Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Johnny Appleseed; 4th in series

Richland County

The third marker on Mansfield's square commemorates Johnny Appleseed and a run he is thought to have made in 1813 from Mansfield to Mt. Vernon for reinforcements when an Indian attack was believed to be imminent.

While Appleseed is often thought of as a fictional character, he was very much a real person; born in Massachusetts in 1774 as John Chapman.  He was a skilled nurseryman who loved apple trees and supplied seeds and tree saplings to pioneers as population growth spread through what is now OH, then known as the eastern edge of the Northwest Territories.

A young Admiral Perry had just defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie then and news from explorers like Lewis and Clark was just becoming known when Appleseed ran through the forest for help. 

Appleseed was a vegetarian and wore raggedy clothes.  Some claim he wore a tin hat when he traveled and once escaped horrible weather by sleeping in a hollow tree--with a mother bear.  Sometimes the line between truth and fiction becomes blurry.

Problems between the pioneers and the Indians were quite real then, however.  The infamous Copus massacre had just happened the previous September.

At the time of Appleseed's run there were two blockhouses on the Mansfield square, refuges for local settlers from the violence of the War of 1812 and from Indian attack.  Ohio had become a state just 10 years earlier and 90 per cent of Ohio's area remained heavily forested.

Parts of one of those blockhouses were used in the recent reconstruction of the blockhouse in South Park and Johnny's name is firmly etched in my memory banks as the Johnny Appleseed Squares, the name honored by my square dancing group.

He died in 1845 and is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Somewhere.  There even is some dispute about the year of his death.

But there is no dispute about his devout lifestyle and accomplishments.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Adopted grand daughter Mackenna Curtis-Collins, 12, shorter person, center of the top photo and at right competed in the second cross country race of her career Saturday against teams from Wooster, Galion, and Westerville.

She is gasping her way as she approaches (above) and crosses the finish line (below) for a second place finish in the field of nearly 100 competitors.  That's her coach in the left background witnessing and recording her amazing performance.

In her first race--ever--last week at a Madison invitational, she placed first in her age group.

< Smile >

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The sales lady at Macy's summed it up best when she told me, "If everything made outside the United States was removed from this store, it would be virtually empty."

This story began when I was meandering around Cato Fashions in a small, Ontario strip mall with my lady Sue recently.   To amuse myself I began to read the garment tags that confessed their origin:  Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Phillipines....

Finally, I actually stumbled on one blouse that was made in the US of A.

Much to my amazement it was priced smack in the middle of the range of all the rest of the garments--in the low $20s.

Which gave rise to an obvious question:  If whoever manufactured and sold this product can do so competitively, why isn't everything in this store made in the US of A?

I got a blank stare when I posed that question to the young sales lady there.

In the JC Penny store I was looking at lady's jeans.  They were sewn in China--and, finished in Mexico.  A double whammy! 

While we were in Macy's Sue pointed out their up-scale line of womens apparel where I did find a few items made in the US--"from imported fabric".

In Sear's I found an entire line of lady's garments made in the US.  I began to feel a tinge of encouragement.

Then I noticed that same line of clothes on the next rack came from Indonesia.  Again, they all had the same price.

So, what gives? 

I was chagrined when it dawned on me; the stuff made in the US probably was done with illegally, imported labor.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

John Sherman; 3rd in series

in Richland County

Another marker on Mansfield's square stands on the west lawn of the county administration building.  It honors John Sherman, (1823 - 1900), who served as a US Senator, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State, the last under President William McKinley in 1897.

Sherman is best known as the author of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. 

This law basically encouraged business competition by controlling monopolies.  That law today still forms forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by the US.

One of his older brothers was General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame.

John Sherman was born in Lancaster, OH and early in life worked as an engineer on canal projects.  Later, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1844.  He moved to Mansfield that year and began practicing law with another older brother, Charles.

In his political career he was a delegate to the 1848 and 1852 Whig National Conventions and served as a US congressman beginning in 1854.  In 1877 president Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Sherman Secretary of the Treasury.

By 1878 Sherman succeeded in reducing the amount of currency in circulation to the exact amount of gold in the US Treasury. 

Imagine that kind of fiscal policy today.

Sherman ran unsuccessfully for US President in 1880 but lost to his campaign manager, James A. Garfield.  He ran twice more in 1884 and 1888, losing both those efforts too.

He served briefly in the office of US Secretary of State and was replaced in that office by President McKinley in 1898 after his disagreements with McKinley over the Spanish-American War.

Sherman died in Washington DC and is buried in the Mansfield cemetery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Allow me to introduce my adopted grand daughter, and the young lady who recently saved my blog story of the two fellows standing on the fence posts with her nifty photography--when my picture failed.

This photo was done just prior to her first-ever excursion into pageants--at the Blueberry Festival in Lexington recently where she was first runner-up in her age group.

It's hard for me to imagine the winner.

Mackenna is my lady Sue Brooks' grand daughter and is the daughter of Traci Curtis of Lexington.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Methodist Church; 2nd in series

in Richland County

One of the three markers on Mansfield's square celebrates the first religious service in Mansfield.  It is located directly in front of the First United Methodist Church on the northeast corner of Park Ave. East and N. Diamond St.  It also was the first historical marker established in Richland County in 1978.

That church is regarded as the oldest religious congregation in north-central Ohio because the Reverend James Copus preached the first sermon at the "spring" there in 1809--just six years after Ohio became a state.

Services were then moved to the blockhouse on the square in 1811and into an early courthouse also on the square in 1813. The first church building was built in 1820 at the corner of Park Ave East and Adams St and another at the present site in 1870.

Local history enthusiasts will correctly associate Rev. Copus' name with the Copus Massacre where the reverend, several neighbors and three soldiers were killed in Mifflin Township of Ashland County in September 1812.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Above is a very-crowded Friday evening at the festival.  Hard to imagine what Saturday night must look like.

Friends Mark Meinzer and Don Karger (right) enjoy one of a couple of terrific murals painted on downtown buildings--this one on State Route 4 just north of the square on the west side of the street.

The murals themselves are worth a trip to Bucyrus.

A four-piece "jug" band from Cleveland was a hit with the crowd Friday evening.  Of course, some of the folks who enjoy this type of music were themselves a hit with the crowd with their impromptu antics.

The midway had a food vendor featuring Bourbon Chicken sandwiches.  The view below is what it looks like when you consume a couple of those things after telling the cook to "...hold the chicken."

Can you tell we had a delightful time?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Ohio State Reformatory; 1st in a series

in Richland County
There are currently 1,346 historical markers across the state.  Seven of them are located in Richland County; three of which are on the square in downtown Mansfield.

Today, Fogeyisms starts a series of stories, each of which will feature one of those seven markers.  Articles and photos will appear throughout the next few weeks beginning with today's inaugural story of the marker at the old, Ohio State Reformatory north of town.

As you can see in the above, this marker is located on the driveway leading into the old reformatory with its administration building in the background.  Three of our county's seven markers feature historical places that remain and are open to visitors: the reformatory, Malabar Farm and Hemlock Falls.

The Ohio Historical Society maintains a web page here: Click!  You can go to that page then click on "browse markers" in the left column.  That will take you to a list of Ohio's counties.  Click on "Richland" and you will see a list of our seven markers.

Click on "Ohio State Reformatory" and another page will reveal lots of information about that marker and its subject including the text you will find on both sides of the marker, its street address and latitude and longitude of its location, etc.

In this case, lady friend Sue Brooks and I did the photo of the marker and took one of several tours that are conducted there on Sunday afternoons; ours involving the west cell block, a guard tower, inmate shower facilities, the post office, etc.

In the small photo (top right) you may get some feeling of what it must have looked like to an inmate staring out of his dank, concrete and steel cell as a guard (rather than this tourist) passed by.  Each cell had two bunks, two personal cabinets and a toilet.

The east range of cells appears in the bottom photo.  It is five stories tall and has an opposite side just like the one pictured.

Amazingly, the west range of cells was all steel in construction, rose six stories tall and was the largest in the world.

The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society maintains a web page here: Click!    It is chock full of information on the institution's history and activities.  Take a peek.  Better yet, plan a visit.  You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

and a church being built in a flood plain

On yet another recent visit to southeast Ohio, we drove along the crumbling asphalt of a nearly vacant, weedy area of flood plain on the west side of Junction City, OH.

Nearby, two guys were perched mostly silently, in standing position on a pair of three foot tall posts.

We passed the pair slowly, sharing friendly nods, and headed toward a church we knew about (behind young man on the left) that was under construction in the flood plain in defiance of local building authorities.

The church's powers-that-be, we had been told, were accustomed to getting their own way in that small town and not much bothered by regulations.

Inside the metal building I could see wooden, wall studs with lots of construction-like stuff here and there; visible through a dusty window but little evidence of recent activity around the gravelly site, noticeably eroded by heavy rains.

Just like Sue's sister Patsy had told us, the main doorway wasn't even centrally aligned with the middle of the building.  And, the doors already were showing rust.

We wondered who would win this tug of war between the local bureaucracy and some strong-willed deacons--or whatever.

Headed back toward the road we noticed the same two fellows still perched on their posts.  I waved as we approached and got a wee bit acquainted with the pair, a father and a son actually.

'What are you doing up there," I inquired.  "We're just standing here--having fun," they told me, then launched into a series of interesting geometric poses; only slightly struggling to maintain their balances.

I enjoyed the show and told them so.  They smiled.

When I asked about the church construction the father said, "Yup, that building sure could get wet.  This whole area floods often," he explained as he circled his arm overhead, "...clear up to Bremen" a town about 6 miles up the valley to the west.

I complimented their creativity as we concluded our conversation.

Patsy chuckled later as we shared our experience.

"They do things like that in Perry County," she smiled knowingly.

Editor's Note:  Sue is my lady Sue Brooks who was born and grew up in Junction City.  Patsy is her sister who also was born there and still lives on the family's rural homestead.  I did take several pictures of the event described above but failed to note the camera still was adjusted for a then, recent night photo event.  Adopted grand daughter Mackenna Curtis-Collins, learning of my failure. said "You can use my picture Grandpa."  That's it above--with my humble gratitude.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Mansfield JOHNNY APPLESEED Square Dance Club took a lesson from the Mansfield Multiple Sclerosis group at its annual summer picnic where we were the scheduled entertainment recently.

We shared the pleasure of the dance obviously, but mostly our lesson was in treasuring life in spite of its adversities.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Allow me to start at the beginning.

As lady friend Sue and I along with square dancing friends the Kargers and the Matzs prepared for our dancing trip to southern Ohio recently, Don Karger and I, being shooting enthusiasts, found there were two gun shops listed for the town of Wellston, OH--which we would pass through on our way to our weekend dancing venue in Jackson.

Finally, the big day arrived and we arrived at Wellston's first gun shop, only to discover the building appeared to have been abandoned in the not too recent past.

Our chagrin at that misfortune gave rise to much hilarity from our female travel companions.

So, we trundled on to the south side of town in search of the second gun shop.

Keep in mind, around Richland County, shooting enthusiasts visualize shops like Ashland's Fin-Feather-Fur or Shelby's Sportsman's Den when we think of gun shops--both just slightly smaller versions of the giant box stores of that genre, like Cabela's, for example.

You guessed it.  That's Don (above) hanging his head in disbelief after we discovered Wellston's second gun shop was this cabin-sized affair--which also was closed, smack-dab in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

Can you imagine the mirth of the ladies this time?

It was shameful--but, all in good fun, of course.

Our weekend went on to include two terrific evenings of square dancing.  Just imagine; we had 96 folks on the floor in Saturday night's final dance, this in a fairly small town deep in southern Ohio.  Kudos indeed to the Wagon Wheelers, the host club, and our callers Jack Pladdys and Homer Magnet.

Our memorable weekend included the events chronicled in the immediately preceding stories.  And, our overall enjoyment was just as depicted in the above photo with Roberta Karger modeling a nifty, camouflaged bonnet while Sue (left) and Roberta's husband Don (right) share in the merriment during our concluding visit to Rocky's outlet store in Nelsonville.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

and a peek back in time

I like old trains.

The cars clank and groan and go clickity-clack and passengers sway gently on these rusty salutes to nostalgia. 

Our ride that day fussed its way from Nelsonville to Haydenville, OH, the latter being the last "company town" in the state; such as made famous in that old Tennessee Ernie Ford tune about "...owing one's soul to the company store."

The train's horn snorted a blast or two at every road crossing but drivers, temporarily interrupted on their daily rounds, didn't seem to mind.  Greetings were exchanged in the form of friendly waves while locals and tourists alike trundled along, 1920s style.

Our 14 mile round trip was in an open air car where "air conditioning" arrived on the wind and natural sounds and smells teased the senses, naturally.

Since it is an awkward maneuver to turn a train around, the engine is simply disconnected and moved to the other end via a handy siding track while passengers loiter a bit, then, we waddled back through Nelsonville to our next stop, a 30 minute visit at Robbin's Crossing, a reconstructed colonial village on the nearby campus of Hocking College.

I wandered the village and pondered what life on the Ohio frontier must have been like when native citizens still outnumbered European settlers.

I leaned on a cabin rail, while the village "smithy" somewhere nearby, clanged a hammer on his anvil and, I remembered the US government sent the Wyandot Indians off to a reservation in Kansas in 1843. 

They were the last of their culture in Ohio.

Square dancing friends Sue Brooks, Russ and Jane Matz and Roberta and Don Karger enjoy the switching of an engine (top photo) as our excursion train reverses course near Nelsonville, OH recently.  The village carpenter at Robin's Crossing (below) regales visitors with tales from colonial times.

The Hocking Valley RR:  http://www.hvsry.org/

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

of Thomas Worthington, circa
1807, Chillicothe, OH

Adena was the 2,000 acre estate of Thomas Worthington (1773-1827), sixth governor of Ohio and one of the state's first US senators.  The mansion house shown above was completed in 1807--three years after Ohio became the 17th state.

The architect of the home was considered the first professional architect in the nation and served as architect of the US capitol under President Thomas Jefferson.  The mansion sits on the 300 remaining acres of the original homeplace along with a restored tenant house, barn, spring house, smoke house and wash house.

It is hard to imagine the grandeur of the governor's lifestyle--obvious in a mansion tour--all being accomplished without indoor plumbing.  Visitors may stroll through the garden adjacent to the house with its three terraces of flowers and vegetables.

The view from the mansion's north lawn features the Logan Range of mountains, thought to have inspired the design of Ohio's Seal; now disputed by some historians as mentioned in a previous blog story.

The site also features a modern museum and education center with interactive exhibits to give visitors a picture of life in Ohio in the early 1800s.

Occasionally, Worthington would accompany a shipment of his farm's commodities to New Orleans for sale.  Boats could navigate the Scioto to the Ohio River then down the Mississippi River where the boats would be dismantled and sold, the lumber often being used for home construction in that growing seaport town.

Worthington then would travel by ship to the East coast then home by horseback.

A tour guide explains the operation of the mansion's kitchen; all cooking accomplished without modern conveniences.  She drew gasps from her audience when she explained how servants felt inside the oven to insure it had reached the proper temperature.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sue Brooks and Don Karger (above) are studying a Mound City plaque with numerous mounds and an earthen wall visible in the background.  A grid line for archeological work is just visible above Don's right shoulder.


Chillicothe, Ohio

The mounds seen in the photo (above) and being excavated by archeologists (lower photo) were constructed by the Hopewell peoples, American Indians who lived between 2,200 and 1,500 years ago.

Those folks walked what we know today as the Scioto River valley before Christ was born.

In fact, their civilization spanned the area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The mounds were primarily burial sites and typically were built in stages.  Wooden structures were built there; probably as the scene of funeral ceremonies and other gatherings.  Dead were either cremated or buried on-site.

Objects of copper, stone, shell and bone were placed near the remains.  After many such ceremonies the structure was burned or dismantled and the entire site was covered with a large mound of earth.

This site, originally named Mound City in the 1840s, contained at least 23 mound-like structures surrounded by a low earthen wall.  It was covered by an army training facility during World War I and many of the mounds were destroyed.

Some excavation and restoration work was done in 1920-21 and the site was declared a national monument in 1923.  Additional excavations were done in the 60s and 70s and it became the national park we know today in 1992.

Russ Matz is pondering the archeological dig site currently underway in this historical park.  Since 1,500 years ago only the great mounds and earthworks, like those shown, remained as monuments to the once-flourishing Hopewell world.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

and coat of arms

The seal's design has changed at least ten times in the state's history; the original design being adopted in 1803 for official use by the governor.

That legislation, however, was repealed in 1805 leading to a wide array of designs.  A design in 1847, for example, depicted in the current Statehouse rotunda skylight, includes a canal boat.

In 1866 the republican controlled general assembly adopted an elaborate coat of arms.  That design proved unpopular and a democrat controlled general assembly replaced it with a simpler design in 1868.

The current coat of arms was adopted by the legislature in 1967--and was modified again in 1996.

There were unsuccessful attempts in 1999 and 2003 to add the Wright brothers airplane to the seal.

Today's version depicts a background of Mt. Logan in Chillicothe as seen from Adena, the restored mansion of Thomas Worthington, Ohio's first US senator and 6th governor.  The background includes the Scioto River while a shock of freshly harvested wheat appears in the foreground with a similar shaped cluster of 17 arrows representing Ohio being the 17th state admitted to the union.

A rising sun peeks over the background mountains with 13 rays representing the 13 original colonies.

Controversy surrounds the seal yet today.  According to Ohio History Central (Click) most scholars today believe Adena's view did not inspire the seal.
And the beat goes on....

Lady friend Sue Brooks reads a plaque on the grounds of Adena, Worthington's restored mansion near Chillicothe with Mt. Logan shown in the background.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The first and third capital of Ohio

Modern Chillicothe was the center of the Hopewell Indian culture from 200 years before the birth of Christ.  The Hopewells had trade routes that extended to the Rocky Mountains; to what is now Canada; and to the eastern and southern coasts of North America.

They built earthen mounds for ceremonial and burial purposes throughout the Scioto and Ohio River valleys.

Europeans moved into the yet-to-be Ohio area heavily after the American Revolution and Chillicothe became Ohio's first capital with statehood in 1803.

The capital was moved to Zanesville in 1810 for two years as part of a political compromise then moved back to Chillicothe in 1812.  The capital was moved to Columbus in 1816 to be closer to the center of the state.

Square dancing friends Roberta Karger (top left), Russ and Jane (right) Matz join lady friend Sue Brooks in pondering the current home of the Chillicothe Gazette newspaper, Ohio's oldest.  Founded in 1793 the paper moved to Chillicothe when it became the center of territorial government circa 1800.  The Gazette building pictured is a replica of the first capital building and is located downtown at 50 W. Main St.

Six of us including Roberta's husband Don danced two evenings in nearby Jackson, OH and visited the Ross County area.  Today's piece is first in a series that will include peeks at the site that inspired Ohio's State Seal, The Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and, the Adena Mansion, home of Thomas Worthington, known as the "Father of Ohio" and the state's sixth governor.

We will conclude the series with a relaxing ride on the Hocking Valley Railroad and a peek at a reconstructed colonial town on the campus of Hocking College in Nelsonville.

Please stay tuned.