NARRATOR: Notable events in a city’s history are seldom the result of chance. Almost always those happenings which affect a city’s destiny are shaped and guided by the spirit of the city’s people. Where that spirit is weak there can be no real progress. Where civic spirit is strong, rising above local dissension, overcoming obstacles, continuing civic growth and achievement are assured. So far, in presenting the history of our city, we have seen a strongly unified pioneer spirit… one for all and all for one….animating our civic forefathers. And last week we saw that spirit at its height in the sacrifice and heroism which marked Dayton’s part in the War of 1812. In today’s drama we present a new Dayton, grown beyond its first narrow limits, numbering new and discordant elements in its citizenship; facing conflict within itself; and we shall see how that conflict was resolved. (PAUSE.) We take our title from a cry which first rang through the streets of Dayton during the summer of 1818. “Here Comes the Stage!” Our opening scene is in the First Methodist Church on a Sunday in the spring of 1818.
VOICE: I know it is a great disappointment to our whole congregation that the Reverend Walters was unable to come to us today. All of us shall miss the spiritual uplift of one of his splendid sermons. And now we shall conclude this morning’s service with a hymn of praise. [Music.]
VOICES: It’s just a shame he couldn’t get here…Such a fine Sunday morning, too…Biggest congregation we’ve had since last fall… It is too bad…etc.
MRS. BRADLEY: Mrs. Patterson, I think our Charitable and Bible Society ought to do something about these constant disappointments. We work so hard, arranging to get the best preachers to come to Dayton, from Cincinnati or Columbus, and yet time after time we miss fine sermons because the preachers can’t get here.
MRS. PATTERSON: I know, Mrs. Bradley. And all three Dayton churches have the same trouble. Of course, if the wagon trains don’t start from Cincinnati when they’re expected to, I suppose there is much we can do about it.
MRS. BRADLEY: But there must be. I’m going to talk to Will about it today at dinner. [Music.]
MRS. BRADLEY: And so, Will, you just have to do something about it…you and the rest of the men.
WILL: Will you have some more chicken, my dear?
MRS. BRADLEY: Will Bradley, you’re not even listening to me.
WILL: Oh, yes, I am darling. You said…uh….
MRS. BRADLEY: I said it was a shame that the Reverend Walters couldn’t get here for today’s church service.
WILL: Yes, yes, of course. But you see he was coming up with the wagon train that was to leave Cincinnati on Thursday. Well, a boat that was to come down the Ohio from Pittsburgh was two days late getting in, and since the boat carried a lot of stock that had been ordered by our Dayton merchants, I guess the wagon train decided to wait for it. I don’t see that it was anyone’s fault exactly.
MRS BRADLEY: Will, I don’t think you really care whether Reverend Walters got here or not.
WILL: Oh, yes, my dear, yes indeed. The last time he was here I thought his sermon was a little long. It seems to me that three hours is…uh….
MRS. BRADLEY: Will Bradley! It’s almost sacrilegious even to think that, let alone say it. I’m sure a good long sermon won’t harm you… or any of the other husbands in Dayton.
WILL: Yes, my dear. And I think you’re quite right that there oughtn’t to be this uncertainty about the preachers getting here…preachers or anyone else. Maybe something can be done about it. I’m going over to the Watchman office tomorrow morning with an advertisement I want published in this week’s issue, and while I’m there I’ll have a talk with Bob Skinner. [Music.]
[Hand press off.]
WILL: But, Bob, I think it’s your place, as editor of the Watchman to lead all these movements for civic improvements.
BOB: And I have led a lot of them, Will. But a newspaper can’t be crusading all the time, or its appeals to the citizens begin to lose their force.
WILL: You want to see something done about this, don’t you, Bob?
BOB: You bet I do. Dayton’s getting too big for this kind of isolation. Here we are with a population of well over a thousand. There are more than a hundred houses in town, and all of the new ones are frame instead of log cabins. We’ve got three churches, a new courthouse, a new market house, a new jail. We’re building toll-bridges over the river. New gristmills and sawmills are being built every year. There are six taverns in town instead of the one that Colonel Newcom built. I’m for all of that, for any kind of civic progress. You know that.
WILL: Then why not help in this?
BOB: I will help. But I can do it better if someone else starts the movement. You get Colonel Patterson and George Newcom and Ben Van Cleve together. Suggest that Colonel Patterson hold a meeting at this house to talk things over. And, Will, be sure to see that Ezra Robbins in invited. Ezra represents a large faction in Dayton and it will be better to have him with you in anything you plan to do.
WILL: And you’ll back whatever plan we adopt?
BOB: If it has any sense to it. And it will, if you get the men I’ve suggested and talk thing over from all sides. [Music.]
COOPER: …and so we can talk all we want about Dayton being a good place to live, but the plain truth is that it’s still a shut-in frontier town. We need better communication with other towns, and with the whole outside world.
ROBBINS: [Sourly.] We don’t hold with that, Dan Cooper. Dayton don’t have to have no truck with outside folks. We c’n git along the way we are.
VOICES: That’s right, we don’t! Talk up to ’em, Ezra. [Buzz of comment.]
NEWCOM: That’s a fine way to talk, Ezra Robbins. You came here two three years ago and were mighty glad to settle in Dayton. Now you object to our bein’ a progressive town.
ROBBINS: All right, George Newcom, but I got a right to speak my mind.
COOPER: You certainly have, Mr. Robbins. That’s what we’re all here for. My point is that Dayton needs more people coming and going, and more people settling here.
ROBBINS: There’s people comes and goes right along. There’s the pack trains an’ wagon trains an’ boats. They all bring folks to Dayton.
COOPER: Not regularly, and not very often. We get some boats during the summer, when the river stage is just right. The pack and wagon trains go out when we have grain, meats and furs to ship, and come in when Dayton merchants order goods from the east. But none of that brings new people to Dayton. What we need is a stage coach line, making regular trips to Cincinnati and other towns. That would bring Dayton a lot of new citizens.
ROBBINS: We’re agin’ that, I tell you. We got folks enough here in Dayton now. Furriners comin’ in is goin’ to grab good farmin’ land, set up trade agin’ our own merchants an’ take jobs away from them that work in the sawmills and such.
VOICES: They sure will!…We don’t want no stage!
NEWCOM: You don’t know what you’re talkin’ about Ezra. New folks will make new trade and new jobs. Dan Cooper’s right, like he usually is. And I ain’t the only one who agrees with him. How about you, Colonel Patterson?
PATTERSON: Yes, I agree with you and Dan, George.
NEWCOM: And you, Will Bradley?
BRADLEY: So do I.
NEWCOM: And you, Ben Van Cleve?
BEN: Yes, I think we should make it easy for new people to come here and for Dayton people to travel. A stage line would do that.
NEWCOM: There you are, Ezra.
ROBBINS: Yes, an’ that’s somethin’ else. You Newcoms an’ Coopers an’ Van Cleves an’ Bradleys an’ Pattersons…you think you own this town. You got your brick an’ frame houses up there along Water Street, and First an’ Second, while the rest of us live down in what you call Cabin Town, south o’ Third Street. Well, Dayton’s been growin’ these few years. There’s hundreds of us new settlers, mor’n there is o’ you. You found that out when the town voted on where to put the new market house. She stands on our side o’ Third Street.
VOICES: That’s right! Cabin Town’s got the votes!
COOPER: Mr. Robbins, this isn’t a matter of where anyone lives or how he votes. Some of us believe that a stage line would be a fine thing for Dayton. We’d like to have everyone in Dayton feel that way. I asked you here tonight because I know you can speak for a lot of Dayton people.
ROBBINS: I sure can. And I tell you that we’re agin’ any stage line runnin’ in and out o’ Dayton. We say, Dayton for Dayton folks, an’ keep out the furriners.
VOICES: That’s the talk, Ezra! … No furriners for Dayton!
NEWCOM: An’ here’s what I say, Ezra Robbins. There ain’t no law that prevents Dan Cooper or me or anyone from startin’ a stage line if he wants to. We’d like to have you an’ your folks with us, but the stage line’s comin’ in whether you like it or not. [Buzz of comment in behind…]
ROBBINS: We’ll see about that. I got influence in this town. I’ll…[Loud mixed talk drowns him out.] [Music.]
ED: Yes’m, we’d sure like to have your subscription to the Dayton Watchman. [Calls.] Bob, Mrs. Archer wants to know can she pay their subscription to the Watchman in fresh eggs once’t a week.
BOB: [Off.] I guess so.
MRS. ARCHER: That’s all right, then. I’ll bring the eggs on Monday. [Door opens and closes.]
ED: Did you git to see Dan Cooper, Bob?
BOB: Yes, and I’m writing an editorial on what he told me. You better get the rest of those handbills printed.
ED: Will if I can keep this cranky old press runnin’. [Footsteps recede. Hand press starts.]
BOB: [On, to himself.] There now, I’m saying it about right. [Pen scratches.] With…other…parts…of…the… country.
[Door opens. Buzz of voices. Footsteps on to halt.]
ROBBINS: Bob Skinner, we want to talk to you.BOB: Hello, Ezra. Come in, folks. I’m just finishing a piece here. Be with you in a minute.ROBBINS: But what we got to say’s important.
BOB: So’s what I’m writing, Ezra. Keep your shirt on. [Mutter of voices. Pen scratch. Press sound off.]
ROBBINS: We can’t wait all day, Bob.
BOB: All right, Ezra, all right. What’s on your mind?
ROBBINS: You heard about his crazy idea of Dan Cooper’s?
BOB: I talked with him this morning.
ROBBINS: You ain’t for it, are you? Stage coaches bringin’ a lot o’ furriners to Dayton to grab trade an’ jobs an’ the like.
VOICES: ’Tain’t fair…We’re agin’ it in our part o’ town.
BOB: Well, now, folks, I’ve just written an editorial about it. I’ll read it to you. [Clears throat.] The Dayton Watchman congratulates Daniel C. Cooper and other leading citizens on the organization of the Cincinnati and Dayton Mail and Passenger Stage line, which will soon begin regular trips. Large coaches, drawn by four horses, will make the journey twice each week, accommodating the astonishing number of eleven passengers. The fare will be eight cents a mile, and each passenger will be allowed fourteen pounds of baggage. United States mail will be carried on each trip, thus further improving Dayton’s communication with other parts of the country, and with foreign lands as well. Two days will be required for the journey, a surprisingly short time, the coaches leaving Dayton or Cincinnati at five o’clock in the morning, stopping over night at Hamilton, and arriving at their destination the next morning. Colonel George Newcom and Will Bradley will go to Cincinnati to accompany the first stage on its journey to Dayton, in about two weeks. The inauguration of the new stage service is one of the most progressive actions taken in Dayton in a long time. It will bring to our city new citizens, new trade, new prosperity. Good luck to the Dayton and Cincinnati stage, say we.
ROBBINS: Bob Skinner, if you publish that, I’ll cancel my subscription, and so’ll everybody else livin’ south o’ Third Street. What’s more, there won’t none of us buy from merchants that advertise in the Watchman.
VOICES: We sure won’t!…Not a one of us!
BOB: Ezra, I’d be sorry to see that happen. I suppose you mean what you say, and I know you’ve got a lot of influence in your part of town. Maybe you folks can ruin the Watchman’s business. But there’s something you can’t do. And that’s tell me how to run my newspaper. I’ll write what I believe, and I’ll print it. You can all think that over.
ROBBINS: You wait and see, Bob Skinner! [Angry voices. Footsteps. Door slams.]
ED: [Off.] Gee, Bob. Do you think they can ruin the Watchman?
BOB: Don’t know, Ed. Get those handbills finished and we’ll start printing this week’s paper. [Music.]
NARRATOR: It was on June 2, 1818, that the first stage coach left Cincinnati for Dayton. The soundness of Daniel Cooper’s foresight was revealed immediately. People who feared to travel by pack train or boat were eager to use the stage. Several passengers were ready to make the first trip. [Music.]
[Crowd sounds off.]
VOICE: [Off.] Stage for Dayton leaving in ten minutes. Passengers will please weigh baggage.
WILL: [On.] George, we’ve got a mighty fine morning for the first trip. Starting in the summer, this way, the stage ought to build up pretty good business the first season.
NEWCOM: Sure ought, Will. Say let’s me and you step in the tavern here and have a dram before we start. [Footsteps. Door opens. Tavern voices.]
NEWCOM: Boy, draw off two drams from your best barrel.
BARTENDER: Two it is. You’re from Dayton, ain’t you?
NEWCOM: We sure are. And we’re goin’ back, fast as we can. Cincinnati may be all right, big and sprawlin’ along the river, but give me Dayton every time.
BARTENDER: You can have it. Too much backwoods for me.
NEWCOM: Listen, son, while I tell you somethin’…
VOICE: [Off, loud.] Stage passengers for Dayton! Stage passengers for Dayton! Take your places! Take your places!
WILL: Come on, George, toss off your dram. You can tell him about Dayton next time you’re down here.
NEWCOM: Next time? There ain’t goin’ to be no next time. You listen to me, young fella. Dayton’s the best….
VOICE: [Off, loud.] Stage for Dayton! Last call! [Crowd sound in and up.] [Music.]
[Coach sounds: Horses, creaking wheels, trace chains. These sounds behind all ensuing coach scenes.]
BUCK: You, Tom! Jenny! Come up, there. [Whip cracks.] Sure is a hard pull over these confounded Cincinnati hills.
BILLY: Gee, I’m glad I got to sit on top. What’s your name, Mr. Driver?
BUCK: Buck Matson. What’s your’n?
BILLY: Billy Ross.
BUCK: Seems to me you’re mighty young to be travellin’ all alone.
BILLY: I’m eleven, goin’ on twelve. I’m goin’ to Dayton to live with my Uncle and Aunt.
BUCK: How’s come you don’t live with your own folks?
BILLY: They’re…they’re gone. We lived in Philadelphia, an’ last winter the fever took ’em off. Ma, an’ Pa, an’ my little sister, too. I’m the only one left.
BUCK: That’s too bad, Billy.
BILLY: Mr. Buck, are there Indians in Ohio?
BUCK: The woods is full of ’em, son.
BILLY: Sure enough? Pa told me the Indians was all killed of durin’ the war.
BUCK: Your Pa lived in Philadelphia. Philadelphia folks don’t know what’s goin’ on nowhere’s else.
BILLY: Did you ever fight the Indians, Mr. Buck?
BUCK: Did I? Why, son, there’s times when I done nothin’ else. The Indians fightin’ me and me fightin’ ’em right back.
BILLY: Gee! Will you have to fight ’em today?
BUCK: I reckon not. All the Indians in Ohio knows Buck Matson by name an’ reputation. They’re skeered o’ me.
BILLY: Are they? Gee, I was hopin’….
BUCK: Well, now, I’m not sayin’ there ain’t no danger. Right up ahead there, where we cross the ford…there’d be a likely place for an ambush. [Music.]
MRS. NASH: Dear me, Colonel Newcom, I’ve been so worried! I suppose Mollie and Joe wouldn’t live in Dayton if it was really dangerous. But I’m frightened to death of Indians. Are you sure we’re safe in this coach?
NEWCOM: Mrs. Nash, Ma’am, you c’n rest easy. There ain’t any real Indian danger in Ohio. Mad Anthony Wayne whipped ’em good back in ’95 and General Harrison finished ’em off at Fort Meigs five years ago. Ain’t that right, Will?
WILL: Yes, Mrs. Nash, we don’ worry about Indians now.
BUCK: [Off.] Come up, there, Doc. [Whip cracks.]
MRS. NASH: But, Colonel, I know Molly has written me about bad Indians. That’s what she called them…bad.
NEWCOM: Well, now, sometimes they get full of whiskey an’ have to be locked up in jail for a day or so, or maybe get to stealin’ horses or chickens, an’ get locked up for that, but by and large we don’t have much trouble. Indians are one of our big sources of trade. They’re good hunters an’ trappers, bring in fine pelts each season. Our Dayton merchants trade ’em for flour, salt port an’ the like. [Gentle snore.]
MRS. NASH: Why, Colonel, I do believe Mr. Bradley is asleep.
NEWCOM: So he is! [Lowers voice.] Now, speakin’ o’ Indians, ma’am, if this was twenty-five years ago, when I drove the first wagon train from Cincinnati to Dayton, things’d be entirely different. I remember it was our third day out from Cincinnati…no, it was the fourth…and we was cuttin’ our way through the woods considerable this side of Fort Hamilton, when…[Music.]
[Newcom’s voice murmurs behind…]
JAMES: Are you comfortable, Sophie, darling?
SOPHIE: Yes, James. (PAUSE.) Oh, James, it’s so wonderful being married to you and going way off from everything we’ve known…starting our life together, just the two of us.
BUCK: [Off.] Git up there! [Whip cracks.]
JAMES: But there’ll be more than just the two of us, darling. I hear Dayton’s a large town, and growing. That means I can have a good law practice some day. With my letters to Mr. Cooper and Colonel Patterson, I’m sure I can get to read law in a good office, probably Mr. Joseph Crane’s. And if I study as hard as I can…
SOPHIE: But, James, I won’t let you study all the time. Oh, James!
JAMES: Sophie, darling!
MRS. NASH: [Off, whispering.] Colonel Newcom, do look! Those two young folks on the back seat are newlyweds. He’s kissing her.
NEWCOM: And why not, ma’am? She’s a mighty pretty girl. When I was his age, I was never one to hold back when it come to sparkin’.
MRS. NASH: Colonel Newcom, how you do go on! [Music.]
BUCK:…an’ so there I was, Billy, all alone agin’ the hull pack o’ savages. The rest of our scoutin’ party was layin’ dead all around me, three and four deep. An’ me without no more powder and shot. Well, just then here come ten painted warriors, all of ’em at least seven feet tall, and all of ’em whoopin’ an’ wavin’ their tomahawks. They seen me and they come straight for me.
BILLY: G-e-e, Mr. Buck! What’d you do?
BUCK: Do? I drawed my long knife out o’ my belt, an’ give ’em a whoop, like this [whoops] an’ with that I jest carved my way right through all ten of ’em!
BUCK: Yes, sir, carved my way right straight through ‘em. An’ since that day I been knowed as Bad Buck to all the Indians in Ohio. Why, only last week…[Music.]
NEWCOM: Mrs. Nash, ma’am, it sure was somethin’ to see. Those redskins was all around us in the forest, an’ they must o’ outnumbered us five or six to one. But we just kept a-lettin’’em have it, the women folks loadin’ the rifles an’ muskets, an’ us men folks shootin’. Well, finally the yells died down an’ the Indians slunk off into the woods…those that could…an’ we looked around an’ sort o’ took stock. An’ would you believe it, we’d killed sixteen of ‘em…yes, ma’am, sixteen…without losin’ a single one o’ our party. I’ll show you the very place it happened, right up here a piece.
MRS. NASH: Dear me, Colonel, I’ll be almost afraid to look. Did you every hear anything like it, Mr. Bradley?
WILL: [Waking suddenly.] How’s that, ma’am?
MRS. NASH: Colonel Newcom’s been telling me about fighting the Indians on his way to Dayton. He says…
NEWCOM: Now, ma’am, there’s no use goin’ all over it for Will. He knows all about it.
WILL: [Dryly.] I sure do, [Music.]
SOPHIE: It’s such a beautiful country, James. Do you suppose it’s as beautiful as this around Dayton?
JAMES: I’m sure of it, Sophie. They tell me that Dayton lies in a beautiful wide valley, all surrounded with rolling hills. And there are three rivers that meet at Dayton, coming from among the hills and joining each other to go on down the valley. One of the old explorers thought it was the most beautiful spot in the whole Ohio country.
SOPHIE: It sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Just the sort of place we’ve always wanted for our home together.
BUCK: [Off.] Whoa! Whoa, there! Hold up, you Tom. [Coach stops.] Folks, if you look ahead you c’n see Hamilton down there in the valley. That’s where we’ll spend the night. You’ll git a mighty good dinner at the inn there, an’ a good night’s rest. Then we’ll be startin’ agin’, first thing in the mornin’ (PAUSE) Billy, you c’n help me pull up on this here brake handle when we go down the last hill into Hamilton. All right, now. You, Tom! Jenny! Dan’l! Doc! Come up, there! [Whip cracks, Stage rolls.] [Music.]
[Crowd sounds behind.]
MRS. NASH: Colonel, it you’ll just hand me down that parcel…
JAMES: Come, Sophie darling, I’ll lift you down…
BUCK: You, Jim! Git Hank an’ help unhitch there horses. And, mind you don’t water ’em too soon.
WALTERS: [Loud cheery.] Welcome, welcome, folks! I’m Adam Walters, proprietor o’ this inn. Come right in with me. [Door opens. Talk and laughter in.] Now…first of all, you’ll want a good hot supper. There’s beef, pork, mutton, venison, turkey, duck an’ chicken. There’s bass an’ two three other kind o’ fish fresh from the river this afternoon. Plenty o’ peas, beans, tomatoes and other greens. An’ a deep apple pastry to finish off. It’s all ready. [Louder.] You gals, step lively there and git supper on the table for these folks. Right here, folks. There’s places laid for all o’ you. Set down an’ eat your fill. [Talk, laughter, clatter of dishes.] [Music.]
WATCH: Midnight, and all’s well! [Music.]
[Early morning sounds. Roosters, birds, etc.]
BUCK: Back that lead team in careful, Jim. Or they’ll kick the daylights out o’ you! [Horses stomping and blowing.] All right with them trace chains, Hank. Hitch on, now. [Chains.] [Voices off.] Mornin’ folks, mornin’. We’re getting a good early start.
NEWCOM: Mornin’, Buck. Mrs. Nash, ma’am, let me help you in. This step’s mighty high. There you are. Will’s bringin’ your bundles long with ours.
MRS. NASH: Thank you, Colonel. Good morning, Mr. Bradley.
WILL: Good morning, ma’am.
NEWCOM: Well, now, if here ain’t the bride and groom. Mornin’, folks.
BOTH: Good morning, Colonel.
NEWCOM: Now, young lady, there’s no call for you to be blushin’ that way, though I swear it makes you prettier’n ever. Here you are. Just take my hand and up you go.
BUCK: Billy! Billy! Where’s that kid? Billy!
BILLY: [Coming on.] Here I am, Mr. Buck.
BUCK: All right, git up here side o’ me. Ready folks? All right, Jim. Let ’em go! Come up, Doc! Git in there, Tom! [Whip cracks. Stage rolls.] [Music.]
NARRATOR: Throughout another long day the coach rolled over the hills and valleys toward Dayton, the passengers enjoying the fine summer weather and marveling at the comfort and speed of travel by stage. Toward sunset they crossed the last ridge south of Dayton and came swaying and rolling down the long dusty hill road that is now South Brown street. A large crowd awaited them at Dayton’s new courthouse. [Music.]
VOICE 1: They’re comin’, folks! George Hamer seen the coach from the top o’ the courthouse with his spy glass. They’re comin’ along the big road south o’ town.
VOICE 2: Land sakes, I never really believed they’d get here. Just think, Dayton’s goin’ to have its own stage line!
ROBBINS: An’ a lot o’ good it’ll do most Dayton folks! Rich furriners comin’ in. You’ll see. They’ll be takin’ things from Dayton folks that’s already settled here!
VOICE 3: That’s right. We oughtn’t never to of let the stage come! [Other voices agree.]
BOB: Ezra, you can’t see the woods for the trees. I tell you, the stage will be a great thing for Dayton…and for you and everyone else in Dayton. [Voices in agreement.]
ROBBINS: Bob skinner, you an’ the Dayton Watchman is all for the rich folks. But you’ll see! Cabin Town’s got the votes.
VOICES: That’s right!…No, it ain’t! [Ad lib into angry crowd sound.]
VOICE 4: [Rising over crowd sound.] [Far off.] Here comes the stage! [Coach sound coming on to halt. Cheers. Boos.]
VOICE 2: [Woman.] There’s Colonel Newcom gettin’ out o’ the stage. I do believe he’s goin’ to make one o’ his speeches.
NEWCOM: Folks! Folks! [Crowd sound down.] Folks! [Near silence.] This is another great day in Dayton! There’s been a lot o’ such days since Dayton was founded twenty-two years ago. And there’ll be a lot more, because, as I’ve always said, Dayton’s the kind of town that does things, that keeps goin’ forward. [Cheers and boos.] Folks, our stage lines goin’ to be a success. Anyone who’s traveled by horseback or wagon train…and most of you have…knows the discomfort an’ loneliness an’ weary hours of such travel. But now it’s different. ’Stead o’ joltin’ on a hard saddle or wagon seat, you ride easy on leather cushions. ’Stead o’ bein’ alone, you’ve got sociable company. ’Stead of takin’ three or four days from Cincinnati, you make it in two. Speed, comfort and sociability…that’s the new standard o’ travel in an’ out o’ Dayton. (PAUSE.) But, folks, it means more’n that. Today people can come to Dayton by the best and fastest means known to man. And they’ll come. There’s several have come on this first trip. There’ll be still more next time, an’ more an’ more as time goes on. New citizens, new families, comin’ to help Dayton’s growth an’ prosperity. Yes, sir, folks, this is a great day in Dayton! [Cheers and boos.] [Music.]
BILLY: Uncle Tim?
TIM: What is it, Billy?
BILLY: Do you know Mr. Buck, the stage driver?
TIM: Sure. Everyone in Dayton knows Buck Matson.
BILLY: He must be an awful brave man, Uncle Tim. He must o’ fought most all the Indians in Ohio.
TIM: Buck told you his Indian-fighting stories, did he?
BILLY: Yes, lots of ’em. When I grow up, I’m goin’ to fight the Indians, too…the way Buck did. [Yawns.]
TIM: That’s the way to fight ’em…[Chuckles.]… the way Buck did.
BILLY: Why are you laughin’, [yawns.] Uncle Tim?
TIM: You’ll find out, Billy. But just now you’re going to bed. [Music.]
MRS. NASH: Mollie, I do wish you and Joe had been with me on the stage from Cincinnati. That Colonel Newcom is the most entertaining man! He told me all about his driving the first wagon train to Dayton…and about the terrible Indian fight they had on the way.
MOLLIE: Oh, Joe!
JOE: [Coming on.] Yes, Mollie.
MOLLIE: Colonel Newcom has been telling Aunt Sarah all about the famous Indian fight.
JOE: He has? And how many were killed, Aunt Sarah…this time?
MRS. NASH: This time? But there was only one time, Joe.
JOE: There wasn’t any time, Aunt Sarah. I was on that trip; I was just a kid at the time. And the only Indians we saw were a few friendly ones. We traded them a few pounds of flour for some fresh meat.
MRS. NASH: Why! The very idea! And Colonel Newcom seemed to be such a nice man.
JOE: The Colonel? He’s all right. He’s one of Dayton’s leading citizens…and one of Ohio’s leading liars, especially about Indians…oh, yes, and fish, too. [Music.]
SOPHIE: [Sleepily.] James, darling.
JAMES: Yes, Sophie.
SOPHIE: It’s so peaceful, isn’t it? Even the frogs and crickets don’t seem to disturb the quiet. And the night air is so soft. (PAUSE.) James, there are just the two of us now, aren’t there?
JAMES: Yes, darling. [A long sigh.] [Music.]
[Door opens and closes…hand press running.]
BOB: Hello, Ben Van Cleve. How are you?
BEN: Fine, Bob. Here’s that notice of public land sale.
BOB: Good. We’ll publish it this week.
BEN: Bob, I’ve been sort of worried about you. When the stage line started running nearly a year ago, Ezra Robbins said he was going to put the Dayton Watchman out of business.
BOB: [Chuckles.] Well, we’re still running. Ezra was mighty sore at first and we lost a lot of subscriptions. But we got them all back, including Ezra’s, along with sixty-three new ones from people who have moved to Dayton since the stage line started running. [Seriously.] You know, Ben, Dayton needs people like Ezra Robbins. Our community leaders can easily get the idea that they’re right all the time…and they’re not. We need difference of opinion, even opposition, to make us stop and weigh the ideas we have for improving Dayton.
BEN: That’s right, Bob. And, by the way, how does Ezra feel about the stage now?
BOB: [Chuckles.] Well, I saw the stage start for Cincinnati early this morning… and there was Ezra sitting right up beside Buck Matson. [Music.]
NARRATOR: The ideas of Bob Skinner, Dayton’s first newspaper publisher, have marked the progress of Dayton ever since. Freedom of opinion, freedom to disagree, freedom to oppose…these principles are woven into every chapter of the story of Dayton. And it is the hope of our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, that these elements of the democratic process will play an important part in all future Dayton achievements. (PAUSE.) Today’s story of the coming of the stage to Dayton is evidence of early Dayton’s eagerness for better contacts with the outer world. It was an eagerness which could not be satisfied with one means alone. Within the decade work was started on the Miami and Erie Canal, an institution which was to have a powerful dramatic effect on Dayton’s future. That is the story which we shall present next week, a drama that meant so much to every Daytonian of the older generations. Listen for the warning cry of the old-time canal boatman, “Low Bridge!” [Music.]
ANNOUNCER: We want you, your family and friends, as our guests at a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. Go to the box office on the ground floor of the Gas and Electric building, 25 N. Main Street, and ask for your free tickets for next Sunday or any Sunday. (PAUSE.) “Great Days in Dayton” is sponsored by The Dayton Power and Light Company. The dramas are presented by the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company. Your narrator was Charles McLean. Your announcer is Morton Da Costa. Programs originate at the Dayton Art Institute, and are broadcast each Sunday afternoon over Station WHIO. Be sure to tune in next Sunday for “Low Bridge,” the next thrilling chapter of “Great Days in Dayton!”
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