You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Historical society wins state award

Clark County group preserves court records, unearths great stories.


The Clark County Historical Society’s two-year undertaking to preserve thousands of local probate court records not only won a state award recently, it wasn’t anywhere as boring as it sounds.

There was the lunacy case involving a woman named Cinderella, and the will of a gentleman named Manly Goodfellow.

And then there was the early 1930s case of John and William Evilsizor — busted for using dynamite to kill fish in the Mad River.

“When you come across those little gems, it’s cool to find those,” said Mel Glover, a curatorial technician at the historical society, which is housed in the Heritage Center of Clark County.

Dating back to 1818, the records — wills, guardianships, name changes, alcohol offenses and the occasional criminal case — came to the society in the 1980s from Clark County Probate Court, folded up and stuffed into little envelopes. Staff, volunteers and interns spent the past two years flattening and placing about 10,000 of them in acid-free folders and boxes, simultaneously saving the files and making them easier for the public to access.

For that effort, the historical society won one of two 2012 achievement awards presented last week by the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board, or OHRAB, which is part of the Ohio Historical Society.

“We didn’t expect it to be as interesting as it was,” curatorial assistant Natalie Fritz confessed.

The local historical society’s project to preserve the court records has been on-again and off-again since the ’80s. This latest round started in 2011 after the historical society won a $1,500 grant from OHRAB, which was available to help improve access to historic government documents. The historical society was able to win a second $1,500 grant last year to continue the work.

In that two-year period, 17 volunteers used 8,000 acid-free file folders and placed the material in 210 archival boxes, Fritz said.

In a statement announcing the award winners, OHRAB called the project ambitious and creative in its use of the public to help.

“There is no way we could get any of this done without our volunteers,” Glover said.

In 2011, workers managed to make their way through county probate records from 1908 to 1924. Last year, they were able to get to 1931.

Notable finds this past year included the will of Jonathan Winters’ grandfather. The legendary comedian grew up in Springfield.

Other finds included a guardianship case involving a “shell-shocked” World War I veteran and a Prohibition-era case in which authorities found a bottle of whiskey under the floor of an “outside toilet” on Summit Street.

Fritz estimated they still have another year of work ahead of them, but a new, different grant will allow the historical society to instead focus this year on reboxing and taking inventory of its collections.

“We’re trying to marshal our resources the best we can,” Glover said.

The work done on the court records will help people doing family research, giving them a better sense of the times in which their descendants lived — for better or for worse.

This past year, for example, one volunteer came across a 1925 case involving a man accused of operating something along the lines of a brothel, Fritz said. Another volunteer working at the time asked them to repeat the name of the defendant.

“It was her grandfather,” Fritz said, “whom she had not known.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Ohio Budget: House targets opiate addiction crisis
Ohio Budget: House targets opiate addiction crisis

Ohio House Republicans on Tuesday announced they’re pouring an extra $170.6 million into fighting the opiate addiction crisis. As Ohio leads the nation in accidental drug overdoses, state leaders are reaching for multiple fixes. The House budget plan carves out $170.6 million, including $12.2 million for prevention and education, $130 million...
Bristol Palin shares her excitement about welcoming baby no. 3 any day now
Bristol Palin shares her excitement about welcoming baby no. 3 any day now

Bristol Palin says she just can’t wait to meet her third child, and she’s due any day now. The daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took to Instagram Tuesday to share her excitement. “My world!!! I can’t believe we’ll be a family of 5 in a matter of days,” Palin wrote as...
‘Cash Me Outside’ teen to be in  court Wednesday
‘Cash Me Outside’ teen to be in court Wednesday

The former Boynton Beach resident and viral internet star Danielle Bregoli will be back in Palm Beach County on Wednesday morning for a court appearance. Bregoli, who gained notoriety during a “Dr. Phil” interview where she taunted audience members with the now famous phrase, “Cash Me Outside,” will appear in...
Woman scares burglar away through security camera
Woman scares burglar away through security camera

A Newton County, Georgia, woman stopped a burglar in his tracks while he was inside her home, and it’s all on video. She had some choice words for him, too, and he clearly got the message. The man broke into her Covington home on April 14 around 5:30 a.m. He checked out the TV, got on the floor to look under a couch and then got an abrupt welcome...
The Temptations bass player Kerry Turman dead at 59
The Temptations bass player Kerry Turman dead at 59

Kerry Turman, a bass player for the iconic rhythm and blues group The Temptations, has died, according to a post on the group’s Facebook page. KFVS reported that Turman, 59, was pronounced dead Sunday morning after performing at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Saturday. The group confirmed the news Sunday in posts...
More Stories