Friday, September 14, 2007


James Harold Browne Jr. & Jean Alice Hambleton
September 14, 1957

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


In 1810, William Pack bought a tract of land north of Oxford, Ohio from the trustees of Miami University.

He sold the land and then that owner sold it in 1832 to Joseph Morris who built this house using brick made from clay dug and baked on the site. Morris lost the farm during a depression that began in 1837, creditors then sold it to Samuel Doty in 1844. The Dotys were part of a small community of Campbellites, better known as Disciples of Christ, that settled in the area.

This “bank barn” is of 1840’s vintage but was relocated from its original site near Trotwood, Ohio to the Pioneer Farm as a replacement for the Doty Barn which burned in 1980. It is interesting to note that the barn is facing to the west. A real farmer would likely have faced the barn south so as to give the warmest exposure to the overhang and stall doors.

The museum’s original collection of displayed tools and implements were lost in the 1980 fire and replacements had to be found. Seen here is a McCormick Reaper. RMB

Sunday, September 2, 2007


The dredge line, a Sea Gull's answer to the electric wire.

Not sure if this is legal?

But it is entertaining.

Friday, August 31, 2007


If you use a broadband internet connection you might be interested in a tip given on today's Kim Komando website at

Her article refers to the Google web accelerator download found at which will allow faster downloading of certain web pages.


Monday, August 27, 2007


Back in July I posted a photo I had taken of a 1947 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible at Celina’s Lake Festival.

This week I completed an artwork of the car.

From 1946 to 1948 Chrysler produced approximately 8300 of these elegant convertibles. The model was produced by laying mahogany veneer and ash trim over the metal body of a Chrysler New Yorker. Power was provided by a 323.5 cubic inch straight eight engine that produced 135 horsepower. Adding to the cars distinctiveness and luxury was an electrically-operated top. RMB

Friday, August 24, 2007


The Tri-State Gas Engine & Tractor Show is held annually in Portland, Indiana. It’s billed as the World’s largest. If it is or not may depend on how you defined it. In regards to gas engines I have little doubt that it is. It was going to be a hot day so I got there at 8:00 AM, by 11:00 AM I had enough.

Lots of things to see ranging from displays of old spark plugs, the one in the middle is a monster.

To an old home built helicopter made from various car parts,

to a 3/4 Midget racer with a Crosley engine.

But the main thing that distinguishes this show from others is the number of gas engines displayed such as this 1923, 50 hp, Fairbanks-Morse.

I believe the total number of full size farm tractors at the show was supposed to be between 700-900. There were several I had not seen before such as this Brockway.

A 1918 Model C Indiana.

A David Bradley Tri Trac

Gibson SD

Besides the farm tractors, lawn & garden tractors are becoming increasingly popular at these shows. Gravely was a featured make this year. Which reminds me I need to cut the grass. RMB

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


For those traveling by vehicle on Greenville’s North Broadway it is necessary to cross Greenville Creek. The 120 foot bridge that makes this possible is classified as an historic civil engineering landmark.

The bridge was designed in 1909 by Walter P. Rice of Cleveland. It is believed to be the longest non-reinforced three-hinged single arch concrete bridge open to traffic in the United States.

Another unusual element is that on the bridge’s southeast corner a house was built right on the retention wall. RMB

Sunday, August 19, 2007


There was a time when part of Ohio was under a sheet of ice as thick as the height of any mountains existing today in the Eastern United States. The Earth began to warm and since there was, to my knowledge, no Pleistocene Al Gore to warn of the impending doom the ice melted leaving Western Ohio covered with swamps. Life, as it had been known, was changed and would never again be the same.

About two miles from my home along the Old Fort Recovery Trace near the intersection of State Route 49 and the Elroy-Ansonia Road is an ancient peat bog that formed from a chunk of that melted glacier. It is known to local residents simply as the “Sinkhole”. Over the years, often near Halloween, generations of Darke County children have been told stories about strange lights, sounds, and the cries of people rising from the bog. The most remembered story involves the derailment and sinking of a locomotive along with its train of cars from the tracks that pass through.

Often legends have a foundation on which they were built. It is a verified fact that the bog was a “killsite” that claimed the lives of many victims, however most were several thousand years ago. In the adjacent marsh area have been found the bones of mastodons, deer, sloths, moose, giant beaver and numerous other animals including fish such as perch and muskie. It is also a fact that the United States Army under the command of General Arthur St. Clair did lose a cannon to the bog in November of 1791 when they passed through on their way to be slaughtered beside the Wabash. Over 200 years later in 1995, a group of Kentucky archaeologists recovered the gun with its caisson 90 percent intact from under five feet of soil. Other peculiar events have been recorded such as in 1872, during a particularly dry spell, large areas of the bog burst into flame.

Today the rail-tracks are solid but that wasn’t always the case. It was in 1850, that the Teegarden family, who owned a farm nearby, contracted with the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad (Big Four) to build a roadbed over what was thought to be dry loam. When the work was almost done it began sinking. Reportedly a 10 acre tract of timber had to be cut and added as fill along with 3,000 car loads of hardpan soil. Yet for decades the bed continued to sink and would have to be built up annually. In the 1880s, a 55 foot piling was driven and went 50 feet before it struck the timber that had been used years earlier.

By the way, that locomotive actually did go into the bog but it wasn’t by accident. The railroad sank an old engine along with four cars filled with gavel intentionally to help stabilize the bed. In regards to ghosts, the Old Teegarden Cemetery is located just a few hundred feet away. RMB

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Earlier in the summer I posted a picture of these two fawns, they're bigger now and a little bolder. I have yet to see them with their mother and wonder if they are on their own or if she simply stays hidden.

It doesn't take much to make them skittish and run but if you’re still they will make an approach. This one came to within about four feet. That makes it tempting to want to offer them food as I think they would take it from my hand but I don’t because in the long run I know it wouldn't be in their best interest. RMB

Friday, August 17, 2007


This is opening day for the 2007 Great Darke County Fair. The county’s first fair was held on September 7 and 8 in the year 1853. The location was the Garst farm just to the east of the Garst home (Museum).

In 1858, the location for the fair was moved southwest of Greenville near where the Brethren Home is today. Oakwood and Oak Streets actually follow part of what was then the harness racing track. In 1870, the fair moved again to its current location.

A novelty poster from the 1894 fair. The attached cord would indicate it was meant to be worn hanging from your neck.

This one is from the 1898 fair.

Since the beginning there have only been three years in which the fair was not held. In 1862 and 1863 there was no fair due to the Civil War. In 1949 it was canceled due to an epidemic of polio that was spreading through the county. RMB

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hannah H. Meredith (Shaw) is a Great-Great-Great-Grandmother of Hannah Zumda. She was born on February 23, 1837 in Middletown, Ohio but lived as a child on her parents farm in Preble County. She married Aylette Meredith on February 12, 1857. They had eight children. Hannah died on August 27, 1904. Her funeral was held in the recently built 1210 River Street home of her daughter and son in law Clara and Harry Furnas. She is buried in Dayton’s Woodland Cemetery.

This is the home of Hannah and Aylette that was built in 1857 at the corner of Meredith & River (later Riverview Avenue) Streets in Dayton, Ohio. At the time the picture was taken (probably the 1890s), it seems to have been an almost semi-rural setting. Today the area is an inner city poverty zone plagued by drugs and crime.

This is a picture taken late in the life of Hannah Shaw (Barlow) mother of Hannah H. Meredith (Shaw). She was born in Manchester, England on August 10, 1810. She married Joseph Bradbury Shaw, Jr., at the age of 15, on November 28, 1825. They had 15 children. In 1838, they purchased a 106 acre farm in Preble County, Ohio south of Lewisburg on the Brennersville and Twin Township Road. There the family raised sheep and operated a woolen mill. Grandmother Hannah Shaw (Barlow) died on September 18, 1880 and is believed to be buried in Roselawn Cemetary at Lewisburg. RMB

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I’m not sure who the child in the photo is (my guess is Uncle Bob, Mother’s brother Robert Furnas) but the buildings in the background are of the Ohio Rake Company which was located at Pine and Marshall Streets in Dayton, Ohio.

The picture was probably taken around 1911 but the company was incorporated in 1884 by founders who had been doing business for several years prior to that. They manufactured a variety of farm equipment including rakes, tedders, binder trucks, and harrows which would have been pulled by horse or mules on the farm. Originally, manufacturing equipment used in the factory was powered by a 150 hp steam engine. At one time Ohio Rake was said to make a larger variety of hay rakes than any other company in the country and were also well known for their “Golden Age Disc Harrow”. They sold implements not only in the U.S. market but also in countries as distant as Australia.

Another Dayton company that made farm implements was started by John W. Stoddard, a cousin of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Stoddard was first involved in the manufacture of linseed oil and varnishes, that company later became part of Lowe Brothers Paints. Stoddard began manufacturing farm equipment in 1869. Like Ohio Rake, Stoddard Manufacturing was incorporated in 1884. Their “Tiger” brand name became known the world over. By 1890, more than 200,000 Tiger hay rakes had been sold. In the mid 1890s the company added bicycles. Charles Taylor, who would become the chief bicycle mechanic for the Wright Brothers and builder of the engine that powered their 1903 airplane, first worked for Stoddard.

In 1903 Stoddard began building motorcars as the Dayton Motor Car Company. Their Stoddard-Dayton automobile won the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 and was the pace car for the first Indianapolis 500 held in 1911. After various mergers the company became part of Chrysler Corporation. RMB

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Other than simply because you might like the uniqueness of the shape, why would you build an octagon barn? It seems that there was a time, around the 1920s, when the agricultural community promoted octagon barns as the buildings of the future. It was felt that the shape would be better to work out of and that it would replace three or four buildings on the farm.

Sears Roebuck & Company even sold different size octagon barn package kits in their mail order catalog. You ordered the barn you wanted, they loaded the materials on a flat car in Chicago and shipped it to you.

We’re still waiting for the octagon to become the agriculture building of the future but it’s not likely it ever will because in actual use it did not prove to be handy to work in and probably more importantly it cost more to build.

This barn is located on Gettysburg-Pittsburg Road in Darke County, Ohio.

Another can be found on Neff Road also in Darke County.

A red one just north of Bradford, Ohio.

One of the nicest octagon barns in the area is located between Troy and Piqua, Ohio.

Less common than barns are octagon houses. This one is found along route 571 between Greenville and Union City, Ohio. It is believed to have originally been a cigar manufacturing facility. Apparently octagons didn’t prove to be the cigar factories of the future either. RMB

Monday, August 13, 2007


Sunday, Tom (the old guy in the picture) turned 47. As an excuse to eat cake, ice cream, pizza, taco salad, watermelon, and a variety of other foods we celebrated his birthday (let's face it for what other reason would you want to celebrate turning 47) with a party held at Barb and Lowell's house.

Christian liked the cake his mom baked and decorated.

Jonathan has a Dalmatian puppy and new Thomas The Tank Engine shirt. RMB

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Even without a calendar these plants would tell you it’s August here in Ohio.

The Ragweed plants, both Common as seen here and Giant, grow in abundance in fields and along roadsides. The flowerheads have begun to release pollen. They peak during the last two weeks of this month and the first two of September but will continue to some degree untill October or a killing frost. If you’ve noticed that your nose is running and your eyes seem tired or itchy these guys are probably why.

The Morning Gloys have intertwined with the corn climbing 10 feet or so. Their flowers can be blue, purple, pink, or white.

The leaves of the Buckeye trees are turning. One of the first trees to leaf out in the spring they begin changing in August. RMB

Thursday, August 9, 2007


If you could use a photo organizer with basic editing functions Google's Picasa is a good program. It will locate any pictures you have stored on your computer and organize them and you can use it to transfer photos from your camera, email, print or link to online photo services to order prints if desired. The software is free and downloads from a safe site. Simply copy and paste the entire address above to your browser's address box to be taken to the download site, the file size is 4.7 MB. RMB

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


The Black Swan is a large waterbird which can have a wingspan of six feet. Native to Australia, it is an official state emblem of Western Australia and also a symbol for the Aboriginal people.

Discovered in 1697 by Dutch explorer William de Vlamingh, Europeans were astounded that they existed as they had only seen white swans. Thus, in what is called the “Black Swan Theory”, a black swan is also defined as a large-impact, unpredicted event such as the 9-11-01 attack on the United States.

Black Swans were introduced to Europe and America as ornamental waterbirds but some such as this one, seen at Acton Lake, have escaped into the wild. RMB

Monday, August 6, 2007


The Piscataway were a native people of the Algonquian linguistic group who once occupied the peninsula of lower Maryland between the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, northward to the Patapsco, including the present District of Columbia.

Kittamaquund (alternative spellings include Chitomachon) a name said to mean "Big Beaver", was an important Piscataway warrior and the younger brother of Wannas. Wannas served as the Piscataway's Tayac (a Piscataway word meaning "Emperor" or "ruler of all the chiefs), when Governor Leonard Calvert arrived in 1634.

Kittamaquund and his followers knew that Wannas mistrusted the English and believed that he might lead the Piscataway to war against the colonists so in 1634, Kittamaquund killed his brother and became Tayac in his place. Kittamaquund led his people to peaceful ties with the Marylanders as he sought the benefits of the English fur trade and a military alliance that might provide a degree of protection against their enemies, the Susquehannocks.

Jesuit Father Andrew White, superior of the mission, composed a grammar, dictionary, and catechism in the Piscataway dialect. Kittamaquund liked Father White, and invited the priest to live with his family. Later Kittamaquund became ill with a disease that tribal medicine men could not cure. Father White treated him with English medicine and he recovered.

In gratitude Kittamaquund allowed Father White to instruct him in Christianity. He also adopted the colonists' style of clothes and learned to speak some English. Kittamaquund converted to Christianity and was baptized along with his wife and daughter on July 5, 1640. Governor Leonard Calvert, other Maryland officials, and Piscataway leaders all attended the ceremony. At the baptism, depicted in this drawing, the priest gave Kittamaquund the Christian name of Charles, his wife and daughter were both given the name Mary.

Kittamaquund's daughter Mary was entrusted to Margaret Brent to educate. When Mary became a teenager she was wed to Giles Brent. They had a daughter Katherine who wed Richard Marsham, whose daughter Mary wed Charles Beaven, whose daughter Catherine wed Henry Culver, whose daughter Margaret wed John Peerce, whose son Henry wed Verlinda Semmes, whose daughter Anna wed Peter Higdon, whose son James wed Delia ?, whose daughter Mary Katherine wed Thomas Higdon, whose daughter Mary Ellen wed William Coomes, whose daughter Susan Katherine wed Isaac Owen, whose daughter Sadye wed James McCellan Browne, whose son James Harold wed Helen Elizabeth Furnas. Which I figure makes me about one ten thousandth of a percent Native American and eligible to start a gambling casino in Baltimore should I care to do so. RMB

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Greenville Falls are located on Greenville Creek just to the west of Range Line Road near Covington, Ohio. From this location the creek flows northeast about a mile or two then empties into the Stillwater River which joins with the Great Miami down to the Ohio into the Mississippi and out the Gulf of Mexico.

The first mention of the falls are found in the journals of Anthony Wayne mainly because they were an obstacle to navigation for the supply line that served the Fort at Greene Ville.

Although swimming is now prohibited, for years the falls were enjoyed by kids during the hot days of summer.

A small park, the entrance to which is found on Gettysburg Road, allows access to the overlook from which this picture was taken. RMB

Friday, August 3, 2007


Located north of Huber Heights, Ohio Carriage Hill Farm is part of the Five Rivers MetroParks System of Montgomery County.

In 1831, Daniel and Catherine Arnold bought land from Henry Harshbarger.

A two-story log house already existed on the property when the Arnolds arrived via a dry creek bed in their oxen pulled wagon. It would be years later before the brick farmhouse seen here would be built.

The farm is maintained to resemble the way it would have looked around 1880.

The livestock raised by the Arnolds included Merino Sheep and Poland China Hogs. RMB

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Contrary to what many believe Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line but his Model T did transform the World. Prior to its introduction in 1909, motorcars were for the most part playthings of the rich. President Wilson once stated that nothing had done more to create division between the classes in America than had the automobile. By 1914, with 300 auto manufacturers doing business, Ford was producing more cars than the other 299 combined. When the "T" ended production in 1927, the Ford Motor Company was finishing the building of a car every 24 seconds.

Robert and Helen Furnas stand on the running board of their Uncle Charlie's Model T.

If Ford ever said "you can have any color you want as long as it's black" is unknown. However not all Model Ts were black, in fact black wasn’t even available during the first year of production when the model selected determined the color, touring cars for example were red. After 1913 all Model Ts were painted black until 1926 when, due to declining sales, other colors were once again made available. RMB