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Native of Coshocton County publishes third book

| August 12, 2014

NORTH CAROLINA – Rhonda Hogarth, a native of Coshocton County who now makes her home in North Carolina, has been writing stories and poems ever since she was able to write.

“We lived in the country,” she said. “It wasn’t like living in town where you had kids to play with. We had to make our own fun. Writing was my escape.”

Hogarth has written numerous pieces anonymously and used to be a reporter for her 4-H Club. She took a lot of writing classes in school and really enjoyed it, including a story she considers almost autobiographical about a young immigrant girl who had a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings.

Until a few years ago, Hogarth published her works anonymously due to fear of retribution. She has recently published her third book under her name, “Hangtown: The True Story of the Lynching of Jefferson Davis”.

Hogarth originally started writing her book about the story of the Post Boy who was murdered near Newcomerstown. It was her brother, Larry Stahl, who suggested that she change the focus of her book to Jeff Davis.

“My brother, Larry has been very helpful to me over the last few years,” she said. “I owe my success to him for the book coming out and making it to print. There were so many times I wanted to quit and he did the big brother thing and kept me going.”

The story of Davis has always been in Hogarth’s mind due to the rumors and stories she had heard as a little girl growing up in the Coshocton County area. Davis was supposedly an outlaw who caused so much trouble that he was in and out of prison multiple times. During his last escapade, the townspeople were so frustrated with his behavior that they beat him and hanged him in a nearby tree.

“I’m more interested in what happened as a result of the crime,” said Hogarth. “It’s the psychological aspect of the crime that I am more interested in than the actual crime.”

Once Hogarth knew the subject matter for her book, her next step was research, and that proved anything but easy. The story of Davis’ life and hanging had been blown so out of proportion that even in old newspaper archives, it was hard to separate fact from fiction. Hogarth searched libraries, court records, some of which were missing, and even tried to contact descendants of those involved.

“I was really frustrated because a lot of them (sources) were dead-end,” she said. “But I didn’t let that stop me.”

The book is written in essay style because Hogarth felt that was the best way to provide the reader with as much information as possible. She also included photos in her book of different buildings that were important to the story that are still standing, and even photos of a skeleton that many believe is the body of Davis.

“I wanted the readers to feel a connection with the characters because I had a connection to them and how important that was to me,” said Hogarth. “I wanted them to know that this really happened and it wasn’t just gossip. I wanted these characters to live on.”

Hogarth has written two other books published under her name entitled, “A Street Called Glasgow,” and “Hell’s Bottom.” All three of her books can be purchased from amazon.com. She is hoping now that her book has been published about Davis that more people will come forward who are decedents of those who were involved and tell Hogarth what they know. She would like to publish a sequel to her book, and she is hoping to publish more stories about the Coshocton County area.

“Because I know the area and have a connection to that area, I always feel like that’s home,” she said.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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