Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Buggy to Buggy

Page 3 of the 1985 County Seat Calendar

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Picture captioned: Chariots of Quakers: Yearly Meeting at the college; buggy-to-buggy traffic

Winter 1879  Over 14,000 hogs are killed and butchered in the town's three packing plants.  They average 330 pounds and put $331,000 in the pockets of farmers ($24/hog) Hog butchering ends when the B&O Railroad, in 1884, offers direct service to the Cincinnati packing houses.  Local residents breathe easier.

January 15, 1870  The heaviest rainfall in Wilmington's history.  Low, rolling, summer-like clouds move in; temperatures warm dramatically.  Nine inches of rain falls in 24 hours.  Howard Townsend, carrying the mail from Wilmington to the train at New Vienna, [NV had train service before Wilmington!, but evidently Wilmington was served by B&O by 1879 to ship the hogs] abandons his team and wagon in a field and wades seven miles back.  The rain fills bottomlands, washed out mill races, bridges and railroad tracks.  All transportation comes to a stop.  There is no mail for two weeks.

January 16, 1950  The water of Lake Cowan reaches the spillway, making a permanent lake of George Austin's boyhood home and covers forever one of his prize archaeological sites.  Only the tip of one hill on his farm remains above water, to become known as Austin's Island.  Dr. Austin, a freethinker who worked in his garden with his tie on, excavated 256 sites in his day, accumulating more artifacts that the Smithsonian.  [And what did he do with them?]

January 19, 1870  The Great Quaker Revivals begin, a direct result of January storms and the death of Robert Douglas's young son.  Robert's brother, John Henry*, comes to the funeral and stays in town because of high water.  He visits every home and business in town and holds a meeting each night for over seven weeks.  As a consequence, Wilmington becomes a Quaker town and Wilmington College, a Quaker school, is begun a year later.

*  The Douglas brothers, John Henry and Robert and their families move to New Vienna in 1863 from Bloomington.  John Henry is a famous Quaker Evangelist and travels to Europe on a speaking tour in 1866-67.  According to the Southwest Ohio (Geneological & Historical) Research website the first two Friends Quarterly meetings in 1869 were "held in two schoolhouses near the home of John Henry Douglas outside of New Vienna, Ohio. The Quaker revival, which was open to non-Quakers too, was held in the Hoskins School on Bernard Road near Tilton Road about two miles east of New Vienna. These candlelight meetings lead to the establishment of Fairview Meeting of Friends. In November of 1869 the first meetinghouse was built and opened with 119 adults and 33 children as members."

John Henry Douglas moved to Wilmington in 1874, to Glen Falls NY in 1878, Iowa in 1886, Newberg Oregon (where George Fox College -- which Roberta attended -- originally named Pacific College was started in 1891) in 1893 and then to California where he died in 1919 at the age of 87 in Whittier.

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