PIQUA — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stopped by the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency Sunday afternoon as part of a trip through West Central Ohio. LaRose attended the opening day of the Shelby County Fair and then traveled to Miami County where he toured the museum at the Johnston Farm site and saw the ongoing renovations at the Johnston family home.
Upon his arrival at the Johnston Farm, LaRose was greeted by Board Member and Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst. Site Manager Andy Hite and Board President Mike Gutmann joined the group shortly after.
Hite shared the area’s rich Native American heritage, the important role Col. John Johnston played in the development of the nation, and how the events that occurred on the surrounding land impacted not only Ohio’s storied history, but the history of America.
LaRose’s visit coincided with “History Alive at Fort Piqua,” a living history program that annually brings more than 60 reenactors to the Johnston Farm the last weekend in July. LaRose spoke to several of the reenactors, most of who were encamped in the field between the museum and the Johnston family home.
Although the Johnston family home is currently undergoing restoration and closed to the public, LaRose was given a sneak peak inside. LaRose also visited the spring house and the barn, thought to be the oldest barn in the state of Ohio.
“It was great to have the Secretary of State stop by the site,” Hite said. “It was obvious from his probing questions that he has a deep interest in history.”
In fact, during the eight years he served in the Ohio Senate, LaRose was an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of Ohio History Connection. The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is one of more than 50 sites owned by the state of Ohio and managed by Ohio History Connection.
“When I received word that Secretary LaRose wanted to meet,” Barhorst said, “I knew that I would be working during the weekend event. It seemed a perfect opportunity for him to meet with me and learn more about the Johnston Farm.”
“In addition, we had the opportunity to discuss the things I’ve learned as I’ve visited with county seat mayors across the state,” Barhorst said. “From one end of the state to the other, the most pressing problem is the lack of workers to fill available jobs. That is followed by housing, workforce development, infrastructure and drugs.”
“Of course, we also discussed some of the great things happening in Sidney,” Barhorst continued. “He had just come from the Shelby County Fair, and he mentioned that he had helped Commissioner Tony Bornhorst serve sausage sandwiches!”
Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, is a statewide history organization with the mission to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization chartered in 1885, the Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its citizens focused on preserving and sharing the state’s history. This includes housing the state historic preservation office, the official state archives, local history office and managing more than 50 sites and museums across Ohio.