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Here’s to you Sullivan Ballou…

Here’s to you Sullivan Ballou…

On this day, July 14, 1861, on the eve of the first major Civil War engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run, Sullivan Ballou, from Camp Clark, Washington D.C., wrote home to his wife in Smithfield, Rhode Island. How beautifully and compelling he wrote…I wish we still communicated this way. My very dear Sarah:  The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I…

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Sylvania, Ohio bids good riddance to “Pretty Boy” Floyd

Sylvania, Ohio bids good riddance to “Pretty Boy” Floyd

By Don Radebaugh — Downtown Sylvania, Ohio is all of two blocks. Blink twice and you might miss it; but if you stop long enough to look and listen, you’ll discover a treasure trove of off-the-charts true stories that’ll keep you coming back for more. And some will literally send shivers down your spine, like the murder on Main Street in 1857 (future story at HistoryMysteryMan.com). But this story starts at The Farmers and Merchants Bank (cover photo) on the…

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The fascinating story of Sylvania’s Underground Railroad, the historic Lathrop House, and the fight to save it

The fascinating story of Sylvania’s Underground Railroad, the historic Lathrop House, and the fight to save it

By Don Radebaugh — It’s a pretty nice rock, as far as rocks go. And to a geologist, I’m certain it would tell an interesting story; but none more interesting than the story that sits behind it. If you look beyond the rock (cover photo), you can see a white house among the trees, a house that holds more history than most could imagine. On one hand, the rock literally serves as a marker for where the house used to…

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The story of the Stranahans, Champion Spark Plug and the preservation of a world class park

The story of the Stranahans, Champion Spark Plug and the preservation of a world class park

By Don Radebaugh — It’s the mother of all metroparks in northwest Ohio. While the area is well known for its beautiful parks and recreation, none can compare to Wildwood Preserve, and that’s because none has the heart and soul that Wildwood has…a bona fide heartbeat left behind by the family who called it home. A family that arguably did more for the citizens of Toledo and northwest Ohio than any other single family before, or after. At the center…

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Meet the real Tony Stewart; racing icon sharing a day with a dying man

Meet the real Tony Stewart; racing icon sharing a day with a dying man

By Don Radebaugh — I’m not sure if you can uncover more emotion from a human life in one afternoon, but the Nemire racing family got just about as close as you can get. Longtime ARCA/USAC competitor, winner, champion Jerry Nemire has been fighting cancer for the better part of 15 years. Monday morning didn’t start out all that good for him. He was weak and wasn’t feeling well. He also knew that Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson was on his…

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Lincoln’s early, impressionable years in Kentucky

Lincoln’s early, impressionable years in Kentucky

By Don Radebaugh — When I was 9 years old, I shut myself up in my room and cracked open a children’s biography on Abraham Lincoln. It was a fairly big book for a kid, and once I cleared the first chapter, I had no trouble at all staying with it. It intrigued me so much I didn’t come out of my room until I was finished. I never got over the experience, and I’ve been reading, studying Lincoln ever…

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Welcome to another island paradise…residents beware?

Welcome to another island paradise…residents beware?

JOHNSON’S ISLAND, Ohio — If you’re in the right age bracket, you would remember Gilligan’s Island. But regardless of how many years you have, I’d be willing to wager you’re not all too familiar with Johnson’s Island. To cut to the chase, one is fiction; unfortunately, the other is not. Folks from around the world have certainly seen Johnson’s Island without ever realizing it. Put it this way…if you’ve ever been atop one of the roller coasters at Sandusky, Ohio’s…

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Welcome to the Keeper’s House…

Welcome to the Keeper’s House…

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio — Every time I venture out on another historical adventure, I always discover something new outside the intended target. My original destination was Johnson’s Island, just off Marblehead, Ohio. And for good reason. A prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers once occupied space there during the Civil War, leaving behind only gravestones of Confederate soldiers who died at the camp, many of the stones unmarked. I’m looking forward to bringing you the story. But on the way…

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Lee surrenders at Appomattox

Lee surrenders at Appomattox

It must have been quite a moment when Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee shook hands inside the front parlor of the Wilmer McLean house (Appomattox Court House) on April 9, 1865. After four bloody years and 600,000-plus dead Americans, the Civil War was finally over. If I had the power to travel back in time, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox would be high on my list. To witness those indelible moments inside the parlor must have…

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Mark Twain…in and out with Halley’s Comet

Mark Twain…in and out with Halley’s Comet

By Don Radebaugh — Halley’s Comet is visible in the sky about every 75 years, the approximate duration of Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ amazing life. The fact that the famous Comet coincided with the coming and going of Clemens — AKA Mark Twain — seems to suggest he was worthy of some good old-fashioned divine intervention. In the first twist, Halley’s Comet would not have been in the sky at all had Twain been born on time;  but he was born…

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