Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shoemaker/Collier Family: NV Mill (related) stories #1

"My Dad started at the mill right after the war in the fall of 1945.  He later became the manager and left in 1953.  I have many fond memories of being a little tyke and being down there and probably getting in the way." --Charlie Collier
Mabel & Elroyd Collier, parents of Charlie & Carolyn, c1946 in front of Harris Apartments, New Vienna Ohio.  Photo courtesy of Carolyn Collier Taubenheim.

First came the Shoemakers:

In 1800, Simon Shoemaker and his family moved from Virginia to the Singing Spring area [Highland County's Brushcreek Township] according to Daniel Scott's A History of the Early Settlement of Highland County, Ohio, page 64.

This move impacted Clinton County when 138 years and six generations later, a few of his many descendants began moving to New Vienna.  [Simon (1736-1820) > Samuel (1766-1837) > Simon (1793-1875) > Michael (1823-1895) > George M. (1859-1947) > Orva (1882-1964). Orva M. Shoemaker and his wife the former Mary K. Zile (1886-1952) had seven children, four of whom lived in/near New Vienna between 1937-2004.

Mary Blanche Shoemaker Hill (1908-2005) was born near Marshall in Highland County, Ohio and attended Marshall Public Schools.  She helped out on her family's farm until her marriage to Galen Hill on November 6, 1937.  They moved to New Vienna shortly thereafter, beginning the chapter of the Shoemaker/Colliers connection to New Vienna.  Galen was the New Vienna school custodian in the 1940s and took up house painting as a profession with the start of the new decade.  Unfortunately an accident involving a ladder and electrical wires resulted in his death in 1951.

The values of independence and self-reliance learned on the farm served her well after the death of Galen.  Use up, wear out, and make do became her creed.  An avid gardener, she could grow an amazing abundance of produce on a very small parcel of land, sometimes preparing the earth with only a spade.

Blanche took a job at the New Vienna locker in 1952 and worked there until her retirement. Blanche and Galen lived outside of town at first, on 73 near the Doyle Wright house and behind Lewis Bernard (who later married Dorothy Johnson, the teacher) on Antioch Rd.  They then moved into town, across from the bus barn, next to the Trenarys.  This would have been a convenient location for Galen's work as the school custodian included shoveling coal into the school furnace on Sundays so that the school would be warm on Monday morning.  Later Blanche moved downtown to Dr. Fullerton's place and then across the street to Dr. Hause's former office.  Her bedroom was where many of us had our teeth drilled.

[Picture of Blanche taken in 1981, Galen's picture in 1949, is from the New Vienna High School Memory Book, p. 71.

George Robert Shoemaker (1913-1984) and his wife Lella (Carrico 1906-1995) joined sister Blanche in New Vienna when George became manager at the Farmers Exchange Mill in the mid 1940s.  George and Lella had a son, George Clifford (1940-2007) who attended school in New Vienna until the family moved to Columbus in the late 1940s.
Elroyd Collier at New Vienna Ohio Mill c1950 - Image Courtesy of Carolyn Collier Taubenheim

Although George and Lella may have lived in a farmhouse in Highland County, Jane Selph Fauber, who also worked at the mill in the 1940s, remembers that Lella provided her with lunch after Charlie was born in 1947 and she rode with George to their house on the north side of Bernard Road.  She described it as a square brick house.  Prior to Charlie's birth, Mabel Collier had provided Jane with lunch.

Mabel Elizabeth Shoemaker Collier (1916-2004) was the third of the Shoemaker siblings to make New Vienna her home when she moved from Highland County as a newlywed with her husband Elroyd Elmo Collier (1915-2000).  Both were born in Highland County to farm families who made living off the land a way of life.

Times were hard when Elroyd graduated from Singing Spring High School (1934).  The Great Depression had a strangle hold on the nation, and jobs were scarce, so he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.  In 1941 Elroyd joined the US Army and after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor he was shipped to the South Pacific where he spent 3.5 years, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Mabel attended Marshall Public Schools.  During the war, she continued working on the family farm until moving to Hillsboro to begin a job at the Hercules Trouser Company.  When Elroyd was honorably discharged in August, 1945, he returned home and he and Mabel were married on October 7, 1945, moving to New Vienna shortly afterward when Elroyd took a job at the Farmers Exchange Mill, also known as the New Vienna Mill, later replacing his brother-in-law, George Shoemaker, as manager.

Elroyd and Mabel had two children, Charles (born 1947) and Carolyn (1949).  In 1954, Elroyd was hired by the New Vienna Bank, later known as the NV Branch of the Clinton County National Bank and Trust Company.  Mabel was a homemaker and "Mom."  She also worked as a cook at the New Vienna Elementary School for several years.  Elroyd was the clerk of the Green Township trustees for 22 years.  He retired from the bank in 1980.

[Picture courtesy of Carolyn Collier Taubenheim, taken in 1978.]

Beryl Ruth Shoemaker (1918-2004) was born near Marshall in Highland County, Ohio.  At the age of four, in a defining moment of her life, she stepped on a rusty nail in her family's farm barnyard, developing blood poisoning.  The resulting surgery saved her life but resulted in a disability that she bravely coped with for the rest of her days.

Ruth attended Marshall Public Schools and later became a caregiver for her mother, who suffered from poor health, and then her elderly father.  In 1964 after her father died, Ruth moved to New Vienna to be near her sisters, Mabel Collier and Blanche Hill.  Her caregiving experience proved valuable and she cared for the children of several local families, including the Uibles, until her retirement.

In 1984, Ruth moved to Prairie View Apartments in Wilmington where she immensely enjoyed social activities and the camaraderie of friends until her death on December 18, 2004.

[Picture courtesy of Carolyn Collier Taubenheim, taken in 1980.]


  1. I went to the mill with my Dad a number of times---when I was really young. I have a vague memory of a guy nicknamed "Skeeter" that worked there?? Dad would buy me a small bottle of soda pop---coke I think. It was very dusty there...of course. Then many years later I remember bicycling back in there when it had been closed, deserted, abandoned, etc

    1. I forgot to ask anyone about "Skeeter" when I was asking about Raymond Elliott. I'll let you know if I find out anything.