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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Women Of Distinction Amongst Multitude

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 359
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

This week our article shall be entitled "Distinguished Women of Warren County." It seems as though the writer has been focusing on the men of the County; however, there were many women of distinction amongst the multitude.
Some of these ladies have gone forth and distinguished themselves in a worldwide fashion and some have simply wound themselves into the hearts of Warren Countians.
Catherine Hurin Skinner, daughter of Mr. Silas Hurin, was the first child born within the bounds of Lebanon. Hurin Park was named in honor of this event.
A great benefactor by the name of Mary Ann Klingling has put her imprint on the community of Lebanon. Mary Ann died August 15, 1867, from injuries received in a runaway horse accident. Her will stipulated that $35,000 be left for a building that would shelter the homeless children, thus an institution named the Children's Home was built.
Mary Ann came to Lebanon from Germany with her brother, John. He acquired a small fortune in the drug business, which was located in a room where the Henry Reid drug store was later established. After John's death, Mary Ann inherited her brother's estate. A story goes that Miss Klingling had a lover of high standards in Germany, but his family disapproved of this relationship.
Vowing never to marry, both parties provided a will that stated that if either dies the monies were to go toward the building of a children's home. The lover died first leaving a will providing for a home for the poor children in his homeland.
Another lady born in Lebanon was Dolly Woolwine Nobles. She moved to Cincinnati with her family while still a young lady. While in the Queen City she joined the Shakespeare Club. Madame Madjestka, the renowned performer, was entertained by the club and was impressed by Dolly's performance. She urged her parents to have Dolly take comprehensive dramatic training. Dolly later moved to Washington and became a student of Madame Madjestka. She joined the company of Milton Nobles, noted actor and playwright, and later became his bride. They entertained throughout the country, and in later life settled for Vaudeville. Another lady by the name of Laura Woolwine sought her recognition on the stage, too. Her professional name was Laura Bellini. She has been renowned as Lebanon's Prima Donna. Bellini first attracted attention while studying with Madame Rive in Cincinnati. Later, after traveling to Milan, Italy, she studied under Lamperti, and it was here that she took the name of Bellini, just before she made her debut in Rigoletto. She consequently traveled and sang in Italy, France, Trieste, England, Corsica, Havana, Mexico, and New York. She sang with the Conreid and Duff Opera Companies until she was called home by the sudden illness and eventual death of her parents. Remaining in Lebanon, she made her home at her grandparents, subsequently going into the teaching vocation at Lebanon and Cincinnati.
Jane Osborn Hannah was not a true Lebanonite, having been born in Wilmington, Ohio, but she came to the city at a very early age to live with her grandparents. Her career was one of brilliance. She was a concert and oratorio singer, and studied abroad for Grand Opera. She sang at all the leading opera houses in Germany, later returning to America, and on February 18, 1912, Madame Hannah made her debut at the Lebanon Opera House.
Still another vocalist that sprang from the City of Cedars was Blanche Scoville. She was graduated with honors from the Cincinnati College of music where she studied under the guidance of Signor Albino Porno. After graduation, she traveled to New York City and found employment under Anton Seidl in his Opera Company. A prearrangement that she return home to study German for the Opera Company was interrupted by a bout with typhoid fever. She died at the age of 24, never fulfilling her dreams.
Amanda Stokes was the first woman from Warren County to enlist in the Civil War. Selling all her possessions, she used her funds to buy delicacies for the soldiers who were gallantly serving their country. Her presence in the Civil War was for a period of about five years. She was present at the battles of Stones River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga and Nashville.
Having spent her entire funds, she left the service penniless. She ultimately found employment at the O.S.S.O. Home in Xenia. She petitioned for a pension through many channels and none was given, until, by a special act of Congress, a pension of fifteen dollars a month was awarded shortly before her death in 1886. In recognition of this fine and generous lady, the Daughters of America, in 1906, named their lodge The Amanda Stokes Council, No. 132, in her honor.
Mrs. Mary Proctor Wilson had the distinction of being one of the most prominent newspaper ladies of her day. She was editor/owner of the Warren County Patriot for over twenty-five years. Among her other accomplishments were: the first Probation Officer in the County; she was a member of the State Board of Visitors for more than eight years; she was on the Board of Lady Visitors for the O.S.S.O. Home in Xenia for twenty-one years; and was Postmistress of Lebanon during the Cleveland Administration.
Grace Margaret Wilson at one time graced the city of Lebanon. She moved to Toledo in her stature as a newspaperwoman, and was the Dramatic Editor for the Toledo Times. Her accomplishment in that capacity was that she published two volumes of poetry, and was notable in the literary clubs of Toledo.
L. Ray Balderstone, the niece of Jarvis F. Stokes, received her Master of Arts at Columbia University in 1915. In 1914, she published her second book on laundry work, which was a guide for both housewife and teacher. She was an ardent lecturer on the subject.
Melva Beatrice Wilson, raised in Warren County, was one of the world's top sculptureres. She was the daughter of Judge John Lafayette Wilson. She received a scholarship from Adrian College, Michigan. For three consecutive years, she won the $100 prize for sculpture excellence at the Cincinnati Art Academy. This lady of renown first traveled to Europe and then to New York. Possibly her greatest work was a processional of four hundred figures called "The Way of the Cross," crafted for the St. Louis Cathedral.
These were the ladies of another time. Perhaps, in another article, the writer will bring this episode up to present

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