Thursday, July 30, 2009

A huge dairy farm sits down in a quiet corner of Holmes County near Loudonville. This week-old Holstein calf was born there and watches from its version of a nursery as nearly 300 cows on one section of the farm alone are milked three times daily mostly for cheese production; a world renowned product of this area. Please stop by Saturday and Fogeyisms will take you along on our recent visit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In the barn

This rural venue adds an authentic flavor to Western Square Dancing. It’s a near ageless activity, being practiced (above) in dance workshops hosted by the Shelby Cloverleafs at the Audrey and Clint Dotson family barn just outside of town.

For two months this summer newly graduated students of the dance continued to polish their skills while veteran dancers filled the squares with a lively boost of experience.

Audrey was born in a cabin behind the barn built by her great-great-grandfather in 1830. Eight generations of her family have lived there. Then, for some 30 years the farm was owned by outsiders. The Dotson’s bought it back in 1988 and rebuilt the cabin from the ground up, last adding a garage, living room, bath and large master bedroom.

“Now I feel like I’ve come home” Audrey said in an aging newspaper article displayed on the barn wall. In that same article Clint said, “We’re bringing back an old tradition....Something this country needs is more of things like this.”

As a newly minted graduate of Western Square Dance lessons I can only say, Amen!

And, if you are thinking about easing into this marvelous activity, you are just in time. The new season of lessons will begin in September for both the Shelby Cloverleafs and the Johnny Appleseed Squares of Mansfield.

Danny Beck of Norwalk, a popular square dance caller around Ohio, is calling this recent dance workshop in Dotson’s Barn. He also gives the lessons for both the Shelby and Mansfield square dance clubs.
Here’s the address for the Appleseeds web page: When you arrive on their page click on “Lessons” top left for lots of nifty info. Their lessons start September 24th.

For the Shelby Cloverleafs; their lessons begin Tuesday, September 15th from 7 to 9 p.m. at Dowds Elementary School on Seneca Dr., beside Wendy’s on Mansfield Ave. Contact Dick and Judy Reed (Shelby) 419-347-2965 or Dale and Sandy Sturdevant (Mansfield) 419-756-4778

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This monument honors the families and soldiers killed in what history now calls the Copus Massacre. The site is located on Township Rd. 1225 about ½ mile south of Charles Mill dam and east of SR 603, also about ½ mile. Look for the signs shown in the small photo below, fairly visible to southbound traffic on 603.


It is hard to imagine while driving through the forested countryside on a township road near Charles Mill Dam these days, one is approaching the location of a horrific Indian slaughter that happened there less than 200 years ago.

We were engaged in the War of 1812 then, while at the same time our ancestors were sweeping across this wilderness to the promise of a new life in the West. That massive migration was pushing the Indians from their homelands so the British easily recruited many of them to fight the colonists as part of that war.

The Copus family and three others had settled in this area in about 1803 and were befriended by the local Indians. This peaceful coexistence was shattered in September 1812 when the colonial army came through the area to protect all settlers from Indian attack and wound up burning the village of Indians peaceful to Copus and their friends.

This led to a revengeful attack by the Indians on September 10 and many deaths to the Copus neighbors. Upon learning of the attack the Copus family escaped the area and stayed in a blockhouse in present day Jeromesville.

They returned a couple of days later under the protection of a small squad of careless soldiers, and, the Indians attacked again on the 15th killing Mr. Copus and many of the soldiers.

One variation of this tale has Johnny Appleseed involved in the rescue of the survivors in these attacks. This is considered reasonable by historians because he was well known to the families in this area.

There is some variation in present day accounts on the specific facts of who was killed. Wikipedia lists Mr. Copus and three other men as victims but fails to mention a Mr. Ruffner who died defending his neighbors the Zimmers, also killed--as related by the Ashland Historical folks.

There is no authentic record of how many Indians died.
The Wikipedia story is here:
They also offer this reference: A. A. Graham “A History of Richland County” 1880.
The Ashland County Historical Society is here:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Historical enthusiast extraordinaire and bicycling companion Ted Kmet photographs an historical marker concerning the Copus Massacre. The marker is located in the parking area below the Charles Mill Dam on SR 603 south of Mifflin. The car in the background is travelling southbound on 603. Saturday, Fogeyisms takes a look at this fatal chapter in our area’s early history.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MY FORD F-150 extended cab pick-up truck is filled to the brim with five adult bicyclists and their bikes. Reminds me of the old college antic where a platoon of people squeeze their way into and out of a Volkswagen.

In early July five of us launched our group riding season with a revisit to the Holmes County combined trail which runs from Fredericksburg in Wayne County through Millersburg to Killbuck; a round trip of some 33 miles.

It is called “combined” because it is designed to accommodate both bicycles and Amish horse-drawn vehicles—hence the appliance shown in the small photo right. Click on the picture to enlarge it and you will see the plaque reads “Nelson Horse Waterer”. Yup, an equine drinking fountain located near the trailhead in Millersburg. The legs in the background belong to George.

We revisited Holmes County’s trail for our first ride this season because that is where our little group launched its first season of very enjoyable, weekly rides last summer.

Please stay tuned as we roll around Ohio this summer; likely visiting the Lake Erie shoreline of the Marblehead peninsula next. Who knows what will follow that!

OUR HARDY GROUP of riders includes George Kmet, left, brother Ted Kmet, Lynn Rush, yours truly and Gary Courtright—all from the Richland County area except Ted who visits over the summer from Gainesville, FL. George’s career included being an Ohio National Guard fighter pilot. Brother Ted is retired from Federal law enforcement, Lynn is a retired nurse and Gary did 30 years driving trains from Willard to Chicago—a lively assembly, indeed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ahhhh; a bug on the window--after a few strokes of Photoshop's magic buttons and an adult beverage.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Typical of the marvelous carvings at Warther’s facility and gardens in Dover, OH is this K3S Pacific locomotive which entered service on the nation’s railroads in 1914. Below, visitors marvel at the stunning detail in the work of this world-class carver in their very tasteful display facility. Engine #382 is shown lower right—in solid ivory.

and take a peek at...

The Warther Carvings exhibit in Dover, OH. It is world class!

Ernest “Mooney” Warther was born in Dover in 1885. He lost his father when he was 3 and in the pressing economic troubles of those times he was able to attend school only through the second grade.

To help support the family, young Warther would drive the cattle of townsfolk out to pasture in the countryside on a daily basis. He did that for a penny a day and returned them at nightfall. On one of those quiet days he found a pen knife and began whittling.

Once he met a hobo who showed him how to carve an operating pair of pliers out of a single block of wood with just 10 cuts—with no shavings.

He mastered that feat then began to expand the number of sets of pliers out of a block of wood to three then seven, then...he had a vision.

He created a tree with 511 working pliers from a single block of wood. It required 31,000 cuts and took two months in 1913 to complete. Twenty years later that tree of pliers was displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair.

Meanwhile, in 1899, at age 14 he went to work in the local steel mill where he remained during the next 23 years. During that time he also learned to forge and temper steel from the neighborhood blacksmith.

When he could not find knives to suit his carving needs he began to make his own with short interchangeable blades and custom grips. In 1905 he made his mother a small paring knife. Soon, he was making knives for near countless folks and that was the beginning of Warther Kitchen Cutlery which remains the family business to this day.

In 1912 he built a small shop on his home site—by hand, of course—which stands, also to this day, as part of the carving museum and knife shop complex. With the building of that shop Mooney said he “...stopped whittling and started carving.”

Thus began the work of his life; carving The History of Steam. His works of art, virtually all on display in the Dover facility, depict the evolution of the steam engine in sixty four carvings.

In 1924 Mooney’s work was on display in New York City’s Grand Central Station. The Passion Carvers from Oberammergau Germany, then known to be the best carvers in the world, saw his work, admitted they could never duplicate it, and deemed Mooney the World’s Master Carver.

He loved steam engines so much he said he would never carve a diesel locomotive, even if he lived to be 1000. Worther died in 1973 at the age of 87, leaving his last work, The Lady Baltimore, unfinished on his workbench—a steam engine, of course.

In 1933 Warther completed his finest work, The Great Northern Locomotive (above). Done at the age of 48 and like all of the 64 carvings in The History of Steam, it contains thousands of parts and is an actual, working model.

At age 80, he carved another of his great works, the Lincoln Funeral Train. It is carved of ebony and ivory with mother of pearl accents. Young tour children are mesmerized by its exquisite detail including Lincoln who can be seen lying in his coffin through the carving’s windows.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

THE WARTHER CARVINGS of Dover, OH is a world class facility worthy of your attention. A tour guide is pictured above with a walnut and ivory carving of the steel mill where Ernest “Mooney” Warther worked for 23 years. The mill contains 17 moveable men doing their jobs including a sleeping worker and an irate foreman.

Please stop by Saturday and join us for a tour of the facility which is best known for Warther’s amazing display of hand carved walnut, ebony and ivory steam engines which the Smithsonian has appraised as “Priceless works of art.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Dining on blossoms of a Canada Thistle

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mike Johnson, Mansfield; N8MBZ above.

in world-class style

Visualize a disaster of epic proportions in your town—a Katrina-like hurricane, for example. Power is out and phone lines and cell towers are destroyed for miles around. Calling for help is impossible.

That’s when the folks in amateur radio step up to the plate with an essential means of public communication.

Recently Mansfield’s Intercity Amateur Radio Club held a 24 hour field day exercise to maintain razor sharp skills in disaster preparedness.

Members gather in the “disaster” area and establish a base camp of operations. Radio communication gear is hooked to computers and networked to a generator-fed power grid. Assorted antennas snake through neighborhood trees and in this improbable stew of amazing technology, communications can be established—world wide.

This year’s annual event was held at a retreat center on SR 603 and the base camp is organized and manned for 24 straight hours; 2 p.m. to 2 p.m., the following day.

And, this is going on with countless radio clubs at the same time across the US and Canada.

Visitor’s ears are assaulted by a constant crackle of radio static punctuated by the recognizable dialog of electronic communication while the generator rattles the natural quiet of the woods.

By 7 a.m., on the second day Larry Roop of Mansfield, N8RGO, working the 80 meter band, pointed out on his laptop monitor 272 voice contacts already had been made with other amateur radio base camps from Florida to British Columbia.

In a second of five operating stations at their base camp, Mike Hartge of Shelby and John Lehman of Columbus were communicating the old fashioned way—using Morse code and a paddle key connected to their radio transmitter. Mike’s computer which was tracking their contacts showed they were only slightly behind Roop’s voice contact rig.

“We’ll probably catch up before the day is over,” Hartge smiled confidently; exuding a sense of competitive spirit.

Meanwhile, Mike Johnson of Mansfield was manning the group’s digital station in a spacious picnic pavilion. His dipole antennae’s guy wire disappeared into the edge of nearby woods.

In spite of that somewhat crude aerial assembly, Johnson had just concluded a contact with another radio station in Puerto Rico.

Digital, a somewhat recent innovation in amateur radio, codes the signal with public domain software on a personal computer then uses the amateur radio shortwave rig to send that coded message to another digital station where it is decoded and read.

These folks, much like the local volunteer fire department, provide an essential service when life kicks some sand in our face. Fogeyisms salutes them!

John Lehman, Columbus, K8PJ, a 30 year amateur veteran, (above) uses this vast array of equipment on the dashboard of his Jeep to simulate contact with hospitals operating the nation’s eye banks where instant communication in an emergency could be critical. Amateur radio today is the standby for the internet on the Eye Bank Net.

In the small photo above right Mike Hartge, Shelby, WO8R, is working his paddle key to transmit a Morse code message via the amateur radio airwaves.

(The capitalized abbreviations after these four men’s names are their unique call signs assigned by federal licensing officials.)

Links: The Mansfield radio club. The National Association for Amateur Radio

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Saturday, Fogeyisms visits the Mansfield Intercity Amateur Radio Club’s annual disaster preparedness field day exercise; a 24 hour event where “ham” radio operators polish their skills in establishing emergency radio contact throughout the US and Canada.

Larry Roop, Mansfield, N8RGO, a 20 year veteran of amateur radio, makes the 272nd radio contact of the exercise in the above photo. Please stop by for a peek at this real-world session.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

...Well, almost

This Saturday's blog was going to be on the outdoor drama Trumpet in the Land staged in New Philadelphia, OH. However amphitheater officials down there prohibit photography of the show citing copy write and actor’s union rules.

It therefore seems fitting to note the attendance at that evening’s show barely exceeded the number of cast members.

Perhaps they should reconsider their denial of photographs intended to promote their production.

Sorry for the absence of this planned blog story.

The fault is theirs, not mine.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We started our celebration early this year with the visit of a colonial statesman...

Ben Franklin stopped by the band shell in Ashland’s Brookside Park one recent evening and thrilled an audience of some 500 historically curious folks with his perspective on colonial America.

He reminded us of his admonition “We must all hang together or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately,” given to his fellow signers of the Declaration of Independence as they participated in that act of revolution against England and her despotic king.

He told us about young Tom Jefferson and his eloquence with words in the halls of debate after the Revolutionary War where the framework of what was to become our nation was hammered into shape. We now know that instrument as the US Constitution.

He often punctuated his delivery with quips like, “Why is it the golden years do not appear to ever be the present years?”

Franklin was actually an actor named Chris Lowell from Colorado Springs who taught French and chaired a language department for 35 years before teaching drama at the University of Colorado.

The notion of taking on an historical presentation came to Lowell a couple of years ago according to a March 2007 article in the Colorado Gazette.

Deciding which historical personage to play was a different matter -- although being of average height, bald and perhaps a little paunchy did point in Franklin's direction Lowell explained.

Lowell concludes his performances by taking questions from the audience.

"The funniest question that I ever got was, 'Dr. Franklin, is it true that you really did chop down the cherry tree?'" Lowell said.

Lowell’s performance was the concluding event in Ashland’s popular, 10th annual Chautauqua series.

Ed. Note: Chautauqua is an annual educational meeting, like one originating in an upstate NY village of the same name in 1874, providing public lectures, concerts, and dramatic performances during the summer months, usually in an outdoor setting.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ben Franklin, colonial America’s inventor, scientist, politician and statesman appeared on Ashland’s Brookside Park band shell stage recently. We found the event delightful to attend and fitting to be Fogeyisms’ birthday salute to the USA, 2009. Please stop by Saturday and enjoy your visit.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Every town has its colorful characters. We found one of Ashland’s, who described himself as The Mountain Man, at the concluding performance of their recent Chautauqua Series in Brookside Park. A local musical group served as the warm-up to Ben Franklin’s featured spot on the program. This front-row fellow oozed his enjoyment of the music by gently bouncing feet and fingers snapping to the twangy rhythm.