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.

Aug 16

Determining Relationships in the Dark Ages: Genealogy Before the Internet by Amy (Brickey) Czubak

Posted on August 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM by Melissa Dalton

Before the internet, tracing genealogy was difficult past a certain point. With the passing of older generations came the realization of knowledge lost – what was the name of that fourth great-grandfather your grandmother mentioned once? No one knows now that Nana is gone. Not only was it difficult to determine relatives from the past, but it was also hard to keep track of who married who, and what children were born to whom once everyone had moved away and lost contact. Knowing descendants is just as important as knowing ancestors, especially when it comes to determining an inheritance.

An estate record from 1931 was having just that problem – they needed to do some genealogy to determine and confirm descendants for Matilda McCollum who had died after her husband. On October 2, 1931, the Greene County Probate Court received a letter from The Supreme Court of Kansas in Topeka regarding the heirs of Matilda McCollum (Fig. 1). The letter states that the persons listed are all first cousins or second cousins of “Tillie” McCollum and therefore should be considered heirs.

Fig 1. Letter from The Kansas Supreme Court in Topeka (PNG)
Fig. 1: Letter from The Kansas Supreme Court in Topeka (Greene County Archives)

Creating a crude family tree, the Greene County Probate Court was able to determine that the Henry family was, indeed, heirs of Matilda McCollum, and so too were some Carsons (Fig. 2).

Fig 2. Crude family tree for Matilda McCollum (PNG)
Fig. 2: Crude family tree for Matilda McCollum (Greene County Archives)

After heirship was determined, the court was finally able to distribute Matilda McCollum’s estate. As was customary, an ad was placed in the Xenia Daily Gazette listing the heirs, their addresses, and other details of the estate in 1933, once heirship was proven (Fig. 3).

Fig 3. Advertisement from the Xenia Gazette (PNG)
Fig. 3: Advertisement from the Xenia Gazette (Greene County Archives)

Individuals were not the only ones who had to go out of their way to do a little ancestry before the internet made finding ancestors and long-lost cousins faster and easier. Courts, too, had to go the extra mile to prove relationships in estate cases, bastardy cases, and even some criminal cases.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Greene County Archives Probate Record for Matilda McCollum


Aug 07

The Golden Harp Player of Greene County

Posted on August 7, 2019 at 8:46 AM by Elise Kelly

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, residents living in Greene and Montgomery Counties had the wonderful opportunity to hear Rocco Satalia play his large, golden harp (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Rocco Satalia business card (JPG)
Fig. 1 Rocco Satalia, Probate Box 734, Case #561, Guardianship of Incompetent (Greene County Archives)

Satalia played at balls, private parties, picnics, and weddings. For hours, he would play Italian operas and Viennese waltzes, usually in front of someone’s staircase or a bay window. Satalia even furnished “high class” music for the Xenia Meat Market Co. and the Conkle Cloak House in Dayton (See Figs. 2 & 3).

Fig. 2 Xenia Daily Gazette, Dec. 18, 1925 (JPG)
Fig. 2 Xenia Daily Gazette, December 18, 1925 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig. 3 The Dayton Herald, Oct. 11, 1898 (JPG)
Fig. 3 The Dayton Herald, October 11, 1898 (Newspapers.com)

In July 1884, he composed and published an original piece titled Italian Polka (See Fig. 4 & Fig. 5).

Fig. 4 Italian Polka composed by Rocco Satalia (JPG)
Fig. 4 Italian Polka, composed and published by Rocco Satalia (Image via Library of Congress – loc.gov)

Fig. 5 Italian Polka composed by Rocco Satalia page 2 (JPG)
Fig. 5 Italian Polka, composed and published by Rocco Satalia, page 2 (Image via Library of Congress – loc.gov)

Born in 1854 in the Province of Naples (southern Italy), Rocco Satalia came to the United States in 1863. For more than thirty years, Satalia waited to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Ultimately in October 1900, Satalia renounced his allegiance to the Emperor of Germany and the King of Italy and became a citizen of the United States (See Fig. 6).

Fig. 6  U.S. Citizen Declaration (JPG)
Fig. 6 Rocco Satalia’s Naturalization Record (Ancestry.com)

It is interesting that this document notes that Satalia had to renounce his allegiance to the Emperor of Germany. The reason for this is because Italy joined the Triple Alliance in 1882, which was an agreement between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. Each member of the alliance guaranteed support and assistance if any of them were attacked by an outside power.

Rocco Satalia moved often and resided in several towns including Dayton, Lebanon, Xenia, and Jamestown. According to the 1930 Xenia City census record, Satalia who was eighty-seven, was still transporting his harp around to play at local soirees. By 1932, he had purchased a tract of land on North Church Street in Jamestown for thirty-five dollars (See Fig. 7).

Fig. 7 Deed Vol. 159 Pg. 389 underlined (JPG)
Fig. 7 Deed - Volume 159, Page 389 (Greene County Archives)

While living in Jamestown, Satalia became critically ill. At the age of ninety-six in 1938, he was admitted to the Greene County Infirmary (See Fig. 8).

Fig. 8 Rocco Satalia Infirmary page 1 with red circle (JPG)
Fig. 8 Greene County Infirmary Register of Admissions/Discharges 1907-1951, page 216 (Greene County Archives)

Sadly the next year, Rocco Satalia passed away in the infirmary. He was buried at St. Brigid Cemetery in Xenia. Unfortunately, he has no grave marker. For many years following Rocco Satalia’s death, his harp playing was cherished and often remembered by many. The love ballad “Silver threads among the Gold” was a favorite.

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Ancestry.com
FamilySearch.com
Greene County Archives
Library of Congress – loc.gov
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com
Aug 02

The Freed Families of New Jasper: The Brooks (Part IV)

Posted on August 2, 2019 at 1:10 PM by Melissa Dalton

The last several weeks, we have discussed how Noah Spears, a slave owner from Paris, Kentucky (in Bourbon County) bought several families of slaves as to ensure the families stayed together. Spears emancipated his slaves, and bought roughly 400 acres of land in New Jasper Township (near Stringtown) for the families to settle. This week we will highlight the last of the families – The Brooks.

Hannah was the youngest of the three daughters of Emily and David Blackburn, and was born around 1840 in Paris, Kentucky. She married Charles Brooks around 1858 in Paris, Kentucky, and the family came to Greene County in 1862.

Soon after arriving in Greene County, Charles registered for the draft for the Civil War (Fig 1). This document showed that the Brooks family was living in New Jasper Township as of June 1863, that Hannah and Charles were married, and that Charles was 25 years old. We searched to see if he was ever drafted, and it appears he might not have been, but we were unable to definitively identify him in any of the Ohio Civil War rosters.

Fig 1. Civil War Registration with Charles Brooks outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 1. Civil War Registration with Charles Brooks outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Hannah was one of several in the Blackburn family that was deeded a tract of land (as part of a trust) for only one dollar in 1862. This land was located in Military Survey #2278, and totaled roughly 100 acres (Fig 2). Then in July 1863, Hannah bought 59.5 acres of land, in Military Survey #1995, from Noah Spears for $3000 (Fig 3). What is curious about this transaction is that Hannah’s sisters acquired all their land from Spears for only one dollar. It is possible that this just reflects the true value of the land, and not what she paid, but we do not have any additional information to confirm the suspicion. So, for now, this remains a mystery.

Fig 2. Deed Record Vol 40, p 440 (JPG)
Fig 2. Deed Record Vol. 40, p. 440 (Greene County Archives)

Fig 3. Deed Record Vol 41, p 258 (JPG)
Fig 3. Deed Record Vol. 41, p. 258 (Greene County Archives)

It has been more difficult to find much information on the Brooks family, at least compared to the other families in this multi-part blog. There are very few newspaper articles, no estate files, and all we have to go on are the census records. The Brooks family shows up in Greene County on the 1870 Census, and we learn a few things about them. Charles is a farmer; there are two children – Joseph (b. circa 1861) and Anna (aka Charlesanna; b. 1858); and there are two additional people living in the home – Lydia Carter and Evaline Crampton (Fig 4).

Fig 4. 1870 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 4. 1870 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

The 1880 Census stumped us for a moment as Evaline Crampton is listed as Hannah’s mother (Fig 5). We knew this wasn’t accurate as we have found multiple sources indicating she was a daughter of Emily and David Blackburn. After a short search, we found a death notice for Ms. Crampton, and she actually was Charles’ mother (Fig 6).

Fig 5. 1880 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 5. 1880 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 6. Death Notice of Evaline Crampton in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated January 29, 1900 (JPG)
Fig 6. Death Notice of Evaline Crampton in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated January 29, 1900 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Joseph passed away of fever in 1876 at the age of 15. Due to being named in the land trust, an estate was filed to ensure that his share would go to his sister, Charlesanna (Fig 7). On Christmas Day of the same year, Charlesanna married Rev. Alexander Campbell. The couple had one child, Katie, in 1880.

Fig 7. Estate documents of Joseph Brooks, Probate Box 68 (JPG)
Fig 7. Estate of Joseph Brooks, Probate Box 68 (Greene County Archives / FamilySearch.org)

Rev. Campbell had Bright’s disease (a kidney disease) and underwent a surgery to cure the disease in 1896. Sadly, there were complications, and he passed away shortly thereafter. Charlesanna never remarried, and was listed on the 1900 Census as living with her parents (Fig 8). Charlesanna suffered from poor health as well. She had heart problems and died rather suddenly on February 5, 1905 (Fig 9).

Fig 8. 1900 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 8. 1900 Census with Brooks family outlined in red (Ancestry.com)

Fig 9. Death Notice of Charlesanna Campbell in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated February 6, 1905 (JPG)
Fig 9. Death Notice of Charlesanna Campbell in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated February 6, 1905 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Charles and Hannah outlived both their children by many years. Their granddaughter, Katie, lived with them off and on throughout their lives as well. Hannah passed away on May 2, 1922 at the age of 82. According to her obituary, she was active in the church, was an organizer (along with her sister) of the Married Ladies Afternoon Club, and was just a truly genuine person. However, there was one perplexing note in her obituary – a mention of another son, B. M. Brooks of Minneapolis (Fig 10). There has never been a mention of another son, none of the census records indicate three children, but it is possible he was born in Kentucky prior to the family being emancipated. Although we haven’t found a definitive connection as of yet, we’re still looking. We hope to be able to write a blog to follow-up on this story in the future.

Fig 10. Death Notice of Hannah Blackburn Brooks in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 4, 1922 (JPG)
Fig 10. Death Notice of Hannah Blackburn Brooks in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 4, 1922 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Charles passed away on September 3, 1924 at his home. Although we aren’t sure of his exact age, he was roughly 86 years old (Fig 11).

Fig 11. Death Notice of Charles Brooks in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 4, 1924 (JPG)
Fig 11. Death Notice of Charles Brooks in the Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 4, 1924 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

We hope you enjoyed our multi-part story on the Freed Families of New Jasper. These families had many connections, and by learning about them and their lives, we’ve uncovered more people and stories that we were unfamiliar with, until now. Stay tuned because we will be sharing these stories in future blogs!

Until Next Time!

Sources:
Ancestry.com
Greene County Archives
FamilySearch.org
NewspaperARCHIVE.com