Hall of Honor recognizing PC’s historical figures

By Jean Bussell - For Preble County Historical Society

This is the third 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 2020 the Hall of Honor will induct its tenth 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.org and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at [email protected] or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.

The deadline for submission for consideration for 2019 is Friday, May 1.

The induction ceremony will be held on Saturday September 26, 2020 during the Fall Harvest Days Celebration at the Preble County Historical Society.

The 2012 inductees included

Nathaniel Benjamin, 1795-1885

Carpenter, joiner, builder, businessman, Benjamin constructed many buildings in Preble County, planted an orchard, established a nursery, and kept a tavern/public house in New Lexington. He supervised highway construction when West Alexandria was a wilderness, served in public office for over 20 years, and was a dedicated Mason. His generous contributions established an orphanage and a public school library.

Harvey Hiestand, 1872-1944

Architect, artist, and musician, Hiestand graduated from Eaton High School, traveled the world, and returned to practice architecture in Eaton. He established Miami University’s first architecture courses and designed substantial public and business buildings throughout the Midwest as well as many homes in Eaton. Hiestand Hall at Miami University is named in his honor and houses many of his artworks.

Thomas McQuiston, 1839-1909

McQuiston received patents for a corn cultivator and a sorghum evaporator. A lifelong farmer in Israel Township, McQuiston operated a sorghum mill from 1862-1903, farmed as had the three preceding generations and three succeeding generations of his family, and served in the 156th Regiment of the O.V.I. in the Civil War. He was a long-time trustee of Hopewell Presbyterian Church.

Clarence Oldfather, 1913-2000 and Harold Sell, 1911-2003

“Sparky” Oldfather and Harold Sell bought the local newspaper in 1947 and built it into the state’s second largest weekly. They were honored as “Publishers Emeritus” upon their sale of the paper in 1973. Both had careers dedicated to publishing including Oldfather’s early work at Eaton’s “Bulletin” and Sell’s work at the “New Paris Mirror” and his founding of the “Eldorado Weekly.”

Richard Tuggle, 1920-1976

Community leader in business, church, and volunteer organizations, Tuggle was a charter member and board president of the PCHS. He served as manager of the Eaton Farm Bureau and established the St. Clair Custodial Supply Company (now Remagen, Inc.), a family-owned business. He served as a township trustee, a church elder, and president of the Eaton Rotary Club.

By Jean Bussell

For Preble County Historical Society