Mechanics' Society-Thanksgiving on May 5th-Dayton Bank-Alexander Grimes-Stone Jail-Mr. Forrer's Account of Dayton in 1814-Colonel David Reid-J. W. Van Cleve's Description of Flood of 1814-Proclamation of Peace-Female Charitable and Bible Society-First Market House-Dayton Merchants in 1815-H. G. Phillips-G. W. Smith-William Faker-Obadiah B. Conover-William Huffman-Moral Society-Associated Bachelors-Bridge Over Mad River-First Sabbath Schools-Bridge Street Bridge-Stage Coaches 1818-1825-Camp Meetings-Menageries-Cooper's Mills Burned-First Fire Company-George A. Houston-Wolf Scalp Certificates-Cut Money-Fever Prevails-Joseph Peirce-Dayton in 1821-Charles R. Greene-Cheapness of Provisions-The Gridiron-First Musical Society -Colored People Emigrate to Haiti-First Fire Engine-Execution of McAfee.
S ATURDAY, March 15, 1813, at in the afternoon, the mechanics of Dayton met at the tavern of Hugh McCullum for the purpose of forming it mechanics' society. This was the first workingmen's association organized in Dayton.
The 5th of May was this year set apart by the governor of Ohio for a day of Thanksgiving. In Ohio in early times Thanksgiving was not always observed by the people, and when the governor issued his proclamation for the festival, he was as likely to select Christmas or Mayday as the last Thursday in November. General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, in the first proclamation of this kind issued within what is now the State of Ohio, set apart December 25, 1788, as a day of Thanksgiving and prayer, and recommended the cessation of all servile labor on that day.
On the 19th of May appeared the last number of the Ohio Centinal, and for a year and five months no newspaper was published in Dayton.
As a consequence the history of the town during this period is not as full as could be desired.
The first Dayton bank, called the Dayton Manufacturing Company, was chartered in 1813. No one in Dayton was more thoroughly identified with this bank than Alexander Grimes. Ile was elected director of the
bank in 1819. From 1831 to 1843 lie was cashier, and on the first of January, 1843, he, as agent, closed tip the affairs of the batik. Alexander Grimes was the son of Colonel John Grimes, who is frequently mentioned in this history in connection with the noted tavern on the east side of Main, near First Street. At an early day Mr. Grimes was in partnership with Steele & Peirce, under the name of Alexander (page 128) Grimes & Company. The firm was dissolved in 1817. Afterwards he was auditor of MontgomeryCounty and commissioner of insolvents. Ile, in conjunction with Edward W. Davies, was trustee of the estate of David Zeigler Cooper. Their wise and generous management of this property rapidly increased its value, and was also of great advantage to Dayton. Mr. Grimes was twice married; first to Miss Gordon, who left one son, Burnet Grimes. His second wife was Miss Maria Greene, of Dayton. They had two children; Charles Greene, who married Isabel, daughter of Daniel Keifer, of Dayton, and Susan Eliza, who married Marcus Eells.
The contract for building a new jail was sold to James Thompson July 27, 1811, at public auction at the court house for two thousand, one hundred and forty-seven dollars and ninety-one cents. The jail was eighteen by thirty-two feet and built of rubble stone. A rented house was used for a jail till the new building was finished. It was not completed till December, 1813. The jail stood on Third Street in the rear of the court house and close to the pavement. It was two stories high with gable shingle roof, running parallel with the street; a hall ran through the center of the house from the Third Street entrance; the prison occupied the east half of the building and the sheriff's residence the west half. There were three cells in each story. Those in the second story were more comfortable than the others, and were used for women and for persons imprisoned for minor offenses. One of the cells was for debtors, imprisonment for debt being still legal at that period. Often men imprisoned for debt were released by the court on "prison bounds" or limits upon their giving bond for double the amount of the debt. They were then permitted to live at home, support their families and endeavor to pay their indebtedness, but were not allowed to go beyond the corporation limits. This jail was not considered a safe place of confinement for criminals, as persons on the sidewalk could look through the barred windows, which were about two feet square, into the lower front cell, and pass small articles between the bars. Though the cells were double lined with heavy oak plank, driven full of nails, one night four prisoners escaped by cutting a hole in the floor and tunneling under the wall and up through the sidewalk.
Mr. Samuel Forrer visited Dayton in the fall of 1814, and his reminiscences, published in the Dayton Journal in 1863, give us a glimpse of the town at that date: "At that early day there was a house and a well in an oak clearing on Main Street, near Fifth, surrounded by a hazel thicket. It wag a noted halting place for strangers traveling northward and eastward, in order to procure a drink of water and inquire the (page 129) distance to Dayton! The embryo city was then confined to the bank of the Miami River, between Ludlow and Mill streets, and the business store-keeping, blacksmithing, milling, distilling, etc.-was concentrated about the head of Main Street."
The next visit of Mr. Forrer was in 1818, when he took lodgings at the principal hotel, then and long afterwards kept by Colonel Reid, " a good man and excellent landlord." The site of that old-time traveler's home is now occupied by the BaptistChurch on the west side of Main, between First and Second streets. Here Mr. Forrer remained for some time "enjoying the hospitalities of the place and the pleasures derived from the manly sports of those times."
Colonel David Reid settled in Dayton about the time the town was incorporated, and was in business until his death in 1837. Reid's inn was a noted house of entertainment before 1807. For years the menageries and shows, which found their way to Dayton once a year, had their exhibitions in the barn yard of Reid's inn. The inn parlor was the favorite place for town meetings of all kinds. At the beginning of the year 1812 Colonel Reid was in command of the first battalion of the First regiment of militia and was afterwards elected colonel.
In 1814 the Miami River overflowed its banks, and destroyed the levee. John W. Van Cleve gave the following description of this food in his lecture on "The Settlement and Progress of Dayton." "The water was deep enough to swim a horse where the warehouses stand, at the head of the basin, and a ferry was kept there for several days. The water also at that time passed through with a considerable current from the head of Jefferson to the east end of Market Street, and through the hollows in the western part of the town; and the plain through which the feeder passes, east of the mill race, was nearly all under water." In 1814 the first Methodist church was finished and occupied. October 3, 1814, the first number of the Ohio Republican appeared. Before 1812 one blacksmith had been able to do all the shoeing of horses and repairing of wagons and agricultural implements in the town and neighborhood. But after the war four blacksmiths, John Burns, Jacob Kuhns, James Davis, and O. B. Conover, did a profitable business here.
Charles Tull began to work a ferry across the Miami, at the head of Ludlow Street, in December, 1814. Farmers brought their produce over in the boat to trade at the stores, leaving their horses and wagons hitched on the north side of the river.
In the winter of 1815, some excitement was occasioned by the appearance of counterfeit notes of the Dayton Manufacturing Company.(page 130)One and two dollar bills were fraudulently raised to twenty and one hundred dollar notes. The counterfeit bills were originally issued as post notes, but in consequence of a mistake made by the engraver in repeating the letters ""tu" in the word "manufacturing," the directors did not think fit to make use of them as post notes; but as small bills were very much wanted, they cut of the words "post notes," which were engraved at the ends of the bills, and issued them as one and two dollar bills.
In February, 1815, care the glorious news that a treaty of peace had been signed between the United States and Great Britain. The Republican made the following announcement of a proposed illumination of the town in celebration of the event:
" With hearts full of gratitude to the great Arbiter of nations, we announce this joyous intelligence to our readers. Every heart that feels but a single patriotic emotion will hail the 'return of peace on terms which are certainly not dishonorable, as one of the most auspicious events we were ever called upon to celebrate.
"The citizens of Dayton have agreed to illuminate this evening. The people from the country are invited to come in and partake of the general joy."
The governor of Ohio, in view of the declaration of peace, appointed March 31st as a day of Thanksgiving.
Wednesday April 12, 1815, the ladies of Dayton and vicinity met at the house of Mrs. Henry Brown, at in the afternoon, to organize the Dayton Female Charitable and Bible Society. Each member was to contribute one dollar a year for the purpose of purchasing Bibles, and also to make a quarterly contribution of twenty-five cents for the charitable fund. The society was organized for the purpose of gratuitously distributing the Holy Scriptures and seeking the sick, the afflicted, and needy, particularly of their own sex, relieving their wants and administering to their comfort and giving consolation to then' in their distress as far as was in their power. The officers of the society were the following ladies: President, Mrs. Robert Patterson; vice-president, Mrs. Thomas Cottom; Mrs. Dr. James Welsh, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Joseph H. Crane, recording secretary; Mrs. Joseph Peirce, treasurer; managers, Mrs. William King, Mrs. David Reid, Mrs. James Hanna, Mrs. James Steele, and Mrs. Isaac Spining. This was the first society of this kind organized in Dayton, though the ladies who formed it were previously and during the remainder of their lives noted (page 131) for their benevolence and good works. A charity sermon for the benefit of the society was preached by Rev. J. L. Wilson, in the Methodist meeting-house, on Sunday, June 25th.
In May, Robert Strain opened a travelers' inn in his large brick building on the corner of Main and Fourth streets, the site of the United Brethren Publishing House. June 26th Ann Valuer opened a millinery shop on Main Street, south of Second Street. She announced, beside attractive goods for ladies, a full stock of plumes and other decorations for military gentlemen, and that she was in need of a supply of goose feathers.
July 4, 1815, the first market-house was opened, and Wednesdays and Saturdays, from four to ten A. M., appointed as the times for the markets to be held. It was a frame building, one hundred feet long, on Second Street, between Main and Jefferson, wraith butchers' stalls on either side of the interior of the building, and stands for farmers and gardeners on the outside, under the wide projecting eaves. From the building along Second, or Market Street, as that part of Second Street was then called, nearly to Main, extended two long horse racks or rails. The ordinance to regulate the market took effect April 1, 1816, and forebade the sale of butter, cheese, eggs, poultry, vegetables of any kind, fresh fish, or meat of any kind, with some exceptions, within the corporation on any other than market day. Fresh meat and fish might be sold before eight A. M. on any day, and beef by the quarter, or fifty pounds of pork, could be sold at all times.
The market prices were as follows: Flour, five dollars per barrel; wheat, seventy-five cents a bushel; beef per one hundred weight, three to three dollars and fifty cents; pork per one hundred weight, four dollars; corn, twenty-five to thirty-three cents; oats, twenty to twenty-five cents; butter, twelve and a half cents; eggs, eight cents; pair venison hams, fifty cents; pound bacon ham, ten cents. January 1, 1817, flour was six dollars, and wheat, one dollar a bushel. October, 1819, flax seed was eighty-seven and a half cents, and wheat had fallen to sixty-two and a half cents. There were very large crops throughout the Miami valley in 1821, though the preceding winter was long and cold and the spring late. Wheat fell to twenty cents per bushel and four sold in the fall at three dollars and seventy-five cents per barrel. The market prices in Dayton in March, 1822, were: Flour, per barrel two dollars and fifty cents; whisky, per gallon twelve and a half cents; wheat, twenty cents per bushel; rye, twenty-five cents; corn, twelve cents; fresh beef, one to three cents per pound; bacon hams, two to three cents per pound; butter, five to eight cents; eggs, three to five cents; chickens, fifty to seventy-five cents per dozen.
(page 132) After the war of 1812, in spite of the miserable roads and the lack of forage, immense numbers of cattle, horses, and hogs were driven to the eastern market from this region. The Rev. Timothy Flint says in his "Letters or Recollections of the Last Ten Years in the Mississippi Valley," that on his journey west in November, 1815, lie met a drove of one thousand cattle and Bogs on the Alleghany mountains, which were "of an unnatural shagginess and roughness like wolves, and the drovers from Mad River were as untamed and wild in their looks as Crusoe's man Friday."
There were about one hundred dwelling houses in Dayton in 1815, but the majority of them were log cabins. The revenue of the county from 1814-1815 was three thousand two hundred and eighty dollars and fifty-one cents, an increase in one year of one thousand four hundred and thirty-one dollars and sixty-four cents.
The merchants doing business in Dayton in 1815, whose descendants still live here, were George W. Smith, Horatio G. Phillips, Charles R. Greene, Steele & Peirce, Alexander Grimes, and William Eaker. Henry Brown opened a leather store this year. The license for a store was fifteen dollars, and the clerk's fee was fifty cents.
George W. Smith was born in Kent, England, and emigrated when a youth to the United States, settling first in Staunton, Virginia. After some years he removed to Nashville, Tennessee, and finally located, about the year 1804, in Dayton, where he lived till his death, May 14, 1841, aged about fifty-seven years. Mr., Smith was actively engaged in business during his residence here. His first partner was William Eaker, and after they dissolved he began business by himself. He soon formed a partnership with Robert A. Edgar, which continued till 1831. During the last years of his life lie was in partnership with his son George. In common with many other Dayton merchants, he was engaged in the transportation of produce (usually taken in exchange for merchandise) for which there was no sale at the North, from Ohio on flatboats to New Orleans. At an early day lie established extensive four mills and a distillery on MadRiver, three miles east of Dayton, laying out a village called Smithville, now known as harries Station. Mr. Smith was married twice. His frst wife was Miss Todd. They had two children; George W., who married Lucy Weston, and died in early life, and Mary Jane, who married William F. Irwin, of Cincinnati. Mr. Smith's second wife was Eliza Manning. They had five children, James Manning, Sophia, Louise, George W., and Ann. James Manning Smith, married Caroline, daughter of Samuel Shoup, a prominent merchant of Dayton; Sophia married Isaac Ii. Keirsteid; Louise married Captain Fletcher, of the (page 133) United States Army; Ann married William G. Sheeley, of Covington, Kentucky.
Horatio Gates Phillips was the son of Captain Jonathan and Mary Forman Phillips, and was born at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, December 16, 1744. His father was a captain in the Revolutionary Army from 1775 to the close of the war. Mr. Phillips settled in Dayton in the winter of 1804 or the spring of 1805. In the winter of 1806, he went east to buy goods, visiting his old home in New Jersey, where, on the 10th of April, 1805, he was married to Eliza Smith Houston, daughter of William C. Houston. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips made their bridal trip on horseback and in a flatboat to Cincinnati and thence in a wagon to Dayton. Mr. Phillips' first store and also his residence were in a two-storied log house on the southwest corner of First and Jefferson streets. In 1812 he built a two-storied brick store on the southeast corner of Main and Second streets, and a residence on Main Street adjoining it.
During the War of 1812, Mr. Phillips accumulated large quantities of pork, whisky, flour, and grain, taken in exchange for goods at Dayton and Troy, and this produce lie sold at a good price to army contractors and government agents who were buying supplies for the army. He was largely engaged in transporting produce by flatboats to New Orleans. Mr. Phillips was in partnership at various times with James Perrine, John Green, and his son, J. D. Phillips.
Mrs. Phillips, who was noted for her hospitality and her activity in benevolent and religious work, died December 3, 1831, leaving a son and two daughters.
On the 16th of December, 1836, Mr. Phillips married Mrs. Catherine P. Irwin, daughter of Colonel Robert Patterson, who survived her husband. Mrs. Phillips' children by her first husband, Henry Brown, have already been mentioned. Her youngest child, A. Parr Irwin, by her second husband, Andrew Irwin, married Jane F., daughter of Rear-Admiral James F. Schenck. He now lives in Kentucky. Mr. H. G. Phillips' eldest daughter, Elizabeth Smith, married John G. Worthington, of Cincinnati; his youngest daughter, Marianna Louisa, married first Robert A. Thruston, and second John G. Lowe, both of Dayton, and men of talent and high character. His only son, Jonathan Dickenson Phillips, was a generous and public spirited man. He married Lucianna Zeigler, daughter of Charles R. Greene.
William Eaker came to Dayton from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. From an early period Mr. Eaker was extensively engaged here in the business of merchandising and flatboating to New Orleans. His store was very (page 134) popular with country people, and he amassed a large fortune. He married Lucretia Lowrie, of Springfield, Ohio, who survived him many years.
They had four children-William, Charles, Franklin, and Mary Belle. Two prominent citizens belong to this period, Obadiah B. Conover and William Huffman.
Obadiah B. Conover came to Dayton from New Jersey in 1812. He was active in city and educational affairs, but was especially noted for religious and Sunday-school work. He married Sarah, daughter of John Miller, who came to Dayton in 1799, and was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church. Their sons, Harvey, Wilbur, and Obadiah, all received liberal educations and became prominent citizens, the first two in Dayton and the last in Madison, Wisconsin. They had two daughters: Sarah, who married Collins Wight, and Harriet, who married Colonel Hiram Strong who was wounded while gallantly leading the Ninety-third regiment at the battle of Chickamauga and died in NashvilleOctober 7, 1863.
William Huffman arrived from New Jersey in 1812. He was long engaged in business, and purchased a large amount of real estate which became very valuable. He built the first stone house in Dayton, in which he lived and kept his store. This stone house was long one of the landmarks of Dayton and stood on the site of the Beckel House. He had one son and four daughters. His son, William P. Huffman, was all enterprising citizen and did much towards the building up of the town. His daughters married as follows: Mary Ann to Rev. David Winters; Catharine to Morris Seely; Eliza J. to Alexander Simms; Lydia A. first to William H. Merriam, second to John Harries.
In the course of the history short biographical sketches are given of some of the settlers who came as early as 1812. The names of others are frequently mentioned in connection with the business in which they were engaged and the positions of trust they held. As the town grew in size, it would be manifestly impossible to continue these sketches, for prominent and highly esteemed citizens are too numerous. On the Fourth of July the usual program was carried out, with the exception that the young ladies were invited to meet at the tavern of Colonel John Grimes, at the head of Main Street, and join the procession. At the conclusion of the exercises the procession reformed and marched to Republican Spring for dinner.
In July the Moral Society was organized, whose object was to suppress vice and promote order, morality, and religion, and more particularly to countenance, support., and assist magistrates in the faithful discharge of their important duties and in enforcing the laws against Sabbath breaking, (page 135) swearing, and other unlawful practices. The society is careful in its constitution to state that it is not its intention to exercise a censorious or inquisitorial authority over the private transactions or concerns of individuals. James Hanna was elected chairman; George S. Houston, secretary; managers, William King, Henry Robertson, Matthew Patton, John Patterson, and Aaron Baker. Quarterly meetings of the Moral Society were held on the first Saturday in October, January, April, and July. A special meeting of the society was held on the 12th of August at in the afternoon in the Methodist meeting-house to listen to a sermon by the Rev. Mr. Findley.
In July, 1815, was also organized the Society of Associated Bachelors by convivial gentlemen of Dayton. Their usual place of meeting was Strain's bar-room. George S. Houston, secretary of the Moral Society, was at the same time president of the Associated Bachelors; so that the characters of the two organizations were not as dissimilar as their names would imply. To the great satisfaction of the Moral Society, on the 24th of September Mr. Houston was married to "the amiable Miss Mary Forman." Soon after Joseph John, secretary of the Associated Bachelors, was married to Miss Jane Waugh, of WashingtonTownship. The Republican made merry over the fact that both the president and secretary of the Bachelors' Association were married. Their successors, who were immediately elected, were Dr. John Steele president., and Alexander Grimes secretary.
October 7, 1815, the grist mill, and fulling mill, and two carding machines belonging to Colonel Robert Patterson, two miles from town, were destroyed by fire, supposed to have originated from the stove pipe in the carding room. The fire was a calamity to many poor famihes as well as to the proprietor, as there was a considerable quantity of cloth and wool belonging to a number of customers in the mills. They were soon rebuilt.
D. C. Cooper was president and J. H. Crane recorder of the select council this year. D. C. Cooper was elected State senator, and George Grove and George Newcom representatives in the legislature. Aaron Baker, who had no opponent, was elected coroner.
January 27, 1816, a meeting was held at Colonel Grimes' tavern to take measures for building a free bridge over MadRiver, which, unlike the Miami, could not be conveniently crossed by a ferry. D. C. Cooper, Aaron Baker, Samuel Dilly, David Lock, John D. Campbell, David Griffin, and William M. Smith were appointed a standing committee to superintend building the bridge, and to circulate subscription papers. Subscriptions in work, material, trade, or cash were to be solicited. This (page 136) plan was, however, abandoned, and the bridge was built the next year by the county. The contract was sold May 21st to William Farmun at fourteen hundred dollars, and though not completed, it was opened to travel in the fall. In December it was finished at an expense of one hundred and fifty dollars. It was built at 'Taylor Street, just south of Monument Avenue; was a high uncovered bridge with a span of one hundred and sixty feet, so that the roadway over the middle of the river was several feet higher above the water than at the abutments. It was painted red. A new floor was laid and additional braces put up in 1824.
The bridge fell into the river in May, 1828, and was rebuilt during the summer by John Hale.
In 1816 Daniel C. Cooper was member of the legislature. Ile was also president of the town council; recorder, Joseph Peirce; trustees, Aaron Baker, II. G. Phillips, Ralph Wilson, 0. B. Conover, George Grove.
In 1816 Rev. Dr. James Welsh laid out an opposition town, which he named North Dayton, on the west side of the Miami, on the site of the suburb called Dayton View, which he thought would take the trade from the county seat., because beside being free from overflowing by water at all times, the situation was more convenient for purposes of trade. "Two thirds of the weight and influence of MontgomeryCounty, with a very extensive and fertile back country," he says in his advertisement describing the town plat, and offering very liberal premiums to settlers, "are now constrained to cross the Miami, whenever they have business with stores, or mechanics, or wish to sell their produce." In 1821 he apphed to the court for permission to vacate the town.
The first theater was held in Dayton at the dwelling of William Huffman, on St. Clair Street, on the evening of April 22, 1816. The lovers of the drama were respectfully informed in the advertisement that the much-admired, elegant comedy, called, "Matrimony; or, The Prisoners," would be presented, and that between the play and farce would be given, recitation, "Scolding Wife Reclaimed;" recitation, " Monsieur Tonsoii;" fancy dance; comic song, "Bag of Nails;" to which would be added the celebrated comic farce, called, "The Village Lawyer." Tickets, fifty cents; doors open at ; curtain to rise at precisely. Gentlemen are requested not to smoke cigars in the theater.
At a meeting held at Reid's inn June 21st, and of which Dr. John Steele was chairman and Benjamin Tan Cleve secretary, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee to make arrangements for the celebration of the Fourth of July: Captain James Steele, Dr. Charles (page 137) Este, George W. Smith, Fielding Gosney, James Lodge, Colonel John Anderson, and David Griffin.
They had the customary procession and exercises. Dr. Charles Este read the Declaration of Independence, and Washington's farewell address was read by Benjamin Van Clove. About one hundred persons afterwards sat down to an excellent dinner prepared by Captain J. Rhea. Nineteen patriotic toasts were drunk with great hilarity. Isaac Spining, Esq., acted as president of the day, and William George, Esq., and Dr: Charles Este as vice-presidents. About the ladies and gentlemen of the town and vicinity assembled in the shade of the adjacent woods and "partook of a magnificent repast furnished by the ladies." The celebration was concluded by a ball at Colonel Reid's inn and a concert of vocal music at Mr. Bomberger's.
The name of Judge Isaac Spining constantly occurs in connection with public affairs. He emigrated from New Jersey to the West in 1796 and a few years later located on a farm three miles east of Dayton. His sons, Pierson, Charles H., and George B., were all citizens of note, the first in Springfield and the latter two in Dayton.
By the summer of 1816 county business had increased so largely that it could not be properly administered in the small court house, and July
29th the commissioners sold the contract for a building for countyofces to James Wilson for one thousand two hundred and forty-nine dollars. The building was erected on the site of the present new court house; was a brick, two stories high, forty-six feet front and twenty feet deep, and was finished in the spring of 1817. The upper story was rented to the Watchman in 1818 "at fifty dollars per year and free publication of
the annual report of the treasurer and election notices." For some time after 1820 both stories were used for county offices; then the upper story was rented for lawyers' offices. The north room on the first floor was the clerk's office; the south room was occupied by the recorder. This floor was paved with brick. The treasurer's and auditor's rooms were on the north and south sides of the second story.
In 1817 George Newcom was elected State senator, and William George and George Grove members of the lower house of the legislature. D. C. Cooper was president of the town council, W. Munger recorder, and John Patterson corporation treasurer.
This spring the advertisement of Dr. Haines, long esteemed in the community for • his professional skill and benevolence, appears in the Watchman for the first time. The advertisements of D. Stout, saddler; J. Stutsman, coppersmith, and Moses Hatfield, chairmaker, also appear. The Sabbath-school Association, the first organization of that kind (page 138) in Dayton, was formed in March, 1817. The society owed its origin to the exertions of the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Backus Wilbur, for whom a number of prominent citizens of Dayton were named. Mr. Wilbur died in Dayton, September 29, 1818. The inscription on his monument was written by Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton. A long biography of Mr. Wilbur was published in the Watchman, February 18, 1819.
The meetings of the Sabbath-school Association were held in the new Presbyterian church. Any one could become a member by contributing twenty-five cents annually. Donors of five dollars or more became life members. The society was managed by ladies, the officers consisting of a first and second directress, a secretary, treasurer, and five managers. The managers appointed the superintendent and the male and female teachers. The first board of managers consisted of the following ladies: Mrs. J. H. Crane, Mrs. Ayres, Mrs. Dr. Haines, Mrs. Hannah George, and Mrs. Joseph Peirce. Mrs. Sarah Bomberger was the first superintendent and held the position nearly twelve years. Mrs. George served as secretary for some years and was very efficient. Mrs. Bomberger was the daughter of Judge George, who came to Dayton about 1805. In 1810 she was married to William Bomberger, an excellent citizen, who held the office of county treasurer for fourteen years. Their children were George W.; Ann, who married Peter P. Lowe; and William, who removed to Colorado and died there. In July, 1818, the Methodist Sunday-school Society was organized. Their meetings began in August and were held in the Academy building. Adults and children were taught to read and were instructed in the Bible and catechism.
In 1817 there were but two pleasure carriages in Dayton; one owned by D. C. Cooper and the other by H. G. Phillips. In July a tobacco factory, the first started in Dayton, was opened by Simeon Stanisfer on the corner of First and St. Clair streets.
Blackall Stephens re-opened the old Newcom tavern, "pleasantly situated on the bank of the Miami River," in December. The tavern was now called the Sun Inn, and a large picture representing the sun was painted on the sign. The advantages of the inn, its comforts, sufficient supply of bed linen, furniture, and other necessaries, are set forth at length in an advertisement in the Watchman, with the sun faming at its head.
A stock company was incorporated January 20, 1817, which began in April, 1818, to build the red toll bridge across the Miami at Bridge Street. The following gentlemen were the incorporators of the company: (page 139) Robert Patterson, Joseph Peirce, David Reid, H. G. Phillips, James Steele, George S. Houston, William George, and William Ping. Nathan Hunt, of Hamilton, was the contractor. The bridge was opened for use in January, 1819. The toll house stood at the west end of the bridge. The Ohio Watchman for January 28, 1819, contains the following description of the new bridge, the first built across the Miami at Dayton: " The bridge across the Miami at this place is now finished, and presents to the eye a useful and stately structure, highly gratifying to all who feel interested in the improvement of this part of the country, as it is little inferior in strength and beauty to the best of the kind in the State, and renders the Miami no longer an obstruction to the free intercourse with our neighbors on the other side. It is supported by a stone abutment at each end and a strong stone pier in the center. It measures upwards of two hundred and fifty feet in length, and is well roofed and weather boarded."
During the summer, 1818, a Mr. Lyon drove a passenger coach to and from Cincinnati, beginning his trips in May. Previously there was no public stage. The Cincinnati and Dayton mail stage, owned by John H. Piatt, of Cincinnati, and D. C. Cooper, of Dayton, commenced running between the two towns June 2, 1818. They left Cincinnati on Tuesday at five in the morning, passing through Springfield (now Springdale), Hamilton, Middletown, and Franklin; passengers arrived at Dayton Wednesday evening, spending the night at Hamilton. They were two days en route from Cincinnati to Dayton. They left Dayton on Friday at five in the morning and reached Cincinnati on Saturday evening. The fare was eight cents a mile with an allowance of fourteen pounds of baggage.
John Crowder, a Dayton colored barber, and his partner, Jacob Musgrave, also a colored man, drove a coach and four that carried twelve passengers to Cincinnati and return in 1820. The trip each way took two days and the passengers spent the night at Hamilton. In 1822 Timothy Squier ran a stage to Cincinnati. The stage line to Columbus was owned by Worden Huffman. It connected at Columbus with a stage line to Chillicothe. In April, 1825, the mail route, which previously lay through Chillicothe, was changed, and on the 6th the first mail from the East, carried by a coach, arrived by way of Columbus. A regular weekly line of stages was established on the 13th of April between Dayton and Cincinnati. Passengers left Cincinnati on Monday at four in the morning and arrived here Tuesday evening at .
Coaches commenced running twice a week between the three places in June. When this line was first established, it was thought by many (page 140) that all interested in it were throwing their money away. It was not long, however, before it became necessary to increase the number of trips from one to two, then to three a week, and at length a daily stage was established. The Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Portland on Lake Erie (now Sandusky) tri-weekly line of mail coaches began running through front Cincinnati to the lake in four days in 1827. Daily coaches each way were started June 25th. They connected at Sandusky with steamers for Detroit and Buffalo, and at Mt.Vernon with a stage line for Cleveland. The fare from Cincinnati to Dayton was three dollars, six dollars to Columbus, and twelve dollars to the lake. H. G. Phillips and Timothy Squier, of Dayton; Jervis Pike and William Neil, of Columbus; C. Barney, of Mt. Vernon; K. Porter, of Portland or Sandusky, and F. Fowler, of Milan, were the proprietors. Four hundred and ninety-seven passengers by stage passed through Dayton in 1825. Stage lines in every direction were in operation in 1828. Every week twenty coaches arrived in Dayton.
In 1818 George Grove and Judge George were elected members of the legislature. Warren Munger was elected recorder.
Friday, June 26, 1818, the first Dayton camp-meeting was held at the small prairie three quarters of a mile south of Dayton, now the foot of Ludlow Street. Three thousand people are said to have attended. A camp-meeting was begun on September 10th, of the next year, at the same place, under the leadership of Rev. James B. Findley, presiding elder, assisted by Rev. Joseph Strange, of the MadRiver circuit. The prairie was entirely encircled with tents. Meetings were annually held at the foot of Ludlow Street till the canal was located. Afterwards they were held at the big spring, north side of MadRiver, near the abutment of the present railroad bridge. From the first settlement of the county it was customary to hold religious services in the woods, but there were no regular camp-meetings till 1818.
The advertisement of Dr. William Blodget appears in the Watchman for the first time in 1818.
On the 15th of July Mr. D. C. Cooper died.
This year John Collins & Co. advertise a stone saw mill, worked by water power.
In 1819 George Newcom was elected State senator, and H. Stoddard and J. Harries representatives. The number of voters in Dayton in 1819 was seven hundred and sixty-five, and the number in Montgomery County two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-five.
Shows in Dayton were few and far between at this period. In 1819 an African lion was exhibited in the barnyard of Colonel Reid's inn for (page 141) days from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon. Patrons were assured that they would be in no danger, as the lion, "the largest in America and the only one of his sort," was secured in a strong cage. Twenty-five cents admittance was charged; children half price. ' In April, 1820, Columbus, a large elephant, was on exhibition in the carriage house at Reid's inn; admittance thirty-seven and a half cents, children half price. An animal show, consisting of a single wild beast, was the only entertainment which visited Dayton in the first quarter of the century till 1823, when the advertisement of a menagerie containing an African lion, African leopard, cougar from Brazil, Shetland pony with rider, ichneumon, and several other animals, appeared in the newspaper. A band composed of the ancient Jewish cymbal and other modern instruments accompanied the show. This was a beggarly array of wild animals compared with the magnificent collections which Barnum yearly transports across the continent by steam. One wonders how they managed to transport even this small menagerie before the era of turnpikes, railroads, or canal boats. The show at Reid's inn in 1824 contained but one elephant. The first circus, which appeared in Dayton, exhibited in Reid's barnyard on July 19, 20, and 25, 1825. No more circuses arrived till July, 1829, when two came and both had their exhibitions on July 5th and 6th.
A New Year's ball was given on the evening of Friday, the 29th of December, at Fielding Gosney's inn, on the alley on the east side of Main, between Monument Avenue and First Street, formerly kept by Colonel Grimes. The following gentlemen were managers of the ball: William Grifn, Benjamin Brewbecker, E. W. Leveret, and John H. Reid. This year sixty-four lots opposite the Bridge Street bridge were platted by Joseph Peirce, agent of Samuel W. Davies and Thomas D. Carneal, of Cincinnati. The plat was called Pierson, but was soon vacated.
In 1819 St. Thomas' Church, the first Episcopal church in Dayton, was organized by Bishop Chase with twenty-three members.
Cooper's mills were burned on the 20th of June, 1820, and four thousand bushels of wheat and two thousand pounds of wool destroyed. They were soon afterwards rebuilt by James Steele and II. G. Phillips, executors of the Cooper estate. This was the first fire of any importance that occurred in Dayton, and led to the organization of the first fire company. Council provided ladders, which were hung in the markethouse on Second Street, and also passed an ordinance requiring each. householder to provide two long leather buckets, with his name painted thereon in white letters, and keep them in some place easily accessible in (page 142) case of an alarm of fire. Before this no public provision for putting out fires had been made.
In 1820 appeared the first number of the Dayton Watchman, printed and published on Main Street, a few doors south of David Reid's inn, by G. S. Houston and R. J. Skinner. The publishers offer to receive, in payment for their paper, the following articles at market prices: Flour, whisky, good hay, wood, wheat, rye, corn, oats, sugar, tallow, beeswax, honey, butter, chickens, eggs, wool, fax, feathers, country linen, and cotton rags. Mr. Houston was editor-in-chief of the paper till 1826, when it was discontinued. George S. Houston was the son of William Churchill Houston, of New Jersey, who was professor of mathematics at Princeton. G. S. Houston came to Dayton in 1810, and was at first in partnership with his brother-in-law, H. G. Phillips. In 1815 he married Miss Mary Forman. From 1814 till his death, after a long illness, in 1831, he was cashier of the Dayton bank. From 1822-1831 he served as postmaster of Dayton. He was a man of high character and noted for his benevolence and public spirit. To everything that conduced to the prosperity of the town, or the comfort and pleasure of his fellow-citizens, he gave his hearty support, both in his paper and in every other way in his power. Whenever in his day a public meeting was held or a society formed for the promotion of any worthy object, the name of George S. Houston, secretary, is usually signed to the printed report of the proceedings. Mr. Houston was an active member of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church and was appointed steward in 1815. Two children survived him-George S., who removed to Philadelphia, and Eliza, who married David K. Este, son of Dr. Charles Este, of Dayton. H. G. Phillips was president of the town council in 1820, and G. S. Houston recorder. The population of MontgomeryCounty this year was sixteen thousand.
The MontgomeryCounty woods were at this period still full of game, and during 1821 Mr. H. G. Phillips frequently advertises "a few hundred raccoon skins for sale." They were used for caps.
The flush times during the war of 1812 were followed by a serious and general depression in business throughout the United States. Gold and silver were withdrawn from circulation to the great injury of business in this region, where good paper currency was scarce. During 1820, 1821, and 1822, so little money was in circulation that purchases and sales of all kinds were made by means of barter. Wolf scalp certificates, called log cabin currency, were sometimes taken in pay instead of cash. It is stated in the Watchman that there was some talk of supplying the deficiency in coin by a return to cut money; dividing silver dollars into (page 143) five quarters, and Mexican quarters into three dimes. The Dayton bank was forced to suspend specie payment several times during this period. A fever prevailed in Dayton during the summer and fall of 1821.
There were seven hundred cases, but only seven adults and six children, died. The population of Dayton at this time was one thousand, so that about two thirds of the people were ill during the epidemic. On account of illness and death, the Presbyterian Sunday-school was suspended till the spring of 1822. Several valuable citizens died of the fever, among the number Benjamin Van Cleve and Joseph Peirce.
Joseph Peirce was born March 6, 1786, at Newport, Rhode Island, and was the son of Isaac and Mary Sheffield Peirce. His father emigrated to Marietta in 1788, removing to Belpre in 1789, and spent the last five years of his life in Dayton, dying August 28, 1821. During the Indian war Isaac Peirce took refuge with his family in the Belpre stockades, Farmers' Castle, and Goodale's Garrison, and here Joseph Peirce spent four years of his childhood.
Joseph Peirce settled in Dayton soon after the incorporation of the town. He entered into a partnership in 1807 with James Steele for retailing all sorts of goods, wares, and commodities belonging to the trade of merchandising," which continued during his life. November 10, 1810, he married Miss Henrietta Elliot, daughter of Dr. John Elliot. Their four children settled in Dayton. Mr. Peirce was elected in 1812 a member of the legislature. The following extract from a letter addressed to a relative by Mr. Peirce, while serving in the house, reflects the feeling in regard to the war of 1812: "Great unanimity prevails among the members so far. You no doubt have seen Governor Meigs' message. You will in a few clays see the patriotic resolutions approbating the general government that have been passed. I doubt we-have promised more. than most of us would be willing to perform should we be put to the test. To-day I think we shall pass a law furnishing our militia on duty with about five thousand dollars' worth of blankets." In 1813 Mr. Peirce was elected a trustee of the Dayton bank, which was just established. In 1814 he was elected president of the bank and served till his death, September 21, 1821. He received from his fellow-citizens "many and various marks of their respect and confidence," and faithfully discharged the duties of all the public positions to which he was called. The Journal mentions in an obituary notice the fact that Mr. Peirce was endeavoring to secure a canal to Lake Erie when he died. "He fully appreciated," the notice says," the importance of a canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, and was making every exertion to have this great work commenced as soon as it should be consistent with the circumstances of the State." Mr. Peirce's (page 144) eldest son, David Zeigler, married Eliza Johnson, daughter of Charles R. Greene; Mary Ann Peirce married Edward W. Davies, of Dayton; Jeremiah Hunt Peirce married first Elizabeth Forrer, and second Mary Forrer, both daughters of Samuel Forrer, of Dayton; Joseph Crane Peirce married Louise, daughter of Dr. Edwin Smith, of Dayton. John Compton began to keep the tavern at the corner of Main and Second streets June 19, 1821. This was the fashionable hotel. In spite of the hard times people were not discouraged, but looked forward hopefully, anticipating an improvement in business, now that canals were projected and capitalists were talking of building manufactories on Mad River and of improving the navigation of the Miami. A contributor to the Watchman February 13, 1821, writes in the following sanguine vein: "The Miami and Mad rivers, which meet at Dayton, are very advantageous to it and to the county. The former river is suited to navigation, and the latter to machinery to be propelled by water. Mad River is superior to most rivers, and is second to no one in the State for the facilities it offers for water works. The current of this river is uniformly rapid. A factory established on this river for the making of such articles as are adapted to the wants of this country, and supported by sufficient capital, would meet with certain success. At this time, it would be difficult to find a more profitable investment for capital. The articles manufactured in such an establishment would circulate throughout the western country, and would be found on the shelves of the stores of the Atlantic cities."
This year the town council advertised in the Watchman for proposals for draining the three ponds southwest of town; the first two to be drained into the tail-race and the other into the outlet from Patterson's pond to the river; the ditch to be six feet wide at top and four at bottom and a sufficient depth to draw the water entirely out of the ponds. There were several fires in town during 1822 which led to a complaint that the council had not provided a fire engine, but nothing was done, and the leather buckets carried by the members of volunteer companies were still used.
The Watchman notices a squirrel hunt in MontgomeryCounty in April, lasting a day and a half, in which one thousand squirrels were killed, and their scalps produced in evidence.
A heavy fall of rain early in April raised the river on the 13th and 14th higher than it had been for four or five years. The water was two or three feet deep on the lower floors of the mills, but the loss was small. On April 23d appeared a long communication urging the construction of a canal between Cincinnati and Dayton, and proving that freight, (page 145) which it cost ten dollars to carry by wagon, would cost but one dollar if sent by water; that a barrel of flour, for which fifty cents freightage was charged by land, would be but five cents by canal. The value of land, the writer urges, would be nearly doubled if a canal were built; Dayton farm and garden produce would find a market at Cincinnati, and above all a large trade in potash might be established. Potash, worth at Cincinnati one hundred dollars per ton, could be sent from here by water in large quantities, and instead of paying nine dollars per acre for clearing land, owners could burn the timber for potash and receive at the-rate of thirty dollars all acre for it!
Mrs. Julia Crane, first directress of the Dayton Sabbath-school Association, reports in the spring of 1822 that they had distributed one hundred and sixty-five books during the past year; had one hundred and twelve tracts and five miniature histories of the Bible on hand and nineteen dollars and seventy-five cents in the treasury. The school, which had been closed during the winter on account of illness and death from fever, was now re-opened.
In 1822 Charles Russell Greene was appointed clerk of the MontgomeryCounty court, to succeed Benjamin Van Cleve, and held the office till his death. Charles R. Greene was the son of Charles and Phebe Sheffield Greene, and was born in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, December 21, 1785. The Greenes emigrated from Rhode Island to Marietta with the members of the Ohio Company in 1788, and C. R. Greene removed from Marietta to Dayton before 1806, and was for some time in business with his brother-in-law, D. C. Cooper. In 1813 he married Miss Achsah Disbrow, of Dayton, daughter of Henry Disbrow, who had for a number of years been engaged in business here. In 1809 Mr. Disbrow was one of the editors of the Dayton Repertory, and in 1810 he and Paul D. Butler established a line of keel-boats on the Miami and Maumee rivers from Dayton to Toledo.
In 1812 and for some years afterwards Mr. Greene was engaged in the business of general merchandizing. The death of Mr. Greene, who was a highly esteemed citizen, cast a gloom over the whole community, and even the man who, while under the influence of liquor, caused his death, said that he had killed his best friend. A fire occurred here oil the night of September 10, 1833. Mr. Greene, who was one of the fire. wardens, ordered Matthew Thompson, who was idly looking on, to assist in passing water to the engine. Thompson refused, and offering some resistance when the order was repeated, Mr. Greene was obliged to use force to compel him to obey. The next day, on the complaint of Thompson, Mr. Greene (page 146) was summoned to appear before the squire, and while an examination was in process, Thompson struck Mr. Greene with a club, and the blow resulted in his death in a short time.
The indignation against the murderer, who had killed a citizen whose only offense was faithfully discharging his duty, was intense. Mr. Greene left two sons and four daughters. Luciana Zeigler married J. D. Phillips; Sophia married Egbert T. Schenck; Eliza Johnson married David Z. Peirce; Cooper died unmarried; Harriet married David Junkie; Charles Henry married Adeline D. Piper. Mrs. C. R. Greene died November 3, 1873, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. D. Phillips. In 1821 and 1822 a premium was offered to- the best drilled and equipped militia companies in the State. Several light companies of infantry and riflemen were formed in the brigade under the command of General William M. Smith and competed for the prize. As a curiosity the uniforms worn are worth mentioning. One of the infantry companies, commanded by Captain James M. Grimes, wore a yellow roundabout coat, green collar and cuffs, and white pantaloons and red leggins. The uniform of Captain Dodds' infantry company was a white roundabout trimmed with black cord, pantaloons the same, and citizen's hat with red feather. Captain Dixon's company of riflemen wore blue cloth roundabouts trimmed with white cord; pantaloons to correspond. Captain Windbrenner's men were dressed in grey cloth coatees, trimmed with black cord; pantaloons the same.
The Fourth of July celebration in 1822 began by the ringing of bells and firing of cannon at daybreak, and the national fag was displayed on the town flag staff. The procession to the First Presbyterian Church, where the exercises were held, was headed by the light companies of infantry and riflemen in their gay new uniforms. Then came the American flag and cap of liberty attended by four veterans of the Revolution Colonel Robert Patterson, Simeon Broadwell, Richard Bacon, and Isaac Spining. Stephen Fales delivered “a highly interesting and animating oration" and Judge Crane read the Declaration of Independence. The music on the occasion "would have done Honor to any place and reflected great credit on the singers." An excellent dinner at Mr. Squier's tavern followed the exercises. Judge Crane was president of the day; Judge Steele, first vice-president, and H. G. Phillips, second vice-president. After the regular toasts were drunk, the following volunteers were given: By Judge Crane, 11 DeWitt Clinton, the able and persevering supporter of internal improvements;" by Judge Steele, " The contemplated canal from the waters of Mad River to those of the Ohio;" by Stephen Fales, "The memory of General Wayne, the deliverer of Ohio;" by Colonel Stebbins, (page 147) officer of the day, "The president of the day--a descendant of a Revolutionary officer, one of the first settlers in this place, and who has borne the heat and burden of the day with us; as distinguished for his modesty as his worth, his is the popularity that follows, not that which is pursued;" by Judge Spining, "May the cause that first inspired the heroes of '76 to shake of the chains of slavery be ever dear and supported by all true Americans."
An address from the four revolutionary veterans, ending with the following toast, was read: "The heroes of the revolution that fell to secure the blessings of this day to us. May their children so maintain them that America may be a republic of Christians on the last day of time."
The Watchman says in July, 1822, when butter was five cents per pound and chickens fifty cents a dozen, that the Dayton price list, published weekly in the newspapers, had been noticed in Eastern papers under the head of cheap living, and the low prices of marketing here attributed to the scarcity of money in the West. The Watchman assures the people on. the Atlantic coast that the great abundance of country produce of all kinds is the true reason that living is cheap in Ohio, and that money "is quite as plenty with us as notions in the Eastern States." Five dollars reward was offered in August for the arrest of disturbers of the peace, who, during the past year, had been in the habit of hoisting flood gates, throwing open enclosures, and doing a variety of other mischief after night.
August 21st the Montgomery County Bible Society was organized at a meeting of which Joseph H. Crane was chairman and G. S. Houston
secretary. Dr. Job Haines was elected president; William King, Aaron Baker, and Rev. N. Worley, vice-presidents; Luther Bruen, treasurer; James Steele, corresponding secretary; George S. Houston, recording secretary; managers, John Miller, John II. Williams, John Patterson, David Reid, James Hanna, 0. B. Conover, Daniel Pierson, Robert
Patterson, James Slaght, John B. Ayres, Joseph Kennedy, Hezekiah Robinson, and Robert McConnel.
On the 3rd of September, 1822, the Watchman contains the prospectus of the Gridiron, a weekly newspaper edited and published by John
Anderson-a sheet much dreaded by persons politically or otherwise obnoxious to the editor and contributors, and on which "evil doers received a good roasting." A bitter political contest was being waged in Dayton at this period, and members of both parties published the severest and most unjustifiable attacks on their opponents.
General William M. Smith's brigade assembled for drill and parade in (page 148) Dayton on the 12th of October. The brigade was principally composed of young men, all well equipped, and though the roads were sloppy and some of the companies had eight or nine miles to march, the command was on parade at an early hour. The Watchman says that this was the most brilliant muster ever witnessed in Dayton.
There were forty-eight burials at the Sixth Street graveyard in 1822. William M. Smith was appointed postmaster in 1822, and held the office one year. E. Smith, afterwards widely known as Dr. Edwin Smith, assistant postmaster, attended to the delivering of the mail for several months after Benjamin Van Cleve's death in December, 1821. George S. Houston was appointed postmaster in 1823 and served till 1831. The postoffice was in the two-story brick building, still standing near the northeast corner of Second and Ludlow streets. Mr. Houston also kept a small stock of books, principally religious, for sale at the postoffice. The Dayton Foreign Missionary Society was organized in 1822.
James Steele was elected treasurer and Job Haines secretary. The membership fee was fifty cents a year which could be paid in money, clothes, kitchen furniture or groceries, to be sent to the Indians, of whom a number still lived in Ohio.
In 1823 George B. Holt began to publish a weekly Democratic newspaper, the Miami Republican and Daily Advertiser, which was continued till 1826. A biography of Judge Bolt will be given in the chapter on the "Bench and Bar."
The road to Cincinnati in the spring of 1823 was almost impassable, and the making of a turnpike was urged, but without success.
In 1823 the first Dayton musical society was organized, and John W. Van Cleve was elected president. The association was called the Pleyel Society and held its meetings in the grand jury room of the court house. None but members were admitted.
A meeting to raise money for the Greek cause was held at Colonel Reid's inn February 9, 1824. Simeon Broadwell was chairman of the meeting, Job Haines secretary, and George S. Houston treasurer. One hundred and fifteen dollars were collected, and William M. Smith, George W. Smith, and Stephen Fales were appointed a committee to remit the money to the Greek Fund Committee in New York.
The Watchman urges the corporation this spring to procure a fire engine, drain and turnpike the streets " instead of making canals of them," fill up several ponds within the town which needed attention, and provide some means of weighing hay. But it was several years before these improvements were made.
On Saturday morning, June 12, 1824, an accident happened which (page 149) threw a gloom over the little town. A party of six young ladies, four gentlemen, and two boys had gone out in a pirogue on the Miami, and while trying to pass through an open place in a fish dam at the east end of First Street, the boat struck the limb of a tree and upset. All the young people barely escaped with their lives, and Miss Rue, a girl of seventeen, in spite of the efforts of the only two of the party who could swim to save her, was drowned.
At this period there were on the Miami above Franklin fifty flouring mills, making at least two thousand barrels of four annually; one hundred distilleries, making two hundred barrels of whisky each, and four thousand barrels of pork a year were packed, statistics which are given as an indication of the improvement of the Miami valley. Twenty-four people of color left Dayton on October 21, 1824, for Hayti. Their expenses were paid by the Haytien government, which was inviting negro emigrants from the United States and sent an agent to New York to take charge of the large numbers who were willing to go. Nearly all of those who went from here soon found their way back again to Dayton.
On the night of November 16th George Groves' hat store, containing over a hundred fur and a number of wool hats, was burned, the loss being about one thousand dollars. Mr. Hollis, a watchmaker in the same building, which was frame, lost his tools, but saved the watches left with him for repair. This fire, which was the first of any size that had occurred since 1820, created a good deal of excitement, as the corporation ladders were not in their place in the market-house, and the whole dependence for extinguishing the fire was on the leather buckets belonging to citizens. Again there was a demand that council should purchase a fire engine and buckets, and see that the ladders were kept in some proper and convenient place, where they might be found when needed. An ordinance was accordingly passed threatening persons removing the public ladders from the market-house, except in case of fre, with a fine of ten dollars, and providing that a merchant who was going to Philadelphia in the spring of 1825 should be furnished with two hundred and twenty-six dollars and directed to purchase a fire engine. In the winter of 1825 Thomas Morrison erected hay scales on Fourth Street, near Ludlow, charging thirty-seven and a half cents for weighing one ton and twenty-five cents for weighing one half ton. The boundaries of the streets were at this date not very clearly defined, houses being few and far between, and the scales, which were near the corner of Fourth and Ludlow streets, were described in the newspapers as "on Main Street, one square west of Strain's tavern," now the United Brethren book store.
(page 150) The wholesale prices of provisions in Dayton in the spring of 1825 were as follows: Flour, two dollars and seventy-five cents per barrel; whisky, seventeen to seventeen and one half cents; leaf lard in kegs, six and one quarter cents; butter in kegs, six cents; country sugar in barrels, seven to seven and one half cents; feathers, twenty-five cents; beeswax, thirty to thirty-one cents; wheat, forty-five cents per bushel. In the spring of 1825 occurred the trial and execution of John McAfee for the brutal murder of his wife. The trial occupied the 2d and 3d of March. He was proved guilty, and sentenced by Judge Crane to be hung on March 28th. He was hung at in the afternoon of that day, on the gallows erected on what is now West Third Street, a short distance east of the ThirdStreetBridge. The carriage in which the prisoner, accompanied by Father Hill, a Catholic priest who had come up from Cincinnati twice before to visit him, was taken at ten A. M., from the jail to the place of execution, guarded by Captain Conrad Wolf's rifle company and Captain Squier's troop of horse. The prisoner made confession of his crime just before he was executed, and though he professed penitence, such was the indignation against him that the calling out of the militia was probably a necessary measure. This was the first execution in Dayton, and produced great excitement in the town and country; early in the morning crowds began. to flock in from the country, and nearly the whole population of this part of MontgomeryCounty was assembled at the gallows. It is a matter of congratulation that such brutalizing public executions are no longer tolerated. In April, 1825, a gentleman reached Dayton from Philadelphia, via Cincinnati, in eight days by stages and steamboats. Very recently the trip had taken from two to three weeks. Daytonians began to feel that they were becoming close neighbors of the people of the Eastern States.