The Enquirer/Michael E. Keating
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OHIO RIVER. The Ohio River, which begins at Pittsburgh with the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela... (contâ€™d on pg. 685)
The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky Contents Introduction, Foreword, Acknowledgments and Guide for Readers Chapters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z Index, Bibliography, Illustration Credits
Edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY Republished for the World Wide Web by NKY.com and Enquirer Media
A Project of the Thomas D. Clark Foundation, Inc. Mark A. Neikirk, President Sherry Jelsma, Vice President
Dave Adkisson, Treasurer Melanie J. Kilpatrick, Secretary
Thomas R. Brumley, Immediate Past President Michael J. Hammons, Past President
Dave Adkisson, Frankfort Jane Beshear, Frankfort Thomas R. Brumley, Lexington John S. Carroll, Lexington Sara W. Combs, Stanton
Board of Directors Michael J. Hammons, Park Hills Sherry Jelsma, Shelbyville Martha C. Johnson, Melbourne Mark A. Neikirk, Highland Heights Alice Stevens Sparks, Crescent Springs
Robert Ted Steinbock, Louisville Mrya Leigh Tobin, New York City James M. Wiseman, Erlanger
Editorial Staff Editors in Chief: Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool Associate Editors: David Hatter, John Schlipp, David E. Schroeder, Robert Stevie, Michael R. Sweeney, John W. Thieret (deceased), Thomas S. Ward, Jack Wessling Topical Editors: Agriculture: Lynn David & James Wallace; Art: Rebecca Bilbo; Biography: Michael R. Sweeney; Business & Commerce: John Boh; Counties & Towns: David E. Schroeder; Ethnology: Theodore H. H. Harris; Government, Law, & Politics: John Schlipp; Literature: Danny Miller (Deceased); Medicine: Dennis B. Worthen; Military: James A. Ramage; Music, Media, & Entertainment: John Schlipp; Religion: Thomas S. Ward & Alex Hyrcza; Sports & Recreation: James C. Claypool; Transportation Joseph F. Gastright (Deceased); Women: Karen Mcdaniel. Maps: Jeff Levy at the Gyula Pauer Center for Cartography & GIS, University of Kentucky. Copyright © 2009 by The University Press of Kentucky, 663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008 www.kentuckypress.com. Print editions: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Encyclopedia of northern Kentucky / edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool. p. cm. ISBN 978-0-8131-2565-7 (hardcover : acid-free paper) ISBN 978-0-8131-2585-5 (limited leather edition) 1. Kentucky, Northern— Encyclopedias. 2. Kentucky— Encyclopedias. I. Tenkotte, Paul A. II. Claypool, James C. F451.E55 2009 976.9'3003—dc22 2009027969
OAK ISLAND BAPTIST CHURCH. Oak Island Baptist Church began in a log school house on top of Bowman Hill in southern Kenton Co. The church, organized on July 31, 1858, as Bowman Baptist Church, drew its members from congregations of Baptist churches in Covington, Crittenden, DeCoursey Creek, Lee’s Spring, and Wilmington. The first pastor of Bowman Baptist Church was N. H. Carlisle. The congregation met for more than 10 years in the schoolhouse on Bowman Hill. In 1869, when more space was needed, the church obtained a plot of land on Cruise Creek in Kenton Co. Because the creek ran around both sides of the plot, creating an island where more than one dozen oak trees grew, the church changed its name to Oak Island Baptist Church on August 21, 1869. However, when it rained, the creek would run high and the church’s meeting house was in danger of being swept away. In November 1882, church trustees purchased an acre of ground known as Van Patten Corner, located on a hill near Morning View. The building on Oak Island was then torn down and moved to the present location of the church. It was used as both a school and a church until 1908, when a new building was constructed on the site and a separate one-room schoolhouse was built. The church continues weekly meetings today and is a member of the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association. “Oak Island Hosts a Revival,” Erlanger Dixie News, April 29, 1993, 19. “Recording the ’80s: A Decade in Review,” Kenton County Recorder, December 26, 1989, 1.
OAKLAND BAPTIST CHURCH. The Oakland Baptist Church, on Johnson Rd. in Gallatin Co., between Glencoe and Warsaw, was organized in 1859. Its first church building was erected in 1862 on land donated by Alfred Arrasmith in a deed dated August 6, 1862. Joseph Ambrose (1798– 1881), from Estill Co., was the first minister and the organizer of the church; he was buried in the church’s cemetery. The first members of the new church included U. C. Allphin, Joseph Arrasmith, Joseph Brett, E. N. Casey, T. J. Clements, Elkanah Crouch, Henry Crouch, John Crouch, Peter Dorman, Ben Duncan, Josiah Ellis, Thomas Ellis, Alfred Kemper, David Lilly, and Joseph Myers. An earlier church, Providence Baptist Church, existed in the neighborhood as early as 1831 and was a forerunner of the Oakland Baptist Church. Both churches were members of the Ten Mile Baptist Association, which reorganized Providence Baptist Church as the Oakland Baptist Church. The new Oakland Baptist Church established a
school in 1867 and maintained it until November 8, 1902, when it was sold to the Gallatin Co. School District for $10. The first Sunday school at the Oakland Baptist Church began in 1904, and the church’s first organ arrived in 1917. No church meetings were held during the winter of 1918–1919 because of the influenza epidemic in the nation. The church was remodeled in 1921, and a new entrance, a steeple, and a church bell were added. The front porch was added and electricity was installed in 1938. The parsonage was built in 1952, and the church has undergone numerous improvements since. In 2006 the Oakland Baptist Church was still meeting. Unsigned typescript distributed by the Oakland Baptist Church, Kenton Co. Public Library, Covington, Ky.
OAKLAND CHRISTIAN CHURCH. The Oakland Christian Church is located at 5161 Milford Rd. in Falmouth. Before there was a church, the residents of Browningsville, on Willow Creek, would meet in the general store to discuss everyday business, the weather, and the Bible. In 1860 the Browningsville Christian Church was organized after seven men formed a Bible study group. The Browningsville log school house was the church’s first meeting-place, and the first pastor was William P. Houston. The initial few years were difficult for the church, with the Civil War causing division among members. But despite the hardships of war, and although there were members fighting on different sides, families continued to attend church together. Some brought their slaves to ser vices. As the membership grew, the need for a more centrally located place of worship became apparent. Therefore, the church was moved into the Oakland school. In 1869 the Oakland Christian Church’s first permanent sanctuary was erected in a grove of oak trees on land in Falmouth donated by Lorenzo Colvin. In 1916, under the leadership of David W. Nicholas, the first church structure was demolished and a new one built. The new church was erected on the old foundation stones and cost $3,000. Today, the church is still using the pews that were purchased when this building was erected. William M. Lenox served as pastor from 1918 through 1964. In 1929 the Oakland Christian Workers women’s group was formed. In December 1964, the church began holding weekly, rather than monthly, services. The building was remodeled by addition of a choir loft, a baptistery, a library, a minister’s office, and several classrooms. The size of the sanctuary was also increased. In 1984 John Lang, and later David Mason, were called as youth ministers. Today, the Oakland Church has an attendance of about 175 each Sunday, and John M. Byard is the minister. Belew, Mildred Bowen. The First 200 Years of Pendleton County. Falmouth, Ky.: M. B. Belew, n.d. [ca. 1994]. “Oakland Christian Church Observes Centennial,” Falmouth Outlook, July 18, 1869, 8.
Oakland Christian Workers. Oakland’s Centennial Cook Book, 1869–1969. Chicago: Women’s Club, 1969.
Melissa J. Wickelhaus
OAK RIDGE. Oak Ridge is a central Kenton Co. neighborhood located just south of Taylor Mill. The businesses and homes at the intersection of Hands Pk. (Ky. Rt. 1501) and Taylor Mill Rd. (Ky. Rt. 16) in Oak Ridge serve as a reminder of the small communities that dotted central Kenton Co., before the wave of annexation that began during the 1960s. Established during the early 1800s, Oak Ridge was a farming community. An Oak Ridge booster reported to a Covington newspaper in 1883 that “peace and friendship and plenty prevail at the Ridge.” The names of early Oak Ridge families including Hand, Klette, Lipscomb, and Senour survive as street names. Latonia Lakes, originally a resort village, was carved out of Oak Ridge during the early 1930s. After World War II, Oak Ridge began the slow transition from a farming to a suburban community. Annexations over the past 30 years have almost removed Oak Ridge from the map, as Covington, Independence, and Latonia Lakes have partitioned the area. Th is process has not always been smooth. During the early 1980s, for instance, a staffi ng reduction at the Oak Ridge Fire Department, operated by Covington since annexing it in 1978, brought a backlash from Oak Ridge residents. The proposed widening of Taylor Mill Rd. (Ky. Rt. 16) may bring more disruptions to Oak Ridge. Landmarks remaining in Oak Ridge include the Oak Ridge Baptist Church, founded in 1844, and the Oak Ridge School building, which now houses the Bible Baptist Church. An Atlas of Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties, Kentucky. Philadelphia: D. J. Lake, 1883. “Cuts at Oak Ridge Still Issue for Residents,” KP, March 3, 1983, 5K. “Kenton County,” DC, March 20, 1883, 4. “900 Cottage Sites Established at Latonia Lakes,” KP, June 14, 1931, 9.
OAK RIDGE BAPTIST CHURCH. The Oak Ridge Baptist Church, at 6056 Taylor Mill (Ky. Rt. 16) in southern Kenton Co., is part of the Southern Baptist denomination and a member of the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association. It celebrated its 160th anniversary in October 2004. The church was organized October 4, 1844, by 37 families belonging to the Banklick Baptist Church (known today as the Hickory Grove Baptist Church), who wanted a church closer to their homes in the Decoursey Pk. (Ky. Rt. 177) area. The new church’s name at first was the DeCoursey Creek Baptist Church, and meetings were held in a store on Klette Rd. until the following year, when a church building was constructed on the east side of Decoursey Pk. about one-half mile south of the top of Pye’s Hill and five miles south of Latonia. Local physician George White donated the 1.5acre lot. This first structure, which is used today as a private residence, was a two-story white frame
building. It served as both a school and a church until 1872. In that year the DeCoursey Creek Baptist Church moved into the Richardson Schoolhouse, on Taylor Mill Rd. opposite Klette Rd.; the church’s name was changed to the Oak Ridge Baptist Church. That building is now used by the Brucewood Presbyterian Church. In June 1879, a new one-room frame church was built on the site of the present church grounds on Taylor Mill Rd., property donated by the Richardson family. The old building on Decoursey Pk. was deeded over to the Kenton Co. Board of Education and served as a school until 1929. In 1942 the frame church built in 1879 was moved to the present church property and placed on a new basement. In 1954 construction was begun on the basement of the present structure, in 1957 construction of the main sanctuary started, and on October 15, 1958, the first ser vices were held in the present brick structure during the church’s 114th anniversary. In 1955, 42 members left the Oak Ridge Baptist Church to form the Amity Baptist Mission at Plantation Heights in Taylor Mill. The old frame building on the present grounds was torn down in 1960 to make way for additional parking space. An educational building was completed on the north side of the sanctuary that same year. Oak Ridge Baptist Church 100th Anniversary Booklet. Latonia Lakes, Ky.: Oak Ridge Baptist Church, 1944. “Special Ser vices Mark Anniversaries at Two Churches,” KP, September 26, 1987, 6K. “Taught Sunday School 62 Years,” KP, October 15, 2003, A15.
O’HARA, JAMES J. (b. May 6, 1825, New Liberty, Ky.; d. August 21, 1900, Covington, Ky.). Judge James J. O’Hara, a Democrat and a prominent lawyer, was the son of lawyer James O’Hara Sr., a native of Ireland, who settled at New Liberty in Owen Co. James J. O’Hara was educated at St. Mary’s College, near Lebanon, Ky. After graduation, he moved to Crittenden in Grant Co., where he began the practice of law. During the Civil War, his activities in support of the South led to his being imprisoned by the Union for several years at Camp Chase, in Columbus, Ohio. O’Hara was a fi rst cousin of Col. Theodore O’Hara, author of The Bivouac of the Dead. James O’Hara married Oberia Conn of Bourbon Co., and the couple had one daughter. In 1859 they moved to Covington, where O’Hara spent the rest of his life. About 1863 he created a law partnership with John G. Carlisle. In 1868 he was elected a judge of Kentucky’s 12th District, a position he held until 1874, when he became a law partner of former Kentucky governor John W. Stevenson (1867– 1871). Stevenson retired from the fi rm in 1881, and O’Hara formed a new partnership with his associate James W. Bryan, who served as Kentucky’s lieutenant governor from 1887 until 1891, and also with future Kentucky governor William Goebel (1900). That fi rm lasted until 1893, when another law partnership was formed with Shel-
ley D. Rouse. After a long and distinguished career, O’Hara died of Bright’s disease at age 75 in 1900, at his home at 27 W. 11th St. in Covington. Funeral ser vices were held at St. Mary Cathedral and burial was in the Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington. “Bar of Kenton County Took Suitable Action,” KP, August 23, 1900, 3. “Judge James J. O’Hara Died Tuesday Night,” KP, August 22, 1900, 5. “Judge James J. O’Hara Funeral,” KP, August 23, 1900, 3. Levin, H., ed. The Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1897. “Mrs. Judge O’Hara,” KP, March 22, 1893, 4.
O’HARA, JOHN “JAY” (b. October 1, 1922, Covington, Ky.; d. December 7, 1997, Edgewood, Ky.). Kenton Co. attorney John “Jay” O’Hara was the son of J. Earl O’Hara, who worked in the tobacco business and later owned a Ford automotive dealership in Ludlow. Jay O’Hara said that as far back as he could remember, he always wanted to become an attorney. However, World War II interrupted his schooling, and he spent several years in the U.S. Army. During the war he was injured and sent to a hospital in Louisville for treatment. There he met a nurse from Idaho, named Dorothy Arnold, and a romance soon developed. In 1946, after the end of the war, the couple married and made their home on 17th St. in Covington. Jay O’Hara entered Xavier University in Cincinnati and graduated in 1947. He then attended the University of Kentucky Law School at Lexington, graduating in 1949. By that time, the fi rst two of the couple’s seven children had arrived, and the family moved into a larger house, located on Old State Rd. in Park Hills. They later moved to a home on Park Dr. in Edgewood. O’Hara worked as a partner in the law fi rm of O’Hara, Ruberg, Cetrulo, and Osborne. In 1958 O’Hara was elected Kenton Co. commonwealth attorney, a position he held for the next 18 years. During the 1960s he saw the need for a drug-education program and began speaking to high school, college, and civic groups throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio about this growing problem. He served as president of the Kentucky Bar Association in 1973 and as president of the National Association of District Attorneys in 1974. O’Hara was appointed a Kentucky Supreme Court justice in 1982 but was defeated when he ran for election the following year. In 1990 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer but continued to work in his law practice. He went public with his illness and campaigned tirelessly about the need for regular prostate examinations. After their children were grown, O’Hara and his wife enjoyed spending time at the Summit Hills Golf and Country Club in Edgewood, golfing, dancing, playing bridge, and just socializing. They also became world travelers, visiting Ireland a number of times and also Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. John Jay and Dorothy O’Hara had been married for 51 years when he died in his Edgewood home at age 75. Funeral ser vices were held at the St. Agnes
Catholic Church in Fort Wright, and burial was in St. Mary Cemetery, Fort Mitchell. “John J. O’Hara,” KP, December 10, 1997, 4K. “Judges Mourn Death of John ‘Jay’ O’Hara,” KP, December 9, 1997, 1K. “Justice John J. O’Hara,” KP, December 9, 1997, 16A. Local History Files, Kenton Co. Public Library, Covington, Ky.
OHIO RIVER. The Ohio River, which begins at Pittsburgh with the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, flows 981 miles generally southwest to its confluence with the Mississippi River near Cairo, Ill. Its halfway point is at mile 490.5, in Boone Co., near where Garrison Creek flows into it. The Ohio River forms the northern boundaries of Mason, Bracken, Pendleton (a small section), Campbell, Kenton, Boone, Gallatin, and Carroll counties in Northern Kentucky. Kentucky, using the claims of old Virginia to the low-water mark of the northern shore, long claimed ownership of the Ohio River through Northern Kentucky. Through the years, as the river changed and high-lift dams raised its level, a series of lawsuits concerning the boundary line worked their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, until Kentucky v. Indiana (decree entered 1985) and Ohio v. Kentucky (decided 1980; decree entered 1985) finally established the existing boundary. Today the river remains an important conduit for the shipment of industrial goods and natural resources. It also serves recreational purposes, including boating, fishing, and water skiing. The present course of the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky was established during the Pleistocene epoch of the Quaternary period (see Geology), during the time of the Illinoian Glacier, about 200,000–250,000 years ago. The glacier formed an ice dam, forcing the pre-Illinoian Deep Stage Ohio River (which flowed as far north as present-day Hamilton, Ohio) to be deflected southward and causing the modern Ohio River to assume its present course from the area of Lunken Airport in Cincinnati to Lawrenceburg, Ind. The Deep Stage Licking River (which had emptied into the Deep Stage Ohio River near present-day St. Bernard, Ohio) was also forced south by the glacier, and the confluence of the Licking River with the Ohio River shifted to its present-day location (the Point) between Covington and Newport and across from Cincinnati. After the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier about 10,000 years ago, Paleo-Indians began to live in the Greater Cincinnati region (see American Indians). Evidence of habitation exists in Northern Kentucky from the Paleo, Archaic, Woodland and Late Prehistoric–Fort Ancient periods. The Adena, Hopewell and Newtown cultures of the Woodland period (ca. 1000 b.c.–a.d. 1000) largely centered on rivers and streams and included burial mounds. The Late Prehistoric–Fort Ancient period (a.d. 1000 until after 1600) was marked by villages along the Ohio River and its tributaries, where American Indians collected mussel shells, eating the mussels and using the shells for tools. They also cultivated corn, beans, and squash. By
686 OHIO RIVER the 1600s some sites of habitation, such as that at Petersburg in Boone Co., include archaeological evidence of a trading network with European explorers, trappers, and missionaries. For early transportation along the Ohio River, dugout canoes were used by both American Indians and early explorers. Sometimes as large as 60 feet long and 5 feet wide, dugout canoes took much time to make. Before the advent of steamboats, early settlers used keelboats and flatboats. Keelboats, with a keel running along the center of the hull, ranged from 40 to 100 feet long and from 7 to 20 feet wide. The keel, along with a pointed bow and stern, contributed to stability and maneuverability. Oars, poles, and sometimes sails were used to move keelboats both downstream and upstream. Flatboats, in contrast, were downstream vessels. Commonly, they were 25 feet wide and 50 feet long. Often built by German immigrants living in Redstone, Pa., on the Monongahela River, they were sold to settlers. A flatboat generally contained a cabin for the passengers and the crew, a fireplace, and a pen or stable for livestock. Long stern oars, as well as two to four side oars, were used for steering. Many of the settlers disembarked at Maysville or at other places in Northern Kentucky. The flatboats would be disassembled and their materials used to build cabins and small outbuildings. The French made early claims to the Ohio River Valley and what became Northern Kentucky, based upon the 1682 exploration of RenéRobert Cavelier La Salle, who specifically claimed the entire watershed of the Mississippi River (which includes that of the Ohio River Valley) for King Louis XIV. In 1749 French explorer PierreJoseph Céloron de Bienville designated it as French territory. Early French explorers, traders, and trappers who passed through the area were under the administration of Quebec. The Treaty of Paris (1763), ending the French and Indian War, resulted in the loss of all of this French territory east of the Mississippi River to Great Britain. The British, in turn, issued the Proclamation of 1763, forbidding settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains until the area could be stabilized. In 1774, the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, ending Lord Dunmore’s War, set the Ohio River as the boundary between American Indians and settlers, with the Shawnee Indians agreeing to stay north of the Ohio River and the settlers south of it. In 1783, by the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, the United States gained title to the Ohio River Valley and the area of Northern Kentucky. During the Revolutionary War, several battles were fought along the Ohio River, including Lochry’s Defeat and Rogers’ Defeat. The Point was the gathering site of two major, 1,000-man expeditions against the Ohio Indians, allies of the British. In 1784 the Spanish, who had regained old New Orleans by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, closed the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans to U.S. citizens, upsetting Kentuckians. By the Treaty of San Lorenzo (Pinckney’s Treaty) in 1795, Spain granted the United States
navigation of the Mississippi River and also opened its port of New Orleans. The land that became Northern Kentucky was claimed by the State of Virginia until Kentucky became a state, in 1792. Settlement followed the haphazard, shingled-over pattern of Virginia, with early land grants awarded to veterans of the Virginia lines in wars ranging from the French and Indian to the Revolutionary. Kentucky retained the slaveholding of old Virginia. North of the Ohio River, with the exception of the Virginia Military District, lying east of the Little Miami River, settlement proceeded according to the regular grid pattern outlined by the Northwest Ordinance, which also forbade slavery. Hence, the Ohio River was traditionally considered a part of the historic Mason-Dixon Line, separating slave territory in Northern Kentucky from free territory in Ohio and Indiana. Although debate continues concerning who actually invented the steamboat, it is agreed that the New Orleans (owned by Robert Fulton, Robert Livingston, and Nicholas Roosevelt) was the first steamboat on the Ohio River, making its voyage downstream from Pittsburgh to New Orleans in 1811. In 1815 Henry M. Shreve’s Enterprise made the first upstream steamboat trip, from New Orleans to Louisville. Steamboats could travel upstream, against the current, more quickly than keelboats. At the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville, however, it continued to be necessary to off-load cargo, transship it by land to below the falls, and then reload it, at least until the completion of the Louisville and Portland Canal in 1830. In 1816 Henry Shreve launched his packet boat Washington on the Ohio River. With its boilers placed horizontally on the main deck, rather than in the hold, it was the first packet boat with a truly shallow draft , an important innovation for the then-shallow waters of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Three years later, in 1819, the U.S. Congress passed an act permitting the Federal Post Office Department to contract with steamboats for the transport of mail, and Shreve built his Postboy the same year to carry the U.S. mail. In 1824 in Cincinnati, Shreve launched the George Washington, whose innovations included a third deck, private staterooms, and two wheels that were independently operated by two separate engines. Before this time, sidewheel steamboats were powered by a single engine with a common shaft. These innovations gave the George Washington greater power and maneuverability and made it more comfortable for passengers. Northern Kentucky was the home of boatyards (see Paris Brown) that constructed steamboats, and one of the first of these steamboats was the Missouri, launched in Newport in 1819. Steam ferryboats, which eventually replaced horse ferries, also plied the Ohio River (see Ferries; Anderson Ferry; Augusta Ferry), carry ing passengers and freight between the shores. Steamboats and ferries contributed to vast changes in commercial trading patterns. For instance, hogs raised in the bluegrass area of Lexing-
ton, transported to Covington by drovers and later by railroad, were slaughtered at Covington’s massive Milward and Oldershaw packinghouse (see Meatpacking). Prepared especially for the British market, they were transported by steamboats down the Licking, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers for shipment to Europe. Northern Kentucky’s antebellum ties to the South were strengthened by steamboat trade and travel. Major port cities included Maysville, Augusta, Newport, Covington, Petersburg, Warsaw, and Carrollton. Also, by merely waving a handkerchief or lighting a lantern, a farmer along the Ohio River could hail a steamboat for shipment of agricultural goods or livestock from the farm landing. Northern Kentucky also had its share of steamboat owners, captains, and pi lots, such as Frederick Laidley and the Fearn family. Northern Kentuckian Captain Edward Maurer had a distinguished career, setting a Louisville-to-Cincinnati record of nine hours and 42 minutes aboard the City of Louisville in 1894. Captain Richard M. Wade, a resident of Covington, was a longtime riverboat captain. In 1868 he was master of the United States when it collided near Warsaw with the America (see Steamboat Disasters). In antebellum times, the Ohio River marked the dividing point between freedom and slavery. Abolitionists in the Ohio River counties of Northern Kentucky worked along with their counterparts in Ohio and Indiana as part of the Underground Railroad, secreting slaves who were moving toward freedom. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865) closed the Ohio River to trade with the Confederate States of America and placed gunboats along the river. A pontoon bridge (see Pontoon Bridges, Civil War) connected Cincinnati to Covington. The John A. Roebling Bridge was the first bridge across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky, opening between Covington and Cincinnati in 1866–1867. It was followed by numerous other bridges, including the L&N Bridge (Purple People Bridge); the Cincinnati Southern Railroad Bridge; the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Bridge; the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge, Maysville; the Markland Dam Bridge; the Carroll C. Cropper Bridge; the CombsHehl Bridge; the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge; the Taylor-Southgate Bridge; and the William H. Harsha Bridge. The Ohio River has been subject to flooding throughout historical times. Before the use of gauges to measure the river’s depth, only educated estimates can be given of major floods, including that of 1774, when its depth was about 76 feet. Official records of floods on the Ohio River in the Cincinnati–Northern Kentucky area date from 1858. The flood of 1884 reached 71.1 feet on the Cincinnati gauge; the floods of 1907 crested at 65.2 feet; the flood of 1913 at 69.9 feet; and the worst in history, the flood of 1937, at 79.9 feet. After the flood of 1937, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversaw construction of a massive series
OHIO RIVER BEACHES
of concrete and earthen floodwalls in Northern Kentucky (see Flood Control). The Ohio River was also subject to periods of extremely low water in dry seasons, halting all navigation. For instance, the Ohio River stage at Cincinnati fell to the lowest level on record, 1.9 feet, in 1881. Sandbars along the Dayton and Bellevue shoreline impaired navigation but enabled recreational opportunities like swimming (see Ohio River Beaches). A rockbar was situated in front of the mouth of the Licking River inferior to the deeper natural channel and port on the Cincinnati side. Beginning in 1887, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began underwater blasting of the Licking rockbar, and by 1895 it had removed 29,862 cubic yards of material, much of which was subsequently used to build dikes along the Ohio River locally to channel the water for navigational purposes. Also, each year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used snagboats, such as the E. A. Woodruff, whose iron hull was built in Covington in 1874, to clear the river of dangerous snags. While the removal of sandbars, rockbars, and snags aided navigation, they were not enough to provide a deep channel for year-round commerce (see Ohio River Navigation; Ohio River Locks and Dams). In 1875 the U.S. Congress appropriated the initial funds for construction of the Davis Island lock and dam below Pittsburgh, completed in 1885. Work on locks and dams along the Ohio River continued throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1895 the Ohio Valley Improvement Association, based in Cincinnati, began lobbying the U.S. Congress to fund further improvements of the Ohio River. In 1910 Congress passed the Rivers and Harbors Act, providing for construction of more than 50 locks and dams along the river, which were needed to maintain a ninefoot slackwater channel. The canalization of the river between Maysville and Carrollton included seven completed locks and dams: No. 33 (Maysville); No. 34 (Chilo); No. 35 (New Richmond) (see Center for Ohio River Research and Education); No. 36 (Coney Island); No. 37 (Fernbank); No. 38 (Belleview); and No. 39 (Markland). These dams were of chanoine wicket movable construction. That is, during higher water, the movable wicket dams could be lowered to the river bottom, allowing for unimpeded navigation over the dam; vessels could bypass the locks. In times of lower water, the wickets were raised to maintain a guaranteed nine-foot pool of water, and boats passed through the concrete locks. The wicket dams were replaced by the modern locks and dams, Meldahl Dam (completed in 1962) and Markland Dam (completed in 1963). In addition to commerce, the Ohio River has long functioned as an avenue of culture. The latest trends in art, architecture, fashion, entertainment, and music traveled its course up and down. Showboats brought entertainment to isolated communities. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, as Ohio River ports, were centers of ragtime, blues, and jazz music. The river even provided people with a
way of life. Shantyboats lined the riverbanks in some areas and provided a bohemian lifestyle that appealed to Northern Kentucky artist Harlan Hubbard and his wife, Anna Hubbard, for example. Northern Kentucky residents sought relief from the summer heat at beaches, rode steamboats to Boone Co.’s Parlor Grove for picnics, and boarded the steamer Island Queen for Cincinnati’s Coney Island Amusement Park. Ludlow’s Lagoon Amusement Park and Dayton’s Tacoma Park also lay along the Ohio River. In more recent times, BB Riverboats has provided river excursions, and customers have flocked to eat at the Mike Fink Floating Restaurant (see John Beatty; Ben Bernstein; Betty Blake) in Covington, at Caproni’s Restaurant in Maysville, and at Newporton-the-Levee. After decades of neglecting their riverfronts, river cities like Covington rediscovered their roots and began massive restoration and redevelopment projects such as the Licking-Riverside, Riverside Drive, and Ohio Riverside National Historic Districts. The redevelopment of Covington’s riverfront includes the Roebling Murals on the Covington floodwall and Riverwalk statues of John James Audubon, James Bradley, Little Turtle, Mary B. Greene, and John Roebling. Maysville has also sponsored a series of floodwall murals. Cincinnati’s Tall Stacks celebration (see Virginia Bennett), a weeklong event recapturing the steamboat era, includes river exhibits on the Northern Kentucky shoreline. Gillespie, Michael. Come Hell or High Water: A Lively History of Steamboating on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Stoddard, Wis.: Heritage Press, 2001. Hedeen, Stanley. Natural History of the Cincinnati Region. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Museum Center, 2006. Hunter, Louis C. Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History. New York: Octagon Books, 1969. Johnson, Leland R. The Falls City Engineers: A History of the Louisville District, Corps of Engi-
Queen City Beach, Bellevue.
neers, United States Army. Louisville, Ky.: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1974. Klein, Benjamin F. The Ohio River Handbook and Picture Album. Cincinnati: Young and Klein, 1969. Lytle, William M., and Forrest R. Holdcamper, comps. Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States, 1790–1868, “The Lytle-Holdcamper List.” Rev. and ed. Kenneth R. Hall. Staten Island, N.Y.: Steamship Historical Society of America, 1975. McCall, Edith. Conquering the Rivers: Henry Miler Shreve and the Navigation of America’s Inland Waterways. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1984. Robinson, Michael C. History of Navigation in the Ohio River Basin. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983. Way, Frederick, Jr., comp. Way’s Packet Directory, 1848–1983. Athens: Ohio Univ. Press, 1983.
Vic Canfield and Frank X. Prudent
OHIO RIVER BEACHES. Before the construction of dams in the 20th century, the Ohio River’s bend along the northern boundary of Campbell Co. tended to erode its northern shore and to deposit sand and silt along its southern one. After possibly thousands of years of such action, sandbars and large beaches were created along the Bellevue and Dayton riverfronts. The sandbar at Dayton (originally called Sandy Hook because of its shape) was the site of the 1779 Revolutionary War battle known as Rogers’ Defeat. In 1889 the first of many boat races was held along the Bellevue-Dayton waterfront, then known as Long Beach. An 1894 advertisement by the City of Bellevue called Long Beach “one of the finest and pleasantest bathing places in this section of the country.” The beach soon became nationally known and was one of the reasons Cincinnati was chosen as the site of the 1898 Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) convention. One of the first developments along the waterfront was Bellevue’s Riviera or Queen City Beach, which opened in 1902 at the foot of Ward Ave. William E. Kroger of Newport and Nat C. Coulter of
688 OHIO RIVER LOCKS AND DAMS
Queen City Beach, Bellevue, 1909, with the steamer Island Queen.
Bellevue were two of the major promoters of the project. Supposedly, three barges were beached there and were used in the construction of dressing rooms. Later improvements included a twostory pavilion, a restaurant, and a dance hall. In 1928 Bellevue native Ed Rohrer leased the site from owner Perry Tucker and changed the name of the development to Horse shoe Gardens. He built a floating party room and dining hall with lights arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, the source of the beach’s new name. The next beach to the east was the Palace or Primrose Beach, at the foot of O’Fallon St. in Dayton. There canoes could be rented, and the beach had storage space for about 300 boats. Just upriver, also in Dayton, was Club Dorney’s. Continuing eastward, one would come to the Manhattan Beach, located at Walnut St. in Dayton. Above that was Berlin Beach, built in 1904 at Clay St. in Dayton. It had facilities for aquatic sports, lockers, a pavilion, and a large covered metal building that was used for both dancing and roller-skating. The last beach to the east in Dayton was Gem Beach, which operated for only a short time at Clark St. In July 1905, when it was known as Clark’s Grove, it was the site of a speech by future five-time Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Victor Debs. Gem Beach was reopened in 1921 as part of the new Tacoma Park. Ohio River water levels fluctuated greatly before the construction of dams. In extremely dry periods, it was even possible to walk across to the Ohio shore. For example, the Ohio River measured a record low of one foot nine inches in 1881 and two feet nine inches, its second-lowest level, on September 27, 1908. In the 1920s the beaches began to experience problems as the slow-moving river water became polluted. Furthermore, beach accidents led to the fi ling of many lawsuits. The final death knell to the beaches was the construction of a series of dams along the Ohio River in the 1920s, designed to raise the river level for navigational purposes. The higher pool stage that resulted flooded most of the beaches. Tacoma Park managed to survive by building a 130-by-150-foot
in-ground pool (fi lled with water from an artesian well), as well as amusement park rides and a dance floor–skating rink, which was moved from Berlin Beach. The Ohio River flood of 1937 destroyed much of the Tacoma Park complex, and it never fully recovered. In subsequent years the park was alternately used for greyhound and midget car racing, boxing and wrestling matches, a drive-in movie theater, and a mobile home park; currently it is the site of the Watertown Marina. While the river is used primarily for commercial shipping today, pleasure boating abounds, and the shores along Bellevue and Dayton are popu lar once again as gathering places for family picnics and fishing, but not for swimming. Bellevue and Dayton Beaches. Charlie Tharp Collection, Dayton, Ky. Reis, Jim. “Beach a Popular Draw,” KP, July 18, 2005, 4K. ———. “They Once Packed Kentucky’s Shoreline,” KP, June 6, 1983, 4K. Souvenir, Dayton, Ky., G.A.R. Encampment, September, 1898. Tacoma Park, Dayton Ky. Charlie Tharp Collection, Dayton, Ky.
1,395 feet in length, with 12 gates, each 100 feet wide and 42 feet high. Two locks are located on the Kentucky side of the river, one 110 feet wide and 600 feet long, and the other, the main lock, 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. The locks can raise or lower a vessel 35 feet. A vehicular bridge connects U.S. 42 on the Kentucky side of the river with Ind. 156 on the north side. Synergy Inc. operates a hydroelectric plant on the Indiana side of the dam. The locks were built between 1956 and 1959. The dam was completed in 1963 and replaced old wicket dams numbered 35, 36, 37, 38, and 39. The cost of the locks and dam was $63.1 million. The Markland project is operated by the Louisville District of the Corps. Captain Anthony Meldahl Locks and Dam is located at mile 436.2 below Pittsburgh, near the community of Chilo, Ohio. It is named for a wellknown steamboat pi lot on the Ohio River. The pool above the dam extends upstream 95 miles to the Greenup Locks and Dam. The concrete, gated dam is 1,756 feet in length and has 12 gates the same size as those at Markland. Two locks are located on the Ohio side of the river, one 110 feet wide and 600 feet long, and the other 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. The locks, built between 1959 and 1962. can raise or lower a vessel 30 feet. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1964, replacing old wicket dams 31, 32, 33, and 34. The cost of the locks and dam was $74 million. The Meldahl project is operated by the Huntington (W.Va.) District of the Corps. Johnson, Leland R. The Falls City Engineers: A History of the Louisville District Corps of Engineers United States Army. Louisville, Ky.: Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1974, 1984. ———. Men, Mountains, and Rivers: An Illustrated History of the Huntington District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1754–1974. Huntington, W.Va.: Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1977. ———. The Ohio River Division U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: The History of a Central Command. Cincinnati: Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1992.
Charles E. Parrish
OHIO RIVER LOCKS AND DAMS. The two locks and dams on the Ohio River in the Northern Kentucky region, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provide safe and efficient navigation. These projects serve navigation only; they do not provide flood protection to communities along the river. The locks and dams, referred to as “highlift” structures, were built to replace old moveable wicket dams, built in the early 1900s. They are nonnavigable dams, which means that all river traffic must pass through the locks. Markland Locks and Dam, located at mile 531.5 below Pittsburgh, 3.5 miles below Warsaw in Gallatin Co., takes its name from the nearby community of Markland, Ind. The pool above the dam extends upstream 95 miles to the Meldahl Locks and Dam and for a short distance up three navigable tributaries, the Miami, the Licking, and the Little Miami rivers. The concrete, gated dam is
OHIO RIVER NAVIGATION. The Ohio River basin is a vast region of 204,000 square miles reaching northeast into New York, west to the flat land of Illinois, and south through the drainage area of the Tennessee River, extending into Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Through the heart of this huge portion of the United States, the 981-mile-long Ohio River carries a larger volume of water than any other tributary of the Mississippi River. Formed by the juncture of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh, Pa., the Ohio River borders Kentucky for 665 miles, from Catlettsburg to its mouth, where it empties into the Mississippi River; the Ohio River is the northern boundary of the Northern Kentucky region. Th is river was one of the two principal routes of transport during the great migration to the trans-Appalachian West in the 18th and 19th cen-
turies. Goods were carried first by canoe, then by flatboat and keelboat, and after 1811 by steamboat. In its natural, unimproved state, the Ohio River was littered by snags and strewn with boulders. Its flow was broken by sandbars, rocks, rapids, and, at Louisville, by the Falls of the Ohio, where in a distance of 2.5 miles, the level of the river drops 26 feet. The unaltered river fluctuated widely from a series of shallow, stagnant pools in drought season to raging torrents rising 80 to 100 feet in flood times. As cities along the river grew and as riverine vessels evolved, authorities sought ways to overcome these impediments to safe, dependable navigation. Two surveys of the Ohio River, in 1819 and in 1821, identified the worst obstructions to navigation; they recommended the removal of rocks, snags, and other obstacles and proposed a canal around the Falls at Louisville. The reports from these surveys formed the foundation of the eventual federal program of navigation improvements on the river. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1824 appropriated $75,000 for improving the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, assigning this responsibility to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, its fi rst official assignment on the Ohio River. Under the command of Maj. Stephen H. Long, the engineers set about building a wing dam at Henderson, Ky., to improve channel conditions at low-water stages. They removed the worst snags and rocks at many river locations. The act also provided a cash prize for the design of a snagboat, later improved by Capt. Henry M. Shreve, who headed the work into the 1840s, until it was halted on constitutional grounds. Further work did not resume until the Act of 1852 was passed. During the Civil War, the federal role in navigation improvements was minimal, and as a result many steamboats were lost to obstructions, as the wing dams built earlier deteriorated. The major barrier to navigation was the Falls at Louisville, 600 miles downstream from Pittsburgh. The Falls were navigable only during seasons of high water, and even then it was a perilous adventure to “shoot the rapids” over rock outcroppings and narrow channels between sandbars and riffles. To overcome this hazard, and in response to years of debating, petitioning, and politicking, the Kentucky legislature in 1825 chartered the Louisville and Portland Canal Company, a stock venture, to construct a canal with a lock system to provide navigation around the Falls. The project was completed in 1830. The U.S. government later became the largest stockholder in the company, and in the 1860s army engineers aided in a major project at the canal in which the noted hydraulics engineer Theodore Scowden had designed improvements that were not completed until 1872. Th is work widened the canal and built a two-fl ight lock, the largest in the world at that time. Following years of urging by navigation and political interests, the federal government assumed jurisdiction at the Falls in 1874, placing the project under the management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
After the Civil War, army engineers sought long-term improvements that would achieve the ultimate goal on the Ohio River: a year-round dependable navigation depth adequate for the barges and towboats used by the growing coal and shipping trade. After investigating navigation projects on rivers in Eu rope, engineer officers concluded that the Ohio River could best be improved by constructing a series of locks and dams along the length of the river. The fi rst project was completed at Davis Island, a few miles below Pittsburgh, in 1885, and after proving its worth, Congress passed the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1910, authorizing construction of the slack-water pool system with a depth of nine feet. At its completion in 1929, the canalization project consisted of 51 movable dams with wooden wickets and a lock chamber 600 feet long and 110 feet wide. At low-water stage, the dams were raised to pool water requiring lockage, and at high-water stage, the wickets were lowered to the river bottom, allowing open river navigation. Further improvements at Louisville during this period consisted of widening the canal to 200 feet and building a new movable dam; the lock size was the typical 600 feet by 110 feet. The project at the Falls was designated Lock and Dam No. 41. Twenty-five of the 51 dams bordered Kentucky, some with locks located on the commonwealth’s boundary and others with locks on the north side of the river. During World War II, and in the years immediately following, diesel-powered towboats began replacing steam-powered boats, allowing longer tows of larger barges, which carried ever-increasing tonnage. At the 600-foot locks, this required “double lockage”: longer tows had to be locked through in two maneuvers. In the 1950s, army engineers undertook the Ohio River Navigation Modernization Program to replace the obsolete system. Each of the new highlift concrete-and-steel dams completed by 1980 replaced at least two of the old structures. Each comprises two locks, one 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide and another 600 feet long and 110 feet wide. At Smithland Locks and Dam there are two 1,200-foot locks. All of the new high dams are nonnavigable, meaning all river traffic must transit the locks. Eight of the new high dams border the commonwealth; two, Meldahl and Markland, are in the Northern Kentucky region. Two of the old movable dams, Locks and Dams Nos. 52 and 53, remain in operation on the lower Ohio. These will be replaced by the Olmsted Locks and Dam, slated for completion in 2012. All the lock and dam structures on the Ohio River serve navigation purposes only; they do not furnish flood control; contrary to popu lar misconception, they were never intended for that purpose. Nearly two-thirds of the freight traffic on the Ohio River now consists of energy-related commodities such as coal and petroleum products, along with aggregates, iron and steel, chemicals, and grain. More commerce moves along the Ohio River navigation system annually than through the Panama Canal. In addition, the Ohio River
supplies water and provides recreational boating and harbor facilities for the nation’s heartland. Johnson, Leland R. The Falls City Engineers: A History of the Louisville District Corps of Engineers United States Army. Louisville, Ky.: Louisville District, 1984. Ohio River Navigation: Past, Present, Future. Cincinnati: Ohio River Division Corps of Engineers, United States Army, 1979.
Charles E. Parrish
OHIO RIVER WAY. The Ohio River Way Inc. (ORW) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporate organization, founded in 1999. It consists of four action teams: River Arts and Heritage, River Commerce, River Recreation and Ecology, and Greenways and Trails. The ORW focuses on regional planning and implementation activities. These range from creating a continuous 150-mile hike and bike trail along both sides of the Ohio River from Maysville, Ky., to Madison, Ind., to the creation of art, cultural, and historical venues in communities along this stretch of the river. The largest ORW event is its annual Paddlefest, which includes the Educational Expo for grade school children, the Ohio River Music Festival, the Equipment Auction, and a six-mile canoe and kayak trip along the Ohio River. The ORW’s trail from Madison to Maysville began to be built in 2006, with the first section of the trail from downtown Cincinnati to the Lunken Airport on that city’s East Side. “Group Promoting Ohio River Changes Name,” KP, February 26, 2003, 3K. “Ohio River Way Makes Debut,” CE, February 26, 2003, 1D. “Paddlefest Making Pitch for Boating Lovers,” KP, June 18, 2003, 2K. “Taking Me to the River,” SC, July 4, 2004, 1D.
OKI. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), the regional planning body for the Greater Cincinnati area, is made up of representatives of all of the tri-state’s major city and county governments as well as state transportation officials. OKI was a result of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required any metropolitan area of more than 50,000 people to have a coordinated, comprehensive planning organization to serve the entire region. OKI’s mandate was to “conduct a continuing, comprehensive, and coordinated process for the development of transportation improvement projects.” The council is primarily funded by federal tax dollars through the U.S. Department of Transportation. After spending four years collecting data and creating a plan, OKI in 1971 published the OKI Regional Transportation and Development Plan. It called for a rapid expansion of the region’s highway system, including an outer loop through central Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties and a freeway along the Covington and Newport riverfronts. Mass-transit options are seldom discussed in the 1971 plan beyond increasing some bus routes, and it does not allow for rail-based
690 OLD BAPTIST CHURCH ON THE DRY RIDGE commuting. In terms of the urban core, the OKI favored clear-cutting “dilapidated” neighborhoods and constructing new office, commercial, and residential space in the International architectural style. In successive plans since its initial offering, OKI, and planners in general during this period, have slowly distanced themselves from recommending the use of the automobile and the highway as the primary means of solving problems. A 1979 survey conducted by OKI demonstrated that many citizens did not favor spending tax dollars on more highways that divided neighborhoods and displaced people. In its 1981 plan, Transportation 2000, OKI said that it had been wrong in its initial approach. The energy crisis of the 1970s is credited with changing the anti-urban tone of OKI’s plans. Modest mass-transit plans based on existing railways were proposed in the 1981 plan, along with setting up a few transit centers around the area. By 1993, with new federal regulations in place, OKI was forced to incorporate alternative transportation methods. In the OKI publication Managing Mobility: Year 2010 Regional Transportation Plan, the organization recommends “improving bus ser vice and developing rail transit.” Protecting air quality, respecting financial concerns, and the management of congestion in existing roadways are all given strong and serious thought. Some of the methods offered are an extensive light- and passenger-rail system, mass transit, HOV (highoccupancy vehicle) lanes on interstates, and increased bus routes and time schedules to connect to regional transit centers. Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. Managing Mobility: Year 2010 Regional Transportation Plan. Cincinnati: OKI, 1993. ———. OKI Regional Transportation and Development Plan. Cincinnati: OKI, 1973. ———. OKI Regional Transportation Plan: A Transportation Plan for the OKI Region to Guide Transportation Investment and Service Decisions Now and in the Future. Cincinnati: OKI, 1981. ———. 2000 Transportation Questionnaire. Cincinnati: OKI, 1979.
OLD BAPTIST CHURCH ON THE DRY RIDGE. The first church to be organized in the area that later became Grant Co. was known as the Old Baptist Church on the Dry Ridge. It was organized on the fourth Sunday of August 1791, near Campbell’s Block house, with nine founding members: Robert Childers Sr., William Conrad, Jesse Conyers, Rachel Conyers, Elizabeth Franks, Jacob Franks, John Lawless, Absolam Skirvin, and John Skirvin Sr. Two ministers were involved in starting the Dry Ridge Old Baptist Church. One was Elder John Conner, who made yearly trips to the frontier, preaching to scattered congregations. In 1811 he settled in Harrison Co. Like many ministers of the time, he had extensive landholdings and did not accept any compensation for his ministry. The other minister involved in the church’s
founding was Elder Lewis Corban, who had paid little attention to either education or religion until he was age 30. After a long struggle with religious matters, he was baptized in 1786. Corban was so effective in his preaching that he was ordained in 1790, once he had moved to Kentucky. The newly established church on the Dry Ridge met on the fourth Sunday of each month and the Saturday preceding, which was set aside for church business. Male members were appointed to take turns serving as sentries to guard against Indian attacks. The peace of the church was maintained; any member who had a complaint against another brought it before the church for settlement. Meetings were held in the open near the block house when the weather was good and there was no immediate threat of an Indian attack. The few surviving minutes detail an attack by 12 Shawnee warriors on the fourth Saturday in September 1793, while the church was meeting in the block house. The Shawnees attempted to set fire to the building but were driven off with rifle fire, which wounded two or three of them. By 1799 the church occupied its first true church building. A description by Elder Corban explains that the “struxure [was] of good yeller poplar logges well hewed, duff tailed and chinked 20 foot long, 15 foot wide and about 15 foot to the rigepol.” The congregation, numbering about 40 members, withstood Indian attacks, cholera, and privation, but in 1817, it faced a new religious doctrine that threatened its existence. Elder Christian Tomlin came into the area preaching the free-will Baptist doctrine. The adherents to the free-will doctrine were also known at various times as separate Baptists, free-will Baptists, new school Baptists, and later as missionary Baptists. Eleven members of the Dry Ridge Old Baptist Church congregation accepted the new doctrine and on July 12, 1817, organized a church based on the new teachings. Elder Tomlin was the 12th member. The new church was initially known as the Baptist Church at the Dry Ridge, Free-Will, and is today the Dry Ridge Baptist Church. The congregation of the Old Baptist Church on the Dry Ridge (also called predestinarian, par ticular, and primitive) and the free-will congregation at Dry Ridge reached an agreement in 1818 to share their Bibles and hymnbooks. The free-will congregation met on the second Saturday and Sunday of each month; and the predestinarian congregation continued to meet the fourth Saturday and Sunday of each month. The congregation of the Old Baptist Church suffered a second severe loss in 1818 when 16 members moved their membership by letter to organize the Old Baptist Church at Fork Lick. Without a minister in attendance, with their membership in a state of decline, and with their identity being overshadowed by the growth of the free-will congregation, the Old Baptist Church on the Dry Ridge decided to “organize anew” at Williamstown. Jacob and Elizabeth Franks were dismissed to assist David Lillard in organizing an Old Baptist Church at Mount Zion, Ky., and Asa Tungate and wife were granted letters to
join the Salem Old Baptist Church in Salem, Ill. The seven remaining members of the Old Baptist Church on the Dry Ridge reorganized in 1826 into the Williamstown Church of Christ, Particular Baptist. In February 1827 William Conrad was ordained as minister. By 1829 the church was prospering, with 33 members. After meeting for a time in the old Williamstown Seminary, the church constructed its own meetinghouse, which was replaced with a new building during the 1880s that served the congregation until 1919. The site of this old church (including its cemetery) is now within the Williamstown Cemetery. Conrad, John B., ed. History of Grant County. Williamstown, Ky.: Grant Co. Historical Society, 1992. Franks, Lloyd W., ed. The Journal of Elder William Conrad, Pioneer Preacher. Williamstown, Ky.: RF, 1976.
John B. Conrad
OLD CEDAR BAPTIST CHURCH. The Old Cedar Baptist Church, founded sometime before 1816, is now located at the intersection of U.S. 127 and Ky. Rt. 607 in southern Owen Co. The church’s first log cabin structure, located on Cedar Creek about two miles north of the current church building, was known as the Mouth of Cedar Creek Meeting House. The congregation belonged to the Franklin Co. Baptist Association from before 1816 through 1899 and then joined the Owen Co. Baptist Association. In 1839 the church moved into a frame building located in front of the current building on land that is now partly covered by U.S. 127. That building had a pot-bellied stove on each side and a partition, the same height as the benches, down the center. Women and men entered through separate doors and sat on separate sides of the church. James Duvall was the first pastor in this second structure, and he served about 26 years. The frame structure was converted into a parsonage and was torn down about 1954. Members constructed the current stone structure in two phases. The second phase, a top floor, was built and paid for while W. M. Wilson was pastor, 1949 through 1955, and was dedicated October 1, 1950. The church is a member of the Southern Baptist Association. James Robert Bondurant, the current pastor, has been ministering since 1989. He is one of 12 men who have been called or ordained into the ministry from the church. The Old Cedar Baptist Church was entered into the National Register of Historic Places on September 5, 1997. Murphy, Margaret Alice, and Lela Maude Hawkins. The History of Historic Old Cedar Baptist Church and Community, 1816—2004. Frankfort, Ky.: Lynn, 2004.
Margaret A. Murphy
OMNICARE INC. Omnicare Inc., the nation’s largest provider of pharmaceutical care to seniors, has its headquarters in the RiverCenter office towers along the Ohio River in Covington. Omnicare Inc. serves 1.4 million persons each day in thousands of skilled-nursing, assisted-living, and other
health care facilities in 47 states with its unitdosage method of patient drug delivery. The company prepares each individual dose off-site, and up to three times each day it brings a drug cart through the health care facility, dispensing the medication at the patient’s bedside. The drugs are not stored at the facility. Omnicare Inc. also has become a worldwide leader in the field of clinical research ser vices for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Omnicare Inc. began as a 1981 spin-off from two Cincinnati-based corporations, W. R. Grace and Company and the Chemed Corporation. Since its inception, the new corporation has been led by one man, CEO Joel F. Gemunder. In 1997, as a result of receiving $8 million in tax abatements, the company moved to Covington with 50 employees; the number of workers increased to 322 in 2004, as additional tax breaks were granted. Over the years, Omnicare Inc. has purchased more than 80 similar companies, in both friendly and hostile takeovers. Two of its major acquisitions include NeighborCare and NCS Health Care. It competes in a very aggressive and competitive industry, one that is highly regulated. Along with success have come negative circumstances, for example being accused of Medicaid fraud in several states and subsequently having to pay large settlements. Listed as “OCR” on the New York Stock Exchange, the company ranked 94th on the Fortune list in 2002. Its annual revenues in recent years have totaled as much as $6.5 billion. Feldman, Jason. “Omnicare Looks to Future,” SC, August 1, 2004, 7B. “1997 Top 10 Stories,” CP, December 31, 1997, 6C. Omnicare. www.omnicare.com (accessed on June 19, 2007).
River and the other about 220 yards to the west. Thousands of artifacts came to light, including 856 bones and bone fragments, animal teeth, pottery vessels, stone tools, projectile points, ceramic bowls, and various effigies. Many of those items are housed in the collections of the Behringer- Crawford Museum in Devou Park, in Covington. Archaeologists named the area the Bintz Site, after the owners of the property. The 1889 Kentucky State Journal article also predicted that Oneonta would develop into a major railroad and steamboat facility; however, that never happened. At the time, the town consisted of about 30 buildings, including a church, a general store, a hotel, a post office, and a number of small residences. The Oneonta Inn became a popu lar stop for steamboat travelers along the Ohio River and for passengers of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, which came through town. Over the years, many tales have been told about the Oneonta Inn. Some people have claimed that it was haunted, others have asserted that Davy Crockett stayed there, and still others have said that the notorious bank robber John Dillinger used it as a hideout. The Oneonta Inn and other town structures were severely damaged in the flood of 1937, but the inn was later completely restored and is now used as a private residence. “Campbell County,” KSJ, January 17, 1889, 7. MacCord, Howard. The Bintz Site. Covington, Ky.: Behringer-Crawford Museum, 1984 (reprint from American Antiquity 18, no. 3 (January 1953). Reis, Jim. “Southern Campbell Has Own Rich Heritage,” KP, April 14, 1986, 4K.
of worship, houses, and some businesses, including a large furniture store and a bakery. Calvert, Jean, and John Klee. The Towns of Mason County: Their Past in Pictures. Maysville, Ky.: Maysville and Mason Co. Library Historical and Scientific Association, 1986. Rennick, Robert M. Kentucky Place Names. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1984.
ORR, ALEXANDER D. (b. November 6, 1761, Alexandria, Va.; d. June 21, 1835, Paris, Ky.). Alexander Dalrymple Orr moved to Bourbon Co., Ky. (then part of Virginia), around 1782 and later settled on a plantation along the Ohio River west of Maysville. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1790 and to the Virginia Senate in 1792. Kentucky was admitted to the Union that same year, and Orr was elected as one of the first representatives of the new state to the 2nd U.S. Congress. He served three terms altogether, from 1792 to 1797, the final term aligned politically with the emergence of the Jeffersonian Republicans. After leaving politics, Orr returned to farming in Mason Co. He died in 1835 and was buried in the Paris Cemetery at Paris, Ky. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1989. Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky. Cincinnati: J. M. Armstrong, 1878. Collins, Richard H. History of Kentucky. Vol. 1. Covington, Ky.: Collins, 1882.
Thomas S. Ward
OPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL. See Civic
ORR, GERTRUDE (b. January 17, 1891, Coving-
ton, Ky.; d. August 1971, Washington, D.C.). Screenwriter Gertrude Orr was the youngest daughter of John E. and Luella Roberts Orr. She was the niece of Richard P. Ernst. In Covington, her father was a U.S. gauger; by 1900 the family was living in Denver, Colo., where her father worked in tanneries and paper mills. Gertrude Orr became involved with the American Red Cross while attending Vassar College in upstate New York and found herself working in battlefield military hospitals of the Serbian Campaign during World War I. In 1919 she was decorated by Prince Alexander of Serbia for her efforts there. Shortly before the war and for a time afterward, Orr was a feature writer and reporter for the Denver Post. In 1921 she visited China. Orr moved to California, where between 1925 and 1938, she wrote more than 30 scripts for Hollywood fi lms, including Marriage (1927), Mother Machree (1928), Waterfront (1928), Little Men (1935), Country Gentlemen (1936), and Call of the Yukon (1938). Marriage was cowritten with Maysville, Ky.’s Elizabeth Pickett Chevalier. In 1943 Orr published Here Come the Elephants, a book about the history and psychology of elephants. She died during the month of August 1971 in the nation’s capital; her burial location is not known.
ONEONTA. The small town of Oneonta in south-
ORANGEBURG. Orangeburg is a community
eastern Campbell Co., where Twelve Mile Creek empties into the Ohio River, was founded in the 1850s. The town was named for the New York state birthplace of Henry Edwards Huntington, the nephew of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, who developed the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O) through the area. The name Oneonta comes from the Iroquois Indian word Onnontee, which can be translated as “between the hills or mountains.” The Campbell Co. town’s use of the Indian name proved to be quite appropriate because it has been learned that a Fort Ancient Indian village and burial ground once existed there. A Kentucky State Journal article of 1889 said Indian artifacts had been discovered around the Oneonta site; however, no archaeological examination of the area was made at that time. In 1938, however, during excavation for the new Mary Ingles Highway, the skeletal remains of seven individuals were uncovered at Oneonta. Archaeologists from the Northern Kentucky Chapter of the Kentucky Archaeological Society received permission from the owners of that property to cut a ditch through the site. Archaeological excavations in the 1940s revealed two villages, one along the shore of the Ohio
in the eastern part of Mason Co. on Stone Lick Creek, a tributary of the Licking River. In 1775 Col. Robert Patterson explored the area, one of the first parts of the county explored. When John Williams and Henry Parker drew up the town in 1796, they named it Williamsburg. Williams’s grandfather Francis McDermid owned the original 1,400 acres where the town was established. The town grew quickly, and in 1836 the Kentucky legislature renamed it for Providence Orange Pickering, a leading citizen and a tailor. Schools were established in Orangeburg in the mid-19th century, and in 1890 a school for blacks was opened. The schools in the local area (Bernard, Dickson, Mount Gilead, Stonelick, and eventually Plumville and Rectorville) were consolidated into the Orangeburg School in 1912, in 1922, and later. Orangeburg High School opened in 1922 and closed in 1960. The lower grades were consolidated into other schools in the 1970s. At the turn of the 20th century, Orangeburg was the home of the Orangeburg Rolling Mills, the Red Man’s Lodge, dry goods stores, and several churches. The community continues to have places
692 ORR ACADEMY/RUGBY SCHOOL “Covington Girl Decorated,” KP, August 29, 1919, 1. Orr, Gertrude. Here Come the Elephants. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1943.
ORR ACADEMY/RUGBY SCHOOL. The histories of the Orr Academy and the Rugby School, two schools that operated in Covington, are often confused. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for a few short years, beginning at the end of the 19th century, the Rugby School occupied the same building that the Orr Academy had used about 40 years earlier. The Orr Academy, whose official name was Covington Female Seminary, opened in the city in 1843, in the 600 block of Sanford St., on the east side of the street. The academy was very popu lar with young women. Tuition cost $65 per 20-week session, and there were two sessions each year. The Orr family, who operated the academy, were from Bracken Co. About two years after the family’s patriarch, Rev. William Orr, died in 1857, the school was moved by other family members to Cincinnati. Usually, while in Covington, the school was advertised as Orr’s Female Academy, rather than as the Covington Female Seminary. A Professor Lord organized the Rugby Military Academy, a coeducational prep school, in 1885, and it began in a one-story frame building in Covington along Fourth St., near Russell St. The school soon was moved to 12th St. east of Madison Ave., once the home of Roman Catholic priests of the Diocese of Covington. It was at this location that the school flourished, with its annual enrollment rising into the hundreds. By then, the school was under the direction of Professor K. J. Morris and three assistants. The boys enrolled at Rugby Academy wore natty blue uniforms and were easily recognized throughout the city. Students of ages 7 through 18 were admitted, and many of them were from out of town. Rugby was where the social elite of Covington sent their children: prominent Covington family names like Shinkle and Hill were common at the school. The Rugby School was the largest private school in Northern Kentucky. It moved from 12th St. to its new Sanford St. address in 1898. Soon, enrollment began to drop. In 1903, 42 students were enrolled; in 1904, 35 were enrolled. After losing almost $1,000 annually, Morris decided, in early 1906, that the school would not reopen that September. He felt that there were no longer enough people in Covington who could afford the Rugby School. The emergence of a public school system had also lessened the need for such institutions. In 1907 Morris’s wife, Sallie, who owned the Sanford St. property, sold the building. For many years the building was rental property, but recently Everett Dameron rehabilitated the structure and converted it to exclusive condominiums.
freight cars at a sprawling property at 21st and Augustine Sts. in Covington. Its location was an industrial area surrounded by railroad yards. The business was established in June 1948 by Joseph L. Ortner (1893–1969), who had started his career in 1911 in an Erie Railroad car shop in Meadville, Pa. Ortner was promoted over the years to higher positions within Erie’s car department. In 1933 he was hired by the David J. Joseph Company of Cincinnati to manage the salvage and recycling of parts from obsolete freight cars. Fifteen years later, Ortner bought the business from the Joseph Company and brought his two sons into the business as partners. In 1953 they began to rebuild old cars for the secondhand market. Two years later, Ortner was building new cars. By then the era of the 40-ton freight car was nearly over, so the firm began to specialize in oversize cars with 70-ton to 100-ton capacities. In 1960 one of the company’s draftsmen, Norman S. Adams, developed an ingenious scheme for the fast unloading of hopper cars. The new method solved a long-standing problem in car design and won the Ortner Company orders for new cars. Soon they were building 2,000 rapiddischarge cars a year. Joseph Ortner retired in 1961, and his son Robert took over as president, with Joseph Jr. as vice president. They merged with the Ogden Corporation of New York in 1968. A new plant opened in Milford, Ohio. Before long they were building lightweight hopper cars with aluminum bodies and double-deck stock cars, large enough to carry 120 animals. In 1976 another car plant was built in Mount Orab, Ohio, about 25 miles east of Cincinnati. The car-building business suffers greatly during economic slowdowns. By May 1983, bad times had led to an almost complete shutdown of the production lines. New contracts would mean the employees would be rehired and then another slump would develop. Th is was the nature of the railroad car business. All such builders faced the same boom-or-bust order cycles. Investors wanted not just steady profits but expanding profits. They and the fi rm’s management team were not pleased by the car-building trade. Ogden Corporation transferred Ortner to Avondale Industries in 1985. About one year later, Trinity Industries of Dallas, Tex., took over the plants. In 1988 the Covington plant was closed, and not long afterward, Mount Orab shut down as well. Th is fi rm that had prospered so well under local management was soon just another forgotten part of smokestack America.
ORTNER FREIGHT CAR COMPANY. This
Combes, C. L., ed. Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice, 1966. New York: SimmonsBoardman, 1966. Ellsworth, Kenneth G., ed. Car and Locomotive Encyclopedia of American Practice, 1984. Omaha, Neb.: Simmons-Boardman, 1984. Hurley, Daniel. Cincinnati: The Queen City. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Historical Society, 1982. “Joseph L. Ortner, 75, Company Founder,” CE, May 2, 1969, 40. “New Company Formed by Local Executive,” CE, June 2, 1948, 18.
firm once manufactured and rebuilt railroad
John H. White
Mills, Howard H. “A History of Education of Covington, Kentucky,” master’s thesis, Univ. of Kentucky, 1929. “Rugby School Sold,” KP, September 19, 1907, 2. “Rugby School Will Not Reopen,” KP, September 13, 1906, 2.
O’SHAUGHNESSY, PETER (b. January 18, 1843, Tullamore, King’s Co., Ireland; d. August 1, 1926, Newport, Ky.). Irish-born Peter O’Shaughnessy, a real estate investor, a distiller, and a philanthropist, was the son of Hugh and Bridgett McDermott O’Shaughnessy. Just before 1865 he immigrated to the United States and settled in Newport. O’Shaughnessy taught at the Immaculate Conception Grade School in the city’s West End and began investing in real estate. He wisely anticipated the future value of land on the city’s east side and eventually built many homes there. For example, in July 1899 alone, he obtained building permits for 13 two-and-a-half-story dwellings along Maple Ave., between Eighth and Ninth Sts. A devoted member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Newport, O’Shaughnessy married Emma Daly (1856–1923) there on July 30, 1874, in a ceremony performed by Rev. Patrick Guilfoyle. Emma was the daughter of former Newport mayor Michael V. Daly. The O’Shaughnessys and the Dalys were major supporters of Immaculata Academy, the school across the street from the church. O’Shaughnessy became involved in the distilling business by working for his friend James N. Walsh (see Walsh Distillery). He began as a foreman at the distillery at the southeast corner of Front and Scott Sts. in Covington and finished as a partner in the enterprise. His relationship with the Walsh family lasted from the early 1870s until O’Shaughnessy retired from distilling in 1915. O’Shaughnessy and the Walsh family were major benefactors in the building of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. Their Roman Catholic religion was a most important part of their lives. In November 1908 O’Shaughnessy served as an undisclosed agent for the Sisters of Divine Providence in acquiring the land in Melbourne, eastern Campbell Co., on which they built their U.S. motherhouse, St. Anne Convent, which opened in 1919. From the early 1890s until his death, O’Shaughnessy resided at 835 York St. in Newport, in an 1876 three-story brick Italianate mansion with 14 rooms. After his death, the home became the Muehlenkamp, Cositgan, and Roll Funeral Home, and it remains a MuehlenkampErschell facility (see Funeral Homes). When O’Shaughnessy died, he was one of Newport’s wealthiest citizens. Seven children survived him. His wife, Emma, who was an organist at Immaculate Conception Church for some 30 years, had died three years earlier. His three sons, Eugene, Victor, and William, continued in the distilling business at Lawrenceburg, Ind., long after Prohibition. One daughter became Sister Celeste Marie (1883–1971) of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the provincial of the order from 1937 until 1965. After a funeral mass at Immaculate Conception Church celebrated by Bishop Francis W. Howard, O’Shaughnessy was buried at the St. Anne Convent Cemetery; he was one of the few men buried there. Some 19 priests were present at his graveside ceremony, along with more than 200 nuns from various orders. His estate was valued at $1 million and was distributed equally among his children.
OUR LADY OF PROVIDENCE ACADEMY “Building Boom,” CE, July 1, 1899, 2. Kentucky Death Certificate No. 19453, for the year 1926. “Mother Celeste, Headed St. Ann,” KP, August 16, 1971, 15. “Peter O’Shaughnessy,” Catholic Telegraph, August 5, 1926, 4. Ryan, Paul E. History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. Covington, Ky.: Diocese of Covington, 1954.
Michael R. Sweeney
OUR LADY OF PROVIDENCE ACADEMY. The Roman Catholic congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence came to Northern Kentucky during the late 1880s from France’s AlsaceLorraine region. Shortly after the first three sisters arrived on August 23, 1889, the Jones Mansion (see Thomas Laurens Jones), located on a six-acre tract of land at the head of Monmouth St. in Newport, was purchased for their use. Here the sisters established the Mount St. Martin Convent. That fall, the sisters promptly opened a day school, Mount St. Martin Academy, with an enrollment of three pupils, at the convent. Because course offerings included French, needlework, music, art, and classical subjects with a decidedly European flavor, the school soon became known as the French Academy. By 1901, as the sisters marked their 12th anniversary in the United States, they had outgrown their hillside home because of expanding enrollment and the growing novitiate (training school for young sisters). That same year, a tract on E. Sixth St. in Newport was purchased from Aloysius Schabell for $20,000; an adjacent parcel was purchased on August 23 of the following year from Robert Nelson, then mayor of Newport, for $10,000. Louis Goldkamp won the bid for construction and formally signed the contract on May 7, 1902. along with Mother Maria Houlné, provincial superior; William A. Byrne, attorney; and Charles Hannaford, architect (see Hannaford, Samuel, and Sons). Construction began on June 9, 1902. Upon completion, the grand, five-story structure, containing approximately 60,000 square feet of space, boasted an elaborate array of decorative embellishments typical of the Beaux-Arts style: decorative masonry adorned many openings, coupled columns framed the main entryway, dormer windows jutted from the mansard-style roof, and symmetrical, advancing wings flanked the structure’s receding central section, which was crowned with a distinctive, copper-topped bell tower. The building’s interior was equally lavish, featuring black slate stairwells, oak handrails, and terrazzo floors; the front entrance, with its grey Knoxville marble stairway and Venetian mosaic floor, was reserved for guests and visiting dignitaries. Carved above the entryway was the new name of the school, “Académie de Notre Dame de la Providence,” reflecting the French origin of the order (though the institution became known as the Academy Notre Dame of Providence, or ANDP). Just above the inscribed entablature, carved within a round pediment, was a bas-relief cartouche featuring the newly constructed academy’s saintly
patroness, Mary, Our Lady of Providence, along with a crown and a cross; the edifice also bore an inscription of the academy’s motto, “Religioni et Artibus” (“Religion and Arts”), carved just below a second, triangular pediment upon which the distinctive bell tower appeared to rest. Dedicated by Bishop Maes on August 23, 1903, the ANDP had an enrollment of 108 pupils when classes began that September; this large number reflected the growth of the Diocese of Covington’s Catholic population, which had increased to nearly 50,000. Although the academy initially offered elementary, secondary, and some postsecondary educational programs, for the first eight years, only the grade school was coeducational; upon reaching eighth grade, boys were no longer enrolled at the school. Providence’s high school department included classical, English, and commercial courses. Highly qualified instructors taught the academy’s exemplary music, art, and language classes and also offered more advanced courses and private lessons for gifted students. In addition to their normal curriculum, the sisters sought to serve the surrounding populace by offering special classes in subjects such as needlework, art, and music to girls and women not formally enrolled as students at the academy. During the early years, the ANDP’s highly regarded and classically based academic program drew young women from many Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati cities, including Newport, Fort Thomas, Ludlow, Bellevue, Dayton, Mount Adams, and Hyde Park. The academy’s later affi liations with the University of Kentucky at Lexington in October 1905, and with the Catholic University of America at Washington, D.C., in 1914 further enhanced the school’s ranking and reputation. In 1929 Bishop Francis W. Howard, hoping to increase accessibility by defraying tuition charges, designated the ANDP as Campbell Co.’s central Catholic high school for girls; students’ individual parishes assisted them if they could not afford to pay the full tuition amount. That same year, Howard established the school that evolved into Newport Catholic High School as the central Catholic high school for Campbell Co.’s male student population. Despite the onset of the Great Depression, the academy’s enrollment had increased so significantly that in June 1934 the grade school department was discontinued, allowing the institution to focus solely on secondary education. Operating under the auspices of the Covington diocese, the ANDP had operating expenses of $10,145 in 1935. It was staffed by 3 diocesan priests and 13 sisters and charged tuition of $40 per year. With the academy’s financial constraints eased by designation as the central Catholic high school for girls of Campbell Co., the student body soon reflected a broader spectrum of the local population; accordingly, the curriculum was altered to better reflect the school’s expansive and dynamic cultural and educational traditions. In 1965, decades after the first three sisters had arrived in Northern Kentucky from France, the “French Academy” became known by its American title,
Our Lady of Providence Academy, or OLP, its more commonly known acronym. The name change not only reflected the academy’s embrace of its adopted American homeland but also, on a practical note, prevented confusion between it and Covington’s Notre Dame Academy. In 1968 OLP enrollment peaked at 464 students, making it the fourth-largest of Northern Kentucky’s 12 Catholic high schools. By 1978, as the school prepared to celebrate its 75th anniversary, declines in Northern Kentucky’s Roman Catholic population had led to decreases in enrollment. Population shifts, increasing operating expenses, and shrinking student enrollment further exacerbated mounting financial woes even as OLP attempted to address remodeling needs and ongoing maintenance and building upkeep issues. That year, OLP faced an $88,000 deficit. Covington’s La Salette Academy had closed the previous year as it faced many of the same issues. A newly formed booster club assisted Sister Margaret Anne Kraemer, principal of OLP, in raising funds to correct the structure’s fire code violations by installing smoke alarms and enclosing stairwells. The booster club’s efforts were supplemented by an increase in the school’s tuition; for 1978–1979, tuition was increased by $90, to $390. Although OLP had valiantly upheld the exemplary educational traditions established by the Sisters of Divine Providence for decades, in 1980 the results of a study conducted by the Diocese of Covington concluded that the only way to preserve an institution for secondary Catholic education in Newport would be to merge OLP with Newport Catholic High School. The OLP Beaux-Arts building had remained a stunning architectural feast for the eyes, but the costs of necessary upgrades and remodeling exceeded the $500,000 required to expand Newport Catholic High School’s hillside structure. Completed in 1955, the more modern boys’ high school facility was located very near the site where the sisters had first established Mount St. Martin’s Academy; after 80 years, the school returned to its hilltop home. Having graduated nearly 4,000 young women, OLP had its final day of classes on June 1, 1983; that fall, classes were held at the coeducational Newport Central Catholic High School. Since the 1983 closure of the academy, the 103-year-old building has gone through several incarnations and multiple conversions. First functioning as residential units known as the Hannaford Apartments in 1997, the building was later converted into extended-stay corporate suites known as the Hannaford Suites. Currently, the grand old structure and the smaller, similarly styled companion building at the rear of the grounds are being touted by a local real estate agent as the Hannaford, a forty-unit condominium community. In addition, 12 similarly designed townhouses facing Nelson Pl. are planned for the northern edge of the historic grounds. Archives of the Congregation of Divine Providence, Melbourne, Ky. Archives of the Diocese of Covington, Erlanger, Ky.
694 OUR LADY OF THE HIGHLANDS SCHOOL “Our Lady of Providence,” Local History fi les, Kenton Co. Public Library, Covington, Ky. Paeth, Greg. “The Old Gal Looks Good for Her Age,” KP, January 22, 1983, 6K. Plattner, Elissa May. “How Beautiful upon the Mountains: The Sisters of Divine Providence and Their Mission to Kentucky Appalachia,” PhD diss., Univ. of Cincinnati, 1987. Ryan, Paul E. History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. Covington, Ky.: Diocese of Covington, 1954.
OUR LADY OF THE HIGHLANDS SCHOOL. This school was an aspect of the ministry begun by the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Fort Thomas in 1873. The first foundation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in the United States had opened in 1842 at Louisville. By 1857, a group of Louisville sisters had established a convent in southwestern Ohio, which was centered eventually at Carthage, Ohio. In 1873 the sisters at Carthage acquired the Robert Beaton property at 938 Highland Ave. in Fort Thomas, Ky., and over the next century, the sisters operated an orphanage, a protective home for troubled girls, Our Lady of the Highlands School, and a retirement community for aged sisters there. The Fort Thomas property was eventually expanded to include more than 75 acres. The orphanage for girls was the first ministry conducted by the sisters in Fort Thomas, using the original Beaton home. Over time, many additions were constructed, including a limestone chapel in the shape of a Greek cross, dedicated on October 19, 1884. In 1885 the sisters began a residential program for troubled girls, and a wing for this purpose was built in 1890. Many of the girls in this program were sent to the sisters by the local court systems. In 1908 the sisters financed the construction of a school wing on the campus. In time, this school became known as Our Lady of the Highlands and educated both elementary and secondary students. The school program at Our Lady of the Highlands was open to both Catholic and non-Catholic children. Non-Catholic children were given instruction in Christian doctrine, while Catholic children received religious instruction typical of that given in most parochial schools of the day. In 1946 a new school building with 27 classrooms was constructed on the grounds. A gymnasium was added to the school’s facilities six years later. The growth of the school and changing societal patterns resulted in the closing of the orphanage in the late 1950s. Beginning in the 1970s, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd renovated one of the wings of the building into a retirement home for their community of sisters. A new structure, named Pelletier Hall, was constructed on the convent grounds for this purpose in 1982. In 1981 Sister Mary Janice Rushman, R.G.S., was appointed superior of the Our Lady of Highlands School. At that time, 17 nuns were in residence, and the school enrollment stood at 25. It soon became apparent to the sisters that the cost of maintaining such large buildings, coupled with
declining enrollment, made the program unsustainable. Following the 1982–1983 academic year, Our Lady of the Highlands School closed. Much of the Fort Thomas property was sold for use as the right-of-way of I-471 and a small shopping center. However, the sisters continue to own Pelletier Hall, which has remained the retirement residence for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd of the Carthage Province. Reis, Jim. “Bells of Good Shepherd Still Echo in Fort Thomas,” KP, October 11, 1999, 4K. Remlinger, Connie. “Lady to Bid Farewell to Her Flock on the Hill,” KP, March 31, 1983, 4K. Ryan, Paul E. History of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. Covington, Ky.: Diocese of Covington, 1954. Tenkotte, Paul A., David E. Schroeder, and Thomas S. Ward. To Be Catholic and American in Northern, Central, and Appalachian Kentucky: The Diocese of Covington, 1853–2003. Forthcoming. Tucker, Alan. “Time for Change,” KP, February 14, 1981, 11K.
David E. Schroeder
OUR SAVIOR CATHOLIC CHURCH. The Our Savior Catholic Church, located on E. 10th St. in Covington, was the only Roman Catholic parish for African Americans within the Diocese of Covington. For a number of years, the parish also operated a grade and high school. The parishioners are primarily from Northern Kentucky. Before 1943, a few African Americans attended the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. That year it was decided, at the encouragement of Bishop Francis W. Howard, to form a separate African American church and school in Northern Kentucky as a mission of the cathedral. The site selected was on E. 10th St. in Covington. The plans were to convert a two-family home into classrooms and a convent for the Sisters of Divine Providence, who were going to teach at the school. The school opened in September 1943, after the renovations for the school and convent were completed. Because of illness, Bishop Howard was unable personally to dedicate the Our Savior Church, so Rev. Msgr. Walter Freiberg, pastor of the parish of the cathedral, officiated at the dedication. In 1946 the pastor of the Our Savior Church was Rev. Henry Haacke, and Rev. Anthony Deye directed the school’s athletic program. Deye set up baseball, football, and basketball teams. The church was part of the Northern Kentucky Catholic High School League and the Northern Kentucky Holy Name Basketball League. In 1945 William Lane, an associate at the cathedral and the only African American priest in the diocese, was assigned to work at the parish. On September 19, 1948, a new school building was finished and blessed by Bishop William T. Mulloy. The building had four spacious, well-lighted classrooms and a cafeteria, and there was a large recreation room in the building next door. The high school closed in 1956 because of the movement toward integration. One of the more famous students impacted by its closing was Thomas
Thacker, a basketball player who attended William Grant High School and later played on the University of Cincinnati’s national championship teams. The grade school closed on May 31, 1963. In 1981 the Our Savior Church became an independent parish with its own pastor, Daniel Saner. Today, the parish is overseen by Sr. Janet Bucher, C.D.P. “Catholic Schools Merged and Split over the Years,” KP, April 17, 1987, 2K. Reis, Jim. “Our Savior Fills Unique Niche,” KP, January 17, 1994, 4K.
Theodore H. H. Harris
OWEN, ABRAHAM, COLONEL (b. 1769, Prince Edward Co., Va.; d. November 7, 1811, Tippecanoe Battlefield, Indiana Territory). Abraham Owen, an American Indian fighter and the namesake of Owen Co. (as well as Owensboro), was the son of Brackett Owen, who in 1782 moved to Jefferson Co., Ky., about four miles from what is now Shelbyville, and established Owen’s Station, a small frontier fort used during the latter part of the Revolutionary War for protection from Indian attacks. In 1785, at age 16, Abraham Owen joined his father in the Virginia territory that seven years later (in 1792) became the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Abraham Owen accompanied Col. John Hardin and Col. James Wilkerson in their campaigns against the Northwest Indians in northern Ohio and Indiana. Later, he served under Gen. Arthur St. Clair and joined the contingent of 1,400 men that marched against the Indians led by Chief Little Turtle. This force was surprised by a sudden Indian attack (known historically as St. Clair’s Defeat) led by Little Turtle, and the majority of the force was killed or wounded. Owen was wounded and returned to Fort Washington (Cincinnati). Eventually promoted to colonel, Owen returned to his home in Shelby Co., where his wounds slowly healed. After Kentucky attained statehood, Owen helped lay out the new town of Shelbyville. There, he was a town trustee and magistrate as well as county surveyor. Elected to the legislature and chosen as a member of the Kentucky constitutional convention in 1799, Owen began a life of public service. In 1811 another Indian war was brewing on America’s western frontier. William Henry Harrison, a general in the U.S. Army and governor of the Indiana Territory, called for volunteers to deal with the Indian threat. Owen responded to Harrison’s call and left Kentucky with Capt. Frederick Geiger’s company. About 60 Kentuckians linked up with Harrison at the mouth of the Vermillion River in Indiana, to join the main army of volunteers from Ohio and Indiana. Owen became commander of the 18th Kentucky Regiment. They marched up the Wabash River to within a few miles of the junction of that stream with the Tippecanoe River. Owen was killed during the Battle of Tippecanoe. Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992. Vertical fi les, Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky.
OWEN CO. PUBLIC LIBRARY
OWEN CO. Within the state of Kentucky, Owen Co. is regarded as being in the north central section; within the Northern Kentucky region, it is in the southwestern corner. It is bordered by Carroll, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, and Henry counties and has an area of 354 square miles. Owen Co. was created in 1819, the 63rd in order of formation in the state, and like its county seat, Owenton, Owen Co. was named for Revolutionary War soldier and Indian fighter Col. Abraham Owen. Rolling hills and farmlands characterize the terrain of the county’s 354 square miles. The county was formed from parts of Franklin, Gallatin, and Scott counties. It has been referred to as Sweet Owen, a term of endearment first proffered by Democratic congressional candidate John C. Breckinridge, when the votes he received in Owen Co. helped elect him to the U.S. House of Representatives during the early 1850s. The county was and remains an agricultural area, once heavily dependent on tobacco production. In the 19th century its western boundary, the Kentucky River, allowed for the delivery of goods through steamboat stops at Moxley, Gratz, Monterey, and other smaller places. For a short period around 1900, lead mines around Gratz exported their product via the boats. In recent years some industry has operated just outside of Owenton (see Owen Co. Industry), but with no railroad connection, with the boats gone from the Kentucky River, with three interstate highways surrounding the county (but not close by), and with the county’s meager aviation facilities, it has been difficult to attract manufacturing into Owen Co. During the Civil War, the county was a Confederate stronghold (see Confederate Recruiting in Owen Co.), and during World War II the county produced several successful and important military leaders: Vice Adm. Willis Augustus Lee, Rear Adm. Arnold Ellsworth True,
Rear Adm. Evan White Yancey, and Gen. Gerald Walter Johnson. Perhaps the most famous person from Owen Co. is Ben Holladay, who grew up in the 1820s at New Liberty in the northern part of the county. Holladay owned and operated the famed Pony Express as well as several other stagecoach lines, railroads, and steamship companies in the West. With his wealth, it was said that he literally “owned” the U.S. senators from the state of Oregon, where Holladay’s business operations were based. A suburb in Portland, Ore., is named for him. Another person from Owen Co., Dr. Richard C. Arnold, a native of Squiresville, also achieved significant fame. Arnold was a member of the U.S. Public Heath Ser vice during the late 1930s, and he revolutionized the treatment of syphilis by demonstrating the effectiveness of using penicillin. Before that discovery, people commonly died of the dreaded disease. In literature, the county was home to Alfred Cobb, a native of Lusby’s Mill, who in his Liff y Leman; or, Thirty Years in the Wilderness (1890) described life in the county before the Civil War in a semifictional style, and to Ed Porter Thompson, the founder of the Harrisburgh Academy (later known as Owen College) and author of several works, including his epic 1,104-page Civil War chronicle The History of the Orphan Brigade (1898). In recent times two talented African Americans from the county have attained regional attention. William “Bill” Livers of Long Ridge, known for his fiddle playing, produced several recordings. Livers performed in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and at the World Fair in Knoxville, Tenn. Theodore “Teddy” Vinegar became an expert on both saddle horses and farming techniques (hillside planting without erosion) while residing at his Mountain Island farm in Owen Co. In 1900 Owen Co. had a population of 17,533, but by 2000 the population had decreased to 10,547. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom. History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976. Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992. U.S. Census Bureau. “American Fact Finder. Data Set. Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF1) 100-Percent Data. Custom Table.” www.census.gov (accessed June 3, 2006).
Owen Co. Courthouse, Owenton, completed in 1858.
OWEN CO. BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. The present Owen Co. Baptist Association was created by merging two previous associations in 1925. One of these, the Concord Association, dated from 1821 and the other, the Owen Association of Baptists, was formed in 1880. Beginning in 1925, they were joined together to become the Owen Co. Baptist Association. Never meant to become a central authority in matters of scripture and theology, the Owen Co. Baptist Association instead organizes and sponsors multiday annual meetings and revivals where speakers are brought to Owen Co. to preach the Gospel. The site for these annual events changes from year to year within the county. At the
association meetings the members of the Baptist churches in Owen Co. hear about the results of their missionary support and receive reports on the Baptist hospitals and children’s homes to which they contribute money. The annual meeting is also where statistics for Baptist churches in the county are totaled and collated for the past year: baptisms, marriages, births, and deaths. In 2005 the Owen Co. Baptist Association held its 80th annual session. Arnold, Ruth. A History of Owen County Baptist Association and It’s [sic] Churches. Owenton, Ky.: Privately published, 1965. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom. History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976.
OWEN CO. INDUSTRY. The first industrial jobs in Owen Co. came with the construction of the Kraft Cheese plant near downtown Owenton. The Kraft plant, built in 1936 and enlarged in 1944, supplied the only industrial jobs in the county until the 1970s. The Kraft Cheese facility provided a convenient outlet for local dairy farmers to sell their milk, but by 1980 it had closed. In 1973 the Scholl Industry built a sandal-manufacturing plant in Owenton on Sparta Rd. (U.S. 127) north of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery; the plant was dedicated in 1974. During the mid-1980s that factory was sold to Schlumberger, a diversified technology company, and then in the mid-1990s it was resold to Actaris Metering Systems, a maker of gas metering equipment, fittings, and regulators. In 2000 Actaris employed 223 workers. The state of industry in Owen Co. can be best appreciated by looking at the Owenton Industrial Park: of its 63.8 acres, all remain available. There is no rail ser vice, no adequate airport, and no barge transportation. Accordingly, it is easy to understand why Owen Co. has not been successful in attracting much-needed industrial jobs for its employment base. Perhaps the proposed rebuilding of Ky. Rt. 22 east to I-75 will help alleviate the problem by making access to Owen Co. easier for industry. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom. History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976. Vertical fi les, Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky.
OWEN CO. PUBLIC LIBRARY. The Owen Co. Public Library got its start in 1946, with Elizabeth Thomas’s desire to provide books for students at the Owenton School (grades 1–12). Thomas lived at the corner of W. Perry and N. Main Sts. in Owenton, across Perry St. from the school. Soon the Owen Co. Woman’s Club began a library with the goal of fulfi lling Thomas’s wish. At the beginning, individuals donated books from their personal libraries; these were placed in the front parlor of the Thomas home. Checkout of books was based on the honor system: a person would bring one book to trade in for another. A library committee was appointed, and it met in a small room in back of the Kroger grocery, located at the corner of E. Seminary and S. Main Sts.
OWENS, THURMAN “JESSE,” BRIGADIER GENERAL
As the library began to grow, it moved in October 1952 to four rooms above the First National Bank on W. Seminary St. There, the library shared space with the American Red Cross, the Homemakers, and the hospital auxiliary, which used the location as a meeting place. The library’s 1952 annual report showed that 5,500 books were circulated and that a children’s story hour was begun in the preceding year. The library had also received a state grant of $1,528. The first bookmobile arrived in October 1954, one of 84 that were purchased by the Philip Morris Company as part of a statewide program established by Kentucky governor Lawrence Wetherby (1950–1955). The library continued its growth and, in 1961, moved to the upper floor of city hall at 102 N. Main St., remaining at that spot until the opening of the present facility, a building authorized by the passage of a countywide tax levy. In July 1970, the library board purchased a home at the corner of W. Perry and S. Main Sts., the very same home in which the library was first organized, and construction began on a completely new building that opened in 1973. In 2001 the library underwent a complete facelift and reopened its doors in December. With a total of 4,650 square feet, at present it houses books, audio books, CD’s, videos, magazines, newspapers, and historical records. The library offers story-hour programs, summer reading programs, and a bookmobile ser vice. Meeting rooms and computers are available in the facility for the public’s use. Historical Society fi les, Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky.
OWEN CO. PUBLIC SCHOOLS. When Owen Co. was established in 1819, public officials and residents demonstrated little interest in public education. Education was provided mainly through private schools, where tuition had to be paid. Because these schools were mostly in New Liberty and Owenton, the county’s largest towns, the majority of school-age children had little opportunity to attend school. By the early 1820s, public (common) schools had opened in New Liberty (1817) and Pleasant Grove (1820) near New Columbus. By 1845, Owen Co. reported one district with an enrollment of 55 students; it is known that other schools existed, but these apparently did not report. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the school system could not obtain qualified teachers, because many male teachers went to war. In addition, enrollment in the county’s schools declined as children were needed at home to help with crops. Following the war, social and political problems and limited funds left the county unable to provide public schools. From 1861 to 1867, funds for public education came from various fines and a dog tax, and this money was designated for white schools only. The common school system allowed districts to have schools if residents were willing to pay a personal tax for support of the schools. It is unclear whether the Owen Co. court system decided not to enact this tax, or whether there was no need for the tax
since there were some private schools in operation in the county. In 1878–1879 the first Owen Co. school for African Americans was opened in Owenton by J. W. Womack. In 1879 the county created a three-trustee system for each of its districts. By 1881 there were 75 white schools in the county and 1 black school. Most of the schools were one-room schools operating for a term of five months; average attendance per school per month was 15. By 1910, the school term changed to 6 months, and there were 63 white schools and 7 black schools; 4,678 students attended schools in Owen Co., including the four independent school districts of Owenton, Gratz, New Liberty, and Sparta. Owenton High School was established in 1902; Wheatley High School was founded in 1912. By the 1920s, county high schools were operating at Gratz, Lusby’s Mill, Monterey, New Columbus, and Hesler (a two-year high school), and there were also high schools in the independent districts of New Liberty, Owenton, Sparta, and Wheatley. Throughout the early 20th century, the need to save funds, a shortage of teachers, the improvement in the county’s roads, and the use of buses to transport students all contributed to the closing of several of Owen Co.’s small public community schools through consolidation. In 1936, with the entrance of the school at Sparta into the county school system, the only remaining independent system in the county was at Owenton. In 1951, with the building of a high school just outside Owenton to serve the entire county, the consolidation of the county’s high schools began, and the Owenton independent system was dissolved. Currently Owen Co. Public Schools operates four schools, all located on Ky. Rt. 22 East in Owenton: Owen Co. Primary, established in 1985; Owen Co. Elementary, opened in 1970; Bowling Middle School, opened in 1985; and the original Owen Co. High School, built in 1951 and now operating in a new building built in 2002. Forsee, John. “Education, Owen County,” Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom. History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976. Vertical fi les, Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky.
ser vice area. In the years following, Owen Co. RECC expanded its ser vice area to include eight other counties in the region. By 1940 Owen Co. RECC had approximately 700 miles of line and 1,965 members. In 1978 there were 20,000 members, 3,782 miles of line, and 82 employees, with four offices and three ser vice facilities. In 1988 Owen Co. RECC celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 1990 the cooperative shortened its name to Owen Electric Cooperative. During the 1990s, Owen Electric saw the addition of many commercial and industrial consumers, such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Gallatin Steel, and the Kentucky Speedway. In addition, residential development companies were buying land quickly in Owen Electric’s ser vice area to develop subdivisions like Triple Crown and Derby Estates in Boone Co. By 1998 Owen Electric had over 40,000 members, 4,300 miles of line, and 116 employees. In 2000 Owen Electric joined Touchstone Energy, a national network of electric cooperatives established to provide better resources to cooperatives and their members. In 2002 Owen Electric became one of the first electric utilities in the state to offer green-power energy generated from renewable sources to its customers. In 2003 Owen Electric and East Kentucky Power Cooperative started local production of EnviroWatts (Owen Electric’s name for green power produced from biomass) from methane gas collected off the Bavarian Landfill at Walton, Boone Co.; also in 2003, Owen Electric moved into its new state-of-the art headquarters facility, which includes a community room, a storm-hardened dispatch center, a call center, and a museum (open to the public). The cooperative started purchasing EnviroWatts for the new facility in 2004. Also that year, Owen Electric made another environmental commitment by installing biodiesel pumps on-site at its two ser vice facilities and using biodiesel fuel in its entire dieselpowered fleet. In 2005 Owen Electric had more than 52,000 members, 4,800 miles of line, and 120 employees reporting out of four customer ser vice offices and two ser vice centers. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom, History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976.
OWEN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE. This
OWENS, THURMAN “JESSE,” BRIGADIER GENERAL (b. March 15, 1925, Livingston, Ky.; d.
nonprofit electric cooperative in north central Kentucky provides electricity to many businesses and residents in Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton, and Scott counties. Owen Electric, formerly known as Owen Co. RECC (Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation), was formed in 1937. Five farmers from Owen Co. met to discuss bringing electricity to the rural parts of the county with the help of the Rural Electrification Administration. In January 1938, Kentucky governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler (1935–1939, 1955–1959) attended a special dedication ceremony during which he flipped a switch at the New Liberty substation, providing power to the first 100 homes across 45 miles of line in Owen Co. RECC’s
February 22, 2004, Edgewood, Ky.). Thurman Owens, a veteran of three U.S. wars, was born in Rockcastle Co., the son of Walter and Flossie Mullins Owens. By 1930 the family lived in Covington and Walter Owens worked for the railroad. Thurman graduated from Holmes High School in 1943, where he was a star football player, and immediately joined the Marine Corps Reserves. In 1945 he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, just as World War II was nearing its end. He participated in the Allied occupation of China and then was discharged from the military in 1947. In 1949 Owens captained the University of Cincinnati football team, where he was a 176-pound defensive end
698 OWENTON under coach Sid Gillman. Owens earned his BS from that school in 1950. He taught and coached at the Elkhart, Ind., high school before being recalled to active military duty during the Korean War. With the exception of a brief period during 1954, he spent the next 23 years as a Marine officer, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He served in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star and two Legion of Merit awards. He also was the deputy chief of staff for programs at the Marine Corps headquarters. After retiring from the military in 1978, he became the assistant director of the University of Cincinnati Foundation, advanced to director of the foundation in 1980, and retired in 1991. Even after leaving his job at the University of Cincinnati, he helped countless college students to obtain financial aid. Owens was a member of the Boone Co. Planning Commission and the Kenton Co. Airport Board. He was selected for the sports halls of fame of Holmes High School, Northern Kentucky, and the University of Cincinnati. Owens died in 2004 at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center South, in Edgewood, and was buried at Highland Cemetery in Fort Mitchell. BioMilitaryStyleold. “Gen. Thurman Owens.” www .usmc.mil/genbios2.nsf (accessed June 20, 2007). Meiman, Karen. “Distinguished Grads Recognized,” KP, May 18, 2004, 3. “Thurman Owens, 78, Marine Corps General,” KP, February 24, 2004, 4A.
OWENTON. The county seat of Owen Co., Ky., is the centrally located fifth-class city of Owenton, which is situated where U.S. 127 and Ky. Rt. 22 meet. It lies in the middle of Kentucky’s “Golden Triangle,” an area of economic prosperity bounded by Northern Kentucky on the north, Lexington on the south, and Louisville on the west. Unfortunately, Owen Co. and Owenton have yet to benefit from being surrounded by the three thriving areas of commerce. The town, like the county, was named for Revolutionary War soldier and Indian fighter Col. Abraham Owen. Owenton was not Owen Co.’s first county seat, but in 1822, after the county’s formation in 1819, the center of government was moved to Owenton from Hesler (Heslerville). Incorporated in 1828, Owenton became the center of religion, education, health care, and commerce for Owen Co. Many of the major denominations are represented in the city; churches in town include the Assembly of God, the First Baptist, the Second Baptist, the First Christian, the St. Edward Catholic, and the First Methodist. Owenton was the home of the first secondary school in the county, Caldwell Academy, and now the Owen Co. High School is located in Owenton (see Owen Co. Public Schools). Owenton has the hospital that serves the county, New Horizons Medical Center, and Owenton is where area residents go for ser vices and shopping. It is also home to the Owen Co. Public Library
and the Owenton News-Herald newspaper. During the Civil War, city residents tended to favor the South, with two Confederate recruiting stations nearby (see Confederate Recruiting in Owen Co.). During World War II, several successful and important military leaders had ties with Owenton: Gen. Gerald Walter Johnson, Vice Adm. Willis Augustus Lee, Rear Adm. Arnold Ellsworth True, and Rear Adm. Evan White Yancey. The town has also produced jurists of statewide influence: Judge James Cammack Sr. and Judge James Cammack Jr. What little industry has existed in the county has been and is located on the outskirts of town (see Owen Co. Industry). Many workers travel daily to cities outside the county, especially Frankfort, located to the south along U.S. 127. The major factor hindering Owenton economical ly is its location with respect to transportation routes. Flanked by I-71 on the north, I-75 on the east, and I-64 on the south, Owenton is bypassed by people and commerce crossing Kentucky, and its citizens are drawn to one of the three points of the “Golden Triangle” for some of their needs. The town is not easily accessed from the major arteries of travel and commerce. The town, and most of the county, has no railroad connection. Owenton serves as the center of the county’s agricultural community, which has relied heavily on the production of tobacco in the past. The Owen Co. courthouse dominates the center of town, within the town square. Over time, whereas the county has lost population, Owenton’s population has remained stable or increased slightly. The city’s population in 1990 was 1,306, and in 2000, 1,387. Houchens, Mariam Sidebottom, History of Owen County: “Sweet Owen.” Louisville, Ky.: Standard, 1976. Kleber, John E., ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992. U.S. Census Bureau. “American Fact Finder. Data Set. Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF1) 100-Percent Data. Custom Table.” www.census.gov (accessed June 3, 2006).
OWENTON NEWS-HERALD. Newspapers in Owen Co. have started, stopped, experienced rivalries, and merged, but through the years they have had a major role in the development of the county’s communities by providing a place for the expression of ideas. Three early newspapers published in Owen Co., the Owen News, the Owenton Herald, and the Owen County Democrat, helped to form the News-Herald, which serves the county today. The Owen News was first published in 1868 in New Liberty by J. M. Clark, who soon moved the Owen News to Owenton. Afterward, the newspaper was published continuously for several years under various owners. By 1883 George S. Lee was editor and proprietor of the Owen News. Then in
April 1895, George S. Lee and Emmett Off were listed as the publishers of the Owen News. Frank C. Greene became editor of the Owen News in January 1900. During his short term of ownership, the newspaper’s circulation increased from 1,200 to 1,500. Sometime after 1874, Jerry D. Lillard became editor and owner of a second paper in the county, the Owen County Democrat. By 1884 Col. R. C. “Bob” Ford Sr. was this newspaper’s publisher. Then Ford left Owenton, and the paper was not printed between 1888 and 1902. In about 1902, Evan Settle and Frank Greene resurrected the Owen County Democrat. In 1893 a new newspaper, the third one in the county, appeared as the Owenton Herald, established by Col. William Lindsay and Evan Settle. They were followed as owners by B. J. Newton. It is believed that about 1902 the Owenton Herald purchased the Owen News and they merged to become the News-Herald. Around 1903, local attorney M. H. Bourne purchased the News-Herald. In 1907 the Owen County Democrat and the News-Herald submitted competing bids for a contract to print the Owen Co. Fiscal Court’s list of delinquent taxpayers (580 names). The lowest bidder was the Owen County Democrat at a cost of 2.5 cents per line. Keen competition existed in July 1907 between the Owen County Democrat and the NewsHerald concerning circulation. The News-Herald claimed it mailed 500 more copies of its issues than the Owen County Democrat. However, the rivalry was friendly, for in September 1907, when the Owen County Democrat had printing press motor trouble, the News-Herald helped out one week by printing the Democrat. In late 1903, John H. Westover, nearby publisher and editor of the Williamstown Courier, became the publisher of the Owen County Democrat. He sold the paper to Kentucky state senator L. C. Littrell in 1907 and then left the county to establish a newspaper in Arizona. L. C. Littrell & Son published the Owen County Democrat until Littrell’s death in 1942; it was sold by the Littrell estate on January 1, 1943, to Joe T. Slocum. In November 1943, Bourne sold the NewsHerald to John H. Perry. Perry then bought the Owen County Democrat from Slocum in March 1944 and merged the two papers into the NewsHerald and Owen County Democrat. In 1953 Perry; C. H. Bourne, son of M. H. Bourne; and Clayton Roland formed a partnership that became known as the News-Herald Publishing Company. Bourne and Roland subsequently purchased Perry’s interest in the paper. The News-Herald is now owned and published by Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. Vertical fi les, Owen Co. Public Library, Owenton, Ky.
The Encylopedia of Northern Kentucky in partnership with NKY.com. Edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool, The University Press of...