Read all about BCHS’s recent findings below.
Next BCHSociety Program Features Clothing and Fashion During World War I
Sara Butler, Miami University Art Department Professor Emeritus, will present “Clothing During the Great War: 1914-1918”, 1 p.m. March 24, 2018 in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium at the Butler County Historical Society, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. Her talk will describe the uniforms and clothing worn by men serving in the U.S. military as well as people on the home front during World War I. The program is free to the public.
Butler, a former board member of the historical society, will explain the unique characteristics of the uniforms of American soldiers and how the county’s residents worked to supply equipment and garments for the military effort. She will report how local retail stores worked to support the war effort and present the contributions of women during the wartime years. Several aspects of how the war influenced the fashions of the day will be illustrated with advertisements from local newspapers and by actual uniforms and women’s clothing in the historical society’s collection.
Dr. Butler was one of the coordinators of the society’s ongoing exhibit, “Over There, Over Here: Butler County Stories of World War I,” that focuses on the story of World War I in Butler County. The exhibit can be visited before or after her presentation.
BCHS Presents Charles Campbell Gard and World War I
A reader’s theater production and slide program telling the story of Charles Campbell Gard’s military service during World War I will be staged at 1 p.m., February 17, in the Emma Ritchie Auditorium at the Butler County Historical Society, 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. Gard, a 1913 graduate of Hamilton High School, was the only son of Lutie and Homer Gard, owner and publisher of the Hamilton Evening News which evolved to become the Journal News. He served in the military from July 1917 until May 1919.
The script for the 70-minute program was written by Richard Piland and is based on more than seventy-five letters Gard wrote to his family and the wartime diary he kept while on the Western Front in France. Piland also researched and created the pictorial slide show that illustrates Gard’s career and service during the war. The cast of four actors that performs the script includes Marcy Piland, Tom Redman, Brian Smith and Greg Young. The program is free to the public.
Gard served in the Ohio National Guard, Battery E, Third Field Artillery before earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant at the Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison on August 27, 1917. He was first stationed at Camp Funston at Fort Riley, Kansas, and then at Camp Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina, before volunteering for the newly formed air service. Gard was trained to be an observer-gunner during flight school at Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma, and received advanced training at Selfridge Field at Mt. Clemens, Michigan. After earning his Aviator’s Badge on September 10, 1918, he sailed for France and the Western Front where he served until returning to the states on April 20, 1919.
“Campbell had a wide variety of experiences during his tour of duty in France,” Piland said. “Many of them were very special like the time he flew in formation over the throngs of Parisians celebrating the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, and dropping flowers over President and Mrs. Wilson as they reviewed American soldiers at Langre on Christmas Day. He also was thrilled to have close encounters with General John J. Pershing; Edward, Prince of Wales; King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium.”
Piland also indicated that Campbell also had some very unfortunate experiences during his service. “During Lt. Gard’s Atlantic crossing in October 1918, he witnessed the collision of the Otranto and Kashmir troop ships and the loss of more than 400 soldiers. He also survived more than six separate plane crashes with only minor injuries.”
When Gard returned to civilian life in May 1919, he resumed working at the Evening News. On October 25, 1921, Campbell collapsed at his desk at the newspaper and died at the age of 26. The cause of death was myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. In 1926, Campbell’s parents revealed their plans to donate to the Hamilton Y.M.C.A. a fully equipped camp as a living memorial to their son. Camp Campbell Gard was dedicated on July 1, 1927 and is still in operation.
The historical society has published Campbell Gard’s wartime diary and will have copies of the 36-page book for sale at the program for $5.
Ohio Statehouse Showcases Butler County in Special Exhibit
The Butler County Historical Society was invited to create a special exhibit to highlight the county’s history and attractions for the Thomas Worthington Center at the Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus. The exhibit, which opened in January, presents the story of the industrial and agricultural history of Butler County and showcases many of the county’s popular historical organizations, museums and attractions in the county. Also on display are several Indian artifacts, Shaker boxes and brooms, Skotch coolers, two “Best Children’s Picture Book” Caldecott Medals awarded to writer Robert McCloskey, and items manufactured by the Mosler Safe Company, Estate Stove, Hamilton Tile, Beckett Paper, Fred J. Meyers Manufacturing Company, Armco Steel, and others.
The exhibit was created by Kathy Creighton, Butler County Historical Society Executive Director, and veteran volunteer Ed Creighton. Thousands of visitors to the Ohio capitol building will have the opportunity to learn about the county until the exhibit is removed on July 9, 2018. Chris Matheney, Ohio Statehouse Historic Site Manager for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, thought the exhibit would be a very successful one. “I think there will be a lot of nose prints on the glass in front of the display,” he said, “and the more nose prints there are, the more successful is the exhibit.”
Featured in the exhibit are several descriptions of the county’s rich agricultural history including prominent farm equipment manufacturers such as Long and Allstatter; H.P. Deuscher; and Hooven, Owens and Rentschler. The area’s position as a lead producer of broom corn and other crops and a leader in developing the Poland China hog is also presented.
The county’s industrial heritage as the “Safe Capital of the World,” when almost half of the world’s safes were manufactured by Hamilton’s Mosler Safe Company and Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company, is explained. Other major manufacturing concerns highlighted in the exhibit include Beckett Paper, Champion Coated Paper, Sorg Paper, Niles Tool Works, Black-Clauson, Hooven-Owens-Rentschler, Fred J. Meyers Manufacturing, Armco Steel, Estate Stove Company, Hamilton Tile Works, Krauth and Benninghofen, Columbia Carriage and Aeronca.
Several museums and popular attractions located in Oxford, Middletown, Hamilton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trenton, Reily, Okeana, Harrison, West Chester, Madison Township and Morgan Township are briefly described in the exhibit.
Kathy Creighton, BCHS Executive Director, said she was delighted with the opportunity to present the story of Butler County in the Ohio Statehouse. “We are honored by being invited to put together an exhibit for visitors to the capitol to see. I think we covered most of the county’s finest attributes and believe people will enjoy the exhibit and learn a lot while seeing it.”
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, Ohio, is a private non-profit formed in 1934 to preserve and promote the history of Butler County through the collection and conservation of artifacts and the sharing of knowledge through education and community engagement. It owns and operates the Benninghofen House museum, a high-Italian style home built in 1863 that is filled with the furnishings of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.
Society Names New Officers and Board Members for 2018
The Butler County Historical Society will begin 2018 with a new slate of officers when the Board of Trustees meets on Thursday, January 18.
The board’s new president is Brian Smith, a Ross School District English teacher who is entering his fourth year as a board member. The new vice-president is Greg Young, retired superintendent of the Ross School District. Young served as board president three years when he was on the board from 2007 through 2012.
William Groth continues as board treasurer for a third year and Richard O Jones returns as the society’s secretary for a fourth year. Returning board members are Jack Armstrong, Chris Carroll, Richard Piland, and Katie Wright. Kathy Creighton remains the society’s Executive Director, a position she has occupied since 2010.
Two new members of the board of trustees will be Liesl Bauer, a communication strategist for the Hamilton Vision Commission, and B. Gayle Niehaus, a retired school building principal for the Fairfield City School District.
Leaving the board is Jack Whalen, who served on the board for seven years including two years as treasurer and two years as president. Also leaving the board is Sara Butler, a six year board member who was vice-president of the society for four years.
The society’s Board of Trustees oversees the BCHS programs, exhibits, operations, and efforts to preserve and interpret Butler County’s rich heritage. More than 6000 people visited the society to conduct research, tour the house museum, or attend a lecture series program during 2017 and another 3500 attended a Speaker’s Bureau presentation.
As a non-profit organization with no routine government support of any kind, the BCHS relies on generous volunteer and community support and financial gifts to help it continue the society’s increasingly important civic contributions to increase public awareness of the county’s past.
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, is a private non-profit formed in 1934 to preserve and promote the history of Butler County through the collection and conservation of artifacts and the sharing of knowledge through education and community engagement. It owns and operates the Benninghofen House museum, a high-Italian style home built in 1863 that is filled with the furnishings of a wealthy family during the Victorian Era. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 896-9930.
BCHS Annual Meeting To Be Held November 9
The 83rd Annual Meeting of the Butler County Historical Society will be held at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Avenue, Hamilton, Thursday, November 9.
Cocktails will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a homemade catered dinner by Jeanette’s Delicacies at 6:15 p.m. A cash bar will be available.
The cost for the event is $45 per person or $85 per couple. BCHS members and county residents interested in attending should make reservations for the event no later than November 3rd by calling the society at 896-9930.
A brief business meeting after the dinner will feature an annual report of the society’s activities during 2017 and the election of the society’s two new board members and slate of officers for 2018.
The entertainment for the evening will be a reader’s theater presentation based on the letters Charles Campbell Gard wrote to his family and his wartime diary written while on the Western Front in France during World War I. The program features a cast of four and a slide show that illustrates his military career and service during the war. Persons wishing to attend only the “Charles Campbell Gard and World War I” program should arrive before the scheduled start of the performance at 7:15 p.m.
Ghost Hunters Invited to Investigate the “Spirits” Thought to Inhabit the BCHS Benninghofen House
Beginning and advanced ghost hunters will have the opportunity to find out about the “spirits” thought to haunt the Butler County Historical Society’s complex at 327 North 2nd Street, Hamilton. Two special sessions are scheduled for October 28, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. Each session and tour will introduce participants with the “spirits” believed to inhabit the Benninghofen House and society research center. There will be time for the not so faint-at-heart to conduct their own investigations.
Tickets for the sessions are limited and cost $25 per person, paid in advance. When making reservations, participants should indicate which of the tours they wish to attend. All ghost hunters are encouraged to bring any ghost hunting equipment they may have and the BCHS will have a number of divining rods on hand for people to use during the evening.
The Butler County Historical Society, located at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, is a private non-profit and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Group tours of the Benninghofen House Museum can be arranged by calling 513-896-9930.