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Tom Thumb wedding - circa 1930's
"Following is the program for the Tom Thumb wedding to be presented by the primary department of the Darrtown Lutheran church, Thursday night, under the direction of Mrs. Caroline Frederick.
President and Mrs. Hoover - Eldon Wyckoff and Helen McVicker
Governor and Mrs. Roosevelt - Edward Fowler and Betty Alston
Former Sweetheart - Mary Lou McVicker
Old Maid Aunt - Wanda Wolf
Grandfather and Grandmother - Ralph Bufler and Corrine Bufler
Mother of the Groom - Dorothy Glardon
Bride's Mother - Dorothy Ward
Minister - Donald McVicker
Groom - George Edward Manrod
Best Man - Jack Wiley
Ushers - Jack Fowler, Ray Bufler, Norbert Ward, and Charles Teckman
Bridesmaids - Grace Krebs, Mary Cory, Kathryn Williams, Elizabeth Fowler, and Vera Wyckoff
Maid of Honor - Harriet Wagonfield
Flower Girls - Sarah Jane Manrod and Mary Eleanor Bufler
Bride - Alice Mae Kramer
Bride's Father - Eugene Wagonfield
Ring Bearers - Douglas Ward and Junior Wills"
(The following article appeared in the Hamilton Journal - circa 1930's)
Tom Thumb wedding - circa 1940's
BELOW: This image shows the participants in a Darrtown "Tom Thumb" wedding, from the early 1940's. The smaller image beneath this photo, includes numerals that correspond with the names that appear on the list next to the smaller image.
We have records of two "Tom Thumb" weddings in Darrtown, one during the 1930's and one in the 1940's.
1. Johnnie Bradbury
2. Ronnie Wiley - groom
3. Melva Jewell - bride
4. Myra Hansel
5. Judy Hansel
6. Linda Mee?
7. Linda Brooks
8. Shirley MIchael
9. Billy Brooks
10. Donna Jewell
11. ___ Mann?
12. Beverly Bradbury
13. Roberta Napier
14. Paul "Pete" Jewell
15. Martha Pierson
16. Jackie Matthews
17. Susan Clark
18. Harlan Miller
19. Imogene Schultz
20. Patty Manrod
21. Patricia Hansel
22. Lois Ferst
24. Joann Jewell
27. Eugene Napier
28. Roger Wiley
29. Bob Young
30. Mary Lee Fogerty
Darrtown parade - circa 1900
This photograph shows the Darrtown Cornet Band parading south on Main Street (Hamilton-Richmond Pike). This image was copied from an Oxford Press newspaper clipping that was contributed by Mrs. Alice (Kramer) Miller. It appeared in the Oxford Press (circa July 1976).
The newspaper caption read: "The 'Hitching Post' site is behind the horse and buggy at the left. Building at the right was constructed for a skating rink. Sign above porch advertises Martin Mason Lager Beer. The Darrtown Band was organized prior to 1895 and practiced in Frank Bufler's hall and later used the K. of P. hall, built in 1904."
Webmaster observations regarding the above photo:
> If everyone walking in the parade was a band member, then that was a sizable cornet band for a small town. > Main Street (Hamilton-Richmond Road) was an unpaved, dirt/gravel roadway.
> The horse appears to be standing at a rail (i.e. a "hitching post").
> If the Oxford Press caption is correct and the horse is standing in front of the Hitching Post tavern, then this view is looking north.
> The utility pole suggests that the town had, or was about to have, electricity or telephone service.
> The Martin Mason Lager Beer sigh, referenced in the news article is noted in Cone's "Narrative of Hamilton."
Camping trip - 1904
This is another photo from the same Oxford Press article that Mrs. Alice (Kramer) Miller provided (above). Unfortunately, like many newspaper photos, this one did not reproduce very well.
Another version of this photo appeared in the "Remember When" section of the Hamilton Journal - written by George Cummins. The caption read "This picture could be a scene from 'Westward Ho,' but it is actually the departure of the Aten, Blair, and McKee families for a camping trip in 1904. The campers and their wagon are shown in front of the Popst Hotel, Darrtown."
Students of Darrtown history may wish to note that the "McKee" farm is mentioned on the Schultz family page. The McKee property is believed to be the farm that was located northwest of the Kirk Mee I and Kirk Mee II homestead on North Main Street.
For Darrtown historians, the "camping" photograph at the left and the "parade" photo, above, are exciting and valuable in two ways:
First, these turn-of-the (20th) century pictures are some of the oldest images that we have on this website.
Second, these photos seem to confirm oral history. For example, over the years, older residents of Darrtown have relayed storied from their elders that:
(a) Darrtown Pike (Hamilton-Richmond Road) was a major thoroughfare for travelers and featured a stagecoach line. We also were told that the Darrtown Pike was a toll road, at some point in history.
(b) Darrtown was home to several hotels, which were used by stagecoach travelers and drovers who herded livestock through Darrtown toward the Cincinnati stockyards.
Circus stops in Darrtown - 1950's
According to Dane Menke, back in the mid-1950's, a circus stopped in Darrtown!
Dane recalls that this happened during one summer in the 1950's. It seemed to be some kind of lay-over until the group moved on to its next scheduled show. For a couple of days, the traveling troupe camped in the parking lot that is located across the street from the Hitching Post.
As evidence of this special event, Dane provided the image shown at the left.
The K of P Hall "outdoor restroom facility" can be seen in the background, at the right.
Fire at Ferguson Service Station and Grocery Store - circa 1957-58
RIGHT: Donna Laughlin contributed this image, which appeared in the Oxford Press, along with the following caption.
Webmaster: The news clipping was dated 1957-58. Obviously, this incident preceded the installation of a fire department in Darrtown. This property was formerly owned and operated by Clarence Dees (see Businesses / Page 1).
Webmaster note: Martha Pierson was identified as #15, by her daughter, Donna Nixon, on Sept. 29, 2018.
If you can identify any others in the above photo, please use the link in the footer to inform the webmaster.
Corn-husking contests conducted - 1930's
According to the L. A. Miller diaries, at least two corn-husking contests were conducted in the Darrtown area in the 1930's.
> One contest was held in 1933 at the Davis farm about 1/2 mile north of Darrtown.
> A second contest was held in 1936 at the Oyler farm, near McGonigle, Ohio, about five miles southwest of Darrtown.
Corn-husking contest at Davis Farm
The following news article opens with a description of a horse-pulling contest that was part of the 1933 corn-husking contest held at the Joseph Davis farm on October 31, 1933.
"Above is pictured a part of the "Long Pull" taken by one team, when a weight-dragging contest was held Tuesday, as part of the Butler County Corn Husking Contest at the Joe Davis farm near Darrtown. Teams of William Hand, Jr., Reily Twp. and Joe Leslie, Milford Twp. tied for first place, when they succeeded in dragging 4500 pounds of pig iron across the earth. Nearly 2000 persons witnessed the contest."
This image, caption, and article appeared in a newspaper clipping that Harry and Sueann Fillager contributed, during the April 21, 2012 Darrtown "Gathering."
The date and location of this event is confirmed by the following October 1933 entry in the L.A Miller diary. "October 29 ... Great preparations are being made for the corn-husking, October 31, on the Joseph Davis farm, north of Darrtown."
ABOVE: The former Davis home now functions as the Presidio Pines Bed and Breakfast.
Additional notes about the 1933 contest...
Wow! 2000 attendees! Think about organizing any event that would attract 2000 people and then think about trying to accomplish that feat in 1933. Drawing 2,000 spectators who had to travel in depression-era vehicles on less-than ideal roads seems like a significant accomplishment.
The photograph was hand-dated as "October, 1933."
Assuming that the structure seen in the background/right is the Joe Davis house (note the chimney), which is situated south of the Davis barn, then the horse pull was likely staged in the field immediately north of the barn, along St. Rt. 177.
The round structure, seen between the pulling area and the barn, is likely a straw pile, created by a threshing machine, while grain was being harvested.
Corn husking contests, still conducted at some 21st century farm festivals, were a chance for contestants to demonstrate their proficiency in using "husking pegs," to pull and clean the corn husks, before throwing the ears of corn into a farm wagon, for transportation to storage.
Added to the document was a note from Dave Leslie: "Ulysses O'Dell, brother of Fred O'Dell, won the corn husking contest."
On May 8, 2012, Harry Fillager provided the following information regarding the "Weight Dragging" contest that was reported above:
Dave Leslie, who is credited with adding the note about the corn-husking contest, was a brother to Ruth Leslie. Dave's full name was Davis Leslie.
Joe Leslie, listed as the co-winner of the pulling contest, was Harry's maternal grandfather; i.e., Joe Leslie was the father of Harry Fillager's mother - Ruth (Leslie) Fillager.
The Joe Leslie family lived on the farm located in the southeast corner of the intersection of Rt. 177 and Somerville Road. That farm is now (2012) known as the Hurley farm.
Fred O'Dell, brother of Ulysses O'Dell, who won the corn-husking contest, was a half-brother to "Ish" Cox. Mr. Cox, also known as "Coxie" to many in Darrtown during the middle of the 20th century, was an accomplished machinist and had a shop, at his residence on Main Street in Darrtown.
Fred O'Dell was married to Edna Leslie, sister of Ruth Leslie. The O'Dells lived in a house that was located on a farm that was owned by Lawrence Gaiser. The Gaiser farm was situated on the west side of Rt. 177, between Rt. 73 and Harris Road. The house sat in the southwest corner of the intersection of Harris Road and Rt. 177. During the 1950's the Arthur Russell family lived there.
Corn-husking contest at Oyler farm
"Tuesday, November 10: … The corn husking contest on the Oyler farm was won by two brothers of Iowa, 1st and 2nd. Thousands attended - mud and rain regardless. A good-sized prize, in money received by the two brothers: I presumed they divided the 'pot.' Corn had to be husked clean."
The date and location of this event is confirmed by the following November 10th entry in the L.A Miller's 1936 diary.
Location of Oyler farm
The location of the Oyler farm, just south of the Milford and Hanover township border, was confirmed by Marvin Gillespie, a longtime Hanover Township resident.
On April 19, 2018, Marvin offered the following information:
"Mrs. Evelyn Grissom"s maiden name was Oyler. She and her husband Wilmer lived in the old farm house behind Southwest Regional Water District. Clarence Broshear bought that farm and Mike Broshear lived there for years. The farm's west side ran all the way to Lanes Mill Road where Larry Miller is operating his trucking business. That is probably why you see the name in Oyler Drive just south of the church. The Water District is also on the Grissom farm."
Notes about the map below
The farm house, barn, and other building were accessed by a long lane that ran south from Stillwell-Beckett Road (see orange arrow below).
A street located west of the Oyer farm bears the name "Oylet Lane." See green rectangle below.
Larry Miller's trucking business, mentioned by Marvin Gillespie (see his comment at the left) is named the Stony Run Enterprise. The map shows the Stony Run stream flowing southeast through the former Olyer farm.
Further downstream, Stony Run turns north and eventually empties into the Four Mile Creek at a location just north of where Hogue Road intersects with St. Rt. 177, aka...Darrtown Pike.
Additional notes about the 1936 contest...
"Thousands attend!" Obviously, corn-husking contests in the rural Mid-West of America were popular activities, during the 1930's.
Also, consider that, at least, two contestants came from as far way as Iowa. The distance from the western border of Ohio to the eastern border of Iowa is approximately 650 miles. The two Iowa brothers who won the contest, probably traveled even further.
Perhaps the prize money was the big attraction; unfortunately, Mr. Miller did not specify the amount paid.
Cornhusking remains a valued skill and/or tradition in several mid-western states and multiple corn-husking contests are conducted annually, as evidenced at the following websites:
Old Time Cornhusking
Electricity delivered to rural areas of Butler County
No doubt, it was a major event (i.e. - "big deal") for rural families throughout Butler County, Ohio when electricity was first installed in homes and out-buildings (like barns, tool-sheds, garages, etc.) Before electricity, people relied on devices such as the coal-oil lamp and lantern shown below.
"Firemen Battle Blaze at Darrtown Station
Firemen from Oxford and Collinsville were summoned to Darrtown, about 4:40 p.m., Thursday, when fire damaged the roof and upstairs living quarters of the Stanley Ferguson service station and grocery, located at 4330 Main Street, Darrtown.
Sgt. Clarence Blevins of the sheriff's department said damage was estimated at "several thousand dollars." Firemen were able to save some contents from the living quarters above the store, as the photograph indicates. Defective wiring is believed to be the cause of the fire."