The Ashton House Museum of Carrollton

Mr. John H. Ashton started working in a variety store when just 12 years of age and continued his career in retail until his death at 99 years old in 2005. His late wife, Evelyn, and John were not just successful business-people in their community but were dedicated to serving the community outside of their business.

John H. Ashton graduated from Spencerville High School in 1924 and then later from the Lima Business College in 1925.

John and Evelyn, at one time, owned all or part of eleven different Ben Franklin Stores. Additionally, John H. Ashton was a dedicated member of the community in his adopted hometown of Carrollton. John H. Ashton was a founder of the Carrollton Chamber of Commerce and an original member of the Carrollton Civic Club. He was also a member of the Carrollton Rotary club, the Carrollton Village Fire Department, the Elks club, the local Masons, the Carrollton and Spencerville Historical Societies, he served on the Carrollton Boy Scout Committee and he was a 30-year board member of the Cummings Bank.

The Ashtons will certainly be missed by Carrollton and the surrounding communities but their legacy will live on through their contributions and through the museum created in their name. This museum will include items from the Ashton’s family history. Some dating as far back as the early 1800’s. The museum will also include items of a historic or nostalgic nature from Carrollton, the community the Ashtons loved so much.

Items from the Ashton’s personal collection will include their Hummel collection, Anri, their Wade figurines as well as Knowles, Hibel and Bing and Grondahl plates. Also their Haviland dishware from Limoge, France. There will also be, for the sports fans, items from the Kentucky Derby and The Ohio State Buckeyes going back to the 1940’s. There will also be vintage holiday postcards from the early 1900’s, political paraphernalia and vintage toys and games. The museum will even include vintage TV and radio shows playing in the museum that visitors can sit and enjoy.

On Ohio’s State Flag

Ohio’s flag, adopted in 1902, is often known as the Ohio Burgee for its swallow tail design—which has most often been employed in the design of maritime signal flags. The Ohio Burgee is the only non-rectangular flag in the United States.

John Eisenmann, a Cleveland architect, was selected to design the Ohio State exhibition hall for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901. Eisenmann also designed what would become the Ohio Burgee only a year later, as a flag to represent the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission, not the entire state. But in 1902, after the Governor, George K. Nash, had visited the exposition and been presented with one of the flags, State Representative William McKinnon introduced House Bill 213 creating Eisenmann’s design the official state flag.

Eisenmann’s design was so literally so “outside the box”, not being of the standard state-seal-on-a-sheet design the press actually went overseas to find precedents for the design – the layout being compared to Cuba’s flag or the flag of the Philippines, while the red and white annulus was chastised for its easy comparison to the Japanese flag.

Though still sometimes considered unpopular and not often flown by Ohioans, the Burgee remains one of the most unique flags in the Union.

Bear’s Mill, Greenville, OH Pt. 2

This is the second and final entry about Bear’s Mill in Greenville, Ohio–an 18th century mill that is still in operation for tourists today.

The mill is set against manicured lawn and tree topped hills surrounding both sides of Greenville Creek which wanders along the property. The water still powers the mill the machinery. Two damns of varied size create a two mile lake where water is channeled to the millrace. Two water gates help the stream water to be diverted into the race to power the turbines.

Jesse Tillman and John Townsend bought the mill for $8,000 in 1862. They ran it only for a few years though as it was feared Confederate soldiers would invade the state and burn the mill. The mill had many owners over the years, M.R. Cromer being the most notable as there are still colorful stories told about Mr. Cromer who owned the mill until his death in 1947 when Charles Andrews bought the property.

Andrews was a rare environmentalist in his day. He fought with the city of Greenville for years over the effluent from the Greenville treatment plant contaminating his creek and disrupting the creek flow that powered the mill and heated his home. Eventually it led to an Ohio Supreme Court case. It ended up being a landmark case in Ohio in which a city was held responsible for pollution.

Andrews was also an early adopter of the health food craze and owned a successful business shipping health food products all over the world.

Bear’s Mill, Greenville, OH Pt. 1

Bear’s Mill was built by Gabriel Baer in 1849 who was a prominent Pennsylvania miller. While construction was started by a previous owner Mr. Baer and his family completed construction. This included the millrace, which was eight hundred feet long and twenty-five feet wide. Surprisingly, this portion of the mill was dug by school children at a rate of fifty cents a day. The mill ran for about seven years after its construction.

The millstones are the basis of any mill. During this time period a set of good mill stones could cost as much as $6,000. The stones needed to be cared for carefully as any imbalance as this would cause premature wear or dulling. Sharping mill stones was an art onto itself and stone sharpeners often had a ten year long apprenticeship before sharpening on their own.  It took two years on a journey from France for Baer’s three buhr stones to get to Ohio. French buhr stones were at the time the most desirable mill stones in the world.

The timbers used for the building were hand cut and the originals still stand today. The siding of the mill was replaced in 2001 but with the original wood type, Black Walnut.

The central bay has its grain-handling doors on all four levels all serviced by a water powered wench and cable at the peak. This is how the grain was moved upstairs.

Fort Recovery: Before the Battle of Fallen Timbers

Fort Recovery is the site of two well-known battles in the Northwest Indian War. Ohio was under the claim of Native American nations and war broke out when the then young U.S. built towns for settlers north of the Ohio River. Arthur St. Clair, Northwest Territory governor, lead troops from Fort Washington to quell the Western Confederacy at Kekionga in 1791. This battle was never to be as the U.S. forces were annihilated. St. Clair’s Defeat is the U.S.’s greatest loss against a Native American troops.

Because of this great Native American victory, the Legion of the United States was founded. General “Mad Anthony” Wayne was given command. In 1973, Wayne brought 300 men to the grounds of St. Clair’s defeat and built Fort Recovery there. They were able to identify the site due to the large number of unburied remains. George Will, a private, wrote that they had to move bones to make space for their beds.

On June 30th a large Native American with a few British officers laid siege to Fort Recovery. The Legion prevailed and was able to keep the fort under their control despite heavy losses.

Wayne would use Fort Recovery as a staging ground to make military advances into the territory. He finally defeated the Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. During the creation of the Treaty of Greenville, Fort Recovery was used as a reference point for the border between the Native American territories and the U.S. territory.

Today, Fort recovery is a village in Ohio’s Mercer County with a population of roughly 1,400 people. The village is built near the site of Fort Recovery and near the headwaters of the Wabash River.