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Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity
Title Page & Introduction

Pioneer Life


Dayton and Vicinity





John F. Edgar


Dayton, Ohio

U.B. Publishing House

W. J. Shuey, Publisher



In Grateful Remembrance


The Trials Through Which They Passed

This Little Book Is Affectionately Dedicated


The Makers of Dayton








At the suggestion of a friend, have undertaken to collect reminiscences of the early history of Dayton, including the names and personal history of the pioneers of the township and county previous to 1840, when Dayton assumed the proportions of a city, receiving her charter in 1841.

So far as I can learn by careful inquiry, I am the only person living in Dayton whose father was here the first year of, its settlement (1796), and having known personally some of the original settlers,—Granny Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. George Newcom, William Van Cleve, Jerome Holt, and others,—it seemed good for me, in the centennial year of the first surveying party (1895), to undertake this work, reviving memories of the heroic pioneers, the hardy men and women who braved the dangers of a new and unbroken wilderness. When possible, I have endeavored to trace the history of each family down to the present day, not making mention of any whose connection, with Dayton commenced after 1840. There are many whose history I was anxious to give, but could not do so, being unable to secure the necessary data. Others whom I would have been glad to mention, had their names been suggested to me, and without whom a history of Dayton is hardly complete, have unfortunately and unintentionally been overlooked in the work of writing a history of this kind. I can only say to them that it is a matter of great regret to me that such is the case. My idea has been that the people have made the town, and their individual history is the history of the town. I have been at great pains to look up all the older citizens in Dayton that I could hear of, as well as my own acquaintances; I have written many letters to people who once lived here, but are now residing elsewhere, and have made every endeavor to reach all who were in any way connected with the development and growth of our "Gem City." Dayton is a city of homes. The people who came here have many of them married here, made their money here, spent it here, and died here. There has never been a bubble boom—inflated only to burst, leaving the town in-a state of helpless depression.

For assistance I am under obligations, first, to James C. Keber for his kindly suggestion; also to John H. Patterson, .Edward Brenneman, Wickliff Belville, Frank Bruen, Charles A. Stone, Mrs. Annie Lowe Rieman, Mrs. W. D. Bickham, Mrs. Anner Bacon Carroll, Mrs. Henrietta Dover Simpson, Prof. A. W. Drury, D.D., W. A. Shuey, and to many others, for valuable information and almost priceless documents freely entrusted to my care.

For historical facts and data I am indebted to Curwen's "Sketch of the History of Dayton "; " The History of Montgomery County "; John Littell's Family Records, etc., of the Passaic Valley of New Jersey; " Western Address Directory," by W. G. Layford; " Sketches of Pioneers of Southern Ohio," by Judge Barclay Harlan; " Historical Collections of Ohio," by Henry Howe; "History of Dayton, ^Ohio," published by the United Brethren Publishing House; Dr. Drake's "Cincinnati"; Kirchwell's "Valley of Virginia"; Chase's Statutes; "Biographical Cyclopedia and Portrait Gallery of Ohio," edited by J. Fletcher Breman; " Pennsylvania Genealogies," Egle; Stewart's " Memoirs of Virginia"; early Dayton papers, court records, records of deeds, etc.

I wish also to acknowledge my obligation to my daughter, Elizabeth B. Edgar, without whose assistance this volume could not have been published, and to Miss Minta I. Dryden, librarian of the Dayton Public Library, and the assistant librarians, for their uniform courtesy and valuable aid.

I have endeavored to be accurate as to dates, family names, etc., but, to quote from Henry Howe, " whoever expects to find this volume free from defects-has but little acquaintance with the difficulties ever attend-ant upon procuring such materials…. I must here close with the observation that I have passed the allotted age of human life, and, although in sound health, cannot expect for many more years to witness its mysterious, ever-varying changes."

DAYTON, OHIO, June 1, 1886

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