EATON — The Preble County Historical Society’s Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration continues to be a huge success. Families from all over turned out on Sunday, July 1, for the annual celebration at PCHS. The event kicked off with music from the Eaton Community Band and Chorus — but the festival went all night and ended with fireworks.
It was $5 per car to get into the event, with all proceeds benefiting the PCHS.
The event started with music by the Eaton Community Band and the Eaton Community Chorus. The Cincinnati Circus trapeze and strolling magicians returned to entertain children. There were also exhibits, children’s games, face painting, bounce houses, and food and merchandise vendors. The 2018 Hall of Honor induction ceremony was held at 6:30 p.m., followed by music by Flat Out and fireworks when it got dark.
The Hall of Honor is an annual program of the PCHS and The Register-Herald. Each year, the entities choose individuals to recognize who have honored Preble County in some way.
PCHS created the Hall of Honor in conjunction with co-sponsor The Register-Herald in 2011 to celebrate the society’s 40th anniversary. 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.
Inductees into the Hall of Honor 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, 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.
The first individual inducted this year was Sherwood Anderson, who was born in Camden. He became an itinerant house painter, choosing to wander through the Midwest and finally to join the army in 1898. He saw service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and returned to Ohio a hero.
Anderson became manager of a paint factory, but dissatisfied with office routine, he quit suddenly and returned to Chicago where he worked in an advertising agency. He then returned to northeast Ohio to establish a business, but returned for a third time to Chicago where he was determined to become a novelist.
Under his friends’ influence he wrote his first novel, Windy McPherson’s Son, published in 1916 when he was 40 years old. His real fame as a writer came in 1919, with the publication of his classic work Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson became one of the most important authors of the 20th century.
His 1919 book, Winesburg, Ohio, is said to be based on Camden, though he spent only a few years at a young age in Camden. The book is an interrelated collection of short stories widely considered to be a masterpiece of American writing.
Anderson left Chicago and lived in numerous cities and travelled abroad in the early 1920’s. In 1926 he settled near Marion, Virginia and lived there the rest of his life. He owned and operated two newspapers in Marion and continued to write novels, short stories, autobiographical works, articles for his newspapers, and essays for other publications.
Next, Mary Gould Brooke and Edith Gould were welcomed into the Hall of Honor. The sisters were the granddaughters of Cornelius Van Ausdal, one of Eaton’s earliest settlers and businessman (inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2015). Mary was the wife of Charles Finley Brooke, Jr., prominent Eaton banker. She was active in local affairs having served for many years as a member (and president) of the Eaton Library board. She had a keen interest in local history and was one of six organizers of the Preble County Historical Society in 1921.
She led the society’s efforts to reclaim the grounds on which the battle of November 6, 1792 was fought and sought the state’s efforts to take over the grounds and to establish the Fort St. Clair State Park (now owned and operated by the City of Eaton) in 1922. She was known as “the mother of the Fort St. Clair Park.” She authored an historical booklet entitled “Historic Eaton and Fort St. Clair,” which contains many early photos of the property and her historical review.
Edith Gould’s profession was music. She was a music teacher and taught piano lessons. Upon her death, she willed her Sohmer piano to the Eaton Board of Education for use by eighth grade pupils. Her history is otherwise unknown, but after the untimely death of Mary’s husband in 1919, the two sisters made their home together. Near the end of their lives, they resided at the Rust Rest Home and willed an inheritance to each of the three Rust sisters in appreciation of their friendship and service. In all endeavors, Edith was a co-worker and compatriot with Mary.
Mary and Edith provided identical language in their wills with provisions for the net income of their entire trust estate to be distributed to the Village of Eaton, Preble County, Ohio, for such worthy legal municipal purpose or purposes as their trustee deemed advisable and for something which would be of a substantial and permanent nature and be a benefit to the village, and which gift shall be known as “The Gould-Brooke Memorial” or some similar title which will tend to perpetuate the name of Gould and/or Brooke.
The result of this trust has been a long-time set of substantial contributions to Eaton. The most recent contributions include the Brooke-Gould Memorial Library at the northwest corner of Barron and Decatur Streets, Eaton Tennis Courts, Eaton Emergency Services Building, YMCA, the Brooke-Gould Memorial Bicentennial Park, and the new flagpole at the Preble County Fairgrounds.
Phyllis Campbell (also known as “Mama Jazz”) was honored next. Born in Eaton, she graduated from Miami Jacobs College in 1941 and attended Miami University. She moved to Oxford in the mid-1970s and worked at Miami University until she retired in 1994.
In 1979, she began the “Mama Jazz Show” for WMUB Radio Station in Oxford. She had a 30 plus years career in this role. She became a legend in her own right by giving jazz a new birth in the WMUB listening area. In 1993, she was commended by the George H. Buck Jazz Foundation in New Orleans for helping to preserve the music.
In addition to the many thousands who enjoyed and learned from her program, there were hundreds of student board operators who, under her tutelage, learned about the music while they honed their skills as broadcasters.
Campbell was a member of the Business Professional Women of Preble County. She served as Grand Marshall for the Richmond Community Rose Festival, and served as master of ceremonies for many area events. She played big band sounds at Dinatman’s Upstairs in Richmond and spread her knowledge and love for jazz even further.
Alfa Lloyd Hayes was recognized for being among the founders of Delta Zeta Sorority. Hayes was born in Camden, the oldest of six children. A few years after her birth, her family moved to Oxford, where she attended high school and became one of the first women to attend Miami University in 1902.
With friends, Hayes organized Delta Zeta Sorority as a response to the harassment many women faced at the hands of the male students. With the help and support of Miami’s President, Delta Zeta became the first sorority on Miami’s campus and the second sorority created in the 20th century.
Alfa married Orison Hayes in June 1908. The wedding was notable for being the first wedding held on Miami University campus and for being held in Hall Auditorium, which was constructed by Alfa Lloyd Hayes’ father.
No matter where Alfa lived over the years, her interest in Delta Zeta never ended. She went on to be an active member of the sorority for the remainder of her life. She was the first President of Delta Zeta. She held the office of Grand (National) President of Delta Zeta for four years. She was Delta Zeta’s national historian and delegate to the National Pan- Hellenic Conference for eight years.
She also helped organize three chapters of Delta Zeta while she lived in Indianapolis.
The next inducted into the hall was Susan Haines Kendall, who became the director of the Preble County District Library (PCDL) in 1981. During her 24 years as director, she was instrumental in bringing the internet to Preble County and she coordinated the modernization and expansion of the library’s seven branches.
She led the creation of a new location for the administrative office and the Eldorado office. She developed and created the original genealogy center database that contains Preble County genealogical documents that continue to be accessed by individuals all over the world.
Her passion for gathering and sharing information also was expressed through a unique countywide partnership between the PCDL and the libraries in all the school districts. From the mid-1990’s she worked to create an extraordinary database of library holdings.
She was a member and board member of the Technology Task Force for the Ohio Public Libraries InfoOhio Network, editor of the Preble’s Pride newsletter of the Preble County Genealogical Society, member of the Board of Directors of the Preble County Historical Society, member of Commodore Preble County Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Preble County Genealogy Society, and Eaton/Preble County Chamber of Commerce.
The last individuals welcomed into the Hall of Honor were George and Glendine (Huggins) Wadlington, who moved to Eaton in 1954 when George became the Preble County Agricultural Agent. At the time, George was the youngest county agent in Ohio. While he briefly left the agent role in the mid-1960’s to work at Eaton National Bank and to teach vocational agriculture at Eaton High School, he spent the majority of his career as an agent or as Area Supervisor of Extension Agents over an eight county-area.
In addition, George served the Eaton community as city council member and assisted with various community activities such as the First Presbyterian Church, Eaton Little League, Eaton Lions Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. He was very active with the Preble County Alumni Club of The Ohio State University.
Glendine Wadlington was a teacher in the Eaton City School system from 1961 until retirement in 1984. Prior to her teaching career, she co-created a kindergarten program that became a part of the Eaton City School system. Subsequently she taught kindergarten followed by special education program. She was active in the Presbyterian Church, Current Events Club, and Delta Theta Tau Sorority.
She helped found the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board, and the local Special Olympics program, and served as a member of the Preble County Human Services Board and the Montgomery County Developmental Center’s Citizen Advisory Board.
Together, George and Glendine were active volunteers for the Preble County Pork Festival where Glendine served as chair of the “Create-a-Pig” Committee and volunteered with the Education Committee. George and Glendine also were members of the Preble County Farm Bureau and the Preble County Historical Society. At the Historical Society they worked hard for the Preble County Farm Days/Fall Gathering.
They donated a rolltop desk to the Historical Society which continues to be on display. The Ohio State University named the George and Glendine Wadlington Scholarship Fund in their honor.
To conclude the ceremony, PCHS President Brian Smith said, “Congratulations to all of the inductees and their families and friends who are here today. Please enjoy reading the longer biographies included in our Hall of Honor booklet and visit the new plaques festooned with balloons to read those induction statements as well. Thank you to everyone who nominated a person to be considered for induction into the Hall of Honor. We appreciate your assistance in exploring and recognizing Preble County’s history.”
Nominations for the 2019 Hall of Honor are due no later than April 1, 2019. Nomination forms will be available on the PCHS web site soon, or from the office.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH