DAYTON DIRECTORY AND BUSINESS ADVERTISER.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED A SKETCH OF THE
HISTORY OF THE CITY.
PUBLISHED BY JAMES ODELL, JR.
The rapid increase in the size and business of the City, renders it daily more difficult and more important to find the residence and place of business of the citizens; and believing that such a Work as the present, the first of the kind ever attempted here, would meet with that encouragement which its merit and usefulness may be found to deserve, I have ventured on the experiment. The first compilation of such a book must of course be attended with considerable labor, and not entirely free from errors; but I believe it will be found as accurate as could, under the circumstances, be expected. The Directory has been prepared by myself. For the list of the Post Offices, I am indebted to MR. SPEICE; and for the Sketch of the History of Dayton, I am under obligation to MR. CURWEN. JAMES ODELL, JR. Dayton, July, 1850, [p. 4]
SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF DAYTON
BY M. E. CURWEN*
At the commencement of the present century, a few log cabins, on the south bank of the Miami, hemmed in on all sides by the primeval forests, where Indian hunters pursued their game as free as do the Camanches on the plains of New Mexico, alone showed the spot, where now stands one of the most beautiful cities of Ohio. Its rapid growth, in the midst of profound peace and almost unbroken prosperity, is marked by few of those incidents which the dignity of history thinks worthy of notice. I propose therefore only, in this very hasty sketch, to rescue from oblivion the memory of a few former incidents, which may interest our own citizens, and which, with those who witnessed them, are rapidly being lost to us.
The local annalist, when detailing the little things of his immediate neighborhood, may safely presume that his readers are familiar with the general history of the country, the minutiae of -
*The gentleman, on whom the Publisher depended for writing the History of Dayton, having been prevented by other engagements from fulfilling his design, application was made to me a few days before the work was put to press, to furnish it. I had not therefore leisure to write such a history as I could have wished, but this sketch- such as it is- may be of service to some future historian. I have consulted the Western Spy of Cincinnati, 1799-1804; Burnet’s Notes; Perkins’s Western Annals, Atwater’s History of Ohio; Howe’s Ohio Historical Collections; the newspapers generally; tombstones; advertisements; recitals in deeds and wills; the public records; Chase’s Sketch of the History of Ohio; the local and general laws; the City Ordinances; Public Documents; the American Pioneer; Imlay’s Travels; Carver’s Travels. &c. &c. I have derived much information from the testimony of eyewitnessed, which I wrote down immediately. [p. 5]
-which he thinks worth recording. It will be sufficient, therefore, to state, in very general terms, that the first English settlement within the limits of Ohio, was a trading house called Pickawillany, at the mouth of Lorimie’s Creek, in Shelby County, sixteen miles north-west of Sidney. It was destroyed by the French and Indians, in 1752. From that period, down to as late as 1782, the Indian tribes, roaming through the Miami valley, were complete masters of the country. They made frequent incursions into Kentucky, and were not entirely checked, till they suffered their great defeat by Wayne, on the banks of the Maumee, August 20th, 1794. The Delawares, Miamis, Shawanese, Tawas, and Wyandots, brought from 1,500 to 1,600 warriors into that engagement; and though the treaty of Greenville, August 3d, 1795, relieved the settlers from apprehensions of immediate danger, numerous bodies of Indians still remained within a few marches of their settlements. After the peace of 1763, the Miamis moved northward and westward from the Great Miami River, and a body of about 4,000 Shawanese, who, in less than a century, had migrated from the Atlantic shores of Florida to this vicinity, established themselves at Piqua, and made that point their great head quarters in Ohio. A thousand Kentuckians, under Gen. Clark, in 1782, surprised and destroyed their village on the site of West Boston, Clark County, upon which they removed to the neighborhood of St. Marys and Wapaughkoneta, where they were residing when Dayton was settled. –The Delawares were in the same vicinity. Fort St. Clair, near Eaton, was the military post on the west, in the immediate vicinity of which, a bloody battle took place between our troops under Major Adair, and a large body of Indians, on the 6th of November, 1792. In 1793, Wayne represented the enemy as numerous, determined, and deperate. The country was then a dense wilderness, containing ravines, thickets, morasses and water courses, which greatly impeded the movements of an army. When marching from Cincinnati to Greenville, in October, 1793, in addition to the usual videttes, he ordered a strong guard to precede the army, which was so arranged that the line might be quickly formed, by a single manoeuvre.
As late as 1799, the movements of these tribes were watched with anxious interest at Cincinnati, and exaggerated reports of their warlike preparations alarmed the inhabitants. At that pe- [p. 6] –riod, the country west of here had generally been deserted by the Indians, except by occasional hunters, and Dayton was then the frontier. Old Chillicothe, a Shawnee town, three miles north of Xenia, on the Little Miami, was the nearest settlement in that direction. To the N. E. was Chribb’s Station, in the forks of Mad River, built in the spring of 1796; Mercer’s Station, near the present site of Fairfield, Clark County; Demint’s Station, now Springfield; and McPherson’s Station, in the vicinity of Urbana. Northward were a settlement of two or three families at Livingston, a town laid out probably by J. C. Symmes, at the mouth of Honey Creek, Miami County; Staunton, a small settlement near Troy; a few people at Piqua, and Lorimie’s Store, 16 miles N. W. from Sidney – the extreme frontier in that direction. Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Franklin, were small villages. In 1804, the whole population between Dayton and Franklin did not exceed six or eight families, and the only house upon the road between the two points, was a log cabin, about 12 by 14 feet square, on the site of Miamisburg. When a cabin was built, the first care was to cut down every tree within rifle shot, that was large enough to afford shelter for an Indian to fire upon the inmates – a practice which gave rise to the prevailing habit of this country of destroying all those forest trees near dwellings, which in older settled countries are carefully preserved from the woodman’s axe.
Clark’s expedition against Piqua made the Miami country known to the Kentuckians. The army had forded Mad River near its mouth, and undoubtedly carried home exaggerated accounts of the fertility of its rich bottom lands. Six years after, the point at which Dayton stands was selected by some gentlemen, who designed laying out a town by the name of Venice. The Indian troubles, however, frustrated the plan, and we escaped being Venitians. Wayne’s Treaty, at Greenville, promised security against the barbarians, and seventeen days after it was signed, August 20th, 1795, Arthur St. Clair, then Governor of the Territory, Jonathon Dayton, late a Senator from New Jersey, General James Wilkinson, then in Wayne’s army, and Col. Israel Ludlow from Long Hill, Morris County, N. J., contracted with John Cleve Symmes for the purchase and settlement of the seventh and eighth ranges between Mad River and the Little Miami. [p.7]
Two parties of surveyors, consisting, among others, of Daniel C. Cooper, also of Long Hill, N. J., John Dunlap and Benjamin Van Cleve, left Cincinnati on Monday, the 21st of September, 1795 to run the boundary of the new purchase. Their horses were stolen by Indians, in the night, but they reached the mouth of Mad River on Sunday the 27th, and found six Wyandot Indians in camp there. Both parties were at first alarmed at meeting, but they soon exchanged presents, and parted on friendly terms. A party of Kentuckians accompanied Cooper, to view the country. On Monday they met up the Miami bottom a mile or two above the mouth of Mad River, but found the vines so thick and the weeds so high, that they could not see the land, and became discouraged and returned to Kentucky. Dunlap’s party remained till the 4th of October, and then returned to Cincinnati, Mr Cooper having preceded them.
On the first of November, the party went again to Mad River, for the purpose of laying out the town, which was done on Wednesday, November 4th, by Israel Ludlow. It was called Dayton, from the name of one of the proprietors. Arrangements were made for its settlement in the ensuing spring, and donation lots, distributed by lot, with other privileges, were offered to actual settlers. Forty-six persons entered into engagements to remove from Cincinnati to Dayton, but only nineteen fulfilled their engagements. Two or three settlers arrived in the course of the winter. Those from Cincinnati left that place on Monday, March 21st, 1796. Mrs. McClare, a widow, and the family of Samuel Thompson, were taken up the Miami, in a large perogue, by William Gahagan, a young Irishman, who was one of the party, and Benjamin Van Cleve, then about four or five-and-twenty, son of Mrs. Thompson, by a former marriage, and father of our townsman, J. W. Van Cleve. They reached Dayton on Friday, April 1st.
Some sketch of the history of these families may be interesting.
SAMUEL THOMPSON was originally from western Pennsylvania. He removed at an early day, to Cincinnati, where he married Mrs Van Cleve, the mother of Benjamin and William, whose father was killed in that town, by Indians, June 1, 1791. The issue of this marriage was a daughter, who married Robert Steele and who is still living. [p. 8]
BENJAMIN VAN CLEVE, was, at the time, about 25 years of age. He was educated for a surveyor. On the organization of the Court here, he was appointed clerk and held that office for many years. He was the first post-master in Dayton, and was till his death one of the most prominent citizens of the place. His “Memoranda,” some of which have been published in the American Pioneer, embody almost all the documentary history of the early settlement, that is now in existence. He married Mary Whiting, by whom he had several children. She died December 28th, 1810; and on the 10th of March, 1812, he was united to Mary Templeton of Champaign County. There were no children of this marriage. He died in 1821.
WILLIAM VAN CLEVE, who was a few years younger than Benjamin, was a farmer. In the war of 1812, he commanded the Dayton Riflemen, who marched in June of that year, from this place, for the protection of the frontier, with the title of Captain. His first wife was Effie Westfall, who was the mother of all his children. By his second and third wives, he had no children. He died in 1826.
JAMES MCCLURE, JOHN MCCLURE, and THOMAS MCCLURE, were brothers, the eldest of whom was not then over twenty-five years of age. They are believed to have been from western Pennsylvania. Their father was among the killed at St. Clair’s defeat; and his widow, their mother, came with her sons to Dayton. They afterwards moved to Honey Creek, Miami county, O. Thomas is now residing in Dayton.
DANIEL FERRELL was from western Virginia. He was then a married man, over fifty years of age. He left a daughter, whose descendents now reside near Honey Creek.
WILLIAM HAMER’S place of nativity is unknown. He was probably from Maryland; as he is known to have had relatives in that state. At the time of his removal to Dayton, he was between forty and fifty years of age, and married. He resided on the farm now owned by the Tait family, on the Springfield Turnpike, three miles from town. He was well known as the local preacher of the Methodist persuasion. The principal settlements of those attached to that form of worship being upon Mad River, service was usually held at this house. His descendants were Solomon, then a lad of fifteen or sixteen, who left this vicinity in 1815; Thomas, who married here, and died November 30, 1820, [p. 9] at the age of 30; Nancy, who married William Gahagan, by whom she had several children; Mary, who married William Loury, who resides three miles north of Dayton; and Sarah, who married _____ Loury, who lived upon Mad River.
WILLIAM GAH-A-GAN was of Irish parentage, and came to Cincinnati from Pittsburgh, where he had last resided. He was, at that time, a young unmarried man. He first married Nancy Hamer, and after her death, Mrs. Tennery, by whom he had no children. He did at Troy, O., about 1845.
Of SOLOMON GOSS and JOHN DAVIS, no information could be collected. They were not residing here in 1799.
THOMAS DAVIS was a native of Wales, but removed to Dayton from Pennsylvania. He was married when he came here, and a numerous family survived him. The eldest son now resides at New Paris, Preble County, O. Thomas Davis lived at the bluffs, on the Shroyer farm, two miles south of town, where he died more than thirty years since.
ABRAHAM GRASSMIRE was a weaver, of German descent, between 20 and 30 years of age, and unmarried. He removed from Dayton to Honey Creek about 1802-3.
The local authorities do not agree whether Dorough’s christian name was John or Amos. He was a married man, between twenty and thirty years of age, and by occupation a miller. He owned the property at Kneisley’s Mill, on Mad River, five miles N. E. of Dayton. He left a family, which is now thought to be extinct.
WILLIAM CHENOWETH was probably from Kentucky. He was married and had a family. At the time of his settlement here, he was about thirty-five year of age. By trade, he was a blacksmith, but does not seem to have followed his business; for in September, 1799, there was no blacksmith within twenty miles of Dayton, though, to use the language of that time, “the country was thickly settled and emigration to it rapid!” Chenoweth removed Green County about 1803, or perhaps earlier.
JAMES MORRIS was from Pennsylvania. He came as a soldier, under Hamer, to Ohio, where he turned his attention to farming. He was twice married, but died childless.
GEORGE NEWCOM, the only survivor of the original settlers of Dayton, is a native of Ireland. He removed to America in 1775, and settled in Delaware, whence he removed to western Penn- [p. 10] Sylvania, where he married Mary Henderson, by whom he had two children, Jane, the widow of the late Nathaniel Wilson of this city, and who, it is believed, was the first child born in Dayton; and John, who died about ten years since, leaving descendants. Col. Newcom, as he is usually called, was Sheriff of the county, State Senator, member of the Assembly, and enjoys the respect of the whole community.
WILLIAM NEWCOM, his younger brother, was at that time about twenty years of age. He afterwards married a Kentucky lady, Charlotte Nolan, who bore him a son, Robert, now living. After his death, she married John Baker, whom she survived, She is now the wife of Henry Row.
Horses and cattle were brought by the first settlers, and they raised a fine crop of corn that year. Pigs were first raised by D. C. Cooper, in 1799. There were, at that time, no sheep here; but they were introduced soon after. Flour was obtained in Cincinnati, at $9,00 per barrel, and the transportation cost $5,00 more.
Symmes being unable to complete his payments, the land reverted to the government; but Daniel C. Cooper, partly by the acquisition of pre-emption rights, and partly by agreement of the settlers, became the titular proprietor of the town. He laid it out again upon the same plan originally adopted by St. Clair and his associates, in 1795. It was bounded on the north by Water Street; east by Mill Street to Third; thence west to St. Clair Street; thence south to Fifth Street; thence west to Jefferson; thence south to South, or as it has since been called, Sixth Street; thence along South Street to Ludlow; thence north to Fifth; thence west to Wilkinson; and thence north to Water Street. The streets running northward are 160 W. of N., and are crossed by those running eastward at right angles. The plat was divided into 280 building lots, 100 feet wide and 200 feet deep; and ample reservations were made for markets, schools, churches, and burial grounds. The streets were named after the original proprietors. Dayton being a Federalist, a kind of compromise was made, and one street was named Jefferson. At the same time he laid out fifty-four out-lots, of ten acres each, which lie east of the Canal Basin, from Third Street to beyond Richard Street, and extend from Wayne, Vance, Jack- [p. 11] son Streets and Maiden Lane, to the present line of the Corporation.
Let us now go back and view Dayton as it was half a century ago.
Approaching from the south, the last cabin has been left ten miles behind us. A long and fatiguing journey on horseback, over a bad road cut through the woods, has brought us to the close of day. As we descend the hill the woods open. A basin, nearly circular in form, lies in full view, the eastern rim of which is crowned with a dense forest, shutting out the view in that direction, while the light mist of a summer evening, rising slowly from the water, extending from the extreme north-east and sweeping round to the west and south, in a semicircle, show
“Where dark Miami rolls its waves along.”
The ground in front, except where to the right, a narrow strip of prairie sweeps round the foot of the hills, is thickly covered with hazle bushes, above which a few scattered and stunted oaks spread their scraggy arms in the evening sun. Immediately in front, a narrow wagon road, cut out of the bushes, extends northward to the river, now about a mile distant. Advancing three-quarters of a mile, we come to a log cabin on the roadside, where, as did General Fielding Lowry a few years after, we enquire the distance to Dayton. The owner, John Welsh, a substantial farmer, directs us down the road , about a quarter of a mile, to “Newcom’s Tavern,” on the river bank, the centre of Dayton. Welsh’s house was on the south-east corner of Main and Fifth streets. Passing it, the traveller came, at the distance of two squares, to a gully, nearly five feet deep, crossing the road diagonally, and hidden from view, on either side, by thick copses of hazle bushes. It extended from near the corner of First and Wilkinson streets, crossing Main at Third street, and was lost in the prairie near Lowry street. It served as a natural drain for the ground on which the town was laid out, but at that season of the year was dry, and crossed without difficulty.
Could we have then looked down the vista of coming years to 1850, we should have seen ourselves as we rose from the bottom of the ravine to the level of the road, in the midst of a busy city. [p. 12] On the left rises a majestic pile of Dayton marble, the most elegant and costly Court House in Ohio; while on the right, the stir of the arrival and departure of coaches, the Dayton Bank, the Telegraph office, three printing offices, gas lights, and the rich display of goods, indicate the extent of travel and of business, the progress of the arts, and the comforts and luxury of the citizens. Could such a vision have been then before us, we should have wakened to the reality of the scene around, with as broad a stare, and as incredulous of our identity as did Rip Van Winkle, after his slumber of twenty years in the mountains; or as did Abon Hasson, the Wag, when on waking, he found himself in the bed chamber, and attended with the honors due only to the sacred person of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid. Dayton is found to be a scattered settlement of half a dozen houses, extending along the river bank from Jefferson to Wilkinson streets.
The Great Miami, which here flows nearly due west, sweeps along the northern boundary of the village. In the imagination of those beyond the mountains, its dark and sullen waters were only rendered more hideous by the war canoes of cannibals, who scented their prey like bloodhounds, and from whose merciless cruelty death was a happy escape. We smile to read in Campbell’s verse, that palm trees flourish and tigers prowl along the shores of Lake Erie; but not more strangely has a poet of our own, blending in his fancy the features of the country with the character of the race that possessed it, darkened our bright and lucid stream with the hues of almost Stygian blackness.
The following diagram gives the correct representation of the topography of the place, on the first of April, 1799, three years after its settlement. The outline represents the limits of the town plat as originally laid out, and above detailed. A narrow wagon road was cut out the whole length of Main Street, and Water Street was opened to its present width. From the eastern end of this street, namely, at Mill Street, a wagon road extended up Mad River by Hamer’s farm to Demint’s and Mercer’s Stations. Into this road, a little beyond the east line of the town, came a road running from Arnett’s house [VIII] along where First Street now is. Another road, crossing Mad River where the channel is now almost filled up, nearly opposite Webster Street, led to Livingston, Staunton, [p. 13] and Piqua. The Cincinnati road, through Franklin and Hamilton, coming into Main Street, has been mentioned. These were the only roads at that period.
[Line drawing: Topography of Dayton – April, 1799.]
On the diagram, [I] represents Col. Newcom’s Tavern, which is still standing, on the s. w. corner of Main and Water streets. It was built of hewn logs, but has since been weatherboarded.
II George Westfall’s cabin, on the S. E. corner of Main St. and the alley between First and Water Streets.
III. Paul D. Butler’s, on Water St., near Main, on the present foundation of the Old Brewery.
IV. This cabin, on the S. E. corner of Water and Jefferson Streets, had been occupied by D. C. Cooper and Jacob Brown, afterwards the celebrated General Brown, who distinguished himself in the war of 1812, who kept a bachelor’s hall there. It was unoccupied in April, 1799.
V. Samuel Thompson’s, on Water Street, where stands Sinesy Johnson’s, the second house west of St. Clair Street.
VI. Mrs. McClure, mother of James McClure, lived in this cabin, on the s. w. corner of Water and Mill Streets.
VII. John Williams, a farmer, occupied the cabin on the S. E. corner of Water and Wilkinson Streets. [Marked VI by mistake of the engraver on the diagram.]
VIII. Thomas Arnett, a shoemaker, on the N. W. corner of First and Ludlow Streets.
IX. John Welsh, S. E. corner of Fifth and Main Streets.
These log cabins constituted DAYTON. All the rest of the [p. 14] town plat was covered with hazle bushes, and occasional wild cherry and scrub oak trees. On the east, the forest extended down to the present Dayton Company’s Hydraulic Basin; to the south-east, as far as Lowry Street; and on the south, they crowned the summits of the hills. Down to as late as 1822, there was no dwelling or clearing east of Mill Street, except a log cabin, on the north side of Third Street, between Beckel and High Streets. North of the Miami, the forests were thick and reached to the river bank. Deer and game of all kinds were abundant. The cry of wolves was frequently heard in the evening, and panthers were occasionally seen, and committed depredations on the property of the settlers. The tangled maze of weeds and vines, which covered the rich bottom lands north of old Mad River, has been already alluded to. West of Wilkinson St., was a huge corn field, within one common enclosure, where, as in that golden age of the world, when men lodged under trees and fed upon acorns, every man was at liberty to till as much of the soil as he chose.
Captain Imlay, in his Travels, in 1782, described the Arcadian blessedness of the first settlements, in the most glowing language. The metaphors of oriental poetry, which seem so extravagant to us barbarians of the western wilderness, are cold and tame to the high wrought descriptions, which allured the young and ardent to brave its dangers and its hardships. One would think he was depicting those “dear, lovely bowers of innocence and ease,” whose decay Goldsmith so pathetically lamented in the Deserted Village:
“The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age, and whispering lovers made.
How often have I bless’d the coming day,
And all the village train, from labor free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree;
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey’d;
And many a gambol frolick’d o’er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.”
Fire hunting, as it was called, was, at that day, a favorite amusement. The deer came down to the river bank, in the evening, to drink, and sheltered themselves, for the night, under [p. 15] the bushes, which grew along the shore. As soon as they were quiet, the hunters in pirogues, paddled slowly up the stream, the steersman holding aloft a burning torch of dried hickory bark, by the light of which the deer were discovered and fired upon. – If the shot was successful, the party landed, skinned the animal, hung the carcass upon a tree, to be brought home in the morning, and then proceeded to hunt more game.
Little squads of Indians, in parties of about half a dozen, from the vicinity of Wapaughkoneta, usually came every season, till about 1805-6, to the banks of the Miami, to hunt and trade with the white men. They generally encamped on the north bank of the river, above Main Street. They were a drunken, worthless set, and, when in liquor, were often noisy and troublesome. The high spirit of an Indian could not brook the lash. It was a degradation his sullen and vindictive spirit never forgave. But he submitted in bonds with a good grace’ and when Col. Newcom found them troublesome, he sometimes seized, bound and confined them in his corn crib.
In the case of white culprits, before the erection of the log jail in the rear of the present Court House, in the summer of 1803, a mode of incarceration quite primitive and oriental – a mode which the histories of Joseph and Jeremiah have rendered classic, and from which the sweet Psalmist of Israel has drawn many of his illustrations – was occasionally resorted to. The Colonel, who enjoyed the honors and emoluments of the shrievality, had an old, unwalled well- “and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” Into this, he “let down” those who broke the peace of the State, and there they remained till brought up for trial.
The navigation of the Miami to Cincinnati, at low stages of the water, was then considered dangerous, and it was, in a few years, frequently interrupted by mill dams and fish traps. The only mode of traveling, off of the water courses, was on horseback. In 1799, a party left Newark, N. J., about the middle of November, passed through Reading, Harrisburg and Chambersburg, Penna., to Wheeling, where they embarked on a flatboat, on the Ohio, and reached Cincinnati on New Year’s Day. More than ten years after, a Dayton merchant, who traveled on horseback, accompanied by his wife, a pack horse carrying their luggage, and he having their infant child swung round his neck [p. 16] in a net, and resting upon a pillow, on the pommel before him, was a month in going from Dayton to Philadelphia.
From Cincinnati, the early Daytonians brought all their flour, groceries, store goods, and whiskey. Transportation, in 1799, which was principally on horseback, was $2.50 per hundred weight. The journey took several days. And here it may be interesting to state the Cincinnati prices. In November, 1799, Imperial tea was 22 shillings 6 pence; Hyson 16s/ 10p.; loaf sugar 4s.; flour 18s. 9p. per 100 lbs.; wheat 5s.; rye 3s.; corn 1s. 10p. per 100 lbs.; pork 13s. 9p.; beef 22s. 6p.
The state of the roads was not the only difficulty attending the transportation. The journey often produced emergencies, which gave occasion for the exercise of that ready invention, that necessity proverbially brings forth. On one occasion, Col. Newcom was returning alone from Cincinnati, with a load of whiskey, consisting of two ten gallon kegs, swung across a horse. Night overtaking him, he was compelled to camp out. He unloaded and tethered the animal, and laid himself down to rest under a tree. In the morning when he arose to resume his journey, a serious difficulty presented itself. To unload had been easy, but the weight of the kegs now defied his utmost exertions to laden his beast. After repeated failures, a plan suggested itself to him, which nothing but the ready wit of an Irishman would have discovered. The Newcomian theory, by which one man is enable to load two ten-gallon kegs of whisky upon a horse, is to take the halter, cast the animal with it, roll the load on him, and then assist him to rise.
Whisky, however, though the solace and elixir of life, was too dear4, when $2,50 per 100 lbs., was added to the prime cost; and hence it soon became an article of home manufacture. The corn, that not wasted in bread stuffs, soon found its way into the alembic. In August, 1799, Cooper advertised in the Western Spy, at Cincinnati, offering good encouragement to an experienced distiller; and, in the fall of that year, he established a distillery at the Patterson farm, two miles south of Dayton. About the same time, he erected a saw mill and “corn-cracker,” which obtained all the custom of the town, and took toll from the Trojans and Piquods. Cooper at that time, live upon the Patterson farm, and resided there until 1804.
As late as 1817, there were but two pleasure carriages in Day- [p. 17] ton. One was owned by Mr. Cooper, and the other by Mr. H. G. Phillips. Everybody who traveled, went on horseback. There were, at the close of 1849, fifteen hundred pleasure carriages in the county, which were valued for taxation – and hence of course below their real value – at $94,000.
Col. Newcom’s Tavern, alluded to above, was built in 1798-9. The tavern was on the first floor; and the second was used for a store, and, after erection of the county, for a Court Room. It was considered a very fine house, at that period.
In 1800, a general meeting house built of logs, was put up, on the north side of Third Street, a little east of Main. It was surrounded by a grave yard, which extended back to the alley, half way between Third and Second Streets. Here the bones of such of the “forefathers of the hamlet,” as escaped the exhuming spade of cellar-diggers, repose. The ground – as is the usual fate restless activity of the living – is now built over; and perhaps some moulder beneath the very spot where this sketch, recording their fate, is written.
-“Earth, that nourish’d them, now claims
Their growth, to be resolved to earth again.”
The first clergyman, who preached here, was Rev. John Thompson of Kentucky, the distinguished missionary to Palestine, who is now resident near Beirout. He was never settled here, but preached several times during 1800, and continued to have occasional appointments in Dayton, till about 1820. A frame Methodist Meeting house, on the site of Wesley Chapel, Third Street near Main, was built a few years after. As early as 1799, William Hamer, who has been already mentioned, was a local preacher of the Methodist persuasion, and he continued to hold meetings at his house, on the present Tait farm, for five or six years after that period.
After the first proof of this sheet was taken, and just as it was ready for the press, I accidently learned that there was information relative to the early history of the Methodist church here, in the Life of Rev. John Collins, written by Mr. Justice McLean; but I was unable to procure a copy. After making many enquiries about our churches, I found that no definite information [p.18] could be obtained, without a previous personal examination of their records, which I had not the leisure to make.
In 1800, the first flat boat that ever navigated the Miami from Dayton to the Ohio, was built and navigated by David Loury. The flat boat trade was carried on form that period till the opening of the canal in 1829, and in later years became important. In April, 1818, 1,700 barrels of flour were shipped from this vicinity, in that way, for New Orleans. Boats were built and launched with the spring flood, and loaded with flour, bacon, and whisky, the staple products of the country. The trip to the Ohio usually occupied five or six days. In consequence of the river having made a new channel, about 1808-9, below Hamilton, some care was required, at the falling stage of water, to navigate through it, and in the spring of 1809, the river was represented as dangerous; but this idea was removed by a successful trip of a flat boat belonging to John Compton, which was dispatched from Dayton, May 23d, 1809, and arrived safely in the Ohio, a few days after.
In the fall of 1800, Mr. McDougle, of Detroit, brought some store goods to Dayton, and opened the first store, in the second story of Col. Newcom’s Tavern.
In 1801, the total free male population, over twenty-one years old, between the two Miamis, from the present southern line of Montgomery and Greene counties, and extending probably as far north as Vienna, Springfield, New Carlisle, and the mouth of Honey Creek, was three hundred and eighty-two. Calculating on the data which the election returns now furnish, this would make the total white population of that district not far from 1,800 souls. It may now be safely estimated at from 45,000 to 50,000. West of the Great Miami, there were twenty-eight adult males, and east of the Little Miami, less than twenty. The very mode of enumeration, regarding, as it did, only those who were capable of bearing arms, shows the state of the country.
On the 24th of March, 1803, the legislature erected the territory north of the present limits of Warren and Butler counties, into a new county, which they called Montgomery. It included the whole of the present counties of Preble, Miami, Darke, Shelby, Mercer, Van Wert, Paulding, Defiance, and, with the exception of their eastern range of townships, Allen, Putnam, [p. 19] and Henry, and nearly half of Lake County. This comprises a territory of about 6,300 square miles – nearly equal in extent to the kingdom of Saxony, and only 1000 square miles less than the whole state of New Jersey. The temporary seat of justice for this territory was fixed, by law, “at the house of George Newcum, in the town of Dayton.” This act went into force on the first of May, 1803. (3 Chase’s Statutes, 2,100.)
The first court held in the new county, was “at the house of George Newcum, “on the N. E. corner of Main and Water Streets, which, as has been stated, is still standing. The Court commenced on the morning of July 27, 1803, and adjourned on the evening of the same day, there being no business to transact before it. There were present in that upper room, representing the dignity of the state of Ohio, the Honorable Francis Dunlevy, President of the First Judicial Circuit, then in the prime of manhood; Benjamin Archer of Centreville, Isaac Spinning, who resided on the farm four miles east of Dayton, where his son Charles now lives, and John Ewing of Washington township, late from Pennsylvania, Esquires, Associate Judges; Benjamin Van Cleve, who acted as Clerk pro tempore; George Newcom, Sheriff; James Miller, Coroner; Daniel Symmes of Cincinnati, Prosecutor pro tempore for the State; and about the whole white male population of the county, out-siders, who came to have a frolic and enjoy the fun.
The second session of the Court was held on Tuesday, November 22nd 1803, when the first case was tried. It was an indictment against Peter Sunderland, for an assault and battery on Benjamin Scott, ”then being in the peace of God, and of our State.” The defendant pleaded guilty, and was fined $6 and the costs.- At the same term, were two criminal cases, which were tried, and four civil suits, which were all discontinued; and the Court adjourned the next day.
In 1804, Cornelius Westfall, who was afterwards for many years Clerk of the Miami Common Pleas, a Kentuckian, established the first school in Dayton. He was succeeded in 1805, by Swansey Whiting, a Pennsylvanian from the vicinity of Pittsburgh, who had been well educated and who afterwards became a physician. In the same year, 1804, Mr. Cooper built an “elegant mansion” of hewn logs, lined inside, instead of plastering, with cherry boards, after the manner of the ancient oriental [p. 20] monarch, on the s. w. corner of Ludlow and First Streets, on the side of the present residence of J. D. Phillips.
Though in the midst of a limestone country, line was little used in building. Col. Newcom was perhaps the first who used mortar for chinking. A country lad happened to be in town while they were fixing his cabin, and on his return home, he told his folks that Col. N. was plastering his house inside with flour. The incident shows how little lime was used. When it was needed, stones were collected from the river bed, a huge pile of logs built, the stones piled upon it, and a fire being placed underneath, it answered the purpose of a kiln.
In March, 1805, there was a great flood upon the Miami. The water covered the floors of houses on the west side of Main Street, between First and Second, which are now a little above the curbing. In consequence to this flood, Mr. Cooper proposed to vacate the town plat, and lay out a new town upon the same plan on the hill to the eastward, where every citizen should have a lot of the same dimensions, and in the same relative situation, as he owned in the town. This plan would most probably have been adopted, but for the opposition of two prominent citizens, who insisted that Cooper should pay them for their improvements, which they would abandon by a removal. The he was neither willing, nor able to do.
A post office was established in Dayton, in 1804 05 5, and B. Van Cleve appointed Post Master. He held the place until his death, in 1821. The office was at the S. E. corner of First and St. Clair Streets, where Mr. Van Cleve resided. No more appropriate place will occur than this, for information relative to the Post Office in this place. On the death of Mr. Van Cleve, George S. Houston was appointed Post Master, and he also held the office until his death. This estimable man was a son of William Churchill Houston, who was formerly Professor of Mathematics in Princeton College, and during the revolutionary war a distinguished citizen of New Jersey. His eldest sister having married in Dayton, George came here about 1810. In 1820, he was elected Recorder of Dayton, and in December of that year became the editor and proprietor of the Ohio Watchman, of which the Dayton Journal is a continuation, at which post he continued till November, 1826. He died after a long illness, April 29, 1831, leaving two children, who are both living. The subsequent post masters were [p. 21]
David Cathcart, from 1831 to 1843.
James Brooks, (executive appointment,) 6 months.
Thomas Blair, from 1843 to 1845.
J. W. McCorkle, from 1845 to 1849.
Adam Speice, from 1849, till the present time.
Dayton, in 1804, was on the mail route from Cincinnati to Detroit, by the way of Urbana. The mail was carried through here by a post rider once in two weeks going, and as often returning here by a post rider once in two weeks going, and as often returning. In 1820, the eastern mail by way of Chillicothe, arrived and departed every Sunday evening; that by way of Columbus arrived every Sunday evening and departed every Thursday at noon. The Cincinnati mail arrived on Wednesday evening and departed on Saturday evening. The northern mail by Piqua connected with it, at this point, and its arrival and departure were regulated accordingly. The western mail went by way of Salisbury, arriving every Tuesday evening and departing every Sunday evening. The present arrangement will be found under its proper head in this volume.
On the 12th of February, 1805, the town of Dayton was incorporated by the legislature.
In the same month was established the Dayton Library Society, a joint stock company of which Rev. William Robertson, Dr. John Elliot, and William Miller were appointed directors; B. Van Cleve, librarian; and John Folkerth, treasurer. Though frequent appeals were made to the liberality of the citizens to support so creditable an institution, the library was very limited, and in a few years the Society gradually dissolved.
In 1804, 0r 5, the “Old Saw Mill,” so frequently referred to in the earlier conveyances, on First Street, (marked d on J. W. Van Cleve’s Map, 1839,) was built by D. C. Cooper. A grist mill was soon after erected near the head of Mill Street, and in July, 1809, a carding machine was added to the establishment. – These latter mills were destroyed by fire, June 20th, 1820; and on their site, Cooper’s executors erected the old mill now standing there, and which McCreight has lately transferred to his glowing canvass.
The first brick building erected in Dayton was a store built in 1806 by D. C. Cooper and John Compton, who were then partners, on lot No. 37, on the N. E. corner of Main and First Streets. It was one story high. The second brick store, built [p. 22] the same year, was that of James Steele and Joseph Pierce, on the S. E. corner of Main and First Streets, which is still standing as originally built.
The old brick court house, which was removed about three years since from the N. W. corner of Main and Third Streets, was erected one story high, in the summer of 1806. It was the usual place for holding all public meetings, and until the building of the First Presbyterian Church, public worship was frequently held there.
In July, 1806, Mr. Crane, from Lebanon, O., the father of the present day clerk of Auglaize Common Pleas, commenced a newspaper in Dayton and issued a few numbers; but being attacked by fever and ague, he determined to return to Lebanon, and the newspaper was abandoned. There are no files of it in town, and even its name has been forgotten. The limits, which the publisher allows to this sketch, forbid any detailed history of the press of this city. I therefore draw merely an outline, and refer those who wish to go into the details to my “Sketch of the Dayton Newspapers,” in the Dayton Bulletin of March 8th, 18th, April 3d, 5th, 12th, and 17th, 1850, which may be found in the Dayton Library.
Newspapers in Dayton.
The Dayton Repertory – size 8 by 12 1/2 inches, published by William M’Clure and George Smith; weekly, at $2 a year; continued from September 18, 1808 to December 4th, 1809.
The Ohio Centinel – size 11 by 19 inches, published by Isaac G. Burnet; weekly, at $2 a year; continued from May 3, 1810 to May 19, 1813.
The Ohio Republican – a continuation of the Centinel – published by Isaac G. Burnet and James Lodge, from October 3, 1814, to November 20, 1816; and by James Lodge alone from that time till October 9, 1816, when it was discontinued; weekly, at $2 a year.
The Ohio Watchman – size 12 by 20 inches; published by Robert J. Skinner; weekly, at $2 a year, till December 18, 1820. December 25, 1820 the name was changed to the Dayton Watchman and Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Journal. From that date till November 21st, 1826, it was principally edited by George S. Houston, and owned successively by Houston and Skinner, [p. 23] Houston and Hays, and Hays and Lindsly, till it was purchased by William Campbell, in April, 1826.
The Miami Republican and Dayton Advertiser – size 11 by 21 inches; edited and published by George B. Holt; weekly, at $2 a year; continued from September 2, 1823, till September 7, 1826.
In April, 1826, William Campbell purchased the Watchman and Republican, and in November, 1826, united them under the title of the Ohio National Journal and Montgomery and Dayton Advertiser, which in January, 1828, was contracted into the Dayton Journal and Advertiser, the title which it now bears. The Editors have been Messrs. Jeptha Regans, P. P. Lowe, John W. Van Cleve, W. F. Comly, D. W. Iddings; Mr. Comly is the present editor. The Journal is now a daily and a weekly paper, and at present is the organ of the Whig party.
The Dayton Republican – edited by William Helfenstein, published by E. Lindsley; weekly, at $2 a year; published from January 5th, 1830, till, I believe, 1834.
The Dayton Whig and Miami Democrat – published in 1833 and 1834, by Dutton & Maley.
The Democratic Herald.
The Western Empire – a continuation of the Herald – from 1842 till the present time; published successively by Smith & Munn, Vallandigham & Munn, and Firch & Ramsey. It is the organ of the Democratic party, and is well conducted. It is a daily.
The Journal had attempted a daily paper about 184_, but had not found it successful; and in 1846, N. M. Guild & Co. started the Daily Daytonian, which was edited by John A. Collins. It lived only about a year.
The Dayton Transcript – established in January, 1841. It is now a daily, tri-weekly, and weekly paper, conducted by Wm. C. Howells & Co.
The Dayton Tri-Weekly Bulletin – size 15 by 21 inches; published successively by Wilson & Decker, J. C. Decker, Decker & Thomas, and J. C. Decker – edited by M. E. Curwen; continued from September 1, 1848, to April 17, 1850. – Tri-weekly, at $3 a year.
Das Deutche Journal – published by John Bittman; a weekly Democratic paper, established in 1849. [p. 24]
We return now from this digression to resume our narrative.
In 1807, Hugh McCollom built the first brick tavern in Dayton, on the s. w. corner of Main and Second Streets, which is still standing (July, 1850.)
On the first of March, in the same year, the counties of Miami and Darke were created within the limits of Montgomery, the latter still extending beyond them, to the northern line of the State, and continuing to do so till 1812. In the following year, Preble County was erected out of the s. w. corner of Montgomery, and Eaton made the county seat. The first private brick residence here, was built the same year (1808,) by Henry Brown, father of Henry L., and of Judge R. P. Brown, on the N. W. corner of main Street and the alley between Second and Third Streets. It is now the residence of Judge Brown. The Dayton Academy was incorporated the same year. They subsequently erected the building on the rear of lot 140, on St. Clair Street, where the Academy was held till 1831, when the property was sold, and the institution removed to the s. w. corner of Fourth and Wilkinson Streets, where it is now.
In 1809, the manufacture of sickles was commenced in Dayton; a dye-house and a nail factory established; the town Council passed an ordinance requiring all adult males to work two days each year upon the streets; and the contract for carrying the mail once a week from Dayton to Urbana, by a post-rider, was let out to bidders upon proposals. That was then the only mail north or east.
During the winter and spring that followed, the Miami was lower than had ever before been known, and flat boats were from two to three weeks in reaching the Ohio. At this time, there were two ferries, with regular ferrymen in attendance, across the Miami – one at the foot of First Street, on the road leading to Rench’s Mill, on the side of Salem, and which continued to be used till January, 1819, when the bridge at Bridge Street was finished, - and the other, at the present fording at the foot of Fourth Street, on the road leading to Gunckle’s Mill, now Germantown.
During the summer of 1810, the Indians were encamped at Greenville; many had migrated westward, but in 1820 they still numbered 2,400 souls in Ohio; and 559 dwelt at Wapaughko- [p. 25] neta. The population of the State was 230,849; of Dayton, 383. Cincinnati contained 388 houses, 2320 inhabitants, had 31 looms and 230 spinning wheels, and manufactured 6,480 yards of cloth annually. The revenue of Montgomery County for 1809-10 was,
From permits and licences, $ 110 64
From State and County Taxes 1,533 51
The expenditures amounted to 1,338 26
Leaving in the Treasury $ 305 89
The population of the County was 7,722.
The income, arising from taxation alone, now (1850) amounts to more than ninety thousand dollars.
In November of this year, Col. R. Patterson established a fulling mill, on his farm, two miles south of Dayton. It was destroyed by fire, in 182_.
The ordinance requiring pavings to be made, at this time, shows that the town laid along Water Street, from Main to Mill Street, on the south side of First Street from Ludlow to St. Clair, and on Main from Water to Third Streets.
The year 1811 was rendered memorable by two events not likely soon to be forgotten. In October, the “New Orleans,” the first steamboat on the western waters, left Pittsburgh; and in December, New Madrid was destroyed by an earthquake, the shocks of which were felt in Dayton, and kept the inhabitants in constant alarm for several days. The first, on the morning of the 16th, between two and three o’clock, was so severe as to arouse almost every person in town. Some left their houses in affright, and all were terrified at the unusual phenomenon. The horses and cattle were equally alarmed, and the fowls left their roosts in great consternation. There were more than forty shocks between the morning of the 16th and the evening of the 21st. Perkins has noticed it in the Western Annals (519) and it is described in the American Pioneer, (I, 129,) but the best description I have seen, is in the Cincinnati Liberty Hall, a newspaper of that period, and in the Ohio Centinel of January 23, 1812, a file of which is in the Dayton Library. Severe shocks were also felt on the 23rd and 27th of January, 1812.- They agitated the houses considerably, and articles suspended in stores were kept in motion about a minute. [p. 26]
It may here be mentioned, though somewhat out of its regular order, that on the 27th of June, 1812, the most violent tornado ever known in Ohio, passed through this county, about eight miles north of Dayton.
In February, 1812, the First Presbyterian Church was incorporated. The congregation had previously loaned $500 to the county, in consideration of which the Commissioners allowed them the used of the Court House as a place for public worship, until they erected a small brick church on the site of their present location.
The aggressions of Great Britian upon the neutral rights of this country, and particularly their encouragement of Indian barbarities on our north-western frontier, are well known as matters of public history. As early as December, 1811, it was debated in the House of Representatives, whether it was not necessary to invade Canada, in the following spring, before the ice broke up, and, by seizing that province, secure the northwestern frontier against the hostility of the savages. Gov. Hull of Michigan repeatedly pressed this subject upon the attention of Government, but his suggestions were disregarded. Moved probably by a private letter addressed by Gen. Armstrong to the Secretary of War, January 2, 1812, government early in the spring, gave orders for raising troops in Ohio, to join the army at Detroit. Gen. Edmund Munger of this county was accordingly ordered, in April, 1812, to raise a company in Dayton. Preble and Miami Counties being threatened by Indians, it was thought unadvisable to draw men from that quarter. The battalion met on Adam’s Prairie, near the mouth of Hole’s Creek, five miles south of Dayton, on the 16th of April.
A company of United States Rangers, raised, a few days after, orders to march, and on the 27th left Dayton for Fort Larimie. On the 6th of May, Gov. Meigs arrived in town, to superintend the organization of the militia in person. The citizens welcomed him by a salute of eighteen guns, and in the afternoon he reviewed the troops; twelve companies being in camp here. Dayton was made the rendezvous for the militia of the State, destined for Detroit. The Indians in the meanwhile, were enraging the troops by the occasional murders which they committed in the vicinity of Greenville, and along the line of the frontier. Soon after his [p. 27] arrival, Gov. Meigs dispatched Gen. Munger, with a small number of the Dayton troop of horse, to enquire into the situation of the frontier settlements. They returned on the 10th with information that the Prophet was within seventy miles of Greenville, and contemplating advancing. A company of riflemen was immediately ordered to march to Greenville, and another to Piqua, to protect the frontier inhabitants, who were flying in all directions. It was supposed that not less than one hundred families had fled from Miami and Darke Counties, on account of the hostile conduct of the Indians. On the 8th the Shawanee Chiefs went over from Wapaughkoneta to Piqua, to hold a council with Col. Johnson, in which they made great professions of friendship. The Col. Believed them; but the inhabitants generally did not.- On the 14th, fourteen hundred troops, principally volunteers, were encamped in this place, under the command of Gen. Gano and Gen. Lewis Cass. Meigs, in the meanwhile, was making every effort to furnish the army with suitable stores, and on the 7th, issued his proclamation, dated at Head Quarters, Dayton, appealing to the patriotism of the citizens of Ohio, and asking each family to sell at least one blanket, as the army was destitute, and none could be had in the stores. By the 20th, the number of troops had increased to about 1,500, which were divided into three regiments, under the command of Cols. Cass, McArthur, and Findlay. On that day, Gov. Hull issued his proclamation, dated at the head quarters of the army on the northern frontier, to the chiefs, sachems and warriors of the nations of Ottawas, Chipawas, Wiandots, Miamis, Delawares, Munsees, and such of the Shawanese as resided in the state of Ohio, and the territory of Michigan, declaring his determination to offer them war or peace, and threatening the severest punishment his powerful hand could inflict, if they persisted in choosing the former. A copy of this speech was dispatched, with interpreters, to each tribe; and the army prepared to follow it up with decided measures. On the 26th, the Governor ordered Capt. Wm. Van Cleve’s company of Dayton Rifles to march to the frontier, on the west of the Miami, under the direction of Col. Jerome Holt. On the 25th, Brig. Gen. Hull assumed the command of the army, which was now stationed at Camp Meigs, on the western bank of Mad River, three miles from town. Cols. Findlay and Cass, with their detachments, were encamped in [p. 28] the prairie three miles from Dayton, and Col. McArthur’s regiment was placed in the rear of the town. On the following day, General Hull took up his quarters at Camp Meigs and hoisted the American standard. As it was raising, the troops formed a hollow square around it and expressed their determination not to surrender it, but with their lives. Col. Sloan, with a troop of horse from Cincinnati, joined them on the 27th. The preparations being all completed, the army broke up their quarters at Camp Meigs, on the first of June, and took up their line of march to Detroit, by the way of Urbana, which place they left on the 15th of the same month. They reached the banks of the Maumee on the 30th of June, having marched, on their way, for forty miles through a swamp, knee deep at every step. On the 10th of July, Gov. Meigs, writing from Chillicothe, directed Gen. Munger to discharge the militia in his brigade, as their services were no longer needed.
Col. Johnston, early in the summer, called a grand council of all the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio, to meet at Piqua, on the 15th of August; but only some 250 Shawanese from Wapaughkoneta attended, and nothing important was done.
Hull surrendered Detroit on the 16th of August. The news reached Dayton on the 22d, and excited the utmost astonishment and consternation. The Indians, who had assembled at the council at Piqua, were still in that vicinity, and there were public stores there amounting upwards of $40,000. A handbill was immediately issued calling on every able-bodied man in the county, who could furnish a firelock, to meet at Dayton, on the next day, for the purpose of marching immediately to the frontier. On Sunday morning by seven o’clock, a company was raised, organized and completely equipped, under the command of Col. James Steele, consisting of seventy men, who marched in a few hours to Piqua. During the course of the day, seven other companies assembled from the country, and Capt. Caldwell’s troop of horse and Capt. Johnston’s rifle company arrived from Warren County. On Monday, the troop of horse, and Major George Adam’s battallion of 341 men left town for the frontier. Two companies were left, subject to the Governor’s order. Several other companies passed through town on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Gen. Whiteman, [p. 29] of Greene County, had nearly the whole of his Brigade in motion, at the same time. The Governor, then at Urbana, entrusted the defence of Piqua to Gen. Munger, and ordered the public stores to be removed to Dayton. Capt. Steele’s company advanced as far as St. Mary’s, where they erected block houses for the defence of that place.
The country was thoroughly aroused, and troops were rapidly pushed forward to resist the expected attack of the enemy. On the 31st of August, Col. Wells, with from 300 to 400 regulars, and Capt. Garrard, with a volunteer troop of horse, from Bourbon County, Ky., reached town, and were joined on the following day by Brig. Gen. Payne, with three regiments of Kentucky militia, comprising a force of 1,800 men. Five other Kentucky regiments were then on their march. Gov. W. H. Harrison arrived on the 1st of September, and immediately proceeded to Piqua, where, on the 2d, he issued his proclamation, calling for any number of volunteers who chose to follow his standard. On the 9th, he marched from St. Marys, with his army, nearly 400 strong, to relieve Fort Wayne, then invested by the Indians. He reached that fort on the 12th, the enemy flying before him in all directions, without waiting the chances of a battle.
After having relieved Fort Wayne and destroyed the Indian villages in that vicinity, Gen. Harrison returned to St. Marys, to make preparations for the campaign against Canada. While there, on the 29th of September, he issued a card, presenting his compliments to the Ladies of Dayton and its neighborhood, and solicited their assistance in making shirts for his soldiers, many of whom were almost destitute. With a zeal and promptitude worthy of all honor, they replied by sending him, in less than twenty days, eighteen hundred shirts for the use to the army, the mateials having been furnished from the Indian department.
In December, great exertions were made to forward provisions to the army. Col. Patterson, the forage master, advertised for fifty ox sleds and fifty horse sleds, for that purpose; and the deputy commissary general gave notice that the public stores must be forwarded to Lorimie’s at all risks, and advised the proprietors of dams upon the river to open a passage for his boats.
It was from volunteering, in an expedition of this kind, to [p. 30] drive an ox team with provisions for the army, in 1812, when many shrank back from the danger to be encountered, that our great orator, then a lad, afterwards acquired the subriquet of the Wagon Boy of Ohio. His bitterest opponents must concede that he is tolerably expert in the use of the whip.
On the 11th of the same month, Lieut. Col. Campbell marched from Dayton, with a force of about seven hundred strong, against the Miami villages, near where Muncietown now is, on the Mississinneway, a branch of the Wabash, which they took by surprise on the morning of the 17th. A detailed statement of this action may be found in the Ohio Centinel of December 30th, in the Dayton Library.
While the militia were encamped here awaiting orders, Cooper employed them in digging a race from the old saw mill, above mentioned, to Sixth Street, at the intersection of which street with the present line of the Basin, he erected a saw mill, that stood there till 1847.
The revenue of the county for 1811-12 was $1748.87, and the expenditures, $1968.66.
In the spring of 1813, immense falls of rain nearly inundated the country, and greatly impeded the progress of our troops, but Dayton still continued to be a thoroughfare for soldiers marching to the frontier. This year the Dayton Manufacturing Company – the first banking institution in Dayton – was incorporated by the Legislature. Joseph Peirce was President and George S. Houston, Cashier. In 1831, its name was changed to that of the Dayton Bank. Their banking house was in the stone building, on the east side of Main street, near Water. The nominal capital was $500,000, but its actual stock never exceeded $175,000.
The revenue of the county for 1813-14, was $2238.18.
In October, 1814, Philip Gunckle laid out Germantown.
In April, 1814, the Female Bible and Charitable Society of Dayton was founded by Mrs. Henry Brown, Mrs. Col. Patterson, Mrs. Eliza Phillips, Mrs. Joseph H. Crane, Mrs. Henrietta Peirce, Mrs James Steele, and Mesdames Welsh, Cottam, Reid, King, Hanna, and Spinning.
On the 4th of July, of this year, the first market house, on Second Street between Main and Jefferson Streets, was opened; and Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 4 to 10 A. M. appointed times for markets. Our present midnight markets, which [p. 31] tend to limit the supply of marketables to the immediate vicinity, are the invention of a later period.
The steady increase of the County is shown by its increasing revenue, which, for the year 1814-15, was $3,280.51.
On the second of June, 1818, the “Cincinnati and Dayton Mail Stage,” owned by John J. Piatt of C., and D. C. Cooper, commenced running between these two points. Leaving the Queen city on Tuesday at 5 A. M., and passing through Springfield, Hamilton, Middletown and Franklin, passengers arrived at Dayton on Wednesday evening. Returning, they left Dayton on Friday, at 5 A. M., and reached Cincinnati on Saturday evening. The fare was eight cents a mile, with an allowance of 14 lbs. Of baggage.
In the summer of 1818, the Methodist Sunday School Society, and the Dayton Sabbath School Association were formed. The latter owed its origin to the exertions of Rev. Baekus Wilbur, afterwards, for a few weeks, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. He died September 29th, 1818, and his remains now lie in the N. W. corner of the old Grave Yard, on Sixth street, where an inscription, written by Dr. Archibald Alexander of Princeton, records his virtues. A sketch of his life may be found in the Dayton Watchman of February 18, 1819. His widow, a daughter of Major Ferguson, who was slain while gallantly attempting to rally his forces at St. Clair’s defeat, afterwards, May 31st, 1825, married Rev. Dr. Matthew Brown, President of Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa., by whom she had a daughter, who is now married and lives in New York.
The commercial reverses, which disturbed the whole country, soon after the close of the war of 1812, seriously affected Dayton, and from 1820 to 1827, its growth was very trifling. At the latter date, the commencement of the Canal to Cincinnati renewed its prosperity, and its advance has been steady and rapid ever since.
Though its increase and the importance which it has attained as one of the first inland cities of Ohio, are mainly owing to the system of internal improvements, by means of canals, it is no part of my design to go into any details upon that topic. The subject of canal improvements was first agitated in Ohio, in consequence of the progress of the Erie Canal, in 1818; and on the 3d of January, 1822, Micajah T. Williams, of Cincinnati, as [p. 32] Chairman of the Committee on Internal Improvements, made an elaborate report upon the subject, in the Ohio House of Representatives, and introduced a bill, which became a law on the 31st of the same month, authorizing an examination into the practicability of connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River by means of a canal. The examination was commenced in the spring of that year, by Hon. James Geddes, of Onondaga County, N. Y. and was continued till early in 1825, when the Commissioners determined on the route from Cleveland to Portsmouth, and from Dayton to Cincinnati. The ground was first broken near Newark, Ohio, on the 4th of July, 1825, in the presence of Gov. Morrow, DE WITT CLINTON, the invited guest of the State, the executive officers, members of Congress and of the Legislature, and an immense concourse of spectators, and amid the roar of a hundred cannons.
From Newark, the Governors and their suit moved westward, passing through Lancaster, Columbus, Springfield and Dayton. On Saturday, the 9th of July, they were met at Fairfield by Capt. Squier’s troop of Dayton Horse and escorted to town, where they were welcomed at Compton’s Inn, on the south-west corner of Main and Second Streets, by Hon. Joseph H. Crane, who addressed them, in a neat and brief speech, on behalf of a vast crowd of citizens. At 4 o’clock, they sat down to an elegant dinner prepared at Col. Reid’s, on Main Street, between First and Second, for the occasion, where the ladies and the Canal divided the honor of the toasts between them.
The Dayton and Cincinnati Canal was put under contract the same year, and progressed so rapidly that on the 25th of January, 1829, a canal boat arrived here from Cincinnati. The locks at the latter place were not, however, completed till 1834. The estimated cost of the canal was $567,000. It was violently opposed as a ruinous and useless expenditure. But the law authorizing the work had scarcely been passed, before its beneficial effects, upon this place, began to be seen. Unoccupied houses were rented, log cabins were replaced by brick buildings, prices and wages rose, and the demand for laborers increased.
Previous to April, 1825, the mail route lay through Chillicothe. In that month, the route was changed; and on the 6th the first mail, carried in a coach, arrived by way of Columbus. [p. 33] On the 13th, a regular weekly line of stages was established between Dayton and Cincinnati, and Dayton and Columbus. - Leaving Cincinnati on Monday, at 4 o’clock, A. M., passengers arrived here on Tuesday evening at 6 o’clock. In June, stages commenced running twice a week between the three places.
It is instructive occasionally to mark our progress by certain data; and none is more sure, under a mild government, that that of the revenue. The county revenue, in 1825, was $1271; in 1849, it was $90,000. That of the city, at the former period, was one hundred and seventy-two dollars – less than one-thiryt-fifth of the sum now usually expended every year, for tuition alone, in four of our public schools.
The construction of the State canal led very soon after to that of the “Basin” along Canal Street, and on the 4th of February, 1830, the Basin Extension Company was incorporated by the Legislature. The object was to draw business through that part of the town. The situation of the ground was favorable to the work. From the head of Mill Street, a ravine, from fifteen to twenty feet deep, extended to near Fifth Street; the ground falling rapidly towards the east from the brow of the hill, along Mill Street to the corner of Platt and Harris; thence to the corner of Second and St. Clair, and thence along St. Clair to Fifth. The old saw mill race, extending from the south-west corner of First and Madison Streets, in almost a direct line, to the intersection of the Basin and Fifth Street, marked the level, from which the ground fell towards the west. Through this ravine the waters of the Mad River, breaking through the culvert, in the levee near its mouth, in spite of the exertions of men working night and day to prevent it, sought, at almost every flood, a channel, near the line of the present canal, through which to discharge themselves into the Miami below the town.
Upon President Jackson’s election to his second term, a barbecue – an ox roasted whole – was held on the open space east of St. Clair Street, and it was then proposed to lay out a Public Square there, which was afterwards done. The plat between Pratt and Second Streets was laid out by the Council at the same time, and ground rents of it reserved for the improvement of that Square. There is probably no public ground in the country that has so large an income as this.
That simultaneous rising of the people, in 1840, which over- [p. 34] whelmed the administration of Mr. Van Buren, found nowhere in the country a more striking expression than in Dayton. After the lapse of ten years, it is soberly affirmed by eye-witnesses and competent judges, that at the Harrison Convention, held here on the tenth of September, of that year, there were present one hundred thousand people. So dense was the mass that, at an early hour, before the head of the procession, eight abreast, and several squares in length, conducted by Charles Anderson, assisted by twenty-eight marshals, could leave town, hundreds and thousands in wagons, on horseback, and afoot, passed on ahead, filling the bridges and almost completely blocking up the Springfield road, along which Harrison was expected to approach, for two miles into the country. So jammed together was the mass, that, on reaching town, one could move only as another made room for him. The meeting was held on the hill east of where the Dayton Hydraulic Company’s Basin now is. As they approached town along First Street, the scene is represented as having been indiscribably grand. HARRISON and Metcalf, both finely mounted, headed the procession, the dense throng that lined the streets, leaving only a narrow space, through which they rode, and which closed immediately upon their passing. “The huzzas from grey-headed patriots, as the banners borne in the procession passed their dwellings, or the balconies where they had stationed themselves; the smiles and blessings, and waving ‘kerchiefs, of the thousands of fair women who filled the front windows of every house; the loud and heartfelt acknowledgements of their marked courtesy and generous hospitality, by the different delegations, sometimes rising the same instant from the whole line; the glimpses, at every turn of the eye, of the fluttering folds of some one or more of the six hundred and forty-four flags which displayed their glorious stars and stripes from the tops of the principal houses of every street; the soul-stirring music, the smiling heavens, the ever-gleaming banners, the emblems and mottoes,” added to the intensity of the excitement. Every eminence, house top, and window, was thronged with eager spectators, whose acclamations seemed to rend the heavens. Second Street, at that time, led through a prairie, and the bystanders, by a metaphor, the sublimity of which few but western men can appreciate, likened the excitement around them, to a mighty sea of fire sweeping over its sur- [p. 35] face, “gathering and heaving, and rolling upwards, and yet higher, till its flames licked the stars and fired the whole heavens.” The wild enthusiasm that swayed the mighty mass beggars all description. Men were too full for utterance, and many with difficulty suppressed their tears. The shoutings of the concourse at the Isthmian Games, when a Herald’s voice aloud proclaimed THE LIBERTY OF GREECE; and the frantic joy of the Hebrews, described by a sacred poet, when, after the oppression of seventy years in Babylon, “the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion,” may have equaled, but could not have surpassed it. “No one that witnessed it,” said Col. Todd, “can convey to the mind of another even a faint semblance of the things he here beheld. The bright and glorious day – the beautiful and hospitable city – the green-clad and heaven-blessed valley – the thousand flags, fluttering in every breeze and waving from every window – the ten thousand badges and banners, with their appropriate devices and patriotic inscriptions – and, more than all, the hundred thousand human hearts beating in that dense and seething mass of people – are things which those alone can feel and appreciate, who beheld this grandest spectacle of Time.”*
The Convention of 1842 was even more numerously attended than that of 1840. It is not thought too extravagant to put down the number present at one hundred and twenty thousand.
The population of Dayton, in 1840, was 6067.
About a mile south of the city, on the summits of two hills overlooking the basin in which it lies, and commanding a fine view of the town, is Woodland Cemetery, the principal burial ground of Dayton. The grounds were purchased in 1842, and laid off under the direction of J. W. Van Cleve, a gentleman whose taste, skill, and public spirit, our citizens are under many obligations. The original forest was retained, and evergreens, and ornamental shrubbery have been carefully cultivated to adorn this silent City of the Dead. At the entrance is a handsome gateway, and a neat cottage for the porter’s lodge. To this Cemetery were removed the remains of many, who had been buried in the city; and it is to be hoped that the Council may soon see that it is indispensable to the health of the citizens, to [*For details, see the Dayton Journal of September 15, 1840; Cincinnati Gazette, Sept. 12; National Intelligencer, Sept. 19.] [p. 36] forbid all burials within the limits of the corporation. The condition of the urban cemeteries of London has lately drawn the attention of men of science to the fact, well known and extensively practiced on by the secret poisoners of antiquity, that there is no poison so insidious in its attack and so destructive of life, as the effluvia arising from places of internment.
It had been a favorite plan with Mr. Samuel Steele, in his lifetime, to extend Steele’s race, on the north bank of the Miami, across the river, by means of Bridge Street bridge, and by turning the whole of the Miami into that channel, obtain an immense water power, on this side of the river below town. In 1845, however, a great accession was made to the water power within the limits of the city, by tapping Mad River four miles above town, and bringing down its waters by means of an hydraulic canal. The work was executed by H. G. Phillips, D. Beckel, J. D. Phillips, and Samuel F. Edgar, who were, in that year, incorporated into a body politic, called the Dayton Hydraulic Company.
On the 24th of June, of the same year, the first canal boat arrived here from Lake Erie. The amount of business done upon the canal may be seen in the following
Showing the amount of tolls collected on the Miami Canal and the Miami Extension Canal, at the port of Dayton, from 1841 to 1848, in dollars.
1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848
Miami Canal, 23,978 22,030 24,181 29,657 31,403 22,147 31,970 19,760
Miami Ex. C’l. 3,080 3,243 4,094 5,852 13,657 10,183 9,071 20,921______
In October, 1845, the COOPER FEMALE ACADEMY was opened, under the direction of E. E. Barney. The building is a substantial brick edifice, 80 feet by 54, and four stories high. It has at present eight teachers and about a hundred and fifty pupils. The educational statistics of the city are given in the following
Showing the principal schools of Dayton, the names of the 4 [p. 37] Principals, the number of assistant teachers, the number of scholars, and the average attendance.
Name. Principal. No. Ass’ts. No. Scholars Av. Att’d’ce
Cooper Female Acad.,* E. E. Barney, 7 150 150
Dayton Academy, M. G. Williams 5 70 70
Dayton Literary Inst.,** W. N. Edwards,
Rob’t Stevenson 1 50 50
Sisters of Notre-Dame, 70 60
North-Western Wm. Butterfield, 4 251 179
North-Eastern, James Campbell, 5 345 233
South-Eastern, G. W. Parkins, 5 321 208
South-Western, Charles Rogers, 5 333 217
German, Wm. Gemain, 1 143 92
*Opened October, 1845. ** Instituted in 1848. ***These schools are maintained by the city, at an expense of from $5,500 to $6,000 a year. Vocal music is taught in all as a branch of education. The educational year commences in October, and, with a short vacation at the holidays, continues for nine months.________________________
The alacrity with which the citizens of Dayton volunteered for the defence of the frontier in 1812, was almost equaled by that which they evinced in the late contest with Mexico. Immediately following the declaration of war, was a requisition for thirty companies, three regiments, of infantry, made by the War Department on Ohio. Gov. Bartley accordingly issues his proclamation, on the 20th of May, appealing to the courage and patriotism of the State to render promptly the required aid, and beseeching her sons to seize the opportunity of devoting themselves to the cause of their country. An intense excitement was manifested upon the publication of that proclamation throughout Ohio; and at no point was it greater that at Dayton. On the day of its arrival, a public meeting was called by the military gentlemen of the city, at the head of whom was Gen. Adam Speice, the brigadier of the county. Long before the hour arrived, an immense concourse of citizens, with drums, banners, cheerings and songs, gathered round the City Hall, where they were addressed by Major, then Captain, Giddings, Capts. Walker and Hormel, and Lieuts. Tilton, Stout and Love. Two companies, of one hundred and fifty men, were soon after organ- [p. 38] ized, under the command of Capts. Giddings and Hormel, and dispatched to the seat of war. During the progress of their enrollment, the business of the city was almost entirely suspended, and nothing was thought or talked of but the army and the war. Funds were collected for the support of the families of those volunteers, whose absence in the service would cause suffering and want at home. Hundreds of private individuals also generously contributed those comforts to the soldiers, which the government either did not furnish, or was slow to supply. In the course of the war, other companies were successively enrolled, until the whole number of volunteers and regulars sent by Dayton to Mexico amounted to more than 600 men. The principal companies were at Monterey, at the capture of that city, and upon Taylor’s advancing upon Saltillo, were left to garrison the town; where Major Giddings, in the exercise of both his professions as a soldier and a lawyer, acted as military commandant of the place and as Chief Justice of Monterey.
At the conclusion of the war, the shattered remnants of these companies, whose ranks had been greatly thinned by the ravages of disease and the misfortunes of war, returned to Dayton, June 28th, 1847, where they were warmly welcomed, nearly the whole city turning out to receive them.
I have now to do an act of justice to Dayton, by stating the extent of the flood here, on the second of January, 1847. It has been so grossly exaggerated, that I have thought it worth while to give, in the accompanying diagram, an exact representation of that portion of the town plat, west of the Canal Basin, which was inundated. The submerged portions of it are marked in black. From this it will be seen, that not one-fifth of the whole town plat was overflowed; and from the levelness of the ground, every one, who has seen Dayton, will observe, that on much of that which was covered, the water could not have been more than a few inches in depth.
The river had been rising for several days; and on the 1st, the principal merchants, along the Canal Basin, thought it prudent to raise their goods to the second story, in anticipation of any accident that might happen to the levee, which was then new and not yet settled. A few minutes after midnight, the insignificant outer levee, that had for years been neglected and weakened by earth being hauled from it to fill up house yards and [p. 39]
[Line drawing: Flood at Dayton, Jan. 2, 1847.] [p. 40]
roads, gave way, near Bridge Street, and the inner levee, being insufficient to withstand the torrent suddenly rushing upon it, and rising in a breast two feet above it, soon after fell in. A breach once made, the waters rose rapidly, filling the cellars and covering the ground floors of houses in the vicinity. At one o’clock the church bells rang an alarm. A crowd of men with boats and on horseback, promptly turned out to rescue those who lived in the low grounds, west of Perry Street; while others assembled on the levee, north of Mill Street, with shovels, to check the leakage there. The water had by this time risen nearly to the top of the bank; and the work was soon abandoned as hopeless. A small party passed down Kenton, St. Clair, and Stone Streets, rousing the inhabitants along the line of the Basin, and advising them to move their valuables into the second story of their houses. The levee gave way near the head of Mill Street, about two o’clock, and the water, rushing down the canal basin, gradually rose to the level exhibited on the diagram, which is taken from a map, made by John W. Van Cleve, from personal observation, at the time.
In the course of the night, all the principal citizens opened their houses, lighted fires, and offered accommodations to those whom the water had temporarily rendered houseless. The Council, on the next day, voted a handsome appropriation to relieve the wants of the destitute.
It was a bright moonlight night, and the air was calm and mild. There was not a life lost, nor endangered, nor did any accident happen, during that night, nor afterwards. In striking contrast with the truth, it was represented abroad that one hundred and fifty persons, at least, were drowned; that the poor shivering survivors were huddled together on the high grounds, waiting their fate in agony; that people were rescued in boats from the third stories of some of the highest buildings in town; and that Dayton was literally in ruins! The damage was moderately estimated at a million and a half – a sum, by the way, equal to half of all the personal property in Montgomery County.
From the most accurate information that could be collected, the loss sustained by private individuals in Dayton could not have exceeded $5,000; and that was made up principally in the inconvenience occasioned by the wetting of carpets, the spoiling of such family stores as happened to be left in the cellars, 4* [p. 41] the damage to fences from floating drift wood, and to yards by being washed by the torrent, &c. If engineers had quietly staked off the limits to which the waters rose, and slowly let them in upon the town to that height, for some public design, it is extremely doubtful whether it would have excited sufficient attention to interrupt, for half a day, the usual course of business. It is not that which we see, but that which we apprehend will come after – evils, bodied forth by the imagination, but which never happen - that chiefly excite our terror.
A levee was soon after constructed, which will completely secure the lower parts of town from any such catastrophe for the future.
Among the institutions which reflect the most credit upon the intelligence of a people, are its public libraries. They serve not only for present amusement and instruction, but are valuable as depositories of local information, which would otherwise speedily perish. Dayton has boasted of a number of these institutions; but none of them attained any importance, or rested upon any permanent basis, except the present Dayton Library, which was incorporated, January 21st, 1847. The charter has provided against its dissolution, by a clause vesting the ownership of it, in case of the failure of members, in the city council for the use of the city. During two winters, a regular course of lectures, one each week, has been delivered before it, at the city hall, in the presence of very crowded audiences. Though the expenses of these lectures were considerable, the Library has steadily increased till it numbered in June, 1850, sixteen hundred volumes.
Actuated by the same liberal spirit which made our public schools the most efficient in the state, the Library Association admit minors over the age of fourteen, to the privileges of the Library, free of charge.
That the credit of supporting this institution, may be hereafter given to those to whom it justly belongs, I refer to the list of their names, in the Dayton Bulletin of January 25th, 1850, upon file in the Library.
Dayton is the seat of justice for Montgomery County. This county is 22 1/2 miles long from north to south, and 20 miles wide from east to west, including an area of four hundred and fifty square miles, and divided into fifteen townships; the boundaries of which are shown upon the following diagram. [p. 42]
[Line drawing: map of Montgomery County showing Dayton, main rivers, and townships.]
It is well watered and abounds in mill seats. The Miami flows through it, forming the western boundary of Wayne, Mad River and Van Buren townships. Mad River, after flowing through the middle of Mad River township, empties into the Miami, at Dayton. On the west, the Miami receives three considerable streams; the Stillwater, the boundary between Randolph and Butler; Wolf Creek, which rises near the middle of Clay; and Bear Creek, rising in the north western part of Perry, and flowing through Jefferson. This latter stream is poured into the Miami, about half a mile north of Miamisburg.
Salem, in Randolph township; Little York and Chambersburg, in Butler; Farmersville, in Jackson; Liberty, in Jeffer- [p. 43] son; Sunbury, in German; Bridgeport, on the western bank of the Miami, opposite Miamisburg, Alexandersville, on the southern bank of the same river, and Carrolton, a mile westward, on the Miami, in Miami township; and Woodbourn and Centreville, in Washington: are small villages. Germantown, in German township, contains five churches, an academy, a brewery, a woolen factory, and about 1,200 inhabitants. The Western Emporium is a weekly gazette’ published in this place. Miamisburg, on the west bank of the Miami, near the centre of Miami township, contains three churches, two of which worship in the German language; a high school, twelve stores, a woolen and a cotton factory, a grist mill and a foundery. The population is about 1,100. About a mile and a quarter south east of this town, is the next largest Indian mound in all the northern states, being eight hundred feet in circumference at the base and sixty-seven feet high.
A comprehensive view of the extent, population, and wealth of the several townships may be seen from the following
Showing (1.) the area of the several townships in Montgomery County in square miles; (2.) the number of acres assessed for taxation; (3.) the average value of land per acre; (4.) the amount of personal property assessed on the grand levy; (5.) the estimated population; (6.) the number of persons to the square mile; and (7.) the politics of the townships.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
I.* Clay, 36 22,740 $13,09 $ 78,016 1,800 50 W.
II. Randolph 28 17,866 20.96 112,359 2,000 74 D.
III. Butler, 36 22,875 20. 94,318 2,200 62 W.
IV. Wayne, 21 14,204 23. 74,429 1,300 62 W.
V. Perry, 36 22,908 15.20 97,000 2,200 64 D.
VI. Madison, 36 22,574 28.46 123,041 2,000 55 D.
VII. Harrison, 27 3/8 18,522 37. 147,252 2,200 98 D.
-- Dayton, --- --- --- 2,000 1032,737 --- * --- W.
VIII. Mad Riv. 22 1/2 14,597 --- --- 132,757 1,700 75 W.
IX. Jackson, 36 23,175 --- --- 75,165 2,000 61 D.
X. Jefferson, 36 19,918 25.70 67,565 2,000 61 D.
XI. Van Bu. 25 1/2 16,416 30. 81,828 1,700 65 D.
XII. German, 36 23,621 24. 199,625 3,900 108 W.
XIII. Miami, 40 25,837 26.37 199,767 5,200 144 D.
XIV.Washing. 35 20,402 22.32 139,351 2,600 74 W.
*Referring to the Diagram. *Estimated at 14,000. [p. 44]
A full description of the townships is given in the Dayton Bulletin of October 31, 1849, from which the above is condensed.
It may perhaps be necessary here to remark that the statements of value given in all these tables, are based upon the estimates made for the purpose of taxation, and though property is by law required to be listed according to its true value, some allowance must be made for the natural depreciation, where every man states the value of his own personal property. It is probably not too much to say, that from twenty to thirty per cent ought to be added to that amount, without at all impeaching the fairness of the assessorial estimates. An equal amount, at least, must be added for property exempt from taxation; namely, for all cattle and horses under two years old, all sheep and hogs under six months old, all mules under a year and a half, all other animals, poultry, all farming implements, wearing apparel, family stores and provisions, state and bank stocks; household furniture and mechanics’ tools, not exceeding each $100 in value, besides saddles, looms, bees, cash, firearms, cows, sheep, hogs, &c. &c.— exemptions which will enable any man with a family, to live comfortably, freed from all the burdens of the state, and from all fear of execution by process of law. If the per centage above stated is not too high, it will authorize us to add from a million to a million and a third, to the actual value of personal property given in these tables. The real estate being appraised by public officers, it is assumed that it is put at about its fair market value.
To the details above given, relative to the several townships, a brief summary of the chief items, which constitute the wealth of the county, and the increase of that wealth, as indicated by the increase of revenue, may here be added.
The increase of seven millions in the value of taxable property from 1846 to 1847 is merely apparent. It arose from the new mode of taxing property, “according to its real value.” This, the only true basis of taxation, was established by the tax law of 1845, under the beneficial operation of which a large amount of property, principally in the hands of those most able, from their abundant means, to bear the burdens of the state, and which had before escaped taxation, was assessed upon the grand levy. This strict justice, and wise policy, probably saved the state treasury from, at least, a temporary bankruptcy. [p. 45]
Showing the number of acres, the value of land, the value of towns, the value of personal property, money and credits, the total value of taxable property, and the total amount of taxes, in Montgomery County, from 1815 to 1849, as assessed on the grand levy for taxation.
Acres of Value of Value of Per. Pro. Mo. Total Taxa. Total
Year Land. Land. Towns. and Credits. ble Pro. Tax.
1845 282,418 2,431,394 1,094,438 1,434,762 $68,780
1846 282,533 2,431,796 1,252,801 1,290,985 4,975,582 71,610
1847 285,617 6,749,118 2,860,053 2,567,947 12,177,118 80,900
1848 286,105 6,833,802 2,966,922 2,603,249 12,403,973 83,175
1849 ---- 6,884,000 ----- 2,636,000 ---- 90,000
Some of the principal items of the personal property making up the sum of $2,636,000 given above, are specified in the following
Showing the number of horses over two years old, the number of neat cattle over two years old, the number of sheep over six months old, the number of swine over six months old, the amount of merchants’ stock and of manufacturers’ stock, as assessed on the grand levy in Montgomery County, from 1846 to 1849.
No. of No. of Cat- No. of Sheep. No. of Swine. Merchants’ Manuf’r.
Year Horses. tle. Stock. Stock.
1846 10,201 14,665 26,911 --------- $296,070* --------
1847 10,342 13,796 27,389 37,581 432,071 172,148
1848 10,177 13,863 25,721 40,099 474,824 157,454
1849 9,935 13,996 29,010 34,243 452,933 200,604
*This amount includes manufacturers’ stock.
These statistics may not, at first glance, exhibit to an inattentive reader, the actual condition of the county; but if they are looked into, it will be seen, that, if the property owned here were equally divided among every man, woman, child, within its limits, each would have more than two hundred and fifty dollars: every family of five persons would have a horse to ride, besides a cow, three sheep, with the lambs, and several hogs; and that, in addition to these, every thirtieth person would own a pleasure carriage. It is well known how just and equitable is [p. 46] the division of estates, under the operation of our law of descents and distribution; so that the division which we have supposed, may not be greatly variant from the truth. Can anything show more forcibly the easy condition of our population, to whom the wants that pinch the poor, and plagues that haunt the rich man’s door, are almost entirely unknown?
The “dignity of history” thinks itself compromised by descending to minute and apparently trivial details. The reader has already seen that no such scruples have entered into the composition of these pages. Whatever tends to show the condition of a people, is a legitimate topic in their history. The number of marriages, therefore, in the county, may not be uninteresting. There were in 1842, 318; 1843, 299; in 1844, 360; in 1845, 340; in 1846, 367; in 1847, 369; in 1848, 435; in 1849, 479. Total in eight years, 2,958. In 1849, the average number of persons married to the whole population was one in forty-nine.
In the spring of 1847, were laid the foundations of the Dayton Court House – the most elegant and costly building of the kind in the State of Ohio. It is constructed of a species of compact, white limestone, which abounds in the vicinity, and which is well known from its extensive use, in the building of Canal locks, the Cincinnati Catholic Cathedral and other buildings, as the Dayton Marble. The building is fire proof throughout, and is covered with a marble roof. The only wood used in its construction, is for the inner doors, furniture, and window sashes. Rising by a flight of eight marble steps, you reach the broad terrace on which the building is erected, and advancing about six paces, you rise, by another flight of steps, to the floor of the portico, nearly on a level with the windows of the second story of the buildings on the opposite side of the street. The entrance into the main hall, which is thirty-eight feet long and eleven wide, is by two massy, ornamented doors of iron, each of which is more than two thousand pounds in weight. On the right of the Hall, are three rooms, with groined ceilings, which are used as the Clerk’s Office – the middle one being the principle business room. On the left, are the Sheriff’s and Recorder’s Offices. The hall leads to the Rotunda, twenty feet in diameter and forty two feet high, ornamented by a dome, the eye of which lights the hall below. Around this rotunda, a circular flight of geometrical stone stairs leads to the gallery of the Court Room, on one [p. 47] side, and to the offices of the Treasurer and Auditor of the County, on the other.
Immediately in front of the principal entrance, at the west of the rotunda, is the Court Room. It is one of the striking effects of perfect proportion in architecture to diminish the apparent size of a building. For this reason, the stupendous magnitude of the grand altar of St. Peter’s at Rome, loses half its effect and seems to the casual visitor, too small for the building, until he reflects that it is the same height as the Capitol at Washington. Spectators, therefore, who enter the Dayton Court Room, for the first time, often remark how small it seems. Yet the gallery alone is spacious enough to afford seat for more than two hundred persons.
The room is in an elliptical form, the shorter diameter being forty-two, and the longer fifty-two feet in length. A light gallery of iron, at the height of sixteen feet from the floor, supported by brackets and surmounted by an iron railing, surrounds the room. The whole is lighted by a handsome dome, the eye of which is forty-three feet from the floor.
The Court Room is ventilated by openings, invisible from below, around the eye of the dome. While it was building, great fears were entertained that, as in the dome of the Capitol at Washington, the reverberation would be so great, that the room would be useless for the purpose of a Court. These fears were however unfounded. The utility of the building has not been sacrificed to a showy appearance, and no room could have been constructed, better adapted to the purpose for which this was designed.
The Court House is 127 feet in length by 62 in width, and from the terrace to the top of the crowning mould is 44 feet 10 inches in height. The accompanying figure [etching of Court House] is a correct representation of the Court House, with the exception of the ornamental wall of the terrace, which ahs been subsequently added. The view is taken from the N. W. corner of Main and Third Streets. [p. 48]
The estimated cost of this building was $63,000. The actual cost has not yet been ascertained; but it will not probably fall short of $100,000. It was finished in the spring of 1850, and court was held there, for the first time, on the 13th of April, in the presence of a very crowded audience.
From the roof, to which there is easy access, is a fine view of the city and environs.
Radiating from Dayton in every direction go numerous graveled or macadamized turnpikes, by which the wealth and produce of this rich valley are poured into the city. Some details respecting them are exhibited in the following
Showing the principal turnpikes leading from Dayton, to what places, their length, the time of their construction, the cost, and the amount of stock owned by the state and by individuals.
Name Leads to. Length of Const’d Cost. State Individual
Miles. Dayton & Spngfi’d. Springfi’d 22 118,000 $55,450 55,450
Dayton & Cov’ton Covingt’n 26 1838 85,000 31,480 39,137
Dayton Cen. & Leb Lebanon. 23 1837 49,557 49,557
Dayton Western Eaton 18 66,900 58,106
Great Miami, Sharon 38 1838 202,000 82,835 57,190
Dayton & Ger’twn. German’n 14 1847 18,000** 10,000
Wolf Creek. Libty C’s 14 1849
Dayton & Xenia Xenia 15 1849
Dayton & Wilm’ton Wilm’ton 1849
Miami & Montgom. Troy 18 1842 34,000
Mad River Valley. Springfi’d 22
Dayton & Salem.* Salem 12
*Chartered; not yet constructed. **The stock was sunk before the completion of the road, and it was leased to D. Beckel for sixteen years in consideration of his finishing it. The Dayton and Brant Turnpike to Brant, in Miami County, twelve miles, is in progress.
The distances from Dayton, over these roads, to the principal towns along route, and to Cincinnati, Toledo, and Lafayette, Indiana, by canal, and to
Sandusky by railroad, are given in the subjoined table. [p. 49]
Table of Distances
The distances from Dayton, over the roads, and by way of Canal, is shown in the
From Dayton to Cincinnati Dayton to Toledo by Canal
via Lebanon. [Miles. Packet. [Miles.
Centreville, 9 St. Mary’s, 8 66
Lebanon, 13 22 Deep Cut, 13 79
Mason, 8 30 Section Ten, 12 91
Sharon, 10 40 Junction, 24 115
Reading, 3 43 Defiance, 9 124
Cincinnati, 9 52 Florida, 9 133
----------- Napoleon, 8 141
Dayton to Cincinnati, Damascus, 8 149
via Franklin. Providence, 6 155
Miamisburg, 10 Waterville 11 166
Franklin, 6 16 Maumee, 6 172
Monroe, 8 24 Toledo, 9 181
Bethany, 4 28 -----------------
West Chester, 4 32 Dayton to Lafayette, Ind.,
Sharon, 6 38 via Canal Packet
Cincinnati, 12 50
_______ Junction, 115
Dayton to Cincinnati via Ham- Reservoir, 10 125
Ilton. State Line, 3 133
Germantown, 12 New Haven, 14 147
Middletown, 9 21 Fort Wayne 6 153
Hamilton, 15 36 Port Mahon, 17 160
Cincinnati, 24 60 Huntingdon, 8 168
_______ Lagro 13 171
Dayton to Cincinnati by Canal Peru, 21 192
Packet. Logansport, 18 200
Carrollton, 9 Lockport, 13 213
Miamisburg, 3 12 Carrolton, 6 219
Franklin, 6 18 Delphi, 4 223
Middletown, 6 24 Lafayette, 18 241
Hamilton, 13 37 ----------------
Lockland, 17 54 Dayton to Wheeling, Va.,
Cincinnati, 12 66 via Columbus
------------- Fairfield, 9
Dayton to Toledo by Canal Enon, 7 16
Packet. Springfield, 7 23
Tippecanoe, 15 Vienna, 10 33
Troy, 6 21 Lafayette, 11 44
Piqua, 8 29 Jefferson, 8 52
Lockport, 5 34 Columbus, 14 66
Newport, 12 46 Zanesville, 54 120
Berlin, 6 52 Cambridge, 22 142
Minster, 3 55 St. Clairsville 39 181
Bremen, 3 58 Wheeling, 12 193
Dayton to Indianapolis, Ind., Dayton to Greenville.
Johnsville, 12 Greenville, 15 39
West Alexandria, 6 18 ----------
Eaton, 7 25 Dayton to Sandusky via Rail-
New Westville, 10 35 road.
Richmond, Ind., 6 41 Springfield, 23
Centerville, 6 47 Urbana, 14 37
Cambridge, 10 57 West Liberty, 10 47
Dublin, 3 60 Bellefontaine, 8 55
Lewisville. 8 68 Kenton, 20 75
Knightstown, 9 77 Carey, 22 97
Charlottsville, 5 82 Tiflin, 16 113
Greenfield, 8 90 Republic, 9 122
Philadelphia, 5 95 Bellevue, 17 139
Cumberland, 5 100 Sandusky, 15 144
Indianapolis, 10 110 --------------
Dayton to Greenville. Dayton to Sidney.
Harrisburg, 10 Vandalia, 10
West Union, 2 12 Troy, 9 19
Milton, 5 17 Piqua 7 26
Covington, 7 24 Sidney, 12 38
Post Offices in Montgomery County,
Showing the townships in which they are situated, the names of the post masters, and the time of the arrival and departure of the mails from Dayton. Where the name of the office differs from that of the town in which it is situated, the latter is added in italics.
Offices Townships. Post-Masters. Time of Arrival. Time of Dep.
Alexand’v. Mi. M. M. Dodds, 10 p.m. d. 1 1/2 p. m. d.
Centre’lle. Wash. Israel Harris, 5 p. m. d. 7 a. m. d.
Corwin, C. Edm. Green, 5 p. m. Fri. 7 a. m. W.
Centre, “ ------- “ “ “ “
Chambersb. B. J. A. Randall, 11/2 p.m. d. 5 p.m. d.
DAYTON, A. Speice,
Farmers’lle, Jac. S. Harry, 3 p. m. d. 7 a. m. d.
Town, G. Jacob Bruner, “ “
Ville, M. R. J. Simmons, 8 a. m. d. 5 p. m. d.
Henby, V. B. Alex. Dean, 10 p. m. ex. S. 12 m ex S.
Johnsville, P. J. W. Becher, 5 “ 7 a. m.
Liberty, Jef. J. Kuhns, 5 “ Tu t. s. 7 p. m. Tu t. s
Little York, B. P. Opydyke, 5 “ Tu Fri. 7 a. m. w. s.
Miamisburg, M. Geo. Perry, 10 p. m. d. 1 1/2 p. m. d.
N. Lebanon P. Henry Grub, 5 p. m. d. 7 a. m. d.
Pyrmont, “ Geo. Reed, “” “ “ “
Taylorsville W. S. Sullivan, 1 1/2 p. m. d. 5 p. m. d.
Union, R. D. Sheets, 5 “ Tu. F. 7 a. m. w. s.
Vandalia, B. W. Baggot, 1 1/2 “ d. 5 p. m. d.
W. Baltimore, C. A. Robinson 5 “ Fri. 7 a. m. W.
The Western mail arrives at 5 P. M. and departs at 7 A. M. d.
The Eastern “ “ “ 8 A. M. “ “ “ 5 P. M. “
The Northern “ “ 1 1/2 P. M. “ “ 5 P. M.
The Southern, via Lebanon at 5 P. M. “ “ 8 A, M.
“ “ Franklin at 10 A. M. “ “ 1 1/2 P. M.
“ “ Hamilton at 3 P. M. “ “ 8 A. M. ex S
Xenia Mail 9 A. M. “ “ 6 P. M. d.
Montgomery County, during the last ten years, has been the scene of the most closely contested elections in Ohio. It has for some years been whig, but it remains so only by force of the most active electioneering and thorough party organization. The following gentlemen have represented it in the State legislature, during twenty years past. The names of the whigs are in SMALL CAPITALS and those of the Democrats in Roman. The Daytonians are distinguished by an asterisk, [*.]
1830, ALEXANDER GRIMES, * 1838, Peter P. Lowe,*
WILLIAM M. SMITH, * 1839, Edwin Smith, *
Died and was succeeded 1840, DAVID LAMME.
Dec. 7, by 1841, ROBERT C. SCHENCK, *
HENRY STODDARD. * SILAS H. SMITH
1831, Henry Sheidler, 1842, ROBERT C. SCHENCK, *
C. G. SWAIN, * 1843, HENRY S. GUNCKLE
1832, Henry Sheidler, 1844, HENRY S. GUNCKLE,
William Sawyer, W. J. MCKINNEY, *
1833, GEORGE C. DAVIS, * 1845, THOMAS BROWN, *
William Sawyer, JAMES F. HIBBERD
1834, HORACE PEASE, * 1847, DANIEL A. HAYNES,*
William Sawyer, THOMAS DODDS,
1835, Fielding Lowry, * 1848, LUTHER GIDDINGS, *
1836, ROBERT A. THRUSTON, * 1849, RICHARD GREEN, *
1838, Edwin Smith, * JOHN FURNAS.
The political complexion of the several townships of the county and of the wards of the city, during the past ten years, is exhibited in the Table of Majorities, on the next page. That table, except the last column for 1849, was prepared by J. W. Van Cleve, and was originally published in the Dayton Bulletin of November 1st, 1848. [p. 52]
Table of majorities in the several Townships in the County of Montgomery, from 1841 to 1849.
Leg. Gov. Leg. Gov. Pres’t. Leg. Gov. Leg. Gov. Leg.
TOWNSHIPS 1841 1842 1843 1844 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848 1849
W D W D W D W D W D W D W D W D W D W D
Dayton, 1st Ward, 34 37 34 39 49 47 69 80 52 3
2d, “ 51 60 82 78 90 95 96 116 101 131
3d, “ 87 49 105 97 73 84 56 110 100 101
4th, “ 63 85 114 118 135 94 92 88 83 26
5th, “ 59 68 56 40 58 94 60 24 60 1
6th*, “ 26
City, Total, 294 299 391 372 405 414 373 418 402 228
Clay, 22 22 5 27 54 31 14 14 7 13
Randolph, 4 16 13 3 26 26 33 32 21
Butler, 92 98 91 66 88 83 93 96 95 61
Wayne, 38 24 33 11 31 55 53 49 42 55
Perry, 43 50 33 33 24 15 19 30 31 47
Madison, 57 58 52 52 35 40 80 65 71 44
Harrison, 33 43 29 67 46 13 25 18 36 20
Mad River, 65 18 13 22 28 25 22 28 17 6
Jackson, 102 122 100 100 101 84 108 82 107 84
Jefferson, 153 154 121 169 164 140 184 149 166 112
Van Buren, 10 8 11 10 3 2 3 22 14 26
German, 52 56 131 25 44 82 60 83 63 99
Miami, 186 207 181 152 149 102 164 151 160 154
Washington, 148 168 156 126 134 134 132 123 140 132
Total, 131 59 302 63 288 432 101 322 243 168
· The boundaries of the wards were changed, and a new ward erected, in November, 1848. [p. 53]
The President Judges of the First Judicial Circuit have generally been selected from among the members of the Dayton Bar. The honorable Francis Dunlevy, of Warren County, has already been mentioned as the first President Judge. He was succeeded by the honorable Joseph H. Crane, of this city, who remained upon the bench till elected to Congress, February 1, 1829. From that period to 1836, the office was held by honorable George B. Holt, also of Dayton, who, upon the expiration of Hon. William L. Helfenstein’s term in 1843, was again elected, and remained in office till 1850, when he was succeeded by Hon. John Beers of Darke County, the present incumbent.
The city was first lighted by Cruchett’s gas, on the 5th of February, 1849.
Nothing, in modern times, has so nearly equalled the horrors of that appalling visitation of Heaven, prefigured by the scene, upon the opening of the fourth seal in the Revelations of St. John, where he saw a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and the Grave followed with him, that desolated every province, every city, and almost every family, of the Roman Empire, in the days of Justinian, till, in less than thirty years, war, famine, and pestilence had destroyed one-half of the human race – as the wide-spread desolation of the Asiatic Cholera. Its ravages through all Asia, Africa, Polynesia, Europe, and America, during 1830 – ’31, and ’32, had not been forgotten, when the nations heard with deep and visible awe, that is was again raging along the waters of the Nile, and steadily advancing through Asia Minor to Europe. During the latter part of the summer or 1848, spreading from Cairo to St. Petersburg, it desolated the eastern parts of Europe, lingered a few weeks in Hamburg, and was thence carried, early in October, to London. The disease made its appearance, as it had done in 1831, almost contemporaneously in Sunderland, and in the low lying districts below London Bridge. On Saturday, the 7th, the Register General reported that, up to that day, there had been thirteen cases. Before the close of the next week, twenty deaths from Cholera had occurred in Edinburgh. On the first of December the Havre Packet, New York, introduced it into New York City. It appeared soon after in New Orleans, from which place it slowly travelled up the Mississippi. On th 3d of January, 1849, some cases were reported in Cincinnati; but [p.54] on the 12th, it was thought to be extinct. New York appeared almost entirely to have escaped; but on the 6th of March, the disease was again introduced into that city, by the ship Liverpool, of Liverpool; from which time it slowly, but steadily, increased till August, when the deaths numbered about 1,400 a week. Towards the last of May, it again appeared in Cincinnatil. On the 11th of June, twenty-eight deaths were reported. The number of deaths, in that city, during the first week in July, was eight hundred. It appeared in Dayton, in the middle of June, and continued till about the first of September. During that period, business was almost entirely suspended; the markets were deserted, except by a few wagons; and the streets were almost whitened by the quantity of lime, scattered in the gutters. The number of deaths, as near as can be ascertained, was two hundred and twenty-five. During its continuance, a board of health, at the head of whom was Hon. George B. Holt, and a cholera hospital, under the management of Dr. Edmund Smith, were established, and every attention shown to the sick and dead that humanity demanded. The report which obtained extensively through the country by being copied from a Cincinnati paper into the National Intelligencer, that the panic occasioned by the disease here had destroyed all the ties of social sympathy and family affection, was altogether untrue, and was publicly refuted by the Mayor and the city authorities. The most liberal contributions were made in all the churches, and from the public treasury, to relieve distress. This fund was not exhausted, though liberally disbursed, and the surplus devoted to charitable purposes, through the medium of the Relief Union of Dayton, which was organized at that time for that purpose.
A similar charity – the Orphan Asylum – has for five or six years been struggling into existence, and has now some prospect of a permanent foundation. A neat brick building, on the brow of the hill, about a mile south of the Court House, is devoted to that purpose. It was used in 1849 for the cholera hospital.
Dayton is on the natural route of the great chain of railroads that are destined at an early day to connect the extreme west with the Atlantic cities. A glance at the map will show that the nearest way for western men to those cities is through Terre [p. 55] Haute, Indianapolis, Dayton, and Columbus; and the completion of the several lines of railroads now in progress of construction and contemplated, will afford a continuous chain from St. Louis to all the great commercial cities of the east. The surface of the country, level as the palm of one’s hand; the plentiful supply of wood and stone for building roads and bridges; the large towns upon the line, whose local travel will be so lucrative; and the rich and populous country seeking an outlet for its overflowing produce, through which it will pass; all indicate this as the natural and preferable route.
What has already been done may be briefly stated. The Lake Erie and Mad River Railroad terminates here. Over this road, there passed during the last year, notwithstanding the great decrease of travel occasioned by the cholera, one hundred and eight thousand people. Much of that travel will, no doubt, in future pass through Dayton. By this route, we will be, in November, 1850, ten hours from Lake Erie. The road follows the beautiful valley of Mad River to Springfield, twenty-three miles, and thence to Urbana, Tiffin, and Sandusky.
The Dayton and Western Railroad crosses the Miami at Dayton, and proceeds thence, in a straight line, fifteen miles, to the Junction, in the north-western part of Montgomery County. From that point, it runs due west to the Indiana State line, near Richmond, a distance of twenty-one miles. The portion of the road from the Junction west, is nearly a straight line, and the whole of it is on a very low grade. When completed in the manner contemplated by the Board of Directors, it will be one of the best roads in the country. A company has been chartered, by the legislature of Indiana, to construct a road from Terre Haute, through Indianapolis, Centreville, and Richmond, Indiana, to connect with the Dayton and Western Railroad, at the State line; and more than forty miles of that road is now under contract for construction, as is also the whole line of the Dayton and Western Road; and the work has so far progressed, that, on the first of July, 1850, that portion of it from Dayton to the Junction was nearly ready for the superstructure. This road connecting, at this city, with the Lake Erie and Mad River Railroad, forms an important link in the great chain of roads connecting St. Louis with the Atlantic cities, extending thus far from the western boundary of Indiana to Springfield, Ohio; at which [p. 56] [MAP – See pocket in rear of book] latter point, measures have been lately taken, by the subscription of stock, and the organization of a company, to extend it to the Capital of Ohio, by a road direct from that place to Columbus. The Central Railroad of Ohio from Columbus, through Newark and Zanesville, will connect with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Wheeling. Twenty miles of this last link, between Newark and Zanesville, are now under contract, and preparations are being made for letting the remainder of it. And there is no doubt it will be pushed forward with the zeal which its importance demands. These several roads from Terre Haute to Wheeling are indentical in interest and purpose, and by their harmonious and united action, warrant the confident belief that, at no very distant day, the “centre” of the States of Ohio and Indiana will enjoy the benefits of a Road, which may emphatically be denominated the “Central Railroad,” passing, as it will, from Wheeling, through Zanesville, Newark, Columbus, Springfield, and Dayton in Ohio, and through Richmond, Centreville, and Indianapolis, to Terre Haute, on the east bank of the Wabash, near the western boundary of Indiana, and embracing in its route the most populous and wealthy portions of the two states. It passes through the Capitals of both of those States, and from at least ten points along its line, more than the number of roads radiate from, and cross, it.
The Greenville and Miami Railroad is now under contract and rapidly progressing. Connecting with the Dayton and Western Connecting with the Dayton and Western Road, at the Junction, fifteen miles north-west from Dayton, it proceeds in a straight line nineteen miles to Greenville, the seat of justice for Darke County, in the midst of a great grain growing and grazing country, which finds its outlet through Dayton. The road is now – July, 1850 - graded and ready for the superstructure. The timber is prepared, and measures are in progress for the purchase of the iron. From Greenville to the Junction, the road is a perfectly straight line; and in no place does the grade exceed twenty feet to the mile. When the Dayton and Western Road shall have been finished to the Junction, and the Greenville and Miami Road from that point to Greenville, the two will present the fact – unprecedented, it is believed, in the history of rail-roads – of a continuous line thirty-four miles long, with but one curve in its whole length, and the entire line upon a grade not exceeding thirty [p. 57] feet to the mile, except a short distance where it is between thirty-five and forty feet. From the present state of the two roads, and the zeal with which they are pushed forward, there is the strongest assurance that the road from Dayton to Greenville will be in operation early in 1851.
The Dayton, Hamilton, and Cincinnati Rail Road, will connect, at this point, with the Lake Erie and Mad River Rail road, the Greenville and Miami, and the Dayton and Western Railroads. By this route, when completed, passengers will go to Cincinnati, by way of Hamilton, in three hours. The road lies along the Great Miami River. Engineers are now upon it but they have not yet determined which of the three routes they will adopt.
Since the above was in type, intelligence has been received that measures are being agitated in Darke County and in Indiana, to extend the Greenville and Miami Railroad from Greenville to Winchester, Indiana, with a view of taking it thence to Logansport, and ultimately to Chicago.
The Dayton Telegraph Office, at the north-east corner of Main and Third Streets, is connected with two of O’Rielly’s lines. The Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and Louisville line, with offices at Pittsburg, Steubenville, Wheeling, Zanesville, Columbus, Springfield, Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg, Madison, and Louisville, under the superintendence of J. D. Reid, was opened a Dayton on the 10th of September, 1847. The Ohio, Indiana and Illinois line opened their office at Dayton, on the 7th of April, 1848. It connects with Cincinnati, Hamilton, Middletown, Germantown, Eaton, Troy, Piqua, the Canal Junction, Defiance, Maumee, and Toledo, in Ohio; and with Richmond, Cambridge City, Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Delphi, Logansport, Peru, Wabashtown, Huntington, Fort Wayne, La Porte, Michigan City, Attica, Covington, Perrysville, Clinton, Montezuma, Terra Haute, Vincennes, and Evansville, In Indiana; and with Chicago, in Illinois. This line is under the superintendence of William J. Delano, who resides in Dayton. At the Dayton office, J. D. Phillips is the local director, Isaac H. Kiersted, the manager, and Chester Griswold, the assistant. Both lines are in successful operation, and afford to the city telegraphic facilities equal to those of any other place [p. 58] in the west. The rates from Dayton to any of the above named places, range from twenty to forty cents for a message of ten words, according to the distance.
For some years previous to November 27, 1848, Dayton had been divided into five wards. Upon that day, the Council redistricted the city, altering the boundaries of the old wards, and erecting a sixth. According to this division, the boundaries of the several wards are as follow:
The First Ward commences on the western bank of the Miami, opposite the middle of the Dayton Basin Extension Canal; thence south, along that Canal, to its intersection with Third Street; thence east, along the middle of Third Street, to the corporation line; thence, with that line, northward to the north-east corner of the city limits; thence, with those limits, to the place of the beginning.
The Second Ward comprises all that part of the city, which lies west of the middle of the Basin Extension Canal, and north of the middle of Second Street.
The Third Ward extends from the middle of Second to the middle of Fourth Street; and from the middle of the Basin Extension Canal, to the west bank of the Miami.
The Fourth Ward is bounded on the east by the Basin Extension Canal from the middle of Fourth Street to its intersection with Jefferson Street, and from thence southward, to the corporation line, by the middle of Jefferson Street; and including the whole of the south-western portion of the city, west of Jefferson and south of Fourth Street.
The Fifth Ward lies immediately east of the Fourth, between Third Street, Wayne Street, and the southern line of the city limits.
The Sixth Ward embraces that portion of the city south of Third Street and East of Wayne.
Many inquiries were made for the purpose of obtaining information, relative to the extent of the manufactures of the city; but the data obtained are so unsatisfactory that it is not thought necessary to present the results. A few prominent items may serve as samples.
The Oil Mills are the most extensive of any in the West, Cincinnati not excepted. They consumed, in 1849, 100,000 bushels of flax seed, and produced 200,000 gallons of oil, and [p. 59] 2,200 tons of oil cakes. The cakes are shipped to Europe, where they are used as feed for cattle. In these mills, are invested $100,000. They employ forty men, and are capable of crushing 200,000 bushels of seed annually, and of producing from 375,000 to 400,000 gallons of oil, and 2,400 tons of cake. The Cincinnati mills produce only 186,000 gallons of oil, and 2,000 tons of cake.
The Dayton Breweries are also extensive.
The paper mills, with a capital of about $80,000, employ from thirty to forty-five hands, in the manufacture of printing, writing, and wrapping paper. They consume about five hundred tons of rags a year. Their paper is in good repute in the market, and extensively used by publishers.
About $88,000 are invested in founderies, which give employment to about one hundred and twenty men. A shoe last and peg factory, with a capital of about $12,000, and employing from twenty to thirty men, does an extensive business. The manufacture of flax has lately been commenced and promises to be successful. These mills, with the present capital of about $14,000, are capable of consuming a thousand tons of flax straw annually. They give employment to more than twenty men. In addition to five machine shops now in operation, there is one being erected, which together with the car manufactory attached, will employ a capital of from twenty to thirty thousand dollars. Of the flour mills, cotton and woolen factories, flooring machines, saw mills, gun barrel factory, turning lathes, bobbin factory, file making, portable horse powers, burr mill stones, capital invested and hands employed by several carriage makers, who do a considerable business; and of many other branches of mechanical industry, no accurate information could be collected.
The amount in banking, in the city, is a follows:
From the report of the Auditor of the State, in November, 1849, it appears that the Dayton Bank, an independent bank under the law of 1845, had notes and bills discounted to the amount of $255,253; specie on hand, $89,763; notes of other banks, $29,766; bonds deposited with the Treasurer of State, $178,192; and that its resources amounted to $603,282. The capital paid in was $91,300, and the circulation, $159,952.
The Dayton Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, had, at the [p. 60] same time, notes and bills discounted to the amount of $298,346; specie on hand, 73,839; notes of other banks, $28,668; safety fund deposited with the Board of Control, $30,599; and resources amounting to $484,457. The capital paid in was $180,920, and the circulation, $199,325.
The principal water power of Dayton is upon the Cooper Hydraulic Basin and the Dayton Hydraulic Company’s Basin. The former was constructed at different periods from 1835 to 1840. It is fed by the Miami Canal, and has a fall of twelve feet. – With this head, three hundred cubic feet of water per minute are sufficient to propel one run of stones. The power in use along this basin is equal to twenty-five runs of stones; that at the mill of E. Thresher & Co., four permanent, and several temporary powers; and that at the South-Western Basin, two powers. This latter Basin discharges 3,600 cubic feet of water per minute, under a head of eight feet. At this point, four hundred and fifty cubic feet per minute make a power.
The Dayton Hydraulic Company, by their canal, can command the whole of the water of Mad River, with a fall of sixteen feet. During two-thirds of the year, this is equal to about one hundred powers. Until the actual quantity shall, however, have been tested by a year of severe drought, which has not occurred since the works have been constructed, they are cautious about leasing such an amount. Two hundred and twenty-five cubic feet per minute, with a head of sixteen feet, make a power. Thirty of these have already been leased, for the whole year, on leases for ninety-nine years, renewable forever. Ten more permanent powers could safely be let; and temporary powers equal to sixty runs of stones might be furnished for two-thirds of the year. Beside the power furnished by these Basins, there are numerous steam engines employed for driving machinery.
The population of the city is estimated at fourteen thousand. In November, 18148, the number of dwellings was 1,887, of which 962 were brick, and 925 frame buildings.
On page 44, the population of the several townships of the county was estimated in round numbers. The aggregate amounts to 46,800. For the purposes of that table, this is sufficiently accurate; it being difficult to apportion the fractions among the fifteen districts. I think, however, that the census [p. 62] of this year will show that that is a little above the actual numbers. I estimate it at 46,400; others at 46,550, which is an average of more than one hundred and three persons to the square mile.
Dayton is in latitude 39° 47¢, and longitude west from Washington, 7° 6¢. This parallel of latitude passes through the centre of Spain, southern Italy, northern Greece, and Asia Minor. In regard to climatology, there are yet no sufficient data upon which to form a correct estimate. The mean temperature of the year may, however, be set down as not far from 53.78 Fahrenheit. The mean temperature of spring at 54.14; of summer, at 72.86; of autumn, 54.86; and of winter, at 32.90. The mean temperature of the warmest months probably does not exceed 74.30, nor does that of the coldest months fall below 30.20. This corresponds very nearly with the climate of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom.
Some attempt has been already made to show the wealth of the county, by estimates based on the assessorial returns; and it has been stated, that at least a million dollars should be added to that amount. No more accurate data than those returns could be obtained. It may be interesting to contrast them with the fuller statistics afforded by the census of 1840. The census now being taken will certainly show that those estimates are very moderate, and, it is believed, in most cases, fall short of the actual amounts. Ten years ago, the census showed that, in that year there was raised in Montgomery County, 365,938 bushels of wheat, 4,727 of barley, 374,481 of oats, 54,227 of rye, 3,359 of buckwheat, 814,707 of Indian corn, and 34,098 of potatoes; total, 1,651,537 bushels. The other agricultural products were 53,867 pounds of wool, 237 of hops, 122,394 of sugar, 1,977 of wax, 130 of silk cocoons; 15,734 tons of hay, 57 tons of hemp and flax; and 9,648 cords of wood sold. The value of the products of the dairy was $27,156, of the orchard, $1,062, of home made goods, $22,238; of market gardens, $4,003; and of nurseries and florists, $1,125. The live stock consisted of 8,896 horses and mules, 16,245 neat cattle, 29,631 sheep, 39,298 swine, and poultry to the value of $ 9,743. The principal items of the domestic commerce were 130 retail stores, with a capital of $426,800; two lumber yards, with a capital of $65,000; and $78,000 invested in butchering and packing. [p. 62]
The items of the manufacturing interest are more numerous. They are as follow:
Articles Manuf’d, Value, Cap. Inv’d, Men Emp’d
Machinery, $64,000 55
Marble and stone, 47,000 12
Bricks and lime, 25,236 79
Woolen cloths, 5,700 $1,500 17
Cotton goods, 122,378 92,500 204
Tobacco, 5,500 2,000 4
Hats and caps, 19,000 7,300 16
Tanneries, sides t’d, 8,932 21,500 31
Leather, $48,360 21,900
Soap, 75,000 lbs.}
Tallow Candles, 55,000 lbs.}
Distilled Liquors, 472,406 gals.}
Brewed Liquors, 261,190 “ }
Pottery ware, $ 1,800 5
Musical inst’s, 3,200 3,000 4
Carriages & wagons, 28,437 num’r 35,980 69
Barrels of flour, 70,622
34 flouring mills, }
11 grist mills, }
56 saw mills, } $567,590
2 oil mills, }
These may serve as samples of the bulk. Perfect accuracy is indeed out of the question; and even if it were attainable, the ink would scarce be dry on the censor’s books before our increase would make a new census necessary.
A hundred years since, no white man had ever resided in Ohio; and the Shawanee warrior, as he paddled his canoe along the Miami, half a century ago, little dreamed that, in fifty years, this basin would contain the most beautiful city of a great State – the residence of fifteen thousand people – the seat of a county more densely populated that Switzerland, over whose pastures roamed fourteen thousand cattle, thirty thousand sheep, and thirty-five thousand swine. His arithmetic could not number up the ten millions of dollars which express the value of its landed estates; and the hundred and eight thousand people, who, in a year when a terrible pestilence was scouging the whole country, passed over the Lake Erie and Mad River Rail Road, he could have compared to nothing but the stars of the sky for multitude, or the countless leaves of his native forest. And here, at the terminus of that road, he would have looked [p. 63] with horror on that terrible engine – that pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night – that flies screaming over the prairies and through the woods, in whose solitudes he once stealthily crept upon the deer. The wilderness and the solitary place have become glad in the sunshine of peaceful homes; children play in the streets, where the wolf once ravened his prey; and the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose. The Shawnee no longer tells of the ancient home of his tribe among the everglades of Florida. The memory of it has perished, and they are forgotten on the banks of the Auglaize. The swelling tide of civilization has borne the miserable remnants of that once powerful race beyond the Missouri. Could the future have been unfolded to him, and he have seen and heard the dense smoke of founderies and breweries; the ringing of anvils and the clangor of machinists; the hum of flour and of oil mills; the whirring of planing mills and turning lathes; the flying of shuttles in cotton and woolen factories; the piles of straw and rags being converted into wrapping, printing, and writing paper; the manufactories of ploughs and wagons, horse-powers and railroad cars, pleasure carriages and threshing machines, and all the endless bustle of a manufacturing town – he would have been filled with overwhelming astonishment. A river turned out of its course by the hand of the white man, its bed filled up and overlaid by a railroad, might well lead him to despair of checking the progress of that race, before which his own has melted away like the Spring snow upon the prairies. Standing alone, on the hill at Woodland Cemetery, and stretching his view over the city, lying in the bosom of the valley, fair “as the garden of the Lord,” he could find no consolation in beholding prosperity of which he could not partake, which was at war with all his modes of thought and habits of life, and which only boded the total extinction of his people, but in the melancholy of reflection, suggested by the dead that lie around him, that in one event the white man and the red were alike the victims of an exorable destiny, which neither the refinements of civilized life, nor the wilder freedom of his own, can soften or delay –
“One common end o’ertakes life’s idle dreaming:
Dust, darkness, tears!”