Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 1994
Indian Springs added to list of county place names
By Jim Blount
The recent creation of Indian Springs adds a new name to the long list of Butler County place names. The village of about 9,000 people incorporates those parts of Fairfield Twp. that weren't in the City of Fairfield.
The move also relegates Fairfield Twp. to the expanding category of "lost names" -- those erased from the map by mergers, annexations and other circumstances.
Fairfield Township was one of the five original townships established in Butler County May 10, 1803. Liberty, Lemon, St. Clair and Ross townships were the others. Hanover, Madison, Milford, Morgan, Oxford, Reily, Union and Wayne townships were later carved from the originals.
Fairfield township -- which the 1875 Butler County Atlas said "was named from the beauty of its fields" -- is the second township to disappear.
In March 1867, after a vote of residents of Fairfield Twp. and the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Twp. was formed. It included land in the Second and Third Wards of Hamilton which also had been part of Fairfield Twp. Hamilton Twp. was subsequently dissolved.
Sparked by opposition to Hamilton annexation plans, a majority of voters in Fairfield Twp. and the City of Fairfield in November 1993 approved a 10-member commission to consider consolidation of the township into the city. A yes⁄no vote would have followed this November.
Instead, township trustees decided to incorporate as a separate village. The September action was made possible by an amendment introduced by State Rep. Mike Fox, a resident of the affected area. The township incorporation clause, added to a bill before the General Assembly, has a short life. Its effective dates are Sept. 29 through Dec. 31, 1994.
Indian Springs covers an area east of Hamilton and north of Fairfield, plus an isolated area west of Fairfield along the southern county line.
That part of the former township now within Fairfield includes several "lost names," most notably Symmes Corner, Stockton, Jones Station and Fairplay. In contrast, no "lost communities" are embraced by the portion of the township which is now Indian Springs.
A crossroads point -- which now straddles the line separating Indian Springs from Liberty Twp. -- was once known as Flenner's Corner. It is at the intersection of Hamilton-Middletown Road (Ohio 4) and Liberty-Fairfield Road. Its name came from John Flenner, who started a general store there in 1850 and also dealt in grain.
Some older residential subdivisions -- never considered separate communities -- are likely to retain their identities, despite formation of the village.
Fairham Heights, part of a larger area also called Eastover, is a residential area in Sections 26 and 27 of the former township. Plats locate it as north of Ohio 4 and south of Old Line Road and centered around Fairham Road. Greenlawn in Section 15 is a narrow subdivision along Greenlawn Road between Ohio 4 and Millikin Road.
Belmont-Homewood, another Indian Springs residential area, has been the center of periodic political battles over utilities and sewers involving the county, the township and the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield.
Belmont-Homewood usually is considered one area, but there are separate plats, recorded more than 13 years apart, in the Butler County recorder's office. The combined area is along Tuley Road, southwest of Tylersville Road and northwest of the Hamilton-Fairfield Regional Airport in Sections 30 and 36, and surrounded on three sides by Hamilton.
The plat for Belmont (Section 36) was recorded in April 1927 and includes Parkamo Avenue, Pater Avenue, Imlay Avenue, Belmont Avenue, Lenox Avenue, Tuley Road, Allstatter Avenue, Cornell Avenue, and Alston Avenue.
Homewood (Section 30) was platted in July 1940 and includes Imlay Avenue, Belmont Avenue, Lenox Avenue, Exeter Street, Concord Street, Milton Street and Harvard Avenue.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1994
Wallace Roudebush responsible for preserving 'the Miami look'
By Jim Blount
"Unquestionably, the most enduring legacy of Wallace Roudebush is the beautiful campus of Miami University," said Chris Maraschiello in his biography of the dedicated man who had much to do with establishing the institution's positive image.
"Wallace P. Roudebush: Spirit of the Institution" was published last year by the Miami University Alumni Association. The book is based on a 1991 master thesis by Maraschiello, now a social studies teacher at Wilson Jr. High School in Hamilton.
Roudebush's 45-year Miami career spanned the Great Depression, two world wars and introduction of the GI Bill, a federal program for World War II veterans which had a tremendous impact on the university. He served four presidents: Raymond M. Hughes, 1911-1927; Alfred H. Upham, 1928-1945; Ernest H. Hahne, 1946-1952; and John D. Millett, 1953-1956.
Roudebush was born April 15, 1890, at Owensville in Clermont County. In 1904 his parents moved to a farm on Brown Road outside Oxford, about a mile from campus. After a year of high school in Oxford, he entered Miami's preparatory department, or academy, in September 1905.
He was graduated from the university in 1911 with plans to sell insurance until appointed secretary to President Hughes. At $75 a month, his first tasks were buying furniture and equipment for dormitories and directing student activities.
Meanwhile, in 1912, he married Dorothy Thompson. In 1925 the family, including two sons and a daughter, moved into a Miami landmark, the former William Holmes McGuffey house on Spring Street.
Maraschiello said "since the time Roudebush first assumed responsibility for buildings and grounds, considerable effort has been made and continues to be made to maintain Miami's attractive, well-kept buildings of modified Georgian architecture and spacious grounds of lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers."
Starting in the 1930s, Roudebush teamed with Charles F. Cellarius, a Cincinnati architect, who shared a love of Georgian architecture.
Preserving the Miami look wasn't accomplished by maintaining the status quo. Roudebush directed a steady increase in campus land and buildings.
"The subsequent growth and development of Miami University would not have been possible without the expansion of its land holdings," a plan which the author said reflected the foresight of Hughes and Roudebush.
But Roudebush -- who saw enrollment jump from 700 in 1911 to more than 5,000 by 1956 -- was more than a visionary. Maraschiello said it was his "careful management of finances that helped make each addition to the campus possible."
His management and financial skills weren't as visible as his influence on campus appearance. "Through the years," Maraschiello said, "his interest in financial aid and employment for students would never waver, and he would be instrumental in both building a program of scholarships and work-study, as well as keeping tuition as low as possible."
Roudebush was a leader in 1939 in creating the Inter-University Council (IUC), which Maraschiello said "contributed greatly to better understanding and cooperation among the state institutions of Ohio." He was its secretary from 1941 to 1955.
His Miami and IUC duties placed him in constant contact with state legislators, who called him "Mr. Honest" because of his integrity.
Maraschiello said "with no interstate highways, it was a three-hour drive to Columbus for meetings" of the IUC or with state legislators. "Yet Roudebush made the trip at least three days a week," often starting at 4 a.m.
He still had time for other matters. For example, Roudebush teamed with Morris Taylor of Hamilton and Professor Robert Hefner of Oxford in promoting establishment of Hueston Woods State Park.
A new university administration building was near completion when Roudebush died April 14, 1956, in Mercy Hospital in Hamilton. The new structure became Wallace P. Roudebush Hall, despite his request that "no building be named after me."
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 1994
Hogs once dominated area economy
By Jim Blount
In the 1990s, Butler County is an urbanized area of more than 290,000 people with fewer than a thousand farms. But turn the calendar back 150 years and a different image appears. A century and a half ago, hogs would have been a major local topic at this time of the year, and much in evidence in an agricultural-based economy.
In 1840, there were 2.44 pigs for each of Butler County's 28,207 residents. That year Butler County boasted Ohio's largest swine population with 68,828, followed by bordering Warren County with 56,847 head.
Add the neighboring Whitewater Valley in Indiana, and Hamilton sat in the middle of the nation's hog empire. In the decades before the Civil War (1861-1865), Ohio led the nation in hog production, followed by Indiana and Illinois.
Butler County hog raisers prospered because of their proximity to Cincinnati, and vice versa. By the mid 1820s, Cincinnati was known as "porkopolis" because of its expanding pork-packing business.
More than 15,000 hogs were processed there in the winter of 1822-23. At the same time, smaller butcher markets were developing in Hamilton and Dayton.
By the mid 1850s, Ohio slaughterhouses were handling more than 560,000 hogs annually with Cincinnati accounting for 80 percent of the output. From 1857 through 1860, the peak years, an average of 424,450 hogs were butchered each year in Cincinnati.
About 70 years earlier, pioneers had found the animals ideally suited for the frontier. Pigs required little attention. They roamed the woods and fields, foraging for the food they needed, and multiplied fast, usually producing two large litters yearly.
Frontier hogs, once turned loose, "were seldom seen by their owners and soon lost every evidence of domesticity," noted Robert Leslie Jones in his "History of Agriculture in Ohio," published by Kent State University Press in 1983. "Some boars developed tusks six or eight inches long and so were able not only to tree unwary farm boys, but also to defend themselves successfully against any enemies," Jones said. "Indeed, a herd of 20 or so shoats had nothing to fear from bears, panthers or wolves.
During fall roundups, farmers identified their free-wheeling pigs by earmarks, usually notches or slits in the ears.
By 1810 -- less than 20 years after the start of settlement in the area -- hogs were a source of rare profit for Miami Valley farmers.
At that time, the growing national demands for pork, ham, bacon, lard and other byproducts, encouraged Butler Countians to transport those items by flatboat down the Great Miami, Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans.
Hogs were one of two indirect ways to trade corn, an abundant Midwest product. Corn converted to hogs or whiskey was much easier -- and more profitable -- to transport than grain. In the 1815-1820 period, when corn sold for as little as seven cents a bushel, fattened pigs were bringing from $1.50 to $2.50 a pound.
About 50 years later, in 1867, a midwestern farm publication claimed that "a bushel of unground corn fed to swine will make from five to eight pounds of pork; the same quantity ground and fed will make from nine to 12 pounds; when ground and cooked it will make from 12 to 15 pounds."
In the 1840s, hog fat increased in value as lard replaced whale oil as fuel for lanterns. Lard also became a favored raw material for soap and lubricating products.
By that era, Butler County farmers were confining their pigs instead of permitting them to roam the countryside. Favored locations in the late spring and summer months were clover and rye pastures, food thought to develop bone and muscle and thus speed growth.
In the fall -- after the first frost -- the hogs would be penned where they could be fattened on corn for about five or six weeks. The next step -- hog drives -- will be covered in this column next week.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 1994
Hog drives once common in county
By Jim Blount
Herds of hogs moseying along narrow roads were once familiar November sights in Butler County, one of Ohio's leading swine producing areas in the 19th century. "The growing of hogs was a lucrative business," reported the 1882 county history, as "many a man made his fortune in raising corn, fattening hogs and driving them to Cincinnati."
"In driving to market, two or three weeks were often consumed, men returning covered with mud and pockets filled with bank notes or silver," explained the History and Biographical Cyclopedia of Butler County.
The marketing process quickened in autumn when farmers in Butler and Warren counties and neighboring Indiana rounded up and penned their pigs. For five or six weeks, they gorged on corn to add weight and firm fat.
The heaviest of the lot were butchered for home use. The leaner, long-legged hogs were best suited for the tedious drives to the slaughterhouses. The animals were at least two years old before being sent to market.
The trips started after the first frost, usually in October, and continued into March. Pork was packed in Cincinnati, Hamilton and other towns during the winter months and shipped down river while colder weather helped preserve the product.
Hog drives from Butler County, especially the western part, were annual events by 1810. Within a few years, after settlement in the Whitewater Valley, the county also was on the route to Cincinnati for Indiana farmers.
In fact, many of the roads in western Butler County began as hog trails, most of them leading to a natural crossing of the Great Miami River at Dick's Ford. The spot near present Wade Mill Road, south of Ross, also was known as Dick's Mill.
One of the popular routes followed present Layhigh Road through Morgan and Ross townships. Another was along the courses of present Ross-Millville Road, Reily-Millville Road and Indian Creek through Oxford, Reily, Hanover and Ross townships. Taverns catering to hog drovers were at St. Charles, Bunker Hill and other locations. Some taverns provided yards or pens for the hogs in addition to food and lodging for drovers.
"A very prominent tavern for hog drivers," said the 1882 history, "was at John Wehr's, 2 3⁄4 miles above Reily . . . in the southeast quarter of Section Seven of Reily Twp." The same account identifies Wilson V. Ragsdill as keeping a tavern at St. Charles, and Obadiah Welliver who "fed many a hungry hog driver" at Bunker Hill.
After crossing the Great Miami, drovers guided their charges up twisting Colerain Pike to slaughterhouses in Cincinnati, then known as Porkopolis because of the prominence of its pork-packing businesses.
The herds traveled about five to seven miles a day, depending on the weather and the terrain. Drovers favored wet, soft ground because a frozen surface tended to cut the hogs' feet.
Usually, several farmers teamed on a drive. Most walked with the pigs, some were on horseback to better control stray animals and a few drove wagons, hauling supplies and often transporting stubborn hogs which refused to move or keep pace along the trail.
Herds varied in size, most in the range of 200 to 300 head. One of the largest, numbering 1,800 was reported to have passed through Hamilton in 1830.
In a 12-month period in the mid 1820s, more than 40,000 hogs on their way to market crossed the Miami Bridge connecting Rossville and Hamilton. In November 1834, a Brookville newspaper noted more than 30,000 hogs, bound for Cincinnati slaughterhouses, had passed through the Indiana town in about three weeks.
By 1830, the trip was shortened for many Ohio farmers who were able to send pigs to market via the Miami-Erie Canal from Hamilton. In the 1850s, new railroads began hauling hogs.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 1994
World War I spawned local Red Cross
By Jim Blount
Hamiltonians were introduced first hand to the work of the American Red Cross in 1913, about 32 years after its founding. The U. S. organization started in 1881, thanks to Clara Barton (1821-1912). The former teacher and government clerk launched a 40-year crusade of humanitarian work at age 40 at the opening of the U. S. Civil War.
She was ordered to Europe to rest, but instead became involved in relief efforts during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). When she returned to the U. S., Barton campaigned to establish the American Red Cross.
In 1913, a year after Barton's death, the Great Miami River invaded the lowlands of the city. The crisis developed Tuesday morning, March 25, 1913. By the end of the day, 75 percent of Hamilton's homes, factories and stores were inundated.
At 3 a.m. Wednesday, the river had risen to a record 34.6 feet and was three miles wide in Hamilton. The surging water destroyed all four bridges and severed water, gas and electric service in the city.
Almost 300 lives were lost, more than 500 Hamilton homes washed away and about 10,000 people -- almost a third of the population of 35,000 -- were homeless. When the water receded, the city faced a massive cleanup and rebuilding task.
Survivors lacked food, clothing, bedding, medicine, coal, oil and a multitude of other day-to-day necessities while facing massive health problems. Scattered among the mud and debris were dead animals and waste from outhouses.
A Citizens' Relief Committee, headed by James K. Cullen, sought outside help. Martial law was declared, and the U. S. Army arrived to direct the local recovery until April 18. The Red Cross joined the Army in the grim task of recovering and identifying the dead, and giving them a proper burial.
The Red Cross also opened shop in the Methodist Church on Ludlow Street. The church, which suffered only slight damage in the flood, served as a hospital and canteen for several weeks. It was a distribution point for clothes and other necessities, most of which were donated by people in surrounding areas.
Also, 19 babies were born in the temporary hospital on Ludlow Street.
During the troubled time, a committee of six Hamiltonians assisted Red Cross workers sent to the city. They were Joseph Wolfe, Linus Clawson, Miss Edith Clawson, Judge Clarence Murphy, John Beeler and Carl Greer.
The efforts of the visiting Red Cross weren't forgotten here after the cleanup and rebuilding. They were recalled four years later when Hamilton and the nation faced another test. In April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and became a direct participant in World War I.
Less than a month later, efforts were underway to establish a Hamilton Chapter of the Red Cross to cover Butler County, except Madison and Lemon Townships and the City of Middletown.
It started modestly with 12 people each donating $5 and signing a petition to the Central Committee of the American Red Cross. Elected to head the local chapter were Ben Strauss, chairman; John M. Beeler, treasurer; and Edith Clawson, secretary.
Initial programs included collecting books and magazines for soldiers, making bandages and dressings for wounded men, and aiding their wives and mothers at home.
Before World War I ended, the unit handled its first local disaster -- the 1918 flu epidemic, which claimed more than 200 lives.
In its 77-year history, the local chapter has assisted area residents through a Depression, several wars and as assortment of disasters. In addition, the Red Cross continues to provide an assortment of training and education programs.
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