FAMOUS LOGAN COUNTIANS
Logan County is home to many famous people. Artists, musicians, athletes, scholars and more had their start right here in Logan County. Read more about their stories and the surprising ways they are tied to the community.
The American settlement of Ohio began in the early 19th century. Isaac Zane and James McPherson first came to the area as captives of the Wyandot and Shawnees, respectively. Tarhe-the Crane, the principal chief of the Wyandot, adopted the nine-year-old Zane after Wyandot warriors captured the boy on a raid. Zane grew up in the Wyandot culture, but a prisoner exchange forced him to go back to his white home in Virginia. Zane served in the Virginia House of Burgesses (state government), but after a couple of years he decided to return to his Indian home. He came back to Logan County and married Tarhe’s daughter, Myeerah. Tarhe gave Zane his village on the Mad River and the Wyandot chief moved to Solomon's Town in the north central part of the county. The Mad River village then became known as Zane's Town. Isaac Zane became an important liaison between the Indians of Logan County and the Americans.
The Shawnees captured James McPherson when he was a young soldier in the American Army. McPherson lived with Shawnees briefly before he was turned over to the British. The British made him an agent for their Indian allies around Detroit. The British released McPherson after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. After his release, he went back to his home in Pennsylvania. McPherson came to Logan County in the early 1800s. He built a house northwest of Bellefontaine. In the following year the U.S. army built a blockhouse near his home. It became known as McPherson's Blockhouse, and like others in the county, was used as protection against the Indians. During the War of 1812, settlers and Indians friendly to the Americans stayed at McPherson's Blockhouse. McPherson acted as guide for General Hull when the army started north to fight the British and Indians. After the war, McPherson built a trading post near the Lewistown Reservation. His stores provided the Indians with many of their needs.
Simon Kenton was another early settler in Logan County. Kenton ran away from his home in Virginia when he was sixteen because he mistakenly thought he killed a man in a fight. He made his way to the Middle Ground or the frontier of the Kentucky lands. Kenton quickly became an accomplished frontiersman. The small forts and settlements in Kentucky depended on Kenton for food and protection. Consequently, he roamed all over central and northern Kentucky and sometimes across the Ohio River to hunt animals and to fight Indians who greatly feared and respected his abilities.
In the fall of 1778, Kenton and Alex McIntyre, another Kentucky settler, crossed into Ohio to spy on the Shawnee village of Chalagawtha (near present-day Xenia). After Kenton and McIntyre were finished spying on the Indians, they stole some of the Shawnee horses. The two whites broke down the horses' corral and took several horses each before starting back to Kentucky. However, a Shawnee party tracked the white men and horses. They killed McIntyre and captured Kenton.
Since Kenton was such a feared enemy of the Shawnee it was decided that he should be taken to the center of the Shawnee nation at Wapatomica (in Logan County) to be executed. The Shawnees took Kenton to many of their villages en route to Wapatomica. The Indians forced Kenton to run gauntlets at most of these towns. A gauntlet consisted of two rows of men, women and children armed with sticks, switches, clubs and other weapons. The prisoner was forced to run through the rows of people as they hit him with the weapons. Many prisoners were severely injured or even killed during a gauntlet. Kenton was made to run nine gauntlets during which he received many broken bones and injuries. As the story goes, before Kenton ran a gauntlet at one of the Mac-A-Cheek towns he fell in love with the beauty of the land. Kenton promised himself that if he escaped from the Shawnees he would return and settle on this land. Kenton fulfilled this promise some thirty years later when he bought land near Zanesfield. Eventually, several influential chiefs and British officers convinced the Shawnees to sell Kenton to the British as a prisoner of war. Kenton was taken to Detroit, but within a few months he escaped and returned to Kentucky. Around 1799, Kenton moved from Kentucky to the Springfield, Ohio area. He then moved to Urbana about 1810 and finally moved near Zanesfield around 1815. He lived there until his death in 1836. His family buried the body on his farm, but in 1865 the body was removed from the farm's grave and reburied in Urbana, where it remains today.
Blue Jacket is one of the most controversial yet important figures in American Indian history. He established a town on the present-day site of Bellefontaine around 1788. His importance comes from his role as a Shawnee warrior, the principal chief of the Maykujay sept of the Shawnee tribe, and eventually the Shawnees' head war chief. Settlers in Kentucky feared Blue Jacket as a leader of raids against their weak forts and their boats on the Ohio River. Blue Jacket, as war chief of the Shawnees, along with Little Turtle, the principal chief of the Miamis, led a confederacy of the Northwest Indians against the Americans in 1790 and 1791. The confederacy destroyed General Josiah Harmar's American army in the summer of 1790. The two chiefs then led the confederacy to the greatest Indian victory ever against an American force, when they massacred General Arthur St. Clair's army in November of 1791. The Indians killed 632 Americans and wounded hundreds more. Of the 920 Americans who took part in the battle only 24 came out of it without any injuries. At the same time only 66 Indians were killed and 9 wounded. This victory far exceeds the number of Americans killed at the more infamous defeat of General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Unfortunately for Blue Jacket and the Indian confederacy, the Americans soundly defeated them at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. This time Blue Jacket led the confederacy by himself because Little Turtle did not believe the Indians could defeat the Americans under General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. The American victory forced the Indians to sign the Treaty of Greenville giving the U.S. 2/3 of Ohio. Blue Jacket signed the treaty and abided by it for the most part. Soon after the treaty, Blue Jacket moved from his town in Bellefontaine to a new town along the Maumee River.
The controversy surrounding Blue Jacket stems from his birth. Some historians believe a Shawnee hunting party captured Marmaduke Van Swearingen in western Virginia in 1771. The Shawnees took the seventeen-year-old white boy to their village in southern Ohio. They made him run a gauntlet and then adopted him into their tribe. They renamed the boy Wehyehpihehrsehnwah or Blue Jacket. Blue Jacket quickly adapted to his new lifestyle and became an excellent hunter and warrior. By the time he was 31 years-old, he was named the principal chief of the Maykujay Shawnees and in 1790 became the tribe's war chief. He then led the Indian confederacy to two great triumphs before being defeated at Fallen Timbers.
Other historians and genealogists believe Blue Jacket was a full-blooded Shawnee. Their research shows that Marmaduke Van Swearingen would have been too young to be the Blue Jacket who led the Indian confederacy and was the war chief of the Shawnees. There is also controversy over the date of his death, and whether or not he ever gave his support to Tecumseh's confederation before the War of 1812. Both sides of the argument have research that supports their claims. However, the most important thing to remember about Blue Jacket is not whether he was a white man adopted by Shawnees or full-blooded Indian, but that he was a great warrior and leader of the Ohio Indians from about 1770 until his death sometime between 1813 and 1824.
Tarhe or The Crane
Tarhe was the principal chief of the Wyandot tribe. He lived in Logan County at his town on the present-day site of Zanesfield, and later at Solomon's Town north of Huntsville, before he moved further north. The Wyandots, other northwest tribes, and whites respected Tarhe. The Wyandot were considered the “Grandfathers” of all the tribes in this area because of the length of time that they had been around central Ohio. Consequently, Tarhe's position as the head of the Wyandot put him in a powerful position. Tarhe bitterly opposed Tecumseh's confederation. His opposition caused many other Indians to also oppose Tecumseh. Tarhe went as far as to join the Americans in the War of 1812 to fight the British and Tecumseh's Indians. Tarhe's importance to Logan County also comes from his role as Isaac Zane's adopted father.
The Piatt Family
The Piatt family has played an important role in Logan County history, society, and culture. Benjamin and Elizabeth Barnett Piatt came to Logan County in the 1820s. They built a 17-room log mansion in the Mac-A-Cheek Valley near West Liberty. Other settlers followed and built homes in the valley. Piatt was a federal judge. Mrs. Piatt took an active role in the Underground Railroad and even used the family property as a station. As a federal judge, Mr. Piatt was legally bound to uphold the Fugitive Slave Act and oppose his wife's activities. Thus Mrs. Piatt only hid the runaways when her husband was away from the homestead. The Piatts' two youngest sons, Abram Sanders and Donn, built Castles Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee, respectively. They continue to affect Logan County history, culture and economy through the thousands of people that tour the castles.
Phebe Sharp and her husband, Job, settled in Logan County around 1801. The Sharp family became one of the most influential families in the area's society and politics. Phebe Sharp influenced Logan County in another way. She was the county's first doctor and rode her horse around the area helping those that were sick and injured.
Judge William Lawrence
Judge William Lawrence (1819-1899) moved to Bellefontaine in 1841 to practice law. Over the next sixty years he became an influential figure in local, state, national and international laws, and politics. Throughout his career, Lawrence held many different positions including schoolteacher, newspaper reporter, medical student, lawyer, judge, army colonel, wool grower, state legislator, U.S. Representative, vice-president of the American Red Cross, Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, author, mentor and much more.
Lawrence argued several major land cases in his career as a lawyer. Most of these dealt with reclaiming land from the railroad companies. Lawrence served on the Ohio Supreme Court and in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate. He championed the interests of farmers and wool growers. He established the Bellefontaine National Bank and authored Ohio's Free Banking Law of 1851. President Rutherford B. Hayes named Lawrence the First Comptroller of the United States Treasury, which put him second only to the Secretary of the Treasury. He wrote Decisions of the First Comptroller. This book was later used by the Japanese to help form their treasury department. Judge Lawrence also helped Clara Barton get President James Garfield's support for the American Red Cross. Lawrence then served as the organization's first vice president. Mr. Lawrence also served in the U.S. Congress. He initiated a bill that made the Attorney General's an executive office and helped create the Justice Department. Lawrence may be best known as the author of the brief that spelled out the Crimes for Impeachment against President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Judge Lawrence's intelligence, hard work and many accomplishments not only make him important in Logan County history, but also in American history.
William H West
William H. West (1824-1911) came to Bellefontaine in 1850 to study law under William Lawrence. He eventually became Lawrence's partner. Over the next several decades he rivaled his mentor as an influential person in local, state, and national politics and law. West was one of the founders of Ohio's Republican Party in 1854. He and several other prominent men in Bellefontaine, including Lawrence, quickly turned Bellefontaine into a Republican stronghold. West and William Hubbard bought The Logan County Gazette and turned it into The Logan County Republican. This was one of the first, if not the first, pro-Republican newspapers in Ohio. West served in the Ohio House of Representatives in 1857 and 1861, and in the Ohio Senate in 1863. From 1865-1867 he served as the Attorney General of Ohio. In 1871 West was elected to the state Supreme Court. While on the Supreme Court he lost his eyesight, but it did not stop him from fulfilling his duties. The Republicans nominated West as their candidate for Governor in 1877. West took a controversial stance in a major railroad strike that cost him the election, yet he remained a highly respected man. West was best known for his speaking ability. It was this ability and his lack of sight that gave him the nickname "Blind Man Eloquent." West gave the nomination speech for William Blaine at the 1884 Republican National Convention. This speech is considered by many political scientists and historians as one of the finest political speeches in American history. It was understood within the Republican Party, that if Blaine had won the presidential election, he would have named West the U.S. Attorney General. Judge West, like Judge Lawrence, profoundly affected Logan County history, Ohio history and United States history through his great abilities as a jurist, a politician, and a speaker.
Dr. Edward Knight
Dr. Edward Knight (1824-1883) was born in London, England but lived much of his life in Logan County. He wrote for many of the most popular magazines of his time including Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, and Scientific American. Knight studied law under the famous Salmon P. Chase and specialized in patent law, originating the officer’s system of classifying artifacts. Dr. Knight also studied medicine and served as a surgeon during the Civil War. He also represented the U.S. in numerous international expositions. His activities in France led him to be decorated by the French Government with the Legion of Honor. Dr. Knight owned three farms in Logan County where he was a pioneer in fruit tree grafting, plant hybridization, and the use of chemical fertilizers. Despite these many great achievements, Dr. Knight’s biggest claim to fame occurred after his death. An autopsy discovered that Knight had one of the largest brains in medical history. Knight's brain weighed 1,814 grams compared to the average human brain that weighs 1,350.
Warren S Cushman
Warren S. Cushman (1845-1926) was a prominent Logan County artist. Cushman's work hung in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. His portrait of President Rutherford B. Hayes is in the U.S. Capitol. Cushman was born in Woodstock, Champaign County, Ohio. He served as the regimental bugler in the 134th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Cushman also worked at several area resorts such as Springs Hotel, Silver Lake, and Orchard Island. However, Cushman is best known for his artwork. His collection included over 1,000 paintings and numerous sculptures. His Spanish Dancing Girls was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and later sold for more than $10,000. He taught art and music in Springfield, Ohio from 1883-1890. Dr. Earl Sloan was a patron of Cushman. Sloan commissioned Cushman to paint portraits including his own. Cushman also supervised some of the interior decoration of Sloan's home in New Bern, North Carolina.
Dr. Earl Sloan
Dr. Earl Sloan (1848-1923), a native of Zanesfield, Ohio, left a legacy of generosity to the citizens of Logan County. Dr. Sloan made his fortune with a family recipe for horse liniment that people discovered was also good for human aches and pains. Through brilliant use of marketing, Dr. Sloan made his liniment a household staple. He focused his advertising in the evening papers, for women did the majority of purchasing and he believed they did not have time to read the morning edition. Logan County benefited from Dr. Sloan's fortune. He established a library in Zanesfield in 1914. Legend has it that he was refused the loan of a book as a child because he was too poor, and he was determined to establish a place where all children would have easy access to books. Dr. Sloan also established a foundation that still provides equipment for the Bellefontaine City Schools and the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.
Robert P. Kennedy
General Kennedy (1840-1918) was one of the most influential and important men to ever have lived in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Gen. Kennedy made significant contributions to his local community, the state of Ohio, the United States, and the world during his very illustrious life. Kennedy served in the Union Army during the Civil War rising from 2nd lieutenant to Brigadier General at the age of 25, one of the youngest to achieve that rank during the Civil War.
After the war, Kennedy returned to Bellefontaine and became a prominent lawyer. President Hayes appointed Kennedy collector of internal revenue for the 4th district in Ohio (1878-1883). Kennedy went on to serve as lieutenant governor of Ohio (1885-1887) and then was elected to Congress twice (1887-1891).
Kennedy yet again served his country and played a role in international politics when President McKinley appointed him to the Insular Committee in 1899. The committee was given the task of helping Puerto Rico and Cuba form their governments.
In 1903 Kennedy published Historical Review of Logan County. The book proved to be an important source of information on the history and people of Logan County.
Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) was a cartoonist, artist, and humorist. He was born in Bellefontaine in 1868. His father was the editor of The Weekly Examiner. Hubbard worked briefly at the Examiner, but then went on several trips to the South, where he worked as a silhouette artist at circuses and county fairs. He returned to Bellefontaine and created a group of entertainers known as "Grand Bellefontaine Operatic Minstrels." Hubbard moved around Ohio and Indiana for several years while holding down various jobs. Finally, he settled down in Indianapolis and worked first for the Indianapolis Sun and then the Indianapolis News. While at the News, Hubbard created the cartoon, Abe Martin. Hubbard used an imaginary Indiana farmer named Abe Martin to state witty and sometimes satiric observations on life and people. Over 3,000 newspapers carried “Abe Martin” making both the cartoon character and its creator famous. One of Hubbard's best friends was another popular humorist named Will Rogers. Hubbard’s relatives still own and edit of The Bellefontaine Examiner newspaper.
Larence E Rausenberger
Larence Rausenberger (1887-1980) was one of Logan County’s most distinguished native sons. Born on his family’s farm in DeGraff, the young Rausenberger became very interested in machines and how they worked. As a young man, he restored a steam operated traction machine used to pull a thresher through the fields. He also reconditioned a gasoline engine that he hooked up to the farm’s well pump so he would not have to pump the water by hand. However, it was as an adult that Rausenberger’s superior knowledge of engines impacted the world. Rausenberger developed several airplane engines that made aviation, still in its infancy, safer and more efficient. He built many of his engines at his workshop in Bellefontaine. Some of Rausenberger's engines included the “A-1”, the “B-Series” and the “S/N-2.” Rausenberger went all over the world to demonstrate, promote, and sell his innovative airplane engines.
Clarence Wissler (1887-1954) was another pioneer in aviation who happened to hail from Logan County. Wissler designed and built airplanes. Wissler built three of his planes on the second floor of what is now the 600 Downtown Restaurant in Bellefontaine. Wissler’s knowledge in mathematics and aeronautics allowed him to develop very effective planes. Other plane manufacturers, including the military and the Cessna Company consulted with Wissler on the design of their planes.
Edward D Jones
Edward Jones (1893-1982) founded the world-renowned Edward D. Jones & Co. investment firm. He graduated from Bellefontaine High School in 1913. Jones lived most of his teenage years in Bellefontaine and played quarterback on his high school’s football team. Jones then went on to graduate from New York University.
After graduation, Jones went to work as a securities salesman for N.W. Halsy & Company in New York, and immediately became very good at his job. The company went through several mergers and eventually sent Jones back to Ohio to sell securities and investment portfolios. Once again Jones was quite successful. In 1920, Jones switched firms and began working for Blair & Company based in St. Louis. Although he continued to be effective at his job, a disagreement over his proceeds for a sale forced Jones to leave Blair & Company.
Instead of finding another firm to work for, Edward D. Jones founded his own company and based it in St. Louis. Edward D. Jones & Company quickly became one of St. Louis’ most respected investment firms, primarily due to its founder’s skills as an investor, salesman and manager.
Jones’ ability to invest money led to other endeavors, including running his in-laws’ brewery in St. Louis and sitting on scores of companies’ boards of trustees throughout the country. Edward D. Jones believed the most important part of his company was the salesman. Thus, he treated his salesmen very well. He paid them better than most other firms by giving them a larger percentage of commissions. Jones also believed that his firm should be devoted to taking care of the investment needs of rural areas, and had his salesmen travel to small towns throughout the Midwest selling securities and investing their clients’ money. Edward D. Jones, Jr. (Ted) followed in his father’s footsteps as a successful investor and salesman. He also shared many of his father’s ideas on the importance of the company’s salesman and the company’s need to serve rural areas. In 1957, Ted Jones changed the organization of Edward D. Jones & Company by opening a branch office in Mexico, Missouri. He believed the company would better serve its clients and salespeople by having one-person branch offices in different towns rather than having its salespeople continually travel around. The branch system became very successful for Edward D. Jones & Company. In 1998, the firm had 4,276 branch offices in the United States, 170 in Canada and 38 in the United Kingdom. Edward D. Jones & Company remains one of the most respected and successful investment firms in the world. Its founder is yet another famous and influential person who called Logan County home.
Norman Vincent Peale
Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was a minister, author, psychologist, radio personality and speaker. Peale combined psychiatric and Christian ideals into his message of “positive thinking.” Peale moved to Bellefontaine in 1913 when his father became the minister of the First Methodist Church. He graduated from Bellefontaine High School. Peale touched millions of people with his teachings. He helped all kinds of people, from the poor to Presidents of the United States. Peale's main theme was "Do the best you can with what you have and you'll go far." His books, The Art of Living, You Can Win and The Power of Positive Thinking, just to name a few, all stressed that if you approached life with a good attitude and had faith, then everything would be OK. Peale and his wife founded Guideposts in 1945. This magazine shared stories and articles that showed the power of positive thinking in the actual lives of people. It is the most popular religious magazine of all time. The success of Guideposts and his many books, and the popularity of his sermons and speeches, all show the impact he has had on American religion and thought.
The Mills Brothers
“Great Singers, Marvelous Showmen and Wonderful, Wonderful Guys"- A New York columnist used these words to describe one of the most successful singing groups of all time, and a group whose family just happened to make Logan County their home. The Mills Brothers, makers of over 2500 records with nearly 50 million records sold, called Bellefontaine home for many years. The Mills Brothers became world-renowned entertainers with their distinctive harmonic sound in songs like Paper Doll, Glow-Worm and Cab Driver.
Born in Piqua, Ohio between 1910 and 1915, John C., Herbert, Harry, and Donald Mills began singing as young boys at their father's barbershop, on street corners, in churches, at county fairs and in many other venues. Their first big break came in 1925, when they performed on WLW radio in Cincinnati as “Four Boys and a Guitar”. They signed a contract with CBS radio in New York in 1929. Within a few years they became the first African-American singers to have their own nationally broadcast radio show. Over the next half century, the Mills Brothers recorded numerous chart-topping singles. They performed with Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and many other musical greats of the time. The group held concerts on every continent and performed for such distinguished listeners as King George and Queen Mary of England. They even appeared in several movies in the 1930s.
Unfortunately, the family suffered several tragedies through the years. They lost a sister in the mid-1930s, and in 1936, John died of pneumonia at the family home in Bellefontaine. However, the boys’ father, John H., replaced his son as bass in the quartet. John continued to sing with the group until his retirement in the late 1950s. Afterward, the brothers continued as a trio. The Mills Brothers unique singing style has crossed generational lines throughout their career. Early on, the brothers developed an ability to imitate musical instruments such as trombones, trumpets and tubas with only their voices. Many of their early performances were done without the aid of any instruments. The group's four-part harmony, and later three-part harmony, paved the way for future African-American singing groups like the Flamingos and the Platters in the 1950s, the Temptations and the Four Tops in the 1960s, and more recent groups such as Boyz II Men. Donald and his son John carried on the music of the Mills Brothers performing together from the early 1980s until the elder’s death in 1999. John continues to bring the musical style of his father, grandfather, and uncles with his new partner Elmer Hopper, formerly of the Platters. The Mills Brothers legacy continues in Logan County with several relatives still living in Bellefontaine. The Mills Brothers left yet another mark on the area when Bellefontaine named the amphitheater at Southview Park after the famous singing group. The Mills Brothers are also honored with an Ohio Historical Marker at Brown Park on East Sandusky Street in Bellefontaine. The marker commemorates the group’s influence in music and their local ties.
Walter Alston (1911-1984) managed the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954-1976. He won 2040 games, seven National League Pennants, and four World Series Championships. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. Prior to managing the Dodgers, Alston played in the minor leagues and briefly in the majors. During some of these years playing in the minors, Alston also taught industrial arts and general science at Washington Local High School in Lewistown, Logan County, Ohio. Alston taught and coached basketball at Washington Local from 1941-1950. The gymnasium at Indian Lake High School was renamed the Walter E. Alston Gym in honor of this great baseball manager.
Roger Cloud (1909-1988) was one of Ohio’s most successful state legislators during the second half of the 20th century. He was also a native of DeGraff.
Cloud was born on his family’s farm near DeGraff in 1909. He graduated from DeGraff High School in 1926 as the class valedictorian. In the same year, Cloud’s brother was killed in a gasoline explosion. Roger farmed, worked in a factory, and played semi-pro baseball to make money for his family. He married Llewellyn DeWeese in 1934. The couple purchased a farm in Pleasant Township near DeGraff in the 1960s.
Cloud’s first position as a public servant began as a member of the DeGraff School Board for 4 years in the late 1930s. In 1940 Cloud was elected as Logan County Commissioner. He held this position for 8 years. Cloud successfully ran for the Ohio House of Representatives in 1948 and served in the House for 8 consecutive years. Through the years, Cloud became known as the “Gentleman from Logan County”, a nickname that showed the respect he had from his fellow representatives, other state legislators and the people of Ohio.
During his career as a representative, Cloud was elected as the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives a record 5 times. He also was honored with many awards and praises from the state and his colleagues. Governor James Rhodes appointed Cloud Auditor of the State in 1965 to fill an unexpired term. Cloud was then elected Auditor in 1966 which he served for 4 more years. In 1970 Cloud won the Republican nomination for governor. However, he lost in the election; the first time he lost an election during his career. Cloud then retired from politics. He died in Columbus on April 20, 1988. Roger Cloud remains one of the most liked and respected politicians in Ohio’s history. He is a man DeGraff and Logan County can be proud to call their own.
Allan W Eckert
Allan Eckert (1931-2011), a former resident of Bellefontaine, is a multi-award-winning author and seven-time Pulitzer Prize nominee. He wrote 43 books on a wide variety of topics. He is probably best known for his “Winning of America” series that includes The Frontiersmen, Wilderness Empire, The Conquerors, The Wilderness War, Gateway to Empire and Twilight of Empire. This series details the American settlement of the Ohio Valley and the Old Northwest Territory and the conflicts it caused with the Indians living on these lands.
Eckert wrote other books dealing with this time period and area. A Sorrow in Our Heart is a biography of the great Shawnee warrior and statesman, Tecumseh. Eckert also wrote the outdoor drama Tecumseh! that is performed every summer in Chillicothe, Ohio. That Dark and Bloody River is a history of the role the Ohio River played in the settlement of the Ohio Valley. All of these books are written in a historical narrative form. Eckert researched extensively for his books, but instead of writing in a dry manner, Eckert includes words, thoughts and conversations found in the diaries and personal papers of the people he is writing about. This style makes Eckert's books interesting reading without sacrificing history. His last book, The Infinite Dream, published in 2011, explores America’s westward expansion beyond the Mississippi River from 1834-1848.
Eckert's interests and talents were not limited to historical narratives. He wrote several children's stories dealing with nature and science fiction. He was also an expert on many facets of natural history and science, as shown in his “Earth Treasures” non-fiction series.
Allan W. Eckert has done as much as anyone to promote the importance of the history and the people of the Ohio Valley, the Old Northwest Territory, and the effect they have had on American and world history.
Bellefontaine native Jeff Stahler made a name for himself at a very young age. A graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design, he quickly became recognized as a talented cartoon artist.
Jeff was born to Bob and Wanda Stahler, herself a gifted artist, and graduated from Bellefontaine High School. After earning a degree at CCAD in 1977, he joined the staff of the Columbus Citizen Journal as a full-time political cartoonist. He was hired in 1985 by the Cincinnati Post, and in 2004 joined the staff of the Columbus Dispatch and worked there until 2011. Stahler’s work is now syndicated and appears on the website GoComics.com. His work also reaches such outlets as CNN Headline News, Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and other newspapers across the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to his output of editorial cartoons, Mr. Stahler also wrote the comic strip Moderately Confused for several years. Stahler has published three collections of his work, Tooned In (1994), Stahler: Inkslinger (2003) and 21st Century Confusion: A Moderately Confused Collection (2009).
Bellefontaine native Louie Vito has made a name for himself across the country and even the world as a champion snowboarder and a guest star on one of television’s most popular shows. Louie, the son of Lou and Judy Vito, began snowboarding as youngster at Mad River Mountain. By the age of eight he was competing in snowboard events.
In 2001, Louie and his family decided that in order to maximize his talent as a snowboarder, he should enroll at the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont. The school offered college-prep curriculum as well as professional snowboard training. This training quickly paid off when Louie won a national championship in the Breaker Boys division at a competition at Mammoth Lakes, California in 2002. Over the next several years, Louie continued to work on his craft, winning or placing well in many events, and in the process rising in the world rankings. While he was big name on the snowboarding scene and his hometown, millions of people came to know him on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show. Louie competed on the show in the 2009 fall season. Louie and his dancing partner Chelsie Hightower lasted six weeks on the competition finishing in eighth place out sixteen competitors. Logan County showed its support by holding “Vote for Vito” parties at the Holland Theatre throughout Louie’s stay on the show.
In 2010 Louie fulfilled his dream of becoming an Olympian when he made the United States’ Snowboarding team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He became the second Logan County native to become an Olympian (Ed Ratleff was a member of the 1972 U.S. Basketball team). Bellefontaine Mayor Adam Brannon made a proclamation in honor of Louie Vito making the Olympic team, that February 12, 2010, the date of the opening ceremonies at the Vancouver Games, be proclaimed “Louie Vito Day”, and encouraged all citizens to watch and support Louie’s participation in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Louie finished in 5th place at his first Winter Olympics competition.
Louie enjoyed his most successful year as a professional snowboarder in the winter and spring of 2011. He won several different events including winning the gold medal in the SuperPipe at the Winter X Games Europe on March 18th in Tignes, France. He also finished third at the Winter X Games 15 in Aspen, Colorado earlier in the year. Louie also won the Grand Prix Overall Title and the Dew Tour Overall Cup in 2011.
Known for his superior technical snowboarding, Louie added more amplitude or “air” to his runs in 2011. This combination helped make Louie one of the best, if not the best, snowboarder in the world in 2011. Louie continued an even more successful season in 2012. He once again won the overall title. Vito competed for Italy (his paternal grandparents’ homeland) in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
To honor Louie’s snowboarding achievements and making the Olympics, Bellefontaine has erected signs at each major entrance to the city. The red, white and blue signs say, “HOME OF 2010 & 2022 OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER LOUIE VITO.”
The Logan County Museum would like to thank Louie, Lou, and Judy Vito for loaning his snowboard to the museum. This was Louie’s first professional snowboard.
Miss Lulu Frey (1868-1921) spent nearly all her adult life in Korea as a Methodist missionary and schoolteacher. The 1886 graduate of Bellefontaine High School had joined the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bellefontaine in 1882. The young woman soon found her calling when she made the decision that she wanted to become a missionary for the church. To help reach her goal, Miss Frey graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1892 and then attended the Lucy Rider Training School for Missionaries and Moody’s Bible Institute in Chicago. She also worked as a seamstress to raise money for her missionary trip. In the fall of 1893, Lulu Frey went to Seoul, Korea to start her missionary and teaching career. Miss Frey had a great impact on the students, their families, and the community in which she served. She changed many of their attitudes towards education, especially the right for girls to go to school. Miss Frey became the principal of the school in 1906. Four years later she founded the Ewha College for Women – the first women’s college in Korea.
Lulu Frey returned every six years to the United States and usually came home to Bellefontaine. While in her native country she spoke to many churches and groups about her missionary and teaching experiences in Korea. Yet she was always eager to return to Korea.
While she was home in 1921 Lulu Frey became very sick. She went to stay with her sister in Boston but was admitted to the hospital where she died of cancer. Miss Frey’s legacy is still felt in Korea where the Ewha Womans University has grown with an enrollment of more than 21,000 students and 250,000 alumni.
The World War II Free Servicemen’s Canteen in Bellefontaine would not have survived without the contributions of many organizations, businesses, and individuals. Yet no single person was more important to the Canteen’s survival and effectiveness than Mrs. Margaret (W.C.) Clingerman.
Mrs. Clingerman’s deep patriotism and self-perceived duty to do all she could for the war effort and the soldiers was the driving force behind the Canteen. She instilled these beliefs in the people around her whether it was going to them for donations, getting the New York Central Railroad to provide a new home for the Canteen, or convincing the government to allow her more than her ration for gasoline and tires so that she could use her 1937 Plymouth to pick up goods and donations from around the county. Even after suffering through the personal tragedy of her husband’s death in the spring of 1943, Mrs. Clingerman continued to be the backbone of the Canteen.
In the end, Mrs. Clingerman’s dedication and effort with the Canteen affected millions of people from the 702,779 soldiers who came through the Canteen, to the soldiers’ families who were comforted knowing that their sons were being cared for, to the other women of the Canteen who shared her deep patriotism, to the people of Logan County who contributed to the war effort by donating goods and services to the Canteen, to the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of soldiers who were served at other canteens that were modeled after the Bellefontaine canteen. The Bellefontaine Canteen was very special and so was its founder – Margaret Clingerman.
Geology is not the most popular major in many colleges today nor was it back in the early 1940s. Yet 1938 Bellefontaine High School graduate Marie Tharp did major in geology at the University of Michigan. It would have been impossible for Miss Tharp to choose that major, if not for the school opening its Geology Department to women because so many of its male students were fighting in World War II. Even though she did get her foot in the door, Marie Tharp would find that the field remained a male-dominated profession for many more years.
Marie Tharp took a job with Stanolind Oil in Tulsa, Oklahoma after earning her college degree. However, she soon decided she would rather be in a job that called for more research. Miss Tharp took a position with Columbia University as an assistant to Bruce Heezen, a graduate student in the Geology Department. She also worked with the renowned geology professor and oceanographer Dr. Maurice “Doc” Ewing.
Marie Tharp’s primary task with Heezen and Ewing was to plot profiles of segments of the ocean floor using data the two geologists had taken with sonar. Tharp discovered that while the underwater mountains did not line up, a cleft or ridge running down the middle with peaks on both sides did align.
Heezen initially dismissed Tharp’s findings as “girl talk” but he and Tharp later discovered that a 40,000-mile underwater ridge did exist. This discovery, along with the detection of earthquakes occurring along the rift or ridge, led to the acceptance of plate tectonics and continental drift theory. Heezen and Ewing published papers on the plate tectonics but did not include Tharp’s name. Years later, Tharp said she did not mind the omission because she felt “…lucky to be part of such a talented group” and that they were all “explorers.”
Marie Tharp’s greatest contribution to geology and oceanography came when she created the first detailed map of the ocean floor. Published in 1977 by the Office of Naval Research, Tharp’s global map of the ocean floor became the authoritative document on the subject and is still used in schools and by researchers.
Tharp did not receive the recognition she deserved throughout her career primarily because of her gender. Fortunately, in more recent years this has changed. In 1998, Miss Tharp was honored by the Library of Congress’ Geography and Map Division during its 100th Anniversary celebration. The next year the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recognized her as well.
In 2001, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory bestowed its First Annual Lamont-Doherty Heritage Award to Miss Tharp for her work as a pioneer in oceanography. Mike Purdy, director of the observatory, perhaps summed it best when he said, “The significance of Tharp’s achievement and of maps’ importance cannot be overstated.”
Marie Tharp passed away in 2006. Her legacy can still be seen at Bellefontaine High School where the school exhibits a 7’ x 3’ map of the ocean floor that was made by one of its most distinguished alums.
Did you know Logan County has been the home to several “Miss Ohio’s”?
Evelyn Wilgus from Russells Point represented Ohio in the national pageant at Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1927.
Emmandee Graham from Lewistown was Miss Ohio in 1929. She went to the national pageant at Miami, Florida.
In 1930 Elizabeth Gregg from Bellefontaine won Miss Ohio and represented our state in a national pageant in Galveston, Texas.
Luanna Churchill from Bellefontaine was selected Miss America at a pageant at Cedar Point, and went on to compete in Havana, Cuba for the Miss Universe title in 1930.
Miss Ohio pageants were held at Indian Lake in the 1920s and 1930s. Sometimes there was more than one contest in the same summer with the winners competing in different cities for the title of Miss America.
Williard M Kiplinger
Willard Monroe Kiplinger once said that, to him, “the work began at Bellefontaine, Logan County, Ohio, at the crossroads of the Big Four (railroads), in or about the year 1891.” (Bellefontaine Daily Examiner, 19 Aug 1954). That was the year this founder of the Kiplinger’s Washington Letter was born in a house on south Detroit Street to carriage maker Clarence Kiplinger and Cora (Miller) Kiplinger. He lived in Bellefontaine for several years, where he held his first job as a carrier for the local newspaper. Later, the Kiplinger family moved to Dayton. Mr. Kiplinger went on to study at the Ohio State University, graduating in the first class of journalists in 1912.
After graduation, he tried to land a job at the (Bellefontaine) Examiner, but there wasn’t a vacancy so instead he worked for the Ohio State Journal. After that, he began freelancing for the Associated Press, reporting on Ohio government and politics.
In 1916, he moved to Washington, D.C. to report on finances and economics for the AP. Then, in 1923, he banged out his first Washington Letter on his Underwood typewriter. From there, the Kiplinger institution grew slowly but steadily. In 1925, he added the Tax Letter; and later additions included the Agricultural Letter, an Overseas Letter, the Florida Letter, and a magazine on family finances called Changing Times. He also wrote several books: Inflation Ahead! (1935, bestseller), Washington is Like That (1942, bestseller), Kiplinger Looks to the Future (1958), and Kiplinger Sees Prosperity Ahead (1959).
Mr. Kiplinger, now a member of OSU’s Journalism Hall of Fame, developed a unique telegraphic writing style that “makes grammarians scream,” he said, “but I don’t think verbs, adjectives and prepositions are necessary” (Hartford Times, Jan. 1956). Mr. Kiplinger was married three times and had four children. He died in 1967 at his 15-acre farm in Bethesda, Maryland, where he built a mound of soil he had moved from Ohio’s highest point and named “Ohio Hill.”