DAYTON TO 1840—CONTINUED.
In 1824 there was considerable talk about improving the channel of the Miami River, so that steamboats could run between the Ohio River and Dayton, and a communication in the paper says, "It is pleasing to anticipate the time when we shall have boats at our doors ready to carry us to the gulf of Mexico, or the city of New York, and when we shall have stages passing on the National Road through Dayton from the remote State of Maine to Missouri." Unfortunately the scheme did not prove practicable. In March, 1825, thirty boats were tied up here on account of low water. On the 23d rain began to fall and the Watchman says, "On Saturday all was the busy hum of the seaport; wagons were conveying flour, pork, whisky, etc., to the different boats strung along the river. Several arrived during the day from the north. On Sunday morning others came down, the water began to fall, and the boats, carrying about forty thousand dollars' worth of the produce of the country, got under way." The boatmen always preferred to start on a falling river, as it was easier to keep in the channel. The last boat left for New Orleans by the Miami River in February, 1829. All freight after that was shipped by the canal.
A meeting of Dayton citizens was called at Colonel Reid’s Inn on June 29, 1821, to appoint a committee to work with those of other places to raise money for surveying a route for a canal from Mad River to the Ohio. The act providing for the improvement of the State of Ohio by navigable canals, making Dayton a point, was passed in 1825, and the population at once began to increase.
There was a great difference of opinion as to the location of the canal through town, the Watchman suggesting it should be down the middle of Main Street, the channel to be not more than forty feet wide, and the sidewalks reduced to twelve, leaving a wagon road of thirty-four feet in width on each side, and making Main Street the finest street in Ohio. The citizens, fearing it might be a mile from the Court-house, employed Micajah T. Williams, a school-teacher and engineer, to locate the route through town, the State engineers agreeing to his plan, placing the basin between First and Sixth streets. On May 17, 1825, the Canal Commissioners met in Dayton and opened six hundred bids for construction contracts.
On Monday, September 3, 1825, excavation was commenced in Dayton on the basin, and the event was celebrated that evening by an artillery salute. Opposition to the canal was based on the theory that it could not be made to hold water, and for a while it seemed as if this might prove true. On Friday, September 26, 1828, water from the sawmill tail-race, near the corner of Fifth and Wyandot streets, was let into the canal by the contractors, and a great portion of it leaked away. Those who had doubted said, "I told you so," but others went to work and by using great quantities of straw, brush, and clay, which were thrown in the bed, and oxen driven up and down to make a mortar, the bottom finally puddled, and there was no further trouble.
When the first canal-boat built in Dayton, the Alpha, was completed, a temporary dam was built at the bluffs, and on August 16, 1828, the boat was launched near Sixth Street. On January 1, 1829, the canal was opened to with-in four miles of Cincinnati, and the Dayton Guards, a military company of boys, George Bomberger captain, made one of the first through trips. From the very first Governor Brown had been a strong advocate of the canal, and in January the Advertiser announces, "On Sunday, January 25, at daybreak, came the boats Governor Brown, the Forrer, the General Marion, and during the night the General Pike." The Governor Brown was fitted exclusively for passengers. Twenty to twenty-four hours from Cincinnati to Dayton, sixty-six miles, was considered very good time.
On February 5, the Governor Brown being frozen up here, Captain Archibald gave a supper, "which rivaled that in the best hotels." The captains of the other boats in the basin served supper at Squier's Hotel, where toasts were drunk, one of them being, "The ladies of Dayton— the only produce of the country which we do not wish to see exported." On April 21 the paper announced the arrival of the first steam-packet, the Enterprise, and on May 26 the Miami Herald states that the Experiment "made her trip to this place on Saturday last." This boat had an observation sitting-room, where passengers could enjoy all the air passing and an uninterrupted view of surrounding country." During April it was estimated that seventy-one boats arrived and seventy-seven left Dayton; that the number of passengers for Dayton was nearly a thousand, and that the toll collected here during 1829 amounted to $6,738.31. Merchandise was brought by water from New York in twenty days by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo, Lake Erie to Cleveland, down the Ohio Canal to the Ohio River at Portsmouth, then down the river to the Miami Canal and up the canal to Dayton, a distance of one thousand one hundred and fifty-two miles. Dayton was then at the head of navigation, and supplies of every kind were forwarded from here, wagon trains from Miami, Clark, Champaign, Greene, and other counties at times completely blocking First Street from Madison to St. Clair. Work on the aqueducts over Mad River and the Miami, north, was commenced in 1833, but not pushed, the canal not being opened to Piqua until 1837, and to Toledo until 1845. The first boat reached Dayton from Toledo in June of that year. The canal between Dayton and Cincinnati cost $567,000. Since its completion from Toledo south it has been known as the Miami and Erie Canal.
In 1825, by actual count, there were just one thousand one hundred and thirty-four people in Dayton—five less than at the taking of the census in 1820; but as the building of the canal was then a certainty, business began to pick up and all the houses and cabins were occupied. Improvements generally were seen, and the decennial census of 1830 showed two thousand nine hundred and thirty-four people in Dayton, the population having doubled during the five years. There were then two newspapers—the Miami Republican and Dayton Advertiser, edited by George B. Holt, and the Dayton Watchman. In April, 1826, William Campbell purchased both papers, and on November 25 combined them as the Ohio National Journal and Montgomery and Dayton Advertiser, with the motto, "Principles and not men, where principles demand the sacrifice." In December he sold the paper to Jephthah Regans. On December 4, 1827, Mr. Regans sold a half-interest to Peter P. Lowe, and the name was changed to the Dayton Journal and Advertiser. In 1828 John W. Van Cleve purchased Mr. Lowe's interest, and the paper was then published by Regans & Van Cleve until the death of Mr. Regans. On January 27, 1829, the editor announced: "Foreign News. We have none to lay before our readers for this good reason: there is not an item of foreign news in any of the papers received since the first of the present month."
After the death of Mr. Regans, Richard N. Comly bought his interest, and in July, 1834, Mr. Van Cleve sold out to William F. Comly. This firm, E. N. & W. F. Comly, in 1835 removed the office to the third story of the brick building number 132 North Main Street, and afterwards to the frame building on South Main Street which was burned by the mob. They also enlarged the paper to a seven-column folio, and in December, 1840, issued a daily paper for a short time, and then a triweekly paper until May 6, 1847. Then the first number of the first volume of the Daily Journal appeared, and it has been published continuously ever since.
In 1857 E. N. Comly transferred his interest to John P. Comly, and in April, 1862, after William F. Comly was appointed postmaster by President Lincoln, the paper was sold to Lewis Marot and William H. Rouzer, who owned it at the time the office was burned on the night of May 5, 1863. The next afternoon, without the intermission of a single day, the Journal was published in a small three-column folio.
After the fire Major W. D. Bickham took the Journal, and continued editor and proprietor until his death, March 28, 1894. William F. Comly's connection with the Journal covered a period of sixty years, excepting when he was postmaster, being placed on the regular office force soon after his term of office expired, and relieved from duty only a few months before the death of Major Bickham.
During the Harrison Presidential campaign in 1840 the Comlys published the Log Cabin, stating in their prospectus on April 18 that they expected to issue thirteen numbers for fifty cents, payable in advance. John W. Van Cleve wrote many of the songs and engraved most of the illustrations for this paper. A short series of seven numbers was issued from the 26th of June, for twenty-five cents.
The Watchman, in the spring of 1824, suggests that the streets be drained and turnpiked "instead of making canals of them," and that some means be provided for weighing hay. Up to January, 1825, all hay was sold by the load, but on the 11th of that month Thomas Morrison erected hay scales on Fourth Street, east of Ludlow, charging thirty-seven and a half cents a ton.
In January, 1828, the three rivers of Dayton were all * higher than usual. The Third Street race bridge was carried away and all the southern part of the town submerged, and the State dam just built was much damaged.
In April the New Lights and others interested published "by subscription a book, entitled 'A Christian Hymn-Book,' to contain two hundred and fifty hymns," the cost to subscribers being seventy-five cents, and those subscribing for twelve copies received one extra free. As it was not possible to get better terms than those offered by Mr. Burnett, it was published at the Centinel office—the first book published in Dayton.
In 1826 James Perrine was appointed agent for the Protection Fire Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, probably the first insurance agent in Dayton, and George S, Houston the same year advertised as a real-estate agent. S. T. Harker came here in 1828, built a large warehouse, and carried on a wholesale business of groceries, packing pork and beef, and making soap and candles. John Dodson, a carpenter, was appointed flour inspector when the canal opened to Cincinnati. He had a long, hollow auger, like the letter U, with a screw bit at the end, which he would run through the barrel and draw out full of flour, then holding it over a bucket, said to hold about twenty-five pounds, would sift the flour through his hand, to see if it was free from specks. If it was, the barrel would be branded superfine; if not, fine. The superfine usually sold for about fifty cents more a barrel. The report was that some days his bucket would be filled twice a day.
Augustus George was whisky inspector at the same time. In 1829 the Dayton Temperance Society was formed, with William King moderator and Dr. Job Haines secretary, Aaron Baker, Daniel Ashton, David Winters, David L. Burnett, John Steele, Job Haines, Henry Jewett, William M. Smith, and Henry Bacon were appointed a committee to prepare a constitution and an address to the public.
The following extracts from a letter written by John W. Van Cleve to Samuel Bacon in June, 1829, will give some idea as to society and business affairs in Dayton. He says: "Marrying goes on very slow in Dayton. The only match that seems certain is Davies and Mary Peirce. They have settled the matter between them, and will not hold off long. Peter Lowe is going ahead after Ann Bomberger, who has got to be a very beautiful girl. Jephthah Regans and Ann Williams love one another very hard, and I don't believe they can keep apart very long. If you were to be dropped down in Dayton you would hardly know it. Great improvement is going on. The streets are all busy, drays running, hammer and trowel sounding, canal-boat horns blowing, stages flying—everybody doing something. The corporation has graveled nearly all of the streets in town, and are now about, erecting a new market-house in Main Street, opposite Obadiah B. Conover’s and Skinner's. The first idea was to build the market-house in the middle of Main Street. I didn't like that so well. I am sorry to see Main Street have anything in it which will obstruct the view. Property is selling very high. You probably noticed in the paper the sale of some lots at the head of the basin, about a third of an acre [about where Pinneo & Daniels' shops are now], for $2,920. On Saturday last a public sale was made of an outlet that belonged to Ezra Smith, near old Mrs. Hess's, being the corner lot nearest the sawmill, containing about three acres [the corner of Fifth and Brown streets]. The lot was divided into twenty-seven building lots, and streets, and sold for $2,200. The three lots behind the Presbyterian meeting-house [the property now owned by Simon Gebhart, Lewis B. Gunckel, Miss Martha Perrine, and 0. E. Pease] sold for $1,800. Harshman gave Compton $3,200 for the brick corner opposite Dodson's, where Seely kept Store [the present location of the Dayton National Bank]. The executors of D. C. Cooper's estate have leased a water-power to be taken out of the sawmill race opposite Lawyer Smith's and let into the head of the basin, and a cotton-factory is to be built to run one thousand spindles and looms to weave the yarn made. The head of the basin is becoming entirely surrounded by warehouses."
About the year 1820 Lovel Bebee, a school-teacher, came here, and married a daughter of Samuel Thompson, of the pirogue party. He furnished Dayton with its first great sensation by his mysterious disappearance in December, 1826. He had been assisting a family in butchering, near the present junction of Brown and Warren streets, and at supper call started for a bucket of water from a spring at the foot of the hill in front of the present Deaconess Hospital. He was never seen or heard of afterwards, although hunting parties scoured the country for fifty miles in every direction.
Harriet Bebee, his daughter, was born in September, 1821. She married Emson Brown, who came to Dayton in 1832. Mr. Brown was connected first with the old carpet factory, f the present Kratochwill mill building, where was made the first flowered ingrain carpet ever made west of the Allegheny Mountains. Mr. Brown was afterwards connected with the Curtis Woolen Factory. He was a prominent member of the "Underground Railway," organized the first colored Sunday school in Dayton, and was for a time at the head of the old volunteer fire-company "Oregon." In 1860 Mr. Brown removed to Piqua, where he died in 1867. Mrs. Brown is still living in Piqua.
James F. Thompson, born January 1, 1811, emigrated to Montgomery County in 1819, coming down the Ohio River in a flatboat to Cincinnati. In 1837 he married Mary A. Riley. They had five children,—Elihu, Levi H., Franklin, Wilbur E., and Eliza Jane,—all of whom, with the sixteen grandchildren, are living. He was elected to the Legislature in 1875.
Gorton Arnold was born in Chenango County, New York, in 1804, and at the age of sixteen joined an emigrant party for Ohio. They had three teams with "Ohio" painted on their wagons, and reached Dayton after being on the road six weeks. Gorton apprenticed himself to Thomas Morrison to learn the carpenter trade. Subsequently Mr. Morrison took him into partnership, and they became well-known contractors and builders, continuing in partnership until 1847. Thomas Brown, contemporary with them, did the brick work, and they the wood work on the same buildings, the principal contractors here. In 1837 Mr. Arnold married Ritta Ann Oliver, the daughter of James Bracy Oliver, born February 27, 1815. In 1839 he purchased the farm on which he resided until his death. The homestead, built in 1832, is now occupied by his son, James Oliver Arnold. After leaving the East, Mr. Arnold lost sight of his sister Frances, who was two years younger, and heard nothing of her for fifty-two years, when, through Marcus Eells, he obtained the clew which resulted in their reunion at Norwich, Connecticut. Mrs. Arnold died September 21, 1888. Mr. Arnold died in 1889, at the age of eighty-five years.
John W. Dryden, born March 17, 1799, married Elizabeth Hammacher in 1822, and came to this county. They lived for a number of years on Fourth Street, next east of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. Of the ten children, four are still living: Daniel H., who married Jane Smith of St. Mary's, Ohio, and was auditor of the county from 1854 to 1860, and treasurer from 1868 to 1873; Fannie, who married A. A. Butterfield; Minta I., for twenty years librarian of our Public Library; and Chauncy K., who married Martha Smith. John W. Dryden died in 1870. His wife died in 1879.
Andrew Wiggim, a farmer, born in Tyrone County, Ireland, married Elizabeth Little, and in 1817 emigrated to this country. They were fourteen weeks crossing the ocean in a sail-boat. In 1822 they came to Dayton. Mr. Wiggim died August 10, 1859. His wife died November 18, 1864. Their son John, born in Tyrone County, October 30, 1810, a miller by trade, was a member of Council for two terms, and superintendent of the Work House in 1875. He died March 8, 1882. Huey, also born in Ireland, October 4, 1814, carried on extensive cooper shops, one where the Callahan Foundry now is and another in Union City, Indiana. He was paralyzed for eight years before his death on August 31, 1884. Samuel is a farmer in Madriver Township, James Dodds, born in 1799, emigrated to this county, married Mary Yeazel in 1822, and settled on land near Carrollton. There .was an old fortification on it, from the earth of which he made brick, many of the old houses in Carrollton being built of this brick. His daughter, Mrs. Belle Pease, is living in this city.
John Engle, a saddler by trade, was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, April 21, 1800, and came to Dayton on July 1, 1822. With the exception of eighteen months spent in Xenia, Dayton continued his home until his death, August 21, 1892. On April 20, 1825, he married Susanna Hivling, of Xenia. They had five children: one son, David W. Engle, who is in the hardware business in Dayton; Mrs. C. C. Keifer, of Urbana; Mrs. Emily J. Endslow, of Chicago; Misses Julia H. and Martha T. Engle, of Dayton.
The Rev. Thomas Winters, father of David and Valentine Winters, was born in Harbaugh's Valley, Maryland, December 23, 1778. He became a minister in the Reformed Church in 1800, and settled in Germantown in 1815. He died at the home of his son, John P. Winters, West Alexandria, October 2, 1863.
David Winters, his oldest son, was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, December 24, 1801. In the fall of 1824 he came to Dayton, and on January 11, 1826, married Mary Ann Huffman, daughter of William and Lydia Huffman. Mr. Winters was for many years the pastor of four churches, the First Reformed Church of this city, which he organized, being one, besides doing much missionary work through the county. As the result of his labors in the field lie traveled over, at the time of his death there had been over thirteen churches built with which he was in some way connected. He had preached eight thousand sermons, con-firmed two thousand four hundred, baptized three thousand, married five thousand and ninety couples, and attended one thousand three hundred funerals. It was a common thing for him to travel from two to three thousand miles a year on horseback. He died May 9, 1885.
Valentine Winters, born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, July 8, 1807, was two years old when brought to Ohio in 1809. He commenced supporting himself when a boy of seventeen by working in Robertson’s brickyard at Germantown for ten cents a day, but his brother David procured a position for him in the dry-goods store of An-drew Irwin, father of A. Barr Irwin, at a salary of fifty dollars a year and board, the contract to be for two years. At the close of his two years' engagement he secured a situation with Harshman & Rench, at two hundred dollars a year and board. While in Mr. Irwin's employ, one Sunday he, with Edwin Smith, Samuel Bacon, and Jephthah Regans, attended the Shaker meeting at Shakertown, and met Jonathan Harshman and his sister Catharine for the first time. Edwin Smith made a bet of one dollar that Valentine Winters could not obtain the privilege of taking Catharine Harshman home. The bet was taken, however, and won, and later also the lady, for on January 1, 1829, they were married by his brother David. The next year Mr. Winters became a partner in the firm of Harshman & Rench, under the name of Harshman, Rench & Company. In 1840 Mr. Harshman withdrew from the firm, and the business was continued by Rench & Winters. In the fall of 1843 Rench and Winters dissolved partnership, Mr. Rench taking the warehouses and canal-boats and Mr. Winters the store on the corner of Main and Third streets.
In 1845 Mr. Winters was largely instrumental in organizing the Dayton Bank, under the independent law of Ohio, and was elected cashier, Jonathan Harshman being president. In 1851 or 1852 Jonathan Harshman, Jr., Valentine Winters, James E. Young, and Robert Dickey formed the private banking house of Harshman, Winters & Company, and opened their bank on the northeast corner of Main and Third streets. In about two years Messrs. Dickey and Young sold their interest, and the bank name was changed to Harshman & Winters. In 1857 Mr. Harshman retired. Mr. Winters then sold his dry-goods store to his nephew, D. W. Winters, and devoted his time entirely to the bank, taking into partnership his son, Jonathan H. Winters, under the firm name of V. Winters & Son. In 1882 this private bank was sold to the Winters National Bank. Valentine Winters was from 1857 to 1866'a member of the Board of Control of the State Bank of Ohio, and president of the Preble County branch of the State Bank from 1857 to 1866, the close of its charter. He was one of the organizers of the Ohio Valley Bank in Cincinnati, and continued a director until it closed its business. Mr. Winters was active in the organization of the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad, also of the Dayton & Western Railroad, and built and equipped the first railroad in Minnesota, from St. Anthony to St. Paul. He also assisted in the organization of the Firemen's Insurance Company in 1835, and was one of the directors and treasurer of the company until his death.
During the summer of 1851 Mr. and Mrs. Winters withdrew from the Reformed Church, and on September 6 of that year united with the Third Street Presbyterian Church. On April 4, 1882, Mrs. Winters died after a prolonged illness. Mr. Winters lived for many years after, and died December 20, 1890. They had a large family of children, of whom Mrs. N. B. Darst, Mrs. Robert Dickey, Mrs. Lewis B. Gunckel, Mrs. James C. Reber, and John H. Winters are still living in Dayton.
Thomas Clegg, with his four little boys, James B., John, Joseph, and Samuel, left England for this country in 1818. In 1824 he came to Dayton and started the Washington Cotton Factory on the Cooper race just above Foundry Street, and in 1833 he changed the location to south of Third Street. In 1828 Mr. Clegg and Mr. McElwee established an iron foundry between Cooper Street and Monument Avenue, where the first iron was melted in Dayton, and started the first brass foundry near the east end of the Steele High School building. He associated with himself in many business ventures his son, Joseph Clegg, under the firm name of Thomas Clegg & Son. Being familiar with the manufacture of gas in England, in 1830 Mr. Clegg made an exhibition on a small scale at the old National Hotel on Third Street. In 1832 he erected the first free-stone front building in Dayton on the northwest corner of Jefferson and First streets, and in 1835 erected a sawmill between Wyandot and Wayne streets. In 1850 he made an overland trip to California, where he stayed about ten years, but returned to Dayton and died here in 1879 at the age of eighty-nine.
William Westerman was brought to Dayton by his parents in 1824, and in 1828 apprenticed himself to Clegg & McElwee to learn the molding trade. On becoming of age he went into partnership with Joseph Clegg, and subsequently with Atlas L. Stout, in a foundry and machine shop, which was the predecessor of the Globe Iron Works. After some years Mr. Westerman sold his interest, and devoted himself to buying real estate. Mrs. Westerman and their' one daughter, Mrs. M. L. Edgar, of New York, are still living.
Peter Perlee Lowe, son of Jacob D. and Martha Perlee Lowe, born in Warren County, Ohio, June 11, 1801, was educated in the schools of that early day and studied classics under Mr. Kemper, of Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied law in the office of the Hon. Thomas Corwin, of Lebanon, Ohio, was admitted to the bar in 1825, and immediately came to Dayton to form a partnership with Henry Bacon. For many years, like the other pioneer lawyers, he rode the circuit on horseback. The prominent lawyers at that time on the circuit were Henry Bacon, Joseph H. Crane, Edward W. Davies, Peter Odlin, Robert C. Schenck, Charles Anderson, Henry Stoddard, Judge Holt, of Montgomery County; Walter E. Thomas, L. S. Smith, Ralph Hart, Charles Morris, of Miami; Ben Stanton, of Logan; Goode, of Shelby; Conklin & Young, of Champaign; Generals Mason and Anthony, of Clark; Ellsworth, of Greene; Corwin, Dunlevy, Probasco, and Smith, of Warren, and Woods, Bell, and Millikin, of Butler. Mr. Lowe was admitted to practice in the United States courts in 1832, and was elected prosecuting attorney for this county in that year. In 1837 he was elected to the Legislature, and served as chairman of the judiciary committee. In 1860 he was delegate to the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for President. During the war of 1861-65, being beyond the years for army service, he sent a man as his representative in the field. For many years he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and served as treasurer and trustee, and was one of the trustees of Miami University for eighteen years. Mr. Lowe married Ann Bomberger, who died in 1877. They had four children: Jacob D., his law partner (who died at the age of twenty-five); William B., a captain in the United States Army; Sarah Perlee, who died in 1880, and Annie L., who married Joseph H. Rieman, of Baltimore, Maryland, in 1861. Mr. Lowe died in 1886.
Edward W. Davies was born in New York City, January 16, 1802, and when but four years old his parents emigrated to Cincinnati. Mr. Davies came to Dayton in 1826, and commenced the practice of law, first in partnership with Judge Crane, and later with Colonel John G. Lowe. In 1832 he was clerk of the Common Pleas Court, was attorney for the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad Company for some years, and in 1858-59 successfully con-ducted the suit when the will of David Zeigler Cooper was contested. Mr. Davies was instrumental in securing the passage of the bill creating the Board of Police Commissioners for Dayton, and for many years was president of the board. Together he and Alexander Grimes, as trustees of the David Zeigler Cooper estate, changed the bed of Mad River. In 1829 Mr. Davies married Mary Ann Peirce. She died in September, 1881. Mr. Davies died December 11, 1873. They had seven children, of whom four are still living—Samuel W. Davies, Joseph Peirce Davies, Mrs. Julia Davies Schenck, and Mrs. Eliza Davies Dart.
Andrew Gump came to Dayton in March, 1825, and commenced clerking for William Eaker. In October, 1829, he married Ruth Crampton and opened a store at Little York, but soon returned to Dayton. In 1839 he built the family residence on West Second Street, and in 1857 erected a three-story store building on East Second Street, and later other business blocks. He died some years ago. His wife, two sons, and a daughter are still living here.
About 1750 Edward Weakley, with four brothers, came to Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, from England, and all became Revolutionary soldiers. Thomas Weakley, Edward's son, emigrated to Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1826, with his wife, Ann, three daughters, afterwards Mrs. H. S. Williams, Mrs. Augustus Newell, and Mrs. John Hays, and a son, Edward. Edward Weakley married Catharine Gunckel, of Germantown, Ohio. They had eight children, three of whom are living in Dayton. Captain T. J. Weakley and George Willis Weakley are prominent business men, and Herbert H. Weakley is the editor and principal owner of the Evening Herald. He organized the present Dayton Board of Trade, and for the first two years of its existence was president and active manager.
Henry Herrman was born in the Duchy of Baden, Germany, on May 22, 1797, and in 1826 emigrated to the United States, reaching Dayton in September of that year. In 1828 he married Ann Bimm, who was born in New Jersey, October 26, 1811. Mr. Herrman was a good business man, quick to arrive at conclusions and expert in figures. About 1852 he took T. S. Babbitt, who had married his daughter Catharine, into partnership in a dry-goods store on Main Street. Mrs. Herrman, the mother of eight children, was for many years a devoted member of the Disciples Church. She died March 7, 1874. Mr. Herrman died January 22, 1877.
Charles Soule was born in Freeport, Maine, September 2,1809. In 1826, when seventeen years old, he came to Day-ton, and worked at carriage painting for Mr. Dolley, on the present jail lot. His first portrait was that of Mr. Dolley, who advised him to give his entire attention to that work, and his success from the first was encouraging. One of his best-known portraits in Dayton is that of Judge Crane, which has a prominent place on the walls of the Law Library. He married Elizabeth M. Mead, daughter of Benjamin and Abigail Mead. Mr. Soule died in Dayton March 31, 1869. Mrs. Soule died on November 5, 1891.
Benjamin Wicks Mead married Abigail Webb Thatcher Hall, in Boston, and came to Dayton in 1829. The trip was made in wagons, taking three months, three weeks, and three days. Mr. Mead was very ingenious, and made a large clock, casting the parts in brass. The clock is now in the possession of Mrs. N. B. Darst. He was the first to discover and put in a state for use Epsom salts, and "British oil," now our coal oil. He also invented a dredge for. cleaning rivers, which was sunk during a freshet in the Mississippi River, and in April of this year (1896) raised at Burlington, Iowa. Mr. Mead died in St. Louis in 1849.
Peter Light, a cabinet-maker, located on a farm near Dayton in 1826, and the stone used in adjacent locks of the canal was taken from his quarry. In 1827 he married Charlotte Love. He died March 30, 1878, nearly eighty-one years of age. Mrs. Light died May 19, 1880. They had five children, of whom Peter B. and Samuel B. are still living in Dayton. The homestead is owned by Samuel B. Light.
Peter Light had two sisters and three brothers, who came to Dayton at a later date. One brother, Joseph, was a carpenter, and his nephew writes me: "A church was built on the corner of Second and Ludlow streets—I think the first Presbyterian church in the city. The tower, a marvelous affair for those early times, was so high that the workmen refused to do anything more on account of the great danger at so great a height. Being a carpenter, Joseph engaged to, and did, complete the steeple alone, on the stipulation that he be paid five dollars per day for his services."
David Stone, of Walpole, New Hampshire, came here during 1826. He was at one time identified with the American Fur Company, trading with the Indians and trappers for furs and ginseng root. About the year 1830 Mr. Stone took his son William B. into business with him, and for quite a while they engaged in the produce and packing trade, located on the corner of Fifth and St. Clair streets. They did business in Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans, and while under twenty-one years of age William loaded a flat-boat at Cincinnati and started down the Ohio and Mississippi on a trading expedition, stopping at all the stations on the way, as far as New Orleans, making a successful trip.
A story was told of David Stone, and verified, that during his business career in Dayton he conceived the idea of getting a corner on anvils. They were plentiful and cheap, and he went quietly about and bought up all he could find for sale, depending upon the difficulty of transportation and the long time it would take to get a new stock for sales at a high profit. It was not long until others found they were short on anvils and Stone was long, and he made consider-able money out of the deal. This transaction was regarded as and called a "Yankee" trick.
After David Stone's death at Dayton, in November, 1839, William B. Stone engaged in the grocery business with David Peirce, and also turned his attention largely to fine stock. He was very fond of sport, and was said to possess the best hunting outfit in the West. He died in Dayton November 28, 1850, leaving a wife and two children. The only one of his immediate family living is a son, Charles A. Stone, now residing in Chicago. He has been for nearly a generation actively engaged in the shipping business there.
John L. Belville, of French Huguenot descent, was born in New Castle, Delaware, December 21, 1800, and after completing his course at Princeton Theological Seminary was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Castle in 1827. As a missionary he was stationed by the Board of Domestic Missions at Dayton, and reached here about June 1, after a journey on horseback and alone. He immediately commenced holding meetings in the town and country, at private houses, in school-houses, and in the woods, frequently riding miles over bad roads, or no roads, to keep an appointment. In May, 1828, he married, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Mann Long, and, returning to Ohio, became stated supply, and soon pastor, of Washing-ton Church, this county, in the organization of which he had assisted. The territory embraced by his congregation included Centerville, Miamisburg, Carrollton, Alexandersville, and Woodbourne. By his efforts a church building was erected in 1829, which is still standing, and is noted as being the only country church in the county of the denomination wherein services have been continuously maintained for so long a period. In 1840 he accepted a call as pastor of the church at Bellefontaine. When failing health compelled him to relinquish active work he retired to his farm near his old church, preaching as health permitted until 1870, when he removed to this place. He was for a few years in charge of an academy at Centerville. He died September 21, 1880, being at that time the oldest member of Dayton Presbytery. Mr. Belville was present and assisted at the organization of the Synod of Cincinnati, now merged into the Synod of Ohio, and was several times elected moderator of that body, as well as also of his presbytery. Three times he was chosen a commissioner to the General Assembly, and took an active part in its deliberations.
Dr. Hibbard Jewett came to Dayton in 1828. He was in partnership with Dr. Steele for a time, and in 1842 formed a partnership with his brother, Dr. Adams Jewett, which lasted until 1860. He was a strong abolitionist, and took an active part in the underground railroad. He died October 26, 1870.
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