Ohio history

Murray Lincoln addresses an assembly gathered to hear about electrification, as Eleanor Roosevelt (left) listens intently.

Power to the people

In the fall of 1935, in the depths of the Great Depression and the dawning of the New Deal, a young executive from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet Morris L.

The initial meeting didn’t go so well, as Lincoln remembers in his autobiography, Vice President in Charge of Revolution.

Shown into his office, I told him that we of the Farm Bureau wanted to avail ourselves of the benefits of this legislation and set up our own utility plants. 

“What do you know about the utility business?” Mr. Cooke asked.

“Nothing,” I admitted cheerfully. “I was trained in dairying and animal husbandry.”

Ohio’s urban garden cemeteries are some of the country’s most distinctive memorial parks, and stunning examples can be found in nearly every population center.

Places of rest

In the early 19th century, public city parks were virtually nonexistent. That doesn’t mean, however, that there was no green space in urban areas.

Ohio’s urban garden cemeteries are some of the country’s most distinctive memorial parks, and stunning examples can be found in nearly every population center. Here are three that are particularly outstanding and accessible. 

With World War I well underway, Fred Norton joined the Army after graduating from OSU in one of the earliest versions of what would become the U.S. Air Force.

The amazing Fred Norton

Two weeks before he graduated from Lakeside High School in May 1912, Fred William Norton competed in the inaugural Ottawa County track meet.

Most kids of the day ended schooling and began working full-time after eighth grade. But Norton took a different path. He entered Lakeside High School (now Danbury High) in 1908. Along with track, he also competed in football, baseball, and basketball, and he carried a 4.0 academic average all four years there. 

According to the Lakeside Heritage Society, he also worked for a local railroad, operating a locomotive and cleaning and repairing buildings and equipment. He often clocked 10-hour days, six days a week.

Early French colonial influence can be found all across Ohio, but notably so in the western part of the state, where, for example, the Holy Family Cemetery in Frenchtown has a sign at the entry that reads, “Heureux Les Morts Qui Meuerent Dans Le Seigneur,” which translates to “Blessed Are the Dead Who Die in the Lord.”

French connection

France began its effort to colonize North America not too long after Christopher Columbus arrived here in 1492. At times between 1656 and 1750, in fact, France controlled more of the continental land mass than Britain and Spain combined.

Quebec, for instance, continues to be a Francophone island in English-speaking Canada that’s held steadfast to its language for hundreds of years. In spots of northern Maine, French is used as typically as English, and French-inspired poutine and ployes are as familiar on menus as burgers and pizza. The Cajuns of Louisiana still embrace their past with gusto and richness — so much so that the number of French-speakers in the bayou has actually increased in recent years. In Missouri, where St.

Did you know robins were once hunted and eaten by humans?

Tastes like robin

Hunting earthworms on our lawns or building nests in our shrubbery, robins are so ubiquitous today that we barely give those attractive, red-breasted songbirds a second thought. 

The slaughter began with large mammals — elk and deer in the East, bison in the West. Once those populations were decimated, the professional hunters moved on to waterfowl: ducks, geese, and swans. After those species were depleted, shorebirds were next in line. Smaller than most waterfowl, shorebirds made up for their small size by numbering in the millions. They also decoyed readily and tasted good on the dinner table. 

Last on the list was songbirds.  

Visitors also can get up close and personal with a bevy of the farm’s residents, such as Bob, a Percheron horse.

Past perfect

Where do the batteries go?” Ann Culek always smiles when she recalls the curious little boy who couldn’t figure out the workings of an old-fashioned marble run one afternoon in the farmhouse at Slate Run Living Historical Farm.

Operated by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, the farm is part of Slate Run Metro Park, situated in the splendidly scenic countryside between Circleville and Canal Winchester.  It’s a South Central Power Company member, but because the farm preserves the lifestyle of an era before electric cooperatives served rural Ohio, visitors never see so much as a light switch, let alone the modern office equipment that occupies the farmhouse’s second story. 

Impressed at how they were treated, many of the German and Italian prisoners who were held at Camp Perry returned to live in the U.S. after the war.

Perry's POWs

Camp Perry, on the Ohio shores of western Lake Erie a few miles west of Port Clinton, boasts the second-largest outdoor rifle range in the country.

The United States maintained nearly 700 camps, in all but three states, during the war — established to help alleviate the overcrowding of POWs housed in Great Britain. Had just Italian (50,273) and Japanese (3,915) POWs been sent to the U.S., existing American camps could have handled those numbers. But late in the war, as Allied troops began to take control, an additional 371,683 German prisoners began debarking from troop ships onto America’s shores, and the POW prison system was quickly overwhelmed. U.S.

Detail from an artist’s rendering of the execution of Col. William Crawford.

Frontier Justice

One of the most infamous incidents in all of early Ohio history occurred 241 years ago this month, on June 11, 1782, when Col. William Crawford of the fledgling U.S. Army was burned at the stake by Native American locals out for revenge.

The story begins several months earlier, in March 1782, when 96 members of the Delaware tribe, who had converted to Christianity, were rounded up, massacred, and burned along with their entire village of Gnadenhutten (meaning huts, or tents, of grace) along the Tuscarawas River by Col. David Williamson and his contingent of frontier militia.

After the rains, a flooded road that led around the lake toward Reily (courtesy Reily Historical Society).

The state park that wasn’t

This is the story of a failed state park and its lake. To tell it faithfully, though, I need to tell you how I came across it. To do that, I need to first beg forgiveness, because I fibbed 44 summers ago. 

First, I encountered the ruins of curious concrete edifices in the creek bed that were clearly relics from another time. Old sycamores and silver maples grew thickly through cracked concrete. A tall tower stood there, orphaned, in what seemed the most out-of-the-way place. Not 40 yards away, Indian Creek bent into a deep pool beneath sheltering box elders. That leads to the second reason for the memory: It was there that I hooked a smallmouth bass as long as my forearm and thick as a pillow from the smallest of waters.

One of the most popular events at the Hayes Library's Easter Egg Roll is the arrival of the Easter Bunny.

Easter egg-citement

For more than 25 years, children have been bringing colored Easter eggs to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums (HPLM) in Fremont. Why?

Egg games were popular during the late 1800s, and in Washington, D.C., residents especially enjoyed spending Easter Monday on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where they picnicked and watched children rolling eggs — and often themselves — through the grass. After some rambunctious egg rollers damaged the landscaping in 1876, members of Congress promptly protected their turf by passing a law prohibiting people from using the Capitol grounds for a playground. Because it rained in 1877, the law wasn’t enforced until 1878, when police expelled youths carrying colored eggs from Capitol Hill.