Saturday, September 20, 2003

Madeira celebrates its heritage


Barbershop performer traces lineage to city's start

By Patricia Mahaffey
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Joseph Hetzler and Elizabeth (Guerin) Hetzler, in an undated photograph, sit on a porch in Madeira.
(Furnished photo)
| ZOOM |
MADEIRA - Festival-goers can step into the past today at Sellman Park when Ohio's Bicentennial and Madeira's heritage are celebrated with games, food, crafts, pioneer toy-making, militia re-enactors, and music ranging from bluegrass to dulcimer to Native American drumming.

Russ DeMar's voice will be in the air - a baritone harmonizing in a barbershop quartet roaming the Madeira Festival in the Park singing old favorites. The free festival runs 1-10 p.m. today at Sellman Park.

DeMar's family has been part of this community from its beginnings, back to the late 1790s when Jacob and Elizabeth Hetzler, DeMar's great-great-great grandparents, arrived from Pennsylvania and settled on about 100 acres around the present day site of the Madeira library. Their grave markers can still be seen above the north wall bordering the library parking lot.

Their 10th child, Joseph, who was born five years after Ohio's statehood, married Elizabeth Guerin. Joseph and Elizabeth lived at what is now the corner of Shawnee Run and Miami Roads. Joseph and Elizabeth's fifth child, Synthelia "Cely" Hetzler became DeMar's great-grandmother.

She married William DeMar, the first of James and Jane DeMars' 10 children. James and Jane arrived in 1828 from Maryland, just four years after a new road, now Montgomery Road, was built to make travel to Cincinnati easier.

William and Cely built a home on what is now DeMar Road. They had 17 children, and according to Eleanor Taft in her 1961 book Hither and Yon on Indian Hill, Cely "possessed a particularly unruffled disposition," always allowing the children to bring guests home, setting the table for "between 20 and 25 for every meal."

William and Cely's sixth child, James, was Russell DeMar's grandfather. In 1866, when James was 5, the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad completed a railroad stop on the site of a natural spring here, the water being an important source for replenishing steam engines after the long, uphill haul from Madisonville.

The stop, now used as a restaurant, was named for the railroad's treasurer, John Madeira.

In 1871, the village of Madeira was platted around the intersection of Miami Avenue and Camargo Road. By 1874, with Madeira's population under 200, a railroad publication enticed people to move here, citing, among other things, " a genteel, intelligent society, with no leaning toward what is known as fashionable society."




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