Washington Court House tornado damage photographsSave
Description: These five photographs document damage to Washington Court House, Ohio after a tornado struck the city at 8:07 P.M. on September 8, 1885. The tornado destroyed much of the city and killed six people. The tornado left a twelve-mile path of destruction, starting seven miles west of Washington Court House and heading through the city. Damage was estimated at one million dollars. Two of those killed were children fleeing with their family from Jamestown, Ohio, which was the target of an earlier tornado. The photographs measure 8.5" x 12" (21.59 x 30.48 cm). View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: Om3118_3737179_001 Subjects: Ohio Government; Architecture; Climate and Weather; Courthouses; Tornadoes; Debris Places: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)
Description: This photograph shows armed soldiers standing guard outside the Fayette County Court House, Washington Court House, Ohio, in mid-October 1894. A crowd of onlookers is facing the soldiers; inside the court house, dozens of people are standing the windows observing the activity outside.
Rioting erupted at the Fayette County Courthouse following the trial of William Dolby, a biracial man accused of raping a white woman in Washington Court House, Ohio. Dolby pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty years at the Ohio Penitentiary. The crowd, however, demanded that Dolby be lynched for the crime. Governor William McKinley, who later became president of the United States, sent out the National Guard to protect Dolby. On the morning of October 17, 1894, the National Guard troops, led by Colonel Alonzo B. Coit, ordered the crowd to disperse. The crowd continued to shout and began ramming the courthouse doors. Coit and his troops fired at the crowd through the doors of the courthouse, killing six men and wounding a dozen others. Bullet holes are still visible in the wooden doors of the courthouse.
Colonel Coit was indicted for manslaughter but was acquitted at trial. After the trial, Governor McKinley stated, "The law was upheld as it should have been...but in this case at fearful cost.... Lynching cannot be tolerated in Ohio." View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06618 Subjects: Riots; Lynching; McKinley, William, 1843- 1901; Fayette County (Ohio); Courthouses Places: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)
Washington Court House Fire Department certificateSave
Description: Membership certificate from the Washington Court House, Ohio, Fire Department to F. M. Kennedy for five years of service, 1888. This certificate is from the era of the volunteer firefighter. The images show the popular view of firemen at that time, and illustrate scenes of firemen fighting fires, rescuing women and children, pulling a fire engine and blowing a fire trumpet. Tools and equipment of the profession are pictured as well.
The certificate reads: "This certifies that F. M. Kennedy has been a member of the Fire Department of Washington C. H. Ohio for the period of 5 years, and by the faithful and honorable discharge of his duties, is entitled to all the exemptions allowed by Law for such service. In witness whereof we have signed our names hereto and affixes the Dept seal this 5th day of April 1888. John Stillman, Chief; R. Bell, Sec." View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: OVS5517 Subjects: Fire engines & equipment; Fire fighters; Public safety; Volunteering; Places: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)
Description: Two photographs document the Fayette County courthouse in Washington Court House, Ohio. The second photograph is a close-up view of the wooden entrance doors, which are marked by bullet holes, the result of an 1894 riot following the trial of William Dolby, a biracial man accused of raping a white woman. The photographs measure 8" x 10" (20.32 x 25.4 cm). The Eclectic-style Fayette County courthouse was designed by architect David W. Gibbs and was completed in 1885. Three murals in the lobby outside the courtroom were painted by Archibald Willard, who painted the Spirit of '76. The first mural, Spirit of the U. S. Mail depicts a winged woman holding a bundle of letters in her left hand and a single envelope in the other hand that bears the inscription "A. M. Willard. . . , Cleveland, Ohio." The Spirit of Electricity portrays a woman floating above a body of water bearing a torch in her right hand. The Spirit of the Telegraph is pictured as a winged woman holding a length of telegraph wire. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: Om3119_3737998_001 Subjects: Ohio Government; Architecture; Courthouses; Doors & doorways; Bullet holes; Riots; Justice--Administration of Places: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)
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