From the Files: Perry Brooks and Family, 1920 Census

At the time of the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Perry Brooks and Emma Angeline Copas Brooks are living with five of their children in Pomeroy, Ohio. Pomeroy had been booming in the late 19th century, attracting many salt and coal miners, but it entered into a steep and lasting decline by 1890. Still, Perry earned his wages mining coal.

Perry Brooks and family, 1920 US Federal Census

Both Perry and Emma are 40 years old, report being able to read and write, and are living in a rented house. Their oldest daughter, Katie, died 19 years prior to this census, and Susan Mae is married and living in West Virginia. Their remaining children are Sarah, 17; John Leonard, 14 and attending school; Joseph, 11 and attending school; William Ray, less than 2 months shy of 5; and Phyllis, 3 months. They were all born in Ohio. There is also a boarder and coal miner named Cowell living in their home. With the exception of a farmer and a rubber factory worker, their nearest neighbors are coal miners and their families.

Clipping: Marion Martin, Extreme DIYer

I've long been told that my uncle, Marion Woodruff Martin (1919-1996), was something of an inventor in his youth, and I've just come across this gem in the November 8, 1948 issue of The Newark Advocate (Newark, OH). Marion was 29 years old at the time. I can't make out much in the pictures, but this clip is fun to look at anyway. Marion Woodruff Martin, Inventor A transcription of the text in case you can't read it in the enlarged imaged:

Marion Martin is pictured above on his farm just outside of Hebron with the corn and baled hay elevator which he made himself out of scrap. Martin said the elevator isn't much for looks, but it does the work and cost about $125. He also made the garden tractor used to power the elevator. Martin uses it for seeding and mowing and other small jobs. Bob Miller of radio station WRFD, Worthington, interviews Marion Martin, near Hebron, on the "Over the Line Fence" program. Martin told how he started farming with his father on shares, and how he has now purchased a 144-acre farm for himself, just outside of Hebron. The interview ...more...

(Not) A History of Social Media

Paul Starr’s The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications has been sitting unread on my bookcase for far too long. I’ve only just begun reading it, and, in spite of the rather plodding pace, I’m finding it immensely interesting. I may write more about the book another time, but for now—though the book has made no mention of this particular sphere—it has me reflecting on the notion of social media. I am a light user of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, and I recently had a conversation with friends over Chinese food about this newfangled idea that anyone cares what I’m doing right now or with whom. Only later when I had on my more academic thinking cap, did it occur to me that I know very well that social media is by no means new. A Google search on the history of social media will likely tell you that the phenomenon is at least 30 years old. Beth Hayden and Rafal Tomal trace is origins to the first email, sent by researchers at the Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1971, followed in 1980 by Usenet, which allowed people to post messages to online news feeds. The ...more...

Obituary: Dora Alice Sager Woodruff, 1871-1959

The Newark Advocate (Newark, OH), 30 Nov 1959, p. 26
MRS. J. A. WOODRUFF

Mrs. Dora A. Woodruff, 88, wife of J. A. Woodruff, in failing health for some time, died at 1 p. m. Sunday in the home north of Kirkersville.

Born Nov. 10, 1871, in Black Lick, Franklin County, she was the daughter of Dallas Sager and Kesiah (Mann) Sager and had lived in the Kirkersville area 48 years. She was a member of the Methodist Church of Kirkersville.

She leaves her husband; one daughter, Mrs. Helen Martin of Hebron; two sons, Leland and Clifford of the home; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one brother, Robert Sager of Black Lick.

The funeral will be held at 2 p. m. Wednesday in the Emerson Funeral Home in Kirkersville with the Rev. Starling Morrow conducting the service. Burial in Kirkersville Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home.

From the Files: Avery Martin’s WWII Draft Registration

Back to the past

After a couple of years of too much new (I work in IT) and not enough old, I'm determined to return to carving out more leisure time and spending more of that time doing history. The first step has been to make myself a space, which has been slowly taking shape in my previously dank and creepy basement. Tomorrow, I plan to hang lights and curtains, roll out a new rug, and set up my desk and chair. There's more to do to finish the space, but nothing that should prevent me from finally sitting down and searching out the past. While I'm creating a new environment for myself, I've also decided this website could stand to have some work done. Since I rarely find big chunks of time for working on my own stuff, I'll be doing this in bits and pieces. The "new" site will be fewer independent pages and more blog posts. It'll be easier to maintain, so I'm hoping I'll post more to it. In the meantime, please excuse any oddities and missing bits.

Lieutenant Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson is believed to have been born around 1750 in Ireland and immigrated to colonial America in his early 20’s. Shortly after his arrival, he joined a local militia in Washington County, Virginia, appearing as Ensign in Robert Doak’s Company of Militia in a list dated June 2nd, 1774. Later that same year, Doak’s Militia and hundreds of other Virginia militiamen fought in a little-known war of expansionism called Dunmore’s War, a fight between colonials and natives over the fertile lands of the Ohio River Valley. The Battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, was the war’s only major battle, ending with a victory for the Virginians, forcing the area’s native population to recognize the Ohio River as the new boundary between their land and the colonies. By the time many of Virginia’s militiamen returned home in mid-1775, the American Revolutionary War had already begun. Returning militias quickly routed Lord Dunmore, who had led Virginia’s assault against the natives but now commanded British troops against Virginians. Also in 1775, Andrew found time to marry Ann, and they had their first of 8 children later that year or early in 1776. The next time I am able to find Andrew Thompson on record ...more...

A Tough Week for Coal

A recent blog post at The New York Times provides an excellent rundown of citizen and government action against Big Coal. Green Inc.: A Tough Week for Coal

CNN – Coal River Mountain

Today, CNN.com posted a story about the impending destruction of Coal River Mountain. An excerpt and link to the full story are below:

RALIEGH COUNTY, West Virginia (CNN) -- Lorelei Scarboro loves to talk about the wild turkeys and bears living on West Virginia's Coal River Mountain. She watches them from the home her husband built when they were first married. But Scarboro is convinced it could all become a casualty of blasting that could begin on the mountaintop which is just 100 yards from the family cemetery where her husband is buried. "Everything I have here is at risk," said Scarboro whose father, grandfather and husband all worked as coal miners. About 470 mountain tops in Appalachia, including the one next to Coal River, have been destroyed. Mountaintop removal mining is faster and cheaper than underground mining but its impact on the environment is much worse. "I know there is a right way and a wrong way to mine coal and mountain top removal is the most destructive practice they can do," said Scarboro, now a member of the Coal River Mountain Watch. Mountaintop mining is legal and became more prevalent six years ago when federal laws were relaxed. During the mining process, miners blast ...more...

Thompson and Green Family Cemeteries

On July 1st, my dad and I, armed with a GPS and one 14-year-old hand-drawn map, set out in search of two of our old family cemeteries. Getting to each of them required some near-off roading and a bit of hiking, but we did finally find them. Green Cemetery ViewGreen Cemetery is located on Winifrede Mountain, just south of Winifrede, West Virginia. Fields Creek Road runs from the WV Turnpike and through Winifrede, ending at the gates of the Winifrede mine. A gravel road to the left leads under the coal tipple and around the mountain. Toward the end of the road, there are several houses and a path up to the cemetery. Although it appears to have begun as a cemetery for the Green family, it now contains headstones for about a dozen families, and it is still being used. Surrounding the large Green family headstones are dozens of mostly uncarved concrete stones that have recently been painted white. Evidence suggests many of these mark Green burial places.

Thompson Cemetery OverviewThompson Cemetery is located in a remote area of Lincoln County, West Virginia, about 35 miles southwest ...more...