Stories Behind The Buckeye State
Monday September 25th 2017

The Bald Eagles are back!

Photo from Flickr user Wes Gibson

Though something a little different than we usually write about, this is historic news none the less. Bald Eagles have slowly been making a come back to Ohio and this year they are back and nesting at Highbanks Metro Park in Central Ohio. If you’re in the Columbus area be sure to head out and get a glimpse of these beautiful creatures. Just take the Overlook trail all the way back to the observation deck and look to the north west down the river. Be sure to bring a decent pair of binoculars or spotting scope as the nest is a decent ways away.

Bald eagles aren’t the only history that Highbanks has to offer up though. There are also two Adena mounds, a prehistoric earthworks, an old family cemetery and an Ohio Historical Marker nestled inside the park.

See It For Yourself:
Highbanks is located off of Route 23 in Delaware County about 10 minutes from I-270. The nature center is located on the right as you enter and you can pick up a map with all the points of interest. If you can’t make it out to see the eagle’s nest, don’t despair. You can watch a live stream at http://www.metroparks.net/EagleCam.aspx!

 

Links:

Metro Park Website– “Highbanks

Archeolgist discovers what could be world’s largest serpent mound

The Sunwatch Village seen above shows how the Fort Ancient culture who built the mound lived

University of Cincinnati professor Ken Tankersley announced Monday that he may have found the world’s largest serpent mound in the Cincinnati suburb of Mariemont. The mound borders the Little Miami river and Miami Bluff Drive running for just a little over half a mile. The mound was built by the Fort Ancient culture which thrived in Ohio from 1000 CE 1750 CE.

Be sure to check out the link to the Cinicinatti Enquirer below for some interesting reading on the subject. Special thanks to our reader Alissa for sending us this story.

 

See It For Yourself:

Sources:
Cincinnati Enquirer– “Mariemont serpent mound could be world’s largest

First War of 1812 Battle Site in Ohio

Your family may be planning to head to Cedar Point for a quick getaway this summer—thoughts of thrill rides and water slides filling your heads—but did you know, 199 years ago, a small group of citizens on the shore of Lake Erie tried to escape to Cedar Point for an entirely different reason?

A Brief Overview on the War of 1812

The year was 1812 and, though the United States had won its independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War, tensions were still running high. Their dealings with France—a country at war with The British Empire—provoked harsh trade sanctions by the British.

Undeterred, the Americans continued to press north in search of new territory—drawing Great Britain’s attention once more. With forces tied up in battlefronts on two continents, the British couldn’t afford to get their hands dirty. Yet. If they were going to stifle America’s ambition, they were going to need help.

Tecumseh by Benson J Lossing

Closer to home, another group brimmed with unrest over the northern land’s seizure: the Native Americans. Seeing the potential alliance as an opportunity, the British were quick to supply Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, and his raiders with enough weapons and provisions to drive back American settlers.

The United States would not overlook this offense. On July 18, 1812, President James Madison signed the declaration of war, passed by congress, into law.

The First Battle in Ohio

It took three months for the fight to reach Ohio soil.  On the evening of September 26, 1812, a group of four boats carrying supplies from the Portage River Stockade to Camp Avery was forced to stop for the night at Bull’s Island (now known as Johnson’s Island) due to heavy storms. The eighteen men made camp for the night and were abruptly awoken in the morning by a local father and son with alarming news. Their family farm had been attacked by Indians, and they had narrowly escaped—fleeing eight miles to Bull’s Island.

A small party of the men followed Mr. Valentine Ramsdall and his son back to the farm, counting forty-seven Indian warriors from their cover in the woods. Completely out numbered and poorly equipped, they had no choice but to return to camp and report their findings. The group decided to relocate to Cedar Point and send a messenger ahead to Camp Avery.

The Call for Help Arrives

After traveling some ten miles southeast from Cedar Point, the party’s messenger arrived at Fort Avery around 5:00 p.m. on September 29th. Commander Joshua T. Cotton rounded up sixty-four volunteers from his regiment, gave them time for a quick meal, and set off toward Cedar Point  just after dark. They reached the peninsula around four in the morning, meeting up with the men at the camp.

Ohio Militia Camp - via The Library of Congress

The Battle Begins

It was decided that the Ohio Militia would row across the bay at dawn, hide their boats in the reeds, and split their forces in such a way that they would drive the fleeing Indians straight into an ambush. However, when the intercepting party reached the Ramsdell’s farm, they found it completely abandoned. The Indians had slaughtered most of the Ramsdell’s livestock and left their fires burning. Surmising they couldn’t have gotten much of a head start, the party of militia men set out to track them down.

For roughly the next twenty-four hours, pockets of fighting broke out between splintered groups of both the Indians and the Ohio Militia along the Marblehead coast.

Retreat Turns Sour

Commander Cotton’s brigade, fallen into the thick of battle, planned a hasty retreat to Cedar Point to regroup. They fought hard and pushed through opposing war parties to get back to Lake Erie’s shore; unfortunately, when they arrived, they found their boats—thought to be expertly hidden—sabotaged beyond repair.

Left with no means of escape, they found a nearby log cabin and used it as a makeshift fort to hold off enemy attacks. They remained there until the first of October, when reinforcements arrived.

The first battle in Ohio during the War of 1812 ended in a draw. Both sides suffered casualties and no ground was lost or won. It wouldn’t be the last fight the area would see during the war, though. As tensions continued to climb, another, more famous, conflict would occur nearly a year later: the Battle of Lake Erie.

See It For Yourself:

The Ohio Historical Marker is close to Johnson’s Island, not far from the Marblehead Lighthouse. You’ll find a small park on the south side of County Road 135 with half a dozen or so parking spaces. There are several other historical markers in the area and of quite a few interesting sights to be seen.

Sources:
Wikipedia– “War of 1812
Wikipedia – “Tecumseh
Remarkable Ohio – “Marker #1-62 First Battle Site
Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website – “History of the War of 1812
USGenWeb Archives – “Writings of S.J. Kelly
North American Forts – “Ohio Fort List
Anecestory.Com – “Ohio Cotton Message Board
Firstregiment.com – “The Lake Erie Ledger” Newsletter, October 2009, Volume 22 Issue 3

Looking for Authors and Researchers

We are once again looking for people to help us at Historical Ohio!

Do you enjoy history, architecture, and photography? Do you also enjoy not getting paid for your work? Then Historic Ohio is for you! We’re looking for creative people to help run our site, come up with story ideas, and pen the articles. Historic Ohio is not a job, it’s hobby. Here’s what we’re looking for:

Authors:
Historic Ohio authors should have a genuine interest in the history, the people, and the places that shaped Ohio. Extensive knowledge of history and architecture not necessary, the main goal of this project is to learn. Authors should possess competent writing skills and understand the difference between there, their, and they’re. Authors should have a knack for story telling and be able to weave engaging factual tales together rather than just spitting out facts to our readers. Visiting locations you write about isn’t a requirement but preferred when possible.

  • Previous writing experience a plus but not necessary
  • Willing to write a minimum of one article a month
  • Ability to do research, Wikipedia should not be your sole source
  • Competency with Microsoft Word and or the ability to use WordPress
  • A sense of humor a definite plus
  • Must be able to communicate effectively with other Historic Ohio staff
  • Owning a decent digital camera not a requirement but will earn you brownie points*

*Brownie points are not redeemable towards actual warm, delicious, brownie desserts.

Researcher:
We are desperately interested in people who know how to research! I’m talking in depth, mind blowing, finding photographs of George Washington putting his wooden teeth in kind of nitty gritty research.  This is probably the hardest and most time consuming job at Historic Ohio so it has to be something you enjoy doing. You should know how to help us find old records, general information, news articles, historic photographs, etc. Researchers are welcome to write their own articles and will help authors with their research.

  • Should probably have a valid library card
  • Be able to read
  • Ownership of a 1981 DeLorean with flux capacitor a plus
  • Be willing to spend stupid amounts of time at a library
  • Knowledge of how to properly cite sources
  • Be willing to work for coffee

Site Liaison:
Historic Ohio needs a well organized, people person with lots of spunk. This position will include greasing the gears, feeding the hamster, and other boring and repetitive tasks. Primary objects of the Lesion will include communicating with members of the staff to coordinate projects and deadlines, scouting locations and contacting site owners for shooting approval, and lastly answering email from users.

  • Should have excellent time management skills
  • Detailed knowledge on use of post-it notes
  • Be willing to call random people for random things
  • Know how to curse in several foreign languages
  • Check email frequently
  • Put up with me and my insane demands

Alright, so I know that sounds like a lot of work and that’s probably because it is. I think it’s going to be a great experience and a lot of fun for those involved. I have a lot of big ideas for us and I think with the help of a few creative and driven people we could make this site into something really amazing. At the minimum you’ll probably get to travel to some really interesting places in the state and drink a lot of coffee with me. At maximum… well who knows? The sky’s the limit. Maybe this will end up being a paying gig and you’ll be knighted… by the governor? Anythings possible! Right?

If you have interest in any of the jobs above, send me an email at wdzinc@gmail.com . Include what position you are interested in, a blurb about yourself and why you’re interested, and contact information so I can spam, er get in contact with you.

Cincinnati loses historic Theda Bara House

Photo By Cincinnati.com

We’re a little bit late on reporting this story to you, but the Theda Bara house in Cincinnati was demolished this past week. The villa built in the 1920’s may not have looked very historically significant from the outside, but it was known for it’s exotic and over the top decor inside.

The home was originally built by Theda Bara, a movie star from the silent film era. She maintained a large mansion in Hollywood but had this smaller villa built in her home town of Cincinnati.

The land that the home sits on was later purchased by Xavier University in 1979. The home was first turned into housing for nuns and in later years housing for honor students. Former alumni who were interviewed said that the house was in serious disrepair as early as the 1990’s with pieces of stucco separating from the structure. A representative from the University said that historically significant parts of the home were preserved.

Theda Bara could very well have been considered the Lady Gaga of her day. She was known for playing sultry seductresses and for her over the top and outrageous life style; most of which historians suggest was crafted by the film studios to help sell movie tickets. Like her former home, many of the movies that Bara starred in have been lost to time.

Where It Was:

Sources:
Cincinnati.com– “Goodbye Theda Bara House
Victoria Advocate- “Former Ohio home of silent film star comes down
Wikipedia- “Theda Bara

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