Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Ohio Knife Bills -- No Prohibitions On Combat Blades

Rick Hinderer started with art knives in the 1980s then transitioned to tactical tools. State law now allows him to manufacture switchblades, spring-assisted and gravity knives.

Ohio Senate Bill 140, a knife law reform bill advocated by the grassroots knife owner organization Knife Rights, took effect Monday and eliminated “the prohibition against manufacturing, possessing for sale, selling, or furnishing certain weapons other than firearms or dangerous ordnance.”

On Tuesday, Hinderer hosted a factory tour at his Shreve-area business Hinderer Knives to celebrate the bill’s passage. Attendees included Knife Rights Founder and Chair Doug Ritter and Director of Legislative Affairs Todd Rathner, state Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and state Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster).

Without the change in the law, Hinderer seriously considered moving his business out of Ohio so he could entertain military contracts for automatic knives. He now projects his business will double overnight, and he can expand his workforce beyond the 18 employees now working for him.

If the military comes to me before this bill is passed and asks about getting a knife that I produce, I wasn’t going to turn it down. I was just going to move outside of Ohio,” said Hinderer, founder and CEO of Rick Hinderer Knives. “It’s a huge benefit for us and the business. Plain and simple, it’s jobs.”

Like Hinderer, Massillon native Michael Rice feared Ohio's knife regulations would force him to leave the city he grew up in.

Rice, is the inventor, founder and CEO of Gripknife, a vertical foregrip for a firearm that could double as an immediately accessible secondary weapon.

Gripknife attaches to the rail system of an AR-style weapon to be used as a normal foregrip, but with the push of a button, it can deploy into a combat-style knife.

Knife Rights worked for six years to get SB 140 passed in Ohio. The group’s work continues “so people can carry whatever tool they want in their pocket, at work, at home and don’t have to worry about being arrest because of how the tool opens, the length of the blade, or the shape of the blade,” Ritter said.

(Jake Zuckerman. 'Law takes effect legalizing concealed knife carry; also allows for brass knuckles.” Ohio Capital Journal. April 13, 2021.)


Gripkknife
 

Why would I worry about people carrying knives when I grew up in a rural Ohio grade school environment in which seemingly every young man had a pocket knife? I even remember boys routinely playing “mumblety-peg” (aka “mumbley-peg”) on the playground at recess.

Then, there was little worry about students using knives to settle disputes or to injure others for whatever reason. Gone are both the morals and the common sense that prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s. We live in violent days.

Times have changed. Attitudes have changed. And, unfortunately, recent political and social divisions and resulting fears have driven state legislators to pass laws that make brandishing weapons perfectly legal. I worry that these new laws will endanger all – young and old – and present angry young men easy access to overwhelming force and concealed weapons made to kill.

For once, I agree with gun advocates who say that if a person intends to harm another, a knife or a club could be an instrument as deadly as a firearm. This fact did not stop Ohio's Republican lawmakers from passing Senate bills and preventing legislation on the local level that would limit this newfound right to carry automatic, combat-style knives.

After previously approving legislation (2021) that allows Ohioans to carry an array of different knives and weapons on their persons – including butterfly knives, switchblades, springblades, brass knuckles, and billy clubs – Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Tuesday that preemptively blocks cities from intervening.

Now, Senate Bill 156, which passed on party lines with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition, prohibits cities from passing laws blocking citizens from carrying knives.

In Ohio, Democrats wield political control of the urban centers, while Republicans control the statehouse and governor’s office. Thus, the legislation preemptively blocks the Democratic cities from enacting any ordinance of their own that might restrict the right to carry knives beyond what statehouse Republicans call for.

A similar pre-emption blocks cities from establishing gun laws stricter than those at the state level. That law has withstood repeated legal challenges since it was passed in 2007.

The knife pre-emption joins a growing list of state legislation expanding the right to carry weapons in Ohio including:

  • 2022: Knife pre-emption

  • 2022: Authorizing school boards to allow teachers to carry guns

  • 2022: Remove training, background check and licensure requirement to carry concealed firearm

  • 2021: Allowing for concealed carry of knives

  • 2021: Removing the legal duty to retreat before responding to a perceived attack with deadly force, often known as “stand your ground.”

(Jake Zuckerman. “DeWine signs legislation buttressing knife carrying expansion.” https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2022/06/17/dewine-signs-legislation-buttressing-knife-carrying-expansion/. Capital Journal. June 17, 2022.)

And, perhaps most alarming, this new law about concealed knives comes after April 2021, when “stand your ground” law took effect in Ohio, which removes the legal requirement that a person reasonably try to retreat from a perceived attack before responding with deadly force. Such legislation has been associated with modest increases in violent crime and disparate treatment in the criminal justice system on racial lines, public health research shows.

(Staff. “Ohio's new 'stand your ground' law: Everything you need to know.” WLWT 5. April 22, 2021.)

The measure expanded the so-called “stand your ground” right from an individual’s house and car to any place, “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has a right to be.” Enter knives into the equation.

The new law can be explained like this: In the past, if someone shot in self-defense, the burden was on the shooter to prove that's why they did it. With a "stand your ground" law, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to prove the shooting was not justified.

In addition to making prosecutors prove a claim of self-defense may not be justified, the measure would also eliminate the call for gun owners with concealed carry permits to try to retreat from a threat before opening fire.

The Republican governor signed the bill despite his long expressed concerns that GOP lawmakers were ignoring his own legislation proposed following the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.

Ethan Nichols, executive director of Ohio Students for Gun Legislation, sees the recent “stand your ground” law like this …

"This isn't a Second Amendment issue. I support the Second Amendment. But this has nothing to do with that. Your ability to shoot someone without just, you know – randomly shoot someone because you feel threatened, it's ridiculous."

Nichols worries the new law will exact a heavy toll on minority communities.

"It's a racist law," Nichols said. "I think for Ohioans that this is a, very obviously, a step in the wrong direction. This is a step backwards into another century."

(Staff. “Ohio's 'stand your ground' law goes into effect Tuesday. What to know.” https://www.wlwt.com/article/ohio-s-stand-your-ground-law-goes-into-effect-tuesday-what-to-know/36026492. WLWT 5. April 05, 2021.)


Conclusion

Knives of all kinds protected throughout Ohio? Are blade laws simply about creating economic opportunities for manufacturing tactical and automatic knives, or are they about something more? The laws are clearly a Second Amendment bills that dovetails into recent acts passed in the Buckeye State to loosen restrictions on carrying deadly weapons. It's the old need for a “bigger gun” argument now widened to include “bigger knives.” In reality, no kid is going to employ one of these weapons to whittle or to assist him with outdoor skills. These blades are designed to kill.

Art knives? Don't kid yourself. GOP legislators are fighting a culture war, and part of this struggle involves their alarm that the “untouchable” Second Amendment may soon be reformed. They wrap their fight in Jingoism – belligerent patriotism – and in religion to sell their message of threatened freedoms to anyone who needs a convenient scapegoat. Passing “stand your ground” laws and “conceal and carry” acts is part of their thin veneer of toughness. Sexy weapons with maximum bling appeal are the products at hand.

SB 140 addresses the often abusive and discriminatory application of the existing Ohio weapons law against knife carriers, clarifying that unless the knife/edged tool is actually used as a weapon, it is legal to be carried. Supporters of the bill will tell you about the need to seek uniform regulation in the state.

However, tactical knives are sold with advertisements that call them “a must-have accessory to carry as they are tough, reliable and easy to use, not to mention they can save your day when doom strikes.” It is obvious that such instruments are intended to be used as weapons.

For example, on their website, Tekto knives are marketed as such …

Here at Tekto, we take great pleasure in staying up to date with the latest law and regulations to make sure we all play by the rules. By doing so, you can choose the best suitable knife without having to worry about the legality of it.”

And then, this caveat …

Tekto Gear is not, and cannot be, a legal service provider. Use of the site does not create a lawyer/client relationship. Laws are interpreted differently by enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and judges. Tekto Gear suggests that you consult legal counsel for guidance.”

(Dan D. “Ohio Laws: Facts You Must Learn. https://www.tektogear.com/blogs/news/ohio-knife-laws-updated-2020-facts-you-must-learn-or-risk-prosecution. March 31, 2020.)

  1. W. Byrne of The Coolist writes …

Manufacturers have done an excellent job of finding ways of making modern switchblades that slip through the loopholes in the laws, but even so, you can find yourself in a mess of legal trouble if you are caught carrying, buying, selling, importing, handling, or looking too closely at an automatic knife. Though, if you’re like us, you just can’t help yourself, no matter what Washington’s fat bastards have to say.”

(M. W. Byrne. “The 14 Best Automatic Knives (2022 Edition): Tomorrow’s Switchblades.” https://www.thecoolist.com/best-automatic-knives/. The Coolist. 2022 Edition.)

 

This is a very special XM-18 3in done in the Battlefield Pickup theme. All parts of the knife as well as the knife build itself was done exclusively by me. The walnut handle is done in a entirely new way to further enhance its “worn” look. All parts of the knife have been hand worked by me to give it a very unique BPU look and feel! Also this particular knife is serialized for both the Vintage series as well as the BPU. VERY unique and rare! Of course my build card is included!”

Rick Hinderer

$700.00


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

4th Of July Highland Park Massacre -- Gun Worship And Violence Sanctuaries

 

Again.

Again and again.

This time, America's latest mass shooting turned a cherished July Fourth parade from a scene of patriotic joy into one of fear and death.

The rapid bursts of a high-powered rifle brought the chilling reality that no one can be sure they are safe, anywhere, to one of the nation's most unifying gatherings.

In that instant, Highland Park joined Uvalde, Columbine, Newtown and Parkland and a long list of cities and towns known across the country for the massacre of innocents in a gun violence contagion that makes the United States an outlier in developed societies.

It reflected yet another scene of normality shattered by a mass shooting. In this case, six people who simply went out to celebrate America on its birthday are dead. More than two dozen – aged 8 to 85, according to doctors – are injured.

July 4 parade slaughter again shows nowhere is safe from America's mass killing contagion

(Stephen Collinson. “July 4 parade slaughter again shows nowhere is safe from America's mass killing contagion.” CNN. July 5, 2022.)

And once again, massive investigations into the crime will begin, the nation will mourn the unspeakable tragedy, and devout believers will pray for the families and loved ones killed and injured in the senseless massacre.

But, in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, all of this is not enough.

No longer can we refuse to confront the epidemic of gun violence that threatens every innocent human being in America. We must study evidence-based solutions and pass new measures to prevent future bloodshed. I understand no one reform will stop all gun violence; however, I am sickened by the continuing lack of action needed to begin sensible reform.

I have actually become tired of Christians who answer such tragedies with pleas to God to stop the killing and then do nothing more. That is not enough, not nearly enough. The deadly and angry intentions of those with firearms cannot be “prayed away.” Nor will I ever believe that God intends humans to helplessly accept these vicious murders.

We must no longer be a sanctuary of access to a Second Amendment that does not protect those who simply wish to live in peace. The amendment belongs to all, not just to some. Many conservatives claim it for themselves: they insist in unrestricted rights supported by gun manufacturers, the NRA, lobbyists, and Congresspeople who benefit from their profitable association.

Why must we live our lives fearing those who should not even have access to firearms? It is as if the continual assault of pro-gun propaganda – now sexy and testosterone-based – has inured an adoring gun culture to the ill effects of putting weapons of mass destruction in the hands of criminals, crazies, and killers.

We now live in a robust gun culture populated by many who refuse to assume the negative effects of their gun worship. Once again, after this bloody 4th of July 2022, they will prefer to ignore the obvious – the gun is part of the deadly equation. No solution can possibly ease the violence unless access to firearms is addressed … and, unless actions are taken to keep deadly weapons from those bent on death and destruction.

I have waged a fight to take even simple, symbolic steps to call attention to the need to consider the true meaning of the “sacred” attitude toward guns in our culture – a need to separate facts from myths and to find compromise in the political, cultural, and religious views about American firearms. We need to be safer, not just live in hopes that we and our loved ones survive a life where free availability and lack of restriction prevail.

As totems of power, guns have been part of the salvation in our collective history. Who can deny the role of firearms in settling the frontier, securing our freedom from tyranny, and winning necessary wars? I understand the pride and connection.

Yet, any divine providence today must be viewed anew. Consider that religion interacts with race, and far-right militias employ power and bigotry in “heavenly” disguises. And, also consider that we live in unsettled times when some believe traditional American values are under attack. They see the gun as protection from an unseen enemy threatening their precious way of life. They also think any challenge to gun ownership is unpatriotic.

And, for God's sake, the emotion and mental state of the nation is and has been failing for many years – especially that of young people.

According to Mental Health America (MHA):

  • In 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 19.86% of adults experienced a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans.

  • Suicidal ideation continues to increase among adults in the U.S. 4.58% of adults report having serious thoughts of suicide, an increase of 664,000 people from last year’s dataset. The national rate of suicidal ideation among adults has increased every year since 2011-2012. This was a larger increase than seen in last year’s report and is a concerning trend to see going into the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A growing percentage of youth in the U.S. live with major depression. 15.08% of youth experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, a 1.24% increase from last year’s dataset. In the bottom-ranked states, up to 19% of youth ages 12-17 experienced major depression.

  • Over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. have severe depression, and multiracial youth are at greatest risk. 10.6% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression (depression that severely affects functioning). The rate of severe depression was highest among youth who identified as more than one race, at 14.5% (more than one in every seven multiracial youth).

  • Over half of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 27 million adults in the U.S. who are going untreated. In Hawaii, the bottom-ranked state, 67% of adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment. Even in Vermont, the top-ranked state in the U.S., 43% of adults experiencing a mental illness were not receiving treatment.

  • The percentage of adults with a mental illness who report unmet need for treatment has increased every year since 2011. In 2019, 24.7% of adults with a mental illness report an unmet need for treatment.

  • Over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Even in states with the greatest access, nearly one in three are going without treatment. In Texas, the bottom-ranked state for this indicator, nearly three-quarters of youth with depression did not receive mental health treatment.

  • Nationally, fewer than 1 in 3 youth with severe depression receive consistent mental health care. Even among youth with severe depression who receive some treatment, only 27% received consistent care. In Tennessee, the bottom-ranked state, that rate is as low as 12%. 65.6% of youth in Maine (ranked 1st) received consistent treatment, which is 16% higher than Vermont (49.7%) which is ranked 2nd.

(“The State of Mental Health in America.” https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america. Mental Health America. 2022.)

In reality, “our constitutional right” does not exist in a vacuum. We cannot treat it with detachment during the proliferation and worship of guns. In other words, the Second Amendment has consequences. The true patriot fights against armed mobs of destruction and defies acts of murderous gun mayhem; that patriot does not blindly support a piece of legislation and render all reform dead.

It is clear what is wrong with this detachment. While most Republicans think they’re showing their toughness by preventing restrictions on guns, this abstinence has become a terrible weakness. Even discussion of the need to consider reform is often choked by those with a gun mindset.

The rage, resentment and extremism in 21st century America is undeniable. Also undeniable is the fact that so many people are asked to compress their person-hood into succinct lines and images. It is no wonder that these often end up including guns – America’s most potent symbol of masculinity, power and self-determination. What about those who use the gun to exert control and even to kill in the name of their perceived grievances?

We no longer live in a frontier where the gun helps us reckon with social problems. Yet, that myth still perpetuates violence as an answer to economic inequality, to crime and punishment, and to living a life where packing a weapon and standing your ground is deemed necessary for tranquility … all in a modern culture that reveres the unarmed Sheriff of Mayberry and the single, pocketed bullet of his deputy Barney Fife.

Maybe, just maybe … if people would seek solutions other than defending a lie: a falsehood that holds a constitutional amendment is untouchable and sacred, we could all work together to defeat gun violence. Still, in my county – Scioto, Ohio – leaders refuse to consider what rescinding a designation of “Second Amendment Sanctuary” may symbolize to a community caught in the throes of denial. 

Conclusion 

The nation's birthday in 2022 will now be forever remembered as the day a 22-year-old with social media postings of violent gun imagery went on a deadly rampage … and the truth that his father, a longtime deli owner who previously ran a failed campaign for mayor of Highland Park, “liked” a tweet his son had made that read: “Protect the Second Amendment like your life depends on it.”

Who knew? It was said his family noticed “nothing amiss” and saw “no signs of trouble.” Give me a break. They knew this deranged criminal had no business owning a gun. We all know the drill by now. Denial and regret in the rear-view. It's time to call it what it really “is” – irresponsible, unforgivable behavior on the part of those who worship guns. The operating legal definition is that of “accomplice” – “one who intentionally and voluntarily participates with another in a crime by encouraging or assisting in the commission of the crime or by failing to prevent it though under a duty to do so.”

"For [a] distinct group of gun owners, gun empowerment delivers a sense of meaning to life that neither economic status nor religious devotion currently provide. These owners’ attachment to guns draws directly from popular narratives concerning American masculinity, freedom, heroism, power, and independence. In turn, owners who feel more emotionally and morally empowered by their guns are more likely to think that guns can solve social problems and make communities safer, and that citizens are sometimes justified in taking violent action against the government."

(Mencken FC, Froese P. “Gun culture in action.” Social Problems 2017, 0:1–25.)


Monday, July 4, 2022

10-Year-Old Raped In Ohio Forced To Go To Indiana For Abortion

A 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio was denied an abortion, sparking outrage online as many Republican-led states strip away reproductive rights following the Supreme Court's overruling of Roe v. Wade.

Sheena

@MomSheenanigans

GOP: Maybe she should use protection if she didn't want to get pregnant.

D: she was raped

GOP: *switches talk track* what was she wearing?

D: she's 10.

GOP: *checks notes* this is a blessing from God

MONSTERS

Gavi Begtrup

@GaviBegtrup

A 10-year-old girl is raped. The State forces her to remain pregnant and tells her to consider it an “opportunity.”

This isn’t Iran. This isn’t Gilead. This isn’t hypothetical.

This happened today in Ohio.

(Andrew Stanton. “'She's 10': Child Rape Victim's Abortion Denial Sparks Outrage on Twitter.” Newsweek. July 02, 2022.)

Ohio has outlawed abortion just weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. And, meanwhile, physicians in neighboring Indiana described an influx of out-of-state patients seeking care. Among them: a pregnant 10-year-old.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, told the Indianapolis Star that just three days after the federal right to an abortion was reversed she received a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio, who needed her help.

The physician had a pregnant patient – a 10-year-old who got pregnant after getting raped – who could no longer legally undergo the procedure in her home state. The girl was six weeks and three days pregnant when Dr. Bernard was contacted, the Indianapolis Star, reported.

Could Bernard help?

Indiana lawmakers are poised to further restrict or ban abortion in mere weeks. The Indiana General Assembly will convene in a special session July 25 when it will discuss restrictions to abortion policy along with inflation relief.

But for now, the procedure is still is legal here. And so the girl soon was on her way to Indiana to Bernard's care.

(Shari Rudavsky and Rachel Fradette. “As Ohio restricts abortions, 10-year-old girl travels to Indiana for procedure.” Indianapolis Star. July 01, 2022.)

Since Friday, the abortion clinics where Dr. Katie McHugh, an independent obstetrician-gynecologists works have seen “an insane amount of requests” from pregnant people in Kentucky and Ohio, where it is far more difficult to get an abortion.

For now, Indiana abortion providers have been fielding more calls from neighboring states. Typically about five to eight patients a day might hail from out of state, said McHugh, who works at multiple clinics in central and southern Indiana. Now, the clinics are seeing about 20 such patients a day.

Kentucky patients have been coming to Indiana in higher numbers since earlier this spring when more restrictive laws took effect there, McHugh said.

A similar dynamic is at play at Women’s Med, a medical center that performs abortions in Indianapolis that has a sister center in Dayton, Ohio. In the past week, they have doubled the number of patients they treat for a complete procedure, accepting many referrals from their Ohio counterpart.

More than 100 patients in Dayton had to be scheduled at the Indianapolis facility, a representative for Women’s Med, wrote in an email to IndyStar.

Women and pregnant people are “crying, distraught, desperate, thankful and appreciative,” the representative wrote.

(Shari Rudavsky and Rachel Fradette. “As Ohio restricts abortions, 10-year-old girl travels to Indiana for procedure.” Indianapolis Star. July 01, 2022.)

Other nearby states, including Illinois, where abortion is likely to remain legal, are bracing for an influx of patients seeking care from nearby states where the procedure is more heavily restricted, including Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri.

Planned Parenthood Illinois expects the state will see an additional 20,000 to 30,000 patients overall crossing its border to receive abortions each year.

Conclusion

For decades, about 75 percent of Americans have consistently told pollsters that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest. But many of the measures now set to take effect do away with such exceptions.

(Gallup's May 1-10 Values and Beliefs poll (2018), are similar to the prior update, in 2012, as well as to Gallup's first measure of this question, in 1996.)

Elaine Godfrey, staff writer at The Atlantic, wrote …

President Ronald Reagan detested abortion but endorsed exceptions for rape in the 1980s; George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump all also indicated their support for the measures. The National Right to Life Committee supported legislation that included exceptions in the 1990s. Even the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, has long contained these exceptions.

In the past few years, though, the anti-abortion movement has moved in a different direction. In 2019, Alabama legislators passed an abortion ban that lacked rape and incest exceptions. Nine other states—Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas—have passed similar laws.

But Republicans have plowed ahead anyway, confident that they’re on the right side of this issue not only morally, but politically. Maybe a lack of exceptions for rape is not the poison pill it once was. 'We’ve seen state legislatures adopt restriction after restriction and ban after ban, and these legislators remain in power,' Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, told me. 'It doesn’t feel like there are any consequences for them.'”

(Elaine Godfrey. “The GOP’s Strange Turn Against Rape Exceptions.” The Atlantic. May 04, 2022.)

Republicans have increased their opposition despite the fact that obtaining an abortion under a rape or incest exception is difficult. Many states require rape survivors to file a police report to qualify. “These exceptions don’t do the job that people think they’re going to do,” Nash said. But the trend toward blanket abortion bans signals a clear shift in the anti-abortion movement.

Banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, is ideologically consistent, the bans’ proponents argue: If abortion is murder, why would murder be acceptable in any instance? “We don’t issue birth certificates in the United States with a ratings system based on how someone was conceived,” said Kristi Hamrick, a spokesperson for the anti-abortion group Students for Life. “Clearly crimes must be fully prosecuted, and women [must be] helped. But we mourn as well for the preborn, who also suffer.”

Godfrey concludes …

The anti-abortion-rights movement still seeks to portray itself as advocating for pregnant women, rather than seeking to punish them, and leaps into damage-control mode if its allies suggest otherwise.

During his primary campaign in 2016, for example, Donald Trump suggested in a town-hall interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that women should face 'some sort of punishment' for obtaining an abortion.

Republicans and leaders of the anti-abortion movement pushed back immediately. 'No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion,' said Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. 'We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.'”

(Elaine Godfrey. “The GOP’s Strange Turn Against Rape Exceptions.” The Atlantic. May 04, 2022.)

Trump, realizing that he had entered politically iffy territory, retracted his statement. Abortion bans seek to punish providers, rather than people who seek out the procedure. But this political third rail may be losing its charge too. Several women have recently been arrested and jailed in cases involving self-induced abortions. “If abortion is murder, then women are hiring the hitmen,” Carol Sanger, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies reproductive rights, told me. “It’s not logically impossible to get to that position.”

With Roe v. Wade being overturned, women … girls … who travel to other states to get an abortion are protected … I guess, for now.

Under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a recent statement.

Middlebury College economics professor Caitlin Myers looked into the data on access to abortion facilities around the country, and predicted in May that about 24 percent of women who’d like an abortion would be unable to reach a provider in the affected states, under the new laws, and that three-quarters of those women would give birth in the first year after a Roe reversal. Myers’s analysis assumes one-fourth of abortion seekers who can’t get out of their state might be able to get the procedure through other means.

Assuming that the number of people seeking abortions in the affected states in the next year is the same as those who got abortions in 2019 (the most recent year for which we have data), about two in 10 women hoping to stop their pregnancy would have to give birth in the next 12 months.

I believe no 10-year-old child should be forced to have children. The stance of those who support abortion bans is echoed by people like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who was challenged Sunday about her stance on exempting rape victims from her state's abortion ban after this Ohio girl was raped, and was then denied an abortion.

CNN's State of The Union host Dana Bash asked Noem: "Will the state of South Dakota going forward force a 10-year-old in that very same situation to have a baby?" Noem generally skirted the answer after calling the pregnancy a “tragedy.”

The governor made a similar remark a week earlier when CBS' Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked her whether or not she is open to exceptions for rape and incest when it comes to abortion.

"I just have never believed that having a tragedy or tragic situation happen to someone is a reason to have another tragedy occur," Noem responded. "I believe every life is precious.”

Another tragedy occur”? How about the fragile life of the 10-year-old victim now forced to deal with the aftermath of an unspeakable, heinous crime? Ohio gave the family no choice to end the product of the act. The heartbeat law assumed a viable human being was alive at six weeks.

The Ohio GOP doesn't even use science to reinforce their position. Although some people might picture a heart-shaped organ beating inside a fetus, this is not the case.

At 6 weeks, an embryo does not have a fully formed heart. Rather, it has a cluster of cells (that eventually forms into a heart) that emits electrical signals, which can be detected on an ultrasound. This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future "pacemaker" of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals.

But the heart is far from fully formed at this stage, and the "beat" isn't audible; if doctors put a stethoscope up to a woman's belly this early on in her pregnancy, they would not hear a heartbeat. (What's more, it isn't until the eighth week of pregnancy that the baby is called a fetus; prior to that, it's still considered an embryo, according to the Cleveland Clinic.)

The heart of a fetus is fully developed by the 10th week

(Kloesel B, DiNardo JA, Body SC. “Cardiac Embryology and Molecular Mechanisms of Congenital Heart Disease: A Primer for Anesthesiologists.” Anesth Analg. 2016 September; 123(3):551-69.)

Denying choice in instances of pregnancy such as this is draconian. The intrusion of this so-called “morality” is certain to wreck lives and force terrible negative medical effects. What do these lawmakers want by enacting such legislation – a right to life or an open invitation to child abuse? It makes me wonder if these “no exception anti-abortionists” have a heartbeat themselves – a vital pulsation to animate their desire to protect the living … in this case, an elementary student they deemed capable of motherhood.

They say it is the Christian response. How so in the cases of rape and incest? And, the fact is justice, equality, and compassion is about much more than elimination of the right to choose. Real life is often messy, complicated, and so dependent upon circumstance.

Michael Coren, author and columnist for The Toronto Star who is ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada, reminds us …

Abortion rates drop when contraceptives are made freely available, modern sex education is taught, paternity payments enforced, women empowered, universal child care provided and poverty combatted. That, and not cruel prohibition, should be the authentic Christian response.”

(Michael Coren. “Does Christianity condemn abortion? That’s not what the Bible says.” The Globe and Mail. June 29, 2022.)

 


Saturday, July 2, 2022

July 4 Declaration of Independence -- Who Wrote Those Beautiful Words?

Penmanship (the Declaration of Independence, 1776).

This July 4, 2022, I want to pose a simple question: Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

Thomas Jefferson, right?

The word “wrote” has multiple meanings. While Jefferson can be credited with authorship of many of the eloquent and persuasive passages in the proclamation, Timothy Matlack is the scribe who formed characters and symbols on the surface of the declaration parchment.

Timothy Matlack's impeccable handwriting adorns the official, signed parchment on display in the National Archives Rotunda.

Did I ask you a trick question? No, not at all.

Did Matlack's writing even matter?

You better believe it. Matlack gave the most celebrated declaration of freedom authentic readability, and he was greatly instrumental in its widespread distribution and public appeal.

(Jessie Kratz. “The Power of Penmanship: Writing the Declaration of Independence.” https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2021/07/01/the-power-of-penmanship-writing-the-declaration-of-independence/. National Archives July 1, 2021.)

Penmanship

Penmanship in the colonial era – when only some Americans had the opportunity to learn how to read and write – was a necessary skill for carrying out one’s professional and social duties. Since these tasks differed by social standing and gender, so too did the style of writing a person would learn. Merchants employed a thin, loopy script that was both quick and assured, whereas wealthier men projected a sense of leisure through handwriting that seemed effortless.

The National Archives reports that fewer women than men learned to write in the 18th century. Among the elite members of colonial American society, women who did receive penmanship instruction learned a flowing style whose light touch and varying thickness gave a pleasing appearance that could be embellished further with decorative shading.

Standardization and formality have long been hallmarks of official documentation, such as legal or government papers. For this reason, the mastery of fine handwriting became a profession itself, and the craftsmen who expertly transcribed texts for hire were called “penman.” The mark of “good” penmanship was its artful appearance. Fine letter formation instilled trust and so carried an importance equal to what the words actually said.

The printing press shrank the demand for professional scribes in the mid-18th century. Indeed, the Second Continental Congress turned to Philadelphia printer John Dunlap to publish the Declaration of Independence in the form of a broadside several weeks before commissioning an engrossed version on parchment.

So the Archives records …

On the evening of July 4, 1776, Dunlap printed the first edition of the proclamation for entry in the Rough Journal of the Continental Congress. Additional broadsides went to the states and troops to publicly announce and explain the reasons for the delegates’ decision to break away from Great Britain. While the exact number Dunlap printed remains unknown, it is thought that he made around 200 copies. The Dunlap Broadside at the National Archives is one of only 26 copies known to survive.

Given the speed, clarity, and wide distribution of the printed broadside, why did the Second Continental Congress order an engrossed version of the Declaration of Independence be made a few weeks later, on July 19? The preparation of the document in a large, clear hand denoted that this version was the official copy, the one that would bear the delegates’ signatures. Signing the Declaration became as important as the votes cast in Congress to approve the measure. The Declaration of Independence was an act of treason against the British Crown; the document acknowledges this at the end with the words: 'we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.'”

(Jessie Kratz. “The Power of Penmanship: Writing the Declaration of Independence.” https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2021/07/01/the-power-of-penmanship-writing-the-declaration-of-independence/. National Archives July 1, 2021.)

(Post thanks to Breanne Robertson, Education Specialist in the Museum Programs Division in Washington, DC.)

Matlack, who was an assistant to the Secretary of the Second Continental Congress, set to work with parchment, ink, and quill to transcribe the document using a patrician style called English round hand or Copperplate.

Although the printing press began to replace handwritten documents at this time, Matlack’s handwritten document lends a sense of elegance, authority, and – most important – anonymity to the Declaration of Independence. The purpose of the document is to justify American independence and raise support for an independent United States, both within the colonies and abroad.

The formality and skill of the engrossed copy strengthened the persuasiveness of the Declaration by distancing its arguments from any individual. The document not only helped protect the identities of the signers – the names were kept secret until 1777 – but it also announced the official standing of the new government by giving sophisticated visual expression to its collective voice.

Timothy Matlack remains a minor character in the story of American independence despite the physical trace of his hand being clearly visible in every word of the Declaration of Independence. To be sure, the very concealment of his identity speaks to the artistry of his pen. Let's celebrate Matlack – they guy who gave the Declaration of Independence its distinctive and artistic Copperplate style – symbolic forever as a masterpiece of American human design. 

Who Was Timothy Matlack?

The “power of the written word” and the “artistry of the pen” – these are beautiful phrases that speak volumes to me. This little-known story is about the real thing – the ink, the paper, the physical declaration that we all cherish. And, above all, the man with the penmanship who was chosen to craft the news of independence for all the masses to see.

Early on, Matlack's story is as colorful and intriguing as that of any founding father. In the spirit of the 4th, allow me to share some of it with you. It is a story of a common man, a person caught up in the times and willing to stand for freedom

Timothy Matlack was born on March 28, 1736 in Haddonfield, New Jersey. His family moved to Philadelphia eight years later. At the age of thirteen, Timothy began an apprenticeship under a prosperous Quaker merchant named John Reynell. Looking forward to a bright future, Matlack enthusiastically signed his contract with characteristic looping flourishes.

(Chris Coelho. “Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the Declaration of Independence.” https://allthingsliberty.com/2021/08/timothy-matlack-scribe-of-the-declaration-of-independence/. Journal of the American Revolution. August 24, 2021.)

But then disaster struck his family. His father, Timothy Sr., was a brewer who fell into debt, and the court ordered the seizure of his brewery and household goods. A last-minute agreement allowed the continued use of the property but with a new man in charge: Timothy’s half-brother, Reuben Haines. Timothy’s father drank himself to death soon thereafter and his younger brothers were admitted to a charity school as “poor scholars.”

After completing the term of his apprenticeship in 1758, Timothy Matlack married Ellen Yarnall, the daughter of a Quaker minister. Matlack became such a devout Quaker that some people considered him a candidate for the ministry. Timothy and Ellen had four children, the youngest of whom would be killed in a battle at sea during the Revolution.

In 1759, Benjamin Franklin, as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, hired Matlack to transcribe onto parchment a massive petition to the King-in-Council regarding Indian affairs.[1] In 1760, Matlack opened a mercantile (selling cloths and hardware).

In 1765 the Society of Friends complained that Matlack had become negligent in attending meetings for worship, instead “frequenting company in such a manner as to spend too much time away from home.”

(Notice of disownment issued by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting to Timothy Matlack, July 26, 1765 reprinted in A.M. Stackhouse, Col. Timothy Matlack: Patriot and Soldie – privately printed, 1910.)

His new companions kept him away from not only home and church, but also work. He was disowned by the Quakers and his business failed. He was in debtor’s prison on two occasions, each for about a month.

Matlack had been raised to live with Quaker simplicity and earn a living in a lucrative trade. But he found himself more interested in the weight of a prize cow, or the length of a racecourse, than the price of linen in London. After his father’s business failure and untimely death, he had found consolation in his faith. But now, after his own fiasco and his mother’s death, he filled the emptiness in the taverns.

Yet he did not fall into the abyss. In the alehouses he found an appealing world where men talked trade, politics, and sport over rounds of beer, wine, and rum punch. This was a time of fascination with the public world, and Matlack eagerly joined in these discussions. His friendly manner earned him popularity and acceptance. He discovered an identity which saved him from this second crisis. He was becoming a public man. Matlack’s embrace of public life led to his leadership role in town meetings and committees during the climactic years leading to the Revolution. The first Continental Congress was only ten years away.

Fortunately, Timothy’s half-brother Reuben transformed the old Matlack operation into Haines and Twells, the largest brewery and malt house in Philadelphia. Timothy had his own brewery and bottled beer operation at the “old Brew-House” on Sixth Street, near the State House. He stamped his corks TIM MATLACK PHILAD.

(Pennsylvania Gazette, May 8, 1766.)

Quakers condoned the moderate consumption of beer, which was made from their barley. But they complained bitterly about “the increase in vice occasioned by the enormous increase of taverns and tippling houses.”

(Peter Thompson. Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.)

The Society of Friends ordered its members not to run horse races or gamble on sports, “for our time swiftly passes away.” For Timothy Matlack and his friends, horse racing was a passion. In the taverns, horse talk reached a fever pitch in the days before Philadelphia’s spring and fall races, which attracted aristocrats from New York and Maryland. A sport equally popular in the middle and southern colonies, among rich and poor alike, was cockfighting.

In 1770 Philadelphia hosted a big intercolonial cockmain that pitted a wealthy visitor against a local man of humble origins. On Tuesday, March 6, a clear sunny day, “James Delancey Esq from New York, and Timothy Matlack, had a great cockfight at Richeson’s on Germantown road.”

(Jacob Hiltzheimer Diaries, March 6, 1770, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. APS.)

Spectators drank and gambled, and the day ended in a massive brawl. Throughout his political career, Matlack’s enemies took every opportunity to remind people of his link to this discredited sport, as well as to the Black men who were also enthusiastic participants. As the Tory poet Jonathan Odell ridiculed, “game-cocks and negroes were his whole delight.”

(Jonathan Odell, ed. The Loyal Verses of Joseph Stansbury and Doctor Jonathan Odell. Albany: J. Munsell, 1860,)

Nevertheless, Matlack’s central role in this infamous cockfight earned him a high approval rating across a large swath of regular Philadelphians. His newfound popularity also created social opportunities. In February 1774, he officiated at a patriotic gathering at a slaughterhouse. Timothy recorded the exact weight of each section of a prize steer owned by his friend Jacob Hiltzheimer, and authenticated those figures with the notation that the cow had been “weighed and measured in the presence of T Matlack.” Two days later, the Hiltzheimers and Matlacks dined on beefsteaks. Matlack’s toast was as follows: “Let the friends of America be fed on such beef and may her enemies long for it and be disappointed.”

(Jacob Hiltzheimer. Extracts from the Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer, of Philadelphia, 1768-1798. February 1767, APS.)


Revolution In Philadelphia

On October 25, 1774, the First Continental Congress resolved to send a formal address to the king asking for his royal attention to “the grievances that alarm and distress his Majesty’s faithful subjects in North America.”[8] Secretary Charles Thomson assigned the urgent task of engrossing two copies of the address to Timothy Matlack. Matlack had these ready to sign the next day, the last day of Congress. In January 1775, the first copy was laid before the House of Commons and the second copy laid before the House of Lords. Both were promptly ignored.

The Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775, and five days later Samuel Ward of Rhode Island noted, “The Secretary allowed to employ Timothy Matlack as clerk under an oath of secrecy.”[9] On June 15, Congress appointed George Washington to be general and commander-in-chief of the army of the United Colonies, and Matlack penned the formal commission. Besides being busy in Congress, Matlack was also a rising local leader: that summer, he was elected to Philadelphia’s powerful committee of inspection. This was one of the bodies that formed across the colonies, by order of the first Congress, to enforce the boycott of British goods. Matlack was also named secretary of the committee of militia officers.

(Samuel Ward Diary, May 15, 1775, in Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (Washington, DC: Carnegie institution of Washington, 1921.)

Matlack’s committee of inspection was gaining power by force of the militia and the people at large. In late February, his board announced a convention that would authorize new Assembly seats and write new instructions. Philadelphia’s elite was shocked by this volley. Joseph Shippen complained:“Tim Matlack and a number of other violent wrongheaded people of the inferior class have been the Chief Promoters of this wild Scheme; and it was opposed by the few Gentlemen belonging to the Committee—but they were outvoted by a great majority.”

(David F. Hawke. Benjamin Rush; Revolutionary Gadfly. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971.)

Skipping ahead … Congress declared independence on July 4, 1776 and Matlack may have been the first to read the Declaration in public that day. After New York agreed to independence on July 9, Congress ordered the Declaration “fairly engrossed on parchment” and “signed by every member of Congress.” Secretary Thomson assigned this to Timothy Matlack. The result was the famous signed Declaration of Independence.

The scribe of the Declaration of Independence was also, perhaps, the first man to read it in public. Matlack was truly a man of action.

Historical Note:

Timothy Matlack served as the clerk to the secretary to the Second Continental Congress, Charles Thompson. Matlack got the job after selling a few cases of Madeira wine to his neighbor, Benjamin Franklin, who, discovering Matlack's facility with calligraphy and penmanship, hired him as a scrivener.

Matlack's enthusiasm for rebellion was palpable. When the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Timothy Matlack, serving as clerk, grabbed the text, ran to the steps of the State House and read the proclamation aloud to a gathering of citizens of Philadelphia. This was the first public presentation of the decision of the Continental Congress. Two weeks later, after the New York delegation finally assented to the Declaration, Timothy Matlack, known to the Congress for his expert penmanship, was assigned the task of "engrossing" the official document. Matlack finished the task in short order and on August 2, the final document - the one that was sent to King George III and the one that is on display in the National Archives in Washington, DC - was signed by John Hancock and the rest of the founding fathers.

Matlack was unlike the others gathered to declare independence from England. He was far from elite or wealthy. Matlack further alienated himself from the wealthy Quaker businessmen of Philadelphia by publicly criticizing them for holding slaves. Finally, of course, Matlack favored war with England, while Quakers abjured all wars.

Timothy Matlack offended many in his day. He does not fit comfortably alongside our other founding fathers, but if today we are going to continue the fight for true equality, true democracy, we, like Matlack, are going to have to offend many, too.

(Russ Walsh. “We Hold These Truths: Timothy Matlack and the Declaration of Independence.” Russ On Reading. July 4, 2016.)

So it was that Timothy Matlack was so much more than a scribe. He joined the Philadelphia Militia as a Colonel and led them across the Delaware River with Washington’s Army. Matlack was also elected to the Continental Congress. After a year in that position, he took on several positions, including surveying large tracks of Pennsylvania. Additionally, he became one of the earliest abolitionists in the United States and was a major reason Pennsylvania became the first State to outlaw slavery. Eventually Matlack retired to a house in Lancaster where he became known for his peach orchard. He spent his golden years as America’s most respected grower of that tasty fruit.

Harvard professor of political science Danielle Allen spoke of the elegance of Matlack’s work in creating the finest rendering of the Declaration. She described how Matlack made his impact as he drew up the formal document: “Editorializing on the parchment with capitalization, punctuation, and flourishes, Matlack too helped write the Declaration. Of all the copies, this one, Matlack’s parchment manuscript was the most important.”

(Danielle Allen. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 2014.)

Chris Coelho in “Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the Declaration of Independence” printed in the Journal of the American Revolution says …

As the man who engrossed the Declaration of Independence, Timothy Matlack should have a place in American lore. But as one contemporary adversary predicted, Matlack was scrubbed from history. Historian Gary Nash writes that in the nineteenth century the radicals of 1776 were ignored by Philadelphia’s archivists and librarians. Further,

'The papers of the radicals were lost or never preserved, and most of the officers of the collecting institutions were as suspicious of ordinary people elected to high places as were those who, at the time, deplored the 1776 [Pennsylvania] Constitution.'

(Gary B. Nash. First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.)

Nash concluded that the conservative establishment disapproved of the radicals’ desire for “a thorough reformation of American society in the interest of greater equality.”

Most prominent among those given the cold historical shoulder was Thomas Paine. The nineteenth century was nearly over before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania got around to purchasing a copy of Common Sense for its collection. The copy was the very one “owned by Paine’s radical, warm-tempered compatriot, Timothy Matlack.”

(Chris Coelho. “Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the Declaration of Independence.” https://allthingsliberty.com/2021/08/timothy-matlack-scribe-of-the-declaration-of-independence/. Journal of the American Revolution. August 24, 2021.)

In 2004, Timothy Matlack was briefly rescued from historical obscurity when his name showed up in the movie National Treasure. A clue that the movie's characters find reads: "The legend writ, the stain affected, the key in silence undetected, fifty five in iron pen, Mr. Matlack can't offend." The clue leads to the Declaration of Independence and a map on the back supposedly placed there by Matlack.

(Russ Walsh. “We Hold These Truths: Timothy Matlack and the Declaration of Independence.” Russ On Reading. July 4, 2016.)

Footnote:

Matlack’s penmanship in the Declaration and other historical documents of the time has inspired a number of modern typefaces, or fonts, such as American Scribe, Declaration Script, and National Archive.

Handwriting in the colonial period was heavily influenced by Europe, in particular by 18th century English writing masters. By the mid-18th century, there were special schools established to teach handwriting techniques, or penmanship.

Master penmen like Timothy Matlack were employed to copy official documents such as land deeds, birth and marriage certificates, military commissions, and other legal documents. The development of copperplate engraving allowed for the use of very delicate type faces with many flourishes and curlicues in the script-like letters, which greatly influenced handwriting.

Elegant handwriting became a sign of social status. One can readily see these influences in Matlack’s penmanship in the Declaration of Independence. In particular, his use of English Roundhand script stands out. This form of script was executed with a feather quill pen and was actually a form of handwriting. The script is known today as Copperplate.

(“Timothy Matlack. https://www.revwartalk.com/timothy-matlack-1319/. 2022.)


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Lucasville Remembers Past 4th of July Celebrations -- 1865 Peace Jubilee to Harrisonville Reunions to Civic Club Events

 

The 4th of July Independence Day outing – once called “a community picnic – used to be a spectacular annual summer event for the Lucasville community. When I was younger, the day-long celebration featured picnics, amusements, commemorations, music – including a very popular teen dance – and, of course, fireworks. The setting was the Scioto County Fairgrounds where large crowds gathered to enjoy the patriotic festivities.

I miss the event, and I often wonder why it disappeared, as so many families – and especially area youth – flocked to the fairgrounds to take part in the colorful observance. Like so many other things from the past, a doting generation has lost part of its identity to time. I assume the cost of liability insurance, fears of injury, and lack of funds probably all contributed to the demise of the local tradition. For whatever reason, the community no longer hosts the summer celebration.

Allow me to share information about one such Fourth of July outing of the past. I am not certain if this was the second year for the event or just the second year for the sponsorship by the Lucasville Civic Service Club. I am sure that many seniors will recognize names and details from this 1946 4th of July. Through this post, I hope that Lucasvillians hearken back to the past for a “hot minute” of history now gone but not forgotten. By the way, please add your remembrances of the Fairgrounds 4th in the comment section. I'm sure others will enjoy those reminiscences. 

1946: "July 4th Event Will Raise Funds For Projects in Community"

An all-day Fourth of July celebration will be held Thursday, July 4, 1946, at the fairgrounds at Lucasville in the form of a community picnic sponsored by the Lucasville Civic Service Club. The organization boasts a membership of 30. The club was organized a year ago last May and this is the second Fourth of July celebration held for the purpose of raising funds for community projects.

Officers of the club include: W.J. Carver, president; John Collins, vice president; Edward Miller, treasurer; and Mr. Bogan, secretary. Members of the committee in charge of the picnic include: P.L. Bogan, A.S. Moulton, Coy Dodds, Dean Schuler, and G. Malone.

Admission to the grounds will be free as well as admittance to a baseball game in the afternoon between the Portsmouth Moose nine and a Jackson team.

A concert by the Valley Rural High School band will be a special attraction at night. The band is comprised of high school students and other members who have played with the band in past years. The group will be directed by Esto Davis.

Midway attractions, square dancing, and other amusements will help raise money for the club. Families are invited to take picnic baskets and spend the day. Refreshment stands will be on the grounds, and it is planned to keep the rides over for an extra two days, Friday and Saturday.

Last year the club helped purchase new uniforms for the high school band and gave a Christmas party for youngsters with funds raised at the 1945 celebration.

The club has seven standing committees. These and their chairmen are: municipal development, C.M. Purdy; civic improvement, Dr. D.C. Coleman; business, Mr. Carver; advertising, J.W. McKinley; membership, Mr. Moulton; agriculture, Walter Malone; recreation, Mr. Miller.

(Frank R. Thompson. “Bits and Pieces.” Bicentennial Calendar Project. 2019.)

 Photographer: William Fischer, Jr.
Taken: September 2, 2012
Caption: Civil War Mural Detail, Robert Dafford

I would also like to share information about Dugan's Grove and early beginnings of other public commemorations at, or near, the Scioto County Fairgrounds in Lucasville. The place – the grove – was very much both a center of public attention and a symbol for patriotic observances, including the end of the American Civil War.

Here is an account of one very celebrated reunion at Dugan's Grove – an event actually organized on July 4, 1865,

August 17, 1865 – Dugan's Grove

At the close of the war, patriotic fever was at white heat. The people felt there should be a grand reunion of the returned soldiers. At a meeting in Dugan’s Grove on July 4, 1865, it was resolved to have a Grand Soldier’s Reunion and Peace Jubilee. It was an affair of the two counties of Pike and Scioto. Abram F. Millar, Thomas Dugan and John L. Ward were the master spirits in the movement. Many committees were appointed in Portsmouth and the reunion was set for August 17, 1865.

Dugan's Grove was then one of the most delightful spots in the county. On this beautiful day, the two entrances to the grove were decorated for the Jubilee. Over one entrance appeared the motto, “Victory at Last,” and over the other, “Welcome to the Soldiers.”

The grand event featured a free dinner, with two tables each over a thousand feet in length. At one was a banner inscribed, “We honor the private soldier.” At the other at each end were banners bearing the names “Logan,” “Thomas,” and "Rosecrans.” In the center were banners bearing the names, “Grant,” “Sherman,” and "Sheridan.” On the speaker’s stand was a banner reading, “The War was not a Failure.”

Five thousand people took dinner. Colonel John R. Hurd made the opening speech. Colonel T. W. Higgins spoke as did General Robert Schenck, who was the orator of the day. Schenck was at both battles of Bull Run and took part in Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862, and the Battle of Cross Keys. Hon. Eli Glover made the closing speech. There was dancing in the afternoon and the band of the 73rd O. V. I. furnished the music. 

G.A.R. Organization, “G.A.R. Reception Committee,” Local History Digital Collection, accessed June   30, 2022, https://www.yourppl.org/history/items/show/12892

Closing

To close, I would be remiss if I didn't include information about the Harrisonville Reunion in this blog post, billed as one of the "biggest events in the county," according to many records. Local historical accounts say people would come from all over the region to participate in the festivities. The 1865 Peace Jubilee was evidently the inspiration (the beginning?) of the so-called “reunion.” Here is what I know from Portsmouth Times accounts …

The Harrisonville Reunion

The Harrisonville Reunion was started as a "thank you" to all of the veterans who served in the Civil War. The event was originally held in Lucasville. An article appeared in The Portsmouth Times on June 5, 1965 entitled, "History Revealed." This article states that:  "History recalled that on August 17, 1865, a reunion of Civil War veterans was held in the grove. More than 5,000 attended the "Peace Jubilee." Abram F. Millar, Thomas, Dugan and John L. Ward were listed as the committeemen.

The Times (1965) reported in 1880 Lucasville lost interest in the reunion and it was moved to Harrisonville when it was held August 17, 1880 and has been held annually since as the Harrisonville Reunion." Then, the Harrisonville reunion became an institution eventually managed by the Sons of Veterans.

There are conflicting records about the reunion's start date:

The July 20, 1895 article states, "one great picnic in the county every summer for the last 5 years" (making the start date 1890). Please read this 1895 reference: it's a great report. You will see Lucasville references and also delight in how descriptive and detailed past Portsmouth Times accounts truly were. Historians, enjoy. 

Historical Note: Harrisonville Reunion (August 18, 1895)

Article taken from The Portsmouth Daily Times, August 16, 1895

Sam Patch said "Some things can be done as well as others." He was right. So with the Harrisonville reunion and picnic last Saturday. Scioto Post, G. A.R., ably assisted by Lois Camp, S. O.V., put forth an extra effort this year, and the result was highly satisfactory to all concerned.

It cannot be said that reunion was any better or the picnic more enjoyable than on former occasions. The Harrisonville gatherings are always up to the limit. It's hard to improve on them. Last year the Sons of Veterans had entire charge of the affair, this year they stepped aside and the G.A.R. Ruled.

Saturday was an ideal picnic day. All roads led to Harrisonville, and long before people were coming from all parts of the county. The road was blocked in some places by long strings of rigs stretching away for a mile or so without a single break.

The dust was almost suffocating, and if there was one thing more devoutly prayed for than another it was rain. And it came in a gentle sprinkle in the afternoon. Just a wee bit of shower where the people were gathered, but beyond Harrisonville it rained copiously, and many of the home goers in the evening found the roads muddy in some places. Judging from the acres of rigs of all sorts in the grove it seemed that everybody in the county had turned out. Various estimates were placed on the number of people present. Some thought there could not be less than 6,000 people in the grove; others estimated the attendance at 2,000. A fair average would be 4,000. Of these probably 500 came from Portsmouth.  How they did miss the street car!  A horse and buggy represented $6 for the trip from Portsmouth, and it had to be a good, reliable driver that could get it at that price.

The picnic grounds are on a little rising knoll, half a mile beyond Harrisonville.  The grove is the property of Dr. Ray and contains over forty acres. The trees are not very large and the shade is not dense. The grounds might be considerably improved by cleaning out the underbrush and burning the leaves which have been accumulating on the ground for several years and have smothered out the grass completely. No malaria lurks in the grove. It is on high ground, half a mile away from water and dampness.

There were various means of entertainment in the grove. Most prominent of all was a large dancing platform. There was a large crowd around it all day. The Scott String band furnished the music for the dancers. Lemonade and refreshment stands were quite numerous. Marsh had two of the largest on the grounds and did a big business. The talented editor of the Morning Excuse even conducted a small lemonade and soda water stand. Five merry-go-rounds were in operation, but did not do the business expected. A platform for speech-making and the band was erected. Wheels of fortune, cane racks, shell games and various other schemes were in operation. Down in a corner of the grove several slabs of lumber had been stuck up, forming an enclosure of about twenty-five feet square. It was the intention of the builders to confine some Union prisoners inside, put some Rebels on guard, and, finally a grand rush for liberty was to be made, with a sham battle following. The prisoners could not be found, so the scheme failed.

A baseball game was also booked for the afternoon between the Sciotoville players and the Lucasville nine.  As the clubs were being organized the rain came up and the sport stopped.

Recognizing the importance of having some eloquence and speech making, Mr. Horace White exerted himself to enlist the services of a number of orators and politicians. After much trouble he obtained some promises and after some patriotic music by the Harrisonville Sheepskin band and the Lucasville band, the first orator of the day was introduced. It was young Orra Rickey, son of Ex-Commissioner Frank Rickey. He delivered a very able oration and one worthy the oldest orator on the grounds.  He is a very bright young man and will make his mark in the world someday.

Rev. Snodgrass was then introduced and made one of his characteristic patriotic talks. He was listened to with considerable interest and his frequent bursts of eloquence were loudly applauded.

William E. Ross, the colored statesman from the Seventh ward was next introduced. He wore his long Prince Albert coat and as he placed his hand on his bosom he looked far more dignified than his wont when addressing the city fathers. He made a good speech. It was full and running over with patriotism and he only alluded to politics in a very mild way. It was a very interesting talk. "Some negroes will steal and so will the white folks. Some colored people go to the penitentiary so does the white man. If I want to steal a chicken once in a while, nobody ought to kick on an old soldier. I was raised by Grover Cleveland's uncle anyhow and I ought to be excused," said the member of council from the Seventh ward. With the assistance of two of his colored brethren he sang an original song composed for the occasion. He afterwards favored the crowd with another song not quite so original, "Poor, but a Gentleman Still." He sang it, however, in a very original key, and some of the people believed what he said.

For some unaccountable reason the speech and song of Bro. Ross closed the exercises of the day, Chairman White then announcing the speech making at an end. There were several orators waiting behind the grand stand and were sorely disappointed when they were overlooked by the chairman.  Charley Hard stood under the dripping bunting until his had was colored red, white and blue, ready with a pretty little speech for his constituents. Rev. Racy also wanted a chance to move the audience to tears and tell them what an honest man he was to trust with the country cash. A number of other offices seekers could hardly control their anger when refused a chance to make their speeches, "This is not a good crowd to electioneer in anyhow" said C. Hard, "there are too many woman and children here. The people I want to see are voters."

A good story is told on Candidates Hard and Ball of a discovery they made while in search of water. They found something else, and as they were examining the cork of kodak, flend pressed the button.  Go to Floyd McCormick for the rest. It is said that Rev.  Tracy was also in it.

All in all the picnic and reunion was a great success. Not a single accident was reported, not a single drunk and disorderly was to be seen on the grounds. Everybody came to enjoy themselves, and they did in their own quiet way.

These annual picnics are productive of much good. It matters not that their main objects is to make a little money. Patriotism and love country are always inspired, and the day is looked forward to with much eagerness by those to whom it is the only big holiday of the year. In many respects it is much more of a gala day than the biggest day of our county fair. Scioto Post, G.A.R., Lois Camp, S.O.V., and the people of Harrisonville are to be congratulated on giving us such and opportunity for solid enjoyment. There is not another picnic in southern Ohio equal to it. May the custom long survive.

(“The Harrisonville Reuniion. https://www.minfordfalcons.net/TheHarrisonvilleReunion.aspx.)

In the August 17, 1900 edition of The Daily Times, p. 1, an article described plans for the upcoming reunion. "Every rig and spare cab in the city have been engaged and the pike from here out will be black with vehicles and people a foot."

July 21, 1911 article states, "They mean to make this the biggest of the twenty-nine like affairs" (making the start date 1882) – “and to that end will get new attractions to draw the people. Chief of these is a balloon ascension which has already been contracted for.”

July 21, 1915 article states, "making the 36th annual reunion one of the best a great series" (making the start date 1879)

The reunions started to fizzle in the early 1910's. By 1915 there was a drive to reinstate the reunion is all it glory. In later years, the reunion became known throughout the community as the 17th of August. The event was held on August 17, unless that date fell on a Sunday.

(“The Harrisonville Reunion.” https://www.minfordfalcons.net/TheHarrisonvilleReunion.aspx.)

Historical Note: The History of Harrison Township 

FIRST SETTLERS IN THE AREA

The first two families to live in the area were Rev. Thaddeus Bennett and family, and his son, Rev. Joseph Bennett and family.

Thaddeus Bennett and his son, Joseph Bennett, lived in New York in the early 1800's. Thaddeus Bennett was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Joseph Bennett was a veteran of the War of 1812. Around 1814, the two men decided they wanted a different life in the Northwest Territory.

Thaddeus, age 56, and Joseph, age 22, built a raft, and set out on the Olean River to begin their new life. They headed toward the Allegheny River. Continuing south, the men finally reached the Ohio River. The Bennett families continued down the Ohio River until they arrived at  the mouth of the Little Scioto River. They settled in the area we now know as Sciotoville.

General William Henry Harrison visited the area again in 1836.

In 1837, Joseph Bennett laid out a town on the land surrounding his home. He gave a building site to anyone who would guarantee to build a home in the settlement. Joseph named the town Harrisonville, after his friend, General Harrison. However, it would be 22 more years before the  town of Harrisonville would become "official." The town had not been platted in Scioto County records.

By 1880, the population of Harrison Township had grown to 1,325.

Lodges played a big part in the community of Harrisonville.  Ives Lodge Knight of Phythias started in 1890. Soon after it was organized, a large two-story hall was built at a cost of $1,800 including fixtures.

Scioto Post GAR was established in 1880.

Lois Camp Sons of Veterans was organized in 1880. They enjoyed second rank in the state of Ohio.

HARRISONVILLE CHANGES ITS NAME TO MINFORD

There was another town called Harrisonville on the C&O Railroad line. Railroad officials wanted to simplify matters, so they asked local resident Frank R. Minford if he thought the village would mind changing its name. Frank R. Minford was friends with one of the C&O Railroad attorneys.

Several names were suggested for the town--Harrison, Bennettville, and Minford. In honor of Frank R. Minford, (a local blacksmith) the town's name was changed to Minford on August 17, 1917. Frank R. Minford was the son of William J. Minford who immigrated to the area from County Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1846. William, his mother, brother Robert, and sister Agnes first arrived in New York before traveling to Ohio. William was the owner of a successful blacksmith business in the area. He taught his trade to his son, Frank, who took over the business when his father passed away.

(“The History of Harrison Township.” https://www.minfordfalcons.net/HarrisonvilleBecomesMinford.aspx.)