DR. JOHN STEELE-1812 and 1813 Years of Excitement-Dread of Indians-Colonel Johnston's Control of the Indians-Madison Orders Out Ohio Militia-Battalion Muster at Dayton-Militia Bivouac Without Tents at Cooper Park-Governor Meigs Arrives-Issues a Call to Citizens for Blankets-General Gano and General Cass Arrive-Three Regiments of Infantry Formed-Captain William Van Cleve- General Hull Arrives-Governor Meigs Surrenders Command to General Hull-The Governor and General Review the Troops-The Three Regiments March Across Mad River to Camp Meigs-Leave Camp Meigs for Detroit-Munger's Brigade Ordered Here to Garrison the Town -Hull's Surrender-Consternation of the People-Handbills Issued at Dayton Calling for Volunteers -Captain Steele's Company-Kentucky Troops Arrive Here-Harrison Calls for Volunteers and Horses-Dayton Ladies Make One Thousand Eight Hundred Shirts for Soldiers-Expedition Against Indians Near Muncietown-Defeated Soldiers Bring Wounded to Dayton-Hospital on Court-House Corner-War-Jerome Holt- War Ended-Dayton Companies Welcomed Home-First Dayton Bank-Ohio Centinel-Stone Jail -Mr. Forrer's Reminiscences of Dayton in 1814-First Methodist Church-William Hamer-Aaron Baker-Ohio Republican-Ohio Watchman-Medical Societies-Dr. Job Haines -Female Charitable and Bible Society-First Market-House- Moral Society- Associated Bachelors- First Theater.
IN 1812 Dr. John Steele settled in Dayton. He was born near Lexington, Kentucky, and was graduated from the famous Lexington college, TransylvaniaUniversity, of which his father, Robert Steele, was one of the founders. From college he went to the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, in which the celebrated Dr. Benjamin Rusk was professor, to attend medical lectures. Having received his diploma as a physician, he decided to make his home at Dayton, where his brother James had lived for Several years Soon after his arrival a military hospital, a frame building, was erected on the northwest corner of Main and Third streets,-the Court-house lot,-for the use of sick and wounded soldiers of the War of 1812, Dayton, as already stated, being a depot of supplies and a rendezvous for troops. Dr. Steele was placed in charge as physician and surgeon. During his residence in Dayton, while always ready to serve the public, he confined himself principally to the duties of his profession, in which he was very successful, and won a high reputation. Even to the present day many families remember his knowledge and skill as doctor and surgeon with gratitude, and speak of him with love and respect. He was remarkable for dry humor and wit, and his old patients recall and repeat his witty sayings with a relish heightened by the memory of the relief they brought amid the despondency and pain of the sickroom. Like his brother James, and like their grandfather and father before them he was a very religious man and long an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He was identified from its organization with the Third Street Presbyterian Church, and only members of that church can know the respect and love in which he was held." He served as member and president of the City Council, was member and president of the Montgomery County Medical Society, a, founder of and large contributor to the Library Association, an original stockholder in Woodland Cemetery Association, and prominently connected with all the benevolent and religious societies of his day. "With his name,” writes a friend, "is associated all that is honorable, noble, and elevated in human nature." He was married twice, his first wife dying young. In 1823 he married Miss Cornelia King, of Morristown, New Jersey, who survived him twenty-five years. They had ten children : Augusta ; Caroline, married W. F. Comly; Dr. Henry K., beloved in Dayton and Denver for the professional skill and delightful social qualities characteristic of his father, married Mary Frances Dunlevy ; Clara, married R. W. Steele ; James, married Sally Curd ; Charlotte, married W. H. Harrison ; Samuel, married Annie Mills ; Cornelia, John, and William. Mrs. R. W. Steele, Mrs. W. H. Harrison, and Miss Cornelia Steele alone survive. Grandchildren : R. W. Steele, Miss Harriet D. Steele, Mrs. William Spalding, children of Dr. Henry K. Steele ; Charlotte H. Steele, daughter of Mrs. R. W. Steele ; Cornelia H. Steele, daughter of James Steele. Dr. John Steele died in 1854, aged sixty-three.
The years 1812 and 1813 were full of excitement and dread in Dayton. Fear of the Indians, large numbers of whom were friendly to Great Britain, rendered the war with that country especially menacing to the people of Ohio. There were two thousand Indians -Shawnees, Ottawas, Wyandots, Senecas, Delawares, and Muncies- in the State. Blockhouses were built in MontgomeryCounty as a refuge for settlers of Preble, Darke and Miami counties, who were considered in great danger. A hundred of them fled from their homes, and their fight increased the alarm of people in less exposed regions. Scouting parties of MiamiCounty militia were constantly on duty north and west of Piqua. These companies were usually ordered to kill every Indian, and squaws and children were made prisoners. News was continually coming during the spring that men had been killed and scalped and found murdered in the woods; that white inhabitants were flying before the savages in every direction. On the 10th of May it was reported here that an Indian trader by the name of Conner, who resided at Fort Defiance, had been advised by friendly Indians to move in from the frontier, and also that the Prophet was rebuilding his town, and was as strong as ever ; that he was seventy miles from Greenville, and would reach that place in about six weeks. On the 14th of May six Indians and a squaw were captured near Troy, and on the 15th five or six whites, while planting corn near Greenville, were attacked by Indians and one of them wounded. Our people knew that if the Prophet took any of the neighboring towns would not be many hours before he arrived at Dayton. Colonel Johnston, by order of Governor Meigs, was holding a council of Shawnee chiefs from Wapakoneta at Piqua, and great anxiety as to the result of this conference was felt. The Indians decided for peace, but though Colonel Johnston, who, from long employment among them as a Government agent, understood them as few white men did, and had wonderful influence over them, believed their professions of friendship, the citizens of Ohio generally had no faith in their promises.
All through the war Colonel Johnston acted as mediator and peacemaker between the tribes and the whites, especially endeavoring to keep faith with the friendly Shawnees, and at the same time to defend Indians and citizens from each other. He pursued this noble course successfully, in spite of much opposition from his own people, by means of appeals through the newspapers, and various proclamations and stringent regulations. Soon after one of Colonel Johnston’s appeals for a just and humane treatment of the Indians was printed, an article filled with abuse of him and the Shawnees was published in the Ohio Centinel. It was claimed that while he was assuring the people that the Indians would not be troublesome in any way, he directed them to bring him the ears of all the swine they had killed- The Settlers insisted that the order would not have been issued if there had been no ground for complaints against the savages. Colonel Johnston's only object in publishing this order was to prove the innocence of his wards, if possible, or, if he failed in this, to provide some means of deciding what would be a full compensation for hogs that had been lost by their owners. The frontiersman could not, as a rule, believe an Indian less cruel and treacherous or more worthy of consideration than the wild beasts which he shot whenever he had an opportunity. Even the more intelligent and humane inhabitants of Ohio largely shared this distrust and contempt of Indians ; and Indians professedly friendly did many things which confirmed the evil opinion the whites had of them. President Madison ordered out one thousand two hundred Ohio militia in April, 1812, for one year's service, and Governor Meigs directed the major-generals of the Western and Middle divisions to report with their commands at Dayton on the 29th of the month. Major David Reid ordered the officers of the First Battalion, of which he was in command. to assemble for a battalion master on the second Tuesday in April, at the usual parade-ground in Dayton, armed and equipped as the law required. At this muster orders were read, and also the bill for enrolling volunteers, passed by Congress on the 2oth of February. On such occasions crowds of people gathered to enjoy the parade, and it was supposed that the patriotism and enthusiasm of spectators would be roused on the 14th of April, and that many recruits would be obtained. "It was expected," the editor of the Ohio Centinel writes, "that a sufficient number would volunteer to obviate the necessity of a-J draft, but only twenty stepped forward at the call of their country." The editor expresses his disappointment at this result in strong terms. Citizens had hardly had time as yet to realize that hostilities had really begun. The war excitement soon rose to fever-heat, and the Centinel never again reproved Daytonians for lack of patriotism. A company of Rangers was raised by General Munger at this date in this neighborhood, to be marched to Detroit. Governor Meigs came to Dayton on the 2oth of April to inspect them. The company was partly composed of drafted men.
The uniform of the soldiers of 1812 was a blue coat, with scarlet collar and cuffs, and a cocked hat, with a cockade and white feather. The Governor appointed the 30th of April as a day of fasting and prayer, and appropriate religious services were held at the Dayton Court-house.
When, on May I, the first companies of militia reached Dayton, though the Governor's order making this the rendezvous of troops had been published a month before, no arrangements had been made for their comfort. Till the middle of May they had neither tents nor camp equipage, and very few blankets. A number bivouacked without shelter on the commons now Cooper Park. Twelve companies, containing eight hundred men, were here by May 7, and eight or ten more arrived in a few days. As the town could not afford room for all these men, some camped a little south of Dayton.
Governor Meigs arrived on the 6th of May to give orders and inspect troops. The event was announced by the citizens by a salute of eighteen guns. He reviewed the militia in the afternoon, and the next day sent out an appeal from headquarters, McCullum's Tavern, southwest corner of Main and Second streets, to the citizens of Ohio, to men, mothers, sisters, and wives, for blankets for the soldiers. Each family was requested to “furnish one or more blankets," the appeal read, "and the requisite number will be completed. It is not requested as a boon; the moment your blankets are delivered, you shall receive their full value in money ; they are not to be had at the stores. The season of the year is approaching when each family may, without inconvenience, part with one."
Soon after the Governor's arrival, he ordered General Munger and a small number of Dayton troops to make " a tour to Greenville, to inquire into the situation of the frontier settlements." On May 14 there were about one thousand four hundred troops here, the majority of whom were volunteers. Six or seven hundred of them were under the command of General Gano and General Cass. Six other companies arrived in a few days. Three regiments of infantry,-the First, Second, and Third,-numbering one thousand five hundred men, were formed on the 21st. These were the first regiments organized by the State of Ohio. After the companies were assigned to these regiments, and officers were elected, better military discipline was maintained than had been hitherto possible. The First Regiment encamped south of town, and the other two at Cooper Park.
Ohio's quota of troops having now been raised, Captain William Van Cleve's newly formed company of riflemen of this county was employed in guarding- supply-trains on the road to St. Mary's. Captain William Van Cleve, brother of Benjamin, was born near Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1777. He was one of the original settlers of Dayton. Instead of coming on the keelboat or pirogue with his family, he accompanied the Newcom party through the woods for the purpose of driving the cow of
his stepfather, Mr. Thompson. He was married twice, and by his first wife, Effie Westfall, had several children. From the close of the war till his death in 1828, he kept a tavern at the junction of Warren and Jefferson streets.
In the latter part of May General Hull arrived at McCullum's Tavern, which he made his headquarters. The usually quiet village of Dayton was now all animation and noise, as officers, quartermasters, and commissaries were preparing for the departure of the regiments for Detroit. The broad and generally deserted streets, ungraveled, often knee-deep in mud, were alive with bustling citizens and country people, gazing with curiosity at the brilliant uniforms and equipments of the passing soldiers. and the stores were full of customers; companies were drilling ; mounted officers and couriers galloping in different directions ; lines of wagons and packhorses, laden with provisions and ammunition and camp equipage, coming in from Cincinnati or the neighboring places, and Montgomery County farmers and business men, even when they were enrolled among the volunteers, were many of them reaping a golden harvest. On the morning of the 25th General Meigs and General Hull, to whom the Governor had surrendered the command, reviewed and made addresses to the soldiers camped south of town. After dinner at at McCullum's, they reviewed and addressed the regiments at Cooper Park. Early the next morning the three regiments, with Hull and his staff at their head, crossing Mad River at a ford opposite the head of Webster Street, marched to a new camp,- which they called for Governor Meigs,- situated on a prairie three miles from town, on the west bank of Mad River. They raised the American flag, and, forming a hollow square around it, greeted it with cheers, and expressed their determination not to surrender it except with their lives. On the 1st of June the First, Second, and Third regiments of Ohio militia and a body of cavalry, followed by a wagon-train and a brigade of pack-mules, left Dayton for Detroit. The Governor and his staff and strangers from Cincinnati and Kentucky, besides a crowd of people from the towns and neighboring country, were collected to see the troops begin their march. They marched out the old Troy pike. A large number of men followed them for a day or two, some of them sleeping in camp one night. General Munger's command of militia was ordered here to garrison the town, protect stores and public property, and keep open a line of communication with the army at the front. This was service of importance, as quartermaster's ordnance and commissary's supplies were forwarded by way of Dayton.
The news of the surrender of Hull's army reached Dayton at on Saturday, August 22, and this terrible disaster occasioned much alarm. A handbill was at once sent out into the country from the Centinel office, containing the startling information just received, and urging every able-bodied man who could furnish a firelock to come to Dayton Sunday prepared to march immediately for the defense of the frontier, guard the public stores at Piqua, and watch the Indians in that region. So many poured into town, and so immediate was the response to the appeal, that the Centinel headed an editorial relating the occurrences of the next day or two, "Prompt Patriotism," and challenged "the annals of our country to produce an example of greater promptitude or patriotism." Though the news came Saturday , a company of seventy men, commanded by Captain James Steele, was by Sunday morning raised, organized, and completely equipped, and marched a little later in the morning to Piqua. All the men and women in town devoted themselves to the work of getting the soldiers ready, and few went to bed Saturday night. Five companies of drafted men from Montgomery and Warren counties arrived on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday troops were constantly departing and arriving. Two companies were left here at CampMeigs.The Governor of Ohio, as soon as the bad news came, ordered forty thousand dollars' worth of public stores to be removed from Piqua to Dayton, and General Munger and his brigade soon accomplished this work. Captain Steele's company, no longer needed at Piqua, was ordered to St. mary’s – the most advanced frontier post,-and the Captain was placed in command of the post. Joseph H. Crane was made sergeant-major. The Dayton company built blockhouses for the defense of St. Mary's. The pay-roll of Captain Steele's company was preserved, and its publication in a Dayton paper many years later enabled widows and children of the men whose names appear on it to obtain land
warrants from the Government. This pay-roll contained but fifty-two names, though seventy were enrolled on August 23, so that part of the men were probably engaged at this time in scouting or other duty. Perhaps some did not go farther than Piqua.
General Harrison spent the 1st of September, 1812, in Dayton, and a salute of eighteen guns was fired in his honor. While the citizens were' receiving General Harrison in front of the Courthouse, Brigadier-General Payne arrived with three Kentucky regiments, comprising one thousand eight hundred men, and, marching past the Court-house, halted at Second Street. The soldiers were also honored with a salute. Early in September General Harrison sent out a call for volunteers, to be commanded by himself, ordering them to "rendezvous at the town of Dayton on the Big Miami." He also issued a call for eight hundred horses provided with saddles and bridles, agreeing to nay fifty cents a day for them. The horses were to be received at Reid's Inn in Dayton.. It is easy to imagine what a stirring place Dayton had now become. Some of the regiments which stopped over night camped, we are told, " in the mud on Main
The troops at the front were in great need of blankets and warm clothes. The following appeal was sent to the ladies of Dayton from headquarters, St. Mary's, September 20, 1812:
"General Harrison presents his compliments to the ladies of Dayton and its vicinity an solicits their assistance in MM-ki..ashirts for their brave defenders who compose his army, many of whom are almost destitute of that article-so necessary to their health and comfort. The material will be furnished by the quartermaster, and the General confidently expects that this opportunity for the display of female patriotism and industry will be largely embraced by his fair country-women.
" P. S.-Captain James Steele will deliver the articles for making the shirts on application."
Captain Steele's company, which had volunteered for short service. was returning home when this letter was written. The material for the shirts was obtained from the Indian Department, and had been prepared for annuities to tribes supposed to be friendly, but now in arms against the Government, and withheld in consequence of their present hostile attitude. "With a zeal and promptitude honorable to them and the State," and, of course, without compensation, the ladies of Dayton immediately went to work, and by October 14 one thousand eight hundred shirts were ready to send to the army-a good deal of sewing to accomplish without the aid of a machine in less than four weeks by the women of a village of less than one hundred houses.
On the 11th of December seven hundred men of the Nineteenth United States Infantry, who had remained in Dayton for ten days to procure horsed left- under command of Colonel John B. Campbell on an expedition against the Miami villages near Muncietown. The Indians were routed, but eight of our men were killed and forty-eight wounded, and nearly half the horses were killed or lost. Late in the afternoon of the day of the battle the army began its return march, carrying forty of the wounded, who were unable to ride, on stretchers. The men suffered all sorts of hardships, and nearly perished from cold, fatigue, and lack of food. On the 22d and 24th of December Major Adams, stationed at Greenville and Colonel Jerome Holt, engaged in building blockhouses and protecting the frontier, came to their assistance and enabled them to continue their march. They reached Dayton on Sunday, the 27th, after traveling ten days. The Centinel says that "their solemn procession into town, with the wounded extended on litters, excited emotions which the philanthropic bosom may easily conceive, but it is not in our power to describe them."
The small military hospital on the Court-house corner, in charge of Dr. John Steele and assistant physicians, has already been mentioned. Some of Colonel Campbell's men were no doubt received at the hospital, but the soldiers were also taken into private houses, scarcely a family receiving less than four of Dayton spent the day nursing the wounded and ministering force marched to Franklinton in a few days, but those unable to accompany them were left here, and tenderly cared for by citizens. The ladies of Dayton, though not formally organized into a soldiers' relief society, were continually engaged in making or collecting clothes and supplies for MontgomeryCounty volunteers in the field or in the hospitals. Both private and public supplies, though mud rendered the roads almost impassable, were constantly forwarded by army agents from Dayton. Supplies purchased here were delivered to Colonel Robert Patterson, forage-master at the Government storehouse, on the west side of Main Street, between Monument Avenueand First Street. Jerome Holt, mentioned above, was a brother-in-law of Benjamin van Cleve, and came to Layton in the summer of 1790. they had been partners in Cincinnati. After John Van Cleve had been killed by the Indians, he assisted Benjamin in his first efforts to provide for the family. His wife, Anne Van Cleve, was born in MonmouthCounty. New Jersey, in 1775, and died in 1858 in Van Buren Township, where the Holts settled in 1797. He was appointed constable of DaytonTownship in 1800, and elected sheriff of MontgomeryCounty in 1809. From 1810 to 1812 he was colonel of the Fifth Regiment of militia. Three great-granddaughters, named Gusten, live in Dayton, and a descendant-Mrs. Lindsay-lives on the old Holt farm four miles north of Dayton. Jerome Holt died in WayneTownship in 1841, and was buried in Dayton with military and Masonic honors.
A new company was formed here in January, 1813, by Captain A. Edwards, and marched immediately. Captain Edwards, who was a Dayton physician, had served as a surgeon in the army in 1812.
In the fall of 1813 Terry's victory on Lake Erie, Harrison's defeat of Proctor, and the repulse of the British at the battle of the Thames, brought the war in the West to a close. Returning Ohio and Kentucky soldiers were now constantly on the march from the north through Dayton. and the town was full of people from different parts of the country, who had come to meet relatives serving in the various companies. Sometimes the volunteers, camped in the mire on Main Street, became a little noisy and troublesome. The Dayton companies received an an enthusiastic welcome home. Streets and houses were decorated and a flag was kept flying from the pole erected on Main Street. A cannon was also placed there, which was fired whenever a company or regiment arrived. The people, at the signal, gathered to welcome the soldiers, whom they were expecting, and for whom a dinner, on tables set out-of-doors, was prepared, and the rest of the day was given up to feasting, speech-making, and general rejoicing. Our Montgomery County companies had all returned by the 1st of December; but as they had been in constant and active duty since their departure for the front, a number of brave men had fallen on the battlefield, and others came home in enfeebled health, or suffering from wounds which shortened their lives, so that many in this neighborhood had as much cause for sorrow as for joy when the troops gaily marched into town.
It is impossible for the present generation to realize the horrors and sufferings occasioned by the War of 1812. King says, in his history of Ohio, that an eye-witness described the country as " depopulated of men, and the farmer women, weak and sickly as they often were, and surrounded by their helpless little children, were obliged, for want of bread, to till their fields, until frequently they fell exhausted and dying under the toil to which they were unequal." There is slight record of the trials and labors of the people of Dayton during this period, but they no doubt had their full share.
The treaty was not signed until 1815. 'When the news reached Dayton in February, the following article, headed "Peace," appeared in the Republican: "With hearts full of gratitude to the great Arbiter of nations, we announce this joyous intelligence to our readers. Every heart that feels but a single patriotic emotion will hail the return of peace, on terms which are certainly not dishonorable, as one of the most auspicious events we were ever called upon to celebrate. The citizens of Dayton have agreed to illuminate this evening. The people from the country are invited to come in and partake of the general joy.” March 31 was appointed by the Governor of Ohio as a day of thanksgiving for the declaration of peace. The mechanics of Dayton met at in the afternoon of Saturday, March 15, 1813, at McCullum's Tavern, to form a mechanics' society. This was the first workingmen's association organized in Dayton. Workingmen and mechanics, as well as merchants and manufacturers, were prospering at the close of the war, and able to buy themselves homes. There was much successful speculating in real estate, and business was on the top wave for the next six or seven years.
The 5th of May of this year was set apart by the Governor of Ohio for a day of thanksgiving. In Ohio in early times thanksgiving was not always observed, and when the Governor issued a proclamation for the festival he was as likely to select Christmas or May-day as the last Thursday in November. The first proclamation of this kind in Ohio was issued by Governor St. Clair, December 25, 1788.
The first Dayton bank, called the "Dayton Manufacturing Company," was chartered in 1813. The following gentlemen constituted the first board of directors: H. G. Phillips, Joseph Peirce, John Compton, David Reid, William Eaker, Charles K. Greene, Isaac G. Burnet, Joseph H. Crane, D. C. Lindsay, John Ewing, Maddox Fisher, David Griffin, John H. Williams, Benjamin Van Cleve, George Grove, Fielding Gosney, and J. N. C. Schenck. The amount of stock issued was. ;61,055. The first loan was one of $11,120 to the United States Government to assist in carrying on the war. Banking hours were from to The president received a salary of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum, and the cashier four hundred dollars. H. G. Phillips was elected president in 1814, but resigned in a few weeks, and was succeeded by Joseph Peirce. On the latter's death, in 1821, Benjamin Van Cleve was elected ; but lie died in two months, and was succeeded by George Newcom. In the following year James Steele. who served till his death in 1841, became president, and George S. Houston cashier. After 1831 the bank was known as the "Dayton Bank." The bank closed up its affairs in 1843.
On the 19th of May, 1813, the last number of the Ohio Centinel appeared, and for a year and five months no newspaper was published in Dayton. As a consequence there is little material during this period for the history of the town.
The contract for building a new jail was sold to James Thompson, July 27, 1811, at public auction at the at the Courthouse, for $2,147.91. The jail was eighteen by thirty-two feet, and built of rubble-stone. A rented house was used for a jail till the new building was finished. It was not completed till December, 1813. The jail stood on Third Street in the rear of the Court-house, close to the pavement. It was two stories high, with gable shingle roof running parallel with the street ; a hall ran through the center of the house from the Third Street entrance. The prison occupied the east half of the building and the sheriff’s residence the west half. There were three cells in each story. Those in the second story were more comfortable than the others, and were used for women and for persons imprisoned for minor offenses. One of the cells was for debtors, imprisonment for debt being still legal at that period. Often men imprisoned for debt were released by the court on "prison bounds" or "limits," upon their giving bond for double the amount of the debt. They were then permitted to live at home, support their families, and endeavor to pay their indebtedness, but not allowed to go beyond the corporation limits. This jail was not considered a safe place of confinement for criminals, as persons on the sidewalk could look through the barred windows, which were about two feet square, into the lower front cell, and pass small articles between the bars. Though the cells were double-lined with heavy oak plank, driven full of nails, one night four prisoners escaped by cutting a hole in the floor, and tunneling under the wall and up through the sidewalk. About 1834 or 1835 a one-story building of heavy cut stone was erected in the rear of the jail. It contained four cells with stone floors and arched brick ceilings. This was the county jail until the fall of 1845, when a stone jail was built at the corner of Main and Sixth streets, the present workhouse.
Mr. Samuel Forrer, who visited Dayton in the fall of 1814, gives us, in his reminiscences, a glimpse of the town at that date. " At that early day there was a house and a well in an oak clearing on Main Street, near Fifth, surrounded by a hazel thicket. It was a noted halting-place for strangers traveling northward and eastward, in order to procure a drink of water and inquire the distance to Dayton." He describes the embryo city as still confined principally " to the bank of the Miami River between Ludlow and Mill streets, and the business-store-keeping, blacksmithing, milling, distilling, etc.-was concentrated about the head of Main Street."
In 1814 the first Methodist church was completed and occupied. It was a one-story frame building thirty by forty feet in size, and stood on a lot contributed by D. C. Cooper, on the south side of Third Street and a little east of Main Street. Previous to the building of this "meeting-house" Methodist services had been held in the open air, the Presbyterian log cabin, or the Court-house, As early as 1797 a Methodist class had been formed by William Hamer, a local preacher, which met in his house three miles up Mad River. Rev. John Kobler, sent out by Bishop Asbury to organize the Miami Circuit, preached in Dayton, as already mentioned, in August, 1798, and January, 1799. In April of the latter year class-meetings began to be held in the village at the house of Aaron Baker. Bishop Asbury preached here on the 22d of September, 1811, in the Court-house, to a thousand persons. Soon after, Rev. John Collins, who had preached here a few Sundays, persuaded the people to erect a church, and in a short time .$457.55 had been subscribed for a building fund. The frame church was succeeded by two brick buildings on its site -the first, built in 1828, forty by fifty feet in size and twenty-four feet in height, and the second, built in 1649, fifty-five by eighty-two feet in size, and with a tower in front. In 1870 the congregation removed to the stone structure-Grace Methodist Episcopal Church-on the southeast corner of Fourth and Ludlow streets.
William Hamer, the first Methodist local preacher to hold services in this neighborhood, was one of the pioneers of 1796. He settled on a farm three miles up MadRiver, and his place was known as "Hanger's Hill." His wife died in 1825. He died in 1827, aged seventy-five. Their son Dayton, born at Hamer's Hill in 1796, was the first child born after the original settlers arrived at the mouth of MadRiver.
The name of Aaron Baker, the first Methodist class-leader in Dayton often occurs in the early history of the town. H was born in Essex County, New Jersey, in 1773, visited Dayton in 1804, 1805, and 1806, and settled here with his family in 1807. He built McCullum's Tavern and the old brick Court-house.
In December, 1814, Charles Zull began to work a ferry across the Miami at the head of Ludlow Street. Farmers, leaving their horses and wagons hitched on the north side of the river, brought their produce over in the boat to trade at the stores.
The Ohio Republican appeared October 3, 1814, published by Isaac G. Burnet – who had published the Centenial which it succeeded - and James Lodge. It was similar in appearance to the Centinel, and printed from the type used for that paper ; price, two dollars per annum if paid in advance, two dollars and fifty cents if paid within the year, and three dollars if paid at the end of the year. Under the title was printed the motto : " Willing to praise, but not afraid to blame." It was devoted principally to literature and foreign events, little attention being given in newspapers of that era to home news. Mr. Burnet, who was elected to the Legislature a month after the paper first appeared, sold his interest to Mr. Lodge, who, as two-thirds of his subscribers did not pay for their paper, was obliged to cease publishing it October 9, 1816. In November of the same year Robert J. Skinner began to issue the Ohio Watchman at the former office of the Ohio Republican, having purchased the material and good-will of the latter paper. Its first motto was, "Truth, equality, and literary knowledge are the grand pillars of republican liberty." For this was substituted in 1819, " A free press is the palladium of liberty." It was originally a four-column folio paper, enlarged in 1818 to five columns, pages twelve by twenty inches in size. The editor announced in 1816 that the paper should be genuinely Republican in principles, "that he was partial to the administration then in power [James Madison was President], but that he did not intend to permit party prejudice to blind his eyes or to make his ears deaf to the principles of truth. The price was the same as that charged for the Republican. In 1820 the name of the paper was changed, and it was henceforth known as the Dayton Watchman and Farmers' and Mechanics’' ,journal. It was now published by George S. Houston and R. J. Skinner, the latter retiring in 1822. The office was on the west side of Main Street, between First and Second, a few doors south of David Reid's inn. The publishers offered to receive in payment for their paper flour. Whiskey, good hay, wood, wheat, rye, corn, oats, sugar, tallow, beeswax, honey, butter, chickens, eggs, wool, fax, feathers, country linen, and cotton rags. In January, 1826, A. T. Hays and E. Lindsley purchased the paper, but it ceased to appear in November, 1826. From 1824 it bore the motto, "Democracy, literature, agriculture, manufactories, and internal improvements, the pillars of our independence." It was opposed to "mending" the Constitution, and in favor of the tariff of 1824.
The three journals whose histories have just been given -really one paper under different names – were published once a week.
At an early date several medical societies were formed and met in Dayton, but in vain has an effort been made to trace their history. A call appeared in the Ohio Centinel for July 24, 1814, over the signature of A. Coleman, of Troy, for a meeting of the Seventh District Medical Society, to be held in Dayton at Major Reid's tavern, on the first Monday in September. On the 16th of October, 1815, Dr. John Steele, secretary of the Board of Censors of the Seventh Medical District of Ohio, announced in the Republican a meeting of the board at Dayton on the first Monday in November. All the physicians who had begun practice within the Seventh District since 1812, were requested to appear before the censors for examination. The penalty for neglect on the part of censors to attend this meeting was removal from office and election of others to fill their places. A number of physicians in the Seventh Medical District met at DaytonJuly 3, 1816, and formed the Dayton Medical Society, which was to meet here on the first Mondays of April, July, and November. Dr. John Steele was elected secretary. The Montgomery and Clark County Medical Society was organized May 25, 1824, at Reid's Inn. Dr. John Steele was president ; Dr. Job Haines, secretary. Dr. William Blodgett is the only familiar Dayton name among the censors. At the annual meeting at Reid's Inn in 1828 Dr William Blodgett was elected president, and Dr. Edwin Smith delegate to the medical convention. Among the members of the society were Doctors Job Haines, John Steele, and Hibberd Jewett.
Dr. Job Haines, mentioned above, was born and educated in New Jersey. Immediately after receiving his diploma as a physician, he came to Ohio, settling in Dayton in 1817. He was "remarkable for sound judgment and practical wisdom, as well as for modesty and humility." He stood high in his profession and in the estimation of the community in general - was Mayor of the city in 1833, and held other municipal offices. He was for forty years a member or elder in the First Presbyterian Church. The unobtrusive goodness, the quiet activity in benevolent work, of his daily life,-the fact that he was equally "a lover of truth, and a lover of peace, and a peacemaker," endeared him to all who knew him even slightly. Constant, year in and year out, were his gratuitous professional calls on the sick, poor, and afflicted. Never a day, probably, passed that he was not seen with a basket of nourishing food or dainties, wending his way to the bedside of one of these patients ; and having made them comfortable physically, the visit closed, if the patient desired it, with a few words of prayer and a brief reading of the Bible. But he did not obtrude his religious views on others. He died July 23, 186o, aged sixty-nine.
The ladies of Dayton and the vicinity met at the house of Mrs. Henry Brown, on Main Street, next to the Court-house, at on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 12, 1815, to organize the Dayton Female Charitable and Bible Society. Members were each required to contribute one dollar per annum for the purpose of purchasing Bibles, and to make a contribution of twenty-five cents every three months to the charitable fund. The society was organized for the purpose of gratuitously distributing the Bible and seeking the sick, the afflicted, and needy, particularly of their own sex, relieving their wants and administering to their comfort and giving consolation to them in their distress, as far as was in their power. The following ladies were elected officers of the society : President, Mrs. Robert Patterson ; vice-president, Mrs. Thomas Cottom ; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Dr. James Welsh ; recording secretary, Mrs. Joseph H. Crane ; treasurer, Mrs. Joseph Peirce ; managers, Mrs. William King, Mrs. David Reid, Mrs. James Hanna, Mrs. James Steele, and Mrs. Isaac Spining. This was the firs society of this kind organized in Dayton, though the ladies who formed it were previously and during the remainder of their lives noted for their benevolence and good works. A charity sermon for the benefit of the society was preached by Rev. Joshua L. Wilson, of Cincinnati, in the Methodist meeting-house on Sunday, June 25. A charity sermon was henceforth, as long as the Charitable Society existed, annually preached by Dayton ministers in turn.
Robert Strain opened in May, 1815, in his large brick building on the corner of Main and Fourth streets, the site if the United Brethren Publishing House, a travelers' inn, which was long a favorite tavern. A millinery shop was opened on June 26 by Ann Yamer on Main Street, south of Second. Besides attractive goods for ladies, she announced in the Republican a full stock of plumes and other decorations for military gentlemen, and that she was in need of a supply of goose-feathers. It will be seen that business was now advancing southward on Main Street.
The first market-house was opened July 4, 1815. The markets were held from four to in the morning on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The house was a frame building, and stood on Second Street, between Main and Jefferson. On either side of the interior were butchers' stalls, and there were stands for farmers and gardeners on the outside, under the wide-extending eaves. Two long horse-racks, or rails, extended from the building along Second or Market Street-as the part of Second Street on which it stood was then called-nearly to Main Street. On April 1, 1816, an ordinance took effect which forbade the sale, within the corporation, on any other than market day, of butter, eggs, cheese, poultry, vegetables, fresh fish, or meat, with some exceptions as to meat and fish, which could be purchased every day before in the morning. Prices were low in 1816; butter twelve and a half cents per pound ; eggs eight cents a dozen. Flour, however, was five dollars per barrel, and the next year six dollars.
The Watchman says in July, 1822, when four was two dollars and a half a barrel, butter five cents a pound, chickens fifty cents a dozen, beef one to three cents per pound, and ham two to three cents per pound, that the Dayton price-list, published weekly in the newspaper, had been noticed in the Eastern papers under the head of " Cheap Living," and the low prices of marketing here attributed to the scarcity of money in the West. The Watchman assured the people on the AtlanticCoast that the great abundance of country produce of all kinds was the true reason that living was cheap in Ohio, and that money " is quite as plenty with us as notions in the Eastern States !"
In spite of wretched roads and lack of forage, large numbers of cattle, horses, and hogs were driven, after the War of 1812, from this neighborhood to the Eastern market. The Rev. Timothy Flint says, in his " Letters on Recollections of the Last Ten Years in the Mississippi Valley,” that on his journey west in November 1815, he met a drove of one thousand cattle and hogs on the Alleghany Mountains, which were "of an unnatural shagginess and roughness, like wolves, and the drovers from Mad River were as untamed and wild in their looks as Crusoe's man Friday." These swine lived in the MadRiver and Miami woods on beachnuts and acorns, could successfully defend themselves and their young against wolves, and when desired for food were shot like other wild animals.
In 1815 there were about one hundred dwellings in Dayton, the majority of them log cabins. From 1814 to 1815 the revenue of the county was $3,280.51, an increase in one year of $1,431.64. The license for a store was fifteen dollars and the clerk's fee fifty cents in 1815.
Two clubs or societies of men were formed in July of this year-the Moral Society and the Society of Associated Bachelors. The object of the first organization, as its name would indicate, was to suppress vice and to promote order, morality, and religion, and more particularly to countenance, support. and assist magistrates in the faithful discharge of their important duties, and in enforcing the laws against Sabbath-breaking, profane swearing, and other unlawful practices. The society is careful to state in its constitution that it is not its intention to exercise a censorious or inquisitorial authority over the private transactions or concerns of individuals. John Hanna was elected chairman ; George S. Houston, secretary; managers, William King, Henry Robertson, Matthew Patton, John Patterson, and Aaron Baker. The meetings of the Moral Society were held on the first Saturday in October, January, April, and July. On the 12th of August, at in the afternoon, the society assembled in the Methodist meeting-house to listen to a sermon from the Rev. Mr. Findlay. The Society of Associated Bachelors was intended for recreation, and usually met in Strain’s bar-room. George S. Houston, secretary of the Moral Society, was at the same time president of the Associated Bachelors, so that the character of the two organizations could not have been as antagonistic as one might suppose. On the 24th of September, to the great satisfaction of the Moral Society, Mr. Houston was married to "the amiable Miss Mary Forman." Joseph John, secretary of the Associated Bachelors, was soon after married to Miss Jane Waugh, of WashingtonTownship. The Republican made merry over the fact that both the president and secretary of the Society of the Associated Bachelors were married. Their successors were immediately elected-Dr. John Steele president, and Alexander Grimes secretary.
The grist-mill, and frilling-mill, and two carding-machines belonging to Colonel Robert Patterson, two miles from town, were destroyed by fire on the 7th of October. This was a calamity to many poor families, as well as to the proprietor, as there was a quantity of cloth and wool belonging to customers in the mills. They were soon rebuilt.
This year D. C. Cooper was president and J. H. Crane recorder of the Select Council of Dayton. D. C. Cooper was elected State Senator, and George Grove and George Newcom Representatives in the Legislature. Aaron Baker, who had no opponent, was elected coroner. In 1815 Mrs. Dionicile Sullivan opened a school for girls, in which were taught reading, writing, sewing, lettering with the needle, and painting,-the first school of the kind in Dayton.
Daniel C. Cooper was a member of the Legislature in 1816, and also president of the Town Council. Joseph Peirce was recorder; trustees, Aaron Baker, H. G. Phillips, Ralph Wilson, O. B. Conover, and George Grove. On the evening of April 22, 1816, the first theater was held in Dayton at the dwelling of William Huffman, on St. Clair Street. The much-admired- elegant comedy called "Matrimony, or The Prisoners," and the celebrated comic farce called " The Village Lawyer," were, the advertisement states, to be given, and between the play and the farce were to be presented two recitations, "Scolding Life Reclaimed" and Monsieur Tonson," a fancy dance, and a comic song, " Bag of Nails." Tickets, fifty cents. Curtain to rise at precisely. Gentlemen were requested not to smoke cigars in the theater.