“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.”
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 by 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."
[End of interview]