Bobby Everhart and I were having lunch at the Pot Belly Pig today and two road-weary cyclists pulled up out front and came in for lunch. Being old bikers ourselves we introduced ourselves and joined them for a chat. They were Torkjell Arntzen and his friend Jorunn Storehaug and they were from Oslo, Norway.
Somebody posted an article on Facebook listing the most famous person from each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. Going down the list I came across lost of familiar faces and stories. Rather than reprinting the entire article, I decided to cull out just those regarding Highland and surrounding counties. While there may be disagreement here’s the judge’s choices.
HIGHLAND COUNTY: Donald Eugene Lytle played bass and steel guitar for country legend George Jones. But he changed his name to “Johnny Paycheck” and struck out on his own for a successful solo career that included several top 40 hits. He was born in Greenfield.
FAYETTE COUNTY: Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter started all four years of his tenure with the Buckeyes, but is perhaps best known for throwing the pass that was intercepted by Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Buckeye coaching great Woody Hayes punched Bauman at the conclusion of that play, ending his career. Schlichter was drafted into the NFL by the Colts in 1982. But his career was cut short by legal and personal problems brought on by compulsive gambling. He was in and out of jails frequently between 1995 and 2006 on various fraud and forgery charges related to his gambling addiction. In 2012, a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 11 years in prison for scamming participants in a sports ticket scheme. He was born in Washington Court House.
ROSS COUNTY: Nancy Wilson released more than 70 albums spanning genres such as blues, jazz and soul, and won three Grammies throughout her career. Wilson was also an actor. She was born in Chillicothe in 1937.
Runners-up: Cartoonist Billy Ireland and Shawnee chief Blue Jacket
CLINTON COUNTY: Charles Murphy — who began his professional career as a sportswriter for the Cincinnati Enquirer — bought the Chicago Cubs in 1905 with a loan from Enquirer owner Charles Phelps Taft. He owned the franchise when it won its only two World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. Murphy was born in Wilmington in 1868.
Runner-up: General James W. Denver, for whom Denver, Colorado is named.
PIKE COUNTY: Branch Rickey is best known for helping to break baseball’s color barrier as an executive of the Brooklyn Dodgers by signing Jackie Robinson in the 1940s. Rickey’s career in Major League Baseball also earned him a place in the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. He was born in Stockdale.
ADAMS COUNTY: Jack Roush is the chairman of the board of the engineering firm Roush Industries, but most readers probably know him as the owner of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing. He’s known as “The Cat in the Hat” because he is rarely without his trademark Panama Hat. Roush was born in Kentucky but grew up in Manchester, Ohio.
Runner-up: Cowboy Copas, the country singer who died in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline
I don’t know when the Greene Countrie Towne Festival first began but the 2019 edition will visit us on July 19th through the 21st. What will arrive with it will include hot, humid, and possibly rainy weather, a block or more of out of town food vendors, flea market crap sellers, a few organizations promoting themselves, and a few local organizations trying to earn some funds by selling food and beverage. There will be some local bands playing mostly country music and any number of lip-syncing type events that nobody attends except parents and grandmas.
Yeah, I know it sounds like I’m badmouthing all the hard work and effort that lots of people put into this annual affair. Well, In some ways I am but mostly I’m not. Whatever our festival is, lots of people love it and find plenty of reason to brave the heat and potential hail storms and leave their air-conditioned homes to come and take part.
My brother in law is a coffee roaster and has been vending his creations at the Chillicothe Farmer’s Market for at least a decade. I’ve been there several times and it’s an amazing place. It takes place every Saturday morning from opening until noon and it draws a wide variety of vendors and a consistently large crowd of shoppers. During the season he also participates in several markets in the Columbus area and they too are well attended by both sellers and buyers.
On a recent Saturday, I was passing through Washington CH and noticed on one of the downtown side streets what appeared to be a thriving market.
NOTE: I originally published this collection of memories on February 12, 2004. It mostly consists of input from people who knew or knew of Clyde Beatty.
NOTE X 2: I mentioned on Facebook that I’d recently observed a Clyde Beatty Exhibit or Museum in a Bainbridge storefront. A friend sent me this link to the exhibit and its hours of operation. Click HERE.
Bainbridge’s Clyde Beatty
My wife is a black and white game show addict. During the night, when she can’t sleep, she often watches old reruns of What’s My Line, I’ve Got A Secret, etc. When she sees something that I may be interested in, she will frequently record it for me. Last night she was watching a rerun of What’s My Line and the featured “Mr. X” turned out to be Bainbridge’s own Clyde Beatty. If you’re too young to remember Clyde, he was a renowned animal trainer who appeared in several movies and with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus for many years. I did a little Internet snooping and came up with the following information:
I originally published this as part of Black History Month in February 2009. I’ve since forgotten the source but thought it interesting enough to reprise for the 2019 event. While many may know of the Patterson family’s association with early transportation they may not be aware of their helping to change the laws regarding education in Ohio.
State of Ohio on relation of C. R. Patterson vs. The Board of Education of the Incorporated Village of Greenfield, Ohio, and W. G. Moler as Superintendent
Much has been written about the Patterson family and their work in the carriage and automobile business. Here is little-known information about the Pattersons. It shows the importance that C. R. placed on education and how Frederick came to be the businessman that he was.
For some reason, I got to thinking about old barbershops while washing my hair this morning. When I was a kid the thing was to wash your hair and then splash on a ton of hair oil or tonic before combing. When you got a haircut the barber did the same. Before running a comb through your hair he’d splash on a generous dose of some very sweet smelling oil. The wet head certainly wasn’t dead in the 1950s.
One fad during that era was the flattop and it too had its own petroleum-based product, Butch Wax. The barber would meticulously get your top hairs short and level and then to hold it all upright, in defiance of gravity, he’d slap on a large glob of some gooey gel that your mother would play hell getting washed out of the pillowcases.
Continue reading The Olde Barbershop of Yore!
The news reported recently that the Trump family was the first to occupy the White House and not own a dog. While I think that is a win-win for dogs I do have a story about presidential dogs. This was originally published on an earlier version of my website but I think it’s time to bring it back for a second reading.
“Feller, a beautiful blond Cocker Spaniel, was an unsolicited 1947 Christmas gift to President Truman. The Trumans elected to give the puppy to the White House physician, Brigadier General Wallace Graham. Dog lovers around the country attacked the President as being anti-canine. Dr. Graham, soon tiring of the press and publicity, decided to get rid of the dog. He had Truman’s Naval Aide, Adm. James K. Foskett, take Feller to Shangri-La (Camp David). As the camp was not open to the press this seemed to end the Feller story, until now. The Admiral left Feller with the chief-in-charge, Quartermaster Chief George A. Poplin. When Poplin was transferred, Charles G. Ross, President Truman’s secretary, came to camp and told Poplin to leave the dog there. Poplin was relieved as chief-in-charge by Damage Control Chief Ralph O. Loften, who in turn was relieved by Chief Boatswain Robert W. Lyle. In 1953, while Chief Lyle was being transferred to Italy, he sought permission from Naval Aide Admiral Robert L. Dennison to take Feller. Permission was granted, provided that no mention be made that the dog once belonged to Truman. Robert gave Feller to his father, Archie Otis Lyle, who owned a farm just outside Greenfield, Ohio. There Feller lived for many happy years until he died of old age.
As a note of interest, when it became known by the camp crew that a member of the Truman family was to visit Shangri-La, Feller would be taken to a pet groomer in Thurmont just to be looking good in case the Trumans wanted to see him. They never did ask about the dog.”
If you read either of the stories I republished yesterday about Greenfield’s USS Arizona survivor, Jim Wise, you’ll understand the significance of this story from Stars and Stripes. It’s the story of two brothers who served on board the Arizona and on December 7, 1941, one lived and the other lost his life.
On its own the story is plenty interesting. But add in one of the brothers mentioning having saved the life of a man from Greenfield, Ohio, it takes on a whole deeper dimension. I don’t know if Jim Wise or his family ever knew who pulled him out of the Arizona but now, 75 years later, they do.
FOOTNOTE: Jim Wise is not mentioned by name but he was our only person on the Arizona so it has to be him. Also, as of yesterday there were only five remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona.
Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.
No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.
Originally published on December 9, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
I saw your article on the USS Arizona and seaman James Wise and thought you might like some additional information from what was handed down to me. I’m his son, James L. Wise Jr., and grew up in Greenfield.
I always stop and reflect on December 7th about what all the men and women went through that horrible day. He was 19-years old and thought the US Navy was invincible, as they all did.
Usually at 12:55 pm our time, 7:55 am Hawaiian time, I try to stop what I’m doing and remember that solemn hour the attack started. By 1:10 pm our time, 8:10 am their time, it was all over for the USS Arizona. The battle only lasted 15-minutes for them.
Dad had launch boat duty that morning. He had just taken the launch over to shore around 7:00 am to pick up the chaplain for Sunday services and brought him to the ship. Continue reading Pearl Harbor – Response from James L. Wise, Jr.
Eddie Montgomery is always asking me whatever became of the stories I put together about Greenfield’s hot rod history? The answer is, they still exists but they’re just harder to find.
Digging around in various former websites I finally came across the link to the collection. Some of these I wrote but the majority were submitted by other locals with an interest in street rods and cars in general.
I don’t know how much is still valid but if you got any age on you you’ll probably get a memory scratched with these stories and photos.
November 14, 2016
To members of the Greenfield School Board and Community,
Our names are Madison Foltz, Rachel Onusko, Ryan Kline, and Makenzie Olaker, and we are proud alumni of McClain High School. Currently, we attend Ohio University as Cutler Scholars thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Will and Ann Lee Konneker and the continuous support of the Greenfield community.
With recent events that have happened in our beloved hometown, we feel that not sharing this letter would do an injustice to the values instilled in us by the town of Greenfield. These values include integrity, community, grit, and growth. While it would be much easier to stay silent, we have learned that staying silent also means staying apathetic. If we are apathetic and do not share our voices, then the investment that Will Konneker and the Greenfield Community has made in us becomes worthless and wasteful.
Since it’s been a long time since I knew for sure what was being taught by McClain’s Social Studies Department so I made some enquiries. To my pleasure I discovered that both US History (10th grade) and US Government (11th grade) are still being taught on a two-semester basis. World History is also being taught at the 9th grade level for two-semesters. Two electives, Psychology and Ancient History, are offered for a full year during the 11th and 12th years.