Morgan Twp. Driving Tour (Okeana)

As mentioned already in two previous posts on this blog, last Friday for date night the lovely Robin and I set out on a self-guided driving tour of historic Morgan Township with the help of a dandy booklet created by the Morgan Township Historical Society. We had already seen many interesting stops on the tour when we made our way into historic Okeana, the geographic center of Morgan Township. From the booklet: "Okeana was named in honor of a local Native American princess, the daughter of Chief Kiatta....There has been an operating post office in the village since 1828 under the names Tariff and Okeana. In 1868 the Walking and McClain Liniment was manufactured here, which was good for man and beast."

The Okeana Methodist Church (above) is built on land purchased in 1904. The structure was completed in 1908 at a cost of about $7,000. "Of special beauty," says the tour guide, "are the large tinted glass memorial windows."

The Old Township Hall (above) was constructed at a cost of $650 in the mid-nineteenth-century. The historic marker in front reads:
COPPERHEADISM IN BUTLER COUNTY. By the early summer of 1863, many Ohioans had become dissatisfied with what seemed a protracted Civil War. They opposed the administration of President Abraham Lincoln and the policy of a national military draft and were alarmed by what they saw as an invasion of their civil liberties. This was in part fueled by the arrest of Clement Vallandingham, future Democratic candidate for Governor, for publicly criticizing the war. He was convicted of sedition by a military commission and exiled by the President. On July 17, 1863, those unfriendly to the Civil War (Copperheads) from Morgan, Ross, Reily, and Hanover townships met at the Morgan Township House to organize the Butler County Mutual Protection Company. Copperheads from Franklin County, Indiana, joined the company to protest the draft and the president's handling of the war. The company was short-lived, however, as similar antiwar organizations flourished in the region.

We also stopped at the Okeana Bank (above). The bank was organized in 1909 as the First National Bank of Okeana. From the guide: "Francis Earnshaw, who sold 250 one-hundred-dollar shares of stock to the local farmers and businessmen of the area, established it. He was just 20 years old and had to wait until he was 21 before he could open the bank." It has previously been a Citizens Bank & Trust and Society Bank (later named Key Bank). Today it is a branch of the Lebanon Citizens National Bank.

The photo above is of a large black-and-white mural on the side of the bank, depicting the structure as it appeared when it was new (apparently before any signage or furnishings were installed).

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