Reenactors storm battlefield in Zoar Ohio

By Denise Sautters
ZOAR —Johnny came marching home Saturday afternoon, following the Battle of Bull Run.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Confederate and Union “soldiers” from as far away as Canada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and New York gathered to muster in this historic village to commemorate the 1st Manassas (Va.) Battle in 1861, the first major land battle of the Civil War that occurred three months following the battle at Fort Sumter.Uniformed reenactors conducted battlefield demonstrations, camp living, and home-front activities Saturday. Activities continue today through 10 p.m. More events are scheduled Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing through 5 p.m.


Abby Cole of Akron took advantage of the day’s activities to learn about the Civil War as part of her history class.“I’m home-schooled, so this is a history lesson for me,” she said. “It is pretty interesting.”

Her grandmother, Ginny Cole of Akron, is her teacher, and made sure they took advantage of seeing history taking place.

Another student of history attending the activities Saturday was Jacob McCowan of Chillicothe.

“I just really love history,” he said.


Larry O’Donnell portrayed Confederate Gen. Jeremy Gilmer. He was in charge of topography. His brother, Jim O’Donnell, also participated, but did not take on a different persona. He did serve as Gilmer’s assistant during the weekend activities.

Both are from Michigan, but are part of the 4th Texas Co. E Citizens for Independence in Bold Springs, Texas.

“I am a licensed land surveyor,” said Larry O’Donnell, commenting he lived in Virginia when he first got involved in Civil War reenactments five years ago. “I love this. People do this for a lot of reasons. For me, as a land surveyor, this just seemed to be a natural for me.”

Dena James of Canton, a funeral director at Spiker-Foster-Shriver Funeral Home, described herself as a camp follower.

“We help feed the soldiers,” she said. Dressed in Civil War garb, she and her son, Seth, got a fire started to prepare a meal for Confederate soldiers, while her older son, Corey, a corporal, prepared for battle with the 4th Virginia Regiment. “We follow our soldiers wherever they go.”

Using a hatchet to grind coffee beans, Gregory Renault came from Toronto, Canada, to serve in the Confederate Army.

“A lot of Canadians fought in the Civil War,” he said. “Most of them fought for the North, but there was a fair number of them who supported the South during the war.”

Enjoying the fruits of his labor was Freda Baldwin, also from Toronto, a civilian.

“There were a lot of sympathizers in Canada,” she said. “There were 50,000 Canadians who fought in the war. A lot of Canadians also helped with the Underground Railroad.”


Bob Mattocks of Pennsylvania, proudly wore a buck deer tail on the back of his Union hat, a symbol of the 150th Bucktail Infantry marksmanship. The tail had to be from a buck the soldier shot.

“We are supposed to be part of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment, one of the first units in the war,” he said. “We fired the opening volley at the first Bull Run battle.”

In another area of the “northern” camps, John Aaron, Jim Miller and Sue Lener from Meadville, Pa., also were part of the 150th Bucktail Infantry.

“Women who could pass themselves off as men served in the war,” said Lener, dressed as a soldier. For the purpose of Saturday’s event, her name was Samuel. “Some of the women even moved up in rank.”

Participating in his first reenactmentment, Andrew Sheffer of New Bethlehem, Pa. “I am definitely a private in this event,” he said.

“His friend, Dan Landers, of Clarion, Pa., has been a reenactor for eight years and is a sergeant.

“We are part of the 40th Pennsylvania 11th Reserves,” he said as he prepared for the battle.

The North won the war, but the South won the 1st (and second) Battle at Bull Run.


*Photos by Uniontown Lion Bob Kendall

Keep your eyes peeled on myths

* Reading in dim light is bad for you

Although reading in dim light can cause eye fatigue, it doesn’t permanently damage your vision. If you do experience eye fatigue, simply stop doing whatever it was that caused it and it will go away.

* Sitting close to the television can harm your eyes

Unless you own a television from the 60s, your eyes are at no risk from radiation being emitted by a television screen. Children in particular have a shorter focal distance than adults, so they won’t strain their eyes by sitting too close.

* Eat carrots to see better

Although carrots contain Vitamin A, which helps to protect the surface of the eye or cornea, any balanced diet should contain enough of this vitamin to keep your eyes working without you having to eat like a rabbit.

* If you wear glasses, you get dependent on them

Glasses are the solution for blurred vision; they do not cause a deterioration of eyesight. Of course, once you start wearing glasses and get used to seeing clearly, you will find that you want to wear your glasses more often. This isn’t dependency; it is simply enjoying good, clear vision.

* Nothing can be done to prevent vision loss

If you experience any symptoms like blurred vision, eye pain, flashes of light or floating objects in your vision, see a doctor. Many causes of sight loss can be treated if they are detected early enough.

* People with bad eyesight shouldn’t wear out their eyes by doing detailed work

Reading the fine-print or focusing on fine detail doesn’t damage already weak eyes. The eye is not a muscle – it is more like a camera, and will not wear out sooner just because it’s photographing intricate detail.

* Working at a computer damages your eyes

Most of the eye discomfort you feel after working at a computer is as a result of the fact that you blink less and your eyes are dry. If you can’t take a regular break from looking at the screen, use moistening eyedrops – not antihistamine ones. Anti-glare screens for your monitor can also help reduce discomfort, but result in a slightly blurred image, which itself can cause eye strain. Look after your vision

* Wear UV protective sunglasses

Exposure to UV rays can harm your eyes so protecting them from the sun can prevent loss of eyesight. It is important to buy polarised lenses, not simply darker ones. Also, wear wraparound lenses to protect against UV rays from the sides.

* Wear protective eyewear if necessary

If you work with chemicals or airborne particles, wear goggles or other protective eyewear. The worst harm that you can do to your eyes is from external damage – and there’s no way to replace an eye once it’s been harmed.

* Avoid harsh contrasts in light

Try to place your desk so that windows are to the side rather than directly behind or in front of your computer. The light from overhead fluorescent lights is also typically two to five times brighter than it should be, which causes eye fatigue. If at all possible, try to work with natural light or incandescent light bulbs rather than fluorescent lights.

* Visit an optometrist regularly

Even if your vision is fine, it’s a good idea to visit your optometrist regularly. This will help you to prevent any major problems and will track not just your vision but the health of your eyes as well over the years, as some deterioration can be picked up only by tracking the change in the eye function. Remember that problems caught early can often be arrested, so make sure that you budget for eyecare or use the eyecare allocation in your medical aid. – Source: Profmed

History of oil, gas drilling in Lake Township runs deep

By Edd Pritchard
In a farm field on the east side of Maplegrove Avenue NE sits DS Yoder 4, an oil well that has been producing for more than 100 years.

It’s not Stark County’s oldest well. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources gives that honor to the “Frank Hartzell 1” well, which reached its total depth on Aug. 12, 1900. It was plugged and abandoned in August 1929.

Records show that DS Yoder 4 dates to Jan. 1, 1908, as do several other wells with the name “Yoder” in southeast Nimishillen Township. State officials have designated DS Yoder 4 as being the oldest productive well in the county. It pulls from the Berea sandstone formation, although state records don’t report the well’s depth.


Stark is among the 76 Ohio counties where oil or natural gas have been found. Ohio’s oldest commercial oil well dates to 1860 in Washington County, while natural gas wells have been producing since 1884.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association notes that Ohio lays claim to the first discovery of oil, from a drilled well in 1814, when a saltwater well found oil 475 feet underground in Noble County.

With that history, it’s not surprising that oil companies once again are scouring the state in search of oil and natural gas. This time, they hope to tap the Utica and Marcellus shale formations.

The uptick has raised environmental concerns about a process used — hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking — to release oil and gas from the rock formations. But oil producers say fracking has been successful for decades.

Nearly 6,500 wells have been drilled through the years in Stark County and about 3,000 of those wells continue to produce oil and natural gas, said Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. Most of the wells are in the Clinton sandstone formation, which lies about 4,600 feet deep, between the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

About 90 percent of the wells drilled into Clinton sandstone are commercially successful. The wells are known for producing both oil and gas, sometimes in combination, said William G. Williams, a lawyer with Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty who has specialized in the oil and gas business.

The East Canton Oil Field, which stretches from Lake Township in a relatively straight line south toward Uhrichsville, was discovered in 1947 and taps the Clinton sandstone. Although wells in the area remain productive, state officials believe the field can generate more oil and gas through a secondary recovery technique that injects carbon dioxide into the rock formation.

Local companies — Belden & Blake, MB Operating and Lomak — drilled many of the Clinton wells. Through the years, the properties and companies have changed hands. Now, many of the wells are owned by EnerVest, a Houston-based company with a regional office north of Hartville in Portage County.


EnerVest and Chesapeake Energy are two of the companies making the initial push to drill the Utica shale formation in eastern Ohio.

The nature of the rock formations prevented companies from drilling many shale wells in the past. Shale formations are thin bands of rock. While geologists have known the formations contain oil and gas, the narrow bands usually weren’t productive enough for commercial use, said Doug Gonzalez, president of GonzOil, a gas exploration company based in Jackson Township.

“We always knew there was a lot of potential in shale,” said Gonzalez, a geologist who found himself working in the oil industry after graduating from Kent State University in the early 1980s.

During the past 15-20 years, developments in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed access to shale rock formations. That has spurred the renewed interest in drilling Stark County’s oil and natural gas fields.

Drillers can reach a large section of shale rock by bending and drilling sideways. Hydraulic fracturing — a process where a slurry of water, chemicals and sand is injected into a well under high pressure — is used to break the shale and release the oil and gas.


But even horizontal drilling is “old news” in some Stark County oil and gas circles. The 1989 annual report for the former Belden & Blake describes horizontal drilling and notes the potential to penetrate a larger section of a producing zone.

Belden & Blake also is credited with doing some of the first hydraulic fracturing of wells in Ohio.

A September 1954 article in the Hartville News featured photographs of Belden & Blake workers who were hydraulic fracturing a well on farm southeast of Hartville. The article states that hydraulic fracturing was first used in West Texas oil fields in 1948, and credits Belden & Blake for fracking the first Appalachian-area well near East Sparta in July 1952.

The articles describes a different process for hydraulic fracturing. A mixture of oil and sand was being pumped into the well, which was 4,658 feet deep, to crack the Clinton sandstone formation and release more oil and gas.


While hydraulic fracturing has caused concern for some environmentalists, industry officials contend it’s an improvement over earlier methods.

Reda, of the Ohio energy education program, said dynamite and nitroglycerin were used to stimulate wells in early years. Explosives were dropped down the well to break the rock, which led to the phrase “shoot the well,” she said.

Past drilling helped Stark County’s economy through the years, Williams said.

Landowners were paid to lease mineral rights and collected royalties. Entrepreneurs launched businesses drilling wells or serving the drilling companies. The industry created jobs.

It’s happened in cycles with each oil discovery, and it’s beginning again.

Last summer, when companies began asking to lease mineral rights, most offered about $800 per acre and royalties of 8 percent. The lease prices and royalties have been climbing, and more large companies are entering the market, Williams said. Lease rights are nearing $5,000 per acre in some Ohio counties.

Williams estimates that mineral rights of some sort have been leased on 95 percent of the land in Stark County. Much of that is because of the land leased years ago during earlier oil booms. Also there is large section of Jackson Township — drilled during the 1930s — that now serves as a natural gas storage area of Dominion East Ohio Gas.