Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 315-333 George W. Buvinger to Benjamin F. Hershey

GEORGE W. BUVINGER, [pages 315-316] senior member of the firm of G. W. & E. E. Buvinger, proprietors of the Dayton Cornice works, corner of East Third and Canal streets, is one of the well-known business men and prominent citizens of Dayton. Mr. Buvinger was born in this city, within three blocks of his present place of business, on December 26, 1837, and is the eldest child born to Henry and Cassandra (Everest) Buvinger, of whom fuller mention is made in connection with the sketch of E. E. Buvinger. With the exception of his time of service in the army, Mr. Buvinger has spent his entire life in Dayton, and few men are more widely and favorably known in the community. He attended the public schools and acquired a fair knowledge of the common English branches, which, supplemented by habits of reading, study and observation, has made him a broad-minded and intelligent man, liberally educated in that knowledge of men and affairs which schools and colleges alone cannot impart. His early life was spent in various employments until the war cloud darkened the national horizon, when he offered his services to his country, enlisting in April, 1861, shortly after President Lincoln made his call for 75,000 men. The quota being filled before his regiment was formed, Mr. Buvinger was not permitted at that time to go to the front.  In 1862 he responded to the call of the governor of the state during  the Kirby Smith raid, and served in what was known as the "Squirrel Hunters" brigade in and about Cincinnati. After that the National Guard was organized, and he became a member of company A, of Dayton, and continued a member until the final discharge in 1865.  In June, 1863, he enlisted in the Fourth Independent battalion of Ohio volunteer cavalry. This regiment did duty in southern Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. On being discharged from this service on account of termination of term of enlistment, in. February, 1864, Mr. Buvinger returned to Ohio, and remained in Dayton until the following May, when company A, 0. N. G., was called out by the governor and mustered into the One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio volunteer infantry for 100 days, though it remained a longer period, doing garrison: duty principally in Maryland and Virginia.

Since the war Mr. Buvinger, has been actively engaged in business in Dayton.   The Dayton Cornice works, with which he has so long been identified, has been in existence for thirty years at its present locality, and is regarded as one of the important enterprises of the Gem City. The business consists in the manufacturing of galvanized iron cornices, tin, slate, iron, and copper roofing, and all kinds of sheet metal work. The following are a few of the prominent buildings in the city on which they had contracts: City buildings, new court house, Firemen's building, Kuhn's building, Deaconess hospital, Ohmer building, Third street Presbyterian church, Beckel bank building, and Reibold's Jefferson block.

Mr. Buvinger occupies a prominent position in the business and social affairs of the city. He is enterprising, progressive and liberal-minded in his views, and is fully alive to all that tends to the advancement of the public interest, enjoying the confidence and esteem of all with whom he is in any way associated. In his political views Mr. Buvinger is an ardent republican. In 1891-92 he served as a member of the Dayton city council, was vice-president of that body in 1892, and was largely instrumental in promoting much important municipal legislation.  In social and fraternal circles Mr. Buvinger is quite prominent. He is a member of the F, & A. M., Knights Templar, I. 0. 0. F., K. of P., A. 0. U. W., National Union, Royal Arcanum, and G. A. R, He is also a member of the Dayton board of trade. Both himself and family are members of Christ Episcopal church.

Mr. Buvinger was married, in 1867, to Miss Jane Smith, a native of Ecton, Northamptonshire, England. Mrs. Buvinger's native village has some American significance in that it is the birthplace of the ancestors of Washington and Franklin.  Mrs. Buvinger came to Dayton with her parents in 1850, and was educated in the city schools. Prior to her marriage she was for some time assistant principal of the Fourth district school. To Mr. and Mrs. Buvinger the following children have been born: Bertha, Emma, George A., and Minnie Everest, the last named having died in infancy. Miss Bertha is a graduate of both the Dayton high and normal schools, and has spent two years in traveling; George A. is a graduate of the Dayton high school, and also a graduate in mechanical engineering of Lehigh university, at Bethlehem, Pa., and is a young man of much promise and bright prospects for future advancement.

 

FREDERICK W. NEWCOMER, [pages 317-318] caterer and confectioner, at the corner of Third and Ludlow streets, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Connellsville, Pa., May 18, 1860, and is a son of Joseph and Margaret (Gebhart) Newcomer, who are of German descent.

Joseph Newcomer was born in Fayette county, Pa., February 14, 1825, a son of John and Barbara (Snyder) Newcomer. His great-grandfather Newcomer was the first of the family to come from Germany and he settled in Pennsylvania. Henry Snyder, maternal grandfather of Joseph Newcomer, served eight years in the war of the Revolution. Joseph was one of a family of nine children, born in the following order: Lydia, Jacob, Samuel, John, Joseph, Polly, Catherine, Barbara and Sarah, of whom two sons and one daughter are living at this writing.

Joseph Newcomer was reared a farmer, was educated in the public schools, and when twenty-one years of age engaged in mercantile business on his own account in Bentleysville, Washington county, Pa., but eighteen months later removed to Connellsville, Fayette county, where he was engaged in mercantile business seventeen years. He then moved to Pittsburg, was in the wholesale grocery trade ten years, and in 1875 came to Dayton, Ohio, and here conducted a retail grocery for five years. During the next five years he held a partnership in the bookbinding and printing house known as the Holden Manufacturing company, and since then has lived in retirement, excepting two years, when he filled the position of truant officer in the public schools. In politics he is a republican, and served two years as ward assessor.

He was united in marriage October I, 1857, with Miss Margaret E. Gebhart, daughter of Frederick and Catherine (Walter) Gebhart, one of the oldest families of Somerset county, Pa, where Mrs. Newcomer was born April 17, 1827. To this marriage have been born six children, viz: Kate, wife of Edward F. Cooper, of Dayton; Frederick W., whose name opens this biography; Mary, deceased; Charles G., who is foreman of a bookbindery in Savannah, Ga.; Annie, wife of George M. Lee, of Downer's Grove, a suburb of Chicago, Ill., and Bessie, deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer are members of the Christian church, and reside at No. 122 East Second street, where they are surrounded by a large circle of warm friends.

Frederick W. Newcomer was reared in Pennsylvania until fifteen years of age, and was educated in the public schools.  In 1875 he came to Dayton, Ohio, with his parents, and for a time was employed as clerk in his father's grocery, and later by C. C. Moses in the same capacity, for five years.  For the next five years he held the position of foreman of the jobbing department of the Holden Manufacturing company, and was then again employed by C. C. Moses as clerk in his grocery.  In 1890 he started in business for himself, as caterer and confectioner, at No. 7 East Second street, and there maintained a successful trade until June 15, 1896, when he removed to the building especially erected for his business at the corner of Third and Ludlow streets, where he has greatly enlarged his business, the added features being the serving of luncheons and the novelty of a modern roof garden. He is the leading caterer of Dayton, and his business extends to adjacent or neighboring towns and villages. His establishment is neatly and handsomely furnished, and the service rivals that to be found in large cities. Miss Anna Shoup is associated with Mr. Newcomer as mistress of the tea-room, looking after the comfort of the guests; the firm name, since occupying the present quarters, being that of The Newcomer.

Mr. Newcomer is married to Miss Jennie Moses, daughter of C. C. and Margaret Moses, of Dayton, and the two children born to this union are named Mabel and Leila.

Mr. Newcomer is very popular, not only in his business, which necessarily brings him in contact with hundreds of the best people in Dayton, but in social circles as well.

He and his wife are members of the Lutheran church, and have a most pleasant home at No. 330 West First street.

 

HARMAN ROGGE [page 318] was born near Hanover, Germany, September 2, 1845. He is a son of Harman and Angel (Mayrose) Rogge, the former of whom was a farmer, but is now deceased, while the mother still survives. Their children numbered eight, of whom Harman was the second.  He was educated in the excellent public schools of his native country and under private tutors until eighteen years of age, when he came to this country with an uncle, who was a citizen of Dayton.  After his arrival at Dayton he obtained employment at the Blanchard & Brown Wheel works, now the S. N. Brown Co. After several years of steady employment by this firm he entered the service of the Barney & Smith Car works. After about fifteen years of hard work, he started on his own account in the retail grocery business. In this he was very successful and was also engaged in the wholesale grocery trade for a few years. In 1887 he first became a stockholder in the Zwick & Greenwald Wheel company, of which he is now president and general manager. Since his connection with this company, it has been crowned with success and its financial strength has increased threefold.

Harman Rogge was united in marriage in 1872, with Miss Augusta Kropp, a native of Dayton and a daughter of Henry Kropp. This union has been blessed with eleven children, of whom eight are still living. In religion the family are of the German Lutheran faith, and of the church of which they are members, Mr. Rogge has for years been a trustee and is at present a member of the official board of management.  In politics he is a democrat, and as such served one term as a member of the Dayton city. council.  Mr. Rogge has done much toward advancing the material prosperity of Dayton, having erected upward of twenty dwellings, and having, by industry and thrift, become one of the substantial German-American citizens to whom the city is indebted for much of her prominence and high standing in the commercial and manufacturing world.

 

EDWARD EVEREST BUVINGER, [pages 318-322] junior member of the firm of G. W. and E. E. Buvinger, proprietors of the Dayton Cornice works, and a well-known and popular business man of the city, was born in Dayton on May 13, 1844, and is the son of Henry Buvinger, deceased. After attending the public schools of Dayton for several years, young Buvinger entered upon an apprenticeship at the tinner's trade.  This he mastered and followed until 1866, when the firm of G. W. & E. E. Buvinger was formed, and the Dayton Cornice works established. This firm has had an uninterrupted and successful existence of over thirty years. It is engaged principally in the manufacture of metallic cornices, in addition to which a general tinner's business is conducted, and the Clingman gas machine, a device for lighting and heating, is manufactured.  In evidence of the success with which this firm has met it is necessary only to refer to the number of years it has been in business and the name and character it enjoys in the industrial world.

During the late Civil war Mr. Buvinger, though little more than a boy, saw service in the cause of his country. He was with what were known as the "Squirrel Hunters" during the Kirby Smith raid, this organization having been called out in 1862 by the governor of Ohio.  His next service began in 1863, when, as a member of company B, Fourth Independent battalion, Ohio volunteer cavalry, he served for nine months in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, or until the expiration of the term of enlistment in February, 1864, when he returned to Dayton. In May, 1864, when the Ohio national guard was called out and mustered into the One Hundred and Thirty-first regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, Mr. Buvinger went with it as a member of company A, and as such did garrison duty for 100 days in Maryland and Virginia.

Mr. Buvinger on September I, 1870, was married to Miss Emily Francis Fisk, of Dayton, Ohio, who was born at Centerville, Ohio, in 1848. She was educated in the public schools of Dayton, and has passed the greater part of her life in this city, having come here when a child. Mr. and Mrs. Buvinger's only child — Hurd Edward — died at the age of six years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Buvinger are members of Grace Methodist Episcopal church. In politics Mr. Buvinger is a strong adherent of the republican party.  Fraternally he is a member of the I. 0. 0. F., K. of P., Royal Arcanum, National Union and G. A. R.

As a citizen and business man Mr. Buvinger occupies a prominent place in the Gem City.   Enterprising, public-spirited and progressive, he has contributed his share to the building up and development of the city and of her enterprises and institutions.

Henry Buvinger, deceased father of E. E. Buvinger, and one of the early citizens of Dayton, was born in Hanover, Pa., in 1807. The ancestry of Mr. Buvinger is traceable to Bavaria, Germany. The founder of the family in America was Killian Buvinger, great-grandfather of Edward E., who was a Bavarian of French Huguenot extraction. He came to America and settled in Pennsylvania in the year 1749. His son, Leonard, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and did gallant service for his country at Brandywine and elsewhere throughout the great struggle for independence. George Buvinger, son of Leonard, and grandfather of Edward E., was born in Pennsylvania in 1781, and took part in the war of 1812, commanding a company of Pennsylvania militia at the battle of North Point.

Henry Buvinger came to Dayton in 1835, but in January, 1837, he returned east and at Baltimore was married to Cassandra Everest. The same year, however, he and his wife returned to Dayton and resided here continuously until their deaths. Mr. Buvinger was a shoemaker by trade, which vocation he followed in Dayton for many years, and was one of the best known in that line of business in the city.  He was the oldest Odd Fellow in Dayton at the time of his death. He became a member of the original lodge of this order in Baltimore, and from 1835 to 1888 was a member of Montgomery lodge, I. 0. 0. F., of Dayton.  For over forty years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was a democrat up to the time of the firing on Fort Sumter, in 1861, when he became a republican.  During the war Mr. Buvinger was a volunteer, serving at different times, and was at Pittsburg Landing for the purpose of bearing wounded soldiers off the field.  His death occurred in 1888, and that of his wife in 1885. The Everest family is of English origin, and the first mention of the name in the United States, so far as known, is made in the annals of Maryland about the year 1737. Mr. and Mrs. Buvinger became the parents of the following children: George W. ; Francis Leonard, deceased; Hester Ann, deceased; Edward Everest; Eliza B., who became the wife of James M. Chancellor, of Dayton; and Amanda C., wife of S. Byron Williams, of Dayton.

 

HENRY WEBBERT, [page 322] the well-known tractor and builder, of Fourth street and Broadway, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Cumberland county, Pa., May 15, 1834, and when a child of four-years was brought by his parents to Dayton, Ohio, of which city he has now been a resident for fifty-eight years, living during this entire period within one square of his present residence.

Melchor and Ann (Bosler)Webbert, the parents of Henry Webbert, were also natives of Cumberland county, Pa., where the father was a contractor and builder, but died at the early age of forty years near Noblesville, Ind., where his remains lie interred; the mother died in Dayton in her ninetieth year and was interred in Woodland cemetery. Of the children born to Melchor and Ann Webbert, Henry is the only son, and Mrs. Rachel Wagner, of Dayton, is the only daughter. Mrs. Ann Webbert, had, however, prior to her union with Melchor Webbert, borne to her former husband one daughter, now Mrs. Catherine Long, of Dayton.

Henry Webbert was educated in Dayton, and at the age of seventeen years became an apprentice to the carpenter's trade, at which he served until he became fully competent to superintend the construction of buildings, and when twenty years old began his life work, which has consisted chiefly in contracting and building in Dayton and neighboring cities and towns.  For eight years past he has been engaged with his son in the plumbing business. For seven years he has been a director in the West Side Building & Loan association.

The marriage of Mr. Webbert took place, in 1854, with Miss Cornelia Brooks, a native of New Jersey, but, at the time of marriage, a resident of Dayton, her parents having settled in this city more than half a century ago. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Webbert have been born three children—Charles is a plumber and gas-fitter of Dayton, and is married; Lucy A. is the wife of A. G. Feight, auditor of Montgomery county, Ohio; and William, a brick-work contractor, of Dayton, is unmarried.

Mr. Webbert has been an eye-witness of the strong and healthy growth of his adopted city within the past half-century, and in this substantial growth he has himself been no small factor. Being a republican in politics, he has served for four years as a member of the city council, and has been a judge of election in his precinct for the past sixteen years; he was a charter member of Miami lodge No. 32 K. of P. and also charter member of Fraternal lodge No. 5 10, 1.0.0. F. Of the latter he is a past grand, and he is likewise a member of Gem City lodge No. 34, Knights and Ladies of Honor. In this fraternal work Mr. Webbert has been active and efficient in the performance of his duties. Mrs. Webbert is a consistent member of the Presbyterian church, while Mr. Webbert is liberal in his religious views and does not affiliate with any particular congregation.  He has, nevertheless, always led a correct and upright life, and his name is without stain or blemish, either as a business man or a citizen.

 

EDWIN S. FAIR [pages 322-323] is a member of the Dayton police force, ranking as sergeant, and has charge of the West Side precinct. He is a native of this city, born March 9, 1853, and is a son of Charles and Annie (Frederick) Fair, the former a native of Maryland, and the latter of New Jersey. The father came to Dayton in 1833, and was one of the early settlers. He was a carpenter by trade, following that occupation here for many years.   He put character and honesty into his building, and the old residents bear testimony as to his genuine worth and good qualities.  He died February 3, 1894, in his seventy-eighth year.  He had won Masonic honors, and stood well in the estimation of his fellow craftsmen. His wife died August 7, 1889, leaving behind her a fragrant memory.

Mr. Fair, the subject of this writing, was reared in Dayton until he was six years of age, when his parents removed to Huntington, Ind. Two years later they returned to Ohio and settled at Middletown, but the year 1869 saw them once more in this city. Mr. Fair was educated mainly in the schools at Middletown, and when his parents came back to Dayton the boy of sixteen thought it was time to care for himself. Accordingly he sought for employment, finding it with S. N. Brown & Co., with whom he remained for six years. In 1875 he secured a more desirable and profitable situation with the firm of Pinneo & Daniels, with whom he continued until his appointment on the police force of the city, in the month of February, 1877. Here he found a field that affords room for the exercise of those qualities of activity and courage that are so pronounced in his make-up. As an officer of the police he has displayed great administrative abilities. These were recognized by his promotion to a sergeancy in 1886, and by his detail to the charge of the various precincts of the city in succession. He has been in control of every precinct except the first. In 1894 he was placed in his present position in charge of the West Side precinct.

Officer Fair was married March 9, 1875, to Clarabell Arnold, daughter of David and Mary Arnold, old residents of this city. By this marriage he became the father of five children. The three elder children are boys, Edwin A,, LeRoy, and Arthur B.; the two younger being girls, Bessie and Katie.

Officer Fair has been a faithful worker in several of the secret organizations of the city, being prominent in the Odd Fellows, which order he joined in 1882, and having been a member of the Knights of Honor for twelve years, and of the Knights of Pythias for eight years. He is also a recent member of the Modern Woodmen. In church relations he and his family are associated with the United Brethren denomination.

 

EDWIN P. MATTHEWS, [page 323] attorney-at-law, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in this city March 22, 1858, and is a son of Judge Fitzjames Matthews, of the superior court of Columbus, Ohio; his mother is Frances A., daughter of Thomas Parrott, one of the early pioneers of Dayton.

Edwin P. Matthews was reared in Dayton, and received his early education in the public schools of that city, and afterward attended Kenyon college, being a member of the class of 1879. Later he read law in the office of Warren Munger, of Dayton, and was admitted to the bar May 5, 1880. He then formed a partnership with George 0. Warrington, the firm continuing for about five years, since which time Mr. Matthews has practiced alone. In 1888 he was elected a member of the city council from the First ward, was re-elected in 1890, and during the years 1889 and 1890 was president of the council. In 1892 he was a member of the board of deputy supervisors of elections . of Montgomery county, and was appointed city solicitor May 1, 1895. Since October, 1894, he has been United States commissioner.

Mr. Matthews was married October 12, 18 83, to Miss Edna M. Mills, a daughter of William M. Mills, of Dayton. To this marriage there have been born four children, named as follows: William Mills, Margaret A., Fitch James, and Edwin P., Jr.

 

HENRY ZWICK, [page 324] prominent among the representative and progressive citizens of Dayton, Ohio, is secretary and vice-president of the Zwick & Greenwald Wheel company, of which concern extended mention is elsewhere made. Mr. Zwick was born in Dayton on July 5, 1855, and is the eldest son of the late Ernst and Sophia (Wilke) Zwick, of whom a biography will be found in this volume. The education of Henry Zwick was acquired in the public schools of his native city, in the Miami Commercial college, of Dayton, and at the German Baptist college at Monee, Ill.  During the intervals of attending school and finishing his education Mr. Zwick worked in the factory, assisting his father, so as to become entirely acquainted with the business, not only in the manufacture of wheels and wheel stock, but also in the purchasing of timber, and later in selling the product on the road all over this country. After his father sold his interest in the Zwick, Pinneo & Daniels Wheel company and founded the Zwick & Greenwald Wheel company in 1881, Henry became a charter member of that company, and was elected its secretary, which position he has held ever since, and in 1896 was elected vice-president.

The Zwick & Greenwald Wheel company is one of the leading wheel manufactories of the country.  Its business, founded on a solid footing by the elder Mr. Zwick, has continued to grow and expand from year to year until it has reached mammoth proportions. While great credit is due and cheerfully given to the elder Mr. Zwick, for his sagacious management of the concern during its early years, yet much credit is also due to the excellent business qualifications brought to bear upon the conduct of the business of the present time by its able secretary and vice-president.

Mr. Zwick is a zealous member of the German Baptist church, and is president of the board of trustees of the Second German Baptist church (of the Regular Baptist denomination, of Dayton.  He is also president of the board of trustees of the German Baptist Publication society with headquarters at Cleveland, Ohio, and is, as was his father before him, well and favorably known among the congregation at large.

On December 26, 1876, Mr. Zwick was married to Miss Bertha, eldest daughter of Louis and Elizabeth Faul, of Dayton.  Mrs. Zwick was born in Dayton, and was educated in the city schools, in which she was also a teacher for five years. To Mr. and Mrs. Zwick the following children have been born: Sophie E., named for her grandmothers; Henry L. E., named for his father and grandfathers; William S. J., named for all his uncles; and Mary B., named for her mother and aunt.

 

REV. LEANDER S. KEYSER, A. M.,  B. D., [pages 324-327] managing editor of the Lutheran Evangelist, published in Dayton, Ohio, was born in Tuscarawas county, March 13, 1856, and is the eldest son of Prof. David and Barbara A. (Biddle) Keyser, also natives of Tuscarawas county, and both of German descent. His maternal great-grandfather came directly from Germany, and settled in Chambersburg, Pa. His grandparents came early in life to Ohio and settled in Tuscarawas county.

Prof. David Keyser was educated in his native county, and for a number of years followed the vocation of teaching, combined with farming.  Prior to the war of the Rebellion, he moved to Daviess county, Ind., and there enlisted in the Ninety-first Indiana volunteer infantry, dying from rheumatic fever in 1863, while still in the service.  His widow remarried, now bears the name of Wook, and is a resident of Elkhart county, Ind.  Of the four children born to Prof. Keyser and wife — two sons and two daughters — the latter two died in infancy ; the survivors are Leander S. and his brother, Albert Keyser, who is engaged in mercantile business in Elkhart, Ind.

Rev. Mr. Keyser received his elementary education in the district schools of his native county, and this was supplemented by a course in a select school in Shanesville, Ohio. At the age of sixteen he began teaching in the district schools near his home, doing this chiefly that he might acquire means more thoroughly to educate himself.  He was a student at the Ohio Normal university, Ada, Ohio; at the Indiana university, of Bloomington, and at the theological seminary connected with Wittenberg college, Springfield, Ohio, completing here a thorough and ample preparation for the Christian ministry.  From that time he was engaged in ecclesiastical labors, until he was selected for the position of managing editor of the Lutheran Evangelist in 1894.  His first pastorate was at La Grange, Ind., where he remained two years; he was then minister at Elkhart, Ind., for six years, and at Springfield, Ohio, for six years. The Lutheran Evangelist is one of the three principal publications of the Lutheran church of the general synod. This publication was established in 1876, and is published from Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D. C., the senior editor of the journal, Rev. J. G. Butler, D. D., being a resident of the latter city. Mr. Keyser has general control of the interests of the Evangelist.

Mr. Keyser has always been allied with the republican party, although never aggressive in his political views.  In this he has followed in the footsteps of his honored father who was with that party from the date of its organization.  He is a prohibitionist from settled conviction, though he has never thought it wise to affiliate with the political movement, of that name. He has been from a boy earnest and strenuous in advocating temperance and sobriety, and his voice and pen are still active in supporting his views. He received the degree of bachelor of divinity from his alma mater, Wittenberg seminary, and that of master of arts was conferred by both the Ohio Normal university and Wittenberg college. Mr. Keyser is a frequent contributor to the public press, and his articles are both timely and interesting. He is the author of three books that have been widely read.  One is a theological novel, entitled "The Only Way Out," which first appeared in 1890. The second is called "Bird-Dom," and came from the press of the D. Lothrop company, Boston, and a third, "In Bird Land," was published in 1894 by A. C, McClurg & Co., at Chicago. This volume has recently been adopted as the natural history textbook by the Ohio Teachers' Reading Circle, an organization formed among the teachers of the state.

Rev. L. S. Keyser was married at Elkhart, Ind., November 18, 1879, to Miss Mary C. Foltz, a native of that city. She is a woman of character and ability. To this happy union have been born three sons—Ort A., Dorner L., and Teddie S.

 

CARL FREIGAU [pages 327-328] is one of the broad-minded and progressive German-American citizens of Dayton, who have done so much to make southwestern Ohio rich and prosperous. This section of the country owes lasting and deep obligation to this enterprising and honorable class, and no small share of its debt in certain regards is due to Mr. Freigau, who is secretary of the Poland China   Record, and editor of the Chester White, a periodical published annually.  He is a native of the province of Brandenburg, Germany, was born June 17, 1848, and was educated at the agricultural college at Wittenberg, in the thoroughly practical and efficient methods characteristic of German instruction. .

Mr. Freigau came to this country in 1869, and devoted some time to travel throughout the United States, seeking to know the land and to familiarize himself with its habits and customs before entering into business.  He somewhat accidentally drifted into his present business, that of sketching live stock and preparing pedigrees, and in 1876 established the business of recording thoroughbred hogs. This at first included the records of Europe, especially of Germany. This part of the business was, however, discontinued when a record was established across the water.  Mr. Freigau located in this city in 1881, previously spending his time traveling among the breeders of thoroughbred stock in different sections of the country,  The Record was established in 1876, and the work of gathering data was commenced. This work occupied two years and the first record appeared in 1878, since which time one book has appeared each year. The Chester White Record was established in 1885, and a volume has appeared biennially since that date. In the compilation and publication of this extensive and valuable work Mr. Freigau has taken the initiative, and has no doubt accomplished more toward the establishment of reliable pedigrees of stock than any other man in America. Competent assistants are employed, and the publication of these volumes is had by contract in periods of five years or less.

Mr. Freigau was married in this city, in 1876, to Miss Alice Woodman, a member of one of the pioneer families of Montgomery county, where she was born. They are the parents of five children, all living at home. John, the first-born son, is in his father's business, while Earnest, the second son, is an apprentice at a mechanical trade; Charles is at work in a grocery, and Roy and Ivy are still at school.  Mr. Freigau is liberal in his religious views, and was reared in the Lutheran faith. He holds himself independent in his political associations, and asks for the best men and measures, irrespective of party stamp.  His parents never crossed the ocean, but lived always in Germany, where his father was a prosperous dairyman, and lived to round out his seventy-fourth year.  Mother Freigau survives at a ripe old age, full of years and honor. Her son, our subject, is the only representative of his family that has ever come to this country, two brothers and two sisters still living in the fatherland.

 

CHARLES EUGENE ROWE, [pages 328-330] secretary of the Dayton board of water works trustees, was born on a farm just west of the city of Dayton, May 12, 1857, being the son of William H. and Clarissa S. (Norris) Rowe, both of whom were born in Baltimore. Md., where they were reared to mature years. After their marriage, in their native city, they turned their faces westward, taking up their abode in Cincinnati about the year 1845. There the father, who was a man of signal business ability and unimpeachable integrity, engaged in the pork packing business, which he continued until the memorable gold excitement, which drew so many to California in 1849, so affected him that he became one of the argonauts of that year, spending some time in the gold fields of the far western state.  His first trip was made overland, and was attended with the vicissitudes and dangers incidental to the long and wearisome journeys over mountain and plain in those early days. He subsequently made a second trip by land, and his third trip to the Golden state was made by water, via Cape Horn.  For a time he was engaged in street contracting in San Francisco, but finally longed to return to the scenes of an older civilization, and accordingly retraced his steps to Ohio. He located on a farm near Dayton, devoting his attention to its cultivation until 1869, when he took up his residence in this city, where he was for a number of years engaged in business. While still residing on his farm, he was called upon to serve in the capacity of justice of the peace, and he was also incumbent as infirmary director of Montgomery county for two terms. His patriotism was manifested at the time of the Mexican war, in which he rendered loyal and effective service. The death of William H. Rowe occurred in Dayton on New Year's eve of the year 1886, at which time he was in his sixty-fourth year.  His life had been one of close application and much usefulness, and in his demise the community mourned the loss of a good man and valued citizen. His widow still survives, retaining her residence in the city of Dayton.

Charles E. Rowe passed his childhood days in the parental home near Dayton, until the age of twelve years, when his parents removed to the city.  Here he attended the public schools, and in 1876 supplemented this training by a special course of study in the Miami Commercial college located here. Prior to this he had assumed practical responsibilities, having, in 1872, secured a position as errand boy in the dry-goods establishment of Prugh, Spielman & Prugh, on Third street. In 1874, he entered the employ of Webbert, Jones & Co., coal dealers, and held a clerical position at their yards, located at the corner of Third and Montgomery streets.  He remained with this firm about three and one-half years, at the expiration of which period the business was purchased by E. 0. Vaile, who was a teacher in the public schools of Cincinnati.  The proprietor entrusted the business to the charge of Mr. Rowe, who, in 1880, associated himself with C. E. Lighthall and effected the purchase of the enterprise with which he had so long been identified. This association continued until 1882, when Mr. Lighthall purchased his partner's interest, after which Mr. Rowe was in the employ of the Bradstreet Mercantile agency about six months. Subsequently he again became identified with the coal business, associating himself with John A. Murphy, with whom he continued until May 1, 1887, when he was appointed assistant secretary of the city water department of Dayton. This place he retained until April 19, 1890, when he received deserved promotion, being chosen as secretary to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of C. A. Herbig, who was then appointed city auditor and who is at the present time city comptroller.  On May 1, 1896, Mr. Rowe is now serving his tenth year as assistant and secretary of this department of municipal affairs, and within this period the earnings of the department have been increased from $56,000 to $305,000, while the pipe mileage has been extended from thirty-seven to 100 miles. Mr. Rowe is a member of the American Water Works association, and of the American Society of Municipal Improvements.

Mr. Rowe is a stalwart supporter of the democratic party, and has been an active worker in the cause. He has served as a member of both the city and county executive committees of his party, having held these two places simultaneously, while he is also prominently identified with several political clubs. In his fraternal relations he is a member of Linden lodge No. 412. K. of P., of which he was one of the organizers, and in which he has passed all the chairs, having held the offices of past chancellor, representative and district deputy grand chancellor at the same time. and being now master of exchequer of the lodge. He was originally a member of Iola lodge No. 83. He is also a member of Gem City lodge No. 795, I. 0. 0. F., of court No. 1000, Independent Order of Foresters, and of Columbia lodge No. 1380, Knights and Ladies of Honor.

Mr. Rowe was married on the 27th of March, 1879, to Miss Jennie K. Taylor, daughter of C. W. Taylor, of Xenia, Ohio. They are the parents of four children, two of whom are deceased —Harry E. and Helen E. having died in infancy.  The surviving children are Hazel Aletha and Mildred Catherine. Mildred received her name under somewhat peculiar circumstances. The water board of Dayton was assembled in the tower on the American side at Niagara Falls, and here decided by vote what should be the name borne by the little daughter of their popular secretary, the result being as noted.

Mr. and Mrs. Rowe are members of the Reformed church, having been identified with the First Reformed church from about 1881 until 1895, when they became members of the Memorial Reformed church, upon presentation of their letters from the former organization. Mr. Rowe was a member of the building committee of the Memorial church edifice, having acted as treasurer of the committee while the building was in progress of erection, and being at present the treasurer of the church society. He and his wife enjoy a deserved popularity in the social circles of Dayton, having a wide acquaintance and dispensing a most cordial and gracious hospitality at their attractive home.

 

WILLIAM KEIFER CALLAHAN, [page 330] junior member of the firm of W. P. Callahan & Co., and one of the well-known young manufacturers of Dayton, Ohio, was born in this city on January 8, 1864, and is the son of William P. Callahan, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.  Mr. Callahan was educated in the Dayton public schools and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Boston, taking a course in mechanical engineering at the latter.  He entered the shops of W. P. Callahan & Co. as an apprentice in 1884, and the following year, upon attaining his majority, he was taken into the firm. Notwithstanding his admission to the firm, he continued and completed his apprenticeship, and then entered the office.  He is vice-president of the Gem City Building association.  In 1891 Mr. Callahan was married to Miss Lida Ohmer, daughter of George Ohmer, of Dayton, and they are the parents of one daughter—Charlotte. Mr. Callahan is a member of the Masonic order, including the Knights Templar and Thirty-second degree Scottish rite and the Mystic Shrine. He is also a charter member of the Elks society.

 

JAMES B. HUNTER, [pages 330-331] county commissioner of Montgomery county, was born in Berks county, Pa., September 23, 1841, His parents were Jacob and Matilda (Boyer) Hunter, both of whom were natives of Berks county, Pa., and who, in 1852, brought their family to Ohio, locating in Jefferson township, Montgomery county. They' are now both deceased. Their lives were marked by industry and economy, virtues, which were encouraged and stimulated by the surroundings of those days.

James B. Hunter was eleven years old when he came with his parents to Montgomery county. Here he grew upon his father's farm in Jefferson township, and received his education in the common schools. Remaining on the farm until 1861 he then enlisted in company D, Thirty-ninth regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, and served in that organization for three years in the south and west, being attached to the army of the Tennessee most of the time. His term of enlistment expiring in 1864, he was honorably discharged. During his war experience he was twice wounded, once at Dallas, Ga., in the foot, and again before Atlanta, where he received a gun-shot wound in the right arm.

After leaving the army Mr. Hunter spent a little over a year in Nashville, Tenn., where he was connected with the railroad commissary department. Immediately after the war closed he spent two years in Louisiana, engaged in the work of constructing levees on the Mississippi river. Returning then to Montgomery county he was engaged for eighteen years in teaching school and in farming. In 1887 he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners, and served for three years. In 1891 he was again elected for a similar term, and in 1984 he was again re-elected, his pres-term of office expiring in 1897.

Mr. Hunter owns a farm in Jefferson township. He was married in 1868 to Catherine Johnson, who died in 1874, leaving one son, Leslie. Mr. Hunter was married the second time, in 1876, to Miss Rebecca Beachley, by whom he has had two children, Edgar and Vernon. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and of the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Hunter has lived in Montgomery county practically the whole of his life, is well-known by most of its citizens, and being honored as he has been by repeated election to responsible positions, it is clear that the people fully appreciate his integrity and honesty of character.

 

JOHN McGREGOR, [pages 331-332] vice-president of the Crawford, McGregor & Canby company, manufacturers of lasts, was born three miles east of Dayton, November 4, 1836. His father, Thomas McGregor, came from Scotland, in 1828, landing in Nova Scotia and remaining there two years, and in 1830 came to the United States, locating in Little Beaver, Pa., where he gained employment in a paper-mill, he being a papermaker by the old hand process. While in this position he learned that he could secure a place as foreman for Phillips & Alexander, whose mill was one-half mile west of Harries station, and accordingly he left Little Beaver in 1834, removing to Montgomery county. After eight years of service with Phillips & Alexander, he operated a woolen mill at a point two miles from Tippecanoe, Miami county, for two years, and returning to Montgomery county purchased the Phillips & Alexander mill, of which he had been foreman, and moved it to Dayton in 1848.  Mr. McGregor died in Dayton in 1866, in his seventieth year.

His wife was Janet Watson, of Scotland, their marriage taking place in 1818.  Her death occurred in 1874, in her seventy-seventh year. One of their sons, Thomas McGregor, together with Joseph Parrott, under the firm name of Parrott & McGregor, originated what is now the W. P. Callahan Co., manufacturers of cotton seed oil machinery, steam engines, etc., Mr. McGregor selling his interest in the firm in 1868. He died in 1893.

John McGregor grew to manhood in Dayton and was educated in the public schools of that city. He was a member of the first class in the Central high school, which was established under a resolution adopted by the board of education, April 5, 1850, and was opened on April 15, in the northeastern district school-house, with James Campbell as its principal. Leaving school at the age of fifteen years, young McGregor went to work in his father's mill, where he remained for four years, and then served an apprenticeship at pattern making with the firm of Thompson, McGregor & Co. (now W. P. Callahan & Co.). Following his apprenticeship he secured a position in the spring of 1859 with the firm of Crawford & Stilwell, proprietors of the factory established by A. & Z. Crawford. Remaining in the employ of this company as a workman until 1870, when Mr. Stilwell retired from the firm, Mr. McGregor was made foreman of the factory, and in 1874 was made a partner in the firm of Crawford, Coffman & Co.

In 1886 Edward Canby became a member of the company, purchasing the interest of Mr. Coffman, and the title of the firm then became Crawford, McGregor & Canby, and so continued until March, 1896, when the company was incorporated under the name of the Crawford, McGregor & Canby company, with Mr. McGregor as vice-president and general manager. In all of the positions which Mr. McGregor has held, he has proved his skill as a mechanic and his ability and sound judgment as a man of business.

Mr. McGregor was married in 1861 to Sarah Doyle, who was born in Shelby, Ohio, in 1841, and is a daughter of Mrs. Lucy Doyle. To this marriage there have been born two children—Mary and John Watson. Mr. McGregor is a member of the Memorial Presbyterian church, which was organized in 1868 as a New School body of that denomination. Since 1857 Mr. McGregor has been an Odd Fellow, and is now a member of Wayne lodge No. 10, which was chartered in 1840. His life has been one of untiring industry, and his integrity of character and good citizenship have earned for him a high place in the esteem of the entire community.

 

BENJAMIN F. HERSHEY, [pages 332-333] a prominent attorney of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Medway, Clarke county, Ohio, August 11, 1853. He is a son of John and Christiana (Hocker) Hershey, the former of whom was a native of Lancaster county, Pa., and came to Ohio with his parents, Jacob Hershey and wife, in 1835, and located in Clarke county. The latter was a native of Dauphin county, Pa., and came to Ohio with her parents, John Hocker and wife, and located in Randolph township, Montgomery county, being among the early settlers. There being no railroad, they were compelled to come in wagons, being twenty-three days upon the journey.

When Benjamin F. Hershey was two years old, his parents removed to Randolph township, Montgomery county, Ohio, where they had been married, they having lived in Clarke county from their marriage to that time.  At present they are residing on a farm on the Dayton and Covington turnpike, near the town of Union, purchased by John Hershey in 1866. John Hershey in his early days was a miller by occupation, but in his later years, since purchasing the above farm, has been one of the successful farmers of Randolph township. In politics he has always been a strong republican. John Hocker and Catharine, his wife, parents of Christiana, were influential citizens of Randolph township, noted for their industry and thrift, and for their high moral and Christian characters.

Benjamin F. Hershey received his early education in the district school at Union, Montgomery county, and began teaching school when nineteen years of age. He successfully followed the profession of teaching for eight years. He then attended the Ohio State university at Columbus and the Ohio Wesleyan university at Delaware; began reading law in 1882 with Craighead & Craighead in Dayton, passed the junior examination in the Cincinnati Law school at Cincinnati, graduated from that institution in 1884, and was admitted to the bar. Soon afterward he began the practice of law in Dayton, and continued for one year, when he received the appointment of chief deputy under Sheriff Weis, and remained in that position until January I, 1886.  Since then he has been continuously engaged in the practice of law, and has built up a lucrative practice in his profession.

Mr. Hershey was married in April, 1892, to Minnie E., one of the daughters of Chaplain William Earnshaw, D. D., who was chaplain of the National Military home at Dayton, Ohio, from September, 1867, until his death. Mr. Hershey is a member of the board of education of Dayton, a thirty-second degree Mason, a Knight Templar, and a member of the Royal Arcanum.

 

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