“Great Days in Dayton”
Reproduced on these pages is the full script of a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. All music and sound effect “cues” are indicated just as they appear on the working scripts used by the cast. The sponsor hopes that you will find interesting these dramatized episodes from the life story of your city.
“Great Days in Dayton” is a Presentation Sponsored by
THE DAYTON POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY
SCRIPT No. 1 – “A CITY IS BORN”
Theme for entire series. Inspiring yet not heavy. Starts Fortissimo, then fades behind….
ANNOUNCER: Great Days in Dayton!
ANNOUNCER: Listen to the voices of the past!
VOICE 1: I speak to you over a span of a century and a half. In my time cruel and bitter war raged between the white men and the red-skinned savages in the Northwest Territory. Terror and death ruled the wilderness.
VOICE 2: I saw peace made at last. And I saw the birth of a tiny village--a settlement of venturesome pioneers—at the junction of the Miami and Mad rivers in the great Ohio country.
VOICE 3: I saw the early years of struggle and hardship, courage and unceasing toil. I saw a new-born civic spirit that built the village into a town. I saw the few clustered log cabins replaced by hundreds of homes on elm-shaded streets.
VOICE 2: I saw a century of growth and progress, saw the town become a world-famous city. I saw its spirit rise above the tragedy of civil war, above disaster by flood and fire. I saw new progress, new achievements.
VOICE 1: I see the city of today and tomorrow, the industrial capital of a great and fertile valley. I see a great community of better government and better citizenship. Your city. Dayton!
ANNOUNCER: Drama, romance, crisis, triumph! These make the story of Dayton. You will hear that story in this new radio program, sponsored by The Dayton Power and Light Company and brought to you each Sunday at this hour over Station WHIO. These radio dramas, enacted by the professional company of the Dayton Civic Theatre, will bring to life for you the stirring events and scenes in your city’s past. The programs originate in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute, where at this moment our dramatic Company is assembled on the stage and all seats are filled by guests who have come to witness this first broadcast. Later we will tell you how you, too, can be a guest at a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. But now I want to present your master of ceremonies, who will act as your guide and narrator in these thrilling historical dramas. He is a man well-versed in Dayton history and well known to Dayton citizens. It is a pleasure to introduce Mr. Charles McLean.
NARRATOR: For many of us, today marks the realization of a dream—a dream of renewing our faith in Dayton. We have believed that nothing could bring about such a renewal better than a vividly dramatic presentation of Dayton’s history, such as is possible through the medium of radio. Today that dream and that belief becomes a reality. We are fortunate in having in Dayton a professional dramatic company of unusual size and outstanding talents, as you know if you are familiar with the work of the Dayton Civic Theatre. And we are even more fortunate in our sponsorship. For in The Dayton Power and Light Company we have found an organization which believes, as we do, in renewed civic faith, renewed determination toward greater civic progress and achievement. Thus it is the Dayton Power and Light company’s own belief in the future of Dayton which above everything else, has made this program possible. (PAUSE) And now let us turn back the pages of history to the year 1795. “Mad Anthony” Wayne had won a last great victory over the Indian tribes of the Ohio lands. In midsummer a peace parley was held at Fort Greenville, thirty-five miles north of where Dayton now stands. There General Wayne met with the chieftains of the Delawares, Chippewas, Wyandots, Miamis and other tribes. There were long day of arguments, of conflicting claims. But, finally, around the council fires, the disputes of the red and white men were settled. This, then, is the opening scene of our story. Listen! [Mingled cheers and shouts. A long roll of drums brings silence.]
LITTLE TURTLE: Hear me! Hear me! I, Little Turtle, speak well of Great Spirit. I tell you all these rich lands forever domain of Miamis. I tell you our forefathers….[Renewed shouts, some in agreement, some in protest.]
THE CRANE: Little Turtle, listen a moment to the words of Tarhe the Crane. You speak to us of legends of Miamis. Yet they are not legends of other tribes. The truth is that these broad and fertile lands are lands of all peoples. There is room for all, even for white brothers now that they would join us in peaceful living. Tell us, Bad Bird, Chief of the Delawares, is this not true?
DELAWARE: Tarhe the Crane speak word of wisdom, word of peace. Little Turtle speak word of war. Thousands of our brothers, red and white, have been slain in battle. Their bones lie bleaching on hills and in valleys. Let us have an end to this. Let us return to our wigwams, our squaws and our children, to our hunting and fishing. Let us live in peace with white brothers.
LITTLE TURTLE: No! No! The claims of Miamis must prevail. [Loud and angry shouts.]
DELAWARE: Silence! Silence! I tell you, Little Turtle, that your claims shall not prevail. There must be an end to war. The nations are ready to bury the hatchet and smoke the pipe of peace. Chieftains and warriors, listen now to the words of the Elder Brother, General Wayne. [Cheers.]
WAYNE: My brothers! We have met here upon peaceful ground, ground that is unstained with blood. I have come to this council without arms, bearing in my hands only the pipe of peace. I have brought you the message of the Great White Father, George Washington, who desires that the people of all nations, throughout this great land, shall dwell together in brotherly love. Let the hatchet be buried deep. Let the pipe of peace be passed from hand to hand. Let our friendship be everlasting. [Loud cheers and shouts. Back of these drums and bugles.] [Music.]
NARRATOR: And so, with the treaty of Greenville, lasting peace came to the Ohio lands. The news traveled swiftly—swiftly, that is, for an age when there was no radio and no telegraph. In seventeen days it had reached New Jersey. There, in a handsome colonial residence, a strong-featured man with a definitely military bearing sat at a large writing table. [Knock.]
DAYTON: Come in. [Door opens.]
BUTLER: Gen’l Dayton, suh, deys fo’gentlemen craves to see you.
DAYTON: Yes, yes, Julian, show them in. I’m waiting for them.
BUTLER: Step right in, gentlemen, step right in. [Advancing footsteps and ad lib greetings.]
DAYTON: General St. Clair, we are honored to have you with us. And you, too, General Wilkinson. Colonel Ludlow, it’s a pleasure to see you again. Julian, set a decanter of port and glasses on the table. And, Julian, we are not to be disturbed.
BUTLER: Yessuh, Gen’l Dayton.
DAYTON: Gentlemen, I’ve had the best of news from the Miami lands. General Wayne has made a treaty with the Indians. The Ohio country is at last safe for settlement.
VOICES: That’s fine…Capital news, General…Most gratifying.
DAYTON: I think that we may now safely conclude our contract of purchase for these lands. It is my understanding that the particular area we have in mind, at the junction of the Miami and Mad rivers, is among the very best in the whole Northwest Territory. You’ve seen the tract, Colonel Ludlow. Is that your opinion?
LUDLOW: There’s none finer in all America, General Dayton. The rivers are broad and deep. They wind pleasantly through a wide valley that lies sheltered by hills on all sides. The hills are well forested and the valley very fertile. Once cleared, it will yield splendid harvests. The site is perfect for a town and surrounding farm lands. And since it lies on the main routes of travel from east to west and north to south, the town may one day grow to be of great importance.
DAYTON: Very promising, indeed, Colonel. And now, gentlemen, I have here Judge Symmes’ proposal of sale, together with his plan for having the town-site surveyed by Mr. Daniel Cooper. Let us go over them carefully before we come to our decision. [Fades.] Draw up your chairs a little closer, gentlemen. [Fades in]…And so that appears to sum it up, gentlemen. Shall we purchase the Miami Lands? General St. Clair?
St. CLAIR: I am agreed, General.
DAYTON: General Wilkinson?
WILKINSON: I favor the project very strongly.
DAYTON: Colonel Ludlow?
LUDLOW: You have my hand on it, gentlemen. [Pause] But there is one matter we have left unsettled—a name for the town. I propose we name it for –General Jonathan Dayton.
DAYTON: No, no, gentlemen! Let us choose a name of classic or historical association. Athens, Rome, Carthage—surely one of those would…
ST. CLAIR: General, you are already out-voted. [Laughter.] Before we came here tonight General Wilkinson, Colonel Ludlow and I were agreed. It was a conspiracy, if you like.
DAYTON [Soberly.]: It is no laughing matter, gentlemen, that a man’s name be given to a place which is to be a home, a haven, for still uncounted generations. His name should honor it.
ST. CLAIR: As yours will, General Dayton. And through the years the town which bears your name will honor you. It will be a great city one day, and always proud to bear the name of Dayton.
DAYTON: You flatter me, gentlemen.
ST. CLAIR: Not that, General. But we out-number you.
DAYTON: [Slowly]: I suppose a general must in extreme case concede defeat. [Laughter.] Julian, Julian!
BUTLER: Yessuh, Gen’l Dayton.
DAYTON: Bring us meat and bread. And more port, Julian, more port. [Music.]
NARRATOR: Plans for the settling of Dayton went ahead that winter. In Cincinnati, then a village of a hundred crude log cabins, settlers waited for open weather to start the journey northward. Daniel C. Cooper, whose name has ever since meant so much to Dayton, had completed his survey of the town-site, and from this the eager settlers drew their lots. By late March they were ready to start. Let us imagine a farewell gathering on the night before the first party set forth—a dinner at one of the larger cabins in Cincinnati. As the meal draws to a close, we hear Daniel Copper speaking to the guests. [Table sounds—wooden bowls, crockery, cutlery. Babble of voices. A pounding for order.]
COOPER: Folks, we are about to set forth on a great adventure. We’re gong to have new homes in a new town. We’re going to make it the best town in the whole Northwest Territory. [Voice applause.] It’s a beautiful place, folks. It’s the very best place for a home-town; I know, because I’ve been there surveying it. Ben Van Cleve and Bill Gahagan know it, too. That’s right, isn’t it?
VOICES: Sure is, Dan…it’ll be a mighty fine place to live.
COOPER: There’s a lot of mighty hard work ahead for all of us—getting there, clearing a place for ourselves in the wilderness, building our homes. But it’s hard work that gets us the good things in life. And I know there isn’t a man in this room—or a woman or child either—that isn’t ready for all the work and hardship we’ve got to go through. (PAUSE) Sam Thompson, you and your party will be starting tomorrow in your boat. Will you be ready early?
THOMPSON: My boat’s launched and ready, Dan. All we have to do is load our supplies, get our people aboard and push off. We’ll start mighty early.
COOPER: And you, George Newcom. How about your party?
NEWCOM: Oh, we’ll be ready early. Only there won’t be any use in our starting ahead of Sam Thompson. Sam’s going to pole that boat of his all the way up the Miami river. Craziest thing I ever heard of. We’re going by land, taking it easy with the wagons and stock and all.
COOPER: You’ll have it none too easy, George. It’ll be hard work for all, just as I told you. And now, we’ve talked enough about work and hardship. This is a celebration, looking toward happiness for all of us. Let’s end it with the songs we all know. [A babble of gay and excited voices.] [Music.]
NARRATOR: And so, early on the morning of March 21, 1796, Sam Thompson’s party was ready for the journey. There were Sam and his wife, Kate, their two small children, William Gahagan, Benjamin and Mary Van Cleve, the Widow McClure and her four sons and daughters. Thirteen in all, a large passenger list for their small flat-bottomed boat. A crowd of townspeople and other settlers was present to see them off from the foot of Sycamore Street in Cincinnati. [Crowd voices. Wood creaking.]
THOMPSON: Easy with that hogshead, boys. [Wood creaking, men grunting.] That flour’s got to last us a mighty long time. That’s it. Hold her steady on the planks. [More creaking followed by heavy rumble.] There she is, safe aboard. That’s about all of it, except for those few boxes.
KATE: Sam, here comes George Newcom.
THOMPSON: Knew he couldn’t stay away, Kate.
NEWCOM: Think she’ll float, Sam?
THOMPSON: She’s floating, ain’t she? And she’s riding good and high, even when we’ve got her loaded. We’ll have it a lot easier going by water than you will dragging your wagons and stock through sixty miles of forest. By the time you get there we’ll probably have our cabins built and I’ll have my out-lot cleared for farming.
NEWCOM: Sam Thompson, you always was a fool for work. Clearin’ and stumpin’ virgin forest, an’ tryin’ to git on at farmin’. Me, I’m going to have me a tavern. Newcom’s Tavern, it’ll be called. I’ll trade with the Indians an’ the rest of the settlers. I won’t have to do no real work. The trade an’ the money an’ all will jest come to me where I’m settin’ in my tavern.
KATE: Mr. Newcom, you always talk as if you never worked, but I know you do. I know you’ll work hardest of all on your overland trip.
NEWCOM: Well now, Mrs. Thompson, I can work if I got to. Fact is, I come down here this morning jest to help out.
THOMPSON: Then you’d better stop talking and help Ben Van Cleve lay these planks to the rail so we can get aboard. Kate, you and Widow McClure get the children together.
BEN: [Sound of falling planks.] All right, Sam, the planks are set.
THOMPSON: Widow McClure, you’d better go first with your four. Ben, you get up there on the rail and help them as they come.
WIDOW McCLURE: All right, Mr. Thompson. Jim, John, Katherine, Anne, come on all of you. And watch out, you don’t fall in. [Sound of footsteps on planks.]
BEN: I’ll catch them, Widow McClure.
THOMPSON: Now, Kate, you take Mary and Sarah, and I’ll carry Matt.
KATE: Mary, where are you? Come here. And I’ll carry Sarah. Now be careful, Mary.
THOMPSON: All right, Matt, right up here on my shoulder. Here we go.
BEN: Come on, Bill. Get aboard and we’ll pull in these planks.
BILL: Here I come arunnin’ [Footsteps and scraping of planks.]
THOMPSON: We all aboard?
VOICES: [Ad lib.] Yes, Sam. Guess so. I’m here, Ma. I was on first. We’re all here. Etc.
NEWCOM: [Off.] Well, Sam, jokin’ aside, she looks like a good boat. You ought to make it safe and sound. An’ don’t worry none. My wagon’ll be startin’ in an hour, so I’ll be there long ahead o’ you. Probably have my tavern built.
THOMPSON: You talk big, George Newcom, but we’re the ones who’ll be waiting for you. [Both laugh.] Now, boys, set your poles and start pushing. [Footsteps on rails and rippling water.] That’s it. She’s moving. Keep her close to shore.
VOICES: [Off, ashore.] Goodbye! Good luck! See you in Dayton! Etc. [Mingled cheering.]
KATE: Oh, Sam Dear, I can hardly believe we’ve started for our new home. And we will be safe, won’t we?
THOMPSON: Don’t worry, Kate. We’ll be all right, all of us. Keep those poles pushing, boys. That’s it. Listen, Kate, you can still hear them cheering us. [Faint cheering off.] [Music]
NARRATOR: It took our party of adventurers three days to pole their boat up the Miami to Fort Hamilton. They rested there for a whole day. Sam Thompson visited the fort and talked with the officers and scouts to get advice about the rest of the journey. [Music.]
THOMPSON: You say the river’s worse from here on, Captain?
CAPTAIN: A lot worse, Mr. Thompson. You’ll find some shallow rapids. You may have to unload, carry your stuff up along the bank and work your boat up with lines as well as poles. Your women-folks used to that? [Thunder off.]
THOMPSON: You don’t know my wife, Kate. It’s when there’s trouble ahead that she’s her real self. She’ll answer for the women-folks. (PAUSE) How about Indians up where we’re going?
CAPTAIN: Well…there’s always some danger, but not so much since General Wayne made the treaty. [Thunder closer.]
THOMPSON: I reckon that’s all, Captain, and thank you kindly. I’ll get back to the boat. There’s a storm coming up.
CAPTAIN: I’ll send an orderly with you. Orderly!
ORDERLY: Yes, sir.
CAPTAIN: Orderly, you’ll guide Mr. Thompson to his boat.
ORDERLY: Yes, sir. Follow me, Mr. Thompson.
THOMPSON: Good night, Captain.
CAPTAIN: Good night, Mr. Thompson. [Door opens and closes. Wind. Thunder.]
ORDERLY: Stick close. It’s mighty dark and this path to the river is narrow and rough. [Footsteps. Thunder. A panther’s scream.]
THOMPSON: Panther! It makes a man’s blood run cold.
ORDERLY: Ty’re after our horses in the stockade. We killed two of them last month. [Pause. More footsteps.] We ought to be near where you tied up now.
THOMPSON: [Shouting] Ben Van Cleve! Hello, Ben Van Cleve!
BEN: [Off.] Hello, Sam.
THOMPSON: Show a light, Ben. (Pause) There it is, down the bank. I’ll be all right, now. And thank you soldier. [Thunder.]
BEN: All right, Sam. I’ve got her. Come ahead. [Swift footsteps on plank.]
ORDERLY: Good night.
THOMPSON: Now, Ben, steady that plank so I can come aboard. It’s too cold for a wetting.
THOMPSON: Kate, are you all right? And the children?
KATE: All right, Sam. And the children are sound asleep, even little Mary.
MARY: [Sleepily.] No, I’m not.
KATE: Well, you should be, Mary Van Cleve. Sam, did you get any more news at the fort? It is all right?
THOMPSON: It’s all right, Kate. We’ll be all right. [Thunder much closer.] Ben, you and Bill get a cover over the shelter there at the stern, so the women and children can keep dry. We’re in for an awful storm. I’ll get the plank in. Hurry!
BEN: Haul her tight on your side, Bill.
BILL: All right, Ben, I’ve got her. [Heavy thunder on.]
THOMPSON: That’s it, boys. And now let’s turn in. We’ve got to start at sun-up. [A crack of lightning and thunder on.] Listen to that! [Thunder and wind.] Get inside! Here she comes! [A terrific crash of thunder, followed by a cloudburst of rain. Full sound of storm holds for a long moment and fades out slowly.] [Music.]
NARRATOR: Slowly the Thompson party made its way up the river. Some times they toiled over rapids foot by foot. Some times they were swept out into deep water and carried downstream. But finally, ten days after they left Cincinnati, they noticed a significant change in the river. [Wood creaking]—[Footsteps along the rails.]
BEN: Sam, we’re sure getting somewhere. Look over there near the other bank. The water’s a lot muddier than it is here.
KATE: I’ve noticed that, too, Sam. Do you think we could be near to Dayton?
THOMPSON: Well, now, I don’t know. We’ve seen mud before, coming from the creeks. We can tell more when we get around this sharp bend just ahead. Let’s keep right on poling.
BEN: [Excitedly.] Sam, I think we’re about there. From up here at the bow you can see clear around the bend. I think I can see the mouth of another river. [Swift footsteps along rail.]
THOMPSON: Ben, you’re right. That’s no creek. It’s the Mad River. Folks, we’re almost there. All this ground south of the river here is Dayton.
KATE: Oh, Sam, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? The hills all around the valley seem to protect it, don’t they? I can hardly wait for our cabin to be built. I’m going to have a garden for flowers and vegetables, and we’ll raise chickens. Sam, I know I’m just going to love our Dayton.
THOMPSON: I’m sure glad you like it, Kate, because it’s going to be our home as long as we live. [PAUSE] All right, now boys, work her in toward shore. That’s it. Now, let’s drive her in as hard as we can so she’ll get beached good and high. All together, now. Pole! [Loud creaking of wood, excited voices.]
THOMPSON: [Solemnly.] Folks, we’ve reached our new home. In a minute we’ll go ashore. But there’s something else first. It’s taken a lot of courage and a lot of mighty hard work, but its’ the grace of Almighty God that’s really brought us to this beautiful spot. Let’s give thanks. [Music.]
ALL: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen. [Music]
THOMPSON: All right, boys, we’ll get the heavy stuff out first. [Excited voices of children.] Kate, keep those children quiet and out of the way ‘til we get some of this stuff ashore.
KATE: Children, children, stay right here with me. Mary Van Cleve, Mary, where are you? Why, she’s slipped off. She’s running up the bank. [Her voice suddenly rises to a scream.] Sam! Look! Indians! Mary’s running right toward them! Sam!
THOMPSON: [shouts.] Mary! Mary! Ben, hand me my gun!
KATE: No, Sam, wait! Don’t shoot! Mary’s trying to talk to the Indians. They haven’t touched her.
THOMPSON: We’d better get to her right away, just the same. Come on, Kate. You, too, Ben.
KATE: Mary! Mary! Stay right where you are! We’re coming!
THOMPSON: Wait, Kate. See, the Indians are gong into the woods. [PAUSE] Now we can go to her.
KATE: [Coming on.] Oh, Mary, Mary darling. I was so frightened! You musn’t ever run away like that again!
MARY: It’s all right, Mama, only…Mama, I was a little scared…[Begins to cry.] Oh, Mama!
KATE: There, there, Mary darling!
THOMPSON: Kate, look here. Here’s one of the trees Dan Cooper marked. See, it says “St. Clair.” We’ll find others marked “Jefferson” and “ Wilkinson” and “Ludlow”. Just think, Kate, some day we’ll be able to stand right here and look down that way where there’s nothing but forest now, and we’ll see a wide street all cleared of trees and brush, and maybe there’ll be twenty houses along it. And, Kate, the thing that makes me feel good inside is that all those houses, warm and lighted up at night, will be filled with families that have come to live in Dayton and to help us make a mighty fine town! [Music]
KATE: Yes, Sam, it’s wonderful to think that. It’s…it’s beautiful and…and sort of sacred. Oh, Sam, I just can’t help crying. [Sobs softly.] Hold me in your arms, Sam.
THOMPSON: There, there, Kate darling. Don’t cry. We’re home now. [Music.]
NARRATOR: And that is how the first settlers came to Dayton one hundred and forty-four years ago. A handful of heroic souls come to make their home in the trackless forest. They were the founders of our city. Their day was the first of the Great days in Dayton. [Music.]
ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton” will be presented to you each Sunday at this time by The Dayton Power and Light Company. It is a thrilling story—a story of heroism and struggle against dangers and privations—of a growing community and its people—of unselfish labor and achievement—of dauntless courage in the face of crisis and tragedy—of eventual triumph. It is the story of the never-failing spirit of a people, a spirit which has carried that people through a century and a half of history and progress, a spirit which has brought Dayton upward from a tiny settlement in the wilderness to its present day position as a world-famous city. [PAUSE] The Dayton Power and Light Company takes a special satisfaction in presenting this story because it feels that it has had a definite part in the history of Dayton. From its own early beginnings it has served the homes, business and industries of the community. Through the expansion and improvement of its gas, electric and city-steam service, it has helped to build a bigger and better Dayton, a modern and progressive city. It is the hope of The Dayton Power and Light Company that through these broadcasts every citizen of Dayton will gain a better knowledge of Dayton history, a richer understanding of Dayton’s achievements, a finer pride in Dayton itself. [PAUSE] And now for next week. Today we followed Dayton’s first settlers on their perilous journey into the wilderness, sensed their courage and determination, shared with them the thrill of establishing new homes in a community that would thenceforth be their very own. Next week we shall again visit the Dayton of early days, seethe first stirrings of community life, face with Dayton’s pioneer citizens the adventures which confronted them. Don’t miss this second chapter in the thrilling history of Dayton…Next Sunday at this same hour on station WHIO. But just a moment! Perhaps you’d like to see as well as hear a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. If so, the Dayton Power and Light Company invites you to be its guest. Simply go to the “Great Days in Dayton” box office on the main floor of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 North Main Street. You’ll find some tickets there… for yourself, your family, your friends. They’re free! Just ask for them. [PAUSE] These programs originate in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute. All dramatic parts are played by the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company. This entire series of broadcasts is presented to you by The Dayton Power and Light Company with the firm conviction that the future, like the past will see “Great Days in Dayton.” [Music.] [Theme for “Great Days in Dayton.”]
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