Forest Hill is home to interesting ‘characters’

Jim Roth

January 9, 2014

Recently I was asked if I would be interested in writing an article on topics relating to Forest Hill Cemetery. My reply was who me?

I thought about what might be interesting and the first thing was not to write about the cemetery’s history, I’ve spoken on that topic long enough. So why not write on some of the interesting individuals that have been laid to rest here, I bet most people didn’t know these individuals were here or what they did. I’ll just take them in a random order.

If you are interested in any of the individuals that are mentioned here I’m sure that you will able to find more information at the local library.

John W. Daniels, his wife and a few of the family members are in their own private mausoleum located in the upper part of the cemetery. Mr. Daniels worked with French Oil Machine, which built a press for him to extract linseed oil. At the time the Daniels Linseed company was located in Minneapolis, Minn. and soon after was joined by George A. Archer and in 1903 the company became the Archer Daniels Linseed Company. In 1923, the company purchased the Midland Linseed Products Company and changed its name to the Archer Daniels Midland Company which it is known for today. John Daniels died in 1931, at which time the private mausoleum was built. He was the first president of the company and has had several family members serve as president as well.

John F. Snow, he was buried in 1956 in an unmarked grave. Snow had a long history in the world of publishing, born in Piqua, he was an American radio writer and writer of ghost stories.

In 1919, L. Frank Baum died (writer of the Wizard of Oz) and at the age of 12. Snow offered to be the next Royal Historian of Oz, but was politely turned down by a staffer at Baum’s publisher, Reilly & Lee. Snow eventually wrote two Oz books: The Magical Mimics in Oz (1946) and The Shaggy Man of Oz (1949), as well as Who’s Who in Oz (1954), a thorough guide to the Oz characters, all of which Reilly & Lee published.

In his second year in high school, the precocious Snow created the first radio review column in American journalism, in the Cincinnati Enquirer. After graduation, Snow pursued a career in print journalism and primarily in radio he named Dayton’s radio station WING, and spent seven years with the National Broadcasting Company in New York.

Luther McCarty, a heavyweight boxer from Sidney was known as the “Great White Hope.” Luther grew up in Sidney. His father was known as “Dr.” White Eagle, a snake oil salesman and his mother was known as “Hazel Kirkman, the world’s champion woman bag puncher.”

Luther stood 6’5” coming in at 215 pounds while his father was 6’5” and 315 pounds. His mother stood 6’ and weighed 200 pounds. His rise to fame was fast as he made his way to the top of the boxing world in several short years traveling across the county as well as Canada to compete. At the time of Luther’s boxing career he was married to a young lady named Rhoda and they had a daughter, Cornelia. He left them both behind and they later moved to Fargo, N.D.

Luther’s final title defense was in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on May 24, 1913, against Arthur Pelky. In the first round of the fight, Pelky delivered a sharp left to the jaw, snapping Luther’s neck back. A straight right to the chest dropped the champ. McCarty was dead soon after he hit the canvas. Pelky and his manger were arrested and charged manslaughter but later it was determined that Luther had died from complications after he fell off a horse several days before the fight. While professional boxing was not permitted in Alberta, Canada it was announced that the enforcement of such events would be rigidly enforced.

During his boxing career Luther’s agents had set aside $65,000 for him. So by 1913, he had $65,000 — in 2013 dollars he would have more than $1.5 million.

In the end, Luther’s father had him laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery with his estranged wife and daughter returning from Fargo, N.D., and claiming the rights to the $65,000 left behind.

In future articles, I will continue to write about individuals that I find interesting and have interesting backgrounds. And I may even write about the ghost hunters that showed up on two different late night adventures. Or the times that I am out working in the cemetery and have seen people walking only to look up a minute later and they would be gone, kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Jim Roth is the Superintendent for the Forest Hill Cemetery