St. Clair Columbian Society Cabinet

The St. Clair Columbian Society was organized in the fall of 1892, by Mrs. S.E. Reynolds (pictured), who was appointed manager of the Preble County exhibit by Daniel Ryan, State manager of Ohio for the World’s Fair Columbian Exhibition.

The purpose of the Society was to have the women of Preble County represented by some form of their handiwork at the Great Fair, and the result of their work was the carved cabinet, made from a tree cut on the historical battleground of Fort St. Clair on the 6th of November 1892. The tree was a large buckeye, and was presented to the Society by Mr. James Bruce.

The cabinet was designed, carved, and finished entirely by the members of the Society and was sent to the fair in May, 1893, where it occupied a position in the Ohio building, and received honorable mention among the exhibits by women. At the close of the fair, the cabinet was returned to the Society, and through the management of Mrs. Reynold, was placed in the courtroom of the courthouse.

In later years, Mrs. Reynolds’s daughter, Nellie Reynolds Eastman, housed the cabinet. In 1976, Mrs. Louis R. Mahrt, friend and neighbor of the last Mrs. Eastman in Dayton, Ohio, returned the cabinet to its native Preble County.

Those listed as members of the St. Clair Columbian Society in 1897 were: Mrs. Maria E. Fisher, Mrs. Alice Risinger, Miss Etta Harkrider, Mrs. Martha Welsh, Mrs. Ida Musselman, Mrs. Mary Farr, Mrs. Mary Deem, Mrs. S.E. Reynolds, Sarah Sayler, Allison Fulton, E.J. McNeal, Josephine Foster, Alice Kelly, Retta Aydalotte, Ida Zehring, Dr. R.N. Small, S.A. Rossman, Mrs. Kittie Bonner, Alice Alexander, N.E. Rensman, Jennie Killough, A.L. Harris, N.A. Hiestand, G.H. Edison, Sarah K. Ortt, Jennie Albaugh, Julia A. Foos, Ann F. Stephens, Francis Zelly, Mary Bruce Butler, Emma Tizzard, Lou M. Achery, Bessie Cahrles, Hattie Truax, Laura Hunt, Mrs. Minnie V. Michael, Mrs. Nettie Lovett, Mrs. Emma Conger, Mrs. Mary Woerner, Mrs. Amelia Tizzard, and Mrs. Martha Risinger.

The top carving depicts the State of Ohio Seal with the Ohio shield on each side. The upper panel carving depicts a stockade; second panel, a spray of buckeye leaves with buckeyes, Indian tomahawks, pipes, and arms. On the lower panel is carved “Fort St. Clair” 1772-1892, and on each upright panel, Little Turtle and General St. Clair.