Reflections: Tales of girl corn grower

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

Yes, this was the headline in a January, 1916 Morrow County Independent newspaper. It was headline news when a girl, “Miss Leelo Jones, was the winner of the free trip to Wasington as well as the other Morrow County folks with excursionists who arrived home Saturday afternoon.”

“Not bad for a girl,” admitted one of the boy winners, pointing out little Miss Leele Jones, gaily chatting with some of the other girls of the Ohio corn party in one of the lobbies of the New Ebbitt.

The story goes on to describe Miss Jones as being 15 years old who raised 102.3 bushels of corn to the acre the previous summer on a farm near Cardington.

She won in the boys’ class, the story reveals. It continues by describing in detail the studies that Miss Jones made including corn growing methods noting that in order to come within the rules of the contest, she had to do every bit of the work herself which included plowing with a riding plow narrowed, rolled and then plowed again with a two-horse cultivator.

All of the youths on this trip to Washington, D.C., were treated to visits to a number of museums and monuments and the high point came whe they met President Woodrow Wilson. Although the party had arrived in three trains, “none were living in their Pullman cars while in Washington.”

The story wound up saying “Leelo Jones, of Cardington, the only corn girl in the big delegation, headed the big parade in New York with Dewey Haines of Arcanum.”

Just as interesting are the three pages I found noting products offered for sale in 1897 by Sears, Roebuck and Co., Inc.

These included such food items as olives, olive oil, pickles, pickles in wood, vinegar, pig’s feet, pork beef, mince meat, and salt and drugs such as nerve and brain pills, Dr. Barker’s Blood builder, Rheumatic cure, liquor habit cure and large items such as gasoline stoves, gasoline ovens and carpets.

They even had pianos and books for sale.

During the winter of 1914, Cardington was planning its first Chautaugua to take place that summer.

More later.

Looking back

50 years ago, January, 1972: Citizens interested in undergoing training for the new Morrow County Emergency Squad met Jan. 2 in Mount Gilead. There were four planned emergency squads, including one ambulance based in Cardington.

30 years ago, January 1992: Jim Clinger and Larry Wigton began their first terms on the Cardington-Lincoln Board of Education; Dean Bartlett was named chairman of the Westfield Township Trustees; Site selection was announced for the new county jail. The committee recommended it be built on the southeast corner of the Morrow County fairgrounds.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist