Today we’re escaping for the weekend to Ohio, USA with my author friend Jennifer A. Davids. Jennifer is giving us a tour of her home state of Ohio and sharing her love of the history of The Buckeye State. Enjoy!
I’m a Buckeye.
For those of you who may be scratching your heads and seriously doubting my sanity let me explain. Here in the States, that declaration is immediately understood one of three ways. You are: a) from Ohio (The Buckeye State), b) a graduate of The Ohio State University (our mascot is a buckeye also known as a horse chestnut) or c) both. As it turns out I am a full on ‘c’. Both sides of my family have lived in Ohio for several generations. My father can trace his side back to the early 1800’s not long after Ohio was granted statehood. So when I sat down to write my three Heartsong Presents books, it only made sense to set them in the place I know and love. Let me take you on a tour of a few of the wonderful places in my home state.
All three of my books revolve around members of the fictional Kirby family. When I needed some inspiration for their farm, I headed out to Slate Run Living Historical Farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio about 45 minutes away from where I live just outside the state capital of Columbus. It is an amazing place to visit. As the name suggests, it is a real working farm, run just as it would have in the 1880’s, complete with volunteers in historically accurate dress. You can pull weeds in the garden, feed and visit the farm animals and wander through the farmhouse to see how they lived. And the afor mentioned volunteers are fountains of information. I am indebted to all of them for patiently answering my numerous questions about 1800’s farm life. Isn’t the farmhouse lovely? You can find more info about Slate Run here: http://www.metroparks.net/ParksSlateRunFarm.aspx
My first two books, Yankee Heart and Wounded Heart, are set in Delaware County Ohio in the 1860’s. So what was life like in a small rural village in the 1860’s? To find out I headed to the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio Village, a reproduction of what an Ohio village would have looked like in the 1860’s. Pictured here is the schoolhouse. It also has a town square, a doctor’s office, a church, a mercantile and several other establishments of that time period. The Historical Society runs a program at the schoolhouse where local schoolchildren attend school as it was in the 1860’s. They also hold special Halloween and Christmas events in the Village as well. http://www.ohiohistory.org/museums-and-historic-sites/museum–historic-sites-by-name/ohio-village
After his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln’s body traveled from Washington, DC to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. The route the funeral train took stopped in several cities including Columbus, Ohio where, on April 29th, 1865, he laid in state in the Ohio Statehouse. In Yankee Heart, my hero and heroine travel from the Kirby farm outside Delaware, Ohio to Columbus to pay their final respects. Every year on or around the twenty-ninth of April, a mock up of the casket is placed in the rotunda of the statehouse and Civil War re-enactors take turns guarding it, which is when this picture was taken. So no, sadly I do not possess a time machine but I had you fooled didn’t I? 😉 I also attended a lecture in the statehouse museum downstairs given by another re-enactor who walked us through the details of that sad day. More information about the Ohio Statehouse can be found here: http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/
I couldn’t write a book set in Ohio without writing about my alma mater, The Ohio State University. Founded in 1871, it was originally called the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College but after it was decided that the college should offer more than just agricultural studies the name was changed to The Ohio State University. The ‘the’ was added to set the university apart from the other Ohio colleges and universities of the day. Pictured here is University Hall which was one of the first buildings on campus. It was the original site of the campus library and also contained classrooms, professor’s offices and a lecture room where a mandatory chapel used to be held every day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wandered around this building’s halls as a student. It also has a fascinating museum and you can learn more about The Ohio State University here: http://www.osu.edu/
Well I hope I’ve piqued your interest in my home state. Ohio is a great place to live and I hope you can come visit us sometime. And if I’ve also gotten you interested in Ohio history there’s more in the pages of Buckeye Dreams, the compilation of my three Heartsong books into one volume. It releases on October 1st and is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.
JENNIFER A. DAVIDS has been writing down stories since she got an A++ on her ninth grade creative writing assignment. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a graduate of The Ohio State University, she makes room to write in between being a busy wife and mom and despite the fact her cat likes to lay in front of her keyboard.
Connect with Jennifer online:
Visit Ohio in the latter half of the 1800s, when rebuilding the country also involves rebuilding lives stripped of hope. Katherine has lost her home, Adele has lost her husband, and Anne has lost her dreams. Can each have their joy restored in romances with men who are also deeply wounded by their own pasts? Find out in this inspiring three-book collection by author Jennifer A. Davids.
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/oxhntd8