Journal-News, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005
Civil War tested pacifism of Shaker communities
(This is the last in a seven-part series on Shaker communities in the area.)
By Jim Blount
Pacifism was part of the Shaker belief and 19th century wars challenged the faith of residents of Union Village in Warren County and Whitewater that was in both Hamilton and Butler counties. Their mixed responses were noted by John P. MacLean who wrote articles in Ohio Historical Society publications in the early 1900s. "The Shakers have always been opposed to war, but notwithstanding have been forced to suffer," MacLean observed.
The War of 1812 was the first test for Union Village, established in 1805 by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing -- now known as Otterbein Homes, three miles east of I-75 on Ohio 63 and half a mile north on Ohio 741.
Six Shaker men, drafted in September 1813, were forced to join a unit in Lebanon. MacLean said they marched away under guard and later were declared deserters before being released.
In times of peace, Shaker men were expected to participate in local militia units. In an incident at Whitewater, MacLean said "militia officers caused a lot of oats to be seized and sold for failure in military duty." Shaker attempts to charge trespassing and collect damages were denied in court.
Later, the failure of Whitewater men to serve caused the military to seek a fine. When the Shakers refused to pay, MacLean said "all their hogs were driven off" to satisfy the fine.
The Shaker communities couldn't ignore the Civil War, 1861-65. At Union Village, MacLean said "the war spirit, despite all efforts to the contrary, seized possession of some of the younger members, who enlisted. Others were drafted, and a fine imposed for not attending general muster."
"Although the Shakers opposed war, refused pensions and grants of lands for military services," MacLean said Union Village believers "were not unmindful of the distress caused by such conflicts." Their donations to an 1863 Sanitary Fair in Cincinnati included generous quantities of tomato catsup, sauerkraut, dried apples, green apples, dried sweet corn, garden seeds, gooseberry sauce, apple preserves and brooms.
MacLean said Union Village "energies were somewhat paralyzed by being called upon to relieve the distress of their brethren at South Union, Ky., [near Bowling Green] who suffered from the horrors of war." The Shakers at Pleasant Hill, Ky. -- who lost southern markets because of the war -- also suffered by being only 17 miles from Perryville, Ky., the site of a major battle in October 1862. Union and Confederate armies moved back and forth through Pleasant Hill during that September-October campaign. Each army confiscated horses, food and other supplies from the village.
Whitewater also suffered a direct hit during the war. The village was in the path of about 2,000 Confederates under Gen. John Hunt Morgan who swept through southern Indiana and Ohio in July 1863.
According to Whitewater records, July 13 "one of the [Shaker] boys was at the mill at Harrison and saw Morgan's raiders coming down the hill west of town. He came home and reported the news. Frederick Faulhaber, on a fleet horse, rode out until he came in sight of them, and then hurried back as fast as he could, receiving the fire of the enemy, but was soon out of sight."
"He spread the alarm, warning the neighbors to hide their horses. Several heeded the warning and took their horses above the North Family and there hid them." The same source said "they took from the South Family two horses, but this was the extent of their damage to us, save a few meals and hindering us in the harvest."
The account said "the main army encamped on the main road between Harrison and New Haven [then Preston post office], but extending their pickets and horse thieves for several miles each way, searching the cornfields and thickets for horses, robbing private residences of such things as they wanted, and if any refused they were roughly treated."
"After the raiders had departed," the Whitewater report said, "we supposed our troubles had come to an end." Instead, 500 to 600 Home Guards from Indianapolis appeared. Their commander said he was authorized "to take all the horses he could find." He "threatened to burn and kill if we did not bring in our horses from where we had hid them." After the horses were produced, the soldiers took two horses and resumed their pursuit of Morgan.
"The end of the Civil War brought large changes to the Shaker communities," explains a National Park Service web site. "One of the most important changes was the post war economy. The Shakers had a hard time competing in the industrialized economy that followed the Civil War. With prosperity falling, converts were hard to come by. By the early 20th century the once numerous Shaker communities were failing and closing."
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005
Too early to compare 2004-05 season with other winters
By Jim Blount
It's too early to rate the winter of 2004-05, despite its mixture of snow, rain, flooding and cold temperatures. The season will be measured later against previous winters for danger, discomfort and inconvenience. Some winters were notable for rain, some for snow, others for ice or wind, several for frigid weather and many for a combination of factors. Every previous local severe winter had its own character and combination of elements and hardships.
Last winter, 2003-04, was significant for heavy rain. Jan. 1-4 Hamilton was pelted by 3.72 inches in that period with most it -- 3.02 inches -- Monday, Jan. 4, 2004. That day the Great Miami River crested at 19.5 feet, its third highest level, topped only by 44.1 feet March 26, 1913, and 21.8 feet Jan. 21, 1959. Areas north and south of Hamilton flooded. The river washed out about a 40-foot section of River Road in Fairfield, near the Bolton water treatment plant of the Cincinnati Water Works.
Six inches of snow and sleet -- called the area's first major winter storm -- caused heavy icing in Butler County Jan. 25-26, 2004, Three days later, Jan. 29-30, the area received three to four inches of snow. A late storm March 16, 2004, produced three to six inches of snow.
Snow in Hamilton totaled 33.5 inches in 2002-03, according to AccuWeather records. It snowed on 40 of the 90 days in December, January and February. On three days the snow exceeded three inches.
Coldest day of the winter was Jan. 27, 2003, at 16 below zero. It was one of three below zero lows in January. There were seven other single-digit lows in January, and 16 days at freezing or below. Average temperature for January 2003 was 23.5 degrees. There were two single-digit lows in February, and seven days the high was below freezing.
The winter of 1998-99 featured snow followed by sleet and freezing rain -- a recipe for hazardous driving. The Hamilton-Fairfield area had 9.5 inches of snow Jan. 1-2, 1999, with 8.7 inches on the second day.
The afternoon of Jan. 2 the snow turned to a mixture of sleet and freezing rain. That pattern was repeated Jan. 13-14. In January, 22.2 inches of snow fell in Hamilton and Fairfield, all in the first 15 days. There were single digit lows on five of those days, including below zero readings Jan. 5 and Jan. 10.
There was a record high of 74 Feb. 11, then an inch of snow within 12 hours. March 9, 1999, there was six to nine inches of snow covering Butler County.
The 1997-98 winter is regarded as one of the warmest -- not a day below zero -- but with two major snowstorms. Cincinnati recorded 12.8 inches of snow Jan. 6-7, 1998, and 18.5 inches Feb. 4-6, with a total of 19 inches on the ground Feb. 6. The 18.5 inches Feb. 4-6 was the record for the deepest snow in Cincinnati at that time. The 18.5 inches also was a Cincinnati record for a single storm.
The Feb. 4-5 storm varied in Butler County with about a foot in southern areas and six to eight inches in northern townships. Winter bowed out with two inches of snow March 4, and 3.4 inches March 21. The coldest day of winter was a low of nine degrees Jan. 1, 1998.
The winter of 1995-96 was disruptive. Some roads had to be closed, church services were canceled, businesses closed and most school districts had exhausted their allotment of five snow days by Jan. 12.
By Sunday morning, Jan. 7, 1996, there was nearly two feet of snow in some places. Officially, 14.4 inches fell in Cincinnati Jan. 6-7. The 12.8 inches the night of Jan. 6-7 set a Cincinnati record for snowfall in a 24-hour period. For the season, Cincinnati had 44.6 inches of snow, its fifth highest winter total. Adding to the misery were two Ohio River floods within four months -- up to 57.3 feet Jan. 24 and 53.7 feet May 17, 1996.
That winter, Hamilton officials pointed out that snow removal had become more difficult. In the severe winters in the 1970s, snow could be loaded onto trucks and dumped into the Great Miami River. By the 1990s, clean water regulations had eliminated that option.
The 1993-94 season is remembered for the Halloween storm, Oct. 30, 1993. Snow varied from four to six inches over the area. Hamilton experienced a seven-inch snowfall Jan. 18, 1994, and in Cincinnati a low of 24 below Jan. 19 set the record for that date.
"The Storm of Century" hit during the winter of 1992-93. It affected 26 states, half of the U. S. population and caused about 270 deaths March 12-15, 1993. Florida reported 15 tornadoes and six inches of snow in the panhandle. Birmingham, Ala., had 15 inches of snow. There were snow emergencies in 18 eastern Ohio counties and records for snowfall and the coldest high and low temperatures. Butler County, on the storm's edge as it moved northeast, escaped its wrath. Steady snow was reported here Sunday, March 14, and wind gusts up to 47 miles an hour had caused problems the previous day.
Some weather aficionados insist that local winters of the 1990-2005 period pale in comparison with the worst of the 1970s and 1980s, seasons that will be reviewed in a future columns.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005
'Freezer Bowl' most memorable event of winters in 1980s
By Jim Blount
When the winter of 2004-05 ends and is ranked among previous seasons, three frigid periods in the 1980s will be among the comparisons -- 1981-82, 1984-85 and 1989-90. One is remembered because of a pro football game played in arctic conditions, another for record low temperatures and the third for an October snow that created havoc in Butler County. In the latter, only flurries had been forecast, not the three to six inches of snow that attacked trees still flush with leaves.
The 1981-82 winter was notable for the Jan. 10, 1982, "Freezer Bowl" involving the Cincinnati Bengals, but December 1981 also had its share of snow and cold. Snow totaled 14.7 inches between Dec. 14, 1981, and Dec. 22. Lows of minus six Dec. 19 and nine below Dec. 20 were a preview of the following month. After three highs in the 50s, extreme cold returned Jan. 8, 1982, with a low of eight degrees and Jan. 9 with an inch of snow and a low of minus four.
The "Freezer Bowl," named because of the weather, was Sunday, Jan. 10, 1982, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. In that AFC championship game, the Bengals -- some with bare arms -- beat the San Diego Chargers, 27-7. It was nine below at kickoff with the wind chill at 59 below. The high that day was minus one in downtown Cincinnati, and an official high of minus four at the Greater Cincinnati Airport in Kentucky. The official low at the airport was 14 below zero.
The minus nine degrees "Freezer Bowl" is the second coldest game in National Football League history. The NFL says the coldest was Dec. 31, 1967, at Green Bay when the Packers edged the Dallas, 21-17. The temperature was minus 18 with a minus 48 wind chill.
Snow resumed the next day, Jan. 11, totaling 3.2 inches over three days, and modest amounts until 2.3 inches Jan. 25, the day after the Bengals lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XVI in icy Pontiac, Mich. Eight times that month the low was zero or below, including a minus 19 Jan. 17.
A two-day thaw with highs in the 50s and almost three inches of rain caused the Great Miami River to reach 16.25 feet Jan. 31, its eighth highest level. February 1982 included 3.9 inches of snow on six days between the third and the 13th and one more sub zero low.
Record low temperatures highlighted the winter of 1984-85. The coldest daytime temperatures in Ohio were experienced Sunday, Jan. 20, 1985. At noon, it was 15 below in Cincinnati and Columbus, minus 19 in Dayton, and 25 below in Oxford. The morning low in Hamilton was minus 20. Cincinnati dipped to minus 21, still the all-time low for that date.
Winds of 20 to 30 mph produced wind chills up to minus 80 in some parts of Ohio. Fifty-seven U. S. cities reported record lows that day. The next morning, Jan. 21, the low was 15 below in Hamilton. Frostbite was a threat with wind chills of 40 to 70 below here. A Middletown woman died of exposure.
In Fairfield, about 400 CG&E customers lost power and heat. Some Hamilton residents had low gas pressure. Power outages and frozen water lines were reported in other areas and stalled and abandoned vehicles created numerous traffic problems. The biggest snowfall that winter was 7.3 inches Dec. 5-6, 1984, followed by 6.4 inches Feb. 12-13.
The winter of 1989-1990 began early. Rain turned to snow the night of Oct. 18-19, 1989, leaving three to six inches of snow by dawn. The Butler County engineer's office said that was the earliest date its snow and ice control crews were needed. Local records indicated it was the earliest measurable snow in 64 years (1.5 inches Oct. 30, 1925).
Most trees still bore leaves, collecting the wet snow. The added weight broke branches and snapped power lines. The Butler County sheriff's office reported at least 50 fires in the county, mostly transformer boxes. Inoperative traffic signals and slick roads complicated traffic. Schools and some businesses closed. Cincinnati Gas & Electric said 100,000 customers were without power and heat.
Dec. 15, 1989, the area had seven inches of snow. A week later, Dec. 22, the low was five below in Hamilton, 20 below in Cincinnati. That was the coldest day of the winter. It also was one of six December dates that set record lows, all below zero and five in negative double digits in the Dec. 7-23 period.
Most people who resided here through both decades will attest that the 1980s winters weren't nearly as severe as those of the 1970s, particularly the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons. Those winters will be covered in a future column.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005
Snow, cold records of '76-77 and '77-78 survive
By Jim Blount
Those who experienced them may argue if the winter of 1976-77 was worse than 1977-78, or vice versa. They will agree that they were the most frigid periods in the last half of the 20th century, if not the most severe ever in the Hamilton area. They are unrivaled as the harshest back-to-back winters in local history.
Any way you measure it, the winter of 1976-77 was a long one. The Reds opened their season April 6, 1977, beating San Diego, 5-3. The calendar said it was spring, but winter-like weather lingered. Four inches of snow had to be cleared from the Astroturf surface at Riverfront Stadium before the game could be played. Temperatures edged up from 23 to 41 that day. It was a mild reminder of what the December through February period had been like.
The two below Dec. 31, 1976, is still the Cincinnati record for the last day in December. The low of 25 below zero Jan. 18, 1977, officially rates as the area's coldest day. The 20 mph wind that day made it feel like minus 65.
January 1977 was the coldest and snowiest month in the area's history. The average Cincinnati temperature for the season was 15.2 degrees. The winter's cumulative snowfall measured 47.3 inches, third highest in a season. Of that total, 30.5 inches were in January.
It started locally with eight inches Jan. 5-6. Some parts of Ohio had an inch or more of snow on the ground for 39 days from Jan. 4 through Feb. 11.
The Cincinnati area endured 84 straight days below freezing. As of Jan. 1, 2005, Cincinnati record lows included seven dates that winter between Dec. 31 and Feb. 6. They are minus 2 degrees Dec. 31; minus 21 Jan. 16; minus 24 Jan. 17; minus 25 Jan. 18; minus 24 Jan. 19; minus 11 Jan. 29; and minus 9 Feb. 6, 1977.
Six Dayton record lows have stood since the 1976-77 winter -- minus 6 Dec. 31; minus 17 Dec. 16; minus 21 Jan. 17; minus 10 Jan. 29; minus 8 Feb. 6; and minus 6 Feb. 8.
For some residents of southwestern Ohio, the tornado super outbreak of April 1974 was the most terrifying weather event of the decade, but for most people in the area the Blizzard of '78 was the most frightening. No one living or working in the region escaped the risks and hardships it created.
That storm whipped into the area overnight Jan. 25-26, 1978, piling at least seven inches of snow on 14 inches already on the ground. The wind averaged 28 miles an hour with sustained winds of 60 to 70 miles an hour and gusts up to 75 mph. The wintry combination produced drifts in the 12 to 15-foot range in some places, isolating people in some rural areas for several days.
A 40-degree temperature drop preceded the storm and helped worsen conditions. The melting snow and slush turned to ice as the thermometer hit five degrees with a wind chill of minus 39.
Schools and businesses closed, mail deliveries were suspended and for several days emergency measures were necessary to get food, medicine and other essentials to the snowbound sick, disabled and elderly. Local law enforcement agencies spent much of their time checking on the welfare of stranded individuals and families and delivering necessities to the snowbound.
Cancellations and postponements continued for several days because of the snow depth and the icy undercoating on streets, roads, walkways and steps. Wind complicated removal, creating new drifts almost as soon as previous ones had been cleared.
Cincinnati reported 11.3 inches of snow Jan. 16-17, the fourth highest snowfall in one storm. The January total was 31.5 inches, a record for that month. It barely topped the 30.3 inches for 1976-77 which is the second highest for a January.
Also a surviving record is the Cincinnati snowfall total for the 1977-78 winter, 53.9 inches -- 6.6 inches more than 1976-77, which hold third place in that category. Another record is the 63 consecutive days with one inch or more of snow on the ground from Jan. 8 through March 11, 1978.
Hamilton snowfall for 1977-78 measured 47.3 inches, more than twice the annual average. Dayton snow accumulation included a record 40.2 inches in January and a record 62.7 inches for the entire winter, exceeding the previous mark by eight inches.
Two Cincinnati lows from 1978 remained records at the start of 2005 -- a minus 10 Feb. 7 and four below March 5. Dayton's minus one March 5 was still a record low for that date at the start of this year.
The winters of 1976-77 and 1977-78 erased some records that been set in the 1950s and 1960s, a period to be covered in a future column.
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