25 Years Ago: March 13-19, 1991
• Troy – Kami Mathews, the standout swimmer from Troy, is nearing the end of her stellar career at Kenyon College. Mathews already has 11 NCAA titles and 20 All-American honors on her resume, but can add to those totals in seven events at the NCAA Div. III Championship in Atlanta. In addition, she will attempt to help the Ladies win an eighth consecutive national championship. (Columnist’s Note: Kami Mathews graduated from Troy High School and attended Kenyon, where she compiled many records and honors before graduation. Following her swimming career she took up coaching and is presently the head coach of the Washington & Lee Women’s swim team. She is a member of the Kenyon College and Troy High schools’ Athletic Halls of Fame.)
50 Years Ago: March 13-19, 1966
• Troy – According to a new report, the Hobart Manufacturing Company has set a new sales record for the 21st consecutive year since the end of World War II. Hobart sales increased by 18.1 percent in 1965, as compared to 1964. The same report shows that the net income of the company and its subsidiaries was approximately $3 million during the same period.
75 Years Ago: March 13-19, 1941
• Miami County – It is likely that the voters of Miami County will get the opportunity to be heard on any measure to accept or reject the Jacob G. Dettmer bequest. Dettmer left approximately $1.2 million to the county for the purpose of constructing a county hospital. A bill in the State Senate, which gives the county commissioners authority to call a special election, is expected to quickly pass. The election would not only decide the fate of the bequest, but it would also contain a levy, which would provide for the maintenance of the hospital, if accepted.
100 Years Ago: March 13-19, 1916
• Dayton – The Dayton newspapers are reporting something of interest to many people of this county. It is reported that the Miami Commercial College and the Jacobs Business College are consolidating their institutions. Hereafter, the school will be known as the Miami-Jacobs Business College. W.E. Harbottle will serve as president and general manager of the newly formed institution. A.D. Wilt, the oldest educator in Ohio, will retire. (Columnist’s Note: The Miami Commercial College was founded in 1860 and merged with the Jacobs Business College in 1916 and continued to grow and expand. They were one of the first schools in the country to teach ‘machine shorthand.’ In 2007, the Miami-Jacobs Career College opened its second branch school in Troy and moved into the remodeled Kroger- K Mart complex near the intersection of State Routes 55 and 718.)
• Historical Question: Dolores Brown contacted me recently about a very interesting, if not shocking, story she had been interested in for quite some time.
A number of years ago, she acquired miscellaneous papers from the estate of a Judge Smith. Within the collection of papers there was a letter addressed to the mayor of Piqua, which was written on Feb. 1, 1920. The letter was from a farmer in the Covington area who expressed utter disgust with the Bijou Theater. Apparently, the gentleman had attended a show at the theater in Piqua only to hear an announcement that the theater was selling raffle tickets. The selling of the raffle tickets was not what angered the gentleman; rather, it was the winning ticket would win an 8-month-old baby boy!
The letter reads, in part, “I, being the father of a little boy of my own, feel it my place to demand that this thing not take place. Everyone gets a chance, reliable people, also people who cannot take care of themselves, undesirable, one might say.” He went on to state that he was totally disgusted with the associated charities of this event.
The Piqua Daily Call picked up on the furor and reprinted the letter from the farmer in its entirety, but then also included the fact that the baby boy that was to be raffled off was a pig!
Now, whether the theater took special care to create a little sensation with its offer of “an 8-month-old baby boy,” or that the farmer missed some of the particulars is not known.
The Honorable J.H. Smith was a Piqua attorney, Miami County Probate Court Judge and, at the time of “the controversy,” was mayor of Piqua. The letter from the farmer to the mayor is the same letter to which Ms. Brown found in the papers of Judge Smith.
Since Judge Smith had only become mayor on Jan. 1, 1920, he must have wondered what he got himself into after reading the letter a little after one month in office.
Well, in any case, I think we know how this story ended for the pig.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org