THE TOWN OF DAYTON INCORPORATED.
On February 12, 1805, the Legislature passed an act incorporating the town of Dayton. The act provided "that such part of the township of Dayton in the county of Montgomery as is included in the following limits, that is to say, beginning on the bank of the Miami where the sectional line between the second and third sections, fifth township, and seventh range intersects the same; thence east with said line to the middle of Section 33, second township, seventh range; thence north two miles; thence west to the Miami; thence down the same to the place of beginning, shall be and the same is hereby erected into a town corporate, which shall henceforth be known and distinguished by the name of the town of Dayton."
The "town of Dayton" was to be governed by a board of seven trustees, a collector, a supervisor, and a marshal, to be elected by the freeholders who had lived in the town for six months previous. The trustees were to choose one of their number as president and recorder, and were also to elect a treasurer, who need not be a member of the board of trustees. The board thus organized was to be known as "The Select Council of the Town of Dayton." The president of the Council was also to be Mayor of the town. The term of office of the first trustees was to expire in one and two years, so the entire board would not go out of office at the same time. All expenditures were to be authorized by vote of the freeholders and householders. The total expense of the town for the first year was seventy-two dollars. The Select Council thought to raise this by taxation, but at a meeting of the voters,—in all, just thirty,—it was decided not to do so by a vote of seventeen to thirteen. The clause in reference to expenditures being authorized by vote was repealed in the winter of 1813-14. The first election of the town was held on the first Monday of May, 1805, at which the proper officers were elected.
For ten years the meetings of Council were held at the residences of the different members. Any member thirty minutes late was fined twenty-five cents. One of the first acts of the Select Council in September, 1806, was to pass an ordinance prohibiting "the running of hogs and other animals at large upon the streets of the town," but it was not enforced until the following year. In later years for a long time it was not enforced at all.
The year 1805 was a memorable one .in the history of Dayton, as, besides receiving its charter, it was first threatened with extinction by a great overflow of the Miami and Mad rivers. In March, owing to a thaw of the deep snows and heavy rains on the head-waters of the Miami and Mad rivers, the water rose rapidly, overflowed the banks at the head of Jefferson Street, and just west of Wilkinson Street, covering nearly all of the town plat, excepting a small section bounded about by Water, Wilkinson and Perry, Third, and Main streets. The people were much alarmed, thinking that the town would be entirely washed away, and also fearing that the same trouble would occur each year, thus making it impracticable to plant the crops much before June. Mr. Cooper proposed to vacate the ground and lay out a new plat on the hill east of town, in the neighborhood of Hickory and Eagle streets, pledging himself that every property holder should have a lot in the same location, and of the same size that they then owned, but several of the prominent citizens were much opposed to the project, and it fell through.
The same thing has occurred several times since, in 1832, 1847, and 1866. In 1847 the levee broke near the north end of Wilkinson Street, and the water carried a large sycamore tree to Second Street, lodging it against a brick house near Roe. In 1866 the levee gave way east of town. The water was over a foot deep on the first floor of the Beckel House, all the cellars on the east side of Main Street from Second Street south were full, and there were about four inches of water on the first floor of the Phillips House.
In June of this year the county commissioners fixed the following rates for licenses: Doctors and lawyers, each, per year, $3; taverns, in Dayton, each, per year, $9; taverns on the road between Dayton and Franklin, $6; taverns at all other places, $5. For ferry-boats the fees were fixed as follows: Each loaded wagon and team, 75 cents; each empty wagon and team, 50 cents; each two-wheeled carriage, 37 cents; each man and horse, 12 cents; each person on foot, 6 cents.
There were then two ferry crossings,—bridges at that time being unknown here,—one at the foot of First Street, on the road to Bench's Mill, now Salem, which was used until the red toll-bridge at Bridge Street was completed in January, 1819. The other ford was at the foot of Fourth Street, on the road to Eaton, and also to Gunckel's Mills, now Germantown.
At this time the industries of Dayton received quite an impetus. Many improvements were made, and many who proved to be valuable citizens came to make Dayton their home. The first brick house was built in 1805, for a tavern, by Hugh McCullum, on the southwest corner of Main and Second streets. It was two stories, the first floor being three feet above the street, so as to be above high water. After it was completed, the county commissioners rented the second story for court purposes, until the Court-house would be completed, for which they paid twenty-five dollars per annum. As a tavern it was well known and popular. A belfry on the Second Street wing contained a bell, which served "mine host" in several ways. One was to call the hostler. When a traveler would arrive and signify that he desired to have his horse put up, the bell would be rung, and every person in hearing would run to see the new arrival. The second and no less important duty was to call the guests to meals. On such occasions there were always two bells rung, about ten minutes apart, the first as a warning that it was time to get ready, and the second the signal for a grand rush to the tables. Ladies were always seated before the second bell rang. Everything was on the table, and the guests helped themselves, except that' the host usually carved the meat—roast pig, venison, and wild turkey. Mr. McCullum's sign was a picture of the capture of the English frigate Guerri6re by our frigate Constitution in the War of 1812. The boys never tired of looking at it. This building was used as a tavern until 1870, the various landlords being A. Houk, C. Smith, L. Eichelberger, and L. Lindsley. Philip Kemper leased it, lowered the floors, and converted it into a business house. In 1880 the Firemen's Insurance Company bought the property and erected the large building now used for offices and by the Dayton Gas Light and Coke Company. The property is now owned by J. K. Mclntire.
Colonel John Grimes, an officer of the War of the Revolution, was a son of Samuel Grimes, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He moved from Kentucky to Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1804, and in 1808 had a tavern on the east side of Main Street on the south side of the alley between Water and First streets. The bell in the belfry rang twice for meals, as was the custom at taverns in those days. As Mad River could not be conveniently crossed by ferry, the first meeting to discuss the building of a free bridge over Mad River was held at Colonel Grimes's tavern on January 27, 1816. The project fell through, and a bridge at Taylor Street was built the next year by the county. The old tavern was moved twice—first, to where the First Baptist Church now stands, and, second, to the north side of West First Street, next to the Boulevard.
Colonel Grimes was married before coming to Dayton to Susanna Martin, daughter of Alexander Martin, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who died December 14, 1827, at the age of sixty-six years. Colonel Grimes died May 13, 1836, at the age of eighty-one years. They had three sons—Samuel, Alexander, and John—and one daughter—Eliza.
Alexander Grimes was born April 27, 1790, at Marysville, Kentucky. He married, first, Belle Frances Burnett, and had one son—William Burnett Grimes. Mr. Grimes was a merchant, in partnership with Steele and Peirce, under the firm name of Alexander Grimes & Company. They dissolved partnership in 1817, and Mr. Grimes was afterwards county auditor, commissioner of insolvents, and cashier of the Dayton Manufacturing Company, the first bank in Dayton, at a salary of $550 per annum. Mr. Grimes and Mr. Edward W. Davies, as trustees of the estate of David Zeigler Cooper, changed the bed of Mad River, opening the way for the extension of the canal basin from First Street to its junction with the canal at the east end of the Oar Works, and throwing into the town much valuable real estate. Mr. Grimes was a public-spirited citizen, always foremost in any enterprise for the good of Dayton. When the citizens subscribed one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to build the Mad River Railroad from Dayton to Springfield, he was appointed custodian of the funds, and the first receipts were signed by him. In 1827 Mr. Grimes was elected to the State Legislature, and again in 1830 by the Whigs. In 1820 Alexander Grimes married Marie Antoinette Greene, a sister of Charles Russell Greene. He died January 12, 1860, and Mrs. Grimes died February 26, 1875, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. They had two children: Susan (Mrs. Marcus Eells), who is now living, in California, and Charles Greene Grimes born January 28, 1828, married Mary Isabel Keifer, daughter of Daniel Keifer, of this city, and died December 11, 1895, leaving one son—Edward Grimes.
Eliza Grimes, in 1830, married Samuel Bacon, a cabinet-maker, who died November 5, 1832. Their one daughter, Anner, was born November 18, 1832, and in 1852 married David Carroll, of this city. She is the great-granddaughter of Elder William Brewster, who came over in the Mayflower, and died in Plymouth, Massachusetts, April 10, 1644. Mrs. Bacon remained a widow until her death.
Colonel David Reid, to avoid the tax of ten dollars assessed by Council on "taverns," kept a house of "private entertainment," without bar, in a long, two-story frame house on Main Street, the property now owned by the First Baptist Church. Colonel and Mrs. Reid were very dignified. He would open the door and say, "Gentlemen, dinner is ready.” The ladies were always seated first. When all were seated, Colonel Reid would stand at the head of the table, knife and fork in hand, and say, "We have roast beef, roast venison, pork, etc.; send up your plates and be served." I can see him yet. In 1830 John W. Van Cleve, B. A. Thruston, R. C. Schenck, my oldest brother, Robert, and myself, with many others, were boarding there. Mr. Van Cleve was then living on vegetables, on account of his corpulency. Josiah Foutz, who recently died, then about thirteen years of age, lived there as a lad of all work.
Tavern signs were usually hung on an arm mortised into a post set in the ground like a telegraph post, thus: "Don't Give Up The Ship." Reid's Inn.
After the War of 1812, Colonel Reid had painted on his sign a portrait of Captain .Lawrence, with his brave words, "Don't give up the ship," and underneath that in small letters, "Reid's Inn." We all considered this very fine.
Daniel Kiser had a tavern in a frame house on the corner of Jefferson and Sixth streets, with a sign hung like this illustration. These signs would swing and squeak in the wind, so the belated traveler, on a dark night, would know before he could see it that a tavern was near. I believe this sign is still in Harrison Kiser's possession.
General Fielding Loury was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, March 13, 1781, emigrated to Cincinnati in 1802, and came to Dayton in 1806. He was a surveyor by profession, and laid out the town of Staunton, Miami County, naming it after Staunton Academy, in Virginia, where he was educated, to compete with Troy for the county-seat. General Loury was twice married—in 1811 to Ann Smith, daughter of Hon. John Smith, the first United States Senator from Ohio. They had four daughters—one who died young, and Mary B., Harriet S., and Ann E. In 1808 or 1809 General Loury was a member of the Legislature, while Chillicothe was still the capital of the State; in 1812 he served at Detroit as Indian agent, and in 1816 and 1835, as a Jacksonian Democrat, he was again sent to the Legislature. In January, 1823, he married Mrs. Sophia Greene Cooper, the widow of Daniel C. Cooper, and had one son—Fielding Loury, Jr. General Loury died .in Dayton October 7, 1848, his death resulting in a few hours from a fall down stairs.
Mary B. Loury married Samuel Hiley Davies, a brother of Edward W. Davies. Harriet Loury married Lewis Huesman, who came to Dayton from Germany at an early day, and Ann E. Loury married John Howard, all of whom are deceased.
John Howard was born in Belmont County, Ohio, October 5, 1813, graduated at Kenyon College, Gambler, in 1838, in 1839 came to Dayton, read law in the office of Odlin & Schenck, and was admitted to the bar in 1840. He died in Dayton May 8, 1878, leaving two children—John, who married Annie Keifer, daughter of Daniel Keifer, and Eliza, who married Samuel W. Davies, of this city.
Fielding Loury, Jr., was born in Dayton October 9, 1.824, and was educated at Kenyon and Woodward High School, Cincinnati. He was commissioned by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, entering the Union service as captain on the staff of General Schenck, and resigning at the end of the Rebellion, leaving a splendid record for indomitable bravery and strictest integrity, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1847 Colonel Loury married Elizabeth Richards Morrison, the oldest daughter of Joseph Morrison, of "Old Kaskaskia," Illinois. In 1874 he was commissioned postmaster of Dayton by President Grant, and reappointed in 1878 by President Hayes. He died in 1882. Mrs. Loury and their four children, Sophia, Mrs. Anna Dana, Mrs. Elise L. Smith, and Charles G., are still living.
David Squier was born in Westfield, New Jersey, in 1777, came to Dayton at an early day, and in November, 1805, married Sally Gard. They had three daughters- Phoebe, Eliza, and Julietta. Mr. Squier owned a fifty-acre lot lying on both sides of Wayne Avenue. In 1814, when only thirty-eight years old, David Squier died, and his widow afterwards married Maxwell Potter, whose son Benjamin had married Phoebe Squier. Eliza Squier married Philip Landis, and Julietta married Sutton Van Pelt.
Timothy Squier, son of Ellis and Rebecca Squier, was born in Essex County, New Jersey, September 25, 1786, and moved to Ohio with his father's family in 1796. Mr. Squier enlisted in the War of 1812 from Dayton with General William Henry Harrison. Having purchased the David Squier fifty-acre lot, he erected the house now owned by S. N. Brown. In 1815 he married his second wife, Rebecca Tucker, born in Springdale, Hamilton County, Ohio, April 16, 1798. They had three daughters—Harriet Ann (Mrs. David Benedict Groat, of New York City), Samantha (Mrs. William B. Stone), and Mrs. Mary Winters. Mr. and Mrs. Squier moved to Porter County, Indiana, where Mr. Squier died, May 1, 1860. Mrs. Squier died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Winters, at Lafayette, Indiana, March 7, 1868. Mr. Squier, while living in Dayton, was one of the prominent men of the place. Matilda Owens, daughter of John and Deborah Owens, came to Dayton before 1805. She was one of the first Methodists in Dayton, and joined the class of which William Cottingham was leader, when seventeen- years old. After her father's death Matilda and her mother lived in a cabin on the lot on Third Street where Mr. John H. Winters now lives.
William Roth owned the west two-thirds of the original lot number 127, on which he had two cabins, and a rope-walk along the west side of his lot. He married Matilda Owens, pulled down the old cabins, and built the two brick houses that are still standing on the lot, now owned by his daughter. Miss Carrie Roth. After her marriage Mrs. Roth was confirmed in the Episcopal church, soon after its organization, and Miss Both has in her possession the following receipt:
"Received of William Roth $3.00, being pay for his seat in meeting-house.
"JAMES HANNA. March 15, 1821."
Matthew Patton was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, August 22, 1778, and when sixteen years old moved to Lexington, Kentucky. While there he married Margaret Hamilton; moved to Dayton in 1805, and built a cabin on the southwest corner of Main and Third streets. Soon after coming here Mrs. Patton took sick, it is said from washing on a Friday in April, when it was so cold that a cup of water thrown up by Mr. Patton froze before reaching the ground. She died in two weeks. On October 20, 1808, Mr. Patton was married to Elizabeth Ludlow, a niece of Israel Ludlow. Mr. Patton was for many years the village cabinet-maker, and was also the first undertaker in the town. In 1815, when the Moral Society was organized, he was one of the managers, and in 1827 he was appointed one of the first fire-wardens. He was an early elder in the First Presbyterian Church, but in 1836, at the time of the old- and new-school division, went to the Episcopal church, and was confirmed there under the Rev. Ethan Alien. When the Park Presbyterian Church was organized Mr. Patton and his family united with it. Mr. Patton died December 24, 1856, in his seventy-eighth year. His wife died April 19, 1872, in her eighty-fifth year. They had ten children—nine girls and one boy, William Patton. Three of the children are still living—Mrs. Hugh Wilson, of Greenfield, Indiana, and Miss Belle and Captain William Patton, of this city. Captain Patton was sheriff of the county for two terms.
Joseph Peirce, the son of Isaac and Mary Sheffield Peirce, was born in Rhode Island in 1786. In 1805, when nineteen years of age, he moved to Dayton, and on December 2,1807, went into partnership with James Steele in the general merchandising business, in which he continued until his death in 1822. In 1812 he was sent to the State Legislature, and in 1814 was elected president of the Dayton Bank. On November 10, 1810, Mr. Peirce married Henrietta, daughter ,of Dr. John Elliot. Mr. and Mrs. Peirce had four children—David Zeigler, Mary Ann, Jeremiah Hunt, and Joseph Crane. David Zeigler Peirce married Eliza J. Greene; daughter of Charles B. Greene. Mary Ann Peirce, in 1829, married Edward W. Davies, who came here in 1826.
Jeremiah Hunt Peirce, born in Dayton on September 8, 1818, received his early education in the Dayton schools, graduated at Miami University in 1835, and joined the engineering corps on the Miami and Erie Canal in 1836. In 1846 Mr. Peirce married Elizabeth Forrer. They had eight children—Samuel Forrer, Henrietta Elliot Parrott, Edward, Sarah Howard, Mary, Elizabeth Forrer, John Elliot, and Howard Forrer. Of these three—Samuel Forrer, Edward, and Mary—are dead. Mrs. Peirce died January 16, 1874. Mr. Peirce on October 5, 1882, married Mary Forrer, who is still living. Mr. Peirce died May 6, 1889.
Joseph Crane Peirce married Louise, daughter of Dr. Edwin Smith. They had no children. Mrs. Peirce died many years ago. Mr. Peirce is still living.
Horatio Gates Phillips, son of Captain Jonathan Phillips and Mary Foreman, was born December 21, 1783. In 1803 he started west, and thought of settling in Natchez, Mississippi, but as Miss Houston, to whom he was engaged to be married, objected to going too far from her New Jersey home, he returned to Cincinnati. D. C. Cooper met him in Cincinnati and urged him to make Dayton a visit, which he did, probably in 1804, and decided to settle here. During the winter of 1805 he made the trip overland to Philadelphia, to buy goods, and to New Jersey for his bride, Eliza Smith Houston, daughter of William Churchill Houston, and great-granddaughter of the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, the first president of Princeton- College. They were married at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, April 10,1806, and made the bridal trip across the mountains to Pittsburg on horseback, by flatboat down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and then by wagon to Dayton. It was probably on this trip that Mr. Phillips brought the first red raspberry roots in his saddle-bags to Dayton. Their first home in Dayton was a two-story log house, at the southwest corner of First and Jefferson streets, and in the same house Mr. Phillips opened his store in 1806. He was a prosperous and progressive merchant, going east twice a year for goods. In 1809, when the baby Elizabeth was just three months old, Mrs. Phillips went east with him, making the trip on horseback, the luggage being carried by packhorse.
In 1812 Mr. Phillips built a two-story brick storeroom on the southeast corner of Main and Second streets, with his frame residence adjoining on Main Street. During the winter of 1812-13, he sent his partner and brother-in-law, George Houston, east for goods. Owing to rumors of war he bought a large stock, and Mr. Phillips, thinking he would be ruined, started a branch store in Troy, Ohio, with Mr. Houston in charge, to sell the surplus stock. As it was just at this time the Government agents commenced buying supplies for the army, instead of his being ruined there was a ready sale for the goods.
Mrs. Phillips was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, a teacher in the Sunday school, one of the founders of the Female Bible and Charitable Association, and a leader in all charitable work. She was always delicate, but never spared herself when there was anything she could do for others, especially if they were sick and in need, and her death, on December 3, 1831, which was very sudden, was a blow to the community.
Mr. and Mrs. Phillips had several children, only three of whom—Elizabeth, Jonathan Dickinson, and Marianna Louise—lived to grow up.
Mr. Phillips was interested in all public improvements. In 1830 he, together with Alexander Grimes and Moses Smith, platted the town of Alexandersville; and he, with Daniel Beckel, J. D. Phillips, and S. D. Edgar, in 1844, purchased the water-power now owned by the Dayton Hydraulic Company, which was incorporated on March 1,1845. In 1850 the new hotel, at the corner of Main and Third streets, was named for Mr. Phillips. He was also interested in the building of the turnpikes, and later in the railroads. Mr. Phillips was married the second time on December 16,1836, to Mrs. C. P. Irwin, who survived him. He died November 10, 1859.
Elizabeth Phillips married John G. Worthington, of Cincinnati, and afterwards moved to Washington, District of Columbia. They had two children - a son and a daughter.
Jonathan Dickinson Phillips was born December 31, 1812. He was educated at Princeton, New Jersey, was a merchant, and a public-spirited man. He took particular interest in the Public Library, was a liberal contributor to it, and, on putting up his new building at the corner of Second and Main streets, prepared a room especially for the library, charging but a nominal rent.
Marianna Louise Phillips was born in March, 1814. She married Robert A. Thruston, a graduate of West Point, a brilliant and eloquent member of the bar, and a representative in the State Legislature in 1836-37. They had four children—Jeannette, Gates P., Dickinson P., and Mrs. George W. Houk. Mr. Thruston died while still a young man, and Mrs. Thruston married John G. Lowe.
John G. Lowe graduated at Oxford in 1839, and commenced practicing law in Dayton in 1841, first in partnership with his brother Peter P. Lowe, and afterwards with Peter Odlin and Edward W. Davies. Mr. Lowe was a Whig, and took an active part in the campaign of 1840. In the last war Mr. Lowe served as colonel of the Second Regiment Ohio National Guard. This regiment, the One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was called into the field for one hundred days, during the summer of 1864. Colonel Lowe died July 30, 1892. Mrs. Lowe is still living. They had five children—Mrs. Charles Newbold, Mrs. Fowler Stoddard, Henry Clay Lowe, Houston Lowe, and Mrs. Thomas P. Gaddis.
George S. Houston, the son of William Churchill Houston, at one time professor of mathematics in Princeton College, was induced to come to Dayton about 1810, by his sister Eliza, the wife of H. G. Phillips, and was first in partnership with his brother-in-law. In 1814 he was made cashier of the Dayton Bank, holding that position until his death. He was appointed postmaster on the death of Benjamin Van Cleve, and held that office until his death. In 1820 Mr. Houston was elected recorder, and in December of that year he went into the newspaper business, as editor and proprietor of the Watchman, but sold out his interest in November, 1826, on account of ill health. There are few records of public meetings, after Mr. Houston made Dayton his home, of which he was not secretary. He was secretary of the Bachelors' Society until his marriage, president of the Moral Society, and a prominent member of the Methodist church. In 1815 Mr. Houston married Mary Foreman. He died on April 29, 1831, after a long illness. He left two children—George S., who moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Eliza, who married David K. Este, a son of Dr. Charles Este, one of the early physicians of Dayton.
Charles Russell Greene, the son of Charles and Phoebe Sheffield Greene, was born in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, December 21, 1785. The family emigrated to Marietta, Ohio, in 1788, with the Ohio Company, and in 1806 Charles Russell Greene came to Dayton to go into partnership with Daniel C. Cooper, his brother-in-law. In 1813 Mr. Greene married Achsah, daughter of Henry and Sarah Anderson Disbrow. In 1822 he was appointed to succeed Benjamin Van Cleve as clerk of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, which office he held until his death. He was one of the first board of the directors of the Dayton Manufacturing Company and one of the first fire-wardens. On September 10, 1833, during a fire, he ordered a man by the name of Thompson into the line to pass water-buckets. The man refused, and Mr. Greene used the authority he possessed to force him to obey. The next day Thompson made complaint, and had Mr. Greene summoned before the squire. During Mr. Greene's examination Thompson struck him a blow on the head, which resulted in almost immediate death. Mr. Greene left a family of six children: Lucianna Zeigler (Mrs. J. D. Phillips), born January 10, 1819, and died June 28, 1881; Mary Sophia (Mrs. Egbert Tangier Schenck), born January 10, 1824; Eliza Johnson (Mrs. David Z. Peirce), born September 13, 1821, and died April 19, 1885; Daniel Cooper Greene, born May 8, 1814, and died March 20, 1847; Harriet Cummings (Mrs. David H. Jenkins), born December 21, 1830; and Charles Henry, who was born May 24, 1832. Charles Henry was a lieu-tenant-commander in the United States Navy. He married Adeline D. Piper, and died March 9, 1868. Mrs. Egbert Tangier Schenck, whose husband was a brother of General Robert C. Schenck, is now living in Downey, Iowa. Mrs. Greene for many years made her home with her daughter, Mrs. J. D. Phillips, where she died November 3, 1873.
Marie Antoinette, the sister of Charles Russell Greene, was born in Greenwich, Rhode Island, December 6, 1781, came to Dayton in 1806, and in 1820 married Alexander Grimes. She died in 1875, at the age of ninety-four years.
When John and Elizabeth Rench came here from Maryland, with their two children,—Susanna and John,—they first camped on the common (now Cooper Park). While there they made many acquaintances, among them Jonathan Harshman. They located at Rench's Mills (Salem), and on February 18,1808, Jonathan Harshman and Susanna were married. In 1810 Mr. Rench, with his family, moved to a mill site east of town, containing twenty acres of land, with water-power, given to him and a Mr. Staley by Judge Isaac Spining, on the condition that they erect and run a flour and sawmill. This property was afterwards sold to Jonathan Harshman, and is now Harshmanville.
John Rench, Jr., born in Huntington County, Pennsylvania, July 24, 1794, married Mary Croft in this county on February 23, 1820, and settled at the mills with his father. Mary Croft was born in Frederick County, Maryland, on March 5, 1802. In 1825 Mr. Rench, with his family, moved to town and opened a store in company with Jonathan Harshman, as Harshman & Bench, on the corner of Third and Main streets. In 1829 they opened a warehouse at the head of the basin, and in 1830 started a number of boats on the canal between Dayton and Cincinnati, and did a large business. On the death of Mr. Harshman, in March, 1850, Mr. Rench was elected president of the Dayton Bank. They had eleven children- Maria, Mrs. Elizabeth J. Langdon, Mrs. Caroline Schaeffer, Mrs. Sarah Jane Tate, David Croft Rench (who married Mary Williams), Mrs. Susan H. Dwyer, Mrs. Mary Augusta Woodhull, Joan, William H. Rench, Emily (who died in infancy), Mrs. Anna Catharine Clark, and Charles, who married first Fannie B. Long, and after her death Fannie Gilliland.
Jonathan Harshman (originally spelled Herschman), son of Christian and Catharine Harshman, was born in Frederick County, Maryland, December 21, 1781, and moved to Kentucky, but, not caring to settle permanently in a slave State, in 1805 he came to Montgomery County, Ohio, and purchased forty acres of land in what is now Mad River Township. Here he built a cabin, late in the fall hanging the door and putting in one four-light window. On February 18, 1808, he brought home his bride, Susanna Rench, born in Maryland, November 11, 1786. After his marriage Mr. Harshman set up a copper still and commenced making whisky, at which he continued until 1814, when he took the business of Rench & Staley, and moved his family to that location, now known as Harshmanville, and owned by his son, George Harshman. He also opened a store with John Rench as partner, which was afterwards moved to Dayton. Mr. Harshman was a Federalist, and a prominent Whig. He represented this county in the Twenty-fourth General Assembly of Ohio, and on May 1, 1845, was elected president of the Dayton Bank, which position he held until his death, March 31, 1850. His wife died December 5, 1839. They had eight children—Elizabeth (Mrs. Israel Huston); Catharine (Mrs. Valentine Winters); Jonathan, who married Abigail Hiveling; Mary (Mrs. George Gorman); Joseph, who married Caroline Protzman, a daughter of Colonel Protzman, who lived on the Beardshear Road; George, who married Ann Virginia Rohrer; Susanna (Mrs. Daniel Beckel), and Reuben D., who married Mary Protzman, of near Alexandersville.
In 1809; when Jacob S. Brenner was nine years of age, his father, disliking slavery, emigrated from Virginia to Montgomery County, Ohio, and bought a half-section of land about seven miles north of Dayton. When Jacob became of age, his father gave him a quarter-section of land on which there was water-power, and Jacob built a flour-mill. He made two trips to New Orleans on flat-boats, with a cargo of flour and pork. On one of these trips John Clark, of Tippecanoe City, was the captain. Mr. Brenner married Sarah M. Matthews, of Baltimore. They had eight children, - four sons and four daughters,—only one of whom, John L. Brenner, is living in Dayton.
William George was of Welsh descent. Old family papers, deeds, and leases show that the first William George came to this country prior to 1730, and one of his family owned the farm that is now the present site of Germantown, Pennsylvania. William George moved first to Kentucky from Pennsylvania, but preferring a free State, came to Ohio in 1803 or 1805. He purchased a tract of nine hundred acres of land across the Miami River from Dayton, where he built two mills. Some part of the tract passed to Horatio G. Phillips, and is now owned by Thomas Gaddis. William George married Ann Britton in Pennsylvania, and when they came to Dayton had a large family of children, but was so unfortunate as to lose four sons from fever soon after. He was made associate judge of the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County, and afterwards treasurer of the county. The only children who survived him were Mary, who married William McCrery; Sarah, who married William Bomberger, and Lydia, who married David Henderson, and lived in Indiana.
Sarah George was born near Frankfort, Pennsylvania, on the 6th of July, 1793, her father moving to Dayton when she was ten or twelve years of age. She was married to William Bomberger, a citizen of Dayton, January 17,1810. She became a member of the First Presbyterian Church at an early date, was one of the most active among the early workers in the church, and was one of the leading spirits in the organization in 1817 of the first Sunday school in
Dayton, of which she was the first superintendent, and continued to be for ten years. The first year of the Sunday school's existence shows two hundred scholars on the "sere and yellow leaf" of Mrs. Bomberger's original record. Her active, faithful, Christian spirit, singularly clear judgment, and great decision of character gave her courage to undertake this great work, which she carried out successfully. In that day few women were considered eligible for any post of responsibility, and she was often heard to say that it was only her confidence that it was God's work, to be done by some one, that enabled her to do it, with the many doubts she heard expressed about it. This was' only the beginning of her church work, to which she devoted her life; but with all her devotion to the cause of Christ, in the church, Sunday school, and Bible society, she never neglected her family, her home, or friends, or thought that the Sunday school could take the place of Christian home training. Bright and cheery to the close of a useful life, her light shone clear and steadfast till she entered into rest, August 4, 1859, aged sixty-six.
William Bomberger was born in Philadelphia, April 7, 1779. His parents were Quakers, and in that faith he was reared and lived until his death. When eighteen years of age he was shot by the accidental discharge of his gun while hunting, and from the effects of the wound was always a delicate man, although he lived to be seventy-seven years of age. He came to Dayton about 1806 or 1807. He was a quiet, peaceable citizen, upright, honest, and conscientious in all things. He held the office of treasurer of Montgomery County for fourteen years. He brought some means with him and bought a good deal of property in the eastern and southeastern part of Dayton, to which he retired in 1842 and spent the remainder of his life, which ended December 19,1855. In 1810 he married Sarah George, daughter of William George, and had three children: George Wilson, who died, while Mayor of Dayton, June 6, 1848, in the thirty-sixth year of his age;
Ann, who married Peter P. Lowe, and William, who married Matilda Gallup and moved to Colorado.
William G. and Augustus George, nephews of Judge William George, came here from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at an early day. Their first evening in Dayton was spent with their uncle's family, to meet the young people of Dayton, when Augustus played the violin.
William G. George was a surveyor, and served as county surveyor for several terms. He lived some years on a farm which he bought of Judge William George, on the north side of the Miami River, a part of which is now Idylwild.
Augustus George followed his trade of carpentering in town for some time, and in 1817 married Jane Alien Edgar. He erected a two-story frame house on the northeast corner of Main and Sixth streets, where they lived for several years. Afterwards exchanging it for his brother William's farm, he moved there, where Mrs. George died at the age of twenty-six. Her body was brought across the river in a dugout canoe for burial. Mr. and Mrs. Edgar, after her death, took Mr. George and his four little girls—Marcella, Margaret Jane, Mary, and Martha—to the Edgar homestead. Mr. George talked of returning to Philadelphia with the children, and to induce him to stay here Mr. Edgar told him of a piece of land for sale (which he was expecting to buy himself), and on November 7, 1826, Mr. George purchased of the executors of Daniel C. Cooper one hundred and eight acres of land for $487. On April 19, 1841, he sold forty acres of it to the Woodland Cemetery Association for $2,400, retaining the frontage on Wayne Avenue. In 1832 he married Anna D. Fulton. They had three children—Anna Maria, Leonida, and Augustus.
Abram Darst, born in Franklin County, Virginia, July 25, 1782, came to Dayton in 1805, bought lot 51, on the west side of Main Street, north of Second, from Benjamin Van Cleve for seventy-five dollars, and built a two-story brick residence and store. The building is still standing, occupied now as a harness shop. On December 21, 1809, Mr. Darst married Mary Wolf, born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, April 2, 1787, and came to Dayton in 1807. She died December 12, 1882, at the advanced age of ninety-five years. Mr. Darst was a merchant, and one of the foremost citizens in his day. In 1827 he was appointed one of the first fire-wardens. He died February 9, 1865. There was a family of ten children—Julia (Mrs. James Perrine), Christina (Mrs. William B. Dix), Mary (Mrs. Jacob Wilt), Sarah (Mrs. W. C. Davis), Martha (Mrs. George M. Dixon), Napoleon (who married Susanna Winters, daughter of Valentine Winters), Phoebe, and John, of whom three—Mrs. Dix (in Maumee City, in her eighty-fourth year), Phoebe, and John (in Dayton)—are still living.
William Eaker came to Dayton in 1805, from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and opened a general store. For some time he was in partnership with George W. Smith. In connection with their mercantile business they bought a great deal of property in and around Dayton, and in dissolving partnership and dividing the property they took. lot about, Mr. Eaker getting the northeast corner of Main and Second, Mr. Smith the northwest corner; Mr. Smith the southwest corner of Second and Ludlow, and Mr. Eaker the northwest corner of Third and Ludlow. They also divided several acres of land in the same way south of Fifth Street and west of Ludlow. After the partnership with Mr. Smith was dissolved, Mr. Eaker continued in business for himself on the corner of Main and old Market streets (East Second), where he carried on a thriving business, and was director in the Dayton Bank until it discontinued business in 1843.
In 1817 Mr. Eaker married Letitia Lowry, of Springfield, whose grandfather, David Lowry, took the first flatboat from Dayton to New Orleans. Mr. Eaker died in 1848. His wife survived him many years and died in 1882. Of their four children—William, Charles, Mary Belle, and Frank—the daughter only is still living.
For many years the citizens of Dayton had a story which they delighted to tell all strangers, that there was a house in town covering so many (acres) Eakers, the number varying with the occupants of the homestead at the time.
George W. Smith, when quite young, emigrated from Kent, England, where he was born, to the United States. He came to Dayton in 1804, and being a merchant was first in partnership with William. Eaker; then with Robert A. Edgar, and later with his son, George W., Jr. He bought a cotton-mill of Joseph and Charles Bossom, at Smithville, now Harries' Station, and engaged in a heavy distilling business. In 1836 he built the brick building at the north-west corner of Main and Second streets, the first four-story building in the county. It was considered so high that people came from the neighboring country to see it, and many said that it would certainly fall down.
Mr. Smith was married twice—first to Miss Todd. They had two children, Mary Jane, who married William F. Irwin, of Cincinnati, and George W., who married Lucy Weston. Mr. Smith's second wife was Eliza Manning. They had five children: James Manning; Sophia (Mrs. Isaac Keirstead); Louise (Mrs. Captain Fletcher); George W., and Ann, who married William G. Sheeley, of Coving-ton, Kentucky. James Manning Smith married Caroline Shoup, whose father, Samuel Shoup, came to Dayton when a young man, and married Harriet Umbaugh. Mrs. Smith and their one daughter are still living in Dayton.
George Umbaugh came to Dayton from Ellicott's Mills, Maryland, in 1806, and purchased six hundred acres of land four miles north of Dayton on the Covington pike, on Still-water, where he built a flour-mill, sawmill, and distillery. On one of his trips to the old home in Maryland, Mr. Umbaugh liberated his slaves, but brought one boy, George, back with him on horseback. George remained with him, apparently content, until he was twenty-five years old, when he brought suit to recover five thousand dollars for wages, after securing Peter P. Lowe as his attorney. Peter Odlin was the attorney for the defendant. A compromise was arrived at by which George received one thousand dollars. Mr. Umbaugh died July 22, 1850. He left two daughters—Mahala (Mrs. Bartlow) and Harriet (Mrs. Samuel Shoup).
Return to "Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity" Home Page