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May

245. May 3, 1993 - Local meat shortage started before rationing
 
Journal-News, Monday, May 3, 1993
Local meat shortage started before rationing during World War II
 
By Jim Blount
 
Hamilton was in the midst of a meat crisis before beef, pork and other cuts were subjected to a World War II rationing program 50 years ago. The ration of two to three pounds of meat per person — effective March 29, 1943 — was an increase for some local families who had found butcher cases empty for almost three weeks.
 
It was not the first wartime meat shortage in Hamilton. Shoppers had encountered some scarcity in August 1942, a problem blamed on the delayed impact of price ceilings, which had started May 18,1942.
 
In April 1943, rationing officials said Hamiltonians were entitled to about 105,052 pounds of meat each week, but outlets here weren't receiving that much before rationing began.
 
By March 11, retailers were calling the situation "very serious" because some wholesalers had gone out of business when they could no longer obtain their usual supplies of meat.
 
As shoppers splurged before rationing, the shortage was complicated by Federal charges against a local meat packer. The Office of Price Administration said the packer had falsified beef slaughter records in 1941. The owners were fined and sentenced to jail, and a court ordered the company closed.
 
Local leaders took steps to end or ease the crisis. Fred Stitsinger, secretary of the Hamilton Grocers and Meat Dealers Association, and C. L (Jack) Hardin, secretary-manager of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce asked OPA official for help.
 
Shortages continued in April f943, the first full month of meat rationing. A problem for shoppers was a tendency to spend their entire weekly ration at the start of the week.
 
The federal agency responded by sending Hamilton stores an extra 50,000 pounds of "quota free" meat for sale between March 20 and April 1.
 
"Consumers won't get everything they want, but everybody should get something," explained Stitsinger, noting that "Last weekend many persons got nothing."
 
But shortages continued in April 1943, the first full month of meat rationing, as sellers and buyers adjusted to the new system. One problem was a tendency among shoppers to spend their entire weekly ration at the start of the week instead of spreading buying over seven days.
 
In May 1943, OPA ordered changes in some meat rationing points in an attempt to "switch appetites from round steak and center cut pork chops. which are in point value, to cuts of meat, especially spareribs, brains, tongues and pig knuckles.
 
Meat shoppers encountered periodic alterations in the rationing program in the final two years of World war 11.
 
In December 1943 all beef cuts — from hamburger to porterhouse steak — were reduced by two or three ration points.
 
Before consumers could get used to that system, OPA reversed its field and in January 1944 issued a new ration schedule for meat, fish and cheese. It increased values as much as 12 points on some meat items, while reducing all canned fish and seafood, except oysters, by 12 to 16 points a pound.
 
OPA introduced a procedural change in February 1944 which added to the confusion for both retailers and food consumers. Effective Feb. 27, tokens began to replace the paper stamps in all food rationing programs, a move which required that everyone involved in the process learn a new exchange system.
 
For a few weeks after Feb. 27, shoppers could use both stamps and tokens until the stamps were exhausted.
 
In May 1944 OPA took some meat cuts off the ration list because supplies had increased and storage of the perishable products had become a problem.
 
In January 1945, the government reported it was ordering more poultry for the military and restricting civilian supplies. That fueled rumors of increased rationing values and reduced supplies of other items, which in turn caused a run some stores in this area.
 
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246. May 10, 1993 - Whitewater Shakers awaited their God
 
Journal-News, Monday, May 10,1993
Whitewater Shaker village extended into Butler County
 
By Jim Blount
 
There are few indications that Butler County was once home to a religious group which followed a strict "hands to work, heart to God" philosophy.
 
Whitewater Shaker Village was founded in 1824 by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming, the official name for the group better known as Shakers because of their body movements during religious ceremonies.
 
The Shaker holdings totaled 1,457 acres of Southwestern Ohio's finest farm land, including 400 acres in Butler County. The Whitewater Shaker Village was located mainly in Crosby Township in Hamilton County, north of New Haven.
 
The community extended north into Sections 33, 34 and 35 in Morgan Township, along the county's southern border. It included the area around Howard's Creek, Race and New Haven Roads.
 
Whitewater absorbed the short-lived Butler County community of Morgantown, which was founded around 1810 on Dry Fork in Section 34 of Morgan Township, southwest of Shandon.
 
Martin Simmons, one of the original Whitewater residents in 1824, is buried in a Shaker cemetery in Morgan Township.
 
Whitewater village — whose peak population was 200 people — took its name from forks of the Whitewater river.
 
This denomination was founded by Mother Ann Lee, an English Quaker who experienced revelations in the summer of 1770. She came to United States, settling at Watervliet, N. Y. in 1775.
 
Shakers believed in celibacy, common property, separation from the world, uniform dress, simple diet, supplying their own needs and rigid schedules. They dignified manual labor and strict observance of the Sabbath.
 
They maintained their ranks by adopting children and recruiting adults— practices which periodically antagonized residents in neighboring communities.
 
Shaker villages had distinctive architecture, usually massive brick buildings with deep window seats, sets of exterior doors, simple wood interiors and open fireplaces. Their residences weren't single-family houses, but dormitories which housed 40 or more people.
 
Their economy was based on agriculture. Whitewater was known for its garden seeds, which were sold in the South and the West. The community reportedly lost this business when competing commercial seed dealers offered their products in colorful packages while the Shakers used plain brown paper containers.
 
Whitewater residents also bred cattle and fattened hogs for their own use. Their dried fruits, corn, sorghum, cider, applesauce and freshly-milled flour were available to outsiders. They also sold straw brooms and straw hats.
 
Tragedy struck the Whitewater site on the morning of June 14, 1907, when three women were killed and two men injured in a fire which destroyed four buildings in the center Village complex about a mile north of New Haven. The fire contributed to the demise of the village.
 
Whitewater continued operating as a communal society until 1909, when the group began selling its property. By 1916 the community was closed and its residents were moved to a Shaker village in New York.
 
For a glimpse of the culture which once inhabited a corner of Butler County, visit Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill on U.S. 68, 25 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky. (about 120 miles from Hamilton).
 
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247. May 17, 1993 - Hamilton hosted GAR encampment in 1893
 
Journal-News, Monday, May 17,1993
Hamilton hosted GAR encampment in 1893
 
By Jim Blount
 
"Hundreds of those who wore the blue when our nation's destiny was at stake" came to Hamilton in May 1893 as the city hosted the 27th annual Ohio encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).
 
The three-day meeting attracted more than 3,800 veterans of the Civil War, including William McKinley, a future president of the United States.
 
The GAR began in 1866 in Springfield, Ill., and soon had posts in every state. Its membership peaked at 427,981 in the mid 1890s. In 1983 there were 44,000 GAR members in Ohio, plus 12,000 in the Women's Relief Corps.
 
The GAR "wore several masks: fraternal lodge, charitable society, special-interest lobby, patriotic group, political club," said Stuart McConnell in his 1992 book, Glorious Contentment: The Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900.
 
Some joked that GAR also stood for "Generally All Republicans" because of its founders and its positions on many political issues between 1866 and 1900.
 
The Hamilton unit, Wetzel Compton Post 96, had sought the Ohio encampment during the 1892 state GAR meeting in Piqua. Local planning committee, chaired by H.L. Morey, were formed at a public meeting May 26,1892.
 
A committee on hotels and boarding houses was formed "to provide halls and churches for the use of the encampment for regimental reunions and campfires and all necessary gatherings."
 
By May 13, accommodations had been arranged for 2,249 delegates, including 1,912 with Hamilton families and 337 in local hotels.
 
Headquarters for the encampment was at St. Charles Hotel, at the northwest corner of Front and High streets.
 
A newspaper said "hundreds of those who wore the blue when our nation's destiny was at stake" and thousands of visitors "thronged our streets" during the May 16-18 encampment.
 
For Hamilton residents, the highlight of the convention was a parade Wednesday afternoon, May 17, starting from Main and D streets. About 3,800 GAR members marched eight abreast.
 
The 30-minute procession was reviewed at the courthouse by Gov. William McKinley and I. F. Mack, Ohio GAR commander. A public reception for the governor followed in the Globe Opera House (southeast corner of High Street and Journal Square).
 
The final event was the grand campfire Wednesday night at the Globe Opera House, which "was packed to its utmost capacity," a newspaper reported. Hamilton Postmaster D. H. Hensley presided and Gov. McKinley was the featured speaker.
 
A private reception also was held for McKinley, who during the Civil War had advanced from private to captain in an Ohio infantry regiment. The Republican governor would be elected president three years after the Hamilton encampment, serving until his assassination in September 1901.
 
The reception was at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. McKinney, northeast corner of N. Sixth and Dayton streets. McKinney was secretary-treasurer of the Niles Tool Works.
 
The local executive committee which worked with state GAR officials in planning the 1893 convention were former Gov. James E. Campbell, H. L. Morey, Sheriff Frank Krebs, County Recorder H. C. Gray, County Clerk Chris Pabst, Councilman H. A. Dilg, City Solicitor M. O. Burns, Captain W. C. Margedant, Postmaster Hensley, N. B. Tubbs, Felix Pflanzer, G.H. Stace, John L. Walker, Charles Richter, Colonel George H. Phillips, N. S. Thompson, W. W. Lane, Joseph W. Meyers, N. W. Smith, Charles Sohngen, Martin Mason, Peter Schwab, F. W. Whitaker, Dr. C. I. Keely. Abram Miller, J. J. Pater, P. E. Welsh, Clarence Murphy, John E. Heiser and J. J. Seybold.
 
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248. May 24, 1993 - War brought liquor rationing
 
Journal-News, Monday, May 24,1993
War effort prompted liquor rationing in 1943
 
By Jim Blount
 
Fifty years ago Hamiltonians were preparing to adjust their drinking habits to "World War II liquor rationing. Beginning June 1, 1943, adults could buy a pint of liquor approximately every 15 days. Later, the limit would be a quart or fifth every three weeks.
 
The government said alcohol was needed for the manufacture of synthetic rubber. Distilleries shifted to production of industrial alcohol. Bourbon output also fell as corn was diverted from distilleries to chicken farmers.
 
The rationing process started in April 1943 when liquor zones were established. Buyers could only purchase liquor in the zone in which they resided.
 
For example, the state-operated liquor store at 318 S. Second St. in Hamilton served that part of Butler County south of Ohio 73 and east of U. S. 127, while the store at 404 Main St. served the area west of U. S. 127 to the Indiana border and from Preble County to the north and Hamilton County to the south.
 
Applications for liquor ration cards were taken May 3-10 with 10,500 issued at the South Second Street store and 6,000 at the West Side location. The 10x3 75-inch cards, with a watermark to discourage counterfeiting, were issued the week of May 17.
 
Persons receiving the cards had to show War Ration Book No. 2 and sign the card in the presence of the store manager.
 
Meanwhile, a two-week freeze on sales began Monday, May 17, to permit stocking of stores and rationing preparations.
 
Liquor consumption in the United States had jumped from 140 million gallons a year before the war to 190 million in 1942.
 
Card holders were entitled to buy a pint of liquor between June 1 and June 15, 1943. The two Hamilton stores — which were open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the two-week period — sold 1,047 bottles of whiskey the first day.
 
There had been shortages of alcoholic beverages in Hamilton before the start of rationing.
 
Liquor consumption in the United States had jumped from 140 million gallons a year before the war to 190 million in 1942. At the same time, canned beer became scarce because of the shortage of tin, but the returnable bottle was still the dominant container.
 
An unofficial rationing had been imposed a few days before Christmas 1942 at Hamilton Liquor stores because of short supplies. The Main Street store had no supplies of domestic whiskey while customers at the South Second Street store were limited to a pint of domestic liquor. Similar shortages were reported throughout the state.
 
Liquor almost vanished in 1944 as Americans consumed the five-year stock distillers were supposed to have on hand before they converted totally to industrial output.
 
In August 1944 the government permitted distillers to devote 31 days to whiskey production. In a month, they produced 13.5 million gallons of whiskey, 21,000 of rum, 897,000 of gin and 460,000 of brandy.
 
By mid November 1944, there were shortages again. But those willing to pay the price could obtain liquor on the black market which had developed when rationing started.
 
A Hamilton man, Robert Sohngen, was appointed Ohio liquor director Jan. 13, 1945, and one of his first acts was to reduce rationing allotments. Ohioans would be allowed one quart or fifth every three weeks instead of one bottle every two weeks.
 
Coal and natural gas shortages led to more drinking limits Feb. 26, 1945, when the federal government ordered a midnight curfew on bars, bowling alleys, pool rooms, dance halls, theaters, restaurants and other places of amusement.
 
The order — aimed at conserving electricity for the war effort — was in effect four months. Sohngen lifted the curfew May 10, 1945, or two days after V-E Day (Victory in Europe). On that day, 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. closings were resumed, depending on the type of license.
 
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249. May 31, 1993 - Voice of America constructed during World War II
 
Journal-News, Monday, May 31, 1993
Bethany station became part of Voice of America in 1943
 
By Jim Blount
 
Construction started in the summer of 1943 on "the largest radio station in the world," a World War II project aimed at enabling the United States to "compete with the axis powers in transmitting information to all countries of the world.''
 
The nameless facility in Union Township [now West Chester Township] in southeastern Butler County was announced Thursday, June 3, 1943. It was to be in operation by the end of the year.
 
Later, the transmitter complex would be called the Voice of America. Officially, it was known as Bethany Station and Bethany Relay Station because of a telephone exchange in the nearby unincorporated village of Bethany.
 
For 50 years — from World War II and the Korean War through the Vietnam War and the Cold War — Bethany Station has relayed broadcasts which originate in Washington, D. C. Today the Voice of America is part of the United States Information Agency.
 
Germany had used short-wave broadcasts for several years as part of its propaganda program, including some radio programs aimed at American audiences. Radio Tokyo — featuring "Tokyo Rose" — also beamed messages to U. S. forces in the Pacific and into Japanese-occupied areas.
 
In Europe and some parts of Asia, especially India, the axis radio campaigns had been countered by BBC broadcasts from England. But the United States had no broadcast program before Dec. 7,1941.
 
Through the Office of War Information, the U. S. entered the competition 79 days after Pearl Harbor when the VOA went on the air. Soon it was broadcasting in 40 languages.
 
The June 1943 announcement said the VOA station in Union Township would be 750,000 watts.
 
"The project is considered so important to the war effort that soldiers will be assigned to the scene during the construction period," the Journal-Nevs reported.
 
Completion of the station would permit the U. S. to communicate with all Axis-conquered nations in Europe. "The station will place the United States in close touch with the peoples of Russia," the announcement said. 'The radio beam, using less power than the 750 kilowatts maximum, may be directed to many other nations, including all of those in South America."
 
The station was built on farmland between Tylersville, Hamilton-Mason and Butler-Warren roads, Tylersville Road was a two-lane rural road :n 1943. and there was no interstate highway (I-75) nearby.
 
The announcement said "the site is near the 500,000-watt station operated by WLW near Mason in Warren County." The government station would be operated by the Crosley Corporation of Cincinnati, the parent company of WLW.
 
The location reportedly also was selected because of its flat terrain, which was conducive to long distance short-wave transmission; the availability of electric power and telephone lines: and the sparse population in the area.
 
In 1940 only 2,109 people lived in Union Township, just 1.75 percent of Butler County's 120,249. During the 1940s, as county population ballooned by 26,954, the township gained only 436 residents. According to the 1950 census, Union's 2,545 people represented 1,71 percent of the 147,203 in the county.
 
By contrast, the 1990 census counted 39,703 people in Union Township, or nearly 14 percent of the county's 291,479 total
 
Several splendid farm homes are located on the site, and these would be ideal for conversion into barracks for any soldiers detailed as guards," said the Journal-News in 1943.
 
"Families occupying the property were notified, on signing of deeds, that orders to vacate might be issued at any time" and "the farmers were discouraged in the planting of 1943 crops" because construction was To start as soon as possible.
 
The VOA continues to send programs from the 22 transmitters north of Tylersville Road, and, according to recent estimates, more than 130 million people a week hear its programs around the world.
 
[NOTE:With the Cold War ended, federal budget cutters chopped funding for the VOA facility. After 51 years, it closed Nov. 14, 1994. Demolition of transmission towers began in 1997.]
 
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