Just about everyone is talking about the Oscars.  So I thought I'd do some research to find out if there's any connection between the Academy Awards and Northwestern Pennsylvania.  Surprisingly, my research brought me to a cornfield in Crawford County.

The cornfield is located in an area along Route 322 in Vernon Township called "Gable Hill."  The Gable Family, for which the hill is named, is the family that produced one of the most revered actors of all time.  Clark Gable.   Oscar Winner.  Known as "The King of Hollywood." 

Clark's father was raised on Gable Hill on an impressive piece of farmland that stretched approximately two miles along the present Route 322.  The property currently lies between Hank's Custard to the Walmart Superstore.  Clark's mother grew up in Summit Township on a farm on the Harmonsburg-Meadville Road.  After they became husband and wife, they moved to Cadiz, Ohio, near Steubenville, where Clark was born in 1901. 

Rick Welker is the Secretary of the Conneaut Valley Area Historical Society.  He shared his research of Clark Gable’s ties to Crawford County.

"At the age of about six months, Clark's mother became seriously ill,” says Rick. “So they came back to Crawford County to spend time with her family. Four months later she passed away."  

Clark's father was an oilman who could not take care of his son. So Clark Gable, future Hollywood star, would move in with his grandparents on Gable Hill for the next five years until his dad remarried and moved Clark back to Ohio.  In interviews during his adult life, the actor said he could not recall much at all about his early childhood in Crawford County.   

However, there are some interesting stories that live on about the late actor’s ties to Crawford County. Apparently, his grandad did not realize Clark's birth was registered in Ohio.   So, when the child was living in Pennsylvania, the grandfather registered the birth at the Crawford County Court House. The documentation can still be seen inside the official registry books in the county clerk's office. 

"So, he has a birth registry both in Crawford County and whatever county Cadiz, Ohio is located in,” says Rick.

Here's another story.  In the height of his fame in 1939, Gable purchased a headstone for his mother's grave. It's located in the Chestnut Corners Cemetery in Summit Township.  It's a beautiful stone, but there's one mistake. The headstone engraving reveals she died in 1900.  She actually died in 1901.  But, it’s still a nice memory of superstar Clark Gable and his family from Crawford County.

Gable apparently visited Crawford County only twice as an adult.  Both visits were before he was famous.  Reportedly, he came back at age 21 to claim a $300 inheritance from his grandfather.  He also came back in the early 1930s to collect a couple of oil paintings his mother had done.