Who was Dr. Harry E. Dunlap?

Mary Ann Wise may have thought she had met the man of her dreams on a train coming from Toledo, Ohio in 1919.  A distinguished doctor by the name of Harry E. Dunlap had been fascinated by the 25-year-old Mary who, according to her, had never had the chance to have young men call on her as other girls her age had.  Mary wanted to find out more about the 35-year-old doctor (though his age was probably closer to 40) and, when asked, Dunlap said he was an Osteopath and a Christian.  The doctor asked her what more she could want and assured her he could support her.  The young couple got off the train and went to Mary’s sister, Edna Irene DeHart’s, home.  The next day, Mary accompanied Dunlap to the interurban station where he was intending to go back to his home in Bucyrus.  Before reaching the station, Dunlap proposed marriage and Mary accepted. The couple was married on Valentine’s Day, 1919, only 43 hours after they had first met.

The honeymoon phase of the relationship was even shorter than the courtship.  The newlyweds returned to the DeHart home and Mary told her sister the news.  Edna suggested having a belling, a custom where family members would ring bells and bang on pots the night of the wedding.  The custom dates back to the middle ages and was intended to keep evil spirits away from the newlyweds.  This is when the doctor had his first “fit,” as Mary called it, saying they were going to get the police and detective on his tail.  That night Mary stated Dunlap put a revolver and knife under his pillow and “made a proposition to me, so terrible, I can not repeat it.”  She said he then choked her and said he was going to take her to Canada, where she would be kept in a house and forced to live with other men.  Dunlap threatened to kill her and she screamed. Edna came into the room, staying with the couple the remainder of the night.[1]

Later, when they went to Mary’s mother’s home, Mary said Dunlap got down on his knees and begged for forgiveness. She also claimed that he offered to give her $1000 if she would not tell everything she knew of him.  When pressed further, the doctor told Mary and Edna he always prayed with his patients and then had them disrobe.  Mary accused Dunlap of being a “white slave crook,” and said one million dollars would not persuade her to go to Canada with him.  Dunlap left for Bucyrus alone, but continued to write and send Mary packages, usually containing references to Spiritualism, which Mary believed to be the work of the devil.

Who was Dr. Dunlap?

Harry Emory Dunlap was born on April 2, 1878, in Butler County, Pennsylvania to John Dunlap and Susan Marvin, one of at least 10 children.  Before coming to Ohio, Dunlap was married in Butler County to Lillie Christy on April 17, 1905.  Like Mary Wise, it was said the couple fell in love at once and quietly got married.  Also, like Mary, the marriage was short-lived.  While returning home on June 1, 1905, Dr. Dunlap, referred to as a “faith curist” by the Pittsburgh Press, found his wife leaving their home with her father William Christy.  Lillie claimed that Dunlap was jealous and threatened to chastise her if she looked at other men.  She also could no longer stand the scanty living conditions.[2]  Dunlap appears to have left the area a short time later.  In 1910, Lillie filed for divorce from Harry Dunlap.[3]

The next we hear of Harry Dunlap is his second marriage to Mary Amelia Bellamy, a Canadian native, in Huron County, Ohio on February 7, 1917.[4]  The marriage would last 14-months and was by all appearances a happy one.  Mary, or Millie, would die on April 12, 1918 of tuberculosis.  In Millie’s obituary, in the Bucyrus Evening Telegraph, Harry Dunlap is referred to as a clairvoyant medium.[5]  The death of his second wife was quite a blow to the doctor.  During his divorce proceeding from Mary Wise, he mentioned that Millie Bellamy was the “purest and sweetest woman that ever lived.”

Further events in 1919 would explain the doctor’s aversion to police and detectives.  On January 29, 1919, Mrs. Rose Scranton was murdered in Marion, Ohio.  On June 3, 1919, Dunlap, along with James Steel, were arrested for the murder.  Was this the reason the doctor was worried about police showing up to the house after his marriage to Mary Wise, fourteen days after the murder?  Could this also be the information that he offer a $1000 to Mary not to divulge? The answer my never be known. Mary never connected the doctor to the murder and Dunlap and Steel were exonerated as the judge declared “not one scintilla of evidence” connected them to the crime.  Though another clue to the life of Harry Dunlap was discovered during the trial.  While searching his room, a trunk was found containing letters from women from all over the state.  Also included in the trunk was a large collection of photographs of women and girls.[6]  Dunlap dismissed the letters and photos, saying they were all from female relatives.[7]

Mary Wise was granted a divorce for Dunlap in August of 1919 and refused the alimony she would have been awarded, saying the money was tainted.  Little is heard from Harry Dunlap after that.  In 1942 he shows up in Fostoria, Ohio on a World War II draft registration card.  At that time, he lists his occupation as Osteopath.  He again disappears until his death in Cleveland, Ohio on January 28, 1966.  Harry Dunlap is buried in an unmarked grave at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery in Bedford Heights, Ohio.


Sources:

  1. The Mansfield News (Mansfield, OH). 31 July 1919, p. 4.
  2. The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA). 02 June 1905, p. 10.
  3. The Butler Citizen (Butler, PA). 26 January 1910, p. 7.
  4. Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.                                                             
  5. The Bucyrus Evening Telegraph (Bucyrus, OH). 12 April 1918, p. 5.
  6. The Marion Star (Marion, OH). 09 June 1919, p. 3.
  7. The Marion Star (Marion, OH). 11 June 1919, p. 7.

Bromfield’s War Letters

Most people know Louis Bromfield from his books or agrarian work at Malabar Farm.  But before he achieved notoriety in these fields, Bromfiled was a local boy from Mansfield, Ohio, who graduated from Mansfield High School in 1914 and soon after enrolled in Cornell University.  Louis Bromfield was born, Lewis Brumfield, on December 27, 1896, to Charles Brumfield and Annette Coulter.  His father, Charles, would often change jobs and invest in ventures that rarely paid off, leaving the family often struggling to make ends meet.  His mother Annette, or Nettie, lived through her children, pushing young Louis to become a writer and his Marie to become an accomplished pianist.  Louis would enroll in Cornell to study Scientific Agriculture in the hopes of returning home to save the family farm, where he spent much of his youth with his grandfather Robert Coulter.  Louis had to return home when his father was forced to sell the family home in Mansfield and move to the family farm.  This too proved a failure, and Charles was forced to sell the family farm and returned to Mansfield.  Louis would re-enroll in college at Columbia University, this time studying journalism.[1]

While at Columbia Louis would apply to be in the balloon observation corps to assist the British during World War I.  He would drop out after a month and join the Columbia Ambulance Service aiding the French Army.  Two months after war was declared by the United States Bromfiled enlisted in the United States Army.  In Thomas Bachelder’s new book Soldier Boy: Louis Bromfield, Letters Home from World War I, 1917-1919, he showcases letters Bromfield wrote to family and friends over a hundred years ago.  These letters show the war, that was supposed to end all wars, through the eyes of a young twenty-one year old man. The letters detail Bromfield’s camp life before leaving for the front, his time in France driving driving an ambulance, and his activities after the war ended.

Bromfield in WWI uniform

Join Thomas Bachelder virtually as he discuss excerpts from letters Bromfield wrote home to family and friends during his time in the First World War on August 19 at 6pm. Registration is free and can be found on the MRCPL website here.


  1. Bachelder, Thomas.  Soldier Boy: Louis Bromfield, Letter Home From World War I, 1917-1919. 2021.
  2. “Ambulances on their way to Villers,” The University of Michigan and the Great War, accessed August 14, 2021, http://michiganintheworld.history.lsa.umich.edu/greatwar/items/show/487.

Strange Lights in the Night Sky

The Coyne helicopter-UFO incident has been called one of the most credible by many believers.  Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Coyne, 1st Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, Sgt. John Healey, and Sgt. Robert Yanacsek were flying back to Cleveland from Columbus in an Army Reserve helicopter on the night of October 18, 1973.  Around 11:00 at night, Healey noticed a red light to the west heading south. A few minutes later, Yanacsek noticed a red light to the east, keeping pace with the helicopter.  Coyne instructed them to “keep an eye on it.”  The light began to approach the helicopter. A collision seemed imminent to the 36-year-old Coyne, who had 19 years of flying experience.  Coyne grabbed the controls from Jezzi and began a powered descent.  The light decelerated and hovered above/in front of the helicopter.  What the men saw, they would never forget.  “A cigar-shaped gray metallic object filled the entire front windshield.  A red light was at the nose, a white light at the tail, and a distinctive green beam emanated from the lower part of the object.”  The green light moved over the helicopter and bathed “the cockpit in green light.”  A few seconds later the light accelerated moving to the west.[1]  This wasn’t the first time lights in the sky puzzled Mansfield residents.  The News-Journal has reported sighting dating back to the 1940s.

1940s

The term “flying saucer” was first coined after a rash of UFO sightings in Northeast Oregon in June of 1947.  A few weeks later, on July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release saying they had recovered a “flying disc” on a nearby ranch.  Soon the entire nation was hooked. UFO fever swept the nation and sightings rose exponentially.  Mansfield wasn’t immune to this fever. The following year on March 4, 1948, Mrs. Olive Owen of 503 Cline Ave. reported seeing a strange light to the west just before dark.  Mrs. Owen “reported a strange streak of light, traveling back and forth across the heavens.  Mrs. Owen and her neighbors armed themselves with telescopes better to observe the as yet unexplained light which kept getting brighter as it came closer and closer to earth,” until it “disappeared below the horizon.”[2]

1950s

On June 7, 1952, Val Isham, an amateur astronomer, reported seeing a strange round object in the sky around 2:40 a. m.  He watched the object move north to south in the sky to the east, claiming it stopped for a few minutes in the sky before continuing on its way.[3]  On September 12, 1952, there was a flurry of sightings across multiple states.  Mrs. Carl Breyman of Possum Run Rd., with her husband and a friend, Kenneth Parker, saw an object traveling a “terrific speed” at around 8:05 p. m.; it was the brightest thing they had ever seen.[4]

The next year, a Shiloh family witnessed flying saucers dog fighting on the night of July 12, 1953.  Wilgus A. Patton was driving on Route 178, about five miles south of Plymouth, when he saw what he described as “two things that looked like tadpoles at first glance.  They were tremendously large and appeared to be flying at about 1,000 feet and about three miles away from us.”  He continued saying “they were diving at each other at terrific speeds and acting like they were dog fighting.”  After about 70 seconds, they disappeared to the north.[5]  Less than two weeks later, on July 24, lights were again seen in the sky.  At 11:40 p. m., Mrs. H. H. Clingan reported seeing two bright lights that merged into one and disappeared over the horizon. Other residents reported seeing the lights as well.[6]

On September 3, 1956, John Adamescu reported seeing a saucer-like object in the sky around 5:29 p. m. while he was seeding his lawn.  He estimated the object to be flying at about 15,000 to 20,000 feet, based on its relationship to the clouds.  Adamexcu, a weather observer and forward air observer with the Army during World War II, said “the object was foreign to any plane or other weather instrument he has ever encountered, including jet aircraft.”[7]

1960s

On October 23, 1960, Charles Price and friends and family reported seeing a strange object while driving from Butler to Bellville on State Route 97.  Price claimed the object hovered, spinning about 1,000 feet in the air.  The object had light and dark areas which gave it a pulsating appearance.  They witnessed the object for about five minutes before it sped away.[8]  In 1966 Virgil A. Stanfield wrote in the News Journal about the UFO craze.  Stanfield wrote: “one day a teacher from a high school in the Mansfield area came to the News Journal office to accuse the editors of holding our the ‘real facts on flying saucers.’  He said the Air Force and newspaper editors had known all along that there were saucers and the newspapers had been sworn to secrecy for security reasons.”  However, this may have been a clever advertisement for a series of articles on flying saucers which were to appear in the News Journal the following Sunday.[9]

Many of these experiences can be explained as meteors, weather balloons, or known aircraft, but questions remain, leaving many to as the question: “Are we alone?”

For more on the Coyne helicopter incident check out Tim McKee’s article UFOs Over Richland County: 1973.


Sources:

  1. Zeidman, Jennie. A Helicopter-UFO Encounter Over Ohio. (1979).
  2. Strange Light, Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 05 March 1948, p. 13.
  3. Mansfield Astronomer Sees One!. Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 07 June 1952, p. 1.
  4. Flurry of Sky Objects Bring Jitters. Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 13 September 1952, p. 1.
  5. See Flying Saucers ‘Dogfighting’ Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 13 July 1953, p. 1.
  6. ‘Saucers’ Seen Again. Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 25 July 1953, p. 5.
  7. Mansfielder Says He Saw Flying Saucer. Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 04 September 1956, p, 2.
  8. Sky Show. Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 25 October 1960, p. 13.
  9. Stanfield, Virgil. The View From Here.  Mansfield News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio). 19 October 1966.

The Mansfield State Armory

On March 13, 1921, Battery D, First Field Artillery of the Ohio National Guard was organized in Mansfield, Ohio. A few months later on July 1, 1921, the company was reorganized and redesignated as Battery D, 134th Field Artillery, an element of the 37th Division.[1] The company would eventually become a detachment of the 1486th Transportation Company located at Ashland, Ohio and, in 2010, the two would consolidate and move to a new facility near Mansfield Lahm Airport. When first organized, Battery D rented the fairgrounds to train. Five men would be at the fairgrounds day and night, along with 35 horses.[2] Their headquarters and armory would be located in the Blecker Block at the corner of North Main and Fourth Streets. Discussions began almost immediately about building a proper Armory in Mansfield for the company. Four years later, in April 1924, the headquarters were moved to the Citizens Building at 46 North Main Street.[3] It would be another four years until a proper Armory was constructed in Mansfield.

In 1925 state representative Minor K. Johnson submitted a bill for the construction of an armory in Mansfield. The bill passed the house and senate and $60,000 was appropriated, providing the city of Mansfield furnish a site for the new armory. It took over a year for a site to be secured and, in May of 1926, a site on Ashland Rd, at the end of East Fourth St., was selected. The site cost $12,000. Freed W. Elliott was selected as architect for the new building. Elliott was a well known architect out of Columbus. Early in his career he had designed a number of theaters. Most notably the Murray Theater in Richmond, Indiana. He would later design many other Ohio armories, including ones located in St. Mary’s, Hamilton, and Akron.

The new armory was dedicated on December 15, 1928. Several hundred citizens came to watch the proceedings. After the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and a 21 gun salute, the crowd filed inside to where the dedicatory address was given. Adjutant General Frank B. Henderson spoke saying he was proud to turn the armory over to Mansfield and that it was one step closer to his goal to have every National Guard unit in its own home. Before handing the armory over to Mayor Ports, Henderson urged the citizens of Mansfield to make the armory a large part of the community.[4] In addition to housing Battery D, the armory would be the location of numerous sporting events, including boxing and wrestling expeditions, and polo, of which Battery D started the first team in the city.


Sources:

  1. https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/trans/1486trco.htm
  2. The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 06 March 1921, p. 16.
  3. The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 04 April 1924, p. 16.
  4. The Mansfield News (Mansfield, Ohio). 17 December 1928, p. 3.