Hall of Honor: sharing the history

By Jean Bussell - For the Preble County Historical Society

Over the next few weeks leading up to the deadline for submission of nominations for the 2018 Hall of Honor, we will be publishing the details of Hall of Honor Inductees from previous years. We hope these details will inspire you to look into the history of our county and nominate individuals whom you believe meet the criteria for the Hall of Honor.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2011, the Preble County Historical Society (PCHS) created a Hall of Honor. The PCHS Board of Trustees designated that the Hall of Honor be named the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor in recognition of the heritage and philanthropy of the Swartsel Family as demonstrated by Sara’s enduring gift to the Preble County Historical Society and the Preble County community of her family farm in southeast Preble County. The Register-Herald joined the PCHS as co-sponsor of the Hall of Honor in recognition of the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County every day.

You can make a nomination to the Hall of Honor by visiting the Preble County Historical Society’s web site at www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at preblecountyhistoricalsociety@frontier.com or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.

The deadline for submission for consideration for 2018 is Friday, March 30.

In 2018 the Hall of Honor will induct its eighth membership class. Inductees must be deceased and have lived in Preble County at some point in their lives; further, they must meet one or more of the following requirements: have been outstanding in achievement in agriculture, arts, professions, politics, public service, education, or sports; or have a reputation that brings honor to the county, or personal commitment and service to the county; or had a lasting impact on the county.

2011 Inductees – The Inaugural Year of the Hall of Honor

Helen J. Felton and M. Heber Felton

1918-2011 and 1912-2001

Helen and M. Heber Felton, each individually through many different organizations, and together through their mutual love and support, lived in the county for a total of 180 years. Heber as CEO and President of Eaton Home Loan and Home Aid Company and Helen as an educator, both enjoyed history and were proud of their heritage.

Andrew L. Harris


Civil War hero as Colonel with the 75th OVI, public servant at local, state, and national levels, serving Ohio as Judge, State Representative, State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor, and chairman of the United States Industrial Commission under President McKinley, Harris was a “Farmer-Statesman.” A graduate of Miami University, he lived in Preble County for 77 years.

Seth S. Schlotterbeck


As County Highway Department Superintendent 1937-1966, Schlotterbeck was instrumental in preserving our covered bridges, historic steel truss bridges, and the Lewisburg Log House. His detailed photography and recording of historical details have provided records that otherwise would have been lost. A World War I veteran, Schlotterbeck spent his entire life of 87 years in and documenting Preble County.

Sara Swartsel


The Hall of Honor is named in honor of Sara Swartsel, county native, educator, artist, and environmentalist, who donated her family farm to the Preble County Historical Society with four objectives: beautify the grounds through plantings and horticultural activities; encourage and provide space and facilities for activities of cultural and educational nature, environmental studies, musicals, lectures, and the arts; conduct farming operations and demonstrate agricultural activities of the past and present; and generally encourage the widest possible use of these objectives and purposes to cooperate with schools and groups in bringing children to the center and to promote and encourage its use.

By Jean Bussell

For the Preble County Historical Society