Thieves steal farmstead print, owners need help recovering heirlooms

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SALEM, Ohio – A Summit County farm family needs your help, whether you’re a farmer, auction-goer or antiques aficionado.
Farmers Roger and LaVerne Ewart, who live north of Hartville and are both in their 80s, were burglarized twice from Aug. 1 to Aug. 6. And more than anything else the thieves took, the Ewarts want one thing back: a pencil drawing of the family farm.
It could turn up at an auction, antiques show or at your farm, thanks to the thieves’ sloppy work.
Hit twice. The couple’s daughter, Lynn Jones, said her parents recently built a new home just 50 yards from their old home, but hadn’t yet moved all their belongings to the new structure. And thieves took advantage of that.
Overnight Aug. 1 and Aug. 6, thieves broke into the farmhouse and stole antique furniture, jewelry, toy tractors and trucks – many still in their original packaging – a metal pedal car and other family heirlooms.
Drawing. Their greatest loss was the one-of-a-kind pencil drawing of the farm that’s been in Roger Ewart’s family since the 1800s, Jones said.
The detailed graphite pencil drawing is estimated to be 36-by-48 inches and in an ornate white wooden frame.
Jones said the print has some characteristics of an aerial print, but instead of an overhead point of view, the artist chose a view just yards off the ground.
The artwork was done by Ferdinand A. Brader, who lived with Ewart’s family while he completed the work.
The print is the only one done of that farm, is signed by the artist and features a silo, barn, house, crop fields, wagons, people and pets. At the time, the farm was known as the Simon Myers farm.
The Ewarts’ print should have a number in the bottom left corner of the drawing, Jones said.
Jones said the Canton Museum of Art has two of Brader’s works in its permanent collection, for anyone who is interested in seeing the artist’s style as a way to help identify her parents’ print.
Second time. Jones’ brother, Glenn Ewart, may have limited the thieves’ first hit, but Jones said the thieves came back a second time to get items it appears they’d gathered into piles on their first visit.
The family took steps to secure the house after the first robbery, but the thieves broke the locks again, Jones said.
Most interesting, Jones said, is the thieves left a rocking chair – assumed to be from another burglary elsewhere – at the Ewart home during their visits, possibly to make more room for other more valuable items.
She said it appeared they’d gone through every level of the home, including the basement, and took only items that would be valuable. For instance, the thieves left refinished wooden furniture and instead took only items in original condition, Jones said.
The family believes the thieves aren’t novices at antiques robbery and warn other farmers to protect their belongings.
“Don’t put it off. If you don’t lock your house, get your valuables in the home of a family member who has security and insurance,” Jones pleaded.
Offer help. Anyone with information should call Springfield Township Police Department Detective Sheila Church at 330-784-1609.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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