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Friday, June 30, 2017

Is Donald Trump Fit For the Office? Reality Check on Pennsylvania Avenue

Unless you have been unconscious since January or you have been brainwashed by the "Make America Great Again" propaganda, you know the truth. The truth is that Donald Trump's attacks upon others – both American leaders and allies – have to make you question whether he is fit to be president.

It is evident the man just can't keep his mind off of what others say about him. As evidenced by his vicious tweets and constant need to be the spotlight of political rallies, Trump is a textbook narcissist. His juvenile name calling and his elementary “big and great” vocabulary are regrettable trademarks of his presidency. In his power-hungry dealings, he never admits snafus, and he never listens to the advice of his own party leaders who beg him to just shut off his mouth and quit his twittering.

Trump has some very unhealthy obsessions. Who can deny that his penchant for so-called “hitting back” at others who question his leadership is really just insecurity? For instance, Trump continues his unrelenting assault on women with his latest remarks about Mika Brzezinski saying she is “crazy” while falsely reporting of a time she “was bleeding badly from a face-lift.” This is the latest in a pattern that is truly disturbing.

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough shared this in the Washington Post:

“From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children. We were heartened to hear a number of Republican lawmakers call out Mr. Trump for his offensive words and can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples. It would be the height of hypocrisy to claim the mantle of women’s empowerment while allowing a family member to continue such abusive conduct.”

(Mike Brezinski and Joe Scarborough. “Donald Trump Is Not Well.” Washington Post. June 30, 2017.)

To make matters worse for President Trump, Melania Trump, America's first lady, pledged before the election that she would lead a campaign against cyber bullying. Given his aggressive and hurtful media attacks against anyone who is a threat to his gigantic ego, many consider Donald Trump the very definition of a “cyber bully.

Not only that, but after Trump's attack on Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, Melania continued to offer support for her husband via her spokesperson.

“When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, per a tweet from CNN senior White House reporter Jeff Zeleny.

(Tierney McAffee. “Anti-Cyberbullying Advocate Melania Trump, Through Spokeswoman, Defends Her Husband’s Twitter Attack.” People. June 29, 2017.)

Is President Donald Trump a clear and present danger to America? I wonder if people answered honestly what percentage would say that he is. One respected poll suggests significant unrest. As of June 29, 2017, Gallup cites Trump's approval rating at 38% and his disapproval rating at 57%.


Trump's supporters and opposition can both agree that his presidency is not “normal” in any sense of the word. He rules the nation as if he is still acting on a reality show intended to be entertainment. He has made it clear that he does not view himself as a politician, but his actions in office do not support this claim. Also, Trump's praise of Putin is well-known: he admires the powerful and the rich.

The editorial board of the Connecticut Law Tribune writes:

“Mr. Trump's presidency is government by kleptocracy, run by and for the personal financial benefit of Mr. Trump and his extended family, including the Kushners. The Trump administration is rife with financial conflicts of interests. Mr. Trump arguably violates the emolument clauses of the U.S. Constitution daily.

“His admiration for some of the worst human rights offenders and 'strong men' in the world is astonishing. What U.S. president would call and congratulate the increasingly dictatorial Turkish President Recept Tayyp Erodogan on his re-election? What U.S. president would invite to the White House someone like Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who brags about personally shooting drug dealers to death on the streets of Manila?”

(Editorial Board. “Donald Trump — A Clear and Present Danger to America.” Connecticut Law Tribune. May 17, 2017.)

Who is effectively limiting the bad moves of President Trump? Anyone? Even if you support Trump, you must admit that he is inexperienced and prone to rash decisions. His repeated mistakes are not funny. Yet, he continues to make them despite criticism from his own staff. He is certainly not statesmanlike nor does he excel at world diplomacy.

Oh, I know that many trust that the government has effective control of the executive branch. I am not so sure, and this is what frightens me when a man with his personality, character, and personal flaws occupies the White House. How much would it take for Trump to crack under pressure? In my opinion, his loose cannon attitude could ignite conflicts that would put us all in peril. That, in my opinion, makes Donald Trump unfit for the presidency.

A clear and present danger? The "present" is unquestionable reality ... the "clear" is becoming more evident each passing day ... the "danger" is the lack of character Trump will never attain.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Down By the River: The Homeless in Portsmouth

About a dozen or so homeless people are living in substandard conditions in a so-called “tent city” along the Scioto River in Portsmouth. It is apparent that many of homeless residents panhandle by day to eek out little more than a basic existence. They are a reality that draws both sympathy and criticism from other local residents.

It is important to understand that a 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health indicates that even those who have deep knowledge in this area and who work directly with the homeless often have difficulty assessing patterns and needs. The diversity of stories of those affected, along with the often-invisible nature of life on the streets, complicates attempts to quantify the true size and nature of the homeless population.

The best current estimates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (2013) put the national population of homeless at 610,042 – 65% of them, or 394,698 persons, were living in shelters or transitional housing of some sort, while the rest, 215,344, were living in places such as abandoned buildings or cars, or under bridges.

HUD estimates 12,325 of these homeless individuals live in Ohio.

(John Wihbey. “Homelessness in the United States: Trends and demographics.” Journalist's Research. December 04, 2014.)

Of course, major concerns to the public include health issues, sanitation, safety, and the impact on local businesses. No doubt, the homeless population presents a problem. But, let's be honest – some folks simply abhor being confronted with the faces of those they judge as bums who have created their own squalid conditions. Though small in number, these homeless folks draw the ire of citizens because of their shabby appearance, their itinerant nature, and their constant begging. In other words, people view them as pariahs.

Those who make such judgments fail to acknowledge the devastating impact of poverty, mental health issues, and drug addiction on the homeless population. For instance, many people experiencing homelessness are unable to earn an income due to a permanent or temporary disabling condition. And, of course, what employer is really going to hire a person who fills out a job application while in the throes of homelessness?

There is no doubt homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Consider the ever-rising costs of food, housing, childcare, healthcare, and education. Think about these sobering statistics: the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the 2013 Housing Wage was $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.

(National Coalition for the Homeless. 2014.)

In Ohio, a wage of $15.00 an hour is required to afford a 2-bedroom rental home, and 72 hours of work a week are needed to afford that same home.

So, since housing absorbs a high proportion of income, less-fortunate individuals cannot afford adequate shelter. As the National Coaliton for the Homeless relates, “If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.” If you live in an area where joblessness is high and wages are low like Scioto County, the problem greatly compounds.

We can rue the existence of the homeless because of any potential problems they may cause. We can debate how best to help them – should we offer them money, food, or shelter? And, if we do so, we can wonder if we are simply enabling their derelict lifestyle. We can support programs that provide them proper assistance. Or, as many Christians often do, we can pray for their better well-being.

The one thing that all of us must do is acknowledge the presence of the homeless among us. By doing so, we also accept that they are us – they are the poor and the hapless of our own society, and we still must treat them with the respect and the acceptance we are bound to afford to all human beings. Indeed, to think we must excise them from our good town – simply push them away to another neighboring environ – is not only unrealistic but also inhumane.
Consider the pity and the assistance most people willingly offer to a stray animal and pit that against the common feelings most have for the homeless. Then, consider the reasons people live on the streets. Do you comprehend that some person(s) or some thing(s) likely drove each destitute person to his transient existence? Contrary to belief, these souls are not exercising the common understanding of free will. It is much more complicated as each itinerant has his own personal history and his or her own problems with which to deal.

If you automatically assume that a person's homelessness is his or her own fault or a result of their own failings, you deny those homeless people who have already sought assistance. Imagine the pain of being judged inadequate because of a problem or a series of shortcomings that sent you into a downward spiral. Almost all of us have experienced misfortunes that had the potential to destroy our lives. All of us must consider how the assistance of others prevented a similar catastrophe in our times of needs

It is understood that the homeless must abide by the same laws and rules that govern others. This must be made clear to everyone in our society. The question is this: “Are we going to assist the homeless or are we simply going to charge them as being interlopers and deny their basic humanity? We all know the right answer to this question. Without a doubt, the homeless here in Portsmouth need significant outreach, so much so that providing them some type of housing is just a first step. They need health screening, drug counseling, mental health counseling, and employment training.

One possible immediate solution to alleviate at least some sanitation concerns would be to open the public bathrooms at Tracy Park. Couldn't a student worker be hired to supervise the cleaning of the facilities there? I understand the concerns associated with unlocking those restrooms; however, I also know that any problem requires allocating resources – time, money, and effort.

You say the homeless are a significant problem? Any such problem requires work not only by public officials but also by the populace. Hatred and disgust beget more hatred and disgust. Toleration leads to understanding, which, in turn, leads to stronger association. That association breeds inclusion.

They – the homeless – are us. That means that we – even the most respected and well-to-do of usare part of the problem. I am a firm believer that the human will operating with the grace of God is the strongest asset to help solve anything. And, by the way, the old adage applies: “No one said it was going to be easy.”


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lucasville and Actress Laurie Franks: Broadway and Beyond

Lucasville has a celebrated Broadway/Hollywood connection. Singer, actress Laurie Franks was born Laura Rachel Bumgarner on August 14, 1929, in Lucasville, Ohio. Her long, successful career is a tribute to her loving parents and her deep local roots. Allow me to share a brief biography of Ms. Franks. It is full of wonderful connections still fresh in the minds of local residents.

Laurie Franks parents, Guy and Nell (Nellie) Yeager Bumgarner, hold a special place in local memory. Both were dearly beloved residents of Lucasville and great sources of inspiration to so many.

Nell Bumgarner (1895-1994), was born in Lucasville on September 9, 1895. She was the sixth child of Civil War veteran Benjamin M. Yeager, Fife Major and Principal Musician, Company H., First Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Union Army. Yeager entered service at age fifteen and married Nellie's mother, Rachel Jane Brant when he was twenty-six and she was nineteen.

History records the musicians of this company were taken by John Hunt Morgan and his raiders in Jackson, Ohio. After holding the musicians, who were in town recruiting, for a few days the Confederates released them.
The unit mustered in September 15, 1862 at Portsmouth, Ohio, as the 117th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. It was reorganized and called the 1st Regiment, Heavy Artillery on August 12, 1863. It mustered out July 25, 1865 at Department of the Cumberland.

A detailed history of the First Regiment is online here:

Nellie – her girlhood name – wrote for the Lucasville Rural Gazette during high school. Then, she became stenographer for Bannon and Bannon attorneys in Portsmouth. Later, she clerked, took dictation, and kept books at the Joseph H. Brant Store in Lucasville until her marriage to Guy in 1928.

“Aunt Nell” loved to crochet, entertain friends, and edit her writings. She was a storehouse of Lucasville history, and as Laurie said about her mother on the occasion of her 99th birthday, “Though her memory's edge was dulled by a bout of pneumonia at age ninety-six, her one-liners still cut to the core. Her queer renderings and culicued syntax spice and enliver her Lucasville lore.”

(Published by Laura Rachel and edited ty by Dr. Robert Emerson French. Lucasville Lore by Nell Yeager Bumgarner. 1994.) 


Nellie wrote of her first date with Guy in 1927.  


“So, one warm pleasant fall evening in 1927 … on the long side porch of the old home on North Street gathered around Mom on the porch swing were my close friends, Beulah (Mrs. Millard Logan), her five-or-so-year-old daughter (now an Evangelist, world traveler, and religious leader) Geraldine Conway, and me, waiting – they, in a kind of trepidation because they loved me, and I – thirty-five years old, anticipating the first important 'date' of the life. Incredible but true....

“Suddenly we became aware of a light shining on the white siding of the old building across the yard, and – after some time – we heard a car sounding its horn out front. There he was, my date, evidently. My hair flamed. Nobody but nobody 'tooted' a horn for a girl in those days. I blazed through Mom's room and the front door. We'd left it open.

“There Guy stood, gentlemanly polite, but perturbed. I, with my ruffled temper, blurted out, 'Why don't you come in?' Guy, I learned later, had knocked and knocked with not response. Thinking Todd might have set this up as a joke, he went back to the car (a Jewett with real leather seats, isinglass windows, and contemporary side-curtains) where his hand inadvertently touched the horn.”

(Published by Laura Rachel and edited ty by Dr. Robert Emerson French. Lucasville Lore by Nell Yeager Bumgarner. 1994.)

With that, Guy and Nellie were off to an informal country music gathering where they had a wonderful time cooking, hiking and wading in Duck Run Creek. Eventually the courtship led to marriage.

Laurie's father Guy (1888-1976) was one of Roy Rogers' best friends."I can't say enough about him. He was the turning point in my life," the famed King of the Cowboys once said of his former teacher. 


Laurie Franks


After graduation from Valley High School, Laurie Franks earned teaching credentials in organ, piano, and voice at the Cincinnati College of music where she graduated with at Bachelor of Music in Voice and a Masters of Music in Voice.

Franks taught voice and organ at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, and she taught voice at Hendrix Methodist College in Conway, Arkansas. She received an honorary Doctorate from Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Ohio.

After going to New York, Franks became a soprano soloist with “The Master Singers” under the direction of Joseph Liebling, whose musical genius was acknowledged by no less a composer than Igor Stravinsky She later toured the United States with “The Little Chorale.”

Franks became a soloist at many New York Churches while also studying acting in New York. She began her “serious” acting career in the title role of Leave It to Jane (1959), an off-Broadway hit. Franks went on to act in many Broadway shows including Bells Are Ringing, Fanny, Mame, Kiss Me Kate, Peter Pan, Cabaret, Oklahoma, and Oliver. While in New York, she became involved in over 250 Actors Equity Shows including Broadway.

Laurie also sang leading roles in many musicals from Toronto, Canada, to Sydney, Australia with leading men such as John Raitt, Zachary Scott, Robert Roundsville, Ted Scott, Jack Cassidy, Darren McGavin, and Robert Horton.

She has also starred in many television shows, and she has done work in commercials on all the major television networks.

Franks has had significant roles in major films such as Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Tales From the Crypt (1992), Ed and His Dead Mother (1993), and Dave (1993). Her career continued in Los Angeles as church director, film actress and author of the book Lucasville Lore.

Laurie Franks was previously married to Philip Bruns (May 2, 1931 – February 8, 2012). Bruns was also an actor, known for roles in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976), General Hospital (1963) and Flashdance (1983).

Statistics: Laurie Franks
  • Debut
  • chorus, Lousiville Amphitheatre, Iroquois Park, Louisville, KY, 1951.
  • New York Debut
  • Christmas Show, Radio City Music Hall, 1956.
  • Australian Debut
  • Marion, The Music Man, Sydney, 1960.
  • Principal Stage Appearances
  • Jane, Leave It to Jane, Sheridan Square Playhouse, NY, 1959; Gaby,Around the World in 80 Days, Jones Beach, NY, 1961; Agnes Gooch, Mame, Winter Garden, NY, 1966-69. Mrs. Carter, Oh Boy, Goodspeed, East Haddam, CT, 1983; Miss Hicks, The Human Comedy, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1984;
  • Broadway--Marchese Crespi, Something More; Olga, Anya; Winkle, Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall; Karen, Applause; Off-Broadway--Ruth Carter Stapleton, Jimmy and Billy; Repertory--Madame Yepanchin, Subject to Fits, Soho Rep, NY; Madame Aigreville, In Fashion,Actors Theatre of Louisville, KY; Teacake Magee, The Ponder Heart, New Stage; Stock--Bianca, Kiss Me Kate; Kathy, The Student Prince; Mrs. Darling, Peter Pan; Marietta, Naughty Marietta; Mrs. Sowerberry/Old Sally, Oliver; Lady Catherine, Vagabond King; Fermina, Man of La Mancha; Laurey, Oklahoma; Erikson/Lady Saltburn,Present Laughter; Rosabella, Most Happy Fella; Desiree, A Little Night Music; Dinner Theatre--Donna Lucia, Where's Charley; Marion, Don't Drink the Water; Phyllis, Ninety-Day Mistress; Laura, Tenderloin; Maud, Oh Captain; Mrs. Harcourt, Anything Goes; Polly, Boy Friend; Madame Hortense, Zorba; Countess, Song of Norway; Vera Charles, Mame; Eleanor, A Lion in Winter.
  • Television Debut
  • pianist, local Cincinnati station, 1949.
  • Principal Television Appearances
  • American Musical Theater Series, 1960; Miss Kaye, Ryan's Hope; Mrs. Dodd, One Life to Live; Mrs. Heller, Faith for Today; Molly O'Keefe, Another World

Read more:

Laurie Franks even brought Broadway to church – the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood to be exact. This article (2003) from the New York Times chronicles the events:

Today, thanks to a program called the Golden Age of Broadway, the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church has regained its divine mission. Rev. John Griffin had endured six months of empty pews before turning to Laurie Franks, his music director and a veteran of 14 Broadway shows, including the original Mame, Applause and Bells Are Ringing.

''What about singing some songs from Mame,'' he asked Ms. Franks, who, at 73, still has a voice that can rattle the timbers of this sturdy Mission-style church, built six years before she was born.
She did, and the pews filled. The church has since done music from Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, Les Miserables and Man of La Mancha. When not focusing on a musical, Mr. Griffin selects a theme, like hope, faith, hunger or taking chances, and the congregation pitches suitable songs -- show tunes, pop tunes and the occasional hymn. Not only do congregation members pitch the songs, but they sing them. Or read a poem. Or maybe even do a little soft-shoe.

'''It's not entertainment for the sake of entertainment,'' said Father Doran, who sometimes attends the Methodist service after he says the early Sunday Mass. ''He has a theme and his own sermon. He's skilled enough to tie it all into a Sunday Christian service.''

“The sing-along service now draws about 40 people a week, who come for a ministry that appears to be unlike that of any other Methodist church.

'''As a regular ongoing practice where they sing Broadway songs, I don't know of another church that does that,' said Dean McIntyre, director of music resources for the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship in Nashville. 'I would never do it in my church in Nashville. It would be highly inappropriate.'

“But this is West Hollywood, home to progressive politics and a live-and-let-live tolerance. Show business is to this town what ice hockey is to Montreal.”

(“Broadway Tunes Make a Joyful Noise.” New York Times. February 16, 2003.)

If you would like to hear that sanctified, roof-raising voice. Laurie Franks with Dickson Hughes at the piano has a CD available titled Laurie Franks Sings Broadway and Beyond


Incredibly this fife surfaced in an auction:

 A Civil War presentation fife

The 17 inch B-flat German silver fife inscribed below the mouthpiece Presented to/Benjamin M. Yeager/By Comp. H/1st Regt. O.V.H.A. (Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery) Mounted in a glazed frame with a red reunion ribbon marked 1st O.H.A. Together with a copy of Lucasville Lore by Mr. Yeager's daughter Nell Yeager Bumgarner. The book contains two post-Civil War photographs of Yeager, as well as some of his wartime reminiscences as Fife Major and Principal Musician of Company H. In particular it details the musicians of this company in Jackson, Ohio by John Hunt Morgan and his raiders. After holding the musicians, who were in town recruiting, for a few days the Confederates released them.

Condition: Excellent.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

David Schoonover of Lucasville: Civil War Veteran of Storied Ohio 73rd and Local Huckster


Connections to history are often difficult to establish since much so many personal records disappear from generation to generation. This loss reminds me of a John Prine song “Souvenirs” in which the singer declares “I hate graveyards and old pawn shops for they always bring me tears. I can't forgive the way they rob me of my childhood souvenirs.”

Lost recollections are so lamentable even though they are part of the natural process of moving on. Too few are recorded and secured in repositories where descendents and other interested researchers can discover personal folk accounts of days gone by.
Local historians often delight in fleshing out community connections to the past. I would like to establish some such links with a man from Lucasville named David Schoonover (1843-1915). If he were alive today, I wager David could enlighten all of us about some very important times in American history.

What do we know of David Schoonover? He was a Civil War veteran, the proprietor of a livery stable in Lucasville, and the operator of a huckster wagon – a veritable store on wheels (I'll get back to that later). Let's see if some online research can put some “meat” on this life and times.

David Schoonover was a private in Company B, 73rd Regiment Ohio Infantry. This unit was organized in Chillicothe on December 30, 1861, under Colonel Orland Smith. It has a storied history itself.

73rd Ohio Infantry
The 73rd Regiment Ohio Infantry entered the field in January, 1862, operating in West Virginia until May, when it engaged Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, and participated in the battle of Cross Keys.
In August the Ohio 73rd took a conspicuous part in the second battle of Bull Run, acting with great gallantry and losing about 150 men. It remained near Washington until December, when it joined Burnside at Fredericksburg, and in April, 1863, was at Chancellorsville.
The Regiment moved north in June, and participated in the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, with a loss of 143 men.

In September it was transferred with Hooker's command to the Western Army, and took part in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge. It marched to Knoxville and back to Chattanooga, and in May, 1864, joined Sherman's Atlanta campaign, fighting all the way to the end. It marched to the sea with Sherman and through the Carolinas, and on to Richmond and Washington, making a complete circuit of the Rebel States. It was mustered out July 20, 1865.

The unit is honored by a marker on the Second Bull Run battlefield at Manassas and a monument at Gettysburg.

Reports show the 73rd Ohio Infantry Regiment lost 4 officers and 167 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 149 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. (Yes, the staggering figures of those lost to disease beg further investigation.

A much more extensive account of the 73rd Ohio is available online: William Cline's Diary, Manuscripts of the American Civil War, by Jeremy A. Kiene. Address –

The 73rd at Gettysburg
Through those streets, and over those fertile fields, two ravaging armies have passed, confronting each other not to draw closer the bond of brotherhood, but to renounce it, and hew each other down with murderous weapons…. Thousands of stalwarth men weltering in blood, their bodies mangled, their limbs shattered, and from many almost every vestige of the human form and countenance departed! Humanity shudders at the scene, and pity draws over it a veil.”
--Reverend E.W. Hutter, eye-witness account “Four Days on the Battle Ground of Gettysburg” as printed in the Mt. Vernon Democratic Banner, August 1, 1863
The 73rd Ohio suffered heavy casualties in the defense of Cemetery Hill. One account of a man in the regiment is particularly noteworthy.
Richard Enderlin, born in Germany and raised in Chillicothe, enlisted in the Army in November 1861. At Gettysburg, he thought his unit was not directly engaged, so the bugler voluntarily joined the defense of Cemetery Ridge.

During combat on July 2, 1863, George Nixon III, also a member of the 73rd and the great-grandfather of American President Richard Nixon, was wounded. Other soldiers ignored the wounded Nixon's cries for help due to the intense enemy fire, but Enderlin volunteered to attempt to rescue him and, that evening, crawled to Nixon and pulled him to safety.

For this action, Enderlin was promoted to sergeant the next day and received the Medal of Honor on September 11, 1897. The citation reads: “Voluntarily took a rifle and served as a soldier in the ranks during the first and second days of the battle. Voluntarily and at his own imminent peril went into the enemy's lines at night and, under a sharp fire, rescued a wounded comrade.”


Enderlin was later wounded in his right foot at the Battle of Dallas, and served in the Veteran Reserve Corps. He is buried at Grandview Cemetery at Chillicothe, Ohio.
Full Circle to David Schoonover's Huckster Wagon
It's after the war and David Schoonover is back in Lucasville. He is busy with the livery stable and the huckster wagon. “What the heck is a huckster wagon?” you ask. First consider times when your feet and your horse were the only modes of transportation. Something as simple as a trip to the store could be a major undertaking. Enter those who started a business delivering the goods to those country folk – the huckster.
Storekeepers and enterprising individuals operating huckster wagons stocked them with nearly all the necessities of life and made regular trips to rural homes where housewives would buy the staples that they needed to go with their home-made food. Huckster wagons were actually variety stores on wheels. Most ran on a schedule, and their regular appearance was, indeed, a big event for country folk.

Given Schoonover's affinity for horses and merchandising, I am sure the details of his life we don't know would illuminate our view of bygone days. Perhaps someone knows more stories about David Schoonover, his family and his life and times. Maybe someone can deliver more to this story through a precious memory or a simple family souvenir. May connections continue.

The following is information found online for Lucasville resident David Schoonover:

David Schoonover

Mar. 4, 1843
Pennsylvania, USA
Mar. 11, 1915
Scioto County
Ohio, USA

Ohio Deaths [Copy of Death Certificate]
Name : David Schooner Birth date : 04 Mar 1843 Birth place : Penn. Death date : 11 Mar 1915 Death place : Lucasville, Valley Twp, Scioto, Ohio

Cause of Death: Cirrhosis of liver Age at death : 72 years 7 days Gender : Male Marital status : Married Race or color : Caucasian Occupation : Liveryman

Residence : Lucasville Burial date : 14 Mar 1915 Burial place : Lucasville, Scioto, Ohio
Informant: Chas Schoonover, Lucasville, OH [son]

Father name : James Schooner Father birth place : N.Y. Mother name : Brown Mother birth place : N.Y.
GSU film number : 1983344 Digital GS number : 4021314 Image number : 1231 Reference number : fn 18321

Family links:
  James Isaac Schoonover (1798 - 1871)
  Margaret Brown Schoonover (____ - 1845)

  Nancy Ellen Harwood Schoonover (1841 - 1917)

  Charles William Schoonover (1871 - 1947)*
  Henrietta Schoonover Taylor (1875 - 1946)*

  Mary Ann Schoonover Zimmerman (1835 - 1869)*
  Rebecca Schoonover Day (1838 - 1916)*
  John Schoonover (1839 - 1895)*
  David Schoonover (1843 - 1915)
  Nathan Martin Schoonover (1848 - 1926)**

*Calculated relationship

Lucasville Cemetery
Scioto County
Ohio, USA

Created by: EMDW
Record added: Jul 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39353509

Ohio 73rd Monument Gettysburg

Richard Enderlin

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ohio and Lucasville: The Ohio and Erie Canal


When Ohio was a mere 21 years old, the legislature authorized funding for the Ohio and Erie Canal. The principal goals of the canal were to serve as many voters as possible, connect the Ohio River with Lake Erie and do it as quickly and cheaply as possible without throwing the state into bankruptcy.

Before the arrival of the first canal, the only way farmers, manufacturers, and travelers had for getting anywhere were poorly constructed roads that were often impassible during the winter and wet spring months. The much anticipating National Road had only reached Wheeling, West Virginia by 1817 and it would be another 16 years before reaching Columbus, Ohio.

By 1820, 580,000 residents were estimated to be living in the state, with most of them involved in agriculture. The problem with modern agriculture of the day was that they had more produce than they could use and no way to move it beyond their local community. Moving the excess produce beyond the local, and into the cities required some means of transport that was at least a little bit reliable that wouldn't eat up all the profits.

For Ohioans in the early 1800s that solution seemed to be an expensive, somewhat slow moving canal system that could connect with the two major bodies of water around Ohio: Lake Erie that connected farmers with the east coast, and the Ohio River that connected to the Gulf of Mexico.

On February 4, 1825, the Ohio Legislature passed "An Act to provide for the Internal Improvement of the State of Ohio by Navigable Canals.” The Ohio and Erie Canal connected Akron, Summit Country, with the Cuyahoga River near its outlet on Lake Erie in Cleveland, Cuyahoga Country, and a few years later with the Ohio River near Portsmouth, Scioto County, and then connections to other canal systems in Pennsylvania.

Work on the canal was grueling and dangerous. “For every mile of the canal, an Irishman is buried” was a popular expression associated with the Ohio and Erie Canal, and for good reason. The canal diggers were mostly Irish immigrants. Hundreds of young men died from various microbes festering in the mud and stagnant water–malaria (or “Canal Fever”) and acute diarrhea.” 
Many were buried in shallow, unmarked graves along the canal, or in mass paupers graves at nearby cemeteries.

The work has been documented as follows:

For over a 12-hour day of strenuous labor, the canal worker received a pittance in pay, tent or shanty housing, and meager meals (consisting mostly of coffee, bacon, beans, potatoes and, on every other day, maggot-ridden meat). Not surprisingly, there were several labor uprisings as a result.
In addition, many internal conflicts brewed among the workers that often turned violent, even fatal.  This may have been due to the 'daily jigger of whiskey' allotted to the men as part of their compensation. Perhaps stereotypical of Irish immigrants–or perhaps not–local law enforcement officials attributed as much as 90% of homicides to drunken Irish perpetrators.”

(“Lock 4: Ohio and Erie Canal. July, 2003.)

The canal was completed in 1832. The 309 miles of the Ohio and Erie Canal linked Lake Erie with the Ohio River and became a major catalyst for the state's economic growth.
The canals enjoyed a period of prosperity from the 1830s to the early 1860s, with maximum revenue between 1852 and 1855. During the 1840s, Ohio was the third most prosperous state, owing much of that growth to the canal.

In the canal heyday, boat companies operated fleets of vessels, hiring captains and crew. Captains could have a high professional standing in the community. Solo owner-operators became the norm, and their social status slipped. Entire families began to live and work on boats.
Early boats had enclosed cabins and carried cargo packed in barrels and crates. Later, boats had open decks to carry more bulk goods. They also increased in tonnage, responding to their ability to compete with railroads to haul the bulkiest goods like lumber and coal.

Gov. William Seward of New York proclaimed “the highest attainable equality” would come with canals. Ohio canal commissioners believed “the moral and intellectual condition of a people” would improve. And, the canals surely did deliver ... at least for a time.

(Jennie Vasarhelyi. Illustrating stories of Ohio & Erie Canal.” West Side Leader. May 15, 2014)

In addition to sharing daily life along the canal, canals changed life for those who were immediately involved with the canal. People now had increased access to consumer goods, so they could buy rather than make many of the things they used.

Immediately after the Civil War it became apparent that railroads would take the canal's business. From 1861 until 1879, after the canal had been badly flooded.

Lucasville Canal History

The following information is taken from the publication Lucasville Ohio: Sesquicentennial 1819-1969 by the Lucasville Area Historical Society:


Lucasville Duels and Conflicts: Major Munn and Captain Lucas

Lucasville residents may know that the Lucas family founded the town and that Robert Lucas later served as the 12th Governor of the U.S. state of Ohio, but do they know of Lucas's dangerous encounters with resident Major James Munn?

Read on and discover some little-known local history.

Robert Lucas came to Ohio with his father in 1802. He was of mature age, and well qualified both by ability and education to take an active part in all matters pertaining to the organization of a new county and State. In 1803 he was the first county surveyor of Scioto county. He was especially efficient in organizing the militia, and was the first brigadier-general in the country.

The “Almost” Duel

Historian Henry Howe (1816 – 1893) recounts a dispute between Lucas and Munn:

A number of horses had been stolen by Indians, and the settlers formed themselves into a military company to pursue the thieves, and if possible recover their stolen property. Robert Lucas was elected captain of the company (in 1807). They overtook the Indians, but not until after traveling a long distance from the settlements and Lucas concluded that it would not be safe to attack them.

Many of the company were indignant at this extreme caution, and Major Munn applied the epithet of “coward” to Lucas; whereupon the latter challenged Munn to fight a duel. The challenged was accepted, broadswords chosen as weapons and the next morning the appointed time.

Munn was promptly on the ground, but Lucas failed to appear, sending instead a note asking if the difficulty could not be settled in an amicable manner. Munn read the note and smiled, saying, “Certainly, it is his quarrel, and if he is satisfied, so am I.”

(Henry Howe. Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio Volume II. 1888.)

Governor Lucas and Major Munn crossed paths again. This time the conflict was the result of a rather delicate matter. Here is Henry Howe's account:

In 1810 a girl of the neighborhood laid a child to his (Lucas's) charge and called upon him to pay damages. This he declined to do, and a process was procured to take him to jail. When the sheriff attempted to serve the process he resisted and would not be taken. Thereupon, rather than endanger his life, the sheriff resigned, and his duties devolved upon the coroner, Maj. Munn, whom Lucas had previously challenged to fight a duel.

Maj. Munn failed to arrest Lucas, and he also resigned. Then Lucas threatened to kill the clerk who had issued the writ, and he resigned.

Upon this a call was made for county officers who could and would enforce the laws and arrest him. A young school teacher, John R. Turner, of Alexandria, came forward and said he would issue a writ if made clerk. Elijah Glover said, 'Make me sheriff, and by G--d I’ll take Gen. Lucas to jail, or any other man.'

They were appointed, the writ was issued, and when Glover showed the writ to Lucas, he quietly submitted and went to jail. But Squire Brown, father-in-law of Lucas, interfered to prevent the arrest, when Nathan Glover, a brother of the sheriff, picked him up and threw him into a clump of jimson weed, and told him to lie there and keep quiet or he might get into trouble. He lay there and kept quiet.”

(Henry Howe. Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio Volume II. 1888.)

Nothing more is recorded about the outcome of this incident, so we must speculate as to the final verdict rendered. By the way, Major Munn is buried on a knoll overlooking Clarktown. Anyway, the stories excite our imaginations with tales of Indians, broadswords, and frontier affairs. Perhaps, somewhere out there under the weeds of time, there lies the proverbial, yet-to-be-discovered “rest of the story.”

The Lucasville Area Historical Society would like to help those with genealogical interests. Here are some records for the Munn family. Feel free to add more information to this important part of Lucasville, Ohio history.

John Munn, Sr.

December 1, 1736
before 1802
Washington, PA, USA
Immediate Family:
Husband of Mary Margaret Munn
Father of Capt. James Munn; Mary Byers; Josiah Munn; John Munn, Jr.; Margaret Adams and 3 others

Managed by:
Janet Anne Petrak (Crawford) R1B
Last Updated:
March 2, 2015

James Munn

October 26, 1755 (83)
Cumberland, PA, USA
March 11, 1839 (83)
Scioto, OH, USA
Place of Burial:
Near Clarktown, Ohio, USA
Immediate Family:
Son of John Munn, Sr. and Mary Margaret Munn
Husband of Arzubah Munn
Father of John Munn, Jr.; William Munn; Hannah Burt; James Munn, Jr.; Margaret (Peggy) Munn and 5 others
Brother of Mary Byers; Josiah Munn; John Munn, Jr.; Margaret Adams; David Munn and 2 others

James Munn, Jr.

1796 (57)
Scioto, OH, USA
1853 (57)
Immediate Family:
Son of Capt. James Munn and Arzubah Munn
Husband of Filena Ann Munn
Father of John Heller Munn; Henry Harrison Munn; Nathaniel Franklin Munn; William Ridgley Munn; Electra Ann Munn and 3 others
Brother of John Munn, Jr.; William Munn; Hannah Burt; Margaret (Peggy) Munn; Polly Munn and 4 others

Managed by:
Private User
Last Updated:
January 2, 2016

Ira Munn, great grandson of John Munn, Sr.

Hell's Hollow Strawberry Pickers on the Willima Rheinoehl farm near present Burns Road. (Rheinoehl right, seated) Fourth from left, back row, Ira Munn II, great-grandson of Capt. (Major) James Munn.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Lucasville Area Historical Society: Why Preserve Local History?


Some people assume their pleasant existence is solely dependent upon factors now present in their own backyards. They define the status of their blessed communities through the beautiful homes, public services, and thriving businesses that adorn their surroundings. This assumption may deny the major role that history has played in their own community development – the role of the ordinary people and their real struggles and triumphs.

No society should ignore the events of its past. It is imperative that people understand their present state of well-being is largely a product of their heritage. Our predecessors have entrusted us not only to be good stewards of the land but also to be faithful protectors of the knowledge that records and explains events of long ago. In short, a study of local history is vital to the acumen of all residents.

American novelist Michael Crichton once used this metaphor to explain the role of history: “If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.” Those “trees” each breathe a lengthy narrative of stories and deeds that once took place in their particular locations. For generations, people have taken great pains to preserve these accounts in order that others may stay connected to their roots.

The acquisition of historical knowledge strengthens community pride and social fabric. Dr. Jonathan Healey, author and winner of the Thirsk-Feinstein Dissertation Prize for 2008 by the Economic History Society, cites specific reasons for the importance of local studies:

Local studies are important also for two more scholarly reasons. First, they reflect the social reality that our lives are lived out in particular localities:our place in the geography of the world is a major determinant of our lives in that world.

Second, local studies allow a degree of depth that simply isn’t possible in more wide-ranging studies. It allows us to get ‘under the skin’ of a historical community, to understand peoples’ relations to one another in much more detail than if we had simply seen them is part of a faceless mass of national statistics.”

(Jonathan Healey. “Why Local History Matters.” Lecture delivered at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. November 14, 2012.)

Lucasville, Ohio, has a rich history and a fabled identify. The town, itself, traces its European beginnings to 1800 and Captain William Lucas, who moved his family from Virginia to Ohio and took up a home in what was to become the village named for the family.

At the time of his coming, William was 58 years-old and a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Captain Lucas was the father of five sons and three daughters. One of his sons, Robert, commanded the local militia. He later became a general who served in the War of 1812. Later Robert was elected State Senator, and eventually Governor of Ohio and Governor of the Iowa Territory. Lucasville was platted on August 7, 1819, by John Lucas, William's brother.

The Lucasville Area Historical Society, a dedicated group of local residents has worked for many years to preserve the local heritage. Through their determined efforts and the undying work of community stalwarts like Alice Barker, Nelle Marie Yeager Bumgarner, and John Artis (just to name a few), they have collected a plethora of photos, clippings, and other artifacts. In fact, the society has published three major publications: Lucasville Ohio: Sesquicentennial 1819-1969 and A Backward Glance: The Lucasville, Ohio Area 1819-1919 volumes I and II.

At present, these invaluable materials are housed in a very small outbuilding in Lucasville. The collection is extensive and beautifully illustrative of the long past of the town. The present structure is much too small for adequate storage, display, and meeting. The society needs more space.

And now, the group has reached a crossroads. It is desperately seeking a permanent home suitable for their purposes. If no such facility is found, the community risks losing all of the artifacts, and, quite frankly, losing the society itself. What some see as old junk and worthless items, others see as irreplaceable folk treasures that require continued preservation.

The Lucasville Area Historical Society is planning to attend the meeting of Valley Trustees on Monday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m. The group hopes to go en masse to request using part of the old fire station for a home. They are asking for your support in this endeavor. You do not have to be a member of the society to attend and help the group. The meeting will take place at the new fire station.

Local studies do matter. In fact, they help establish us in a place. As people – friends, relatives, co-workers – we rely upon each other for vital connections. But also, we rely upon our history – family and local – to bind us as a cooperative social unit.

A strong tree of history, close to 200 years old, is waiting to be studied thanks to the Lucasville Area Historical Society. God pray that the gusty winds of time don't scatter the leaves, never to be discovered by inquisitive future generations. The astronomical loss would leave a space that could not be filled. Lucasville deserves loving care as one of the oldest, most respected communities in this part of the country. Preservation will increase wonderful future acquisition.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sexy Songs -- Classic "Belly Rubbers"


I was a mobile DJ for decades. I loved to find the right groove to help create magic on the dance floor. Part of my mission during the evening was to set a stage where lovers could practice romance in motion. My cohort and I jokingly called songs that lifted that special spirit “belly rubbers.” But, in all honesty, these songs were just plain sexy.

Now, any song list that proclaims sexy tunes is subjective. It really depends upon the criteria set forth for defining the list since sexy is a relative term. One person's seductive song is another person's elevator music. No argument from me on that.

Without a doubt, my list is old school. Nothing in it even recognizes tunes recorded in the 21st century. In that respect, it is suited more toward the middle-aged and geezer groups. Still, I have seen over and over again the incredible appeal of these songs and their power to set a sensual, even erotic mood. These songs will put you face to face with L-O-V-E and initiate something that begs you and your partner to do the rest.

This list does include a small dose of raw sexiness, but it centers more on the “come hither” than the risque. If you are looking for blatant sex in lyrics, try early R&B classics like “Big Ten Inch (Record)” by Bull Moose Jackson or “Work With Me, Annie” by Hank Ballard. This list is tender on passion while still being highly exotic. 
Most of the selections feature a simple swaying, “hold on tight” rhythm – they are classic slow-dance tunes that don't require dance-floor gymnastics. It is often difficult to pull apprehensive dancers onto the floor, but these songs have that strong magnetism that many people find irresistible. The tunes elicit body contact … and how.

Here's hoping you find the list useful or, at least, interesting. All of the songs are readily available through online services or YouTube. It's up to you to figure out how to employ the songs for your pleasure. Believe me, you won't be the first to do so. 
Here is the list:

1. "Let's Get It On" - Marvin Gaye 

2. “Can't Take My Eyes Off You” - Frankie Valli (Four Seasons) 

3. "Tonight's The Night" - Rod Stewart 

4. Tie: “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” and “Unchained Melody” - Righteous Brothers 

5. Tie: “Love Me Tender” and “Can't Help Falling in Love” - Elvis Presley 

6. Tie: “At Last” and “Sunday Kind of Love” - Etta James 

7. "Sexual Healing" - Marvin Gaye 

8, “Talk It Over” - Grayson Hugh 

9. “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” - Paul Anka 

10. “Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel 

11. “Wonderful Tonight” - Eric Clapton 

12. “Love to Love You Baby” - Donna Summer 

13. “True Love Ways” - Buddy Holly 

14. “Stir It Up” - Bob Marley 

15. “I Want To Make It With You” - Bread

P.S. – If you love big band, please include “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, or Ella Fitzgerald. Damn, what a sexy tune. No wonder there were so many of us Baby Boomers.

Monday, June 5, 2017


In February 1964, then future New Statesman's editor Paul Johnson wrote an article attacking the Beatles and all they stood for. It became the most complained-about piece in the magazine's history. I would like to share this story with you. It may have some merit.

Johnson is a historian, speechwriter and author. While associated with the political left in his early career, he is now a conservative popular historian. A prolific writer, Johnson has written over 40 books and contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers. In 2006, Johnson was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

In his article, Johnson said the Beatles' performance was music that “not only cannot be heard but does not need to be heard.” He believed that teenagers participating in this new cultural movement were just morons who came to participate in a ritual, “a collective grovelling to gods who are blind and empty.”

Yet, of his own younger days, Johnson stated, “At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; I can remember the excitement even today.” He continues, “We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on the Beatles and their ilk.”
Here is a paragraph from his '64 article:

Are teenagers different today? Of course not. Those who flock round the Beatles, who scream themselves into hysteria, are the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures: their existence, in such large numbers, far from being a cause for ministerial congratulation, is a fearful indictment of our education system, which in 10 years of schooling can scarcely raise them to literacy.... the core of the teenage group – the boys and girls who will be the real leaders and creators of society tomorrow – never go near a pop concert. They are, to put it simply, too busy. They are educating themselves. They are in the process of inheriting the culture which, despite Beatlism or any other mass-produced mental opiate, will continue to shape our civilization.”

(Paul Johnson. “From the archive: The Menace of Beatlism.” New Statesman.
February 28, 1964.)

I was born in 1951, so I was one of those teenagers whose life was dramatically influenced by Beatlemania and all of its hysteria and controversy. I grew up in rural Southern Ohio, and at night, I listened anxiously to WLS radio (50,000 watts of power) from Chicago to hear the latest Beatles' releases on the station's famed Silver Dollar Survey. Music has always been a best friend.

I remember those days as a magical time during which the Beatles, the leaders of the British Invasion, set trends in music, fashion, and nearly all other segments of popular culture. Musicologist Allan Moore notes; "Sometimes, audiences gravitate towards a centre. The most prominent period when this happened was in the early to mid 1960s when it seems that almost everyone, irrespective of age, class or cultural background, listened to the Beatles."

(Allan Moore. Song Means: Analyzing Interpreting Recorded Popular Song. 2016.)


Imaginative and experimental like no popular artists before them, the Beatles captured the international mass consciousness, and they long maintained their extraordinary influence. The editors of Rolling Stone magazine's Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll defineed the band's influence as follows:

“The impact of the Beatles – not only on rock & roll but on all of Western culture – is simply incalculable … As personalities, they defined and incarnated '60s style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Although many of their sales and attendance records have since been surpassed, no group has so radically transformed the sound and significance of rock & roll. ... (they) proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles record."
(George-Warren, Holly ed. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. 2001)

To be honest, Paul Johnson was far from alone in his criticism of the Beatles and their baby boomer fans. The controversy raged during the time. In fact, relatively modest Beatles' haircuts alone caused clean-cut conservatives to blow their gaskets from coast to coast. The Beatles were youth personified, and that caused a cultural earthquake of biblical proportions. They were so, so different, and this peculiarity scared the be-Jesus out of the establishment. Extremely intelligent and often sarcastic, they made irreverence hip in mainstream culture.

Now, Johnson's condemnation of all that encompassed Beatlemania seems comically dated. This is a good lesson for all of us. As time passes and our perspectives change, we find many of our old views regrettable. Sometimes I am overcome when I consider particularly negative ideas I once harbored. I like to believe that I have learned to question change and simply to resist it. I like to think now I change when it is apparent I am wrong.

At any rate, I think the vast majority of us now value the positive influence of the greatest rock group of all time – the Beatles. As Paul Johnson approaches age 90, he may possess a better perspective of the 1960s and all of us – young and old – who lived them. I have no idea if he still feels the same about the Beatles. And, I have no idea if he still disses my generation – the loyal fans of a band that actually changed the times. I do know that in 1964, Johnson employed his pen and his mind to misjudge that which he did not fully understand.

I think it is safe to say the public has spoken.

And, the choir says, “Amen!”