JOHN A. SMITH, [pages 765-766] house mover and raiser, Dayton, Ohio, was born in Lancaster, Pa., August 22, 1828. He is a son of Richard and Catherine (Allbright) Smith, the former of whom was a native of London, England, coming to the United States when he was seven years old, and the latter was a native of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of six children, four sons and two daughters, four of the six still surviving, as follows: John A., Isaac M., Jacob A., and David. Richard Smith was a teamster by occupation, driving a six-horse team between Philadelphia and Pittsburg before there was any railroad in that part of the country. His' death occurred in Lancaster when he was thirty-eight years of age. His wife survived him until 1880, and died at eighty-one years of age. Both were members of the Dunkard church, and both were people of excellent character and disposition. Richard Smith's father lived to a good old age, dying in England. Richard was his only son.
The maternal grandfather of John A. Smith was named Jacob Allbright. He was a native of Pennsylvania and married Miss Rebecca Moon. Both died near Efferty, Lancaster county, Pa. He was a brushmaker by trade and died when about eighty-seven, she dying when about sixty.
John A. Smith was reared on a farm in Lancaster county, Pa., and when seven years of age his parents hired him to a Mr. Jacob Bolinger, a Dunkard preacher, for seventy-five cents per month. He remained with Mr. Bolinger for seven years, in the meantime attending school to some extent. When he was fourteen years of age he removed to northern Ohio, and went to work for an uncle in Seneca county, remaining with him for about five years. At the end of this period he entered the employment of Mr. Wallace, superintendent of the Mad River railroad, the first road built from Sandusky to Springfield, Ohio, his work being to measure the wood and timber for the road. He then served a three years' apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade, after which he dealt for some time in horses. In 1851 he went to Marshall, Ill., and assisted in building there the Presbyterian college, and while thus engaged was married, June 27, 1852, to Miss Amelia C. Boyer, daughter of Rev. Joshua and Susannah Boyer of that place. To this marriage there have been born five children, as follows: Frances Loretta, Amanda Alfaretta, Dora Ellen, Dayton Wilbert and Hattie May. Frances Loretta married Jacob Haynes and with her husband lives in Dayton. Amanda Alfaretta died at the age of thirteen years. Dora Ellen married Martin Messier, and they have five children, viz: Grace, Edward, Harry, Martha and John. Dayton Wilbert married Miss Emma Bartel; they live in Dayton, and have four children, as follows: Mabel, Harry, Richard and Bessie. Hattie May married Otto Jones. They had two children. Mrs. Jones was killed by the cars in 1894 while driving across the railroad.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are members of the United Brethren church, he being a trustee and treasurer of the congregation. He was a member of the Sixty-third Ohio volunteer infantry, company F, and served in the late Civil war for over three years. At the battle of Vicksburg he was wounded in the left arm. He was also in the battles of Nashville, Corinth and Parker's Cross Roads. Having acquired some knowledge of medicine, he was engaged in the dispensary at Nashville twenty-one months, and it was while in that city that he received his discharge.
The war having come to an end, Mr. Smith returned to Dayton and began building houses, continuing thus engaged for a few years, but for the last twenty years he has given his attention exclusively to moving and raising houses, having filled contracts on a large scale in various cities—in Cincinnati, Springfield, Troy, Piqua, Hamilton, and elsewhere, as well as in Dayton.
After his marriage Mr. Smith in 1852 came to Dayton and has lived in this city ever since —thirty-five years in his present home. Politically he is a republican, but is in no sense a politician or office seeker.
DANIEL L. SMITH [pages 766-768] is one of the long I established carpenters and builders of Dayton. He was born in the Middletown valley, Frederick county, Md., April 20, 1831, and there he lived until the spring of 1851, when he came to Dayton, which has ever since been his home. His parents were Joseph and Esther (Sheffer) Smith. They were natives of the same county in which their son was born, the husband and father having been born in 1787, and the mother in 1801. Joseph Smith was a farmer, and, though living in a slave state, was opposed to slavery from profound conviction, and none of the family ever owned a slave. Both parents were descended from German stock. They left nine children, all but one of whom are now living. There were five sons and four daughters, and the eldest daughter was also the first child of the family, and the only one as yet deceased. This daughter, Mary, married Philip Baker, of Middletown, Md., and died in Springfield, Ohio; Joshua is a resident of Springfield, and has retired from active business; Martin is a farmer in Miami county, and Jonas is a photographer at Springfield; in that city Susan, who is unmarried, has her home; Sarah is the wife of Thomas Elliott, and resides at Wapakoneta; Hamilton is at Richmond, Ind., where he has a responsible situation as superintendent of the Louck Sash & Door company; Elizabeth married Edward Young, and resides in Springfield,
Daniel L. Smith received a common-school education in the typical log school-house of the pioneer days. He has vivid remembrance of the puncheon floors, the greased paper windows, the wide fireplaces, the big back-logs, and the extreme readiness of the teacher to wield the birch for the most trivial offense, Mr. Smith was the first of the children to leave the parental root; but soon after the death of their father the family began to scatter, most of them coming to Springfield, Ohio. He learned the carpenter's trade in his native state, serving three years as apprentice, and receiving the modest compensation of $25 a year. In those early days every process in the art of building was accomplished by hand. The almost entire absence of machinery made the skilled carpenter of great importance in every new community. When Mr. Smith reached Dayton, he found his labor in great demand, and though it had not been his intention to remain here, he soon decided that this prosperous town was a good place in which to cast his lot. After seven years of industry,: with a corresponding measure of success, Mr.. Smith was enabled to marry. On May 6, 1858, he wedded Miss Sarah Bollinger, a native of New Carlisle, in this state, where she was born January 8, 1838. They have reared a family of three children. William, the eldest, a resident of Dayton View, is foreman pattern-maker in the Computing Scale works in this city, and is a finished worker in wood. He married Miss Isadora Gunckle, of this city, and is regarded as a rising young man. Annie is the wife of Eugene Carter, superintendent of the paint department of the National Cash Register Co. They have a young daughter, named Elsie. Claude Rutherford, who is unmarried, is a capable mechanical draughtsman, and is now an engineer in the United States service, located at Fort Wingate, N. Mex.
Mr. Smith has been prominently identified with the building interests of Dayton for more than forty-five years. He has erected many handsome buildings, and finished many others; The finishing of the Beckel House is a good sample of his interior work. One of the most responsible and important duties ever entrusted to Mr. Smith, was the reconstruction of the old Newcom tavern, which figured so prominently in Dayton's centennial celebration of April, 1896. This was a labor requiring vast patience as well as great skill, the object being to reproduce the old log building as perfectly as possible. Parts of the building had to be replaced, the steps being hewn from solid logs, The work was a great success, and much praise was given Mr. Smith for so perfectly accomplishing such a bold scheme of reconstruction.
His family have been identified with the republican party from the beginning, having been whigs in the last generation. He has been a member of the order of Odd Fellows for thirty-five years, and has filled all the official stations in his home lodge, and also has served for a number of years as trustee of the Odd Fellows temple. All the family are liberal in their religious views, and have never been identified with any church. Mr. Smith's youngest brother, Hamilton, served over three years as a soldier in a Maryland regiment, and was severely wounded in the battle of the Wilderness.
CHARLES A. STARR, [pages 768-771] of Dayton, Ohio, is a native of Thompsonville, N. Y., and was born on the 17th of March, 1834, being the son of George B. and Rebecca P. (Schriver) Starr. In the paternal line his ancestry is of English origin, the first American representative having been one Dr. Starr, who emigrated from Great Britain to the American colonies early in the seventeenth century. The family contributed its quota of loyal defenders in both the war of the Revolution and that of the late Rebellion. The religious faith to which adherence has been very largely given is that of the Methodist Episcopal church, while politically the support of the Starrs has been given in turn to the whig party and its natural successor, the republican.
George B. Starr, father of Charles A., left his eastern home in 1836 and came to Ohio. He settled at Middletown, Butler county, where he opened a tannery and gave his attention to its operation for some little time, later transferring his business to a point near Greenville, Darke county, where he continued tanning until another field of activity opened to him as a contractor for the building of gravel or turnpike roads. In this work he was engaged until 1846, when he came to Dayton, where he resumed tanning. Subsequently he became identified with the coal industry, and it is certain that he shipped the first carload of coal that was brought into Dayton. He continued in business in Dayton until failing health rendered imperative his retirement from active pursuits, whereupon he placed his interests in the hands of his son Charles.
George B. Starr was a man of quiet and unassuming character, but of unimpeachable integrity and honor. He was a zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and took a lively interest in Sunday-school and mission work. His death occurred December 26, 1869, while his wife passed away in June, 1890. They became the parents of seven children, of whom Catherine S. is the widow of D. W. Schaeffer, of Dayton; Mary A. became the wife of Joseph Hammond, and was one of the leading members of the W. C. T. U. of this section of the state, but is now deceased; Charles A. is the subject of this review; Rev. David J. is a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal church, and has a pastoral charge at Cincinnati; Cordelia R. is the wife of B. B. Christie, of Dayton; George R. is a prominent commission merchant of San Francisco, Cal., and Hattie E. is the wife of D. M. Stewart, of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Charles A. Starr received very limited educational advantages in his youth, but he has profited by privileges granted him in later years and stands today a well informed and intelligent man. He was not far advanced in years when he assumed the practical duties of life by entering the employ of his father, purchased his coal and wood business very soon after attaining his majority, and carried the same successfully forward. In the year 1864 he went to the defense of the Union, enlisting as a member of company B, One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio national guard, and serving for three months in the command of Col. Lowe. Upon his return home he again turned his attention to the handling of coal, wood and building material. He is a carpenter by trade and is thoroughly familiar with all details pertaining to the allied departments of his business. The office headquarters of this enterprise are located at 131 Wayne avenue.
In the year 1891, Mr. Starr became one of the organizers of the Bailey Soap company, of which corporation he is president. The others of the official corps comprise the following: John F. Baker, vice-president, and Charles A. Lucius, secretary and treasurer. The officers, together with C. W. Schaeffer, constitute the directory of the company. The concern has a plant which is finely equipped with the latest approved mechanical devices and other facilities requisite to the enterprise, and the output includes all kinds of soap, special attention being given to the manufacture of laundry soaps, in which line the products of the establishment have gained an enviable reputation throughout a very extended trade territory. The industry is one which has important bearing upon the industrial activities of the Gem City, and the success which has attended it has been conserved by the wise methods and unswerving business integrity of the interested principals, who are recognized as being among the representative citizens of Dayton.
Mr. Starr takes a broadminded interest in public affairs, and, though in no sense a seeker of political office, he renders a firm allegiance to the republican party. In religion he clings to the faith of his fathers, having been for the past forty years a member of the Raper Methodist Episcopal church and one of the most active workers in the same. In both church and Sunday-school work he has had a most loyal and effective coadjutor in his estimable wife. In his fraternal relations our subject is identified with Wayne lodge, No. 10, I. 0. 0. F., of which he has been the treasurer for the past eighteen years and a member for full two score years. He is also a member of Dayton encampment of the Odd Fellows' order and of the Ancient Order of American Mechanics.
The marriage of Mr. Starr to Miss Emaline A. Smart, a native of Danbury, Conn., was solemnized October 24, 1855; she was born December 9, 1833. They became the parents of one child, who died in infancy.
CAPT. ROBERT C. SNEAD, [pages 771-772] an official of the national soldiers' Home, was born in Heathsville, Northumberland county, Va., December 28, 1842, and is the son of Rev. James A. and Mary Snead, natives respectively of Georgia and Virginia.
James A. Snead was born in the year 1804, received a liberal education in Baltimore, Md., entered the university of Virginia, and while a young man entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he became a prominent and influential preacher. He was a typical southern gentleman of the old school, fearless in his denunciation of wrong wherever and whenever found and an uncompromising opponent of the institution of slavery, in consequence of which he was obliged to leave his native state and seek a field of labor in northern conferences. He served as chaplain of the Fortieth Kentucky mounted infantry in the late war and died in the year 1866. His wife was Mary Christopher, who was born of English parentage in Northumberland county, Va., about the year 1802. The family of Mrs. Snead were residents of the Old Dominion state during the war of 1812, in which struggle her father took an active part as an independent scout. She died at Ashland, Ky., October 20, 1890. James A. and Mary Snead had a family of eight children, of whom there are living at this time one son and two daughters.
Capt. Robert C. Snead was taken by his parents, when a child of four years, to Wellsville, Ohio, thence in 1856 to Ashland, Ky., where he grew to maturity and where he received an academic education. He became a very proficient bookkeeper and was thus engaged until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he joined the home guards of Kentucky, a loyal organization, with which he served until 1863, in August of which year he enlisted in company E, Fortieth Kentucky mounted infantry. Three weeks after enlistment the captain was made regimental quartermaster-sergeant, and within a month thereafter was promoted to second lieutenant of company C, in which capacity he served until discharged December 30, 1864. His service with the Fortieth was principally in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, scouting and fighting the rebel guerrillas who overran portions of those states. Capt. Snead was in three engagements with John Morgan's band and took part in numerous skirmishes with rebel forces on the Cumberland near Fort Donelson, doing much desultory fighting with guerrillas and marauders throughout Kentucky and along its borders. He re-entered the service in April, 1865, as a member of the Fifty-fifth Kentucky mounted infantry, and was discharged therefrom as adjutant on the 19th day of September following—the period of this enlistment being spent in the work of reconstructing the state of Kentucky, as the war was being practically ended about that time.
Severing his connection with the army, Capt. Snead resumed his vocation as book-keeper, first with the Iron Valley Iron works in Stewart, Tenn.; thence he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was similarly employed, going from the latter place to Saint Helena, Mich., where he became superintendent of a lumbering and manufacturing establishment. During the period between 1880 and 1886 the captain was more or less an invalid, being unable to engage in his usual vocations by reason of a partial paralysis of the left side, which induced him to enter the national soldiers' home at Dayton in June of the latter year. Four weeks after becoming an inmate of the home he was appointed clerk at the headquarters and continued in that capacity the greater part of the time until 1895, in October of which year he was appointed captain of company thirty-three a position he held until October, 1896, when he was transferred to company Thirty-five.
Capt. Snead is a man whose record is without a stain, and his high character and upright conduct have made him an object of esteem, alike in public and private life. His religious creed is represented by the liberal faith of the Unitarian church and in politics he is and always has been a conservative republican. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, in the deliberations of which body he ever manifests an active interest.
ANDREW J. SMITH, [pages 772-773] of Dayton, is a native of Logan county, Ohio, and was born October 31, 1847, his parents being John and Maria (Weeks) Smith, both natives of this state. Mrs. Smith died when young Andrew was about eight years old, and his father died eight years later. After the death of his mother, he went to live with an uncle on a farm in Logan county, where he continued to make his home until he had reached his majority. He had the ordinary opportunity of Ohio farm lads, a good common-school education, but he profited by what was offered him, and possesses a wide and useful range of information. When he was a lad of only sixteen years, he enlisted, in 1864, in the 100 days' service as a member of company F, One Hundred and Thirty-second regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, and the conclusion of his term of enlistment brought him well toward the termination of the Civil war. The solid character of his education was attested by his teaching school for two terms when he was only eighteen years old, but he had studied to learn and to know, and thus early manifested a strength of mind and a maturity of judgment that have enabled him to make that success in life which is recorded in this memoir.
At the age of twenty-two he married Miss Nancy E. Moore, who was born on the farm adjoining that of his birth, the wedding occurring September 7, 1869. The spring of the next year witnessed the removal of the young couple to Kansas, where they settled on a farm, and followed an agricultural life for the next three years. But Kansas farming did not promise a satisfactory career, and in 1873 they returned to Logan county, where Mr. Smith had charge of a grain warehouse for the next five years. He was then engaged for a time in a bakery and restaurant business. In 1883 he secured a lucrative position as city salesman for a Dayton milling firm, and removed to this city. This position he has held for the past thirteen years with satisfaction to his employers and credit to himself.
Mr. Smith is a republican in his political proclivities, is regarded as one of the prominent and reliable leaders and workers for the party, and now represents it in the Dayton board of education. He is much interested in fraternity matters and is actively interested in one of the patriotic orders of the veteran soldiery of the land, as well as in. other bodies. He is now senior vice-commander of the Old Guard post, Grand Army of the Republic, recording secretary of Crown council, No. 35, Junior Order of United American Mechanics, and also holds membership in Gem City lodge, 795, I. 0. 0. F., of which he has been treasurer for five years past. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith there have been born four children, of whom the eldest, Wilminnie, is the wife of Elliott S. Burns of this city; Eunettie is the widow of the late William F. Cain, and Howard D. and Paul R. are still children at home. Father and mother are members of St. Paul Methodist Episcopal church, and the family is highly respected in its social and religious relations.
HACKMAN A. SMITH, [pages 773-774] justice of the peace at Dayton, Ohio, was born in Phillipsburg, Montgomery county, Ohio, August 29, 1857. He is a son of Samuel R. and Lottie L. (Kolp) Smith, the former of whom was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, and the latter in Lancaster county. Pa. Samuel R. Smith was a Union soldier during the war of the Rebellion, and served in the Sixty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry. His death occurred in 1886. His widow now resides at West Milton, Miami county, Ohio. The father of Samuel R. Smith was Peter Smith, who came to Ohio from Pennsylvania between sixty-five and seventy years ago. He was one of the pioneers of Montgomery county, settling about one mile south of Phillipsburg, in Clay township.
The education of Hackman A. Smith was received first in the common schools, later at the Euphemia, Preble county, Normal school, and completed at the Miami commercial college. For eight years during his earlier business life he was a school-teacher. He was assessor in Clay township in 1881-83, and was elected justice of the peace in Clay township in 1885, for three years. Mr. Smith located in Dayton in 1887, and has resided here ever since. He soon made many friends in the city, and in 1894 was elected justice of the peace as the candidate of the republican party, of which he has always been an active member. Fraternally he has reached the thirty-second degree in Masonry, and among the various other fraternal orders to which he belongs may be mentioned the Gem City lodge, No. 795, I. 0, 0. F., Dayton encampment, No. 2, I. 0. 0. F.; Daytonia Rebecca lodge, No. 342, I. 0. 0, F.; Canton Earl, No. 16, Patriarchs militant, I. 0. 0. F.; Grand lodge of Ohio, I. 0. 0. F.; 0. F, N. B. A.; Linden lodge, No. 412, K. of P.; Carpenter's Union, No. 396; Young Men's Christian association; The Seniors; Tribe of Ben Hur: Garfield club and the 0. S. C. A. His religion is that of the Christian church.
Hackman A. Smith was married December 24, 1879, to Mary E. Lees, of Phillipsburg, Ohio, and to this marriage there have been born three children, as follows: Edna D., wife of Miles Boyer, of Dayton; Leon E., and Earl R.
ELI NEWTON SNYDER, [page 774] member of the firm of Snyder, Tejan & Co., dealers in hay and other feed in Dayton, was born in Alpha, Greene county, Ohio, September 27, 1855, is a son of John and Elizabeth (Kerschner) Snyder, natives of Hagerstown, Md., and lived in his native county until about thirty-one years of age.
The Snyder family is of German origin and was established in Maryland by Jonathan Snyder, grandfather of Eli N. John' Snyder, father of Eli N., was born in 1821, and when a young man moved to Greene county, Ohio, married there, and passed the greater part of his mature life in farming in that county. His death took place in Dayton in his sixty-ninth year. His widow, who was born in 1823, is now a resident of Dayton, and has her home with her son, Owen K. They were the parents of two sons and one daughter, the eldest of whom, Emma, died at the age of eleven years; the elder son, Owen Kerschner, is employed as an assistant lumber buyer for the Barney & Smith car shops, which position he has held for eleven years. He is married to Miss Martha Barney, daughter of Benjamin Barney, of Greene county.
Eli N. Snyder was educated in the graded schools of Beaver Creek township, Greene county, and his first business step was the purchase and operation of a sawmill in Xenia, which he ran from 1850 until 1885, when he disposed of his business by sale, came to Dayton, and here secured a position as yard foreman with the Barney & Smith car company, holding this situation for six years, when he met with an accident which compelled his retirement. He was then variously employed for two or three years, principally in teaming, and November 16, 1894, engaged in his present business, under the style of Snyder, Tejan & Co., the firm being composed of E. N. Snyder, F. Tejan and E. Eckman. This firm deals extensively in hay and all kinds of grain and feed, and is well located for business, receiving a full share of public patronage.
The marriage of Mr. Snyder took place in Xenia, November 1, 1883, with Miss Lizzie Pettigrew, a native of that city and a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Medsker; Pettigrew, also natives of the Buckeye state. William Pettigrew was an undertaker by vocation, and is now deceased; his widow is still a resident of Xenia. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder has been blessed by the birth of two sons and one daughter, named, in order of birth; Fred P., John and Elsie M. The parents are steadfast members of the German Reformed church, and in his political views Mr. Snyder is a strong republican, although he is not a partisan in the office-seeking sense of the word. The social relations of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder are very pleasant, the respect in which they are held by their friends and associates being sincere and well merited.
HENRY BENTON SORTMAN, [pages 775-776] contractor for all kinds of brick masonry, was born in Middleburg, Union county, Pa., January 12, 1840. He is a son of George and Maria C. (Bossier) Sortman, both natives of the same place in Pennsylvania. They were the parents of four children: Henry B., Jacob W., George A., and Charles C. George Sortman, the father, was by trade a chairmaker. He came to Dayton, December 10, 1853, and here lived until his death, which occurred Novembers, 1861, when he was sixty-nine years old. His wife died at Kent, Ill., July 10, 1875, aged fifty-nine years. Both were members of the Reformed church. Upon locating in Dayton he for a time followed teaming for a living, and afterward worked in agricultural implement warehouses until his death. The paternal grandparents of Henry B. Sortman reared a family of seventeen children; the grandfather lived and died in Pennsylvania, and the maternal grandfather also died in that state.
Henry Benton Sortman was thirteen years old when he came with his parents to Dayton. When he was sixteen years old he began learning the brickmason's trade, which trade he continuously followed until recent years, and in these later years he has given his attention to contracting. He has built four or five large school houses, the high school building, and some of the buildings at the soldiers' home, besides hundreds of residences. His work all stands the test of time, and of the most scrutinizing criticism. At Dayton, Ohio, April 18, 1861, Mr. Sortman enlisted in Capt. Calvin Child's company A, Eleventh regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, for three months' service, under the first call for 75,000 men, made by Abraham Lincoln, and was discharged at Camp Dayton, Ohio, August 26, 1861. He then re-enlisted October 5, 1861, in company F, Birge's sharpshooters, which was changed to company H, and to company G, western sharpshooters, April 20, 1862. His regiment was changed to the Fourteenth Missouri volunteer infantry, and from the Fourteenth Missouri to the Sixty-sixth Illinois volunteer infantry, western sharp-shooters, November 26, 1862, by order of secretary of war, E. M. Stanton.
Henry B. Sortman, who was a brave and efficient soldier, participated in all the engagements enumerated in the biography of his brother, James W. Sortman, and with him was mustered out of the service. After the expiration of his term of service he returned to Dayton and began contracting. He has been a resident of Dayton for forty-three years, and it was he that offered the first resolution providing for the erection of the beautiful soldiers' monument at Dayton, near the Miami river on Main street.
On February 14, 1865, Mr. Sortman was married to Miss Sarah M. Lehman, daughter of David and Eliza (Brandenburg) Lehman, who were among the earliest settlers of Dayton, having located there when the place was but nine years old. Mr. and Mrs. Sortman are the parents of four children, three sons and one daughter, as follows: Nettie L., Grove S., Miles R., and Clifford L. Grove S. married Blanche A. Ambrose, by whom he had one child, Earl C., and died April 22, 1889.
Mrs. H. B. Sortman is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. While Mr. Sortman's parents were members of the Reformed church, he has never identified himself with any denomination. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow, a Knight of Pythias, and a member of Old Guard post, No. 23, G. A. R. Politically he is a republican, and as such has served one term as a member of the board of education. His home is at No. 208 Dutoit street, where he has lived for twenty-nine years, his house having been erected in 1866. Where he now lives an orchard stood at the time he built his residence, and this orchard was surrounded by a cornfield.
HON. WILLIAM EDWARD SPARKS, [pages 776-777] state senator from the third Ohio senatorial district, and a representative citizen of Dayton, was born near Springfield, Clarke county, Ohio, August 25, 1853, and is the son or Ephraim and Mary (Ellwell) Sparks.
Ephraim Sparks, the father, was a native of Ohio, born in 1809, near Bellbrook, Greene county, where he was engaged in the wagon-making and blacksmith business as a member of the firm of Coon, Fryant & Sparks. Later in life he lived near Clifton, and thence removed to Springfield, dying in the latter city on March 12, 1880. The mother, Mary (Ellwell) Sparks, was born in New Jersey in 1809, and when a child was brought to Ohio, the family making the journey from Pittsburg down the Ohio river on a flat-boat. Her death occurred May 19, 1884. To these parents there were born the following children: Simon, a resident of Dayton; Mrs. Abbie Aughe and Mrs. Hannah Littleton, both of Springfield; Mrs. Sallie A. Bachman, of Clear Water Harbor, Fla.; Mrs. Ella Gifford, of Bloomington, Ills. died July 30, 1896; Mrs. Lydia J. Slack, of Springfield, Ohio; Derostus F. L., of Chicago, and William E.
Senator Sparks spent his boyhood days at work and in attending the common schools. Aside from the education thus secured he had the advantage of a thorough course at a commercial school at Springfield. Later he learned the trade of a machinist at Richmond, Ind., which trade he has since followed, sparing only such time away from it as has been required for his attendance upon the sessions of the state senate at Columbus in 1893-4 and 1895-6. He removed to Dayton in 1873, and has always been recognized as a representative of the workingmen of this city, and has for years been prominent in the councils of the republican party. In the spring of 1892, Mr. Sparks was elected to the city council of Dayton from the First ward, at a special election. In 1893 he was nominated by the republican party as its candidate for the state senate from the Third district, composed of the counties of Montgomery and Preble. At that time the normal democratic majority in this district was 1,200, yet so popular was Mr. Sparks that, against a strong opponent, he was elected by a majority of 2,411 votes. In 1895 he was again nominated and elected to the state senate, this time running ahead of his ticket in Montgomery county, and receiving a total majority of 3,052 votes. He is the first republican who has been elected and re-elected to the state senate from Montgomery county since 1864, when a similar honor was conferred on the Hon. L. B. Gunckel, of Dayton. During the Seventy-first general assembly Mr. Sparks was chairman of the committee on sanitary laws and regulations, was second chairman of the committee on municipal corporations No. 2, and a member of the committees on the Soldiers' & Sailors' Home; manufactures and commerce; labor; mines and mining; fees and salaries, and public expenditures. In the Seventy-second general assembly he was chairman of the committee on municipal corporations No. 2, and a member of the committees on universities and colleges (of which he was secretary), manufacturers and commerce, labor, military affairs (of which also he was secretary), public expenditures, medical societies and colleges. Being a workingman himself, and well equipped for the duties of senator, Mr. Sparks has made a fine record in the highest legislative body of the state. He has never missed an opportunity to advance the cause of his constituents, and especially of the working class. His views on public and important questions have always been broad and practicable, and he has had the courage to make known his convictions.
For five years Senator Sparks was a member of the Champion City guards, 0. N. G., and served during the strikes of 1877. He is at present a member of Linden division, uniformed rank, Knights of Pythias, and has served both as captain of the same and as colonel on the staff of Gen. Weidner; is a member of Wayne lodge, I. 0. 0. F.; of Dayton encampment, No. 2; of Gem City lodge, United American Mechanics, and of Columbia lodge, Knights and Ladies of Honor.
On May 6, 1890, Mr. Sparks was married to Miss Minnie A. Kimes, a daughter of Frank and Melissa Kimes, of Dayton. During the presidential campaign of 1896, Senator Sparks organized the Workingmen's McKinley campaign club, which had a membership of over 3,000, was the largest laboring men's club in the United States, and of this club he was elected president.
MAURICE L. SPEAR, [pages 777-778] of the national military home, near Dayton, Ohio, was born in White Marsh, Montgomery county. Pa., December 25, 1843, His parents, Daniel and Barbara Spear, both died at the family home in White Marsh—the father in 1883, at the age of seventy-nine years, and the mother ten years later, at the age of eighty-five.
Maurice L. Spear, at the early age of fourteen years, ran away from his home and endeavored to enlist in the United States navy, but was rejected on account of his youth. He then bound himself to a blacksmith in Beverly, N. J., and with him he worked until the outbreak of the Rebellion, when he enlisted, August 6, 1861, at Philadelphia, in company K, known as Birney's Zouaves, of the Twenty-third Pennsylvania volunteer infantry. Remaining at Washington, D. C., until early in March, 1862, the regiment was assigned to the army of the Potomac; and was embarked on transports at Alexandria to steam to Fortress Monroe, Va. Mr. Spear then took part in the siege of Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg, and under Gen. George B. McClellan, fought throughout the war of the peninsula; was under Gen. Pope at the second battle of Ball Run, again under McClellan at South Mountain and Antietam, and at Fredericksburg under Burnside, being in Gen. Franklin's division, which opened this disastrous battle. Gen. Burnside having been relieved of his command and Gen. "Fighting Joe" Hooker placed in his stead, and the Twenty-third Pennsylvania infantry having been merged with the Sixth army corps, Mr. Spear became a participant in the battle of Chancellorsville, in which Gen. Lee and " Stonewall " Jackson badly defeated Hooker. Here Jackson was accidentally killed by one of his own men—the fight having lasted two days, May 2-3, 1863. Gen. Meade being now placed in command, the Sixth army corps made the longest march known to military history and reached Gettysburg; Pa., taking its place in the second day's fight of that famous battle as "fresh" troops, July 3, 1863. Here, while standing at the side of Mr. Spear, his brother lost his right hand. Meade followed the retreating Confederates for a time, then made the expedition against Mine Run, Va., and there went into winter quarters. In the winter of 1863 Mr. Spear re-enlisted, was given a veteran furlough home, and in May 1864, rejoined the army at North Anna river, Va.; he took part in the battle of Cold Harbor June 1, 1864, and there lost his left arm below the elbow, sustained a severe wound in his right leg, a wound in his side, and a second wound in his disabled arm—four wounds in one battle. His arm was amputated on the field June 3, and the, day following he was conveyed to White House Landing; on the 10th he reached Alexandria, Va., and was thence sent to David's island, in New York harbor, where he was treated in hospital until August, 1864, when he was allowed again to go home on furlough. September 1, 1864, he reported at McClellan's hospital, Philadelphia, did duty until September 6, 1865, when he was finally discharged from Moyer hospital, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. Mr. Spear then returned to his parental home in White Marsh, where, for a time he was employed by the Reading railroad company, and later by the Union Street Car company of Philadelphia, until March, 1873, when he came to the soldiers' home in Dayton. Here he has been employed in various positions, part of the time as a guard and part of the time as commander of a company. For the past ten years he has had charge of the "order" department of the Home beer hall, which none but inmates are permitted to enter, and these only under rigid restrictions.
The parents of Lieut. Spear had a family of twelve children, of whom nine were living at the opening of the Civil war. David, the only brother, lost his hand at Gettysburg, as heretofore mentioned, and is now living in retirement at Gloucester, N. J,; two of his sisters, Mrs. Amanda Woods and Miss Cecelia Spear, reside in Philadelphia; another, Mrs. Aletia Anderson, lives near Camden, N. J.; Mrs. Mary A. Jern is a resident of Cambridge, Washington county, N. Y., and Mrs. Adeline McCauley died in Philadelphia. The family being of German descent, Mr. Spear took his religious vows in the German Reformed church on reaching his majority. In politics he is republican, but for several years past he has not been active in matters political.
GEORGE W. HOUK, [pages 778-779] deceased, was born in Cumberland county, Pa., on September 25, 1825. His father, Adam Houk, was a native of the same county, to which his father, Adam Houk, Sr., had removed during the middle of the last century. In 1827 Adam Houk, Jr., removed to Dayton, Ohio, and in this city George W. Houk spent the remainder of his life. The education of George W. Houk was secured in the common schools and at the Dayton academy,. He studied law in the office of Peter P. Lowe, and was admitted to the bar in 1847, following\which he formed a partnership with his preceptor. A year or so later, however, he dissolved this relation and entered into a like one with the Hon. George B. Holt. In 1860 he formed a partnership with the Hon. John A. McMahon, which lasted for twenty years, and from 1880 on Mr. Houk practiced on his sole account.
In 1852, though but twenty-seven years of age, Mr. Houk was sent to the Ohio legislature, and was distinguished by being made chairman of the judiciary committee. In 1860 he was sent as a delegate to the national democratic convention at Charleston, S, C., at which Stephen A. Douglas was nominated for president. In 1876 he was a delegate to the democratic national convention at Saint Louis, when Samuel J, Tilden was nominated for the presidency. In 1884 he was nominated a district elector. In 1890 Mr. Houk was elected to congress from the Third Ohio district, and in 1892 was re-elected. His death occurred suddenly in Washington, on February 9, 1894, .during his second congressional term.
On December 25, 1856, Mr. Houk was married to Eliza P. Thruston, daughter of Robert A. Thruston, a granddaughter of Horatio G. Phillips, and a sister to Gen. Gates P. Thruston, of Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Houk left a widow and three children, of whom Mrs. Harry E. Mead is since deceased, and Mrs. Harry Talbot and Thruston Houk reside in Dayton city.
Mr. Houk was possessed of strong intellectual powers and of literary tastes and ability, which manifested themselves in the writing of essays, philosophical treatises and public addresses upon subjects covering a wide range. Much of his best work of this character was done solely for the love of writing and in order to fix in his mind the result of his extensive reading. While, therefore, some of his most valuable literary productions remained in manuscript and without publication, his fine gift of expression and wealth of knowledge were known, outside his library, chiefly through his addresses upon public occasions. In this direction, his dignity, his fine presence, his rich fund of information upon public questions, and his thorough command of the best graces of oratory, combined to make George W. Houk one of the most prominent figures in the past fifty years of Dayton's history. Added to his equipment as a scholar and thinker were most delightful social qualities, humor, urbanity, unfailing courtesy and genuine . hospitality. In both private and public life Mr. Houk was a fine type of the high-minded, upright, useful citizen. His sudden death came as a severe blow upon the community in which he had so long been loved and honored, bringing the sense of personal loss to a great circle of friends and acquaintances whom for many years he had charmed with his personality and impressed with his strength of mind and high moral character.
CHARLES ALBERT STAINROOK, [pages 781-782] brick contractor and president of the Dayton Pressed Brick company, of Dayton, Ohio, was born in Philadelphia October 16, 1852. He is a son of William and Anna (Housel) Stainrook, natives of Pennsylvania, are the parents of eleven children, of whom the following are still living: Emma, Virginia, Kate, Charles A., Lewis, Clara and Maggie. The father of these children is a bricklayer by trade and still lives in Philadelphia, with all the family except Charles A. Formerly he was a contractor, but has lived retired for several years. His wife is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
David Stainrook, the father of William Stainrook, was a native of Philadelphia, of German parents, who came to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where David Stainrook, a blacksmith by trade, lived all his life, dying when eighty years of age, He and his wife were the parents of twelve children. The maternal grandfather of Charles A., was an Englishman by birth, came to the United States, and settled at York, Pa., where he was engaged in hotel keeping. He reared a family of eight children, and died at an advanced age.
Charles A. Stainrook was reared in Philadelphia, received a common-school education, and at the age of eighteen began learning the brickmason's trade. This trade he followed some four years, and in 1880 removed to Dayton, Ohio, where he became engaged in contract work. He has erected a large number of buildings in Dayton, among them the Deaconess hospital, the Davies building, the Barney building, and the Dayton Club building. He was one of the organizers of the Dayton Pressed Brick company in 1894, and is now its president. This company gives employment to an average of twenty-five men, and is carrying on a prosperous business.
On January 18, 1882, Mr. Stainrook was married to Miss Margaret Hagerman, daughter of Christopher and Eliza Jane (Breen) Hagerman. To this marriage there have been born four children, as follows: Mildred, Margaret, Bessie and Clara. Politically Mr. Stainrook is a republican, but is not in any sense an office seeker. He lives at No. 149 High street, and is well known throughout the county as a reliable contractor and a straight-forward, honest man, kind and generous in disposition and worthy of the confidence of the community in which he has earned an ample business success.
CAPT. JACOB C. STALEY, [pages 782-783] one of the honored and prominent ex-soldiers of Dayton, Ohio, was born in this city, February 25, 1842. His parents, Solomon and Susan B. Staley, were natives of Frederick, Md., were born November 21, 1806, and March 7, 1814, respectively, were married in Frederick, September 21, 1831, and came to Dayton, Ohio, in 1832. The father was a cooper by trade, and died in Dayton, May 3, 1855; his widow survived until December 8, 1895, when she died in her eighty-second year. Of their ten children four only are living, and of these, three served with honor and credit in the late Civil war. The Staley family was of Dutch and Swiss descent, and for several generations was resident of Maryland, Solomon Staley, mention above, having been the founder of the family in Ohio.
Capt. Jacob C. Staley, the eldest of the four surviving children born to his parents, first enlisted for three months, April 16, 1861, in company C, First Ohio volunteer infantry, served at the battles of Vienna, Va., and of Bull Run, was honorably discharged August 16, of the same year, and immediately re-enlisted for three years, entering company F, Second Ohio volunteer infantry, as sergeant. He was assigned to the army of the Cumberland, took part in the skirmish at West Liberty, Ky., and then in the battle of Ivy Mountain, November 8, 1861. His regiment then became part of Gen. Mitchell's division, and went to Huntsville, Ala., and was first in the skirmishes at Widow's Creek and at Bridgeport, then followed Bragg's army to Louisville, Ky., from the Tennessee river, and next participated in the battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8, 1862. The battle of Stone River followed December 31, and here Mr. Staley had command of his company, having been commissioned second lieutenant; the regiment then lay at Murfreesboro until June, 1863, when it started on the Tullahoma campaign under Gen. Rosecrans, of Rousseau's division; Hoover's Gap battle followed, then Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, 1863. Remaining at Chattanooga until November 24, 1863, the regiment was in the battle of Lookout Mountain, followed by Missionary Ridge, November 2 5; and the enemy was next met at Ringgold, Ga. The regiment then started, May 7, 1863, on the Atlanta campaign under Sherman, and took part in the battles of Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost and Resaca. At the last named place, May 15, 1864 (second day's fight), Capt. Staley received a wound across the crown of his head, fracturing his skull and leaving a depression so deep that even at the present time two fingers may easily be laid therein. He was placed in a field hospital for some time, was then furloughed home, and partially recovered; rejoined his regiment at Chattanooga, Tenn., in September, and on October 10, 1864, was mustered out at Camp Chase, Ohio, as first lieutenant, although he held a captain's commission, received too late for active service thereunder. Politically, an uncomproming republican, Capt. Staley. after returning to Dayton from the service, served as constable, deputy sheriff, etc., and for a few years was in the restaurant business, but of late has not been actively engaged in any occupation. In religion, he adheres to the faith of his parents—that of the Reform church.
The marriage of Capt. J. C. Staley took place October 31, 1866, with Miss Rachael McCafferty, a native of Dayton, who died in May, 1886, the mother of one child—Jacob G. Staley, a printer by occupation, living in Dayton, Ohio.
Henry J. Staley, brother of Capt. Jacob C., was a soldier in the Sixty-sixth Illinois volunteer infantry, served three years, and died in Dayton. Joseph P. Staley, another brother, was captain of company I, Eleventh Ohio volunteer infantry, incurred disability while in the service, which was the cause of his resignation and the eventual cause of his death, which also occurred in Dayton. The captain has two unmarried sisters, still living, and one married sister, Mrs. Mary C. Case, of Newport, Ky., and these, with himself, comprise the survivors of the family born to his parents. Capt. J. C. Staley is at present lieutenant-colonel of encampment No. 145, Union Veteran Legion of Dayton.
ROBERT STEIN, M. D., [page 783] of No. 110 East Van Buren street, Dayton, and one of the city's most successful physicians, was born in Germany, October 18, 1861, and since July 3, 1873, has been a resident of Dayton, Ohio.
Louis and Johanna (Kuehne) Stein, his parents, came from Berlin, bringing their small family, in the year 1873, and the father, being a mechanic, upon reaching Dayton, found immediate employment as foreman for Zwick & Daniels, with whom he continued until his death in 1879, at the age of forty-four years. To his marriage were born five children, of whom Robert is the eldest; John is foreman for the Paper Novelty company of Dayton; George is spoke inspector for the Pinneo & Daniels Wheel factory of Dayton, and Mary and Anna are at home with their mother.
After coming to Dayton, Robert Stein was placed under private instruction and also at-tended night school, in order to improve himself in his knowledge of the English tongue, and when sufficiently prepared entered the office of Dr. A. H. Iddings as a student of medicine. He then attended the Miami Medical college at Cincinnati, from which he was graduated with the class of 1886, and first located for practice in North Dayton, where he remained until the fall of 1889, when he went to Vienna, Austria. Here he studied at the renowned university of that city for one year; returning to Dayton, he was elected a member of the board of education, and after passing eleven months in the city made another trip to Europe, and for ten months was a student in the university of Berlin, devoting himself chiefly to acquiring a knowledge of surgery and of the treatment of diseases of women. On his return from Berlin he engaged in general practice in Dayton, and has met with gratifying success. He stands high in the esteem of his professional brethren, as well as that of the public, and is a member of the Montgomery county Medical association, and of the D. 0. H. Since his return he has been re-elected a member of the board of education. On January 9, 1897, Dr. Stein was appointed United States pension examining surgeon for Dayton.
Return to "Centennial Portrait" Home Page