Communities and locations in the Town of Caledonia
Baker – A hamlet in the northeast part of the town.
Warren G. Harding was a resident of Caledonia during his childhood, and worked for a brief period of time at the community newspaper, The Argus.
Upon graduating, Harding had stints as a teacher and insurance man, and made a brief attempt at studying law. He then raised $300 in partnership with others to purchase the failing Marion Daily Star, the weakest of the growing city’s three newspapers. By 1886, he completely owned the Star.
….When Harding moved to unseat the Marion Independent as the official daily paper, he met with strong resistance from local figures, such as Amos Hall Kling, one of Marion’s wealthiest real estate speculators. The editorial battle with the Independent became so heated that, at the inevitable mention of Harding’s questionable bloodline, father and son brought a shotgun and demanded a retraction at gunpoint. They were successful.
While Harding won the war of words and made the Marion Daily Star one of the most popular newspapers in the county, the battle took a toll on his health. In 1889, at age 24, he suffered from exhaustion and nervous fatigue. He spent several weeks at the Battle Creek Sanitarium to regain his strength and ultimately made 5 visits over 14 years. Harding later returned to Marion to continue operating the paper.
…. In the last year of his Presidency, anticipating no resumption of his journalism career following his years in the White House, Harding sold the Star to Louis H. Brush and Roy D. Moore for $550,000.
The Andersons headed north to Caledonia by way of a brief stay in a village of a few hundred called Independence (now Butler). Four or five years were spent in Caledonia, years which formed Anderson’s earliest memories. This period later inspired his semi-autobiographical novel Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926). In Caledonia Anderson’s father began drinking excessively, which led to financial difficulties, eventually causing the family to leave the town.
7. Townsend (1987), 3
8. Rideout (2006), 18
9. Rideout (2006), 20. For connection between Tar and Caledonia, also see Anderson (1942), 14-16
The success of Dark Laughter put some extra money in Anderson’s pocket, and he used it in 1926 to purchase Ripshin, a small farm outside Marion in southwestern Virginia. Soon after, he also bought two newspapers, the Smyth County News and the Marion Democrat. As a newspaperman, Anderson immersed himself in local politics and even sometimes adopted an alter ego and pseudonym, Buck Fever, to report on colorful characters and events in town. (He collected some of his Buck Fever columns in 1929’s Hello Towns!) Anderson gave ownership of the newspapers to his son Robert in 1929….
Anderson moved from Caledonia to Clyde in 1884.
Taft and Harding are the last 2 (of 8) presidents born in Ohio. 2 of these 8 were assassinated (4, Garfield, and 6, McKinley). Both Taft and Harding only served 1 term. Taft was considered a “standard” president, while Harding is considered one of the worst, and could have been the first to be impeached had he not died in office. William Henry Harrison, the first Ohioan president, also died in office, the first president to do so.