Thursday, July 5, 2018

History of the A.I. Root Company

Explore the history of the company that defines the City of Medina and gives the school teams the mascot of "The Medina Battling Bee" and even gave the city its nickname of Bee
City by truckers.

Kathy Summers, an editor of the Bee Culture magazine, will describe the history of the A. I. ROOT Company as it gets ready to celebrate 150 years in business.

Register HERE.

Root Candles

Friday, June 22, 2018

Newspaper Tidbits...

Newspapers are among some of my favorite resources to use for family history research. They can
illuminate our ancestor's lives in very personal ways. Learn how to use newspapers in research HERE.

But newspapers can also give you insight into the community and the times that your ancestors lived in.

And they can be entertaining.

For years, the Medina County District Library has maintained an online obituary index to death notices that have occurred in the Medina Gazette and the Medina Sentinel. The index was started in 1982 and was first entered onto 3" X 5" index cards.

Index card from the original obituary index.
The red line across the top indicated that the listing had been
added to the online database.

Over the years it has expanded and migrated and now lives on the Library's web site HERE.

The listings have been collected and entered by Library staff and volunteers. The work consists of reading through the newspaper microfilm, filling out the form with all the information and then entering the data into a computer. The work can be very monotonous. Boring.

And the articles can be depressing.

The awful tragedy appeared in the
September 5, 1933 Medina Gazette
This obituary for Lydie Welday in the November 13,
1908 Medina Gazette  displays the embellished
 language that was more normal in the past.

But, occasionally, the volunteers came across a particularly interesting article...

Luckily, they have shared many of these with me.

And now, I will share them with you!


As you would expect from a rural county, many of the newspaper articles covered animals. But these are not the prize-winning-sow-at-the-county-fair kind of articles.

What I find particularly fascinating is that during these same time periods, a person's death might not get any mention, or a very brief line. But animals??

Lets start with CHICKENS!

Who would have thought that the death of three chickens was newsworthy?
Slow news day?
Medina Gazette 4 Sep. 1902, page 6.

This incident is a little bizarre, so somewhat newsworthy.
Medina Gazette 20 Nov. 1908, page 5

Along the same lines as the chicken story above.
Medina Gazette 24 Mar. 1881, page 1.

Is there some significance to the ear of corn in her mouth?
Did she overeat, or choke to death?
What happened?
Medina Gazette 2 Aug. 1907, page 6.

Horse stories abound. And apparently people were fond of their neighbor's horses...

Seems like everyone knew "Old Jim"
Medina Gazette 2 Aug. 1907, page 2.

"Old Ned" delivered the mail on a Rural Free Delivery Route.
Medina Gazette 14 Feb. 1908, page 6.

"Old Tobey" must have been VERY popular.
I have seen shorter death notices for women!
Medina Gazette 5 March, 1909, page 5.

Many women of the time did not get as much coverage at their death as Old Tobey did!

Now for a few words for our favorite animals - family pets!

Strangely, only one article in my files deals with a cat.
Medina Gazette 31 July 1942, page 12.
Man's best friend...

Seems the writer of this article was as attached to "Scott" as his owner was!
Medina Gazette 10 Dec 1909, page 7
WOW! We learn how long the dog had been ill
 and that he had been in the care of the vet for months!
Medina Gazette 7 June 1935, page 1.

And the final article on animals defies labeling...

Some friend, eh?
Medina Gazette 25 March, 1910, page 5.

And next we will take a look at some notices of the not quite dead... But not ZOMBIES!


Just more lessons on not believing everything you read.

The movie Somersby had nothing on this story...

This soldier took Southern hospitality too seriously, abandoning
his wife, and committing bigamy with the farmer's daughter!
Medina Sentinel 4 Dec 1903, page 1.

Apparently, during World War I, the United States was not really good at keeping track of their soldiers...

He's alive and he's a new Dad!
Medina Gazette 8 Nov. 1918, page 11.

You would think the hospital could keep track of their patients.

Imagine the celebration his family had!
Medina Gazette 22 Nov 1918, page 2.

Howard lived to see  the U.S. return to fight Germany again.
He died in April 1942
Medina Gazette,  27 Dec 1918 p. 6
Really? No resting after a heart attack?
Medina Gazette 2 July 1935, page 1.

Undoubtedly, Anna has since passed away. But repeated searching failed to turn up a death record or tombstone listing.


This event was probably terrifying for the victims. But I can't help but wonder if they all thought they were being collected by the devil en masse...

Medina Sentinel  29 April 1904 p. 1


All sorts of things go missing...

Medina Gazette 14 Aug 1908 p. 5

How embarrassing! I am guessing that person didn't smile after that!

And from the article below, it seems the "chompers" had been missing for quite a while!

Medina Gazette  9 Oct 1908 p. 5

And of course, money frequently goes missing as this following article details:

Missing Money - Gazette 4 Sep 1902 p. 6

 Medina Gazette 11 Sep 1902 p. 7 

But what is lost, can be "found" again...

But then again, now all of Medina County knows where he keeps his money!

And of course, people go missing for all sorts of reasons.

Medina Gazette 15 Feb 1965 p. 12

But why would she want to visit him?

And back in the days before "political correctness" became a buzz phrase, the newspapers told it like it was...

Medina Gazette  3 Aug 1906 p. 6

Medina Gazette 12 April 1907
Perhaps there was a follow-up article about a divorce??

The fellow in the article seems like such a sentimental guy - NOT!

The following two articles are even more chauvinistic!

Medina Sentinel  4 Jan 1900

Medina Sentinel 11 Dec 1902

Apparently, the Doctor thought he was above chopping his own wood...

Medina Gazette 23 Dec 1910 p. 5

This next article is just bizarre!

Medina Gazette 26 Aug 1897 p. 6

The next two articles were funny, because the volunteer working on gathering data wanted to know if she should include them in the obituary index...

Medina Sentinel 15 Nov 1918 p. 1
P.S. This was the editor's cute way of announcing the
passage of the Prohibition Act.

 Medina Sentinel 15 Nov 1918
"Kaiser Bill" was Kaiser Wilhelm - the leader of Germany
during World War I.

And this one struck me funny because of the name...

Medina Gazette  4 Dec 1934 p. 3

In all fairness to Donald's parents, Disney's cartoon character was created the very year this article appeared...

But I wonder if it contributed to what followed....

 Medina Gazette 14 April 1941

And this is what click bait looked like before the Internet and Facebook...

And if you have reached all the way to the end, let me know and I will give you a Hershey's Kiss!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

CCC - the Civilian Conservation Corps

Growing up in central Ohio, my family often would picnic and attend family reunions at Mount Gilead State Park. The park is very small and located just outside the small town of Mount Gilead in Morrow County. It features two small lakes and two small dams. It has camping and fishing. And a small forest of pines. The pines stand in rows about 8 feet apart.  During family reunions, the older relatives would remind us that Uncle Joe had helped plant those pines while working with the CCC - the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The pine trees at Mount Gilead State Park. Photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

The Civilian Conservation Corps was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as part of his New Deal policies to pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression. The legislation was passed within the first month of his presidency and days later its first employees were at work. The program ran until 1942 when America's entry into World War II and the war industry replaced the jobs that the CCC had provided.

At its height, the CCC employed 300,000 men and over the life of the project over 3 million men found employment. It was open to boys and men aged 17-25 years old, single, unemployed and in good physical health. Because of pressure from the unions, no training could take place and the CCC men could not do jobs that would replace union workers. That meant the work would have to be simple manual labor. The men were paid $30 a month, of which $25 was sent home for support relief for their families. Shortly after is inception, the program was opened up to veterans, who could be of any age, and any marietal status. They just needed to need the work. Veteran CCC members received a larger paycheck of $36-$45 a month. The men enrolled for 6 month commitments, but could re-enroll for a total of 2 years of service.

The CCC helped rebuild the C&O Canal in the 1930's. Photo courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America

Unfortunately, segregation was the rule and the CCC maintained separate camps for African Americans and Native Americans.

The CCC was supervised by four different government departments. Department of Labor recruited the young men and set quotas for each area. The Department of War operated the camps which functioned just like military camps with barracks and ranks. And the Departments of Agriculture and Interior organized and supervised the work.The projects were to focus on protecting our natural resources by battling erosion and setting up parks to preserve natural areas.

  • 3,470 fire towers erected
  • 97,000 miles of fire roads built
  • Fighting fires
  • 3 Billion trees were planted
  • Erosion Control on 20 million acres of land
  • Public camp and picnic ground development
  • Protecting natural habitats of wildlife
  • Stream improvement
  • Restocking fish
  • Emergency work during the flood of 1937 and the New England hurricane of 1938.
  • Once the draft started in 1940, the Army policy made CCC alumni corporals and sergeants.

Ohio had over 100 camps. The nearest camp I have been able to document was Camp Anthony Wayne near Wooster and there was a Camp Mohican near Loudonville.


  • Widening and paving of Route 18 between Medina and Akron
  • Widening of the CCC Road from Medina south. In this case CCC refers to State Route 3, which connects Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
  • Clearing of roadside ditches.
  • Clearing of the drainage ditch for the Chippewa Lake Inlet
Crane used to clear the ditch for the Chippewa Lake Inlet. Medina County Gazette 22 April 1938, page 6

Bridge for a bridle path at Sand Run Creek, part of the Akron Metroparks system. Photo from the Cleveland Memory Project.
The program was never officially terminated, but Congress defunded it in 1942. It still serves as the model for numerous conservation programs across the nation. Two successor programs  are:

  • The Corps Network - formerly known as the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, works to expand corps type programs.
  • The National Civilian community Corps- part of  Americorps, where young adults work for non-profit & government organizations for 10 months. The focus of their work is often on conservation efforts.

With all the different government agencies involved and the millions of men that enlisted with the CCC, a LOT of paperwork was created. And that is an opportunity for every genealogist!

Personal Records
If you have a relative who was a CCC worker, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis should have his personal file. You can visit the Center in person, hire a researcher to locate the records or submit a request in writing.

To submit the request in writing, use form NA 14136 Request for CCC Personnel Records - Then you have to identify the individual by providing: his full name, his date of birth, Social Security Number (if known), dates and location of service (again, if known).
Mail your request to:

National Archives & Records Administration
ATTN: Archival Programs
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138

There is a flat fee of $25. If there are more than five pages, the fee is $70. Do not send money with the form. You will be informed of the costs. Once you pay up, they send the records.


  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth & place of birth
  • Physical appearance
  • Allotte's name - the person receiving the money being sent home. Often was the mother.
  • Medical information
  • Education
  • CCC training courses
  • Camp & work assignments
  • Type of discharge
Sometimes this additional information is found:
  • Parent's names
  • Application for emergency relief
  • Record of Hearing for any disciplinary actions
  • Previous work history
  • Previous education
Information NEVER found in the records:
  • Photographs
  • Discharge papers - these were given to the enrollees.

Camp Newspapers
Most of the camps had newspapers. You can find out what CCC camp newspapers are available at the Center for Research Libraries site:

Here is a screen shot of the listings for Wayne County, Ohio:

Contact the Center about access to the newspapers. Also, check for other library holdings on sites like

Local Newspapers

If you are lucky enough that your local newspaper is digitized, you can search them for information on local CCC camps and the men who served in them. That is how I was able to compile this partial list of men from Medina County who worked for the CCC.

Recruits were enrolled from Medina County four times a year. A list of  some of the men from Medina in the CCC:

April 1935:
  •      Charles Tomkins
  •      John Kazian
  •      Myron Buttolph
  •      Dale Hartell
  •      Dean Henniger
  •      Dwight Holcomb - Medina
  •      George Keifer - Medina
  •      Burton Williams
  •      Charles Engler
  •      Barney Chaney
  •      Mike Ivaney
  •      Amos Ruch
  •      Edwin Murray
  •      Edward Lange
  •      Kenneth Fritz - Wadsworth
  •      Wallace Fritz - Wadsworth
  •      Delane Bowman - Wadsworth
  •      Raymond Fiala
  •      Robert Kindall- Spencer
  •      Harry Reitz - Spencer
  •      Ivan Jones - Guilford
  •      Willard Jones - Guilford
  •      Roy Carlton
  •      Charles Taylor - Lafayette
  •      Alex Toth - Lafayette
  •      Virgil Vaughn - York
  •      Elmer Walden - York
  •      John Ramsey - Chatham
  •      Alfred Cameron - Hinckley
July 1936
  •      John Martin (sic colored) – Medina
  •      Donald Lutz – Wadsworth
  •      October 1936
  •      Donald Pelot
  •     Carrol Pelot 
Jan 1937
  •      Carroll Funk – Seville 
  •      Alexander Hege – Sharon 
  •      Floyd Wiesen – Wadsworth 
  •      Arthur Call – Medina 
  •      Kenneth Whitney – Hinckley 
  •      Thomas Weir – Medina
April 1938:

  •      Gordon Senz - Medina
  •      Dominic LoParo - Wadsworth
  •      Earl Euga - Medina

July 1938
  •      Victor Bayduk – Wadsworth
  •      George Hagedorn – Wadsworth
  •      Joe Kraski – Wadsworth
  •      Bert Hornyak – Wadsworth
  •      Dan Kinda - Wadsworth
  •      Frank Dundas – Wadsworth
  •      Donald Wright – Wadsworth
  •      Donald Simcox – West Salem
  •      Richard Norris - Spencer

October 1938
  •      Paul Balind – Wadsworth
  •      Eugene Bowers – Seville
  •      Alfred Kmitt – Litchfield
  •      William Michaels – Medina
  •      Hobart Porter – Brunswick
  •      Raymond Ringler – Seville
  •      Charles E. Werner – Wadsworth
  •      Robert G. Logan – Chatham
  •      Robert Ellsworth - Medina
Jan 1939
  •      Wilbert W. Early – Seville
  •      Harold L. Jason – Medina
  •      Melvin W. Kirtley – Wadsworth
  •      Edgar C. Miller – Wadsworth
  •      Jack Myers – Seville
  •      Richard G. Perrin – Medina
  •      Virgil L. Price – Wadsworth
  •      Procter Shannon – Seville
  •      William A. Spias – Medina
April 1939:
  • Russell Bishop - Lodi
  • Paul Ginter - Lodi
  • Quinton Honroth - Medina
  • Ralph Jenkins - Wadsworth
  • Joseph Lamphear - Medina
  • Clayton Lautzenhieser - Burbank
  • Carl Nameth - Medina
  • Dallas Ringler - Wadsworth
  • Richard Tinstman - Medina
  • Calvert Ward - Wadsworth
July 1939:
  • William Lance - Medina
  • Thomas E. McKenna - Medina
  • Edward T. Zbiegin - Medina
  • Victor Bayduk - Wadsworth
  • Dale Leatherman - Wadsworth
  • Herbert Rittmiller - Wadsworth
  • Walter Mantz Jr. - Wadsworth
  • Michael J. Smith - Wadsworth
  • Carl Rumpf - Wadsworth
October 1939:
  • Max H. Bishop – Lodi
  • Seymour Lautzenheiser – Burbank
  • Merle L. Miller – Wadsworth
  • Carrol W. Pelot – Medina
  • Arthur Steghemper – Medina
  • Edwin Wagner – Wadsworth
Jan 1940
  • Wilbert Early – Medina
  • James Jason – Medina
  • Harry Johnson – Medina
  • Ralph M. Jones – Wadsworth
  • William R. Morrison – Wadsworth
  • Jack Myers – Seville
  • Dorlis Morgan – Medina
  • Robert E. Putt – Wadsworth
  • William K. Saunders – Medina
  • Robert L. Tubbesing – Wadsworth
  • Harry E. Yocum - Seville
Yes, some of the men are listed twice. Veteran CCC workers could sign up more than once.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spring Grove Encampment

This Saturday the Friends of the Spring Grove Cemetery are hosting a first ever...

Spring Grove Civil War Encampment

This unique event is going to be packed with incredible activities for the whole family.
  • Re-enactors will portray the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Many of the original members of this Civil War unit came from Medina County.
  • An opportunity to tour the Miller House that was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
  • Civil War Musicians, displays and artifacts.
  • Tin-type photos taken in period costume.
  • The Medina Library's genealogy team will be on hand to help you find YOUR family history. Yep, that would be Lauren, Lisa and me!

The Medina Gazette had a nice article on the event in Tuesday's paper: Civil War Encampment.

The weather is forecast to be fine weather to enjoy and incredible day of fun and history!

For more information visit the Friends of Medina Cemetery.


Listen to this interview with Teresa Merkle, President of the Friends of Medina Cemetery on WCPN's Sound of Applause.

Photo courtesy of WCPN web site.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dandelion Drive

No, the Dandelion Drive is not a tour to highlight the dandelion-filled lawns of my neighborhood.

It is a tour of the local historical societies!

This year the tour is on Sunday May 20th! (Sorry for the confusion!)

The map is below:

Or click HERE for a printable version of the map.

Enjoy the beautiful Medina County countryside and learn more about YOUR Medina County History!