Local Weavers at the Clark County Historical Society- Archival Research

My project at the Clark County Historical Society is to research two local weavers from the 1800s, Daniel L. Myers and Simon Riegel.  The information I gathered from Ancestry.com included names of the men’s families, and dates of their births and deaths.  This information will help me in my search in the Heritage Center’s archives.

The first books that provided me with detailed information were the Early Clark County, Ohio Families Vital Statistics Index of Fathers of the Family Unit.  Sylvia Olson put these books together, with the help of all of the families who provided her with genealogical information.  I found Simon Riegel listed with his two wives, and his children.  This source indicates that Simon was a carpet weaver in German Township, and it includes the same names and dates that Ancestry provided me.  Similar information is good, because it tells me what I have is correct, and that I am dealing with the same person.  In Marriage Records for Clark County, by Grooms, I found Squire T. Riegel and his wife Flora A. Follrath, who married on December 14, 1880.  Squire is the youngest son of Simon.  In Early Marriage Bonds of Clark Co, Ohio Books 3-4 M-Z, I found Simon and his second wife Margaret Maggert, who married March 7, 1858.  I also found three of his children, Henry Reigel married January 13, 1859 to Lydia Thralls; Levi Reigel married November 23, 1859 to Susan McAlister; Angeline Reigel married March 18, 1862 to William A. Roberts.  (Notice the last names are spelled differently.)

In continuing research on Daniel Myers, I found a copy of a newspaper advertisement that Myers took out about his business.  I was also able to find information about his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Louisa Jennie.  According to the Clark County Marriage Returns, Jennie L. (here, her names are reversed) married William A. Quick, in November of 1888, and again on April 7, 1904.  Could the pair have split then reconnected?  In the Death Records, I found a Jane Quick, (the birth and death dates match other sources, so this is the correct Jane/Jennie) who died March 9, 1907 at the age of 55 of heart disease.  Barbara Myers, Daniel’s wife, died at the ripe old age of 82 on February 7, 1892.

Another interesting source I found on Daniel Myers was a newspaper article in the Marysville Journal Tribune.  This newspaper was dated to Wednesday July 12, 1961 and featured an article on page 4 that mentioned Daniel Myers.  Mrs. Nolle McCloud Hoopes of Marysville loaned the local museum a four-poster rope bed, and an old fashioned hand-woven coverlid.  Wove in the corner of the coverlid was “Made by D. L. Myers, Bethel Township, for Barbara His Wife 1842”.  After this discovery, Miss Nolle Kloepfer recognized she had one similar.  Her great grandparents were located in Clark County, after coming west from Maryland.  Her great grandmother, Mary Clay, bought and took yarn to a weaver to make a coverlid.  In the two opposite corners is woven “Made by D. L. Myers, Bethel Township, for Mary Clay 1849”.

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Local Weavers at the Clark County Historical Society- Ancestry Research

The Clark County Historical Society possesses multiple coverlets made by two local weavers, S. Riegel and Daniel L. Myers.  My project is to conduct research and piece together information about their lives.  This will be useful information for the museum to have in its archives.

My first step was a basic search on Ancestry.com.  I was surprised by how much information I found, and how thoroughly other people have put together research on these men.  For each man, I was able to find parents, spouse(s), and children.  Along with the help of genealogical contributors, Ancestry puts this information together and searches through public documents, like death certificates or censuses.

Simon Riegel was born on October 8, 1806.  The most helpful source that Ancestry used for Simon’s information was Find A Grave.  A page on the Find A Grave website was created for Simon and genealogical contributors posted familial information.  His father was David Riegel and his mother was Elizabeth Schmidt.  Simon was the eldest of four children, or possibly more.  Simon, a weaver, was married twice, first to Susannah Wellhouse, from 1830 until her death in 1853, then to Margaret Maggart, in 1858.  Simon had ten children, John, Henry, Levi, Mary Ann, Angeline, Sarah, David, Louisa Jane, Squire Theodore, and a 10th child that died.  Find A Grave lists five of those children, while Ancestry lists all ten.  Simon died February 17, 1890 and is buried at Rector-Gard Cemetery in Tremont City, Champaign County, Ohio.

Find a grave

Daniel L. Myers was born in 1801, in Pennsylvania.  For Daniel Myers, the 1850 and 1860 United States Federal Censuses provided information on his location, occupation, estimated value, and listed his spouse and children.  Daniel’s father was Wesley Lewis Myers and his mother was Mary Larimer.  In 1850, Daniel was a farmer in Bethel Township, in Clark County, Ohio. He was 49 years old, with his wife Barbara (Otto) 41, and their four children Daniel, Sarah Ann, Rebecca Alvira, and Louisa J.  This census also indicates that Daniel, his wife Barbara, and their first two children were born in Pennsylvania, then moved to Ohio, where the last two children were born.  In 1860, Daniel was still listed as a farmer in Bethel, age 59, with wife Barbara, age 51, but with only Rebecca and Louisa.  This could indicate that the two oldest children had moved out.  Another interesting difference in the information between the two censuses was the spelling of their last name.  In 1850 it was spelled Myers, but in 1860 the name was spelled Myres. Daniel died on March 12, 1879 in Ohio, with a possible burial plot in a New Carlisle cemetery.

Local Weavers at the Clark County Historical Society

The Heritage Center is home to thousands of artifacts, many of which represent local history.  Within the collection are coverlets made by two local weavers from the 1800’s, S. Riegel and Daniel L. Myers.  There is one full S. Riegel coverlet, made in 1869.  There are six Daniel Myers coverlets, ranging from 1840 to 1848.  These coverlets have become valuable sources of knowledge because on all of them, Riegel and Myers wove in their name, location, whom the coverlet was for, and what year it was made.

Besides that basic information, which the men have so generously provided on their work, not much is known about them.  My project will be to conduct research in the archives and library, to piece together more information about S. Riegel and Daniel Myers.  I will search family genealogies; birth, marriage, death certificates; local and federal censuses; local newspapers; and any other source that could possibly provide me with information.  This information is important because the museum can update its records, and because it may shed light on these possible local businesses in the 1800’s.

What do we already know?

For each artifact, the Heritage Center has a record in PastPerfect.  PastPerfect records include information about the artifact such as a description, who donated it to the museum, and anything known about its creator.  We know S. Riegel was working around Germin Township (how Riegel spelled German Township) at the date of his coverlet, and Daniel Myers was working in Bethel around the date range of his coverlets.  Daniel’s record also has two notes, a May 4, 1838 newspaper advertisement, indicating his business 1 mile of New Carlisle and 11 miles west of Springfield.  And the 1850 Census of Manufactures, which states Myers has a coverlet/weaving business, he employed one man, and made 50 Coverlets annually, valued at $450 and 300 yards of carpet for $225.

DL Myers

Riegel Coverlet

 

The Art of Encapsulation

Encapsulation is used to protect fragile documents. A document can be encased using two sheets of an archival plastic called mylar. This helps to secure and protect these fragile documents, helping to preserve them for future generations. This is a step by step process to encapsulate a document.

First, I begin by measuring the height and width of the document that I am encapsulating. You want to add another two inches or so to each side to give you more room to work with, most will be cut away later. You then cut the two sheets out.

Next, you place the document in the center of one of the sheets of mylar and use the archival tape to tape around photo_2[1]the photo_1[1]document. This tape is double sided but has a paper cover that you remove when you are ready to secure the two pieces of mylar together. You want to leave about a quarter to half an inch around the document. This way you leave room so that if the document does shift it will not be stuck to the tape. You also do not want to connect the corners of the tape to each other. Leave a small space between the taped edges to allow for the escape of air. 

After placing the tape on one sheet, you take the other sheet and gently rub a cotton glove or some other cloth across the sheet to create static electricity. This will help stick the two pieces of mylar together and keep the document in place without damaging it. photo_3[1]

The following step is to place the statically charged sheet of mylar on top of the document. You then place a heavy, flat object like a book on top of the plastic sheet to keep everything for moving around.photo_4[1]

Next you begin to remove the paper cover off the tape. You must do this slowly and gently to avoid moving the plastic sheets. You help to seal the plastic sheets by pressing down on the tape after removing the paperphoto_5[1].

Finally, after the tape is secured all the way around the photo_1[1]document, you can trim the edges and cut the corners into rounded edges to avoid the sharp points.

  photo_2[1]

You have now encapsulated your first document, better preserving the document for the future. 

This document is a roster of the 4th Ohio infantry which fought in the short lived Mexican Expedition.

photo_3[1]

The men pictured (clockwise) Hugh L. Scott, Woodrow Wilson, Frederick Funston, Newton Baker, George A. Dodd,

Reactionary Items in Modern Day Museum Collections

Have you ever gone to a museum or historic place and saw an exhibit dealing with a moment in history that made you feel a little uneasy? The Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, had exhibits entitled Controversy and Controversy 2 that tackled just that.  Throughout our time at CCHS, especially with our inventory project of the textiles and our exploration of other storage areas, we’ve come across a few unnerving items.  Like everyone else, we’re human and have our own thoughts on events in history. But, it still amazes us how just one object can evoke such a strong emotion.  Regardless of what our personal beliefs are, we have to stand back and look at the bigger picture and how these items have importance to the historical narrative of not only Clark County, but to how Clark County falls into the history of the U.S.

What are some things that make you uneasy? Would an embalming table?photo 2 Or a Ku Klux Klan robe? Stuffed animals? And remember, we don’t mean those cute squishy ones you had as a kid.   Now, we love our Justin Beaver, but others may not feel the same.

All of these items hold historical significance to Clark County. For instance, did you know that Springfield was a major hub of manufacturing of funerary items such as caskets? Or that there was a branch of the KKK? Or that the trade of beaverphoto 1 pelts were one of the major factors in the settling of not only Clark County, but Ohio, the Midwest, and much of the continent?!

Despite the stir many of these kinds of objects may give you, there can be no doubt that it causes a reaction in the viewer. Even if this reaction is unnerving, it is still history causing you to feel something, to react to an event or happening that occurred in our past. As well, it provokes interesting discussion, which can always be a good thing.

 

 

Being Resourceful With Collections Management

In dealing with numerous items in the collection here at Clark County, we’ve learned quite a bit about storage methods. However, there are always a few tricksters in there that make you work to find an appropriate and capable way of going about this. For example, a little while back we came across a situation where we had to move a beautiful hair wreath to another shelf, in order to organize other objects in that area. There was not much room for this wreath to be moved elsewhere, but we did have space above a framed flag. This frame was a deep one with a large pane of glass on the front. When we tried to see if the wreath would fit a top this framed flag, we found that it was too small and that if we set it down, we would be setting the wreath (and it’s frame) right on top of the glass. (DANGEROUS…for the artifact, that is)

TIME TO BRAINSTORM!What were we going to do to remedy this situation?

Hair Wreath

– We discussed padding the glass with Ethafoam before setting the wreath on it, however this still posed a strong risk to the glass of the flag frame and we did not want to unintentionally break the pane of glass protecting the artifact.

– We also discussed using a single metal shelf/plank over the flag to give the wreath more support and to protect the frame below. However, this was a very heavy shelf and were worried about the integrity of the frame below it being damaged by the weight of it.

– Finally! We decided on a solution!

We would utilize three small planks of wood (laid across the flag frame vertically) to lend support to both frames involved.

 

PROCEDURE:

First: We laid a piece of acid free cardboard above the flag, in order to protect it and the frame.

Second: Beneath each edge of the planks, that touched this piece of cardboard, we put pieces of Ethafoam.

Third: We laid the planks vertically across the top of the frame (and the cardboard and Ethafoam). note: we made sure that the wood planks were lying so that there was no pressure put on the glass, just the wooden frame.

Fourth: We put more Ethafoam pieces above the planks to protect the hair wreath from direct contact with them.

Fifth: We laid the hair wreath on top of the planks (and the Ethafoam).

Sixth: We laid one more piece of acid-free cardboard over the top of the hair wreath frame to protect it from dust and light exposure.

 

After thinking it through and working with what we had, we were able to make a safe and supportive place for both artifacts and their frames in our collections storage.

A Historical Connection

The archive and museum both provide an exciting opportunity to not only learn about the past in a broad sense of community and country but also can help make a more personal connection. Many people visit the archives to do genealogy research, researching a person’s family history. By working with the over-sized materials I happened to stumble across my own family history.

Joseph P. Clark

Joseph P. Clark, ancestry.com

This Civil War infantry roster lists the men from Ohio Volunteer Infantry’photo (7)s 110th Regiment, company C. This exciting find includes the name of my ancestor, Joseph P.  Clark, who did live in Clark County and fight in the Civil War. A little searching revealed his probate record, which handled his estate after he passed, giving his children their inheritance. This provided the location where his house once stood in New Carlisle and the names of his family members, providing an extra avenue of research.

To tie in the museum, Georgia and Sara, who have been working with many different flags mentioned that they had come across a regimental flag from the 110th Ohio infantry. This was truly exciting and it was neat to see the flag that my great-great-great grandfather marched under. These fIMG_0289lags symbolized much for a Civil War unit and many laid down their lives to keep it aloft. Its rich history and historical IMG_0288connection to me, really illustrates the personal connections anyone can make in both an archive and a museum, bringing the past alive.