Header Graphic
Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 682-699 Prof. Sameul Arnold Minnich to Robert O'Donoghue

PROF. SAMUEL ARNOLD MINNICH, [pages 682-683] principal of the Fifth district public schools of Dayton, is a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, and was born near Brookville, September 7, 1847. and in this county he has passed his entire life, with the exception of about seven years, when teaching school—six years in Darke and one year in Preble counties.

John and Barbara (Arnold) Minnich, his parents, were born respectively in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and in the latter state the father, who was an agriculturist, died in Montgomery county, at the age of fifty-six years, while the mother, who is still a widow, now makes her home in Darke county, near Arcanum. The Minnich family traces its descent to Bavaria, the name being derived from that of the city of Munich, the capital of the kingdom; and the first of the family to come to America was Prof. Minnich's great-grandfather, who settled in Lancaster county, Pa. Prof. Samuel A. Minnich was the seventh in order of birth in a family of fourteen children, and grew to manhood on his father's farm. His choice of a life-work was largely directed by .an accident which occurred when he was twenty-one years of age, through which his left hand was severely and permanently maimed, while he was feeding a circular saw in the preparation of fuel for the use of the family. He had intended to become a mechanic and had a strong predilection for carpentry, but of course his desire in this respect was by this mishap defeated. He had received a most excellent education in the district schools and had begun teaching while still living on the home farm, although his teaching alternated with attendance at private schools.    He finally entered the normal school at Medina, Ohio, from which he graduated in 1876. Following this event, he resumed teaching, but later took a course of lectures on materia medica and graduated from the Long Island College hospital in 1882. For two and a half years he practiced medicine; but the profession proving to be distasteful to him, he again resumed that of school-teaching, and has ever since, with the exception of the period above alluded to, followed this vocation in Montgomery county with marked success, and in 1892 was elected to his present position of principal of the Fifth district public school of Dayton.

The marriage of Prof. Minnich took place in Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1885, to Miss Ida M. Mundhenk, a native of the county and of German extraction.  Her father, John Mundhenk, is now deceased, and her mother is a resident of Dayton. Mrs. Minnich was educated in the Pyrmont public schools and in the Lebanon normal school, became a teacher and was an assistant to Prof. Minnich at the time of her marriage. Prof. and Mrs. Minnich are consistent members of the United Brethren church of Dayton, and the professor, while not controlled by party lines, manifests a strong inclination toward republicanism. Fraternally, he is a Knight of Pythias, and socially he and his wife occupy a very prominent position among the citizens of Dayton.


REV. D. R. MILLER, D. D., [pages 683-684] general manager of the Union Biblical seminary, at Dayton, Ohio, was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, on June 13, 1835.  In the same year his parents moved from Fairfield county to what is now Auglaize county, Ohio, where he was reared on a farm and secured a portion of his education in the district school. When quite young, however, he became identified with manufacturing industries and mercantile interests, which experience greatly aided in the development of his business qualities. While thus engaged he obtained further education through attending select and special schools, until he was fully equipped and obtained a certificate for teaching, which he followed for a time.

Dr. Miller joined the United Brethren church in 1848, and entered the ministry of that church in 1860. For over thirty years he has been an active member in the Sandusky conference of this church, which conference embraces the larger portion of northwestern Ohio. With this conference he still sustains active relations, and has represented it in all of the general conferences since and including that of the year 1873.  He was a member of the board of trustees of the Union Biblical seminary from 1873 to the time of his election as general manager in 1885. As manager of the seminary he has greatly improved the surroundings, and by personal solicitations and attention has secured to the assets and for current expenses of the institution, considerably over $200,000.  He has been officially connected with Otterbein university as agent or trustee since 1863, and is president of the board of trustees at this time. He was a member of the board of trustees of the United Brethren Publishing house, at Dayton, for four years, and served eight years on the Sunday-school board of the United Brethren church.

The public career of Dr. Miller has been prominent. He served a term as chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary, and was also superintendent of the Girls' Industrial home, of Ohio, for several years. He likewise served for four years as a republican member of the Dayton city council, representing the Fourth ward, his term in that body expiring in 1894. While a member of the council his services were of great benefit to the city. For two years he was chairman of the committee on law, and he prepared or revised most of the ordinances pertaining to street railroad franchises, and was the principal author of the measure providing for the transfer system now in force governing street railways in the city of Dayton. He was one of the special committee of the city council, instrumental in securing concessions from the Natural Gas company, which provided for an independent line for Dayton, a pumping plant, and a fixed pressure of two and a half ounces to be maintained throughout the city and determined by recording gauges, or in default thereof, a proportionate rebate to customers. The price of the gas under this compromise was to be twenty cents per thousand feet. This adjustment was considered as the most favorable in its terms of any contract ever obtained for the city of Dayton,  But because of the peculiar excitement at the time, this compromise was defeated in the council.

Dr. Miller was also one of the special committee appointed by the council to determine the propriety of preserving the old log cabin and to superintend its removal from its former to its present location; and to this he gave special attention, in connection with other representative citizens, until the cabin was permanently established on its new foundation. He was also appointed by the mayor as a member of the committee on ship canal, and gave much time to the investigation of that subject. For several years he has been greatly interested in the development and improvement of that part of the city known as the West side, and has been continuously the president of the West Side Improvement association. He has twice been a member of the republican executive committee of Dayton, and was chairman of the same during one year.


WILLIAM HARRISON MILLER, [page 684] one of the well-known young members of the Dayton bar, was born in the northern part of Montgomery county, Ohio, November 15, 1862.  His parents are Benjamin and Mary A. (Zeigler) Miller, both natives of Montgomery county.  Benjamin Miller has followed farming to some extent, and was one of the pioneer threshers of this section, he having operated a horse-power threshing-machine between Dayton and Greenville for many years.  He was also in the nursery business for a short time, and is at present engaged in mercantile business at Brookville, this county. To his marriage nine children have been born, eight sons and one daughter, one of the sons being now deceased.

William H. Miller was educated in the common schools, Randolph township high school, Antioch college, Ohio Wesleyan university, and the Ohio normal university. He also took a law course at the last named institution, graduating there in 1892, with the degree of LL. B. He taught school at different times for a period of about nine years, and during two summers taught the normal school at Greenville, Ohio. He began reading law with Julian Irwin, of Greenville, was admitted to the bar in Indiana in 1893, and in Ohio in October, 1894. He began the practice at Marion, Ind., came to Dayton in 1894 and opened an office, and has since continued in general practice. Mr. Miller was married June 7, 1893, to Esther C. Trump, of Castine, Darke county, Ohio, daughter of William K. Trump.

Mr. Miller is a member of the Independent Order of Foresters, in which order he is the high counselor of Ohio. He is also a member of the Modern Knights' Fidelity league.

All of the children of Benjamin Miller and wife who have attained their majority are following professions: V. L. Miller, M. D., is a practitioner of Brookville, Ohio; H. W. and C. B. are druggists.


J. M. MORGAN, M. D., [pages 684-685] physician and surgeon, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Atlanta, Ga., June 15, 1858. His father, H. M. Morgan, was a merchant of Atlanta, dealing largely in cotton and becoming one of the largest cotton merchants of the south. He removed to the north in 1864, and is now living in Dayton, retired from business. The mother of Dr. Morgan was born in South Carolina, in 1825, bore the maiden name of Catherine Manguna, and is still living.

Dr. J. M. Morgan received his literary education at Urbana, and at Springfield, Ohio. At the age of twenty-one he went to Cincinnati, to pursue the study of medicine, and in the last named city married Miss Alfarata M. Smith, daughter of C. W. Smith, M. D., at that time holding the chair of medical jurisprudence in the Physio-Medical college of Cincinnati.

Dr. Morgan graduated at Chicago in the spring of 1887; removed to Saint Louis, Mo., in 1892, where he was appointed to the chair of orificial surgery, in the American Medical college, and in the same year he removed to Dayton, where he still resides. His office is located at No. 309 West Third street.


MICHAEL MORAN, [page 685] liveryman, No. 527 East Fifth street, Dayton, Ohio, was born seven miles from this city, on Hole's creek, June 6, 1857. He is a son of Michael and Johanna (Maher) Moran, both of whom were natives of Tipperary, Ireland. They came to the United States some time in the 'thirties, and lived a few years in New York state, but in 1842 removed to Cincinnati, lived there a few years, and then removed to the farm upon which their son Michael was born. Upon this farm the family lived for seven years, and then removed to the old Lowery farm, four miles north of Dayton, where they lived until the death of Mr. Moran, which occurred in 1878, at the age of fifty-seven years. His wife still survives. They were the parents of seven children, three of whom are still living, viz: Michael, Margaret and Catherine. Both Mr. and Mrs. Moran were reared in the faith of the Catholic church, of which Mrs. Moran is still a devoted member. The paternal grandfather of Michael lived in Ireland all his life, and had but one child. By occupation he was a fanner. The maternal grandfather was Lawrence Maher. He also was a farmer, reared a family of nine children, and died in Ireland at an advanced age.

Michael Moran, the subject of this sketch, was reared on the farm and received his education in the district schools. Remaining at home until he had attained his majority, he rented lands and carried on farming on his own account. He then removed to Dayton and engaged in trading. He was married November 24, 1886, to Miss Mary Cahill, daughter of James and Catherine (O'Rourke) Cahill. Mrs. Moran died February 11, 1890, a member of the Catholic church. Mr. Moran is a member of that church, and is also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and of the Knights of Saint John. As a democrat he served two years as supervisor of Butler township, notwithstanding that township was usually republican.

After his marriage he returned to the farm, but upon the death of his wife he again came to Dayton, in 1890, and for two years was engaged in teaming. In, 1892, Mr. Moran entered upon the livery business, being at first located at No. 2013 Fifth street, but in October, 1893, removed to his present location. Having lived in Montgomery county for thirty-nine years, he is well and widely known throughout the county.


JOHN MULL, [pages 685-687] one of the representative business men of Dayton, was born in Warren county, Ohio, July 4, 1844, and is a son of Reuben and Catherine (Spindler) Mull, both of German extraction.

Reuben Mull was born in Lancaster county, Pa., October 7, 1808, and in the same place Catherine Spindler was born October 3, 1809. Reuben was a wagonmaker and farmer, and in May, 1835, came with wagons to Ohio, locating near Lebanon, Warren county, where he followed his trade until 1851. He then rented a farm and followed agriculture until his death, June 24, 1873, his widow surviving until September 7, 1892. The family comprised nine children, all of whom are still living, and are named Elizabeth, Isaac, Henry, Joseph, Benjamin, Mary, John, Charles and George.

John Mull grew to manhood on his father's farm in Warren county, and was educated in the public schools. March 26, 1864, he enlisted in company A, Seventy-ninth Ohio volunteer infantry, and served in the Twentieth army corps, under Gen. Hooker.  His first battle was at Resaca, Ga., May 15, 1864, where his regiment charged a rebel battery and captured four pieces of artillery; his next engagement was at Burnt Hickory, or Dallas, May 25, 1864; then New Hope church, June 15, where the regiment suffered severely; June 23 there was another engagement, and following this he was in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, June 27, and at the severe engagement at Peach Tree Creek, July 20.  The battle of Atlanta followed, but in this Mr. Mull was not generally engaged; he took part, however, in the siege of that city, which ended in its subjection, September 2, and followed Sherman on to the Atlantic coast, starting from Atlanta November 15, 1864, and taking part in many skirmishes and battles, including Savanna, Ga., and Averysboro, N. C., March 16, 1865. This was the last battle in which Mr. Mull took an active part. Passing through Goldsboro and Raleigh, N. C., and Richmond, Va., the regiment reached Washington, D. C., encamped near the Long bridge, and took part in the grand review, May 24, 1865.  Mr. Mull was transferred to the Seventy-third Ohio infantry as a member of company D, was promoted corporal, and was honorably discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 26, 1865, never having lost a day off duty during his very active, but comparatively brief term of service.

On his return home he attended the National normal school nearly two years, and in August, 1868, was employed as clerk and bookkeeper in a retail grocery in Lebanon. Twenty-three months later he bought out his employer, and for over a year conducted the business on his own account, closing out in August, 1871. On the 30th of September following he came to Dayton and opened a grocery at the northwest corner of Fifth street and Wayne avenue, but sold out in May, 1875, and went to Cincinnati, where he was employed as a traveling salesman, four years being passed in this capacity, during which time he visited nearly every state in the south.  In August, 1879, Mr. Mull returned to Dayton and formed a partnership with Charles E. Underwood in the wholesale and retail confectionery trade—the firm now doing an extensive wholesale business throughout Ohio.

Mr. Mull was happily wedded, January 3, 1883, to Miss Katie E. Traebing, a native of Troy, Miami county, Ohio, and daughter of William L. and Katherine (Kline) Traebing, natives of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, but married in Troy, Ohio, in 1856, the maternal grandmother being of French origin.   The Traebing children were three in number, Mrs. Mull being the eldest; Alice C. is unmarried, has been a teacher for about twenty-four years, arid resides with her parents' in Dayton; and Charles Henry is a confectioner by trade, with his residence in Columbus.  Mrs. Mull graduated from the Dayton high school and from the normal school of Dayton, and prior to marriage was one of the most successful primary teachers in Dayton, holding one school for eleven years. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Mull has been blessed with two interesting little daughters-—Ruth Alice, born July 4, 1889, and Lillian B., born April 22, 1891.

Mrs. Mull is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is secretary of the Grace church Pastor's Aid society; she is also president of the society known as the King's Daughters, and past president of the Old Guard Woman's Relief corps, G. A. R., No. 121. Mr. Mull is a member of Old Guard post, G. A. R., and has served as quartermaster. He became an Odd Fellow in 1875, and at present is a member of Dayton lodge, No. 273, and Gem City encampment. He is a republican of the best type.

Mr. Mull has achieved business prosperity through his own energy and industry, having begun without financial aid. The monetary collapse of 1873 left him worse off than nothing; but, with true American grit, he started again and made a success, of which one of the tangible evidences is his present handsome residence, which was constructed in 1885, under his own supervision. He is a progressive, wide-awake citizen, of generous impulses and liberal propensities, as well as refined tastes, being passionately fond of flowers and taking great interest in horticulture.


FRANK W. MURPHY, M.D., [page 687] of Dayton, Ohio, and one of the successful young physicians of the city, was born near Dayton in 1870, of Scotch and Irish lineage, and is one of the four children born to Edmund and Mary Murphy. Until the age of fifteen years he passed his life on his father's farm, and was then permitted to enter Dennison university, where he expected to take an elective course and to prepare himself for teaching. Having here finished his literary studies, he entered mercantile life as clerk in a grocery, with the view of earning the money with which to defray his expenses as a student of medicine.  He thus secured means sufficient to pay his way through the Pulte Medical college of Cincinnati, from which he graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1894, and has since been engaged in the active practice of his profession in Dayton, meeting with most gratifying success.

Dr. Murphy is a member of the Homeopathic Medical society of Montgomery county, Ohio, and of the Southern Iowa Medical society of Des Moines, Iowa.   He is a frequent contributor to the New York Medical Journal and to the North American Journal of Homeopathy, and many of his articles have met with the emphatic approbation of the readers of  these publications. The doctor is a Knight of Pythias and a member of the K. A. E, 6.

Dr. Murphy was married, June 30, 1896, to Miss Rhoda G. Brown, of Atlantic, Cass county, Iowa.  He has both perseverance and energy, keeping abreast of the advances made in the healing art and the science of medicine, and the success which has already attended his growing practice gives promise of a prosperous professional career.


GEORGE NEDER [pages 687-688] (deceased) was born June 15, 1828, in a small hamlet in the kingdom of Bavaria, Germany. His education, received at several of the renowned colleges of Europe, was a most complete one, thoroughly qualifying him for the journalistic career which he afterward adopted. His first venture in this field was the founding and editing of the Wurzburger Journal, in 1854, which paper still exists.

Early in the 'sixties Mr. Neder came to this country, being first located at Buffalo, N. Y., where he became the editor of the leading German papers. He came to Dayton in 1866, and immediately founded the Daytoner Volks-Zeitung, of which he remained the owner and chief editor up to his death. This paper was first issued as a weekly, then as a tri-weekly, and since 1876 it has been issued daily.

Mr. Neder's career in the Miami valley was a most honorable one, and while he never became conspicuous in public life, his counsel was ever sought and recognized.  He served as a member of the board of education for two terms, and was for several years a member of the library board. His popularity and influence with the German population, through his paper, were very great, and his journalistic services in their behalf were thoroughly appreciated.  His support of any worthy cause was always the result of a sincere conviction, and earned for him the high esteem in which he was held.

Mr. Neder was married, in 1849, to Miss Marianna Eckert, which union was blessed with eight children, four of whom survive and are residing in Dayton. His death occurred July 19, 1895, and his remains now lie in Calvary cemetery, beside those of his wife, who passed away in 1893.


WILLIAM T. MOONEY, [pages 688-691] superintendent of the John Rouzer company, contractors and builders, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Jackson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, June 23, 1848. He is a son of Wesley and Martha (Clemmer) Mooney, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of seven children, two sons and five daughters, four of the seven children still surviving, as follows:  Mrs. Minerva Grove, Mrs. Fannie Shank, William T. Mooney, and Mrs. Flora Alberts. Wesley Mooney was a farmer, came to Ohio at an early day and settled in Montgomery county, and carried on farming in Jackson township until his death, which occurred in 1856, when he was forty-eight years of age. His wife was a member of the Mount Carmel Reformed church.

The father of Wesley Mooney was born in Virginia and was an officer in the war of 1812. He was one of the earliest pioneers of Ohio, and died in Miami county at the age of ninety-four.  By trade he was a shoemaker, and followed this calling until the later years of his life.  He had but one son, Wesley, the father of William T. He possessed many fine traits of character, and was highly honored by the community in which he lived so many years.

Martha (Clemmer) Mooney's father, David Clemmer, was a native of Pennsylvania, of German descent and a farmer by occupation.

William T. Mooney was reared on the farm in Montgomery county until he was fifteen years of age, and received his early education in the district schools. Afterward he came to Dayton and learned the trade of carpenter and builder/which he followed as a journeyman for some years. Then, buying an interest in the Rouzer planing mill, he was for eighteen years a member of the company owning and operating it. Selling his share in this business, he was actively engaged for five years in contracting, at the end of which time he again purchased an interest in the mill, accepting the superintendency of the establishment, which position he still retains. This mill furnishes employment for from seventy-five to 100 men and is one of the most successful and prosperous enterprises in the city of Dayton.

On February 1, 1871, Mr. Mooney was married to Miss Martha J. Oldfather, daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth (Pence) Oldfather, the former of whom was a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Virginia. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Mooney there have been born four children: Iva M., Ernest V., Mary F., and Arthur F. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mooney belong to the Fourth Reformed church and Mr. Mooney is a thirty-second degree Mason and belongs to Reed commandery of Knights Templar. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

When Mr. Mooney first arrived in Dayton he had practically no means whatever, while now he is in comfortable circumstances and is one of the substantial business men of Dayton. His establishment has done some very important work, including the erection of the court houses at Columbus, Springfield, Tiffin, and Sidney, Ohio, the opera house at Bellefontaine, and the residences in Dayton of Mr. Joseph Clegg, Col. Platt, R. N. King, H. C. Graves, Frederic P. Beaver, beside many other private houses and business buildings in this city. All of these are excellently built and are a credit to the capacity and skill of the company with which Mr. Mooney has his business connection.


CAMALIEL C. MYERS, M. D., [page 691] a well known physician and surgeon of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Sharonville, Hamilton county, Ohio, September 23, 1848. His parents were Andrew S. and Jane (Crosson) Myers, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. The grandparents of Dr. Myers on both sides came from Belfast, Ireland. The father came to Ohio with his parents when a small boy, the family locating in Hamilton county. The father has followed farming all his life, and is now in his ninetieth year. The mother died in 1868, at the age of fifty-four years.

Dr. Myers was reared in Sharonville and attended the public schools of that place until he reached his fourteenth year.   In May, 1862, before reaching his fourteenth birthday he entered company I, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Ohio volunteer infantry, as a corporal, and was mustered out at Camp Dennison, Ohio, in September, 1865. After the close of the war he attended the Lebanon (Ohio) normal school and graduated in 1873, after a four years' course. He then taught school and at the same time studied medicine with Dr. Creager, of Lebanon, as his preceptor.   He graduated from the Cincinnati college of Medicine & Surgery in 1880, came to Dayton in the following year and began the practice of his profession, which he has since continuously followed.

Dr. Myers has served two terms as a member of the city board of health, and one term as County coroner. He has been a member of the medical staff of the Deaconess hospital since the organization of that institution, and is a member of the Ohio state Medical society and of the Montgomery county Medical society, having served as president and secretary of the latter.  Fraternally, he is a member of the F. & A. M., I. 0. 0. F. and of the K. of P.; also of the G. A. R. and Ex-Prisoners of War societies, having been for eleven months a prisoner of war at Libby prison, Andersonville and Belle Island.

Dr. Myers was married, in 1880, to Miss Delia Killoren, a native of Sligo, Ireland. To their happy union one daughter has been born —Genevieve.


NORMAN S. NIER, [pages 691-692] carpenter and builder of No. 104 North Broadway, Dayton, Ohio, was born in LeRoy, Genesee county, N. Y., February n, 1833. His paternal grandfather was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, was the founder of the family in America, and died when the father of Norman S. was seven years of age.

Henry G. and Catherine (Shook) Nier, parents of Norman S., were schoolmates in Dutchess county, N. Y., and were reared and married in the same neighborhood. The father was a farmer, and to him and his wife ware born two sons and two daughters, viz: Catherine, wife of James Cashan, now residing in Monroe county, N. Y.; Sylvester, of Grand Rapids, Mich., died in August, 1896; Norman S., the subject of this memoir, and Mary A., widow of John Van Valkenburg and now residing at Orchard Lake, Mich.

Norman S. Nier was reared to manhood in his native county, received his education in its public schools and at the Lima, Livingston county, N. Y., seminary, and in his young manhood learned the carpenter's trade, and also served an apprenticeship at the jeweler's business. August 5, 1862, he enlisted in company I, Eighth New York heavy artillery, as the regiment was called at the time of his enlistment, being afterward known as the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth New York infantry. This regiment was first assigned to garrison duty at Fort McHenry, Federal Hill, Baltimore, Md., and also to Forts Carroll and Marshall, until May, 1864, when it was ordered to join the. Second army corps at Spottsylvania, Va. At this place Mr. Nier received a wound which confined him in hospital until the December following, but rejoined his regiment before Petersburg and remained at the front until the close of the war.  He was honorably discharged at Bailey's Cross Roads June 5, 1865.

The first marriage of Mr. Nier took place November 25, 1856, to Miss Catherine Shook, of Mount Clemens, Mich. She was born November 25, 18 35, and for several years before marriage was a school-teacher. She bore her husband three children, viz: Mary, married to Henry Bartlett and residing in Rochester, N. Y.; Caroline, the wife of Joshua. Webster, farmer and machinist, living in Monroe county, N. Y., and Edgar, who died in infancy. Immediately after his discharge from the army, Mr. Nier joined his wife and two children, then living in Genesee county, N. Y., where he remained an invalid for three years.  He then moved to Rochester, Monroe county, in the same state, where his wife died April 19, 1880.  His second wife, whom he married November 30, 1882, was a Mrs. Almeda Morden, and a native of Canada, where she married her first husband, who died in Elmira, N. Y. Leaving Rochester in 1892, Mr. Nier became an inmate of the national military home at Hampton, Va., but nine months later was transferred to the Central branch of Dayton, Ohio, and partially regained his health in this more congenial clime. He died December 25, 1896. As he was unable to engage in any severe physical labor, he was employed on the home force of carpenters, he being an adept in that trade; but his pleasant residence was with his devoted wife, at No. 104 North Broadway. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Union Veteran Legion, politically a republican and in religion adhered to the Methodist Episcopal faith, being a constant attendant of that church.


REV. JACOB G. NEIFFER, [pages 692-693] pastor of Saint John's Evangelical English Lutheran church, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Montgomery county, Pa., and is a son of Christian and Kathrina (Von Grabenstein) Neiffer, natives of Wurtemberg, Germany, of whom further mention will hereafter be made.

Rev. J. G. Neiffer received his preliminary education in the public schools of Philadelphia; he acquired his literary education at the Pennsylvania college of Gettysburg, Pa., between the years 1861 and 1863, and in the last-named year entered Franklin & Marshall college, Lancaster, Pa., from which institution he graduated in the classical department in 1865. He then entered the Evangelical Theological (Lutheran) college at Philadelphia, pursued his studies there for three years, and June 10, 1868, was ordained to the ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran church. His first call was to Saint Mark's church, at Richmond, Va., where he officiated two years, and then accepted a call to Saint John's church, at Salisbury, N. C., where he remained five years; he then came to Ohio, and for ten years had charge of Saint Paul's church in Lima. In May, 1885, he was called to his present work in Dayton. Here the labors of Mr. Neiffer have been of the most satisfactory character.   When he assumed the onerous duties pertaining to Saint John's congregation, in 1885, now eleven years ago, the membership numbered about sixty, the congregation was about $3,000 in debt, and its most sanguine members were in a state of great discouragement. Since the advent of Mr. Neiffer, however, this indebtedness has been cancelled, the membership has been increased from sixty to 500, and a new church edifice, to be one of the handsomest in the city, is in contemplation, and it is hoped that it will be completed within the present year, with a seating capacity of about 700 persons. In 1894 Mr. Neiffer organized Saint Luke's English Evangelical Lutheran mission on Broadway and Germantown streets, West side, Dayton, and for this mission he preached during the first year of its' existence; it now has a chapel of its own, and Rev. John Webber, of London, Ohio, was elected pastor and assumed charge January 1, 1897.   It will thus be seen that Mr. Neiffer has not been idle since he has been a resident of Dayton, and that his labors in the Master's vineyard have not only been very great, but have been most happy in their results.

Rev. Mr. Neiffer, also, had attained considerable eminence as a classical tutor prior to his entrance upon his ministerial duties, as from 1865 until 1868, while at the theological seminary in Philadelphia, he taught Latin and Greek in preparing students for the state university, and from 1880 until 1885 was professor of the German language in the high school at Lima, Ohio, combining that work with his church labors.  Neither has he been remiss in patriotic duty, for in the fall of 1862, during the invasion of his native state by Gen. Lee's army, he volunteered as a militiaman and served most faithfully until the Confederates were driven from Pennsylvania soil, when he resumed his collegiate studies.

Christian Neiffer, father of Rev. J. G. Neiffer, married Miss Von Grabenstein in Wurtemberg, Germany. He was a soldier in the Napoleonic war, and came to America in 1814, having left his native land on account of the political restrictions placed upon its subjects. He was a gentleman of high literary culture, and on reaching Pennsylvania established his home in the eastern part of the state, and engaged largely in the manufacture of pottery and also quite extensively in farming. There he died at the age of eighty years, and his widow at the age of eighty-five years. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Christian Neiffer numbered seven sons and five daughters, of which family Rev. Jacob G. was the eleventh in order of birth. Of the sons, two served in the late Civil war, one being killed in the Wilderness campaign, and two others supplied substitutes. Four sons and four daughters of the family are still living in the vicinity of Philadelphia, the sons being either physicians or lawyers, and the family is one of the most prominent and well known in eastern Pennsylvania. Rev. Jacob G. Neiffer has never married.


ABRAM H. NIXON, [pages 693-694] manufacturer of spraying apparatus, was born within seven miles of Cincinnati, Ohio, December 3, 1813. He is a son of John Nixon, who was born in New Jersey, from which state he emigrated to Fayette county, Pa., where he was married and whence a few years later he removed to Ohio, coming down the Ohio river on a flatboat, and settling at the place where Abram was afterward born. Coming to Ohio at that time, John Nixon was one of the earliest pioneers of the state, which was then only ten years old. Some years later he moved about fifteen miles north of his first location, into Butler county. Here Abram was reared on a farm, his education being received in the district schools, which were then of a very inferior kind, as much inferior to those of the present day as were the log cabin school-houses, with their puncheon floors and greased-paper widows, to the finely adapted modern school structures.

When nineteen years of age he went to Franklin, Ohio, and established himself in business, in the manufacture of cooper ware. Remaining in Franklin for two years, he then removed to Centerville, Montgomery county, where he carried on the same business for three years.  At that time there was more pork packed in Centerville than in Dayton. In the spring of 1838, Mr. Nixon removed to Carrollton, Montgomery county, where he continued his business on a larger scale than ever before, using machinery in the manufacture of his wares, and being the first to introduce it for that purpose into the county. At that time it was the custom to go to the woods, cut the timber and haul it to the cooper shops in wagons; but Mr. Nixon soon found that to be too tedious and laborious a method, and conceived the idea of going into the forest, there cutting the trees up into staves, and hauling them to the cooper shop in canal boats. He was, in fact, the first to bring a canal boat load of cooper stuff to Carrollton.

Mr. Nixon was married in Carrollton to Miss Mary Ann Cotterill, who was born in Brown county, Ohio. He continued to reside in Carrollton for nineteen years, and in 1857 removed to Dayton, where he has resided ever since. In 1852 he disposed of his cooper business and engaged in buying and selling leaf tobacco, which was then just beginning to be raised in Ohio. After locating in Dayton he continued in the tobacco business and has retired from active business only within the last three years. Mr. Nixon shipped the first car load of tobacco out of Dayton, over the Dayton & Sandusky railroad. This was in 1853, when that was the only railroad in the city. Mr. Nixon, becoming interested in the manufacture of spraying apparatus, was the first in the United States to make a specialty thereof.

In 1860 A. C. Nixon became engaged in the tobacco business with his father, since whose retirement from active business he has carried it on alone.  Abram H. Nixon is the oldest dealer in cigar leaf tobacco west of the Allegheny mountains and is well known all over the country, as a man of probity and integrity. A long career of honorable business activity has rendered Mr. Nixon's life a worthy example for the emulation of the young men of the present day.


BARRY S. MURPHY, [pages 694-697] junior member of the law firm of Patterson & Murphy, was born on a farm three miles east of Dayton, Ohio, August 26, 1863, and is a son of Dennis and Catherine Murphy, now residing in Dayton. For seven years he attended Saint Mary's institute, a Catholic school which was established in 1849, for the purpose of giving employment to three teachers then unemployed, and also to establish a better school than any then in existence in Dayton. After the expiration of these seven years he entered the Dayton high school and was graduated there in 1882. After leaving school he accepted a position as reporter on the Dayton. Daily Journal, at the same time attending commercial college in order to acquire a more thorough knowledge of business.  After completing his commercial course he taught school for some time and then entered the office of Iddings & Iddings.   Here he studied law for three years and was admitted to the bar in 1888. In 1889 the partnership now existing between himself and J. C. Patterson was formed under the name of Patterson & Murphy, and their practice has been a prosperous and growing one.

Mr. Murphy is a member of the society of Elks, of the Foresters, of the American Sons of Columbus, and of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. For two years he was attorney for the board of education, and in all legal connections and business he has proved himself a conscientious and safe counselor.


JOHN M. NUTT, [page 697] one of the well-known attorneys at law of Dayton, was born in Sidney, Shelby county, Ohio, September 28, 1852, and is a son of Irwin and Barbara (Persinger) Nutt. Irwin and Barbara Nutt were old settlers of Montgomery county, removing thence to Shelby county about 1834. There Mr. Nutt died in 1880, a highly esteemed citizen; Mrs. Nutt still resides on the old farm in Shelby county, venerated and respected for her many amiable qualities by all who know her.

John M. Nutt grew up on his father's farm, and secured his education in the common schools, and at Delaware, Ohio, where he attended college. For more than twenty years he was engaged in the grain business in Sidney, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind., Quincy, Ohio, and other places, meeting with unusual success Mr. Nutt was about this time injured by an accidental fall from a building, which incapacitated him for further active employment, and he therefore selected a profession for his life-work. After reading law for two years he was admitted to the bar in 1888, removed to Dayton, and there opened an office for the practice of his profession. He practiced alone nearly seven years, and in May, 1894, was appointed United States commissioner. He then formed a partnership with Judge McKemy, under the firm name of McKemy & Nutt, which continues to the present time, and now stands among the prominent legal firms of Dayton.

Mr. Nutt was married in 1875 to Miss Ella M. Smith, of Logan county, Ohio, and to this marriage there have been born four sons, as follows: Frank, now eighteen years of age; Irwin, aged fifteen; Cris, twelve years old, and Edmund B., nine years of age.

Mr. and Mrs. Nutt are consistent members of the Broadway Methodist Episcopal church, and, fraternally, Mr. Nutt is a thirty-second degree Mason, and also an active member of the Knight Templar commandery at Dayton. In politics, he is a stanch republican, but, while active and ardent in the support of his party and principles, has never sought public office.


ALFRED K. OATES, [pages 697-698] a guide at the national military home, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Manchester, England, February 19, 1836, and when a child of nine years of age was brought to America by his parents, who settled in Allegheny City, Pa., where the father died at the age of eighty years, and the mother, some years later, at the age of eighty-three. The father had been a soldier in the British army, as had also been an uncle. Alfred K. was the youngest of a family of fourteen children, and of these he and a sister, Mrs. Eleanor Moseley, of Cumberland, Md., are the sole survivors.

Alfred K. Oates learned the blacksmith's trade in his youth, and this vocation he followed until his enlistment, in New York city, April 22, 1861, under somewhat unusual circumstances.   Several companies had been formed in Pennsylvania and had offered their services to the governor; but he, believing that the war would soon be brought to a termination, declined to accept additional troops; in consequence of this decision, two of these organized companies paid their own fare to New York, where their services were accepted, and they were accredited to the New York quota, and assigned to company A, Fifth Excelsior, or Seventy-fourth New York volunteer infantry, the regiment being placed in the command of Gen. Heintzelman.  It took part in the siege of Yorktown, Va., and in the entire peninsula campaign; was at second Bull Run, but missed the battle of Antietam, yet participated in all the other battles of the army of the Potomac up to June 22, 1864, when it was honorably discharged.  At Gettysburg, Mr. Oates sustained a wound in the head, and as a slight compensation for this injury was awarded a pension.

After being mustered out of the service Mr. Oates returned to Pittsburg, Pa., and resumed his trade, working for the Carnegie company eighteen years.   In 1865, he married Miss Sarah Whittaker, a native of England, but reared from childhood in Mexico. She died in 1882, a true wife and the exemplary mother of two sons and two daughters. Of these children, George is a master painter for the Pittsburg, Virginia & Charleston railroad company, and resides in Monongahela City, Pa.; Mary is the wife of Miles Hollinger and lives in Pittsburg, Pa.; Elizabeth, twin of Mary, is now Mrs. Hawkes, of Irwin Station, Westmoreland county, Pa., and William, unmarried, is an employee of the Pittsburg, Virginia & Charleston railroad, with his home in Pittsburg.

Mr. Oates entered the Central branch of the national military home, Dayton, Ohio, in September, 1892, for a short time was employed in light labor, and three years ago was appointed to his present position, in which he has proven himself to be courteous and obliging, giving perfect satisfaction to all concerned. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, of the Union Veteran Legion, and of the Knights of Maccabees.  In politics he is a republican.


ROBERT 0'DONOGHUE [pages 698-699] is a member of Hose company, No. 7, located on Xenia avenue, Dayton, and is a native of .Ireland, having been born in county Cork, in the city of that name, March 27, 1839.   He continued on Irish soil until the year 1852, when he came to this country, and made his home in this city.   He was brought over by a party of relatives, his parents having died when he was a child. He found his way to the home of an uncle, who lived in Greene county, six miles from this city, in the village of Kinsley, and was an inmate of his family until the breaking out of the war. Then the Irish lad, now a sturdy young man of twenty-one, was among the first to offer his services for the protection of his adopted country.   He enlisted among the l00-day men, but was not called into active service.   August 20, 1861, he enlisted in this city for three years, and was assigned to company F, First Ohio volunteer infantry, and with his regiment became a part of the army of the Cumberland, being under the command of such distinguished officers as Buell, Rosecrans, Grant, Thomas and Sherman. Private O'Donoghue participated in every battle and skirmish in which his regiment was engaged, never missed a roll call, and was never absent from his place of duty. After the battle of Stone River he was promoted to be a sergeant, and finally to the responsible position of first sergeant, which he held at the time the regiment was mustered out of service.   At Chickamauga he was slightly wounded, but did not leave the field. When its term of enlistment expired the regiment offered its services as veterans, but the close proximity of the rebel general, Longstreet, with a large force at the front in east Tennessee, kept them constantly busy, and the time for re-enlistment passed. The regiment was finally mustered out of the service at Chattanooga, Tenn., August 17, 1864. Mr. O'Donoghue spent the following winter at his home in this city, but early in the following spring enlisted for one year in the United States service, and was enrolled as a member of company D, One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Ohio. He served for a short time at Columbus, but was not called from the state, Lee's surrender having virtually terminated the war. Upon his final retirement he once more came to Dayton, and here he has made his home to the present day.

Mr. O'Donoghue was employed for several years in a paper mill, and afterward in the distilleries, this latter business having been mastered by him before the war. In 1876 he began his service as a member of the city fire department, and his connection with it in various capacities has been continuous.  He married Miss Ellen Gallagher, a native of Canada, in 1877. There have been born to them six children, all but one of whom are now living. Benjamin Franklin, the eldest, is an apprentice to the plumbing business; Mary is in the second year in the Dayton high school; Henrietta and Nellie are in the city schools; Bessie died November 7, 1887, and Robert, Jr., is a young child at home. Mr. O'Donoghue is a member of Wayne lodge, No. 10, I. 0. 0. F., the Old Guard post, G. A. R., and of encampment, No. 145, Union Veterans Legion. He is associated with the Episcopal church, and adheres politically to the republican party, having always voted that ticket, except on the occasion of his first vote, which was cast for Stephen A. Douglas.


Return to "Centennial Portrait" Home Page