J. Peery Miller Memoirs – part 16

An industrious farmer always found plenty of work to do at all seasons of the year, and his children were trained to be helpers in accordance with age and ability. But my youth was not overburdened with tasks. I found time for play and rest in the midst of a busy life. Our family relatives on both sides of the house were many, and they lived within visiting distances, mostly in Clark or adjoining counties. At intervals, when the farm work was not pressing, a visiting trip to the home of an uncle or an aunt which would require an absence of several days was not uncommon. These visits are bright spots in my memory for there were many cousins of my age, or nearly so, whose companionship I greatly enjoyed.

Location of Midway (Sedalia)

I recall a trip made with father, mother and my youngest brother, Clinton, to Midway (now Sedalia) Madison county, Ohio. It required an early start and a steady drive to cover this distance in a day. Lunch and horse feed must be prepared to be served at noon somewhere on the roadside. This trip is memorable because of an unseasonable frost that occurred at this time. The date of starting was Saturday, June 4, 1859. While the early morning was quite cool, we thought little of it. At Springfield we made a short stop at the home of my brother Samuel, who, at that time, lived in West Main street. Here we obtained extra lap-robes for additional comfort and then pursued our journey as speedily a our lumbering farm horse could be induced to travel. I remember that in spite of the extra wraps I got cold and got out of the buggy and warmed myself by running until I puffed like a race horse. We arrived at our destination, Dr. Milton Leman’s, late in the afternoon and were welcomed with a good, warm fire just as acceptable for our comfort in this June afternoon as the same would have been in the month of January. That night came the famous killing frost that history relates, and is still remembered by the very few old-timers now living in this vicinity. It is called the “Big frost of June 5, 1859”.

After an enjoyable Sunday visit and a second night’s rest we started homeward. It was pityful to witness the condition of the crops along the roadside! Wheat, which was now near the blooming stage in growth was lying flat on the ground as if it had been run over with a heavy two-horse roller. Corn, much of which before the frost, was knee high, lay flat on the ground. It is needless to say that the wheat crop for this year was entire failure throughout this section of the state; fruit also. Much of the corn was replanted and, though late, a fair crop was raised.

On our return home we thought to aid nature and encourage root growth by clipping off the wilted corn-blades with sheep-shears, but this did little good. In spite of the frost the up-ground corn on our farm was but little injured, being protected by the deep furrows in which it was planted and the nature of the soil. From one wheat field of twenty acres we cut two shocks, which when thrashed, should have produced one bushel, but the chickens took possession and saved us further trouble. Seed wheat for the next crop had to be purchased abroad. Also flour for home use unless the farmer was fortunate enough to have a supply of old wheat in the mill for that purpose.


Similar visiting trips were made to the homes of my mother’s brothers and sisters all of which gave pleasure to parents and children. To me the expectancy of going was cheering; the journey, thrilling, and the companionship of my cousins at their homes created a deep friendship among us, lasting from youth to old age. In this connection I would mention the families of my aunt Catherine Johnson, near Urbana, Champaign Co., O., Uncle Ira Smith, near Cable in the same county, and aunt Mary (Smith) McReynolds, whose home was at one time in Waynesville, Warren Co. and later in Miami county; also aunt Sarah (Smith) Leman in Madison county. These names and their descendants are all properly recorded in the “Smith Family Genealogy (1922.”

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“Our Town — as it was” — Part 2

See part 1, which covers the Glen and John Bryan, here. Part 2 moves to the college and downtown.Because the photos were taken from glass negatives, it’s possible that they broke in the case of the missing photos.

But our feet are weary now of all the roughnesses of our path so we amble on thru this wilderness of lowliness and climbing up a hill find a railroad and a wagon road to cross to reach a lawn of sod and trees leading up to a building that attracts our eyes and attention.

It is our college in its younger days.

Here we must make a small tour viewing the buildings from more than one angle, the next picture being a nearer view of the east front of the college.

As we roam the grounds we find Horace Mann monument, whose inscription each entering student must learn.

Our trip now brings us to the North entrance and passing it we look back to see near the entrance the imposing President’s mansion and the north end of the Main Building.

Across Xenia Avenue we go to see one of the other fine homes of that day; that of Dr. Weston. The folks seem to be having a game of croquet. Since we can’t join them we will pass on to other things of interest.

[Missing photo #18]

Near the center of town we come to a friendly gate way with an inviting roadway, winding thru the trees to the Mills House, or the Means House, According to the vintage of your memory and which is now the site of the Antioch School. Across Walnut Street stood one of the most unique buildings of this historic town. Little Antioch, built as a school house for the Mills children by their father.

[Missing photo #19]

{Miissing photo #20]

Little Antioch, built as a school house for the Mills children by their father.

We would like to linger here but we have a bit more to see, so we go to Dayton Street and see first the Central School as it was called.

[Missing photo #22]

Then we loiter slowly down the street and as we reach the corner of Corry and Dayton we cross over and because of a noise we realize there is a crowd gathering behind us. We turn to see the cause and learn that the group of men are posing for a picture in front of Green’s Livery Barn, which stood about Oster’s Garage stands now. This completes our tour into the past.

But there are three other pictures which will throw on the screen just as curiosities.

[Missing photos #24, #25 and #26]

It’s just a little street where old friends meet.

Mr Vaughn N Anderson,

1120 Mitman Dr.,

Fairborn, Ohio, 45324

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“Our Town – as it was” — Part 1

Discovered in our archives was a script and accompanying glass negatives of a tour of Yellow Springs. Although the date is unknown, the fashions worn by people, and the lack of paved roads shown in the photos would likely indicate 19th century.

Part 1 is primarily concerned with the Glen, and part 2 will cover the college and a bit of downtown.

Additional notes from Yellow Springs Historical Society president Dave Neuhardt:

…George W. Large was a photographer (and, at least in his later years, music teacher).  He was born in Pa. and moved west by way of Conneaut, Ohio—I can’t find him in the 1860 census, but he was here by at least 1868, because he applied for a patent while residing in Yellow Springs in that year.  He is shown as the Yellow Springs agent for Gano & Clark (who were photographers and publishers of stereoviews in Springfield) on the labels on the back of a large number of stereoviews from Yellow Springs and vicinity—and a number of the photos in your blogpost were originally published as stereos—in particular, I recognize some of the photos of  Clifton George, the Yellow Springs and the Cascades as having been published as stereoviews. He died in Yellow Springs in 1888 (and is buried in Glen Forest), so I suspect that these photos were all taken before that date (and probably in the mid-to late 1870’s or early 1880’s by the style, and the subjects I’ve seen).

I think Vaugh Anderson, who put together the series of photos into a program, was much more of a contemporary–from what I could find, he lived in Fairborn, and died m a number of years ago in Florida.

Our Town – as it was

Mr. Vaughn N Anderson

Story date unknown

Photos by Mr. Large

Photo dates unknown

In a neighboring city there is a club which had a program called “Know Your Town” which seemed a fine idea, so we are going on a short tour of our own surroundings. In this ramble we are using the word “town” as it is used in the east to denote a township – and we shall see a few interesting places of Miami Township.

You may not recognize at first all the places and people shown, for these pictures were taken perhaps seventy-five years ago by a photographer by the name of Large.

Our cavalcade will start from here at Bryan High and proceed in an easterly direction till we come to a point where there is a large culvert under the highway.

It is not far from here to the old mill pond.

From that point we follow the stream thru from the dam

[Missing Photo #3]

To the Gorge, sometimes called the Devil Gorge

Past Darnell’s Leap

And thru the narrows

On 70 feet of water

[Missing Photo #7]

Under a Rock Cascade

[Missing Photo #8]

And on to the New Cascade

In rapid succession.

From here we go through to another cascade where there is a flood tide of water.

Deeper into this woodland, now Bryan Park and Glen Helen we go, passing one historic spot after another. One of the most eminent of these is Pompey’s Pillar.

After seeing it let’s take an excursion to the spot marking the origin of the name of our town the Yellow Spring.

This is one of the places all visitors here used to go to see.

There’s another place somewhere on our route where the ladies are crossing the stream on the Stepping Stones.

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1870s Sketchbook — Part 13

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A Yellow Springs Woman of Determination

Glynna Garrett’s entry in Women of Greene County is in no way a complete portrait, but it does give a thumbnail sketch of a force in the establishment of affordable housing in the village.

Glynna Marie Garrett (1936-1979)

In the way she lived her life Garrett defied the stereotypes—challenging them in every way—with firmness, gentleness and laughter. She was an African-American woman on welfare and SSI (disability income), with three children who she raised primarily on her own.

Many people saw only her energy and thought her opportunistic instead of truly disabled. Yet, a listing of her many disabilities and illnesses staggers the imagination. She had malformed toenails, a leg bone that was welding to her hip socket with calcium deposits, a total mastectomy resulting from the frequent cysts on her breasts, and a floating brain tumor which caused vicious headaches and affected her sight. There had been a splenectomy when she was a teenager. She had angina and high blood pressure and breathing difficulties but continued to smoke Pall Malls. She moved through the world by sheer force of will.

Garrett was born in “The Bottoms” of Springfield but wanted to live in Yellow Springs for the sake of her children. This was before Yellow Springs had any official low cost housing, and rent subsidy programs were just beginning. Finding housing was difficult because of her welfare status. At the age of ten her eldest daughter was more sensitive to the feeling of not being wanted than was her mother.

Garrett persevered and danced through the old ways of doing things. She was Chairperson of the Community Action Council, sat on the Governor’s Health Advisory Commission, and participated with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. She was the backbone of the Welfare Rights Organization which later evolved into Help Us Make a Nation (HUMAN). A number of boards asked her to participate in order to meet affirmative action requirements because she was African American, female and a welfare recipient. When she got on boards she helped educate a lot of people with her intelligent, articulate presence. She was active in Center Stage and Community Chorus.

Garrett was a poor woman of dignity. In spite of many adversities she was able to thrive and educate by her example.

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We Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving

From the Yellow Springs Historical Society…

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 16

A very mixed group of designs targeted at specific interests:

0213-5 (sleeve of 12) — Update of the “Praying Hands” image painted by Jorge Bowen-Forbes

0217-8 (box of 30) and 0218-6 (sleeve of 12) — From the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame

0219-4 (box o 30) and 0226-7 (sleeve of 12) — Collage of American author stamps from the U. S. Postal Service

0220-8 (box of 30) and 0227-5 (sleeve of 12) Cover image from Anne McCaffrey’s The White Dragon by illustrator Michael Whelan

0221-6 (box of 30) and 0228-3 (sleeve of 12) — Painting of jungle animals by Julia Cairns

0222-4 (box o 30) and 0229-1 (sleeve of 12) — Typical romance novel cover painted by James Griffin

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November Life in the John Bryan CCC Camp

Excerpts from the November 30, 1937, of The Hooey camp newsletter, which also featured a report on the campus football league.



Culled from the seventeen essays submitted in the Sector Contest:

The CCC means to its enrollee members. . .not only the necessities: job, home, food and clothing. . .medical and dental attention. . .an income. . .spending money, savings. . .but also social values: self-government. . .discipline. . .good habits. . .manners. . .leadership.

The monthly allotment means aid for the folks back home. . .pays the rent. . .clothes for the children. . .brings security.

Some of the intangibles. . .what it means to labor. . .an honest day’s work. . .understanding the meaning of “good government”. . .self-reliance. . .initiative. . .standing on one’s own feet. . .how to live with others. . .different types of men. . .assume responsibility. . .become self-supporting. . .not dependent for an income. . .

A chance to study, and read, and plan one’s future. . .training in a trade. . .appreciation of nature and country life. . .sports and sportsmanship. . .creative activities. . .better health. . .regularity of habits and daily activities.

Yet all these do not sum up the profound meaning of the CC



After a week of testing in arithmetic, spelling, reading and writing, it was found that only one-third of the men tested passed all the tests. In round numbers, 52 out of 155 passed.

Many men were surprised to learn that they had failed. The tests, therefore, brought to light deficiencies which had not been known.

Those who failed to pass in any subject are required to take that subject until they show that they can pass, they are excused from the class.

…Another interesting feature is the fact that there is in the Park about a third of a mile below the Blue Hole, at a bend in the river, an old established picnic area. Here for a hundred years this open area, well sheltered ad level, has been known as “The Brightest and Best.” In this clearing is a large, flat boulder which has served as a table for countless visitors in the past.

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Once there was a fiber arts supplier…

During the decade of the 70s Yellow Springs Strings was both a storefront and mail-order supplier of yarns, implements, and instructions for fiber artists in weaving, spinning, and macramé, in addition to offering lessons, fleeces from locally-grown sheep and clothing woven from the yarn derived from those fleeces.

From the original owners who established the business in Goes, Corinne Whitesell purchased it in 1975 and set it up in King’s Yard in downtown Yellow Springs, where it remained until 1979 when the mystery bookstore Mysteries from the Yard began its four-year run in that location.

There was a moment of international drama in 1977 when some yarn imported from Pakistan (also sold to other stores in the United States) was found to have been to infected with anthrax. The Health Department sought out purchasers of the yarn and burned the skeins.

Ad from the Xenia Daily Gazette
Ad from national needlework magazine
From Dayton Daily News profile
From the Xenia Daily Gazette of August 25, 1977
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J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 15

All the J. Peery Miller Memoirs blog entries can be found by clicking the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above and scrolling down.

Don’t forget you’ll have a chance to hear more stories of our own artifacts and also to share your own this coming Sunday, November 17, at 2:00 pm at the Senior Center.

General Farm Equipment and My Association Therewith

During my time my father’s farm was well equipped with all the necessary wagons and carriages used at that period. A two-horse carriage and a one-horse rock-a-way were housed in a special building called the carriage house. Special carriage and buggie harness were hung up in this building as they were to be used for these purposes only, and under no condition were they to be confused with the plow ad wagon gears (harness) that were hung in the barn at the rear of the horse stalls.

Rock-a-way carriage

One heavy four-horse wagon was termed the log-wagon because it was made with low hind wheels, only a little higher than the front wheels. The front and back bolsters were built up to the height of the wheels as that a log could be rolled on these bolsters on a level, over skids about 12 or 15 feet long. Theses skids were made the proper length from hickory or oak saplings of sufficient thickness to sustain the weight of the logs to be loaded. One end of the skids was placed on the top rim or tire of the front wheel and another in the same manner on the rear wheel of the wagon, being anchored to the wheel by resting in a half-rounded iron ring, of horse-shoe’s shape, clamped over the tire. The other end of the skids were placed on the ground under the log to be loaded by being rolled up the inclined plane thus formed. A log chain was now hooked to the coupling pole of the wagon midway between the front and rear axis, and then passed back and under the log, thence over and back to the other side of the wagon. To this end of this chain a singletree was attached to which was hitched a steady pulling horse. As the chain was pulled the log would commence to roll. Of course it would take the direction of the skids, up the incline plane and over the wheels, on top of the log bolsters.


Strong standard were placed through staples driven into the sides of the bolsters to prevent the log from going clear over the wagon, if, perchance the pull was too vigorous at the time the log reached the bolsters, its supposed stopping place.

This was the method of loading saw-logs in my time. I learned it well when a small boy as I watched my father engineer the job. Later on I went to the woods by myself with a trusty team and successfully performed this work unaided. This was an achievement of which I was very proud.

Much depended on the steadiness of the horse when rolling the log up the skids. Stops must be made at times to adjust the direction of the movement if one end of the log should be of much greater diameter than the other. Any school boy knows that the big end would gain distance over the little end in its progress up the incline, which, if not corrected by sliding it back on the skid once or twice on its upward journey, disastrous results would follow. Both ends of the log must meet the wagon bolsters at the same time, therefore it was necessary for the loader to stand behind the log in order to watch the rolling, and the horse must be driven carefully and stopped suddenly at the loader’;s call of “get up” or “whoa”.

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