Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of  Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 438-455 Charles Judson Coffman to Claiborne M. Davis

CHARLES JUDSON COFFMAN, [pages 438-439] vice-president of the Gem Shirt company of Dayton, is a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Montgomery county. The first of the family to locate in this county was Jacob Coffman, who, in company with his wife and one child, came here from Virginia in the early part of the present century. He purchased a considerable tract of land, a portion of which is now embraced in the precincts of the national soldiers' home. This land he reclaimed and improved, making it his residence until his death, and, having devoted his entire attention to his farming interests, became a man of prominence in the community. He became the father of five children, each of whom lived to an advanced age, their names in order of birth being as follows: John; Jacob, father of Charles J.; Catherine, better known as Kittie, who married Jacob Neibert, who lived to the age of nearly ninety years; Rachael, deceased, and Hannah, deceased.

Jacob Coffman, the father of Charles J., was born on the old homestead near Dayton in December, 1819, and remained on the farm until he had attained the age of nineteen years, when he came to Dayton and secured clerical employment in the dry-goods establishment of Daniel Kiefer, with whom he remained for some time.  He then turned his attention to what was a very important line of enterprise in the pioneer days, that of peddling notions by wagon, thus traversing a large territory in the neighborhood of Dayton. He sold to the retail dealers in the various towns, which he visited at regular intervals, and continued this now almost forgotten industry for a number of years. In 1855 he established the first wholesale notion house in Dayton, being associated with John Beaver, under the firm name of Coffman & Beaver. In about a year Mr. Beaver died, after which Mr. Coffman conducted the business individually for some time, and eventually formed the firm of Coffman, Osborn & Coffman, which continued with success until the close of the Civil war. Mr. Coffman then disposed of his interest and purchased the interest of Edward Stilwell as a member of Crawford & Stilwell, who were engaged in the manufacture of lasts and pegs for boots and shoes. This industry was continued, under the firm name of Crawford & Coffman, until about the year 1885, when Mr. Coffman sold out his share and purchased the business which is now conducted by his son, Charles J. Coffman, it being then of the same character as that with which he had formerly been identified, namely, the wholesale notion business. The father, however, practically retired from active pursuits at the time of purchasing this establishment, chiefly by reason of the deplorable infirmity of blindness, which afflicted him for a period of about six years prior to his death, which occurred in April, 1892. The enterprise noted was, in 1887, merged into the Gem Shirt company, and upon the organization of this stock company, Jacob Coffman became vice-president of the corporation and was connected with it until his death.  He was a man of unassuming manners, of unbending integrity and honor, and of marked business ability. He commanded the confidence and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. In his religious views he held the faith of the Baptist church and was a zealous worker in its cause. He was radical and uncompromising in his opposition to the institution of slavery and rendered a stanch allegiance to the republican party from the time of its organization. His tastes were essentially domestic and in his home were centered the chief attractions and interests of his life.

Jacob Coffman was united in marriage, in December, 1841, to Miss Sarah Ann Miller, a daughter of Samuel and Sarah Miller, who were among the pioneers of Montgomery county, coming hither from Lancaster, Pa., where the mother of Charles J. was born. Her death occurred in 1889, at the age of sixty-five years. Jacob and Sarah Ann Coffman became the parents of a large family of children, of whom seven are living.

Charles J. Coffman, the fifth child of this family, was born July 11, 1850. He was reared in Dayton, receiving his education in the public schools. At the age of sixteen he entered the last and peg factory operated by his father, and there remained employed for the period of three years, after which he accepted a position as traveling salesman for the wholesale millinery establishment of Fahnley & McCrea, Indianapolis, Ind., with whom he remained for somewhat more than three years. He then returned to Dayton and became commercial traveler for the wholesale notion house of Osborn, Satcamp & Co. for five years, after which he established a wholesale business of the same character, under the firm name of C. J. Coffman & Co., conducting the same for seven years, at the expiration of which time he was succeeded by his father. He then became a traveling salesman in the handling of shirts, and has ever since been associated with this business, having been one of the organizers of the Gem Shirt company.  In addition to his own private concerns he handled his father's business for six years prior to the latter's death.  Mr. Coffman is known as one of the progressive and thoroughly representative business men of Dayton, and has a sincere interest in all that tends to conserve the prosperity of the city.  In his political adherency he is identified with the republican party, and fraternally is a member of the Royal Arcanum and of the United Commercial Travelers' association, in which he holds official preferment as senior counselor.

 

CHARLES F. CORNS, [pages 439-440] member of the Dayton city council from the Sixth ward, and foreman of Kuhns Bros,' foundry, was born in Prussia, Germany, December 4, 1835. Receiving his education in his native country, he came to America in company with his mother in 1849, a brother and sister also accompanying them. At first they located in Waterloo county, Upper Canada, where Mr. Corns learned the trade of foundryman, which trade he has since followed almost continuously.  In 1852 he came to the United States, locating in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked at his trade until 1854, and in 1855 returned to Canada. In 1856 he was married in Canada to Susan Mclntire, and in 1859 returned to the United States, locating at Cleveland, Ohio, where he continued to reside until 1861. During this latter year he came to Dayton, Ohio, where he has lived ever since.

During the war of the Rebellion Mr. Corns aided in recruiting company K, Seventh regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, and also company I of the One Hundred and Twenty-third Ohio volunteer infantry. He worked in the government arsenal at Troy, N. Y., for about four months during the year 1862, going there from Dayton. For a number of years Mr. Corns was employed as a molder in the .stove foundry of Brown & Irwin, of Dayton, and afterward was with the firm of Greer & King for about ten years. He was afterward a molder in the employ of John W. Stoddard for about three years, and for about eleven years was foreman of the foundry of the Farmers' Friend Manufacturing company. He was one of the originators of the Marley-Craig Foundry company, being a partner in the concern, from which came the Craig-Reynolds company. In 1892 he became foreman at the Kuhns Bros.' foundry, which position he has since continuously held.

Mr. Corns has long been identified with the republican party, and has been prominent in the public affairs of the city of Dayton. In 1886 he was elected to the city council from the Ninth ward.  In 1888 he was re-elected from the same ward, and again in 1890 and 1892, thus serving eight successive years from this ward.  In 1894 he was elected to the council from the Third ward, which has since been changed to the Sixth.  Mr. Corns is the oldest member of the city council, not only in point of age, but also in years of service.

Mr. Corns is a member of the Harugari lodge of the German-American Pioneer society, and of the A. 0. U. W.  To Mr. Corns and his wife there have been born four children, as follows: Edwin; Estella, wife of Fremont Dodds, of London, Madison county, Ohio; Charles M., dental student; and Murrel, wife of Vallington Tippy, of Dayton, assistant bookkeeper for the dry-goods house of Elder & Johnston. Mrs. Corns is a member of the United Brethren church.

The most marked characteristic of Mr. Corns as a city official is his fearlessness in the expression of his views upon all matters of public moment which come before the body in which he has rendered so long a service.

 

ELI FASOLD, [pages 440-443] general agent for the Singer Manufacturing company at Dayton, Ohio, was born in Sunbury, Northumberland county, Pa., February 22, 1838, his parents being also natives of that county.   In 1844 the family removed to Richmond, Ind., where Eli attended the public schools and learned the carriage-ironing trade under Peter Crocker & Co. April 20, 1861, he enlisted in the Eighth regiment, Indiana volunteer infantry, for three months, at the end of which time he entered the employment of the Singer Manufacturing company, and for five years; had his headquarters at Indianapolis, and for more than thirty years has been stationed at Dayton. For eight years he has been connected with the Troup Manufacturing company of Dayton, as vice-president, but is now closing out the business of this concern. For five years he was a director of the Southern Ohio Fair association, and has been an active and energetic business man ever since attaining his majority.

Fraternally, Mr. Fasold is eminent in Freemasonry and in the order of the Knights of Honor, having been a member of the former for nearly thirty and of the latter for twenty-seven years. He was initiated in Mystic lodge, No. 405, F. & A. M., Dayton, June 12, 1869; passed July 24, 1869, and raised, September 11, 1869; was elected trustee December 12, 1879, and so remained until 1896; elected senior warden December 4, 1880; worshipful master, December 9, 1884, for one year. In Unity chapter, No. 16, R. A. M., marked November 4,   1869; passed January 6, 1870; received and acknowledged May 5 1870; exalted June 2, 1870; was king from December 19, 1878, until December 16, 1886; high priest from December 16, 1866, to December 15, 1887.   In Reese council, No. 9, he received the royal and select master's degree September 2, 1870. In Reed commandery No. 6, K. T., was dubbed and created Knight of Red Cross June 21, 1870; K. T., July 19, 1870; K. of M., July 19, 1870; sword bearer, November, 1871, to November, 1873; senior warden, November, 1873, to November, 1875; captain general, November, 1875, to November, 1876; eminent commander, 1876 to 1880; trustee, 1880 to 1895. In the grand commandery K. T. of Ohio, was grand senior warden in 1877 and 1878; grand senior warden in 1879 and 1880; grand generalissimo, 1881 and 1882; deputy grand commander, 1883, and right eminent grand commander in 1884; was representative of the grand commandery of Nebraska in 1886-89, 1892-95-98.   In the ancient accepted Scottish rite, he received the ineffable degrees March 14, 1872, in Giblum grand lodge of Perfection at Cincinnati; received the ancient traditional grades March 15, 1872, in the Dalcho grand council, P. J., Cincinnati; received philosophical and doctrinal grades in Cincinnati grand chapter of Rose-Croix, same date and place, and the modern historic and chivalric grades March 16, 1872; in Ohio grand consistory, S. P. R. S, thirty-second degree; was created sovereign grand inspector general, thirty-third degree, at Detroit, Mich., September 23, 1884. Mr. Fasold is a charter member of Gabriel grand lodge of perfection, Dayton; was appointed grand orator for 1881-82, and served as trustee from January, 1881, to 1896; is a charter member of Miami council, and charter member of Rose-Croix grand chapter, Dayton; was appointed M. E. and P. K., S. W., in April, 1880-81 and elected, M. W. and P. M. in May, 1881-83.

Mr. Fasold has for twelve years been president of the Scottish rite K. T. and Master Mason's Aid association, and has been president of the Homestead Aid association for five years, and a director in the same eight years; he was one of the founders of the Freemasons' Mutual Benefit association, and has been a director and treasurer for twenty-two years.

Mr. Fasold was united in marriage, October 5, 1861, with Miss Louisa Smith, of Richmond, Ind., and to this union have been born two children—a daughter, Mary F., and a son, William S., who is now cashier of the Big Four Railroad company at Dayton. The parents have been members of the Third street Presbyterian church for the past thirty years. In politics Mr. Fasold is a republican.

 

ALBERT CLAYTON CARNEY, M.D., [pages 443-444] physician and surgeon of Dayton, Ohio, with office at 715 Washington street, was born in Butler county, southwest of and near Germantown, Montgomery county, December 9, 1868. He is a son of Walter and Catherine (Garrison) Carney, who are still residing on their home farm in Butler county, where Mr. Carney has followed agricultural pursuits for many years.  The Carney family is of mixed nationality, Walter Carney having descended from Scotch, Irish and German ancestry.  He and his wife are parents of four children.

Albert C. Carney was reared on his father's farm, and thus inured to labor in his early days. His. education was received in the common schools, and later he attended Otterbein university.  However, while in college he was reading medicine with Dr. J. W. Cline, of Dayton, Ohio, as his preceptor, having early in life chosen medicine as his profession. He afterward read with Dr. J. W. Jones, of Westerville, Ohio, and attended the Ohio Medical college at Cincinnati, graduating from that institution in the class of 1889. At first he was located in Greenville, Ohio, practicing there six months, and then removed to Germantown, where he was engaged in practice until 1892. In this year he removed to Dayton, where he has been ever since, and where he has built up a good practice.  He is the most successful of the young physicians of the city, and a rising young man in every way.

He is a member of Friendship lodge, No. 21, I. 0. 0. F., of Germantown, Ohio, and of the Germantown encampment, No. 77, Patriarchs Militant. He was married March 1, 1888, in Germantown, Ohio, to Miss Etta B. Swain, a daughter of Rev. J. L. Swain. Dr. and Mrs. Carney are the parents of one child, Homer Eugene. They are leading members of the United Brethren church and highly regarded by all who know them.

 

CHARLES A. COOPER, [pages 444-445] senior member of the firm of Charles A. Cooper & Co., wholesale dealers in saddlery and carriage goods, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Springfield, Ohio, May 13, 1851, a son of David and Louisa S. (Runyon) Cooper.

David Cooper was born in Pennsylvania January 9, 1826, a son of William and Jane (Murphy) Cooper, and died in Dayton, Ohio, November 11, 1888. When nineteen years of age he came to Ohio and engaged in the dry-goods business at Springfield, but sold out in 1849, and established the business which Charles A. Cooper, his son, now conducts in Dayton, and of which further mention will be made. January 9, 1849, he was married in Springfield to Miss Louisa S. Runyon, daughter of William and Harriet (Silvers) Runyon, the former of New Jersey and the latter of England.   Mrs. Louisa S. Cooper was born in Newburg, Pa., and was a babe when taken to Kentucky by her parents. Her father was a railroad contractor and constructed the first railroad west of the Alleghany mountains, and constructed the first railroad at Lexington, Ky., which was one of the first in that state. About 1835 the Runyon family came to Columbus, Ohio, where Mr. Runyon was engaged in the hardware business, until 1841, when he removed to Springfield, where he was engaged in the same industry until his death. To Mr. and Mrs. Runyon were born five children, of whom two died in infancy; Louisa S. is the widow of David Cooper; Mary, now deceased, was the wife of Pliny Newhall, and Ellen is married to Albert E. Shearer, of Cleveland. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. David Cooper were born six children, viz: George, now a traveling salesman; Charles A.; Edward F., of Dayton; Hattie E., wife of W. B. Anderson; David W., and Mary L., wife of Charles F. Snyder—all of Dayton. The mother and her sons, Charles A, and David W., now make their home at No. 351 West First street.

As has been stated, the late David Cooper established the present business in 1849, in Springfield, Ohio, beginning as a whole sale and retail dealer in general hardware, saddlery and carriage materials. In 1869 he came to Dayton, opened his store at No. 140 East Third street, and conducted a wholesale and retail trade in the same line as that he had carried on in Springfield; but in 1876 disposed of his general hardware business and confined himself to the wholesale saddlery and carriage goods trade, selling chiefly throughout Ohio and Indiana. At his death, in 1888, his son, Charles A., assumed the management of the business in conjunction with his brother, Edward F. Cooper, under the firm name of David Cooper's Sons. January 1, 1890, the firm removed to the present quarters, No. 123 East Third street, in the Huffman block, and August 1, 1893, Charles A. purchased the interest of his brother, Edward F., and January 1, 1894, changed the firm name to that of Charles A. Cooper & Co.—the firm being now composed of Louisa S. Cooper and Charles A. Cooper. Two men are constantly employed by the firm as salesmen on the road, and they cover the territory embraced by the states of Ohio and Indiana, throughout which states the firm is well known, it being the largest concern in its line in western Ohio.

Charles A. Cooper was reared in Springfield, and received his education in the schools of that city and at Wittenberg college. At the age of eighteen years he came to Dayton to assist his father in the store, and in 1873 went on the road as salesman, representing the house for sixteen years. He then returned to the store and assumed the management of the business, having been admitted as a partner a year previously.

Mr. Cooper has been very successful in his management, and is looked upon as one of the ablest of the young business men of Dayton. He is a member of the Third street Presbyterian church, and in politics affiliates with the republican party.

 

COL. ROBERT COWDEN, [pages 445-447] of Dayton, Ohio, is descended from an old Scotch family, who came to America, many years ago, from Cowden Knolls, twenty-five miles north of Edinburg. His parents, David and Elizabeth (Kitch) Cowden, were natives of Pennsylvania, and early settlers in Ohio, where the father died when Robert was but five years of age. Robert Cowden was born May 24, 1833, near Leesville Cross Roads, Ohio, and although his opportunities for securing an education were meager, he succeeded, by dint of close application to study, in acquiring a fair amount of knowledge and became a school teacher at the age of eighteen years, following that calling in the winter and working during the summer at any paying employment he could find, for several consecutive years.  At the age of nineteen he was converted to Christ and at once entered upon a career of religious work in the interest of the United Brethren church and humanity, and today, as an organizer and teacher of Sunday schools, he probably has no superior. Persistent in his studies, he early developed himself as a scholar of much learning, especially in the field of theology, and was thus fully qualified for Sabbath-school work, and for nearly thirty years he has been closely identified with that branch of religious activity in this country, and has filled many positions of honor in connection with it.  Coupled with his well-earned reputation for usefulness in civil life, Col. Cowden has a military record for patriotism and valor, and the scars upon his person bear substantial witness to the fact that he not only loved his country but helped to fight her battles.  Robert Cowden enlisted September 9, 1861, in company B, Fifty-sixth Illinois volunteer infantry, but was transferred to company H, and between the date of his enlistment and January 28, 1862, was promoted to be corporal, was next advanced to the position of sergeant, and still later was commissioned first lieutenant of company H. Because of defective enlistment or organization of the Fifty-sixth, that regiment was mustered out of service January 28, 1862, and on the same day Lieut. Cowden entered battery I, First Illinois light artillery, as a private.  During his service of eighteen months in this body he was promoted through the intermediate grades from private to second lieutenant, receiving his commission for meritorious conduct on the battle field of Shiloh. July 29, 1863, Lieut. Cowden was discharged to receive promotion, and was mustered in as major of the Fifty-ninth United States colored infantry, and May 1, 1864, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, with which rank he served until his final muster out, January 31, 1866. At this time, to save the men, who in most cases had been recruited from the illiterate plantation hands, from the self-constituted bounty and claim agents, a meeting of the officers of the regiment was held at Memphis, Tenn., where it was decided that Col. Cowden should receive authority to act for the discharged men. As a consequence 530 soldiers entrusted their discharge papers to him, the result being that he subsequently collected all back pay, bounty, etc., due to the men and placed the proceeds into the hands of those to whom they rightfully belonged.  The colonel was also instrumental in establishing a school for the instruction of unlettered men of his regiment, and in this school 250 colored men were taught to read and write.

Among the many engagements in which Col. Cowden participated may be enumerated that of Shiloh, both days; the siege of Corinth and the engagement at the Russell house, lying between Pittsburg Landing and Corinth; the siege and capture of Vicksburg; the second; capture of Jackson, Miss.; the engagement at Guntown, Miss., where, June 10, 1864, he received a severe wound in the right hip; and finally the battles of Tupelo and Pontotoc, Miss., in July, 1864.

To revert to the life of Col, Cowden as a civilian, it may be stated that, prior to the Civil war, he resided in Kansas for three years and was there during the "border" troubles, and was the first county clerk elected in Franklin county.  He again resided in that state from 1885 until 1891, in Cheyenne county; in the interim, however, he lived in Gallon, Crawford county, Ohio, where he was postmaster during the administration of President Hayes. He is at present a member of the military order known as the Loyal Legion, commandery of Ohio; for twenty-six years has been a member of the general board of the Ohio Sunday-school association, in which he served one year as president, six years as general secretary, and the remainder of the period as a member of the executive committee; for years he has been general secretary of the Sabbath-school board of the United Brethren in Christ and general Sabbath-school missionary and organizer for that denomination; he is also secretary of the normal department of the Ohio State Sabbath-school association and is its statistician; from 1875 until 1890 he was a member of the executive committee of the International Sabbath-school association, and has been a delegate to all its triennial conventions, held in London, and to the first and second world's conventions; also the convention held at Saint Louis, Mo., in 1893. He travels about 20,000 miles annually in the prosecution of his work. He has contributed many valuable articles to the religious press, and, wielding a facile pen, has written a history of his regiment.

The first marriage of Col. Cowden was solemnized, in 1854, with Miss Lydia T. Miller, which union was blessed with four children, viz: Daniel Webster, now a wholesale merchant of Salina, Kans.; John C. Milton, a farmer of Cheyenne county, in the same state; Jacob K. R., a farmer of Eagle county, Colo., and Mrs. Zoe E. M. Chipperfield, whose husband is also a farmer of Cheyenne county, Kans., and descended from these children there are now twelve living grandchildren of Col. Cowden. After a happy union of over thirty-six years, Mrs. Cowden died in December, 1890, and in November, 1891, Col. Cowden was united in matrimony with Mrs. Joanna McGinnis, of Wichita, Kans.

 

CAPT. THOMAS J. CROOKS [pages 447-449] was born in Cleveland, Ohio, May 3, 1845. His parents were John C. and Sarah J. (Beatty) Crooks, the father a native of north Ireland and the mother born in the highlands of Scotland; they were married in Ireland, and, about the year 1842, immigrated to the United States, settling in Cleveland, Ohio, where John C. Crooks was for some time a member of the police force.  In his native country he learned the trade of carpet weaving, but did not follow his calling very long after becoming a citizen of the United States; he died at Cleveland in 1878, aged sixty years. Mrs. Crooks still lives in that city. John C. and Sarah Crooks were the parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters, three of the sons having served gallantly in the late war of the Rebellion; Samuel was killed in December, 1864, at Fort McAlister; John E, was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va.; he is now a resident of Benicia, Cal. where he is engaged in the banking business and of which city he has also served as mayor at different times; William L., a telegrapher, resides at Los Angeles, Cal.; Elizabeth married a Mr. Lewis and lives in Kansas; Elizabeth Callins makes her home in Cleveland, and the two youngest members of the family, Mary and Lillie A., both unmarried, still reside with their mother under the parental roof.

Thomas J. Crooks grew to early manhood in Cleveland, where he attended school until his seventeenth year, at which time he laid aside his studies and entered the army, enlisting in what was known as the Cleveland Grays, a company which formed part of the Eighty-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry, and with which he served for a period of four months in Virginia under Gen. Kelley. During his first enlistment Capt. Crooks saw some active service and took part in several engagements of minor importance, chief among which was the fight at New Creek, Va. At the expiration of his period of service, he re-enlisted,

October 9, 1862, for three years, in company H, One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio infantry, receiving the rank of corporal, and, a little later, was made first sergeant of his company. He was wounded September 19, 1863, at Chickamauga, and for six months thereafter remained in a hospital, the nature of his disability necessitating his retirement from active service for the greater part of a year. On being discharged from the hospital Capt. Crooks was transferred, March, 1864, to the One Hundred and Fifty-second battalion veteran reserve corps, with which he served until mustered out July 26, 1865, at Nashville, Tenn. During this period he participated in the battles of Thompson's Station, Tenn., where the entire brigade, with the exception of the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio, was captured; Triune, Tenn.; Chickamauga; two-days' fight at Nashville, and other engagements, in all of which his conduct was that of a faithful and gallant soldier. Returning to Cleveland after the war, Capt. Crooks accepted a clerical position in the mayor's office of that city and was thus employed for one year, when he embarked in the grocery business, conducting the same until 1867. In the latter year he entered the United States service, enlisting in the Twenty-eighth infantry for three years, during the greater part of which time he was stationed at Governor's Island, N. Y., and for over one year was drillmaster on Hart's Island. The Twenty-eighth was consolidated with the Nineteenth U. S. infantry in 1869, from which time until the expiration of his term at enlistment Capt. Crooks was stationed at Little Rock, Ark., Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.  He was honorably discharged at Fort Pike, La., June, 1870, and in September of the same year he re-enlisted for a term of five years in the Seventeenth U. S. infantry, company I, of which he was made sergeant. This service was principally at Fort Sully, Cheyenne agency, Forts Rice and Stevenson, and he was discharged in September, 1875, In December following he again entered the army, enlisting in company A, Twenty-second U. S. infantry, with which he served one year at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., three years at Fort Wayne, Mich., and the last year at Fort Griffin, Tex., receiving his discharge at the last named place, December, 1880.

In April, 1881, Capt. Crooks enlisted for five years in company F, Fifteenth U. S. infantry, of which he was made first sergeant, and proceeded at once to Columbus, Ohio, thence joined his command later at Santa Fe, N. M., from which place the regiment was used in operating against the hostile Indians in the southwest. Three months of 1881 were spent in active warfare with the Indians under chief Victoria, whose band was driven across the Rio Grande into Mexico, and later Capt. Crooks' company was transferred to Fort Lewis, Colo., thence to Forts Abe Lincoln and Stevenson, Dak.

After long and continuous service of great activity and danger, Capt. Crooks was finally discharged at his own request, at Fort Buford, Dak.  He saw over twenty years of service while in the regular army, shirked no duty, however onerous, and shrank from none of the many perils through which he was called to pass. For years he was exposed to almost constant dangers, and his escapes from the Indians upon many occasions were narrow and thrilling. At one time, with eighteen comrades, he was surrounded by the Indians, and for six days this intrepid little band kept up an unequal contest with 500 savages, being rescued, after untold sufferings and the loss of several men, by a detachment of U. S. troops from Fort Stevenson.  Many other adventures could be narrated, and his army experience, if written in full, would be replete with romantic interest.

After his last discharge, Capt. Crooks went to Detroit, Mich., where he spent one year at different occupations, and then accepted a position on the city police force, which, however, he was soon compelled to resign on account of disabilities incurred while in the army.  During the succeeding two years, he represented a wholesale house as a commercial traveler, but this, too, he was forced to give up by reason of his enfeebled condition. He then became an inmate of the National Home for Disabled Volunteers at Dayton, his admission to the institution dating in September, 1892. During the greater part of 1893, he was sergeant of the Columbian guards at the world's fair, and since December of that year has been captain, first of company Twelve, which he commanded until July 20, 1894, when he was transferred to company Twenty, which he now commands.

Capt. Crooks is an active member of the G. A. R., a republican in politics, and was reared in the faith of the Episcopal church. In 1876 he was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie Bowman, of Detroit, Mich., who bore him two children, Sadie and Daisy, the former now living in Cleveland, Ohio, and the latter in the city of Detroit. The captain is a widower, having lost his wife several years ago.

 

CHARLES W. DALE, [page 449] judge of the police court of Dayton, and one of the widely-known members of the Dayton bar, was born in Germantown, Ohio, on September 13, 1862. By working during the summer seasons he was enabled to attend school in the winter months, during his boyhood days, and at the age of seventeen years he was graduated from the high school of his native town. For a period of five years Judge Dale taught in the public schools of Germantown and Ellerton, this county, and then attended the law school and university of Cincinnati, graduating from that institution in 1883.   Locating in Dayton, he began the practice of his profession and so continued until his election to the bench. During the term of office of Mayor Crawford, Judge Dale served as his clerk. In March, 1892, he was nominated by the republicans as candidate for police judge, and he was elected over a strong competitor in the person of the democratic candidate—Hon. J. E. D. Ward, then mayor of the city. He has continued on the bench ever since, giving entire satisfaction to the public, and discharging the duties of his office with ability and judgment. Judge Dale has written extensively for some of the leading periodicals, and is the author and compiler of Familiar Laws.

 

LEWIS DANCYGER, [pages 449-450] senior member of the dry-goods firm of L. Dancyger & Son, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Poland in 1831. In order to avoid impressment into the Russian army he left his native land and went to England. In 1856 he, with his wife and two children, came to the United States and first located at New Brighton, Pa., where he opened a general store and remained about five years, and then removed to Noblesville, Ind., and for three years was there a leading merchant and banker. For two and a half years he was engaged in mercantile and real-estate enterprises in Indianapolis, Ind., and in 1865 came to Dayton, Ohio, opened a dry-goods store on the corner of Third and Jefferson streets, and, after twenty years, moved to the Balsley building, where he carried on business for seven years. On February 9, 1887, he lost the companion of his life, who had borne him two children—Simon and Isaac.

Simon Dancyger, at present connected with his father in his extensive business, was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, and came to America with his parents in infancy. He received a fair education and at the age of fifteen years entered his father's store as cash-boy, and at twenty years became buyer for the concern. He is of an inventive turn of mind, and his little leisure time he has devoted to the invention of labor-saving devices, chiefly for the use of merchants—such as marking tags, pins, and other contrivances—now holding nine patents granted by the United States government and several issued by the English and German governments. These articles are now being sold all over the Union by traveling salesmen and are coming into general use. For the manufacture of these specialties he has recently erected a handsome three-story brick building on Saint Mary street, running back to Clegg street, and will give employment to forty or fifty persons.

Isaac Dancyger, the youngest son of Lewis Dancyger and wife, when a lad of six years was killed by a runaway team in Indianapolis, Ind., where his remains were interred.

Lewis Dancyger is an Odd Fellow and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen; he is a stockholder in the City National bank, has erected several fine residences in Dayton, and has otherwise contributed to make the city what it is today.  He is a member of the synagogue on Jefferson street, and lives in strict conformity with the teachings of the faith in which he was reared.  Simon Dancyger, in his religious views, is quite liberal. Both father and son are stanch republicans in their politics, but simply act as quiet voters in support of their party.

Lewis Dancyger has ,been remarkably successful as a business man, the nucleus of his present fortune having been L5, which he borrowed from his brother in England. How he handled that small sum may easily be imagined. That he has been prudent and conservative is evidenced by the fact that he has passed safely through all the financial crises that have occurred since he started business in America, without suspending even for one day.  His son Simon deserves equal credit for the usefulness and ingenuity of the inventions suggested to him by the demands of his daily occupations.

 

JOSEPH LIGHT, [pages 450-453] superintendent of the Dayton Gas Light & Coke company, was born in London, England, June 16, 1833. His parents, George and Ann (Rutherford) Light, were natives of England, and were the parents of twelve children, only two of whom are now living, viz: Mary Ann, widow of Edward Roberts, and who is living in Dayton, and Joseph, the subject of this sketch.

George Light, the father of Joseph, was a brick mason by trade, an Episcopalian in religion, and died in London when seventy-six years of age, in 1852.  His wife, who was a Congregationalist in religion, died in 1866, aged sixty-five years.

The paternal grandfather was also a native of England, and lived in that country all his life, dying at the age of 101 years. The maternal grandfather, John Rutherford, was a native of Scotland, and died in the land of his birth.

Joseph Light was reared and educated in London, and when twelve years of age began to learn the manufacture of gas machinery and the art of ship building, in that city. These occupations he followed with energy and interest until he was eighteen years of age, and then came to the United States. In Cincinnati he was engaged in the manufacture of gas for three years, and, in 1855, removed to Dayton, where he took charge of the Dayton Gas Light & Coke company's works as superintendent, which position he has held ever since, a period of forty-two years. Mr. Light is interested in the firm of G. J. Roberts & Co., manufacturers of steam pumps and general machinery. He is also president of the Piqua Gas Works company, and is superintendent of the Urbana Gas works.

Mr. Light was married in November, 1854, to Miss Catherine Lee, daughter of Richard Lee, of Cincinnati, the maiden name of whose wife was McGee. To this marriage there have been born six children, three sons and three daughters, as follows: Catherine, George, Jennie, Joseph E., Ella F., and Edward H. George married Miss Lida Ferguson. He is assistant superintendent of the Gas Light & Coke company. Jennie married Charles DeArmon, of Piqua, Ohio, and has three children, Joseph Eugene, Catherine, and Charles Rutherford. Mrs. Catherine Light died in 1874. She was an excellent woman, and a member of the Presbyterian church. At her death she was mourned by many friends as well as by her relatives, as one whose place it would be difficult to fill.

Mr. Light was married the second time, April 7, 188o, to Miss Elizabeth Westwood, daughter of John C. and Susannah Westwood, by whom he has had no children. Mr. and Mrs. Light are members of the Park Presbyterian church, which was organized in 1851. Mr. Light is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has had conferred upon him the thirty-second degree.  He is an Odd Fellow, and was a charter member of Miami lodge, No. 32, Knights of Pythias, and is also a Knight of Honor.  Politically, Mr. Light is an earnest republican.

Mr. Light's connection of over forty years with the gaslight and coke company has made his name familiar throughout the community, and he is not only regarded in business circles as a man of strong native ability and judgment, but enjoys the sincere confidence and esteem of all Dayton's citizens.  In the several departments of the gas company's plant over 100 men are employed, so that Mr. Light's position is one of great importance and responsibility.

In 1872, after being absent from his native country some twenty years, he made a three-months' visit to his old home, this being the only time he has been away from Dayton for any considerable period.  Mr. Light is a consistent member of his church, and an industrious and worthy citizen of the state in which he has lived for forty-five years.

 

CAPT, LORENZO N. DAVIS [pages 453-454] was born in the county of Wyoming, N. Y., April 7, 1840. His father, Lorenzo D. Davis, also a native of the Empire state, was a man of local prominence in the community where he resided and for many years held positions of trust in Wellsville, where he owned and operated a manufacturing establishment.  He was twice married, the first time to Mary Dodge, by whom he had two children, Daniel and Lorenzo N.; his death occurred at WeIIsville, N. Y., June, 1885, at the age of seventy-six years. Capt. Davis spent the years of early manhood in his native county, assisting on the home farm when not otherwise engaged, attending in the meantime the public schools, in which he obtained a knowledge of the common branches. At the breaking out of the late war he turned his back upon home and friends, and enlisted in company E, Fifth New York cavalry, known as the Harry Harris Guards, with which he served in the army of the Potomac under Gens, Hatch, Sheridan and Kilpatrick.  He was engaged in the principal battles in which the army of the Potomac took part and was on the famous raid under Gen. Kilpatrick after the fight at Chancellorsville, when prisoners were taken inside the fortifications around Richmond. The list of battles in which his regiment was engaged is a long one, including Front Royal, Newtown Cross Road, Winchester, Orange C. H., Cedar Mountain, Waterloo Bridge, Groveton, second Bull Run, Chantilly, Hanover, Humberstown, Boonsboro, Culpeper C. H., Summerville Ford, James City, Brandy Station, Backland Mills, Raccoon Ford, defenses of Richmond, Parker's Store, Wilderness, Milford Station, Mount Carmel church, Ashland Station, Salem church, White Oak Swamp, Nottaway C. H., Round Oak Station, Mary Heights, Stony Creek, Ream's Station, Snicker's Ferry, Kernstown, Summit Point, Winchester, Milford, Surry Valley, Waynesboro, Tom's Brook and Cedar Creek, a total of forty-five battles and twelve minor engagements, in nearly all of which Capt. Davis was present and did effective service.  He was taken prisoner while on picket duty at Fairfax Court House, January, 1863, but was paroled after a confinement of only twelve hours, after which he was taken to Annapolis, Md., where he remained until exchanged.

He rejoined his regiment after a three-months' absence and continued in active service until honorably discharged at the close of the war, when he returned to his old home in New York. Subsequently he went to Michigan, where he was employed at various occupations for eight years, and in 1883 became an inmate of the national soldiers' home at Dayton, where he has been honored with official positions since September of the year following.  In 1886 he was promoted captain and placed in command of company Twenty-five, a position of responsibility, which he still holds, and the duties of which he has discharged in an eminently satisfactory manner.

Capt. Davis was a gallant soldier, unflinching in the discharge of every duty in most trying situations, and earned his laurels on many battle fields.  As an official he is popular alike with his superiors and with those under him, possesses executive ability of no mean order, and is one of the trusted guardians of the noble institution with which he is identified.

Capt. Davis never married. He was made an Odd Fellow while a resident of Michigan, and has since been an active and influential member of the fraternity; he is also a member of the Union Veteran Legion, a military organization.   Politically, Capt. Davis has been a life-long republican; he was reared in the faith of the Baptist church, but, while believing in religion, is not identified with any church organization.

 

CLAIBORNE M. DAVIS, [pages 454-455] undertaker and funeral director, is a native of Clark county, Ohio, where he was born July 2, 1850.  His parents were Hezekiah and Druzilla Davis, both natives of Ohio, and his paternal ancestors were Virginians of Scotch descent.  Owing to the death of his parents, which occurred when he was quite young, Mr. Davis remembers but little of the family history, as he was reared among strangers.  Like many young men who have been compelled to make their own way in the world without social prestige or monetary influence, Mr. Davis was denied in a great measure the educational advantages now considered essential to success in life, but he made up for the lack of opportunities in youth by diligent study after reaching the years of manhood. By close application, after his twenty-first year, he advanced sufficiently in his studies to obtain a teacher's license, after which his time was divided between teaching and attending school, working in the meanwhile as a farm hand, and thus adding to his earnings and enabling him to pursue a course in the Ohio Southern Normal school.  He began teaching in 1870, and remained in the profession for a period of ten years, his work during that time being confined to a single township in his native county, which fact attests his ability as a successful instructor.

Severing his connection with educational work, Mr. Davis embarked in the undertaking and furniture business at Tippecanoe, Miami county, Ohio, where he carried on a remarkably successful trade for about seven years, at the end of which time, in the fall of 1887, he located in Dayton, where he has since operated an extensive undertaking business, his place, Nos. 1105-7 East Fifth street, being one of the best known establishments of the kind in the city.  Mr. Davis is familiar with every detail of his business, keeps fully abreast of the times in the matter of new features and improvements in the line of undertaking, and has the satisfaction of seeing his patronage increase year by year.  He is a self-made man in all the term implies, is indebted to nobody but himself for financial assistance, and his life is a striking example of what can be done through a well-defined purpose to succeed, aided by sound judgment and industry.

Mr. Davis was happily married to Miss Ella Mock, of Clark county, Ohio, and is the father of two bright children, Oral E. and Mary Georgenia, both living. Mr. and Mrs. Davis are members of the Baptist church, belonging to the Linden avenue congregation, of which Mr. Davis has been a deacon for seven years; he is also a teacher in the Sunday-school.   Politically he is a democrat and fraternally holds membership in the Gem City lodge, No. 795, I. 0. 0. F.; Linden lodge, No. 412, K. of P., and Crown council, No. 35, of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, of which he has been treasurer since its organization in 1888.

 

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