Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 455-470 John Davy to Prof. John Marion Ebert

JOHN DAVY, [pages 455-456] residing at No. 679 South Main street, Dayton, is one of the army of capable railway postal clerks, who are so indispensable to the business of this country. His birthplace was Bowmanville, Ontario, where he was born February 28, 1840. While still very young, his father brought him to Dayton, his mother having died when he was but twenty-two months old. Here he grew to manhood, and received a common-school education, by which he has greatly profited. William Davy, his father, was of English extraction, and was a native of Cornwall, as was also his mother. He was a carpenter, and thoroughly trained his son John in this business. His death occurred in, the house now occupied by his son, January 21, 1883, at the age of eighty-six years and seven months. He was an honest, hard-working man, and left his children the priceless legacy of a good name. Five of his family are now living, John being the youngest of twelve children. Two, Peter and Mrs. William Kelley, make their home in Kansas; Mary Ann is the wife of S. F. Bridges, and lives at Mason, Tex.; Jane, the widow of the late James Viele, resides at Toronto, Canada; the other children, with one exception, died in infancy or childhood.

John Davy, as noted above, worked at the carpenter business until in the early 'sixties, when he enlisted June 12, 1861, in Dayton, as a member of company A, Eleventh Ohio volunteer infantry, serving over three years. He was in the army of Gen. McClellan during the Maryland campaign, and participated in the battles of South Mountain, Frederick and Antietam. Later, his regiment was sent into West Virginia, where it was attached to the command of Gen. J. D. Cox, afterward governor of Ohio. His regiment, moving to the West, was made a part of the famous Fourteenth army corps, took part in the battle of Chickamauga, and was an important portion of Turchin's brigade, and Reynold's division. "Old Pap" Thomas was in command, and never was a more desperate battle more gamely fought. The gallant Eleventh Ohio was at Missionary Ridge, and did its full share of fighting in the great battles around Resaca, Ga., that opened up the way to central Georgia and to the great ocean beyond. And down this wonderful way went the irresistible army of Gen. Sherman, breaking the Confederacy in two, and hastening the final collapse of treason. In these scenes and experiences John Davy bore a brave soldier's part, and never shirked his duty, nor failed at the hour of danger. After the stormy days that preceded Resaca, the garrison duty at that point, to which his regiment was assigned, seemed very tame and monotonous. But it was all a part of a soldier's life. The regiment continued here at garrison duty until June, 1864, when it was ordered to return to Camp Dennison, where it was mustered out of service on the 21ist of the month.  It is one of the standing wonders of our history, that this great host of warriors, more than a million men in all, could be returned suddenly to peaceful life, and be swallowed up in the great ocean of arts and industries of the nation. But the million men were like our subject, not mercenary soldiers of fortune, but citizens taking up arms for the safety of the nation. And when that was assured, they were all glad to return quickly and quietly to the trades and professions they had before followed.

Mr. Davy, now a veteran soldier, came back to Dayton, and resumed the carpenter work that he had put by for the sake of his country, and no doubt followed it all the more effectively for his military experience.  He continued at the carpenter's bench until May, 1868, when he accepted a position on the Dayton police force. He was a model police officer for some fourteen years, serving successively as patrolman, roundsman, sergeant and lieutenant, and making a fine record for careful attention to duty. The seventh day of November, 1881, he resigned from the force, and resumed his trade as a carpenter, which he followed until 1885.  In this year he was appointed to the railway mail service, and was a vigilant and successful postal clerk, until his suspension in May, 1889, for political reasons. On personal inquiry of high officials, he was informed that there were no charges of any kind touching his personal character or his efficiency in the service, and was explicitly assured that the only reasons for his removal were political.  He regarded his suspension from the service as only temporary, and during the greater part of this time he was superintendent of the Dayton court house.  He was reinstated in the railway mail service under the civil service rules, though he was reappointed without an examination, the time of his return to duty being May 7, 1895.  His run is between Delphos and Dayton, making the round trip daily, "week on and week off."

Mr. Davy was married January 1, 1867, to Miss Kate M. Paullus, a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, and to them there have been born three children, who are now living. The eldest of these, Harry P., is foreman of a cigar factory; John W. is a printer in the United Brethren Publishing House; Catherine Eleanor is at home. There have as yet been no weddings in the second generation. As might be imagined, our subject feels a justifiable pride in his military career, and is an active worker in the Union Veteran Legion, Encampment No. 145, at Dayton.

Mrs. Davy is a member of the United Brethren church, as are her children also. Her parents were John and Elizabeth (Laney) Paullus. Her father was a Virginian, while his wife was a native of Ohio. His parents came from Germany, while his wife's people were of Scottish origin.   They had eleven children, of whom five are alive at this writing: Matthew is a resident of Greenfield, Ind., he was in the Civil war, and served as captain of company G, Ninety-third Ohio volunteer infantry, and is not now engaged in active business; he had also served in the Mexican war; Peter L., who is now at home in Chicago, was a soldier in the same company with his brother and served as lieutenant; Samuel is residing in Preble county, Ohio; Mrs. Sarah Grace is a resident of Dayton, and one child, Emanuel, died in childhood.  Five passed away after they had come into mature life—Nancy Ella, Elizabeth, Hester Ann, John R. and Adam. This last son was also a soldier in the Thirty-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry, and his death was the result of wounds and disability incurred while in the service.  Mrs. Davy is the youngest of this large and interesting family, and is an active worker in the various societies connected with her church.  Her parents died in Preble county, Ohio—her mother in 1848, and her father two years later.

Mr. Davy is a man of strong political proclivities, and has long been an active worker in the democratic party, following here in the footsteps of his father, who was devoted to that organization.  He is a man not afraid of work, and while he inherited nothing but a strong constitution and a good example, by industry and economy he has secured a convenient and comfortable home. He is a member in good standing of Miami lodge, A. 0. U. W., of lola lodge, K. P., and of the uniform rank of the same order.

 

DAVID A. DEAN, [page 457] commissioner of Montgomery county, and a well-known citizen of the county, residing at Beavertown, was born at that place November 27, 1837. He is a son of Alexander Dean, one of the earliest of the pioneers of Montgomery county, who came to this county in 1812, from Pennsylvania, his native state. He was one of the prominent men of his day, being elected justice of the peace and appointed postmaster of his town, serving in each capacity for many years. He died at the age of eighty-two years in 1882. His wife was Susanna Lemmon, a daughter of David Lemmon, and a native of Montgomery county. David Lemmon, like Alexander Dean, was one of the pioneers of Montgomery county.

David A. Dean was reared in Beavertown, and was there educated in the public schools. He followed farming until the war, .and then enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-first regiment, 0. V. I., with which he served one hundred days. After the war he began working at the carpenter's trade, and continued so to labor for twenty years.  His reputation for sound judgment and fairness became so well established that he was elected justice of the peace in the spring of 1878, and by successive re-elections he continued to hold that position for six terms of three years each, or eighteen consecutive years.   He also served as township clerk for one term.

In 1895, Mr. Dean was elected, as a republican, to the office of commissioner of Montgomery county, taking possession of his office on the first Monday in January, 1896. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and he and his wife are members of the United Brethren church of Beavertown.  Mr. Dean was married in the fall of 1858 to Cornelia Darner, who was born in Montgomery county, and who is a daughter of Jacob Darner, a farmer of that county. To this marriage there have been born eight children, seven of whom, two sons and five daughters, are living. One of the sons and four of the daughters are married. Mr. Dean is one of the best known men in the county, and in his long term of service as a justice he has not only won the confidence of every class by his strong practical sense and his judicial impartiality, but has given the best evidence of the value and necessity of the magistrate's court in the community.

 

F. M. COMPTON, [pages 457-458] attorney and counselor at law, of Dayton, Ohio, was born October 19, 1863, near Franklin, Warren county, Ohio.  He lived on his father's farm until he was sixteen years of age, when he attended the preparatory department of the National normal university at Lebanon, Ohio.  From this school he graduated in 1884, having in the meantime spent two years traveling in the interest of The Hall Safe & Lock company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

After leaving the Lebanon institution he taught the school in the village of Blue Ball, Warren county, Ohio, which he had attended before going to Lebanon.  In the fall of 1885 he entered as a law student the office of Craighead & Craighead, in Dayton, remaining with them for two years, and was then admitted to the bar, but continued .with the above firm for one year longer. In January, 1889, he opened an office for the practice of his profession, in Dayton, and two years later formed a partnership with Hon. D. W. Allaman, which was dissolved at the end of one year, by reason of the election of Mr. Allaman to the legislature. Since then Mr. Compton has prosecuted the practice of the law alone. He is now attorney for the American Loan & Savings association, and is generally recognized as a safe and sound counselor.

Mr. Compton was married in November, 1890, to Miss Nellie Probasco, daughter of the late Firman Probasco, of Middletown, Ohio, and they have two children. Mr. Compton, while not a seeker for political preferment, is an active adherent of the republican party, He is one of the most ready and forcible speakers among the men of his age at the Montgomery county bar.

 

JOHN FRIEND DEBRA, M. D., [pages 458-459] physician and surgeon of Dayton, Ohio, located at No. 1902 East Third street, is a grandson of Daniel DeBra, who came from Alsace, then a district of France, as a soldier of LaFayette, and served as a lieutenant with that friend of America all through the Revolutionary war. The Revolution having come to a close, he located at Baltimore, and there married Elizabeth Friend, by whom he had Ten sons and three daughters. The father of John F. was also named Daniel. He was reared in Maryland and learned the trade of cabinetmaker. In 1802 he came to Ohio, settling in Miami county, where he lived the rest of his life, and where he was one of the leading characters in that part of the country, and served as colonel of the militia. Early in life he was a democrat, but later became a free-soiler, and was quite prominent in local affairs.  He was the first to advocate temperance in his section of the country, and died in 1844.  He married Miss Mary Langston, a daughter of Lazarus Langston, one of the first settlers in Upton, Preble county, Ohio.  He and his wife were the parents of five children, as follows: Rebecca, wife of Obed Macy, of Troy, Ohio; Alfred, a carpenter and builder of Miami county, Ohio; Dr. John F.; Cynthia, wife of Dr. A. H. Iddings, of Dayton, Ohio; and Daniel, of Pleasant Hill, Miami county, Ohio, and an ex-soldier of the Union army, who was wounded in the battle of the Wilderness.

Dr. John F. DeBra was born August 16, 1837, and when he was but seven years of age his father died; since then he has practically taken care of himself. The time from the death of his father until he reached his eighteenth year was one of trial, trouble and hardship, with but little encouragement from any source. Up to that time he had received no education, but he was then induced to attend school, and after receiving one winter's instruction he became so determined to inform himself that he borrowed the funds necessary to meet the expense of a brief course of study in college. The next fall he secured a certificate for twelve months to teach school, and from that time he has gradually risen through his own exertions and unaided efforts. He attended Antioch college at Yellow Springs, taking there an academic course; then, beginning to read medicine with the view of making that profession his life work, he afterward attended the Ohio Medical college at Cincinnati, where he graduated in 1870, having, however, been engaged in practice previous to his graduation for some ten years. Dr. DeBra located first in Darke county, Ohio, at Hill Grove, where he remained until 1876, when he removed to Miamisburg, Montgomery county. There he remained engaged in active practice until 1884, when he was appointed physician to the agency of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians, at Fort Reno, I. T., which place he filled for five years. Retiring from this position, he located in Dayton, where he has ever since been engaged in practice. In 1893 he was county physician of Montgomery county. He is a member of the Montgomery county Medical society, also of the Ohio state Medical association. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, a Knight Templar, and a Knight of Pythias. Politically he is a democrat. Dr. DeBra was married April 23, 1863, to Miss Susannah Ohlinger, a daughter of John Ohlinger, of Center, Montgomery county.   To this marriage there has been born one child, Charles E., of Dayton. Charles E. DeBra married Miss Mittie Willis, of Louisville, Ky. They are the parents of two children, Ouida and Lillian.

Dr. DeBra is a man of wide knowledge and extensive experience, and has collected many valuable curios which adorn his home.  He has been successful in life, has contributed many valuable articles to the medical press, and is in every way a credit to his profession.

 

JOSEPH J. DEGER, [pages 459-460] proprietor of the Banner bakery and wholesale dealer in confections and fancy groceries, was born in Martinsburg, Champion county, Va. (now West Virginia), May 22, 1857. When he was three years of age his parents removed to Saint Louis, Mo., and there his father, Michael Deger, enlisted in the Second Missouri regiment volunteer infantry, under Gen. Rosecrans. During the war the family remained in Saint Louis, removing to Dayton, Ohio, in 1865. Michael Deger then engaged in the bakery business, which he followed until his death in 1893. His widow is still carrying on the business left by her husband.

Joseph J. Deger received his preliminary education in the parochial schools, and afterward took a course of instruction in the Miami Commercial college. He then served an apprenticeship at the bakery business under the instruction of his father, with whom he remained until 1885, having for some years the management of the entire business. During the year last mentioned he erected a building at the corner of Washington and Perry streets, in which he began business for himself, engaging in baking, and dealing in wholesale confectionery and fancy groceries. Since then he has been constantly thus engaged at the same location. Mr. Deger has been a member of the Catholic Gesellen society for twenty-three years. He assisted in building the present temple and has held the office of trustee for four years. He has also been for nineteen years a member of Commandery No. 115, Catholic Knights of Saint George. Of this society he has been messenger two years, a trustee two years and treasurer six years. He has also been treasurer of the uniform rank, commandery No. 115, Catholic Knights of Saint George, for fifteen years. He is also a member of colony No. 4, American Sons of Columbus, and has been treasurer of the society for four years. The office of senior major of the Seventh battalion of the Knights of Saint John, now the Third regiment, he has held for seven years.  Mr. Deger is a member of Chickasaw commandery, No. 108, Sons of Veterans. For the past nineteen years he has been a member of the Orphans' society, and of commandery No. 132, Knights of Saint John, division D. He is also a member of branch No. 58, C. M. B. A. and of branch No. 192, C. K. of A. For the past fifteen years he has been a member of the Dayton Bakers' Beneficial association, and is a member of the Eclipse club. Mr. Deger is a member of Emanuel Catholic church, which was organized by Rev. Emmanuel Thienpont in 1837. Thus it will be seen that he is prominent in society activities and has held many places of trust and honor through the confidence of his associates.

Mr. Deger was married in 1880 to Miss Ada M. Feldmann, of Dayton. To this marriage there have been born nine children, as follows: Marie C.; Charles M.; Emma, deceased; Helen; Clara, deceased; Eddie; Adella; Vincent and Lucille.

Mr. Deger's success in life has been the result of industry and wisely applied business principles.  He is a representative of the German thrift and sound judgment that have so largely contributed to the prosperity of Dayton.

 

THOMAS PENRYN EVANS, [pages 460-463] chief engineer at the national military home, of Dayton, Ohio, is a native of Denbigh, Wales, and was born March 12, He lived in his birthplace until thirteen years of age, attending the public schools. His parents, Peter and Jane Evans, died in Wales —the father, who was a farmer, at the age of seventy-two years, and the mother at the age of seventy. Five sons and five daughters constituted the family, and of these Thomas P. and two brothers came to America in the year 1865; of these three brothers, John P. died while an employee, as engineer, at the home waterworks, and Peter D. is now filling the position thus made vacant.   On coming to America, Thomas P. Evans passed two years on an uncle's farm in Delaware county, Ohio, and also attended school in the neighborhood. He then went to Columbus, Ohio, where he learned engineering, and then, having become competent, was employed as engineer at the deaf and dumb asylum for four years. Shortly afterward he went to California and erected the first granite polishing machine on the Pacific coast; the year following he was employed as engineer at the Xenia (Ohio) orphans' home, and then, for a year, at the blind asylum in Columbus. For six years thereafter he was engineer at the imbecile asylum in Columbus, and in 1883 came to the soldiers' home in Dayton, where he has since had charge of all the motive power machinery. Mr. Evans is a most ingenious mechanic, and is the inventor and patentee of an economical device entitled the Evans duplex oil burner, which has been approved and endorsed by scores of manufacturing firms in Dayton and elsewhere.

Mr. Evans was married at Columbus, in 1879, to Miss Carrie Wieler, a native of that city and a daughter of Capt, Wieler, a German and a soldier in the Mexican war. Of the two children born to the marriage of Thomas P. and Carrie (Wieler) Evans, Eva Elsie died at the age of sixteen months, and Edith Edna, now sixteen years old, is a student in Miss Arnold's well-known young ladies' academy at Dayton. The mother of Mr. Evans is passing her declining days at his home. In his fraternal relations, Mr. Evans has been a member of Columbus lodge, No. 9, I. 0. 0. F., since 1873, and is also a member of Buckeye encampment, No. 148, and canton Ohio, No. 1, of P. M. of the same order, at Columbus, and in this, as well as in the subordinate lodge, he has held various official positions; he is, beside, a member of Franklin lodge, No. 5, of Columbus, K. of P., and a member of Dayton lodge, A. F. & A. M., and of the order of Knights of the Mystic Shrine No. 1, of the World, and of Gem City senate, No. 11, K. A. E. O.  Mr. and Mrs. Evans, with their daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

In politics Mr. Evans is an independent republican.  In 1890, he was appointed by Gov. Campbell, a democrat, as trustee of the deaf and dumb asylum at Columbus, and in 1892 was re-appointed to the same position by Gov. McKinley, a republican, but resigned in 1895.

 

WILLIAM DENISE, [pages 463-464] was born in Butler county, Ohio, May 13, 1826, and is a son of John S. and Margaret (Clarke) Denise.

John S. Denise, father of William, was born in New Jersey, a son of William Denise, a soldier in the war of 1812. The father of William was also named William, and came from France to America with the Marquis de Lafayette, served under him through the Revolutionary war, and, at the close of that great struggle, settled in New Jersey. The maternal great-grandfather of our subject was also a hero of the Revolution. John S, Denise was a pioneer of Darke county, Ohio, having settled there before the removal of the Indians, and there he and his wife ended their days, leaving, beside William, the following children: Aaron, now over seventy-one years of age, residing on the Darke county homestead; Ellen, now the widow Farra, residing on the same farm; Margaret, who is married to Elijah McConnell, a business man of Greenville; Rhoda Jane, who never married and who lives with her brother Aaron; Obediah, unmarried, who also lives on the old farm; Mrs. Lottie Van Tillburg, who reared a family, and is now deceased.

William Denise, after the removal of his parents from Butler to Darke county, lived with his paternal grandfather until the death of the latter, when he joined his parents, he being then about eighteen years of age. He learned his trade in Greenville, and later worked with his father at millwright and joiner work.  He has constructed many a dwelling from the tree to completion , making the sash, doors, etc. by hand and understanding wood-work thoroughly, while his father could make anything of wood, from a spinning-wheel to a threshing machine.

Mr. Denise was first married, in Greenville, to Miss Catherine Jarber, who lived one year only after the union, and four years after her decease Mr. Denise wedded Mrs. Maria (Price) McLean, this marriage also taking place in Greenville, forty-one years ago. Mrs. Denise was born in Dayton December 25, 1829, and has borne to Mr. Denise six children, namely: John Winner, Estella and Luella (twins), of whom the latter died at the age of fourteen years ; Catherine ; Fannie, now the wife of Gus Kimerling, railroad ticket agent in Hamilton, Ohio; and George, who died at the age of four years.

Mr. Denise settled in Dayton in 1857, and engaged as a traveling salesman, handling farm machinery for two years. He next made an engagement with J. C. Drew, of Louisiana, and went to Erath county, Tex. Returning to Dayton at the outbreak of the Civil war, Mr. Denise engaged for some years in house building by contract.

In politics Mr. Denise was formerly a whig, as .were his ancestors, but he is now a strong republican. That the patriotic spirit of their ancestors has not died out in the Denise family is shown by the fact that Aaron, brother of William, served from the beginning to the end of the Civil war and was in forty engagements; Obadiah, another brother, served four years ; and two cousins were killed at Chickamauga. The earliest recollection that Mr. Denise retains of the Indians dates from his fifth year, when he saw 1,700 red men that were being transferred by the government to a reservation prepared for them, and later saw about 1,500 wild Indians in Tesch Point. In clearing up the old farm near Greenville he plowed up the foundation of the block-house built by Gen. Wayne, and saw, at Fort Recovery, skulls that were washed out of their shallow graves and each bearing the marks of the Indian's tomahawk.

 

JOSEPH L. DEGER, [pages 464-465] member of the Dayton city council and ex-United States storekeeper in the revenue service, was born in Dayton, Ohio, March 13, 1852. His father, Joseph Deger, was a native of Hohenzollern, a province of Prussia, and reached the United States about 1848, coming direct to Dayton.   By trade he was a stonecutter, following that occupation up to the time of his death, which occurred February 16, 1864. His wife, whose maiden name was Scholastica Spitznagel, was a native of the grand duchy of Baden, and was married to Mr. Deger in the old country. She died in March, 1893. Joseph Deger and his wife were the parents of eight children, six of whom are still living, as follows: Louisa, widow of Henry Kastner, of Dayton; Anna, wife of Frederick Seiboldt, of Galion. Ohio; Joseph L.; Peter, of Springfield, Ohio; J. William, of Dayton, Ohio, and Rosa, widow of Henry Claude, of Dayton.   Charles and Clara were the names of the two deceased.

Joseph L. Deger was reared in Dayton, and was educated in the parochial schools. At the age of twelve years he began life for himself, working at different occupations until he reached his sixteenth year, when he began an apprenticeship to the stonecutter's trade. This trade he followed until he was twenty-three years of age, when he became salesman for C. A. Trentman, wholesale coffee and spice dealer, continuing thus employed until 1883. He then established himself in the grocery business, in which he has since been engaged. His place of business is at the corner of Haynes street and Van Cleve avenue, east end.

Mr. Deger was married in 1873 to Mary Zimmerman, who was born in Baden, Germany, January 20, 1852, and came to the United States in 1854. Her parents were Casper and Katherine (Zugelder) Zimmerman, the former of whom died in New York soon after arriving in this country, and the latter in Dayton, Ohio, shortly after she reached this place. The grandparents of Mary Zimmerman came to this country at the same time with her parents, and by them she was reared after the death of her father and mother.

To the marriage of Joseph L. Deger and his wife there have been born six children, as follows: Joseph H., May S., Carrie L., Vernie R., Leo E., and Urban J., the last two deceased. In April, 1894, Mr. Deger was elected to the city council from the Sixth ward, but since that time the wards have been so changed that he now represents the Eighth.   On May 13, 1895, he was appointed, by Collector Dowling, storekeeper in the United States government revenue service, with headquarters first at Clifton Springs, Cincinnati, and later at Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio. He resigned from the revenue service in April, 1896, to take the position of collector for the Nick Thomas brewery, which position he now holds. Fraternally Mr. Deger is a member of the Knights of Saint George, commanderies Nos. 104 and 131; of the Badenser Verein; Elsas Lothringen; and of the Independent Order of Foresters, court Dayton, No. 1000.  He and his family are members of the Holy Trinity Catholic church, which, as an offshoot from Emanuel church, was organized in 1860. For about twenty-three years Mr. Deger has been quite prominent in the Knights of Saint George, having served as captain of commandery No. 104, and also as captain of commandery No. 131, for several years. From October, 1892, to February, 1896, he served as colonel of the Seventh battalion of that order, resigning his office at the date last mentioned.  In all relations of life, business, religious and official, Mr. Deger is thoroughly reliable, and performs all his duties with an eye single to the good of his society, his church and the community at large.

 

ALBERT DHEIN, [page 465] secretary of the board of health of Dayton, was born at Saint Mary's, Auglaize county, Ohio, August 30, 1868. He is a son of Philip and Anna (Laur) Dhein, both natives of Germany. They were married in Milwaukee, and from that city removed to Dayton, Ohio. After living in Dayton a short time they removed to Saint Mary's, subsequently returning to Dayton, where they are now residing at No. 415 Oak street. By trade, Philip Dhein is a molder, and was foreman for John Dodds, manufacturer of hay rakes, for many years. To Philip and Anna Dhein there were born five sons, all of whom are living, as follows: Leopold P., Rudolph J., Henry J., Charles G., and Albert.

Albert Dhein has lived in Dayton ever since he was six months old, and received his education wholly in the public schools of this city, except that he took a commercial course in the Miami Commercial college, and afterward a course in stenography in Beck's Commercial college in Dayton. Previous to taking these courses he had worked in his brother's foundry in the east end of the city for several years. He was appointed to his present position as secretary of the board of health, in December, 1894, to fill a vacancy, was re-appointed in June, 1895, for one year, and again in 1896.

Fraternally, Mr. Dhein is a member of Gem City lodge, I. 0. 0. F., and politically he is and always has been a democrat, having taken an active part in city politics for a number of years.  He is devoted to the prosperity of the city of Dayton, and is diligent and efficient in the discharge of the duties incident to his official position.

 

OLIVER EDGAR DAVIDSON, [pages 465-466] president of the board of city affairs of Dayton, was born in German township, Montgomery county, Ohio, on August 24, 1857, and is the son of 0. G, H. and Charlotta (Grauser) Davidson, both natives of Montgomery county.   0. G. H. Davidson was born at Germantown, Ohio, on November 28, 1827, and was the son of James J. and Harriet (Eichelberger) Davidson. He was a prominent man in the county, and held various official positions. In March, 1861, he became superintendent of the county infirmary, and in the fall of 1864 he was elected sheriff of Montgomery county, and removed to Dayton in January of the following year. He was re-elected to the sheriff's office, serving two full terms. Afterwards he was in the French burr millstone business for several years. He also held the office of land appraiser at two different times, and before his death, on December 29, 1893, he was engaged in the real-estate business in Dayton.   His widow survives and resides in this city. To the parents four sons and four daughters were born, of whom two sons died in infancy. The father was a member of the I. 0. 0. F. fraternity and of the Lutheran church.

Oliver E. Davidson was reared in Dayton and was educated in the public and high schools. He taught school in the country for a number of years. In March, 1887, he was appointed secretary of the Dayton police board, which position he held until April 19, 1894, serving under different administrations, and resigning to accept the appointment as a member of the board of city affairs. In 1897 he was made president of that board. Mr. Davidson is a member of the K. of P. and B. P. 0. E. fraternities.  He was married, in 1880, to Miss Mattie Hosier, of Dayton, and one son has been born to their union.

 

LEWIS P. EARNSHAW, M. D., [page 466] physician and surgeon, of Dayton, Ohio, with office at No. 1225 West Fifth street, was born February 23, 1872, at the national soldiers' home, near Dayton, his father, Rev. William Earnshaw, being at the time chaplain of that institution.  Previous to her marriage his mother's name was Margaret Hutchison. Rev. William Earnshaw was appointed the first chaplain of the Central branch of the national soldiers' home September 5, 1867, and served until his death, July 17, 1885. Prior to his appointment he had served in various places as minister and chaplain, achieving a high reputation in his profession.  He was born in Pennsylvania, of English and Irish parentage.  Before the war of the Rebellion he was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, and during the Rebellion was chaplain of the Forty-ninth Pennsylvania volunteers. Then, for a year or two, he had charge of the national cemeteries, and finally was appointed chaplain of the Central branch, as above stated.  He and his wife were the parents of five children, as follows: Minnie W., wife of B. F. Hershey, of Dayton, Ohio; William B., secretary of the Dayton Malleable Iron company; Margaret H., wife of R. H. Grubbs, of Pittsburg, Pa.; Frederick, deceased, and Lewis P., the subject of this sketch.

Lewis P. Earnshaw was educated in the public schools of Dayton and later at the Western university of Pennsylvania. Having completed his literary education he began reading medicine with Dr. George Goodhue, of Dayton, a biographical sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume, afterward attending the Miami Medical college of Cincinnati, Ohio, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1895.  He at once located in Dayton and began the practice of his profession.  He is devoting himself to general practice, and has met with gratifying success, being, as he is, one of the youngest members of the profession in the city.  Dr. Earnshaw is a member of the Montgomery county Medical society, and of Grace Methodist Episcopal church.  He is one of the progressive young men and physicians of the city of Dayton, and doubtless has a successful and useful career in store for him.

 

WILLIAM   HAVELOCK  CRAWFORD, [page 466-467] president of the Crawford, McGregor & Canby company, manufacturers of lasts, of Dayton, was born in that city, November 22, 1863.  He is a son of Charles H. and Sarah (Thresher) Crawford, the latter of whom was a daughter of Ebenezer Thresher and a sister of E. M. Thresher, who is a prominent business man of Dayton. Mrs. Crawford's death occurred in 1880. A full biographical sketch of Charles H. Crawford may be found elsewhere in this volume.

William Havelock Crawford was reared in his native city and received his preliminary education in the Second district school, subsequently attending the famous Cooper academy and still later taking a course of study in Miami Commercial college. In 1883 he began working in the last factory of Crawford, Coffman & Co. During the first four years of his service in this company he filled various positions, beginning as shipping clerk, and following this by working in all the departments of the factory, in order to qualify himself for the subsequent management of the business, in case that responsibility should in time come to him. Having acquired a thorough knowledge of the business in all its phases he was taken into the office of the company as bookkeeper. While employed in this capacity he had charge of the sales of the goods to a considerable extent, and afterward traveled in the interests of the firm.  Upon the death of Charles H. Crawford in 1887, William H. succeeded to his father's interests, taking general charge of the business, which during the past nine years has increased some tenfold, a growth which is largely due to the ability of the son.

In 1886 the firm of Crawford, Coffman & Co. sold out to the firm of Crawford, McGregor & Canby, this partnership continuing until March, 1896, when the industry was incorporated under the name of the Crawford, McGregor & Canby Co., consisting of the three original members and W. J. Blakeney, 0. A. Woodruff, and W. H. Kempert. The officers of this company at its formation were, and always have been, W. H. Crawford, president; John McGregor, vice-president and general manager; and W. J. Blakeney, secretary and treasurer.

In 1884 Mr. Crawford was instrumental in organizing the Last Makers' National association, consisting of thirty-seven members, and of this association Mr. Crawford was the first president and has been twice re-elected. He is now filling the position of director in the Dayton board of trade, in the Computing Scale company of Dayton, and in the Homestead Aid association.

Mr. Crawford was married November 4, 1886, to Miss Mary A. Cunningham, daughter of D. 0. Cunningham, glass manufacturer of Pittsburg. Three children have been born to this union, viz: Marie Madeline, Charles Henry, and William Havelock. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford are members of the First Baptist church. Mr. Crawford is also a member of the Dayton club and of the Young Men's Christian association. The personal characteristics of Mr. Crawford, his love of right and duty, his strong business capacity, are only referred to in this connection, as they are more fully discussed and developed in the biography of his father, Charles H. Crawford.

 

ZENAS A. CRAIG, [pages 467-468] president of the Craig-Reynolds Foundry company of Dayton, was born in Richland, Miss., on the 1st day of April, 1864. His father was Robert Craig, who came to Dayton in 1866, and was one of the well-known men of this city for many years. He was a native of the north of Ireland, and came to the United States when about eighteen years of age. He resided in the east for a time and then went south to Mississippi, where he engaged in mercantile business and in planting, conducting a large business and owning one or more plantations. He was succeeded in this business by his sons, Robert E., now of New Orleans, where he is president of the New Orleans Water Works company and identified with several of the Crescent City's banks, and W. C. and T. H., now of Yazoo City. Another son is John R., a member of the Craig-Reynolds company. The father died in Dayton, April 1, 1894, and his wife January 3, 1891.

Zenas A. Craig was reared in Dayton and educated in the public schools, at Cooper seminary and at Commercial college. After filling various clerical positions in retail stores, he, at the age of twenty-one years, became shipping clerk at the Farmers' Friend Manufacturing company, which position he held for about three years, when he was promoted to the place of bookkeeper in addition.  He remained with the above concern for five years, and in 1891 organized the firm of Marlay, Craig & Co., jobbing foundry men, which firm in 1893 was merged into the Craig-Reynolds Co., of which Mr. Craig was made president at the organization. He was married June 1, 1890, to Miss Carrie, the daughter of Thornton Gilbert, Esq., of Dayton. Mr. Craig is a member of the Buckeye Gun club, and of the National Union insurance order.

 

WlLLIAM DENSMORE, [page 468] coal-dealer, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in the city of Cincinnati, on the 11th of January, 1845. His father, Capt. Andrew Densmore, was of Irish descent, and his mother, whose maiden name was Rebecca Simpkins, was born in New Jersey, in 1822, and died in her sixty-sixth year. Andrew Densmore, whose birth occurred at Columbus Grove, Ohio, in 1810, was for many years engaged in the canal trade, and was captain of a boat until his death at Dayton, on September 13, 1864. The family of Andrew and Rebecca Densmore consisted of five children, all now living, William being the eldest; the names of the others are, Andrew, a business man of Dayton; John, of the same city; Benjamin and Harry, the last two being also engaged in business in Dayton.

William Densmore was brought to Dayton by his parents when a child of three years, and received his education in the city schools. For a number of years he was employed upon the canal with his father, upon whose death William succeeded him as captain on the Miami canal and followed boating for about fifteen years, the greater part of which time was spent in carrying stone from the quarries to Dayton and Cincinnati. He was thus engaged from 1863 until 1884, at which time he embarked in his present business in Dayton. Mr. Densmore deals in all kinds of coal, wood, etc., and has met with encouraging success, being enterprising and wide awake and thoroughly familiar with every detail of the trade.

Mr. Densmore was married February 1, 1887, to Miss Olive Ogier, a native of Richmond, Ind., where her birth occurred September 29, 1868. The parents of Mrs. Densmore were Julius and Sarah (Swalem) Ogier, natives respectively of Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio, both born in the year 1841. They reared a family of four children, viz: Harry, Olive, Wilbur and Sylvia. Mr. and Mrs. Ogier were reared in Dayton and subsequently removed to Indiana, where they remained for a limited period, returning to Dayton where they still reside. Mr. Ogier served in the Eleventh Ohio infantry, was one of the first to reach the top of Lookout mountain, and planted the flag there before the enemy were driven from the strong-hold. He received at the same time a severe wound which disabled him for life. His family is of French origin, his father having been born in the city of Versailles, France; while Mrs. Ogier's parents were Germans.

Mr. and Mrs. Densmore have one child, Lewis, who was born October 31, 1889. Mr. Densmore is independent politically and votes his sentiments regardless of party ties.  He is a successful business man, and one of the substantial citizens of the city in which he resides.

 

AUGUST J. F. DIERS, [pages 468-469] the popular shoe-dealer of Dayton, was born in this city January 17, 1862. He is a son of Lewis H. and Catherine Diers, natives of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, who came to America about the year 1850, and settled in Dayton, where Mrs. Catherine Diers died in December, 1891. Lewis H. Diers, who is a carpenter by trade, is now living in retirement.

August J. F. Diers was educated in the public schools of his native city until twelve years of age, when he found employment in the leather store of Mr. Martin for one year, and then entered the Barney & Smith car works as an apprentice in the upholstering department, serving there for eighteen months. He then entered the service of D. C. Arnold as clerk in the shoe trade, and in this employ he remained for fifteen years, when he engaged in the shoe business on his own account, uniting with Wilson G. Tanner, under the firm name of Diers & Tanner, mention of whom is made in the biography of Mr. Tanner. The partnership is now dissolved, and Mr. Diers has succeeded to the business as sole proprietor. The prosperity that has attended the firm in the past is the best indication of Mr. Diers' future success.

Mr. Diers is a member of Linden lodge, No. 412, Knights of Pythias. On October 9, 1884, he married Miss Mary Hunt, daughter of Josiah Hunt, of Dayton, and one child has been born to them, a son, Harry. Mr. and Mrs. Diers are members of the First Lutheran church.  Mr. Diers has earned a reputation for sagacity and industry, and by close and intelligent attention to the daily demands of a business life, has placed himself in the front rank of Dayton's reliable and progressive young business men.

 

PROF. JOHN MARION EBERT, [pages 469-470] principal of the Nineteenth public school district of Dayton, Ohio, and a very popular educator, was born in Kosciusko county, Ind., March 12, 1852, and is remotely of German ancestry. His parents, Charles and Christina (Houser) Ebert, however, were natives of the Buckeye state, and, after marriage, removed to Indiana, where the father, who was a farmer by occupation, died in Kosciusko county while still in young manhood. After this sad event the mother returned to her people in Ohio, with whom she lived until her decease at the age of fifty-nine years. The death of the father also caused a separation of the children, of whom there were four, our subject being the youngest, the others being Mary Ann, now the widow of Daniel F. Miller and a resident of Gratis, Preble county, Ohio; Elizabeth, a resident of the same place and widow of John Etter, and Thomas William, who is in the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company, with headquarters at Garrett, Ind.

Owing to the early death of their father, the children were not abundantly furnished with the means for securing an education, and were to a great extent dependent upon themselves for its acquirement, and their effort in this direction happily met with success. John M. Ebert learned his early lessons in the public schools of Montgomery county, Ohio, whither he had been taken when a mere child, and at the age of about twenty years was himself prepared to conduct a school. For several years he alternated between teaching and attending the more advanced schools, and about 1885 began his career as principal in graded school work in Farmersville, Montgomery county, holding his first appointment in this responsible grade for four years. He then removed to Dayton, and for two years taught a school near the city limits, until in September, 1894, he was elected to his present position of principal of the Nineteenth district. This is the latest organized of the public school districts of Dayton, comprises twelve departments, with twelve teachers and 350 pupils in attendance, and Prof. Ebert is daily increasing its efficiency and usefulness.

Mr. Ebert was united in marriage at Farmersville, Ohio, September 16, 1881, with Miss Ella N. Riegel, a native of Montgomery county. Her parents are Franklin J. and Catherine Riegel, the former a retired farmer, and now, with his wife, residing at Farmersville.  The union of Mr. and Mrs. Ebert has been blessed with two sons, Owen Leroy and Robert Laird, aged respectively thirteen and five years.

Mr. Ebert is a member of Miamisburg lodge, No. 44, K. of P. In religion he and his wife are members of the Fourth Reformed church of Dayton. While not aggressive in political matters, his affiliations are with the democratic party, and under its auspices he served one term as mayor of Farmersville, which position he resigned on his appointment as principal of the schools of that city.  In August, 1892, he was appointed, by the probate court of Montgomery county, a member of the county board of examiners, in which capacity he acted for three years, one-half of this period as president of the board.

Prof. Ebert has filled these several positions with ability and faithfulness, creditably to himself and satisfactorily to the public whom he has thus served.

 

Return to "Centennial Portrait" Home Page