There are three things that have withstood the test of time in Pickaway County – the Pumpkin Show, Ted Lewis, and the Hitler cemetery just east of Circleville. But one of those things is facing scrutiny in the wake of social changes in the 21st century.
Enter a social media post which is generating a huge volume of discussion online. In the wake of violence and scrutiny involving white supremacists and neo-Nazis, one of Pickaway County’s most curious last names is under attack.
“When Charlottesville happened, we all saw the ugly in America.
We saw the deep hatred that some people have for others merely
because of their race or religion. We saw people who very literally
and publicly identified with the Nazi party. I mourned for the country
I thought I knew. I mourned for the people who were lost in attacks
on the counter protestors. I mourned for everyone who the Nazi party
claims should be killed. In my mourning, I realized that this was affecting
my own home town. I suddenly understood my discomfort with those signs
and what it meant to have them, related to a local historical figure or
not, displayed in town and nobody question it.”
– Jacqueline A. Original Petitioner for the removal of signs and statues.
People on all sides of the political spectrum are now engaged in the debate about the memorials and signage, with some defending the roads and cemetery, with others believing that the sheer name could evoke anti-minority attitudes in the community and country at large.
But why does Pickaway County embrace Hitler? The story is not often told, but may be one of great interest in unraveling the web that surrounds an area sandwiched between Tarlton Pike and State Route 56.- Advertisement -
The original Hitler family immigrated to America before Ohio was a state, and settled in Pickaway County before Circleville was even founded, just before the start of the 19th century. The patriarch of the family was George Hitler, who married a Susannah Gay, which began the Pickaway County lineage of Hitlers. In remembrance of the early founders, one such son was named Gay Hitler, who came to be known as “Dr. Gay Hitler” who practiced a thriving dentistry in Circleville. Local historians say that his practice thrived from 1922 until the end of World War 2 where his dentistry practice ended abruptly.
Nestled in the middle of Hitler Road #1, Hitler Road #2, and Huber-Hitler Road is the Hitler-Ludwig Cemetery, which houses much of the Hitler family that stayed in Pickaway County in the 19th century. But as expected, there is an abrupt end of tombstones with the Hitler surname carved in them after World War 2. Either by force or by choice, the Hitler name has mostly died out in Pickaway County, leaving only memorials. It was believed that Dr. Gay Hitler left the county and his thriving practice just after World War 2, changing his name in the process.- Advertisement -
But how do the relatives and grandchildren of the Hitler family feel about the memorials? At last check, they hoped that they would remain in place in the county. According to a 2005 AP article on people who lived on the road, One resident, a World War II veteran, said he’s satisfied with his address. Jay White, who fought in the Army infantry in the Pacific, said he wouldn’t want it changed. He smiled: “It’s one of a kind.”
The question turns, then, back to what will become of the memorials left over of the Hitler family? Should the roads and addresses be changed? Should the Hitler-Ludwig Cemetary merely become the Ludwig Cemetary? Could the 22 Acre Martha Hitler Park & Disc Golf Course on Bolendar-Pontius Road be returned to a field and pasture?- Advertisement -
We are in the process of contacting local township and commissioners for quotes and opinions on this controversial debate. Our hope is to provide a balanced discussion on the subject. Have an opinion? Leave it in the comments below, and we will gladly publish them as long as they do not involve racism or vulgarity.
People should be ashamed of themselves for trying to erase history to cater to the minority. All political parties combined that I’ve spoke with or read comments from around here I have yet to hear anyone defending this ridiculousness! It’s a shame these people are going to such destructive lengths because they don’t like our president and that is all it amounts to. I would call them Americans but obviously they are not!
The girl who is the OP truly believes these roads are named after THE Hitler. She did no research before attacking this portion of Circleville’s history and when she was confronted with actual research rather than admit she was misguided she called everyone who disagreed with her a “nazi sympathizer” among other colorful names. She does not deserve this publicity, as I speculate it is all she was after to begin with. I am happy to see 97% of the poll is currently in favor of preserving these names.
Right. This is everything I wanted to say. It seems like his girl is just being sensational and wanting some attention. Especially after I saw the way she was treating people who disagreed with her original post, I knew that this couldn’t truly be pulling at her “heartstrings.”
Did you seriously take the ranting of an uninformed child and write an article about it?! I thought this site was going to try to be legitimate unlike the Herald. Guess I’ll stop reading this too. What a bunch of 💩
One of the very FIRST articles we wanted to do was about the Hitler Family in Pickaway County. Their history and lineage is (to us) one of the more interesting pieces of information in the county, in our opinion.
We decided to take the research we had already invested into the topic and marry it with the discussion that has taken place over the past week about the monuments and roads. There are a lot of younger people that may not really know why the roads are named as they are, which is why we attempted to spend 80% of the article discussing the family, instead of the controversy.
The woman you quoted in this article, who started all of this to begin with, is one of these younger people that doesn’t really know why the roads are names as they are. But when push comes to shove this is a democracy and it’s already come to a vote. I just don’t understand why anyone would interview/quote anything this ignorant Jacqueline A. has to say.
You failed to include whatever research you had done on the Hitler family in your article, although you said you did. Perhaps your editor cut it. Perhaps you should do a feature article on the history of the family. Well researched, of course. You stated that “It was believed that Dr. Gay Hitler left the county and his thriving practice just after World War 2, changing his name in the process.” You obviously didn’t do your research. His obituary is in the Circleville Herald of October 28, 1948 and his wife is mentioned in the newspaper into the 1950s.
This girl is just trying to get her minute of fame by storing up trouble. If anything is vulgar it is her words she uses in response to those who disagree with her on facebook. If she was truly concerned she would have done her research prior to this petition. Just because someone may share a name does not make them connected in anyway. This country is becoming a more ignorant place daily due to people like her and their quickness to judge. Which I find humorous because isn’t judgement what they are supposedly fighting against. A bit hypocritical don’t you think?
The name is not from Adoft Hitler!#!#! This is family history, Pickaway County history. No hate, no violence involved! This is ridiculous that this topic even had to come up. We need to focus on what we can do to lift up, not tear down mankind. The gentleman you mentioned was a WWII veteran who fought to rid the world of Adolf Hitler, he doesn’t have a problem with the name. If anyone should, it should be someone who had to fight against Hitler. This is out of control. The media keeps up the hype about everything. Just write stories about good things and focus on those. The name needs to stay.
Where does it end?
Leave it alone. This too shall pass.
You cannot seriously believe that a family name that just happens to mirror an infamous individuals 157 years apart and of no relation to each other is bad and needs to be erased. This name is one of the oldest in Pickaway county, an original settler, in other words our county history. Let’s turn the table for a moment. Is this young lady proud of her family name, of her family history? How would she feel if her family name was on several streets/roads, maybe a park and a cemetery. Now how would she feel if someone demanded that it all be erased just because it happens to be the same as some horrible person?
Well that is exactly what she seems to be wanting. Just like all the people across the country are doing and demanding with flags, statues, monuments and now even a presidents tomb! Those that don’t remember history are doomed to repete it! Like President Trump said a week or so ago “what is next?” Crosses? Statues of Jesus Christ? Hey, I know, let’s tear down all churches! STUPID idea isn’t it? Well the name Hitler in this case is just that a name, not representing Adolph Hitler one bit! You know if all the energy that is being expended on this ridiculous issue was directed towards something productive imagine what may be accomplished.
Those are my ancestors on the Phillips side of the family. Pickaway School was built and funded by Nelson Hitler. Read your history!
Nelson was a bachelor and left all of his money to schools. He was a good man.
I wish people my age would learn more about our history and stop trying to erase it. Learn from our history and our ancestors mistakes. Be a better person and stop thinking they are entitled to everything.
I seriously cannot even believe this is a topic of discussion! These young kids now days need to pull their big boy/girl pants on and grow up! Learn some
history and worry about things that actually matter.
I think they should leave the names as they are. This family settled in the area long before Ohio was a state and Pickaway County was even known about. They are a huge part of local history. I did not know the history of the names until I read this article. It is very interesting. The community needs to learn about our history and how these names came about. These roads, the park, and cemetery were named after the Hitler family for a reason, and should remain that way for eternity.
As a progressive, this is so embarrassing.
This name history dates BEFORE the Nazi regime. I loved living in Circleville most all my life. The history of this family is of good nature, not Nazi terror. Read your history. Leave this be. No changes to this settlement or name changing is necessary. This family has provided excellent care to the community and has been consistently hassled by a ridiculous rumor of the relation to Adolf Hitler. Ignorance is bliss and this is just a moment in time that marks how ignorant people truly are.
This seems to be the “bandwagon effect” if
Research was done on this topic this person would have found out the Hitler wasn’t even the dictators real name. In addition the family name here has absolutely nothing to do with the national uproar over Alt right groups in this country.
Obviously the road and cemetery were not named after “The Hitler”. If the historical recollections are correct and Dr. Gay Hitler abruptly discontinued his practice after WWII, he may have been a victim of the shameful, anti-German behavior that occurred in the U.S. He and his family were thus victims of “The Hitler” themselves. Since a cemetery and road were named after the local Hitler family, they obviously had a significant, positive impact on Pickaway County and should be remembered as such.
This Jaqueline kid is obviously looking for her 5 minutes of fame by jumping on the trend wagon. Congratulations, kid. Now everyone thinks you’re an idiot.
My dad fought in WWiI and has lived on this road for 55 years. He moved our family there after coming home from fighting in the war. It has never bothered us because we know it is about the Hitler family of Pickaway County. Stirring up drama for the sake of having something to bitch about is exactly the problem with bad news like this. It disgusting that you have nothing better to do than tie this to something completely unrelated.
We wanted to report on this story as well as the history of the Hitler family because people have been asking and discussing it. The Hitler family actually called us today and said they appreciated the article, as well as the outpouring of support from the community. The people (potentially) tying the roads and monuments to Adolf are not the people writing the article – we are trying to educate people about the issue along with the history.
If a cemetery sign or statute evokes feelings of racism or hatred in you, then you have a problem.
This person that’s trying to stir the pot in our little town is only looking for attention. As a matter of fact I do believe she doesn’t even live in our town. And not only that she is only a former resident of pickaway county. There for it makes me wonder even how long she had lived here , for her to not even know the facts, or history of them roads, and cemetery. I grew up in this town , and for her to call the ppl if circleville trash was upsetting. Not to mention I feel all of her name callings and her post was all just to stir the pot to gather her attention she wanted by involving our small town. I say let’s not give that to her and 100% NO they all should be left alone.
I have lots of family buried in that cemetery and the name dosen’t bother me one bit. its just a name people have become just a bunch of radical little spoiled brats that think everything is all about them.
, and dont care about the feelings of others . BOOHOO that offends me change it to my way of thinking. Leave history alone it not going to change the past. or help the future, SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP and grow the hell up
Hey butter cup, go to Iraq and change things, we love what we have here, without you.
Ok, but the very family that bore this last name changed it so they weren’t associated with him. It’s sad but true- one very bad apple can spoil the bunch. The Hitler name is ruined because of one very bad and powerful man. The swatstika pre-dated WWII and its Nazi use as well. It was an ancient religious symbol that became synonymous with the Nazi party. Just because something something wasn’t directly involved, it can still bring up feelings of hurt and division. I don’t think moving forward and caring for the feelings of others is such a bad thing.
Comments are closed.