Journal-News, Sunday, Aug. 4, 1991
Centennial safe began as gift from Mosler
By Jim Blount
A month before starting its relocation from Cincinnati to Hamilton, the Mosler Safe & Lock Co. expressed interest in making a lasting contribution to its new community, which then was planning to observe its centennial in September 1891.
"As prospective citizens with you, we feel privileged to claim a community of interest in all that relates to the prosperity and welfare of Hamilton and it is in this fellowship of feeling that we wish to join with you in substantial recognition of 'Forefathers Day,'" said an Aug. 20, 1891, letter from Mosler to the Hamilton centennial committee.
"It is our desire in this connection to present to you, as representative of the city of Hamilton, a suitably fitted, finished and inscribed safe to be selected by you for the purpose of securely preserving such records and curios connected with your local history, as it may be desirable for future reference," said the letter, which bore no personal signature.
The centennial committee wasted no time in accepting the Mosler offer. Aug. 21 the group unanimously adopted a resolution "that the very appropriate present of a 'Centennial Safe'. . . be accepted . . . and that a committee of three be appointed by the president with instructions of a safe in conformity with the wishes of the kind donors."
Named to that committee were William C. Margedant, Max Reutti and Israel Williams, who reported Sept. 4 that they had selected a safe measuring 29 x 48 inches on the inside.
The committee also announced Mosler would send the safe in time to display it on a float in the centennial parade Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19.
Before the parade, Margedant said the float carrying the safe would be drawn by six horses. A report written after the parade doesn't agree on the horsepower.
The Hamilton Centennial Souvenir, a book published in 1892, described the Mosler float as "a magnificent safe upon a wagon drawn by four splendid horses." The centennial book also took note of the safe's "size and beauty of finish."
A few days after the celebration, the committee received a bill for $9 from the Hamilton Transfer Co., for "putting safe in courthouse" and for "shipping wagon and taking material to Mosler's." The company deducted a $3 donation, making the net due $6 instead of $9.
Delivery of the centennial safe to the courthouse was considered a temporary move by the general committee.
In an August resolution, the committee specified "that the safe shall be placed in the hall of the Butler County Courthouse to remain there until the new city building is built, when it shall be taken to the city building and placed therein forever."
The committee also agreed to petition Hamilton City Council to pass an ordinance "in which it shall be made the duty of the clerk of the city council . . . to take charge of the historical records of Hamilton and Butler County, as they will be delivered to him by the general arrangement committee of the Hamilton centennial celebration and to preserve the same in the safe."
The committee also asked the city "to add from year to year . . . all matters and facts of historical interest and value for the benefit of the present and future generations."
Despite the good intentions, only 1891 centennial materials and other items dated 1892 and 1893 were in the safe when it was opened in June. Records of the 1941 Hamilton sesquicentennial were added in 1969 by Esther R. Benzing, the county archivist.
In recent decades, the centennial safe has been Stored in the courthouse and in a nearby county building. In 1988, it was inadvertently sold by a county employee who was unaware of its historical significance.
The absence of the safe was reported early in 1991 and in June it was returned to the Hamilton Bicentennial Commission, which has arranged for its restoration by Mosler.
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Journal-News, Sunday, Aug. 11, 1991
Legion honored fallen World War I soldiers
By Jim Blount
World War I ended Nov. 11, 1918, but Hamilton was reminded of its human cost nearly two years later — in August 1921 — when casualties of the European battlefields were returned to the city for burial.
The remains of three soldiers — Bernard Fromholtz, Earl A. Bolser, and Raymond Tieman — were buried Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 2, 1921, in Greenwood Cemetery.
The three were among 65 Hamilton area men who died during World War I. More than 112,400 soldiers, sailors and Marines gave their lives in World War I, including more than 48,909 in combat areas.
More than half of the deaths were caused by disease, mostly during the influenza-pneumonia pandemic.
Bolser, Tieman and Fromholtz were killed in action between July 30 and Sept. 14, 1918, during the war's final three and one-half months.
Bolser, who enlisted April 23, 1917, in Hamilton, was a private in Company E, 166th Infantry, 42nd Division. He was the son of Squire Lewis Bolser and Lillian Bolser of Coke Otto (now known as New Miami).
He had joined Company E of the Third Infantry, Ohio National Guard, a few days after the United States had declared war on Germany. He died July 30, 1918, of wounds suffered during the Battle of Chateau-Thierry. Stationed in France since Oct. 18, 1917, in the Champagne-Marne and Aisne-Marne sectors, he would have observed his 19th birthday Oct. 12, 1918. -
Tieman enlisted Sept. 19, 1917, in Cincinnati, and was a private in Company C, 126th Infantry, 32nd Division. The 22-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Tieman of Hamilton, was killed Aug. 1, 1918, during the Battle of Cha-teau-Thierry. He had arrived in the Aisne-Marne sector only months before on March 14.
Fromholtz, who enlisted Oct. 22, 1917, in Hamilton, was a private in Company K, llth Infantry, Fifth Division. His sister, Edith Clark, resided in Hamilton. The 30-year-old soldier was killed Sept. 14, 1918, during the Battle of St. Mihel. He had been stationed in France since April 24,
In an Aug. 7 letter, written only weeks before his death, Fromholtz said "I have been in 'no man's land' on a wire patrol and it is a little exciting, for the first time you have to go very quiet through the barbed wire entanglements and make as little noise as possible."
"And, at night, when everything is quiet and standing on post, you can hear very little noise, and certain hours of the day and night you can hear the shells whistling over your head and breaking," Fromholtz explained.
The bodies of the three soldiers arrived in Hamilton Saturday evening, July 30, and were taken to the residence of relatives. At 11 a.m. the day of the service they were taken to the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument in downtown Hamilton.
The 2:30 p.m. community funeral services at the monument were conducted by members of the Frank Durwin Post 138, American Legion post. "Taps" played as the caskets were carried down the steps as a double line of Legionnaires stood at attention.
A procession was formed ending at Greenwood Cemetery where the American Legion burial service was read as the flag-draped caskets were lowered into the American Legion section. A local squad fired three volleys over the graves and services ended as "Taps" was played.
The triple funeral and associated services were planned and sponsored by the local American Legion post, named in honor of the first Hamilton man killed in action.
Pvt. Frank Durwin o£ Company E, Ninth U.S. Infantry Regiment, died Sunday, April 14, 1818, during combat in France. Born in Hamilton, the 24-year-old soldier had resided on South Seventh Street. He was the son of Frederick Durwin, who had fought in the Civil War.
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Journal-News, Sunday, Aug. 18, 1991
Rationing common during World War I
By Jim Blount
Civilian sacrifices were numerous in Hamilton and other communities during World War I, a 19-month conflict which spanned from the U. S. declaration of war in April 6, 1917 until the armistice was signed on Nov. 11,1918.
The home front measures included "Gasless Sundays," when the owners of 1,750 motor vehicles in Hamilton restricted driving to emergencies and war-related functions.
Food conservation was ordered during the war's first year, highlighted by passage of the Lever Food and Fuel Control Act, effective Aug. 10,1917, for the remainder of the war. It empowered the president to make regulations to stimulate and conserve food and fuel production, and control their distribution in the interests of the war effort.
The law authorized price fixing on wheat, coal, coke and other commodities. It also prohibited the use of foodstuffs in the manufacture of distilled liquors, a precursor of prohibition. To enforce the law, Herbert Hoover was appointed federal food administrator and Henry A. Garfield was named US fuel administrator by President Woodrow Wilson.
Four "Heatless Mondays" and a five-day business shutdown were ordered by Garfield in January 1918, and within a month Wilson and Hoover imposed wheatless and meatless days, limited wheat purchases and required wheat substitutes in baking.
To encourage compliance, the Butler County Food Committee was organized Jan. 31, 1918. The committee included: C. M. Eikenberry, chairman, and C. R. Greer, Edward F. Rosencrans, Mayor Culbertson J. Smith, Estella Von Kanel, Leona Frechtling, John Schwartz, Joseph E. Brate, and C. S. Beeler.
Several food restrictions were still in effect, and changing, during the final months of the war.
July 26, 1918, Food Administrator Hoover again called for one meatless, two meatless and two porkless days each week and rationed sugar to two pounds per household per month.
At the same time, Fuel Administrator Garfield proposed four "Lightless Nights" a week to conserve energy. It included darkening store windows and advertising signs when businesses were closed and elimination of other non-essential lights.
The Butler County food administration revised its list of fair prices Sept. 18, 1918. The price ranges included: 48-50 cents for a dozen eggs; $1.80-$2 a bushel for potatoes; 75-83 cents for a 12-pound sack of flour; 5.5-6.25 cents a pound for corn meal; 9.5 cents for a pound of granulated sugar; 16 cents a can for canned corn; and 15-18 cents a pound for dried beans.
Nov. 1 that year, sugar rations were increased from 2-3 pounds per month per household. Food Administrator Herbert Hoover said the increase was due to the rapid processing of the western beet sugar crop, a new cane crop in the South, reduced consumption in manufacturing, transportation improvements and "patriotic conservation by the public."
Hamilton's first "Gasless Sunday" was Sept. 1, 1918, and by the second weekend Hamilton police "found less than 10 cars being used for purposes of pleasure." A newspaper reported that "the numbers of the machines operating were taken by the police" and "reported to the fuel administration."
The driving ban was a boon for area interurban and streetcar lines. "People owning automobiles who attended church used the streetcars or walked, while those from the country who came to town to attend services drove in spring wagons and buggies," observed a newspaper.
"Gasless Sunday" was canceled Oct. 17, 1918, when Garfield revealed that the seven-Sunday sacrifice had saved a million barrels of gasoline for military uses.
Saturday, Nov. 9 -- two days before the Armistice ended the fighting in Europe -- Garfield announced the end of "Lightless Nights," effective the following Monday.
Garfield said improvements in eastern states in the supply of bituminous and steam anthracite coal had prompted elimination of the conservation order.
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Journal-News, Sunday, Aug. 25, 1991
Hamilton 1891 centennial celebration was grand event
(This is the first of eight columns on Hamilton's 1891 centennial celebration.)
By Jim Blount
The Hamilton centennial celebration was initiated, planned and staged within only 71 days, according to records of the 1891 event. It began with a public meeting Friday, July 10, and climaxed with a three-day program Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 17-19,1891.
The initiative was taken "by the officers and members of the Hamilton Battalion, an organization composed of the uniformed societies and military companies of the Ohio National Guard of the city," according to a disclaimer in The Centennial Anniversary of the City of Hamilton, a 322-page souvenir book edited by D. W. McClung and published as part of the observance.
A printed announcement of the July 10 meeting recalled that "100 years ago, in the month of Sept. 1791, General Arthur St. Clair established Fort Hamilton."
The invitation said "the present year marks the 100th anniversary of our city's existence" and "we are confident that you as a patriotic citizen will lend your best assistance to the cause, and will signalize your interest in the matter by honoring the meeting with your presence."
At the July 10 meeting at Beckett's Hall (at northeast corner of Second and High streets; now part of the Elder-Beerman complex), Thomas Millikin was elected chairman and Frank D. Bristley was chosen secretary.
The group also authorized the chairman to select "five prominent citizens, and they, with the chairman select a committee of 25, to be known and called centennial committee and to have the absolute charge and management of the entire celebration," according to a statement in the souvenir book.
Millikin's selections for the committee were William C. Margedant, Joseph J. Pater, Israel Williams, John F. Neilan and George T. Reiss.
A finance committee was added as part of the general committee. It included Charles E. McBeth, Robert M. Elliott, Henry P. Deuscher, Mayor Lawrence M. Larsh, George W. Stace and William Herman.
Later, permanent officers of the centennial committee were elected. They were Thomas Millikin, president; Thomas V. Howell, vice president; Frank D. Bristley, secretary; S. L. Beeler, treasurer; and the Rev. Francis V. Varelman, chaplain.
William C. Margedant was unanimously elected commander-in-chief of the centennial parade. Margedant also chaired the fireworks committee, which included John F. Gardner, George T. Reiss, and John Helvey.
In addition, dozens of other people were listed in the official program as members of special committees and ward and township committees.
The various committees and subsidiary groups held several meetings in July and August and the general committee met almost daily during the weeks preceding the celebration.
Printed invitations, dated August 1891, said: "The people of this city and vicinity have determined to celebrate the centennial of its settlement by appropriate decorations and banners — by grand military, civic and industrial parades -— by music, song and joyous acclaim — by illuminations and fireworks — by literary dissertations and by the oratory of distinguished persons."
Advertisements reported the celebration would begin Thursday, Sept. 17, with a pageant, "The Feast of Flowers and Youth."
Friday, the second day of the celebration, was devoted to literary and musical entertainments, "consisting of concerts and addresses by prominent and eminent personages."
The Saturday program started with a grand concert featuring 500 voices backed by an orchestra. The featured speaker was Judge Joseph Cox of Cincinnati.
Saturday afternoon "a mammoth parade" wound through the city, and the final event that night was a fireworks display.
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