Pioneers of Agriculture: Columbiana County Agricultural Hall of Fame

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LISBON, Ohio – The Columbiana County Historical Association and the Columbiana County Agricultural Society selected five individuals to induct into the Columbiana County Agricultural Hall of Fame: Frank G. Bowman, George F. Copeland, Edwin H. King, Ralph Papania and Ralph J. Schneider.

The individuals are being honored for their contributions in one or more segments of agriculture. This year’s class of inductees join eight individuals honored the in the first class of 2000 and five individuals enshrined last year.

The enshrinees and their families will be honored during ceremonies at the Columbiana County Fair, 11 a.m., July 30, in the new Commercial Building. At that time, framed biographical sketches of each Hall of Famer will be unveiled.

Ralph Papania

1884-1980

Ralph Papania immigrated to America from Italy in 1900, working first in a retail fruit store in Pittsburgh, then with a brother on a 200-acre farm near Valencia, Pa. He moved to Lisbon and managed a wholesale produce company until he saved enough money to buy 27 acres in Unity Township near New Waterford, where he cleared the land and started his own fruit and vegetable farm. That original 27 acres eventually grew to more than 200 acres, and in 1937, a roadside farm market was built.

Always an innovator, Papania made the first tractor-operated spray machine in the 1920s by mounting a pump on the front of a Fordson tractor. In the 1930s, he automated the family’s chicken house electric switch to extend the winter feeding hours for the laying hens. The family maintained an egg delivery route that extended into Pittsburgh. And in 1941, Papania pioneered such early frost protection techniques as overhead irrigation systems. By 1947, the Papania farm was the first in Columbiana County that was serviced by an underground irrigation pipe system.

In 1947, he added a refrigerated apple storage facility and in 1968, Papania renovated and upgraded his wholesale apple packing equipment. A member of the Ohio Horticulture Society and the Ohio Fruit Growers Society, Papania experimented aggressively to improve his soils, produce varieties and farm operation, unselfishly sharing his successful results with others. He was also pioneered early direct marketing of fruits and vegetables.

His work drew the eye of many, and in 1970, the Papania farm was featured in the national television program Across America with Charles Kuralt.

Frank G. Bowman

1861-1935

The rich legacy of Elkrun Township farmer Frank G. Bowman extends far beyond his farm’s borders in a scenic valley along Beaver Creek. Bowman, who operated a general farm operation and raised registered Jersey cattle from 1880 to 1934, traveled to the Isle of Jersey to purchase registered Jersey heifers and calves for his foundation stock, one of the first Columbiana County dairymen to import registered Jerseys from the island.

A man of great faith, compassion and integrity, Bowman was always trying to improve farming and raise better crops and livestock. He installed miles of drain tile, so his flat land could be more productive. A hard-working, honest man, Bowman was the third generation to farm land that was homesteaded in 1811 and 1813. The land, awarded to the family by U.S. Presidents James Madison and James Monroe, is farmed in 2002 by a fifth generation of Bowmans, with the sixth and seventh generations helping part-time.

Bowman was an Elkrun Township trustee during the Great Depression who pioneered work for creating a paved road from Elkton to Route 7, which was ultimately finished in 1931. He also worked diligently to bring electricity to rural areas surrounding his farm, although he did not live to see that happen finally in 1940.

George F. Copeland

1843-1930

A lifelong farmer in Columbiana County’s Franklin Township, George F. Copeland is best known for his community contributions: the founding of the Grange movement in the county and the creation of a weather observation station for the U.S. weather bureau that continues in 2002.

It was on his honeymoon trip in late 1873 that Copeland learned of the recently organized Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange. Impressed with the organization, he began organizing the first Grange in Columbiana County as soon as he arrived home, and in February 1874, the Pleasant Valley Grange was formed. He remained active in the Grange movement all his life.

A member of the 143rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, Copeland volunteered as a weather observer for the U.S. weather bureau, starting in 1892 to record weather details at his southern Columbiana County farm. His son and his grandson continued that volunteer service, providing the bureau and Columbiana County with more than 100 years of reliable weather records.

Edwin H. King

1897-1977

Franklin Township farmer Edwin H. King exemplifies the diversity of the general farmer in the early and middle part of the 20th century. He operated a general crop and livestock farm in Franklin Township near Hanoverton, Ohio. He lived his entire life on the 1804 homestead established by his great-great-grandfather and farmed there from childhood through 1976. He milked dairy cattle by hand, raised hogs, then Hereford beef cattle and sheep, a few turkeys and chickens.

King won the county corn husking competition in 1934 and again in 1937, earning trips to the state corn husking contest. In 1954, his production earned him a second place in the county DeKalb corn growing contest.

For approximately 20 years, Mr. King tapped maple trees in his woods and made maple syrup, which he sold to neighbors and Lisbon area customers.

King was an active member of the New Lebanon United Presbyterian Church and was a school board member in Franklin Township. He was active in the Pleasant Valley Grange, served on the Columbiana County 4-H steer club committee, and was a director of the former Kensington Supply Company.

Ralph J. Schneider

1900-1982

The accomplishments and contributions of Knox Township poultry producer Ralph Schneider to agriculture and his community are varied. Born in Stark County, Schneider graduated from The Ohio State University’s College of Agriculture in 1922, specializing in poultry and egg production. He joined his family’s farm operation, then moved to a farm in North Georgetown in 1941 after the death of his parents. In 1950, he converted his dairy barn into a poultry and egg facility, housing 7,500 Leghorn layers on three floors. He served as secretary of the Northeast Ohio Poultry Association and as president of the Federated Egg and Poultry Sales board. A trustee of the Ohio Egg Council, Schneider sat on the USDA’s Egg Marketing Advisory Committee, which wrote the Ohio fresh egg marketing law.

Schneider served on the county and state extension service advisory committees, and was a precinct committeeman for 50 years, serving first in Mapleton in Stark County, then North Georgetown. He helped organize the North Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department; founded and advised the North Georgetown Champions 4-H Club for 15 years; and organized a Boy Scout troop and served as a scoutmaster for four years. He helped organize the North Georgetown Ruritan Club, and served as Ohio District Governor from 1963-64.

Schneider was active in church affairs all his life, teaching an adult Sunday School class in three churches during a span from 1932 to 1976, and serving as treasurer of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in North Georgetown for 17 years and the church council for 12 years. He was also a member of a community band in Mapleton, Stark County, from 1918 until 1952.


Mid-August promises inviting sky meteor show

Perseid meteors are fast, bright and colorful, and the annual Perseid shower Aug. 12 and 13 is one of the year’s best.

WASHINGTON – Perseid meteors are fast, bright and colorful, and the annual Perseid shower Aug. 12 and 13 is one of the year’s best.

The best part of the shower is that it’s comfortable. Remember the Leonid meteor storm last November? Great meteors and lousy weather – standing outdoors in the middle of the night in mid-November is just too cold for comfort.

The Perseids are different. They come in August when the cool night air is refreshing, not bone chilling.

Remarkably good. This year’s shower peaks Aug. 12 and 13. Experts say it should be remarkably good. The Perseids have been strong in recent years – a promising sign for 2002. And since the moon sets early in mid-August, lunar interference will not be a problem.

Sky watchers can expect to see dozens to hundreds of meteors per hour.

Perseid meteors come from comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 130 years, the comet swoops in from deep space, beyond Pluto, and plunges through the plane of the solar system not far from Earth’s orbit.

Astronomers once worried that Swift-Tuttle might hit our planet, but recent data and calculations show otherwise. There’s no danger of a collision for at least a millennium and probably much longer. Even so, little pieces of Swift-Tuttle do hit Earth.

Across the sky. The comet’s orbit is littered with bits of dusty debris. They bubble away from the comet’s icy nucleus, propelled by evaporating ice, when Swift-Tuttle nears the Sun.

These grains form a cloud that we plow through once a year. In late July, the Earth enters the outskirts of that cloud.

Every hour, one or two meteors are streaking across the sky. It’s the slow beginning of the Perseids.

Perseid dust particles are tiny, most no bigger than grains of sand. Yet they travel very fast – about 132,000 miles per hour. Even a tiny dust speck can become a brilliant meteor when it hits the atmosphere at that speed.

There’s no danger to sky watchers, though. The fragile grains disintegrate long before they reach the ground. Because of the way the comet’s orbit is tilted, dust from Swift-Tuttle falls on Earth’s northern hemisphere.

Viewed from Earth’s surface, the meteors appear to flow from the constellation Perseus.

Perseus is easy to spot from Europe and North America, but it barely peeps above the horizon of, e.g., Australia and New Zealand. Southern hemisphere sky watchers will see very few Perseids.

Watching the show. The following is true no matter where you live: The best time to look for meteors is when Perseus is highest in the sky – between 2 a.m. and dawn.

On Aug. 12, set your alarm for 2 a.m. Go outside, lie down on a sleeping bag or a reclining lawn chair with your toes pointed northeast, and gaze upward. Soon you’ll see shooting stars racing along the Milky Way. Repeat the procedure the next night.

The shower’s peak is long-lasting, and you’re likely to count plenty of meteors on both days.

If you can’t wake up at 2 a.m., try looking for Perseids instead around 9 or 10 p.m. when Perseus is hanging low. You won’t see many meteors then, but the ones you do see could be memorable.

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