Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Old Postcard Photographs of Main Street Waynesville, Ohio

Looking north on Main Street during the early decades of the 20th century.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Old and New Maps of Waynesville and Corwin, Ohio

1903 Map of Waynesville (above)

Click on the photos to enlarge. They can be enlarged one more time in the other window.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Miami-Visitor Weekly Newspaper & John Wesley Roberts

Evidence indicates that the Miami-Visitor weekly newspaper of Waynesville, Ohio began on January 30th, 1850 and thrived up until January 23rd, 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War. The press was located in an 1820 building built by John Satterthwaite, later known as the Loveless Pharmacy at 33 S. Main Street, now the Braden & Sons Sweet Shoppe. The founder and proprietor of the newspaper for the short time of ten months was Jesse W. Elliott. All we know of him is that he lived in Waynesville in 1850 at the Hammel House Inn and appears to have been single (1850 Federal Census, Waynesville, Warren Co., Ohio, Roll M432_737, page 343). Mr. Elliott, due to personal reasons, sold his paper in the fall of 1850 to John Wesley Roberts, who would become the patriarch of a prominent newspaper family in Kansas. John W. Roberts came on board the Miami-Visitor on Saturday, September 7th, 1850 as Assistant.

Then on Saturday, November 2, 1850, the final announcement was made to the paper’s patrons of the transfer of ownership in the editorial column of the Miami-Visitor to John Wesley Roberts. He was partnered from the beginning with John Wesley Henley, the head of the Publishing Department of the Miami-Visitor. Mr. Henley did become the sole proprietor of the Miami-Visitor for two years but, because of failing health, he sold the paper back to Mr. Roberts, his previous partner, who continued publication until the outbreak of the Civil War.

In 1851 John Wesley Henley had became the sole proprietor of the Miami-Visitor. An editorial in the paper seems to indicate that the two partners had parted with some bad feelings. John Wesley Roberts returned as owner and editor on April 6, 1853. During the two years of Mr. Henley's editorship, Mr. Roberts had a number of business interests in Waynesville. For more information about those business activities see, WAYNESVILLE BUSINESSES & PROFESSIONSLISTED IN THE MIAMI VISITOR WEEKLY NEWSPAPER WITH FURTHER INFORMATION INCLUDED.

Just before the war John W. Roberts and his family, as well as his in-laws, moved to Oskaloosa, Kansas and started the Oskaloosa Independent newspaper.

John Wesley Roberts (b. December 19th, 1824 – d. October 23rd, 1900) was born in Montgomery County, Ohio. He was the son of John Summers (most often spelled Somers) Roberts whose farm was located six miles northwest of Waynesville across the county border in Washington Township. His father, John S. Roberts, bought the 200-acre farm from the Israel Harris family in 1830 for $3,000.00. The house still stands to the north of E. Social Row Road, about one mile east of the Lebanon Pike (Rte. 42). The farm was located half way between Centerville and Waynesville, Ohio. The family thought of Waynesville as their home village. John Wesley Roberts went by the name “Wesley” or “Wes”.

J. Wesley Roberts
was a deeply devout man, a Methodist preacher, an advocate of the moral teachings of the Bible, and also a great promoter of western literature. He constantly was striving to establish excellence in public education in Waynesville and perpetually campaigned for the establishment of a public library. He was also an early Republican and promoter of Abraham Lincoln. He was a strong abolitionist and Temperance man. He is an example of the great “fighting newspaper publisher” tradition of the 19th century.

J. Wesley Roberts’
father, John Somers Roberts, died at the age of 64 on his farm on July 26th, 1859. A limb from a dead tree fell and killed him (Miami-Visitor, August 3rd, 1859). John Wesley’s mother was Martha Hooper Rhodes Roberts who died a little over a year after her husband at the age of 61 of asthma (Miami-Visitor, October 17, 1860). The Roberts family continued to own the farm until 1866. As a boy, J. Wesley Roberts worked on the farm and helped to clear off some of the Ohio forests. He taught school and he developed a literary ability. When he was eighteen he began writing for the press. When he was nineteen he published a theological discussion he had with a doctor of divinity and wrote other articles in the Ladies’ Repository of Cincinnati, a monthly periodical devoted to literature, arts and religion published by the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1841-1876. He would later author articles and a book of national repute.

In 1850 he became the editor and proprietor to the Miami-Visitor weekly newspaper. He married Hulda Fairholm (b. 1822-d. July 16th, 1905) of Waynesville on October 10th, 1850. While still living in Waynesville, their infant son, Clarence Herbert Roberts, died at the age of one year and six days (Miami-Visitor, September 30th, 1857). During the 1850s, Mr. Roberts became increasingly interested in the events out west in Kansas and Missouri. As an ardent abolitionist and then a devoted Republican, he wrote passionately in his editorials about the struggle over slavery. Many of his Fairholm and Day in-laws had already moved out to Kansas. It was inevitable that J. Wesley Roberts would move his family to Oskaloosa, Kansas and become a mover and shaker there, founding the Oskaloosa Independent weekly newspaper.

In July of 1860 he sent a printing press and other materials with his brother-in-law, J. W. Day, to Oskaloosa, Kansas were he set up the Independent newspaper and was the on-site manager until the arrival of the Roberts family two years later. John W. Day (b. April 12th, 1833 –d. June 7th, 1905), who was married to Hulda’s sister, Mary J. Fairholm, had traveled to Kansas to find a position as a lawyer and had reported back to J. Wesley Roberts and the Miami-Visitor with the details of what was happening out west. Isaac V. Fairholm, the father of Hulda and Mary, had already moved to Oskaloosa, Kansas. The first home of the Oskaloosa Independent would be in a building originally designed by Isaac V. Fairholm to be his blacksmith shop. It was remodeled to be a print shop. The Independent moved in July 2nd, 1860 and stay at that locale until 1883. The weekly Oskaloosa Independent began publishing July 11th, 1860 while J. Wesley Roberts was still living in Waynesville closing down his business affairs. While still in Ohio after the Civil War broke out, John Wesley Roberts volunteered to fight but while at Camp Chase in Columbus he was caught in a rainstorm and contracted inflammatory rheumatism and came close to death. Consequently, he was unable to serve in the Union Army. After he recovered, in July 1862, he and his family left for Kansas. After they moved they sold their home in Waynesville to William Rogers in 1865. Their home had been located in Miami Square, Lot #3 (Deed Book 42, Warren County, Ohio, pp. 610-611).

Arriving in Oskaloosa, John Wesley Roberts purchased a house on the corner of Delaware and Hamilton Streets. He purchased it from John Leavell. Although added onto and modified a good deal, it was still in the possession of the Roberts family in 1935. Once in Kansas Roberts was constantly threatened by the “Jayhawkers” who wanted to burn his press and hang him for his criticism of their violent ways up until they were finally driven from the state. The Oskaloosa Independent was an advocate of Republicanism and of Temperance, just as his Miami-Visitor had been in Waynesville. It had the same emphasis on literature and morality as had the Miami-Visitor. John Wesley Roberts also acquired the Leavenworth Daily and Weekly Commercial. He edited the Rocky Mountain News for a short time.

Besides his work as a newspaper editor he was also an author of several books. After his retirement in 1882, he wrote many scientific and literary publications, and also one series of articles on “Laws of the Mind” published in Microcosm Literary Magazine of Boston. This work brought him membership in the London Society of Science, Arts and Letters. Another book was “Looking Within”, published in 1893 (New York: A. S. Barnes and Co.), a reply to Bellamy’s famous “Looking Backward.” He also wrote The Immigrants and Miracles Scientifically Considered. Two of his manuscripts on religio-scientific topics were unpublished at his death (Oskaloosa Independent, October 26th, 1900).

John Wesley Roberts
was also intently interested and involved in Kansas politics. This tradition of political involvement has been passed down in the Roberts family. Today, Pat Roberts, the great grandson of John Wesley Roberts, is a Republican Senator from Kansas (see,

An index of the obituaries and death notices in the Miami-Visitor weekly newspaper of Waynesville is located on the Warren County Genealogy Society webpage: http://www.co.warren.oh.us/genealogy/ObitsMiamiVisitor.htm. Copies of the book, Obituaries and Death Notices found in the Miami-Visitor Weekly Newspaper of Waynesville, Warren County, Ohio; 1850 - 1861 compiled by Karen Campbell, which contain the scans of the obits and notices, can be purchased at The Mary L. Cook Public Library, $15.00 each, + $2.00 for shipping. It can also be purchased through the Warren County Genealogy Society.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

LEAK ~ McKINSEY Families of Waynesville, Ohio

The McKinsey Family ~ The Children of Patrick & Elizabeth Bowman McKinsey: (from left to right seated) Nehemiah Myers McKinsey, Ellen McKinsey Sides, Geroge McKinsey, Mary Ann McKinsey Zell and Madison McKinsey.
(from left to right in ovals) James McKinsey, Henry McKinsey, Abraham McKinsey and
Joseph McKinsey

McKinsey Genealogy at The Mary L. Cook Public Library:

Print Resource: The McKinsey's: McKensey, McKensie, McKinsey Family.
Descendants of George W. McKinsey and His wife Sarah (Thomas) McKinsey of Newberry County, South Carolina and Warren County, Ohio & the Migrations of their Children into Indiana
compiled by Ruby Mundell Barry

The lady in the oval frame (left) is Sarah Ella Leak McKinsey (1854- 1940). She went by her middle name, Ella. She was one of the six children of Gideon Leak (1819-1897) whose home on Main Street in Waynesville is still standing. Gideon was married to Ann Williamson (1824-1899). He was a grocer.

Ella Leak was married to Madison McKinsey (1849-1945) on March 7, 1876. Madison first worked with his brother Henry in a grain and stock business in Corwin, Ohio (directly across the Little Miami River from Waynesville) and then settled on the family homestead and farmed. They had one child, Edna, b. Dec 21, 1880, who married Oakley M. Ridge, who maintained a photographer’s studio in Waynesville.

Madison and Ella McKinsey were divorced on August 13th, 1892. Sometime after their separation Madison moved to Pasadena, California. Madison re-married in 1916 when he was 63. His second wife Nellie Otstot, 45, was from near Springfield, Ohio. Madison and Nellie lived in California but moved back to Waynesville in Madison’s declining years.

fter the divorce, Ella McKinsey lived with her brother, Christian Parker Leak (1852-1928), who was a butcher in Waynesville. In 1930 she was living by herself. She supported herself as a milliner. Ella died at the age of 86 of pneumonia and is buried in Miami Cemetery, Section G. Madison is also buried there in Section H.

The McKinsey family is an example of a family that migrated to the Waynesville area with Quakers families, but were not members of The Society of Friends themselves (see, Quaker Genealogy in Southwest Ohio). George McKinsey and his family migrated from South Carolina and located in Warren County in 1806. It could be that the McKinseys were "attenders" of Quaker meeting but not formal members of the Society. It could also be possible that they were neighbors of the Friends who decided to travel west with them. No evidence has been found to prove a Quaker membership.

Map of the Ohioana Room at The Mary L. Cook Public Library Posted by Picasa


Local History, Ohio History & Genealogy

The Mary L. Cook Public Library
381 Old Stage Road
Waynesville, Ohio 45068

Also read the article: The Mary L. Cook Public Library ~ 88 Years of Responsible Growth and Community Service

The Ohioana Room is dedicated to the preservation of Waynesville history and the immediate area including Wayne and Massie townships. Our local history files contain information on the prehistoric history of the area, about the pioneer settlement, about local historical homes, about the businesses, institutions and organizations of Waynesville, about the churches located in Waynesville and nearby, the history of the local schools both public and private, about the development of local historical institutions such as Pioneer Village, and about local towns and hamlets, for example: Harveysburg, Oregonia, Lytle, Mt. Holly, Springboro and Corwin. Genealogies of local families are continually added to our files. We have the most complete records of Miami Cemetery in Corwin.


We have five kinds of vertical files in the Ohioana Room:
o Local History Files
o Ohio History and Biography Files
o “How to do” Genealogy Files
o Local Cemeteries & Other Major Cemeteries in Ohio Files
o Local Surname Files


Over many years, the people of Waynesville and environs have given historical objects to the Ohioana Room. Our collection is small but significant. Contack the genealogy librarian for more information concerning archived objects.


Due to the historical significance of Miami Monthly Meeting of The Society of Friends located in Waynesville to the history of Friends in southwest Ohio and southeast Indiana, the Ohioana Room collects reference works pertaining to the local history of Friends and references to the states of origin of the Quaker pioneers. We have the essential Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by Hinshaw and many other references.

The Mary L. Cook Public Library has published an extensive pathfinder entitled, Friendly Research: An Introduction to Quaker Genealogical Research With Bibliographies of Primary, Secondary & Internet Resources which includes a timeline of the history of the Society of Friends, an account of the history of the Quakers in Ohio, and an explanation of Quaker record keeping practices and examples of how to research. Contact Karen Campbell for more information about this pathfinder.

The Ohioana Room is collecting atlases of all the eighty-eight counties of Ohio. The atlases and other maps are located in the Atlas and Map Cabinet. We can also provide researchers with maps to the local cemeteries, maps of local Quaker meetinghouses and sites, and addresses and maps of how to get to local archives and local genealogical and historical societies in western Ohio. Hanging on the north wall is a color copy of “A Map of the Locations of the Meetings, Constituting Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1851. Revised, 1853” by Quaker artist Marcus Mote. A large map of Warren County, Ohio, dated 1856, is hanging in the adjacent reading room.


The Ohioana Room collects both old and new county histories for all eighty-eight counties of Ohio. We focus specifically on collecting materials about Warren County and its surrounding counties: Montgomery, Hamilton, Clinton, Greene, Highland, Butler, Preble, Clermont and Brown counties.


The Ohioana Room has a large collection of old original photographs and postcards from different time periods. The collection includes photographs of individuals and families, of Main Street Waynesville and other streets of the village. The photographs detail the business history of the village and also the development of the local schools. There are photographs of Miami Cemetery and other local villages, hamlets, and sites. Most of our collection has been digitized on CD-ROMs in an effort to preserve the originals. We also invite patrons to bring in family photos, which we can duplicate digitally. The patron can keep the originals.

o Ohio history texts and references
o Ohio natural history texts and references
o Ohio art and cultural histories
o Ohio biographies
o Ohio artists, authors, and novels
o Ohio in the Civil War and other military conflicts
o Ohio County genealogical indexes and abstracts
o Published family histories
o “How to do” genealogy books
o Standard genealogy reference sets, for example: American State Papers, Federal Land Series, Genealogies of the Library of Congress, the finding aids for the collections housed at the National Archives and Records Administration, Filby’s Passenger & Immigration Lists Index, Cherokee By Blood, American Ancestry, Colonial Families of the United States, DAR Patriot Index, Genealogical Abstracts of the Revolutionary War, Ohio in the War by Reed, Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866 and Howe’s Historical Collections of Ohio.
o Genealogy references for other states: New England, Middle Atlantic, and Southern.
o Our collection of Kentucky and Indiana books is small but growing.


The Ohioana Room has a large collection of genealogical data CD-ROMs. Consult the library catalog online or our hard copy catalogue of Genealogical data CD-ROMs located in the office of the Genealogy Librarian. The CD-ROMs can be viewed on the public computer in the Ohioana Room.


The Ohioana Room has a collection of microfilm that includes the Miami-Visitor and Miami-Gazette newspapers of Waynesville as well as part of the Western Star of Lebanon, Ohio. Ask the genealogy librarian for more information.


The Ohioana Room has the same hours as the library. Our book collections are catalogued in the general electronic card catalogue of the library. The public computer in the Ohioana Room has access to that catalogue. Family Tree Maker software is available on that computer, too. The books in the stacks are labeled by state, county and type. The vertical files are labeled. The books are in Dewey Decimal order.


The Ohioana Room is named in honor of Mary K. Current who was the third head librarian of The Mary L. Cook Public Library. In 1954 the Wayne Township Library was moved from its location on Main Street to the first floor of the old 1898 Union Schoolhouse on Fourth Street, which was owned by the American Legion Post #615. The following year, in 1955 Mary K. Current was named librarian. The Ohioana Room began as a storage closet in the old schoolhouse and it has continued to grow throughout the years and through many transformations of the library into the research resource it is today. The Ohioana Room will continue to expand its collections and provide genealogical and historical services to those of the local community and researchers who visit us from outside the area and other states.
Through your attendance at Ohioana Room events and through the purchase of materials published by the library and the genealogy librarian, you can:
o support the continuing development of the Ohioana Room reference book collections
o support the Ohioana Room’s services to the community which include conferences, workshops, and presentations
o support the publication of indexes and abstracts of genealogical materials that pertain to Waynesville and the immediate area
o support the further development of pathfinders and educational materials which can be used to encourage local historians, genealogists, and patrons to engage in serious research into the interesting history of Waynesville and Wayne and Massie Townships
o and support the production of future digital presentations on local notables, significant families and important events as well as educational videos on a variety of topics which can be used with both children and adult groups.


The Friends of The Mary L. Cook Public Library is a group of friendly community volunteers, whose purpose is to support and promote the library in all its varied services. They sponsor programs, do fund raising, buy new items and do many things to help the library. The group meets quarterly to plan its activities. Annual membership is $2.00 for an individual, $5.00 for a family, $25.00 for a business/organization and $100.00 for a lifetime membership