Crowing About Our New Additions

For those of you who haven’t stopped in yet this summer, you have been missing the sound of crowing and clucking in the Village.  Through the generosity of two benefactors, Heritage Village Museum has three new hens and one rooster.  The Village once again has some low maintenance, historically correct fauna as both breeds date to the 19th century.

chickens 1

Our three hens are of the Barred Plymouth Rock breed.  This is the same breed that we had before.  The Plymouth Rock breed was first exhibited as a breed in 1869.  The barred feather pattern was the original appearance of the breed.  They are hailed as one of the best all-around chicken varieties for the farm.  They are a docile and hardy breed.  Plymouth Rocks have been used throughout their existence as both an egg layer and for meat.  The Village’s Plymouth Rocks were hatched in May.  We hope to see eggs appear soon as they begin laying as early as 20 weeks.   If you see them while they are out roaming the grounds around Elk Lick, chances are they are loafing in the sun, scratching under the vineyard, or if you’re lucky, perched on the picket fence watching the world go by.


Our Rooster can trace his roots to being a Silver Duckwing American Game Bantam.   Originally bred for the cock fighting pit in the 1890s, they quickly became a show breed as well.  As a bantam, you may notice he is a little smaller than our Plymouth Rock hens.  That shouldn’t hurt egg production as they are known as being quite fertile, vigorous and alert.  In fact, you can catch him “crowing” just about any time of the day.  Bantams have a reputation as being “feisty”.  Luckily, ours is a lot more “laid-back”.  While being vigilant and alert, our rooster has a shy streak to him.  He is often the first to walk away when feeling crowded.

Next time you come in for a visit, make sure you check to see if the henhouse door is open.  If so, stroll around Elk Lick House’s grounds, chances are you will get to meet our chickens in their “natural setting”.  Please admire from a distance so as not alarm them.  If you would like an introduction, see staff or volunteers for details.   The chickens coming back to roost at Elk Lick only adds to the realism and authenticity of your experience in visiting this historic home.

Slavery, Politics, and Elk Lick House

Thomas Morris is a forgotten titan of Ohio politics.  Serving only one term as a United States Senator from Ohio, 1833-1839, Morris left his mark on national politics because of slavery.   Voted in on the coattails of the Jackson presidency, Morris stood strong with the president on the issues of the banking system and ‘nullification”.  As time went on, he became an early opponent of slavery; this put him at odds with the Jacksonian Machine that got him elected as a result.

Thomas Morris

Thomas Morris

Born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, January 3, 1776, Morris was the fifth child of a Baptist minister and his wife.  They soon moved to Clarksburg, Virginia, now West Virginia.  Tradition holds that his anti-slavery beliefs were a result of his mother’s views.  His mother, Ruth, was the daughter of a Virginia planter.  Seeing the hardships of her father’s slaves had an impact on her to the point of not accepting four slaves as part of her inheritance.  It should be noted, however, that she also did not free them.  If indeed this was where the seeds were sown for his anti-slavery beliefs, they would not surface until his time as a United States Senator.

After a brief stint, searching for Indians in the back country, as a Wood Ranger, under the command of Captain Levi Morgan, Thomas Morris arrived at the Columbia settlement in 1795.  He worked as a store clerk for several years, married Rachel Davis in 1797, then moved to Bethel, Ohio in Clermont County in 1800.  He studied for and passed the bar to become a lawyer in 1804.  He set up shop in Bethel and soon had a successful practice as a frontier lawyer.

Thanks to his success, he rose to prominence and was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1806.  He went on to serve in the Ohio Senate as well before gaining the national stage as United States Senator from Ohio 1833-1839.  His selection by the Democrats for the senate seat was largely viewed as reward for his ardent support of the re-election of Andrew Jackson.  Morris proved his loyalty by supporting Jackson’s war with the National Bank and introducing anti-nullification legislature that passed through the government.  This may have been the high-water mark for this relationship.

As the issue of slavery raised its ugly head due to America’s expansion, legislators began to take sides based on state location and personal beliefs.  On January 7, 1836, Senator Morris introduced an anti-slavery bill in the 24th Congress, which raised the ire of South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun. In response to Calhoun’s attack, Morris stood his ground and seemingly broke what was a “gentleman’s agreement” not to broach the subject at length.  The gauntlet had been thrown down and Morris was now hailed a torch bearer by abolitionists such as Cincinnati’s James G. Birney.  While popular in those circles, his views were not so within the party that elected him.  President Andrew Jackson went so far as to “shun” him on his visit to Cincinnati.  The writing was on the wall; Morris had lost the support of his party due to his outspoken views on slavery.  As the Senator’s first term came to a close, he did not seek a second term in the senate.

Elk Lick House at Heritage Village Museum

Elk Lick House at Heritage Village Museum

Thomas Morris returned to Clermont County.  In 1840, he began to work at the Elk Lick Mill property owned in partnership by Charles White, his son-in-law, and others.  The property had a sawmill, gristmill, and distillery on site.  Morris split his time between his home in Bethel and working and staying on the grounds of the Elk Lick House compound.  It appears that with the exception of running for vice-president on the Liberty Party ticket in 1844, that most of Morris’ time was spent at Elk Lick Mills.  So much so that three mortgages were owed to Thomas Morris’ estate after his death December 7, 1844. A rise in the value of the Elk Lick property indicates that the Elk Lick House front addition was probably built while Morris was still alive, perhaps as his retirement home.  To reinforce this possibility, the census of 1850, according to researcher, Mary Laudrick, shows Charles White, Thomas Morris’ widow and three daughters all living at Elk Lick House.  Regardless, Senator Morris left his mark on the anti-slavery movement, Clermont County, and Elk Lick House.

James Presley Ball: Cincinnati Photographer

James Presley Ball

James Presley Ball

James Presley Ball (1825-1904) was a prominent African American photographer, abolitionist, and businessman. He was born in 1825 to William and Susan Ball, who were listed as free people of color in Virginia.

Ball learned daguerreotype photography from John B. Bailey of Boston, who was also a “free man of color”. Daguerreotype photography was invented in 1839 and marked a milestone in photographic history as people could now easily carry around a portrait of their loved one.  Today, most photographs are made from images printed to paper from transparent negatives. The daguerreotype was a polished copper plate upon which an image was directly exposed. Since no negative was used in the process, each daguerreotype was one of a kind. Each photograph had a mirror-like surface, ornate case, and was small enough to hold in the hand or carry in a pocket. It is no wonder the daguerreotype was primarily used for portraits and became immensely popular through the 1850’s.

Ball had opened a one room daguerreotype studio in Cincinnati in 1845, but business was sluggish, so he closed the gallery and became a travelling photographer. He settled briefly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then in Richmond, Virginia, before returning to Cincinnati in 1849.

Ball opened another daguerreotype studio in downtown Cincinnati in 1851. Two years later, he moved the studio to a larger location at 30 W. Fourth Street and hired 9 employees. The gallery was known as “Ball’s Great Daguerrian Gallery of the West” and became one of the notable photography galleries of the United States.

Due to the studio’s success, Ball opened a second gallery in downtown Cincinnati at 120 W. Fourth Street with his brother in law, Alexander Thomas. The Ball & Thomas gallery also prospered and soon became known as the finest photographic gallery west of the Allegheny Mountains. Ball Mammoth

In 1855, Ball published one of his most significant works – an abolitionist pamphlet accompanied by a 600 yard long panoramic painting titled “Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls & C.”

Ball ended his partnership with Alexander Thomas in 1860, but the Ball & Thomas gallery remained as Thomas C. Ball, J.P. Ball’s younger brother, continued the studio until the death of Alexander Thomas in 1875.

Ball began to have financial difficulties around 1865 and ultimately left Cincinnati in 1871.  Before he left Ball gave his son an interest in his gallery and the name was changed to Ball & Son.

During his career, J.P. Ball became known as an accomplished photographer and had the opportunity to photograph a wide mix of people. Some of the more notable subjects include P.T. Barnum, Frederick Douglas, Charles Dickens, Jenny Lind, the family of Ulysses S. Grant, and Queen Victoria of England. Ball also captured a country in transition as he photographed common pioneers, slaves, soldiers, and immigrants. His works were featured in exhibitions at the Ohio Mechanics Institute expositions held in 1852, 1854, 1855, and 1857. He also won the bronze medal for photography at the 1857 exposition.

A sampling of Ball’s portraits can be viewed at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives. 

Happy Birthday, Cincinnati!

On this day,  December 28, 1788, a group of men worked their way across the Ohio River from the mouth Of the Licking River.  They had to dodge yet more ice flows since they left Limestone, now Maysville, Kentucky on the 26th.  The little group managed to make it to what is now known as Yeatman’s Cove at the end of Sycamore Street.  The founding of Cincinnati was underway, except, it had already been named Losantiville by the surveyor John Filson.  The cold, wet little group set about securing their perimeter and making a fire.  The first night in Cincinnati passed inauspiciously as the small party slept close to the fire while sentinels kept watch for danger.  So began the city that would be known as “The Queen City” and “Porkopolis”.

The first cabin, built on Front Street, was constructed with planks from the very boat that carried the settlers from Limestone (Maysville).  The group of men wasted little time in getting the area that would become Cincinnati planned and laid out.  By early January, Israel Ludlow and an assistant had completed a large part of the surveying job.  Israel Ludlow joined the expedition after original surveyor, John Filson left camp on an earlier expedition to the area and was never heard from again.  With the surveying done, this area of the Symmes Purchase was ready for settlement and by the end of the year; at least twenty homes dotted the area around Yeatman’s Cove.  The families of Losantiville relied heavily on Columbia Settlement for foodstuffs these first years.  The fertile soil of what is now known as Turkey Bottoms provided much help to both Columbia and Losantiville.

Families began arriving as soon as February, 1789.  One of the first was Francis Kennedy and his family of seven.  The Indians in the area left the settlements alone for the most part that first year.  However, the threat was always imminent.  Sometime between June and July of 1789 the construction begun on a fort to house the garrison and protect the settlers.  Out of the old growth forest and behind the tiny cabin, Fort Washington was erected.

Fort Washington-Cincinnati

Slowly Losantiville, began to grow.  By the end of its first year, the little settlement had twenty-four men, eleven families, and a garrison of soldiers.  Losantiville would soon be renamed “Cincinnati” by Northwest Territorial Governor, Arthur St. Clair, and also rise to prominence as center for military activity in the taming of the Northwest Territory and quelling violent Native American activity.

As the frontier moved West, Cincinnati was still relevant as a supply stop on the way West and as a burgeoning industrial center.  From that one small cabin, we now have a sprawling metropolis of nearly 300,000 peoples.  From the “Edge of America” to the “Heartland”, Cincinnati has continued to grow and prosper.  Happy 226th birthday, Cincinnati!

 cincinnati 1800

.  Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson, and Israel Ludlow led a group of approximately 14 men down the Ohio from Limestone, now Maysville, Kentucky.

Native American Wigwams


The Native American wigwam was the primary choice of home for Northeastern Indian peoples. The word wigwam derives from the Algonquin root word wig- which means “to dwell.” These homes were mainly structured to house one family, but if it was necessary then they would have to make room for a second family to live.

Wigwams are often mistaken for the traditional Indian teepees due to their conical shape, but these styles of homes could not be any more different. Wigwams were not subject to a conical shape there were also round shaped and a-framed wigwams depending on the reason for their use. The three different types of Northeastern wigwams were permanent small homes, seasonal small homes, and camp shelters.

The primary small homes were used for a more solidified time frame, usually year-round. Since these wigwams had to be more stable, they were covered with heavier barks like elm, ash, hickory, and poplar. The interiors had to be insulated to keep in the warmth, so the women would make mats to keep on the inside of the wigwams.

Seasonal wigwams were only to be used for a few short months, around the duration of an entire season. Many of the native communities used these to get through the winter seasons and would use them as multi-family homes called longhouses. They didn’t last very long so they were comprised of lighter barks like birch. These seasonal frames were primarily rounded.

Camp shelters were only used temporarily, from a few days to a few weeks. They would be used recreationally, so similar to our idea of camping today. Usually conical in frame, camp shelters would be open-structured or slightly insulated from the elements depending on the season.

The wigwam we have here at the Village is a conical-styled primary small home. Come check it out during our Fall Harvest Festival on September 20th, 10am-5pm, and September 21st 12pm-5pm. Admission is $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 5-11. Children 4 and under and Museum members are FREE. See you there!


“The Native American Wigwam.” HubPages. Ed. WoodlandIndianEdu. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.

The John Hauck Brewing Company


Cincinnati has been the home to many breweries throughout its history, one of those being the John Hauck Brewing Company. John Hauck was born in Germany in 1829 and moved to America when he was a child. After completing school and returning to Europe for a few years, Hauck came back to America and worked for his uncle in a Philadelphia brewery. He eventually moved to Cincinnati and began his own brewery with John Windisch in 1863, called the Dayton Street Brewery. The brewery was located on Dayton Street close to the Miami-Erie Canal, which they used to fill the steam boilers, providing power to the machinery. In the first year of business, the Dayton Street Brewery produced 10,000 barrels of beer. By 1881, they were producing 160,000 barrels of beer and had become Cincinnati’s second largest brewery. John Hauck bought out Windisch’s shares of the company and renamed it the John Hauck Brewing Company. By 1884, the brewery was covering the entire city block bounded by Central Avenue, Dayton Street, York Street and Kewitt Alley. Hauck’s brewery was highly successful and he rose to prominence as one of Cincinnati prominent brewers. Hauck was a big supporter of the community and supported Cincinnati institutions, such as the Cincinnati Zoological Society. Hauck was also president of the Western German National Bank in Cincinnati. Louis Hauck, John’s son, took control of the brewing company in 1893. John Hauck died in Newport, Kentucky in 1896. The Hauck residence on Dayton Street remains and is owned by the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

Join us on November 8, from 5 pm – 7 pm as we celebrate local Cincinnati brewers during our Beer Tasting. Tickets are $20 for museum members and $25 for non-members.

Annie Oakley, Sharpshooter and Folk Hero

Annie Oakley, 1880

Annie Oakley, 1880


Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter and star attraction at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800’s, is an Ohio native. She was born Phoebe Ann Moses on August 13, 1860 in Darke County Ohio, which is about 40 miles northwest of Dayton. Her father died when she was a young girl and she was sent to the county poor farm, where she received some schooling and sewing instruction. In her early teens, Annie ran away from a family she was sent to work for and reunited with her mother. To help support her family, Annie began hunting game for a general store. Her marksmanship was so good, that she was able to pay off her mother’s mortgage when Annie was just 15 years old.

Annie realized her talent at shooting and entered a contest with touring champion Frank Butler on Thanksgiving Day in 1875.  Annie not only beat Butler in the shooting match, but also stole his heart and they were married in 1876. For the first few years of their marriage, Butler toured with a male partner, performing acts of marksmanship on stage. When his partner fell ill on May 1st, 1882 and Annie replaced him, she won instant praises for her shooting skills. Soon after, Butler began managing the act of Annie performing by herself.  It was around this time Annie adopted the professional name of “Oakley,” from the Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood of Oakley. In 1884, Annie attracted the attention of the Native American warrior Sitting Bull, who nicknamed her “Little Sure Shot.”



Annie and her husband joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885, touring with the show for over 15 years. Audiences were dazzled by Annie’s shooting abilities as she shot off the end of a cigarette held in her husband’s lips, hit the thin edge of a playing card from 30 paces, or shot distant targets while looking into a mirror. She could also shoot holes through playing cards thrown into the air before they landed. In 1887, Annie became an international sensation when she performed at the American Exposition in London.  There, Annie met Queen Victoria, who called her a “very clever little girl”, winning the adoration of British newspapers.  Annie had become America’s first female superstar.

Annie and her husband were in a train accident in 1901, and shortly thereafter she left Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to pursue other interests.  In 1903, she was appearing on stage in a melodrama written for her, The Western Girl. She then joined another Wild West show, called the Young Buffalo Show, performing until 1913.  Annie and her husband retired in 1913, living in Cambridge, Maryland. Annie passed the time by hunting, fishing, and teaching marksmanship to women. Annie was also an avid giver to charity, performing at events and giving donations to help orphans. During World War I, Oakley raised money for the Red Cross by giving shooting demonstrations at army camps around the country.

Annie Oakley died on November 3, 1926 in Greenville, Ohio. Her husband of 50 years, Frank Butler, died 18 days later. Escaping a poor childhood, Annie Oakley’s hard work and talented, catapulted her to become the first female star in a male dominated profession.


Annie Oakley. (2014). The website. Retrieved 09:03, Aug 21, 2014, from

Annie Oakley. (2012). The website. Retrieved 12:33, Aug 21, 2014 from





Floorcloths in America

floorcloth in Kemper parlor2

Floorcloths are one of the earliest forms of floorcoverings, attaining great popularity in England in the 1700’s. Floorcloths, such as Heritage Village has in the Kemper and Elk Lick homes, are made of hemp, linen or cotton treated with an evaporating oil and paint to make them waterproof. Early records of the use of floorcloths in America include the probate inventories taken after the deaths of William Burnet (1688-1729) governor of Massachusetts, and Robert “King” Carter of Virginia (1663-1732). United States Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams also owned floorcloths. Most of these early floorcloths were produced in England, as manufacture in America did not become common until about 1815.

The practical advantages of a floorcloth were many: it was washable, waterproof, insulating, and durable. As a result, floorcloths were usually placed in hallways, parlors and dining rooms. The floorcloth can be viewed as both functional and beautiful, as it was decorated to resemble fine flooring of tiles, marble, and all kinds of carpeting. By the late 18th century, there was a wide range of colors and patterns for oilcloths, which included stencils, freehand painting and printing.  Common patterns included simple diamond or square patterns and the more complex patterns derived from Persian or Turkish carpets.

The designs of 18th and early 19th century floorcloths are preserved in the portraits painted during that time. Probate inventories and advertisements also tell us that these floor coverings were widely used in all regions of the country. The advertisements of painters who could produce floorcloths are abundant in American newspapers from the last quarter of the 18th century until about 1850, by which time they began to be called “oilcloths.”

The floor oilcloth was the forerunner of linoleum, which came into popularity in the 1870’s. By 1900, linoleum had taken of over the market of oilcloths, although as late as 1909, the Sears, Roebuck and Company still offered two multi colored, geometric patterned oilcloths for sale.  Floorcloths, oilcloths, and linoleums can be viewed, as other American Decorative Arts, as a reflection upon the patterns of the industrial growth and culture of America.


“‘Tis unnecessary to say one word about the convenience to families of these cloths; they have become an almost indispensable article in the list of domestic paraphernalia.”

City Gazette and Daily Advertiser
Charleston, SC
June 13, 1809


“These carpets possess a decided advantage over all others, as they are more durable, and in warm weather much more comfortable, and easier to keep clean, and in hot climates the only kind that are not subject to injury from insects; in winter they may be covered with other carpeting without damage, and the room is kept warmer …”

New Hampshire Gazette
April 8, 1828




Caskey Winkler, Gail and Roger W. Moss, Victorian Interior Decoration: American Interiors 1830-1900 (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1986), 26-28.

Seale, William, Recreating the Historic House Interior (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1979), 77-78.

Von Rosenstiel, Helene, American Rugs and Carpets: From the Seventeenth Century to Modern Times (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1978), 51-73.

Origins of our Flag and Flag Day

Most people associate the Fourth of July with the birth of our nation and Flag Day, celebrated on June 14th every year, barely gets a second look. Why do we have a special day commemorating the Flag and why June 14th?


The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777, which established an official flag for the new nation. The Act “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

 flag, first


This is the design that became the Official United States Flag on June14th, 1777. Each star and stripe represented a Colony of which there were thirteen, united nearly one year earlier by the Declaration of Independence. The only President to serve under this flag was George Washington (1789-1797). This Flag was to last for a period of 18 years until stars were added for other states that entered the union.

The idea of a day specifically celebrating the Flag is thought to have begun in 1885 by a school teacher in Wisconsin. The date of June 14th was chosen because it was the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, which was the official adoption of the American Flag design. The day became known as “Flag Birthday”, which eventually became Flag Day. The celebration of Flag Day spread and by the late 19th century, many communities throughout the United States were having ceremonies in the schools where children would carry a small Flag while patriotic songs were sung.

On May 20, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made a Proclamation establishing Flag Day on June 14th. Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after the proclamation, but it wasn’t until August 3, 1949 that National Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman.



 flag, star spangled banner



This Flag became the Official United States Flag on May 1st, 1795. The 15-star, 15-stripe flag was authorized by the Flag Act of January 13, 1794, adding 2 stripes and 2 Stars. The two stars and stripes were added for the admission of Vermont and Kentucky into the union. This flag was the only U.S. Flag to have more than 13 stripes. It was immortalized by Francis Scott Key, when he wrote the poem The Star Spangled Banner, during the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Sept 13, 1814. This flag design lasted for 23 years, until 1818. Realizing that the addition of a new star and new stripe for each new State was impractical, Congress passed the Flag Act of 1818 which returned the flag design to 13 stripes and specified 20 stars for the now 20 states.




Colonel John Riddle, Cincinnati Pioneer




Below is an excerpt from a booklet on Colonel John Riddle, one of the pioneers of Cincinnati, Ohio.    The booklet was written by our Education Director, Steve Preston. Steve is also a Master of Arts Public History Candidate at Northern Kentucky University. The booklet can be purchased at the Heritage Village Museum gift shop.



             While performing routine conservation on one of the artifacts at Heritage Village Museum, an intriguing story about a figure in early Cincinnati history began to unfold. The artifact belongs to The Society of the Colonial Dames in Ohio.  The “Colonial Dames” as they are locally known, are a national society dedicated to historic preservation and patriotism.  They own the 1804 Kemper Log Home on site, as well as the Model 1773 Charleville Musket and other artifacts within the home.  This musket, valuable as simply an antique firearm, has a priceless story to tell about its owner.
This Charleville Musket belonged to Colonel John Riddle.  A native of New Jersey, he immigrated to Cincinnati in 1790. John Riddle’s story starts in New Jersey but it ends here in Cincinnati during its formative years. Riddle’s experiences in New Jersey prepared him for the harsh and primitive life he would experience in newly settled Southwest Ohio.
Descendants of John Riddle had the forethought to preserve this musket for future generations, culminating in its donation to the Daughters of the American Revolution in the early 1900s. As ownership of the Kemper Log Home passed from the Daughters of the American Revolution to The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the state of Ohio in 1952, so did Riddle’s musket. Like all the artifacts on display in the Kemper Home, the musket’s owner has a unique and compelling story.
John Riddle was a bear of a man, standing 5’10 and weighing 225 pounds. He was a man of many talents with a streak of adventurer in him. From New Jersey soldier, to privateer on the high seas, to blacksmith, to pioneer, to militia commander, his life certainly provides all the ingredients for a good story. His influence was felt from the Atlantic Seaboard to the heart of the American Midwest. As so many of these great stories are lost, found, only to be lost again, it is important to document this narrative so that it may be preserved to remain “found.”