Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
Publications, Volume XX

Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Page 57 [Click for larger image]Page 57

SOME LOCAL HISTORY. LUCY ELLIOT KEELER. [Miss Keeler of Fremont, Ohio, has been a valued contributor to the Quarterly. The following, from her pen, is a delightful bit of historic sentiment, which originally appeared in Scribner's Magazine. Editor.] I have watched numberless persons walk around a great Stone—a round stone with a hollow in the top, filled with water, where the birds come to drink—and dilate learnedly after this fashion: "Think how it was carried for thousand of years on the back of a glacier, and how it was rubbed and ground by ice and stones till its angles were worn down into this perfect sphere." All very true were this stone a boulder, but it happens to be quite another thing, a concretion, which grew round from babyhood and never had any angles to rub off. It started perhaps with a bit of shell or fish bone falling into the mud of a stream. This nucleus acted like a magnet, attracting to itself little particles of congenial matter which hugged it layer after layer like an onion; while the water above, holding iron and lime and silica in solution, percolated through the growing concretion and cemented it into a solid stone. After such fashion does local history grow up. You take a house or bit of land, a road or a river or Indian treaty, as a nucleus; and as you read old books, newspapers, and letters; examine old maps, plans, and pictures; and as you talk with old residents—your facts form layer after layer around your centre; and as you compare and generalize and let your imagination flow over all, your house or bit of land, or road, or river, or Indian treaty grows and crystallizes into a shapely, lasting concretion of local history. In choosing some nucleus for a study of local history, one cannot do better than begin with one's house or yard. One should trace back the several ownerships to the original grant;

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