Friday, September 30, 2005

Waynesville in the 1950s

Waynesville before the Re-routing of Routes 73 and 42.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Farr & White: Waynesville Businessmen

Frank H. Farr, the son of Atkinson Farr, was a businessman in Waynesville, Farr’s 5 & 10 Cent Store (located in Cadwallader Hall, northwest corner of Miami and Main Streets) and a newspaper publisher. Above is a copy of the “Waynesville Hustler” dated December 1891 that has an ad for “Farr & White, Groceries, Hardware and Qweensware”. The "Waynesville Hustler" was a monthly paper edited and published by Frank H. Farr. Another paper started by Frank was "The Waynesville Enterprise" in 1902. His partner in this endeavor was Newton L. Bunnell.

Photograph taken from the
1903 Centennial Atlas of Warren County, Ohio, p. 64

J. William White, 1855-1941, (know as Will White) was a son of a clergyman who grew up in Waynesville. The history of the Farr business is detailed in the article below beginning with Frank's father, Atkinson L. Farr (1829-1907). Mr. White had worked for Atkinson Farr and then became a partner with him (see obituary below). J. Will White built a beautiful Queen Anne style home in 1901 in Waynesville located on Fourth Street, which still stands see photographs below.

The following is an article found in the Special Homecoming Edition of the Miami Gazette dated December 1905:

FARR AND WHITE, GROCERS. “Industries come and go,” and a gentleman recently, “but the firm of Farr & White moves along as surely and steadfastly as ever.” The business of this old and successful house was established by Mr. A. L. Farr in the year 1868. With a small stock of groceries, and a good large capital, not of cash, but of American energy, he laid the foundation for the splendid business enjoyed by this firm.

In the year 1878 Mr. J. W. White, who had held the position of salesman, became a partner and during all the years that followed, the firm of Farr & White has maintained its reputation for first class goods and honest prices and have been enabled to always retain a large patronage.

Their storeroom built in the year 1886, is one of the largest in the County devoted to the business of retailing groceries, hardware, Queensware and notions. Some very kindly suggestions were made by good friends when the location was chosen for this establishment. “A Little too far from the business center,” some said then, but twenty years has brought the center of business very much nearer this firm. “Too large a building for the size of the town,” others said ~ but the best investment they ever made was in the new storeroom.

It contains over 6,000 square feet of floor space devoted to merchandise, and their large and comprehensive stock comprises a fine line of the best brands of teas, coffees, spices, flour, canned goods, vegetables, fruits and oysters in season. Also, a line of shelf hardware, nails, steel goods; as well as English and American china and glassware. Portland cement, lime and salt are also on their list of specialties.

A blind business man once entered this store and after spending a little time caught the spirit of activity and industry, so easily recognized by those who even pass that way, said, “You have a fine stock of goods and certainly enjoy a fine business.”

Mr. White who has had charge of the business since Mr. Farr
retirement from active business life is thoroughly posted in theis line of trade and by giving his personal attention to the business insures the utmost reliability and satisfaction.

The Farr & White store is now
My Wife's Antiques on Main Street

Frank Farr's sister Amelia married his father's business partner J. William White. Their son Horace Fred White married Bessie A. Cook (1880-1944), the sister of Dr. Mary L. Cook of Waynesville, a physican and founder of The Mary L. Cook Public Library. Bessie and Horace had two children: Geraldine (March 29th, 1905-June 12th, 1968) and Horace (b. December 8th, 1908).

Old Postcard of the Will White home on the northwest
corner of North and Fourth Streets.
The house was built in 1901.
The interior of the Will White home.
From left to right: Amelia White, 1857-1944 (mother),
Horace "Fred" White, 1880-1962 (son),
and J. William "Will" White, 1855-1941 (father).
Obiturary of J. Will White
(Western Star, January 30th, 1941)

Frank Farr
Frank Farr home on Third Street
Frank Farr (rocking chair)
Mabel P. Farr, his wife (on his right)
Thomas L. Pierce, his brother-in-law (sitting on steps)

Patsey Baird Creech remembered Frank and Mabel Farr. this is what she wrote in Waynesville's First 200 Years (Published by the Waynesville Historical Society, 1997), p. 221:

For some reason, I distinctly remember Frank Farr, who lived on Third Street, playing a musical insturment while sitting on the concrete retaining wall at the station (now Pat's Gas). Often, other gentlemen would join him in a serenade.

Frank Farr's wife, Mabel, taught Sunday School at the Methodist Church. Mabel was a dear lady, short in stature and always dressed complegely in black ~ hat, dress, shoes, stockings and purse.

We also know that Frank Farr was the postmaster of Waynesville, see photograph below in front of the post office. Frank was the postmaster from 1906 till 1914. His father, Atkinson, had been the postmaster from 1874-1881. Frank was also a member of the Waynesville Lodge, No. 163, Free & Accepted Masons.

From left to right: Frank Farr, George Mills, Jesse Molatt Robitzer,
Up White, Curt Hisey, Joe Mendenhall and Fred Henderson.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Old Lock Up

The "Lock Up" before renovation.

Above: The Second "Lock-Up" in Waynesville
on Chapman Street

The "Old Lock Up" pictured above was a combination of firehouse and jail for the village of Waynesville. The date of its construction is not known. It is, however, fairly clear that the building was built after 1879.

During the notorious triple murder in Waynesville in 1879, the jail-"lock up" that held Daniel R. Anderson was a single iron cell in a brick building rented by the village located behind the old Waynesville House (The Cornell House, also known as the Miami House, and various other names), which was located on the northeast corner of North Main and North Streets. The village leased the building and adjoining land of David Mason for $60.00 per year (Miami-Gazette, July 11, 1871). On the next day the following was published:

Lock Up: The lockup so long talked of has at length been purchased at a cost of something over $200.00. It is to be here within ten days, and placed in the little brick house back of the late Waynesville hotel. Who will be the first to honor it with their incarceration remains to be seen. We wish nobody, but there is too much probability that the iron cage will contain many an unruly devotee of Bacchus (Miami-Gazette, July 12, 1871).

A similar style movable single jail cell can still be seen today in Corwin, Ohio in the council house in the back room.

It was later reported, with tongue firmly inserted in cheek, in the Miami-Gazette, August 9th, 1871:

THE LOCK UP: This long expected institution has at last arrived. Its anticipation and its ultimate appearance have created a first class sensation. Men and boys have been in a state of excitement bordering on frenzy; and no one will deny that it is a matter of the gravest importance, indeed it would be very irreverent in our people not to regard the establishment of this thing among us as one of the grandest occurrences of the nineteenth century. So let us be thankful that we have been afforded a temporary escape valve for our pent up emotions. Seriously, the village prison is a good thing. The cage occupies one room, while the other room in the house is fitted up conveniently for the Mayor's court, council room, and whatever else may be desired. Iron gratings are put on the outside of each window and the doors are nailed and crossed until the whole thing has a formable and prison like appearance, terrible to behold. May it awe all evildoers into good behavior.

The village of Waynesville, as early as 1866, felt the need for a jail and passed an ordinance to provide for the borrowing of money for a jail, $400.00 (Miami-Gazette, July 17th, 1866). Apparently, the issue wasn't resolved until 1871 when the Mason building was rented and an iron cell ordered. The present standing Waynesville Lock-Up (see photographs), which has been restored and is located on Chapman Street, was built sometime after the triple murder around 1881.

There possibly was another old log tavern building that faced the old "Public Square", which served as a "lock up" before the Civil War. Judge John W. Keys recalls that, "In 1810, Samuel Test sold to Daniel Hammell lots 5 and 6 in Miami Square (where the livery stable was in 1870), for $50. Hammell built a large log house of two stories there, plastered outside with a walk round front to the second story, it was peculiar in its structure, facing three points to the street. I do not know how long Hammell remained there, but the house was afterwards owned by Richard Cunningham. In 1820 it was occupied by Levy Johnson and shortly after that by Brady. No tavern was kept there after about 1824. The building was remembered by the older citizens here as the 'Old Penitentiary'."

The "Lock Up" building today serves as an interpretive center for the Accommodation Line Scenic Byway, a 10.4 mile route running from Spring Valley to Waynesville, part of the historic Accommodation Stagecoach Line (also see John Satterthwaite).

Also see,

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Waynesville Academy

The Old Academy building is now the Stubbs Funeral Home

The Waynesville Academy was incorporated in 1844 by Friend Dr. Sylvanus Fisher and the stockholders of the Waynesville Academy Company. The land was owned by Friend David Evans (The Evans Family of Waynesville).

Sylvanus Fisher was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1797 but moved with his parents and siblings to Columbiana County, Ohio in 1807. He attended medical school in Lexington, Kentucky and began his practice in 1828. He was also a noted teacher in Columbiana County. In 1843 his first wife, Ann Wallahan, died. Dr. Sylvanus Fisher and many of his siblings moved to southwest Ohio two of whom also practiced for a while in Waynesville and Lebanon. Sylvanus had married again to Mary E. Hartman on October 24th, 1844 in Columbiana County. The 1850 Census of Waynesville in Warren County (Microfilm roll 266, page 346) mentions Sylvanus and Mary living in Waynesville, most likely in The Waynesville Academy building itself. Dr. Fisher was the designer, builder and principle stockholder of The Waynesville Academy. Eventually the Sylvanus Fisher family moved to Lebanon, Ohio in 1850. They would later move to Center Township, Rock County, Wisconsin where it is know that he was practicing in 1856. Sylvanus Fisher died in Wisconsin on April 2nd, 1860.

Even though distance divided the family, Sylvanus still had a connection to Waynesville through his brothers, Drs. Isaac and Elias Fisher. Sylvanus’ sister Ruth Fisher was married to Eli Harvey and lived in Clinton Co., Ohio (See,The Eli Harvey Homestead, article by Christine Hadley Snyder). His sister Sina Fisher married John Stichel of Clark County, Ohio.

Long after it closed due to the establishment of the public school system in Waynesville in the late 1850s, many people had affectionate memories of the old Waynesville Academy. In his address at the Waynesville Homecoming in 1906, Charles E. Merritt had this to say about the Waynesville Academy and gives a short summary of the early public schools, too:

And Waynesville, according to its means, its facilities and the state of pedagogy at that time, had good schools. There was the Academy, presided over at the earlier part of these recollections by David S. Burson, which so many of the “big boys,” Joe and Charlie Chapman, Mart Holland, Jason Evans and many others attended. The common Schools or Public Schools, on the closing of the Academy, came to be about all we had, unless we may except Miss Sarah Taylor’s School for young ladies, and some private schools at different times for younger children. The teachers remembered are Thomas Collett, Jason S. Evans, Joseph R. White, Samuel Scott, Jesse T. Butterworth, George P. Brown and Dr. William Meigs. It is far away from the little houses on the hills, where Thomas Collett and Jesse T. Butterworth taught the “young idea how to shoot,” to the present fine structure (He is referring to the new 1891 Union School.). It is far away from the school, which taught, or assumes to teach, all grades, to the present division into years and grades, but if experience is any guide, those who learn now, would have learned then, and those who will not learn now, would have failed then (Souvenir and Homecoming Edition of The Miami Gazette [Waynesville, Ohio: Miami Gazette, October 1906], p. 32).

The appearance of the old Academy was changed in 1867. According to the Miami-Gazette (April 17th, 1867): Among the improvements at present going on in town, we notice as one of the most prominent those in operation on the Academy building by its present owner, Mr. Fetters. This gentleman has entirely changed the appearance of the building and by neat fencing, ornamental trees, etc., will in time have one of the nicest residences on the street.

For more detailed information about the Waynesville Academy see: Quaker Education and Miami Valley Institute: A Hicksite Quaker College by Karen S. Campbell (Published by Author, 2004).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Seth Hocket Ellis ~ Founder of the Ohio Grange

Seth Hocket Ellis (1830-1904) was born at Martinsville in Clinton County, Ohio on January 3rd, 1830 and in 1847 came to Springboro, Ohio and then married on August 21, 1851, Miss Rebecca Tressler (1833-1908). From 1851-1852 he was a schoolteacher. He began farming in 1865 at Salem Farm, just a few miles southeast of Springboro.

In 1899 S. H. Ellis was a candidate for governor of Ohio by the Union Reform Party and he ran as their candidate for President of the United States in 1900. He was also on the Managing Board of Trustees of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station at Wooster, Ohio, a member of the State Board of Agriculture and Vice-President of the Farmers’ Cooperative Harvesting Machine Co. in Springfield.

The Ellis’ rented their farm outside of Springboro and moved to a house in Waynesville in February of 1899 (Miami- Gazette, February 15, 1899). Seth H. Ellis was an Orthodox Quaker minister, but when residing in Waynesville he also attended the Waynesville Methodist Episcopal Church. Even so, he was co-presider at the 1903 Centennial Celebration of the founding of Miami Monthly Meeting. He died on June 23rd, 1904 from a fall from a cherry tree. Seth H. Ellis, Rebecca Jane T. Ellis and Isadora are buried in Miami Cemetery, Corwin, Ohio (Section M).

Seth H. Ellis was also the first Ohio State Grange Master and was the founder of the Grange (The Patrons of Husbandry) in Ohio (see Miami-Gazette, June 29th, 1904 for an extensive obituary). He and his wife, Rebecca Jane Tressler, the daughter of Jacob Tressler and Sarah Null, had eight children:
  • one that died in infancy
  • Mrs. Evangeline Sumers of Lawrence, TX.
  • Charles Ellis, V. S.
  • Idella (Della) Foster (wife of Eugene H. Foster), Glendale, Ohio
  • Luella McClure of Springboro
  • J. Tressler Ellis, M.D. of Waynesville
  • Ruth Anna Janney of Waynesville
  • Dora Ellis (Isadora).

Four of his children attended Miami Valley College: Isadora, J. Tressler, Idella and Ruth Anna.

The Big Rocks of Waynesville

The big glacial rocks of Waynesville were a popular tourist attraction and the subjects of numerous postcards. The one pictured directly above was located in the valley of Camp Creek. Dr. James Wilkins Haines' sanatorium building for alcoholics can be seen on the right of the picture above. The topography of the valley today has been altered and modern Rte. 73 moves through it. Sadly, the big glacial rocks have been destroyed or covered.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Miami Cemetery Index Now Online

Announcing a new resource online to help locate ancestors buried in Miami Cemetery in Corwin, Ohio:

Miami Cemetery ~ Corwin, Ohio
Index of Names, Section, Lot, Grave, Date of Death & Source
(Located on The Mary L. Cook Public Library website ~ The Ohioana Room:

Information in the index is taken from a Miami Cemetery CD-Rom located in The Mary L. Cook Public Library. Over 9,000 entries are listed on this CD-Rom but there are numerous duplications.

The Miami Cemetery CD-Rom database contains more information than what appears in the online index. Other information found in the Miami Cemetery CD-Rom database may also include date of birth, place of birth, place of death, occupation, husband/wife, sex, race, age at death, veteran information, residence at death, cause of death, physician, clergy, date of burial, place of burial, name of funeral home, Undertaker’s name, Sexton’s name, father’s and mother’s place of birth, and various notes.

Contact Karen Campbell,, for lookups using the Miami Cemetery CD-Rom and accompanied source disks. This database index, although quite extensive, is not complete. Researchers need to also consult two cemetery transcriptions books published by The Warren County Genealogy Society:

Warren County Cemetery Book, Vol. 8- Miami Cemetery to 1985 Also see:
Warren County Cemetery Book, Vol. 12- Miami Cemetery, 1985-2000 Also see:

For more information about Miami Cemetery, see
Miami Cemetery ~ Located in Corwin, Across the River from Waynesville