Granddaughters of Madeira’s first mayor reminisce

By Regina Villiers.  Originally published January 17, 1996 in The Suburban Life, added January 9, 2018.

Best friends Sarah Dones Druce (left) and Clara Fowler Hosbrook (right). Sarah was the wife of Samuel Druce. Madeira’s first mayor. Her best friend, Clara, was the mother of Miss Nelle Hosbrook, probably Madeira’s best-known citizen of the past.

When Mary Lee Druce, the daughter of Madeira’s first mayor Samuel Kitchell Druce, and his wife Sarah Dones Druce, grew up, she married Kenneth Bain.

Mary Lee and Kenneth lived across the street from the home of her parents, at 7744 Euclid Ave.  The Bain home is the house that today sits next to the medical building owned by Dr. Les LeFevre.

Kenneth and Mary Lee Bain had three daughters.  Ester died in childhood.

Naomi Bain Henn, the oldest, now lives near Loveland.  In her home are many beautiful items made by her grandfather, Samuel Druce, who, in addition to being Madeira’s first mayor, was an artist and woodcarver.  These items include a secretary desk.  The desk is beautifully hand-carved and has the words, “Knowledge is Power,” carved on the front.

Drucilla Bain, the youngest daughter, still lives in the Bain house on Euclid Avenue.  She taught school for 38 years, 27 years in the Indian Hill district.  She’s now retired.

Naomi and Drucilla have happy memories of their childhood in Madeira in the early years of this century; around the time their grandfather was the first mayor.  They remember the way it was – houses, stores, families and the name of people still recognized today, like their mother’s best girlhood friend, Clara Fowler Hosbrook.

Drucilla tells a story their mother told them about a dog about town.  He was a little mongrel dog, part fox terrier, but, obviously, a dog with a brain.

He wandered about town, begging for pennies from everyone he met.  Someone had taught him to carry a penny in his mouth up to Muchmore’s Store, located near where Kellogg’s Cleaners is today.  “Town dog” would walk in the sore and plop down the penny to Mr. Muchmore, who would take the penny and give the dog a piece of candy in exchange.

The dog would leave with his candy in his mouth.  After he ate the candy, he would beg a penny from someone else and head for Muchmore’s Store to repeat the process and buy more candy.  Drucilla knows nothing of the condition of the dog’s teeth.

The dog, Drucilla says, was allowed free run of the store, to the resentment of kids, who were not.  The store’s floors were polished and gleaming.  Kids had to pass inspection before coming in, and no skates were allowed, even rubber-tired ones.

“But the dog came in and went as he pleased,”  Drucilla said, “like a privileged character.”

Naomi fondly remembers and talks about the lawn festivals of those days.

“They were really festive,” she said, “and so beautiful.  The yards would be decorated with Japanese lanterns hung everywhere.  Women would donate homemade cakes, and you could buy a slice of cake and ice cream.”

The lawn festivals were used for various community fund-raising efforts.  It was a day of games, good food, and camaraderie for people in the community.

Naomi and Drucilla remember that fireworks were popular at various holidays.  Their father would take them to Brinkroger’s Store to buy fireworks.

They remember Bauer’s Department Store, located on the corner now occupied by the Shell station.  The store had a small frontage on Miami Avenue and a big display window.  The girls looked forward to seasonal changes and the decorations in Bauer’s window.  Naomi recalls first seeing a potato used as a stopper on the spout of kerosene can in Bauer’s Store.

Both Naomi and Drucilla recall that Mr. Bauer always passed out five-cent Hershey bars to kids on “Beggar’s Night” at Halloween.

Naomi says she was born in 1905 in the house on Euclid Avenue.  She remembers stating to school in the firs-grade in 1912, in the same school her mother had attended.

The school was located on the corner of Miami and Camargo on the west side of Miami.  She describes the school as a two-story, three-room building, with a curving wooden stairway to the second floor.  The school was heated with three wood-burning stoves.  The students got drinking water from an outside well with a pump that had a tin can tied to it to drink from.

Some years ago, Naomi Henn sat down and wrote out an important document for people interested in Madeira history.  It’s a street-by street, house-by-house account of Madeira as she remembers it around 1913.  It includes what she knows about the houses and the names and stories of the people who lived there at the time.

The next column will cover her written account of early Madeira.

A secretary desk, hand-made and hand carved by Samuel Kitchell Druce, Madeira’s first mayor. The desk, bearing the inscription “Knowledge is Power” is now owned by his granddaughter, Naomi Bain Henn.



See: (January 24, 1996 So different, so familiar)