Post #1: Update on Historical Research & Focusing In

Hello, everyone–

I’ve begun to work on what I planned, that is, to find interesting stories about my hometown and the surrounding areas. The first step I took was to consult my local library, a gray cinder block of a building, with slits of glass for windows. Being honest, I had never been to its second floor; I never thought anything interesting was up there. But, lo and behold, there was an entire room dedicated to the history and genealogy of Greene County, the selfsame county upon which I based my research. An amicable librarian helped me find a good book to get an overview of what I was about to start studying. The book was called History of Greene County, Ohio: Its People, Industries, and Institutions, written in 1916 by a man named Broadstone. That book was the perfect launch pad to start gathering stories and learning about the beginning of Greene County. It was filled with random anecdotes that inspired me to write about and take pride in my home. Some of the more interesting stories included an account of Greene County’s first and last public execution, the tale of the first murder in Miami Township (the township I live in), and recollections on Cedarville’s successes at local firefighting competitions.

After I consulted that book, I went on to research several more focused topics, such as the history of the local KKK chapter, the communities and people who contributed to the Underground Railroad, the founding of Wilberforce University (the nation’s first African American college), the founding of Antioch College (the nation’s second co-ed college), the history of Tecumseh and the white woman he asked to marry him, the creation of a summer resort in Yellow Springs that was centered around the healing qualities of that Yellow Spring, and the devastating damage of an F-5 tornado that hit Xenia in 1974. I had to start limiting my research because there are simply too many subjects to cover in a single summer.

After reaching out to my research advisor, I decided to focus my research on Cedarville, Yellow Springs, and Xenia. Initially, I planned on also researching Springfield and Dayton, Ohio, but I would be stretching myself out too thin if I did that.

As I continue to research the history of these cities, I will also begin to interview the regular men and women who live there. Tomorrow, Yellow Springs is having a day-long street fair, and I plan on interviewing and writing most of the day. In addition, Ohio Senator Mike DeWine (who is from Cedarville) hosts an ice cream social every year in June, and I plan on attending to interview him and some of the more active members of my community.

My second post should arrive after I’ve interviewed a generous number of people.

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