Akron native shares true story
of ancestor who was a madam
Akron native Debra Lape says that she intended to devote equal effort to all of her ancestors when researching her family tree, but one member needed more attention. That was her great-great-grandmother Lizzie, whose colorful history included a Marion brothel, an Akron mayor and a future president. Lape recounts her research in Looking for Lizzie: The True Story of an Ohio Madam, Her Sporting Life and Hidden Legacy.
Born in Kentucky in 1853 to the son of a Revolutionary War veteran, Lizzie Rogers lived for a time in Chicago before returning to Ohio. She acquired eight husbands along the way, two of whom were father and son, and ran a “house of ill fame” in Marion, which was well known to young Warren G. Harding, then editor of the Marion Star.
By 1890, she was operating in Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, with the Beacon Journal taking great interest in her activities. Cliff House, a 10-acre resort hotel on the Cuyahoga River in Stow, was notorious in its own time as “one of the leading resorts for pleasure seekers.”
Of necessity, there is guesswork and speculation about some of Lizzie’s activities between husbands, arrests and census enumerations, but Lape’s intensive research provides abundant facts to support her conjectures.
Looking for Lizzie (273 pages, softcover) costs $17.99 from online retailers. Debra Lape is a controller at an engineering consulting firm in Cleveland, and lives in Westlake.
Author looks at small dairy farms
With an author who did his doctoral dissertation on horse manure, a reader might be concerned that his book is full of it. But Why Cows Need Names: And More Secrets of Amish Farms by former Geauga County agricultural agent Randy James is full of insight about the operation of small family dairy farms.
James uses as his case history the young Gingerich family, a name he has assigned them for their privacy. In 2005, Eli Gingerich contacted James and asked his advice about the feasibility of taking up dairy farming instead of working in the contracting business. Together, the men talked about the price of heifers, feed and equipment, and Eli reviewed the family’s finances. James drew up a budget, which determined that the family should expect a $16,000 surplus in the first year.
But the recession is ahead, and with it a precipitous drop in the price of milk. Concerned, James visits the other farms in Geauga County, looking for the best and most economical ways of farming that also would be acceptable to the variable Ordnungs of the Amish sects — Eli explains that his church elders would not allow him to add an underground tank system, but building it above ground meets with approval.
James takes a car full of farmers on a field trip of Holmes County farms to learn of their methods of dealing with manure, which isn’t as much fun as it sounds. James is emphatic about his disapproval of the bans on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Why Cows Need Names (248 pages, hardcover) costs $28.95 from Black Squirrel Books, an imprint of Kent State University Press. Randy James, now retired, lives in South Carolina. His previous book was Why Cows Learn Dutch: And Other Secrets of Amish Farms.
Ohio Theatre (PlayhouseSquare, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — Cookbook author Michael Ruhlman (Ruhlman’s Twenty) continues the 2013-2014 Town Hall Speaker Series, 6 p.m. Monday, speaking on “America: Too Stupid to Cook.” $45. Call 216-241-1919.
Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.) — Canton native Dirk Hayhurst, a former pitcher for the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays, is interviewed by News Channel 5 sports director Andy Baskin and signs his book Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life, 7 p.m. Monday.
Talbots (Legacy Village, Lyndhurst) — Best-selling author Kelly Corrigan (The Middle Place) signs her new book Glitter and Glue, 7 p.m. Monday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 14600 State Road) — Scott Longert, author of The Best They Could Be: How the Cleveland Indians Became the Kings of Baseball 1916-1920, appears from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Berea branch, 7 Berea Commons) — Andrew R. Thomas, author (with Paul N. Thomarios) of The Final Journey of the Saturn V talks about the restoration of the Saturn V SA-514 rocket, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday.
Twinsburg Public Library (10050 Ravenna Road) — Jane Turzilo, author of Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio, and Chris Rudy, author (with George Davis) of The Last Victim, discuss and sign their work, 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Mayfield branch, 500 SOM Center Road) — North Olmsted author Marty Gitlin talks about and signs The Great American Cereal Book, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Rocky River Public Library (1600 Hampton Road ) — Claire McMillan discusses Gilded Age, her debut novel inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.) — Michael Connor talks about the history of the Ohio Central Railroad System in Tuscarawas County and signs his book Ohio Central in Color Vol. 1: Southern Lines, 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration requested; call 330-343-6123.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Kent author Joseph A. Michael and illustrator Dan Gorman talk about and sign their graphic novel Only Human: The Awakening, 1 p.m. Saturday.
Medina County District Library (210 S. Broadway) — “An Evening with James Renner” at 7 p.m. March 7. Renner, an investigative reporter known for his books about the Amy Mihaljevic case and other local unsolved cases, also will talk about his debut thriller The Man from Primrose Lane, now in development as a motion picture. $20, includes hors d’oeuvres. Register at www.mcdl.info.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.