Information sought on local ties to 1930 ‘tree sitting’ fad

The late 1920s and early 1930s was a time of endurance records. From dance marathons to flag pole sitting, Americans were suddenly fixated on breaking records and testing human fortitude.

In the summer of 1930, a new fad exploded onto the scene — tree sitting. American teens nationwide, both boys and girls, set about to see who could last the longest perched among the branches of park and backyard trees. This new craze also swept across Butler County, but by autumn as the leaves were turning, the branches had been vacated, and the obsession was gone.

The Butler County Historical Society is seeking information on those in the county who participated in attempting to break tree sitting records. Youths from Hamilton and Middletown participated, and though none broke national or state records, local records were established.

The following youths found local fame in the newspapers at the time. Ages and addresses indicated are from 1930:

  • T. Allen Greathouse, 7. Son of Raymond and Lucille Greathouse of Columbia Ave, Middletown, Ohio. 1923 to 8/13/1944. Allen had the following siblings: Kathy, Dorothy, William and Thomas.
  • William “Billy” Greathouse, 10. Son of Raymond and Lucille Greathouse of Columbia Ave, Middletown, Ohio. 1920 to 12/18/1934. Billy had the following siblings: Kathy, Dorothy, Allen and Thomas.
  • Stanley E. “Babe” Konrad, 14. Son of Charles and Thresa Konrad of Corwin Ave, Hamilton, Ohio. 1/4/1916 to 3/2/1964. Stanley had the following siblings: Carl, William, Thelma and Patricia. He later moved to Morgan Twp, Ohio.
  • Robert “Bobby” Newkirk, 17. Son of William and Elizabeth Newkirk of Linden Ave, Middletown, Ohio. 3/14/1913 to 10/26/1931. Bobby had the following siblings: James, John and Seldon.
  • Roy S. Pieratt, 13. Son of Shannon and Leona Pieratt of US 25 / Cincinnati-Dayton Rd, Lemon Twp, Ohio. 2/24/1916 to 9/17/1972. Roy had the following siblings: Corbin, Gordon, Pauline, Harold and Martha.
  • Raleigh Sandlin, 15. Son of Olivia Sandlin Wiegand and step son to Walter Wiegand of N. Eighth St, Hamilton, Ohio. 5/29/1916 to 7/15/1982. Raleigh had the following siblings: Georgia and Roy. He later moved to Huntington, Indiana.
  • Clarence E. Taylor, 12. Son of Jasper and Maryetta Taylor of N. Broadway, Middletown, Ohio. 4/17/1918 to 3/7/2001. Clarence had the following siblings: Pauline.
  • Robert J. Walters, Jr., 13. Son of Robert and Blanche Walters of Wayne Ave, Middletown, Ohio. 8/5/1916 to 9/25/1973. Robert had the following siblings: Kathryn, Alfred, Harold, and Martha.

If you are related to or know of the above listed individuals, the Butler County Historical Society would like to speak with you. It is seeking additional information, photographs, personal narratives or any memorabilia that could be included in an upcoming feature on the tree sitting topic.

Anyone who might be able to assist is encouraged to contact the Butler County Historical Society between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at (513) 896-9930 or via email at

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