The Hobart publishing Company.

History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 32 of 57)
Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ture :

"Darke county prodticed some very good advocates at the
bar — some fairly good stump speakers, but in my judgment
but one orator — Barney Collins. The unfortunate thing
about Barney was his timidity. He was afraid to unfold him-
self. He had the voice, the magnetism, the platform demean-
or, the poetry of words, the abundance of information on
many topics, the sincerity of his convictions, but it was hard
to get him started. But when he did start and got thorough-
ly warmed up he was a giant. Art, science, literature, poli-
tics, history, law and progress, each in its place, were handled
in masterly grandeur. Had he left Greenville in his youth
and gone to some large city and remained there he would
have had opportunities to imfold himself dav and night and
weave into his mannerism readiness of action. There was
nothing in Greenville for a man of his intellect to do and so
he just waited and waited and waited for something, he knew
not what. He was induced to come to California and locate
in a sparsely settled county where the people talked about
mining, fruit culture, wheat raising and stock raising. What
did Barney Collins know about such things? Nothing, and
he cared less. His wasn't the kind of mind that was meas-
ured bv the metes and bounds of a vallev ranch or a 600 foot


ledge. No one seemed to know him and for a long time after
he came out here he kept aloof from public gatherings. He
appeared a few times at the county conventions and was a
delegate to one of two state conventions. About the time
that his fame began to spread as an orator lie was elected
to the Assembly and died before he had an opportunity to
address the Speaker."

I'm no actor! Greet me with no applause!

Nor hiss — unless you first shall find a cause.

No prompter I, behind the scenes to call,

When speaking ill, or failing not at all.

No love of praise commands me here to rise;

What! brave the critic's test and beauty's eyes?

Proud of this temple and pleased with this stage.

Where soon the drama will our thoughts engage.

I. midst its richly painted scenes appear,

To welcome wit and playing talent here !

Icarian Thespis, first in his day.

Performed his plays upon a Grecian dray.

A generous "Order" patronizing art,

Builds here this stage to glad the public heart !

Our people need travel now no more abroad

To shed tears, to laugh, condemn — applaud.

For now, at home, a place has been supplied

Where virtue may be praised and vice decried !

Where we may weep when pity wounds the breast.

Beholding passion's burst, or grief represt.

Yes, here tonight the rightly acted part

May swell the breast with joy, or melt tlie heart.

Here may our youth life's follies learn to shun,

And riper age reverse its faults begun !

Happy, some breast, which Nature has inspired

With Shakespeare's art, may here this night be fired !

Taste, that law which raises art, refines the senses,

Turns fools to wits and gives them elegance.

Which damns a play and ridicules the line —

Though sprung from Genius, lest they purely shine.

May, from this date, to us her pleasures bring.

Teach us to judge — avoid the critic's sting !

To give, when she shall here her standard raise.

To sterling worth the recompense of praise!

Teach to distinguish quickly truth from fratid.

So we may see the point, and then applaud !


For if the chaste, the learned, would have to act.
We must be critics, not in name — in fact!
The modern stage, of modern life the school.
Paints nature true, nor varies in the rule !
All follies, vices, shams and things "too thin,"
With manners, fashions, worldly ways and din ;
Before our eyes, on colors strong and bright.
She spreads, that we may see and choose the right.
The Stage explodes the vile imposter's claim.
And fraud and falsehood boldly drags to shame.
The arts, letters, eloquence, culture, lore.
Rose with the Stage in Greece, nor rose before !
The hero's — patriot's — cause in every age
Has found a friend and ally in the Stage!
This neight behold the scene where Emmett stood,
Who gave to Erin and Libert}' his blood.

"Annie Oakley."

At this time when much is being said and written con-
cerning "woman's sphere" of activity in the various enter-
prises of the world, it is refreshing to study the career and
note the opinions of one who has achieved distinction in a
unique profession. The use of firearms is not usually asso-
ciated with the gentler sex, yet who "will question the right
of developing talent or skill nowadays wherever found? In
fact, is not ideal success that which allows the freest and
fullest realization of personality consistent with the welfare
of the individual and the greatest good of society? As civil-
ization advances a wider scope is given to the cultivation of
special talent, and a keener appreciation of merit is developed.
The man or woman who can do one thing better than any
one else is the person in demand at this hour, and the ques-
tion of age and sex is given less consideration than formerly.

With these reflections we study the life of "Annie Oak-
ley" (Mozee), who has attained international fame, as a rifle
and pistol shot. Along in the '50's her parents left the
mountains of Pennsylvania and settled in the northeastern
part of Darke county. Here in a wild tract of land known
as the "fallen timbers" Annie was born in the early "sixties."
Her mother was a Quaker and exhibited some talent for art,
which was expressed in pencil sketches and a few paintings,
but limited by circumstances of poverty and hard work. Her
father was a natural athlete, fond of shooting wild game, but





;g|[ J:, ,r ■nm^m\






not an expert shot. From one she probably inherited skill
and a generous disposition ; from the other agility and a love
of out-door sports.

It is said that when but a small child she would secretly
follow her brother on his hunting expeditions, and when dis-
covered and reprimanded, would plead to remain with him
and help shoot. One day, when a little over eight years of
age, while her brother was away from the house, she caught
sight of a fox squirrel frisking along the fence, and taking his
muzzle loading rifle, she rested it on the rail of the porch,
fired and cut the animal's throat. When the brother re-
turned he was surprised, and in order to wreak vengeance on
his offending sister he secretly put a double load in his shot-
gun, and giving her the weapon, threw up his hat as a target.
To his surprise this, too, was quickly pierced, and the sister,
undaunted, won the day. From this time on she progressed
in marksmanship, and at twelve years of age was given a
light muzzle loading shotgun and a breech-loading rifle as
a tribute to her skill.

Anna's early education was limited, and before her ninth
birthday she commenced to work for a living. The father
died, leaving a family of small children, and a small, heavily
mortgaged farm. By hunting and trapping quail and pheas-
ants and other game and doing manual labor she saved
enough to pay ofif the mortgage before her fourteenth year.
Being variously employed at housework for a couple more
years she finally went to live with a sister at Cincinnati, Ohio,
where she married Mr. Frank E. Butler, a frank, genial gen-
tleman and an expert shot, whom she met at a shooting con-
test, and with whom she later visited professionally nearly all
civilized countries. Mr. Butler was at that time about $1,500
in debt. Many interesting anecdotes might be told of their
early trials and struggles.

During the first year of her public life she played with
vaudeville companies, probablv doing feats of fancy marks-
manship. The two years following she exhibited with Sells
Brothers circus, shooting from horseback. Then followed
a long engagement with Buflfalo Bill's Wild West, beginning
in the early spring of 1885, during which she shot at the
London and Paris expositions, and the world's fair at Chica-
go, and exhibited before nearlv all the crowned heads and the
aristocracv of Europe. She remained with this world famed
show seventeen years, seven of which were spent abroad,
during which she visited fourteen countries.


She gave five exhibitions before the Prince of \\'ales and
shot game on his estate at Sandringham, for which she was
richly paid. At Earl's Court, London, she exhibited before
three kings, two princes and five other titled people. Prob-
ably no American lady, except Mary Anderson, ever received
as generous and enthusiastic reception in high European cir-
cles and her impression is that the educated classes of Eu-
rope are lavish in the recognition of talent when shown,
while Americans, though more ready to hail aspiring genius,
are less enthusiastic in applause.

Her autograph album contains the names of a large num-
ber of noted persons, among which are noticed the following:
Princess May of Teck, the Duchess of Cumberland, Hilde de
ClifTord, the famous English beauty ; I.adv Paget, Lord
Windsor, Due de Orleans, Seignor Crispi, Count Spaletti, the
Chinese Embassy at London, Dinah Salifou, Sitting Bull,
Rain in the Face and Curly, the Crow Indian Scout and sole
surviving member of Custer's famous braves. The names of
Lillian Lewis, Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, Chauncey Depew
and Thomas A. Edison appear, not to mention a great host
of others. One of the most prized is that of H. C. Bonner,
deceased, the founder of Puck. It reads as follows :

"It was a pleasant day
As near the first of May
As days come in pleasant April weather.
That Miss Anna Oakley shot
Her hundred pigeon pot.
And the record on the clays broke together.
And may all the days she knows,
As through the world she goes.
Be as lucky for her all time through,
As that pleasant day in spring.
When she showed us she could wing.
One hundred birds in miutes six and seconds
thirty-two !"

Besides being feted by Queen X'ictoria, she has received
jewels and presents from nearly all the crowned heads of
Europe, and her collection of trophies in the way of jewels,
firearms and mementoes is quite elaborate. Her salary as
early as 1900 when with the Wild West was $150 per week
with expenses paid, and it is said she gave generously of
this for charity, being mindful of her own early struggles.


Strange as it may seem, she is not fond of public exhibition
and social life, but prefers out of door sport, and yearns for
the time when she can enjoy the seclusion of private life.

Some of her best records with the rifles are 945 tossed balls
out of 1,000; 96 small clay pigeons out of 100; 50 straight
double clays; 49 live birds out of 50.

With 5,000 balls she broke 4,772 in one day's shooting;
and on the second thousand her best record of 984 was made.
She is fond of swimming, walking, running and bicycle rid-
ing', and makes a point of getting plenty of outdoor exercise,
to which custom may be attributed her remarkable vitality
and sustained good health. Her guns weigh about seven
pounds, and she sometimes shoots 150 shots in a day. thus
lifting over 1,000 pounds. She has shot wild deer in Amer-
ica, wild boar in Germany, and roebuck in Austria.

In personal appearance she is slight, below average height,
with black flowing hair, keen, blue-gray eyes, clear-cut ex-
pressive features, and a rather piquant face. One might ex-
pect that such a life as hers would produce coarseness and
lack of refinement, but Miss Annie has certainly resisted
such an effect, and possesses a rare modesty and a charming
personality. Unaffected, simple and sincere, she exhibits a
grace and tact rarely met. With a girlish voice, a genial
vivacious disposition and winning ways she is a ready con-
versationalist and is, withal, charitable, thoughtful and re-
fined. Caring naught for the privileges of suffrage she only
asks a fair chance for her sex to develop such talents as
nature and education gives.

In 1893 she built a handsome residence in Xutley, New
Jersey, not far from New York City, where she spent several
enjoyable vacation seasons.

On October 30, 1901, the Wild West show suffered a dis-
astrous wreck in which Annie Oakley was severely wound-
ed, having to undergo five operations in order to save her
life. This ended her engagement with the big show and in
the fall and winter of 1902 she starred in a play written es-
pecially for herself, and, if possible, made a greater artistic
success than she had in the shooting field. Then came the
great libel suit against her in which fifty-seven newspapers
participated. Two of these made immediate apology, but the
other fifty-five were sued with the result that fifty-five ver-
dicts were rendered in favor of Annie Oakley. Most of these
cases were settled soon in a manner satisfactory to the plain-


tiff, but one suit dragged on for nearly seven years. This
closed probably the greatest chain of suits on record in the
history of the world, costing the plaintiff about $90,009.00
and the defendants about half a million dollars. Thus one
little frail woman with a few thousand dollars that she had
earned by her skill put up a wonderful fight against several
of the most prominent newspapers in the United States rep-
resenting a capital of several million of dollars, and manned
by some of the brainy men of the country, and won prac-
tically a unanimous verdict in justification of her character.

Annie Oakley joined the "Young Buft'alo Wild West" in
April, 1910, continuing with them three years during the
summer seasons, and spending the winters with her_ husband
in central Florida, shooting game and riding after the hounds.

Having sold their former home at Nutley, N. J-. they are
now in Cambridge, Md., where they are erecting a new home
on Hambrooks Bay, near the Great Choptauk river. They
are planning to spend their summer fishing and boating over
this beautiful river and the Chesapeake Bay — going occa-
sionally to Florida or returning to Annie's former home in
Darke county, Ohio, where is the resting place of her be-
loved little mother and the homes of her sisters, ]\Irs. Hulda
Haines and Mrs. Emily Patterson.

Henry Black.

Henry Black was born in Harrison township, Preble coun-
ty, Ohio, August 25, 1832, and was the son of Joseph and
Sarah Black. On October 6, 1853, he married Catherine
Weaver, of Lewisburg, Ohio, who died August 3, 1891. In
1880 Mr. Black came to Darke county and located on the
Old Sam Cable farm in section six. Western Greenville town-
ship, along the township road. His education was very lim-
ited but he was of a practical turn, of mind and used his
meager schooling to good advantage. He early manifested
a strong inclination toward mechanics and did much original
experimenting which eventuated in various practical inven-
tions. Probably his first patent was for a flax scutching ma-
chine which was registered June 5, 1866. One of his most
tiseful inventions was a railroad switch which he patented
February 25, 1873, and from which he received very little
financial remuneration. It is said that the principle of this
switch was seized upon by other mechanics, who by slight



adaptations made it one of the best ever produced, with the
result that it was adopted by some of the large railways and
part of it incorporated in the most successful switches now
in use on nearly all railways.

While living in Darke county, Mr. Black devoted much of
his time to experimenting on a mower- and binder that would
cut the grain close to the ground with the result that he se-
cured a patent for a low down binder in 1885. This inven-
tion attracted wide attention and promised to be a decided
improvement on the ordinary binder. Mr. Black moved to
Greenville where he equipped a machine shop in 1893 with-
out outside financial aid. Although advanced in age he
strove against large odds to introduce his promising inven-
tion, but met with much discouragement and the machine
never reached a degree of perfection to justify its general
adoption. However, the drive chain used extensively today
was a part of this invention. Undaunted by age and great
obstacles Henry Black continued his labors and was' ex-
perimenting with an improved electric and gasoline engine
when called from the scene of his earthly labors on August
19, 1901. He was a man of tender heart, great patience and
forbearance, and attained much of his success by following
the homely old rule, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try,
again." By unselfish devotion to his ideals he helped others
with their inventions, left the world richer in useful mechan-
ical appliances, and, no doubt, indirectly saved many lives
by his improved switch. He left a son, Horace C, and three
grandchildren, one of whom. Elsie, has for several years been
a successful teacher in the Greenville public schools.

Other Notables.

These are the names of only a few of the residents of Darke
county who have wrought out exceptional careers at home
or attained wide fame for their accomplishments. The legal
profession has furnished several men of note whose names
and accomplishments are recorded in the chapter on the
"Bench and Bar" in this volume. Others appear among the
family biographical sketches in volume two, including John
T. Lecklider, the poet; Jacob T. Martz, the educator; Frank
Conklin, the financier ; Harvey C. Garber, the politician ; L.
C. Anderson, the physician ; Howard W. Swope, Frank and
Carl W'ilson, the musical composers; Judge James I. Allread,
(23) i


the jurist; Orla Harrison and Clement Brumbaugh, the leg-
islators ; Guy C. Baker, the writer of short stories, besides
Lohmann brothers, the telescope makers and Frances Katzen-
berger Ratliff, the author of "He Would Have Me Be Brave"'
and "The Three Verdicts." Besides all these might be men-
tioned a host of painters, readers, educators and musicians,
who have helped to place Darke county in the front rank for
native talent and worthy accomplishments.


The people of Ohio have been noted for their genius for
politics ever since their organization as a state in 1803.
Probably the most stirring activity in early days was that
caused by the '"Tippecanoe and Tyler too" log cabin cam-
paign in 1840, as previously noted.

In earlier days the people of Darke county were isolated
and mostly interested in clearing the land and laying the
foundation for future prosperity. After the middle of the
nineteenth century interest increased and politics became an
important theme in public and private life. Political dis-
cussion often waxed warm in the taverns and public places
and many brawls ensued.

The "Darke County Boy" pictures the political condition
at that period in the following vivid words :

"I never hear of a Republican or a Democratic pole raising
in Darke county any more. Those were great events in their
day. The Republicans always raised ash poles, while the
Democrats raised hickory poles. Noted speakers were had
by both parties. The higher the pole, the greater the event.
These poles were always spliced once or twice, and a flag
and streamer were always hoisted to the top. While this
was going on the band would play, the crowd would cheer,
and everybody would feel good.

"After the flag raising the speaker would talk about the
'great fundamental principles' of the party to which he be-
longed, when there would be more yelling and handclapping,
'to beat the band.'

"There would sometimes be a fist fight or two before the
day was over, but that was to be expected. AVhiskey was
good and cheap and plentiful, and consequently it always had
its innings on such occasions.

"If it was a Democratic pole raising, the old faithfuls of
the party would drive into town good and early. As they
drove in one would see David Edwards and his family, Wm.
Jenkinson, William Marshall, David Thompson, John Town-


send, 'Big' John Coppess, Joe Brush, Mike and Andy Zeek,
George Dively, Sam Love, and Christian Schlechty, , Uncle
Jimmy' McCoy, Johnathan Matchette, Alfred Wolf, Wm.
Lecklider, and hundreds of others, with their families.

"I never saw a load of Democrats in my life that didn't
look to have twice as many in the wagon as there actually
were. They were so discouraging for Republicans to look
at that it gave them the shivers — and sometimes worse.

"On such occasions the speakers would be either Sam
Medary, Frank iMc Kinney, P'rank Le Blond, C. L. Valland-
ingham, Geo. E. Pugh, Geo. H. Pendleton, Wm. Allen,
Thomas Ewing, or local talent, such as D. L. Meeker, Evan
Baker, Valentine Whitmore, John L. Winner, Thos. D. Stiles
and Joseph McCord. These were 'before the war' days. At
night there would be speaking up town in front of the court
house, where a bonfire as large as a logheap would make
light enough to read a newspaper across the public square.

"Whence came the fuel for the bonfire? Every merchant
in town knew — for the next morning they would discover that
all empty barrels and boxes had suddenly disappeared. Who
'nipped" them ? We boys, of course — sons of Democrats and
sons of Republicans, and every one of us a 'son of a gun,'
according to the merchant's opinion of us.

''Pole raising day for Republicans fetched into town the
families of David Craig, John and Aaron Hiller, Lemuel
Rush. Henry McEowen, J. J. Markwith, Sipio Myers, Joseph
and Samuel Cole, A. L. Northrop, Wm. Leas, Harrod Mills,
Wm. Bishop, Morris and Joe Bryson, James McCabe, David
Putnam, Jacob Shiveley, Reuben Lowery, and 100 other stal-
warts and their families.

"After the pole raising, speeches would be made by either
Thomas Corwin, Salmon P. Chase, Louis D. Campbell (then
a Republican), Robt. Schenck, Samuel Galloway, Samuel
Cary, William Gibson, James Hart, Samuel Craighead, Thos.
M. Browne, or other distinguished non-residents of the coun-
ty. At night the local speakers would be one or more of the
following: J. R. Knox, Dr. L N. Gard, Charles Calkins, E.
B. Putnam. A. R. Calderwood, E. B. Taylor, Joseph Frizell.
The usual bonfire would be blazing as brightly as at any
Democratic meeting.

"But pole raising is no longer fashionable. Perhaps the
scarcity of ash and hickory trees may be the fault of it."

Feeling ran high during the Buchanan campaign and



throughout the Civil War, when the epithets of "Butternut"
and "Copperhead" were contemptuously applied to those
who sympathized with the south, while the Republicans in
turn were called "Woolyheads.'" It was the delight of the
Democrats to aggravate the Republicans by wearing "butter-
nut" clothing similar to that worn in the Confederacy. Such
conditions often resulted in severe fist fights. Vallanding-
ham and Prugh, who were running on the state ticket, were
stigmatized as "Vomit and Puke." Fire-eating and backbit-
mg were the order of the day. Stump speakers and editors
vied with each other in the use of caustic and vile adjec-
tives, and the public mind was highly inflamed. At this period
the office of the "Democrat" was raided, and the type thrown
into the street.

"The Dayton Rounders," a band of rowdies, participated
in a Democratic meeting held in Greenville at the close of
the war. Their presence inflamed the returned soldier boys,
who drubbed several of them severely and drove them out
of town after frightening them by the discharge of firearms.
This escapade brought down on them the derision of their
friends at home and broke up their organization.

After the war a calmer and more sensible spirit prevailed
and enthusiasm was expressed by barbecues, mass meetings
and torchlight processions. This condition prevailed dur-
ing the campaign of- Hayes and Tilden, Garfield and Han-
cock. In recent years a calmer and more deliberate spirit
has prevailed and more enlightened methods are used. To
day the appeal is to the reason rather than the emotions.

From 1836 to 1846, the congressional district was com-
posed of Darke, Preble and Butler counties, with the result
that Democrats were elected each term. In 1846 the district
was changed to comprise Darke, Montgomery, Greene and
Preble and continued so until 1852, during which time all the
successful candidates were Whigs, including Hiram Bell of
Greenville, elected in 1850. In 1852 the district was again
changed to include Darke, Miami, Shelby, Auglaize, Allen
and Mercer, with the result that a Democrat was elected in
1852; a bolter in 1854; a Republican in 1856; William Allen,

Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 57)