Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame to induct Converse, Chamberlain

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Beulah Converse and Clark Chamberlain
he late Beulah Converse and Clark Chamberlain, both of Fairfield Township, will be enshrined in the Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame for their contributions to agriculture and the greater Columbiana County community. (Submitted photos)

LISBON, Ohio — The late Beulah Converse and Clark Chamberlain, both of Fairfield Township, will be enshrined in the Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame for their contributions to agriculture and the greater Columbiana County community. The ceremonies will be held during the Columbiana County Fair, at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 2, in the Arts & Crafts Building. 

The honorees’ families will also be honored, and framed portraits and biographical sketches of each individual will be unveiled. The biographies of the previous inductees are permanently displayed in the Arts & Crafts Building. 

The hall of fame is a joint effort of the Columbiana County Historical Association, the Columbiana County Agricultural Society and the Columbiana County Farm Bureau. The awards are presented posthumously. 

CLARK Z. CHAMBERLAIN

1900-1980

Although he never had formal schooling past the eighth grade, Clark Chamberlain built a successful farming operation that continues today in Fairfield Township — and his commitment to education helped mold and build a new school district to better serve rural eastern Columbiana County. 

After leaving school, Chamberlain started farming full time with his father, James Clark Chamberlain, until he married and moved to Youngstown to work in the steel mill in 1925 and 1926. When his father died in 1926, Clark returned to assume operation of the 50-acre hay, grain and beef cattle farm. He added potatoes to help weather the Great Depression, and was fortunate to find work at the East Fairfield Coal Co. for 80 cents an hour. 

Taking what he learned about the coal business, Chamberlain and a friend opened their own operations in the tri-state area. They developed that business until 1943, when Chamberlain returned to farming and purchased an adjacent 215-acre farm, which he cleared to put into crop production. 

The land also became the site for the Chamberlain Farms and Meat Processing plant in 1972, built by his son Jay. Also in the mid-1940s, Chamberlain began raising, processing and selling turkeys, with a peak population of 8,000. 

At age 65, he retired and leased the farm to Jay, who later purchased the farm in 1975. Clark continued to work on the farm and to help butcher until cancer forced him to give up his lifelong passion. 

For many years, Chamberlain served on the Fairfield School Board, and guided the merger of Fairfield and New Waterford schools into a single district, which became the Crestview Local School District. While on the board, he was noted for his fiscal responsibility and ability to bring people together, something often needed during the consolidation period. 

BEULAH CONVERSE 

1912-1996

A mother of eight, Beulah Converse taught the values of a rural foundation beyond her own family. In addition to raising her family, she helped manage many farm and home chores, and also used those farm responsibilities to guide many of her children’s friends who gravitated to the Converse farm after school. 

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Converse earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics in 1936. For 11 years, she served as a home economist for the university’s Cooperative Extension Service in Mahoning County, and then in the northeast Extension region for four years, retiring in 1974. 

During her career, she helped many farm and rural youth learn to “make the best better.” 

Central to her work was helping many young people learn to value skills in caring for animals and the many skills involved in being a successful homemaker. She emphasized to many who would not win a blue ribbon or could not afford a prize-winning calf that there were skills to be learned that would prepare them for their futures. 

During her career, she was also a pioneer in bringing Black and Latina women into Extension work as Extended Family Nutrition Education Program, or EFNEP, aides, which, for many, was a big step in their professional advancement. 

Converse was a member of the East Fairfield United Methodist Church, the American Home Economics Association, The Ohio State Home Economics Association and Mount Nebo Grange. She was also a founding member of the Clan Galbreath Association of North America. 

Converse also shared her leadership through service on the Fairfield School Board, and helped guide community members through a consolidation with New Waterford schools in what became the Crestview Local School District.

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