Morgan County Historical Society

hosts unveiling of

biography of the late Dr. James Ball Naylor

by SARA HURST - Morgan County Herald

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - Local Interest

The Morgan County Historical Society Museum, which houses a nice collection of Dr. James Ball Naylor memorabilia, recently provided the perfect place for Theresa Marie Flaherty to release her new book, The Final Test, a Biography of James Ball Naylor.

Present for the book's release was Dick Robison of Zanesville, a grandson of Dr. James Ball Naylor. He is a son of the late Lena Naylor Robison. Also present were Greg and Ellen Hill of Malta, who own and live in Elmhurst, the home of Dr. Naylor. The Hills have restored the home and have acquired many of Dr. Naylor's memorabilia.

Along with The Final Test, a Biography of James Ball Naylor, Mrs. Flaherty also unveiled another book, Vintage Verse, which is a collection of Dr. Naylor's poetry. The basis of the book is what his daughter, Lucile copied of his writing. Mrs. Flaherty said two other books are in the works.

Mrs. Flaherty autographed numerous books as she talked with people at the event, hosted by Betty White and other Historical Society members.

She commented, "Dr. Naylor has been the other man in my life for several years. I am an accidental biographer. Nearly 40 years ago, my husband, Gerry, was in Vietnam in the Navy. I worked as a secretary to Wesley Garber, who was 50 years my senior. Wesley had met Dr. Naylor. He had 16 years worth of Naylor's handwritten diaries. His father, J.S. Garber, was a travelling minister."

Mrs. Flaherty said, "Gerry and I came to Morgan County several years ago. Joy Mazza was librarian at the time. Robert Wetherell took us up on Newton Ridge where Naylor was born and where he later lived. Later on, we visited Naylor's daughter, Jean Naylor Finley, in the San Francisco Bay area, and then I put the material away. After several years, I decided to tackle it again. I couldn't have done it without Gerry," she commented. She also thanked the people who had helped her over the years. "I wanted to find the story of Naylor's life. His work as a physician and his love of family were so important to him. He was born in 1860 and died in April 1945 at the age of 84."

Mrs. Flaherty continued, "It has been a privilege to get to know this man, James Ball Naylor. Now you can know him, too.

The audience enjoyed hearing Mrs. Flaherty read some of Naylor's poems. She read "Pixie Band," and a poem, "Lucile" which he wrote for his second daughter in 1891. "A Stranger in the Town" was written for Robert, his fifth child and only son. "Villa" was written about his wife. He also wrote three children's books.

After a break, Mrs. Flaherty continued to read some of Naylor's poems. She read "A Peep Into the Medical Future," which Dr. Naylor wrote in 1894. It was amazing to see his view of the future, which has proven to be quite accurate.

More of his popular poems were read: "Dr. John Goodfellow, Office Upstairs," "Foolin' Ma," "The Daily Paper," "Roller Skating," and "I Missed So Much." His son, Robert, was injured in World War I, and he wrote "Along the Road of Yesterday," as a tribute to his son. The last poem she read was "The Final Test," which provided the name for her book.

Mrs. Flaherty will again be sharing her personal journey in pursuit of knowledge that has culminated in the publication of her books, The Final Test, a Biography of James Ball Naylor, and Vintage Verse when she is a guest at the meeting of the Study Club at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, May 11, at the Kate Love Simpson Library. Public is invited.

Naylor Grandson

Special 'edition' to the Naylor book signing

Dick Robison, center; of Zanesville, grandson of Dr. James Ball Naylor, was a surprise guest at the recent release and book signing of The Final Test, A Biography of James Ball Naylor. Standing in front of a portrait of Dr. Naylor's mother are from left: Gerry Flaherty and his wife, Theresa Flaherty, author of the book; Robison; and Elen and Greg Hill, owners of Elmhurst, home of Dr. Naylor in Malta. Dick Robison is a son of Dr. Naylor's daughter, Lena. Mrs. Dick (Juanita) Robison also attended the event.


The crowd listening attentively to Mrs. Flaherty's presentation that included readings of Dr. Naylor's poetry.

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