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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Billy the Killer Miller: Pals with Pretty Boy Floyd Hiding Out in Green Township

 Billy "The Killer" Miller
The slim, dapper Miller, a bigamist with two wives, became known to police throghout
the Midwest as the “torpedo” of various Ohio gangs who had already killed five men. After being arrested twenty-eight times, Miller boasted he would not be taken alive.”

When Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was killed by federal agents near East Liverpool, Ohio in October 1934, the Portsmouth Times reported “the end of the career of the last of the nation's public enemy who sought refuge in Scioto County. The report went on to say, “While not a resident of this county, Floyd in the earlier days of his career as a public enemy, frequently visited a hideout in the hills of Green Township. In 1930 he often visited the community of Ohio Furnace.”

Pretty Boy was “a pal of Scioto County's public enemy No. 1, William Miller, known nationally as 'Billy the Killer.'” It seem that Floyd and Miller often stopped at Miller's home waiting for the trail of officers to “cool.” They “brushed” now and then with local officers but managed to escape, sometimes in gun battles.

Their last reported trip together to Green Township was during the week preceding Miller's death at the hands of police of Bowling Green in 1930. The pair had robbed a bank in Kentucky and returned to Miller's home

Pretty Boy Floyd's companion in crime was born in Ironton in 1906. William Miller first earned his nickname "Billy the Killer" when, on September 18, 1925, the 19-year-old Miller killed his brother Joseph in a fight over a woman. Billy was living in Midland when he and Joe, 29 – known as the "King of the State Line Bootleggers" – became infatuated with Mrs. Hazel Campbell Anthony. Jealousy turned to bloodshed Sept. 18.

Evidently, the killing was no accident. Determining his girlfriend was near a spring up the hill 200 yards east of the Ohio line, Billy approached Joe, “pulled out a revolver, and began firing without saying a word.” Police later reported Joe had been beaten severely about the head with the handle of the revolver after he had fallen

After the shooting, a witness – Jake Eckert, longtime proprietor of the state line tavern – said, “Mrs. Anthony ran to Billy and threw her arms around his neck. They then walked down the path toward the streetcar tracks, Billy warning Jake to stay where he was” (which Jake evidently did). Billy and Mrs. Anthony reportedly went to the home of Louis Campbell, brother of Mrs. Anthony, after the shooting, then they disappeared.

According to police, the Miller brothers had arrived in the area about three years prior, and were blamed for a number of offenses linked with "Hell's Half Acre,” reported to be during Prohibition “one of the nation's worst concentrations of bootleggers, gunmen, and bank robbers.

Joe Miller had been released from the Allegheny County (Pa.) Workhouse a month before, serving a year on a liquor charge in Beaver County for which he had been fined $1,000. He had been sought for several months on that offense, making several sensational escapes before he was captured. He had been living at the state line since freed from the workhouse.

Billy Miller had earned a bad reputation as a youth around Ironton, Ohio. Billy had returned to the state line area that spring after serving six months in the Allegheny workhouse on a liquor charge. He reportedly had resumed his bootlegging enterprises, and a city illegal liquor charge had been filed against him.
In June 1925 Patrolmen Herman Roth and Chester Smith had gone to the state line looking for Billy, locating him on the Ohio side. When Roth told him he was under arrest, Miller bolted. Roth fired at him, the bullet hitting in the leg, and he surrendered.

Billy was admitted to City Hospital where, eight days later, he escaped, apparently with the help of outsiders, one a woman. He climbed down from a second story window using sheets tied together to form a rope. Police said he was taken to New Castle Where he recovered from his wound, and went to Midland where he got a job in the mill and took up residence.

It was reported that “just a few days before shooting his brother Joe, Billy indicated he wanted to 'go straight,' and had almost arranged with police to turn himself in on the liquor charge and pay his fine in installments.”

Miller later was tried in Beaver County for first degree murder in connection with his brother's death., and the jury returned a not guilty verdict. Miller was acquitted of murder on the grounds that he had suffered emotional trauma due to the death of his brother. He also claimed he fired his weapon only after Joe attacked him. The Toledo News-Bee reported his brother Grover said Miller had “a dislike for farm work and the desire to be on the loose,” which was the “cause” of his criminal career. Instead, according to Grover, Billy liked “good clothes and a good time.”

Although Miller was acquitted, the trial judge ordered him held under under an old English law requiring him to post $2,000 as guarantee for future good conduct. Unable to raise the money, he spent a year in jail until the bond was reduced to $500. It was posted by his mother who, it was said, mortgaged her home in Ironton, Ohio.

Pretty Boy

Then, Billy began drifting to other parts of Ohio, engaged in illegal activities, and six years later
in August 1930, he was arrested by police in Lakeside, Michigan and charged with a series of bank robberies committed in Michigan and Ohio. On September 2, Miller escaped from custody while imprisoned in Lucas County, Ohio and fled to Oklahoma where he eventually joined up with George Birdwell and Pretty Boy Floyd. (Floyd had escaped from a train taking him to the Ohio Penitentiary.)

On March 9, 1931, Miller joined Birdwell and Floyd in a $3,000 bank robbery in Earlsboro, Oklahoma. While Miller and Floyd headed for Kansas City shortly afterwards, Birdwell chose to remain in Oklahoma and began dating sisters Rose Ash and Beulah Baird. At the time, Rose was married, and Beulah was dating her brother-in-law. On March 25, Miller and Floyd murdered the brothers William and Wallace Ash, and left their bodies in a car which was found on the outskirts of town days later. Meanwhile, Rose and Beulah joined the outlaws as they continued their crime spree.

Miller and Floyd headed east, robbing a bank in Elliston, Kentucky for $2,262 on April 6 and, turning back west, raided another in Whitehouse, Ohio for $1,600 eight days later. Police in Bowling Green, Ohio, became suspicious of a foursome who were spending plenty of money,

On April 16, they were confronted by Bowling Gree authorities and a shootout occurred. Floyd attempted to come to Miller's aid, killing Patrolman Ralph Castner, but Miller was already dead by the time the battle had ended. His life of crime ended as he had boasted – he was not taken alive. While Floyd was able to escape back to Oklahoma, Rose Ash and Beulah Baird, the latter being wounded during the gunfight, were both arrested and charged with harboring fugitives. 


The body of “Billy the Killer” was removed from the scene of the shootout and taken to Deck Funeral Home in Bowling Green where it was reported “throughout the night and the following day police kept close watch as 'public enemies' lined up to pay their last respects.” Among the most notorious was Ma Barker and her gang. Two women, both professing to be the wife of Billy Miller, claimed the body. Only one could produce a marriage license. Billy was then transported to Ironton, Ohio where he was buried beside his father and brother, both of whom had also been shot to death.

As told to Kraig Hanneman, funeral director and embalmer, by his grandmother, Hildreth, previous owner of the funeral home …

I lived on Prospect St a hundred feet or so away from the shoot out of April 16th 1931 with BG Police, “Pretty Boy” Floyd and 'Billy the Killer' Miller. A friend and I were sitting in the kitchen when we heard a thump on the door and gunshots. Without thinking jumped up and ran to see what the ruckus was and saw Ralph Castner (policeman) along with another man down on the ground. (The thump on the wooden screen door was discovered to be a strayed bullet.)

We had a lot of women trying to claim the body (Billy); eventually one did produce a marriage license. Only during the time of claiming the body did I feel frightened. One of the women wanted me to release the body to her and was threatening, but unknown to her was the police and FBI agents were hidden behind curtains around the room, and they quickly removed her.

The FBI was watching out for any public enemies wanted in the State of Ohio . (My grandma explained that these killers could move around freely in a State where they did not committee a crime) I felt secure with the police and FBI watching out, but it’s a very strange feeling being in a room filled with known murders. I noticed the presences of a well dressed woman surrounded by younger men, they were very polite to me, and I was informed they were Ma Baker and her boys.”

“Pretty Boy Floyd” became one of legendary folk song writer's Woody Guthrie, more popular ballads. The song seemed a pretty long stretch of the truth about the criminal, as in the tune, the outlaw supposedly helped the poor. The song is essentially a Robin Hood story – a thief steals from the rich banker to give to the poor farmer, though one finds little evidence to support this benevolent version of the real Pretty Boy Floyd.
Roger McGuinn of The Byrds said: "I love 'Pretty Boy Floyd.' It's very typical, that killer-outlaw as hero, just because during the depression, banks were considered more the enemy than the people who robbed them. A few killings here and there were allowed."

“I love a good man outside the law, 
just as much as I hate a bad man inside the law,” Woody Guthrie once wrote on a lyric sheet for his song “Pretty Boy Floyd.”The tale of Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd must have appealed to Guthrie. Floyd was an Oklahoma native who turned to bank robbing and violence in the 1920s as the country faced economic difficulty.

Floyd’s exploits were well known during the era, and Guthrie, eight years younger than Floyd, would have likely followed the outlaw’s story in newspapers and local gossip. By the time Guthrie wrote his outlaw ballad in 1939, Pretty Boy Floyd had been dead some five years, though his story must have seemed as relevant to Guthrie as other topical subjects like the Grand Coulee Dam or the USS Reuben James.

Pretty Boy Floyd
By Woody Guthrie

If you'll gather 'round me, children,
A story I will tell
'Bout Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw,
Oklahoma knew him well.

It was in the town of Shawnee,
A Saturday afternoon,
His wife beside him in his wagon
As into town they rode.

There a deputy sheriff approached him
In a manner rather rude,
Vulgar words of anger,
An' his wife she overheard.

Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain,
And the deputy grabbed his gun;
In the fight that followed
He laid that deputy down.

Then he took to the trees and timber
To live a life of shame;
Every crime in Oklahoma
Was added to his name.

But a many a starving farmer
The same old story told
How the outlaw paid their mortgage
And saved their little homes.

Others tell you 'bout a stranger
That come to beg a meal,
Underneath his napkin
Left a thousand dollar bill.

It was in Oklahoma City,
It was on a Christmas Day,
There was a whole car load of groceries
Come with a note to say:

Well, you say that I'm an outlaw,
You say that I'm a thief.
Here's a Christmas dinner
For the families on relief.

Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Songwriters: Woody Guthrie


Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home and Crematory

“Floyd Had Hideout in Scioto County in Early Days of Career.” Portsmouth Times. October 23, 1934.

Michael Newton. The Encyclopedia of Robberies, Heists, and Capers. New York: Facts On File Inc., 2002. (pg. 197-198)

“Pretty Boy Floyd.” Songfacts.

Michael Wallis. (1994). Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd. Macmillan.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Locals Attend 1913 Gettysburg 50th Anniversary -- Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery


Through tear-dimmed eyes, Federal and Confederate veterans of the Civil War stoodlast night with clasped hands or arms affectionately thrown around once broad but now stooping shoulders and watched the sun go down …

With every passing minute the sun, dipping lower toward the grove in whose
shelter the Confederates formed for the historic assault, assumed a ruddier tinge, until,just as it touched the horizon, it looked blood-red, as though symbolizing the scenes of carnage on which it looked down in the 
dreadful days of July 1, 2, and 3 1863.”

The Pittsburg Press, July 1, 1915

The 1913 Gettysburg reunion was a Gettysburg Battlefield encampment of American Civil War veterans for the Battle of Gettysburg's 50th Anniversary. The June 29–July 4 gathering of 53,407 veterans was the largest ever Civil War veteran reunion, and "never before in the world's history (had) so great a number of men so advanced in years been assembled under field conditions.” Fifty years after the battle, many of those in attendance were in their 70s.

According to the Portsmouth Times, on June 30, a group of local Civil War veterans of Gettysburg left the N&W Depot in Portsmouth on a “special” B&O train headed for this 50th Anniversary commemoration. All travel expenses were paid by the State of Ohio.

The Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery group attending the event included E. H. (Henry) Wishon, Marion (Frances) Temple, A.T. Holcomb, and Gilbert C. (Clinton) Wood of Lucasville. And from nearby areas, the roster recorded the departure of John H. McGhee, James F. Miles, Joseph Hornung, Charles W. Shaw, Harrison Massie (who had been wounded in the battle on July 3, 1863), and Abraham Doll. In a prior article about the reunion, the names of Thomas Arnold and Thomas Journey were also recorded as “planning to attend.”

The article said, “Mr Wishon states that he will be able to pick out the very spot on which he was standing when a rebel shell bursted over his head, sending many of his comrades to their long home. He insists if the woodman's axe has sparered a certain tree, he will find the one behind which he took temporary shelter when the bullets were falling around him like hail stones.”

All honorably discharged veterans in the Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans were invited to the reunion, and veterans from 46 of the 48 states attended. Despite concerns "that there might be unpleasant differences, at least, between the blue and gray,” the peaceful reunion was repeatedly marked by events of Union–Confederate camaraderie.

  • Note – A violent event away from the reunion did occur at Hotel Gettysburg where a man named Henry from a prominent Virginia family used a "vile epithet" for President Lincoln and reportedly stabbed 8 people. The Virginia governor subsequently spoke on behalf of the perpetrator, a Philadelphia attorney who was in the area to locate his father that he claimed was a Confederate general. The father, a Confederate Major, posted the bail.
This was a report by John M. Morris, formerly of Portsmouth in his article titled “Notes of the Trip to Gettysburg in the Portsmouth Times. August 19, 1913:

“This afternoon, our Governor Cox made a nice speech at the big tent … In the evening, Governor Cox said, “Boys. I am in receipt of an invitation to visit the Confederate Camp … I would like to have you go with me … We marched over to the Gray Camp, and were very cordially received, and spent quite a pleasant evening.

“This evening down at the Village, someone made a disrespecting remark about President Lincoln, which was immediately taken up, and quite a serious cutting scrape was the result. I understand it looked like a riot for a while, but I am told it was all the outcome of too much drink.”

The first veterans actually began arriving on June 25 and within days the “Great Camp” swelled to overflowing. Every veteran was provided a cot and bedding in a tent that would hold eight men. Meals were served from a kitchen at the end of each company street and varied from fried chicken suppers to pork roast sandwiches with ice cream for desert.

By the end of the reunion, the army kitchens had supplied over 688,000 meals to reunion participants. Invariably the days were hot and the thermometer topped 100 degrees on July 2. Heat exhaustion and physical fatigue resulted in hospitalization of several hundred veterans. Over 9,980 patients were treated by medical personnel for ailments ranging from heat exhaustion to stomach disorders.


Though President Woodrow Wilson had made a conscious effort to avoid the event, he was persuaded by an assistant not to let such an opportunity slip by. Following some last minute arrangements, Wilson came to Gettysburg to address the veterans on July 4th.

Virginia-born Woodrow Wilson had become president in March. He was the first Southerner to be elected to that office since the end of the Civil War, and his July 4 speech in a large tent erected on the battlefield drew wild enthusiasm from the ex-Confederates.

"When the President faced the audience in the vast canvas enclosure, the rebel yells were given with a vengeance, almost drowning out the noise produced by the handclapping and applause from the Union veterans," Pittsburgh Press reporter James J. Farrell wrote on July 5, 1913.

It is recorded that Wilson was no friend to African-Americans. Among other measures, he ordered re-segregation of federal offices and expressed support for the Ku Klux Klan. Nevertheless, in his Gettysburg speech he emphasized both the economic power of the re-united United States and "its world-wide fame as the home of free men."

* Note – Judging from the stories and photographs that appeared in the Pittsburgh papers, The Press and the Gazette-Times, blacks had no part in the golden anniversary commemoration of Gettysburg except in service roles. Farrell, the Press reporter, reported that veterans appeared simultaneously amused and uncomfortable when several of the reunion's African-American cooks set up a mock slave auction. Farrell wrote that the cooks, having "some idle moments to dispose of ... entered into the play with the enthusiasm of kids." Farrell wrote: "A crowd of veterans who gathered laughed, but it could be seen they were affected by the unusual and startling recollection of a state of affairs which had helped to materially precipitate the awful war they are survivors of.”


The conditions at the event were hot and dusty to say the least. Heat exhaustion and physical fatigue resulted in hospitalization of several hundred veterans. Over 9,980 patients were treated by medical personnel for ailments ranging from heat exhaustion to stomach disorders. Remarkably, only nine veterans passed away during the week-long encampment. One unnamed Southerner relayed to a reporter …

"I'm jest about as hot as I was the last time we all charged, but I ain't so scairt. And them Yankees ain't a-going to get my tobaccy this time the way they did then, either."

The youngest veteran at the reunion was 61 years old and the oldest "alleged that he was 112 years." Aged men in hundreds wandered the battlefield and packed into the Great Tent erected in the field of "Pickett's Charge" adjacent to the camp, for daily meetings and ceremonies. The veterans visited battle sites where they or their comrades had been fifty years before.

The presence of khaki-clad US Army personnel caused a lot of excitement. The soldiers were there to guard camp supplies, give demonstrations, and provide services to the veterans who delighted themselves discussing the modern weapons of war. One report states: “Many an aged veteran was eager to explain how much things had changed in fifty years to any soldier who was handy and army personnel were entertained by old soldiers at every turn.”

The scheduled events took place as follows:

July 2

Military Day included an address recommending a stronger military ("we ought to build two battleships for every one laid down by Japan"), a reading of the Gettysburg Address, and a Seminary Ridge review of the VA division by their governor. At night, an impromptu Union raid on the Confederate side of the Great Camp resulted in joint parades and camp fires following the "charge.”

July 3

Civic/Governors' Day had 65 unit reunions, the Wells statue dedication, and a Webb/Pickett flag ceremony at the Bloody Angle on the hour of Pickett's Charge. In the Great Tent from 4:30-6 P.M. was the New York Veterans' Celebration, which included a speech by Colonel Andrew Cowan in which he again called for a Gettysburg peace memorial.The fireworks by the Pain Fireworks Display Company at 9 p.m. included "gigantic set pieces covering the entire face and crest of Little Round Top.”

July 4

On National Day, the Pennsylvania State Memorial with 8 statues installed in April was dedicated, and President Woodrow Wilson arrived at 11 a.m. in a special train car, traveled through the borough, and entered the Great Tent through 2 rows of Boy Scouts. Wilson addressed the audience in the Big Tent about national unity and departed the camp after the National Anthem that followed (attendees similarly returned to their quarters). The subsequent Tribute to Our Heroic Dead with "a silent, solemn, sacred five minutes at 'Attention' by" people throughout the Gettysburg area, e.g., at the College Hotel and Seminary Hotel.” The Tribute began with a bugle salute over the camp while the Gettysburg bells tolled noon in the distance, followed by the remaining minutes of silence punctuated by periodic artillery firing from the distance. From 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7,147 automobiles (at least 1 from each state) used the national park roads.


Talk about some serious victuals consumed during the event (again from a report in The Gettysburg Times July 5, 1913 edition) ...

The slaughter of chickens for the Fourth od July dinner served on the battlefield was alsmost as great as was the havoc among the Blue and Gray on the field fifty years ago. Nearly 20,000 were needed to serve the hungry soldiers of the Civil War and the 900 regulars on duty in the camp … In addition to a bountiful supply of stewed chicken the old soldiers had mashed potatoes, corn, ice cream, cake, coffee, bread and butter.”

John M. Morris reported in the Portsmouth Times ...

The names of the Boys that came to Gettysburg in 1913, and who took part in that Battle in 1863, are as follows:

Right Section – Ben F. Reed, John Summers, James Miles, John McGhee
Center Section – Marion (Frances) Temple, John M. Morris
Left Section – Frank Piles, Harrison “Tip” Massie, Charles Shaw, Henry Wishon, Joseph Hornung, Billy Gage, Abraham Doll (Some names may be incorrectly spelled despite the best checking.)”

Morris also reported about some of the activity of the local group while they attended ...

The scenery looked familiar. Just like looking at an old picture that you have not seen for years. While we were there, two Confederate Soldiers came over from where their line was, shook hands with me, and one of them said: 'Were you in this Battery?' I said I was. “Well,” said he, 'Shake! I belonged to the Brigade that charged your Battery twice. I'm from Georgia.'”

I told him I was glad to meet him and that I thought that they did some pretty good charging.

'Yes, and we all though you did some pretty good shooting,' said he, 'and we tried to give you your money's worth.'

And they surely did.

He said, 'This reunion here of both Armies that were engaged in the fight, is one of the greatest, grandest things that any Nation on the face of the Globe can boast of. Here, fifty years ago, we were engaged in one of the greatest battles of the Civil War. Today we meet as old neighbors and friends, anxious to let feelings be buried, and nothing but friendship and brotherly love exist. Oh, my Dear Sir! This is a great Country, and one worth living for. Goodbye! I am glad I met you.'

And my Johnnie friend was gone. After pulling a little cedar bush that grew up on the very spot our gun stood in that engagement, and Henry Wishon waved the flag that he brought with him from Portsmouth, Ohio, we turned our faces toward the Camp. I forgot to mention that the Commission has erected a very nice little Monument to mark the location of the Battery, with the following inscription:

'Had a splendid time, and were treated as nice as men could be, and as tenderly cared for, as men could be. Every little detail that would in the least add to our pleasure and comfort was looked after, and Governor Cox was on the job all the time, watching the interests of the Boys from Ohio.'”

View from Little Round Top

The Gettysburg Times reported of the departure of veterans in their July 5, 1913 edition ...

The departure proved to be full of interesting incidents. Old soldiers took with them many mementoes of their stay here. They were allowed to carry home their plates, cups, knives, forks, and spoons furnished by the War Department and nearly all took advantage of the opportunity to do this. Doubtless they will be handed down to coming generations as valued family possessions.

Bits of things found on the battlefield proved to be the mementoes of many. One veteran was seen taking home a tiny pine tree in a small crock; another had a sprout from a willow tree which he claimed had saved his life during the battle; others took along branches or canes, and note has already been made of the veteran from Iowa who carried home two suitcases full of ground from the scene of Pickett's Charge.”

One must wonder if this unnamed “tree lover” was Henry Wishon of Lucasville, Ohio. The local soldiers boarded their train and returned from what was perhaps the most memorable anniversary of any event in American history. Many local meetings of Battery L were held after they got home, each with dwindling numbers of survivors of Gettysburg. The event remains close to the understanding of our community, our state, and our nation.

The greatest parade in American history has finally come to an end. The Grand Army of the Republic has marched off to join the shadows and no matter how long the nation exists there will never be anything quite like it again.

There was an open door to the past, and what we could see through that door was magically haunted. But when the last notes of the bugle hung against the sky, the door swung shut. It cannot be reopened.”

--Life Magazine, August 20, 1956


“The Great Gettysburg Reunion of 1913.”

Brian Resnick. “A Second Gettysburg Address, 50 Years After the Civil War.” The Atlantic. July 1, 2013.

Beitler, Lewis Eugene (editor and compiler) (December 31, 1913). Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg: Report of the Pennsylvania Commission (Google Books) (Report). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Wm. Stanley Bay (state printer).

Bradley, A. E. (Lieut. Colonel) (October 24, 1913). Office of Chief Surgeon Report (Google Books). Report of the Pennsylvania Commission (Report). Medical Corps, U. S. Army.

Davis, William C. (1995) [1983]. Gettysburg: The Story Behind the Scenery (Fifth Printing ed.).

 "The Peace Memorial Bill: Speech of Colonel Andrew Cowan of Louisville." (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. April 18, 1914.

"The Gettysburg Reunion." (Google Books). Report of the Pennsylvania Commission. March 29, 1913.

"Pathetic Night Scene in Veterans' Great Reunion"(Google News Archive). The Pittsburgh Press. July 1, 1913.

Gettysburg National Military Park Commission. "An Introduction to the Annual Reports of the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission to the Secretary of War.” The Gettysburg Commission Reports. Gettysburg, PA: War Department.

“March on Rebs: Blues Advanced on the Grays Wednesday Night", "Many Leaving", "Reviewed Virginians"(Google News Archives). Gettysburg Times. Times and News Publishing Company. July 3, 1913.

Geore H. Wood. “Will Go to Reunion. Portsmouth Times. May 31, 1913.

Len Barcousky. “Rebel Yell Echoes Again Across Gettysburg Fields.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 7, 2013.

John M. Morris. “Notes of the Trip to Gettysburg.” Portsmouth Times. August 19, 1913. 


Friday, March 16, 2018

Recalling An Interview With John Silas Doll -- His Father, Abraham, at Gettysburg


In 1988, on the occasion of the 100th graduating class of Valley High School, students from the 12th Grade Composition Class videotaped four prominent senior citizens: Nell Bumgarner, Valley Davis, Lynn Sloan, and John Doll. All of these people were treasures of local history and valued members of their community. The tapes preserved some precious moments with these individuals. The project was enlightening in so many respects … to the students and to me, their teacher.

That year marked Mr. John Silas Doll's 100th birthday. Being a resident of the West Side of the Scioto, he us told of his days on the Ohio-Erie Canal as well as of his early school days, his prized gardens, and his father's participation in the Civil War.

I want to write two blog entries to pay tribute to Mr. Doll. For 105 years he graced our community. When he passed, a great source of local history was extinguished. This first entry deals with Doll's ancestry and particularly with John's father, Abraham Doll, and his Civil War service. Abraham deserves special recognition in the historical annals of Lucasville. I hope you enjoy his story.

Ancestors of John Silas Doll

(a) Grandparents

John George Doll, was born 1810 in Ross County, Ohio. He was the son of Abraham Doll and Margaret (Anna) Ross. His father came to Ohio from Pennsylvania in1800, and settled in Highbanks, Ross County. He married Mary (Margaret) Graham June 25, 1834 in Scioto County, Ohio.

John George settled in Washington Township soon after marriage, and in 1841 the family removed to Rush Township, where they lived until 1850. They then returned to Washington Township, where John died in January, 1852, aged forty-two years. 

(b) Parents

Abraham Doll, the son of John George and Margaret (Graham) Doll, was born in Scioto County, Ohio, on November 25, 1839. Abraham married (1) Caroline (Carrie) W. Russell December 18, 1865 in Scioto County, Ohio. The couple settled on a farm comprised of 135 acres of “well-improved land.” Mr. and Mrs. Doll had six children – James B., Clara M., William R., Joseph, Herbert, and Carrie. Caroline Doll died November 19, 1880, aged forty-two years.

Abraham later married Emma Elizabeth Clark October 01, 1884 in Nauvoo, Scioto County, Ohio. “Abe” served as “Township Treasurer five years, Justice of the Peace six years, and Trustee four years.”

Abraham fought for the Union in the Civil War. In October, 1861, he enlisted in Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery, and served three years from October 28, 1861 to October 31, 1864. He participated in fourteen hard-fought battles and several minor engagements. Doll was mustered out at age 22, rank of private.

Abraham Doll died October 11, 1926, in Lucasville, Rush Twp. Scioto County, Ohio.

(c) John Silas Doll

One of the children of Abraham and Emma was John Silas Doll, who was born September 22, 1888 in Scioto County. (Zelma Jewell Doll Crawford was also born to Abraham and Emma.) John was married to Martha J. Lundy. He was the father of Helen A., Millard Armond, Vaughn V., Robert D., John Jr. and Naoma J. Doll. John died on December 17, 1993 at the age of 105. He is buried in the Rush Township Burial Park.

The rest of this entry centers on Abraham Doll's participation in the Civil War. It is a story touched upon by John Silas in our 1988 interview. John told us that his father had a horse shot out from beneath him in one battle – which, he did not say. How I wish we would have pressed him for more detail.

Battery L

The battery was organized in Portsmouth, Ohio October 8, 1861 by Captain L.N. Robinson and mustered in at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio for a three year enlistment on January 20, 1862. The regiment was organized as early as 1860 under Ohio's militia laws, under Colonel James Barnett. Other Commanders include Captain Franklin C. Gibbs and Lieutenant Frederick Dorries, who commanded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. The battery lost a total of 24 men during service; 1 officer and 7 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 15 enlisted men died of disease.

The following accounts for Battery L's extensive and detailed service during the war:
  • Moved to Patterson's Creek, Va., January 20–27, 1862.
  • Advance on Winchester, Va., March 7–15, 1862.
  • Reconnaissance to Strasburg March 19–20.
  • Battle of Winchester March 23.
  • Occupation of Mt. Jackson April 17.
  • March to Fredericksburg May 12–21, and return to Front Royal May 25–30.
  • Moved to Alexandria June 29, and duty in the defenses of Washington until September.
  • Movement to Falmouth, Va., October-November.
  • Battle of Fredericksburg December 12–15.
  • At Falmouth until April. 1863.
  • Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
  • Battle of Chancellorsville May 1–5.
  • Gettysburg Campaign June 11-July 24.
  • Battle of Gettysburg July 1–3.
  • Duty on line of the Rappahannock and Rapidan until October.
  • Bristoe Campaign October 9–22.
  • Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7–8.
  • Rappahannock Station November 7.
  • Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
  • Duty at Camp Barry and at Forts Sumner and Kearney, Defenses of Washington, until July 1864.
  • Repulse of Early's attack on Washington July 11–12.
  • Expedition to Snicker's Gap July 14–23.
  • Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
  • Berryville September 3.
  • Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19.
  • Fisher's Hill September 22.
  • Battle of Cedar Creek October 19.
  • Duty at Winchester until December 28, and at New Creek until June 30, 1865.
  • Ordered to Columbus, Ohio, June 30.
  • Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery mustered out of service at Columbus, Ohio on July 4, 1865.
This accounting of the battery in action at Gettysburg comes from “Reports of Capt. Augustus P. Martin, Third Massachusetts Battery, commanding Artillery Brigade, Fifth Army Corps”:

Battery L, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. F. C. Gibbs, moved up to the field in rear of the Second Division. One section, commanded by First Lieutenant Guthrie, was posted on the slope of the hill known as Rock Hill [Round Top], to the right of Battery D, Fifth U.S. Artillery. Another section, under command of First Lieutenant Walworth, was posted at the base of the hill, commanding the ravine in front of Rock Hill [Round Top]. The remaining section was held in reserve. The two sections posted in front opened upon the enemy, when he advanced upon our lines, with spherical case and canister, doing good service in checking the advance of the enemy.”

Here is another report of Captain Frank C. Gibbs, Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery from the Official Record, Series I, Volume XXVII (SN #43) Gettyburg Campaign #222 ...

I have the honor to report the following as the operations of Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery, the the Gettysburg campaign:
While in position guarding Banks' Ford, on the Rappahannock, 7 miles above Fredericksburg, Va., supported by the Forty-fourth New York Infantry, I received orders to be ready to move at a moments notice, and on the night of June 13 I started on the line of march with the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, passing through Manassas Junction and crossing the Potomac River at Edwards Ferry on Pontoons, and thence to Gettysburg. Marching nearly all night of July 1, we went into position about 8 a.m. on the morning of the 2d, to the right of the Baltimore pike, in a field of wheat, being thrown to the front of infantry support about 100 yards and in rear of our line of skirmishers some 60 yards. We remained under skirmish fire one hour, the infantry in our rear meeting with some casualties. From thence we took up our line of march, crossing Baltimore pike, and going into park on the left of it.

“About the middle of the afternoon an orderly came rapidly up, asking our battery to come to the assistance of the Fifth corps. I started on the trot, and reported to General Sykes, who ordered the battery to cover the valley. The rocky nature of the ground compelled us to unhitch our horses and place our guns in position by hand; the left section, in charge of Lieut. H.F. Guthrie, on the left of a road leading from the valley, and on the right slope of Little Round Top (Weed's Hill); the center and right sections, in charge of Lieuts. James Gildea and William Walworth, on the right of said road.

We had hardly placed our guns in position when the Fifth Corps was forced back by a terrific charge of Longstreet's corps, and came rushing through us, but began rallying on us as soon as they understood matters. Our front was hardly clear when the irregular, yelling line of the enemy put in his appearance, and we received him with double charges of canister, which were used so effectively as to compel him to retire. So rapidly were the guns worked that they became too hot to lay the hand on. But for the position of the battery, and the gallantry with which it was handled by the men, I have no doubt the enemy would have accomplished his purpose of breaking our lines at this point, and possibly changed the fortunes of the day.

“On the 3d, we remained in the same position, occasionally working the battery. A number were slightly wounded and Asa Kline was severely wounded. The infantry suffered considerably while supporting us.

“I have the honor to be, very respectfully,


F.C. Gibbs Captain, Comdg. Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery”

Historians tell us Captain Gibbs and his 1st Ohio Battery L, with six Napoleans were stationed on the northern slopes of Little Round Top – described as a “low position.” For this reason, they couldn't fire until their own infantry troops had cleared the field of fire. Gibbs was said to became quite concerned over the Confederate troops that were quickly pressing towards his position on the heels of the Regulars. Colonel Samuel M. Jackson (grandfather of actor Jimmy Stewart) told Gibbs to double-shot his guns and he would see that the 11th PA would secure their safety. Some men of the 11th near the guns started to shout, "Stand by your guns, Dutchy, and we will stand by you!"

Gibbs had his guns loaded with double canister and once the Regulars had cleared his front, he ordered them to fire. They “did terrible execution on the approaching Confederate mobs from Anderson's, Semmes', Kershaw's and Wofford's Brigades.”

While Gibbs' Battery was in action, Captain August P. Martin was notified that General Weed had been mortally wounded. Weed had asked to see Charles Hazlett. Weed gave him instructions for the payment of some small debts and, as Hazlett drew closer to receive a confidential message, he was shot in the head.

“The few hundred yards to the foot of Little Round Top, already strewn with our disabled comrades, became a very charnel house” wrote a soldier in Col. Hannibal Day’s brigade “and every step was marked by ghastly lines of dead and wounded. Our merciless foes from their vantage ground…poured in volley after volley.” Watching from Little Round Top, one Union soldier later wrote “For two years the U.S. Regulars taught us how to be soldiers. In the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, they taught us how to die like soldiers.”

At Gettysburg, there stands a monument to Battery L.1st Ohio Light Artillery, commonly known as Gibbs' Battery. It is south of Gettsyburg on Little Round Top. It was dedicated by the State of Ohio in 1887. It reads ..

July 2. 3. 1863

Arriving on the field at 8 a.m. July 2, went into position under a brisk skirmish fire on the extreme  right of Wolf Hill. Afterwards moved to north slope of Little Round Top, and there became hotly engaged with Longstreet’s Corps then trying to turn the left. Held same position July 3.

This battery was recruited at Portsmouth Ohio, in the Autumn of 1861. Was mustered out July 4. 1865. Took part in 12 important battles.

By the way, Captain Frank C. Gibbs was a surveyor from Portsmouth, Ohio. He was wounded at Cedar Creek. Gibbs is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery. He died August 2, 1888, aged 53.

View from Gibbs’ position looking west to Houck’s Ridge and the Wheatfield. Monuments to the U.S. Regular regiments dot Houck’s Ridge. The Regulars withdrew from the Wheatfield beyond the far tree line to the area where the picture was taken.

Works About Battery L and Gettysburg

Karlton Smith. Gettysburg Seminar Papers. Mr. Lincoln's Army. "Honor-Duty-Courage.” The 5th Army Corps During the Gettysburg Campaign.

Ohio In The War-Volume II. Whitelaw Reid. Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin. Cincinnati 1868
James Barnett Papers. James Barnett. Army officer. Cleveland, Ohio. Concerns Barnett's service with the 1st Ohio Light Artillery in the Civil War. 4 boxes. Western Reserve Historical Society. History Library. Cleveland. Ohio
Unit Bibliography. U.S. Army Military History Institute. Carlisle Barracks. PA. 1995 • 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Battery L. History. 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Battery L. Reenactors. Scioto County Ohio. 1996

Narrow Escape Story #7. Some Exciting War Experiences. by Ben Butterfield. Battery L. 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Ironton Register. Thursday December 30 1886. Transcribed by Sharon M. Kouns. 1998

Narrow Escape Story #40. Some Exciting War Experiences. by James & Frank Brammer. Battery L. 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Ironton Register. Thursday August 18 1887. Transcribed by Sharon M. Kouns. 1998

A Magnificent Irishman From Appalachia. The Letters of Lt. James Gildea, First Ohio Light Artillery Battery L. James Gildea Lt.. 1st OVLA Battery L. Written by Julian Mohr. Edited by Gary Piatt. 85 pgs. Published by Western Slope Round Table. 3850 Pleasant Avenue. Portsmouth. Ohio. 2002 Reprint: A Magnificent Irishman From Appalachia The Letters of Lt. James Gildea First Ohio Light Artillery, Battery L. 111 pgs. Little Miami Publishing Co. Milford. Ohio. 2003.

Richard A. Baumgartner. Buckeye Blood: Ohio at Gettysburg. Blue Acorn Press. Huntington. West Virginia. 2003

“Battery L, 1st Ohio Artillery Battle of Gettysburg.”

“Abraham Doll”

History of Lower Scioto Co., Ohio - Publ. Chicago: Inter-state Publishing Co. 1884

G.A.R. Auxiliary Plants 8 Trees. Portsmouth Times. April 23, 1941.

John P. Nicholson, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, Volume I, (Harrisburg, PA: WM. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1904), 274-285. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1880-1901, Washington, D.C., Ser. 1, Vol. xxvii, Pt.1.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Kelley Jakle, Actress and Singer/Songwriter -- The Great-Granddaughter of Branch Rickey

 Kelley Jakle

Branch Rickey received much of his early education in Lucasville schools, later stating Valley High School was his “alma mater.” This small town's claim to fame is not forgotten. Branch Rickey remains a giant figure not only in professional baseball but also in the civil rights movement. Now, let's fast forward a few generations to a new celebrity in the Rickey lineage – Branch's great-granddaughter, Kelley Alice Jakle.

Kelley Alice Jakle is an American actress and singer-songwriter best known for her role as Jessica in Pitch Perfect (2012), and its two sequels Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Pitch Perfect 3 (2017). She is also known for her appearances on the first and second seasons of The Sing-Off in 2009 and 2010.

Jakle was born June 27, 1989, in Carmichael, California. Kelley is the daughter of Cynthia Houghton (Dunning) and Christopher/Christop Jakle. Kelley’s parents have English, German, and Irish roots. She has two older brothers and is the only girl in her family. Kelley’s paternal grandmother was Mabel Alice Rickey (the daughter of Branch Rickey and Jane Moulton). Branch was the son of Jacob Frank Rickey and Emily Brown, and Jane was the daughter of Chandler Julius Moulton and Mary Celia Smith.

While growing up, Kelley always enjoyed playing soccer, basketball, swimming, and “being a tomboy with her big brothers,” but she discovered her true calling when she starred as a Fuzzy Caterpillar in her 3rd grade play.

Jakle was active in music from an early age, performing as part of the Sacramento Children's Chorus, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events (including a San Francisco 49ers game in 2006 and a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2013 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day), and auditioning for the singing contest American Idol. Jakle began writing music in 2003, her freshman year of high school, accompanying herself on the piano. By her junior year she had produced her first self-titled CD, containing five completely original songs.

After graduating from Loretto High School, Kelley attended the University of Southern California, where she majored in communications. In 2007, Jakle joined the USC a cappella group the “SoCal VoCals.” During her tenure in the SoCal VoCals, the group won the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2008 and again in 2010.

In 2009, Jakle took part in season one of The Sing-Off, a singing competition televised on NBC, as part of a group called "The SoCals". The SoCals were eliminated in the third episode. In 2010, Jakle again competed on The Sing-Off, this time as part of "The Backbeats.” The Backbeats finished the contest in third place.


While attending USC, Kelley joined the band, “By the Way” as lead vocalist. Other band members included Matt Santinello (Guitar/Vocals), Cody Oswalt (Bass), and John Farrace (Drums). The band released a self-titled extended play in 2007. During her junior year, Jakle released a solo extended play, “Spare Change,” featuring a mix of produced and acoustic tracks.

Jakle's style, though labeled "Pop,” is described by critics as “unique.” Drawing from such inspirations as Andrew McMahon, Michelle Branch, Patti Griffin, and Sheryl Crow, Kelley blends “her passionate piano playing with soulful vocal melodies to produce a sound all her own.”

After graduating with honors from college, Kelley remained in Los Angeles adding network TV appearances along with major feature films to her growing list of credits. She began working as an actress in Los Angeles. Her first film role was as Jessica in the 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect, with Jakle being chosen as a "ringer" due to her background in a cappella. 


In 2013, Jakle appeared in 42, the biographical film about baseball legend Jackie Robinson co-starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. In 42, she played the role of Alice. Jakle reprised her role as Jessica in Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015 and Pitch Perfect 3 in 2017. She also made an appearance on the Comedy Central television series "Workaholics." Kelley also released several singles in 2013, including a cover of "Ain't It Fun" by Paramore.

On July 29, 2016, Kelley originated the role of Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn! The New Musical at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. The musical Marilyn! chronicles the star's childhood and tumultuous path to stardom. Set in the present day, the story follows Michelle, a young journalist from England researching Marilyn Monroe to commemorate the actress' 90th birthday. She visits Charlie Page, one of Marilyn's drivers, who is now living a life of solitude. Two stories emerge as Charlie bonds with Michelle and he recalls Marilyn Monroe's life in flashback and reveals the real reason behind his living as a recluse for over 40 years.

The cast stars Jakle as Marilyn Monroe, Kelley Dorney (PBS Concert Special A Tale of Two Cities) as Norma Jeane, and Samantha Stewart (Days of Our Lives) as Michelle Morgan.

In 2017, Kelley became a member of the “7th Ave.” band, a group of vocalists brought together in 2016 by Chris Rupp, the founder of Home Free. The website says: “Combining elements of pop, swing, rockabilly, country, and much more, 7th Ave is aiming to reinvent and uproot the standard definitions of all of those genres through our innovative arrangements and fun music videos.”

Kelley has also made appearances on Comedy Central's "Workaholics" and "Adam Devine's House Party."

Jakle is an ambassador for ReACT, a movement in Montana that encourages teenagers not to smoke. She talks about how living a healthy lifestyle has helped her follow her dreams. Kelly is part of the "Lead by Example and Be Tobacco Free" movement.

Kelley has been in a couple of relationships that have come to media attention. First was with her Pitch Perfect co-star Adam DeVine. Their relationship ended in 2015. Jakle soon began flaunting her new flame on Instagram. That new guy is Days of Our Lives alum Mark Hapka.

I hope you follow the career of Rickey's talented great-granddaughter. Kelley Jakle has established herself as both an accomplished actress and a musician. A beautiful lady still in her 30s, she is making quite a name for herself. Watch for her performances and enjoy her talent. Find her digital music on Amazon. Click here for more information:


“7th Ave.”

Hayley Levitt. “Marilyn Monroe Musical to Offer One-Night-Only World Premiere.” Los Angeles. July19, 2016.

“Kelley Jakle Bio/Wiki.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ohio Governor Robert Lucas and the First Democrats: Convention of 1832


Ohio Governor Robert Lucas served as the Chairman and President of the 1832 Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland, from May 21 to May 23, 1832. This distinction was one of the highlights of Lucas's governorship. He had served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio State Senate before becoming governor, and he was a staunch Jacksonian.

In fact, one source ironically describes Governor Lucas as “a man much like Andrew Jackson in appearance - tall and slender, with a sharp nose, thin lips, heavy eyebrows over deep-set eyes, and heavy gray hair combed back from a high forehead.” In addition to his political service, Lucas was a wealthy landowner, surveyor, and a merchant who had built “one of the finest houses in southern Ohio set on farm of 437 acres.” Lucas was undoubtedly a man with a commanding presence.

* Note of Interest -- Lucas had been opposed in one state election by an illiterate Pennsylvania Dutchman names Delawder, whom he beat easily. According to the local historian, Delawder explained his defeat by saying he “was making a pooty good race, when that tam big General Lucas came along riding on his horse and the tam fools voted for him.” It was said “this (presentation by Lucas) was a not inappropriate style for a politician of the victor of New Orleans.”

A strong, self-reliant personality made Robert Lucas one of the most esteemed pubic servants of his day. Although he was a man of strong impulses, he was also a man of strict integrity. His experience in the War of 1812 helped make Lucas an exceptional leader. Stern and unbending in his policies, Lucas made an excellent statesman and governor of not one, but two states. 

The Convention of 1832

This was the first national convention of the Democratic Party of the United States; it followed presidential nominating conventions held previously by the small minority Anti-Masonic Party (in September 1831) and the National Republican Party (in December 1831).

In this convention, the Democratic Party formally adopted its present name. The party had previously been known as “Republican Delegates from the Several States.”

By the time of the convention, Lucas had achieved national prominence. Biographer Benjamin F. Shambaugh in Robert Lucas: Iowa Biographical Series (1907) relates the following:

The activity of Lucas in support of Andrew Jackson in the late twenties, together with his long and faithful career in the halls of the General Assembly had brought him, in 1830, to a place of distinct prominence in the Democratic politics of the State of Ohio.

To Robert Lucas belongs the distinguished honor of presiding over the first national convention ever held by the Democratic party of the United States. In the campaign of 1832 for the first time in the history of American politics the various parties pursued the policy of holding national conventions to nominate candidates. The Congressional caucus had passed away, and the nomination by local legislatures and mass meetings failed to give the requisite backing for a party candidate.”

Of Lucas' appointment, Shambaugh writes …

Judge Overton of Tennessee had been agreed upon as the presiding officer of the convention. He had been a lifelong friend and supporter of Andrew Jackson, and had succeeded him as Judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Upon his name being proposed as chairman pro tem. however, his colleague John H. Eaton, Jackson's late Secretary of War, arose and remarked that Judge Overton was sick and unable to attend that morning; he thanked the convention for the honor conferred upon his friend, and closed his remarks by moving that General Robert Lucas of Ohio should be chosen chairman pro tem. in place of the Judge. The motion was unanimously earned and Lucas was conducted to the chair.

The first day of the convention passed in organization and preliminaries. Tuesday morning the saloon of the Athenaeum (original site of the convention) was found too small to accommodate the convention and the members met in the Universalist church in St. Paul Street. Here the business of the convention began in earnest. Mr. King of Alabama, from the committee appointed to nominate officers, presented the name of General Robert Lucas as permanent chairman. The nomination was approved by the convention and Lucas took the chair.

After expressing his deep appreciation of the honor which they had bestowed upon him, Lucas paid tribute to the party they represented, whose object was to preserve the pure principles of Republicanism and to secure to the people the free and uninfluenced enjoyment of their rights and privileges. He emphasized the importance of the session and the propriety of sacrificing all personal feelings and local preferences for the sake of the cause in which they were engaged, which was to preserve the harmony and advance the prosperity of the great Republican party throughout the Union. He expressed a consciousness of his inability to perform the duty assigned to him in a manner corresponding with his wishes; but feeling no doubt of the support and kindness of the convention, he accepted the appointment.”

The purpose of the convention was to choose a new running mate for incumbent President Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, rather than employ previous methods of using a caucus of Congressional representatives and senators.

In 1830, Vice President John C. Calhoun (Jackson's first term VP) had fallen out of President Jackson's favor because of many things:

1. A letter written by Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford stated that Calhoun as Secretary of War in President James Monroe's Cabinet pushed for a reprimand of General Jackson over his actions in the Invasion of Florida in 1818.

Jackson's troops had invaded Florida, captured a Spanish fort at St. Marks, took control of Pensacola, and deposed the Spanish governor. He also executed two British citizens whom he accused of having incited the Seminoles to raid American settlements.

2. The Petticoat affair in which Calhoun's wife, Floride was a central figure further alienated Jackson from the Vice President and his supporters. Floride led other cabinet members' wives in socially ostracizing John Eaton, the Secretary of War, and his wife Peggy over disapproval of the circumstances surrounding their marriage and what they considered her failure to meet the moral standards of a cabinet wife.

With the encouragement of President Jackson, who liked them both, Peggy and Eaton had married on January 1, 1829, shortly after her husband's death, although according to custom, it would have been proper for them to wait until the end of a longer mourning period.

3. The final blow to the relationship came when Calhoun sank Van Buren's nomination to be Minister to England by casting a tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate.

Calhoun resigned from the vice presidency on December 28, 1832 (seven weeks after the presidential election) and became a Senator of South Carolina, where he continued to be a proponent of the doctrines of nullification in opposition to Jackson.

* Note of Interest -- The Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 was a confrontation between South Carolina and the federal government. It ensued after South Carolina declared that the federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore null and void within the sovereign boundaries of the state. Nullification claimed that a state had a right to nullify federal laws within its own borders. This debate foreshadowed the slavery controversy that would become the most divisive national political issue in U.S. history.

Calhoun was a native South Carolinian. For Southerners like him, the tariffs were intolerable since they artificially raised the prices of imports. Calhoun was appalled at this legislation, which appeared to benefit only Northern industry while gouging Southerners.

For some time Martin Van Buren had been cherishing the hope of inheriting the presidential robe of Andrew Jackson; and with this hope Jackson was fully in accord. However, Washington D.C. In 1831 was not a place in which one could patiently await such a legacy. The internal workings of the Jackson administration were anything but harmonious.

Early in 1831 Jackson decided to remake his cabinet. In April Martin Van Buren resigned his place as Secretary of State with the understanding that he was to be made Minister to England. In resigning, he admitted his candidacy for the office of President and laid his resignation to the fact that a cabinet minister with those ambitions would be open to the charge of manipulating politics to his own private ends.

Receiving the appointment as Minister to England, Van Buren soon left for his new post. Congress, however, was not in session when the appointment was made, and he arrived in London in September of 1831 without having had the action of President Jackson confirmed by the Senate.

In England, Van Buren entered upon a field of work for which he was eminently fitted. His ingratiating manners and fascinating personality at once brought him friends and social enjoyments. He made contacts with many of the leading representatives of Europe.

But Van Buren's enemies at home were not idle. His nomination, sent by President Jackson to the Senate in December, was rejected after a series of formal speeches by Webster, Clay, and others condemning the late Secretary of State. As President of the Senate, Vice President Calhoun had “the extreme pleasure” of casting the decisive vote against his enemy. Thomas Benton in his Thirty Years in the United States Senate tells us that Calhoun afterwards remarked: "It will kill him, sir, kill him dead. He will never kick sir, never kick."

Instead, Calhoun and his friends had overreached themselves. They had placed Van Buren in that uncomfortable but eminently advantageous position of a man publicly wronged. The reaction against the movement of Calhoun, Clay, and Webster soon made itself felt in America; and it was everywhere acknowledged that Martin Van Buren had, by that short-sighted blow, been thrust upon the people as the inevitable Vice Presidential nominee. Only by this compliment could his party defend him from the action of their enemies.

As President of the convention, Robert Lucas, together with the four Vice Presidents, drafted a letter on May 22, 1832, and sent it to Van Buren, announcing his nomination. Upon his return from Europe, Van Buren, on August 3, 1832, cheerfully consented to come before the American people as a candidate for the office of Vice President of the United States.

Martin Van Buren won more than two-thirds of the total delegates' votes. The convention endorsed the prior nominations in various areas of the United States of Jackson for the presidency. The convention concluded by adopting a resolution calling for an address or report from the delegations to their constituents.

The address described what they claimed were political similarities between Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson and it defended the policies of Jackson's administration. It characterized Van Buren as a strict constructionist and welcomed his nomination.

The address denounced the National Republicans as Federalists under a new designation. The address also denounced the Nullifiers. And, they declared their own party held the middle ground between the positions of the National Republicans and the Nullifiers.

Historian Shambaugh relates the end of the historic convention ...

Before adjourning Robert Lucas and the four Vice Presidents received the thanks of the convention for the prompt, impartial and dignified manner in which they had presided over its deliberations. It was then ordered that immediately upon adjournment tlie members would proceed to visit the venerable Charles Carroll, the only survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. With prayer by the Reverend Mr. Wallace, the meeting ended and the Democratic party closed with the greatest of harmony its first national convention.”

The 1832 conventions played a crucial role in making organized parties a fixture of the U.S. political system. The Democratic convention adopted rules that succeeding conventions retained well into the 20th century. One rule based each state’s convention vote on its electoral vote, an apportionment method that remained unchanged until 1940. The 1832 convention also adopted the procedure of having one person from each delegation announce the vote of his state.


The Election

Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren defeated their main competitors, Henry Clay and John Sergeant of the National Republican Party, by a large electoral vote margin in the election of 1832. The electors of Pennsylvania supported Jackson, but cast their votes for William Wilkins for the vice presidency.

Governor Robert Lucas was a force who wielded considerable power in national politics. Ohio was a very important state in Andrew Jackson's election strategy. Jackson won Ohio's 21 Electoral Votes by a margin of 2.98% over Henry Clay. Lucas undoubtedly played a major part in Jackson's victory.

Most Ohioans initially welcomed Andrew Jackson's election. During his time in office, Jackson continued to force American Indians to forsake their land east of the Mississippi River for land west of the river. Many of Ohio's small farmers and industrial workers believed that land seized from the natives would open up new opportunities. Land prices would hopefully fall, allowing working-class residents the chance to either own or expand their landholdings. Ohioans also welcomed Jackson's attack on the Bank of the United States due to the Panic of 1819 and the Banking Crisis of that same year. Jackson succeeded in destroying the National Bank, but new economic problems arose in the late 1830s.


“1932 Democratic Convention.” Library of Congress. Main Reading Room.

Richard F. Grimmett, Richard F. (2009). St. John's Church, Lafayette Square: The History and Heritage of the Church of the Presidents, Washington, DC. Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Press.
“How Iowa Became a Territory.” Stories of Iowas For Boys and Girls. Chapter XXXI

James C. Humes. (1992). My Fellow Americans: Presidential Addresses that Shaped History.

William Nester. (2013). The Age of Jackson and the Art of American Power, 1815-1848. Washington, DC: Potomac Books.

John C. Parish. Edited by Benjamin F. Shambaugh. Robert Lucas. Iowa Biographical Series. The State Historical Society of Iowas. 1907.

Donald John Ratcliffe. The Politics of Long Division: The Birth of the Second Party System in Ohio, 1818-1828. 2000.