Journal-News, Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Shandon marker to highlight community’s Welsh heritage
By Jim Blount
Shandon’s unique heritage will be highlighted on an Ohio Historical Society marker to be unveiled in the community Saturday morning, May 17. "The foundation for the first Welsh settlement in Ohio was laid on June 29, 1801, when William and Morgan Gwilym purchased land in what is now Morgan Township at the Cincinnati Land Office," reads a portion of the marker. The two-sided marker is titled "Paddy’s Run," recognizing the first of several names attached to what is now Shandon.
It explains that "the Welsh who settled in Pennsylvania beginning in the late 18th century moved westward and settled here in 1802." It notes that "the area was also the major terminus for the 1818 migration from Montgomeryshire and Cardiganshire in Wales."
"From this first Welsh settlement came Gomer and Venedocia in northwest Ohio and communities in northeastern Indiana," the text continues. "Welsh communities located in east Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin can trace their roots back to Paddy’s Run."
Also recognized on the marker are four prominent men born in Paddy’s Run: "Murat Halstead, journalist and editor well-known as a war correspondent; Albert Shaw, editor of the Review of Reviews; Dr. Mark Francis, pioneer in the field of veterinary medicine; and Dr. Edward Francis, researcher with the U. S. Public Health Service."
The Great Miami River formed part of the western frontier of the United States until 1801. Until that year, land west of the river was officially vacant. In April the federal government began selling tracts in the wilderness when Ohio was still a territory.
Settlement in the Paddy’s Run area started in 1802, a year before Ohio became the 17th state. The land was then in Hamilton County. Ohio’s first General Assembly carved Butler County out of Hamilton County March 24, 1803. Hamilton was selected as the county seat July 15, 1803.
Morgan Township was the 10th township formed in the county. Butler County commissioners approved taking the area from Ross Township March 4, 1811. The new township was named in honor of Daniel Morgan (1736-1802), a frontier officer who became a successful American general during the American Revolution.
Marker dedication ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m., May 17, followed by a reception. The festivities will be in the New London School yard, next to the firehouse, on Ohio 126 (Cincinnati-Brookville Road). The program will include Welsh music and Welsh cakes. The U. S. Postal Service has authorized a pictorial cancellation for the event. It will be available May 17 only at a temporary station of the Shandon Post Office at the marker site. (For more information, phone 513-738-0910.)
The marker is sponsored by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, the Ohio Historical Society, the Longaberger Company and the Morgan Township Historical Society.
The marker is a highlight achievement of the Morgan Township Historical Society that will be five years old in November. The society -- formed under the leadership of Mrs. Jill Evans -- also is compiling an historic driving tour of the township.
The society meets in the Morgan Township administration building, 3141 Chapel Road. Except for holiday weekends, monthly meetings are the third Saturday morning from March through December.
The story of how Paddy’s Run of 1802 became Shandon in 1892 will be covered in next week’s column.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Shandon: A community of many names
By Jim Blount
Shandon may be the Butler County community that’s had the most names in its 200-year history. Although settled by Welsh, its first post office bore an Irish name, Paddy’s Run. It’s also been known, officially and unofficially, as Cambria, Glendower, Vaughan, New London and Bagdad before becoming Shandon more than 110 years ago.
Shandon -- in Morgan Township at the intersection of several roads, Hamilton-New London; Alert-New London; Millville-Shandon (Ohio 748); New Haven; and Cincinnati- Brookville (Ohio 126) -- is regarded as the oldest Welsh settlement in Ohio.
An Ohio Bicentennial historical marker, featuring Shandon’s early Welsh heritage, will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17. The ceremonies and reception will be in the New London School yard, next to the firehouse, on Cincinnati-Brookville Road. (For more information, phone 513-738-0910.)
Cambria, Bagdad and New London were never official names, but familiar among the community’s earliest residents.
Cambria was an ancient name for Wales. The Cambrian Mountains extend north-south through Wales. Cambria also is said to mean brotherhood or fraternity for "those who band together in a common cause."
Edward Bebb -- an original owner in 1801 of land near what today is Shandon -- was married Feb. 2, 1802, to Margaret Roberts Owens in Ebensburg in Cambria County, Pa., near Pitsburgh. Dec. 8, 1802, their first child was born. That child was William Bebb, who became Ohio’s 19th governor, 1846-49. Later, others of Welsh origin moved west from Cambria County to settle in the Shandon area. Cambria was proposed in one of Shandon’s periodic name change campaigns, but failed to win popular support.
The 1882 county history said New London "was laid out about September 1859 . . . entirely within Section 25, near the center." The same source said "although a village had long existed there, the old plat was mislaid." New London was a name favored by many residents, but rejected by U. S. postal officials.
The creek that drains the area around the border between Ross and Morgan townships is Paddy's Run, presumably named because an Irishman drowned in the stream about 1793. It’s unknown if his legal name was Paddy or if the victim, believed to have been a soldier, was known by the nickname given many Irishmen.
The first post office was created June 10, 1831, as Paddy's Run with William Vaughan (or Vaughn) as postmaster. He was a son of John Vaughan, originally from Montgomeryshire, North Wales, who settled in 1801 on part of Section 25 in Morgan Township. Paddy’s Run passed through his farm.
After 48 years as Paddy’s Run, the post office was renamed Vaughan Oct. 16, 1879, according to Rendell Rhoades in his 1959 booklet, The Post Offices of Butler County, Ohio. Rhoades said that name was a tribute to the town’s first postmaster.
A second change came seven years later, this time in honor of a Welsh hero, Owen Glendower (or Owain Glyn Dwr), who had led an unsuccessful revolt (1400-1409) against English political and economic domination over Wales.
The PO was designated Glendower Dec. 20, 1886, but the name was discarded 13 months later. The post office became Paddy’s Run again Jan. 18, 1888.
The fourth and last name change came Aug. 26, 1892, when postal officials proclaimed the community Shandon. It was a controversial decision, said Stephen Riggs Williams in his 1945 book, The Saga of The Paddy’s Run. "In general, those of the community with more connection with the outside world were willing to lose the stigma of coming from Paddy’s Run, while the greater number, those who stayed more closely at home where the name was familiar, gloried in their unique post office name."
Bagdad had no official standing. It was said to have been a favorite designation of boys in the community who objected to Paddy’s Run. The village was "humorously styled Bagdad," observed journalist Murat Halstead, who had spent his youth there.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Hamilton looks forward to fifth year of pro baseball
By Jim Blount
Professional baseball returns to Hamilton this summer for the first time in 90 years when Florence of the Frontier League plays its 2003 home schedule at Foundation Field. It will be the fifth season since 1884 that Hamilton has been home for a pay-for-play team. The city will host the Northern Kentucky franchise while its park is being built. Local promoters are hopeful it will be a preview of an independent professional team for Hamilton in 2004 or 2005.
It was May 1, 1884, when the Hamiltonians, wearing red and white uniforms, defeated Springfield, 10-4, in the first game between professionals in the city. Three former Cincinnati Red Stockings -- Amos "Darling" Booth, Henry "Lucky" Kessler and Bobby Mitchell -- were part of the 15-man Hamilton roster in the inaugural game at Dodsworth Lot (on the future site of the Roosevelt Jr. High School), just west of the Miami-Erie Canal.
Hamilton joined Dayton, Springfield, Chillicothe, Ironton and Portsmouth in the Ohio State Baseball League, one of only eight minor leagues operating in 1884. The Hamiltonians -- as would local teams in 1889, 1911 and 1913 -- traveled by train.
Investors expected expenses to total at least $5,000 for the season, including player salaries averaging $35 a month. The team needed to average 500 fans for its 40-game home schedule to pay bills. Season tickets sold for $10.
The Hamiltonians, the 1884 team name, had a 26-40 won-lost record and finished fourth in the six-team league. A highlight of the season was seven exhibition games against major league teams in Hamilton.
After a four-year lapse, minor league baseball returned. Hamilton was in the 1889 Tri-State League with Dayton, Springfield, Canton and Mansfield in Ohio, and Wheeling, W. Va. The 1889 team faced numerous problems. It organized late and started the season wearing uniforms of the 1888 Zanesville franchise until new blue and white outfits arrived.
The home field was outside the city -- on the Gilmore property near Fair Avenue and High Street. That site was chosen because the Ohio law prohibiting baseball on Sundays usually wasn’t enforced outside cities. A Fairfield Township constable arrested violators during a pre-season game, but a Butler County grand jury ignored the charge. Later, an umpire refused to work on Sunday. The game was delayed until a local arbiter could be secured.
A home game, with the season’s largest crowd present, was forfeited when Hamilton management failed to provide a new baseball to the umpire, as required by league rules. Sparse attendance and low revenues caused the final home games to be moved to other cities, and Hamilton lost 12 straight road games to finish 43-65 and fifth in the six-team league.
In 1911 Hamilton competed in the Ohio State League with Springfield, Chillicothe, Lancaster, Portsmouth, Marion, Lima and Newark (which later moved to Piqua). The home field, League Park (later known as Krebs Field), was at the east end of High Street.
The season began on a high note -- a come-from-behind ninth-inning 6-5 win over the Lima Beans before a crowd of about 2,500. Another positive was repeal of the Sunday baseball ban by the Ohio General Assembly before the season started.
A major dilemma was the team nickname. Contests by rival local newspapers produced two names -- the Mechanics and the Toolmakers. The problem was resolved by the fans who called the blue-and-white clad team the Hams. The team with three names finished last in the league with a 47-91 record and folded at the end of the season.
The 1913 Hamilton entry in the OSL had a new name and a new home. The Browns played home games at Graeser’s Park (late Renner’s), east of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Mosler, Lincoln and Alsace avenues. Rivals included Ironton, Portsmouth and Chillicothe in Ohio, Huntington and Charleston in West Virginia and Lexington and Maysville in Kentucky.
The 1913 season didn’t start until May 8 because of the devastating March 25 flood. The Browns, playing with constant roster changes, finished seventh with a 55-79 record, plus a pile of unpaid bills. The last regular season home game Sept. 11 was a 5-2 win over Portsmouth. The Browns last game Sept. 22 was an exhibition contest, a 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Schools cut salaries 20 percent during Depression
By Jim Blount
The battle between the governor and the General Assembly over how to handle the shortfall in state income without raising taxes recalls similar financial struggles during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then as now, the funding dilemma impacted local governments and school districts. Hamilton school leaders -- forced to manage with fewer dollars -- met the Depression challenge by cutting salaries and shortening the school year.
Lower property reappraisals in Butler County in 1931 meant a 38 percent reduction in funding for Hamilton schools. Reducing the school year from 10 months, with proportionate salary cuts, was one alternative as the 1931-32 term began.
A year later, the budget for the 1932-33 term ordered a 20 percent pay reduction for all Hamilton school employees -- just as the cost of a first-class postage stamp increased from two to three cents. Hamilton enrollment also increased by 405 that year -- from 10,976 to 11,381.
The July 1932 school board action was part of a $135,000 rollback from the 1931-32 budget. Salary cuts accounted for $100,000 of the trim, said Superintendent D. R. Baker. Although announced as 20 percent, some pay cuts exceeded that figure and some were lower.
In elementary schools, teachers with two years of college would earn $840 in the second year of teaching instead of $1,050. A five-year veteran would be paid $1,080 instead of $1,350.
A second-year elementary teacher with a four-year degree would be paid $1,000 instead of $1,250. A degreed teacher in the fifth year would receive $1,240, down from $1,550.
Pay schedules differed for junior and senior high instructors.
In 1931-32, a first-year junior high teacher earned $1,500 and expected $1,550 in 1932-33. Instead, that teacher’s pay would be cut to $1,120. The board also decreed that people hired to teach at the junior high level must have at least one year of experience elsewhere to be considered for employment in Hamilton.
The high school scale in 1931-32 had started in the third year at $1,800. In 1932-33, two years of experience were still required to teach in Hamilton, but the third-year salary was chopped to $1,440.
Changes also were mandated in the teaching experience needed to attain maximum pay. Under the 1931-32 system, for example, a junior high instructor could reach the $2,100 peak in the eighth year. In the new schedule, that amount wasn’t paid until the 10th year.
The 1932 pay cut wasn’t the only action taken by the Hamilton board of education during the Depression.
A year earlier, the school board had announced that it would no longer employ married women teachers. The single-only rule was adopted May 11, 1931. After that date, a clause in teacher contracts said "that in case of any single woman teacher’s marriage before or during its operation will invalidate and make void this agreement."
By the end of 1936, the financial crisis was easing. In January 1937, the school board restored part of the salary reduction for teachers imposed five years earlier.
U. S. involvement in World War II -- and increased opportunities for women in local war production -- brought an end to the ban on married women teachers. The military buildup after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor took into the military men who had provided an ample labor pool for Hamilton's varied industries.
"Women are putting their shoulders to the wheel, only this time it is not figuratively speaking," said a 1942 local report. "In World War I, women also did their part. They sold war bonds, knitted garments for soldiers and other sundry things to help the United States and her allies win the war. But this time it is vastly different." In 1942, they were replacing men on the production lines in Hamilton factories.
Aug. 4, 1942, the Hamilton Board of Education -- then in competition with industry for female employees -- suspended its 11-year-old prohibition on the employment of married women teachers.