Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 352-371 Philip E. Gilbert to Adam Adelberger

PHILIP E. GILBERT, [pages 352-353] the prominent contractor and builder of Dayton, was born in Miltonville, Butler county, Ohio, November 21, 1845, his father and mother having been respectively of Pennsylvania and Maryland parentage. In 1848 the family settled in Miamisburg, Montgomery. county, where Philip was educated in the public and select schools, and at the age of thirteen began an apprenticeship of five years at carpentering, serving at the trade during the intervals between school sessions. The conclusion of his apprenticeship brought him up to 1864, when he enlisted in company D, One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio national guard, under command of Col. John G. Lowe, and at the conclusion of his term of enlistment was honorably mustered out. In 1865 he moved to West Sonora, Preble county, where he was engaged in saw-milling and carpentering for several years, and during his residence there was united in marriage, June 14, 1866, to Miss Mary Ann Scharf, of Franklin, Warren county. In the spring of 1868 Mr. Gilbert, with no considerable means, ventured upon a removal with his wife and child to Dayton, for the purpose of improving his worldly condition. Here, soon after his arrival, he became acquainted with the late William P. Huffman, in whom he found a sincere friend, and from whom he received many kindnesses. Through him Mr. Gilbert was enabled to enter into contracting and building, and this, with the manufacture of builders' supplies, has been his business up to the present time. That he made a success of his enterprise may be shown by the fact that, in the spring of 1878, he began the year in March with 125 contracts to build houses, and by the close of the season had erected 165. Among the heavier contracts handled by Mr. Gilbert may be mentioned those for the construction of the Ninth district school-house, Sacred Heart church, the Central Baptist church, the Fourth National bank, the Ohmer Canby block; the Barney block on Third and Wayne streets and the Barney blocks on Fifth street; the Lowe brothers and Ware Coffee company's blocks on First street; the J. P. Wolf and J. S. Antrim blocks on First street; the residences of E. J. Barney, J. P. Wolf, Col. F. T. Huffman, George P. Huffman and W. H. Crawford, and also many of the largest manufacturing plants in the city, including those of the Davis Sewing Machine company, the Zwick & Greenwald Wheel company, the Dayton Manufacturing company, the Woodhull Carriage company, the Dayton Last company, the Crume & Sefton factories, the Dayton Spicemills, and scores of other large and substantial buildings.

In politics Mr. Gilbert is a strong republican and takes an active interest in his party's welfare, having served as its delegate to its county, state and national conventions; he has served two terms of two years each on the board of education from his ward, was appointed on the board of city affairs for a term of four years by the tax commissioners in 1892, and was re-appointed for four years by Mayor C. G. McMillen in 1896. He has been a member of the Garfield club since its organization; is a member of the Dayton club, of the Old Guard post, G. A. R., of Dayton lodge, F. & A. M., is a Knight Templar, and also a member of lola lodge, K. of P. In religion he is a Baptist and has been a member of the Linden avenue church since its organization and its Sunday-school superintendent for eleven years. Mr. Gilbert has always been a public-spirited citizen, devoted to the material interests of his adopted city. Of the ten children born to his marriage, the following named still survive: Erminie P., now Mrs. Ira Crawford; Florence E., wife of J. Frank Kiefaber; Hattie B.; William P., book-keeper for the Huffman Stone Co.; Edwin D., a student, and Helen E.

 

JOHN CHARLES PATTERSON, [pages 353-354] son of Prof. William J. and Anna (Ford) Patterson, whose biography is elsewhere given, is a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, and was born July 26, 1862. He passed his youthful days on a farm, performing the severe physical labor incident to such a life, but by no means neglected the cultivation of his mental powers. Aided by his father and other competent teachers he was able, at the age of nineteen years, to assume the duties of a school-master, and for three years followed this profession as a vocation. He then entered the law office of Boltin & Shauck, of which firm the junior member is now a judge of the supreme court of Ohio. Through diligent study young Patterson was soon prepared for the bar, to which he was admitted in 1887, when he immediately entered upon the active practice of his profession. His abilities were promptly recognized, and in 1890 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Montgomery county, upon the democratic ticket, and his performance of the duties of that office served to add to his reputation as a lawyer. He now holds a prominent position among the members of the Dayton bar, being the senior member of the firm Patterson & Murphy.

Mr. Patterson was united in marriage, June 19, 1883, with Miss Mary A. Douglass, of Oxford, Ohio, and this union has been blessed with one son, John M., born August 2, 1885.

 

EZRA F. KIMMEL, [page 354] manager of the National Improvement company, and among the best known young business men of Dayton, was born in this city October 20, 1863. His father, Christian Kimmel, was one of the old settlers of Dayton, having come here from Germany in 1846. He resided in this city the rest of his life, being killed in September, 1893, in a railroad wreck while on his way home from the world's fair. For thirty-five years Mr. Kimmel was superintendent of the machine shops of the Buckeye Iron & Brass works.  His widow, who still lives in Dayton, was a native of Ashland county, Ohio, and a daughter of Jacob Ecki. She was also in the wreck in which her husband was killed, and sustained severe injuries.   To them there were born six children, five of whom are still living, and residing in Dayton, as follows: William H., secretary of the Mutual Home & Savings association; Mrs. Louise Bard, wife of 0. J. Bard, attorney at law; Mrs. Anna Freehofer, wife of A. 0. Freehofer, bookkeeper for the John Dodds Manufacturing company; Gustave B., a student in college at Napierville, Ill., and Ezra F.

Ezra F. Kimmel was reared in Dayton and was educated in the public schools of that city, including the high school, from which he graduated in 1879.   In May, 1880, he began working for R. C. Anderson, manufacturer of plows, as bookkeeper, in which position he remained for four years. In March, 1884, he entered the office of the Mutual Home & Savings association, having charge of that association's books for four years, and being its auditor for three years and a half. On July 15, 1891, he organized the John Dodds Manufacturing company, of which he became vice-president and superintendent, in which capacities he acted until December 1, 1896, when he accepted the position of manager for the National Improvement company and agent for E. J. Barney. At the time he left the Mutual Home & Savings association, he was made a director and a member of the finance committee of the institution, positions which he still retains.  He aided in organizing the Walker Lithographic & Printing company, and was a director of that company until the latter part of 1895, when he sold his interest in the business.

Mr. Kimmel was married in November, 1885, to Miss Ida M. Steffey, daughter of Rev. M. W. Steffey, a minister of the Evangelical association, formerly of Dayton, Ohio, but now of South Bend, Ind. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Kimmel there have been born two children, Florence M. and Russell Ezra.

Mr. Kimmel is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and of the church of the Evangelical association, and is a member of the board of trustees of that church. In both fraternity and church he enjoys a high standing and is held in sincere esteem by his many friends in the community.

 

HENRY W. KAISER, [pages 354-355] one of the commissioners of Montgomery county, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 21, 1850. As the name indicates, he is of German antecedents.  He was reared in Cincinnati and was there educated in the public schools, learning both German and English, and being confirmed in German. After leaving school he learned the trade of saddle covering and worked at this occupation for a number of years. Since November 1, 1875, he has been a resident of Dayton, to which city he removed for the purpose of taking charge of the business of the Fleischmann Yeast company, as general agent, which position he has held ever since, a period of more than twenty years.

Mr. Kaiser was elected county commissioner in the fall of 1893, the term being for three years and expiring in the spring of 1897. He is a republican in politics, and a popular man in Montgomery county.   He was married, September 17, 1874, in Cincinnati, to Miss Emma Rheinhardt, who was born in that city October 17, 1855, and who was the daughter of Frederick Rheinhardt. She became the mother of three children, as follows: Harry F.; Maude N., and J. Edward, and died December 22, 1895. Mr. Kaiser is a member of the Knights of Pythias and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, holding at the present time the presidency of the Grand trustee board of Ohio of that order. He is also a member of the Knights of Maccabees. He is a member of St. John's German Evangelical Lutheran church, in good standing, and is one of the useful and esteemed citizens of Dayton.

 

ELIAS LEWIS ACTON, [pages 355-356] draftsman, and supervising architect, with his office in the Callahan Bank building, Dayton, Ohio, was born in London, Madison county, Ohio, May 21, 1851, and is a son of Richard and Minerva (Lewis) Acton. The father, also a native of the Buckeye state, was a carriage builder by occupation, and died in London at the age of sixty-two years; the mother still resides in that city, and is passing the closing years of her life in religious work in the interest of the Universalist church. These parents had born to them four children, viz: Lina and Elias L., who are twins—Lina being now the wife of G. P. Cross, of Minneapolis; Peyton H., who was a journalist at Sioux Falls, Dak., for a number of years, and died in that city at the age of thirty-five; and Maggie who is still the companion of her mother.

Elias L. Acton left his native city in 1869, and went to Cincinnati, where for about seven years, he made his home with his uncle, Bolly Lewis, and entered upon his business life as a clerk or salesman, in a carpet store, in the meantime taking lessons in isometric and ornametal drawing, thus laying the foundation of his after skill as an architect; he next spent two years in New Orleans, La., in a carpet store, and also continued the study of drafting. In 1878 Mr. Acton returned to his native city, where he was engaged, in association with his brother, Peyton H., in the publication of the Madison County Times.  In 1881 Mr. Acton came to Dayton, re-engaged in the carpet business, and was also employed as a designer of ceiling decorations. About 1888 he turned his attention to architectural work exclusively, and for several months was employed by Williams, Otter & Dexter as draftsman and designer.  He then embarked in business as an architect on his own account, and during the past eight years has designed and constructed many fine edifices in Dayton and elsewhere, notably, the Hotel Atlas, the Armory, and the Gem Shirt company's building, besides many of the better class of private residences. He is at present engaged in the construction, on Fifth street, of the Ridgway apartment building, which comprises seven distinct structures under one roof. Mr. Acton is also superintending the erection of an architecturally beautiful double stone front building for George Fair, costing $16,000, which will be an additional evidence of the skill of its designer and an ornament to the city.

Mr. Acton was married in Dayton, September 27, 1879, to Miss Anna Nolan, of Columbus, Ohio, a native of Madison county. Mrs. Acton bore her husband three children, but at the early age of thirty-six years was laid to eternal rest, dying in Dayton, February 13, 1895. The three children are: Richard, who, now at the age of fifteen years, is an assistant in his father's office, but is also attending school; Thomas, aged twelve years, and Minerva, aged nine, are still the companions of their father, and are also attending school. Mrs. Acton was a conscientious Catholic in her religious faith, and her children have been baptized in that church.   Mr. Acton was formerly a democrat, but became a republican at about the time of the resumption of specie payment by the government.

 

HERBERT HENRY WEAKLEY, [pages 356-359] president and general manager of the Herald Publishing company, of Dayton, Ohio, was born February 1, 1837, on the Weakley farm, in the vicinity of Dayton, and is the son of Edward Thomas and Catherine (Gunckel) Weakley. The Weakley family is of English origin, the first to come to America having been five well-to-do brothers, who emigrated together prior to the coming of William Penn. Three of them located in Pennsylvania, while the other two went south. The latter became the progenitors of large families. Weakley county, Tenn., was named for one of them. The grandfather of Herbert H. was Thomas Weakley, who was born in Cumberland county, Pa., and whose wife was Ann Alexander; her father was a staff officer of Gen. Washington. 

Edward Thomas Weakley, their only son, was also born in Cumberland county, Pa., and came with his parents to Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1828. The original family residence, located on the old Weakley homestead, near the soldiers’ home, was built by Thomas Weakley, and still stands. In its time it was the finest farm residence in Montgomery county. At Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1834, Edward Thomas Weakley was married to Catherine Gunckel.   She was the daughter of the late Col. Michael Gunckel, and sister to William, Henry S., George W., and Lewis B. When Herbert, H. was a child, his parents removed to New Carlisle, Clark county, Ohio, and there his father embarked in the tanning and leather business, which he carried on successfully for a number of years. His death occurred in New Carlisle, in 1890, that of his widow occurring about two years later. To Edward Thomas Weakley and wife children were born as follows: Herbert Henry, Mrs. Dr. William W. Crane, of Tippecanoe City, Ohio; Mrs. Dr. G. A. Billow, of New Carlisle; Mrs. Charles Neff, of Columbus, Ohio; Capt. T. J. and George Willis, of Dayton.

Henry Herbert Weakley attended the public schools of New Carlisle until he reached his fifteenth year, when he was sent to a grammar school at Springfield, Ohio. He next entered Antioch college at Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he spent one year, and then entered Miami university, at Oxford, Ohio, where he tools. the regular collegiate course, and graduated in the class of 1858. In the fall of the same year he came to Dayton and entered the law office of Gunckel & Strong, where he spent two years studying law. He was admitted to the bar in 1860 and spent several years in practice in the office of his preceptors.

In 1863 Mr. Weakley organized a local fire insurance company with R. B. Harshman as president; as secretary and manager Mr. Weakley conducted that business, the company taking and holding high position through his efforts, at the same time carrying on the practice of law and the collection of claims against the government until the fall of 1871, when he resigned his position to accept that of land commissioner of the West Wisconsin Railroad company (now the St. Paul line of the C. & N.-W. R. R.), with headquarters at Hudson, Wis. Mr. Weakley was one of the most efficient officers of the company and during his connection with the railroad sold over 750,000 acres of land. In the fall of 1878 he resigned this position, arid, with his wife, made a general tour of the United States, including the territories. Following this he located at Troy, Ohio, and established the Miami county bank, succeeding the banking firm of W. H. H. Dye & Son. As president and owner Mr. Weakley conducted very successfully this banking house for seven years, becoming, in the meantime, a partner in the wholesale grocery firm of .Weakley, Worman & Co., of Dayton.  Selling his banking interest's in Troy, in 1879, Mr. Weakley, accompanied by his wife and daughter, spent nearly two years in traveling in central Europe. Upon his return he located permanently in Dayton, and has continued to reside here.  After having been a citizen of Dayton for about eight months Mr. Weakley assisted in the organization of the Dayton board of trade, and for two years was president and manager of the board, during which time he gave to that organization an impetus which made it an assured success, and when he severed his official connection with it he had won the highest respect and esteem of the business men of Dayton.  From time to time Mr. Weakley has been interested in different enterprises in Dayton, and still retains a number of important connections in business affairs; but it is to the Herald Publishing company that he gives his time and attention, and in which he takes a just pride and pleasure. It was in September, 1889, that he purchased the controlling interest in the Herald company. The Evening Herald was then a four-page paper with a weekly edition of the same size. Mr. Weakley purchased the building now known as the Herald building, corner of Second and Jefferson streets, and there developed the business, enlarging the daily and weekly editions to eight-page papers. Under his active direction as president, general manager and principal owner, the paper has proved to be one of the most successful in the city, and justly lays claim to being the largest and enjoying the greatest circulation of the several papers published in Dayton.  He has been a member of the Dayton club since its organization, and is connected with other social organizations.

On September 21, 1861, Mr. Weakley married Miss Sarah Culbertson, of Troy, Ohio, a daughter of H. H. Culbertson, one of the old families of Miami county. A daughter was born to them—an only child—who married Charles Van Ausdal, on January 3ist, 1888. Mrs. Van Ausdal received a fine education, completing her studies with Mrs. Reed, of New York, after which she accompanied her parents on a lengthened tour in Europe.

Mr. Weakley has been successful in every business enterprise with which he was personally identified.  He has never had any political ambition, and although preferment of that character has been offered him, he has invariably declined. Decided in character, warm in friendship, he has always enjoyed much personal popularity.  He has always had charge and control of large transactions and his business capacity is of a very high order. His education and literary tastes have fitted him for any walk in life. Age is coming along apace, and with an ample fortune, a handsome home and a fine library, enjoying the highest respect and confidence of the people, he can pleasantly look back upon a successful life.

 

THE DAYTON COLLEGE OF MUSIC [pages 360-361] had its origin in the school known as the Boulevard Conservatory of Music. The founders of this school, the Misses Lillie C., Louie M., and Viola M. Butz, seeing the success attending their new enterprise, concluded that a college organization should be perfected and duly incorporated under the laws of the state of Ohio, which was accordingly effected October 17, 1892. The hopes of the founders have been more than realized. The press, the standing of the college, the rating of its pupils, the hearty endorsement of the citizens of Dayton, Ohio, have shown that the conception and development of the plan for musical education in the minds of its founders was no mere theory, but a clear discernment of the needs of the city and surrounding territory, in the sphere of musical culture. With the ample facilities and acknowledged strength of the faculty a thorough collegiate education is afforded to students of the institution.

In establishing the College of Music, the Misses Butz associated with themselves their brother, Clarence A. Butz, Anthony J. Schath, and Miss Josephine H. Holbrook. The faculty engaged in the institution are not only successful teachers but concert artists of confirmed ability, having appeared with great success on the concert stage of Europe as well as America. The principals of the various departments are Lillie C. Butz, Louie M. Butz, Viola M. Butz, Clarence A. Butz, Anthony J. Schath, and Josephine H. Holbrook, whose extensive studies have given them a perfect understanding of the best methods existing, and who are gifted with the faculty of successfully imparting this knowledge to their pupils. The most approved European methods are used at this college, which professes to be a true model in teaching the same method to all grades of its pupils and uniting all of its teachers in one scientific plan for the development of the best musical results. There is an inspiration in association with others engaged in the same work. The college has for its object the foundation and diffusion of a high musical education, which, based on the study of the classic masters, embraces whatever is good in modern art. The curriculum comprises the art of singing, instruction of piano, violin, pipe organ, harp, viola, violoncello, flute, oboe, clarinet, French-horn, cornet, trombone, and full induction in theory, harmony and ensemble. The voice method strictly observed, is the pure Italian method of singing. The Stuttgart and Leipsic piano methods are used, embracing thorough study through preparatory, academic and collegiate courses, carrying the student from the first elements of musical education to the highest proficiency. The violin course comprises the study of Hermann, Spohe, Schubert, Schroeder and David's Hochschule methods.  For all the other instruments the best European methods extant are used.

The Misses Lillie, Louie and Viola Butz and Clarence Butz are descended from musical parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Butz, Jr., who, from a life of study and constant association with music, together with fine talents, have always occupied and still enjoy a prominent place among the leading musicians of Dayton, and have earned an enviable reputation in many cities in which they have appeared in concert.  Lawrence Butz is bass soloist in Holy Trinity Catholic church, Dayton, Ohio, which position he has held for many years. His wife, Mrs. Lawrence Butz, is the capable organist of the church, having successfully filled that place for the past twelve years, previous to which time she had been the leading soprano for a number of years.  Having so assiduously brought out and cultivated their own musical tendencies, Mr. and Mrs. Butz spared neither pains nor money properly to direct the qualifications of their children. At the age of five, respectively, the three daughters were placed under the best local teachers until they had reached twelve years. They were then sent to Mount Notre Dame, an excellent academy near Cincinnati, where for a period of five years they pursued a thorough theoretical and practical study of music—voice, piano and pipe organ—following also a collegiate course of art, science, mathematics, history and languages, taught at this school. After receiving each a gold medal and diploma, their study continued under eminent teachers in New York, and after several years they placed themselves under the best masters in Europe.

Clarence Butz, like his sisters, is possessed of a fine voice which has been highly cultivated, and has studied piano and pipe organ to a creditable extent, yet his favorite instrument is the violin, of which he is a most successful teacher and at the same time a soloist on the concert stage. This young man's talent showed itself at a very early time in life. He began the study of the piano as a preparation for the violin, beginning on the latter instrument at the age of nine years.  He, too, was placed under the best local instructors for the first years, and at the age of fifteen began study in Cincinnati under Prof. A. J. Schath, who afterward became one of the faculty in the Dayton College of Music.  Mr. Butz rose to eminent proficiency under Mr. Schath, with whom he studied assiduously for years, when he placed himself under the instruction of Max Bendix, of Chicago, whose capable pedagogic worth is universally acknowledged.

Mr. Butz is the teacher of a large class of students at the College of Music, whose progress ably attests his qualifications as a first-class teacher of violin.

The Misses Butz and Clarence Butz have distinguished themselves with success wherever they have appeared in concert. Among the musical celebrities with whom these young artists have been associated are Sig. Albino Gorno and John S. Van Cleve, critic and lecturer both of the College of Music, Cincinnati; Mlle. Verlet, of the Opera Comique, Paris; Mme. Moriani, Mlle. Poisson and Monsieur Van Doren, of Brussels; William H. Sherwood, of Chicago; and Victor Thrane, the impressario, of New York.

The College of Music is centrally located, occupying the fifth floor of the Louis block, southwest corner of Fifth and Jefferson streets. The scholastic term opens each year with September 1, continuing until June 30.  From July 1, to September 1, the college summer term is in session.  Every facility for practice and study is given the pupils at the college. Beside the students' concerts that are given at stated periods during the scholastic term, a number of artist concerts are given by the faculty and eminent people of the concert world, for the purpose of educating the public to a love of the divine art. The Dayton College of Music is one of the most refining of the educational institutions of the city and well deserves the extended patronage it enjoys.

 

FRANK ANDERSON, [pages 361-362] engineer of the Steele High School building, Dayton, Ohio, was born in this city May 25, 1854, a son of Benjamin and Maria (Wall) Anderson, of whom the former was born in Washington township, Montgomery county, Ohio, and reared to manhood in Centerville; the latter was a native of Maryland, and their marriage took place in Dayton.

Benjamin Anderson was a merchant tailor in the Gem City from 1840 until about 1867, when he engaged in the produce commission business, in which he continued a few years only, and was living retired at his death, when fifty-four years of age, in 1882.   His widow survived until 1893, when she died at the age of seventy-two years, leaving six children, viz.: Mrs. Hattie Thompson; Charles, who, though a mere boy at the close of the Civil war, enlisted at Dayton in 1865, served 100 days, is now married, and is a clerk in his native city of Dayton; Addie and Josephine, who are twins, the former being now Mrs. George W. Heathman and the latter the widow of P. E. Morton, both sisters being residents of Dayton; and William, who is a carpenter of the same city, Frank being the youngest of the family.

Frank Anderson was educated in the Dayton public schools, and early learned the trade of steam and gas fitting, at which he worked for about fifteen years, and then began general engineering. In 1895 he was chosen engineer of the Steele High School building, a position of great responsibility and requiring a sound knowledge of machinery, and in which he has given the most faithful and efficient service up to the present time.

In 1889 Mr. Anderson married Mrs. Sallie Clarke, a native of Preble county, Ohio, but at the time of her marriage to Mr. Anderson a resident of Dayton.  She bore the maiden name of Kirtland, and by her first marriage is the mother of one son—Delbert Clarke—now sixteen years of age and a member of Mr. Anderson's household.

Mr. Anderson is a member of the Junior Order of American Mechanics, and, with his wife, of the Daughters of Liberty. They belong to the congregation worshiping at the Central Baptist church, and in politics Mr. Anderson is a sound republican of the McKinley school. He has led a quiet, industrious life, confining himself to his own affairs, and has made many warm friends in Dayton, where those who best know him honor him the most. He and his family hold the respect and esteem of their neighbors to a marked degree.

 

REV. JOHN KERFOOT LEWIS, [pages 362-366] chaplain in the United States navy, with his residence at No. 304 South Jefferson street, Dayton, Ohio, was born in York, Pa., March 18, 1835, a son of Thomas M. and Ann Jane (Kerfoot) Lewis.

Thomas M. Lewis was a native of Bucks county, Pa., from January 17, 1808, and on September n, 1832, married Miss Ann Jane Kerfoot, in Lancaster, Pa. In October, 1838, he brought his family to Dayton, Ohio, and engaged in the clothing business, which he followed until shortly before his death, which was caused by a railroad accident and took place in Dayton, July 14, 1884.

His widow, the mother of John K. Lewis, still resides in Dayton. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, October 5, 1810, and came to America with her parents in 1818. She is the second child who grew to maturity of Richard Kerfoot, of Castle Blarney, county Monaghan, Ireland, of the baronial family of Kerfoot, of Berwick manor, in the south part of Scotland, on the border of England, a branch of which family settled in Ireland in the time of Queen Elizabeth, of England.   Her mother was a daughter of Hugh Cumming, an attorney of Armagh, Ireland, who was, according to tradition, confirmed by the coat of arms borne by his ancestor, Alexander Cumming. The brothers of Mrs. Lewis were persons in high official station, in both England and Ireland, but the only one now living is a leading real estate dealer in Chicago, Ill., where he settled in 1848.

William D. Lewis, the paternal grandfather of Rev. John K. Lewis, was born in Bucks county, Pa., of Welsh parentage. To the marriage of his son, Thomas M., with Ann Jane Kerfoot, were born, beside the subject of this sketch, four children, viz.: Samuel S., who for many years was a farmer in Kansas, but is now a resident of California; Martha J., who died in 1863 at the age of twenty-nine years; Mary A., who was married to George H, Lane, an attorney of Dayton, and about 1856 removed to Burlington, Iowa, where she died, in 1871, at the age of thirty-four years; and Emily M., who died in Dayton, in 1887, aged forty-one years.

The education of John K. Lewis was begun in the pioneer schools of Dayton, where he was under the instruction of Mr. Gaylor and Mr. Chipman, and also, in his early days, was a pupil under Mr. and Mrs. James Walters, of Sixth street. At the age of about eleven years he left the public school and became a student under Milo G. Williams, in the old academy, which afterward became the first high school of the city, under the management of James H. Campbell and Dr. Crook, and later under that of John W. Hall. At the age of nearly fifteen years, Mr. Lewis entered the Ohio Wesleyan university, but was dissatisfied with its curriculum and returned to Dayton, where for three years he was employed as a clerk in a book store. He then entered Saint James college, an Episcopal institution, near Hagerstown, Md. In passing, it may be said that the president of this college was a brother of his mother; that the college was discontinued during the Civil war and was never rehabilitated, and that its president later became president of Trinity college, Hartford, Conn.

At the age of twenty-two years Mr. Lewis was graduated from Saint James and was at once installed as head master of the grammar school of the same—a position he held for four years, or until the outbreak of the Rebellion.  In 1858, while still in the institution, he was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal church, and in 1860 was invested with full orders. In 1861 he entered upon his ministerial duties as assistant to the pastor of the Episcopal church at Elizabeth, N. J., and in 1862 was placed in charge of Saint Luke's Episcopal church at Buffalo, N. Y., where he officiated four years. He next established Saint Mark's school, at Southborough; Mass., under the auspices of the church, and this school is still in existence and in a most flourishing condition. A year later he was given charge of a mission in Syracuse, N. Y., and after four years of labor succeeded in building a church edifice— now the second Episcopal church of that city.

In November, 1869, Rev. Mr. Lewis was appointed a chaplain in the United States navy, and although his time since then has chiefly been passed in shore duty, he has nevertheless seen seven or eight years of sea service, during which period he has visited Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Sea islands, according to sailing orders issued by the navy department to the commander of the man-of-war or fleet to which he happened to be detailed. While performing shore duty as United States naval chaplain, he often conducted religious services, not only for his crew, but for the landsmen, among whom he may have happened at the time to be stationed. For the past ten years he has considered Dayton to be his permanent home, and, if he live until March, 1897, he will be placed on the retired list of United States officers.

The first marriage of Rev. Mr. Lewis was solemnized in Elizabeth, N. J., in 1862, with Miss Susan W. Moore, a native of that city. This union resulted in the birth of five daughters, in the following order: Catherine E., Martha, Mary, Margaret and Florence.  Of these Catherine E., is the wife of William E. Abbey, of Philadelphia, and Martha is married to Mr. Hill, of Newport, R. I. The second marriage of Rev. Mr. Lewis was with Miss Anne E. Keble, of Dayton, daughter of Walter and Elizabeth Keble—the parents being of English birth.

Rev. Mr. Lewis is a Thirty-second degree Scottish rite Mason. In politics he is independent, but is an advocate of the single tax theory.  In early times his father was one of the foremost of Ohio abolitionists, and, with Dr. Hibbard Jewett and John A. Sprague, had the courage to maintain his convictions of right in the face of the strong pro-slavery element the day.  He was well understood as one of the managers of "the underground railroad," and assisted many a fugitive slave to freedom, and rejoiced that he lived to see America free in fact as well as in name.

 

CAPT. THOMAS G. ADKINS, [pages 366-368] band-master at the National Military home, near Dayton, Ohio, and one of the most accomplished musicians and band leaders in the United States, was born in London, England, March 4, 1823, and, veteran as he is, still stands at the head of his profession. His parents were Thomas and Catherine (Robinson) Adkins, the former of whom was a soldier of the Twenty-fourth "foot" regiment in the British army.

When a child of two years of age, the son was taken through Ireland by his parents, his father following the fortunes of his regiment in that island, and his wife accompanying him. At the age of six years young Adkins first saw America, the regiment to which his father was attached being ordered to Quebec, Canada, where the father died in 1833—and the mother and son were returned to England by the government. At the age of nine years, Thomas was placed in the Royal Military school in London, where he received a military and musical education, and, having developed a decided taste and talent for musical art, was entered, at the age of fifteen years, as musician, in the Second regiment of life guards—the bodyguard of the sovereign. After passing ten years in this regiment, Mr. Adkins came to the United States, and made his first engagement as a musician as master of the Washington band of New York city; he was also a member of the orchestra which played at the concerts of the Swedish nightingale, Jenny Lind, in her earliest concerts in this country, he playing cornet solo, and still has a program of the third concert given by that famous showman, Phineas T. Barnum— possibly at Castle Garden, New York. During this time Mr. Adkins still retained his position as leader of the Washington band, which was attached to or employed by the aristocratic and "crack" regiment, known as the Seventh New York militia, but four or five years later the band dissolved its connection with the Seventh, and attached itself to the Eighth New York militia. In a short time, however, Mr. Adkins withdrew from this connection and went to New Orleans, La., and for a while was solo cornetist in a theater orchestra during the winter of 1855-56. In the spring of the latter year he organized a band of twenty-five men to accompany the "gray-eyed man of destiny," Gen. William Walker, who departed, with a body of "fishermen," to aid in the liberation of Nicaragua, but he was not long a band-master with that little army, as it soon became necessary to shoulder a musket and fight in person. Penned up in the little city of Rivas, the patriot army defended itself against a siege of three months, living on horseflesh, dogs, lizards and what-not, and in the meantime slaughtering about 1,000 of the besiegers, but at last compromised, marched out, and the greater part of the 250 fighting men were deported for New York. Mr. Adkins, however, wandered to the Pacific coast and at Point d'Arenus formed a troupe of minstrels—the first heard in the country— composed of seven musicians. The British consul at the Point was a cornet player, had several instruments, which he loaned the troupe, and banjos, etc., were constructed through the ingenuity of the band. Through this means the performers were enabled to travel several hundred miles afoot and make a livelihood.

While on this memorable trip Mr. Adkins was engaged by a local priest to play at a celebration over the defeat of Gen. Walker, and, though this engagement was not to his taste, playing dance and other profane music at the head of the military procession on Sunday, while the cannon were booming, yet it netted him considerable "dinero" and he was well treated.  Mr. Adkins was also offered a position as leader of a fine band at Walla Walla, but declined. He received, however, a purse of $30 and a liberal supply of provisions from the friendly priest—Padre Cabaisa—and went on his way rejoicing. On reaching Aspinwall he boarded a vessel for New York, but found that he had only $25 in his possession, while the passage rate was fixed at $60; but by a Masonic arrangement he was permitted to embark for the voyage. When the vessel stopped at the way port of Havana, Cuba, Mr. Adkins was seized with the Chagres fever, a disease known only to Central America, but continuing the voyage, he arrived in New York July 4, 1857, where he was confined in bed during the three months following. He was then able to resume his place as master of the Washington band, and in the latter part of 1857 was offered by Col. Colt (the inventor of the revolving firearm), of Hartford, Conn., a liberal compensation as leader of his band in that city, which was accepted and filled until 1861.

Mr. Adkins then organized a band of twenty-four musicians for the Fourteenth United States infantry, and for five years and eleven months was connected with this regiment, serving through the Civil war, the greater part of the time at headquarters, but nevertheless in the field through the battle of the Wilderness. At the close of the war the widow of Col. Colt recalled Capt. Adkins to Hartford, Conn., and placed him once more in charge of the Colt factory band, which position he retained until 1881. This was an especial recognition of his merits as a musician and band leader, as he was thus employed, save during the war, from 1857 until 1881. During the last engagement of Capt. Adkins at the Colt firearms factory, Gen. Franklin was its superintendent, and it was through his influence that the captain was admitted to the National Military home at Dayton.

In May, 1881, Capt. Adkins was placed in charge of the Home band, and a recent report rendered by the United States inspector, Gen. Breckinridge, shows this to be one of the best military bands in the country — it being composed of thirty-three pieces.

Capt Adkins was first married, in England, to Miss Mary Walker, who there died, leaving one son, who sacrificed his life in our late Civil war. His present wife, whom he married in Portland, Oregon, in 1866, was Miss Jane Millard, a native of Ireland. To this union eight children have been born, viz.: Catherine, Alice, Frederick William, Thomas, Alfred, Maud, Mabel and Edward.   Of the sons, Alfred served three years in the United States cavalry service, receiving his discharge in 1895; the daughters, inheriting the musical talent of their father, have developed as most excellent performers on the piano.

There is one fact in regard to the family of Capt. Adkins which ought to be mentioned, and that is that, although he is an Englishman born, his relative, Nathan Adkins, was a soldier in the Second regulars of Virginia in the war of the Revolution, and aided in attaining the independence of the country in which the captain has now found a home.

Capt. Adkins was made a Freemason, in New York city, in 1852, in Worth lodge; he was dimitted thence to Mystic lodge, No. 405, at Dayton, Ohio, and has attained to the Thirty-second degree — a very exalted position in the order.  He is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and in religion he and his family are members of the Episcopalian church.  In his politics he is a republican, and he and his sons furnish four straight votes annually for that party.

 

MAJ. CARL BERLIN, [page 368] assistant adjutant general of the Central branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers near Dayton, Ohio, was born near Ystad, in the northern part of Sweden, May 17, 1834, was graduated from a university and the military academy, entered the Swedish army at the age of twenty years, as a non-commissioned officer, received his commission as second lieutenant in 1856, and as first lieutenant in 1862, serving in all nine years. In the fall of 1863 he came to the United States, was at once commissioned first lieutenant of company C, Eighth New York volunteer cavalry, and faithfully served against the rebels until mustered out with his regiment in December, 1864. The day of his muster out he was commissioned first lieutenant of the First New York light artillery, and served with this rank until the close of the internecine struggle.  He took part in all the engagements of the army of the Potomac during the years he was in the service, doing duty as aid-de-camp to the chief of artillery, Gen. Henry J. Hunt, and as inspector of the artillery brigade, Fifth army corps. He was brevetted captain and major for brave and meritorious conduct at Spotsylvania Court House and Petersburg. After the close of the war he engaged in planting and in mercantile business in South Carolina, but his experience in these lines was not altogether gratifying, and he relinquished them in 1884. In 1885 he was appointed adjutant and inspector of the Central branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. He is a member of the Loyal Legion and of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a Knight of the Royal Order of the Sword, which decoration was conferred on him by the king of Sweden.

Maj. Berlin is not only one of the most popular officers connected with the government of the home, but he numbers among his friends very many of the best citizens of Dayton.

 

ADAM ADELBERGER, [pages 368-371] ex-member of the Dayton city council from the Second ward, and who was a well-known butcher, residing at No. 315 and 317 Xenia avenue, was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, December 31, 1848. Having received his education in his native country, he left home on June 17, 1866, and came to the United States, landing in New York and coming thence direct to Dayton, which place he reached July 22, 1866.  His trade of butcher he acquired in Dayton, working for Leonard Stockert, one of the oldest butchers of the city, where he still resides. For some four years after retiring from the service of Mr. Stockert, Mr. Adelberger worked for various employers, and then engaged in business for himself. For one year he was in business on Webster street, and then removed to Mad River township; but in May, 1885, he returned to Dayton and opened a place of business on Xenia avenue, where he remained until his death.

On April 28, 1870, he was married to Elizabeth Wassurp, a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany who came to this country in May, 1868. To them were born ten children, five of whom, all daughters, are still living. Mr. Adelberger was, and his family are, members of St. John's German Evangelical church, of which Mr. Adelberger was a trustee at his death, and of which he had formerly served as trustee for four years. He was also a member of the Odd Fellow fraternity, A. 0. U. W. and of the order of Chosen Friends, besides several other beneficiary organizations. He was elected to the council of Dayton in June, 1894, to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Kronauge, and in April, 1895, he was re-elected, his term to expire in 1897.

In 1888 Mr. Adelberger paid a visit to his native country, remaining abroad three months with his relatives and friends. There his father and mother, three brothers and one sister are still living.  Mr. Adelberger was one of the successful business men of Dayton, and his judgment in business, as well as in political matters, was frequently sought.

Mr. Adelberger met with a sudden and melancholy death August 18, 1896, by being thrown from a wagon, and his untimely end was sincerely mourned by all who knew him.

 

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