Ladies and gentlemen, a week ago we were confabulating about a time back in 1951 – nearly seven decades ago – when a pair of my relatives, Granville Barrere and Dr. Sigel Roush, met for a delightful afternoon.

Afterward, Granville, who ran the Hillsboro News-Herald for nearly half a century, penned an offering in his regular “Side Slants” column on my great-great-great-uncle Sigel. When we paused last week, Granville Barrere (1878-1954) was recounting how Dr. Roush (1862-1954) had traveled to Germany, and after stopping in Washington, D.C. on the return trip, happened to run into an old friend who was interviewing for a teaching position in our nation’s capital and invited the Doc to tag along. Turns out, the superintendent strongly urged Dr. Roush to apply for a position.

Granville said Dr. Roush laughed about the whole experience. “I never expected to hear any more about this,” Sigel recalled. “My only experience teaching was for three months in the two-room school at Russell Station. But when I returned to Hillsboro, I told one of my friends of this experience.

He insisted that I follow it up and said he thought he could get me a recommendation from the then Governor of Ohio, Joseph B. Foraker, also a native of Highland County. He wrote Gov. Foraker, and a few days later I received a letter of recommendation from him with the Great Seal of Ohio stamped on it. I sent this letter to Washington with some other letters and a short time later was notified that I had been appointed principal of a Washington school with 15 teachers under me. Imaging my feeling at the first meeting of teachers when I took this job.

“When we left this meeting I was more nervous that I had ever been in my life. I felt that I would fail. As I left the meeting, one of the older teachers came to me and asked me where I was living. When I told her, she said she was living in the same neighborhood and asked if I objected to her walking with me. She then asked, ‘Have you had much experience teaching?’ When I told her practically none, she replied, ‘I thought so, but if you will look wise and keep your mouth shut you can get by.’ I said I could keep my mouth shut, but I did not know about looking wise. With her help and advice, I did get by. I was principal of the school for five years.”

While teaching in Washington, Dr. Roush attended George Washington University and received his degree in dentistry. He then purchased a large dental office in Troy, N.Y. This office had two experienced men and two women. This gave Dr. Roush the opportunity to travel, write and lecture. He and his wife (Virginia Mohun Roush) took a trip around the world being gone
a year. On this trip, as on all of his trips. they left the beaten path of tourists to mingle with the people of the countries they visited and study their habits and customs.

Dr. Roush has crossed the Atlantic 25 times, has sailed every sea of the globe and visited every state of the Union. He made a polar expedition where he penetrated to within a few degrees of the North Pole.

For years he was a popular Lyceum lecturer and wrote for many magazines. He has written a book, “The Swamps,” in which he tells of the part of Highland County where he was born and spent his youth and where he is now living.

Some 10 years ago, Dr. Roush sold his dental office and retired. He and his wife came to Highland County where he lives in a cottage about one-half mile from the home of his youth. At that time, he took up the hobby of raising chickens and bought a large trailer. In his chicken raising, he studied the diseases of chickens. He discovered a chicken disease which resembles polio in humans. He wrote John Hopkins University about this and they asked him to continue his studies, saying they might prove of value in treatment of polio. He said he could not do this because of lack of equipment and because of a physical flare up he had to sell his chickens and take it easy.

For a number of years after he retired, Dr. Roush would hitch up their trailer and start out in the fall, visiting first some place in which they were interested, but usually winding up in Miami, Fla., where they own a home.

Despite his 89 years, Dr. Roush carries himself erect, is interested in all national and world affairs, unusually well posted on them and as with all well-educated persons is still studying and learning and will continue to study and learn as long as he lives.

Granville Barrere concludes in his column back in 1951 by writing of Dr. Sigel Roush: I consider myself fortunate to have known him since I was a small boy.

Let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next week.

Steve Roush is a vice president of an international media company, is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees and is a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at roush_steve@msn.com.