Echoes of 1964 in 2020

Those Yellow Springs residents old enough to be in the coronavirus at-risk group can’t help but be reminded of a major news event in 1964 where downtown Yellow Springs was pelted with water from fire hoses and tear gas to disperse a protest against racial inequality with regards to service at Gegner’s Barber Shop.

Although an African-American middle-class had been well-established in Yellow Springs (as an example, see the creation of the Omar Park Estates), it was not the whole picture (the 365 Project is a good source of impressions and recollections, as well as being a general source of local black history).

Antioch’s collection of photographs of the event can be found here.

The protest received national attention (New York Times).

Photo courtesy of Antiochiana
Photo courtesy of Antiochiana
“THIS IS THE LAW”—Officers armed with riot equipment move up Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in front of the barber show where the last of the students held out against fire hoses and tear gas. The demonstrators dispersed shortly after the riot act was read, the sign for these men to move into action.—Antioch College Record Photo by Jay Good..From a fuil-page pictorial in the Pittsburgh Courier
From a full-page pictorial in the Pittsburgh Courier
2020, photo courtesy of the VIllage of Yellow Springs
2020, photo courtesy of the Village of Yellow Springs

A local television report of the Yellow Springs protest in honor of George Ffloyd is here

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Temporary Tranquility

This photo from the Howard Kahoe glass negative collection is identified as the “Wolford Family Home, Short & Walnut” and was probably taken a few years before the 1918 flu pandemic (although the gentleman at the left does seem to be “socially distancing”).

Being a block away from downtown, this house has been witness to much social movement, and it cannot be forgotten that at the time the photo was taken, Yellow Springs was quite segregated.

139 South Walnut
The house as it looks today, taken from the Greene Co. website
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Life in the CCC Camp — May 1937

Excerpts from The Hooey of May 1937 show a concern for public health.


The summer breezes bring nice green things—crops and beautiful flowers. But along with all the enjoyable things come pests.

The way to overcome these pests and all the disagreeable irritable experiences they bring is to early destroy all rubbish and breeding places.

FLIES are one of our worst pests. They can best be fought with cleanliness: let no rubbish pile up; dispose of all garbage—always. By doing your part you can keep down the number of flies and, hence, keep down disease.

For flies carry more dirt and disease than any pest we have. They wade through all the dirt they can find and then fly over our tables picking out a choice morsel of food on which to feed.

We must keep flies out of the Mess Hall. Fly traps and screens help, but every man in the company must cooperate to keep flies out. All screen doors in all buildings must be kept tightly closed.

Let us all dedicate part of our time to the task of eradicating the FLY. He must be exterminated. Each of us is a self-appointed G-Man to track down this Public Enemy.

Our motto must be: “There ain’t no flies on Camp Bryan.” —O.B



Undoubtedly, the Number One Public Enemies of Co. 553 are the Mess Hall Hogs (see picture below). Though they eat in the company Mess Hall they belong in the hog pen behind the barn.

Things have come to a pretty pass when, in self-defense, an enrollee has to grab for self-preservation. It is estimated that an arm will grow two to three inches if grabbing continues over a period of six months. Think of that—and your tailoring bills.!

I am going to offer a few RULES to be followed in the MESS HALL (Rookies Please note!):

  4. BE COURTEOUS AT ALL TIMES. THINK OF THE OTHER FELLOW: He gets hungry too.l (Note: These rules apply to the older men too.)

    Sunburn Hints

    Hints for the sun-burned: From our sage and wizard, Bill Barringer, comes a new recipe for sunburn: Manges’ lard. According to advance reports however, it doesn’t work out so well.

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    Memorial Day

    Of course honoring the fallen is a little different in 2020, but previous posts about past Memorial Days in Yellow Springs can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

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    Medical Care (c) 1916

    Before there was Glen Garden Gifts or Records and Fresh Vegetables or Furay’s Drug Store in the building shown in this photograph from the Kahoe glass negative collection, there was the drugstore of H. H. Hurd, in front of which Dr. W. H. Humphrey stands ready to start his rounds. Both Mr. Hurd and Dr. Humphrey were elected Commissioners of Public Affairs.

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    J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 20

    J. Peery Miller follows up wheat harvesting with spring sowing and highlights a small technological revolution and the attitudes of eagerness and caution resulting from it, much as the transition from slide rules to calculators, land lines to cell phones and encyclopedias to searcch engines have done for us.

    All posts of the J. Peery Miller memoirs are indexed under the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above.

    Plowing and Planting

    Country boys of eleven or twelve years of age seldom attended the spring term of school, being needed at home to help with the spring work. The winter term, taught by a man, generally ended the last week in March, after which a woman was employed to teach the children during the months of April and May. Boys of the above ages and older could be of much service at home for this is the season for righting-up the fences and preparing the ground for spring plantings, viz., early potatoes, oats, flax and corn. Improvement of implements for doing this work went through the same evolutionary processes as did the reaping machine. It is interesting to note the steps of development. My life witnessed all of them.

    In the 40’s and 50’s corn was dropped on the ground by hand and then covered up by the use of a hoe. The former was the work of boys, the latter, requiring a little more strength and skill, was done by ten or older boys. First the field, after being plowed and harrowed level, was listed one way in furrows with a single-shovel plow drawn by one horse. The furrows were 3 ½ or 4 ft. apart. Then, by the same process, these were crossed with furrows the same distance apart, thus giving a checker board appearance to the field. In planting the boy/the dropper walks ahead of the man with the hoe and drops four or five gains of corn in the center where the furrows cross each other. If he should drop before reaching the mark he would be reprimanded by the wise coverer for “dropping too close to his toes”. Correct dropping in the check-mark insured straight rows both ways across the field, an important factor to the cultivator later on.

    With us the order of cultivation was thus: First use a one-horse triangular shaped harrow with small teeth when the corn was just coming through the ground. This leveled the ground and put in good shape for general cultivation when the corn was two or three inches above the ground. Then a single shovel-plow was a small narrow shovel attached was used for the first plowing, following this with a larger shovel as the corn grew, finishing, after the third or fourth cultivation, with a shovel sufficiently large to form a banked-up ridge of dirt around the roots. All this required many trips back and forth across the field. With the single shovel plow it took three trips to finish plowing the space between the rows.

    A double-shovel plow was invented later which would finish the cultivating of a row in one round of the field. At first my father looked upon it with many misgivings as a new fangled contrivance to save time at the expense of having the work well done. However, he was persuaded by my older brothers to try a home made one. Milton made the wooden frame and the village blacksmith furnished the iron work and soon we had a real double shove plow ready for use which proved a great success. This simple invention led the way to further improvement, resulting in a two-horse cultivator with two double shovel plows arranged to straddle the corn row, thus finishing its cultivation in one trip across the field. My, but this was a glorious achievement My labor on the farm ceased at this period of advancement in corn culture.

    The old-timer now living (1927) notes with great interest the marvelous improvement in all kinds of farm machinery over that used in his youth but the boys of today naturally take modern methods as a matter of course with little concern, and no worry at all, as to how his ancestors performed their tasks.

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    Stylish Transport

    During Yellow Springs Center Stage’s tenure at its Dayton Street location audience members were occasionally treated to a special intermission “exhibit.” The narrow hallway leading to the restrooms had another door which led to a garage in which a 1932 Model J-476 Torpedo Convertible Coupe Duesenberg was parked in all its restored glory by its owner, Don Carr (of the Carr Nursery family).

    In 1981 Mr. Carr eventually donated his prize project to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Indiana.

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    An Early Settler Family

    Among some miscellaneous papers was discovered a couple of photocopied pages without attribution, detailing biographical data on one Ahimaaz Jacobs (“Ahimaaz” was a Biblical figure in the court of King David).

    AHIMAAZ JACOBS 1821 – 1905) & EMILY TROLLINGER ( 1826 – 1888)

    AHIMAAZ JACOB (> Gabriel >, William >, Wi1ham Jacob) was born on October 13 1821 on the farm of his parents Gabriel Jacobs and Margaret Jackson; on the southeastern slope of Great Savage Mountain, facing George’s Creek Valley and Dan’s Mountain beyond, in Allegheny Co. in western Maryland.

    Ahimaaz’s formal schooling was very limited, obtained in a log schoolhouse into which light was admitted through greased-paper windowpane or an open door in warm weather. A fireplace heated it in the winter, with its chimney on the outside of the building made of dirt and sticks. The student sat on hard wood benches facing the teacher. The smaller children’s feet were unable to touch the floor.

    Coming from a family of 11 children (five boys and six girls), it required most of Ahimaaz’s spare time to carry out his farm chores. However, the social gatherings of the area in those days evolved themselves around farm life. There were harvest parties, corn husking contests, house and barn raisings, quilting and apple peeling for the ladies, singing events, ciphering contests, dancing the Virginia Reel, the Schottische, the Waltz or the Hoedown, and fiddling contests.

    In 1841 , at the age of 20, Ahimaaz went with his older brother Samuel and his wife, Elizabeth Hoffman, to the prairies of Ogle Co., Illinois. There Samuel acquired some good land and during the next few years Ahimaaz helped him convert it into productive farmland. Samuel was not only a farmer but also a doctor and a part-time preacher. Before long with his children gradually leaving the farm to get married and start homes of their own, Gabriel, then in his middle sixties, ca1led Ahimaaz back from Illinois in ]ate 1843 to help him run the family farm. There as a young man, Ahimaaz cast his first vote, when James K. Polk narrowly defeated Henry Clay for the presidency in 1844.

    Love came into Ahimaaz’ life when he began courting his first cousin. EMILY TROLLINGER was the daughter of his uncle Jacob Trollinger Jr. and aunt Sarah (Sally) Jacobs Trollinger who lived across George’ Creek Valley on the slopes of Dan’s Mountain. Emily was born there on April 4, 1826.

    The marriage of first cousins was a common occurrence in those days . Generally, a man’s choice of a bride was limited to one living within five miles of him. That was the distance he could walk or ride to court her after his evening farm chores were done, and then return home early enough to get a good night’s rest and rise with the next morning’s sun.

    Ahimaaz and Emily were married on either March 3rd or 10th, 1846, in George’s Creek Valley. After their marriage, they continued to live there for a while. On October 11, 1848 Gabriel died and was buried in the old Green Cemetery near Lonaconing, Maryland. Gabriel’s farm was sold to John Green and the proceeds were divided between Margaret and her 11 surviving children, her son Jacob having died in infancy in 1815.

    By now the lure of new fertile lands opening up to the west began taking hold of Ahimaaz and Emily. They were especially attracted to those that they heard about in Miami Twp. in Greene Co., OH, which were watered by many small tributaries of the Little Miami River. A place called Yellow Springs in Miami Twp. seemed unusually promising, the area was said to have some of the finest scenery in OH. In 1853 Ahimaaz and Emily packed up their two children, Julius Cicero and Margaret Levin and their belongings and traveled over the mountains and across the Ohio River to Yellow Springs. They purchased a 172-acre tract of land in Miami Twp. about a mile and a half west of town on Dayton – Yel1ow Springs Road. It proved to be very fertile land and yielded them a profitable income. Soon Ahimaaz had enclosed it with a cross-rail type wooden fence and had it all under cultivation, except for a 25-acre wood. He built a log cabin and barn at the end of a long lane leading from Dayton – Yellow Springs Road to the center of the farm. A fine spring-fed stream ran through the farm , a tributary of the Little Miami River a few miles away . Originally it was called ”Jacobs Branch” but later its name a perverted on maps to “Jacoby Branch”.

    About a year after Ahimaaz and Emily arrived in Yellow Springs , his mother, Margaret and his brother, Jesse arrived. Soon other relatives from George’ Creek Valley moved to the area including Levi the son of GabrieI’s brother Jacob, Levi’s’wife Grace Trotten Jacobs and their four children, James B., Pauline F., Benjamin F. and Angelina. Also relocating was Jacob Trollinger, Emily’s father, and his son Nimrod Trollinger. Margaret died on October 20, 1855, aged 70 years , 5 months and 23 days , and was buried in Glen Forest Cemetery in Yellow Springs.

    Two more children were born to Ahimaaz and Emily in the new log cabin on the farm near Yellow Springs. They were Jacob Thomas, born on July 30 1856, and William Austin born in 1862. This brought to six the number of children born of their marriage, Laura and Gabriel having died as infants in George’s Creek Valley.

    As a prosperous young farmer Ahimaaz was described as “a man who forms one of the landmarks of Miami Twp. in Greene Co.”. He was also said to be “a plain unassuming man, content to live in a modest manner, careful and methodical and pursuing the course which gained him the confidence of those around him.” A measure of Ahimaaz’ farm management and financial abilities is the fact that in the 1860 Census his farm was valued at $8,000, and by the 1870 Census its value had increased to $13,000. His successes also enabled him to build a fine new home on the farm, this one facing Dayton – Yellow Springs road. However he left his original log cabin and barn in the middle of the farm.

    Ahimaaz and Emily became members of the Christian Church in Yellow Springs and he became one of its trustees. For many years , he also served as a member of the Miami Twp. School Board. However he carefully refrained from assuming any further responsibilities of political office. In fact, when he was once elected a Supervisor of Miami Twp. against his will, he declined to serve. Ahimaaz was always a political conservative and in the latter years of his life he became interested in the temperance movement and he cast his vote with the Prohibition Party in the Presidential election of 1888 and 1900.

    Emily preceded him in death on August 19, 1888 at 62 years of age and was buried in Glen Forest Cemetery at Yellow Springs . Ahimaaz followed her on January 27 1905 at 83 years of age and was buried beside Emily in Glen Forest Cemetery. He spent the last years of his life with his son Jacob Thomas, and daughter-in-law Mary Francis Berg, who had taken over running part of the family farm. His other son, Julius Cicero and daughter-in-law, Hannah Miriam Johnson, who had moved into the original log cabin in the center of the farm , were farming the rest. The bell from Ahimaaz farm near Yellow Springs was in the hands of his great-great grandson, James Richard Jacobs, Sr., as of September 1991.

    Ahimaaz and Emily had the following children:

    Laura born in 1848 , died as infant in George’s Creek Valley, Maryland.
    Gabriel born in 1849 died as infant in George’s Creek Valley, Maryland.
    Julius Cicero born on April 10, 1851..

    Margaret Levin born in 1852.
    Jacob Thomas, born on July 30 1856.
    William Austin born in 1862.

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    A Yellow Springs Woman of Convictions for Peace

    Today, many local residents may not know about this entry in Women of Greene County, but in her time, she achieved national attention.

    Caroline Foulke Urie (1873-1955)

    Caroline Foulke Urie seemed destined to be a crusader for social justice. The basis for this calling might have been her Quaker upbringing and her awareness of the barriers a German gardener and her Negro playmates lived with. It wasn’t until her old age that she took public action.

    Born in Richmond, IN, Urie was the oldest of a large family. She was painfully insecure and introspective. Her monied family provided her studies and travel in Europe and the United States. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College. Urie’s parents’ health demands disrupted life greatly. In 1907 she had a nervous breakdown and was confined to a “rest home” where she met another patient, Dr. John F. Urie, whom she later married.

    Urie traveled with her husband whose job with the Navy Department demanded much travel. In Chicago, she worked with Jane Addams at Hull House; in Italy, she worked with Madame Montessori in childhood education. During these years she was involved in pacifism, world citizenship, Socialism, cooperatives, Friends, and tax resistance. Urie expressed her anger at social injustices through journal and letter writing, voracious book reading, and keeping notes and files on injustices in matters of race, peace, and taxes. In 1927 Urie moved to Yellow Springs; her daughter had enrolled at Antioch College and her cousin was Lucy Morgan, wife of the President of Antioch. She helped launch the Greene County Socialist Party and the Miami Valley Socialist League. These were the Depression days and hunger and homelessness were rampant. Working with others, she found answers in the Socialist philosophy and cooperative projects.

    During the late 1930s, Urie was one of the key organizers of the Yellow Springs Federal Credit Union. Appalled at the high interest rates the “loan sharks” were asking, Urie called a small meeting. Because each member donated $5, they had enough money to start giving loans of $25. Now the Credit Union has assets of $7.4 million dollars.

    In 1946 Urie began a plan to protest paying taxes for war. The Budget Bureau in Washington, D.C. told her 34.6% of her income tax went to the military. She decided to give that percentage of her tax to peace groups such as War Resisters League, United World Federalists, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Friends Service Committee. To disprove any allegations of insanity she had a psychiatric exam. She wrote letters of explanation to President Truman and her senators. Her actions were the topic in local and national print media. Newsweek of March 29, 1949 ran a one-page article and photo of Urie in her bed where she was confined because of severe arthritis. She was quoted as saying, “War and preparation for war in the atomic area is a crime against humanity…As a Christian, a Quaker, a religious and conscientious objector to the whole institution of organized war, I must henceforth refuse to contribute to it in any way I can.” Urie is remembered as a woman of courage who honored what she believed.

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    Community Theater Recognized by Shopping Center?

    The following article was written for a February 1984 publication for the Salem Mall. How many issues did this publication run? Why was a Yellow Springs theater selected for this feature article? At any rate, it gives a good thumbnail sketch of a lost Yellow Springs institution (all posts concerning Center Stage are indexed under the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above).


    by Carol Siyahi

    Thanks to Center Stage, community theater here is alive and well. Some of its staunchest supporters tell why.

    Yellow Springs Center Stage is, in the truest sense, a community theater. The character of Center Stage is very much the product of the diverse group of people who contribute their time and talents to make this magical thing called theater “go” in their community.

    Center Stage, like many community theaters, is a kind of huge family of 300 or so people who become involved each year, who work intensively for weeks on end, who fight with each other, help each other, exhaust and energize each other — in the dynamics of grassroots theater.

    I’s run by a score of volunteers from the Miami Valley area, who make decisions about their repertoire with a sense of freedom which is more characteristic of academic theater than of one almost totally dependent on its box-office sales for survival.

    A typical Center Stage season may include one or more productions that would have to be considered a long way from being big box-office boosters. These productions, however, do provide a diversity of theater fare which Center Stage members believe is their responsibility as a community theater.

    The most recent season, for instance, included such varied works as Shaw’s “The Devil’s Disciple,” Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” Paul Osborn’s “Morning’s at Seven,” Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the controversial “Streamers,” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Sorcerer.” In its selections, Center Stage displays a diversity of theater that looks at the broad spectrum of our existence — the dreams, the absurdities, the nightmares, the boredom and the humor.

    ‘As the had of this “family” called Center Stage, Board of Trustees President Jean Hooper assumes ultimate responsibility and, as a result, you hear different opinions about her. People disagree with her on many issues relating to the theater, but there is a genuine respect, for the commitment and energy she pas put into launching this group and keeping it afloat over the past dozen or so years.

    Board Member Camille Hill sums it up simply: “Center Stage has survived all these years because of Jean Hooper.” She has been the [missing] who is always there.

    Center Stage has had the help of many individuals, all of whom volunteer many hours to keep the theater going. Following are highlights of interviews with some of the members of the decision-making body, the Board of Trustees. They may provide a flavor of the tenor of this community theater.

    * * *

    Jean Hooper

    Theater is a tradition in Yellow springs. “It is a part of the fabric of the community,” Hooper says. Theater is also part of the fabric of Jean Hooper. “I’ve been involved in theater all of my adult life,” she says.

    Since Center Stage’s first production in 1971, “The Amorous Flea,” Hooper has seen the theater through 72 shows that have included everything from works by Shakespeare, Shaw and Moliere, to Neil Simon and Gilbert and Sullivan, to the work of local playwrights. Center Stage ha a commitment to theater and young playwrights, she emphasizes: “Theater is suffering from the fact that so few plays are being written. If, by accident, we help someone come along who is a viable playwright, that would be wonderful.”

    Center Stage is more than what happens on stage, she explains. It takes people working at many different jobs to bring a production together.

    The Yellow Springs theater has developed a reputation in southwest Ohio for its Gilbert and Sullivan productions, she notes, with a different Gilbert and Sullivan being performed each year. But Center Stage needs to improve in producing different kinds of theater, she says.

    * * *

    Ron Siemer

    You could say that Ron Siemer found his voice — his singing voice at least — at Center Stage. The theater transformed Siemer from a man who “never sang a note in my life” to a frequent and enthusiastic participant in many local musicals and plays.

    He has worked with the Yellow Springs theater for five years. What dose Center Stage have, Siemer asks rhetorically, that makes you give up whole chunks of your life, at times standing in a sweltering or cold theater, until late at night, at times giving up a family vacation to be in a play? “It’s an absurd way to conduct your life,” he says. “There’s either something very wonderful or crazy going on.”

    “Center Stage if financially poor,” Siemer says. It is an all-volunteer group and exists solely on its box-office sales and its annual New Year’s party fund raiser.” “Most of the support is from people who have the same sensations I do.” What Siemer refers to is the chance to, at times, “add some laugh lines to the worry lines” of the audience and the opportunity to produce “a happier way to touch the existence around us.”

    The work of Center Stage also may mean attempting to expose and give meaning to some of the harder realities of life. A case in point is the theater’s production of “Streamers,” a controversial drama set in a military barracks. There are those who found the play offensive, but Siemer defends the decision to produce it. “The play reflects the seamier side of life,” he says. “Theater helps some of the truths slip through . . . it helps awaken people to the reality. It’s what all the arts are supposed to do . . . We need to have parts of life read to us . . . It makes reality more real, more understandable.”

    There is a lot of drudgery, Siemer says, “to keep this wonderful thing going.” The experience of Center Stage is very personal. There is a lot of warmth — “an overalls, cracker-barrel kind of warmth” — in this theater which makes its home in a converted garage. “The spirit of Center Stage supports it more than the patronage,” he says.

    * * *

    Al Radin
    Board Treasurer and Founding Member

    Who gets involved in Center Stage? “People on ego trips,” says Radin, “people widowed or divorced and needing outlets, young people trying to do things, warhorse actors who have been acting for years, technical people . . . . Theater attracts people for so many different reasons. It’s an escape or a habit.”

    Radin has seen many talented performers move through Center Stage, from its beginnings in the Bryan Center Community Center gym (“We had to take the lights up and down — basketballs would knock holes in the sets . . .”) to its location in the old Ford dealership garage (“The gallery was a driveway into the garage”). “We’re so fortunate having so much talent around.”

    Sharon Campbell
    Board of Trustees Secretary

    Sharon Campbell, involved in Center Stage since the early 1970s, says, “I enjoy seeing what happens to make a show go on, but the most important thing to me is the people.

    “There is no cliquishness at Center Stage . . . . There are some constants in the people at Center Stage, but the large body of people keeps changing. It is a sign of acceptance that people can come and go. There are times people need to be in a show. There is a support system there . . . .”

    Campbell started by being recruited to sew costumes. “I got involved. I liked the people. I started contributing more. It became part of my life.” Like many of those involved, she has done everything from serving as stage manager, doing set work, working box office and mailing lists, cleanup, and some acting. She has many times lent her personal belongings for productions, enjoying “seeing a piece of my house on the set.”

    The theater’s move within Yellow Springs from Bryan Center to the present Dayton Street location was a benchmark for Center Stage. For the first time the theater had “its own space,” she says. “I used to work in that building when it was the Ford garage. I like the way we made that space change and be different. There is magic in that. There is magic in the way every set happens, how people assume roles on stage and the transformation of people when they drag in tired after work and suddenly take on new energy. What chemical thing happens to give you that energy? There is magic in that.”

    * * *

    The next production of Center Stage will be “A Shot in the Dark,” a comedy-mystery by Marcel Archard. Performances are scheduled Feb.10-12 and 16-19.

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