ANSONIA—After viewing Tonya Keller’s video focusing on the Ansonia Post Office clock last year via MyCountyLink, Mara Cox of Greenville has offered even more information on the subject.
Mara, married to retired podiatrist Dr. David Cox, heard a lot about some of these happenings in Darke County from such people as her mother-in-law, the late Kathryn (Beam) Cox, who was born in 1908. And, the Ansonia clock was one of them.
It was Kathryn, daughter of the late William “Bill” and Nellie (Searl) Beam, who relayed this story to her family.
Kathryn’s parents were both postmasters of Ansonia. Why? He was a Democrat and she was a Republican. So, whatever party was dominant in the U.S. Presidency at the time, decided which one would be postmaster. In an early report, that happened back and forth for 28 years.
The story goes that William Beam was also a deputy under Sheriff Sam McBride.
Beam and another man were walking home after a lodge meeting and heard a noise in the post office. Beam locked the door then went to get the constable and another policeman they unlocked the door with resistance, then locked the door again. After they re-entered the building, Beam took a shot with his weapon and it struck the clock, on which the bullet hole can be seen today. It turned out, however, the intruder was a dog and not a robber.
Beam never lived it down and on every April 1 he was teased.
“Someone would always send him a card with a clock with its hands up on April Fool’s Day,” Mara said. “And, he hated it.”
Yes, Bill, who ran for state senator in 1926 but was not elected, was the one responsible for shooting of the clock. And, as a result, the incident was written by a local boy, Merit Krickbaum, who penned a poem, which appears at the end of this article.
The clock was given to the Ansonia Post Office and has hung there since May 16, 1955, still has the bullet hole in it.
“But that date does not reflect when the shooting occurred,” Mara pointed out.
Mara has a couple of more stories to tell concerning the Beam family.
“Beamsville (located in Darke County) was named after their early relatives, and some are even buried in the cemetery there,” she said.
Another story has it that one time when Nellie Beam was postmistress, she heard a
commotion outside the post office window and was seeing the bank being robbed. It was reported that the Dillinger gang was in town.
“We have a tape recording of Grandma Nellie Beam telling of the time when some of John Dillinger’s men tried to rob the bank at Ansonia,” said Mara.
Here is the poem that was written about the clock-shooting incident and published in the newspaper. It goes like this:
T’was April first; the hour was 1
The peaceful village slumbered on
Upon the empty thoroughfare,
Two hastening home-bound men were there;
The postmaster and a gallant Knight
Who passed the post office on this night.
But they, a noise within, did hear
And both stood frozen stiff with fear;
The postmaster so brave yet pale
Said, “Charles, they’re robbing U.S. Mail!”
He walked up bravely to the door and went within; Lo! before (and behold?)
He took another step; he heard
A sound that turned his blood to curd.
He tiptoed out and locked the door
And to the open went once more;
Says Charles, “I got and get some aid,”
And straightway for a cop he made;
The constables he summoned and
They thought the mayor should be at hand;
Some citizens along the way;
Were rousted out to join the fray.
Then marched the squad up to the door
To end the thief forevermore.
Without the armed guard awaits
To kill or die as willed the fates’
The postmaster shot but four times
Bot list unto this crime of crimes.
He shot the clock whose hands were up,
And now for killing time he’s up.
Then came the constable so brave,
His Uncle Samuel’s mail to save.
The gun went off, he shot himself
And now he dines upon a shelf.
The lights were lit, the thief was found
Without a scratch without a wound.
T’was but a dog so calm and cool
And, it was only April Fool.
That video on the Ansonia Post Office clock was the eighth episode that Keller has done with “Tuesdays With Tonya.” She is the sales manager for MyCountyLink.