EATON — The annual Hall of Honor induction ceremony, honoring three special late Preble Countians, will be held this Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 a.m., at The Amphitheater located at the Preble County Historic Society.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2011, the Preble County Historical Society (PCHS) created the Hall of Honor and named it the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor in recognition of the heritage and philanthropy of the Swartsel family as demonstrated by Sara Swartsel’s gift to the PCHS and the entire Preble County community of her family farm in southeast Preble County. The Register-Herald joined the PCHS as a partner in the Hall of Honor, recognizing the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County.
The Hall of Honor recognizes deceased former Preble Countians who have contributed to the community and world in valuable ways. The Hall of Honor was designed to honor those Preble County residents who made significant contributions to the county, state, or nation, in agriculture, education, public service, industry, and many other fields.
Several individuals were nominated and three new members were chosen this year. Descendants of the honorees are invited to attend and celebrate their late relatives.
Those to be inducted include:
Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Evans (1808-1876) and Eleanor Humphrey Evans (1805-1850)
The Evanses — builders, owners, and operators of the Bunker Hill Tavern in Fairhaven — were crucial members of the Underground Railroad and its operations. The couple provided a safe haven for runaway slaves and their fearless conductor, a former slave himself, Gabriel “Old Gabe” Smith. The tavern also became synonymous with security, as it offered refuge to builders, “post boys,” or young men who delivered mail, and even 49ers on their way to strike it rich.
Henry Horn (1755-1839)
Henry Horn, founder of Lewisburg, recorded his establishment on Sept. 7,1818. Along with founding an entire village and being a Revolutionary War veteran, Horn established several sawmills, a stillhouse, and a tannery in the area. In 1975, Henry’s 1813 log house was purchased for $1, entirely disassembled, and then moved to and reassembled at the Preble County Historical Society. It has since been available for tours and serves as a reference for pioneer living.
James I. Nisbet (1777-1830)
James I. Nisbet was an early settler of Preble County and founder of New Lexington in 1805. He created the first flour mill, township schoolhouse, tannery, and store in the township as well. Additionally, he was appointed associate judge for the Preble County Court of Common Pleas and county recorder, both in 1808. Nisbet served as the first postmaster of the township, and even built the first brick home in the county in 1811. Later he served in the War of 1812 as a captain. Nisbet is often considered the heart and soul of New Lexington, as he truly built the town from the ground up.
The Hall of Honor ceremony kicks off the PCHS’ Fall Gathering this Saturday. The Fall Gathering, which runs from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., includes a living history timeline and exhibits, a scarecrow contest, live animals, live music, a pumpking patch, and $5 hayrides until 5 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.