The Arnold Family Papers: Chapter 2

This is Amanda Norris back with the newest document discovered in the Arnold Family Papers (MS-599). I am a graduate student in the Wright State University Public History program and completing my capstone project with SC&A.

Today I wanted to focus on the Civil War Draft notice and subsequent exemption that I discovered. These documents belonged to my Great-Great-Grandfather Joseph Decker, who lived in the small German Catholic community of Minster, Ohio. This town in Auglaize County sits along what once was the thriving Miami and Erie Canal.

Joseph Decker (December 10, 1836 – July 31, 1896) married into one of the founding families of Minster, the Steineman Family. He supported his first wife Mary Catherine (1843-September 12, 1884) by working as a cooper, or barrel maker, and shipping along the Canal. In 1862, Joseph Decker received a draft notice from the United States Army to report to the Commissioner’s Office in Wapakoneta on October 1st. The draft notice  states at the bottom that each draftee is ordered to bring their own blanket.

Just a few days later Joseph Decker received an exemption from service in the War. While it is unknown if Joseph Decker hired a replacement, which was a popular alternative for those who could afford such a luxury, or if his position in the shipping industry in Minster was important to the war effort. Regardless another man, Anthony Schlauser, was sent to the war in his place. Whatever the reason, Joseph Decker remained at home in Minster, Ohio, where he buried his first wife in 1884 and married his second wife, Mary Meyer Decker (January 24, 1862-April 3, 1941), who gave him his only child Marie Decker, born on March 8th 1896, mere months before his own death. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future updates!



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Guest Post: Flight Logbooks Old and New

This guest post was written by Wright State University student and SC&A researcher Brody Beaver.

Dawne Dewey, head of SC&A, shares the Wald logbook with Brody.

Located in the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives is a fascinating piece of history that is still similar to today’s aviation field. This flight logbook from 1912, owned by Charles Wald, records his experiences and learning how to fly with the Wright Brothers. Wald recorded his flights and interactions with Orville Wright and other aviation pioneers.

Starting my flight training in the summer of 2016, I purchased my first logbook and record every hour of flight time accumulated. I find it fascinating to hold something similar to the pioneers of aviation, creating a vivid image of what it was like back in 1912. The Archives always have artifacts that inspire my curiosity, encouraging me to learn more about it, like the logbook. It was interesting to identify the similarities between my personal and Charles Wald’s logbook, both containing the aircraft identification number, length of flight and the remarks section. Since aviation has developed over time, the two also have differences, such as, the type of piloting time and conditions of flight. Everyone should know that the Special Collections and Archives is a resource for research and an outlet to connect with the past.

Brody at the Controls

For over a century, military and civilian pilots from around the world have been using logbooks to record their flights. Wald’s 1912 logbook reminds everyone, some aspects of aviation have slightly changed over the course of 115 years. Today’s logbook is more in-depth, but without it, pilots would be unable to confirm the amount of flight hours and training obtained. Flight logbooks also help pilots reminisce cherished memories, remembering the day aviation began, earning their pilots license, and adventuring to new destinations.

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The Arnold Family Papers: Chapter 1

Amanda and the collection

My name is Amanda Norris and I am a History Major in the Public History Concentration at Wright State University. This is my second year in the program and I am currently working on my capstone project, which is processing the Arnold Family Papers (MS-599). The papers were donated to the archives last summer, and document the history of my family on my mother’s side from the early 1800s to the current day.

This includes the stories of the Steineman and Meyer families, who were German, Catholic immigrants to the United States in the 1830s. They arrived in Ohio through Cincinnati and bought land in Auglaize County. A few short years later the Village of Minster was founded.

As I have been processing this collection, I have discovered several interesting documents and encountered challenges in how to order these documents and photographs. I’d like to share these discoveries with you through a series of blog posts. I hope that by writing these blogs chronicling my experience organizing my family papers I may inspire others to look into their own family histories.

In subsequent posts I intend to share with you some of the interesting papers I have found as well as the history that is associated with them. I look forward to sharing my family history with all of you as I believe it is the fascinating story of an average family through the centuries.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future updates.


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