Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 24 (final)

With this section we come to the end of Della’s scrapbook/journal in which she shares some miscellaneous mementos, like a placemat from the Antioch Tea Room (similar to the one with a map of Glen Helen shown here), some newspaper ad pages of the late 1890s and a description of a particular social activity. (She also wrote a fairly long history of Antioch College which will be shared at a later time.)

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

The “96 Club” Yellow Springs, Ohio

 Searching through the attic of my mind & I failed to find the exact date of the formation of “The 96 Club”.

Perhaps I can dust off a few facts; it was not a “teen age” organization as was “The Centipede” which preceded it by many years. Some of us had grown up, and, with others of the village girls wanted something in its way “Entertainment, Enjoyment & Culture in the Community.

The “96 Club” was not a Church denomination affair. We met regularly to discuss ways and means — usually at the home of the Littles on Elm Street as it was a central location.

Every month our program was different and according to the season of the year. Each member was supposed to co-operate and share in the expense of what was given. Lawn Parties – Card Parties – Receptions – dances and hayrides.

Even a Spider Web Party was given in the “Parlors” of Antioch in the Dorms entangling many a man, and a Prize to the lucky ones who got out of the “Web” first. The Miller sisters were hostess at this party.

Outstanding events were a musical and sketches from the “Mikado’ held at the old “Yellow Springs House” hotel, a dance at Grinnell’s Mill.

The evening Hay Ride to the home of Mary Adams (?) at Bryan Farm – (now a part of Glen Helen) at the time of the election campaign of President McKinley. This took the form of a “cook out” as it was called in later years; then it was camp fires – Baked potatoes – roasted sweet corn in the ear never tasted so good – Hot coffee was served in McKinley tea mugs and the mugs taken home as souvenirs of the occasion.

As I remember the final meeting of the Club Year was the New Year Reception at the “Little sisters” home with men of the village as guests/.

This was a gala affair with an “Announcer’ of the guests as they arrived and were presented to the Club members who stood in reception line to greet them.

Music was furnished for dancing by a large Swiss Music Box. Refreshments were served in the beautifully decorated dining room.

[?] of the “96 Club” came at the close of this year after misgivings[?] of some of the “Senior Citizens” Why – they said if the girls could spend time energy and money for such entertainment didn’t they work for their families and help finance a worthy cause & we did — and were equally successful on Guilds for the Christian Church and with organizations in the other [tastes?].

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 23

Della’s describes more family excursions and more life at Antioch.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

Christmas in Columbus

December 189_ brought to Elsie and me our first experience in celebrating the Christmas season away from our home and the family circle.

Our cousins and old friends the Palmer family invited us to visit them during the holidays at their home in Columbus, Ohio.

Walter and Elmer Palmer often came to see us when they visited the Keifer “Aunties” in Yellow Springs. Often we joined with Lulu and Leo Alkire for little parties at the Alkire home where hospitable welcome was always given to their young friends.

The Palmer boys were enrolled now as students in Ohio State University. The family lived on Woodruff Ave. adjoining the campus, and it seemed a long distance from the city of Columbus. Horse cars constituted the city transportation system, running as far north as North Columbus.

The Palmers had their own horse and carriage and they got us around to see the sights of the city — the State House, the Penitentiary, Smythe’s big book store and some prominent Dry Goods stores, Dobbie’s and Durm[?] Tafts.

There were no Department Stores at that time in the city. One evening was spent at the Auditorium of the Cols. Board of Trade where we heard the Fisk University Jubilee Singers.

On Sunday we attended services at the First Congregational Church on Broad Street, where we heard the eminent minister, Washington Gladden.

It was a memorable visit.

Along with the pleasant memories there were two things about Columbus that I can never forget. One was the feeling that Broad & High was the coldest spot on earth and the other that Columbus must be the blackest and the dirtiest town.

Walter Palmer


Elmer Palmer

The World’s Fair in Chicago

During the summer of 1893 two unsophisticated small town girls visited another and a big city.

Mother’s brother, Uncle Tom Stone, and his wife and daughter Edith, lived in Chicago and they invited us to visit them and attend the World’s Fair of 1893.

No subsequent World’s Fair or in fact no great occasion I have even attended has quite furnished the thrills that we girls experienced during that visit to the Fair in Chicago.

The “Midway” wa a fairyland to behold.

A dip one evening into the waters of Lake Michigan was a new and thrilling experiene.

There was a day’s journey too, on the big excursion boat to St. Joe Michigan to say nothing of the long tramps each day thru building after building housing exhibits of the many wonders of the world.

Walter and Elmer Palmer were attending the Fair at the same time that we were and they acted as our escorts after we reached the grounds in the mornings.

This trip to the Fair was to us a real adventure, an enlightening experience and a high spot among the pleasures of a life time.

There was one misery tho that literally dogged the footsteps of the uninitiated and I was no exception until I procured some comfortable shoes. No one wore fancy clothing, a simple Eton Suit with blouse of thin wash silk was the standard garment for women with plain straw sailors for hats.

The Literary Societies

The social side of College life on the campus was practically centered in the two literary societies, the “Star” and the “Union”.

Originally there had been three societies, — the Star and the Adelphian for boys and the Crescent for girls. Later the Adelphian and Crescent united to become the Antioch Union Society, and the Stars admitted girls to their membership.

When our father was in College he was a “Star,” when I entered school I decided to join the Stars while my sisters one by one joined the Union.

The rivalry between the two societies was strong at the beginning of the year as they vied with each other to obtain the most promising of the new students for membership.

There were no fraternities as such at Antioch but the assorted evils of such organizations did at times have a counterpart in the Societies at Antioch.

The social and cultural benefits derived from them have been admirably touched upon in an article entitled “I Remember” published in a somewhat recent copy of the Antioch Bulletin.

Other traditions stressed here & there by old students present a pretty clear picture of what life was like in the Antioch of my experience.

Reference to those “Extra Special” papers which were presented periodically on the Society programs (I remembered it as quarterly) a picture comes to my mind of crowded society halls on these occasions when all were eager to hear the latest on the campus in wit, wisdom fact & fancy and now and then a bit of prophecy or a touch of scandal.

A “Geyser” spouted for the Unions and a “Comet” illuminated the scene for the Stars.

When one considers that these society halls were located on the third floor of the main building and must be reached by mounting steep winding stairways one wonders how stiffly corseted ladies ever made the climb — the Stars once had a hall on fourth floor but they finally weakened and sought a location on third.

The Spoonholders

This group composed one well known table in the college dining room where most resident students and some faculty members had their meals.

Meal times gave good match making opportunities. Many proved temporary but pleasant while they lasted.

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 22

This section of Della’s memories is entirely about life at Antioch College (inlcuding a rare photograph of a dorm reception room interior).

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

Life on the Campus

Campus experiences at Antioch offered to our family some of the pleasantest association of our lifetime.

Pictures, treasured thru the years, still arouse a chain of happy recollections.

The beloved Towers, the ivy covered walls, the pathways about the buildings, the familiar entrances, the Horace Mann Monuments, trysting place for the love lorn on moonlight nights, each of these carries a story of its own with tradition lurking in every scene.

What student of the nineties can forget “Colonel” Anderson the negro caretaker whose loyalty to the good of Antioch was unquestioned and who could declare it in more high sounding words than could any professor at the school!

Young ladies of the North Dorm were happy and healthy even tho many conveniences of our present day life were not be enjoyed.

The College dining room occupied one end of the first floor, and boys and girls shared the long dining room tables and the opportunities for becoming well acquainted.

Those of us who lived in south Dorm equipped our homes for housekeeping with our own family table. We also enjoyed other privileges which girls under a matron could not have.. Mother was our matron, and our social life went along much as it had done when we lived in the village.

An occasional dancing or card party at the houses of friends were not denied us altho those pleasures were not recognized in the social program of the school.

One reception a quarter at North Dorm was a somewhat stupid affair with conversational promenade the main entertainment. Change of partners was called at stated intervals by the matrons.

“Aunty” Chambers rang the bells.

Antioch’s Dormitories

Some interesting traditions come to light in regard to the original dormitories at Antioch with the fire of 1953.

Since shingle roofs covered all of the buildings there was always a feeling of apprehension in regard to the danger of fires.

The extra pail of water in every student’s room was a well established tradition. In my own memory there were occasions when a bucket brigade saved serious disaster.

Not until February 1953 did real destruction come to the Dorms when the burning of the Girls’ Dorm took place.

[transcription of  photo caption]

GIRLS DORM BURNS— Fire Sunday night destroyed 100-year-old North Hall at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Ninety-nine co-eds fled the blaze. The building was one of three of the college’s original buildings. Horace Mann, famed educator and first president of the college, once resided there.—(AP) wirephoto.

[transcription of article]

99 Co-eds Flee Fire Which Destroys Antioch Dormitory

YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO, FEB. 23—(AP)—Fire destroyed a four-story 100-year-old women’s dormitory at Antioch College last night, but 99 co-eds escaped safely.

They had time to carry out some of their belongings. Teddy bears, dolls, bookcases and even a few sofas were piled about the yard as firemen tried in vain to save old North Hall.

The building burned almost exactly 100 years from the time it was completed President Douglas McGregor said it was finished in February, 1853, the year Antioch College was founded. Horace Mann, father of Antioch’s work-and-study plan of education, once lived in the building.

All the equipment in Greene County and some from Clark County was called, but firemen were hampered by low water pressure and wind. The blaze was not controlled until after 1 a.m.

It was discovered at 6:55 p.m. by Rufus C. Mead, a junior student from Natick, Mass., who saw flames shooting from the attic. Mead, a volunteer fireman, turned in the alarm, and the co-eds started getting out.

The fire burned down slowly from floor to floor and finally the roof caved in. There was one small explosion which blew out a section of wall. Firemen did not know what blew up.

By 9 p.m. firemen thought they had it under control, but the wind came up, and the water pressure went down. They pumped water from a campus pond for the last four hours.

Cause of the blaze was unknown, but firemen suspected faulty electric wiring in the attic.

Dr. W. B. Alexander, vice president, said the building was insured for $188,000, but it would cost half a million to replace it.

The co-eds were housed temporarily in other campus buildings, and in homes in Yellow Springs.

[transcription of second article]

North hall, the Antioch women’s dormitories which was the home of Horace Mann, lacked eight months of a century’s service when it caught fire in February this year.

Since Antioch’s opening day, Oct. 5, 1853, until its interior was gutted by fire, the hall had served practically every need of the college.

Ironically, South hall has experienced more fires than North, which had been considered in better condition that its sister dorm.

Fires in Spurts

Fires at the college have come in spurts during its history. In 1866, for example, a chimney in South Hall caught fire and “burned alarmingly” but wind blew the flames away from the roof.

A chimney in North hall caught fire two days later and the next month an entire room in South hall was burned when a bed caught fire. As a catastrophe was averted only by a quick-thinking student with a fire extinguisher….[article cuts off]

[transcription of third article]



Fire swept through historic North Hall here Sunday night, but the 99 Antioch College co-eds housed on its top floors, many of them settling down to bull sessions and study periods, marched out calmly.

None of the girls was injured as the fire which broke out in the attic destroyed the 100-year-old four-story building.

College officials today praised the calmness the girls showed in coming out of the burning building. The co-eds later went back and brought out much of their personal belongings, while men students carried furniture from the offices on the first and second floors.

Eight Injured

Eight persons were injured by flying glass and one fireman was overcome by smoke as firemen and students fought the flames for more than four hours.

The girls today were busy sorting out their clothing, notebooks, letters and other cherished personal belonging which they had grabbed hastily and carried out as best they could.

Police said that they believed one radio was stolen as other students pitched in to help evacuate the personal and college property.

Firemen said the water pressure in the city lines fell sharply, forcing them to pump water from a nearby pond.

Housed in Gym

The co-eds were housed in the college gymnasium and the infirmary, although they were offered housing in private homes.

Dr. Douglas McGregor, president of the college, said it would cost $500,000 to replace the destroyed building. The building, one of the two original buildings at his famous little college, was insured for $188,000.

The fire was discovered by Rufus Read, a student from Matick, Mass., who was walking by the building when the flames broke out shortly after the co-eds returned from Sunday supper in the college dining hall.

Officials said the fire started in an attic. They believed a short circuit in the wiring or spontaneous combustion touched off the flames.

The third and fourth floors of the building and part of the second floor were used for dormitories. The first floor housed the college newspaper and radio station. The second floor was used for general office space.

The building has been completely restored preserving to a great extent the original appearance of the exterior.

Tradition has it that Horace Mann had lived in the dormitory when he first came to the school, while a residence was being completed for him.

The building had been erected by unskilled labor whose pay was from 8-1/2 to 20 cts per hour and they worked seven days per week in order to complete the building by the opening day for the school.

The original cost was $120,000. Materials were inexpensive but strong, must have been, to have endured.

Familiar Campus Scenes

Bound for “Chow” at the dining hall in North Dorm.

North entrance to Main Building

East entrance to North Dorm and to the dining room. A rather unsteady stairway led up the frame structure to second story whre were the matron’s quarters and the main reception parlors and guest rooms.

The Towers

The Horace Mann Monument

I beseech you to measure up in your hearts these my parting words . Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

The Boy’s Dormitories

Our apartment was on the left side of the center entrance with dining and kitchen rooms across the long hall.

On the other side a double room made a comfortable sitting room. In winter time a big base burning stove sent a cheerful glow far out upon the campus.

All water for the building had to be carried from a cistern at the front (not shown in picture). However, boys living on upper floors never hesitated to empty their water pitchers or pails upon friend or foe who loitered too long to converse with young ladies at the windows along the pathway below.

A front corner room made a cozy placed to entertain calling dates and other friends.

Col. Anderson and Jenny groom the campus lawn when no power mower had yet entered the scene as part of the necessary equipment for maintenance.

Courses in “Glenology” were popular with the students when opportunity was at hand.

Seybold and Hopkins demonstrate some techniques.

Commencement at Antioch

No phase of my early life presents more vivid recollections than that associated with Antioch College Commencement.

As far back as I can remember these exercises were of major interest not only to faculty and students of the school, but to alumni and former students as well.

This was the gala season of the year in Yellow Springs – the season for homecomings and reunions with old friends.

Visiting was the order of the day. Housewives cleaned and refurbished their homes for the big event.

Seamstresses of the village had been busy since early springtime making ready the new garments in which every woman could be sure to look her best when she attended the various meetings that comprised the week’s program.

Various cooks of the town stood ready to assist the housewife in preparing the many extra meals that would be required.

The very best cherry pie and strawberry shortcake could come from their hands.

Fried spring chicken and garden fresh peas were dinner treats and sometimes even new potatoes could be coaxed to readiness.

As soon as final exams were finished students united in their efforts to make the big chapel as we called ready for the week’s events.

Boys procured teams and went to the Glen and nearby woods to cut cedar branches to be tied to the long ropes that were used as festoons for decorations around doorways and windows and from corner to corner across the room to break the echo.

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 21

Della starts out this section with a page of newspaper clippings about a most remarkable character. Although Orrin Steinbarger was not from Yellow Springs, he was evidently known to Elsie, Della’s sister.

More memories of family outings follow and attention to her family’s new life on campus at Antioch College.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

[transcription of first article]

A chance visit of Amandus B. Gossman of Tiffin, former Seneca county treasurer, and Carl Pugh of Urbana was responsible for the aged hermit’s return to the treetop haven where he hid himself from civilization and found health. They stumbled upon his rough cabin while on a vacation jaunt along the banks of the Mad river, and heard him tell of his longing to get back into his tree.

Interested in the old man’s story, Grossman and Pugh bought him a rope. They took it into the woods and tossed it at his feet.

“If you can’t climb the tree without a rope, how are you going to get the rope up?” Grossman asked.

‘That’s easy,” the aged man answered. “Watch.”

From a corner of his shack he brought out a bow and arrow. Then he found a spool of thread and wound the thin fiber around an old can. On an end he fastened in the arrow. With strength which belied his years, he drew back the bow and sent the arrow over a branch 75 feet above the ground.

He chuckled as he attached a length of stout cord to the thread and drew the heavy rope over the branch. An old hayloft pulley and a counterweight, relics of his previous occupancy of the tree, completed the “elevator.”

Eighteen years ago, Steinbarger, stricken with tuberculosis, was told he had “only a few months to live.” He resigned as teacher of art at Wittenberg and walked out of the lives of his fellowmen.

[Photo montage article]

Gift of Rope Restores Ohio Hermit to Tree-Top Home After Three-Year Exile

Former Wittenberg College Art Instructor Regains Lofty Perch At Retreat on Mad River

URBANA, OHIO, SEPT. 24—(Special).—The locally famous Mad river hermit, Orrin Steinbarger, aged 75, has ended a three-year exile from his erstwhile home in the boughs of a 100-foot elm tree where he lived 15 years before his private depression of the loss of a rope ousted him.

[Della’s inscription on article]

I was well acquainted with this man in my school days – Elsie Miller Palmer

[transcription of obituary]

Mad River Hermit,’ Former Professor, Is Buried At 88

URBANA, OHIO, DEC. 15—(AP)—G. Ora Steinbarger, 88, the “Hermit of Mad River,” was buried today.

A former college professor who lived in a tree house and in a cabin for nearly a quarter of a century, his age was a monument to his belief that outdoors life could restore and maintain health. He died in a hospital here Thursday.

Steinbarger was an instructor in the Arts Department of Wittenberg College, Springfield, at the turn of the century when tuberculosis forced hiim to retire. He established himself in a big elm tree at the fork of Mad River and Nettle Creek. Years later a storm destroyed the treetop abode and he built a cabin at the base of the tree.

He regained his health and decided that he preferred his lonely life to the more cultured existence of the classroom and faculty associates. Hands that once used the palette and brush learned to fish and make traps to catch the wild game for food.

Iin 1935 county authorities, fearful of his health, urged him to move to the county home.

He acquiesced, but remarked:

“It will take me a while to decide whether I’m going to like the so-called civilized life, but I have a speaking hunch that the call of the wild is going to be pretty strong.”

The call was strong, and he returned to his Mad River shack in 1937. Then the county authorities became tough. To keep him from spending another winter in the outdoors, they had him arrested as a vagrant.

After a week of difficulties, Steinbarger received an offer to reside in a cabin at Zane Caverns, in Logan County, and accepted it.

Since then he had alternated his residence between the Caverns cabin and the county home.

The Clark County Fair

High spots in memories of our summer time visits include out attendance at the County Fair. Uncle Samuel always secured a family ticket. This ticket was supposed to admit himself, his wife and his minor children.

However, the family carriage frequently expanded to include cousins who happened to be visiting at the home at the time.

The gate-keeper never counted the number nor inquired our ages so we passed on in.

Aunt Margaret always prepared a big basket of food for a wonderful picnic dinner.

It was a big day for all.

Old friends met, visited and viewed the exhibits.

The female element crowded the Womens Building where fancy work featured all sorts of embroidery, crochet work, knitting, painting, etc.

Of great importance were the quilts of every sort of patchwork imaginable while the canned fruits, jellies and baked goods gave testimony to the efforts of women along culinary lines.

Big displays of vegetables and flowers gave heightened color to the scene.

Menfolks sought farm machinery and stock exhibits, and some attended the horse races — not Uncle Samuel, however.

There was always a Merry-Go-Round.

Sometimes a band concert and often from the bandstand would come forth a rousing speech by a celebrated orator or a political aspirant.

One incident connected with our visits to the Fair will still bring laughter to those of us who were the younger members of the party altho it was anything fut funny to the elders at the time.

County Fair and Urbana Camp Meeting

As we jogged down Limestone St. on the outskirts of the city, Cousin Milt who sat in front with his father thought the pace a little too slow to touched up the horse with the whip.

With one bound the nag broke away and sped on toward town with the two front wheels of the carriage, thus dumping the passengers down into the middle of the street, picnic baskets and all.

It was well indeed, that Uncle Sam had to take off post haste after the horse and the wheels for he would have seen no mirth in the giggles from the girls as they picked themselves up from the street and gathered up their belongings.

Elsie insists that she landed on her feet, still grasping her own umbrella.

The horse was rescued and returned to the scene of the accident but another carriage had to be secured to take us on to the Fair while repairs were made to Uncle Sam’s rig.

Sometimes, on Sundays we drove to Urbana where meetings were held at the Methodist Camp Grounds. We didn’t always attend the services unless some special speaker was to give the address. We enjoyed the long ride, a good picnic dinner and often good music in the Tabernacle. In the picture Hazel looks lonesome. Evidently she was not invited to go along. She, along with Father & Mother watch us take off for the day.

Sometimes we attended church at the new Centre St. Methodist Church. It was the largest church and had the first pipe organ in the city.

Move to the Campus of Antioch College

It was in the late summer of 1892 that our family left the homestead place to take up residence in an apartment on the first floor of the south dormitory (east end) commonly known as “the boys’ dorm.’

Rooms in the lower floors were not popular with the boy students so these rooms had come to be used as apartments for married students or faculty members.

A vacancy on the first floor gave us our opportunity to ease some of the many strains that living at a distance form the schools and the village had always imposed.

Here mother could enjoy the beautiful campus and share the pleasures that come to those who live close to the student body in any college situation.

While we were eager for the new experience there were some real regrets at leaving the old home. There was our fine garden, our fruit trees and the flowers and most of all — old Molly.

There was no place on the campus for Molly so we had to part with her.

A little patch of ground on the southwest corner near “The Pines” had been used by someone for a garden so father soon took advantage of it for our use.

Prof. Tufts in the apartment above us on second floor had a garden patch, too, where he raised early onions and radishes.

The student boys appreciated the vegetables for their nocturnal “feasts” along with the chickens they foraged from nearby hen roosts.

One had to forgive them for such diversions since board at the college dining room at $1.50 per week never offered enough food to satisfy the appetite of a hungry boy.

However it was probably not so much the desire for food as the desire for the fun of foraging for it that tempted the boys to take it unasked. The matter should have been handled in a better way.

Changes in the Pattern of our Lives.

Previous to our move the the College campus other changes had come about which altered in a measure the traditional picture of our family life.

Grandma Miller had passed away in 189-? age ___..

In 189-? Uncle Jay’s death occurred, and Aunt Chattie finally gave up the little farm place that had been her home for many many years.

During the following winter spent in the home of Uncle Milton and Aunt Dean at Geneseo, Ill., Aunt Chatgtie was persuaded to gather into a knot the bunch of curls she had worn since her girlhood. Mrs. Wise’s curls had been almost a tradition in Yellow Springs. It was a daily rite with her to wrap each curl around along curling stick then to confine part of them with a large bow of black ribbon at the top of the head. We children liked to stand by and watch the process.

An apartment on the second floor of the van Meter Building was her next home with Charity Judy her companion. Charity had graduated from Troy High School and had entered Antioch.

Leaving our Xenia Ave. home really closed one very full chapter of our early family life.

Father retained ownership of the property for many years carefully guarding its care by those who occupied it. In 19__ he sold it to a Mrs. ?, an English woman who became very fond of it. She seemed to value some of the little irregularities and some inconveniences which we had just accepted & endured.

Mrs. ? Always gave us a friendly welcome when any of the family came to the town to visit and wished to enjoy a nostalgic peep into the home of their childhood days.

Aunt Chattie Wise after the death of Uncle Jay.

Home place after porch was added.

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 20

Della returns to the strictly personal in these pages containing mostly family photographs.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

Vacation Time

Vacation time in our family was sure to include picnics and especially when we had guests.

Suitable sports for picnics were often found in Littles Woods and our cousins Bertha and OrionMiller from Springfield were our frequent guests.

Left to right in the picture

Mother, Father, Elsie
Dean, hazel, Della, Orion
Below are Elsie (out on a limb)
Bertha, Della, Hazel & Dean

A tablecloth had to serve as a table.

Ants and flies were not welcome but had to be endured as part of the fun in an outing meal.

Happy Vacation periods were often spent at Uncle Samuel’s farm home near Springfield.

Perrin’s Woods as we approached the home from Leffel’s Lane

The original Samuel Miller home far down a lane from S. Limestone St. in Town. Here Elsie and I played with Bertha & little Lizzie the sister who died in childhood. Uncle Clinton bought this home and lived there for a period during which time this picture was taken.

The new home of the S. S. Millers at the top of a hill. A long lane led up to it from Limestone Street.

Visits at this rather lovely country sport were enlivened by frequent games.

Players were Elza Wolf, brother of Aunt Mattie, Orion, Charity Judy, and Bertha Miller.

Women and girls of the period often wore long white aprons when they dressed up a bit for afternoons at home.

A typical view of the family group in almost any winter evening as they gathered around the dining table after supper was over.

Evenings in the home were enlivened by music.

Milton played the organ, Orion the violin and Bertha did the singing.

Way Down on the Farm

Typical Scenes in the Country Home

Orion at the Willows


On butchering days some times neighbors helped out and shared in the product.

Apple Butter Time

The whole family joins in the peeling in order to lighten the task for the following day, when cooking, stirring and canning the completed produce would be3 the order of the day.

Harvesting at Uncle Samuel’s homecoming

The equipment used at that time has been outdated for many years.

Pictures were taken in the early 90s.

Summer Visits included Bethel Picnics

These picnics brought together sons and daughters of former residents of the Bethel School District in which district the old family home of our father was located.

Some of the young folks were relatives. Others were just friends who retained relationships of bygone days.

Above — top row

Elsie, Charity Judy
Della & Bertha Miller
Below Dix McKochin and Orion Miller
Dix was a family friend, and a cousin of the Judy’s.

Donnell’s Creek

On the left are views of the old homestead region.

Above view shows the bridge of Donnell’s Creek, the Church and Cemetery as seen form the hillside near the pike looking west.

Just west of the church was the school.

Grandfather Miller had donated from his farm land for the cemetery & church and the school (now shown in the picture)

Five Generations

Grandmother Miller with the daughter of Addie Bradley Sprecht. Above Addie is her mother Margaret Hance Bradley. Aunt Kate judy (left) substitutes for her sister Elizabeth Hance, mother of Margaret Bradley.

Reunions at Bethel

As long as Grandma Miller lived these reunions took place periodically in the grove of Beech trees opposite Bethel Church.

The Huston family who had purchased the home from Grandma after Grandpa’s death, welcomed the family and old friends who came from far & near for the occasions.


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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 19

After a brief adventure with dramatic entertainment Della moves from the history of the Christian Church to the history of both the Presbyterian and Methodist churches.

Cosmelia (“Aunt Cozzy”) Hirst will be a name familiar to many researching Yellow Springs History.  A series of the letters to the Yellow Springs News she wrote about village history is indexed as the ninth group on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

Snow White and The Sleeping Beauty

The Hirst home too was the scene of many parties, and here “Aunt Cozzy” the favorite S. S. [Sunday School] teacher was always active in the planning.

She had spent many years as a schoolmistress and displayed real genius with young people.

Sometimes during the summer months when things were dull she would assemble groups of young folks and would train them for a play which would be staged in the auditorium of the Village School.

I was eleven years old the summer we gave ‘Snow White and The Sleeping Beauty”. As one of the Court Ladies I wore a lovely gown of pale blue cambric with white trimmings. This was made with a full length train.

Mother had made the dress and I did my best to wear it with courtly grace.

(The dress was handed down for play use by my daughter and granddaughters.)

Perhaps it was Aunt Cozzy Hirst who was the inspiration for our little club of girls who called themselves “The Centipedes.”

This was a Secret Society and it met on Saturday afternoons at the homes of its members. The initiations were blood curdling and the play acting programs highly melodramatic. I was the youngest of the group so didn’t figure much in the casts but I helped to fill up the audience.

The Presbyterians

from The News April 18 – 1935

[transcription of article]

The above shows the church as dedicated march 3, 1860. The entrance was by two doors off the Walnut street side and remained that way until 1910 when the extension and entrance was made on the Xenia Ave. side.

A large audience was present last Sunday morning at the Presbyterian Church, when the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the church was observed. Some of the same music used in the service that was used in the dedication in 1860. Rev. Wood Duff, the pastor, delivered an appropriate sermon.

At 12:30 a covered dish dinner was served to a large number in the dining room. After dinner the assembly was called to order by chairman A. C. Erbaugh. The program was carried out as previously announced.

William Hardman read a paper on the history of the church which was received with great interest.

Russell Stewart, chairman of the trusteees, spoke of the present condition of the church, which is good.

A. C. Swinnerton spoke on the future of the church, and outlined some improvements to the building that might be made. This brought out considerable discussion. Mr. Swinnerton’s proposals included redecorating the church, a new organ, and other repairs totaling near $6000.

A committee was appointed by the chair to look over the church and report to the annual meeting in April. The committee is Mrs. Swinnerton, Miss Harriet Hardman and J. N. Wolford.

Several interesting letters were read from former church members. Mrs. Mary R. Turner of Springfield, wrote an interesting letter that contained much early history of the town and church. By request we will publish it at an early date.

The paper ready by Mr. Hardman follows:

The Story of the Church

In any Presbyterian home in Yellow Springs in the early 50’s just after breakfast on Sunday morning might have been heard such a conversation as this:

“Mother, are you nearly ready for church?”

“Yes Father, I am, I have the dinner packed and the children are dressed. I’ll be ready in just a minute.”

“Well Mother I am going out now to bring the horses to the horse block, and when you are ready I’ll help you mount. You take the baby and I’ll take the dinner basket.”

“Alright father I only hope my arms don’t give out, for its a long way to church today, to Muddy Run, or Pleasant Valley. I wish there was a service at Clifton, but most of all I wish we had a church in Yellow Springs.”

“Yes, I too, wish we had a church here, Mother.”

And off they jog, the endless miles, muddy miles to Mud Run Church, for the long service, the morning and the afternoon Sunday School, followed by the long tedious miles home. There was a very good reason for blue Monday after that.

Judge William Mills knew of these conditions, and being a public spirited man he requested Rev. E. R. Johnson of New Carlisle to come and look the field over with a view to organizing a church. He did so, but after preaching once or twice he felt it was not wise to plan for a church body at that time. A little later Rev. Samuel Smith came, and he being of a more adventurous spirit than the prudent Mr. Johnson, tried the experiment of the development of a church—the name of which should be the First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs, Ohio. He succeeded so well that in February 1855 the [nucleus] of the present church body was born in the home of Mrs. Ewing. (Now Mrs. S. W. Cox home)

At the dedication service the clerk read the account of the circumstance. He writes under that date of February 3, 1855: “This day according to previous public announcement a sermon was preached by Rev.e Samuel D. Smith from the words found in Hebrews the 10th chapter, verses 23, 24, 25:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. And let us consider one another to provoke to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is but exhorting one another, so much the more as ye see the day approaching.

After which, Mr. Smith stated the object of the meeting to be: To organize a Constitutional Presbyterian Church. After prayer for divine direction and blessing, certificates were called for with the following fourteen persons responding and becoming charter members; twelve by letter, and two on profession of faith. They were as follows: Males—R. Love, R. W. Davis, H. Hagan, Wm. Conklin, Julius Cone.

Females—Mrs. R. Love, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Hagan, Mrs. Wharton, Miss A. M. Berryman, Mrs. M. A. Cone, Miss Martha Jane Hannon, Mrs. Mary Conklin. Mrs. Conklin and Mrs. Julius Cone came on profession of faith.

[transcription of article]

Letter Read at Presbyterian Service Recently

Interesting letter read at the recent rededication service of the Presbyterian Church:

In response to your request, I am writing you some recollections of long ago of the Yellow Springs Presbyterian Church. It was early in April 1865 that my father moved his family from Rhode Island to the new home in Yellow Springs. A few days afterwards, services in honor of our martyred President, Abraham Lincoln, were held in this church.

Almost 70 years ago, this was the first time the writer of this was inside the Presbyterian Church. If memory is right, the pastor then was a young unmarried man whose name cannot be recalled. Following him, Rev..Moore and Rev. Comery and families are well remembered. Then came the saintly Rev. James Rodgers who drove a horse and buggy from Springfield to Yellow Springs twice a week. Once he remarked in cold weather about the wind being in his face coming down and changing about so that he faced it again in going back to Springfield. Mr. Rodgers used to love to begin the prayer meetings with “More Love to Thee, O Christ,”, often starting the songs when no organist was present.

The elders of old that can be recalled are: Martin Polhemus, Cyrus Drake and George Kedzie. The first superintendent of the Sunday School remembered is Col. Ewing, who lived, I think on the Bryan Farm. He gave several books to the scanty Sunday School Library and one was an argument between a young woman and an older male relative. The young woman who favored this diversion had the better of the argument. Most of the congregation at that time were staid, strict Presbyterians who would have consigned this book to the flames, had they known it was there.

Prof. Charles Chandler was a later superintendent. He was also teacher of a class of girls including Jeannie Polhemus, Clara Johnson, Ida Stewart, Ella Anderson, Addie Haight, Sallie Fesstermacher, Mary Wilder and others.

Another superintendent was genial Preston Love. Organist at the church services were, Mrs. Ewing, Mrs. Ganz (wife of the supt. of the public schools) and Mrs. Mary Wells longest of all. Organists for the Sunday School were: Ella Little, Anna McNair, Emma Wells, Clara Polhemus, and Charles Weaver, I think.

In the church choir, Preston Love was always our tenor singer; later tenors were: J. D. Hawkins, Mr. Lawrence, supt. of schools, Charles Hardman, Baker Rice and W. H. Wilder. The bass voices belonged to D. C. Putnam, W. A. Hopkins, Silas Keifer, Mr. Weaver, the jeweler William Rice and Milton Turner. Mrs. Conover, full of music and fun, sang alto as did Harriet Hardman, Lida Rice and Laura or Jennie Polhemus, (both were in the choir.) The sopranos were: Ella Anderson, Mrs. Thorne, wife of Dr. Ed. Thorne, Mrs. Dillman, wife of the druggist, Alice Dawson, Lily Porterfield, Mary Wilder and others not now recalled. Amongst the oldest members of the church were whiteheaded Mr. Armstrong and his wife, who I think wore a cap under her bonnet.

The prominent families who occupied seats well up in front were those of friendly James Stewart and Dr. LaFevers. On the left hand side of the church sat Mr. Dobie, his wife (sister to Mrs. Conover) and their mother, Mrs. Browne. One time some of us fashioned a cross of elder blossoms with which to decorate the church at a communion service, and Mrs. Dobie objected so violently it had to be removed from the church. Then there was Grandfather Reed (who used “for” as it is used in the Bible phrase “what went ye out for to see), his wife and daughters, Lizzie, Sue, and Nannie. Other members were: Mr. Gamaliel Garrison, wife and daughter Eliza who lived where Fralicks now do.

Grandmother Love, grandmother Wilson, (who was a Knott of Clifton) and grandmother Paige, mother of Mrs. Anderson, were all widows as was Mrs. Miller, mother of Robert and Frank Miller. The latter’s boots always squeaked as he walked up the aisle, for boots were then universally worn by the men. Then there was old Mr. Fulton, who was somewhat absent minded. Driving into town with his wife one day, he is said to have driven home alone, wondering all the way what he had forgotten. It was his wife. From somewhat the same neighborhood came Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Johnson, parents of Mrs. Ridenour, Mr. and Mrs. Beatty, parents of the present Beattys, and the Dickeys from Goes Station. Others south of town were, Mr. Hyde, a very modest man, who knew birds well, and Mrs. Hyde, a most friendly and hospitable woman and the Stillmans who lived where Mrs. Nettie Welch now lives From north of town came the Partingtons consisting of three maiden sisters and two bachelor brothers. Of this family, Miss Eliza was very proud of her English ancestry. In summer she would walk up the church aisle sedately with her fan oscillating a regular number of times per minute. The family loved to entertain their friends at meals when the tables would be loaded with different foods in the manner of that time. From this vicinity came Mr. Mellinger, father of Lizzie and Ben; Silas Keifer, the Preston Loves, the Wm. Garrisons, the Fehstermachers, the Joel Garrisons, Mr. and Mrs. James Turner, Tapley Johnson and wife and the Kedzies. From a little father north and west came Cyrus Drake and family and Miss Sue Hagan.

Grandfather Hutchinson and wife a fine old couple, with their daughters, Hannah and Sadie and son Elder lived in the house now the “Amber Lantern”. Another old time family in town was the Mayhoods. Another ws Frederic Birch, wife, two daughters and one son; another was Mr. Miller and wife, zealous workers in the church who had one daughter, Nannie. Mr. Miller used to being the crippled woman (Susan Hawk, I think was the name) in her wheel chair to church. In summer she wore a gay flowered dress and a hat bright with flowers.

Mrs. Cone a faithful Sunday School teacher and her son Eddie lived in the Octagon. Wm. Means, then Mayor of Cincinnati, and Mrs. Means had a seat well up in the front and left of the church. When Mrs. Means joined in the hymns, her voice could be heard throughout the house.

Then there was Mrs. Wharton and son Lon. Somewhat later than most mentioned, Mr. and Mrs. John Birch with three daughters and one son came to Yellow Springs. We must not forget the Wm. Bakers so faithful in attending to the collections, nor our old English janitor, Mr. Dickman.

Most of these old time members passed away before the time of automobiles. Some of them were “mighty in prayer”. To many of you here their names mean no more as I turn the leaves of memory than do the faces in an old album. But these people laid the foundation for the privileges you now enjoy and it is fitting that we pause a moment of do them honor.

Mary Wilder Turner, Springfield, Ohio, Feb. 28, 1935

Member of the Yellow springs Presbyterian Church from Dec. 1885 to April 1927

[transcription of 2nd article]


Of the Presbyterian church, prepared by Miss May Garrison and read at the 75tgh Anniversary celebration, Monday, Feb. 3rd.

As early as 1851, a number of the families, Grandfather Love’s the Wharton’s, the Conklin’s and others of this vicinity felt the need of a church home in Yellow Springs. To drive to Clifton or Pleasant Valley, better known as Muddy Run church, was such a great hardship during the winter and inclement weather.

I have heard Grandmother Love tell about how they had to go horseback when their poor roads were impassible for any kind of conveyance, carrying her baby until her arms became so numb she was afraid she would let it fall.

In the minutes of the trustees we find under date February 3, 1855, Organization: This day according to previous public announcement a sermon was preached from Hebrews: 10—23, 24, 25, by Rev. Samuel d. Smith, after which he stated the object of the meeting to be—to organize a Constitutional Presbyterian church. Clifton and Pleasant Valley were Old School. Yellow Springs was new school. After prayer for divine direction and blessing; certificates were called for.

Robert Love and wife presented a certificate from Clifton Presbyterian church in this county.

Mr. R. W. Davis and wife from Dundee, N. Y.

Mr. H. Hagan and wife from New Carlisle, Ohio

Mrs. Sarah Wharton from Sidney, Ohio.

Miss A> M. Berrman from Sidney, Ohio.

Mrs. Julius Cone from Brooklyn, Pa.

Mrs. Caroline Smith from Addison, Ohio.

Miss Martha Jane Hannan from Addison, Ohio.

Mr. Julius Cone and Mrs. Conklin joined by profession of faith and were baptized.

The first services were held in the Reform Presbyterian Church, now the Baptist church on the corner of Xenia Avenue and Whiteman streets. The business sessions were at the homes and stores of the different members of the Session.

April 2, 1855. According to previous notice the congregation (unanimously) elected Samuel D. Smith, Pastor. Rev. E. West presiding. The congregation also proceeded to make out a call to S. D. Smith for 1-2 of his time, as required in our book. Mr. R. W. Davis was ordained the first elder.

June 21, 1855. Rev. Smith was installed for 1-2 of his time by the Dayton Presbytery. Robert Love and Nathanial Benidict as elders.

March 27, 1857. A meeting of the First Presbyterian church was held at the home of Mrs. Ewing (Wolford residence) most of the members being present. Meeting opened by prayer. Mr. N. Benedict was chosen as chairman. Mr. Cone, secretary.

The chairman said the object of meeting was to consult together as to the expediency of employing Mr. Smith as Pastor another year. After due consideration it was resolved that our inability to sufficiently compensate him and the uncertainty of our being abnle to sustain him, the church organization render it inexpedient that his labors with us be long continued. Resolved: That we part with brother Smith with a feeling of regret.

April 5, 1858. We find Reve., Bassett being employed as minister for six months.

June, 1858. Mr. James Kedzie and family were received by letters from the Pleasant Valley (Mud Run) church.

December 11, 1858 the Dayton Presbytery met at Yellow springs in the Reform Presbyterian church. At which time Mr. Bassett was installed.

Nov. 1, 1858. A building committee was appointed. Chairman R. Love, Wm. Ewing, George Kedzie, Wm. Conklin, Julius Cone an James Hyde…[article cuts off]

Presby. Church – 1930

The Church as it appeared after remodelling in 1930. Dr. Thompson made the address at the dedication of the Church.

Many former ministers and members of the congregation were present on this occasion.

Ex President of Ohio State University

On the right is a view of the Church as it was in the days of my youth. One entered the building from Walnut St.

The interior presented a dignified appearance. It was carpeted thru out and the pews were well cushioned and comfortable. The stained glass windows gave one a sense of elegance and repose.

The belfry tho seemed to me to be out of character for a big bell lodged in the fork of a tree outside served to call the parishioners to worship.

Hazel had some close friends who attended the Presbyterian Sunday School and she pleaded to be permitted to go along with them. She had read all of the books in the Sunday School library at her own church and there were different ones at the Presbyterian library, but when S. S. lessons required her to memorize the Presbyterian Catechism Hazel’s parents decided once and for all that the Christian Church School was sufficient for Hazel’s needs.


The church bell in its one time primitive setting now adds a quaint bit of interest to the historic pictures of the church as it makes ready to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of its founding.

The sketch is a copy of the original drawing made by our cousin Herbert B. Judy and is dated 1899.

[transcription of article]

Present St. Paul Church, Dedicated October 25, 1908

Probably the largest crowd ever assembled for a similar event in Yellow Springs was the one that visited St. Paul Church last Saturday and Sunday, when the 75th anniversary of its founding was celebrated.

The Garden Party Saturday afternoons and evenings on the Mills Lawn opposite the church, drew a large crowd of merry makers. The various amusements added to the gaity for all. These events continued Sunday afternoon and evening.

A diamond jubilee high mass was celebrated Sunday morning at 10 o’clock with Rev. Frank Heider, a son of the parish, of Hamilton, Ohio as celebrant assisted by the Rev. Raphael Rogers,, assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Dayton, as deacon and the Rev. Frank May, S. M., chaplain of Chaminade High School, Dayton, as sub-deacon. The sermon was delivered by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Daniel Buckley, V. G., pastor of St. Raphael Church, Springfield and the Rev. Eugene Gerlach, pastor of St. Paul church, was master of ceremonies.

A feature that added much to the pleasure of the occasion was the chicken dinner [portion of article cut off]….

…stone of Assumption Church was laid. A few years later, the name was changed to that of St. Paul.

This building served the congregation until some twenty years ago when the need was felt for larger quarters. Dr. Daniel Quinn was the pastor. He had grown up here, it was his home church and he had a double interest. The present structure was then owned by the Christian denomination, which had disbanded and the building was for sale. Dr. Quinn readily saw the great advantage in buying the building rather than building a new one. It was a fine piece of masonry that would cot many times to built it for what it could be bought for. Dr. Quinn three all his great energy into the project and consummated that deal. It has been remodeled from time to time until it is now considered one of the best church properties for a town of this size, in this section. It was built in the early 50s. Surrounded by beautiful shade trees and overlooking “The Lawn” with native forest trees, and quiet peaceful surroundings, it is an ideal location for a place of worship.

The Churches — The Methodists

A clipping from the Y. S. News October 30 — 1908 shows clearly the beginnings of Church interest in the territory which became the town of Yellow Springs and the development of such interest as the town grew.

[transcription of article]

History of the M. E. Church

OCTOBER 30, 1908

There is in humanity, often unconscious to itself, a strong element of religion and wherever it goes it carries that quality with it. Men with a spirit of adventure, not knowing what they may encounter, go from civilization to wilderness and establish new homes. Scarcely are they settled amid their rough surroundings when the religious spirit asserts itself, and soon a few scattered families meet together in a primitive way to hold devotional services. The spirit of Methodism asserted itself among the pioneers of Ohio as early as 1797, when Rev. Francis McCormick, a Methodist preacher, organized a church in his cabin home in Clermont county, near the month of the Little Miami River.

This is the oldest Methodist society in Ohio, and is supposed to be the first church of any denomination in the great Northwest Territory.

Long before the town of Yellow Springs came into existence and while yet the ground on which it stands was covered with forest, excepting in a few places where small houses stood, there dwelt a number of families who owned homes and farms beyond its present limits, many of whom had, in their former homes, been connected with the Methodist church, in order that their children might grow up religiously they decided to select a place where they could hold worship regularly.

The most convenient and suitable place they found was a school house which is now known as the Hyde school. It was not of course the present school building but a frame house close to that one.

After the brick house was built the old one was used for the storage of fuel.

In this building then a Methodist church was organized and here for sometime worship was held. In good weather in the summer time, services were held in the woods opposite the school house, it being a fine piece of timber land free from undergrowth. It was known as Brown’s woods. After a few years sometime in the thirties, the congregation decided to build a church and selected as a site a point on the Dayton road which is now the northeast corner of Dayton and Corry streets, where Mr. Alig’s building stands. (1930 the postoffice) It was a frame house of good appear and fair proportions and was the first building erected within what is now the corporate limits of Yellow Springs, west of the railroad, but at that time the railroad was not yet constructed. For several years this church was supplied, as it had been from it first existence, by circuit preachers. It was dedicated by a Bishop Hameline of Cincinnati.

Among the families represented in the congregation were those of James Brown who came from Virginia, of Samuel Cox, Sr., who came from Md., of Daniel Pennell, Jacob Drake, Judge Mills, Mrs. Aaron Harlan dn her sister Mrs. Ellis. The Sipe, Cosler and Graham families, and Mrs. Isaac Baker, who was a member of the latter family.

Prior to 1845 the present brick church was built at the corner of Dayton and Winter streets. The old church was sold and converted into a dwelling. On May 6, 1895, it was destroyed by fire, originating in the first elevator which was burned with the entire block.

It must be remembered that when the present church was built, Dayton street was unimproved, with trees growing close to the road upon either side.

Under the ministration of its many efficient ministers this church has constantly increased in numbers. In the years of 64 and 65 it was enlarged by an addition at the west end.

The first preacher who was stationed here was Rev. Finley. From the first hour of its existence the Methodist church has been essentially the church militant. It has worked constantly for the betterment of humanity, always appealing to it to array itself on the side of right. It has done and is still doing a noble part in the world’s work.

The above picture shows the building as I remember it as I passed it daily on my way to school. The name of the Pastor was Mr. Peak.

This later view shows a Parsonage. This was occupied by two ministers whose families were among out very good friends — The Deems and the Middletons.

Lora and Effie Middleton were prominent in musical circles of the period, both at the church and at the College.

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The best of Thanksgiving cheer to one and all

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 18

Della gives a bit more on Antioch and then describes her life as a churchgoer. Although the Christian Church was an important factor in the history of Antioch College and Yellow Springs, its presence in Yellow Springs ended during Della’s lifetime.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

From the Y. S. Union School to Antioch

I do not definitely remember the year when Elsie left the old Dayton St. School to enter Sub Preparatory classes at Antioch nor the year when I followed suit. The change in the type of school was a distinct advantage to me in some ways but we lost, perhaps, many of the gains that come from the routine work and drills one finds in a good grade school or High School.

At the College, classes could be arranged so that the school day did not take up so much of our time. Mother, so often in poor health, did not have to spend so many long hours by herself and Elsie & I could assume a larger responsibility for home duties.

Daily routine for the Miller family always included early rising. Now three members had to have breakfast over and reach the campus by 7:15 in order to be present at Chapel exercises.

We usually ran every step of the way. Chapel was finally changed to a later hour and was followed by a fifteen minute period of calisthenics which gave welcome relief to the morning’s routine.

Our home is shown here as we children remember it best, before the front porch was added. Mother and Dean on the stoop,.Father just down from picking the sweet cherries, Hazel, Della, Bertha, Aunt Kate, Elsie.

Aunt Chattie, seated..

Aunt Kate’s presence indicates a June picture.

Since long dresses were the badge of young ladies of that period Elsie & I look too much grown up for our age. I probably made those dresses for I was learning to sew about that time. Ready made clothing was not available, neither was a dressmaker at all times. However memory supplies names of a succession of seamstresses who used to come to the house to “sew us up” as the season’s demands came around and Mother couldn’t keep up; with them.

At times small town gossip made more headway than did the work of the day and lots of worry would follow, in order to correct the mistakes that were made.

The Christian Church

[transcription of article]

SEPT. 25, 1908

History of the Christian Church

Long before Antioch College was located at Yellow Springs, when the town, that now is, was not only country but very much “in the woods” as well, there lived around, about through, the northern part of Green, and southern part of Clark counties, a number of families belonging to the Christian church, a part of these had, as their place of worship, at that early time a church at Knob Prairie (near Enon) the others at Ebenezer church, which is situated on the Springfield pike about four miles north of Yellow Springs. Some of the families belonging to these respective churches have altogether disappeared, while a few still have living representatives. At Ebenezer, were the Husteads, Colliers, and Wheelers and others; at Knob Prairie were the McKinneys, Reeders, Smiths, Laytons, Bakers, and many others; near Yellow Springs were scattered families which for the most part attended services at Ebenezer, among these were the families of Elder J. T. Lynn Snow Richardson, Launson and Benjal Wilson in town and the Kershners and Kilers in the country. No thought was given to the building of a church at this place until the college was established here, then with the influx of Christian families it was decided to erect a church of the Christian denomination and it was during the building of the college that the church was founded and erected.

The contract for the work was given to Abdel Kiler who did a very creditable job in its erection. It was not completed until some time after the college had gone into operation. It was used as a place of worship by the Christian denomination, but was not dedicated until June 1856, before which the pulpit was filled by Rev. W. H. Doherty, professor of belles-lettres at the college, and a graduate of Edinburg University.

Dr. Austin Craig of New York delivered the dedication sermon, while a number of others prominent in the church assisted in the services of dedication, among them were Elder I. N. Walter and Elder D. F. Ladley, who at that time was in frail health.

The pulpit was filled at different times and on occasions by different elders of the denomination as Summerbell, Lynn, McKinney, Weston and others.

After the Civil War from 1866 on for a number of years it flourished greatly under the ministration of the gifted and eloquent Gen. H. K. McConnell, of A. W. Coan, Revs. James Coil and Black. These ministers drew nearly all the college students. There was a large attendance but the older members of the congregation, as Ladley, Richardson, Lawrence, Lynn, the Kershners, Keifers, Knighs, Sommerbell, Ellis Coan, Hopkins, Wise, Jacobs and Weston either died or left the place, leaving no constituency to support the church, hence its discontinuance. Those who had it in charge considered it the best thing to dispose of it to those who would turn it to right account. Its half century of life has passed into history, bearing with it the record of its efforts for the accomplishment of good.

That the present possessors may prosper and continue the work of benificence is the earnest wish of every one who has at heart the welfare of his fellow man and his county.

The above picture shows the church as I remember it best.

The tall steeple and belfry topped with its ball of gold made a conspicuous landmark in the town.

The church as it appeared after its sale to the Catholics in 1908,, and as it appears today.

The Christian Church, continued.

Any view of this church (“our church” we always called it) could furnish for me a whole gallery of memory pictures.

The clear tone of the brick used in the construction and the high domed windows of stained glass gave it an appearance of distinction.

One entered a hallway at street level and from this hallway doors led to rooms for Prayer Meetings and social purposes, also a large dining room. Two wide winding stairways led to the main auditorium above.

Here the ceiling was high. It might have been called a barnlike room but it didn’t seem like that to me. Four large coal stoves made the room comfortable in winter and were removed when spring came.

The pews were plain and none too comfortable.

The pulpit space was large. It could accommodate a huge tree at Christmas time and still give room for those who took part in the Christmas entertainments, speaking pieces and singing songs.

Santa Claus was always there in person and once he even drove his reindeer and sleigh right into the stage. I shall never forget the thrill that gave to me. Every child received some sort of treat from the Sunday School Christmas tree.

The choir & the organ occupied a space to the left of the pulpit.

Earliest memories give Uncle Jay a place in the choir, with Ella Little (Humphrey) as organist. Then came the McWhinneys — father and two daughters Athella and Carena who had a lovely bird like soprano voice. Mrs. Hammond was organist and she contributed a hoarse contralto that almost drowned out the sweeter tone of Athella McWhinney (Howance).

Some very staunch and determined men and women were members of that Christian Church.

Business sessions were often held following Sunday Church service and a few chronic scrappers could often delay adjournment until the children were hungry and had lost all patience.

The Christian Church (cont.)

Our Church was reputed to have some of the most able ministers in the Christian Denomination.; The early ones are mere names to me, Jones, McConnel, McWhinney, Summbell and others, but I remember distinctly the Rev. A. W. Coan, not that I knew anything about what he was saying but the sound of his voice one couldn’t escape. It reverberated to the very rafters and he must have been convincing. There was in the main a trend toward liberal thinking but some of the ministers still clung to the old traditional doctrines one of which was Baptism by Emersion, for candidates for Church membership.

I shall never forget the terror I felt when I saw my father go down into the cold water of the stream at Grinnells at one of these ceremonies.

I couldn’t see why. I still can’t see why.

A man by the name of Sinks came to our pulpit in the early eighties.

He was well educated and a fluent speaker, but he should have remained a Methodist for hje fitted best into the doctrinal thinking of that denomination at that period.

It was during his ministry that Elise & I “joined church”.

All of our girl friends were joining at the close of a winter Revival Meeting so Elsie and I went along with the rest.

We were duly exhorted by the minister and wept over by the pious old ladies of the church as they extended to us the Right Hand of Fellowship.

I was glad to be a member of the church but I couldn’t understand the reason for weeping.

A very significant change came to the church when the Rev. A. J. Harris became our minister.

The Christian Church (contin.)

Mr. Harris was solemn in feature but back of that doleful expression was a keen sense of humor and a fine feeling for the things that are essential in religion.

He and his lovely wife became very close friends with our father and mother. Their informal visits in our home remain as bright spots in my memories.

Difficulties, cares and other sorrows were marked in Mrs. Harris by sunny smiles and hearty laughter. To me Mrs. Harris stands as one of the finest and bravest women I have ever known.

The succession of ministers that followed Mr. Harris include G. D. Black, Henry Secrist, A. W. Foil[?], C. W. Choate, Byron Long & A. W. Powers. Three of these later on became Unitarians, two became Congregationalists and Mr. Powers alone remained in the Christian Denomination to the time of his death.

By far the most talented of our ministers was G. D. Black. The largely self educated Mr. Black possessed a rare ability to penetrate deep into the heart of his subject. Too, he was a handsome man and the charm of his personality added to his unusual gift of oratory were enough to hold an audience spell bound.

The Sunday School

Sunday School sessions were all held in the main auditorium and at the same hour so there was a good deal of confusion but we got through the lessons some way.

Teachers gave voluntary service. Some were good, others just faithful to the task.

If you started out with the former you were lucky for there wasn’t much shifting of teachers or pupils. Elsie longed to be in a class with her best friends and wounded the feelings of a relative by making a change of her own volition.

Miss Cosmelia Hirst was the supreme teacher. She interested the girls in the historical pictures of Bible times and adroitly brought into view their ethical significance.

I, too, longed to have Miss Hirst for my teacher.. In my class under a long faced lady there was a weekly review of our probably transgressions and much exhorting toward repentance.

I didn’t enjoy Sunday School. I just endured it until a shift finally did come.

It was, however, the associations in Sunday School that formed the nucleus of many of our lifelong friendships. There were the Little sisters — Addie and Fannie Hopkins & Josie Paul — Lulu Alkire — Annie Lehow and the Carrs, Kate and Alice & their cousin Bessie Totten.

There was an older sister, Ella, at the Little home. She always planned and supervised the games at the children’s parties given at their home. These parties were many not only during our childhood but during youth & college years.

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 17

Della explores Antioch and some cultural adventures.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).


After eleven years of work spent in the Public Schools, Father found the new position pleasant and rewarding.

College Preparatory subjects taught by him in the beginning years were stimulating as many of his students were fairly mature.

Father’s interest in the study of History was strong and as years went by he was able to devote more and more attention to that subject so that he finally attained the goal of full professorship in the field of history on the Antioch faculty.

To the members of our Miller family Antioch College held not only a personal interest but a traditional one as well for our father’s brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews all had turned to Antioch for some part of their educational experience.

Stories of early Antioch, its beginnings, its growth, its many discouragements and tribulations are the fabric of a great tradition, very dear to those who have been a part of her and have followed her fortunes thruout the years.

(More complete details of history given elsewhere)

Much of this tradition has been closely entwined with experiences of our own family and incidents come to light as we go along in a story of home, of friends, and of interesting features of the little town of Yellow Springs.

Near the time of Father’s entrance to the faculty circle Antioch was still in the midst of some of her many difficulties.

An aged minister of the Christian Denomination was carrying on as President in a very ineffectual manner.

Some reorganization and changes in personnel were long overdue.

A new President was secured and other changes made. With the accession of Dr. D. A. Long as President Antioch experienced a period of renewed vitality. While Dr. Long was a minister in the Christian Church he had also been educated in the fields of law and of education as well.

Memories of the Long Family

The Long family came to Antioch from South Durham, North Carolina. His family had been loyal to the Union cause but members of Mrs. Long’s family were identified with the Confederacy.

Mrs. Long was a gentle and diplomatic lady and soon came to fit well into the simple pattern on life in a small college town in the north.

A firm friendship was established between our families which is still cherished by those of us who remain.

Dr. Daniel Albright Long and Mrs. Long and their three children, Carrie, Daniel Albright Jr. and Maggie Bell. (right)

Trivial incidents often make lasting impressions upon the mind of a child. I still remember the Longs as they appeared on their first Sunday at the Christian Church. A sister of Mrs. Long and a niece of the president were in the party and they all came in the one really pretentious carriage that a Yellow Springs livery stable afforded.

The young ladies were fashionably attired in gowns of silk with trimmings of ribbon pleating and lace.

It was the hats tho that impressed me most.

The “Cyclone” hat was new to me. The back brim turned clear over the crown to meet the front in a profusion of flowers, and ostrich plumes banked the back.

I don’t remember that the “Cyclone” hat became the vogue in little Yellow Springs, maybe it did among young ladies.

Matronly ladies of the church wore more sedate attire. A good black gown of cashmere or sometimes silk with beaded trimmings was practically the badge of a mature woman of that era, and a horseshoe bonnet was her head piece.

Antioch College

Main Building

North entrance and North Hall, the Women’s Dormitory.

The college dining room was on the first floor of this building.

 This residence was occupied by President Long during his presidency 1883 to 1899

It was destroyed by fire in 1924 and was replaced by a new building for the College Library.

An early experience in Melodrama in Springfield Opera House

Dated Spring 1889

When we visited in Springfield Cyrus the married brother and his wife Mayme liked to treat us to a dinner at their apartment and a show afterwards.

Such shows were a real treat to us for at that time the Yellow Springs Opera House had not yet been built and Picture Shows were unknown.

Visits to the Judy Home

Early visits to this family were made in London O, but the Judy’s finally moved to Troy and our memories of that house are most distinct.

Molly our sorrel mare conveyed us thru the country in our “Jagger” and for company we often took with us Bertha Miller or Carrie Ellis.

Aunt Kate’s home was close to the town High School building where the annual County Teacher’s Association was held each summer.

On these occasions Aunt Kate often furnished luncheons for a large group of teachers in attendance.

They appreciated the good food and Aunt Kate enjoyed having them at her table.

She had been a teacher herself in former years and these occasions gave her an opportunity to renew her interest in teacher problems and brush up on teacher talk.

Aunt Kate was a master planner when it came to getting through with a day’s work efficiently.

Company in the home at such times might easily have seemed a burden to some folks but Aunt Kate always managed to handle it.

While she prepared luncheon for the teachers the extra hands of the guests took care of the morning work. Even now I seem to hear her directions, “Elsie and Carrie can make the beds and straighten up while Berthie and Dellie wash the dishes.”

“Dellie” washed plenty of dishes at home and our mother could never quite understand why she should be eager to go visiting where there were still many dishes to wash.

Aunt Kate was kind tho and always managed to plan some special events that would help to make our visits a pleasure.

With our own carriage at our disposal we could pay visits to other relatives and friends in Piqua and thereabouts.

In many ways Aunt Kate was in advance of the average women of her time.

Civic affairs were always of concern to her and she participated in any kind of welfare projects where help was needed and she could lend a hand.

She was an early advocate of woman’s suffrage. Later on in life, while living in Yellow Springs, she was one of the first women candidates for an elective office in the town. In the year [?] she and Mrs. John Young were elected to membership in the Board of Education in the village of Yellow Springs.

She became a charter member of the Women’s Social Culture Club.

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Memories of a Yellow Springs Family — Part 16

Della shares more school memories and memorabilia, then introduces a major change in their lives – they move to Antioch College.

All entries in the series are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” page (click on tab above and scroll to second group).

Most schools of the period reserved a period on Friday afternoons for Literary Exercises.

Some organized the pupils in Literary Societies. Elsie has furnished the Roll of the Stella Society. The above brings to mind the names of some pupils long forgotten.

[Page 77 contains samples of the kinds of things schoolchildren collected]

The above are a few leaves from a booklet of songs copied by Elsie for the morning period of music in her grade at school.

“Oh the Sports of Childhood” was a favorite with me.

Oh the sports of childhood
Roaming thru the wildwood
Singing in the meadow, happy and free
How my heart’s a beating
With the old time greeting
Swinging neath the old apple tree.

Chorus — Swinging, Swinging, Swinging, Swinging
Swinging neath the old apple tree

May Day Morning” always gave my spirits a lift.

May day morning bright and clear
May day morning at last is here
Haste we to the woods away
For tis nature’s festal day, etc.

One song used in the lower grades had a distinctly depressing effect upon me.

“Idle Hands”

Idle hands tis often said
Doing nothing, doing nothing
Indicate an empty head
Doing nothing, doing nothing

There was more to it but that much was plenty for me.

Another song of the period (It may not have been a school song) always struck a solemn note with me

“Years of our Childhood”

Years of our childhood merry with play
Years of our youthtide happy and gay
Years of our manhood covered with care
Years where then cometh silvery hair.

Chorus — Swiftly and silently
Onward they roll
Each one is bringing us
Nearer the goal.

From the Village School to Antioch College Faculty

It was in the fall of 1882 that our Father resigned his position in the Village school and became a member of the faculty of Antioch College.

At this time in her history Antioch was a very small college indeed. Members of her teaching staff were pitifully few and it was often necessary for a teacher to cover a number of subjects to round out a curriculum that could meet proper educational standards.

Group of the Faculty of Antioch College, 1883-4.

Seated — left to right:
Miss Sarah B. Hagar – Instrumental Music
Miss Kate Steen – Vocal Music
Mrs. J. D. Chambers, Matron & Inst. In English
Rev. Daniel A. Long, President
Miss Evelyn Darling, Prof. French, Germ. & Eng. Lit.
Mrs. G. R. Hammond, Drawing & Painting

Standing, left to right
J. Peery Miller, History, Physiology & English
Frank H. Tufts, Mathematics
Walter S. Hendrixson, Chem, Physics & Botany
Amos R. Wells, Greek, Geol., Zool. & Astron.
Gilbert R. Hammond, Latin & Greek
Oscar A. Thomas, Commercial Dept.

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