Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for February, 2019

Family Memories of Guernsey County’s Annie Oakley

Emma Thompson Feeds

This old metal sign from 1913 stirred up family memories of their great-aunt, Emma Sherby.

Memories awaken when a picture or object appears that opens doors to the past. Recently, an original Thompson Feed Company sign brought back memories to the family of Emma Sherby as it stated: No Hunting Without Permission.

 

Emma Thompson Feed 001

This popular feed mill was located at 125 N. 7th Street, where the Genealogical Society is located today.

   In 1913, Ohio decided that hunters needed to have a license. Young Emma at the age of 17 purchased one of those early licenses for the fee of ONE DOLLAR in Cambridge at the Guernsey County Clerk of Courts. She was a very slim girl as the license listed her at 5’9” and 120 pounds with light hair and blue eyes.

 

Emma's Hunting License

Emma was the first woman to have a hunting license in Guernsey County, and perhaps in the state of Ohio.

   Since the law went into effect on November 12 and Emma purchased her license on November 15, she definitely was one of the first to purchase a license and also the first licensed female hunter in Guernsey County.

   Word of this early license spread quickly and an article titled “Girl Hunter Bags Rabbits for Tables of Mining Settlement” was written in the Cleveland Press on November 29, 1913. Hank Sherby still has that original article as well as the cloth hunting license issued to his great-aunt Emma.

 

Emma Cleveland Press

An article about Emma appeared in the Cleveland Press in November, 1913.

   Using a W. Richards Double Barrel Shotgun, her hunting ability was well known in the area as she liked to explore the out-of-doors and often bagged wildlife not only for her own family but for the neighbors as well. Some even called her Guernsey County’s Annie Oakley.

   Back in 1896, Dr. Robbins came to the farm’s log cabin on horseback to deliver baby Emma. A large ledger contains this information about the day she was born: “May 8, 1896, Emma born Friday at 4 o’clock on the farm in the afternoon.” Two months later they moved to the house where Emma lived the rest of her life.

 

Emma's house

She spent her entire life in this house on Cherry Hill Road.

   Her parents, Michael and Josephine Sherby, had four children: Elvin, Emma and twins Ella and Emanuel. Michael was a headhunter recruiting miners for Cambridge Collieries and rented houses on Buffalo Mine Road to miners. Later he worked for Byesville State Bank.

  Dependable seems a proper word to describe Emma. She worked hard all her life. Emma never married but cared for her family by working the farm to pay bills, raising a large garden, canning chickens for winter food, and was a beekeeper to keep honey on the table. Hank describes her as “a hunter/trapper/fisherwoman..a true country girl.” Sounds more and more like Annie Oakley!

 

Emma with fish from their farm pond

Their farm pond supplied fish for the family and also water for the miners’ homes.

 Sometimes when money was scarce during the Depression, Emma would take feathers from the chickens and ducks and barter them for goods at the general store. People enjoyed having the feathers for their pillows and comforters.

  Hank and his brother, Robert, fondly remember bringing in a bucket of blackberries to Emma in the summertime. She would then fire up the wood stove and bake them a blackberry pie in a small tin. Still sounds delicious! It was no secret that Emma had a sweet tooth as well.

 

Emma's traps

These traps were used by Emma to capture animals for fur.

   Although she had the important hunting license, Emma never cared to get a driver’s license. In fact, it is said that Emma never left Guernsey County in her life except when she had to register for Social Security.

   She worked so hard that one wonders what she did for relaxation. Every day the flowers she grew gave her pleasure, but on Sundays, she could often be found riding her white horse on a trail ride in the vicinity of Cherry Hill.

 

Emma's gun with Hank

Hank Sherby feels lucky to still have his great-aunt’s gun.

   Having grown up in the Depression, Emma saved everything and some would say she was a hoarder. In their barn, she had saved a pile of cherry boards that she always said would be used for something special. When Emma died at the age of 93, they made her casket from these cherry boards and had the funeral at the farm where she lived her entire life.

   This lady lived from 1896 – 1983 so would have seen many changes in our world. After living through the Great Depression, it’s easy to understand why Emma saved everything. She didn’t want to have to do without again. Imagine her excitement at seeing those first automobiles, telephones, television, and even a man landing on the moon. Family remembers that Emma kept up with the news and they received four newspapers in their house.

 

Emma gun

Emma hunted with a W. Richards double-barrel shotgun, a gift from her dad.

   Annie Oakley expressed her feelings when she said, “Any woman who does not thoroughly enjoy tramping across the country on a clear frosty morning with a good gun and a pair of dogs does not know how to enjoy life.” Have a feeling that Emma would have agreed.

   Liberated women have been with us throughout history. That’s nothing new. Emma certainly depicted that image from a very early age and continued to do things throughout her life that people today would label as ‘liberated’. Emma Sherby was just ahead of her time.

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Today’s Fairview – Yesterday’s Pennyroyaldom

Kenny Keylor

The late Keny Keylor shared stories of Fairview and Pennyroyal Reunions.

Those who have lived in Fairview for a long time, have great memories to share that perhaps some have forgotten. Kenny Keylor had been around for 91 years. He shared some stories and pictures with me during a recent visit.

Fairview Bradshaw Tavern

Bradshaw Tavern and Inn along the old Zane’s Trace had famous visitors such as Henry Clay.

   A group from Maryland led by Ralph Cowgill and Hugh Gilliland stayed at the Bradshaw Inn as they walked the old Wheeling Road. When they stopped along the way some climbed a hill and are said to comment, “My, what a fair view.” The name stuck!

Fairview Main Street - small

This is a view of Fairview’s Main Street back in the 1800s.

   The town was laid out by Hugh Gilliland in 1814 on the border of Guernsey and Belmont counties. He platted thirty lots, each one-fourth of an acre and fronting on each side of the Wheeling Road. By 1866, 555 people lived there – it’s highest population.

DSC02524

A painting of the pennyroyal pant hangs in the Opera House today.

   A big attraction back in 1806 were the fields of pennyroyal that grew wild in the area. The herb received its name because it was a favorite of the English royalty who treated headaches, cold, arthritis and dizziness with this oil. Thus, the name Pennyroyaldom for the area.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

Pennyroyal Distillery, where they made the “cure-all oil”, was captured on this old postcard.

   Benjamin Borton had learned how to distill the pennyroyal oil while living in New Jersey. His sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons continued in the business selling this “cure-all” oil after the family moved to Fairview.

Fairview looking west on National Road - UP Church in foreground

United Presbyterian Church sat along the old National Road looking west.

   This oil, along with tobacco, both “cash crops”, were shipped by freight wagons on the Old National Road to the eastern markets. Fairview produced more Pennyroyal Oil than any other place in the nation. Its medicinal purposes were still being sold in the 1980s until the government labeled it a possible carcinogen.

Fairview Home of Dr. Arnold

The home of Dr. H.J. Arnold in 1915 still stands today.

   Since the town was growing, Fairview became filled with many needed businesses: general stores, grist mill, millinery store, two hotels, and three cigar factories. Over twenty different occupations found a place in town to hang their shingle: dentist, doctor, undertaker, barber, and blacksmith to name a few. As you can tell, this was a thriving little community.

Fairview Costume House by O.G. Boyd

O.G. Boyd had this costume house in town and organized their Pennyroyal parade.

   A medical school existed in Fairview taught by Dr. T. McPherson. If someone wanted to become a doctor, he had to serve three years in the school and then one year in Columbus. They even had two local grave robbers who supplied cadavers to the school.

   To maintain their heritage, every August from 1880 until 2014, residents of Fairview and descendants of Fairview residents gathered for the Pennyroyal Reunion to enjoy music, food and a chance to share stories of Fairview.

thumbnail_Pennyroyal Reunion 1946

A large crowd attended the Pennyroyal Reunion in 1945.

   The first reunion was held in 1880 in Gardenia Grove just west of Fairview with 4500 people present. Organized by David Taylor, editor of the Guernsey Times, Sarchet’s History of Guernsey County states that Taylor was “the presiding genius and program maker of the Pennyroyal Reunion.” He gave the organization state-wide recognition as the greatest of all harvest-home picnics.

Fairview Pennyroyal Parade 2

People lined Fairview’s Main Street to watch the annual parade.

   The Governor of Ohio spoke at the Pennyroyal Reunion. He stayed in Barnesville and a horse and buggy brought him to Fairview, where he gave a speech in the afternoon. Five officials, who later became Presidents of the United States, also joined in the celebrations.

Fairview Pennyroyal Royalty

Pennyroyal Royalty highlighted festivities at the reunion.

   Kenny Keylor has been a big supporter of his community and the reunion for all his life. He played his guitar as part of the entertainment. His collection of Pennyroyal Reunion programs has only five years missing.

   In earlier years, entertainment took many forms. Minstrel shows were very popular and one year a three-act play was performed. Most recently their entertainment has been bluegrass music. But every year a chorus performed their Pennyroyal Song, Down in Ohio, with lyrics and music written by John H. Sarchet, who directed the chorus for many years.

Opera House

The building for today’s Pennyroyal Opera House has been around for over 150 years.

   Since those early days of Pennyroyaldom, today Fairview survives as a small town with a population of between 80 and 85. But their heritage is never forgotten as seen in these words from the first Pennyroyal Reunion program in 1880:

As each returning year revolves in time,

May all true sons of childhood’s happy home

Return from distant places, where they roam,

And keep a day in stories and in rhyme.”

~Robert B BuchananFairview sign

Fairview is located along I-70 today between Wheeling, WV and Cambridge, OH. Take exit 198 to the north of the interstate and turn left into the small town of Fairview. You might want to visit sometime when the Pennyroyal Opera House has some great bluegrass music.

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