Honoring our past: HOH 2015


By Jean Bussell - For The Register-Herald



This article is the fifth in our series related to the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor, sponsored by the Preble County Historical Society and The Register-Herald. Our co-sponsorship recognizes the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County every day. This annual process provides each entity with many opportunities to collaborate publicly on the project in ways that promote the value of each entity to the residents and businesses of the county. The Hall of Honor was established in 2011 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Preble County Historical Society.

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.

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.

2015 Inductees were as follows:

William Bruce, 1762-1830

On February 20, 1806, William Bruce filed the plat plan for Eaton OH. He provided land for the courthouse and other public buildings, churches and schools. He established a sawmill, a gristmill, and other businesses, served as the first treasurer of the county, and received the universal and unqualified respect of county residents.

Cornelius Van Ausdal, 1783-1870

The pioneer merchant of Eaton and Lewisburg, Van Ausdal created wholesale and retail commerce of all kinds. He served on the local railroad board, insured completion of the Christian Church building, was a Deputy U. S. Marshall (taking the first census in the county), served as a state legislator, and owned the Western Telegraph weekly newspaper.

Sarah Elizabeth Daughtery Reynolds, 1845-1923

Reynolds was prominent in patriotic affairs and helped originate the custom of casting flowers on streams on Memorial Day. She loved history and archeology and her advocacy led to the designation of Fort St. Clair Park in Eaton. She presented Preble County women’s buckeye bole cabinet at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

Chester (Chet) 1908-1970 and Mary Palmer Wagner, 1913 – 1985

The Wagners opened the Whispering Oaks Restaurant in 1947 and that led to the founding of Henny Penny to manufacture high quality cooking equipment. Active in Rotary, church, Shrine, and politics, Chet also established a forestry scholarship and award. When widowed, Mary guided the business and insured a successful transition upon its sale in 1976.

Timothy H. Miller, 1938-1993

Tim was a man for the county. He was involved in everything from news reporting to politics to the Pork Festival to photography to the 911 system and more. He led the Chamber of Commerce, served as a Special Deputy Sheriff, worked on the restoration of the Roberts Double-Barrel Bridge, and helped found the Friends of the Library and the Eaton Camera Club.

Rosetta “Rosie” McNees, 1928-2010

Rosie was a founder of the Preble County Art Association and a driving force in fundraising for the Fine Arts Center dedicated in 1990. She was a well-known and prolific artist specializing in watercolor, pastels, and oils. Her legacy includes over 25 pen and ink drawings of structures in the county and her efforts to preserve historic downtown Eaton.

By Jean Bussell

For The Register-Herald