Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 716-734 Andrew Ploocher to Jacob Willliam Sortman

ANDREW PLOCHER, [pages 716-717] proprietor of the City Forge & Iron works, at 25 South Wyandot street, is a native of the kingdom of Wurtemberg, Germany, was born on the 19th of June, 1850, and is a son of John and Anna M. (Zeiler) Plocher. The father passed his entire life in the fatherland, while the mother subsequently came to America and passed her declining years with her children, her death having occurred in Dayton, in the year 1882. John and Anna Plocher were the parents of six children, viz: John, a resident of Miamisburg, Ohio, where he is engaged in contracting and building; Andrew, the immediate subject of this review; Christian W , who is engaged in the bottling business at Elyria, this state; Caroline, the widow of John Bitzer, of Crestline, Ohio; Lena, the wife of Jacob Holker, of the same place; and Jacob, whose present residence is not known to the other members of the family. The father, who was prominently engaged in business as a grain dealer in his native land, died at the age of forty-nine years. He was a zealous and consistent member of the Lutheran church, and was honored for his ability and sterling worth of character.

Andrew Plocher passed the first seventeen years of his life in the land of his nativity, receiving his educational training in the excellent schools of Germany, and familiarizing himself with practical business affairs as an assistant of his father. At the age of seventeen years he emigrated to America, and soon after his arrival here made his way to Dayton, which has ever since been his home.  For about eighteen months he found employment on a farm, after which he learned the blacksmith's trade, with which line of work, or that of a like nature, he has ever since been identified. In 1895 he established his present enterprise. The products of the establishment include varied kinds of light and heavy forgings, and in the well equipped works are also manufactured wrought-iron fence, railings, etc., of the most artistic design and superior construction, the output finding sale throughout a wide territory contiguous to Dayton. The mechanical equipment is of the most modern and approved sort, so that the work of manufacture is facilitated in every possible way. The superior workmanship and thorough reliability of products have given the business a marked impetus from its inception.  Mr. Plocher is himself an expert mechanic, and he maintains a personal direction and supervision of all details of the business. His character is one which commands the respect and esteem of all with whom he has dealings, and he is known as one of the alert and progressive business men of the city, and as one whose success is the just reward of well-directed efforts and unflagging perseverance. Aside from the City Forge & Iron works Mr. Plocher has other considerable financial interests.   He is the owner of much valuable realty in Dayton, and has erected two excellent dwelling houses beside his shops.

Mr. Plocher is a member of the democratic party, while his fraternal relations are with Humboldt lodge, No. 58, Knights of Pythias, and with the Deutschen Ordens der Harugari, in which latter order he was one of the organizers of the local body, Victoria lodge, No 67.

In the year 1874 Mr. Plocher married Miss Eva Barnhardt, who was born in Wurtemberg, on the 6th of June, 1852, the daughter of John and Lenah Barnhardt. They have three children—John and Carroll, both of whom are employed in their father's establishment, and Flora, who is still at home.   The family attend the Lutheran church, and their home is located at No. 1806 East Fifth street.

 

MAJ. ALPHONSO PETTIT, [pages 717-718] commander of company Twenty-nine, National Home, D. V. S., was born in the city of Belfast, county Antrim, Ireland, April 13, 1838, and is a son of Henry J. and Cornelia (Parsell) Pettit, both natives of the Emerald Isle. The family came to the United States in, 1841, and located near Dayton, Ohio, thence moved 'to Troy, in which city the elder Pettit became a prominent political factor, having been honored at various times with important official positions. By occupation he was a merchant tailor, and his death occurred in Troy in the year 1867. Mrs. Pettit died in 1844. Maj. Pettit and .one sister are the only living members of a family of three sons and five daughters; the sister is Mrs. Christian N. Copper, who resides at Urbana, Ohio. The others, Zachary T., John E., Mary F., Anna M., Cornelia E., and Jane died in youth.

The early life of Alphonso Pettit was spent as a student and mercantile clerk, and he also worked for some years as a carpenter and joiner, which trade he learned while living in the city of Troy, On the 19th of April, 1861, he entered the three months' service in company K, Eleventh Ohio infantry, and on the 28th day of August following, before the expiration of his term, he re-enlisted in the Forty-fourth Ohio, which formed a part of the army of Gen. Rosecrans in the department of West Virginia. During his first service, the major participated in the battles of Red House and Pocotaligo in the Kanawha valley, and shortly after re-enlisting he accompanied his command to central Kentucky, and in 1863 joined Burnside's forces at Knoxville, Tenn. He took part in the battle fought at the last named place, assisted in the capture of Cumberland Gap, and, in recognition of meritorious conduct, was promoted, March, 1862, second lieutenant of his company. In April, 1864, the regiment having veteranized, the Forty-fourth was re-organized and mustered into service as the Eighth Ohio cavalry, Lieut. Pettit being promoted first lieutenant of his company and adjutant of the regiment. He discharged his two-fold duties most acceptably until May, 1864, at which time he was promoted captain and assigned to the command of company L, Eighth Ohio cavalry. The regiment was assigned that year to Gen. Averill's division and joined Gen. Hunter in the Lynchburg movements, participating in the battles at Piedmont and Liberty, together with the several skirmishes on the advance and re-retreat from Lynchburg to White Sulphur Springs. After this, Maj. Pettit was given command of 500 dismounted men and ordered to report to Gen. Averill at Martinsburg, W. Va., and during the summer of 1864 he participated in all the fighting in the Shenandoah valley, being on the extreme right of Gen. Sheridan's army in that memorable campaign.

He was assistant adjutant of the First brigade, Second division, of Sheridan's cavalry corps and remained with the division, as aid, until after the surrender of Gen. Lee's forces at Appomattox. He was mustered out of the service as captain of cavalry and brevet major, September 28, 1865, having passed through nearly four and a half years of active service without receiving any disabling wounds or being absent from his command for any considerable length of time on account of sickness.

Returning to Troy, Ohio, at the close of the war, the major engaged in the nursery business near that city, and continued the same with fair success until, in the year 1884, he became an inmate of the national home, at Dayton. Since that date he has served four years as superintendent of national cemeteries at Chattanooga, Tenn., Beverly, N. J., and Fayetteville, Ark., and, beside filling various official stations at the home, has been for some time commander of company Twenty-nine. During his connection with the home Maj. Pettit has won the confidence of all classes, and the good will entertained for him by the executive head of the institution is a compliment to a most deserving and capable official.

Mr. Pettit and Miss Sarah M. Baker were united in marriage in 1874, a union cruelly severed by the death of the wife one year later; she left a daughter, Judith, now the wife of William McLean, of Galena, Ohio.   The major is a member of the I. 0. 0. F., Knights of the Golden Eagle, I. 0. R. M., and G. A. R.; politically he is a stanch supporter of the democratic party.

 

PROF. WILLIAM J. PATTERSON, [pages 718-720] late principal of the Seventh district public school of Dayton, Ohio, is a native of Ireland, of Scotch-Irish parentage, and was born February 15, 1833. He received his elementary education at Coleraine, Londonderry, and in 1851 came to America, following a brother, Joseph, who had preceded him by two years. In 1854 he was followed by his parents, Joseph and Elizabeth (McVicker) Patterson, who first located in Dayton, but later removed to Oxford, where both parents passed the remainder of their days. The family comprised seven children, viz:  Joseph, now the owner of a 600-acre farm in Coffee county, Tenn.; William J.; Martha, wife of Henry Halteman, a farmer of Preble county, Ohio; Eliza, widow of John Dugan, and now a resident of Rockwood, Tenn., her husband having been killed in a railroad accident; Annie, wife of Isaiah Douglass, a farmer of Oxford, Ohio; Mrs. Sarah Lindsay, of Nebraska; and Margaret, wife of Edward Weingardner, of First street, Dayton.

Prof. Patterson has been a resident of Dayton since 1851, when the city contained a population of but 16,000, with no buildings of any pretentions to architectural beauty or construction, or of any considerable monetary value; in fact, the majority of them were either log or frame, with an occasional brick structure at the more populous or business points of the town. The most speedy means of communication and travel between Dayton and Cincinnati was by canal packet in his early residence here, and he was a witness to the laying of the first railway track to enter the city, that of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton road. As to the other great changes which have taken place during the interval of forty-five years, only those who survive from that early day can fully realize their magnitude.

On first locating in Dayton, Prof. Patterson attended school in Carrollton for two years and then began teaching. The first teachers' examination was held in the old academy which stood on the site of the present Central school building of Dayton, and which was the old Central high school site; the examiners were James Campbell and John Hall, both for many years afterward employed as teachers in the same high school. Prof. Patterson began his work as a tutor in a typical log school-house on the farm of Rev. Mr. Heineker, near Miamisburg, and has the unusual record of having been a school-teacher in the district and village schools of Montgomery county for over forty years. In 1890 he was elected principal of the Thirteenth public school district of Dayton, in which he served most effectively for two years and a half, and was then appointed to a similar position in the Seventh district, which he has since filled with ability.

The marriage of Prof. Patterson took place March 18, 1855, to Miss Anna Ford, who was born in Castlebar, Ireland, in 1833, and came to America an orphan child. This marriage has resulted in the birth of nine children, of whom Joseph Edward is a prosperous farmer, living near Dayton; Emma is the wife of Frank Wogaman and resides in the city; William F. is in the employ of the American Express company; John Charles is an attorney at law and a prominent member of the Dayton bar; Rev. James Albert is a talented minister of the Presbyterian church at Fostoria, Ohio; Martha is married to William Rice, general agent at Dayton for the Jackson Coal company; Dr. Clifton L. is a successful member of the medical fraternity; Mrs. Lizzie Johnson, whose husband is bookkeeper for the Buckeye Iron & Brass works, and Robert C., a student in the Cincinnati Law school. The family are all members of the First Reformed church of Dayton, having been reared in the Scotch Presbyterian faith.

Prof. Patterson has been always active in church and Sunday-school work; in politics he has invariably sided with the democratic party, although he has never been a partisan for personal ends. As an office-holder, he has been content to serve seven years as a member of the board of county examiners of teachers —an office for which he is peculiarly well qualified—and as a patriot, he served 100 days in the One Hundred and Thirty-second Ohio volunteer infantry during the late Rebellion.

 

WILLIAM G. POWELL, [page 720] one of the younger members of the Dayton bar, was born in Wayne township, Montgomery county, Ohio, December 29, 1867.   His parents are John and Esther (Wells) Powell, the former of whom was born in Gloucestershire, England, and the latter at Culpeper Court House, Va. They were married in Tippecanoe, Ohio, and moved to Montgomery county, where Mr. Powell engaged in farming about six miles north of Dayton, in Wayne township. There he is still residing and has served three terms as justice of the peace of that township. He is a substantial farmer and a useful citizen, held in high estimation in that community.

William G. Powell was reared on his father’s farm and attended the neighboring district schools until he reached his fifteenth year. In 1883 he entered Otterbein university, and was there in attendance three years. For three years afterward he taught school in the country and in 1891 came to Dayton and entered the office of S. H. Can, where he read law for one year. He was admitted to the bar in 1892, his short course of preparation for admission being accounted for by his having read law extensively while engaged in teaching, as he had the profession of the law in mind even at that early day.

On August 8, 1892, he entered upon the practice of his profession, being alone until February, 1894, when he formed a partnership with George M. Leopold, the firm name being Leopold & Powell, which partnership still continues.  In the fall of 1891 he was elected clerk of the county board of elections, serving one year.  In 1893 he was elected to the office of deputy to the state supervisor of elections, and was re-elected in 1894, 1895 and 1896, holding the office at the present time.  He is a member of the order of Knights of Pythias and also of the Garfield club, from which his political affiliations may readily be inferred. Mr. Powell is devoted to his profession, in which there is every promise of his achievement of a gratifying success.

 

COL. HARLEY H. SAGE, [pages 720-724] of the national military home, near Dayton, is a native of Pickaway county, Ohio, was born February 23, 1835, and paternally is of Welsh descent.  Two of his great-grandfathers were patriots in the war of the Revolution, and his father and father's father were soldiers in the war of 1812. Henry Sage, the father of the colonel, was an early settler, of Pickaway county, was prominent as a. Freemason and as a citizen, and died in April, 1865, at the age of seventy-one years; the colonel's mother, who bore the maiden name of Amanda Hayden, was a native of New York, and died in 1878, when eighty-four years old.

Harley H. Sage grew to manhood in his in his native county, received a good academical education, attended Kenyon college one year, and read law in Circleville until fire was opened on Fort Sumter, when he enlisted in company B, Thirteenth Ohio volunteer infantry, in April, 1861, at the time the regiment was being reorganized for the three years' service, and was elected second lieutenant of his company. About six months later he resigned his commission and assisted in recruiting the Forty-third Ohio infantry, serving as private from October 8 until December 29, when he was commissioned captain by Gov. Tod, and placed in command of company E, of the Forty-third, in which capacity he served until after the battle of Corinth, when, October 8, 1862, he was made major of his regiment. He resigned this commission in 1863, at Bolivar, Tenn., returned home, was actively employed in the recruiting service, and was elected colonel of the Ninety-second Ohio national guard, upon the reorganization of the camp of instruction, he was appointed commander and instructor at Athens and Portsmouth, Ohio, and filled this position until the call for l00-day men was made, when he reported at Camp Dennison. Here his recruits were consolidated with the Mahoning county battalion, and mustered in as the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry, of which regiment he was appointed colonel, and with this rank served until the close of the war. To recapitulate: In the Thirteenth, Col. Sage served in Virginia and took part in the battle of Carnifax Ferry. With the Forty-third, he fought at New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Tiptonville, was with Pope in his attempted capture of Memphis, and in the siege of Corinth. With the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth, he served in West Virginia, also in front of Richmond and Petersburg, Va., and through the campaign of the peninsula; was with Butler at Bermuda Hundred and then had command of the entrenched camp at Norfolk; he next took his regiment on a raid to Elizabeth City, N. C., marched down the bank of the Dismal Swamp canal, also having command of the artillery on this expedition. He then returned to Norfolk, whence he was sent to Camp Dennison, Ohio, where he was mustered out August 27, 1864. He was next ordered by Gov. Tod to organize the One Hundred and Seventy-eighth Ohio infantry, but his services were more in demand at the front, and he was given command of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth Ohio, then already organized, took part in the siege of Nashville, Tenn., where he had command of a brigade during the two days' battle under Maj.-Gen. Thomas, after which he returned to Columbus, Ohio, and was finally mustered out June 18, 1865. The only brother of the colonel, Henry Tecumseh, served in the Mexican war, but died of yellow fever in New Orleans before the outbreak of the Civil war.

Soon after his return from the war, Col. Sage was admitted to practice in the supreme court of Ohio, and opened a law office in Circleville; was city solicitor for that corporation until 1878, when he came to Dayton as supervisor of the southern Ohio lunatic asylum, which position he held for two years; he was then appointed deputy clerk in the probate court, but resigned two years later and was elected justice of the peace in Dayton, During his incumbency of this office for six years, he never had a decision reversed on appeal, although he had transacted the major part of the justice's court business of the city during that period. He then resumed his law practice, which he continued until failing health warned him that it was necessary to relinquish active labor. September 29, 1894, the colonel became an inmate of the soldiers' home, and by the 1st of November following had sufficiently recuperated to assume his present position as captain of company Twenty-two.

Col. Sage was first married, in Circleville, Ohio, to Miss Nannie E. Campbell, who bore him seven children, four of whom died while he was in the army. His wife died about fifteen years after marriage, and for his second wife he chose Mary McLean, also of Circleville, who became the mother of two children, now deceased, and who herself was soon called away. In 1881, the colonel married Mrs. Anna Thompson, and they have their residence adjoining the soldiers' home. The colonel's only living children are J. Kirby Sage and Mrs. Mary E. Snyder—the son and son-in-law, both mechanics, being associated in business. Col. and Mrs. Sage have also an adopted daughter, Lulu, a young lady who still has her home in the colonel's family.

In politics the colonel has always been an active member of the democratic party, and has been its nominee for the state legislature and for probate judge of Montgomery county. Fraternally he is a royal arch Mason, was a Son of Malta before that unique order became defunct, is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men, of the Union Veteran Union, and of the Grand Army of the Republic. In the last named orders he has been especially prominent and active, as post commander of Dister post, G. A. R., and as an officer on the staff of the department commander, and in the U. V, U. as colonel of John A. Logan encampment. The colonel is held in high respect by the officers and inmates in general of the soldiers' home, and also enjoys the warm friendship of a large circle of acquaintance, in Circleville, in Dayton, and all throughout the county of Montgomery.

 

GIDEON F. POND, [pages 724-725] one of the representative ex-soldiers and mechanics in the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, at Dayton, Ohio, was born in Holden, Me., January 20, 1848, and is a son of Philander L. and Emily W. (Billington) Pond, natives of the same state, where they still reside. The children born to these parents were six in number, of whom Albert A. died in Bangor, Me,, in February, 1896; Henry L. resides in Mount Chestnut, Butler county, Pa.; the third, Gideon F., is the subject of this biographical notice; Marcia J. is unmarried; Myra A. is now Mrs. Rand, and Sarah E. is as yet unmarried.

Gideon F. Pond was educated in his native city and in Bangor, Penobscot county, Me., and was early apprenticed to learn the trade of carpenter and millwright. When in his seventeenth year he enlisted in company F, Twelfth Maine volunteer infantry, and was probably the youngest patriot soldier of the state. He served at camp Bevoy, Me., and at Galloup island, Boston harbor, Mass., chiefly in guarding transports conveying troops, for about seven months, when he was discharged by reason of the close of the war. During this comparatively short term of service, however, he was taken ill from exposure and incurred a disability from which he has never fully recovered. On returning to Maine he remained there, an invalid, for nearly three years, and then, in 1870, believing that a change of climate would be beneficial, went to California, where for thirteen years he was employed as clerk, as letter-carrier in the San Francisco post-office, and at such other light work as he was able to perform.  He then served five years in the United States marine corps, from 1878 to 1883, when he returned home on a visit, and in the following year came to Ohio. Here he worked at millwrighting and carpentering until December, 1891, when he relinquished the futile effort at self-support under the very discouraging conditions then existing, and became an inmate of the Central branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Since then Mr. Pond has been chiefly employed in light work, and of late has had charge of the lumber in the carpenter shops of the home. In this position he receives and distributes the material necessary for the repair of the home buildings, which is continuously going on, and thus his active mind finds occupation and is relieved of the monotony of camp life.

Mr. Pond united with the Grand Army of the Republic in 1887, and is at present a member of Mart Armstrong post, No. 202, of Lima, Ohio. In politics he has been a life-long republican. In religion he was reared in the faith of the Congregational church. Of the three sons and one daughter born to his deceased brother, Albert A., the elder son, Bert C., is secretary of the Christian Endeavor society in Philadelphia, and the younger, Freddie, is secretary of the same association at Bangor, Me.

Asa A. Billington, maternal grandfather of Mr. Pond, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and Mr. Pond still treasures as an heirloom the musket his grandfather carried through the war in defense of American liberty. The Pond family is of Plymouth Rock descent, and was well represented in the war of the Revolution. It will thus be seen that patriotism is an inherent quality in the present generation.

 

ALFRED B. POWERS, [page 725] of the National Park restaurant, Dayton, Ohio, a native of Paducah, Ky., was born September 7, 1839, a son of John and Naomi (Norris) Powers, both of whom were born in Indian Hill, a village near Cincinnati. After marriage they went to Paducah, Ky., but when Alfred was a child of some four or five years of age they returned to Indian Hill, where John Powers was engaged in business for two or three years, and then located on a farm in that vicinity, where he and his wife passed the remainder of their days. They were of Pennsylvania descent, and had a family of nine children, who are now scattered throughout the country, although three or four of them still reside in the neighborhood of the old homestead at Indian Hill.

The earlier manhood of Alfred B. Powers was spent in farming on the old homestead and in its vicinity. In 1883 he came to Dayton, and for the past four or five years has been engaged in the confectionery business, as well as restaurant keeping. At present he operates two stands, at the Third street and Fifth street entrances to the national military home, in which he caters to the wants of the hungry and thirsty visitors to that great institution.

Mr. Powers was united in marriage, in 1860, in Sharonville, Ohio, to Miss Melissa Price, a native of the place, and this union has been blessed by the birth of two daughters and one son, viz: Mollie, who is married to John Brannin, a clerk in the court house; Maggie, the wife of George Smith, who is engaged in the grocery business, and Edgar M., who married Miss Carrie Smith, and is now assisting his father in the restaurant and confectionery business, and through these marriages Mr. Powers and his wife have been given eight grandchildren.  In religion, Mr. and Mrs. Powers are of the United Brethren faith, and in politics Mr. Powers is a republican.

When Mr. Powers started in his present business he was almost entirely without means, and for the first two years he and his wife lived in a tent, in which they also transacted their limited business; today, as has been stated, he has two establishments, giving constant employment to four assistants, beside keeping himself, wife and son occupied.

 

JACOB A. PRITZ, [pages 725-726] proprietor of the Acme Star laundry, Dayton, Ohio, is a native of Hanover, Pa.; was born October 24, 1840, and is a son of Adam and Mary Pritz, natives, respectively, of Pennsylvania and Maryland. They were married in Pennsylvania, and in 1840 came to Ohio, Jacob A. being then a babe and the third born in a family of eight children, of whom but five are now living. The father was a well-known manufacturer in Dayton, and here died in 1895, at the age of eighty-six years.  The mother still survives and lives in this city. Of the living children, beside the subject of this biographical notice, J. W., the eldest born, resides on a stock farm in Montgomery county; William H. served during the Civil war in the Ninety-third Ohio volunteer infantry, and is now a resident of Dayton; Mrs. Scott lives in Newark, Ohio, and Mrs. Hildt makes her home with her mother.

Jacob A. Pritz received a good common-school education, learned the machinist's trade before the outbreak of the Rebellion, and was thus employed when he responded to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, when he enlisted in company A, Eleventh Ohio infantry, for three months. At the expiration of his term he at once re-enlisted, August 20, 1861, but this time in the Thirteenth Missouri volunteer infantry, of the exploits of which regiment an account will be found in the biography of Capt. John Birch, elsewhere in this volume. On being mustered out at the close of the war Mr. Pritz engaged in the manufacture of harvesting machinery, in partnership with his father and two brothers, in Dayton, and continued in this line until about 1880, when he sold his interest in the plant, and for eighteen months was in the milling business in Cincinnati.  He then became general agent for the state of Ohio of the Saint Paul Harvester company, but three years later this company made an assignment, and Mr. Pritz secured a similar position with C. Aultman & Co., of Canton, Ohio, with whom he remained for three years. His next engagement was with J. R. Brownell & Co., manufacturers of boilers and engines in Dayton, with whom he remained six or seven years, or until February, 1896, when he purchased his present establishment, where he is doing a lucrative trade and employs fourteen persons.

Mr. Pritz was joined in wedlock in 1865, at Dayton, with Miss Helen Field, of Providence, R. I., by whom he had one child only, named Earle, who died at the age of six years. Mrs. Pritz is a devout member of the Baptist church. Mr. Pritz is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Union Veteran Legion. Politically, he is an ardent republican. Few men are better known throughout the state than Mr. Pritz, who enjoys, both at home and wherever he has traveled, the warm esteem of a large circle of admiring friends.

 

JOHN W. PRUGH, [pages 726-727] of the firm of Prugh & John, funeral directors at No. 410 South Wayne street, was born May 8, 1851, in Miami county, Ohio, son of John and Mary Jane (Davner) Prugh. The Prugh family is of German extraction, and came originally from the kingdom of Prussia. For many generations the Prughs were tillers of the soil, and quite a number of them were noted for longevity, Abner Prugh, the grandfather of John W., dying at the remarkable age of 100 years, one month and twelve days. The maternal branch is also German, and, like the Prughs, has generally been a very rugged and long-lived race. John Prugh was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1827, was married in March, 1850, and died in November of that year, a short time before the birth of his son. Subsequently, about 1860, Mrs. Prugh became the wife of John John, a most estimable gentleman of Montgomery county, who has taken the place of a father to young Prugh in every possible way. To this second marriage have been born three children: Madison, who died at the age of three years; Elmer E., farmer and stock-raiser, and Wilford John, who is the junior member of the firm of Prugh & John. The mother of these children died July 7, 1894, at the age of sixty-seven years.

John W. Prugh attended the common schools in his youth, and later obtained a knowledge of the higher branches in Hoibrook's Normal school, Lebanon, Ohio. He began life for himself as a farmer, following this useful calling until 1885, in September of which year he came to Dayton and accepted a position in the Barney & Smith Car shops, taking charge of the stock department and books relating thereto. Continuing with this concern until October, 1887, Mr. Prugh resigned his position and went to Florida, where, for a limited period, he was in the employ of the Clifford Orange company. Returning to Dayton for a short time, he again went to Florida and resumed work with the Clifford company, spending nine months in charge of the packing and shipping department. For some months after quitting work in the south, Mr. Prugh was not actively employed, but later accepted the position of foreman of the yard department at the Farmer's Friend Agricultural works, Dayton, in which capacity he served most acceptably for over two years, the last year and a half as assistant on inside work. His next venture was in the mercantile line, handling groceries, and also giving considerable attention to dealing in bicycles, in both of which branches of trade he was successful. In company with his half-brother, Wilford M. John, Mr. Prugh engaged in the undertaking business on South Wayne street, in 1894, under the firm name of Prugh & John, a partnership which still continues. Messrs. Prugh & John have a fully-equipped establishment, and have enjoyed a steady increase in patronage from the beginning. They are also the proprietors of a large and well-stocked livery stand at Nos. 233 and 235 South Jefferson street, Dayton.

On the 5th day of December, 1878, Mr. Prugh and Miss Nannie J. Barney, of Beaver Creek township, Greene county, Ohio, were married. Mrs. Prugh is the daughter of Rev. B. H, Barney, a well-known Baptist minister, and spent the greater part of her life in Greene county, Ohio.  Politically, Mr. Prugh is a stanch member of the republican party, and in religion is a member of the United Brethren church, while Mrs. Prugh belongs to the Linden avenue Baptist church of Dayton.

 

E. OSCAR PRYOR, [pages 727-728] a member of the firm of A. H. Grim & Co., Dayton, Ohio, is recognized as one of the most progressive, enterprising and energetic business men of the Gem City. He was born February 6, 1860, in Pleasant Ridge, Hamilton county, Ohio, a son of Edward F. and Sarah Pryor. In November of the same year his parents established their residence in Dayton, and his father became one of the leading citizens, being closely identified with the hotel business and the growing industries of this city.

E. Oscar Pryor was reared in Dayton, received his primary education in the public schools and graduated in the high school. His business training was completed in A. D. Wilt's Commercial college.  At the age of nineteen he accepted the position of cashier in the freight depot and ticket office at the Third street crossing, maintained by the Dayton & Southeastern railroad, and this place he held from 1879 to 1880, when he resigned and associated himself with his brother-in-law A. B. Ridgway as clerk and bookkeeper and later as steward in the Phillips House, in which capacity he served for twelve years at different times. In 1886 Mr. Pryor was appointed to a clerkship in the post-office under the Cleveland administration, where he served with ability during three years, when his successor was appointed. He then returned to the Phillips House as steward, continuing until 1891, when he formed a partnership with James A. Kirk and opened up the Lakeside Park at the soldier's home. Three years later he sold out his interest in this enterprise and returned to the hotel business as manager of the Phillips House. He conducted this hostelry in an excellent manner until March, 1895, when he accepted a position as steward of the Hotel Atlas. One year later (March 6, 1896) he became a member of the firm of A. H. Grim & Co.  He has made a decided success of every business enterprise undertaken in his active career, and the present admirable system in our hotels is largely due to his intelligence and business qualities, inherited from his father, who was also prominent in hotel management.

E. Oscar Pryor has always been an outspoken democrat in politics. In lodge and society circles he is as well and favorably known as in the business world and stands in the front rank. He is a member of St. John's lodge, No. 13, F. & A. M.; Unity chapter, No. 16, R. A. M.; Reed commandery, No. 6, K. T.; Ohio consistory, Cincinnati, Ohio, thirty-second degree.  In 1881 he entered the order and took the Scottish-rite degree November 12, 1883.

In 1885 Mr. Pryor married Miss Helena Schaeffer, who died in 1891, leaving one child, Sarah. Two years later, in September, 1893, he was again married, his second wife being Miss Ella Fisher. This marriage was blessed with one child, named E. Oscar. Mr. and Mrs. Pryor are affiliated with the Lutheran church.

 

CAPT. MARTIN E. QUINN, [pages 728-729] commander of company Twenty-six, National Home Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, is a native of Virginia, born at Culpeper Court House, December 25, 1846. His parents, John F. and Amelia (Reagan) Quinn, were born in Ireland, in which country they married and reared a part of their family, immigrating to the United States several years prior to the birth of their son Martin, and settling in Virginia. The family of John and Amelia Quinn consisted of eight children, four of whom were born in the United States; the parents both died in Virginia, but their bodies were returned to their native country for burial and now lie side by side.

After the death of the parents the children went to Chicago, taking considerable means with them from Virginia, and purchased property which served as a home for the family as long as the several members remained together.

Martin E. obtained such education as the common schools impart, and in 1859 entered upon an apprenticeship to learn the printer's trade, with the Chicago Tribune; he soon became an expert typographer, but laid aside the "stick" at the breaking out of the late Civil war, and proffered his services to his country, enlisting in the Twenty-third Illinois, with which he served with Mulligan's brigade until captured at Lexington, Mo. He was soon paroled and discharged from the service, again entered the army, as sergeant of company A, Fifth Middle Tennessee cavalry, from which he was subsequently discharged in order to receive promotion as first lieutenant in the Fourth Tennessee mounted infantry.   One month after his promotion he was made captain of company D, same regiment, and as such served with distinction in the army of the Cumberland under Gen. Thomas, and later did staff duty during Gen. Sherman's famous march to the sea. He was a participant in the exciting scenes of that celebrated military movement, took part in all the battles in which the cavalry was engaged, and accompanied his command from the sea through the Carolinas and on to Washington at the close of the war.

Capt. Quinn was entrusted with many delicate and trying duties and his adventures and escapes were both narrow and thrilling. He was instrumental in capturing the notorious guerilla, "Champ" Ferguson, whose name became a terror wherever heard, and who was afterward hanged by the Federal authorities at Nashville, Term. Mr. Quinn was mustered out in November, 1865, with the rank of captain, and immediately thereafter returned to Chicago, thence a little later went to Elkader, Iowa, where, for a period of four years, he was engaged in the mercantile business in partnership with his brother, Michael Quinn. Unfortunately this venture did not prove successful, in consequence of which the captain was compelled to dispose of his stock and turn his attention to another calling.

During the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, Capt. Quinn was engaged in journalism at Friar's Point, Miss., publishing one of the two republican papers at that time in the state. The feeling against him, intense from the beginning, culminated in an incendiary fire in 1876, in which his office and fixtures were entirely destroyed, entailing a total loss of all property at the time in his possession.  For nearly four years thereafter he was on the road as a commercial traveler, representing a New York clothing house, which business he abandoned in 1880 to accept a position in the office of the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he went to Washington, D. C., with S. P. Rounds, who was appointed public printer, and remained with him during the four years of his administration of the office; from the national capital, he went to Pittsburg, Pa., in which city he worked on the Dispatch until August, 1895, when he became an inmate of the national soldiers' home, Dayton, Ohio, where he has since continued in an official capacity. The captain has never hesitated in giving expression to his honest convictions upon all questions of a public nature when occasion for such expression presented itself.  Politically he is, and always has been, unswerving in his allegiance to the republican party, notwithstanding he numbers among his warmest friends many democrats.  He is a member of the G. A. R., belonging to post No. 3, of Pittsburg, Pa.

Capt. Quinn was married in Pittsburg to Miss Maggie Savage, a native of Prince William county, Va., where her father was killed by rebel bushwackers during the war; the fruit of this union was one child, a daughter, Sadie, at this time a student in a Chicago convent; Mrs. Quinn died in Pittsburg in October, 1894.

 

CAPT. JAMES RATCLIFFE, [pages 729-730] a distinguished ex-soldier and trusted official of the national soldier's home, was born at the town of Little Falls, N. J., March 12, 1838, the son of John and Margaret (Aldride) Ratcliffe, both natives of England. These parents were married in the old country, where the father learned the trade of carpet-weaving, and, after coming to the United States, located at Paterson, N. J., and later moved to Pittsburg, Pa. Subsequently the family located in Allegheny City, and when James was a mere lad moved west to Indiana, where both parents died. To John and Margaret Ratcliffe were born seven children; of these Mary, the eldest, was born in England, is married and resides in Topeka, Kans.; Alice, widow of Edward Harrison, lives in the city of Washington, D. C.; James is the subject of this sketch; John W. is a farmer living in the vicinity of Markle, Ind.; Mrs. Elizabeth Manning is a widow, whose home is in Kansas, and Thomas is a farmer of Arkansas; one member of the family, Ellen, is deceased.

Capt. James Ratcliffe enjoyed but limited educational advantages, and at the early age of nine years was put to work in the factories at Paterson, N. ]. Later he turned his attention to other pursuits and for a number of years was variously employed, his principal occupation being farming and contracting. He assisted in clearing over 300 acres of forest land in Indiana, and in making several farms,  beside building wagon-roads and railroads, and general contracting in different lines. He was thus employed until 1862, in August of which year he enlisted at Markle, Ind., in company K, Seventy-fifth Indiana infantry, his first military experience being in Kentucky, in the pursuit of the noted guerrilla, John Morgan.

From that state his regiment went to Tennessee, thence to Alabama, and during this period of three years' service, Mr. Ratcliffe served in the commands of Gens. Rosecrans, Thomas, Grant and Sherman, taking part under the last named in the celebrated march to the sea. The battles in which he bore an active part included many of the bloodiest engagements of the war, besides numerous skirmishes and raids, a complete enumeration of which will not be attempted here. At the close of the war he took part in the grand review at the national capital.

After his return from the army the captain and his wife, whose maiden name was Mary E. Manning, and whom he married in 1862, immediately after his enlistment, began housekeeping on a farm in Indiana. For some time he gave his attention almost exclusively and very successfully to contracting, and was thus engaged until the panic of 1873, when he lost the greater part of his possessions and was obliged to turn his attention to other business. He then began dealing in lime, in Huntington county, Ind., and while engaged in this trade he met with a painful accident, which rendered him a cripple for life, his left arm becoming disabled. By reason of this disability, the captain, in 1888, removed his family to Dayton, Ohio, and became an inmate of the National Military Home, D. V. S., where he has since remained, the greater part of the time in an official capacity. In March, 1892, he was promoted captain and placed in command of company Six, which at this time has a complement of 108 men. The captain has discharged his official functions in a most creditable manner, and has proved himself faithful to every trust reposed in him. Of his family of nine children seven are still living, viz: Nellie, wife of Joseph Overmeyer, a business man of Huntington, Ind.; Cora, who married George Drafenstatt, also a resident of Huntington; Guy, a druggist of Dayton, Ohio; Millie and Ray B., who are engaged in the confectionery business in Dayton; Lettie, who resides in the state of Washington, and Sherman, the youngest, who is a student in the schools of Dayton. Politically Capt. Ratcliffe is a member of the republican party, and the Baptist church represents his religious creed. Mrs. Ratcliffe's father, Rev. William C. Manning, now a resident of Kansas, has spent a long life in the ministry. He began preaching at the age of twenty, is now eighty-five years old and still actively engaged in his sacred calling.

 

JACOB WILLIAM SORTMAN, [pages 730-734] contractor and brickmaker of Dayton, was born in Union county, Pa., May 20, 1842, He is a son of George and Maria C. (Bossier) Sortman, natives of Pennsylvania and of German parentage. George Sortman, who was by trade a manufacturer of chairs, located in Dayton, Ohio, in 1853, and lived in this city to the close of his life, dying in 1881, at sixty-nine years of age. His wife had died in 1875. Both were good people, religiously inclined, members of the German Reformed church, and highly respected by all who knew them.

Jacob W. Sortman, the subject of this sketch, was eleven years old when his, parents brought him to Dayton. For several years thereafter he worked in the summer time and attended school in the winter season, thus receiving a good education and becoming a practical young man at the same time. When eighteen years of age he began learning the trade of brickmason, at which he worked until the war broke out. At Dayton, Ohio, October 14, 1861, Mr. Sortman enlisted in company F, Birge's sharpshooters, which company was changed to company H, and to company G, western sharpshooters, April 20, 1862. His regiment was changed to the Fourteenth Missouri volunteer infantry, and changed from the Fourteenth Missouri, to the Sixty-sixth Illinois volunteer infantry, western sharpshooters, November 26, 1862, by order of secretary of war, E. M. Stanton.   Jacob W. Sortman was a good and faithful soldier, always at his post of duty in camp, on the march, on picket, and was in the battles of Mount Zion, Mo,, December 28, 1861; Fort Donelson, Tenn., February 13, 14 and 15, 1862; Shiloh. April 6 and 7, 1862; Phillips' Creek, Miss., May 21, 1862; siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29 to May 30, 1862; Iuka, Miss., September 19 and 20, 1862; Corinth, Miss., October 3 and 4, 1862; the Hatchies, December 29, 1862; Whiteside's Farm, Miss., September 9, 1863; in the raid through north Alabama, November 2 to 12, 1863; Snake Creek Gap, Ga., May 9, 1864; Sugar Valley, Ga., May 11 and 12, 1864; Resaca, Ga., May 13 and 14, 1864; Lay's Ferry, Ga., May 14 and 15, 1864; Rome Cross Roads, Ga., May 16, 1864; Andersonville, Ga., May 17, 1864; Dallas, Ga., May 25 to June 1, 1864; Lone Mountain, Ga., June 1, 1864; New Hope Church, Ga., June 2 and 3, 1864; Big Shanty Station, Ga., June 11, 1864; Brushy Mountain, Ga., June 14, 1864; general assaults on Kenesaw Mountain, June 27, 1864; Marietta, Ga., July 3, 1864; Rupp's Mills, or Nickajack Creek, Ga., July 4, 1864; Howe's Ferry, Ga., July 7 and 8, 1864; Chattahoochie river, Ga., July 9, 1864; Decatur, Ga., July 19 and 20, 1864; Howard House, Bald Hill and Atlanta, Ga., July 22, 1864; Ezra Church, Ga., July 28, 1864; siege of Atlanta, Ga., July 26 to August 26, 1864; and Proctor's Creek, Ga., August 4, 9 and 11, 1864. He was sent to the rear, August 26, 1864, his term of service having expired, and was mustered out at Chattanooga, Tenn., September 2, 1864, and discharged at Louisville, Ky., September 5, 1864.

After his return from the war, Mr. Sortman completed the learning of his trade, and was a journeyman until 1872, since which time he has been in business for himself. He erected the Pruden block, the Stoffel & Abbey building at the corner of Market and Main streets, the two Reibold buildings, Barney's five-story building on Fifth street, the Christian church building, and several public school-buildings in the city, among them the Steele High-school building. He also built many private houses, among them the beautiful residence of Col. J. D. Platt. While foreman for Marcus Bossier, Mr. Sortman had charge of the erection of the new Montgomery county jail; and also, while acting in that capacity, erected twenty-seven buildings at the Soldiers & Sailors Orphans' home at Xenia, Ohio, and also a number of the finest residences in the city of Dayton.

Mr. Sortman was married December 20, 1866, to Miss Adelia R. Gilbert, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Lehman) Gilbert. To this marriage there have been born six children, three sons and three daughters. Of these the following are living:   Katie B., Bessie, Oliver P., and Oscar B., the two last named being twins.  Katie B. married Clifford Turner, a bookkeeper for Wolf Bros. They have two children, a son and a daughter, Katherine and Robert. Mr. Sortman is a member of the German Reformed church and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is also a member of the Old Guard post, No. 23, G. A. R.; of the Ancient Order of Druids; of Wayne lodge, No. 10, I. 0. 0. F., and he is a thirty-second degree Mason.  Politically he is a republican, and served four years in the city council from the Fourteenth and Eighth wards. He now lives in a handsome home at No, 59 Green street, the architecture being of a most pleasing style. Mr. Sortman is a man of resources, and has been most successful in business. His career has been one which, when contemplated by the young, can only inspire them to its imitation and can only lead them, when rightly followed, to a similar success.

 

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