Local Author, Robert Richardson
Receives a "thank you" from the chapter board members and receives a Lifetime Membership
Author of - A Time and Place in Ohio
Author of - Tilton Territory, Warren Township History
(Mr. Richardson donated several copies of Tilton Territory to our chapter. We sold one box and now he has donated another. He signed several copies. If you would like to order a signed copy of his book, Tilton Territory, check on our homepage under services, and it is listed under publications for sale. The proceeds from his books will go directly to our cemetery preservation project. Thank you Mr. Richardson for your kindness!)
Robert H. Richardson was born in Tiltonsville, Jefferson County, Ohio on July 23, 1923. It was from his great-aunt Lorena Roth, which he learned much about the early Tiltons and Jefferson County history. Robert’s parents were Harry Benjamin Richardson (who was a Marine and fought in WWI), and Elsie Margaret Roth. Elsie’s parents were Harman Roth and Mary Ann Hughs. Harman’s father was John Roth, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1851 and migrated to Tiltonsville in 1867. In fact, where Robert now lives, John owned two lots, which Robert bought in 1951.
In 1962 Mr. Richardson’s research interest began with a statement he made at a local historical society meeting in Warren Twp that, “someone should write a book!” Well, that was the start of Robert’s publishing career and should I say journey! He published his first historical narrative titled, “Tilton Territory, Warren Township, Jefferson County, Ohio” in 1977 and spent many years researching and then followed that book by publishing a second in 1983 titled, “A Time and Place in Ohio.” His ability to “take us back in time” is almost uncanny!
While interviewing Robert, I can’t say that I have met a nicer person in all my life! He was so generous with his records, photo’s, and information, that our chapter executive board members decided to present him with a life time membership and a framed “certificate of excellence” award. Flora L. VerStraten presented Mr. Richardson with the award and gave him a framed certificate and an honorary lifetime membership, due to his contributions to our county history, included in his printed publications.
Robert had a great childhood growing up in Tiltonsville and spend a lot of time fishing on the trails down by the river, hiking in Glen Robbins, swimming on the Ohio River back in the days when the river had a beachfront. He was also a Boy Scout! Robert had one sister and two brothers, one brother is still living in Yorkville. He spent his childhood with the neighborhood children who included; Walter Graham, Billy Graham (cousins- not brothers), Ed Donley, Jimmy and Glen Jones (brothers), Peter Briggs and Kenneth Rees (Robert noted that Kenneth was Welsh). They all played and loved baseball and watched the big “local game” between Yorkville (Highland) and Tiltonsville every year.
As of January 2006 - Whenever Flora goes to visit Mr. Richardson, he always has some good stories to share. He has allowed her to take photo's of his collections and has even been generous in sharing documents and facts that he has gathered over the years. The chapter cherishes the friendship we have made with him. A visit during February of 2008 met with great interest. Mr. Richardson shared a list of post masters from Jefferson County and also a map of Warren Twp. showing an old pioneer cemetery.
(Mary Ann Brand Henry General Store 1900)
Flora L. VerStraten & Robert Richardson, 2006
As a child Robert never remembers going hungry because his father had a good job in the mill as a “rougher.” The grocery store on the corner had plenty of dry goods and was owned by George Briggs. Robert reflects on his days as a paperboy and said that he had a large route that consisted of 72 people. He would get paid 50 cents a week for his paper route. Robert remembers the Sunday Matinee Palace Theatre, Showboats arriving at the Briggs Landing at which time a large brass band would come through town and play. He even remembers that Red Skelton was on several of the boats and quite the comedian in his day! John Fritz owned the confection store where Robert would buy an ice cream cone at the parlor and penny candy. John’s nickname was “heavy thumb.” Some thought when he weighed items, he would push the scale with his thumb! And then there was Joe Vandine who owned a small novelty shop.
Robert upon graduating from High School attended Ohio State for four years in 1942. One of his earliest jobs was with Blaw-Knox Company making ship guns and in 1946 he began working for Wheeling Steel Corporation (before they merged with Pittsburgh in 1968), which he retired from as an industrial engineer.
Robert married Ethel Semelveis of Martins Ferry. They have two daughters, Betty and Vicki, and one son, James. His posterity now includes five grandchildren.
Memories of the Tiltonsville Smelter, in Mr. RobertRichardson’s words.) The pictures below are of the Tiltonsville Smelter, which began operations in 1914 as the Prime Western Smelter Company. It operated for ten years before being acquired by the Bertha Mineral Company in 1924. The one picture was taken from ground level, and the other picture from some high point looking down; both were taken from the West Side of town looking east toward the Ohio River. The smelter was located on ground now occupied by the Buckeye Local Middle school, which was formerly Warren Consolidated High School just north. There is another picture of it in “A Time and Place in Ohio” on page 140 with a short comment on page 138.
“As a boy, I can remember hunting for arrowheads in the old smelter grounds and wondering about the large concrete circles, some of which were still there in the late 1930’s. They served as bases for the kilns. Smelting is a refining process to separate metals from ore. North of the smelter was a huge orchard with many fruit trees. Fumes from the smelter killed all of them, so I was told. The smelter was gone before 1932, at which time the new WCHS was built.”
Photo’s courtesy of Robert Richardson
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