PT settlers remembered

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Prairie Township pioneer Emmett Mix was a successful farmer with land off West Broad Street. He belonged to the Grange and had served on the board of control of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station in Wooster.

These were among the gleanings librarian Scott Caputo found in the collection the Columbus Public Library acquired from the late author/historian Myron T. Seifert and shared at the First Saturday at Green Lawn program held June 7.

Caputo and four other local residents, many of them re-enactors of historical presentations at the Kelton House, entertained the audience for about an hour with information found mostly in letters of Ellen Little Mix, Emmett’s wife.

Included in the collection was a newspaper clipping of an article Seifert had written where he had interviewed Emmett’s daughter, Lora Cromwell.

Caputo noted that she was a Westside resident, adding, “She lived on Eldon Avenue.”

However, much of the presentation was drawn from letters written to and by Mix’s wife Ellen, who came to Ohio in 1862 from Bradford, Pa.

Letters had been scanned and were shown on a screen in a power-point presentation that accompanied the reading of the letters by Teresa Cartensen, Thomas Reitz, Chuck Miller and Geoff Dean.

The Mix family was originally from New England settled in Wayne County. Noble and Eunice Mix had three children – Newell, Emmett and Delia.

“In 1854, they resettled to Prairie Township,” Caputo said, “perhaps looking for better farmland.”

Both Newell and Emmett served in the Union Army, with Emmett being elevated to the rank of captain.

Meanwhile, Ellen Little (who was often called Nellie) and her younger sister went to the Granville Female College where their other sister Susan had recently graduated. One of Ellen’s classmates was Delia Mix, a sister of Emmett Mix.

Newell Mix married Emeline Demorest in 1860. One of their children was Edgar W. Mix, who became interested in aviation. Among the family possessions that Caputo found were letters and post cards that Edgar Mix sent, including some from the World Expo in Chicago in 1893. That led Caputo to do further research and found newspaper articles to back up letters where Edgar Mix flew over Columbus in a balloon and perhaps flew over the family farm.

Emmett and Ellen married after the War Between the States, while Ellen was teaching in the Roscoe area of Coshocton. They built a brick house near where the Home Depot is today alongside I-270 on the Westside of Columbus.

“The walls were 14 inches thick,” Caputo said as he showed photos of the home.

“Emmett Mix became a successful farmer, joined the Camp Chase Grange No. 528, and served on the board of control of the Ohio Agricultural Experimental Station in Wooster,” he said.

Newell and Emeline’s infant daughter, Clara, died in 1863 and was buried at Green Lawn Cemetery.

“She was the youngest of the family to pass on,” Caputo said. “By the end of the year, the oldest, Noble Mix, had passed on.”

He, too, was buried at Green Lawn.

Emmett and Ellen had four children – Lora, Fannie, Edith and Leavitt.

Emmett died in 1887 and “Ellen died nearly 49 years to the day she left Bradford,” Caputo said. Both are buried at Green Lawn.

Catching up on family history, Caputo said Delia Mix married James Dilley who owned a big house across the street from the Granville Female College.

“That house today is better known as the Buxton Inn,” he said.

He had some difficulty trying to locate descendants of Emmett Mix until he happened upon an avenue rarely taken in genealogy searches. He began looking for women in the family.

Usually it is hard to trace genealogy through the women because they marry and move out of the family home and it is hard to trace them, he acknowledged. But this one led to success.

Leavitt Little had a daughter Lida, who along with her daughter, is also buried in Green Lawn.

Caputo was able to locate Lida’s grandson, Stephen McCann, in Chicago. He and his wife Patricia were in the audience for the presentation. At the end of the presentation, Caputo gave McCann a package of copies of letters and other memorabilia of the Mix family.

“I’ve also come out and taken care of the Mix family graves,” Caputo told the McCann family.

Some of the names in the Mix family history may sound familiar – they have streets named for them on the Westside – specifically Mix Avenue, Emeline and Demorest.

First Saturday at Green Lawn, a program that is free and open to the public, is offered the first Saturday of every month at the Huntington Chapel at Green Lawn. The July 5 program will feature Mark Passerrello, staff historian of the Statehouse Education and Visitors Center dressing as Nathan Kelley, an architect who designed the Ohio Statehouse.

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