Shelby Ohio Authors


 Background Shelby post cards were published during her years in Shelby.

Elroy King Powell and Hattie Blanche Sherman were married September 12, 1894 in Morrow County, Ohio. Roy was the first son of Samuel G. Powell and Harriett Henrietta Walker. Samuel was probably born in Loudon County, Virginia, while his wife's Walker family was a long time resident of Ohio. Hattie Sherman's father Judson, was born in Morrow County, Ohio in 1828 and Julia Ann Miller, her mother, was born in 1844 in Cardington, Morrow County.

 Photos on this page appear courtesy of Tim Page and were originally published in his book: Dawn Powell - A Biography. It is a must read for any Dawn Powell enthusiast.
Both Sherman and Miller families were well represented in Morrow County. Dawn Powell remarked that her mother's relatives populated half of early Morrow County. Family lore indicated that Julia Millers' mother, Rebecca Rogers, was of partial Native American heritage. Julia's husband, Judson Sherman's mother, Catherine Chapman, was reputedly related to John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed).
Roy and Hattie's first child, Julia Mabel (probably named after her grandmother Sherman), was born July 11, 1895 in Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio. Roy was employed as a miller in Mt. Gilead and Hattie was housekeeping at their home at 53 West North Street.

Undated baby photo of Marthy Dawn Powell
November 28, 1896 was the birth date of their second child, Marthy Dawn, who was almost certainly named for Hazel Dawn Sherman (Hattie's younger sister). Dawn would later recall her birth date incorrectly on several occasions, however her birth certificate verifies this date.

Hattie, Julia, Phyllis and Dawn Powell
Their final child, Phyllis Aileen, was born on December 29, 1899, while the family was living at 115 Cherry Street in Mt. Gilead. The above photo was taken c. 1901 on their Cherry Street front porch. Not long after this photo was taken, Roy loaded the family possessions in a horse drawn wagon and moved them to Shelby, Ohio. The family arrived in time to be included in the 1901-1902 Shelby Directory. The reason for the move is not clear, however Hattie's parents, were living in Shelby at 114 West Main Street prior to 1900. Orpha May Sherman Steinbrueck, Hattie's older sister, was living at 121 1/2 North Broadway in a home she had built in 1897.

The above photo of the three Powell daughters was taken shortly after their arrival in Shelby. Hattie's parents and two siblings, Jay, born 1880 and Hazel Dawn, born 1886, were then living at 33 East Main Street (a few doors east of the current Shelby Museum).
Auntie May Steinbrueck was living with her daughter Gretchen, born 1892, and running a boarding house at her 121 1/2 North Broadway location. She was divorced from her first husband, Otto George Steinbrueck, whom she had married in 1891.
Roy, Hattie Powell, and family rented a house at 76 East Main Street which was later demolished having been located just east of the current Rite Aid rear parking lot. The 1901-1902 Shelby Directory lists R.K. Powell as a traveling salesman (employed by the Heath City Mills Company at that time). Dawn Powell's later diaries indicated that home life then was centered on her mother and siblings, and her father appeared occasionally, wearing clothing that was out of place in a home that had to "make do"on his stringent household allowance.
The Powell girls lives changed dramatically on December 7, 1903 when their mother died in their home, officially from pneumonia, but in later life the girls all acknowledged it was possibly a botched abortion. Hattie's viewing and funeral were held in the home parlor with lasting effects on all the children.
Dawn's first two appearances in the Shelby Daily Globe occurred first as "Dawnie" in her mother's funeral notice (December 08, 1903) and secondly when her letter to Santa was published in the December 16th edition:
"Dear old Santa Claus,
Please bring me a drum, a sled, and candy, an orange, and that will be all and please bring My Sister a dresser, a looking glass, a violin, a doll dress, and bring a christmas tree for all of us, and I am nine years old and My Sister is four years old. With all my love to you. From your little friend, Dawn Powell 76 E. Main St."
At first glance it seems that a nine year old would not write a letter to Santa that soon after the death of her mother, however it may be explained when the number of such letters mailed to the Daily Globe is considered. There were over 320 "Santa" letters published in 1903 in ten different editions of the paper. Dawn's was one of the first 125 and could have been written earlier and the publication was delayed due to the volume of letters.
Roy continued in his role as traveling salesman for various companies, while the three girls were "farmed out" to relatives. In 1904, they lost their grandfather, Judd Sherman, almost exactly a year after their mother died. Dawn was still enrolled in Grant School in Shelby in June,1905 where she and Cloyd Zebold won awards to the girl and boy who had obtained the largest number of perfect spelling lessons for the year. Each winning Mexican hat!
The 1906 Shelby Directory lists Roy Powell, commercial traveler, residing at 35 North Broadway with no children listed. In June of 1906 Hazel Dawn Sherman Gates (married George Washington Gates in 1904) died at her home on East Main Street after only 24 hours of illness. The story circulating in Shelby was her death was the result of poisoning after eating two oyster sandwiches, however the official stated cause was acute heart failure and yellow jaundice. Dawn Powell's vivacious namesake "Auntie Dawn" was dead at the age of 20. She would later appear as a central character in Powell's "My Home is Far Away" novel.
Slightly over a year later, Roy Powell married Sabra Myrtilla Stearns, born 1877 in North Olmstead, Cuyahoga County, Ohio and the stories of the "evil step mother" became true in the lives of the Powell sisters. While Sabra's rules were inflicted on all the girls, it made Dawn's life especially difficult because of her freedom-loving independent nature. She was least apt to accept what she thought to be unreasonable. Roy was still constantly on the road and when home he was happy to be living in a house whose purchase was due largely to his marriage to Sabra and was unmoved by pleas from his daughters.
By 1910 the Roy Powell family was living in Cardington, Ohio and 13 year old Marthy Dawn was continuing her favorite form of escape, writing stories. Sabra, upset over a perceived infraction of her house rules, found Dawn's dairies and writings, and destroyed them. Unable to tolerate this event, Dawn left home and returned to Shelby to live with her "Auntie May" Steinbrueck.


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