Measures Proposed for Improving the Town-Proceedings of Council-Public Meeting to Sustain Council-Library Park--Dayton Business Men in 1837-Value of Property-Abolition Mob-Mad River Hydraulic-Montgomery Blues-Philharmonic Society-Shin Plasters-Thomas Morrison-Zoological Museum-William Jennison, the Naturalist-Turnpikes--Act of Legislature Authorizing State Aid to Turnpikes-Early Markets-Third Street Bridge-New Buildings Erected in 1838-Cooper Hydraulic-Fire Department-An Anti-Slavery Society Formed-Reward Offered for Arrest of a Fugitive Slave-John W. Van Cleve's Map of Dayton-Dayton Silk Company Incorporated--First County Fair--Morns Multicaulis Excitement--Swaynie's Hotel--Carpets Manufactured in Dayton-An Old-Time Fire --Number of Buildings Erected in 1839--Mosquitoes-Log Cabin Newspaper-Improved Stage Coaches-Harrison Convention--Numbers in Attendance—Enthusiasm-Hospitality of Dayton People-Banners Presented.
IN April, 1836, council appointed a committee, consisting of Messrs.Stone, Smith and Winters, to effect a loan on behalf of the corporation of from one to ten thousand dollars at a rate of interest not exceeding six per cent and for a period of not less than fve years, the interest to be paid annually. The money so obtained was to be used in improving the streets and the appearance of the town.
The following proceedings of the next meeting of council describe the proposed improvements: "The common council of the town of Dayton, at their meeting April 25, 1836, passed the following resolution :
That they would appropriate and spend so much money (provided a loan can be obtained) as will make the following improvements viz.: wharfing across the head of the State basin; improving the public commons as requested by D. Z. Cooper, in consideration of his releasing a part thereof for the benefit of the corporation, provided the balance be improved immediately, to extend the market. House on center market space to Jefferson Street; to grade the streets and walks throughout the town, and so soon as the grade is correctly ascertained, to raise and lower the walks ill the different wards to the said grade; to finish the cisterns already commenced with lime cement, and to purchase five hundred more feet of hose for the fire department."
As there was a difference of opinion in respect to the propriety of borrowing money and making the above improvements, it was resolved, on motion of the recorder, David Winters, " that all citizens interested ill the above matter be requested to meet at the court house Wednesday (page 172) evening next at early candle lighting, and then and there express their approbation or disapprobation of the above measure.'
Peter Aughinbaugh was chairman of the town meeting called by council, and Daniel Roe secretary. Addresses were made by Messrs. Robert C. Schenck, Ralph P. Lowe, Henry Bacon, and Daniel Roe. There was some opposition to the proposed improvements on the ground that they were more for ornament than use, and that they would increase the taxes, while the advantages would be unequally distributed. Council proposed to borrow ten thousand dollars, three thousand of which was to be expended on the park and the remainder on other improvements.
After a full discussion, a majority of the meeting passed resolutions commending the improvements contemplated by council and the loan by means of which they were to be accomplished. They recommended that council should apply one tenth of any amount to be expended during the year in filling up the ditch commonly called Seely's Basin. An act of the legislature, passed February 17, 1808, empowered Daniel C. Cooper to amend the original plat of Dayton as to lots 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 141, 142, 143 and set them apart as a common for the use of the citizens. To induce the citizens to convert the "commons" into a park that would be creditable, in December, 1836, David Zeigler Cooper executed a deed, authorizing the city to lease lots 94, 95, and 96, and releasing any reversionary interest that might accrue to him. It was provided in the deed that the remaining ground should be enclosed, planted with trees, and forever kept as "a walk" for "the citizens of Dayton and its visitors." It was manifestly the intention that the proceeds from the leases should be used to keep the park in perfect order. The income from this source now amounts to eight hundred and eighty-three dollars per annum. In 1838 the "public square," as the park was then called, was prepared for and planted with fine forest trees, which the Journal of that day says was "a fair beginning for a work which promises to be a credit, as well as an ornament, to the town."
Major Daniel W. Wheelock, the efficient and public-spirited mayor of Dayton, during 1836, 1837, and 1838, suggested many of the new improvements, and energetically hastened the completion of those begun, while he was in office.
A number of new buildings were erected in 1836-1837. Among the most important was a handsome brick Catholic church. Thomas Morrison, builder, as stated in the Dayton Journal, reported the number of buildings put up this year as forty-five of brick and thirty-five of frame.
(page 173)It may be interesting to mention the names of some of the business men whose advertisements appear in the Journal at this period. Numbers had been doing business in Dayton for many years; M. & G. A. Hatfield, chairmakers; T. & W. Parrott, merchants; John Bidleman, boot and shoemaker; Swain & Denlarest, produce dealers; Samuel Shoup, merchant; Simon Snyder and Samuel McPherson, tanners; Thomas Casad, hatmaker; Thomas Brown, builder; Richard Green, shoemaker; J. Burns, edge-tool manufacturer; Ii. Best, jeweler; James, Johnson V., & Henry V. Perrine, merchants; James McDaniel, merchant tailor; Aughinbaugh & Loomis, hardware; George W. Smith & Son, merchants; Samuel Dolly, coachmaker; E. Edmondson, tanner; Jacob Stutsman, coppersmith; Conover & Kincaid, merchants; T. Barrett and R. P. Brown, booksellers and bindery; E. Helfeustein & Co., hardware; Phillips, Green & Co., merchants; C. Koerner, druggist; Henry Herrman, merchant; Renck, Harshman & Co., produce dealers; D. Z. Peirce and W. B. Stone, grocers; C. & W. F. Spining, merchants; Brown & Hoglen, grocers; Daniel Roe & Sons, druggists; Daniel Keifer, cabinet-maker; Alexander Swaynie, produce dealer; J. Greer & Co., stoves; T. & J. TI. Boyer, copper and tin shop; Brown & Peirce, merchants; Van Cleve & Newell, druggists; Estabrook & Phelps, grocers; Edwin Smith & Co., druggists; Morrison & Arnold, builders; Samuel Brady, merchant; R. A. Kerfoot, saddler; Abram Darst, grocer; J. O. Shoup, merchant.
In July, 1836, David Zeigler Cooper and David Stone platted thirty-seven acres of ground, then known as " The Buck Pasture" and now within the First ward, expecting to sell them at the rate of seven hundred dollars per acre, which was considered a fair price. But such was the demand for the lots, which were regarded as a good speculation, that they sold at public auction at the court house on the 6th of August at the rate of six thousand dollars per acre, a convincing proof that the town was growing and prospering in a manner unexampled in its previous history. During the winter of 1836-1837 both the pro-slavery and the abolition sentiments of the country were asserting themselves in the most violent manner. Ili February congress refused, by a vote of ninety-two to one hundred, to pass a resolution declaring that slaves had not the right of petition, and that the reception of such petition-, was unconstitutional. The next morning the seats of the indignant Southern members, who had agreed to pursue this course, were vacant. Alarmed by this protest, the house, on the following day, reconsidered the subject and passed by a large majority-one hundred and forty-nine to fifty-four-a resolution similar to the one that had been rejected. The Dayton Journal for February 21, 1837, which contained these proceedings of congress, published on the (page 174) same page, with the resolutions, an account of the mobbing of Abolitionists in Dayton.
For some time considerable excitement had been produced here by the efforts of Abolitionists to propagate their opinions, and in more than one instance the opposition to them had resulted in acts of violence. In January Dr. J. G. Birney, a noted member of the Anti-slavery party and formerly editor of the Philanthropist, an Abolition paper, published at Cincinnati, but destroyed by a mob July 30, 1836, endeavored to deliver an address oil the abolition of slavery in the Union Church, but was interrupted and egged by a mob, fired with hatred of negroes and Abolitionists.
The Union Church stood on the west side of Main Street, south of Fourth, on the ground now occupied by the residence of G. W. Rogers, and was built mainly at the expense of the late Luther Bruen. It was usually occupied by the Christian or "Newlight" denomination, but was always open to abolition lectures, Mr. Bruen being an earnest and outspoken Abolitionist when it required no ordinary amount of moral and physical courage to be one. Mr. Bruen was a prominent pioneer citizen. He had four children : Priscilla married Samuel Brady; Eliza married Robert G. Corwin; David 11.; Luther B. married Augusta, daughter of Samuel Forrer. Luther B. died in hospital at Washington, D. C., from a wound received at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House. Dr. II. Jewett, who was also a leading Abolitionist, in a letter to James Steele, State senator, asking his assistance to obtain redress from the legislature by all act compelling the corporation of Dayton to pay, with part of the fees obtained from grog shop licenses, the damage caused by the mob, says: "I, for the sin of lodging him [Dr. Birney], had my house assailed, my windows broken, and my furniture and family bespattered with rotten eggs, and my life threatened in case I should ever shelter him or any other Abolitionist lecturer."
From this time the ferment increased. "In the face," the Journal says, of threats of violence and for the purpose of braving, as it were, by a shout of defiance those who had threatened personal injury to anyone who might attempt the delivery of another abolition lecture in town, an individual was invited here for that purpose." The lecturer was the Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister. The meeting was held on Monday afternoon, February 13th, at the Union Church. The threats of the mob were carried out, and the lecturer was egged, forced from the pulpit, and in addition to other indignities, received a severe blow, but escaped alive and remained for some days at the house of Dr. Jewett, intending as soon as able to attempt to speak again.
(page 175) Mr. Rankin was not willing to trust himself in the house of all Abolitionist during the night of the mob, but applied for protection to a gentleman of high character and much influence, who did not sympathize with the extreme views of either Abolitionists or pro-slavery men, but was opposed to mobs, and willing to give the lecturer a lodging and breakfast. During the night the mob destroyed some houses occupied by negroes, and also the glass, sash, stove, and Bible of the Union Church. The Journal's account of these occurrences both denounces Abolitionists and condemns the mob. It says: "It is known to every reader of the Journal that we have never countenanced directly or indirectly the efforts of the Abolitionists. It is not our purpose to do so now. But we put it to every reflecting mail in the community to say whether lie can do otherwise than condemn these acts of violence. Shall the mob or the law be supreme? that is the question. If you say the law shall govern, stand by your declaration, and justify no violation of it. Look to the act and not to the object."
Now that the "irrepressible conflict" has been happily and forever settled, it is difcult to justly judge of the conduct of those who were in the midst of the heated controversy. From our standpoint the condemnation of the mob by the Journal seems tame and inadequate. But it must be remembered that at that time many excellent people, who were sincerely opposed to slavery, felt that it was a State institution, for which they were not responsible, and that the compromises of the Constitution ought to be observed.
This year a daily mail from Washington to Cincinnati, through in fifty-six hours, was established.
The Montgomery Blues, Captain Hopkins commander, were organized in May. The musicians of Dayton were invited to meet at the military hall, on Market Street, on the 16th of this mouth, for the purpose of forming a band of music for the "Grays" and the "Blues." The invitation was signed E. F. Lupton, Jacob Boyer, Joseph Davidson, committee of Grays; David Carroll, Adam Speice, and H. Munn, committee of Blues.
In the spring of this year the Dayton Philharmonic Society was organized for the study of sacred music, with Stephen Fry as teacher and C. Hayden secretary. They were in the habit of giving concerts in the churches, sometimes for the benefit of the poor.
This was a period of financial difficulty throughout the United States, and therefore the Dayton Journal had reason to congratulate the citizens on the fact that the Dayton bank was the only bank in the country which redeemed its notes with specie.
(page 176) The wild speculation which preceded and culminated in 1837 resulted in a complete prostration of business from which the country did not recover for many years. The failure of many banks and the suspension of specie payments by the others, made money, and especially silver change, excessively scarce. As a substitute for small coin, "shin plasters," or promises to pay fifty, twenty-five, or ten cents on demand, printed oil ordinary paper, were issued by merchants, grocers, and others. Thomas Morrison, who was an extensive owner of real estate, which was a basis for credit, issued a large amout of these "shin plasters." It was so easy and tempting to issue money which was current to be redeemed in the future, that it is not surprising that an amount was put out Lunch beyond the original intention. When the time carne for redemption the following advertisement in the Journal of June 26, 18-38, shows the unpleasant position in which Mr. Morrison was placed:
"PUBLIC NOTICE-SHIN PLASTERS IN DANGER.
"FELLOW-CITIZENS :-I am compelled to leave town to fulfill a contract that I have undertaken--that is to build a mill at the falls of Greenville Creek, for G. W. Smith. I leave Dayton at this time with regret, because the law prohibiting the circulation of small notes or shin plasters is soon to take effect, and I wish to satisfy my fellow-citizens that I am not the man under any circumstances to take advantage of that law by which the State allows me to act the rascal. 'No, it is vain to try to induce me to do so. I intend to redeem every note I have put in circulation and that as soon as I return, and will do it with pleasure and satisfaction. I desire my fellow-citizens and all who have confidence in my word of honor-and I trust there are some who believe I will (1o as I say-not to refuse to take them till my return, when every cent shall be paid with the addition of six per cent interest for every day the notes are left unredeemed, after the 1st of July. On my return I will give public notice, so that the holders of my notes may call. It has been an unprofitable business, but it shall end honestly."
In the end Mr. Morrison redeemed in full all the "shin plasters" he issued. Mr. Morrison came to Dayton at all early day, and was for many years the leading contractor and builder of the town. His son, David H. Morrison, a skillful civil engineer, and founder of the Columbia Bridge Works, married Harriet, the daughter of Robert J. Skinner, the pioneer newspaper publisher and editor. Mary Morrison married Dr. M. Garst, and Maria, Daniel Garst. Charles Anderson delivered the Fourth of July oration this year; (page 177) Edward W. Davies read the Declaration of Independence; C. G. Swain road Washington's address, and Rev. David Winters was chaplain.
The Cincinnati Grays visited Dayton on the 29th of August as the guests of the Montgomery County Blues and the Dayton Grays, arriving on the canal packet Clarion. The three companies had a grand parade and a dinner at the Franklin House on Tuesday, the Cincinnati Grays returning home by canal on Wednesday. This parade and dinner were quite a notable event in the early history of the town, and much is made of it in the Journal.
A number of citizens assembled on the 16th of September at the court house for the purpose of establishing a zoological museum. A committee, consisting of John W. Van Cleve, Dr. John Steele, William Jennison, and Thomas Brown, was appointed to ascertain whether a suitable room could be obtained and funds for paying for it secured. A room was procured at the head of the basin, but the place was unsuitable and not attractive.
The idea of establishing a public museum would not have suggested itself to the citizens of Dayton at that early date, but for the presence here of a very accomplished naturalist., Mr. William Jennison, who had been for a number of years engaged in such work in Germany, and being connected with foreign societies of naturalists, would be able to procure front abroad almost any specimens desired, merely by applying for them and paying the cost of transportation.
He had a number of birds prepared by himself in the best manner and handsomely arranged in glass cases, and also hundreds of insects classified and arranged in scientific order, and according by the variety of size and color a most beautiful sight, though " the poor fellows were impaled with pins." All these he offered to place in a public museum and to devote part of his time to the work of increasing the collection. But the project was soon abandoned, and lie removed his birds and butterflies to his residence, thou a short distance out of town, but now on Linden Avenue, within the corporation, where he had a garden and green house, in which he raised fine flowers for sale. He was an object of curiosity to the people when lie went out, net in hand, to collect butterflies for his cabinet and natural history specimens to exchange with his learned friends across the Atlantic.
Mr. Jennison was an elegant and accomplished mail, with the courtly manner of a gentleman of the old regime. He spoke English perfectly, which was probably due to the fact that his mother was an Englishwoman of rank, whom his father, Count Jennison, of Heidelberg, had married while minister from the kingdom of Wurtemberg to the Court of St. (page 178) James. Washington Irving, in a letter published in the second volume of his biography, gives an interesting account of a visit which he paid in 1822 to Count Jennison and his amiable and agreeable family. He describes the Count as an elegant and hospitable and highly cultivated man, who spoke English as perfectly as an Englishman. A meeting was held on the evening of the 18th of November, 1837, at the court house for the purpose of exciting all interest in the Mad River & Lake Eric Railroad, incorporated in 1832, and organized, as already stated, in 1834. Since the election of officers of the company, nothing further had been done. Jonathan Harshman, Robert C. Schenck, and Peter Odlin took a prominent part in the meeting, and resolutions were passed urging the raising of stock and the speedy commencement of the road. The law affording State aid to railroads had recently been passed by the Ohio legislature.
During 1837 there were seventeen million, seven hundred and seven thousand, seven hundred and fifteen pounds of merchandise received in Dayton by canal, and tell million, seven hundred and eighty-seven thousand, six hundred and fifty pounds of produce were shipped from here; twenty-nine thousand, three hundred and fifty pounds of machinery made a part of the amount exported. Large quantities of machinery of excellent quality were manufactured here at this period. The era of turnpikes has now been reached, and as they were an important factor in the progress and prosperity of the town, a full account of then will be given. As early as March, 1817, the Cincinnati and Dayton Turnpike Company was formed, and in the summer of 1819 it was incorporated. William C. Schenck, father of General R. C. Schenck, who was secretary of the company, announced in the Watchman in Julie, 1819, that subscription books would be opened on the second Monday in July at. Steele & Peirce's store, under the direction of H. G. Phillips and Joseph Peirce. It was the intention to make the road sixty feet wide, but the turnpike was not built.
An act was passed on the 24th of March, 1836, by the legislature " to authorize a loan of credit by the State of Ohio to railroad companies, and to authorize subscriptions by the State to the capital stock of turnpike, canal and slack water navigation companies." Dayton was one of the first towns to avail itself of the provisions of the act guaranteeing the aid of the State to works of this description, and before the repeal of the law in 1840 it had been the means of putting in the course of construction five turnpikes, the aggregate length of the five roads being one hundred and forty miles, and other turnpikes were in contemplation. To the abundance of gravel, which made the construction of turnpikes cheap (page 179) and easy, is due our excellent turnpikes leading in every direction to the neighboring towns.
Three of the companies-the Dayton & Covington; Dayton, Centreville & Lebanon, and the Dayton & Springfield-had been incorporated in 1833, but the contracts for building the roads were not let till after the passage of the law insuring State aid.
In April, 1837, the subscription books of the Dayton, Centreville & Lebanon turnpike were opened at the law office of Peter Odlin and R. C. Schenck. The other Dayton members of this company were Horace Pease, H. G. Phillips, Joseph Barnett, Thomas Brown, Thomas Dover, and F. H. Carrell.
In the fall of 1837 books for subscription to the stock of two turnpike routes, proposing to connect Dayton with Cincinnati, were opened.
Mr. J. W. Van Cleve, believing that a correct and satisfactory estimate of the expense of any work, for which stock subscriptions are solicited, is a most important item in securing the investment of money to effect the object, published the following characteristic proposal in the Dayton Journal on the 31st of October: "I will pay one hundredth part of the expense of making one mile of graveled road, commencing at the hill near Seely's, and measuring one mile towards Springfield; the road to be graded in the first place and then graveled thirty feet wide in the same manner with our streets. I will perform the leveling also without charge, and if any citizens will subscribe for the making of a mile of similar road or any other roads leading from town, commencing at the outer boundary of the building lots, I will also perform the leveling without charge." Mr. Van Cleve thought that the cost of making one mile of graveled road would not exceed two thousand, five hundred dollars, and that his plan, if carried into effect, would at least show whether his judgment was correct and enable estimates of the cost of the contemplated roads to be made with much accuracy and in a most economical manner. The Journal does not inform us whether Mr. Vail Cleve's proposition was accepted, but we are told that when the contracts were let the cost per mile proved to be about four thousand dollars.
The subscription books of the Dayton & Springfield Company were opened January 19, 1838, and the contract made on the 12th of May.
This turnpike, to induce travel through Dayton, was built in the same style as the National road, especially at its junction with the latter, and with similar bridges, stone culverts, toll gates, and mile stones. Comfortable brick taverns were erected a few miles apart along the pike. It was a great disappointment to the people of Dayton that the National road did not pass through here. Strenuous efforts were made to induce (page 180) congress to locate the road through Dayton, and having failed, equally strenuous efforts were made to have the route changed. A meeting of council was held, at which the following resolution was passed: "Resolved, That the mayor of this town forward to Joseph H. Crane, Esq., our representative in congress, whatever statistical information can be obtained with regard to the advantages possessed by this place, and other facts which it may be thought necessary to submit to the consideration of congress; to induce them to order a change in the route of the National road, so that it may pass from Springfield through Dayton and Eaton to Richmond, Indiana." But this effort to secure the road also failed. The following gentlemen constituted the board of directors of the Springfield Turnpike Company: Jonathan Harshman, Joseph Barnett, John Kneisly, Charles Hagenbaugh, V. Winters, and Peter Aughinbaugh. President, J. Harshman; treasurer, V. Winters; secretary, J. Barnett. Subscription books for stock in the Dayton & Covington Company were opened March 30, 1838, and the contract was let the next summer. The distance to be built was twenty-six miles, and the estimated cost ninety-three thousand dollars. It was proposed in June, 1839, to put twenty miles under contract immediately at an estimate of seventy-three thousand dollars, to be raised by individual subscriptions with the addition of the aid from the State. Five thousand dollars additional subscriptions from citizens were all that were now needed to insure the immediate commencement and final completion of the road. The following gentlemen were elected directors of the company: N. Hart, Abram Darst, George Burtner, John Sikes, William Sheets, D. W. Thayer, Seth Riley, A. Minwich, D. Z. Peirce. N. Hart was president of the board; Abram Darst, treasurer; David Z. Peirce, secretary.
The Great Miami Turnpike Company was chartered in March, 1837, and commenced in the summer of 1838.
The Dayton & Western Pike Company was organized in May, 1839, and the contracts were let on the 8th of July.
On the 6th of August, 1839, ten miles of the Dayton & Greenville turnpike were let at an average of three thousand two hundred dollars per mile, which was a lower price than the cost of any pike in this neighborhood. The Journal announces August 6, 1839, that the Dayton & Springfield pike is nearly finished.
In 1839 Mr. Samuel Forrer, at the earnest solicitation of the directors, consented to take charge of the turnpikes as engineer and general superintendent. The roads placed under his supervision were the Dayton & Lebanon, Dayton & Springfield, and the Great Miami turnpikes. The Ohio legislature, for partisan reasons, had just excluded Mr. Forrer from (page 181) the canal board, thus depriving the State of a faithful and competent officer. But as Dayton could now secure the constant aid of his invaluable talents and experience in the various public improvements in which the citizens were interested, and which, although of a local character, deeply concerned a large proportion of the people, there were some among us, the Journal says, selfish enough not to regret the change. The Shakertown pike was chartered in 'March, 1841. The pike from Dayton to Troy was built in 1842. The Valley pike was built in 1843; Dayton & Germantown in 1847; Wolf Creek in 1849; Dayton & Xenia, 1849; Dayton & Wilmington, 1849; Salem, 1850; Brandt, 1850. For some years the county commissioners have had the supervision of the turnpikes. The toll gates, which used to be encountered at every few miles along the - road, have been abolished by a law, permitting the purchase of the pikes by the county from the companies. Samuel Forrer was reappointed in the spring of 1837 by the board of public works, principal engineer oil the lines of the Wabash and Erie and Miami canals. This appointment, as the proper administration of the canal involved the prosperity of Dayton, was a matter of rejoicing here. A number of Dayton young men went out with Mr. Forrer to learn civil engineering. Howe's "Historical Collections of Ohio" contains, in the chapter on, "Pioneer Engineers of Ohio," by Colonel Charles Whittlesey, the following interesting biographical sketch of Mr. Forrer: "No engineer in Ohio spent as many years in the service of the State as did Mr. Forrer. lie came from Pennsylvania in 1818, and in 1819 was deputy surveyor of Hamilton County, Ohio. In 1820 Mr. William Steele, a very enterprising citizen of Cincinnati, Ohio, employed Mr. Forrer at his own expense to ascertain the elevation of the Sandusky and Scioto summit above Lake Erie. His report was sent to the legislature by Governor Brown. This was the favorite route [for the Erie canal], the shortest, lowest summit, and passed through a very rich country. The great question was a supply of water. It would have been located, and in fact was in part, when in the fall and summer of 1823 it was found by Judge D. Bates to be wholly inadequate. Of twenty-three engineers and assistants eight died of local diseases within six years. Mr. Forrer was the only one able to keep the field permanently and use the instruments in 1823.
"When Judge Bates needed their only level, Mr. Forcer invented and constructed one that would now be it curiosity among engineers. Ile named it the Pioneer. It was in the form of a round bar of wrought iron, with a cross like a capital T. The top of the letter was a flat bar welded at right angles, to which a telescope was made fast by solder, on (page 182) which was a spirit level. There was a projection drawn out from the crossbar at right angles to it, which rested upon a circular plate of the tripod. By means of thumb-screws and reversals, the round bar acting as a pendulum, a rude horizontal plane was obtained which was of value at short range.
"Mr. Forrer was not quite medium height, but well formed and very active. He was a pleasant and cheerful companion. Judge Bates and the canal commissioners relied upon his skill under their instructions to test the water question in 1823. He ran a line for a feeder from the Sandusky summit westerly and north of the water shed, taking tip the waters of the Auglaize and heads of the Miami. Even with this addition the supply was inadequate. Until his death in 1874 he was nearly all the time in the employ of the State as engineer, canal commissioner, or member of the board of public works. He was not only popular, but scrupulously honest and industrious. His life-long friends regarded his death as a personal loss greater than that of a faithful public officer. He was too unobtrusive to make personal enemies, not neglecting his duties, as a citizen zealous but just. He died at Dayton, Ohio, at ten A. M., March 25, 1874, front the exhaustion of his physical powers, without pain. Like his life he passed away in peace, at the age of eighty, his mind clear and conscious of the approaching end." In the winter of 1838 the experiment was tried of having market on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons and in the early morning on the other three days. But the people soon returned to what Curwen calls "our midnight markets," the bell ringing at four o'clock in the depth of winter, and the people hurrying at the first tap to the market house, as a short delay would deprive them of their favorite cut of meat or first choice of vegetables and force them to fill their baskets with rejected articles. As in New York two hundred years ago, "such was the strife among the thrifty townsfolk to be on hand at the opening of the market, and thereby get the pick of the goods that long before the bulk of the business was done." This custom of market before daybreak, in spite of its discomfort, continued for many years.
This year the Third Street Bridge Company, of which Jacob D. Lowe was president, and Peter Aughinbaugh, H. Van Tuyl, I. Wanderlich, and Valentine Winters were directors, was formed.
The Montgomery County Agricultural Society was organized on the 11th of September, 1838. Colonel Henry Protzman was elected president, and Charles Anderson secretary.
In spite of the hard times Dayton was very prosperous in 1838. The Journal enumerates the following improvements which were made that (page 183) Council expended about six thousand dollars in improving and beautifying the town. The streets and pavements were graveled, guttered, and macadamized for the first time, though the work had been begun three years before. Eighty-nine buildings, fifty-six of brick and thirty-three of frame, were erected, and more would have been put up if it had been possible to obtain sufficient brick and timber. The principal buildings erected were two brick district school houses, the first that were built in Dayton, and the Third Street Presbyterian Church. This was also of brick seventy-two by fifty-two feet in size, "of approved architectural beauty," and cost fifteen thousand dollars. The dwellings in town were all occupied to their fullest capacity, and there were none for rent or for sale.
A great drought occurred in the summer of 1838, which almost prevented milling, yet the flour shipped by canal from Dayton this year nearly doubled the amount shipped in 1837.
The tolls for 1838 show an increase of eight thousand dollars over 1837. There were eight thousand, nine hundred and three passengers by canal during 1838, and merchandise to the amount of twelve million, eight hundred and eight thousand and seventy pounds was received. The amount of tolls paid was twenty-seven thousand, five hundred and ninety dollars and seventy-nine cents. Yet the canal was closed by ice or for repairs during over fve months this year. The population of Dayton in 1838 was eight thousand.
The most valuable improvement made this year was the Cooper hydraulic, constructed by Edward W. Davies and Alexander Grimes, agents of Mrs. L. C. Cooper. "It is an enterprise," said the Journal, "for the projection and completion of which all who have the prosperity of Dayton at heart will cheerfully accord to the gentlemen above named due credit for their public spirit."
In 1838 Edwin Smith and Peter P. Lowe, both Democrats, represented Montgomery County in the legislature.
On the 30th of December, 1838, the carpenter shop of D. A. Wareham, on S-t. Clair Street, with all its contents, and the livery stable of Kiefe & Ainsworth, were burned and other buildings considerably damaged. "All the fire companies were on the ground early with their apparatus," says the Journal, whose account we quote, as it mentions all the engines. "The Enterprise came first, and while supplied with water was very efficient. The Independence and Safety were stationed at the basin and threw water on the fire through their five hundred feet of hose. The Safety, however, was not in order, and could not be made to operate till the fire was checked and the neighboring buildings out of danger. (page 184) But the Independence being in the best possible trim had water upon the fire almost as soon as her hose was laid, and continued in active operation till the fire was extinguished and the companies exhausted by hard work, it being impossible, with all the efforts of time fire wardens, to entice men enough from comfortable quarters near the fire, where they could see the fun and keep their toes warm, to relieve the worn-out firemen at the brakes of the engines."
March 12,1839, DaytonTownship was divided by the legislature into two election precincts, the first precinct voting at the court house, and the second at Houk's tavern, on Market Street. The first precinct comprised all the territory north of the Eaton road, Third Street, and the Springfield pike; and the second precinct all south of the boundary line of the first.
An anti-slavery society, with forty members, was organized in Dayton in March, 1839. Luther Bruen was elected president, Paul R. Wambaugh vice-president, James Knapp treasurer, and James A. Shedd secretary of the society. Side by side in the Journal with the account of the organization of the Abolition society appears an, advertisement, offering a reward of four hundred dollars for the return of a runaway Kentucky slave, supposed to be in this neighborhood. The advertisement is headed with one of those intensely black little vignettes, representing a bare-headed colored man, with a bundle hung on a stick, and negro quarters in the back ground, making all speed for the North, which so often at this date appeared in the Dayton newspapers. The poor fellow is described as "likely and pleasant when spoken to, and easily alarmed," and calling himself Washington, though that was not his real name.
This year John W. Van Cleve prepared a neap of Dayton, from a survey made by himself, which lie had lithographed in Philadelphia, and sold, according to the style of mounting, at a dollar or five dollars each. In 1839 the Dayton Silk Company was incorporated with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The company advertised that they had on hand one hundred and fifty thousand eggs for gratuitous distribution to all who would sell to than the cocoons raised from the eggs. They published fifteen thousand copies of a circular, giving all requisite information oil the subject of silk culture, which were freely distributed. It was proposed to introduce the cultivation of the variety of white mulberry, known as Morns 1liullicaulis. The leaves of the Morns Multicaulis, unlike those of the other variety, could be used the first year in the rearing of silk worms. Farmers were advised to turn their attention to this valuable crop, and many of them did so, and the raising of silk worms became the fashion. The trees sold in the East for from (page 185) seventy-five cents to one dollar and fifty cents a piece, and the demand for them was increasing. The people were assured that one acre had been known to produce as high as seventy-five pounds of silk the first year from the cuttings, and it was believed that fifty pounds could be produced the first year without injury to the trees. This silk company, like the former one, proved a failure.
The first Montgomery County Agricultural Fair was held in Dayton at Swaynie's hotel, at the head of the basin, October 17 and 18, 1839. At eleven in the morning on the 17th a procession of about three hundred persons interested in the society marched, headed by a band of music, through the principal streets to the hotel, where the anniversary address was delivered by D. A. Haynes. The display of horses, cattle, and farm products was fine. The Committee on Silk--Daniel Roe, C. S. Bryant, John Edgar, Peter Aughinbaugh, Charles G. Swain, W. B. Stone, and R. N. Comly--awarded a premium, a silver cup worth ten dollars, for the greatest amount of silk produced from the smallest number of Multicaulis leaves. Other valuable premiums were awarded by the society, but the cup was offered by members of the Silk Company.
The mention of the Morus Multicaulis tree recalls to memory one of those strange manias that occasionally sweep over the country. The tree had recently been introduced from China, was of rapid growth and furnished abundant food for silk worms. It was believed that the cultivation of this tree and the use of its leaves to feed silk worms, would make the United States the great silk-producing country of the world. The most extravagant price was paid for young trees and thousands of acres planted. Wide-spread ruin was the result, and hundreds of persons lost their all in this wild speculation.
Swaynie's Hotel, where the first Montgomery County Agricultural Fair was held, was finished in April, 1839. It was considered a first-class house and regarded with pride by the people of Dayton. All the carpets in the hotel were manufactured by the Dayton Carpet Company, and were of such superior texture, designs and colors, that guests of the house could with difficulty be convinced that they were made west of the Alleghany mountains. The Dayton carpets were sold in the stores at Cincinnati and other western towns as imported carpets, and purchasers did not discover the deception.
Edwin Smith was reelected to the legislature in 1839.
A fire occurred here in December, 1839, which resulted in great loss on account of the excitement and unruly conduct of the crowd, though the Independence Engine arrived in the nick of time, and saved the building. We quote the Journal's report, as it gives a good idea of all (page 186) old-time fire, when more damage was often caused by the officious crowd and the water than by the flames: "While the work of preservation was in progress outside, sonic destructives were enacting very different scenes within the building. In their eagerness to save the owners from loss by fire, they wrenched the doors from the hinges, pulled the mantles from their places, shattered the windows and broke the sash, and all to save property from destruction by fire. It will cost the owner of the property more money to repair damages inside his premises than to replace all that was destroyed by the fire." The Journal complains that very few of the white wands of the fire guards were to be seen on this occasion, and attributes the confusion partly to their absence.
In the next Journal appeared the following card from the officers of the various fire companies, appealing to their fellow-citizens for aid in protecting firemen from uncalled-for interruption at fires: "Each company claims for itself the right to control its engine, hose, and pipe, and any interference by an individual not a member of the association is calculated to create useless altercation and to retard the effective operation of the firemen. The brakes of our engines are always free to those who desire to render effective aid. All we ask is that those who are not connected with the fire department would either remain at a distance or work at the engines, believing as we do, that the confusion created at fires is occasioned by those who are not connected with the engines. E. W. Davies, president Second Engine Company; E. Favorite, vice-president; V. Winters, foreman Safety Engine and Hose Company; Frederic Boyer, assistant; E. Carroll Hoe, president Enterprise Company." At this time great pride was felt in the fire department, and the most prominent citizens of Dayton were members of the companies. It was a great advance on all that had preceded it, but it was defective as all volunteer organizations necessarily are. With the splendidly equipped and perfectly ordered paid department of the present time, the interference of citizens complained of in 1839 never occurs.
The number of buildings erected in Dayton in 1839, as counted by Thomas Morrison, was one hundred-sixty-four of brick, thirty-six of wood, and twenty-six intended for business houses. A new First Presbyterian church took the place of the old one built in 1817 on the corner of Second and Ludlow streets. It was fifty by eighty feet in size, of the "Grecian Ionic order of architecture and considered very handsome." It cost seventeen thousand dollars. A Baptist church was also built on the corner of Fourth and Ludlow streets, forty by sixty feet in size and seventy-five feet in height. The front 11 presented a very neat specimen of the Grecian Doric architecture." The cost of the whole, (page 187) including the lot, was six thousand dollars. A number of improvements were made along the hydraulic. Mr. Thomas Brown, after particular inquiry, made at the request of the Journal, reported that four million, five hundred thousand bricks were made in Dayton during 1839. The number on hand he computed at five hundred thousand, which gave four millions as the number of bricks laid during the year.
Dayton was increasing rapidly in population, and a watchman at night and bars and bolts in the day time began for the first time to be considered a necessity in the residence part of the town. The Journal complains that the march of improvement had not been made without still another attendant evil, and that while the citizens boasted of their turnpike roads, graveled streets, fine stores, and splendid churches, in getting these they had also got that small vampire, the mosquito. They appeared for the first time in the history of the town in small numbers when the canal was opened, and were supposed to have come on the canal from below, but they gradually increased till they murdered sleep throughout the corporation and became a great pest.
The vocal and instrumental musical societies, under the direction of L. Huesman, gave a series of concerts in the churches during the winter of 1840, which were very popular.
In February the prospectus of the Log Cabin newspaper published in Dayton by R. N. & W. F. Comly, appeared. The Log Cabin was continued during the Harrison campaign, and after enough subscribers were obtained to pay expenses, was gratuitously distributed as a campaign document. A large picture of a log cabin with a barrel of hard cider at the door, occupied the first page of the paper. The illustrations were drawn and engraved by John W. Van Cleve. The price of the paper was fifty cents for thirteen numbers. Two files of the Log Cabin, which attained a national reputation, are on the shelves of the Dayton Public Library.
This year David Lamme, a Whig, represented the county in the legislature.
Peter Odlin was the Fourth of July orator in 1840, and the Declaration of Independence, "prefaced by some happy remarks," was read by John G. Lowe. The exercises were held at the Third Street Presbyterian Church. The Dayton Grays and the Washington Artillery, a new military company, paraded.
On the 15th of December the Messrs. Comly began to issue the Journal as a daily paper. This was the first daily paper published here. The subscription was six dollars per year. The project was soon abandoned and a tri-weekly issued. A daily paper was not again attempted till 1847.
(page 188) The journey to Cincinnati, which used in the days of mud roads to be It serious undertaking, was in 1840, over an excellent turnpike and in an Indian bow-spring coach," which was superior to all other sorts in use, a short and pleasant trip. A guard accompanied each coach and the drivers were well behaved and understood their business. There were two daily lilies, owned by J. & P. Voorhees. One left at in the morning and the other at night, immediately after the arrival of the eastern mail.
The population of Dayton in 1840 was six thousand and sixty-seven. Never in the history of the Northwest has there been a more exciting presidential campaign than that which preceded the election of General W. H. Harrison and nowhere was the enthusiasm for the hero of Tippecanoe greater than in Dayton. A remarkable Harrison convention was held here on the date of Perry's victory on Lake Erie, and tradition has preserved such extravagant accounts of the number present, the beauty of the emblems and decorations displayed, and the hospitality of the citizens and neighboring farmers that the following prophecy with which the Journal began its account• of the celebration- may almost be said to have been literally fulfilled: "Memorable and ever to be remembered as is the glorious triumph achieved by the immortal Perry on the 10th of September, 1813, scarcely less conspicuous on the page of history will stand the noble commemoration of the event which has just passed before us."
Innumerable flags and Tippecanoe banners were stretched across the streets from roofs of stores and factories, or floated from private residences and from poles and trees. People began to arrive several days before the convention, and on the 9th crowds of carriages, wagons, and horsemen streamed into town. About the Cincinnati delegation came in by the Centreville road. They were escorted from the edge of town by the Dayton Grays, Butler Guards, Dayton military band, and a number of citizens in carriages and on horseback. The procession of delegates was headed by eleven stage coaches in line with banners and music, followed by a long line of wagons and carriages. Each coach was enthusiastically cheered as it passed the crowds which thronged the streets, and the cheers were responded to by the occupants of the coaches. Twelve canal-boats full of men arrived on the 10th, and every road which led to town poured in its thousands early in the morning. General Harrison came as far as Jonathan Harshman's, five miles from town, on the 9th and passed the night there. Early in the morning his escort, which had been encamped at Fairview, marched to Mr. Harshman's and halted there till seven o'clock, when it got in motion under (page 189) command of Joseph Barnett, of Dayton, and other marshals from Clarke County. The line of march extended five miles.
A procession from town, under direction of Charles Anderson, chief marshal, met the general and his escort at the junction of the Troy and Springfield roads. The battalion of militia, commanded by Captain Bomberger, of the Dayton Grays, and consisting of the Grays and Washington Artillery, of Dayton; the Citizens' Guards from Cincinnati; Butler Guards, of Hamilton, and Piqua Light Infantry, were formed in a hollow square, and General Harrison, mounted on a white horse, his staff, and Governor Metcalf and staff, of Kentucky, were placed in the center. "Every foot of the road between town and the place where General Harrison was to meet the Dayton escort, was literally choked up with people."
The immense procession, carrying banners and flags, and accompanied by canoes, log cabins furnished in pioneer style, and trappers' lodges all on wheels, and filled with men, girls, and boys, the latter dressed in hunting shirts and blue caps, made a magnificent display. One of the wagons contained a live wolf enveloped in a sheep skin, representing the "hypocritical professions" of the opponents of the Whigs. All sorts of designs were carried by the delegations. One of the most striking was an immense ball, representing the Harrison States, which was rolled through the streets. The length of the procession was about two miles. Carriages were usually three abreast, and there were more than one thousand in line.
The day was bright and beautiful, and the wildest enthusiasm swayed the mighty mass of people who formed the most imposing part of "this grandest spectacle of time," as Colonel Todd, an eye-witness, termed the procession. The following description of the scene, quoted by Curwen from a contemporary newspaper, partakes of the excitement and extravagance of the occasion: "The huzzas from gray-headed patriots, as the banners borne in the procession passed their dwellings, or the balconies where they had stationed themselves; the smiles and blessings, and waving kerchiefs, of the thousands of fair women who filled the front windows of every house; the loud and heartfelt acknowledgments of their marked courtesy and generous hospitality by the different delegations, sometimes rising the same instant from the whole line; the glimpses at every turn of the eye of the fluttering folds of some one or more of the six hundred and forty-four flags which displayed their glorious stars and stripes from the tops of the principal houses of every street, the soul-stirring music, the smiling heavens, the ever-gleaming banners, the emblems and mottoes, added to the intensity of the excitement. (page 190) Every eminence, housetop, and window, was thronged with eager spectators, whose acclamations seemed to rend the heavens. Second Street at that time led through a prairie, and the bystanders, by a metaphor, the sublimity of which few but westeners can appreciate, likened the excitement around them to a mighty sea of fre sweeping over its surface, ' gathering, and heaving, and rolling upwards, and yet higher, till its fames licked the stars and fired the whole heavens."' After marching through the principal streets, the procession was disbanded by General Harrison, at the National Hotel, on Third Street. At the procession was reformed and moved to the stand erected for the speeches "upon a spacious plain" east of Front Street and north of Third. Mr. Samuel Forrer, an experienced civil engineer, made an estimate of the space occupied by this meeting and of the number present at it. He says: "An exact measurement of the lines gave for one side of the square (oblong) one hundred and thirty yards and the other one hundred and fifty yards, including an area of nineteen thousand five hundred square yards, which, multiplied by four, would give seventy-eight thousand. Let no one who was present be startled at this result or reject this estimate till he compares the data assumed with the facts presented to his own view while on the ground. It is easy for anyone to satisfy himself that-six, or even a greater number of individuals, may stand on a square yard of ground. Four is the number assumed in the present instance; the area measured is less than four and one half acres. Every farmer who noticed the ground could readily perceive that a much larger space was covered with people, though not so closely as that portion measured. All will admit that an oblong square of one hundred and thirty yards by one hundred and ffty did not at any time during the first hour include near all that were on the east side of the canal. The time of observation was the commencement of General Harrison's speech. Before making this particular estimate I had made one by comparing this assemblage with my recollection of the 25th of February convention at Columbus, and came to the conclusion that it was at least four times as great as that." Two other competent engineers measured the ground and the lowest estimate of the number of people at the meeting was seventy-eight thousand, and as thousands were still in town it was estimated that as many as one hundred thousand were here on the 10th of September.
Places of entertainment were assigned delegates by the committee appointed for that purpose, but it was also announced in the Journal that no one need hesitate "to enter any house for dinner, where he may see a flag flying. Every Whig's latch string will be out and the flag will (page 191) as much to all who are a hungry or athirst." A public table where dinner was furnished, as at the private houses without charge, was also announced as follows by the Journal: "We wish to give our visitors log cabin fare and plenty of it, and we want our friends in the country to help us." A committee was appointed to take charge of the baskets of the farmers, who responded liberally to this appeal. In early times when hotel and boarding house accommodations in Dayton were very limited, it was the custom, whenever there was a political or religious convention or any other large public meeting here, for the citizens to freely entertain the delegates at their homes. When the meeting was of a religious character, the different denominations assisted each other in entertaining the guests. On such occasions the hot dinner, which was served if possible, was supplemented by large quantities of roast and boiled meat, poultry, cakes, pies, and bread that had been prepared beforehand.
All the houses in Dayton occupied by Whigs were crowded to their fullest capacity during the Harrison convention and again at the Clay convention in 1842. One family, according to a letter from its mistress written at the time, entertained three hundred persons at dinner one day in 1842 and the same night lodged nearly one hundred guests. The writer states that the houses of all her friends and relatives were as crowded as her own, and says that this lavish hospitality was a repetition of what occurred in 1840. The letter contains an interesting description of a morning reception for ladies in 1842 at the residence of Mr. J. D. Phillips, where Mr. Clay was staying. A crowd of women of all ranks and conditions, some in silk and some in calico, were present. Mr. Clay shook hands with them all, afterwards making a complimentary little speech, saying among other graceful things that the soft touch of the ladies had healed his fingers bruised by the rough grasp of the men, whom he had received the day before.
Among other interesting occurrences during the Harrison convention was the presentation, on the 9th of September, of a beautiful banner to the Tippecanoe Club of the town by the married ladies of Dayton. The banner was accompanied by an eloquent address written for the occasion by Mrs. D. K. Este, and was presented in the name of the ladies to the club, who were drawn up in front of the residence of Mr. J. D. Phillips, by Judge J. II. Crane. It was decorated on one side with an embroidered wreath, with a view of General Harrison's house in the center, and on the other side with a painting of Perry's victory on Lake Erie, executed by Charles Soule, "with the skill and taste for which he is so distinguished."
(page 192) On the 11th of September the young ladies of Dayton presented a banner, "wrought by their own fair hands," to General Harrison. Daniel A. Baynes made the presentation speech.
The convention was addressed by many noted men. General Harrison was a forcible speaker, and his voice, while not sonorous, was clear and penetrating and reached the utmost limits of the immense crowd.
Governor Metcalfe, of Kentucky, was a favorite with the people. A stone mason in early life, he was called "stone hammer" to indicate the crushing blows inflicted by his logic and his sarcasm. The inimitable Thomas Corwin held his audience spell bound with his eloquence and humor, and R. C. Schenck added greatly to his reputation by his incisive and witty speeches. R. C. Schenck, J. H. Crane, and R. S. Hart were the Dayton speakers at the convention.