The “Recollections" section of this website provides the personal memories of people who live, or lived, in or near Darrtown. The sources of the information are cited within each section. The opinions or observations expressed are solely those of the named individuals. If you have memories of Darrtown that you are willing to share, please contact the Darrtown.com webmaster.
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any of the following recollections.
Recollections of Lawrence Baumann
The following narrative was taken from “The Old and Now In Darrtown, Ohio: An Oral History,” which Jon Jeffrey Patton wrote as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1988. The following excerpts from the Patton paper do not represent the paper in its entirety.
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: At the southeast edge of Darrtown, Lawrence Baumann wakes and sits and watches television each day, before retiring. In 1951, Baumann built the small house he and his wife, Marcella, now occupy. Before that, they lived on the same property, in the old Kyger house. When the new house was complete, the Baumanns moved out of the old and into the new.
“I worked down in Hamilton for awhile; but, I just couldn't hack working in town. I wanted to be out in the country. I guess it's like a rabbit. Run him out of a brush pile on one side and he'll run around and run in on the other. Born in me, I guess. I like to see things grow. I like to smell the dirt, when it's turned over, in the spring of the year, behind the plow.
When I worked the night shift welding at Moslers, it was the same thing, every night. They'd leave a skid for you to weld. Whatever you didn't finish that day would be waiting on you the next night. Nothing gets to me any quicker than monotony. Then, I made bombs up in Connersville for a time; fragmentation bombs, forty-two an hour. They laid me off. Later on, I worked at Hamilton Welding and farmed here at the same time. That was after I built this house in Fifty-one.
I built most all of it myself. Of course, Smokey Alston's dad, Toby, helped. His name was Emmons, but they called him Toby. He laid the foundation for me and built the chimney. He was a good block layer. He worked at Ford's in Hamilton. But, in his spare time, he done building.
I knew his son, "Smokey," too. At Christmas time, him and Red Huber, who owned The Hitching Post, would give out candy and oranges and stuff to the kids. I'd take ours up there. We had two at the time. Outside of that, I stayed out of The Hitching Post. In all my life, I was in The Hitching Post twice, I think. One night I went in there to get some ice cream. But, I never drank. Never had no use for it, so I never went in. When they had Smokey Alston Day one time, I went in there. Everyone in Darrtown was there. Then we went down to Cincinnati to watch his Brooklyn Dodgers. We filled three Hamilton city buses that day; must have been in the late Fifties.
It's hard telling when that old house out back was built, because there are logs underneath the floor. All they did was smooth the top of them off and nail the floorboards to them; never even took the bark off. We bought the place in 1933 and my dad, brother, and I moved here in 1934. We started using an old stove and when the wind come from the northwest, it blew down the chimney and smoked us out. We fixed that, though.
The first tractor my dad bought was in 1924, and we brought that with us to Darrtown. Then, we got a new one in 1937. Of course, as the years went on, we kept changing tractors. The one tractor I still got I bought from George Long in 1946. George just died a year or so ago. He was 105 and a half.
In Forty-five, they made you go to the ration board if you wanted a tractor. I was thinking about a Ford, like the one my wife's folks had. But the ration board told me I couldn't have one; because, I didn't have anything under cultivation. So I said, "How in the devil do you expect me to get it under cultivation without a tractor?" But that was their ruling. So I went to George Long. I said, "George, why don't you retire and sell me your outfit; tractor, cultivator, breaking plow, and the disk?" He finally agreed.
I had twenty-two acres across the road at one time. That was where the old Kyger horse racing track used to be – well before I came here. They say that’s where Kit Kurry raced. But, that racetrack caused me trouble, when I was plowing; because, water would stand where the land was banked a bit. We had corn blight here in Sixty-nine or Seventy. You could smell moldy corn all over. Then, we had a couple more bad years. I wanted to pay my brother off; after I took over the farm. So, I sold that piece off. I figured, after I’m dead I won’t get nothing out of it.”
[End of interview]
Recollections of Lester Baumann
The following narrative was developed from a series of letters submitted by Lester Baumann in early 2012. The exchange followed a suggestion from Dale Bufler that it might be beneficial if the Darrtown.com webmaster contacted Lester about his memories of Darrtown. As the saying goes, "The rest is history."
January 24, 2012:
"I am now the over-ripe age of 85 and aging, festering, and wrinkling, as we speak - so I rather doubt that t I'll ever set foot on a plane again . We haven't flown now for about 5 or 6 years. As my wife says: 'You're not the man you used to be --- and never was.' (That's what I say- usually.)
I remember a student of Miami University making a history of Darrtown and interviewing  several people including Lawrence and typed it up, verbatim - as a court reporter would do it, and I think I USED to have a copy of it. Dale probably does too.
I'm not sure - anymore - if Lawrence put in everything that both of us knew - of the Darrtown history. He MAY not have mentioned that I took flying lessons , got a private license and flew my own light plane - in and out of Dad's lower field  for about a year -during either 1948 or '49. I was 21 and had very poor judgement - but pulled it off many times and lived to tell about it !
Also - Clyde ("Punce") Wagonfield and I - at age 16 - made black gun powder and a wooden gun - with ALMOST tragic consequences . But lived to tell about THAT TOO.
Last night, Dale remembered me telling him about the time in the ' 30s, when a heavy truck BARELY made it across t he Four Mile Creek bridge on route #177. It caved in behind him! PHEW! Close one, for sure!
So - are those little tidbits of any import to you? I may be able to conjure up other bits and pieces of history, if you are interested. I am not computer savvy, so I have to use snail mail. Sorry.
February 2, 2012
"Yes, I guess I'm not doing TOO badly for an 85 year old. I still drive, go up and down stairs without any assistance, do the cooking, yard and garden work, and do a lot of 'pen-pal' ing
with about 15 pen-pals around the country and one in Canada. Most people kick the bucket, by the time they hit 85 --- or BEFORE.
Yes, we had an RC Case- purchased in 1936, and then, by the time I left for the Army, the FIRST time in 1946 - Lawrence and Dad had taken over the farm and bought a Massey-Harris and then a Massey-Ferguson.  And yes, George Long's farm DID adjoin ours to the west of us.
As I think I said in letter number one: I am not computer-savvy, but my wife is. She works with a company that handles Worker's Comp claims. She works out of an office upstairs and doesn't need to leave home to do it. I don 't mess around in her office, though. The woman is 11 years younger than I am, by the way, and loves to keep working, when she isn't going to Arthur Murray's dance studio for lessons and dances. I USED to dance - but my old feet hurt too much to do it anymore.
As to the Darrtown denizens you mentioned: I knew Dale Bufler, Charley, and Clyde "Punce" Wagonfield, - but, you mentioned "Eugene" Wagonfield. There was an older brother of Charley called, "Knute" - and I think his real first name was Eugene, but could be
I palled around with "Punce" the most. He was with me, the day we made the wooden gun that exploded and nearly knocked us into another world, when I was about 16 and he- about 15. He married Delores Uhl. He only went down a block and a half from home to get a wife and it took me 2,250 miles to find one that would have me. Ha, ha.
Yes, I knew Donald McVicker  VERY WELL. We saw each other nearly every day, for several years. I think he was about 4 or maybe 5 years older than I was. We used to nail pieces of old wooden shutters together and call the mess an* airplane. Don was airplane-happy . It was the ONLY thing on his mind. Just before he went into the Army Air Corps, he was working (in their basement) on a full-sized glider. I remember the wing being almost finished, covered with muslin, etc. I think It just may have been operational - if the Army hadn't gotten him.
Don had enlisted in the C.P.T. at Miami University. (Civilian Pilot Training) The Navy had theirs, too - but Don chose the Army. He had hoped to be a pilot, but his eyesight wasn't up to par. You need GOOD depth perception and I think that was what sunk his boat, so to speak.
He ended up a gunner on a B-24 Liberator. Luther said that he had been informed by the War Department that the plane was missing in action on it's VERY FIRST MISSION. Don't know for sure. I guess nothing was ever found of the wreckage. May have gone down in the English Channel.
Don had two sisters: Mary Lou, 2 years older than I was - who married a man who later took over Luther's garage, I believe, and another sister - Jean.
As to my flying days - I may have alluded to the fact - in my first letter, that I had a very odd kind of Military career. I was first drafted in the fall of 1946 and stationed in Japan during the winter of 1946- and 1947. Then- after discharge in late 1947, due to rheumatic fever, I was told by doctors to lie around and do NOTHING for a year and then report to the V.A. hospital for a check up. I did, and so, my draft status was changed to 3-A. I figured that with a medical discharge - my Army days were history, but the North Koreans decided to throw me a curve and invaded South Korea in June of 1950, so I had to sell my milk route -- or rather MY FAMILY DID. The Army was in need of anyone with a pulse and a little prior training to man an M-1 Rifle on line, which, I did later, during the winter of 1951. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Rewind - back to 1948: I blew my G.I. Bill on a trade school in Illinois - to learn carpentry and cabinet making. I did that, during the day and worked the 2nd shift in a Thor washing machine factory nearby. After the carpentry course was finished, a man named Augentstein hired
me and we built houses during the day and then in the late evening and on weekends, I took flight training.
I started out on a J-3 Piper Cub. A very easy-to-fly airplane. Very forgiving kind of aircraft. Then, I graduated to a "side-by-side" Taylor craft, with wing tanks as well as a main tank. l ran out of funding on the G. I. Bill - as I was about to solo on a Stearman bi-plane that was used both as a primary trainer by the Army and for crop dusting, at that time. That was going from a plane with 85 H.P. - to one with a radial engine of 150 h.p. A whale of a difference!
Then, I found an old, used, 1940 50 h.p.Taylorcraft - and bought it and flew it back to the South Dayton airport, where I had it tied down, as I worked during the week days, as a carpenter near Wright-Pat AF base.
I talked Dad into letting a strip of the lower field,  below the house, go into alfalfa, instead of all in corn - so he did. I used that narrow strip for a landing strip. I always had to come in over Mr. Long's barn, "slip" the plane down, so I could use ALL of the strip. I NEEDED ALL OF IT. ha ha
"Slipping" means I turned the wheel to the left and hit the right rudder. You slide sideways to your left and lose altitude quickly, but maintain control of the aircraft. It had such a LONG glide angle that I couldn't do anything, but slip it in. I was in my early 20's and had very little common sense, as I look back on it. They said that George Long had a bet made that I was SURELY going to kill myself in that plane - SOONER OR LATER.
But, finances made me sell it, after I'd owned it for only a year - but it was an EXCITING YEAR! - for sure!
Well, that's enough for this time. If you want me to embellish on any of the subjects I've covered today - just let me know in another letter. Take care.
February 14, 2012
"I received your letter. Thanks. And, yes, it's OK with me if you create a page in your web site about my memories of Darrtown. I have nothing to hide.
As to your questions: No, I never attended any school in Darrtown. I went through the Collinsville Elementary School and in September of 1939 - Milford Township (school district) dissolved and a "line" was drawn across the township from north to south - back near the Cecil Phares farm - roughly a mile or so east of Darrtown. All kids EAST of the line went to Seven Mile junior and senior High Schools. On the west side, we went to Stewart High in Oxford.
Luther stories: Yes, Luther, like Dad, had a wry sense of humor. One day, a man from out-of-town came by Luther's garage in Darrtown and saw his 1928 Chevy  sitting there, with the roof all torn and ragged and the man, apparently, wanted to buy and restore it. It was about 30 to 40 years old at the time. Anyway the man came into the garage and asked Luther who owned the 28 Chevy, and Luther said (with a straight face), 'Well! in 12 more payments, I'll own it.'
I guess the man didn't know WHAT to say.
Luther would drive the Chevy past our house each day - at never faster than about 20 mph, and the exhaust system was so bad it sounded like a jet plane.
I remember all of the people you listed in your letter, except for Jack Kane and Hap Davish.
Our farm was known as both the Kyger and the Lunceford farm. I have no recollection of who was the owner previous to our buying it. I don't think that I have any photos of the period of when I was living on the farm. If any are available, they would have to be in the possession of either Dale or his sister, Janet.  When I moved out here to Southern California in 1957, I came with just the bare essentials. So a lot of my "stuff" was left with my brother and Marcella. I wasn't sure if I'd like it out here. I'd tried Florida a year earlier and was dissatisfied.
I have many memories of interactions with Luther and his family, including Donald and his younger sister Mary Lou. I would wander over to play monopoly for hours with Mary Lou - when I was about 8 or 9.
Then, in my teen years, I worked with Don - making and flying model airplanes. Lots of fun!
Even though I "knew" a lot of the people in Darrtown, I never did really "pal" around with, but maybe two or three. I'd say that 'Punce' (Clyde Jr.) Wagonfield was the one that I engaged with in some of our more outlandish projects - including the wooden gun.
Due to a big mistake - by the publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica, - the formula for making black gun powder (as used in the Civil War) was printed where any 16 year old kid could get his hands on it, as I did. We went to one drug store for the sulfur and another for the potassium nitrate. The charcoal we made on our farm. So, we mixed up a batch and it went: "Pooooofff!" We were in business! So, now what to do?
We decided to make a wooden gun to use with the powder. We got a section of a tree limb- about 5 inches in diameter and about 14'' long and made a muzzle loader. We used newspaper for wadding and a little gravel for shot. It had a range of about 50 or 60 yards.
One day, it misfired and we attempted to clean it out, when it exploded and knocked us into the grass and apparently unconscious for a few seconds. Little Charley Lust (7 years old) was watching us. When he saw us get knocked out, he went home in a dusty, tear-stained face and told his mother, 'Those boys down there killed themselves!' She 'FLEW' down there from where they lived on the hill a quarter mile east of us and asked us, 'What the ____ are you boys doing down there?'
We went out of the munitions business that day and left it to the professionals!
Punce's widow (Delores) as well as his two sons know all about our fool stunt. I met his grown sons one day in one of my trips back to Ohio.
Another time 'Punce,' Dale Bufler, and I scrounged up a LOT of used lumber and put together a shack down along Darr Creek. It took a lot of man-hours to build - but finally it was finished and we decided to camp out one night. Boy, it was spooky. Dark and quiet as a tomb!
Finally - about midnight - we heard a scratching on the door! What - or WHO could it be? We had no weapons to defend ourselves with! Finally, we worked up enough courage to open the door -- to find a shaggy, old, and very hungry dog. We let him in and fed him some of our food. We never went camping in the shack again. Don't know why? Ha, ha.
Another of my many stunts was when Junior Wills and I found out how to make a "spark-gap" transmitter. We made two of them and used Morse Code in communicating with each other in the evenings, after school. We found out later that the neighbors were wondering what caused the 'static' on their radios in the evenings - and it seemed to be in code!
We decided to quit before we got into REAL trouble. Ha, ha.
Well, there you have a few of my memories. I have dredged up about 20 more - but they won't be as detailed, I don't imagine.
So, if you are still interested, we can continue later. Take care,
March 03, 2012
"Hello again Fred:
Meim gute Gott in Himmel! As my Grandma used to say! You asked a lot of questions!  Hope I can conjure up enough to satisfy you.
In early 1950, Dad was kind enough to satisfy my desire to have my own milk route, after I had watched ''Shady" Reed pick up Dad's milk. He seemed to be the most satisfied and happy guy I'd ever seen, as he "flew" that milk truck in and out of our driveway in a blaze of glory every day!
So, Dad bought one from a man who's last name was Shaw. He lived over in Collinsville, I THINK. The route was small in volume, and was located straddling the Ohio/Indiana line from College Corner, south for about 15 miles. I remember I put on 230 miles EVERY DAY, going from Dad's farm, through the route, and on to Kroger Dairy, in Dayton. I only lasted about 9 months on that route 'till we had to sell it in December, 1950 because the Army was calling me back to active duty for the Korean War.
Charlie Lust and family lived in the house that used to belong to CLARENCE McVicker, which adjoined Luther McVickers property to the east.
Yes, I remember the Witherbys and the Bradburys, too, especially John who was VERY particular in how he did things. I remember, as a teenager — hauling in loads of wheat to be threshed. He made fun of how my loads looked. His was sculptured! The sides looked like he had used a wall or something to make them so straight and neat!
Also, for a time he lived in a house on Scott Road very close to Rt. #177, and would "fly" his 1933 Plymouth back and forth to the farm. His Dad (Harry) had a very distinctive voice that could be heard and understood for several hundred yards — even when he talked in a normal tone.
Yes, I remember Lois Ferst. Pretty girl. I would have liked to have dated her, but never got up enough nerve to ask her.
Just remembered: I bought the milk route from Charles R. Shaw. Maybe in a day or so I'll remember more about that. The old brain isn't what it used to be -- and never was! Ha, ha.
I can't really remember very much in the way of anecdotes concerning Luther. I know he had a dry sense of humor.
Lawrence worked for Luther when he was a-teenager, for a while. I do remember that Luther's work bench was piled HIGH with spare parts and JUNK, but he knew where EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF STUFF was located. Nobody else on EARTH could do it, as I recall! Ha, ha.
I ended up in California, well, blame that on two things: One: I got colds and sore throats a LOT during EVERY winter in that area, and Two: Mr. Millholland,  my favorite High School teacher was raised on a citrus ranch in central Florida and he'd talk about it during classes. I would close my eyes and his voice would take me to the land of orange blossoms and palm trees. Then the bell would ring for change of classes, and,I'd be jerked back into reality! I'd look out at snow, and then I'd make a promise: "Someday, I would live with the citrus trees!" and, for 58 years, I HAVE! I tried Florida for six months, and didn't like it.
I found a home in Southern California. No more colds and sore throats out here. MUCH less humidity and so the winters don't bother me much. The citrus trees, including my orange tree, are in bloom at this moment. The fragrance is out of this world. The area smells like a perfume factory. I love it! Maybe, I'll remember to enclose a blossom to let you in on it - in case, you have never smelled them.
Now, for a few "mini-memories"-that, I promised:
> Darrtown kids ice skating on the pond and sled riding on the nearby hill.
> Don McVicker and I building a raft, using two 55 gallon steel barrels that we forgot to add water into for ballast and therefore, were unstable.
> Learning to swim "the hard way" in Four Mile creek by getting in over my head. It was swim or drown, and I swam, I guess.
> One winter, me and about 2 or 3 other kids were dropped off by the lady school bus driver on top of the hill south of Darrtown on (I think Darrtown Road.) The road was covered with ice, so we skated down and across the Four Mile creek bridge - and must have been doing 35 or 40 mph! We did that for about 3 days, until the county put down cinders!
> Pierce Wolf, who owned the acreage that later became a sub-division across Scott Road from our house. He lived in a very small one-room house.
> Dad - taking me up to Guy Dynes and talking him into cutting my hair, for a dime during the depression. He put an inch board on top of a 55 gallon steel barrel and did the job.
> George Long's school bus that he owned and drove when I was in Collinsville elementary school.
> Harry Teckman's Dodge trucks  that were governed at 35 mph. And, THAT was the federal maximum speed limit through much of World War 2.
Buying stuff at Vic Wyckoff's general store  - including penny candy and pints of ice cream - that I ate sitting under a tree nearby.
> Fox drives in the Milford Township area, which included dozens of men, shot guns, and dogs. I'm not sure if I ever took part in any.
> Hauling a calf or half-grown hog to the Cincinnati stock yards, in our 1928 Chevy 2 door sedan - to save costs of having Harry Teckman haul them.
> Dad's friend: Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Dees opening a small store across the road from Vic Wyckoff's store- and that later became owned by a Mr. Browning.
> Me - making a small boat out 1-thick boards and a sheet metal bottom. It may STILL be in the barn. We made paddles out of a couple pieces of inch board screwed onto a couple of broom handles. Worked OK.
> Punce Wagonfield and I taking turns trying to toss an automobile tire over the head of a yearling calf that was tethered to a stake in our front yard. The calf broke the chain one day and, as I tried to catch the animal on the gravel lane, I dived for it and lost one finger nail in the process. It took MONTHS to grow a new one! We quit the game, after that fiasco!
> Our VERY poor fencing and the cows getting out a regular basis. Running across corn rows to head them off in the corn field, and getting cut up pretty badly by dry corn leaves. When sweat got into the cuts, it made life very interesting.
> My self and a couple of buddies in Dad's 1932 Chrysler, when I was a Senior in High School. I'd drape my upper body out of the driver's window, like l was unconscious (as an in-coming car approached) and my buddy would peek over the dash and hold the steering wheel steady. Then, when the car passed, we all looked back to see him wander all over the road- as he, apparently, was looking back at us expecting to see a crash! (We were all a little crazy, I think.)
Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment. So take care!"
March 12, 2012
Thanks for returning my phone call. We had a very interesting conversation. Before I forget it, we mentioned Vic Wyckoff and his store: He,had a son (Eldon) I think, and a daughter for sure - Vera.
I made a rough sketch  of our old farm for you to figure out how George Long's farm located next to ours.
Now, to my notes I mentioned: Remember my telling you about Arlyn Unsicker and me getting spanked by Mr. (name omitted) in the 5th grade? Well, I had a "pen pal" that lives in Seven Mile, dredge up Bob Beiser, who was in either my grade at Collinsville, or a year behind me. We talked a time or two about his life, what he did for a living - and that he served in the Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and ran across Mr. (name omitted), who was by then - near the end of WW-2, a commissioned officer of some kind (small world).
I didn't have a lawyer in the 6th grade either -- when I REALLY needed one! My seat was midway from front to back, in the row next to the window. A boy in the front seat and another boy, WAY behind me, were rolling a soft ball back and forth during the class in session. I was unaware of the game, until I heard it hit the leg of my chair. I looked over to see - and was SEEN by Mr. (name omitted) who had taken over that year from Mr. (name omitted) - who had moved on.
Mr. (name omitted) had a very nervous "tic" and was intriguing to watch. I was ALWAYS a "people watcher," so - I'd watch him speak and count the "tics" etc. In my humble opinion, he was a nervous wreck!
He grabbed the kid in the front seat and ME by the hair of the head and smacked our heads together! I saw - not stars - but, one ball of fire float by! Something that I was INNOCENT of and something that now would have gotten him fired or reprimanded, but as I said- I had no lawyer! Ha, ha; how times CHANGE! NO school police then either!
Dad bought an RC Case tractor in either 1935 or '36. I managed to lay it on its side, one day coming up the hill from the lower field. Ha, ha; we got the team and wagon and righted it. No harm, no foul, and only a quart or two of gasoline lost!
I remember fishing for cat fish and blue gills in the pond. I also remember when I was about 9 or 10, when Lawrence and Dad used a ''slip-scraper" and one horse to clean mud out of the west side of the pond. It took a "he-man" and a little finesse on handling the handles or you might take a "header'' into the mud or water.
Dad bought our 1932' model Chrysler 4 door from Luther McVicker - sometime around the time I was in High School. I drove it to school a few times in my Senior year - even though gasoline was rationed. 
I helped Dad build the barn in 1940. He had cottonwood and sycamore logs, from down near Four Mile creek on our farm, sawed into 2 x 8's and 1 inch boards to use, instead of buying more expensive lumber. I was scared to death, when we installed the sheet metal roofing. I don't like heights -- except in an airplane!
I listened to Jack Armstrong, the "All-American Boy" on radio, in the afternoons after school. One day the announcer said that for a dime and 2 Wheaties box tops, I could get a "Hike-o-meter" to figure out how many miles I walked. Jack and Capt. Fairfield used it to get out of a cave! OK, I finally got one! And…it didn't work. I walked for miles, all over the farm! Not the first -- OR THE LAST time I got swindled in my long lifetime!
I remember the Omar bread truck (red in color). One day he came by and knew I had no Mother - so he said, "Hi, kid, does your Dad want any white bread today?"
I said, "I don't care" (meaning: "OK by me").
Then, he asked, "Does he want any breakfast rolls?"
"I don't care."
"Well, then does he want any donuts or cakes or pies?"
"I don't care."
That did it! He angrily slammed the door to the truck and said: "Well, I don't CARE EITHER!"
I never said: "I don't care" to him, AGAIN! I watched him leave in a gigantic cloud of dust! Ha, ha. (Lesson·learned!)
I remember in WW-2, everything (it seemed) was rationed - including gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, and probably other stuff as well.
I remember putting "boots" in tires to cover holes in the tread.
I remember the 35 mph speed limit - nation-wide!
I remember as a small boy taking a "BIG DEAL" trip over to Clermont county to see Grandpa and Grandma Baumann and other family members - a 40 mile trip one way that took 2 solid hours in the 1921 model "T" Ford. We only did that about once per year. Something unusual - would happen - like the head lights malfunctioning or getting caught in a sudden rain storm and the engine flooding out! Always, something to keep your nerves on edge!
Well, Fred, I don't know how much of this new "stuff" you can use - but you are welcome to use what you can. So, I guess that's it for this time. I may need some incoming questions from you - in order to jog loose any new memories of long, long ago.
Bye for this time,
Recollections of Dale Bufler
The following memories were gathered from an interview
of Dale Bufler on February 5, 2008.
Looking at the photograph of Marie Schmidt and the other educators which was taken at her retirement dinner in the Heritage Room of the Student Union at Miami University, I noticed Mr. Paul Miller standing in the back row. That reminded me that Paul Miller started his teaching career at Darrtown High School. He rented the house [at 4391 Walnut Street], which was owned by Harry and Virginia Teckman. Later, Paul Miller became School Superintendent at Seven Mile, Ohio; after that, he also served as School Superintendent in Omaha, Nebraska and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Webmaster Note: Indeed, Dr. Paul Miller went from the streets of Darrtown to the national spotlight. As one example of his ascent to educational prominence, Paul Miller was quoted in the June 2, 1967 issue of Time magazine as the superintendent of Cincinnati schools.
During his time at Darrtown High School, Paul Miller coached the baseball team, which included some good ballplayers, including, among others, Warren Hansel, Leroy Brown, Tuffy Alford, and Knute Wagonfield. For years, Darrtown had a reputation for having good baseball teams, so the adults of the village were well aware that some fine hardball talent existed beyond the high school classrooms.
My uncle, Dick Bufler, told Coach Miller that he could assemble an adult team that would provide a challenge for the varsity team. And, so the game was scheduled. For his roster, Uncle Dick drew from the ranks of Darrtown grads, which included the likes of “Smokey” Alston, Cliff Alexander, Cecil Pierson, Ray Wiley, and Cliff Decker. The adults prevailed; big time. Although I don’t recall the final score, I do remember that Smokey hit a ball so far that it rolled across Main Street into Luther McVicker’s garage.
Webmaster Note: The high school baseball diamond sat in the northwest corner of the school yard; so Smokey’s home run traveled approximately 400 feet from home plate, over neighborhood buildings and trees, to its resting point at Luther’s.
As background information for another Paul Miller story, l’ll refer to when Clyde “Junior” Wagonfield and I were around ten years old. We created a little entertainment act, which involved me playing a guitar and “Junior” making a hand-held, wooden, “man on a paddle” dance to the music.
During that same time period, Paul Miller was active in the Darrtown Knights of Pythias lodge. Mr. Miller had seen us perform and occasionally he would ask Junior and me to entertain the K of P members; which we were willing to do, because we got a free meal out of it. When Paul became Superintendent at Seven Mile, he invited us there to perform our musical “act” for the Seven Mile lodge.
Some 12-14 years later, when I was a young teacher at Oxford Stewart, there was a meeting at Fairfield High School for all the teachers (and administrators) from across Butler County. Paul Miller, now superintendent of the Cincinnati Schools, was the featured speaker. When Dr. Miller arrived at the school, many of the school officials in attendance positioned themselves in the lobby to greet the guest speaker. Those greeting Dr. Miller included Butler County Superintendent, C.H. Williams, plus local school district administrators, D.Russell Lee, Bob Cropenbaker, Harold Wissman, Bob Bogan, and Maurice Ittel.
Since I was a teacher and not an administrator, I was not part of the greeting party. So, as Dr. Miller was being welcomed in the lobby, I headed to the restroom, which was located to the side of the lobby. And then, Dr. Miller spotted me. He called out to me and had me join him and the others. So, here I was, a young teacher standing among the county superintendents, as the Superintendent of the Cincinnati Schools announced that he remembered me as one of two kids who used to entertain the lodge members with our little song and dance routine.
“Cheesy” and Orin Brencefield
Cheesy Brincefield lived in a house directly across the street from the Hitching Post (it no longer exists). Cheesy was a musician; he played stringed instruments. It seems like many Darrtown residents played some kind of instrument.
Cheesy had a brother, Orin, who went out West to be a prospector. When he returned to Darrtown, he brought his prospecting tools and some ore. Occasionally, he would let us kids pick at the ore and sometimes we would see tiny gold specks in the samples.
Orin Brincefield had a hand in the Darrtown Purple Skunks baseball teams. We didn’t have the necessary equipment (bats and balls) and when Orin heard of our plight, he gave us a half-dollar and advised us to go door-to-door with a plea for donations. We collected $25, which was a lot for those times. We purchased equipment, shirts, and pants at Clark’s Sporting Goods in Hamilton.
We had a fluorescent light in our kitchen at home. I believe it was the first in town. Additionally noteable about that light is the fact that it was made in the barn at Kirk Mee’s place on the north end of town. Mr. Mee was an entrepreneur - he experimented with different things.
My uncle, Dick, had the first television in Darrtown. It consisted of a small picture tube (maybe eight inches in diameter) with many wires; all laid out on a table in Dick and Hazel’s front room. Ray Bufler, son of Dick and Hazel Bufler, and George Thome build the TV while attending an electronics school in Cincinnati. Thus, Ray and George built the first television in Darrtown’s history.
“Pulling” a Prank
On more than one occasion, we kids managed to tie a string to the rope that was used to ring the school bell at Darrtown High School. The string was long enough that we could hide along Schollenbarger Road and ring the bell. Vic Wyckoff, who was the School Board Treasurer, often came running to see what was going on and stop the ringing of the bell. As far as we know, Vic never learned who ‘pulled' this prank.
My uncle, Frank, was the sexton for the Darrtown Cemetery. To earn extra money, I occasionally helped him dig graves. Of course, after the burial of the deceased, the grave had to be closed.
One time, after we dug a grave, Uncle Frank explained that he needed to attend the funeral the next day and could not close the grave. So, he asked me to return the next day, meet the men from the burial company who would prepare the burial site. Then, after the funeral, when everyone left, I would close the grave.
I agreed; and so the next day, I walked from Darrtown out Schollenbarger Road to the cemetery to wait for the funeral company men. Just as I arrived at the cemetery, it began to rain. Then, it rained harder. So, I looked around for some protection from the downpour. We had covered the grave with a sheet of tin and it occurred to me that I could escape the rain by lifting the tin cover, jumping into the rectangular hole in the ground, and pulling the tin back over the top. Which, I promptly did. The rain on the tin made so much noise that I did not hear the funeral company truck when it arrived. Nor, did I hear the footsteps of the man who walked over to the grave site. When he lifted the tin cover from above my head, it was difficult to determine who was more startled! The moment was captured by his shouting, ‘Boy, what in the ___ are you doing down there?!”
Recollections of the Darrtown community
This "Recollections" page is different from other “Recollections of…” pages at this website.
While the other pages provide the personal recollections/memories of people who lived in or near Darrtown, this page replicates news articles that were published by the newspapers cited within each item.
The original documents are sometimes difficult to read; so, the following transcribed items may contain incomplete and/or misspelled names, etc. If you recognize errors or omissions, please inform the Webmaster.
The items are listed in APPROXIMATE chronological order. Some of the articles were undated; thus, the dates are approximated with "circa" dates, that were formulated from the events that were reported within the articles.
Items are selected and replicated for two reasons:
1. To assist families and individuals engaged in genealogical research
2. To provide a glimpse into the style of news reporting and the life experiences of those who lived during the times cited.
This page is a work in progress. More news items will be added, as they are contributed and/or discovered.
1901_1 - Drilling for Gas Begins at Darrtown
SOURCE: Hamilton Daily Republican News - August 2, 1901 - page 5
BEGIN BORING TUESDAY
Gas Promoters Push Their Work at Darrtown
Derrick in Place on the Nichols Farm
George H. Scott in the City Today
The derrick on the farm of J. W. Nichol, near Darrtown, is now finished and in place, the engines in position and everything is in readiness for the beginning of operations, except for putting in the drills, which will be done at once. Drilling will begin Tuesday afternoon. George H. Scott of the firm Scott and Ball, of Muncie, Indiana, was in the city today and all arrangements for the active work of development were completed and the work will be pushed as rapidly as possible.
The company is composed of George Rentschler, president; Peter Schwab, vice-president; L. P. Clawson, secretary and treasurer; and three officers with J. W. Nichol and Gottlieb Wagonfield constitute the board of directors. The company has opened an office in Darrtown with Frank W. Clements in charge and everything is now in fine business shape.
1914_1 - Darrtown News - May 14 (KUWL Club to meet; several visitations reported; and H. L. Kramer buys new car)
Darrtown, O., May 14 - Butler County Democrat - page 3:
"The K. U. W. L. club will meet at the home of Mrs. John Shaw on Thursday. Mrs. Ralph Baker will be the assisting hostess.
L. A. Miller spent several days of the past week with relatives at Mason, where he attended the funeral of David Ayers.
Mrs. Charles Wagonfield entertained her sister, Mrs. Ed Cain and daughter of Liberty, during the past week.
Communion services were observed at the Lutheran church, Sunday morning.
H. L. Kramer has purchased a new five passenger Ford automobile.
Mrs. Harry Bradbury entertained the following at supper, Thursday evening: Misses Essie Shears, Belle Wilkie, Josephine Welch, and Ethel Snyder.
Mrs. Homer Ballinger of Springfield, Ohio, visited her parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Herron last week.
Mrs. L. A. Miller and MIss Belle Wilkie visited the former's sisters, the Misses Phillips of Hamilton, during last week.
MIss Edith Davis of Newport, Ky., was an overnight guest of her sister, Mrs. Sam Abry.
Misses Nelle and Maria Davis spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Almond Davis of Flenner's Corner."
1921_1 - Darrtown Baseball News (L. B. Harrisons To Play Darrtown and Middletown-Darrtown Rivalry Renewed)
Two sports page stories appeared in the
Hamilton Evening Journal - June 9, 1921
L. B. Harrisons To Play Darrtown Next Sunday
Their winning streak shattered, and bent upon hanging up a good mark in the K. I. O. League, before opening of the elimination series in July, Darrtown faces a stiff proposition in the L.B. Harrison team of Cincinnati.
The Harrisons, for several seasons,have been known in every athletic way at Cincinnati for classy teams and although their baseball team is not rated the equal of their teams in other lines, the ball club to show at Darrtown on Sunday has won its share of victories this season.
Darrtown's setback, last Sunday, by Elmwood came as a blow to followers of the club and to the team management.
"It sure looked like we had the game cinched," Playing Manager Dutch Shafer said, "but, the boys are not discouraged and will be there Sunday fighting to the limit."
Dale Johnson, being taken from the mound Sunday, was the second time in the career of the Hamilton hurler that he was yanked. Johnson was hit hard in the seventh inning after pitching beautiful ball for five innings. Johnson will be on the hill against the Harrisons and will have the backing of the entire fandom to cap.
Although K.I.O. League hitting and fielding records have not been officially released, Cincinnati managers playing at Darrtown claim that the Darrtown team has one of the classiest fielding teams in the league. In the last four games, Darrtown has made only five errors compared to nineteen wobbles committed by the opposition. Last Sunday, the villagers played flawless ball on the green and in the previous games made not more than two errors.
Frank Vidourek (Vitt), premier first sacker of Darrtown, who knocked the first home run of the season last Sunday, will receive a gallon of "regular syrup" from an enthusiastic fan, who offered the juice to the first home-run clouter. Vitt's drive was the longest on this diamond this season, being lost in the wheat fields in the far left field
Middletown-Darrtown Rivalry Is Renewed
The ancient rivalry between Middletown and Darrtown, in the baseball way, which has been revived with renewed zest with the entrance of both localities in the K. I. O. League, will be brought to a climax on July 3 and 4, when these clubs meet in a two game series.
Announcement of the tilts was made today by Manager J.F. Kyger of Darrtown, after weeks of dickering with the pilot of the Gardner-Harvey Team of Middletown.
The first game will be played at Darrtown on Sunday, July 3 and the second will be played at MIddletown on the Fourth.
In addition to being of supreme interest to fans in the rural vicinities, the clash will be of importance here, as Hamilton players of prominence have important positions on both teams. Darrtown is virtually made up of Hamilton players and Middletown has two of the best from the city in her lineup, in Wink Betscher, infielder, and Del Lenhoff, catcher.
Plans, now being perfected, Kyger says, will call for the best series in baseball, which has been staged here in years.
Darrtown has a higher percentage in the K. I. O. League than Middletown and has defeated teams which defeated Middletown; but, odds are not to be placed on the Kygerites to win.
Darrtown Baseball News (Trenton Drops Second Contest To Kygerites)
From August 29, 1921 edition of the Hamilton Evening Journal - page seven
Trenton Drops Second Contest To Kygerites
Darrtown evened up scores with Trenton at their home grounds, Sunday, copping a one-sided contest 9 to 3, by terrific slugging, speedy work on the paths, and a clean defensive game.
Doc Alston, who was beaten at Trenton the first game of the series, came back strong and was complete master of the Heiders, while on the slab. He retired in the eighth and Pelle finished.
From the start, John Quinlisk was hit hard and he retired in the third, after he was touched up for 6 hits and 3 runs. Mike Quinlisk, his brother, finished, and was also slugged.
Three double plays got Alston out of trouble, on many different occasions. The work of the Darrtown infield was the feature of the contest.
Darrtown began her promenade across the plate in the first inning and concluded in the eighth.
Sauter, playing his first game for the team, led off for Darrtown, with a single and stole second. He scored on Ohne's sacrifice fly. In the third, hits by Ohne, Theobald, Gray, and Foy and stolen bases, earned three more runs. A base on balls to Sauter, his stolen base, and Schumeer's single scored one in the fourth. One was tallied in the fifth on Gray's single and Bauer's error in left on the hit. Two more came in the sixth, when Sauter, Ohne, and Theobald hit safely. Bauer made an error in left and Quinlisk heaved one wildly. The final run in the eighth was the result of an error by Beatty, on Ohne's grounder, Ohne's stolen base, and Gray's hit.
After Clotter had singled in the second, Gray, Ohne, and Schmeer pulled a double play, ending a possible rally. Three men were on bases in the fifth, when Ohne, Gray, and Schmeer pulled their second double play, Bauer scoring on the play. Trenton scored two in this inning, the second resulting from Alston's error. Another Trenton rally was busted in the seventh, after one run had scored when Sauter speared Goebel's liner and doubled Quinlisk at second.
Gray was the star for Darrtown, with three rattling singles. He also played a superb game at second base.
1929_1 - Mrs. Benjamin Bufler Celebrated Birthday
Hamilton Evening Journal March 28, 1929 / Pg. 3 / "Social Section"
On last Monday afternoon, Mrs. BenjamIn Bufler was tendered a very pleasant surprise at her home on North Tenth Street, the occasion begin her forty-fifth birthday anniversary. A very pleasant social time was enjoyed, and a delicious dinner was served.
Those who participated in the affair were: Mrs. and Mrs. Benjamin Bufler and children, Lester and Donald; Miss Frances Bufler; Earl Keiser; Mrs. Mollie Buell (mother of the honored guest); MIss Carol Buell; Robert Laubach; Ed Buell; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Buell; Mary, Pearl, Helen, Laura, Margaret, Billy, and Clarence Brower, Jr. of West Elkton; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Buell, and son Harry, Jr., of Somerville; Mr. and Mrs. Myrle Bufler and son, Billy, of New Burlington; Mr. and Mrs. Paul McShane of Camden; Frank Bufler, of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Grau and daughters, Jean, Dorothy, Eleanor, Gertrude, and Ruth; Arthur Metcalf, Mr. and Mrs. Will Weiss and daughter, Bernice, of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bufler and daughter, June Ann, of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bufler and children, Mary Ellen and Ray, of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Guy Dynes and children, Keith and Kathryn, of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Wagonfield and children, Eugene, Harriet, Charles, and Clyde, Jr., of Darrtown; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Alston and children, Virgil and Betty Mae, of Darrtown; Glen Ward, of Darrtown; and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Eby.
1929_2 - Darrtown News; February 6
From the Hamilton Daily News, February 6, 1929 - page 6
Webmaster Note: As you read the following, notice how often various community events were conducted at the Darrtown school and/or how students from the school were involved with community affairs. This is an example of how a community bonds around the local school. When Darrtown High School was closed, the village lost a vital part of its core.
FARM INSTITUTE AT DARRTOWN
All Sessions Well Attended; Geo. O. Manrod is Named President
DARRTOWN, O. - The Farmers' Institute held here at the Lutheran church last Wednesday and Thursday was well attended at all sessions. The three schools of the township had the opening program, with Clarence Wright, a senior of Milford Township High in charge. Collinsville Grange put on an entertaining one-act play in the afternoon. The state speaker, Mrs. Zella Lawrence of Wooster and Tell Tompson of Findlay had interesting discussions morning, afternoon, and evening. The high school orchestra furnished music in the evening.
Thursday, the state speakers and R. Q. Smith, County agent, of Hamilton lectured on subjects interesting to farmers and people of the village, as well. The three schools had a large variety of posters entered. The successful boys and girls were: Cecelia Schockey, Collinsville School, First; Fred Unzicker, Collinsville School, Second; Mary Barnett, Darrtown School, Third. In the lower grades, Jean Bradbury, Collinsville School, First; Mary Elizabeth Harris, Darrtown School, Second; and Verna Lang, Collinsville School, Third.
The hog-calling contest, Wednesday, and the chicken-calling Thursday caused much merriment. C.O. Mendenhall was proclaimed the best hog-caller, with William Beiser second best, while Mrs. Clem Pfaff had the honor of being the best chicken-caller.
The following officers were elected: George O. Manrod, president; Charles P. Krebs, vice-president; Luther Beiser, secretary-treasurer, and Miss Nelle Davis, lady correspondent.
Splendid dinners were served both days by the ladies of the churches.
The concluding program was given Thursday night and was ably presented by H.V. Nordmann, cartoonist of Hamilton; Miss Lillian Bickle ___ ; Miss Josephine Bradbury, reader, Darrtown, and ___ Ro__baugh, soloist and pianist, Oxford.
The Executive Board of Milford Township Farm Bureau met Tuesday night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Witherby. William Taylor was in charge of the meeting. A special time followed, during which the hostess served a delicious lunch.
A class in the "Prevention of Diseases" will meet at the school house, Friday afternoon, February 8. Mrs. Charles Krebs, assisted by Miss Nelle Davis will give this lecture. The Farm Bureau is sponsoring this class and wishes to reach all homes in Milford Township.
The Darrtown Stock Protective Association had an oyster dinner at the school house, Saturday. This was followed by a meeting in the afternoon, during which matters of importance were discussed.
Mr. and Mrs. George Bowman gave a farewell party at their home on the Collinsville road, Saturday night. Mr. and Mrs. Bowman are leaving the community in the near future for a farm near Stockton. The evening was spent in playing cards and at a late hour, the hostess served a tempting lunch to the following people: Messrs. and Madames Peter Baecker; George Weckerle and daughter; Frank Jarrett; Ed Schlabach and family; John Schlabach and family; Fred Schmidt; Frank Bufler; Howard Laughlin, Gus Bufler, Joe Dunwoody and family; William Rigdon and family; Mrs. Ella Bufler; Raymond Schmidt and George Bowman, Jr.
The committee met and are making extensive plans for the Farm Bureau fish fry to be held at the school house, Tuesday, February 19.
Mrs. Nam Bradbury Simonson, of Kansas, was buried in the Darrtown cemetery, Monday afternoon. Mrs. Simonson was a cousin of Mrs. Harry Kramer and Mrs. Laura Flenner, of Oxford, formerly of this place.
Mr. and Mrs. Ross Wolfe had as their guests Sunday for dinner, Mr. and Mrs. William Lacy of Hamilton and in the afternoon, Mrs. C.W. Cummins, Miss Elma Cummins, and Albert Carter of Gano.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Judd spent Sunday in Springfield, Ohio, where they went to visit Mrs. Carl ___haus, who is seriously ill.
Fred Kramer, George Manrod, and Charles Krebs attended the Kiwanis banquet at Oxford, Tuesday.
John Bradbury, of O.S.U., spent Saturday and Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bradbury.
Mrs. Maria Nichol returned home Saturday, after an extended visit with relatives in Hamilton.
Mr. and Mrs. Luther Beiser and son, Bobby, Mrs. Harry Teckman, Miss Nelle Davis, Mrs. Ernest Miller and son, William, attended the play, "Oak Farm," at Collinsville, Saturday night.
Miss Irene Hiney of Alexandria, La., spent the weekend at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Cory. Miss Hiney had been to New York on a buying trip for her firm and stopped over for a few days visit with relatives in this section.
Mrs. Nellie Hansel attended D.A.R. in Hamilton, Wednesday.
Mrs. Charles Krebs left Saturday morning for Camargo, Ill., to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law, Dr. N. McKinney.
Friends were sorry to learn of the illness of George Zellers of Middletown. Mr. Zellers was removed to Mercy Hospital, Hamilton, where he was operated on for appendicitis, Wednesday.
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Teckman and Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Miller attended the Masonic entertainment at Hamilton, Thursday night.
1929_3 - Darrtown News; September 18 (Milford Twp. Farm Bureau, Talawanda Garden Club, M.E. Church Improvements, Notes of Interest )
Hamilton Evening Journal - Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1929
Milford Township Farm Bureau News
The quarterly meeting of the Milford Township Farm Bureau was held at the schoolhouse, Tuesday night. William Taylor presided and an interesting program was rendered. The main parts of the program were groups of songs by Miss Viola [last name obscured; perhaps "Betz"], style show by the girls of the 4-H club, talk on club camp, by Miss Josephine Bradbury, poultry demonstration by Dorothy Harris and Paul Krebs of the 4-H poultry club, short talks were given by Mr. Neff of Ohio State University and County Agent R. D. Smith. Two reels of motion pictures  were shown at the close of the meeting, after which all were invited to the dining hall and a water melon feed was greatly enjoyed. The meeting was unusually well attended.
Talawanda Garden Club Meets
The September meeting of the Talawanda Garden Club was held Thursday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Harry Bradbury on the East Road.  The spacious rooms and halls were ideally arranged for entertainment and the short program was highly appreciated. Mrs. William Buhi presided and the members responded to roll call with conundrums. Mrs. William Ramsey brought an elegant bouquet of dahlias from her flower garden and it was sent to Mrs. Maria Nichol, a friend of the club, who is ill at Fort Hamilton hospital. At the close of the business session, the hostess introduced two interesting contests. The first was a "flower guessing," from pictures and after solving it, another was brought forward and the hostess remarked that something grew with her flowers and the guests had a "Wood Study" from pictures.
Both created much interest and the prizes, dainty, hand painted plates were won by Mrs. Lee Mendenhall in the first contest and Miss Maria Davis in the second. A tempting lunch was served at the close of the afternoon. many guests met with the regular club members at the first meeting of the fall season. Mrs. Howard Bryant invited the club to her home for the October meeting.
Methodist Church Improvements
The M. E. church has been closed for a few weeks, while workmen have been engaged in sanding and refinishing the floors. Services were held Sunday morning in the Luther church. [3a] The members and friends of the church were glad to welcome Rev. H. A. Smith, who was retained here for the second year, by the Methodist conference, which recently met in Columbus. Rev. Smith gave a brief, but interesting, report of the conference and the Misses Helen and Margery Elliot of West Mansfield, Ohio gave piano and violin selections both in church and Sunday school. The members of the M. E. church extend a vote of thanks to the members of the Saint Matthew's English Lutheran church for the use of their church. [3b] The M. E. church will be ready for services in two weeks.
A "Work Picnic" will be held at the M. E. church Friday, September 20. The ladies are requested to bring well-filled lunch baskets and dinner will be served a the home of Mrs. Clara Witherby. The men are cordially invited to attend.
G. W. Harris Dead
George Washington Harris was born on a farm near Darrtown, Jan. 22, 1854 and died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Anna V. McKinney, Carmargo, Illinois, Friday morning, September 13, 1929, having reached the age of 75 years, 6 months, and 21 days. He was the last member of a family of five sons, the others having preceded him in death. He received his early education at Old Center school  near Darrtown and later attended Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and Lehmann Normal College. He was united in marriage February 22, 1881, with Miss Ida Frank and in this union, four children were born. He was converted in the M. E. church, Darrtown and later transferred his membership to the Presbyterian church, Oxford. He followed the occupation of farming with the exception of a few years when he resided in Oxford and the past year had been at the home of his daughter in Camargo. He was very fond of music and only one week ago Sunday took part in the choir at the M. E. church, Carmargo. Although in failing health for several months, Mr. Harris had been active and death came after a four day severe illness. He is survived by the widow, Ida, three daughters, Mrs. Charles Krebs, Darrtown; Mrs. Anna V. McKinney, Carmargo, Ill.; Mrs. William Bovard, Long View, Washington; and son, Rev. George W. Harris, Poynette, Wisconsin, and eleven grandchildren. The members of the immediate family with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. William Bovard and family were present for the impressive funeral service, which were held at the Memorial Presbyterian church, Oxford, Sunday afternoon at two o'clock. Rev. R. G. Ricmann officiated and delivered a comforting message. The pall bearers were H. L. Harris, Hamilton; James Clark, Oxford; Robert Shaw, Collinsville; James Harris Sr., Arthur Harris, and James Harris, Jr., Darrtown. The burial took place on the family burying plot in Darrtown cemetery. Many from here attended the service at the church and cemetery.
Mrs. Clara Witherby moved Thursday from the Liebrich property in the north end of the village to the front apartment in the Mrs. Mary McVicker property. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have moved into the house vacated by Mrs. Witherby.
Mrs. Guiler Injured
Mrs. Jacob Guiler met with painful injuries Thursday, while assisting her husband in fence building. The stretcher chain broke and resulted in her receiving hand wounds. Dr. Thomas A. Munns [? this is a guess, as the doctor's last name is partially illegible in the newspaper archive] of Oxford was called and rendered professional assistance. She is slowly improving at this time.
Callers at Hospital
Many from here have called at the Fort Hamilton hospital to visit Mrs. Maria Nichol, who is a patient there. Her many friends in the community and throughout the county are glad to learn that she is making rapid progress in ways of improvement.
Notes of Interest
Mrs. Porter Elliot, daughters, Margery and Helen, and son John arrived here from West Mansfield and spent the weekend at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Kramer. Miss Margery remained and will attend Miami University, Oxford. Miss Alice Allen and Mrs. Bertha Compton of Hamilton were Sunday afternoon callers at the Kramer home.
Rev. F. S. Delo of Covington, Kentucky, former pastor of St. Matthews English Lutheran church, visited during the week at the Clem Pfaff and James Harris home and called on friends.
Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Wyckoff, children, Garland, Elden, and Vera, Rev. and Mrs. J. B. Chriney [? this is a guess; the reverend's last name is partially illegible in the newspaper archive] attended a Lutheran Rally at Franklin, Sunday.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Krebs and little daughter, Grace [? this is a guess; the daughter's first name is partially illegible in the newspaper archive] Charlotte left Friday morning, by motor for Carmargo, Illinois, having been called there on account of the illness and death of George W. Harris.
Mr. and Mrs. John Frederick Schmidt and baby son, William Frederick, returned to their home at Middletown, Saturday, after a week's visit at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schmidt.
The community was well represented at the Preble county fair during the past week.
Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Para, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Beauris [? this is a guess; the last name is partially illegible in the newspaper archive] and son, Hewitt of New Orleans motored to a convention at New York and came here for a few days visit with Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Cory. Miss Mae Hiney of Cincinnati was also a guest a the Cory home.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Woodruff of Indian Creek spent Thursday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Lizzie B. Fisher.
Little Miss Irene Overholtz of Hamilton is visiting at the Mendenhall home.
Mrs. Joseph Gaiser spent Thursday at Eaton with Mrs. Sally Somers.
Mr. and Mrs. Laird Laughlin, Mr. and Mrs. George _____ [? the last name is illegible in the newspaper archive] and daughter, Mildred spent the past week at Celina.
Several from here attended the funeral of Elmer Withrow at Hamilton Monday afternoon.
A number from here attended the outing given by the Co-operative Milk Association at the Zoo, Cincinnati, Saturday.
Mr. and Mrs. Woodruff of Hamilton, Miss Olive Ware of Collinsville visited during the past week at the home of Mrs. Ella ____ [? the last name is illegible in the newspaper archive].
Mrs. Ernest Miller was a supper guest Sunday evening at the home of Misses Nellie and Maria Davis.
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bradbury and family were Saturday evening callers at the H. C. Brown home, Okeana.
Mr. and Mrs. George Harris and family of Paynette, Wisconsin are spending the week with relatives here.
Dr. Warren Hulse [? this is a guess; the last name is partially illegible in the newspaper archive] of Detroit, Albert Dawson and Paul Conover of Pisgah called at the home of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Miller, Sunday evening. Dr. Hulse was called here owing to the death of his mother, Mr. Conroy of Pisgah. Mrs. Conroy was the aunt of L. A. Miller.
Mr. and Mrs. William Buhi had, as their guests at Sunday dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Dean Clark and son, Billy, of Hamilton, Mrs. Harry Teckman and son, Charles Edward.
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Gaiser entertained at six o'clock dinner Sunday evening. The guests were Miss Bertha Butterfield of New York, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Butterfield, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Wehr, Mrs. Scott Engle, W. W. Vinnedge of Hamiton.
1930_1 - Herzogs Move To Alabama
SOURCE: Newspaper article from files maintained by Bernice (Weiss) Lindley / hand-dated as February 11, 1930.
"Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Herzog left Monday morning for their new home in Tuscoloosa, Alabama. Mr. and Mrs. Herzog completed arrangements Saturday for their departure and left their old home Saturday evening. They spent the night at the home of Mrs. Ella Bufler and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bufler. Sunday morning they were present at the morning worship in the M. E. church and at the close of the service, many fond farewells were said. They, with F. S. Bufler, were dinner guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Bufler. Sunday night was spent at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bufler of Hamilton.
Mr. Herzog received word Saturday of the death and burial of his youngest brother in Pennsylvania. Friends sympathize with Mr. Herzog in the loss of his brother and also wish them success in their southern home. Their son, Ellis, and wife are located in Tuscaloosa and are happily awaiting the arrival of their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Herzog have always been closely associated in the worth-while affairs of the community. Mr. Herzog, in his younger days, was a teacher in the Milford township schools and for many years was the superintendent of the Darrtown Union Sunday School and a member of the council of St. Matthew's English Lutheran church.
The Teckman Transportation company took the contract for moving the household goods of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Herzog. The large moving van was loaded Saturday afternoon and early Monday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Teckman left the village for Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the Herzogs are locating."
1930_2 - Mother Dies of Burns; Children Saved (Warning: this news account includes details of the burning incident)
From the Hamilton Daily News - April 17, 1930
DARRTOWN WOMAN DIES OF BURNS, BABIES SAVED
Fire Destroys Dwelling; Oil Poured On Flames
Mack Brock Forced to Break Window To Get Wife Out of Home -- Three Children In Another Room Escape Injury
Mrs. Mollie Brock, 23, wife of Mack Brock, a farmer living near Darrtown, died at 10 a.m., Thursday, in Ft. Hamilton hospital, the result of burns suffered when the Brock home was destroyed by fire Wednesday evening. Her burns covered practically her entire body and were deep. Most of her clothing was burned from her body.
Mrs. Brock was in the house at 6:30 p.m., with her children, the eldest three years of age. She was engaged in the preparation of the evening meal, while her husband was at work outside the house. Hearing an explosion, followed by screams of Mrs. Brock, he ran to the house.
Barred At Doors
Entrance was delayed by the fact that he found the doors locked. Breaking a window, he entered the dwelling, finding Mrs. Brock in the kitchen, a mass of flames. The interior of the kitchen was also in flames. Brock carried Mrs. Brock outside and fought to extinguish the flames.
She had poured kerosene on a fire in the stove and the flash set fire to her dress.
By good fortune, the three Brock children, the youngest nine months, were in another room of the downstairs part of the house. None of them was burned, being brought to safety by their father.
Neighbors living three-quarters of a mile distant saw the flames and gave alarm. The house, a frame dwelling, burned rapidly and was entirely destroyed. A summer kitchen located hear the house also was burned. Very little of the contents could be carried out so rapid was the advance of the flames. The loss was estimated at $3,000.00
Mrs. Brock was taken to the office of Dr. A. B. Wilkie in Darrtown by Fred Kramer, on whose farm the Brocks were tenants. Dr. Wilkie directed Mrs. Brock be taken to the Ft. Hamilton hospital.
The Brock home is on the Fred Kramer farm, one and one-half miles north of Darrtown, on the Richmond pike.
The three Brock children were taken to the home of relatives near Darrtown.
Mrs. Brock is survived by three children, Nellie Frances, 3; Enoch, 2; and a baby girl, Alice, 9 months old. Mr. Brock was burned on the hands and arms, when he rescued the baby from the flames, by climbing through a window in the house.
The Brock family, one of the oldest in Darrtown, lived on the Kramer farm for the past year. The house is said to be more than 50 years old.
The Kramer family, which owns the farm, lives about one-half mile from the Brock residence. Mr. Kramer saw the flames first and notified the Darrtown telephone exchange.
1931_1 - Community News (Priscilla Club, Box Lunches, Farm Bureau, New Pastor, and more...)
From: Hamilton Evening Journal - 1931 / Sept. 23
"PLEASANT PARTY ENJOYED BY PRISCILLA CLUB OF DARRTOWN
Young Men Entertain Their Girl Friends -- Important Meeting of Farm Bureau
The home of Mrs. Albert Witherby was the scene of a pleasant party Thursday afternoon, when Mrs. Witherby and Mrs. Luther Beiser entertained the members of the Priscilla Sewing Club and a number of invited guests.
Fancy sewing, chatting, and a group of interesting projects were the diversions of the afternoon. Mrs. Luella Ledwell was successful in the "Bible Jumble" and received a crystal salt and pepper shaker set and holder. The highest score in the "Floral Tea" and "Found In and On the Body" was held by Mrs. John Shaw and she was rewarded with a door-stop. Mrs. Franklin Cory and Mrs. Ernest Miller will be the October hostesses at the home of the former. The hostesses served a tempting lunch of banana split, cake, orange nectar, and mints at the close of the afternoon.
The members of the Young Men's class, Darrtown Union Sunday school entertained their girl friends at a pleasant wiener and marshmallow roast, Saturday night. The place chosen for the party was a picturesque spot along the creek, at the old Kyger farm. Games, also, formed a part of the diversion and the girls thoroughly enjoyed the fine party, which the boys and their teacher, Mrs. A. R. Wolfe, had arranged. The details of the event had been carefully guarded by the boys and many surprises were a part of the program.
The affair was attended by about twenty-five young folks. Several of the girls present were members of the young girls class of the Sunday school, with a few visitors from Oxford. The chaperones at the delightfully informal affair were the teacher and Mrs. Flora B. Ward.
The quarterly meeting of the MIlford Township Farm Bureau was held Tuesday night in the auditorium, Darrtown school house. G. O. Manrod, vice president was in charge of the business meeting. Gladys Ledwell and Jean Beiser gave a demonstration on room arrangement, representing the 4-H Clothing club of the township. A style show was also enjoyed. Mrs. Lee Mendenhall is the leader of the Clothing Club. Frances Lang and Luella Bowers gave a demonstration on making muffins. They represented the Food club of the township. Mrs. Phillip Beiser is the leader of the latter club. The members of the Calf and Poultry clubs were also present for the meeting. D. T. Herrman, county agent, gave a brief address concerning farm conditions at the present time. An interesting moving picture was shown as the closing number of the program. Following the program, all were invited to the school dining room, where a sumptuous covered dish supper was served. Coffee was served by the committee, Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. James R. Harris.
Harvest Home Services
The annual Harvest Home services were conducted Sunday morning in St. Matthew's English Lutheran church.The donations of canned goods were neatly arranged at the front of the church. Many baskets and bouquets of fall fowlers added to the beauty of the arrangement.
Rev. Daubenbis delivered a message in keeping with the day and the choir, under the direction of Miss Viola Betz, sand an appropriate number. The donations of fruit were packed Monday and sent to the Oesterlen Orphan's Home, Springfield, Ohio.
Rev. Ralph Jones, newly assigned pastor of the M. E. church will occupy the pulpit at the regular service, Sunday morning, September 27, at 10:30.
The Milford Township Parent-Teachers association will have the first meeting of the school year in the auditorium, Darrtown school house, Tuesday night, September 29. The members and friends of the school are urged to attend. The hot lunch committee of the P. T. A. sponsored a canning at the school house Tuesday afternoon.
An auto accident occurred Sunday afternoon on the Hamilton-Richmond pike, near the Clem Pfaff farm. A coupe, occupied by two women and two men from Cincinnati, was side swiped by a passing car. The coupe was turned around a couple of times and landed in the ditch. The occupants of the rumble seat were thrown from the car and received injuries. Passing motorists and neighbors cared for the injured until the arrival of Webb's ambulance from Hamilton. The entire party was removed to Hamilton in the ambulance, but only one member of the group was severely injured. She received face and body bruises and a fractured wrist. The coupe was considerably damaged by the hit and skip driver, who made a quick get-away. The coupe was taken in charge by a garage man.
New warning signs have been placed at the first cross roads north of the village. The signs are erected north and south of the crossing and it is hoped that strangers driving on that highway will notice the signs, so that accidents will be avoided.
Mary Havens Injured
Mary Ellen Havens, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Havens fell from a swing Wednesday, while playing at Collinsville School. The little miss fractured her arm at the wrist. She was taken to the Fort Hamilton hospital for treatment and remained there several days. She is gradually improving at the home of her parents.
Notes of Interest
Mr. Wheeler of Trenton has been employed as manual training teacher in the Milford Township High school.
Mr. and Mrs. John Wheeler, Mr. and Mrs. Felta Wheeler of Bath, Indiana, motored to Germantown, Ohio Wednesday afternoon, where they attended the funeral of their uncle, George Riggs. The burial was made on the family lot in the Oxford cemetery.
Mrs. Clara Witherby has returned to the Western College, Oxford, where she will resume her work in the boarding department.
E. T. Wilke of Toronto, Canada spent the past week at the home of his brother, Dr. A. B. Wilke and family.
Tommy McGlauglin of Dayton, Ohio, visited during the week at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Glardon. Mr. McGlaughlin has recently from a three years cruise of the far east and west. His many friends in the village were glad to greet him during his stay here.
Miss Jessie Lindley of Collinsville spent Thursday with Mrs. A. R. Wolfe.
Miss Elsie Fillager has returned to Cincinnat, after spending the summer at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Fillager. Miss Fillager will resume her teaching at the University of Cincinnati.
Rev. and Mrs. D. P. Heltzel and daughter, Miss Betty of Eaton attended church here Sunday morning and visited relatives during the remainder of the day.
Mr. and Mrs. Sam Arni of Bellefontaine spend Sunday with the former's sister, Mrs. Flora B. Ward and family.
Mr. and Mrs. George Zeller of Middletown spent the weekend at the Gaiser home.
Joseph Davis, Raymond Kane, William Glardon, and Thomas Shears attended the coon dog hunt at Venice Sunday afternoon.
Residents of this section of the county noticed a slight earthquake Sunday evening at 6 o'clock. it was later learned that the earthquake had been general over the state."
1932_1 - James C. Kane Called by Death
SOURCE: Newspaper article from files maintained by Bernice (Weiss) Lindley / hand-dated as February 11, 1932.
"James C. Kane, who resided three miles southeast of Oxford passed away Thursday, 2:40 p.m., at Mercy Hospital of a complication of diseases, in his seventieth year. His wife preceded him in death 32 years ago. He leaves to mourn their loss, two sons, Ray and John Kane; one daughter, Mrs. Clint DeWitt, and many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, 9 a.m., from St. Mary's Church in Oxford, with Father Rolfes officiating. Internment will be in Mt. Olive cemetery, at Oxford. Friends may call this afternoon and evening at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Clint DeWitt on the Oxford-Reily Road."
Webmaster Comment: Mr. James C. Kane was the father of Raymond and John "Jack" Kane. Many of us who grew up in, or around, Darrtown in the 1950's remember Raymond and John "Jack" Kane as the brothers who farmed the Davis property, which was located at the intersection of Hamilton-Richmond Road (Rt. 177) and the Oxford-Trenton Road (Rt. 73).
1935_1 - Darrtown News - June 12 (Woman's Missionary, Ladies' Aid, Union Sunday School's Children's Day, news about recent graduates)
From Hamilton Journal - The Daily News - June 12, 1935
WOMEN'S GROUPS OF LUTHERAN AND M.E. CHURCHES IN SESSION
Members Gather At Homes of Mrs. Harry Bradbury and Mrs. Clara Witherby For June Meetings
The Woman's Missionary society of the Lutheran church met Wednesday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Harry Bradbury, Scott Road. A goodly number was in attendance and the usual mission topic was discussed, followed by a meeting of the Ladies' Aid Society of the church, during which plans were completed for the annual June social, which will be given, June 28. As social hour followed.
The Ladies' Aid society of the M.E. church met Thursday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Clara Witherby, with 25 members present and a guest, Mrs. Raymond Wisecup, of Oxford.
Several children joined the group at the social hour. Mrs. Nellie Hansel presided during the devotional meeting with Mrs. Howard Bryant reading the scripture lesson. Those participating in the home mission program were, Mrs. Franklin Cory, Mrs. Albert Witherby, Misses Maria and Nelle Davis. Communications were read by the secretary, Mrs. Olive McVicker. The committee for the summer social reported and July 9 was the date chosen for the annual event. Mrs. Arthur Harris invited the society to her home for the July meeting. During the social hour, the hostess served delicious ice cream, two kinds of cake, mints, and coffee.
The regular motion picture program was held Saturday night in the M.E. church with a fairly good number in attendance.
Members of the Semper Fidelis club gathered at the Lutheran church Thursday night for the regular devotional and business session.
Observe Children's Day
Children's Day was observed by Darrtown Union Sunday school, when the children presented a fine program Sunday morning at the Lutheran church during the regular worship hour.
The program follows:
Song by the junior choir, Scripture lesson, Mary Alice Neanover; invocation, Rev. W.W. Larson; song by Junior choir; recitation, Joan Teckman; recitation, Helen Wills; recitation, Jean McVicker.
Song by the members of Mrs. James R. Harris' class; exercise, Mary Cory, George Edgar Manrod, Vera Wyckoff; recitation, John Neanover; song by the choir; recitation, Mary Lee Fogerty; exercise, Charles Teckman, Freddy Schmidt, Alice May Kramer, Sarah Jane Manrod; recitation, Eileen Long; song, Helen McVicker, Mary Jane Betz, Dorothy Glardon, Jean Zimmerman; recitation, Doris Alston; recitation, Junior Wills; and song by the choir.
Recitation, Gleanna Jasbring; song by the entire group of children; recitation, Grace Charlotte Krebs; "Secrets," "Sonny" Cory, Guy Metcalf, Jack Wiley; recitation, Jean Zimmerman; solo, Corrine Bufler; remarks and solo, Rev. W.W. Larson; offering; song by the choir; and benediction by the pastor.
Many beautiful bouquets and baskets of flowers were arranged in the church. The device was largely attended by fond parents. relatives, and other visitors.
The ladies of the Lutheran church will give their annual June social in the school auditorium on Friday evening, June 28. Homemade ice-cream, pies and cakes will be on sale throughout the evening and a program will be presented. The one-act play, "Pink Geranium" will be the important feature of the program. The usual cordial invitation is extended toe the public to attend the annual social event.
Meet to Choose Play
Mesdames Harry Teckman, Raymond Schmidt, Harry Bradbury, and James R. Harris motored to Franklin, Friday, and visited the (HOVER OVER THIS LINK) Eldridge Entertainment House, where selection of the June social play was made.
Miss Helen Geisler, member of the class of 1937, Milford township High school has entered Mercy hospital, Hamilton, where she will enter the class in nurses' training. Miss Geisler attained a record of high standing throughout her school days and especially so in High school and friends wish for her the same success in future studies.
Miss Minerva Curtis, also of the class of 1935, Milford township High school, left Sunday for Wilmington College, where she will enter summer school preparatory to taking work there in the fall. Friends wish her success in her college work.
Several from here attended baccalaureate services and commencement exercises at Miami University Sunday and Monday mornings. Among those receiving diplomas were, Miss Gustabel Bradbury and Walter Alston. Melvin Ramsey of Dayton, former Darrtown boy, also received a degree. The three Miami graduates were also former graduates of the local HIgh school.
Mrs. Laird Laughlin attended the funeral of her cousin, Burton Hileman, Friday afternoon, at the Griesmer-Grim funeral home, Hamilton.
Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Wolfe and son, Carlisle, and Mrs. Ella Reese enjoyed motor trip to Kentucky, Sunday afternoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ferst, little daughter, Lois Carolyn, of West Elkton called Sunday at the Reese home. Miss Wanda Wolfe also spent the day there with Helen Lucille McVicker.
Some from here represented the Darrtown Union Sunday school at the County Council of Religious Education, Saturday and Sunday, at Middletown.
1946_1 - Darrtown News - February
SOURCE: Newspaper article from files maintained by Bernice (Weiss) Lindley / hand-dated as February 7, 1946.
"DARRTOWN PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION MEETS
The Darrtown Protective Association members held their annual meeting Saturday evening in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George D. Manrod. Besides the routine business and electionof officers, there was a general discussion of timely topics, including aid to law enforcement agencies. G.O. Manrod, Luther McVicker, Harry Teckman, and Charles Hansel were re-elected respectively to fill the offices of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Members and their wives enjoyed a delicious oyster supper preceding the meeting.
DARRTOWN PALS MEET
The Sunday School Pals will meet Tuesday evening with Mrs. Howard Bryant, 437 Cleveland Ave., Hamilton.
The Tallawanda Garden Club will meet Thursday afternoon, 14, in the home of Mrs. Hugh Decker. Mrs. Decker, and the assistant hostesses, Mrs. George Hansel and Mrs. Jack Steele include Priscilla club members in their invitation.
SEW FOR THE RED CROSS
Ladies of the community worked on quilt tops, when they sewed for the Red Cross at the Davis home on Tuesday. A co-operative dinner was enjoyed at noon.
Mrs. E.M. Wilson of Hamilton visited her sister, Mrs. L.A. Miller on Sunday.
Mrs. Ernest Miller, Mrs. Charles Hansel, Misses Nelle and Maria Davis were in Richmond, Ind. On Thursday and visited in the homes of Mrs. G.O. Ballinger and Mrs. C.E. Ballinger.
Little Steve Zellers of Middletown spent the weekend with his grandmother, Mrs. Jacob Gaiser. Mr. and Mrs. George Zellers were the Sunday guests in the Gaiser home.
Patricia and Mira Hansel were among the guests at a party give at the home of Dicky Murphy in Oxford on Saturday evening.
Mrs. Richard Bufler and daughters, Misses Faye and Mary Ellen, were Sunday guests of Mr. and Mrs. Pierson Talbert of Selkirk.
Mrs. George Manrod is visiting her sister in Cincinnati.
Mrs. Richard Rinal left Saturday for Chicago, where she will join her husband, who was discharged from the army a short time ago.
Wilbur Pierson, who served in the army for about eighteen months has been discharged and has returned to his home.
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jewell and family have moved from their Darrtown property to the Jewell farm on Township Road. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gault will live in the home vacated by the Jewells.
Mrs. Helen McVicker and Miss Mary Montgomery of Middletown spent the weekend at the Charles Hansel home."
1953_1 - Three Old-Timers Get Together and Devise New Way for Burying
SOURCE: Hamilton Journal News / Sunday Morning, December 14, 1953 ~ by George Van Gieson
DARRTOWN - Conversation is by no means a lost art in Butler County. By chance, we met three old-timers who have lived in the county for a total of 238 years. They are the salt of the earth. And their conversation is worth listening to.
The three gentlemen are William "Babe" Ramsey, 79; Pete LIebrich, 80; and Theodore Decker, 79. What is more, they were all born within four months of each other and have lived in this Butler County community all their lives.
There can be no question about this: "Babe Ramsey is the ringleader of the trio. He brings up topics for conversation, then neatly disposes of them. It was "Babe" who brought up the subject of burying.
'You fellows ever think about the way they're going to bury you, when you die?' Babe questioned them. Upon receiving a negative reply from Pete and 'Doe' he continued to hold the floor.
'I never did like this business of laying you out flat, tossing mud in your face, and placing a chunk of stone over you. How are we ever going to get up, when resurrection time comes? When my time comes, I want them to stand me up, drive me straight down. Then, when the resurrection comes, I can shoot straight up to my reward.'
You will note that 'Babe' Ramsey has no doubt about where he is going. Pete and 'Doe' just nodded their heads. It was quite obvious that at this stage of life, they are thinking only of the years ahead. There was some talk about a neighbor who died recently at the age of 96. There was also an indication that the trio thought the gentleman had left this earth rather early in life.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the three old-times is their admiration for this day and age. They called me over to the table and observed that the world is sure moving at a fast pace.
'It's terrific,' came from 'Babe.'
'Whew,' was the comment of Pete.
'Doe' nodded his head, in agreement.
They explained that, when they were kids, in Darrtown, it was about the only community they ever saw.
'You walked about everywhere,' Babe went on. 'Of course, there were stages, but they weren't for kids. Many and many a time, when we were boys, we would walk up to Collinsville. Gosh, it's wonderful the way you can travel about today. Then, you take television. It's great, isn't it? This old world has certainly come along, since the three of us were young.'
Pete Liebrich took the floor temporarily to explain that he was 'an Irishman, with a Dutch name.' His father, who died at 83, was born in Germany. Babe's father was a doctor and Decker's dad was a farmer. The trio of old-timers have 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
There are some tales told around Darrtown about 'Babe' Ramsey's driving in latter days. He still manages to get behind the wheel, but he doesn't drive too far away. 'Babe' admits that there is some truth to the stories about his battle with a fire hydrant in Hamilton a couple of years ago and all Darrtown was agog a few years back when Ramsey's car was sighted on the steps of the Knights of Pythias Hall.
'Sometimes, my eye gets out of fix,' he calmly explains.
Then, he goes on to say it used to take two hours to drive to Hamilton, with a horse and buggy, but you can make it quicker in a car.
He laughs about the fact that his two buddies and himself were all born within four months of each other.
'We were all trying to get here first,' Pete Liebrich told us; then added, 'But, I made it first.'
'Babe' had a brush with religion a few years ago. He went to church on Easter Sunday morning on a day when the preacher took his congregation to task for not coming more often. The preacher indicated that coming to church once a year on Easter was not sufficient.
'I didn't like that viewpoint,' the elderly 'Babe' said. 'I had my hand on a dollar in my coat pocket that I was going to put in the collection basket. But, when the preacher bawled us out, I reached in another pocket and found a quarter. That preacher just cheated himself out of seventy-five cents.'
Babe is quite a noted fiddler, in the area. As he puts it, he has been 'fiddling,' since he was nine years old. He still plays, but only for his own enjoyment.
Darrtown News - February (Sunday School Pals Meet, WSCS Sewing, Notes of Interest, and Lane Bookmobile Schedule)
SOURCE: Hamilton Journal - The Daily News - Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1957 - Page 23
By MIss Maria L. Davis
Special to Journal-News
The Sunday School Pals will meet on Tuesday night, Feb. 12, at the home of Mrs. Stanley Mathews.
Milford Township Parent Teachers Association will meet Friday night, Feb. 15, in the Collinsville School. Founder's Day will be observed.
The 70th annual meeting of the Darrtown Protective Association was held a the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Mee, preceded by an oyster supper. The officers are: Kirk Mee, president; Luther McVicker, vice president; Ernest L. Miller, secretary; and Warren C. Hansel, treasurer. The ladies auxiliary held its annual social meeting at the same time.
At the close of Darrtown Union Sunday School in St. Matthew Lutheran Church recently Mrs. Harry Teckman, treasurer, gave the annual financial report. The school made its annual contributions to each of the village churches.  During the worship service, which followed, the Rev. Donald Zinger conducted communion.
The WSCS of the Methodist Church held the first of a series of carpet rag sewings at the church. A cooperative luncheon was served.
Robert Young, a student at Ohio University, Athens, spent several days at home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Young.
Mrs. John Nichol spent a day in Cincinnati as a guest of her aunts, Misses Helen, Kate, and Lela Gray.
W. H. Ogden, Cincinnati, former principal of the old Milford Township School, was a recent caller at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Alston.
Walter Wyckoff, Nashville, Tenn. spent a weekend at the home of Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Wyckoff.
Mr. and Mrs. James Atwood, Richmond, Ind., called on an uncle, Raymond Kane, who observed his birthday anniversary.
Brooklyn Dodgers Manager, Walter Alston has been spending several days in New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Risch have moved from the Singer property to the Kramer property, which was recently vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krauth and daughters.
Lane Public Library Bookmobile Schedule 
Thursday, February 7, 1957
Darrtown Pike - Schultheiss Service Station (9:00 - 9:20)
Darrtown Village - (9:30 - 10:15)
Seven Mile Bank (10:30 - 11:10)
Seven MIle School (12:15 - 2:15)
Recollections of Rob Drake
Rob Drake sent the following to the Darrtown.com website, in a May 2012 email.
Recollections - Rob Drake
Most of my favorite memories of Darrtown as a child (1969 - 1983) are linked to baseball.
Whether it be pickup games in Bud Ernst's big yard; pre E-Dot park or after we built the park, we always found a way to play. It included a lot of whiffle ball, as well. If you didn't have great talent, you worked harder.
I was fortunate that while attending the Darrtown United Methodist church I helped the elderly to their pews. In doing so, I became close with Grace Alexander; a wonderful lady. She just happened to be Walter "Smokey" Alston's mother-in-law. As a token of appreciation, he invited me personally to his home, shortly after he retired. He very modestly showed me his trophy case. I was completely enamored by the room which included his beloved pool table. The World Series trophies and countless items of memorabilia were awesome; but, what really sticks in my mind were two bronzed Dodger's hats. As I recall, he told me one was his last Brooklyn hat and the other his first Los Angeles hat. He offered me a game of pool but I was too starstruck and had never played. He offered to teach me; but, I was too timid. Perhaps the biggest regret of my childhood. But, he signed a genuine major league baseball for me along with a post card of him in uniform standing on the steps of his dugout. He then asked for my baseball schedule. Lo and behold the next ballgame, he showed up and watched one of our games. I have never felt so honored. I tried so hard to show off my talent; but, had a terrible day at the plate. I was very upset. I don't recall the details exactly; but, after the game, he put a hand on my shoulder and told me not to get so down on myself and that I had a good swing. I treasure that moment despite the strike-outs that day. It gave me a confidence that I believe truly changed my game. I ended up batting over .400 that season.
My other baseball memories were watching Jeff Beckett pitch. Alan Thome was another great one offensively and defensively. But no one played better defense than Mike Lindley; yes Fred's son. I could name off several others but these guys stood out.
Everyone in the area; Reilly, Hanover, Somerville and the Oxford teams all knew they had a tough game ahead of them when they faced Darrtown/Collinsville.
Then there was softball. Don's Carryout was so much fun to watch. The weekend tournaments and helping Bob "Bopper" Young keep score in the Earl G. Young press box; yes, his Dad. Watchin' Don "Donnie Beck" Beckett, on the mound, and his band of beer drinkin,' fun-lovin,' but gritty ball players instilled a lot of pride in the town and it's baseball heritage. I can't imagine a better place to grow up!
Thank you, Fred Lindley for creating this website and to all other contributors.
Recollections of Linda (Mee) Fawcett
Linda (Mee) Fawcett wrote the following narrative and contributed it to the Darrtown.com website.
I will begin with a little background as to how I became part of Darrtown and how I grew to love it.
My parents are Kirk and Bette Mee. I attended McGuffey and Talawanda High Schools and graduated in 1959. I continued my education at Miami University and graduated with a BS in Business and also became a member of Chi Omega Sorority. Before leaving Miami, I also attended the University of Hawaii and learned the art of the Polynesian and the hula dance and studied art. I graduated from Miami in 1963 and then joined the executive training program with F&R Lazarus, Columbus, Ohio.
In 1964, I married Frank Fawcett from Kansas. We have a daughter, Stacy and a son, Mathieu. As a family, we have had homes in Oxford, Darrtown, Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, Florida and now we have settled in South Carolina. I believe we were searching for the perfect place to live. The first home we built was in Darrtown with land my Dad gave us. The Lutheran Church was on one side and my parent's house was on the other side. Nothing could be better.
My early years in Darrtown circa 1941 and through the1950s were full of adventure. We lived in what I called "The Big House" located on the north edge of Darrtown. Others would call it the Mee mansion or Linn Place. After my grandparents passed away, my Dad inherited "The Big House". Maybe I was eight or nine years old at the time, but I didn't want to move from our home on Shollenbarger Road. The new house was full of ornate mirrors, fire places, clocks with moving eyes, and furniture that looked funny and old, but my parents called it antique. In my mind, the house was scary and had too many rooms. But before long, I grew to like it, and with all my childhood imagination, I could pretend to be anyone and then get lost in all that space.
Not only "The Big House", but there were all the other buildings surrounding the house. Once used for stalls for horses and storage for buggies, the barn was used to store most of the farm machinery when we lived there. It also offered more corners to explore and places to investigate.
Sometimes, my Dad would have me help him in the fields where I'd have to steer a tractor or truck to another part of the farm. Dad would adjust the speed and when it was acceptable to me, he would release me to my challenge. I never once thought I wouldn't reach my destination and neither did my Dad. As long as it was in an open field, I could successfully do it but later on, I needed to stay in a straight line. That was an achievement that would later support passing my drivers test. I don't think Dad thought of it for that reason; he just needed that piece of equipment someplace else and it was safe enough for a kid to do the job.
My Dad had another farm on the south side of Darrtown. I called it "The Other Place". This was where all the farm animals grazed and I would linger with the cows and watch them munching on the grass and hay. There was a large salt block placed near a favorite cow path for the cows to lick and yes, I would lick it too. It was great being a kid on a farm and on that day, it was just me and the cows.
Other days, I would ride my pony, Nancy from "The Big House" to "The Other Place". It was quite a distance, but all I had to do was stay on the back of Nancy. My Mom would never worry. If I would slip off and take a tumble, Nancy knew the way home. I would ride pass the Lutheran Church and wave to the Teckmans, I'd pass Glardon's Grocery Store and The Hitching Post and Luther Mcvicker's Garage. After crossing Shollenbarger Road, Nancy would start a slow trot anticipating the comfort of the barn at "The Other Place". In the distance, I'd see that low hanging branch which was always there to tempt me. Should I reach for it or avoid it competely. It was time for Hopalong Cassidy and his horse, Topper, to make his move so up went my arms, and with mighty determination and remarkable accuracy, I grabbed that branch to swing from the safety of Nancy. My pony knew the way home, my Mom wouldn't worry, and I would be home for dinner. Then thinking with eagerness and enthusiam, I knew there would be more space to explore tomorrow.
As a young child in the 40s, I was unaware of what was developing in the country. There was WW2, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Korean War. What was so exceptional about growing up in Darrtown? Well, I could leave the house and be away all day. I would be safe from harm and evil. Darrtown was a place of peace and tranquility and a shelter from the world's suffering. Darrtown was good to me.
Fawcett, Linda (Mee)
Recollections of Hazel (Gintner) Green
Interview of Hazel Green ~ Darrtown, Ohio ~ June 3, 2008 ~ at her home on Schollenbarger Road
Webmaster Note: Thanks to the cooperation and assistance of Hazel Green's son, Richard L. "Butch" Green,
Ron Wiley, and Fred Lindley interviewed Hazel Green at her house on June 3 and June 5, 2008.
Hazel (Ginter) Green was born in 1910,
which means that she was 98 years young at the time of this 2008 interview.
As Butch (age 69), Fred (age 70) and Ron (age 71) arrived at Hazel's front door,
Hazel greeted them with a boisterous, "Oh my! Look at these young boys with old men's faces."
Hazel's witty comment set the tone for the interview, which was lively, animated and much fun.
The following interview occurred in Hazel's house at the kitchen table. Notice who starts the interview!
Transcript of Interview:
H = Hazel Green
R = Ron Wiley
F = Fred Lindley
B = Butch Green
H: (Looking at Ron) Who was your dad?
R: Raymond, Ray Wiley, he drove a milk truck and my mother was called Mat, Matilene.
H: Now, wasn’t he related to Jim Pearson?
R: Now, let me see…
H: His father or mother died, didn’t they?
R: Yes, Dad’s father died two weeks before he was born, up in Cleveland.
H: Yeah they were from Cleveland
R: There were 3 boys and their mother just couldn’t take care of them, so they were out in the streets, then were in an orphanage for some time. Then they were adopted by family members. Bill and "Pearl." Pauline, but everybody called her "Pearl," adopted Dad. He was a Wiley adopted by a Wiley. Pearl was a Keppler and they adopted Eldon, "Sam" Wiley who was a Keppler.
H: Well, then Mary and Harry Pearson adopted Jim.
R: Right, and they lived over here on the curve. Her farm that.. must have been 80 acres.
H: Ennis (Pearson - Harry’s brother) lived in the big house and Mary and Harry lived in the little house on the corner.
R: Were you born and raised in this area?
H: I was born in Hamilton, on Smith Road, on a dairy farm.
R: What was the family name - your maiden name?
H: My maiden name, Gintner
F: Who were your parents? Your father’s name was…?
B: His real name was Donham, but went by Don. Donham P, which he didn’t like…Richard Philip
F: And your mother’s name?
B: She was a Krause
H: It was spelled with an “e”, then someone along the way dropped the “e”
F: There are Krause’s over around Seven Mile
B: Yeah, they are related
F: So, Hazel Gintner married Richard Green
F: So, Butch do you have any siblings?
B: Yes, a sister, Dorla
F: Dorla Green
B: She’s Johnson now. They live in West Chester
F: Butch, your given name is…?
B: Richard L., Lee
F: (to H) We’d like to know your memories of Darrtown… When did you come to Darrtown?
H: 1916. I was 6 years old
F: So, you came to this house?
H: Oh no. We came to where Butch lives now
[Webmaster Note: Butch lives about one-half mile east of Hazel's house on Schollenbarger Road. His residence sits atop the hill that overlooks the former Hugh Decker farm to the east.]
R: You used to do my mother’s hair. She’s living at Westover in assisted living. She’ll be 96 at the end of this month.
H: Did she go to school at Darrtown?
R: Yes, she and Dad went to Darrtown High School and graduated in 1930
H: I graduated in ‘28
R: Dad played basketball and baseball
H: Do you know where the first basketball court was?
B: I’m sure Mom knows
H: It was out east of the school house. We played outside.
B: (Showing pictures) That’s her father and mother.
H: That’s mom and dad and me. And you know what this is right here?
F: Looks like a haystack of some sort
H: It’s a straw pile. That was our dairy. They built a frame work. The back was open. The straw was covered over
F: What else have you got (pictures)?
B: This is a picture of the house where I live.
F: So that was the original Gintner farm?
B: Yeah, so we’re talking …the fifth generation
H: You see the barn, and there is a little building, maybe about 20 by 12. We lived in that one whole summer while we built the house. We didn’t have a well. We had a little stream down below. These were the happiest days of my life
F: My memory is that we would ride the bus out there and there was a Pater family that lived there.
B: Yes, they lived there 8 or 10 years.
H: We rented the house, but we kept the land
F: The kids were Joe and Patty
B: They [Hazel and husband Richard] moved here [Hazel's present home on Shollenbarger Road.]
H: Well, Pop died in 1948 and Mom came to live with us, and that’s when we rented the house to Pater’s
R: When you were married, then, did you live here?
H: Yes, we bought this in 1945
R: Do you remember who owned it before you?
B: Kleinfelter. Was it Kleinfelter?
H: Yes, we bought it from them. That was Harry, and John was in real estate.
F: Do you remember who had it before that?
B: Huston’s. Where the log house was. That was Huston’s and he got it from the military is what I understand. He was in the military, a Captain or something like that and that’s how he got that.
B: You know this sharp curve down here? (Pointing in the direction of the 90 degree left turn of Schollenbarger Road, just south of Hazel's house.) If you go straight back (due south off Shollenbarger at the first turn) that’s called Chaw Raw Hill.
R: You ever been to any cock fights back in there? What was the guy's name who lived back in there and had the cock fights?
H: That was my Daddy
R: I wouldn’t have known your Daddy. Who was the guy later who set up the cock fights? A big guy.
H: That was Jim Hendricks
B: If you go way back in there, that’s where the Indians had an encampment there.
R: Have you found artifacts back there?
B: Oh yeah, I’ve got all kinds of artifacts that I found there. Well, not so much back there as on our farm. I could spot them from the tractor because they shined.
F: Darrtown High School - other memories of it?
H: I remember Shuck, the family.
F: They had a grocery store?
H: Yes, where the Hitching Post is.
F: Thank you! Because, Kirk Mee III contributed a picture of the Shuck General Store, it’s on the Internet.
F: OK, please continue.
H: We moved out here in May of 1916. The Shucks ran the store. She was a Wendel; when she died Jack Wendel took it over and ran it. He was a brother. Somewhere along the way he sold it to a Wiley. [Webmaster Note: other records show that the Shuck family sold it to Oscar L. Irwin in 1925 and Irwin sold it to Pauline Wiley in 1932, then the Wiley’s sold it to Red Huber in 1949]
R: That was my grandparents, Bill and Pearl. They bought it in 1939.
H: There was things sold like meats
R: Yes, my grandparents sold meats and cheeses, and things like that. It was during prohibition, so I was told my Dad delivered booze around town out the back door with his little red wagon.
F: There were several drinking establishments in Darrtown over time.
F: So how old were you? Do you mind telling how old you are?
H: I was born in 1910.
F: Where did you start to school?
H: In the school house on Schollenbarger Road.
R: That’s the house where Jimmie Stevens lived. [Webmaster Note: The school building still stands at the intersection of Schollenbarger Road and Walnut Street, in Darrtown.]
H: Mr. Brown, he was principal, and Marie Beaton, she was my first teacher.
F: How many grades were you in that school building?
H: I would say maybe 3rd or 4th.
F: And then where did you go to school?
H: You know where the Hitching Post is… it was on the corner where the next street crosses. [Webmaster Note: This is a reference to the intersection of Main Street and Apple Street in Darrtown]
F; I understand that was a grocery store that Frank Bufler ran.
H: That could have been happening at the time and maybe when the school took it over that’s when he gave up the store… We weren’t in that building very long… then we went to the new school that they built.
R: That building is no longer there. [Webmaster Note: This is a reference to the school building that stood opposite 3126 Oxford Street in Darrtown.]
F: Knute Wagonfield told me that they closed the school in ’38 or ‘39
F: So you were born in 1910, you would have started school in 1916.
H: We walked to school from where we lived. I walked to school with the Deckers, the Manrods…
F: So you’re going to tell me you knew the Weiss family.
F: That’s my mom
H: I was going to ask you. I was pretty sure I was right. What was your mother’s name?
F: My mother was Bernice
H: Bernice and Paul; Paul was in my grade
F: Their parents were William and Frances Bufler
F; My mother told me that she (Frances) died in a fire.
H: Yes, I remember the fire
F: So, you walked to school.
H: Yes, and the road wasn’t there.
B: It went straight past the house, it didn’t go around by Deckers like it does now.
H: Yes, I walked and never missed a day of school
F: Do you remember some of the first school buses?
F: My Dad told me about early school buses that had some kind of temporary heaters in them. They were basically like trucks, with boards running along the interior for seats that faced inwards.
H: Jess Frances drove, he had a garage there on the other side of the street. Mrs. Francis drove the bus, also. They had a route that went out Scott Road, and a route down towards Hamilton. One went down Darrtown road there, and they had one come out our way.
F: You said Frances’ garage was across from what, please?
H: Across from Don’s grocery store (Don Beckett's store now)
R: Later on there was another grocery store there. Dees, Clarence Dees.
H: Then there was the Grau family
F: They were related to me through the Buflers. Joe and Marie. There were six Bufler girls; Anna Mae Bufler Alston, Francis, my grandmother, there was a Stella, Mary Wagonfield was a Bufler...
H: Lucille Dynes
R: She was married to Keith?
F: I don’t know who Stella married. I didn’t know her very well.
H: Frank and Addie Bufler...
R: No, that was a different Bufler. They lived next to where my parents built a house in 1948-49. They moved in in the Spring of ’49. Frank and Addie were next door. They never had any children
F: Tell us about those 50 - 50 dances. Did you go to those?
H: Oh, sure
F: I went to those
H: You did?
F: Yes, I was about that big (raising hand in the air). I can still see Dick Bufler… He would hold his partner's arm way out to the side and pump it up and down…
R: That was his style and he was pretty darn good at it
F: It was family, because you would dance with your aunts, mother, cousins…
F: You were a pitcher (to Butch)
B: Well, I once pitched 19 2/3 innings in one game
B: 5 hours and 20 minutes. And I didn’t get the win.
F: Who were you playing
B: We were playing down in Hamilton
F: Summer league, maybe? At the North End?
B: Yes. I played summer league
F: Who where you playing for?
B: Well, I played with Abe Brown (Furniture Company). Yeah, Kirk and I played together. Doug Stamper came in and pitched to one man and he got the win.
F: Where did he go to school?
R: Seven Mile?
B: No, Hanover. This (picture) goes back to my McGuffey team.
B: I brought these (newspaper articles; mostly of Smokey Alston with the Dodgers
F: There’s Casey Stengel with Smokey
F: Look at this one. Who is that? Oh, that’s George Rider. Where was this picture taken?
R: It says K of P Hall. But I don’t remember a brick wall in the K of P Hall
F: Did you play with Lee Hunt?
B: Oh yeah. He was a year behind me.
F: Here is Jack Hansel. Butch, Jack...
[Looking at various pictures]
R: Do you remember how many were in your graduating class?
H: There were 16 in our freshman class and when we graduated there were 4 girls and 2 boys.
R: My mother and father had 11 in their graduating class.
H: A lot of them quit along the way. Hugh Decker quit when he was 16
F: It was before the depression, but some of them still had to quit to get jobs and earn money.
H: And a lot of the boys quit to help on the farm.
H: Well, this has been fun
F: We’ve enjoyed it. We’d like to get some of your pictures sometime
F: Do you get out of the house at all?
H: I go up to the Senior Center and play cards twice a week.
F: That’s great! What to you play
H: Euchre. They call it Horse up there. I call it glorified euchre.
[Webmaster Note: At this point, Butch left the kitchen table and retrieved several pictures from upstairs; all were shown the pictures]
F: Do you know any of the people in these pictures?
H: (Pointing) I’m in that one.
F: Do you know other people in the pictures?
H: Oh sure, I know all of them.
F: Look there! That’s Hugh Decker! Now wait a minute, that means my uncle Paul would be in there.
H: Paul Weiss? Yeah, there he is.
F: Oh, for heaven’s sakes...I would like to make copies of these and get the names of the people.
R: (Pointing at a photo) Is this the Darrtown school?
F: Oh that’s great! Are you in there?
H: Yeah, somewhere along the way
H: There I am. Ruth Follmer, Martha Kramer, Smokey…
F: There’s John Bradbury!
R: What a find (to see the pictures). What a treasure. You (looking at Hazel) are a treasure.
F: What a fantastic memory. You are blessed.
B: Now wait a minute. You (looking at Hazel) spent a lot of time at Red Huber’s. I would get the phone call here that someone had come to get her hair done and I would have to call the Hitching Post to remind her that someone wanted to get her hair done.
Webmaster Note: Hazel was a part-time hairdresser; she had a shop in the Green home on Schollenbarger Road. Frances Weiss remembers that her mother, Lois Weiss, went to Hazel's shop.
F: (to Butch) Did you know Red Huber well? Could you tell us about him?
B: I didn’t know him that well. I didn’t go down there all that much. I lived out of Darrtown and didn’t get involved all that much with people in town.
F: I had the same situation, living south of Darrtown.
R: Yeah, when we played baseball in the church yard or "Kick the Can" at night, you guys were far enough out that we didn’t involve you.
F: Dale Bufler told me he organized a basketball team of boys from Darrtown and they were called the Purple Skunks. I think you, Ron, named them.
R: Yes, we had scrap (metal) drives and paper drives and sold the stuff in Hamilton to raise money, and we bought our own uniforms. And they were purple, so I suggested the name Darrtown Purple Skunks. Dale Bufler organized it. He was so considerate of all of us who were younger, maybe by 10 years. He and others (friends of Dale’s) would come and gather us (younger ones) up - they had cars - and take us out to Hueston Woods where the “trusties” - the prisoners - were, and we would play them in softball. And they would pick us up and take us - I don’t remember the courses - and we would caddy for them in golf. It wasn’t organized like they do today, it was just spontaneous for the kids around Darrtown. And there were others (with him) like the Wagonfield - was it Knute?
F: Maybe it was Junior Wagonfield?
H: Well, did you boys ever hear about the ballgame played down there as you go out of Darrtown? Where they had those two pitchers come in… Where’d they bring them in from?
F: One from Chicago - Hod Eller
H: Who was the other one?
R: It’s on the website
F: From St. Louis, I think. That was big time.
H: Smokey played with them.
F: And Doc Alston.
F: Did you go to any of those games? Were you there?
H: Oh, yeah
B: Did my dad play?
H: Not in that game
B: But, he played down there?
F: Kirk Mee, Sr., the Second, wrote down his memories, and Kirk the third gave that to me, and I put them on the website, and he talks about the game, and then we have the pictures. I can’t remember who played on that team, but the names are there. They said they played a series of three games, and money was exchanged.
H: I can’t remember who was the catcher. There was a Ward who played, but I can’t remember if he was the catcher.
F: There are names, but not positions (with the pictures).
H: I didn’t know if you boys would remember that.
F: We weren’t around, but we heard about it.
R: We have read about it and our parents told us about it.
B: There was to be a train (track). There was something about being two and they competed with each other (to develop a track). You know where the ballfield was? It was near there. That levee that’s there, that was supposed to be a railroad. There were two, one on one side (of the road) and one on the other.
F: In the 1920 baseball picture that I have, you can see people standing on an elevated area.
R: That’s the levee
F: That’s where the railroad would have been. [See Map of Historical Sites in and around Darrtown]
Webmaster Note: This ends the first visit. There was some additional discussion, but mostly just about how to go about copying the pictures that Hazel has and communicating to set up another visit.
Green, Hazel (Gintner)
Recollections of Sally (Rinal) Johnson
The following information was provided on November 10, 2013, by Sally (Rinal) Johnson,
granddaughter of Luther and Opal McVicker.
"Not sure if this is 'web worthy,' but I put down a few of my fond memories.
After reading the offerings in “Recollections,” especially those offered by Lester Baumann, I feel compelled to add my two cents worth! Although Darrtown was never my legal residence, it has always meant “home” to me. For those who don’t know me, I am Sally Rinal Johnson, daughter of Jeanne McVicker Rinal and granddaughter of Opal and Luther McVicker.
Summers and many weekends were spent at the McVicker home on Scott Road. On Friday afternoons, we kept watch for Opal’s 1950 black Plymouth to turn the corner on our street in Hamilton. (She taught first grade at Fillmore for many years.) Nobody could pack bags faster than the Rinal kids when grandma showed up. She let us stay up as long as we wanted watching old movies on t.v., fixed us popcorn and whatever we wanted to eat. We had to let Luther pick his shows first; but, he usually dozed off after a few minutes and we would sneak over and change the channel. Gunsmoke, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton and Lawrence Welk were among his favorites. Opal’s chocolate cakes with fudge frosting were to die for. She never used a measuring cup or spoon--just an old green coffee mug and a regular spoon.
Opal and Luther had their garden battles every summer, his behind the gas station and hers at home. The corn was never fresh enough, unless Opal took the pot into the garden, shucked it, put it the pot, then directly on the stove! I remember late summer dinners with huge piles of corn cobs on the table. After dinner, Luther always told a few of his classic jokes, like “I got a prize for being the only one sober at the Eagles picnic.”
In the winter, when the weather stayed cold long enough, we would “sneak” across the road to skate on Baumann’s pond. There was an indoor/outdoor thermometer in the dining room, and grandma said that if it went down to 18 degrees two nights in a row, the ice should be thick enough. We had one pair of skates that had been my mother’s, and we took turns, stuffing socks into them in an attempt to make them fit. And, of course, someone always went thru the ice.
Sundays were always special. I remember Sunday school at the Methodist Church, before the fellowship hall was built—everyone crammed into the back of the sanctuary, with folding doors closed. I was painfully shy, but I remember a few in my class: Georgetta Nichol, Naomi Jo Witherby, and Ruth Ann Decker. I am sure they don’t remember me since I most likely never uttered one word the whole time. I also remember Fred Lindley—I was among the large number of girls with a secret crush on him (even though he was 10 years older). “Lutheran” Sunday was the best—we didn’t have to stay for church! Christmas was the worst for me—having to say “my piece” at the Christmas program. For someone so shy, it struck terror in my heart! Easter was special. Grandma woke us up early and we went to the Sunrise Service, the only Sunday of the year Luther put on a shirt and tie and went with us! Opal always cooked a wonderful dinner (every Sunday) and fixed a tray for Bill Glardon, who watched the station, so Luther could eat with the family.
The garage, of course, is what everyone remembers. Luther taught me how to do a “hot patch” once, and sometimes he took a bunch of the repaired inner tubes home. We had a blast playing and jumping on them. Once in a while, I watched the garage for Luther while he went to Hamilton to run errands. Usually, there was no activity; but, one time it seemed like everyone waited for him to leave, before they drove in. I could pump the gas, and once I even added oil for someone, but that was my limit! When someone looking for a fan belt came in, I told them to help themselves and settle up with Luther, when he came back. While Luther was on duty, my Aunt Mary would get us kids to crank-call him—say we needed "our valves ground." Guess that was his least favorite job.
Clarence (Luther’s cousin) and Kate McVicker were frequent visitors, and we went to their place to get eggs and fresh chickens. Luther chopped off the heads, and Opal did the rest. When they (Clarence and Kate) had sheep, we often went to see the new lambs. Once, he had an orphan one he gave us. We took it home, and our boxer, Cindy, adopted him. We named him Davey Crockett. (Guess what show was popular then?) When the bridge over Darr’s Run on Scott Road was replaced, Clarence kept a close watch on the progress—that’s why “McVicker” is welded on the south side of the bridge.
I could ramble on for pages about going to Glardon’s for bubble gum (Opal’s vice was Double Bubble ‘cause it didn’t stick to her dentures!), putting flowers at the cemetery, talking Opal into a St. Bernard puppy, tagging along when my sister, Sharon, was invited to play with Janny Wills, Priscilla Club and on and on. I do have to tell my favorite Luther comment before I close. When he found out I was getting married to my husband, Kim, (at the Darrtown Methodist Church, by the way) he told my brother, “Well she might as well go shoot herself.” My brother also told me that he sniffled during the entire ceremony. When we drove away from the church, he was already back in his greasy clothes, sitting tipped back in his bentwood chair at the garage."
Johnson, Sally (Rinal)
Recollections of Sandy (Ward) Jolivette
The following information was provided in early June, 2011,
by Sandra (Ward) Jolivettee, daughter of Glen and Maxine Ward.
I just viewed a very small portion of the Darrtown website. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how much information you have gathered. I am pretty sure I have old photos from some of Red’s parties (at the Hitching Post) that I will have to locate. Once I find them I will be sure to get copies to you for the website.
On page 3 of EVENTS under the circa 50’s, Glenn Butterfield is holding his granddaughter, Sandy Ward Jolivette, (that would be me) daughter of Glen L. Ward and Maxine E. Ward (Butterfield).
I have a copy of the picture ( referred to above), which hung by the bar in the Hitching Post. It was given to me by the fella who owned the Elbo Room in Fairfield (can’t think of his name – George?) and was a good friend to Red. In the photo, that is Linda Hughes that Mr. Stumpf is holding. Linda and I went to Collinsville School together. Henry Popst is holding Andy. Doe Decker is holding Paul and Ruth. I probably have pictures of others from Darrtown who attended Collinsville School, plus more pictures of Christmas parties at the Post. Again, once I find them I will share them.
(L-R front) Waldo Stumpf, Henry Popst (Andy's grandfather), Joe Shriever, and Doe Decker.
(L-R back) Glen Butterfield and Mark Nichol; the third man (back-right) is unidentified.
My grandfather, Glenn Butterfield, and "Red" Huber were best buddies and Grandpa used to go with Red to Kentucky for the bootleg whiskey for the bar.
The Butterfield’s lived right across the road from The Hitching Post in the big, two story, two family house. As you faced the house from the highway, looking east, my Grandparents lived on the left (north) side and their son, Mark Glenn Butterfield lived in the right (south) side with his wife, Katherine and son, Mark, Jr.
That house, which I knew as the Butterfield home, is shown in the Cheesy Brencefield Quartet image, which Betty (Alston) Martin and her son, Rick Martin, contributed to the website. This is history I did not know about their house. Great!!!
Here is a brief sketch of the Butterfield family:
Glenn E. Butterfield married Grace Cameron Butterfield – and that union produced one son and three daughters:
> Son - Mark G. Butterfield, who married Katherine ___ Butterfield. Mark and Katherine had a son, Mark Jr.
> Daughter - Zelma Pearl "Sis" Butterfield, who married Ernie Glardon.
> Daughter - Maxine Evelyn Butterfield, who married Glen Louis Ward
> Daughter - Marjorie Jean Butterfield
My mother’s sisters, "Sis" and Margie worked at The Hitching Post for Red.
My grandmother, Grace C. Butterfield, used to play Bingo at the Knights of Pythias hall, as it was right next door to her house.
My mother’s sister, "Sis" Butterfield Glardon and her husband, "Ernie" Glardon were sister-in-law and brother to Ellis "Dugan" Glardon and his wife, Ethel Glardon. The Glardons operated the grocery store next to the Hitching Post. Their grandson, Don Beckett, later took over the grocery, which is now know and Don's Carry -Out.
Ellis "Dugan" Glardon also drove my school bus when I attended Collinsville School. My parents built the house that sits on the west side of Darrtown Road at the top of the hill. The school bus made a turn-around in front of our house, our south fence is the line for Milford and Hanover Townships. We used to put up a bamboo pole to hold up the telephone/electric wires so the school bus could drive through the driveway and not have to back up to turn around. It was pretty nice back then; I stepped out of my house on right onto the bus.
When first married, my parent’s built the house by the bridge on Darrtown Road, which may have been the part of the old camp; I am not sure about it. They were married in 1937, I was born in 1947 and we lived at that location until I was two years old. We then moved to the top of the hill where they built their second house and this has been my home all my life. While previously married, this has always been my home. I refer to myself as the Matriarch of Darrtown Road because I don’t think anyone has lived on the road as long as I have nor had a home here that was truly the home they still live in. The two acres that my house is on was part of the Ward Farm below. My parents bought the acreage from Ned & Esther Green.
The farm situated down the hill from the house where I live was the same farmhouse that my Dad (Glen Ward) was born in 1915. There have been many owners: I believe Benjamin Ward was my Dad’s father, Florence was his Mother. Ned & Esther Green, Dr. Clark Hobson, Ralph & Norma Steffen, all owners. Ken Thacker is the present owner. I am sure I have missed a few names that have owned the farm.
Ward Family: Benjamin Ward and Florence Ward, husband & wife and father/mother to: Thelma Ward – Thelma may have been the oldest of the Ward children.
Raymond (Ray) Ward
Kenneth (Kenny) Ward
Glen L. Ward (my Dad) Darrtown H.S. Class of 1933
Dorothy Ward Brooks (Clyde Brooks)
Some pictures mentioned Dorothy Ward and Nelson Ward. Dorothy was my Dad’s youngest sister and Nelson was one of Dad’s brothers.
My Dad’s father, Benjamin was also the Sunday School Teacher at the Lutheran Church and somewhere I have a pin that my Dad received for attending Sunday School for 10 or 11 years straight without missing a Sunday.
My Mother’s family attended the Methodist Church in Darrtown. I remember going to Easter Sunday services – one year we would go to the Lutheran Church and the next year the Methodist Church.
After the Wards sold the farm they moved to the house on the corner of Scott Road and 177 (Northeast side). I don’t have any other information regarding this house.
Les Bufler and my Dad (Glen) were good friends and I grew up with Les & Dorothy’s family, Jim, Roger, Claude, Glen (named after my Dad) and Sharon. Sharon and I were the same age and I do have old pictures from our childhood. Our families were very close growing up.
My Dad loved to ice skate and had the nickname of “Hockey” as he was pretty good at playing hockey on the Four Mile Creek with Les, Andy Popst. Not sure if Cliff Alexander and Smokey ever played on the creek or not, probably did. There is a picture of my Dad hanging on the old bridge on Darrtown Road, it’s pretty neat. A must find.
I have pictures of the Hamilton Boat Club, which Mother & Dad, Les & Dorothy Bufler, Andy & Dorothy Popst, Paul & Lois Weiss all enjoyed.
I used to sit with Betty Lindley on the school bus when I was little and remember her brother, Freddie.
Kirk (young Kirk) Mee III used to ride his pony up to 3621 Darrtown Road and cut grass for my parents.
Harry Teckman used to haul water to fill our swimming pool that we put in circa 1957 and also filled the cistern when we needed water.
I have two books published by the Fisherman’s Press that were illustrated by Roy K. Wills and written by R.W. Eschmeyer – "Willie Whitetail" (copyright 1953) (this one has a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number) and "Freddy Fox Squirrel" (copyright 1952). Roy Wills was a family friend and gave me the books as presents.
Not sure if any of this helps … for that it’s worth it’s yours. I am sure when I find pictures that it will trigger more thoughts and memories.
Thank you for the time and effort you have put into this website. It really is wonderful!
Sandy Ward Jolivette
Jolivette, Sandy (Ward)
Recollections of Fred Lindley
The following was written and contributed by Fred Lindley (circa 2010)
Background: Before sharing my recollections of Darrtown, I want to clarify that I was never a resident of the village; but, throughout my life, I have often told others (willingly, and with pride) that I grew up “near Darrtown.” I’ve always had a good feeling about Darrtown; in my experience, I’ve found the majority of people from Darrtown to be friendly, honest, “down to earth” people. As best I can recall, I never, ever had any regrets about being associated with Darrtown.
I will briefly digress from talking about Darrtown to explain how my association with the village came to be. I know that, if it were not for my Darrtown connection, my life would be vastly different.
I was born February 4, 1938 in Hamilton, Ohio. Through the early 1940’s, my family (father, Albert; mother, Bernice; younger sister, Betty Jean, and I) lived on a Wayne township farm between the villages of Jacksonburg and Trenton in eastern Butler County, Ohio. Unbeknownst to us, sometime before 1946, Mr. Herman L. Sanders, owner of the Butler County Lumber Company in Hamilton, bought the 180 acre farm at 3700 Hamilton Richmond Road, which is about a mile and a quarter south of Darrtown in Milford Township. Somehow, Mr. Sanders learned that my father was a good, hard-working farmer and Mr. Sanders approached my father about becoming a tenant farmer on a 50-50 basis. And so it was that, in 1945, during the second semester of my first year of school, we moved to the Sanders Stock Farm on Darrtown Pike, which we came to consider our home for the next two and a half decades.
Given that background, I offer the following as my recollections of Darrtown and the life that I associate with it. I hasten to add; these are just my memories, which may not be totally accurate. If you lived in and/or around Darrtown during my generation and have different views of how things were, please contact the Darrtown .com webmaster and share your perspective.
School Bus Rides: I will begin my recollections of Darrtown by describing the school bus rides, because my earliest impressions of Darrtown were formed as I rode back and forth, between our farm home on Darrtown Pike and the Collinsville school, where Milford Township elementary students attended. While riding the school bus through Darrtown, I would look out the window and wonder what went on in the various houses and businesses that we passed. Remember, I was a farm kid who lived “out in the country” and I didn’t get to visit “in town” very much. As I rode the bus, I would hear stories from the kids who lived in Darrtown about the games that they played after school or on the weekend (“Kick the Can” is one game that I recall hearing about as being a big deal for Darrtown kids). I missed out on that part of life, because I helped my father with chores and field work. I’m not bitter about that; I just remember that occasionally I would feel envious of the free time that the other kids seem to have.
“Pop” Taylor is the first school bus driver that I can remember. Later, Ellis “Dugan” Glardon drove us; Dugan drove the school bus for a lot of years. Our bus route ran about 30 minutes, which often seemed like an eternity - as the bus chugged along county roads making multiple stops and starts. For example, on the afternoon route home, we would travel west from Collinsville; drop off kids along State Route 73; then turn south at State Rt. 177 and head toward Darrtown. After making different stops in the village, we would begin “deadheading” from Darrtown to the end of the line on the different roads. We would go west on Schollenbarger Road to the Lanes Mill, then drive back to Darrtown, and then drive south on Darrtown Road to the Hanover Township line and then return to Darrtown. The same pattern was repeated for Hamilton Richmond Road and Scott Road. In the morning, the routes were repeated.
At some point in elementary school, I became a member of the American Automobile Association School Safety Patrol; which, at the time seemed like a big deal. The AAA provided a white cloth belt with a strap that went around the waist and over the shoulder and it sported a silver-colored AAA badge. It was my job to “supervise” the younger kids, as they got on and off the school bus. I would precede the other kids off the bus, and look in both directions of traffic to assure that the roadway was clear for any students who crossed the road in front of the bus. After some time on the job, the bus drivers even allowed me to operate the door handle. Wow! However, before I hit seventh grade, I decided that AAA duty wasn’t so “cool” and I “turned in my shield.”
When we finished the sixth grade at Collinsville School, we were allowed to choose whether to attend Seven Mile School, Oxford Stewart School, or the McGuffey Laboratory School - which was operated by Miami University. Most of my classmates favored attending Seven Mile, as I did - perhaps due to the athletic prowess of the Seven Mile Panthers at the time. I share this background information to explain why I remember our bus-riding experience as we rode to and from Seven Mile School on old Route 127. To reach Seven Mile, we would ride the school bus as usual from our homes in and around Darrtown to the Collinsville School. Then, we would transfer to another bus and ride from Collinsville to the Seven Mile. Mr. Welborn (Jerry’s father) drove the bus to Seven Mile; as I recall it was a Ford. When the bus would reach a certain speed, the floor of the bus would vibrate and it would continue to vibrate until the bus slowed. It was an irritating sensation and sometimes it seemed necessary to lift our feet from the floor for temporary relief. I think it is odd (yet, intriguing) how we retain small, seemingly irrelevant pieces of memory.
Grocery Stores: Glardon's Grocery was the primary store in town. For my sister and me - as little kids - it was a big deal to travel from our farm to Darrtown and shop for small grocery items at Glardon’s. Dugan and his wife, Ethel, ran the store. It was a small general store with food items and various odds and ends. We used Glardon’s for small purchases. We drove to Hamilton, primarily, on the weekends for larger items. One winter, during a particularly heavy snow storm, we drove our Allis-Chalmers farm tractor to Darrtown to purchase some provisions at Glardon’s.
In the late 1940's and early 1950's, there was another small grocery store across the street from Glardon’s. It was known as the Dees Grocery. They had gasoline pumps in front of the store. I also remember that they had some kind of “game of chance” that involved punching out numbers on a game board. Dad played it some; but Mom disapproved. The Dees family included a son, named Bob, and several daughters (see the Dees Family page).
Lane Library Bookmobile: The bookmobile was a regularly scheduled event at Collinsville School during the school year. Happily, the bookmobile came to Darrtown during the summer. They parked the bookmobile on the west side of the street between Glardon’s and the Hitching Post. It seems to me that there were some shade trees there - or maybe they just used the shade of the buildings. I’ve always loved reading and going to the bookmobile was fun. I remember being impressed to see different adults from the village using the bookmobile. I guess that, early in my life, I thought reading was something that only kids did in school - although I remember seeing both my parents reading at home. And, they taught me the alphabet and some basic words,before I ever went to school.
Church / Union Sunday School: My mother was a member of the Lutheran Church and both my sister and I followed her lead by becoming Lutherans. However, as explained on the “Churches” page of this website, for a long time, Darrtown church services alternated between the Lutheran Church and the Methodist Church. So, while some adults attended church every Sunday, singing hymns from whatever hymnal was in their hands at the time, other adults only attended church on alternating Sundays. The two constants were the Union Sunday School, which met every Sunday, in whichever church was having services and the Youth Choir. We kids, whether Lutheran or Methodist, sang at both churches, every Sunday - which, I suspect was the result of our wanting a reason to get together. For most of us, church activities were a primary social event.
Collinsville School: The school, which housed grades 1-6, was like a large family; although, it was hardly a large school. There were only four classrooms upstairs and the lower level consisted of a furnace room, a cafeteria, and an auditorium - with a stage, that featured a red-wine colored, velvet, pull curtain. In the mid-to- late 1940’s, they only used three of the four classroom. Three teachers each taught two grades levels. Mrs. Schmidt taught grades 1 and 2; Mrs. Rudisil taught grades 3 and 4; and Mrs. Teckman taught grades 5 and 6.
I enrolled at Collinsville School during the second half of my first grade school year in 1946 and ten years later, many of my classmates from that same first grade group stood alongside me at the Oxford Stewart graduation ceremonies. We were, in many ways, like brothers and sisters. When we transferred to Seven Mile for our seventh grade year and later when we began our junior year at Oxford Stewart, we went together - like a support group. In today’s vernacular, we “had each other’s back.”
The Collinsville school classrooms had cloak rooms with hooks on the wall for coats, hats, etc. There were steam heaters, beneath the windows along the outside wall, and I recall that, after being outside for recess on a wet day, we were allowed to place damp clothing on top of the heaters to dry. The desks were wooden with flat writing surfaces and hinged seats. The desktops each had a hole in the top to hold ink bottles; although, by the mid-1940's we mostly used pencils. Each desk had a storage shelf underneath - to hold papers and our “Think and Do” workbooks and our basic readers (as we learned to read, we became very familiar the the fictitious family of "Dick" and "Jane" and their pets - a dog named "Spot" and a cat named "Puff"). The feet of the desks were screwed to 1 inch by four inch wooden skids that were maybe 14 feet long. So, each row of desks accommodated about six students. It was a special event, when the teacher announced that we were rearranging the classroom and we would get to help push the desks around to face in a different direction. Of course, that only happened about once during the school year. At other times, it was a really big deal when the teacher would allow us to “trade” individual desks. In that case, if we had been well behaved, we would be rewarded by getting to choose a different location in the desk rows and sit next to a special friend.
The cafeteria probably sat about 40 students at tables with benches. The first school cook that I can remember was Anne Grollmus, who lived across the street from the school. She had three sons, Dale, Paul, and Melvin (“Shorty”); all were older than we. I think all the kids liked Mrs. Grollmus; she always seemed jovial. If there was food left over, she would give us extra servings. Thanks to Ann Grollmus, I developed a life-long love for peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.
The school had a belfry located over the main entrance; you climbed about four steps to reach the small room where they kept a cot as a place for kids to lie down, when not feeling well. They also had a set of scales that they used to weigh students; it was one with a platform that you stepped up on and it had a device attached to measure height.
Outdoor features at the school included the toilets; wooden, cold, smelly - but, essential. The boys’ restroom was located at the south end of the swing set area and the girls’ was at the opposite, north end.
South of the boys' toilet, there was a large (maybe four foot high and eight feet across?) pile of ashes that accumulated, as the custodian emptied the coal furnace during the winter. Over time the ashes would harden, so that we could run up and down the mound without sinking in. We boys would play “King of the Hill” on that ash pile; as one boy assumed a position at the top of the ash pile, other boys tried to dislodge him through a variety of pushes, pulls, tugs, and grabs (this activity obviously occurred before lawyers became a force in playground activities and equipment).
Two other playground attractions that would not pass muster today were the swings and the “johnnies."
The swings were made of metal chain and wooden seats, with gravel beneath. The best swingers in school would stand up in the swing seat and "pump" (pull against) the chains in an attempt to get so high that, on the backswing, the students could see the top of the horizontal pipe from which the swings were hung. The most adventuresome daredevils would conclude their turn in the swings by jumping from a swing at its highest point forward and landing as far as possible from the swing area.
The “johnnies” were perhaps more dangerous; this piece of playground equipment consisted of a metal pole, approximately eight inches in diameter and about 12-15 feet tall. At the top of the pole there was a revolving disk-like device from which there hung about six metal chains that ended about five feet off the ground. At the lower end of each chain, there were rectangular, metal devices that students could grasp. While holding onto the hand grips, the students would run around the pole; which caused the upper disk to turn. As the upper disk turned and the momentum built, the students would hang onto the hand grips and begin to sail in the air around the pole. It was great fun; but more than a little dangerous.
There were two metal fire escapes; one at the north end and one at the south end of the building - just outside the first and second grade room at the south end and the fifth and sixth grade room at the north end.. Mrs. Teckman, our fifth and sixth grade teacher would use the fire escape as a motivational strategy. Occasionally on warm days, she would allow pairs of students to sit on the fire escape and study spelling words together - all the while keeping the classroom door open of course.
Thinking about the classrooms and the teachers causes me to mention three Collinsville teachers in particular:
Mrs. Marie (Miller) Schmidt: Mrs. Marie Schmidt was small in stature; but she had a huge influence on countless students and fellow educators. I first knew her as my first and second grade teacher and elementary school principal (she was a combination teacher and principal). Later, Mrs. Schmidt was my boss, when I became the sixth grade teacher at Collinsville School in 1960. She and I became professional colleagues, when I was appointed principal at the Somerville School in 1962. As a measure of my profound respect for Mrs. Schmidt, I still have a reading book that she gave to me in 1946. Entitled “The Gingham Dog and The Calico Cat,” it bears her personal inscription that reads “1st in Every Pupil Reading Test - 1946 - Freddie Lindley - From Mrs. Schmidt.” Mrs. Schmidt displayed a gentle, but firm manner in her classroom that fostered a love of learning. She had a deft hand in classroom management; many of us students craved her approval and we did our best to avoid being banished, however briefly, to the “red chair” - which, looking back on it was no different than the other chairs that were painted a variety of colors. But, to have to sit on the dreaded red chair was punishment to be avoided.
Mrs. Virginia Teckman: One of my all-time favorite teachers was Mrs. Teckman. I consider her a master teacher. Mrs. Teckman used teaching techniques in the 1940’s that are touted today as cutting-edge teaching strategies. For example, the day after a spelling test, Mrs. Teckman would stand at the chalkboard and, without any written notes, review the words that particular individuals missed on the test the day before. Hence, she was utilizing formative assessment and providing meaningful and timely feedback. She also handled classroom management flawlessly; several were the times that we students were fidgeting in line, as we waited to enter the lunchroom or go to the bookmobile. Mrs. Teckman would walk over and place her hand on the shoulder of one particularly impatient student. Without a word, she calmed the moment and communicated the message. When she placed her hand on my shoulder, I felt as though I had taken on the weight of the world. Mrs. Teckman was a great teacher; she covered the basics and prepared us well.
Mrs. Mable Bradbury: I did my student teaching with Mrs. Bradbury and I learned a lot from her. She too ran a “tight ship.” Lessons were well organized and presented in an interesting fashion. During my time with her, she provided helpful feedback to me. She taught fifth grade and the year after I did my student teaching with her, I was hired to teach the sixth grade at Collinsville. So, those same fifth graders and I moved on to the sixth grade together. That was a learning experience for the students and for me! At the end of many work days during my first year of teaching, I found myself back in Mrs. Bradbury’s classroom discussing the challenges that I was encountering as a novice teacher. Mabel Bradbury was my mentor, long before school administrators thought of creating teacher-mentor programs.
Collinsville Classmates: Kenny Russell, Ralph Yauger, Jerry Neal, and I became best buddies during our years at Collinsville School. I think we were all together as early as the fourth grade and we graduated together at Stewart. Kenny, Ralph, and I still get together occasionally. Last we heard, Jerry was living in Missouri.
Collinsville “Tom Boys”: For our younger readers, I will explain that the term “tom boy” was used to describe a girl who played sports, climbed trees, and so forth, as well as any boy might. I am including this little section about tom boys, because, I would be remiss, if I failed to mention Frances and Roberta. Frances Beiser and Roberta Napier were two of the best elementary school athletes that I ever knew. Those two girls played softball with all the boys and were NOT the last ones chosen for the teams. They both went on to become outstanding high school athletes.
Ken Russell’s Cushman Scooter: Several years before any of us had our driver’s license, Kenny Russell had personal transportation. During the late 40’s and early 50’s, the Russell family lived at the intersection of Harris Road and Route 177. Kenny had a pale, yellow Cushman scooter that he used to travel all over the place, while the rest of us walked, pedaled bicycles, or rode with our parents. I don’t think I was alone in thinking that Kenny was a “lucky dog” to have his own wheels; even, if they were only two.
Harry Teckman: I was probably only nine or ten years old when Harry Teckman first drove his stock truck into our barn yard to haul livestock to the Cincinnati Stock Yards. His truck was always clean; after he hauled one load of livestock, he must have used a shovel and water hose to clean the truck before taking on another job. The truck was a Dodge (I think); the cab and hood were painted orange and the fenders were black. The truck racks were yellow and he always had clean straw spread in the bed of the truck, when he arrived to transport our livestock..
I remember the first time that I watched Harry pull the loading plank from under the truck. It looked heavy; maybe 8-10 feet long. My father helped Harry hook one end of the plank to the back of the truck, so that it sloped to the ground. Then, they removed the loading chute racks from the opposite sides of the truck and stood them in the slots along the edge of the plank. Then, Harry would go up the chute and open the two sliding doors. Now, we were ready to load the livestock. Harry was gentle with the animals, as they were herded up the loading chute; however, when he had to, he would use an “electric cane” to deliver a shock to the rump of any animal that was particularly reluctant to board the truck.
For the first couple of years, I had to stay home, when Harry and my father transported the livestock to the Cincinnati stock yards. Consequently, it was a big deal, when I was deemed old enough to make the trip to the Queen City. Finally, I was allowed to squeeze in between Harry and my dad in the truck cab and ride to Cincinnati. I did my best to keep my knees out of the way, as Harry maneuvered the floor-mounted gear shift. My father pointed out to me that, once we hit city traffic, Harry constantly looked two or three traffic lights ahead to synchronize his ground speed with the traffic signals, so that he would avoid frequent stops and starts. That made for an easier ride for the animals (and reduced the weight that they lose during the trip - after all, their value at the market was related to what they weighed when they crossed the scales). To this day, when I’m driving in city traffic and looking several traffic lights ahead, I remember that I learned that practice from Harry Teckman, while riding in his livestock truck.
I was a member of the Milford Township 4-H Livestock Club for 11 years and the Butler County Fair was a culminating experience for all 4-H members. I exhibited Angus steers and Berkshire hogs at the county fair and every year, Harry drove our steers and hogs to the Fair Grounds in Hamilton. Harry Teckman was an integral part of my years as a farm boy.
Constable Owen Kelly: In 1948, the house at 4311 Oxford Street became home to Owen Kelly, his wife, and four daughters. The Kelly family came to Darrtown from Boston, Massachusetts. He was the stereotypical, New England character; Owen possessed a quick wit and a sharp opinion that he was not hesitant to express. To his credit, when presented with the opportunity to serve as a voluntary town constable, Owen readily accepted and subsequently fulfilled the role - beyond the expectation of his townspeople. He worn a policeman’s hat, with a badge, and he outfitted his car with a red light. On those Saturdays, when the Miami University football team played at home (in Oxford, Ohio), Constable Kelly positioned his car at the intersection of State Routes 177 and 73. Owen’s presence, as a law enforcement officer, prompted drivers to exercise extra caution when approaching the crossroads that had seen several serious auto accidents through the years.
The Election of Constable Owen Kelly: To borrow a line from the Paul Harvey radio show, here is the “rest of the story,” behind Constable Owen Kelly. During the 1950’s, my father served as a precinct judge for both the primary and general elections in Darrtown. The polling booths were set up in the Darrtown K of P hall. By that time, Ron Wiley and I became good friends. We discovered that we had a similar sense of humor; for example, we both enjoyed the dialogue on the Yogi Bear TV show, which now seems rather lame (“Hello to you, Boo Boo”). We also liked the (then) edgy writing and cartoons in Mad magazine. So, it followed that we were quick to pounce on ideas involving harmless pranks and/or practical jokes. That’s where my father’s work as a precinct judge came into play. One particular year, while reviewing some of the election material, in advance of the election, Ron and I learned that the position of town constable appeared on the printed ballot that Darrtown voters would be using. But, the name space on the ballot was empty; no one was running for the job. My father explained that the space for a name had been blank for several years and multiple elections. And, with that bit of information, the light bulb switch clicked to the “on” position. Who, wondered the two of us, might we promote as a write-in candidate? And, so it was that the “Elect Kelly Constable” campaign was born.
Several nights before the election, working on the kitchen floor of the Lindley farm house, Ron and I created hand-painted posters/signs with election slogans that included “Elect Kelly Constable,” “Clean Up City Hall,” “Stop the Graft,” “Make Our Streets Safe,” “Write-In Owen,” etc. Then, on election eve, under the cover of darkness, we posted the signs around town - at Luther’s Garage, Glardon’s Grocery, the Hitching Post, on telephone poles, and so forth. We even created an "Elect Kelly" paper banner that stretched across Main Street from in front of Luther’s garage to the house on the opposite side of the street. We thought we had it properly positioned; it looked great - until the first semi-tractor trailer barreled down Main Street and ripped it down. I think that banner was on display for all of three minutes.
But, that was the only set-back to our adolescent careers as clandestine, political campaign managers. The next day, the citizens spoke. Yes, to our delight, people actually wrote in Owen Kelly’s name for town constable. As a result, Owen was elected Town Constable and the rest, as they say, is history!
The Omar Bakery Bread Truck: Movies, TV shows, and other forms of media depicting home life in the mid-20th century sometimes include images of, or references to, the delivery of milk to individual houses. In a similar manner, at some point in the 1940’s and 50’s, while living on the farm at 3700 Hamilton Richmond Road, we had bread delivered to our home by an Omar Bakery bread truck. I cannot recall the driver’s name; but, I remember that he seemed like a really nice fellow and he ran the route long enough that we considered him a friend of the family. I remember that the Omar Bakery was located on Route 4 in Hamilton, across from the Butler County Fairgrounds - we could see the bakery when we showing our livestock at the Butler County fair.
50-50 Dances: Before Bill Haley and the Comets lit up the country with “Rock Around the Clock,” before Elvis introduced us to blue suede shoes, and yes, before black and white images of Dick Clark’s “American Band Stand” streamed into our homes via table-top television sets, Darrtown had its 50-50 dances (see an image of a dance poster on a back wall of the Dees Grocery store). Held at the Darrtown K. of P. hall in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, the “50-50” dances featured both “round” and “square” dancing. “Round dancing” referred to dancing as couples - similar to ballroom dancing - and “square” meant dancing in groups of eight (four couples) in response to the melodic directions of a square dance “caller.” It was a genuine family atmosphere; people of all ages engaged in the dances. As a youngster (eight, nine, ten years old), my first dance lessons occurred on the K. of P. hardwood floor, thanks to adult women like my mother and other female family relatives (aunt Anna Mae Alston, Aunt Hazel Bufler, etc.). I remember the fun of running out on the dance floor when the band was taking a break and sliding across the surface as Uncle Dick Bufler and others spread a product (soap powder?) on the floor to make it slippery for dancing.
We entered the K. of P. Hall at the west entrance - facing Main Street. The dance “hall” was (according to my memory) probably some 30-40 feet wide and 50-60 feet long. There were wooden benches along the north and south walls. A stage was located at the east end of the room, which could be accessed by a short series of steps at either side of the stage. The musicians and the square dance caller were positioned on the raised platform. A concrete block addition, maybe 12 feet by 15 feet, was located in the northeast corner of the structure and served as a refreshment area. Restroom facilities were located outback (yes, they were the old-fashioned “outhouses”).
It seems that the dances occurred throughout the year. I am certain that they were held during the summer months (I remember that we little kids would run outside to cool off during the evening). I know there was a wood/coal stove that sat in the southwest corner of the room, which I think it was used to provide heat during winter dances.
All in all, the 50-50 dances at Darrtown were a social highlight during my early lifetime.
Department Store Cashiers: Picture, if you will, the pneumatic tube that is commonplace at 21st century drive-in banks and/or drugstores. You sit in your car, put your money or prescription into the container, place it in the receptacle, and send it inside. That same concept, albeit with different materials, was used by a department store in Hamilton, Ohio during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I recall accompanying my mother as she shopped in a store on High Street (it may have been a McCrory’s store). My mother paid the clerk; the clerk placed the money in a cylindrical container and placed in some kind of metal tube that extended upwards to the ceiling, where the container traveled to a central location. After a few minutes, the change and receipt arrived back where we were waiting. Perhaps the store used the tubular system to avoid the expense of providing cash registers throughout the store. I don’t know what happened to that technology; it disappeared for several years/decades. Now, it is back in vogue.
Meat Lockers: Like many families in the late 1950’s, we did not have a large refrigerator at home and the freezer compartment was pretty much limited to making ice cubes and storing a few pints of ice cream. However, to supplement our food supply, we did our own butchering of livestock. In order to preserve the meat over time, we took advantage of a new facility in Hamilton, Ohio. We rented a space at the meat locker, which some enterprising entrepreneur constructed along the south side of High Street - approximately four blocks east downtown. Then, whenever we butchered, we would wrap the freshly processed beef and/or pork in “butcher” paper and transport it to the locker where it would be frozen for long-term storage. In the weeks and months that followed, we would periodically drive to Hamilton, stop at the meat locker, and pick up some meat for our meals at home.
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW; IF I THINK OF OTHER RECOLLECTIONS, I WILL ADD THEM LATER.
Recollections of Luther and Opal McVicker
The following narrative was taken from “The Old and Now In Darrtown, Ohio: An Oral History,”
which Jon Jeffrey Patton wrote as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy
Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1988.
The following excerpts from the Patton paper do not represent the paper in its entirety.
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Opal and Luther McVicker still get along by themselves despite their old age.
She's eighty-eight and frail while he is ninety-two and slowing down. Even today, their language reflects their life activities.
Opal speaks clearly, like a schoolteacher should. Luther, on the other hand, is a mumbling storyteller.
He spent many hours shooting the breeze with long-time friends at his filling station in uptown Darrtown.
Luther: “My father came here from Brownsville, Indiana, that's Union County, in 1880. But, there had been McVickers here in Darrtown before him. They paid a dollar an acre for 322 acres two miles south of town. I don't know when that was … I was born down on that farm in 1896. Got married in 1920 and moved into this house in 1926. We've been here ever since. It was winter, when we got acquainted. We used to go skating and sledding together. Opal had been teaching up here at the Darrtown School.”
Opal: “We met in the Methodist Church. So, we've been Methodists since then, even if his name is Luther. We're fair contributors to the Methodist Church and we give some to the other two. We have a good community life with the three churches that we've gone to all our lives. We have some friends at the Lutheran and Baptist Churches, too. For a long time, the social clubs from all the churches would meet together. Now that we're bigger, we just invite the others once in a while. But our Methodist Church has gone down in membership and we're a bit worried because we don't have a Sunday School anymore. Luther goes to church when I urge it enough. He doesn't like it, so he's going on my shirt-tail.”
Luther: “I hate to dress up on Sundays.”
Luther: “Darrtown was named for the Darrs. Johnny Darr was the last one here. He was hit by a car on 177. His house was in terrible shape. He had a spring wagon top over his bed to keep dry. Some folks said it was an umbrella or a truck top; but, I was in there, after he died. He was a witty old fellow. He used to tend market two days a week. Tuesday and Friday, he'd take a bunch of vegetables to town and sell them. Somebody said they saw him coming home one day and asked him if he seen a certain guy down the road. Darr said, “I passed him about a quarter-inch this side of Chris Gilbert." One day, the cornet band was marching through Darrtown to the cemetery and Johnny Darr missed the turn on Shollenbarger Road. He was a little too intent on his music. Of course, he only had one eye and that kind of fooled him. Hughes Kyger was another old guy around here. His right name was Huston, but everyone called him Hughes. He used to wear an old bathrobe, for an overcoat. They say, when he died, he had seven shirts on. When I knew him, I was about thirty and he was way up there in his eighties. He had long whiskers, I know; one of the early folks here. He wouldn't pay much attention to kids, but you can't blame him for that.”
Opal: “Our kids have been good to us. Our telephone is hooked up on the same line as our daughter, Jean's. If anything would happen, we got it so we just hit one button to call her.”
Luther: “I remember when it was called the Darrtown Telephone Company. L.A. Miller owned that. The phone service wasn't that good and there were a lot of eaves droppers; but not me. I never could get much of a kick by listening on the telephone. Mrs. (deleted) used to listen. You could hear her breathing.”
Opal: “We've done alright for ourselves. All of our children got college educations. But, our one son was killed in Germany, in a bombing raid, in 1944. After I was teaching for a while, I went back to school, too. In 1951, I graduated from Miami University for the second time. The first time was teachers' college, or normal school.”
Luther: “My first year in high school was my only year in high school. After that, I quit and went to farming. I had a chance to farm for myself on my dad's farm. We went on thirds or halves; I can't remember. But, I made a few dollars. I'm kind of sorry I got out of farming. There was a chance to make some money farming in them days, when tractors came along. But I got to monkeying around with automobiles and got into that game. Right after I married, I opened up that garage uptown. I did all kinds of repair work; valves, piston rings, bearings; things like that. Howard Cox helped me some. He was a natural-born mechanic. He could take something out of nothing and make something out of everything. His wife is in the rest home now.
Every evening, a gang would come in the garage and tell jokes and stories on the liar's bench. Hansel family, Teckman family, and three or four other families; the whole bunch. Kirk Mee used to bum around in my garage quite a bit. We were sorry to see him leave Darrtown…I used to toss the baseball with Kirk; just loafing at the garage. Kirk's a good fellow. When he was just a kid, he and I went to the other side of Dayton to see Lindbergh.
Another time, I went to Dayton with Smokey Alston to watch him play pool with Minnesota Fats. Smokey was quite a pool player. He had a pool table on the first floor of his house.
I had a pretty nice little business over there at the garage. We sold several gallons of gasoline every evening, and some oil, spark plugs, points, condensers and stuff like that sometimes. During the Depression, things were a little different. People would come in and leave their watch, instead of cash. But they needed gas, so I gave it to them. I never lost much money; just a few dollars, because I watched my books pretty good.”
[End of interview]
McVicker, Luther & Opal
Recollections of Cynthia Mee
The following narrative was written and contributed by Cynthia Mee.
At the conclusion of a movie, I think it might be a Universal Film, a Big Blue Marble is shown spinning around; a Big Blue Marble photographed by various astronauts as they have circled the earth on their quests exploring outer space. When I see this spinning Big Blue Marble, called Earth, I try to focus my individual camera lens, seeking to find the patterns of various continents in familiar shapes on the spinning globe. I look even more closely to find North America, where I live, and I look for the mid-west, more specifically, Ohio. I tighten my focus to the center of Butler County, and there, in my mind, I see it, Darrtown, a little, tiny community that might be unappreciated and unrecognizable, by anyone traveling North on Rt. 177 from Hamilton, Ohio, to Richmond, Indiana.
This is the kind of community that if you blink while driving through, you might miss. There are hundreds…thousands of such unappreciated communities, in the state, in the country, in the continent, and in the world. Yet to dismiss these little communities would be to miss the home of several generations of several families and what these community members to “the greater society” contributed would be lost.
As you travel along the road one-half mile through Darrtown on Highway 177 nothing outstanding attracts travelers. There are no outstanding skyscrapers or potpourri of beautiful homes; there are no smells to whet the appetite (except the occasional pungent whiff of manure); there are no shopping malls or array of stores to entice shopping junkies. Oh, there is a small grocery store, Don’s Grocery, which belonged to Don’s grandparents and then his parents, where you can buy soda, beer, and other necessities like, milk, bread, and eggs (but Don doesn’t sell penny candy like his grandparents did).
Next to Don’s Grocery is the Hitching Post; a long established roadside watering hole for local residents and college kids from a university town when the town was “dry”. Local pride is demonstrated by a sign on the wall of The Hitching Post:
America: The Best in the World
Ohio: The Best in America
Darrtown: The Best in Ohio
Darrtown does not espouse to be a hotbed of celebrities. However, Walter “Smokey” Alston, former manager of the Brooklyn “Bums” and the L.A. Dodgers was raised, schooled and died in Darrtown. Because of Smokey, the Darrtown residents have been loyal fans to the Dodgers despite Darrtown’s close proximity to the Cincinnati Reds.
Darrtown has been the home to both the Methodist and Lutheran Churches for generations. Little churches whose quaint pews might hold 50 parishioners. A new third church, Baptist, has joined the religious community of Darrtown recently, indicating a growth in the town as well as in religious beliefs.
Tradition has been a way of life in Darrtown, but now the older generations are dying off and new families are moving to Darrtown; the complexion of the community is changing as well as its attitudes and traditions. The planted roots of the old “Darrtowners” are deep, but today’s roots don’t grow as deep as the new families come and go leaving behind them their Darrtown “home.”
A group of old “Darrtowners,” The Darrtown Stock Protective Association, which was originally formed as a vigilante group to chase away chicken, cattle, and horse thieves, still gathers together for an annual oyster dinner the first Saturday in February. To keep their tradition rich the men still buy the food, as they have for the last century while the women prepare the oysters in a variety of ways; the men still eat together in the dining hall while the women still eat in the kitchen. These activities are well grounded traditions, for most of these people have been attending the dinner for over half of a century. Those eating at the oyster dinner this year are well over 70 yeas old; the oldest attending this year was 94, the youngest was a mere 47.
This network of old “Darrtowners” in the Stock Protection Association hang onto the town’s precious history as they live today and prepare for tomorrow. A new president and vice-president were elected this year. The past-president of fifty years died last year, two months after the oyster dinner, and the vice-president is 96 years old and is not in good enough health to assume the role (he was given the honorary title of Chairman of the Board). The dinner this year was not easy for the old timers for the absences of these experienced officers was a not so gentle reminder of time and tradition.
Much of the Darrtown Stock Protective Association’s business meeting this year was focused on the Darrtown Cemetery. Reading the tombstones on a stroll through Darrtown’s beautifully manicured cemetery is a rich ethnographic history of “old” Darrtown families. These symbols of life and announcements of death state who and when someone resided in Darrtown. Occasionally you might read a final thought about or by someone providing words of love or advice to those of us who take time to walk by and read the chosen words.
You might read the weathered tombstones names “Teckman,” “Hansel,” “Mee,” “Alston,” “McVicker,” and “Darr” when reading the epitaphs of early families who contributed to the community in size and commitment. Not too may of these families have children who live in Darrtown today -they have moved away to seek their own fame and fortune, but there will be a day when they will return and join their families at “home” in rest and in peace. The manicured, peaceful beauty of this old cemetery symbolizes the love and respect that the old caretaker has for his present Darrtown home; he knows it will also be his future home.
The “old timers” in the Darrtown Stock Protective Association know this, too, and that is why they voted to provide money to plant new trees as the older ones die (just as they are adding younger members to the organization). They also gave money to plant flowers and brushes around a large boulder they gave to the cemetery to celebrate their 100th birthday, two years ago. A final cemetery contribution from the association this year was a plaque to commemorate their long term president, R. Kirk Mee II’s, dedication to Darrtown, the organization, and the cemetery. This plaque will be placed on either the celebrated boulder or a much needed new flag pole. The Darrtown Stock Protection Association no longer has chicken, cattle, or horse stock to protect. The stock they now protect is themselves, their families, their community, and their history.
Fading with time and death is Darrtown’s insignificant, yet significant, history. Today’s transient community members are involved in “getting through the day.” They might not be concerned with how, when and why Conrad Darr with Robert and William Ogle purchased this patch of land in 1802 and created a community. Conrad laid out the community naming it after himself, engaging himself in a process of naming communities practiced globally. This history of their new found home is not why they chose their location; other factors influenced their decision to move to Darrtown.
Day after day, hour after hour, car after car, truck after truck drive up or down the highway through Darrtown, but rarely does anyone stop; there is not a stop sign or traffic light to even engage a traveler in a momentary visit. Maybe a thirsty driver will stop and buy a soda at Don’s Grocery store or a beer from The Hitching Post. An old one-pump gas station, which was once was owned by the new Chairman of the Board of the Darrtown Stock Protection Association and was the daily meeting place for the “old timers" might draw a customer to fill a near empty gas tank or ask directions to someplace else.
There really isn’t much happening in this little “blink of an eye and you’d miss it” community. Not much, but a little life and a little death; not much but some laughter and some tears; not much but a little history being forgotten and a little being made.
Recollections of R. Kirk Mee II
The following narrative was taken from “The Old and Now In Darrtown, Ohio: An Oral History,” which Jon Jeffrey Patton wrote
as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy Interdisciplinary Studies
(Western College Program) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1988.
The following excerpts from the Patton paper do not represent the paper in its entirety.
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Driving (south) into Darrtown on state route 177, you’ll spot the “big house,”
formerly the Mee mansion, on the right. It’s still beautiful. Kirk Mee sold the big house twenty-five years ago and
moved into a small, brick ranch house next door. He lived there, with his wife, Betty, for thirteen years,
going on occasional mushroom hunts with Howard Cox for entertainment. Now, he lives in Oxford.
Kirk rarely goes to Darrtown. Instead, he remembers the days when he raised English bulldogs,
farmed and had milk cows, loafed at Luther McVicker’s garage, and played cards at the Hitching Post.
Farther back in his memory, though still vivid, are the baseball games and afternoon swims of his youth.
“In the late 1890s, my grandfather and his half-brother, Sam Kirkpatrick, bought the north edge of Darrtown. They remodeled the house and finished it in 1901. They operated five farms with tenants. My dad, his particular generation, what he inherited, he more or less spent and barely held on to it, until my brother and I inherited it.
The Smith family worked for my parents as day hands for thirty-two years. Kurt Smith did all of the stone work at the big house about 1920. He could do anything. At the time, he worked for a dollar a day. Louise Smith kept the purse strings. She did washing and ironing and cleaning. And they accumulated several pieces of property in Darrtown which my father owned, because when times got bad in the Depression, he couldn't afford to pay them. We were land poor. So, periodically the old man would deed over a piece of property to the Smiths.
Walter Alston's uncle was the tenant on our lower farm, just south of the Darrtown square. And Walter, we called him Smokey; he spent a lot of his time visiting his uncle. Smokey and I were the same age. Well, I was from September to December older than he was. But we grew up as kids together.
We used to play baseball morning, afternoon, and night. After a time, we'd quit playing baseball and go down to the creek on our bicycles and go swimming about three times a day. So it was just a life, very repetitious. We did the same things day in and day out. But, then, on in high school years, Smokey stayed in Darrtown and I come to McGuffey. My brother was a freshman and I was in sixth grade. Every other year, they would have the high school in Darrtown, and the other year in Collinsville. So my folks decided they'd put us in McGuffey. Smokey stayed in Darrtown. But, we were always good friends. But, we were never on the same baseball or basketball team. Course, they didn't have football in Darrtown and McGuffey did.
Doc Alston, who was Smokey's uncle, pitched in the first baseball game between Darrtown and Hooven's in the late summer of 1920. Doc's wife just died a couple days ago out here in the rest home, and she was up in her nineties.
Darrtown's team was considered one of the best in the country. They claimed to be the best. Back in those days, a lot of the industrial shops in Hamilton had their own teams. Hooven's was one of the best. So we challenged them to a three-game series. I was there, selling cold pops from Jack Wendel's grocery store out of a galvanized bucket for a nickel a bottle. The games were down near my lower farm on 177, which was a gravel road at the time. In the first game, the score was two to two until the late innings. But, Charlie Root finished for Hooven's and won it ten to two. The second game, Hod Eller, he was a shine-ball pitcher (and it was getting really vicious now), threw for Darrtown. So, Hod Eller, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, went against Charlie Root, of the Chicago Cubs. Darrtown won, one to nothing. Legs Weilman pitched for Hooven's in the final game. He played for the St. Louis Browns. Hooven's won thirteen to three.
Those games drew over three thousand paid admissions. Sunday baseball was the big thing in these small communities at that time. So, in 1921, Darrtown joined the KIO league, which was Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The first game there, Potter's Tramps, which was a shoe company, beat Darrtown. The league was short-lived because of financial problems.
Later on, Smokey Alston managed the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played a lot of minor league baseball but got into one big league game when he was with the Cardinals. Smokey got up to bat one time and it was Charlie Root who struck him out. After the game, Dizzy Dean said to Smokey, ‘Don't let that worry you. Charlie Root's struck out many better men than you.'"
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Luther McVicker still insists that Charlie Root, who was scheduled to pitch again for Darrtown, was paid by Hooven's to miss the rubber game. Nevertheless, Darrtowners consider the loss to Hooven's just another piece of bad luck. Many times, Darrtown has been slighted or even cheated. Kirk (Mee), for example, remembers the proposed Darrtown railroad that never materialized.
“We never got a courthouse in Darrtown, either. The big square in Darrtown was laid out for the county seat. In the meantime, somebody built a firehouse over there, several years back. But that's where the Butler County courthouse was supposed to sit.
That reminds me of the old Darr Gas and Oil Company. In 1921, Frank Sloat, he was a Hamilton resident, got interested in the gas that was seeping up through Four Mile Creek. You could see these bubbles coming up. Frank, he would take a five gallon can, cut the bottom out of it, light the gas, and the flames would rise two or three feet high. So the Darr Gas and Oil Company was formed with local money out of Hamilton. It incorporated, by subscription, for $100,000.
My father was one of the directors and contributed a little money towards it. They employed a driller from Kentucky. He had a portable rig, powered by a steam boiler. The first well was drilled in 1922 on one of our farms across the road from the Darrtown cemetery. They found gas at about four hundred feet. They used the gas from this well, instead of a coal-fired boiler, and moved to well number two, which was about fifty feet north and drilled about fourteen hundred feet. They used the gas from the shallow well for the boiler to propel the rig for the second well. They found a lot of low-pressure gas.
Then, they moved about two thousand feet north, up on more or less rolling ground, still on one of our farms, and went down about 750 feet. When they brought the well in, they usually hired somebody else to spring the well in. Not the local drillers; and the guy that brought the well in used twenty-five quarts of nitroglycerin, which was way too much. It just blew up the casing and ruined the well. They always figured that guy was paid off to put the company out of business.
But in 1925, the first two wells were connected together. They had all this casing left over that was piled up for several years. So my father went out to Terre Haute, Indiana to some gas supply company and made a deal where he traded them this eight-inch casing for two-inch pipe. It's about two miles from this well down to the big house. And the house was piped for gas. We used that, until my dad died in 1948. The gas was piped into the furnaces, four fireplaces and the burners in each of the bedrooms upstairs.
Periodically, we would have the water bailed out of those wells, because it was low-pressure. We had to put a compressor in one of the buildings there to bring the gas in. It wasn't very dependable. In the winter time, I would come home and mother would say the gas was off. I would have to take a couple of pipe wrenches and start running the line back. The gas line was on the surface of the ground and at every contour of the ground there would be a drain plug at the lowest level. The gas wasn't strong enough to push through the water and the moisture would collect and then if that damn thing would freeze, you didn't know when you'd have gas again. I could always tell where the problem was because I could hear the flow of gas. Sometimes I would have to walk the complete line and sometimes I would get by and only have to walk half. It seemed like, in the spring of the year, when the farmers would start plowing and open up the soil, the gas would get low until we would get a good rain. Then it would seal the ground and we would have more pressure then."
Webmaster Note: Kirk's recollections [in the preceding five paragraphs] about the Darr Gas Company and the presence of natural gas in the Darrtown area relate to a similar enterprise that was undertaken some 20 years earlier, when local entrepreneurs attempted to harness the resource. See Recollections / Community / 1901_1 - Drilling for Gas Begins at Darrtown.
"When I was a kid, Franklin Roosevelt came to the big house when he was Secretary of the Navy. It wasn't such a big deal. He was on a political campaign. They'd stopped in Oxford. On the way to Hamilton, they stopped at the big house. I have a friend, Don Murray, he's out in California now, and he remembers the whole thing. He says it was a big affair. He's trying to elaborate, really making something of it. But, hell, he wasn't even there, because I didn't even know this kid, at the time, because I was too small myself. It was later that I went to high school with him. But, Don had heard the story so many times; he thought he was involved in it too; something really big.
After the Depression, it took the old man until the late Thirties or early Forties before he got back on his feet again. And, he did that in politics. He was Sergeant of Arms, up in the State Senate. And, Charlie Roberts was a contractor north of Hamilton. They put in a big bridge there across the river, the Third Street extension. During that time, they had one of these floods that come in and washed everything that he had done out and lost it. So, it was through my father, knowing some of the Senators in Columbus, that got a sundry claims for Charlie Roberts, who was a friend.
Roberts, and my father and mother went to Ohio Northern University up at Ada. Charlie became a contractor, and had this job down there. And through the sundry claims, Charlie was reimbursed quite a few thousand dollars on that Miami River flood damage that washed him out. So, it was a favor, then, that my father got through the Senate.
I was there at the Neale House in Columbus, and now we're in the Thirties. Charlie Roberts came in there and opened up a satchel and spilled out this cash on the bed that he gave the old man. We were land-poor and the old man had to mortgage all the farms. And, that's how my father got the money to pay off the mortgage to First National Bank, which I later became director of, down in Hamilton.
See, this whole thing has a weird taste to it; because, to get my dad out from under his obligation to the bank, the President of the bank, First National in Hamilton, wanted him to burn the big house to get the insurance money, so he could collect and pay off the mortgage. But the old man wouldn't do that. He was too proud of the house. But, another incident that I can recall in Hamilton (I don't want to mention any names on it right now) that so happened. He had to burn his home to satisfy the bank.
Many years later, well, I still am Director Emeritus of the big First National Bank down in Hamilton. I was on the Board of the Oxford National Bank. And, First National took over the Oxford National Bank. They had to accept three members of the First Board taken from the old Oxford National Board. I was one of the three. So, it was me, a retired farmer, sitting around the table with fourteen or fifteen millionaires. They retired me a couple years ago.
When I was in high school, we had Model T's. The old man had a Lincoln and a Cadillac Coupe. Whatever car would be running that particular day, we'd come to school in. It was an interesting situation. We're talking about Prohibition now. Hamilton used to be called 'Little Chicago.' It was quite a gangster hangout; a lot of bootlegging and whiskey-running back in those days. And, these cars would be stolen out of Chicago and they'd make a run to Hamilton with bootleg whiskey, or vice versa. That's how the old man got his Cadillac and his Lincoln. After they'd make the run, they would hide the car. When I was a kid, they would be in the barn maybe for a period of a month or so. The old man paid two thousand dollars for the Lincoln and five hundred for the Cadillac. They were practically new cars. I don't know how they managed to change the title, so he could get tags; but, there were ways.
Darrtown was, more or less, what we call a bedroom district for Hamilton. Hamilton has always been an industrial type of town; lots of shops in Hamilton-not nearly as many today as there were back in the Thirties and Forties. When the Ford Company came there, in the Twenties, that's when Henry Ford offered people five dollars a day. That drained a lot of the other shops and foundries, like Champion Paper Company, because they were only paying about three dollars a day. When Henry Ford put his plant in there, a lot of people in Darrtown started working for him. Five dollars a day; minimum, that was big money.
It was damn tough on my parents during the Depression. They just didn't have the money to keep both kids in school, so I dropped out and went to work in Columbus in the State Highway Department. My dad was up there at the time and he was Sergeant of Arms in the Senate. It was no problem for him to get me a political job. I started to work about 1933. I made good money in Columbus during the Depression. Fourteen hundred dollars a year salary, plus an expense account. By staying in cheap hotels, I could make money on my expense account, too. The Depression was my best time.”
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Kirk was transferred by the Highway Department to Middletown, where he worked for awhile before returning to Darrtown. After a childhood of recreation and good fortune during the early Thirties, Kirk had to run the farm.
“When I took over, some of the tenants were dairying and milking. Everything was on a fifty-fifty basis between landlord and tenant. When we divided the stock up; I ended up with quite a few milk cows. So, for a short time I milked; sold cream. I bought a separator from Eddie Thome to separate cream from milk. Fortunately, it had an electric motor on it. Every Saturday night, they would take your cream to the cream station up at Oxford to Herschel Charles. They would weigh it and check the butterfat. Maybe, a three-gallon can of cream would buy me a whole week's supply of groceries. It was a seven day a week job and I never begrudged anybody for any dime they made milking, because you're there morning and night, twice a day. I was doing it by hand; I wasn't big enough to have milking equipment. That didn't suit me too well, so I disposed of the milk cows.
I black-marketed back in those days. See, meat was rationed during the war. There was always a demand for meat. Slaughterhouses weren't delivering, because there just wasn't that much around. But I had a couple of connections in Hamilton; just a couple of neighborhood stores. Every Sunday, I would butcher a beef or two down on the lower farm and the guys would come and take it to the butcher shop. It wasn't government inspected; but, it was good beef.
I wasn't making any money on it, though. I was getting rid of my dairy stuff and took that money and reinvested it in beef cattle. I bought registered Hereford cattle. I'd go down there and talk to those cows on a first name basis. They're just like people. I'd rub their backs and walk through the herd just like family. You got close to them. I got to the place where, I would buy eighty to a hundred feeders in the fall of the year, grain-feed them during the winter time, and fatten them, and sell them in the spring. After you're with those cattle day and night, you get acquainted with them. You can tell when one is feeling bad or not, by association. But you can't get to the place where you can't sell them and have them slaughtered. You can't be that personal. But, it's a joy to raise and fatten cattle.
When I was farming, I always thought I was losing half a day, if I didn't get to the field by seven o'clock. I had to get up and get that damn milking done and feeding done, so I could get to the field and start working. And, you were always looking west, over your shoulder, to see if the clouds were forming or not to see whether it's going to rain. My barometer was that I would listen to the radio at St. Louis. What St. Louis had that day, we usually had tomorrow.
Prior to 1913, when we had the big flood in the Miami Valley, the farmers in the area brought milk to Edward Teckman, and he delivered it every other day to Hamilton by horse and wagon. Around 1920, he bought two Federal trucks. Federal was the name of the truck; not government trucks. His sons, Harry and Louis, took over the trucking business. Harry bought Louis out and he got a big old chain-drive Kissell truck. He used it as a stock truck to haul livestock to Cincinnati. He applied and received one of the very first PUCO, that's Public Utility Commission of Ohio, licenses to truck. He carried on this trucking operation until he died in 1970 or so.”
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: The Teckman sons took over their father's trucking company just as the last Darrtown Darr was reaching old age. Johnny Darr, the youngest of Hiram and Harriet Darr's twelve children, was born on March 22, 1852. He was twenty-four years younger than his oldest sibling, Abraham.
“Johnny Darr was an old bachelor. When he died, my father was the administrator of the estate. He got Harry Teckman to buy that property. Darr lived in an old shack. When I was a kid, I was scared to go through there; because, the weeds were as high as the ceiling. He had a buggy top in there that he slept under to keep the rain off his bed. When he wanted to go anywhere, he just started out across country. He wouldn't follow the roads. At one time, I think he was one of the assessors for the township. He was the one who played the trombone in the Darrtown cornet band. They had uniforms and everything.
On Decoration Day, they always formed down there in the middle of town and walked to the cemetery. Well, one year, Johnny Darr was all involved in his music and instead of making the turn there at Shollenbarger Road; he walked straight on down the pike. When I was a kid, there used to be about three or four instruments from that band left in an old building. We'd go up there and blow those horns and make a noise. That's all we were doing, just making noise.
Darrtown used to be called the oasis of the county. At one time, there were five saloons in Darrtown. There were a lot of distilleries over there over the years, too. You'd think that was a thriving little town over there, with all the businesses that were there, back in the 1800s. A lot of traffic went through Darrtown on the toll road between Hamilton and Richmond. There were toll gates that people would pass through there in the early days. Taverns all the way up the line.
We used to go into The Hitching Post every night. When Red Huber came in there, he got it from George Lynch. George Lynch sold it to Red Huber and went down to Hamilton and started a saloon.
There's nothing in Darrtown, except farmers that lived in adjacent areas. Every night we would go uptown. We'd have to quit farming early to get a seat at the card table to play for checks. If you won, you got so many tokens, which were redeemable at the bar for whatever you wanted to redeem them for. Saturday was the poker crowd. They had a slot on the table where the game was cut. I just played hearts and pitch, or ‘Shoot the Moon,’ on weeknights.
After a few years, Red cut the card games out. He used to sell these numbers out of jars. There would be a big jar full of numbers that you would pay a quarter apiece for. There would be a few winning numbers; but, the big cut went to the house. Maybe, twenty percent were winners. They had to put them under the counter, because it was against the law. And, Red was afraid he was going to get caught; so he cut out the gambling and the card games.
For some of the people that worked in Oxford, it was a daily trip over there to The Hitching Post. I'm not talking about a high percentage of them. But, for a low percentage of them, it was damn near a hundred percent. When I was farming, I could set my watch by the time they started to come to Darrtown to the Hitching Post.
The Union Gas and Electric Company, UG&E, out of Cincinnati first brought electricity out to Darrtown in 1927. Subscribers along the line paid so much to have the line brought out. The line extended up to the first farm north of the crossroads of 73 and 177. As soon as they got enough money to establish a line by subscription (I remember my father paying his share), they threw the damn thing open to everybody to get in for nothing just by tying into the line. There were a lot of people that just didn't like the way they operated their system on that.
Just two miles west of Darrtown, off Shollenbarger Road is Chaw Raw Hill. It's said that Captain Sam Beeler, with his sons and their families, came there to make the first settlement in Four Mile Valley. They immigrated from Kentucky about 1802 and left the Miami River by Hamilton and followed Four Mile Creek (or Talawanda Creek, the Indian name, which means Winding Waters) until it was dark.
While the sons were making camp, Captain Sam spied a wild turkey going to roost. No rifle fire could be risked for fear of attracting the Indians. So, Sam used a club to kill the turkey. He pulled the feathers off and the sons argued that they couldn't build a fire to cook the bird, because the smoke would betray them. Old Sam was hungry, so he pulled off a leg and ate it raw. That's why it's called Chaw Raw Hill.
Captain Beeler died in 1824. He was buried close to Chaw Raw. And his son-in-law was Joe Collins, the first settler and Indian scout in the Oxford area. He later had a powder mill below Oxford on what's now called Collins Run, which used to be called Bull's Run. Just down from Chaw Raw is Lane's Mill. At the corner of Wallace and Shollenbarger Roads was a mill, first occupied in 1816. The present site was completed in 1848, by William Elliott to process Indian corn. It's named for William Lane, who owned it until 1898.
On the corner of the bend on Shollenbarger road is the old Huston Kyger Farm. Butch Green owns it now. It's probably one of Butler County's oldest log cabins. It was built in 1803. Huston Kyger came here from Hampshire County, Virginia.
The Kyger boys out here at the Chrysler dealership in Oxford are descendants of that family. The old Kygers had the race track off Scott Road, where Kit Kurry, Darrtown's" most famous race horse, used to race.
Now, the old Kyger Farm is nothing, but rubble. At one time, the Kyger boys wanted to buy that acre of ground, but the Greens wouldn't let loose of it. It's just rotted away. You can see the mound there. There were still some pretty good timbers in there. Since I moved to Oxford, I was always going over and I had permission to get a piece. I've got a fireplace here in the rec-room and I thought it would be nice to get one of those logs and make a mantle for the fireplace.
I used to raise English bulldogs, along with Dwight Miller, for a few years during the Forties. We didn't sell too many, but we raised them and showed them. I had an international champion that I bought up in Bellfountaine; female. Got a male out in Indiana. We raised quite a few. This international champion had a black pup. We took the stud and the pup to a dog show down in Cincinnati. We were really proud of that pup. We paraded it around on a leash down there. And, some guy got a hold of us and said, "We usually kill them, because black is an undesirable color in English bulldogs." Talk about something that would break your heart. I never heard of that; but, it was true. And, this one come out of an international champion.
You educate your kids, when they go to college and the chances are they are going elsewhere for employment or work. Those who go to high school and then go to work stay in the area. In Darrtown, that's the majority. Now, there are several college graduates from Darrtown, but the vast majority stay in the community and are employed in Hamilton and locally.”
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Back in the 1950s, Kirk started cutting out newspaper clippings about Darrtown. He spoke with some of the "older residenters" like Luther McVicker, who is, he says, "the only person that knows more about Darrtown than I do." Until John F. Mee, a former faculty member at Indiana University and author of “The Mee Saga” (the family history), died, Kirk had hoped his brother would help him write a history of Darrtown.
“I envy a lot of those people over at Darrtown; because, they can have a family reunion every Sunday. We're unfortunate. We don't see ours too often. The happiest time, that I recall, is when we are home here and the kids are under one roof. Not necessarily their families, because their families don't come that often. But when the three kids come in and sit down at the table and I can see them, those are my happiest hours.
I don't get back to Darrtown very often; no place to go. I drive through it occasionally, when I go back and forth from Hamilton. I go over and see my friend Warren Hansel. But I don't go back as much as I should. I go to the cemetery. It's funny, that's all the real estate I own in Milford Township. After having quite a few acres in Darrtown, now I'm down to talking about plots.”
[End of interview]
R. Kirk Mee II
Recollections of Kirk Mee III
Kirk submitted the first narrative, "Reflections," and then thought of some additional memories,
which he submitted as "Additional Recollections."
Reflections of my Early Years Growing Up in Darrtown, Ohio
I thank God that I was born in Butler County, raised in Darrtown, and educated in Oxford, Ohio. My sisters, Linda and Cynthia, and I had a wonderful family life growing up with my parents Bette Mahaffey Mee and R. Kirk Mee Junior. My dad was a farmer and my mom a housewife, who at times worked for Miami University. My dad had three farms. One was located on the north edge of Darrtown, one was on the south edge, and a third in a community called Jericho, about four miles north of town. I feel very fortunate to be raised on a farm and being near my mom and dad most of the time. I worked hard and my dad paid me the standard rate of one dollar an hour.
There were approximately 250 to 300 people residing in Darrtown at that time. Our family had a close relationship with about ten families. We rarely left the area, except to attend school in Oxford.
There were two churches in Darrtown, the Methodist and the Lutheran. Since the community was so small, everyone went to the Methodist Church on one Sunday and the Lutheran Church the next Sunday. These churches and our family gatherings were the focal points of our social life, which included picnics, ice cream socials, summer church camps, Halloween, and of course holidays like Christmas and Easter.
During the summer, our parents showed movies on a white sheet hung against the outside wall of the K. of P. Hall. In the winter, we had square dances in the Hall.
One of the big events of the year was Red Huber’s Christmas party at the Hitching Post Tavern, featuring Santa Claus. After a few years, the party attracted so many people from Hamilton and Oxford, that he (Red) was forced to stop hosting it.
There always seemed to be activity going on in Darrtown. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s home, knocked, and just walked in and visited. I always made sure I dropped by Belle Miller’s house, because she always had cookies. She was the Aunt Bee type on the Andy Griffith TV show, with apron and all.
We would scrap our pennies together and go to Glardon’s Grocery Store and buy penny candy to share. My favorite was Bazooka Bubblegum. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. We ate pancakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight, because we were always outside playing or working. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the sun came down. Sometimes, no one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable! I’m so thankful my mom and dad let me be a kid.
There were plenty of boys in Darrtown. We played football, basketball, and baseball all the time. We would play football and baseball in the Methodist Church yard, basketball at Bob Young’s garage and in the winter, we would play basketball in Fred Lindley’s barn. Fred also had a ball diamond set up in a field on his dad’s farm. We would play there on the weekends. The best ball field was next to the old Darrtown School.
We had a basketball team and baseball team, both named the "Purple Skunks," that was organized and coached by Dale Bufler. We would play against teams from Oxford and other towns in Butler County.
I have had many coaches in my lifetime and Dale Bufler was my first and a good one too. The first year the Talawanda High School opened in 1956, he was my backfield coach in football. We were 8 and 1 and we won the Southwestern League Championship. I missed the extra point kick to keep us from going undefeated. That still bugs me today! Almost all the Darrtown boys had success playing sports at Oxford Stewart, Oxford McGuffey, Seven Mile, and Talawanda schools.
My dad taught me the fundamentals and basics of football, basketball and baseball. At McGuffey High School, my Dad was a good athlete and player in these three sports. It was fun playing ball with my dad and having him coach me.
Because we lived in Darrtown and Butler County, the boys interested in playing sports had great role models. People like Walter “Smokey” Alston, “Hamilton” Joe Nuxhall, and all the outstanding coaches and athletes who were affiliated with Miami University, the “cradle of coaches.”
My dad never pushed me in playing sports. I just had fun and enjoyed the competition. My dad did play baseball at Miami for one year and took some coaching courses, which gave him the background in helping me develop good skills. What my dad did for me I did for my grandson, Brandon McGavran. I have to admit, in helping him develop into an all-around athlete, I did push him. We used to joke about someday when he gets his multimillion dollar contract that he would buy me a nice retirement home in Florida on a golf course. It didn’t happen.
I enjoyed working on the farm with my dad and as I think back, it gave me a strong work ethic that helped me in sports and life in general.
Before my dad could afford a tractor, he farmed with two mules. I remember one day, when I was six or seven years old, he was husking corn by hand in one of his cornfields, at the south edge of Darrtown. The two mules pulled this old wagon between the rows of corn. He would husk the corn with a special knife and throw it into the wagon. Then he would give a command to the mules and they would move forward about 15 feet and he would repeat the process. His hands would get really callused and sometimes bleed.
One time during a hot day, we were thirsty and needed a drink of water. My dad stopped working and took me to the top of a small hill where there was a spring. He took his hands and made a small clay hole in the ground so the water would seep in and collect. We came back about a half hour later, after the muddy water had cleared, and had a nice cool drink. A unique thing happened at that spot. I looked on the ground next to the spring and found this large ancient Indian stone hatchet. I still have it and use it as a paperweight. I saw the same type of stone hatchet in the Greenville, Ohio Museum. They had it dated back 9000 years. Over the years in helping my dad farm, I found numerous flint stone Indian arrowheads. My friend Richard “Butch” Green found a nice, well preserved, Indian stone pipe on his farm two miles west of Darrtown.
We had a pony named "Nancy" that the Mark Nichols family let us keep on our farm. I spent hours in the summer exploring Four Mile Creek with the pony and my dog, "Pal." We would go as far as Oxford and halfway to Hamilton. I used to pack the pony and camp out two or three days at a time, along the creek. As I think back, I’m surprised my parents allowed me to do that. Camping out created a big interest in me to join the Boy Scouts in junior high. One summer, I slept outside in a tent for 45 days.
My mom was not your typical farm wife and mother. She was a classy lady with a lot of outside interests and spunk. She was very involved in the church and played the piano on Sundays. I was amazed how she could play the piano by ear. She also played at weddings and social events. In many ways, my daughter Mindy Mee reminds me a lot of my mom. Mindy was involved in many community, school, and church activities and functions as well.
At one time or another, my mom was President of the Oxford Women’s Club, the Garden Club, and the Music Club. She also was Worthy Matron in the Eastern Star and one year she was selected Oxford’s Woman of the Year. I don’t know how she did it, but she was also very involved in our school activities. My senior year at Talawanda High School, she was President of the PTA. My dad at that time was also President of the Talawanda School Board and handed me my graduation diploma, during commencement ceremonies. He did the same for my sister Linda, two years later. This was quite an honor. My mom was an excellent tennis player and one year she won the Women’s Ohio State Championship in table tennis.
My mom was an excellent cook. She could put together big, delicious country meals; but, as a kid, I had my favorite foods. My dad raised Hereford beef cattle, so we ate steak almost every night. For breakfast she would poach eggs in a cup and I would mix it with broken bits of toast. At lunch, I loved her grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk shakes with two raw eggs mixed in it.
Almost every day, my mom drove my sisters and me to and from school in Oxford until I was old enough to drive. A lot of times I would hitchhike home after ball practice. We were not allowed to take the regular public school bus, because McGuffey was a private school. It was the laboratory school associated with Miami University. Since my dad and Uncle John Mee attended McGuffey, he wanted the same for his children. An interesting note is that I had the same English teacher (Margaret Young) that he had.
For two years, my mom also drove my sisters and me to Hamilton every Saturday to take dancing lessons at Lubbers Dance Studio. After we became pretty good, my mom took my sister Linda and me all over Butler County to perform our dance and singing routine. We performed until I started junior high school and then sports took over my life. Linda told me years later that she always worried that I would drop her on dips. O.k., I did drop her one time. The interest in dancing that my mom instilled in me created a desire to become a competitive dancer, after I retired from the Washington Redskins Football Team in 1995. My partner, Dianne Seay from North Carolina, and I have won the Virginia State Open Championship three times, in the Sophisticated Swing Division. I thank my mom for the inspiration in dance and music and my dad for the motivation in sports that helped me to obtain three World Championship Super Bowl rings.
I was fortunate to have had so many individuals to look up to and look after me in this small community. They set a good example, while instilling moral values and character, on how one should live his/her life. In addition to my parents, some of these people include Opal and Luther McVicker, Virginia and Harry Teckman, Ed Thorne, Dale and Dick Bufler, Belle Miller, Bob Bowman, Marie Schmidt, Raymond Kane, Dwight Miller, Joe Dietrich, Nelle and Maria Davis, Hugh Decker, and the list goes on and on.
In summary, Darrtown laid the foundation for my happiness and any success that I have had in my life. We worked hard and we played hard. Now that I have lived a full life, I can only look back and say that the 50’s and 60’s were the best years of my life because I had the liberty and freedom to pursue my dreams and enjoy my life. I hope when I die and go to heaven, it will be like the Darrtown I grew up in as a kid.
Additional Recollections of My Youth in Darrtown
By Raymond Kirk Mee III
1. Hanging out with my dad at Luther McVicker’s Garage. In the winter, keeping warm next to his coal stove and in the summer, sitting outside on his bench.
2. Peeking in the front window of the Hitching Post hoping Earl “Red” Huber would see me and give me a candy bar.
3. Shoveling slag behind Harry Teckman’s dump truck with Kenny and Doug Russell patching holes on Milford Township roads. Ed Thorne would lead the way spraying tar on the road from his tar carriage. After work, taking a gasoline bath in our barn to remove the splattered tar. I had to really smell bad.
4. Swimming in my dad’s pond and Four Mile Creek after baling hay.
5. Freedom of riding my bicycle, pony and motor scooter all over town and the countryside, without a care in the world and my parents not worrying about me.
6. Dick Bufler’s cow tied to a stake grazing in the Methodist Church yard.
7. Eavesdropping on the Darrtown telephone party line. Belle Miller was the operator and all calls went through her. I remember our phone number was 701L.
8. Listening to Bob Dees’ war stories and his experience being in the Korean War death march. I was 13 and thinking how lucky I was that I didn’t have to experience that.
9. Helping Jack Hansel trap for muskrats on Darr's run.
10. Rabbit hunting with my dad, Howard Cox, and “Smokey.”
11. Getting a car load of guys together and going to Cincinnati and watch “Smokey” and the Dodgers play the Reds.
12. Digging graves at the Darrtown Cemetery. (Good money)
13. Going frog-gigging with my dad, Warren Hansel and other locals.
14. Having a big frog leg feast at my parent’s house at the end of the summer with all the people who participated in gigging the frogs.
15. Going mushroom hunting with my dad.
16. Riding with my dad, in his truck, to Cleves, Ohio on the Ohio River two or three times a year to pick up coal for our furnace.
17. Practicing extra points and field goals by kicking a football on the roof of my dad’s barn and having the ball roll back to me. Many times, my sister Linda would hold the ball for me.
18. Standing on the gravel lane next to our barn, I would practice batting by hitting stones in the field.
19. Jumping up and down on the roof of an empty hog house and getting stung by several wasps.
20. Running into Constable Owen Kelly, while he was patrolling the street, at midnight; he thought I was up to something. The gun he carried belonged to my father. He took his job seriously and was everywhere.
21. My dad paying me a penny for each ear of corn I picked up that was dropped by the corn picker. I wanted a basketball -- it cost four dollars.
22. Getting into a fight with Jimmy Stephens, in front of Glardon’s Grocery Store.
23. Being part of the program for the dedication of “Smokey” Alston’s Memorial Monument.
24. Playing my trombone at the Methodist Church service and at the Darrtown Cemetery on Memorial Day. It had to sound, bad but the people were nice.
25. Playing an Oxford baseball team in Darrtown and as a catcher, getting in a collision at home plate with Denny Hannah. He drove me into the backstop.
26. Watching my mother pasteurize milk and make butter.
27. Observing my dad and Dwight Miller raising English bulldogs for show.
28. Watching my dad and Dwight Miller capture a big snapping turtle.
29. Going to Dick Bufler’s house and watching the first homemade TV in Darrtown. I was amazed.
30. My parents having Opal and Luther McVicker over to our house on Friday nights to watch wrestling on TV. There would only be two or three TV shows a week. Do you remember Gorgeous George? Special treat---my dad would make popcorn.
31. Moving to the big house from the Schollenbarger road house at age 13 and getting indoor bathroom plumbing. That was one of the highlights of living there.
32. Watching Jim Bowman race his noisy and fast motorcycle up and down Schollenbarger Road.
33. Having a very bad-tempered rooster chase me from the barn to the house. My mom saw what was happening and I yelled to her to open the door as I circled the house—close call.
34. My mom teaching and playing table tennis with me, in our barn.
35. Having ice and milk delivered to our house.
36. My dad sold his hogs to take our family to California on a six-week vacation. The purpose was to attend a Dokey Lodge convention, which is part of the Knights of Pythias. It was very hot driving in the summer with no air conditioning. The motels were unpredictable and twice we slept in the car in the desert and once on the kitchen floor in a farm house in South Dakota. We hung canvass water bags on the front of the car, in case the car heated up. It was a very educational trip and brought real closeness to our family. I am amazed how my sister Cynthia who was six at the time can still remember so many details of the trip.
37. While on the California trip my dog Sandy, who was my best friend, slept the whole time next to my bicycle at my grandparent’s house. She eventually died and my grandparents said it was from sadness and heartbreak. Who said that animals don’t have feelings?
38. Numerous family outings with the Paul and Myrtle Jewell family which included picnics at the State Park south of Darrtown, next to Four Mile Creek. Lots of good food. Also, riding ponies and horses were on both farms.
39. Mowing grass to earn money at one dollar a lawn. (Methodist Church, Red Huber, Glen Ward, my dad, and others). I was in competition with Dick Bufler’s cow that grazed in the Methodist Church yard.
40. Riding with my dad in his truck to Miami University to pick up left-over food, from the dining halls to feed his hogs. These hogs helped to pay for our trip to California.
41. Working with my dad and riding in his truck to the Oxford Farm Service to grind corn and deliver wheat.
42. Capturing tadpoles, crawdads and snakes in the run going through the John Mee/Bob Bowman farm.
43. Celebrating with other Darrtown natives when Smokey’s Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series.
44. Doing the final process in attempting to make moonshine, from a recipe I obtained from a mountain man in Athens, Ohio. I did the brewing, in my mom’s kitchen, one night when my parents were out. It really stunk up the entire house. When they came home, my mom started crying and thought I was going to get arrested. My dad had a very long talk with me.
45. Practicing track by running through the Darrtown streets late at night and having every dog in town barking and some chasing me. I always carried a stick.
46. Going to my first Indianapolis 500 race in 1966 with my dad and Luther McVicker. Both loved Indy big car races. Two-time winner Bill Vukovich and my favorite driver were killed in that race.
47. After I graduated from graduate school, I raced stock cars for three summers in Lawrenceburg, Indiana; Florence, Kentucky; and Richmond, Indiana. I didn’t tell my dad, because I knew he would not approve. After he found out, he started attending my races.
48. Around 1950, being part of the Butler County Ground Observer Corps stationed in Darrtown, my dad was the Darrtown post supervisor. Our job was to look for enemy aircraft. (You must remember that this was the 1950’s and we were in the middle of the Cold War.)
49. Billy Collins being killed in Vietnam, after he volunteered for a second tour of duty.
50. Donald McVicker, Opal and Luther McVicker’s son’s aircraft being shot down over Germany during World War II and was missing in action. He was 22.
51. Lee Hunt riding with me to and from basketball and football practice at Talawanda High School. John Trump, football coach, later told me that Lee developed into one of the best athletes ever to attend the school.
52. Lawrence Bowers, who has coached all sports at Stewart High School for 15 years, once told me that Dale Bufler was the best all around athlete that he had ever coached. As a pitcher, he beat Hamilton HIgh School's Big Blue and Cincinnati Reds' pitcher, Joe Nuxhall - after Joe had pitched in the major leagues. (Be sure to read Dale’s Talawanda Athletic Hall of Fame bio.)
53. Attending my sister Cynthia’s wedding and having both my grandparents, Helen and R. Kirk Mee Sr., funerals in the big house at the edge of town.
54. On Sunday afternoons, in Ned and Ester Green’s woods, playing horse tag and hide and seek on horses with several friends. It was wild and lots of fun.
55. Coloring on my dad’s gasoline rationing stamps during World War II and having him really upset with me.
56. In the summer, traveling all over southern Ohio with Richard “Butch” Green playing baseball. “Butch” was an outstanding pitcher in high school and college and I was his catcher.
57. The pipeline covering a mile from the John Mee/Bob Bowman farm to the big house that carried natural gas to heat the house for approximately 50 years.
58. Doctors visiting our house in person, when we were sick.
59. Butchering hogs and steers for food.
60. When I was about seven, Harry Teckman was at our house one morning and looked at me and said I know what you had for breakfast. We were in the barnyard and I knew there was absolutely no way he could know. I said what? He said you had eggs for breakfast and he was right. I was amazed and thought he was a genius. Later, my dad told me that I had egg on my face.
61. In the wintertime, sleeping upstairs in the Schollenbarger Road house, under a stack of blankets to keep warm. The only room in the house that had heat was the kitchen.
62. Picking up inexpensive, damaged canned food from McGonigle and storing them in our basement to eat later.
63. Collecting ancient stone fossils on my Uncle John Mee/Bob Bowman farm for a project in science class.
64. Camping out in my army tent on Darr's run in the middle of the winter, while it was snowing.
65. Going to the annual Darrtown Stock Protection Association meetings held once a year. Through the years, it turned into an oyster dinner. It was founded in 1887 and as of 2013, the organization is 126 years old. My dad was president for 34 years. After he died, Harry Ogle became president.
66. My grandfather, Kirk Mee Senior, having a large collection of clocks in the house. (approx. 50 clocks)
67. My sisters and I missing school for about a month because we had measles, mumps, and chickenpox hitting us all at once.
68. Getting a mild case of polio when I was five or six. I remember never being so sick in my life. I was really lucky.
69. Attending a rooster cockfighting event held in the woods at a local farm.
70. The home- made ice cream socials at the Lutheran Church. (I can still taste it.)
71. The 45-mile an hour speed limit through town.
72. My pony, "Baldy," who had floundered front legs, standing in the cool water of creek to make his legs feel better.
73. Taking baths in the Schollenbarger Road house kitchen in a big metal washtub.
74. My dad telling me that when he was young, he heard about the Ku Klux Klan meetings in the Darrtown area.
75. Looking for Indian mounds, old pioneer church sites, and pioneer cemetery sites around Darrtown.
76. The pool table on the second floor of the K. of P. Lodge Hall.
77. My dad repairing the roof on the K. of P. Hall and almost falling off. He started to slide down the roof and stopped at the edge.
78. When the Dodgers were in Cincinnati and a nonstop stream of cars were coming through Darrtown, you knew they were coming from Anderson, Indiana, to watch Carl Erskine pitch that night.
79. My mom’s favorite saying was “let sleeping dogs lie” and my father used to say “always eat your dessert first—there might be a fire.”
80. My mom wanted me to be a doctor and my dad wanted me to be a veterinarian. My passion was in athletics and sports so I became a coach and it turned out to be a good life for me.
81. My dad told me a story that I would like to share. In the late 1920’s he and a friend drove from Darrtown to College Corner, Indiana. When they arrived, my dad discovered a rooster grasping to the front bumper of the car.
82. Now that time has gone by and I look back to the 1940’s and 1950’s, I realize the most memorable years of my life were lived in Darrtown. It was like a story book with the outdoor freshness and the innocence of life and just being carefree and being part of the lives of the people and the events that took place there. I can truly say these were the “good old days.”
R. Kirk Mee III
Recollections of Harlan Miller
The following narrative was derived from a telephone conversation with Harlan Miller in late September 2009.
Harlan Miller lived with his parents, Paul and Effie Miller, and his brother, Raymond on West Apple Street in Darrtown from the late 1940's through the mid-1950's. Harlan attended Collinsville School through the sixth grade. After going to Seven Mile Junior High for one semester of the seventh grade, Harlan transferred to Oxford Stewart Junior High. Four years later, Harlan was a member of the last class to graduate from Stewart High School in 1956 (Oxford Talawanda High School opened in 1957).
When asked, Harlan recalled memories of singing with his father, Paul "Podie" Miller, at the earliest Hitching Post Christmas Parties that were sponsored by Earl "Red" Huber. Harlan's mother taught him to yodel and his singing ability led to performances on radio (WMOH in Hamilton and WLW at the Carew Tower in Cincinnati) and on television (one of the early "Midwestern Hayride" programs).
Harlan expressed fond memories and a keen appreciation for the “lessons of life” that he acquired as a youngster growing up in Darrtown. He specifically mentioned the work ethic that he developed from baling hay for Ray and Carl Reiff; Raymond and Jack Kane; and Warren and George Hansel. Those work experiences served Harlan well during his stint with the Marine Corps and his 47 years with General Motors in Mansfield, Ohio where he retired as a journeyman tool and die maker.
Harlan also voiced appreciation for the time and effort that Dale Bufler voluntarily put into the creation of the Darrtown Purple Skunks. While the origin of the group’s name is unclear, the memories of the Purple Skunks baseball and basketball teams live on.
(Webmaster Notation: In his remarks to those assembled at the September 26, 2009 Darrtown “Gathering,” Harlan emphasized the important role that Coach Bufler played in the lives of the boys who were then - and still are - “purple skunks.”)
In the 1950’s, a roadside rest area, maintained by the state of Ohio, existed along the west side of State Route 177, south of Darrtown and immediately south of the bridge that crosses Four Mile Creek. There was a turnoff at the south end of the bridge that led to a small parking area, where travelers could stop, use the out-door, toilet facilities, and enjoy a cool drink of water from the hand pump near the middle of the park.
Beyond the west edge of the state-owned parking area there was a gravel driveway that sloped westward and ran adjacent to the creek. That driveway led to private property that featured a group of dwellings. The largest building was a tavern; the smaller ones were one-room structures that were furnished as rentals.
The tavern owner/operator was a man named Denny Robinette. Denny's wife was Mary Waddell, who was a sister to Harlan's stepfather. Since he was related (by marriage) to the tavern owner, Harlan was permitted to venture inside the bar. Consequently, Harlan knew that the tavern provided a “tip board” for those adults who wanted to play a game of chance and he knew that the tip board grand prize was a new, still-in-the-box, .22 rifle.
Webmaster Comment: Tip boards are games of chance that are used for profit-making or fund raising. A tip board is generally a cardboard strip with "tips" (tickets) attached. Each ticket has its own distinct number. The tip board contains a seal that has the winning number underneath it (some tipboards have multiple seals for multiple winners). "Tips" are sold to players. Players then open their tickets to see their numbers. In many games players write their names in numbered spaces on the tipboard that match the numbers on their tickets. Once all tickets are sold, the tip board seal (located on the back of the tip board) is opened to determine the winning number. The player whose number matches the winning number under the seal wins the tip board prize.
So, one day, a short distance downstream from the tavern, while Harlan was practice shooting with his old .22 at objects floating in the waters of the Four Mile Creek, a man approached Harlan and offered a challenge. The man asked Harlan how much money he had in his pockets (Harlan recalled that he had about 40-45 cents in his possession). The man said that he would bet whatever money Harlan had in his pockets against the new rifle that was offered on the tavern's tip board - if Harlan could hit a floating object in the water, when the man told Harlan to shoot.
Harlan agreed to the bet; an empty beer bottle was tossed into the creek waters; and the man and boy waited as the bottle bobbed toward the rapids that were located near the bridge that crossed the creek. Just as the bottle was about to disappear from view under the bridge, the man told Harlan to shoot.
Harlan squeezed the trigger; the bottle exploded; and the man said something to the effect of, “Well, I’ll be ____!”
Then, true to his word, the man (whose identity remains unknown) went inside the tavern, bought all the chances that remained on the tip board - which qualified him as the winner - and presented the new, still-in-the-box, .22 rifle to Harlan.
The story about winning the new .22 rifle caused Harlan to remember another gun tale.
Harlan recalled that, when he was a student at Oxford Stewart High School, he saw shotguns and ammunition transported on a school bus. He explained that, during squirrel-hunting season, while riding to school in the morning with classmates from Somerville, Harlan saw kids carry shotguns and shells onto the bus. The school bus driver, who obviously trusted the kids, placed their shotguns and ammo under a bus seat for storage.
Then, at end of school day, on the route home, the driver stopped the bus along a wooded area near Somerville; left the kids exit the bus with their guns and ammo, so that the kids could begin hunting squirrels as they made their way home on foot. Recalling this story, Harlan reflected on how things have changed over the years.
Indeed, many things have changed, since those Darrtown days of long ago; but some things, like an appreciation for a man honoring his bet, remain the same.
Recollections of Fay (Dees) O'Brien
The following narrative was written and contributed by Fay (Dees) O'Brien, via email on July 9, 2009.
When asked, Fay agreed to have her message posted on this website,
as a way of sharing some of her recollections of Darrtown.
If Fay contributes more Darrtown memories, they will be posted here.
"I just had to get back to you on my memory of the swings and johnnies at Collinsville school. I think all of us loved the johnnies. I remember that one person could wrap around on top of the others, and when they all would start running that person would get a really fun ride flying over the others. Boy, oh Boy, what fun. It was not a safe ride for sure.
Of course, the swings. Well, you are right about the danger of the wood and metal. My sister, Sandy, in the first grade at the time, was hit in the side of her head by someone swinging sideways or jumping out of their swing. I remember being called into Mrs. Schmidt's first grade class room where I saw Mrs. Schmidt treating Sandy's head. My dad and mom were called and they took Sandy to a doctor in Hamilton, and from there, she had to be rushed to the Cincinnati Hospital where they admitted her with a fractured skull. She was in the hospital for a week or two. I remember when she came home; they had shaved her whole head for her surgery. It was scary, but she came through it okay.
Also, Do you remember the movies that were shown on Saturday nights in the summer at the KP Hall? A big white sheet or something like it would be hung on the front of the building. A lot of Darrtown would come and spread blankets on the grass and bring goodies, like popcorn, and enjoy a good movie. This was a great treat and I loved it. I can only remember cowboy movies, like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. It was before TV sets came to be. I think they did this for at least a couple summers. I thought my father helped in sponsoring this, but I may be wrong.
I remember, too, a couple ice cream socials held at the KP Hall.
Oh, and yes, I loved the library bookmobile in the summer. I can remember one of the first books I checked out was "Wizard of Oz".
Oh, and one more thing. I can still remember our telephone number in Darrtown - 702X. It is amazing how my kids will remind me of things of a while back, and I'll say 'I don't remember that!'
Have a great day."
O'Brien, Fay (Dees)
Recollections of Joe Pater
The following narrative was written and contributed by Joe Pater, via email on January 3, 2013.
If Joe agrees to contribute more of his Darrtown memories, they will be posted here.
We lived in the Darrtown area from 1949 to 1959, when we lived in a house on Schollenbarger Road owned by Carrie Ginter. Carrie was Hazel Green’s mother.
We had a large garden that Don Whitaker, who worked for Rich Green, plowed with a horse. Or sometimes my dad, Ed, and I spaded it by hand. Like everyone back then we had a coal furnace. If the coal truck was unable to get into the yard because the ground was too wet, the driver dumped it in the driveway and I moved it to the coal bin.
And, how could I forget the outhouse? I really miss it - just kidding.
My mother, Marie (Stempfley) Pater, cleaned houses for a living. She spent a lot of time canning vegetables from the garden and making jelly.
I went to grade school at Queen of Peace in Millville, along with my sister Patty. After Queen of Peace, Patty went to Seven Mile School and then to Stewart. The church school bus dropped us off at the end of the bus route (which was located at the corner of Nichols and Lanes Mill Roads and approximately a mile and a half from our driveway). Then, we walked home - rain or shine.
I had two older brothers, Don (nicknamed Digger) and Jerry. After school, Jerry served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1954, with some of his time spent in Guam. Both of them attended Gruen Watch School to become certified watchmakers. Don did this full time until his death in 2012 at the age of 82. Jerry worked for the U.S. Post Office and repaired watches part time. He is now retired, and still repairs them, but more as a hobby.
I remember ice skating on the farm pond, and working for Bob and Marie Bowman. They lived across from the Darrtown Cemetery in the big two-story house that has since burned down. I helped make hay for $.75 per hour; that was the average pay back then. I drove the tractor - plowing and working the fields, fed the cows, pigs and their horse. Bob, who was a big man, was the strongest guy I have ever been around. They had no children of their own, but treated me and other kids like their own.
While in high school I worked for Milford Township at the Darrtown Cemetery under the management of trustee Warren Hansel and cemetery sexton Ed Thome. When Ed retired, I took over his job of cutting the grass with an 18” push mower. It did have a motor to run the blade; but, you still had to push it. We dug the graves with a pick and shovel. I always had help from either Charlie Hansel or Dick Davish, and we split the payment of $35 per grave.
I have fond memories of Darrtown and had many friends there. We played baseball in the daytime and danced on the K of P slab at night. I rode my bike there every day to hang out with my school buddies, and older friends like Ed Thome, Luther McVicker, Harry Teckman, Red Ernest, Hap Davish, and Verl Kennedy. Owen Kelly was the constable, and after Owen passed away, Bob Lemmons was appointed to fill the position. Bob was a great guy and good friend.
Like everyone who lived in Darrtown, I have great memories of the Alston family. Smokey’s parents were fine people. As a teenager, I would stop to talk to Smokey’s dad, Toby and his wife. Much of the time, Toby would be in his woodworking shop. I remember when Toby would hitch up his horse and carriage and ride around town.
And, of course, I knew Red Huber. I learned to drink beer at the Hitching Post with Red. I was in the bar one night when Red came out and fired a shot into the floor. He would do that now and then, after having too many drinks. I still go to the Hitching Post, occasionally, to visit with the present owner, Sean Hurley.
Next door to the Hitching Post was Glardon’s Store which was run by Ellis and Ethel Glardon. Ellis' brother, Bill, helped them also. Ellis was known by his nickname, “Dugan”. For some reason, most everyone in Darrtown had a nickname. Glardon’s is now known as Don’s Carryout and Eric’s Pizza.
When I was 16, I bought a used 1950 Chevrolet. Luther McVicker who owned the Sohio station in Darrtown, told me that, if I drove the car the speed limit, and changed the oil and air filter regularly, the car would last forever. I believe he was right and that was good advice.
I guess, as we get older, we get more nostalgic and think about our childhood, remembering the older folks back then and what they meant to us. I have lots of fond memories of the area.
Recollections of Virginia (Louden) Teckman
The following narrative was taken from “The Old and Now In Darrtown, Ohio: An Oral History,” which Jon Jeffrey Patton wrote as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1988. The following excerpts from the Patton paper do not represent the paper in its entirety.
Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: At ninety-two, Virginia Teckman lives alone, across from the Darrtown Lutheran Church. Her solid stature shows no signs of sickness. She looks like she should be behind a kettle in a soup kitchen in a Depression documentary. She radiates strength. Inside the house, everything is in perfect order; television in the corner, a large wooden, dining room table is covered with white plastic for protection. The latest issue of Modern Maturity sits in a magazine rack, next to a chair, under a window, so Virginia can read about aging, while watching cars rush by on the highway out of the corner of her eye.
Virginia Teckmans’s Recollections:
“I came here in 1928, as a bride. Harry (Virginia’s husband) lived in Darrtown all his life. We met at a dance at the Masonic temple in Hamilton.
If you asked me where I live, I would say Darrtown. But, I really don’t. Darrtown ends at the street beside my house and I live in Milford Township; outside the Darrtown square. But, the property used to be Darr property.
Johnny Darr used to live in a tumbled-down shack here, until he was struck by an automobile. I remember my husband saying he took the old man to the hospital. My husband was just a kid and he was an old bachelor. And, Johnny Darr told him that he wanted my husband to buy this land, when he died. So, he did.
We built our house here, right afterwards in 1928. This is a very choice place in Darrtown, because it’s close to the church and the nice property of the Mees.
I don’t know how I’ve lasted so long. Time gets so fast. It’s entirely different from when I came here. We were all neighbors. Now, our neighbors are good, when we need help; but, they don’t visit anymore, because wives work. It’s a different town. I do visit the Youngs, Alice Pierson, and my next door neighbor, Lawrence Gaiser. He lives alone, too. We check on each other.
Miami University use to send out a scout from the university to increase their enrollment. Dean Minnick’s son came to Georgetown, where I lived, to recruit. And, he was the most handsome fellow you ever saw; so, I decided that would be a good place to go.
I taught, before I was married. Then, I didn’t teach for sixteen years, when my kids were growing up. But, during World War II, they needed teachers and I thought I’d teach for one or two years. So, I went back for fifteen. I used to give piano lessons, too. My husband had the trucking business, of course.
I go to the Priscilla Club and another club called the Pals. We started out as the Sunday School Pals; but, we dropped that, because people don’t go to Sunday School. But, we do a lot of nice things for shut-ins.
I belong to the Milford Township discussion group. There are usually twelve couples that belong; but, it’s a little out of balance, because several of us have lost our husbands. I’ve belonged, since the first meeting in 1936. We always have our meeting on the fourth Friday, except at Christmas. Georgia Wills has the December party on New Year’s Eve each year. She has a lovely home.
Dr.Ernest Dayka, our minister, is a professor at Wittenberg College in Springfield. He’s been here for eighteen years and he is good. But, we don’t have someone to minister to us through the week. I go every Sunday. Before he came, we had church every other Sunday. The Methodists had it the other Sunday. We never had any problems; but, finally, the organizations higher up thought we should have church every Sunday. It’s worked out all right.
We don’t have many weddings over there. People used to grow up and marry somebody in their community. When I first came to Darrtown, people’s families lived in this area. But, that isn’t the way it works anymore.
Some people went down to the Hitching Post to drink; my husband never did. And, I wouldn’t let my children; didn’t want them hanging around that place. We’ve never had anybody from Darrtown that I can think of, who got involved in drugs or any serious trouble of any kind.
We have a lot of young men who have become successful. I’m not talking about rich people. I’m talking about good citizens.
Of course, you have to put Smokey Alston at the top. I never heard anybody say anything against him. I don’t know how he felt inside; but, he was just on the level with everybody else. He used to have the men down there in his shop a lot. We have always been good friends and neighbors; but, they were never people who did a lot of mixing. Smokey’s wife, she stayed with him. When he went, she went. Nobody would ever have a chance to tell any tales on Smokey.
Luther McVicker was a friend, too. He and my husband were best friends. They grew up here from the time they were little boys in school. At Christmas time, Luther always gave my husband a carton of Camels and Harry always gave him a carton of Chesterfields.
They used to meet down at Luther’s garage every night. Earl Stang owns that place now. But, you had to be accepted by the garage group, if you wanted to have a nice time in the village.”
[End of interview]
Recollections of Ron Wiley
The following narrative was written and contributed by Ron Wiley, via email (circa 2009)
The new boy in town became a lifelong friend. Fred Lindley moved to the farm just south of Darrtown when I was entering the second grade at Collinsville school. One doesn’t plan to become friends with another. It happens when you find you have similar likes and dislikes, sense of humor, goals in life, and tastes – like popcorn and root beer. Fred has written in his "recollections" of Darrtown many of the things we recall and enjoyed about growing up there. I encourage you to read his writing (see Recollections of Fred Lindley) as much of it reflects my early years there as well.
I remember a lot of hard work and a lot of fun times as well. Dad worked as a milk driver in Hamilton and Oxford. We always had a huge garden and raised a lot of chickens. Our family (see the Wiley Family page) worked together in most everything. We prepared produce, chicken and eggs for sale. Dad would run his milk route early by going to Hamilton at 1:30 or so in the morning (before unions put a stop to that) so he could be home to work in the garden, yard, chicken lot and help prepare the produce, eggs and chickens. He would take orders from milk customers and we would load up the goods in the car and deliver them to the customers. Two uncles and aunts and our grandparents lived on farms along Route 40 north of us. We would often go up after working at our chores to help out on the farms, especially at planting and harvest times.
My earliest “job” involved my brother, Roger. We learned to mow our own lawn with a push reel mower with him pushing and me pulling with a rope tied to the front bar. I was too short to reach the handle and apply enough push to move it. We were allowed to go to some of the neighbors and mow lawns for pay. Later, when big enough, for several years I mowed lawns in Darrtown on my own.
Many of my early years were during World War II. In Darrtown, as all over the country, we had “air raid warning” practice. Ringing of the church bell at night signaled a practice. All(!) lights had to be turned out. Nothing – not even candles could be illuminated. Harry Teckman was the person to check the village. He could drive with parking lights on to see where he was going and would tour the town to make sure every citizen had turned off all lights. The next ringing of the church bell signaled “all clear” and lights could come back on. I don’t remember what he was supposed to do, if someone violated the lights off rule.
There was a lookout tower near the Dees grocery and the K of P lodge hall. I have asked several people and no one so far has found a picture of it . Would be an interesting addition to the website for historic purposes if anyone comes up with one.
I remember that, the few times we went to movies then, usually the Paramount or Rialto theaters in Hamilton, that newsreels about the war were shown. I was fascinated with the war effort. Kids and families contributed to the war effort with scrap (steel) drives and paper drives. We would gather and it would be hauled to Hamilton.
Many items were rationed (see "war rations"). You had to have tokens for butter and meat. We had people come out from nearby cities and towns and see our chickens in the lot and stop to buy them, since they didn’t have to use their tokens. Gasoline was rationed and, depending on your job and necessary travel, you had a gasoline sticker on your windshield limiting how much you could buy – and A, B, or C sticker. I learned only recently that even with the requirements of the war effort, gasoline was not in short supply. That rationing was to save on rubber for tires which was in short supply, and other parts and supplies that could wear out on cars. I remember the end of the war, the huge newspaper headlines. The war news had been such a part of my life that I asked my mother if they would stop printing newspapers because the war was over.
I credit my desire to learn to events in my early life related to reading. My mother taught us to read before we went to school – no kindergarten then. I had a library card when I was four years old and went up in front of Glardon’s grocery where the Bookmobile parked and selected books to read. Our parents bought the Worldbook Encyclopedias, which arrived one volume at a time. I read the entire set, often at night by flashlight, sometimes even under the covers because it was past “lights out”.
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