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