle p273-19

(5) Mary was Wilson’s older sister.
(6) John was Wilson’s older brother. (There was also a John McClure of the probate court.)
1850 US Census 1850 US Census Copy Highlighted
1850 United States Census

(7) Robert P. Haynes was the real estate appraiser in probate court.
(8) Jonathan Davis was Wilson’s and Hannah’s guardian after their father Adam died.
Probate Court FB 361 Pennewit

(9) The Battle of Spotsylvania, VA began May 8, 1864 and lasted about two weeks.
(10) Hannah was Wilson’s younger sister.
(11) The Battle of the Wilderness was a Union offensive of May 5-6, 1864.
(12) Spring Valley, OH was where Wilson’s family lived.
(13) Private Wilson “Pennyweight” was in Company C scheduled to serve for three years.
Roster of Ohio Troops Vol V p274 Roster of Ohio Troops Vol VI p184
Roster of Ohio Troops p274

(14) Company C of the 60th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1864-1865).

The Surrender at Appomattox occurred in April 1865 and Wilson’s Company was mustered out that July.
Discharge Certificate


"Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997," database, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Wilson Pennyweight, 1887; citing , reference ; FHL microfilm 182,765.

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 November 2014), Wilson Pennyweight in household of Adam P Pennyweight, Sugar Creek, Greene, Ohio, United States; citing family 1667, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Wilson Pennyweight, 1884; citing p. 12885, Dayton, Ohio, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1749 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 37; FHL microfilm 1,547,734.

“60th Ohio Volunteer Infantry,” Ancestry (

Until Next Time!

Jul 14

FamilySearch Imaging Project

Posted on July 14, 2017 at 4:15 PM by Jessica Cromer

The Archives has some very exciting news!

We are working with FamilySearch to digitize records so that they will be made available online, searchable, and extra digital copies stored as part of an archival disaster management plan. This is a symbiotic relationship where FamilySearch and the Archives both benefit in preserving and sharing public records. The FamilySearch volunteer working with us is David.

FamilySearch is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing families together across generations by providing access to public records. These records are made available through a free, online database that provides public access to genealogical records.

1-Imaging Camera 2-Imaging Camera

FamilySearch sends volunteers to courthouses, records centers, and other repositories across the globe to image records of genealogical value. Ohio counties that have recently taken advantage of this program include Clinton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Jefferson, Trumbull, and Washington. Greene County, along with many other Ohio counties, took advantage of these services back in the early 1970s when images were stored on microfilm. This service is provided at no cost to the repositories. The volunteers are equipped with cameras and scanning technology to capture images of various types of records like books, case files, etc. The records remain in the care and oversight of the Records Center while the volunteers are completing the imaging process.

4-Prepping Records 1 5-Prepping Records 2

Copies of the images are saved on an external hard drive which is given to the Records Center. Images are scanned at 300 dpi, in color or black and white (depending on our request) and saved as either JPG or TIFF files. Digital images can later be converted to microfilm by our Microfilming Department for permanent retention if needed.

6-David from FamilySearch 1 7-David from FamilySearch 2

Digital images will be uploaded to the FamilySearch website and will be accessible and free of charge to researchers. As with previously imaged records by FamilySearch (back in the 70s), the Greene County Archives will provide a link to the images on FamilySearch on the Archives’ website. This allows more access to our Greene County records without using County servers to store the images. Additionally, this provides backup copies of long-term and permanent records that can be utilized in the event of a disaster.

3-Small portion of records to be imaged

Benefits of the program include:
• Provides quality digital images of records that have not yet been imaged without costing the County anything (employee time, resources, funds);
• Digital images can later be converted to microfilm for long-term and permanent preservation;
• Provides duplicate images that can be utilized in the event of a disaster;
• Increases access to a large number of public records (without Greene County having to provide the server space);
• Provides an alternate means of imaging a large number of permanent records without overtaxing the Microfilm Department.

...An all around win-win!

Until Next Time!
Jul 07

James Logan Ex-Slave Called by Death

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 4:54 PM by Jessica Cromer

This July 9, 1934 obituary for James Logan was probably from the Yellow Springs News and is courtesy of the Greene County Room of the Greene County Public Library:

James Logan Ex-Slave Called by Death
James Logan 79, passed away suddenly at his home on Dayton Street last Saturday evening. He had been in failing health for sometime [sic]. Mr. Logan was one of the town characters, known by everyone. He had been a janitor in the public school for several years. Prior to that he was employed at the powder plant for many years. He was born in Kentucky in slavery. Surviving are his widow; four daughters, Miss Rebecca Logan, Mrs. Clara Brooks, Mrs. Anna Shoecraft, Mrs. Edwin Peters; three sons, Charles, Lawrence, and James. Funeral services were held at the A.M.E. Church Tuesday afternoon. Burial at Glen Forest.

The powder plant referenced in the obituary is referring to the Miami Powder Company which produced black powder in the Goes Station, Ohio Powder Mill on the Little Miami River. The company closed in 1925 after 79 years.

James Logan of Yellow Springs, born into slavery April 15, 1855 in Fayette County, Kentucky, died in Greene County 93 years ago to the day today, July 7, 1934.

Logan is buried at Glen Forest Cemetery, also known as Yellow Springs Cemetery, in the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Glen Forest Cemetery. Find-A-Grave Photo Courtesy of Grave Hunter, # 47976571.

According to Ancestry and, his spouse was Eva Adams Logan (1860 - 1941), and children determined by “calculated relationship” are James Logan (1890 - 1961), Benjamin Lawrence Logan (1893 - 1975), and Saretta Logan Peters (1898 - 1991). The obituary above does not name his widow, however the Mrs. Edwin Peters from the obituary may be the Saretta Logan Peters named here (possible spouse Charles Edward Peters, 1893 - 1950, and child Wendell H. Peters, 1920 - 1964). Also named here are James Logan and Benjamin Lawrence Logan (spouse Effie May Thompson Logan, 1896 - 1966), which matches the obituary’s James and Lawrence. Benjamin Lawrence served under the name Lawrence Logan in World War I (Xenia Daily Gazette, Feb 21, 1974 obituary). All are at Glen Forest Cemetery.

This Freedman’s Bank Record, below, shows James M. Logan, born 1855 in Fayette County, Kentucky to Anderson Logan and Eliza Logan, had three siblings, Levi, Sarah, and Betty. He was 16 years old at the time of this account date in March 1871.

U.S., Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1871, Kentucky 1871.

Often times, records like these can be the few, if not the only recorded histories of slaves and freed slaves, leaving enormous gaps in our personal and collective history.

Source Information U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. U.S., Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1871 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication M816, 27 rolls.

"Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), James Logan, 07 Jul 1934; citing Yellow Springs, Greene Co., Ohio, reference fn 43148; FHL microfilm 1,993,038.

Until next time!