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Journal-News, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009
Hamilton sailor called Tokyo Rose report ‘utterly fantastic'
By Jim Blount
Stanton (Bud) Newkirk didn’t believe what he heard. He was listening to a radio between his armament duties aboard the USS Hornet (CV-12) off Formosa. The 1942 Hamilton High School graduate, when possible, made notes on his experiences while serving on the aircraft carrier during World War II.
"Radio Tokyo has been broadcasting reports of the recent engagement," he noted Oct. 17, 1944. "They are fantastic; so utterly fantastic that one cannot help wondering why they put it out. Do they think us fools?"
According to Tokyo Rose, the Japanese had sunk 53 U. S. ships, including 10 aircraft carriers off Formosa. She said the U. S. had "only one carrier and one battleship left in our entire fleet" and "they are dead in the water," Newkirk recalled.
"What was left of the American fleet fled so hastily that they did not pick up any survivors," the broadcast claimed. She said three U. S. battleships were among the losses. Another assertion was that "1,100 aircraft [were] damaged," but, Newkirk noted, "we haven’t that many" planes.
The distorted report said "1,300 enemy [U. S.] personnel were killed" during American attacks on Formosa, which resulted in "the greatest Japanese victory since Pearl Harbor."  Tokyo Rose said "B-29s raided Formosa, but they failed to drop any bombs."
Actually, Oct. 12-14 island-based U. S. planes, accompanied by a carrier task force, conducted several raids on Formosa. Hundreds of B-29s dropped thousands of bombs on Japanese air bases, other military targets, ports and factories producing war materials. Hornet-based planes participated in the raids.
The Japanese retaliated with night torpedo plane attacks on U. S. ships. Two cruisers were heavily damaged and had to be towed about 1,300 miles to be repaired. "We took two days to get away from Formosa, so that seagoing tugs could come in and tow the Houston and Canberra," the crippled ships, wrote Newkirk, now a resident of Berkeley Square in Hamilton.
In reference to the motive for the Japanese broadcasts, Newkirk said "perhaps the Japs don’t know what damage was done and are trying to milk it from us by making atrocious claims. They’ll find out how much damage was done if they bring that fleet to a point where we can get a crack at them."
That showdown came three days after Newkirk noted the exaggerated Japanese radio report. The U. S. Sixth Army -- with naval and air support -- landed Oct. 20, 1944, on the eastern shore of Leyte in the Philippine Islands.
The Japanese reacted by attacking the U. S. fleet off Leyte. The Hornet and its aircraft were part of the U. S. force that won the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which has been termed the Pacific war’s "climatic naval contest" and "the biggest naval battle ever fought." Remnants of the Japanese fleet were destroyed in that naval showdown, leaving Japanese forces in the Philippines without air support and their supply lines to Japan unprotected.
In 1945, after the war, several U. S. agencies searched Japan for the legendary Tokyo Rose, whose purpose had been to demoralize American soldiers, sailors and airmen by emphasizing their hardships and sacrifices. Instead, as Newkirk wrote, the broadcasts were "so utterly fantastic" that the propaganda produced more entertainment than discouragement.
Tokyo Rose, the FBI concluded, "was not an actual person, but the fabricated name given by soldiers to a series of American-speaking women who made propaganda broadcasts under different aliases."
One of them was Iva Ikuko Toguri d’Aquino -- born Ikuko Toguri to Japanese immigrant parents in Los Angeles in 1916 and a 1940 UCLA graduate -- who had sailed to Japan in July 1941.She was arrested in 1945, brought to the U. S. and tried in 1949 on a charge that while "on a day during October 1944, the exact date being to the grand jurors unknown, said defendant, at Tokyo, Japan, in a broadcasting studio of the Broadcasting Corporation of Japan, did speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships." She was found guilty of treason and sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000. She served six and a half years. After her release she located in Chicago.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
How do you start a college in Ohio wilderness?
By Jim Blount
How do you start a college? That tough question faced some early Ohio residents after the Ohio General Assembly passed an act to establish Miami University Feb. 17, 1809. The lawmakers gave the institution a name, but didn't appropriate money or mandate a site.
The school had a 21-year history before it obtained its name and the blessing of the Ohio legislature.
It began in 1788 when John Cleves Symmes -- a New Jersey judge and a member of the Continental Congress -- bought about two million acres in the Northwest Territory. Congress agreed to sell Symmes land north of the Ohio River between the Little Miami River on the east and the Great Miami River on the west. The tract was known by two names -- the Symmes Purchase for its buyer and the Miami Purchase for its location.
As part of the deal, Symmes promised to donate a township within the purchase for a college. For some reason -- possibly poor record keeping -- Symmes never fulfilled the commitment.
In 1792 Congress approved and President George Washington signed a law ordering that land be reserved for a college -- the location subject to the approval of the governor of the Northwest Territory.
The paper trail continued March 3, 1803 -- two days after Ohio became a state -- when Congress ordered a college township be allocated in southwestern Ohio. If a site wasn't offered in the Symmes Purchase within five years -- which didn't happen -- then federal land could be considered by the Ohio legislature.
The Ohio General Assembly didn't wait. April 15, 1803, it appointed commissioners to explore possible locations. Jeremiah Morrow and William Ludlow favored a site west of the Great Miami, later to become Oxford Township and including the future town of Oxford.
The process resumed after passage of the Feb. 17, 1809, establishment act. Fourteen university trustees were named and three were assigned to select the site. Oxford's competition included the existing towns of Hamilton, Dayton, Cincinnati, Lebanon and Yellow Springs.
Feb. 6, 1810, legislators chose Oxford, an undeveloped town. The trustees met March 26 in Hamilton to complete planning a mile-square area for the college, named for an Indian tribe that once roamed the region.
At a June 1810 meeting in Cincinnati, the trustees hired a college missionary -- whose charge wasn't to preach, but to raise money for buildings, books and equipment. The Rev. John W. Browne, a native of England, had been a preacher in Paddy's Run (now Shandon) and editor of a Cincinnati newspaper.
He went east coast on horseback to solicit money for Miami. Potential contributors included the president and vice president, members of Congress and the cabinet, leaders of established universities and others expected to support higher education.
It was a tough challenge because Rev. Browne was selling a promise. Miami University -- which is observing its bicentennial this year -- had no buildings, no faculty and no students when he sought donations.
Most of the prestigious persons he solicited were more concerned with the prospect of the United States going to war with England than creating a college in the wilderness of southwestern Ohio. The war came -- the War of 1812 -- and continued through the end of 1814.
Rev. Browne got nothing from President James Madison and Vice President George Clinton, but collected some money from congressmen and others. Sen. John Pope of Kentucky, a William & Mary graduate, didn't give money, but he contributed a five-volume set of Francis Plowden's History of Ireland.
Joel Barlow (1754-1812), a Yale graduate, is credited with suggesting that Rev. Browne may be more successful asking for books instead of money. Barlow was a veteran of the American Revolution, a noted writer, editor and poet and an experienced U. S. diplomat.
Rev. Browne followed Barlow's advice. Former president John Adams, for example, gave Browne $10 and two books. In 1812 Browne sent a wagon loaded with books to Cincinnati. Some were retained for use on the future campus and $300 was realized from the sale of other volumes. Browne also raised about $700 in cash contributions during his trip.
In August 1812 Miami's missionary returned to Ohio and resumed his ministry, but he never saw the university materialize. Later that summer, while heading to a Clermont County church, Rev. Browne drowned while trying to cross the swollen Little Miami River on horseback.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009
Butler County leaders instrumental in Miami's start
By Jim Blount
The Ohio General Assembly passed an enabling act Feb. 17, 1809, authorizing the creation of Miami University, which is observing its bicentennial this year. It took more than that legislation to establish the institution that eventually opened in Oxford in Butler County. Among those who worked to open and sustain the university -- and keep it in Oxford -- were James McBride, John Reily and Joel Collins.
The early Butler County leaders were unlikely university advocates. None had attended college. They had little, if any, formal education, but they were Miami stalwarts when it counted.
Their efforts -- and the work of others -- led to the college's 1824 opening with 20 students and a president and two faculty members. Ten years later, Miami had a faculty of seven and 234 students.
A January 1822 bill in the Ohio General Assembly would have moved Miami to Cincinnati, leaving only a preparatory school in Oxford. As Butler County representatives in the legislature, Collins and McBride succeeded in squashing the attempt. Both lawmakers and Reily were Miami officers at the time.
Reily was a Pennsylvania native who spent his youth in Virginia before army service in the final stages of the American Revolution. He was a farmer, carpenter and teacher in Kentucky for about six years before coming to the newly-formed Northwest Territory. He settled in Columbia (now part of Cincinnati, near Lunken Airport) in 1789.
A year later he opened a school, the first in the territory. Between 1789 and 1803, his services, besides fighting Indians, included deputy clerk of courts for Hamilton County (Cincinnati); clerk of the territorial legislature; a member of the first territorial legislature; a delegate to the Ohio Constitutional Convention; and a Cincinnati town trustee.
He was 40 years old when he moved to Hamilton in 1803, starting 47 years of public service to the city and county. In 1804 he began 28 years as Hamilton's first postmaster and helped create Rossville on the west bank of the Great Miami River. He surveyed and laid out the town for its proprietors and was their sales agent.
From 1803, Reily held several county offices: clerk of the county common pleas courts, 37 years; clerk of the county's supreme court, 39 years; first county recorder, eight years; and clerk for the county commissioners, 16 years. In his multiple duties, Reily established procedures for settling and governing the new county. He started with a severe handicap -- no money in the treasury and no county taxes authorized to pay bills. He also was involved in every public improvement in Hamilton.
Reily was a Miami University trustee for 31 years, 1809-1840, and board president, 1813-1822. He participated in selecting the site for the university in Oxford. He was 87 when he died in Hamilton June 7, 1850, after contributing a combined 159 years of service to the city, the county, the state and Miami.
McBride, also a Pennsylvania native, was 18 in about 1807 when he arrived in Hamilton.
Hamilton's first mayor had leading roles in the development of the city's first hotel, first bridge, first railroad, first newspaper, the city's connection to the Miami-Erie Canal, the county's first infirmary and local road construction. His other duties included serving the county as a state legislator, sheriff, clerk of courts, and archeologist and historian.
As a state legislator, he drafted the state canal laws. Later he surveyed part of the canal route and served on the first state board of canal commissioners. In 1845-1846 he was Ohio's chief clerk of public works in state auditor's office.
He served Miami for 50 years. At age 21, the self-educated McBride was Miami's first secretary, serving 11 years, 1809-1820. He was a Miami trustee from 1821 until his death Oct. 3, 1859 -- a month short of his 71st birthday -- and the board's president in 1842 and 1852-1859.
Collins, born in Virginia, was an Indian fighter and served with the armies involved in the 1790s Indian wars before settling near Oxford in about 1803. Later, he led a county company in the War of 1812, served a combined eight years in the Ohio House and Senate and seven years as an associate judge of the county common pleas court, and was a leader in establishing Oxford.
Collins was Miami's secretary for 23 years, 1822-1855. His duties included being superintendent of buildings. Once, when building repairs were needed, the university didn't have the money, and Collins loaned $1,000 to Miami, a debt never fully repaid.
He died in Oxford Nov. 15, 1860, at the age of 88.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
Do you know Miami University's early history?
By Jim Blount
Miami University's 200-year history divides easily into two periods, "Old Miami," 1809-1873, and "New Miami," starting in 1885. This column -- one a series during the university's bicentennial year -- is a multiple choice quiz on Miami's early decades, from its founding through the years immediately after the Civil War. Questions are based on various sources, including the writings of several university historians, including Dr. Phillip R. Shriver and Alfred H. Upham, both past presidents, and Professors James H. Rodabaugh and Walter Havighurst.
1. Miami University was created Feb. 17, 1809, by (a) heirs of John Cleves Symmes; (b) the Ohio General Assembly; (c) an act of the U. S. Congress; (d) the trustees of Ohio State University; (e) veterans of the 1790-95 Ohio Indian wars.
2. Miami was located in Oxford, Ohio, because (a) it had been the site of Kekionga, a Miami village; (b) the land was donated by Butler County commissioners; (c) Cincinnati had refused to provide enough land; (d) John Cleves Symmes donated the land; (e) a state commission selected the site.
3. Miami's intended location was to be (a) within the Symmes or Miami Purchase; (b) in what later became the state of Indiana; (c) in Cincinnati; (d) in Dayton; (e) at the mouth of the Great Miami River.
4. The oldest public institution of higher learning in Ohio and the first in the Northwest Territory was (a) Ohio State University; (b) Miami University; (c) Ohio University; (d) University of Cincinnati; (e) Kent State University.
5. Before the Civil War, Miami was the fourth largest U. S. college -- behind Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth -- and known as the (a) Cradle of Coaches; (b) Cradle of Lawyers; (c) Yale of the West; (d) Ohio Public Ivy; (e) College in the Gloom of the Beechwood Flats.
6. All Miami presidents, from its start until the Civil War, were (a) graduates of Yale University; (b) born in Virginia; (c) Presbyterian ministers; (d) educated at Transylvania College; (e) multi-degreed historians.
7. Before and during the Civil War, Miami's main financial support was from (a) the Ohio General Assembly; (b) alumni donations; (c) land taxes paid by residents of Butler County; (d) the Presbyterian church; (e) the estate of John Cleves Symmes.
8. Miami sought all or part of Ohio's $340,000 share of a July 2, 1862, congressional measure -- granting public lands to states for the support of agricultural and mechanical colleges -- known as the (a) Homestead Act; (b) Morrill Act; (c) Emancipation Proclamation; (d) Reconstruction Act; (e) Pacific Railroad Act.
9. According to Walter Havighurst at the end of the Civil War, Miami was among "104 living colleges in the United States." The number that didn't survive the war was (a) 47; (b) 106; (c) 276; (d) 349; (e) 412.
10. The year 1873 was critical in Miami's history because (a) women were admitted for the first time; (b) the financially-strapped university closed; (c) it fielded its first football team; (d) military training became mandatory for all students; (e) the last Civil War veteran graduated.
1. Miami University was created by (b) the Ohio General Assembly.
2. Miami was located in Oxford, Ohio, because (e) a state commission selected the site.
3. Miami's intended location was to be (a) within the Symmes or Miami Purchase. John Cleves Symmes had purchased a million or more acres north of the Ohio River between the Great Miami and Little Miami rivers, but failed to provide land the college
4. The oldest public institution of higher learning in Ohio and the first in the Northwest Territory was (c) Ohio University. American Western University was founded in Athens, Ohio, in 1804 and renamed Ohio University in 1808
5. Before the Civil War, Miami was the fourth largest U. S. college -- behind Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth -- and known as the (c) Yale of the West.
6. All Miami presidents, from its start until the Civil War, were (c) Presbyterian ministers.
7. Before and during the Civil War, Miami's main financial support was from (d) the Presbyterian church.
8. Miami sought all or part of Ohio's $340,000 share of a July 2, 1862, congressional measure, the (b) Morrill Act, which granted public lands to states for the support of agricultural and mechanical colleges.
9. According to Walter Havighurst, at the end of the Civil War in 1865, Miami was among "104 living colleges in the United States." A total of (e) 412 colleges didn't survive the four-year war.
10. The year 1873 was critical in Miami's history because (b) the financially-strapped university closed that year. "Old Miami" is the period from its founding until 1873, the start of its 12-year closure.