Crushed Under Stone

The Explosion

On October 4, 1905, an explosion shook the Hamilton County Courthouse. For years, county workers had complained about the smell of gas in the building and had been trying to find the source of the leak. They went so far as to tear up the floors and the walls where the smell was the strongest. At about 3 o’clock, on the afternoon in question, the County Clerk called for the Superintendent of Buildings and asked that he try to solve the problem before the weather got too cold. The Clerk was concerned that if they had to close the windows the smell would be so strong they wouldn’t be able to work in the room.

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Raised in the House of Refuge

The Request*

My maternal grandpa was Thomas Cliff born in 1891 in Kentucky and died in 1959 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother was Minnie Coop born in 1874 Allen, Kentucky and died in 1924 in Cincinnati. I found a newspaper article that said Thomas lived at an orphanage called the Cincinnati House of Refuge because his parents divorced. Minnie remarried to a man named Joseph Bech.

Thomas was 35 years older than his wife, my grandma Betty. I know Thomas was a bootlegger, what I can’t figure out is his father. A marriage certificate lists his dad as William Cliff but I don’t know which William Cliff. I’d like information on him.

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Killed In Action

Richard Linde was born on December 20, 1940 to Elmer Linde and Geraldine Pittillo. Richard had three siblings Pearl, Barbara, and Gary. The family lived in Miamitown, Ohio. Richard attended Miamitown High School until 1956 and then worked as an auto mechanic and truck driver until joining the military in January of 1966. A member of his family reached out to learn more about his life, and with their permission, this is what I was able to find.

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Family History Research

Family history research, genealogy, ancestry, it’s all just the study of past relatives. It takes on a different form depending on who does the research and what the purpose is. For many Americans, genealogical research is about finding where our families came from. For others the request can be more specific. Maybe a relative died at war, ran a successful business, or was rumored to be a criminal and you just want to know more about them. All of those are good reasons to dive into historical documents.

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