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Regular meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at 114 Valleyview Dr., Englewood, OH
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History Center Hours

The History Center is open to the public. Scheduled visiting hours are from 10 AM to 4 PM on the first Saturday of the month, April through November, weather permitting, and also by appointment. Call 937-832-1858.

Mailing Address:
114 Valleyview Drive Englewood, OH 45322


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From the "Randolph Times," Volume 8, Issue 3
July 2006

The President's Message from Glynn Marsh

What an exciting time to be President of this group!  Our big exhibit entitled "Along the National Road," which celebrates the bicentennial of the building of the National Road, is installed and entertaining travelers as well as local residents at the Englewood Government Center.  If you have not taken the time to visit this display yet, do so now and often!  Why did I say often?  Because one visit will not provide enough time to digest all the information presented in the form of photos, memorabilia, video and written documents that are available for viewing.
I want to thank Tim Garwood from the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society for all his work in moving that society's "Crossroads of America" and Tadmor" displays from their historical center and putting them up in the lobby of the government center.  Thanks also to Jean Deitering, of the Clay Township Historical Society, for mounting displays about the National Road from their part of the county.

I would be in deep trouble if I did not thank Sue Cummings for her hours of work on the Randolph Township display boards that document the National Road block by block through our township with hundreds of photos and historical information.  Maybe now I won't have to do the supper dishes each night so she could get back to her work on the computer!

Others also have contributed to the success of this event.  Paul Dewey not only produced a color video about the building of the road across Ohio, but he also set up a video kiosk in the lobby with very interesting side panels that tell about the role bicycles and autos played in getting road improvements made.  Thanks to Bob Menker for his display of early bicycles in the atrium!  Thanks to Liberty Bank who paid for the refreshments for opening night festivities and to Sylvia Miller for her fine presentation about the National Road.  What a crowd we had!

Luis Riancho donated copies of a very interesting document from 1836 that relates to the survey and reexamination of the "Dayton-cutoff" along the National Road.  This was the section of the road from Springfield to Richmond.  Influential politicians of the day lobbied to have the road cut through Dayton and Eaton but the reexamination in 1835 further justified keeping with the more northerly, original route.  Andrew Jackson approved this more direct route in August of 1835.  This document would suggest that the National Road did indeed reach our area sometime in 1836 (not 1838 as we sometimes read).

Well, let's all enjoy a sigh of relief, pat ourselves on the back and get ready to set up the display at the Fine Arts Festival in August.  I guess there is no rest for the weary!

The Family Tree: 

"The Berk Families"  by Sue Cummings


Recently, Bob Frantz donated an original photo of the Louis (Lewis) Berk family to the historical society.  Bob identified the people in the photo, including his grandmother Alice Berk Frantz, wife of Marion Frantz, his grandfather.  I have sorted out the information for this column from Bob's notes, biography of Henry V. Berk of Randolph Twp. from Beer's 1882 History of Montgomery Co., and from phone conversations with Louis Berk (Brookville) and Margaret Berk Hough (Dayton), whose fathers were brothers and sons of Louis Franklin Berk.   (Just for the record,  Margaret Hough was my fourth grade teacher at Ft. McKinley School in Harrison Twp. and she is a current member of our society!)

Henry Berk, Sr. was a native of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany.  He and his wife Margaret Abt had three sons.  Both Henry, Sr. and his wife died at age 39 and only two sons were still alive in 1882, i.e., Lewis and Henry V., Jr.  Henry V., Jr. was born in Germany in 1816 and trained as a cabinetmaker.  He came to America in 1836, landing at Baltimore.  Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Fredericks-town, MD, then Vienna Crossroads, Clark Co., Ohio and then to Dayton.  NOTE:  Henry V., Jr.  undoubtedly came west over the newly built National Road!   By 1857, Henry V. Jr.  had purchased 28 acres in Randolph Twp.  He had acquired 400 acres in Randolph Twp. by 1882.

In 1840, Henry V., Jr. married Anna Glass and they had eight children:  Amelia, Anna, Enna, Ellen, Henry, Louis and Theodore.  Henry V., Jr. saw that all of his children received some of his land.  The Montgomery County Atlas of 1895 shows Henry Berk (the son) owning 160 acres (NE Qtr of Sec. 28) and Louis owning about 100 acres (NW Qtr of Sec. 27).  The two farms were separated by Union Rd. and each was south of Wenger Rd.   Their neighbors were Moists, Engles and Manns. The photo, ca. 1902, shows the Berk farmhouse, and Louis Franklin, his wife Mary and children Frank W., Clara F., Mary Alice, Harry Albert and Earl Ralph born between 1878 and 1893.  Clara married Melvin Bennet and her daughter Ruth also is in the photo.  Bob Frantz's grandmother Mary Alice was the wife of Marion Frantz and their son Harry was Bob's father.  Margaret Berk Hough's father was Harry Berk who married Martha Black.  Louis' father was the youngest son, Earl Berk, and he married Ethel Black, sister of Martha.  The Blacks were from Covington, OH.  More details on these families can be found in the society's genealogy archives.