THE STORY OF SHELBY COUNTY
TO DIFFERENTIATE the history of any two contiguous political divisions of territory seems at first glance to be a somewhat difficult proposition. Possessed by the same tribes of aborigines, contended for by the same invaders, watered and drained by the same great stream, each a pathway for the passage of hostile armies, and sharing common difficulties in white settlement, a casual view presents but little difference. Particularly in the territory comprising the county of Shelby, covering as it does portions of what had been Champaign, Miami and Logan counties, the story of these three might appear to be the story of Shelby. However, very clear distinctions come to light, upon study, which give to this territory an individuality fully as separate as those whose acreage helped to constitute it.
The Miami river, flowing from its headspring, Indian lake, is, without question, a more natural division between Logan and Shelby counties than any surveyor's line; the country to the west of the great stream differing topographically from the eastern county to a radical degree. Shelby county, north of the river, is characterized by uplands which maintain a high and gently undulating level, rising rather gradually in the northwest, where Loramie reservoir occupies the highest elevation between the Ohio river and Lake Erie that is to be found on the west side of the valley. On both sides of the stream the glacial gorge is of varying breadth with occasional low food plains, and rising tablelands, bordered by hills which rise, in many instances, to commanding height above the valley, and between which many beautiful streams have cut picturesque channels from the plateaus of the north or south. The larger of these tributaries exhibit the winding valleys of old streams, with here and there a stretch of bottom land, and corresponding bluff; and carry, at times, a great volume of water down their often precipitous ways. Loramie creek, the largest by far of the county, drains a well-defined valley quite as separate from the rest as is Mad river, in the east Miami valley. Meandering from its source at the extreme northern edge of Shelby county, through the basin which, by means of the State dam, forms Loramie reservoir, its course is deflected to the south and southeast, its valley practically determining the course of the Miami canal for a distance of twenty miles or more north of Lockington, where the old feeder connects the waters of the upper Miami with the main channel of the once important waterway. This point marked the highest level of the canal, and for the same reason that the locks were located here nearly a century ago, the Miami Conservancy commission has selected this point for the great dam, which is now under construction, as a part of the program of flood prevention (page 333) in the Great Miami valley. A dozen or more streams water various parts of the territory, Turtle, Plum, Mosquito, Tawawa, Leatherwood, and the mile creeks-so named by Anthony Wayne, to distinguish them in the maps of his trace-and many lesser rivulets, all of which have the faculty of leaping their bounds in rainy seasons, and helping in the havoc of spring foods farther south. The picturesque quality is not lacking in the border lands of any of these streams, which, though not ornamented, in the annals of the past, by poetic legends, certainly furnished secluded passages for the savages who made it a war path when its hunting grounds were threatened with invasion, and today still maintain a wild aspect that greets the eye like a surprise, after the well groomed farmlands of the levels.
Like a great portion of the Northwest, the entire territory of what is now Shelby county was covered, up to a century and a quarter ago, by dense forest growth, unbroken except by the natural water-courses, or by the accident of forest fires, which in this locality seem to have been not frequent nor disastrous. Up to the advent of the first white trader, after the middle of the eighteenth century, it is very doubtful if an Indian cornfield ever had been planted in the rich soil of Shelby county; nor is there any evidence that the forest sheltered any Indian village or community up to that time. It was not as home that the savage so bitterly and so bloodily defended its green retreats from white invasion. Only by hunting camps were his fires lighted, and the trails that were once so plainly marked through this territory were those which led the hunter to the lair of the wild beast, or along which he bore away the trophies of the expedition, or, in later days, lurked to guard the forest riches from the white man's depredations. For this forest was a part of that great inheritance which, according to the claims of their chieftains, had been bequeathed to them and their children forever, by their fathers.
The claim was valid. Not only by inheritance but by right of previous possession, the land belonged to the savage, and constituted his entire substance, without which he knew not how to live. Little marvel was it that the aborigine resented the advent of the settler who came to level the forests and to market the earth under his feet.
No matter how we interpret the necessity, or even the duty, of "subduing the earth" as a justification of the white man's past treatment of the Indians, the local tribes-Shawanees, Wyandots, Miamis and all-with equal justice regarded the local forefathers and their armed forces as ruthless Huns, bent upon selfish conquest of lands and forests that could become theirs only by the right of might. It is contended that the Indians stole the white man's children and horses, and that their marauding bands were a menace to settlers in lands no longer under dispute, also that the white raids into the headwater forests were in the nature of reprisal for wrongs committed by the Indians. But, if so, it was equally true that, long before, the Shawanees had been driven by degrees from their home in the southern country, and that seeds of hate and distrust had been sown when the same white interlopers had fraudulently "bought" the red man's ponies for bits of bright print, only large (page 334) enough to envelope a pappoose, a shining penny or two, a string of gay glass beads, or similar baubles of no worth, imposing upon the aboriginal ignorance of values ; which, as it wore away by repeated experience, left an open avenue for mischief makers of either faction among the white traders, who incited the savages to revenge and exploited the troubles to their own gains.
The French, as a people, were, admittedly, better fitted in temperament than the British, of that date, for the problem of civilizing the Indian. Whatever was their ultimate ambition in regard to the acquisition of their territory, the French first approached the Indian either as missionaries, geographers, or as peaceful traders, whose influence was civilizing, and to whom the Indians responded readily. In spite of later British intermeddling, and the clash of arms between brothers of red blood, the Indians were never wholly alienated from their French friends, as many of the old Indian fighters of the northwest knew and acknowledged. Only by treachery and bribes were the Indians moved from their allegiance. Butterfeld is quoted as saying that "the secret spring of French activity in the border troubles was their desire to monopolize Indian trading." Which may be quite true, but no less so than that the British shared in the desire. Nor was the desire necessarily discreditable, so long as the dealings were honorable; but the perpetual play' of cross purposes between the opposing factions of the white settlers, each of whom used the Indian as a tool, confused the savage sense of friend and foe, and aroused in him a spirit of fierce retaliation which recognized small difference between British or French, loyalist or colonist, and left him a prey to any element that offered reward or the opportunity to wreak vengeance for his losses.
It is a palliation of the irremediable facts of our pioneer history, that the settlers of the Ohio and Miami valleys were heirs to a condition created by events so far past that the later struggles were inevitable; but those rash, futile and bloody raids of early days only fed the fires of hatred and piled up fresh Ossas of bitterness upon the Pelion of past wrongs, heaping up a mountain of resistance to level which the government was, finally, helpless except by means of regular warfare, and the subjugation, not of the earth, but of one of its greatest races.
History in Shelby county began long before its establishment as a pioneer commonwealth in 1819, a chain of events beginning about seventy-five years previous to that date having stamped the map of this part of the northwest indelibly, although these events were separated from the settlers' era by a period of time in which history is perplexingly uncommunicative.
Not long previous to 1749, an Indian chief, himself a Piankeshaw, and head of a band of Indians known to the French as "Picqualinees" (or "Pickqualines"), who were the Miamis proper, had migrated from the Canadian territories of the French, with whom they had thus far been friendly, and settled at a point in the valley of the Great Miami river, which was then known by the French name of "La Riviere a la Roche" (or River of the Rocks), just below the mouth of an unexplored creek, and on the west bank of the river. Here they established a trading post which in a suspiciously short (page 335) time became well known to the British traders in this section, who, in their familiar facility, corrupted the tribal name of the Indians to "Pickawillany," and, settling in the vicinity, began the work of alienating these French-taught aborigines from their Canadian friends. Rumors of this proceeding reaching Canada, the French governor-general despatched a small expedition, under Celoron de Bienville, to peacefully repossess the Ohio river country in the name of the king of France. Bienville's company consisted of a few soldiers and a force of Indians, the whole party numbering about two hundred and thirty-five men. A "secondary" mission of the French visitation was to induce the Piankeshaw chief, known to them as "Demoiselle" (while the British traders, having gained his treacherous confidence, had nicknamed him "Old Britain"), to return with them to Canada, to remove him from the antagonistic influence of the British, which they feared. It was too late. The wily savage put of the ambassador of the French with a smooth promise to return to Canada "in the spring," with which Bienville was obliged to be content, returning to the north by way of the portage between the Picqualinees settlement and the Indian village at the confluence of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph rivers, having burned the battered canoes, by which they had ascended the difficult "Rocky" river, and secured ponies for the overland trip.
At Ke-ki-on-ga, Bienville met a Miami chief, Coldfoot, who told him that, while he "hoped himself deceived, he was sufficiently attached to the interests of the French to believe that Demoiselle (Old Britain) was a liar," and added that he believed himself to be the only Indian in the south who was loyal to the French. Accordingly, the discouraged Bienville reported to the French governor-general that "the Indians of the Ohio nations were ill-disposed toward the French and devoted to the English."
Following Bienville's visit, which occurred in 1749, the British traders, about fifty in number, built a high and stout stockade of split logs, and within it erected a council house "as a place of protection for themselves and their property in case of sudden attack." Inside the stockade a well was sunk which supplied plentiful water except during the summer drought. The whole was, in reality, a fort, although not so designated; and it gave evidence that the situation invited an attack by the French interests. About four hundred Indian families are said to have congregated in the vicinity of the stockade, where for some time the post flourished undisturbed. Early in 1751, Christopher Gist, an agent of the "Ohio Company," an association of English merchants and Virginian planters, visited the district under a (British) royal grant, ostensibly to explore the west country "as far as the falls of the Ohio." His chief objective, however, appears to have been the Picqualinee village, where he held a conference with "Old Britain," which was the preface to a general movement of savages toward the settlement, swelling the population already there, all of which was by (page 336) this time openly hostile to the French, although there is absolute lack of evidence that the French had, thus far, done them any injury. Soon after Gist's departure, four Ottawa (or French) Indians, coming as ambassadors from the French Canadians, were met by an open defi from "Old Britain," who then caused the French fag (already a pretense) to be hauled down from the council house; and the French commission departed unsuccessful, leaving the British traders in full sway over the disaffected Picqualinees. In the spring of 1752, another French-Canadian expedition, sanctioned by Governor-general Duquesne and headed by Charles Langdale (a French Canadian whose wife was an Indian squaw), started from Michilimackinac, at the head of Lake Huron, proceeding southward, by way of the lake waters, to the mouth of the Maumee river, and up that stream to its headwaters, following the trail thence from Ke-ki-on-ga to the Picqualinee village, which they reached and surprised about nine o'clock in the morning of the twenty-first of June, 1752 when the men were away on the summer hunt and the women at work in the cornfields. Of the eight British traders who were left at the village, three were outside the stockade, in summer huts; and the other five, with a number of Indian men and boys, were within the enclosure.
Langdale's forces, about two hundred and fifty in all, were nearly all Indians, with a few blacks, himself being the only white man. In the attack, fourteen Picqualinees, including "Old Britain," and one white trader were shot before the fort was surrendered to Langdale's savages, who boiled and ate Old Britain, and also the heart of the dead white trader. They then plundered the fort and took away to Canada the remaining seven traders and 3,000 pounds sterling worth of valuables, releasing all the women they had at first taken prisoner. Duquesne rewarded Langdale for this exploit with a pension of two hundred francs. The affair, however, proved not the end of trouble, but the beginning of a war which was only settled in 1763, by the Treaty of Paris, and the cession of "New France" to the British.
The story of the fight between Langdale's savages and the Picqualinees was carried to the friendly tribes in the east, and also to the governors of Pennsylvania and Virginia, by Thomas Burney and Andrew McBryer, two of the traders, who had been successfully hidden during the fight. Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, was presented by the messengers with a belt of wampum, a calumet pipe, a gentle souvenir of the affray in the shape of a Canadian Indian's scalp, and a letter from the Picqualinees (which the governor characterized as "odd") which assured the governor that "the French king's servants had spilled the blood and eaten three of their men ; while they themselves were in deep distress, having been able to revenge themselves only to the extent of killing and eating ten of the French Indians and two of their negroes." "We are your brothers," concludes the "odd" letter; which appealed to the white governor for pity. History does not state what was the governor's reply, nor his judgment in the matter, which seems, at this date, to be the proverbial case of the pot and the kettle. The entire story of the British fort at Picqualinee extends over but two years at the (page 337) most. The white traders never returned to live at the place, and the Indians retired to a little distance west, where they continued a community life until their village was destroyed by Gen. Clarke's Kentuckians more than thirty years afterward.
In 1769, seventeen years after the Langdale raid, a French Canadian trader named Peter Loramie came up the Great Miami river from Kentucky (where his trading store had made a somewhat notorious headquarters for hostile Shawanees) and, not pausing to visit the Picqualinee village, reached the mouth of-the creek which was later to bear his name, and pushed up the lesser stream about fifteen miles, where he selected a site and established himself, attracting a large settlement of Indians, chiefly Shawanees. He was upon intimate and friendly terms with this tribe, and their allies, and exercised over them the influence commonly possessed by the French when free from British agencies. It is not claimed that Loramie ever assisted the Indians in their warfare against the whites, but that his trading post was permitted to be a headquarters where trouble was hatched. It was, without doubt, a convenient centre of hostile councils of the Shawanees, remote and secluded, at that time, from white travel ; although it afterward became a pathway. Apart from this trading post settlement of Indians, at "Loramie's station," no Indian or other village is known to have existed within the borders of Shelby county previous to the year 1794.
Dense forests, constituting an important part of the hunting grounds claimed by the Wyandots as the original possessors of the land, and shared by them with the Shawanees, their friends and allies, covered all the land.
Loramie's station was never a fort nor a stronghold in any sense whatever, and it passed undisturbed, so far as legend or history shows, through the entire period of the Revolution, and was in a highly flourishing condition when Ben. George Rogers Clarke started on his famous punitive expedition against the Indians of the northwest, that campaign of extermination conducted from 1783 and on, so fruitless of good, in spite of its wasteful victories. Immediately after the destruction of the Picqualinee village, which was accomplished by the main body of troops, Gen. Clarke despatched a force by night, which surprised the Loramie settlement early the next morning, and, after scattering the inhabitants with, it is said, considerable slaughter, sacked the store and village, seizing a large quantity of available plunder and destroying what could not be carried away. The entire place, store and village, was left in ashes.* If this may be called a "battle," it was the only battle which ever occurred on the soil of Shelby county, which though often enough wet with the blood of white and red men in conflict, only witnessed hand to hand encounters between white scouts and lurking savages who, in easy ambush, sought to defend their forest trails.
(Peter Loramie, shortly after the destruction of his store, assembled his Shawanese friends, and left for the new southwest, then still "Spanish America.")
It was, indeed, so deadly a region that the silence of history regarding it may be accounted for easily by the fact that, except for the larger armies which passed through it, very few white men (page 338) returned to tell the story of their encounters with the Red Terror of that day. The various graves which have been discovered in excavations of later years, or during the digging of the canal and feeder, exhibited, with remarkable frequency, a condition showing that the burials must have been conducted with haste, the bodies having been crowded into holes which did not resemble graves. The facts and place of Col. Hardin's tragic death in this country are known by what was, practically, accident.
Col. John Hardin, when a very young man, already trained and skilled in woodcraft, marksmanship and hunting, entered the Virginia colonial militia in 1774, as an ensign, and began his career as an Indian fighter when but twenty years of age. Wounded in an Indian affray, he joined the Dunmore expedition without waiting for full recovery. When the Revolution broke out he became a lieutenant in the Morgan rife corps, standing high in Gen. Morgan's esteem. His intrepidity and discretion caused him to be selected for many perilous enterprises, during which he very narrowly escaped massacre at the hands of the savages or their British allies, and was defeated but once, when, during Gen. Harmar's disastrous expedition to Ke-ki-on-ga, his forces were surrounded by an ambush of Indians in the Eel river basin, at the site of "old" Heller's Corners.*
* Hardin was threatened with court-martial after this defeat, but was afterward exonerated from responsibility for the massacre of his men.
With the exception of the St. Clair expedition, which a temporary lameness prevented him from joining, Col. Hardin was engaged in every military movement from Kentucky into the Indian country until his death. The armies of Clarke, St. Clair and Harmar all had traversed the soil of the western half of Shelby county in their northern expeditions, the massacre of St. Clair's men occurring when the troops were encamped for the night near the site of Fort Recovery.
In 1792, Col. Hardin was chosen by Gen. Washington for a mission of peace to the Shawanees, a commission by no means desired by Hardin, who knew only too well the hatred in which he was held by the Indians for his hostile activities. However, he accepted the dangerous duty, and had proceeded with his two or three companions to a point within the Shelby county territory, at or very near to the spot where the village of Hardin centres. Here they were met and engaged in fight by a small party of Indians. Accounts of the fate of the party differ in some respects, one historian relating that a part of the white men escaped to tell the story, while Col. Hardin was murdered for his horse and accoutrements; while another writer states that Hardin's companions were first killed by the Indians, and Hardin himself taken prisoner, being slain during the night, after which, the savages, upon discovering the papers which he carried, became apprehensive and reported to their chiefs; who, realizing that the documents contained matters of advantage to the tribes, themselves sent word to Kentucky of their "fatal error" of judgment.
(page 339) Peace, however, was no longer under consideration by the time the wanton massacre of its envoys became known, and the truth only added fuel to the fames. Col. Hardin was still a young man, of increasing value to the army, and at the height of military popularity. When the word confirming the story of his cruel death arrived, he had just been officially promoted to the rank of brigadier general in recognition of his worth. Affairs on the frontier assumed the character of a dangerous deadlock which required the military genius of Anthony Wayne to break.
Wayne's "Legion," augmented along the way until it reached a desirable number, came down the Ohio river as far as Fort Washington and from there the march northward was begun. With careful consideration of every step in regard to sources of supply and reserve, the legion was pushed up the valley of the Great Miami, and a stronghold established at every strategic point along the "Trace," the first thought of the wary fighter "who never slept" being to guard against a surprise attack like that which had over come Gen. St. Clair. Fort Greenville was built November, 1793, and Fort Recovery was located and probably begun before the army settled into winter quarters. It was finished in early summer, 1794, and while the troops, who, after a severe course of training, were engaged in completing it, they were repeatedly attacked (but not surprised) by the savages under Little Turtle. Unable to find the wary general of guard, the Indians were compelled to retreat, after severe losses, and the completed fort was named "Recovery" in commemoration of the fact that here, where the Indians had achieved their greatest victory over the whites under St. Clair, they had, in turn, been utterly routed and dispersed.
After finishing Fort Recovery, Wayne returned to Greenville and took a practically straight course northward, building a fort at the site of the old Picqualinee village, which was christened "Fort Piqua," and another at the site of Peter Loramie's store, which received the name "Fort Loramie." These he left, like the previous forts, stocked and garrisoned for reserve and the protection of such settlers as had thus far ventured into the wilderness, while he moved on to the goal of the Maumee valley, toward which the savages were gathering from southern scenes of defeat.
Fort Loramie, named by Gen. Wayne, in the practical way he had, of stamping each locality with a name that was characteristic of it or of its history, was not the only object by which the French trader's memory was perpetuated ; for Wayne also gave the name of Loramie to the creek, in the maps of the march. The fort, indeed, was but a temporary affair, while the beautiful creek "flows on forever." During the year which followed its construction, before the final surrender of the Indians and the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, Fort Loramie, garrisoned and ready, remained watchful but quiet. It was never the subject of concerted attack, though its presence there doubtless prevented attack at other points, by warning hostile Indians against a gathering in the vicinity. Trouble was never far distant, in this country, even after the Greenville treaty
was in effect, until the close of the War of 1812. Settlement began, (page 340) and then slowly, only after the year 1805, ten years after the peace of 1795.
The treaty line falling south of Fort Loramie, in the territory now comprised in Shelby county, a six mile square enclosing the fort and surroundings, sufficient for its maintenance, was reserved by the United States government by the terms of the treaty, the same or similar arrangement attending all the northern forts, all of them maintaining garrisons for varying periods. Fort Loramie was probably the first, or one of the first, to be abandoned, but the exact date cannot be ascertained at this time. Col. John Johnston, who was in command at Fort Wayne from 1800 to 1811, and from then on in charge of Fort Piqua, is the chief authority on matters touching the Indian history of this region, and he remarks that Fort Loramie was maintained for "only a few years after the treaty," being abandoned when Col. Butler (a nephew of Gen. Butler), who was commandant, was transferred, with his soldiers, to the new southwestern outposts.* While this is doubtless correct, it is also probable that the fort was again occupied during the War of 1812, when the building of blockhouses throughout the unfortified districts was deemed necessary in territory less dangerous than this. It was to Fort Piqua, as a place of safety, that Capt. John Logan (the loyal Indian adopted by Gen. Benjamin Logan after the Mad river raid) was commissioned to conduct the women and children from Fort Wayne, during the War of 1812, Col. John Johnston then being in command at Piqua.
During the Indian campaign of William Henry Harrison, in 1812, the Loramie portage was once again the scene of the passage of a great armed force, when the hero of Tippecanoe, who had transferred Fort Wayne to the command of Gen. Winchester and retired to Fort Piqua, was called to assume chief command of the Northwestern army, and marched northward to Fort Defiance by this well-known path.
(Col. John Johnston, for more than thirty years Indian Agent in this district, relates that a beautiful little son of Col. or Capt. Butler died while his parents lived at Fort Loramie, and the little grave, protected only by an arbor of wild honeysuckle, stood outside the stockade, visible until after the War of 1812, when fort and all were razed.)
Settlement was later here than in any other division of territory lying in the Miami valley, yet not because it had not been looked toward with calculating eyes many years before the first white man was hardy enough to venture into its wilds with a family. Its richness was already known, and as early as 1788 the attention of the New England colony which settled at Marietta was directed toward this part of the country by Ebenezer Zane, at Wheeling. However, they preferred the evident disadvantages of the Muskingum hills to the dangers of the upper Miami, and perhaps they were wise, and so lived longer, in spite of the hardships they endured. But the richness of the country was a lure in spite of danger. The beauty of the country probably did not appeal so strongly, as beauty of landscape was common to all the river country. It was the hope of prosperity which drew the first settlers northward to (page 341) brave the perils and hardships of making a home in Shelby county. Hardships, for that matter, were not in themselves greater nor very different than were to be encountered anywhere in the great northwest. The disgruntled tribes lurked about, in defiance of the Treaty of Greenville, causing fear and distrust and making this a debatable ground at best, in the earlier years of settlement. Not far from the fort at Piqua did even the hardy few venture, and these only because of the certainty of material reward.
The timber was so heavy that long years of labor were necessary to reduce its slow acres to cultivation; but it also was abundantly stocked with game as tempting to a Kentucky rifleman as to a savage hunter. Wolves were numerous; bears haunted the deep woods; deer abounded; and lesser animals, inimical to the safety of domestic fowl and stock, infested the entire wilderness. But when brought down by the rifle they furnished meat and pelts which were more marketable than an excess of grain, in this remote outpost of civilization, where the only roads were trails along which a wagon, had there been one, could not have traveled. Like the belt along lower Logan and the Champaign county line, this region of first settlement shared in the clouds of wild pigeons, blackbirds and crows, so numerous and voracious that they could devour the seed as fast as the settler could sow it. Extermination of these hindrances had to be attempted before farming could be profitable. But the natural advantages of the whole country held them steadfast to their task through all the discouragements of pioneer life, and by degrees the land was conquered by their industry. The honor of being recorded as the "first settler" in the county has long been acknowledged as belonging to James Thatcher and his family, who came in 1805, two years after the admission of Ohio to statehood, and settled on Loramie creek about three and a half miles north of the present Miami county line, where they built their cabin and made a permanent home.
For a year the Thatchers appear to have been alone, but in 1806 the three Mellingers, John, Joseph and David, had located in the vicinity of Lockington, and Thomas Earl is credited with arriving the same year. ; John Wilson settled on Turtle creek in 1807, about one mile east of the Thatchers. Samuel Marshall is set down as having arrived in 1808, and Samuel McClure in 1810, while Richard, James and John Lenox, accompanied by their mother and sisters, whose names are not given, came about 1811. James Cannon is mentioned as a settler of this pre-war period, also the Careys, Cephas Carey and his wife Jane Wilkinson, who with their young family settled on the west fork of Turtle creek, in 1810, the spot being the site of Hardin. At about the same date John Kennard, William Cardingley, Thomas McClish and William Bush came to the Turtle creek region, the first two choosing a location to the northwest, while the latter two settled at or near the site of Hardin. There is no verified record of any families other than these, who settled in Shelby county territory prior to 1811-12, and there were few, if any, who ventured northward so far, during the war troubles, which quite effectually halted "the course of empire" until the end of 1813. (page 342)
The hardy settlers in the Turtle creek valley were often in danger-or the fear of it--during the war, and a blockhouse was built on the Carey land for their protection, occupied by a squad of soldiers as long as either British or savage foes threatened to disturb the locality. It was this protection which crystallized the settlers into the first little organized community in the future county. Upon the establishment of permanent peace, immigration became more and more rapid throughout the territory south of the Greenville treaty line, the favored localities being along the waterways and as population increased and rumors of the canal project began to spread, centralizing somewhat at points of hopeful prominence. In the stream of home and wealth seekers which swept the northwest country in waves, each locality attracted and retained a portion of the human freight it bore, until the constantly augmenting population made necessary the location of arbitrary boundary lines of political division in order that the pioneer citizens of the new state of Ohio be assured their sovereign right to vote. Not until the nineteenth century was waist-deep in the stream of Time was the organization of counties in the northwest complete.
Shelby county was not struck of from Miami, Champaign and Logan counties until May, 1819, and boundary lines on the north and west were not located until early in the following year, these latter separations affecting the county in no way, as settlement in the north did not begin for more than ten years afterward, when the excitement and danger of pioneer life had nearly departed, leaving only a wake of toil, terrific in its hardness, and a heritage of fever and ague and other ills incident to settlers' life, only palliated by the near hope of prosperity.
The local territory had acquired a population of two thousand or more inhabitants, including those north of the present Auglaize county line, at the time of its organization as Shelby county. Its name, Shelby, in honor of Governor Shelby, of Kentucky, was a natural choice among settlers so large a proportion of whom had emigrated from that state, or who had paused there while choosing permanent homes. Hardin, which had been laid out as a town as early as October, 1816 (so recorded in Miami county), was at first designated as the seat of justice, and the first court convened in that village May 17, 1819, in a small log schoolhouse, eighteen by twenty feet in dimensions, which had been erected early in 1819 on the bank of Turtle creek. The Hon. Joseph H. Crane presided, with Robert Houston, Samuel Marshall and William W. Cecil as Associate Judges. The court was announced as being "ready to administer even-handed justice to rich and poor alike ;" but it would appear that the settlers at that date had no quarrels to settle, nor justice to demand, for, after the transaction of routine of minor importance, and the granting of a few licenses, the court adjourned "sine die," and did not convene again until September of the same year, when it was again called to the little schoolhouse, and a full court, consisting of the judge and his three associates, with Harvey B. Foote, clerk ; Henry Bacon, prosecuting attorney ; Daniel V. Dingman, sheriff; and the first Grand jury in attendance. This time, there was abundance of business, for the term was not adjourned (page 343) until December 14, 1819, when it again adjourned sine die, this time with evident finality, for no court ever sat at Hardin again. The board of county commissioners, consisting of Robert McClure, William Berry, and John Wilson' David Henry being the clerk and James Lenox treasurer of the county, held numerous sessions at Hardin during the year 1819, appointing Archibald Defrees to be county collector, and accepting the bonds of Daniel V. Dingman as sheriff and of John Craig as coroner; and closing its last session in Hardin on the same date as the Court.
Its next meeting was held in what was to be Sidney, in February, 1820.
It was no failure to seize an opportunity which prevented Hardin, oldest town in the county, and a site of historic interest, from being chosen as the county seat, but the serious consideration of localities pointed out better and more advantageous sites obtainable, for the town which was to maintain the dignity called for, than was offered by little Hardin. In the action of the general assembly of Ohio, looking to the selection of a suitable position for the proposed town, can now be seen the wisdom which put aside sentiment and the present interests of a few worthy men, for the benefit of a large population that was certain to accrue to the county in the process of time. Already the Miami canal project was astir, and population was certain to follow the course of the more important waterways. The appointed commissioners, Thomas B. VanHorn and James Steele, examined "the several sites offered and recommended," deciding in favor of the seventy acres offered by Charles Starrett, "part of a fraction number thirty-six, in township eight, range six, west of the Great Miami river, *** commencing at a creek, or run, of water southeastwardly of a house in said fraction, occupied by a Mr. Cannon," etc., the proposal accompanying the "donation" modifying the offer, as shown in the agreements signed by Mr. Starrett, which we quote :
"I, the undersigned, subscriber, proprietor of Fraction No. 36, * * * do make a donation of seventy acres of land, for the use and benefit of said county * * * provided, the commissioners see proper to fix the seat of justice permanently in said fraction ; provided, that I do receive one-half of the proceeds of the sales of the lots, after the commissioners locate, lay of, and sell the lots which may be laid of on said donation."
"N. B. I also bind myself to give the privilege of all the springs within the bounds of said fraction * * * for the use of the town and the privilege of conveyance to the town."
"Reserve Clause: I, the said Charles Starrett, do make the following reserves out of the seventy acres proposed * * * to wit : One acre for the public square ; two half acres for two different denominations of religious societies ; one acre for each of two different denominations of religious societies for graveyards; and one acre for the use of schools."
Mr. Starrett was not the only settler interested in fixing the seat of justice at this point. Twenty-two fellow citizens made donations to the building of a courthouse with no other condition (page 344) attached to their offers than that the new town be located on the seventy-acre tract. Their names were: Benjamin Brandon, Samuel Marrs, George Chiles, Peter Musselman, Archibald Defrees, Isaac Parks, John Gilbert, George Pool, David Henry, William Richardson, Edward Jackson, William Robinson, William Johnson, Francis Rorack, Charles Johnston, Thomas Ruckman, John Johnston, Rodham Talbot, John Lenox, Otho White, Alex. McClintock.
William Marrs also donated "his big bull, value untold," the other donations being tendered in various character, some in cash, some in lumber, some in carpentry, sawing and other labor, while one offering was a "barrel of whiskey"!
All donations having been duly and formally accepted, David Henry, county clerk and justice of the peace, was appointed Town Director, giving bond in the sum of $6,000 to his sureties, Rodham Talbot, Edward Jackson and Thomas Ruckman. The director was ordered by the court to lay of a town "upon the premises aforesaid," "in lots of five rods by ten, in blocks of eight lots each, with alleys one rod in width running through the center of each block at right angles with each other and with the streets ; the alleys to divide the blocks into four equal parts; the streets to be laid out six rods in width, and a public square to be laid out in said town by striking out the center block of lots."
"The public square," thus delineated, contains nearly four acres, instead of the one provided in Mr. Starrett's offer, but the proprietor of the site must have acquiesced in the increase, as he could well afford to do, since the sale of the remaining half of the town at even the low figure then considered fair, was a greater return for his land than he could have obtained for the whole as a farm, while the dignity of his gift was greatly enhanced.
It is proper, at this point, to give some emphasis to the fact that the public square was a gift to the county, and accepted and defined by the county, so that a notion which has crept into the public mind in some quarters, to the effect that it was intended by Mr. Starrett as a city park, may be corrected. It was viewed as the site of the expected courthouse from the outset, and there can be no doubt of the absolute justice as well as the propriety and good taste of its being occupied by the county temple of justice. The lots, as directed, were sold publicly after due notice "given in six places in the county and printed in the Dayton Gazette," terms of sales, "one-fourth (of sale price) in ninety days, one-fourth in nine months, one-fourth in fifteen months, and the residue in two years, to be secured by a lien upon the lots until the whole shall have been paid."
The survey was made by Benjamin S. Cox, in whose certified report a stake near Abraham Cannon's house (corner, now, of Water (page 345) street and Miami avenue), is specified as being "the southeast corner of said town." This house of Abraham Cannon was the scene of the first courts, held at Sidney, while the temporary courthouse was being prepared.
The matter of public highways was taken up as early as possible after the establishment of the county, leading routes being ordered surveyed in advance of any question of private advantage, or controversy between rival points. Previous to the division from Miami three principal roads had been ordered by the Miami county commissioners, the first from Piqua to Wapakoneta, with branches leading to Hardin and St. Marys; and the others from Troy to Dingmansburg, and from Dingmansburg to Wapakoneta. During the sessions of the county commissioners at Hardin, in December, 1819, roads were ordered surveyed connecting Abraham Cannon's (the site of Sidney) with the State road from Piqua to Wapakoneta; and from Five Mile Tree on the Mosquito creek road eastward to the county line "at the most proper point for a road to the seat of justice in Logan county" (or Bellefontaine). At the March (1820) sessions of the commissioners, in Sidney, roads were further ordered to be laid connecting Dingmansburg with Cynthiana by way of Sidney and Hardin; and connecting the State road at William Morrow's with the Mill Creek and Sidney road, passing Steinberger's mill; also connecting Hardin with the state road near Nine Mile creek in the southwestern part of the county, and a section of road leading from Honey creek to Mosquito creek. At the April session, the road to Cynthiana was ordered extended to the Darke county line, "there to intersect the Greenville road." The September meeting of the commissioners established more routes, one of the most important being a road from the north extremity of Main avenue, Sidney, "up the river to the Dingmansburg and Wapakoneta road," passing Rodham Talbot's ; Elisha Kirkland's ; William Hathaway's and George Morrison's, to the Miami ford, thence by nearest and best way to the Logan county line to connect with the Bellefontaine road. Another road of practical use was one leading from the southern extremity of Ohio avenue to Muddy run, and along the run to Rickman's mill. To thread the maze of roads that have since interlaced the surface of the county would be superfluous ; but the beginning of the complete system of highways was prophetic of the future. To be sure, the highways were long in approaching a really passable condition, but as routes they were the most practical that could have been chosen, and with some straightening and grading, and immeasurable graveling and "piking," these original roadways of the county remain as they were surveyed a hundred years ago. The commissioners, at their first meeting in Sidney, took steps toward the erection of a temporary courthouse and jail, which were then and there planned, and the contract ordered to be sold on the 22nd of February, three weeks from the adoption of the plans. Two years elapsed before the buildings were ready for occupancy. The temple of justice stood on the west side of Ohio avenue, facing the public square, and was of frame construction, two stories high and twenty-four by thirty feet in dimensions, heated by two six-foot fireplaces and lighted in the first story by four eighteen-light windows, (page 346) and upstairs by six fifteen-light windows. Doors opened in the center, both front and back.
The jail was of single log construction, the logs hewn twelve inches square and laid close, in two stories of seven feet each, with a window eighteen inches square, "well grated with iron bars," the ceiling of the second floor being of hewn timbers, and covered by a joint shingle roof. A chimney in one end connected with a fireplace in each story, and both floors were entered by doors from the outside, ironed and locked. The building, which was inadequate in size and strength, stood at the side of the courthouse, on Ohio street. Three years later a second jail was ordered built, the walls of which were directed to be of hewn timber, double, and filled in with stone ; the building, twenty-two by thirty feet, to contain two apartments, one of them a cell for criminals, and the other the "debtor's room." Augustus Richards was awarded the contract, by which he was to use the iron window gratings of the old jail for the criminal cell, while the prisoners for debt were vouchsafed new windows two feet square. The contractor was to use all of the old jail iron in the new jail, and in addition to "cheek" the three doors and all windows with iron, receiving an extra $100 (the contract was made at $793) to cover the cost of the iron thus used. This second jail, which stood on the southeast corner of the public square, was the first building to occupy a position within the square. The original jail was sold, as soon as the second was completed, in December, 1826, and removed by order of the court. The new jail sufficed until 1839, when it was destroyed by fire.
In the meantime, the majority of the taxpayers having become persuaded that a new courthouse was necessary to the dignity of law and justice, the commissioners, Samuel Marshall, Peter Musselman and Samuel Gamble, met at the December, 1830, session and formed and adopted plans for a new brick courthouse, to occupy the center of the public square, and to be completed by October 1, 1832. The contract was let to Charles Bush, William Doak and George Lecky, and did not include the cupola, which was built by John Niswonger, under a separate contract, the whole being finished by May, 1833. It was a neat brick structure, of the simplest architecture inside and out, its only claim to beauty being the octagonal cupola ten feet in diameter, set in the center of the roof, and surrounded by a fifteen-foot square level enclosed with a "Chinese railing," above which it rose fifteen feet and was surmounted by a gilt ball and weather vane. Painted white with green blinds, it was, though simple, quite the smartest object in the village at that date, and looked upon with pride for many years. The building stood in the center of the square, facing south.
The original courthouse was sold and removed to West avenue, between Court and Poplar streets, where it served many purposes, but principally that of a plow works for Dan Toy, sr., and as the Toy and Edgar blacksmithy, being later sold to George L. Robbins, who carried on blacksmithing in it until the nineties. After the conflagration of 1839, when the jail was destroyed, a third structure, of rough stone and brick, very solid though ugly, was erected, the sheriff’s residence being incorporated under the (page 347) same roof ; and this building stood until torn down in 1879, when the new jail and residence was erected on the corner of East Court and South Main streets. The jail of 1839 was located on the southwest corner of the public square, and faced west.
December, 1850, the county commissioners authorized the village council to erect a brick market house on the northeast corner of the public square-"a good substantial brick, at least as large as the one at Piqua." But there is nothing in the council minutes to show that this was ever done.
In April, 1880, the sentiment of the public favoring a new courthouse, in keeping with the future outlook of Shelby county, having been roused to action through newspaper publicity, the question was submitted to popular vote, resulting in 2,024 for and 1,786 opposed. The Commissioners at once sold the old courthouse to Henry Guckes, contractor, to be removed before the following March. The contract for the plans and specifications for the new temple was made August 14, 1880, the architect being G. H. Maetzel of Columbus. Mr. Maetzel was also engaged as superintendent of the construction of the building, which cost close to $200,000. Built in a period when bad taste was "on the rampage" in the west, Shelby county courthouse had the good fortune to come from the hand of a real architect, and stands today a dignified and handsome edifice, conventionally correct and self-preserving after forty years have passed, a monument to both architect and builders. The building faces all four points of the compass, with similar pillared porticoes approached by broad flights of stone stairway, a figure of the blindfold goddess, ready to "poise the cause in justice' equal scales" surmounts each facade, and the lofty clock tower proclaims the fight of time to the limits of the valley. The public square is surrounded by splendid native elms of towering height, and the greensward is shaded by many trees planted with discrimination, while the angles of the building are banked with flowering shrubs. Popular subscription for the support of this feature was taken at the initiative of the newspapers, in later years, and completes the beauty of the square.
The courthouse was not finished until 1883, though the corer stone was laid on the Fourth of July, 1881, with elaborate ceremonies conducted by the grand marshal of the day, assisted by J. S. Laughlin, W. H. Taylor, E. E. Nutt, J. B. Edgar and H. M. Lehman, and featured by the Masonic fraternity. Delegations from surrounding cities attended and bands from Anna, Lima, Piqua and Bellefontaine, and Sidney's own "Tappe's Band" made music without stint. The only circumstance to be regretted was the gloom cast over the whole country by the assassination of President Garfield at Washington.
The heating of the courthouse is supplied from the city heating plant at the rear of the county and city jails, on East Court street, in the front of which building is also located the Emergency Hospital.
( At this time the public square was surrounded by a board fence.)
Bench and Bar in Shelby County.
The story of the legal profession in Shelby county begins with the establishment of the Court in 1819, although the Bar association was not formed for some years after that date, and its beginning is not definitely ascertained. However, the interest of this sketch does not depend upon details of that nature, as its purpose is to perpetuate the memory and reputation of those early legal lights who assisted in establishing law and order solidly in the pioneer community. For the greater number, the pioneer lawyers were men of thorough culture and as well versed in literature as in law, serving the community as teachers and general advisors in the intervals of court activity. Litigation was not so crowded in Shelby county then, and land tangles little known in this territory. Perhaps the worst foe to law and order was the pioneer still, which sprang up with other weeds in the settlements. Mere human nature was responsible for the majority of court cases, and though divorce cases were less numerous then than now, human nature has not changed remarkably in a century, and the chief change in the manners of today is a growing tendency to settle cases out of court instead of airing them before a jury and spectators.
The opening decades of the county's history were a bright period for the legal profession, an era when law was held in profound respect, and the men who practiced it in the courts were deemed prophets.
The personnel of the first court which sat in Shelby county is of interest at this point, and is as follows:
Judge, Hon. Joseph H. Crane; associate justices, Robert Houston, Samuel Marshall, William W. Cecil ; clerk, Harvey Foote ; prosecuting attorney, Henry Bacon; First Grand Jury, John Francis, James Lenox, Conrad Ponches, Zebediah Richardson, Joseph Stainberger, Henry Hushan, John Stevens, Archibald Defrees, Cephas Carey, Peter Musselman, John Bryant, Richard Lenox; substitutes, John Manning, Joseph Mellinger, Abraham Davenport. The first case on the criminal docket was "The State of Ohio vs. Hugh Scott; charge, assault and battery; plea, guilty ; fined ten dollars and costs." A short and simple tale, indeed. Shelby county's first resident lawyer was Associate Judge Samuel Marshall, a native of Ireland, whose settlement in Shelby dates from 1808. Judge Marshall left a strong impression on the county, both as a lawyer and as a citizen. Two of his sons, Hugh and C. C. Marshall were early mail riders over the old routes from Piqua to Defiance and to Bellefontaine. Judge Marshall practiced law twenty years, and died in 1838.
Judge Patrick Gaines Goode was a scion of French Huguenot stock, the family migrating at an early date by way of Britain to America, where they settled in Virginia. Previous to the Revolutionary struggle they were known as loyalists, but after the outbreak of war, sided with the colonists. Judge Goode was born in 1798, of a branch of the family in which lawyers and physicians predominated ; and though a dutiful lad in the performance of the tasks of a pioneer's son in Xenia, Ohio (whither the father had (page 349) removed in 1805), he entered the study of classics seriously at the age of sixteen. After three years he followed his instructor east to Philadelphia where he continued his studies for two years, then took up the study of law in Lebanon, Ohio, where were gathered some of the greater lawyers of the state. At twenty-three years of age he began the practice of law, coming to Sidney (in 1831) ten years later. Here he became known at once as a teacher and leader, both in politics and civic matters. He was returned to the state legislature in 1833, and to the senate in the next election-though he refused to claim his seat owing to a dispute from the opposition candidate. In 1836 he began a six years' career in the National Congress, refusing further re-election. As a worker in Congress he was successful in securing improvements along the Maumee river valley, which was then a part of the elongated congressional district. In 1844, the creation of the sixteenth judicial district resulted in the election of Patrick Goode to the presiding judgeship of the district, a position which he filled for a term of seven years with ability and distinction. He returned to the practice of law for a brief period following his retirement from the Bench, but soon after abandoned the law to enter the ministry of the Methodist church, receiving a regular appointment in the conference in 1857. Judge Goode's knowledge of parliamentary practices was shared by so few men in the pulpit, that he was in great demand at the conferences, and, being over-taxed between the multiplicity of interests and duties, his endurance gave way. He died two weeks after the conference at Greenville, in 1862, after a ministry of only f five years. He was in legal life for thirty-six years.
As lawyer, legislator, jurist, clergyman, educator and civic leader, judge Goode set a standard which is still pointed out for emulation to the ambitious young men of Sidney. No finer citizen has followed him, although Shelby county can and does boast of many bright names.
Judge Jacob S. Conklin, contemporary with judge Goode during many years, was somewhat his junior, his age in 1836, when he located in Sidney, being but twenty-one years. He entered into partnership with judge Goode, and almost immediately stepped into the limelight in legal practice. His ability was recognized by political honors within a few years, when he was elected prosecuting attorney in 1844. Later, he served in turn both lower and upper houses of the state legislature. In 1856 he was a Fremont elector, and afterward served another term as prosecuting attorney. In 1864 Governor Brough appointed him to complete the unexpired term of judge William Lawrence, of Logan county, on the common pleas bench, and at the end of the term he was re-elected to serve an entire term. In 1880 he was, although a Republican, once more made prosecuting attorney in a county which had long been strongly Democratican evidence of the esteem in which his talents were held by the public during his half century long career of citizenship. His greatest power, as a lawyer, was as advocate before a jury, where his sound logic added to his eloquence seldom failed to convince. Judge Conklin married, in 1841, Eleanor I. Wilson, and reared a family of sons and daughters noted for intellectual brilliance, but (page 350) all of whom have passed away. Born in Champaign county in 1815, Judge Conklin died in Sidney, October, 1887, aged seventy-two years, fifty-one of them devoted to the law.
Hugh Thompson, born in Pennsylvania in 1807, came to Sidney in 1831, when it was a village of 637 population. Mr. Thompson at first pursued merchandizing; but being chosen associate justice for Shelby county, to replace Samuel Marshall, he was re-appointed for another full term by the general assembly, continuing in the position until 1841, by which time he had determined upon a legal career, and being admitted to practice followed that profession until 1875, or nearly thirty-five years, during seven of which he was prosecuting attorney of the county. He was also a member of the constitutional convention of 1851, and served two years in the state legislature.
Judge Thompson was a man of social gifts as well as legal talent, and was long remembered by surviving friends for his genial humor and sparkle of wit in conversation, memories of which have been handed down to present generations of lawyers and appreciated by those outside the bar, as well. Careful and painstaking as a lawyer, with endless patience in hearing his clients and wisdom in collating what was valuable to their cases, his presentation of them in court was impeccable as to logic, while his unencumbered English was a great factor in the winning of his point. In analyses he was exceptionally keen, and in his application of legal principles his aim was unerring. It may be imagined that he respected words too much to waste them in flowery eloquence when pure and simple speech was sufficient.
Judge Thompson married, in 1833, Miss Rebecca Davenport, and of their three children, George M., Hugh W., and Elizabeth (who married John H. Mathers), the latter is still living, while Hugh W. died some years ago, leaving three daughters, Mrs. James B. White, jr., and Mrs. C. W. Vandegrift, both of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Mrs. T. D. Van Etten, of Sidney. Judge Thompson died February, 1889. George M. Thompson became a lawyer, also, but died in 1869, ending a promising career in San Francisco. Concerning Robert Young and D. G. Hull, each of whom served as prosecuting attorney in 1828 and 1834, respectively, no information is obtainable, but in 1836 the office was filled by J. S. UpDeGraff, whose name also appears among the lawyers of the county in other connections. Mr. UpDeGraff's prominence, however, seems to have been more in the line of business and agricultural advancement than in law, and he was secretary of the first agricultural society of the county, which organized in 1839 and held its first county fair in October, 1840. The young society held but two fairs, and failed to become a permanent organization, but it was nevertheless the forerunner of the later society which has since become a solid feature of Shelby county enterprise.
Edmund Smith was another lawyer of Sidney whose life and work left a decided mark on the profession, but concerning whom there is preserved only scant detail. He was the first preceptor in law of several of Shelby county's best lawyers of a later day, and remembered as a brilliant and magnetic personality in court and (page 351) society. He represented the county in the third constitutional convention, and while in attendance on its deliberations in Cincinnati, in March, 1874, met sudden death from heart failure. A son, Edmund Smith, is a practicing lawyer in Columbus.
Silas B. Walker was prosecuting attorney of Shelby county from 1856 to 1858, but apart from this appears to have figured more particularly in other capacities than as lawyer, at one time being editor of the Shelby County Democrat.
Adolph J. Rebstock also was prosecuting attorney from 1868 to 1870, and practiced law for some time in this county, removing in the seventies to Miami county, where his death occurred a few years ago. Mr. Rebstock was a fine musician and during his residence in Sidney was conductor of the famous "old band." Gen. James Murray was born in Scotland in 1830. He came with his parents to Cincinnati in 1834, and thence to Sidney in 1836. He received his general education under the tutelage of Rev. McGookin, in the "Academy" and studied law with judge Conklin, being admitted to the bar when nineteen years of age. Gen. Murray first entered law practice with a firm at Perrysburg. near Toledo. He served two terms as Attorney-General of Ohio, from 1860, and following this became general attorney of the Dayton & Michigan (now the B. & 0.) railroad. He returned to Sidney as a residence in 1863, and forming a partnership with Col. Harrison Wilson, remained here until his death, in June, 1879. General Murray, of whom, as a product of Sidney education the city and county cherish a worthy pride, is remembered as a man of almost dual personality, in one phase an astute lawyer of stupendous memory, a deep student of the dryest details of law, a dispassionate counselor and safe advisor, a cool logician, argumentatious yet reserved in speech; in the other, a warm friend, a great reader, and a lover of poetry, in which he reveled. His law library was the finest in this part of Ohio, and his practice was confined almost entirely to the higher courts.
Born in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, in 1830, John H. Mathers received his collegiate education in Jefferson college in that state, afterward studying law in the office of his father. He had risen to the position of district attorney before coming to Sidney, Ohio, in 1856, at which time he was but twenty-six years of age. In Sidney he first formed a partnership with judge Conklin, and entering politics was three times elected prosecuting attorney prior to 1863, when he formed a new partnership with judge Thompson, who had in the meantime become his father-in-law. As a lawyer he was devoted to his practice, in which he was successful and prosperous. Personally, he was an example of the most genuine culture. He died in 1879, while yet in the prime of life. Mr. and Mrs. Mathers were the parents of three children, two daughters, jean and Lucretia, and Hugh Thompson Mathers.
Hugh Thompson Mathers, whose mother, Elizabeth Thompson Mathers, still resides in the family home on North Ohio avenue, in Sidney, was born in this city in 1866. By inheritance from both parents judge Mathers was destined to a legal career, for which he was prepared, after his graduation from the Sidney high school, by (page 352) a literary course in Princeton university, following which he graduated from the Albany Law School in 1888, being one of the four honor students of the class. He was admitted to the bar at Columbus and immediately began the practice of law at Sidney. He served two terms as city solicitor, and then became counsel for the Ohio Southern railroad, which office removed his residence first to Springfield, and then to Cleveland, Ohio, where he remained for one year, returning to Sidney when the road became a part of the L. E. & W. system.
Resuming the general practice of law until 1901, he rose to a leading position in the bar of the county, and was elected to fill a three year's vacancy on the common pleas bench. In 1904 he was elected for the full term, and re-elected in 1910, serving until January, 1917. He is now practicing his profession in Cleveland, Ohio. Judge Mathers is held in the highest esteem as citizen, lawyer and jurist, of which evidence is shown in his repeated nomination for judge of the supreme court of Ohio.
John E. Cummins, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was a native of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1832. In 1834 his parents migrated to Sidney, Ohio, where the family became an integral part of the local history. The Cummins Block, which stood on the Citizen's National bank corner, is said to have been the first brick building erected in Sidney. The Cummins house, which was situated a few doors west of the corner was long noted as the place where William Henry Harrison was entertained in Sidney, when he visited the village during the campaign of 1840an indication of the color of young Cummins' political education. His scholastic education came later, at Washington and Jefferson college, in Pennsylvania, but at the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Cummins entered the army as colonel of the 99th O. V. I., remaining in service until the close of the war, when he was brevetted brigadier-general for bravery and merit. Mrs. Cummins was a daughter of John W. Carey. Three sons, Knox, Carey, and Frank, were born to them. Subsequent to the war, Gen. Cummins was admitted to the bar, forming a partnership with the brilliant Edmund Smith. Scarcely a year after the tragic death of Mr. Smith, in Cincinnati, Gen. Cummins' life also came to an untimely end. Nathan R. Burress was a native son of Shelby county, born in Turtle Creek township in 1845, and educated only as the county schools provided opportunity. Genius makes its own opportunity, however, and Mr. Burress attained a high degree of literary culture and a remarkable command of the English tongue. He possessed by nature the gift of imagination as well as the broad reasoning faculties indispensable to success in his chosen profession. He studied law with Edmund Smith, and was admitted to the bar in 1868, being elected prosecuting attorney in 1870 and again in 1872. In 1875, he was sent to the state senate, and declining a renomination, reentered the practice of law in partnership with judge Conklin. Mr. Burress died in 1883, at the age of only thirty-eight years. Col. Harrison Wilson, born near Cadiz, Ohio, in 1841, was the youngest of a large family, and had but just succeeded in completing a college course at Ohio university only secured through (page 353) hardship and sacrifice, when the Civil War broke out, and the call of his country diverted his career, for the next four years, to military service. Beginning as second lieutenant in the 25th O. V. I., he was successively advanced in rank, being mustered out with his regiment as colonel in 1865, after participating in forty-two engagements and three sieges, as well as sharing in the "march to the sea." He was awarded a medal by Congress.
Col. Wilson came to Sidney to study law, and after being admitted to the bar formed a partnership with Gen. Murray which ended only with the death of the latter in 1879. For thirteen years, from 1895 to 1909 he occupied the circuit bench in the second judicial district of the state, and as a judge became noted for the clearness and comprehensiveness of his decisions, and his official integrity. He held high rank in the legal fraternity of the state. Subsequent to his retirement from the bench he entered a well-known law firm in Columbus, but from that city removed to California in 1912.
John E. McCullough was the son of Samuel McCullough, who came from Virginia to Sidney in 1835, and spent nearly sixty years of honorable life here, a Scotch Presbyterian of the old school. Born in Sidney in 1852, John McCullough was educated in the Union school, studied law with James McKercher (a lawyer concerning whom this statement is the only record printed) and was admitted to the bar in 1884, reaching the goal of his ambition not by any royal road, but by the determined effort of mature manhood. Of broad and clear mentality, genial disposition and magnetic personality, the future lay bright before him at the age of thirty-two; but two years later the strange hand of fate wrote finis after one more promising legal record. Mr. McCullough married, in 1874, Miss Anna Duncan, who, with two sons, survived him.
George A. Marshall was a native of Shelby county, born in Turtle Creek township in 1849, one of the eleven children of Samuel Marshall, a pioneer. He attended the country schools, and Delaware university, afterward taking up the study of law in the office of Conklin and Burress; and was admitted to the bar in 1876. He was twice elected prosecuting attorney, in 1877 and in 1882, and in 1896 was sent to the National Congress, serving one term. He died soon after his return to Sidney, in April, 1899. His career as a lawyer covered a period of twenty years, during which he enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a sound and able pleader before the courts.
John Milton Staley born 1847, is another Shelby county native who attained local eminence in law, although as a young man he had given special attention to music, which he fitted himself to teach, taking a course at the Lebanon normal after two years in Delaware university. Soon afterward he determined upon the study of law, attended Cincinnati law school, and after being admitted to practice, opened his office in Sidney and continued in the profession until his death, in 1901. He never abandoned music, however, and was the conductor of an excellent local orchestra. He served Shelby two terms as probate judge.
John G. Stephenson, born in Green county, Ohio, came to (page 354) Sidney in the sixties, after a period of residence in California. He practiced law here for about twenty years, holding the office of city attorney, and of mayor, the latter in 1876. In 1881 he removed to Kentucky, where he died in 1901.
Judge W. D. Davies, of Welsh parentage, was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1850. His preliminary education, obtained near his birth-place, was rounded out by a three years' course at Ohio State university, after which he was admitted to the bar in his native state, at Iowa City, in the year 1870. For the next five years the young lawyer was in the employ of several railroads, after which he settled in Sidney and engaged in the regular practice of law. Judge Davies was an ardent Republican, and becoming the leader of the local party, was many times nominated for office, and sent as a delegate to the national Republican convention at Chicago, in 1900. He was appointed February, 1901, to fill the unexpired term of Judge W. T. Mooney on the common pleas bench, and died in March, 1902, following the close of his incumbency in November, 1901. Mrs. Davies was Miss Belle Mathers, of Miffintown, Pennsylvania.
J. Wilson Conklin, oldest son of judge Conklin, born in Sidney in 1848, possessed a brilliant mind, and was given exceptional educational advantages, but failed to make the most of his native ability, and his career as a lawyer was somewhat desultory, in consequence. A part of his legal work was done in Celina, Ohio, where he removed after his marriage to Miss Carrie McBeth, of Bellefontaine.
S. J. Hatfield, a native of Wayne county, Ohio, was born in 1845. By training and inheritance Mr. Hatfield was of high religious and moral character. His education was obtained in the public schools of his native county, and at the Western Reserve college, after which he graduated from Michigan university law school.
He came to Sidney in 1875, and practiced continuously until his death, which occurred in 1911, at which time he was the senior member of the Shelby county bar association in years of practice. His ideals of law, like those of life, were high. No lawyer has left a finer personal record on the pages of Shelby county history. He never held elective office, was widely known as a humanitarian, and for many years was a member of the state board of pardons, and also a trustee of the Shelby County Children's Home. Emery L. Hoskins, born near Magnetic Springs, Ohio, in 1857, became a practicing lawyer in 1882, locating in Sidney in 1883, where he formed a law partnership with judge W. D. Davies. Possessing many elements of popularity, he was also well equipped for his work, and attained an early success. He was a member of the school board for fifteen years and served two terms as probate judge, being first elected in 1899. His death occurred in 1909. S. L. Wicof, the senior member of the Shelby county bar, is still in active practice and closely identified with public affairs of a civic nature in Sidney. He is a native of Shelby county, born in 1851, son of Isaac and Esther Wicof. Educated in the district schools, young Wicof received supplementary courses at Wittenberg college and at the Lebanon, Ohio, Normal school, after which (page 355) he took up the study of law with the McKinneys, at Piqua in the summer of 1873. In 1875, having been admitted to the bar, he located in Sidney with S. S. McKinney as law partner, an association which lasted five years. From 1880 until 1899 Mr. Wicof practiced alone, then formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, W. J. Emmons. Mr. Emmons is a native of Miami county, and received his training in the county schools, and at the Lebanon normal, graduating with the class of 1885. About one year later Mr. Emmons located in Sidney, and while engaged in other business, he took up the study of law in the office of Mr. Wicof, giving his unoccupied time to preparation for professional life in no desultory manner, but without hurry or neglect or other interests. He was admitted to the bar in 1890, and formed an immediate partnership which was augmented in 1904 by the admission of Harvey H. Needles. Neither Mr. Wicof nor his partner have been much concerned in politics, but are, nevertheless, active in public affairs. Mr. Wicoff was a trustee of the Children's Home for eight years, and a member of the committee who designed the admirable building. The city of Sidney owes much to his activity on the library board, in which he has been an indefatigable worker. Mr. Emmons held a position on the Sidney board of education for three years, and was for six years a member of the examining board, both elective offices. As a law firm, none in the county stands higher. Judge Harvey H. Needles, born in Miami county, was admitted to the bar in 1901, and was a member of the firm of Wicof, Emmons & Needles until his election to the probate bench in 1917, a position which he still holds.
David Oldham, born in Miami county in 1854, and reared in Darke county until 1869, came to Sidney, Shelby county, in September of that year and entered Sidney high school, graduating the following June with the first class to whom were awarded diplomas by the board of education. Motherless from earliest infancy, David Oldham was cared for by an aunt, to whom he rendered the filial service of a son in her old age. Apart from her help, Mr. Oldham is a self-made man. After his graduation from high school, he learned plastering, at the advice of an English uncle, and while so engaged conceived the idea of himself constructing a house, which he carried out-his first house, a very small one, being finished in 1872. Some years later, when the houses had multiplied to eleven, he traded them for a timber farm, bought a second-hand portable sawmill and cut the timber himself. This not being immediately marketable, the young builder made his own market, and built more houses with the quarter-million feet of lumber yielded by the tract. Yet he found time between the year of graduation and 1875 to study law with Conklin and Burress, and was admitted to the bar at the same time with S. L. Wicof. He has practiced law continuously since (though much engaged in his building activities), making a specialty of collections and of private counsel. David Oldham is responsible for about seven hundred renting houses and business buildings, most of which have passed from his possession to purchasers. There is much very just objection to the extremely cheap type of dwelling houses and tenements included in the list, (page 356) which have not beautified Sidney, certainly. Yet it cannot be denied that these cheap habitations have provided shelter for hundreds upon hundreds of workmen who were absolutely vital to the welfare of Sidney's rapidly growing industries, which would have been entirely lacking except for the Oldham houses.
Harry Oldham, son of David Oldham, was born in Sidney and educated in classics and the law, but while a member of the Shelby county bar, he devotes his time and energies chiefly to the editing and publishing of the Sidney Daily journal, the republican organ of the county.
John Oldham, another son, also a practicing lawyer for several years and a member of the Oldham-Bennett company, died during the winter of 1918-19. Judge I. A. Eshman, born in Loramie township in 1870, attended the local schools, and the Versailles high, and later the Lebanon normal, taking up law with George A. Marshall, for the following few years. In 1905 he was elected to the probate bench, having previously entered politics and served as justice of the peace. He also held a position on the board of school examiners for six years, and becoming interested thus in educational affairs, taught school for several years. After a long term of service as probate judge, Mr. Eshman at last took time to be admitted to the bar, and has since been an active lawyer in high standing. James E. Way was born in Washington county, Ohio, in 1851, was admitted to the bar in Marietta, Ohio, in the seventies, and came to Sidney in 1882. He entered politics, and in 1884 was elected city solicitor, serving two terms ; after which he was elected prosecuting attorney, holding the office from 1889 to 1895. He has since been in active practice of law, and for fifteen years has been a trustee of the Children's Home, in which his enthusiastic interest is as unquestionable as his ability is valuable.
Andrew J. Hess, born at Columbus in 1864, was cared for during his infancy and early boyhood by two most estimable ladies of that city, Mrs. McCormack and Mrs. Martha Taylor, both of whom did all that was in their power to supply the place of the parents he had lost. The lad came to Shelby county in 1873, working on a farm while struggling for further education. "Self-made" is a term that may be applied with propriety to Mr. Hess (although he attributes much to his early benefactresses) for he had as hard a fight with circumstances as need be instanced in the Shelby county bar association. From nine to sixteen years of age he worked on a farm and attended school at every opportunity, beginning to teach at sixteen. For four year he taught school at various places in the northern part of the county, and studied at the same time. He prepared for law practice at Michigan university, and was admitted to the bar of Ohio in 1885, locating at Sidney. He is one of the foremost lawyers in the county, the firm of Hess and Hess-which consists of himself and his two elder sons-being given largely to corporation law. Mr. Hess has never sought political prominence, but has been elected to the school board and has served several years on the examining board. With S. L. Wicoff and S. J. Hatfield, Mr. Hess completed the board of commissioners who planned and built the Shelby county Children's Home.
(page 357) The sons and partners, Royon G. Hess and Harry K. Hess both were born in Sidney and educated in the Sidney high school, later attending Ohio State university, from the law department of which both graduated, in 1908 and 1914 respectively. Royon G. has been a member of the law firm from his graduation and admission to the bar, while Harry K. went first to Washington, D. C., as secretary to Congressman J. Edward Russell, afterward returning to join the firm. Both are regarded as coming men. The character of the firm individually and collectively is of the highest.
Charles R. Hess is a well known lawyer, at one time representative of the county in the state legislature, an expert abstract writer, and now a justice of the peace.
Hon. J. E. Russell, of late the Republican congressman from the fourth district, is a native of Shelby county, born August 9, 1866, on the home farm of William and Laura Russell in Turtle Creek township, where the boy attended school and learned practical farming, afterward coming to Sidney, where he completed the high school course in 1888, and then took up school teaching, in the intervals of which he began reading law. About 1890 Mr. Russell entered the law office of George A. Marshall as a student, and was admitted to the bar in October, 1893, at which time he opened his office in Sidney. He has enjoyed a large practice and has been employed in many cases of note. Politically a Republican, Mr. Russell enjoys the distinction of being the only man of his party ever sent to congress from the fourth district. He has been twice re-nominated since 1914. At the outset of his legal career he served two terms as city solicitor, and in 1905 was elected state senator from the twelfth senatorial district. In 1910 he was appointed supervisor of the census from the fourth congressional district. In addition to his professional and political activities, Mr. Russell has now for twenty-four years filled the position of secretary of the Board of Agriculture of the Shelby county fair.
Joseph C. Royon, of French ancestry, settled in Sidney after a brief experience in Greenville, in 1878, following his admission to the practice of law, in which he had received his training at Michigan university. In the following year Mr. Royon married Miss Mary A. Flinn, of Loramie township. In the practice of law Mr. Royon was associated with judge Conklin. He entered public life and was city solicitor of Sidney for four years. His specialty as a lawyer was in the organization and adjustment of business, in which his interests gradually withdrew him from court practice, and he retired from the practice of law about 1891, taking up a permanent residence on his farm near Houston. Mr. Royon's interest in educational matters has been broad and constant, and the first example, in Shelby county, of the modern centralized country school was erected in the Houston school district during his presidency of the Houston school board, Mr. Royon being a notable sponsor for the movement, which augurs a new era of education for the boys and girls of the rural districts.
Hugh Doorley, born in Washington township, Shelby county, December, 1855, wrested his legal education from circumstances, teaching school for several years, and attending Ohio Northern (page 358) university at intervals. He took law at Ohio State university, completing his legal studies under difficulties, but persevering until ready for practice, to which he was admitted in 1901, in the meanwhile filling the offices of deputy clerk and clerk of Sidney for several terms. Death cut his career short in 1910, while still in the prime of life.
Frank J. Doorley, son of Hugh Doorley, was born in Sidney in 1890, and educated in the parochial and in Sidney high school, afterward attending Notre Dame university for a year or two. He then engaged in business for a year, before beginning the study of law at Ohio State university, which he attended for one year, finishing his legal courses in the office of Percy R. Taylor, after which he was admitted to the bar, upon examination, in 1911. In 1913 he was elected city solicitor, and re-elected in the three following years, being also appointed to other positions of honor in political circles. He died in 1916, while still in office. Urban H. Doorley, his brother, was born in Sidney in 1892, graduated from the public schools, and attended Ohio State university, from the law department of which he graduated in 1915, and was admitted to the bar the same summer. He entered practice at once, but in 1916 was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Frank Doorley. At the close of the term he was elected to the same office, and is still serving in that capacity (1919).
John Quinlin, native of Shelby county, born in 1862, graduated from Ann Arbor (Michigan) university law school in 1889, and returning to Sidney formed a partnership with Hon. George A. Marshall, but, after practicing only a few months, developed tuberculosis; and being sent to Colorado in a vain quest for cure, died in the spring of 1890.
The law firm of Marshall and Marshall includes the brothers, Robert E. and Charles C. Marshall, both native sons of Shelby county. Robert Marshall has practiced in this county only a few years, his intervening experience having been gained in Indiana. He is at present prosecuting attorney of the county, a position also once held by Charles C. Marshall, who is at present chairman of the State Public Utilities commission.
Logan W. Marshall, a well-known member of the Shelby county bar, is for the present engaged with the Miami conservancy district work.
Charles C. Hall, born in Sidney in 1873, graduated from Sidney high school in 1894. He then read law for two years with John F. Wilson, and graduated from the law department of Ohio State university in 1897. He was admitted to the bar in the same year. Mr. Hall has filled the office of city solicitor, and has been twice elected prosecuting attorney of Shelby county.
D. F. Mills was born at Newport, Shelby county, in 1879, and educated in the county schools, in which he afterward taught for four years. He then attended. Ohio Northern university at Ada, Ohio, completing the academic and legal courses there, and passed the examination for admittance to the bar, in December, 1906. After teaching for six months he came to Sidney and entered the office of Judge E. L. Hoskins as junior partner. Upon Judge Hoskins' death (page 359) in 1909, Mr. Mills, after a few months' single practice, formed a partnership with J. D. Barnes which continued until the duties of prosecuting attorney detached him from regular practice. Mr. Mills has served as city solicitor from 1910 to 1914, and as prosecuting attorney from 1915 to 1919.
Harry K. Forsythe was born in Sidney in 1889. He was graduated from Sidney high school and entered Ohio State university in 1910, completing the academic course there, after which he attended Cincinnati. law school, from which he graduated in 1915, having been previously admitted to the bar. He began practice in Sidney immediately after graduation. In 1917 he was elected mayor of Sidney, and is still in office (1919).
Hugh Bingham, born in Sidney, 1890, the son of R. O. and Alice Conklin Bingham, graduated from Sidney high school in 1908, and from Western Reserve university in 1911. He passed the entrance examination for the bar in the summer of 1915, and began practice in Cleveland, where his legal studies had been followed. In 1916 he returned to Sidney, and, while in regular practice, has given part of his time to teaching higher mathematics in the high school, as a supply, and has also been acting city auditor during the absence of Melville Rhodes in military service.
Samuel J. Hetzler, born and educated in Sidney, graduated in law at Ohio State university, being admitted to practice in 1917. Having been in military service ever since, he has thus far not come into actual experience in his profession. Mr. Hetzler's name is mentioned for city solicitor.
Emerson V. Moore was born in Shelby county in 1868. He received his early education in the county schools, later attending the Normal university at Lebanon. He studied law and was admitted to the bar. Since coming to Sidney, Mr. Moore has once been city solicitor, and twice elected mayor. He served in the Spanish-American war, but returned to his practice subsequently, and is still a member of the Shelby county bar association. He has now for some years been connected with the state insurance department.
Percy R. Taylor is a native of England, born in 1872. He came to America (Toronto) at the age of ten years, graduated from Bishop's college (Lenoxville, province of Quebec), and became a bookkeeper, as his first venture into business life. Mr. Taylor came to Sidney twenty-seven years ago, in July, 1892, and secured a position as a reporter for the Sidney journal, under Trego and Binkley, which he filled until 1898. The next few years were spent as editor of the Piqua Dispatch, and with the Lanning Publishing company (publishers of law books), following which he was proofreader for the Western Publishing company of St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1901 he took a position as traveling salesman through Maryland and the Virginias, and including Ohio, utilizing his spare hours during the years from 1901 to 1905 in the study of law, to the practice of which he was admitted by examination, though he did not engage in it until 1905, when he returned to Sidney and opened his office and began a successful career in his profession. In 1918 Mr. Taylor (page 360) removed to Toledo, where he is a member of a prominent law firm.
Mrs. Taylor was Miss Dorothy Cary, of Sidney.
Among other lawyers of briefer residence in Sidney and Shelby county who are remembered by name, but concerning whom scant information beyond this is obtainable, are listed: Calland and Sprague, Bodell and Souder, William C. Hale, Daniel O'Connell, Keepers Alberry, and (older) a Mr. French and a Mr. Pettit. Joseph D. Barnes, son of J. H. Barnes and Mary Hubbell Barnes, was born in Champaign county, Ohio, June 14, 1869, coming to Sidney in 1884, at which time he entered the Sidney high school, graduating four years later. After leaving school he engaged in the study of law in the office of Davies and Hoskins, and attended Cincinnati law school in 1889-90, graduating in the spring of that year. Admitted to the bar, he entered politics and law almost simultaneously, being elected city solicitor in 1891. In 1894 he was first elected prosecuting attorney of Shelby county, and re-elected in 1898. As a lawyer, judge Barnes rose to a leading position very early in his practice. As an official he has been competent and without fear. As a man of affairs, his advice is sought on all sides and his support is regarded as a solid guaranty of safety. No lawyer of his time has enjoyed a greater popularity in office, nor success in practice. From 1909 to 1915 he was associated in practice with D. F. Mills, under the firm title of Barnes and Mills.
In 1916 he was elected to the common pleas bench, taking office January, 1917, and his first term is as yet unfinished. As judge, he is winning deservedly high position in public esteem, being called to hold court in numerous emergencies outside of Shelby county. Judge Barnes has occupied many positions of court appointment in the settlement of financial affairs, in which he has exhibited expert sagacity and given the highest satisfaction. He is at present a member of the Miami conservancy court.
The past legal history of the county has been signalized by many men of great talent who have made wide reputation for themselves and for the city and county, and the present roster of the Shelby county bar is such that the community may take pride in it as upholding the best traditions of the past. The lawyers of today have not the spectacular opportunities of former times for winning reputation, when litigation was so common a mode of settling all disputes and difficulties that it was the most popular public entertainment known. But the lawyer of today, who more often than not settles his cases out of court is not less astute than he who used to exhaust a half day's eloquence over a neighborhood quarrel, though he may never be the hero the old-time successful lawyer seemed to his client and the hangers on of the court room. Older citizens can still remember the oratory which used to make the ceilings of the old brick courthouse tremble, and remark that they "do not hear the like, now." However, weightier and more intricate legal problems now exact from the lawyers of today equal, if different talents, as did any case of olden times in which sensational eloquence aroused tumults of enthusiasm or drew tears from the auditors. A clear head in the council room is often worth more to a client than a golden tongue in the court room. Not less dignified (page 361) than in the stormier past, the law has become subject to disciplined calm, both in the appeal to justice from the bar, and its administration from the bench.
The Medical Profession
"The ills that human flesh is heir to" make the general medical history of pioneer districts in the middle west more nearly identical than any other department of life under consideration. It was inevitable that the same epidemics should sweep the contiguous counties of each latitude, and that all physicians should come from a limited selection of medical training schools-and equally inevitable that many of these should be inexperienced youths or self-taught "herb doctors" ; so that if Shelby county was protected from professional charlatanism-from which it seems to have been remarkably free-the credit must be given to an over-ruling providence, or an exceptionally wise set of pioneer fathers. Sidney's first recorded physician was Dr. Pratt, who died early in the twenties. The infant community was, perhaps, left without a doctor by this calamity, and it is certain that the leading pioneers saw the advisability of securing a physician whose competency could not be questioned; for it was by urgent request and strong inducement that Dr. William Fielding, the first of a long list of rather remarkable men, was persuaded to locate in Sidney in the year 1824.
Dr. Fielding was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1796, the son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Henderson) Fielding, who afterward removed to Cynthiana, Kentucky, where young Fielding received his scientific education, then studying medicine under Dr. Burnett at Falmouth, Kentucky. Interrupted by six months' service in the war of 1812, his studies were resumed and, in 1816, the lad of twenty years was pronounced ready, and began the practice of his profession at once in Madison county, Ohio. In 1818 he married Miss Elizabeth Vail and settled in Franklin, Ohio, where he practiced for six years, when he came to Sidney with his young family, and remained for the rest of his life, with the exception of a few years spent in Clinton county for the benefit of his children's education.
Dr. Fielding was an important acquisition to the new town, and took a leading position in its affairs at once, becoming a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church upon its organization in 1825, and an original petitioner of Temperance Lodge No. 73 in the same year. He was worshipful master of the latter for a great part of the time during twenty-seven years. He built the first brick residence in Sidney, the site being that occupied in after years by the Frazier drug store* on Main avenue, on the east side of the square. (The Frazier drug store afterward occupied the building on Ohio street where the Taylor hardware store now is.) A small office building stood on the rear of the lot, reached from the alley. Dr. Fielding also represented the county in the state legislature for seven years. As a physician Dr. Fielding was skillful and capable, but his genius was composite and he shone equally in other roles, (page 362) especially in Masonry, inquiry into his activities in that fraternity revealing a usefulness that was unique and widespread. He was the author of the ritual of the Masonic order that was in use all over the state of Ohio for nearly fifty years, and there are still preserved, in the local Masonic archives, drawings of signal power and expression, illustrating the application of the ritual. His beneficence in Masonic circles is still called to mind among surviving friends and his name is permanently woven into the early history of Sidney. None of the numerous members of his family remained here, however, and it is many years since Mrs. Fielding passed away. Dr. Fielding's death preceded hers, occurring in 1873, at the country home, "Evergreen Farm."
A long list of physicians of whom little or nothing is recorded except their names (among them Drs. Ezekiel Thomas, James H. Stewart, Robert C. Johnston, A. Sanborn, Levi Houston, Julius Deppe, S. B. Musselman, William C. Ayers, W. L. M. LeFevre, T. V. W. Young, Peter Julian, Lewis A. Davis and L. K. Milton) practiced in the town and county during its first half century. Dr. Park Beeman, who came from New York in 1838, was a well remembered surgeon in Sidney, where he was valued and respected for his sincerity as physician and citizen. He left Sidney for Kansas, but returned, and took up his practice after a few years, and died about 1870.
Dr. John C. Leedom was a physician of the county who won the love and confidence of the community where he practiced, his home being near New Palestine. He was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1817, and given a thorough education in Philadelphia. His death occurred October, 1891. A son resides in Sidney, where Dr. Leedom was also held high in professional and personal regard. Dr. H. S. Conklin, born in Champaign county in 1814, began the study of medicine under Dr. Robert Rogers in Springfield, Ohio, and later graduated from Ohio Medical college at Cincinnati, locating in Sidney immediately after, in 1836, when he was but twenty-two years of age. The county at that time was still heavily timbered, and the roads for the greater part mere bridle paths, and the practice of the physician was one of real hardship and sometimes danger. Overwork and exposure in attending patients account for the early retirement or death of many whose names appeared for a while on the county roster only to vanish. All the hardship and privation, joined with the rough but kindly hospitality, and loyalty in following, which characterized the times and places, were his experience in practice, in which he adapted himself to every circumstance. While the saddle was still the only practical mode of travel, Dr. Conklin was for about fifteen years surgeon of the state militia, besides which he bore a large part in public affairs and was a strong influence in securing the railroads for Sidney. He also served during the Civil war, first as medical examiner and afterward as surgeon under Gen. Fremont. In diagnosis Dr. Conklin attained wide recognition for his accuracy and correctness, and was called into frequent consultation in many parts of the state. He stood at the summit of the profession locally, during nearly all of the fifty-four years of his residence in Sidney-the longest life-work of any (page 363) professional man in the city or county. He was of splendid physique, and as broad in mentality as in shoulder, while the generosity of his nature endeared him to every one who knew him. Younger physicians who came into Sidney inexperienced in life and practice pay tribute to his gracious treatment of them in their struggling days.
In 1838 Dr. Conklin married Miss Ann Blake, daughter of pioneer John Blake, and a native of Burrobridge, England, and reared a family of three children.
Dr. Wilson V. Cowan was born near Urbana, Champaign county, Ohio, in 1816. He was graduated from the Miami university and from the Ohio Medical college at Cincinnati, and came to Hardin, Shelby county, in 1844, making his permanent home there and devoting himself to the local interests. In 1856 he represented the county in the state legislature, and in 1861 he went into the Civil war as assistant surgeon of the Fremont body guards, later became surgeon of the First Ohio cavalry, and afterward brigade surgeon. Following the war he returned to Hardin, where from then until his death, in 1874, he devoted himself to his profession. Dr. Cowan is said to have been an excellent physician of the old school, sympathetic and kindly but practical, with gentle manners and much personal charm. Dr. Charles Cowan, a son, followed his father in practice for several years, but later left to live in California. Dr. Albert Wilson, son of Col. Jesse Wilson, a Shelby county pioneer, was born in 1826, and began his medical studies under Dr. H. S. Conklin, in Sidney, completing his preparation for his profession at the Ohio Medical college, from which he graduated in 1851, locating in Sidney soon after. His practice was transferred to war service in 1861, he being the first man in Sidney to respond to President Lincoln's first call for troops. After more than four years in service, Dr. Wilson returned to Sidney and became a valuable member of the local profession, a doctor of sincere and honest purpose and a citizen of clean life. He died in 1903, survived by his wife and daughter, Miss Jessie Ayres Wilson.
Dr. Stephen C. Hussey, born in Greene county in 1819, came to Port Jefferson, Shelby county, in 1848, a graduate of Starling Medical college, in Columbus. He practiced there until his death in 1871, leaving a family of ten surviving children, two of whom, Millard F. and Allan Hussey, became practicing physicians in the county, Millard F. at Sidney, and Allen Hussey at Port Jefferson. Dr. John L. Miller, who also practiced at Port Jefferson, was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1833, and came to Shelby county in 1854, beginning his medical study under Dr. Stephen C. Hussey. Subsequently he attended Starling Medical college and practiced at Port Jefferson from 1857 until a few years before his death, which occurred in 1906 at Delaware, where he had removed. Dr. D. R. Silver, whose life and memory are still vivid in the light of his comparatively recent death, in 1913, was born near Wooster, Ohio, in 1844. He received his academic education at Vermilion institute, at Haysville, Ohio. He began the study of medicine in Wooster, and later graduated from the Jefferson Medical college at Philadelphia, and entered upon his practice at Apple (page 364) Creek, Wayne county, Ohio, whence he came to Sidney in 1871.
In 1872 he married Miss Jennie E. Fry, who survives him, with their two children, Miss Edith Silver and Dr. Arthur Silver. Dr. Silver was the founder of the Shelby County Medical society, which he organized, in 1871, as a unit of the Ohio State Medical association, and, through it, of the American Medical association. Dr. Silver throughout his career stood high in public estimation, a keen, straight-forward, stable-minded man in every capacity, and one of the most outspoken and formidable enemies of the liquor traffic during the years when the "wet and dry" fight was being waged in Ohio. He was a member of the city health board and medical inspector in the schools, his investigations being of positive benefit to the community. He also held for a term the presidency of the Ohio State Medical association.
Dr. Henry E. Beebe, native of Wyandot county, Ohio, born 1849, was educated in the public schools and at Wittenberg college, and graduated from Cleveland homeopathic medical college in 1873, locating in Sidney the same year. The era of prejudice which the young physician then encountered has passed away, and no one, professional or otherwise, denies today Dr. Beebe's title as dean of the medical corps of Sidney, after his forty-six years of uninterrupted activity in relief of suffering among its people. With the exception of Dr. Conklin, whose practice covered fifty-four years, Dr. Beebe has already been in active professional life longer than any other doctor of Sidney. His following is not exceeded, and his friends are legion. Dr. Beebe has served one term as president of the Homeopathic Medical society of Ohio, and one term as vice-president of the American Institute of Homeopathy, and was also an original member of the Ohio State Medical Examining board, on which he served for fourteen years.
Dr. Hugh McDowell Beebe is a native son of Sidney, born in 1883 and educated in the local high school, and at Ohio state university and in the homeopathic college of the University of Michigan, from which he graduated with the class of 1907. He began practice with his father, Dr. H. E. Beebe, in Sidney, winning immediate recognition of his skill in surgery and medicine. More than five years ago he was called to Michigan university to occupy a chair as professor of surgery, and went from that institution into military service at the beginning of the war. Major Beebe has but lately returned from nine months' service in France, where he was appointed to Evacuation Hospital No. 19, Allarez, France, was in charge of a surgical team at Argonne, and after the fight became chief of surgical service in the hospital. Major Beebe will return to Michigan university this autumn (1_919). The Drs. Beebe, father and son, are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Frank D. Anderson is a native of Sidney, educated for his profession in Pulte Medical college, from which he graduated in 1893, and has since been in constant practice in Sidney, for twenty-six years. He is an expert anesthetist, and has for some years been a professional assistant of Dr. Beebe, sr., with whom he shares office headquarters.
Dr. W. D. Firederick, a native of Shelby county, has practiced (page 365) medicine for years in Darke county, and in Anna, where he subsequently made his home until 1911, when he came to Sidney to reside. Dr. Firederick enjoyed a wide acquaintance and practice, which he has not entirely given up, although less active than formerly. Dr. S. G. Goode was born in Champaign county, and a good part of his professional experience was passed outside of Shelby county, where he is now counted among the oldest doctors still in practice. He came to Pemberton in 1881, moved to Port Jefferson in 1883, and some years later located in Sidney where, he has been very successful. Dr. Goode is of the eclectic school of practice. He is now county physician and for several years has occupied the office of coroner.
Dr. B. M. Sharp, a native of Franklin township, Shelby county, went into the Civil war just as he had arrived at college age, and following the war took up school teaching, in which he attained a high standing during nine years' experience, several of which were spent as superintendent of the Quincy, Ohio, schools. He attended Columbus Medical college (merged into Starling 1879-80), and graduated in 1879, coming at once thereafter to Sidney, where he has now been in continuous practice for forty years. Dr. Sharp is a nephew of Dr. J. Sharp, who practiced in Port Jefferson many years ago. He is himself the oldest physician, in point of years, now practicing in Sidney. He has a wide acquaintance, and a devoted following.
Dr. Cyrus E. Johnston, a native of Shelby county, graduated from Starling Medical college in 1880, and first located in Sidney, practicing for a long period. Within the past few years he has removed his home to Anna, this county, but still maintains an office in Sidney and attends to some practice there, while also performing the duty of medical examiner for the Metropolitan Insurance company.
Dr. A. W. Reddish was born in Sidney, in 1859. He graduated from Pulte Medical college in 1883, and located in his native town where he has long been one of the leading physicians. Dr. Reddish is a very active Free Mason, a member of the Shelby County Medical society, and of the State Medical association. He also has served the city of Sidney as member of the board of school directors. Dr. A. W. Hobby, born near Port Jefferson, where he practiced for five or six years before coming to Sidney, is a graduate of the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati. He located in Sidney about fourteen years ago, and has become prominent in local practice. Dr. Hobby is now (1919) leaving Sidney temporarily to attend the Chicago Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat college, after which he will devote his practice to these special lines. He has served two terms as county coroner.
Dr. J. C. Ferree was born in Perry township, Shelby county, in 1874. He received his education in the county schools, and at Lebanon normal college, and graduated from Cleveland Homeopathic Medical college in 1901. He practiced in Sidney for eight or nine years in general lines, and then took up eye, ear, nose and throat treatment at Michigan university, after which he located in Dayton, and entered upon a highly successful special practice. From (page 366)Dayton he was called about four years ago to occupy the chair of the eye, ear, nose and throat department in the Homeopathic college at Ohio State university. Dr. Ferree's success has been almost spectacular in its character, and his confreres take generous pride in it. A brother of Dr. Ferree, Clarence E. Ferree, Ph.D., graduate with honors and degrees from Ohio Wesleyan and from Cornell universities, has held the chair of psychology in Bryn Mawr university since 1917. Dr. C. E. Ferree is a rising authority on the eye and is the inventor of valuable eye-testing apparatus, used by the government here and in France, during the late war, in the aviation department.
Dr. August Gudenkauf, of South Ohio avenue, Sidney, was born in Germany, 1870, came to America with his parents in 1874, and was educated in the Sidney schools, graduating in 1893, after which he pursued teaching until 1900. He then spent five years at Ohio State university, and graduated with the class of 1905 in medicine, serving one year as interne in the Protestant hospital at Columbus before locating in Sidney to practice. Dr. Gudenkauf has, by his fine service, acquired firm standing in the professional ranks of the city.
Dr. J. W. Costolo was born in Shelby county, 1854, in the log cabin of his father, Thomas Costolo, who came to Shelby county from Ireland in 1835, and began life unarmed by anything but his native wit, but succeeded in becoming a foremost citizen, trusted and esteemed. Young Costolo removed with the family to Fort Loramie in 1878, and there began the study of medicine with Dr. Hamer. After eighteen months in Dr. Hamer's office, Costolo read with Dr. Edward F. Wells of Minster for three years, which was followed by two lecture courses at Ohio Medical college, where he received his diploma in 1883. He practiced in Fort Loramie for thirteen years, coming in 1896 to Sidney, where he married Miss Alice Quinlin. Dr. Costolo took great interest in politics and served several terms as coroner. He was a leader in the temperance cause, and fought the liquor traffic with all his energy, when it was unpopular to do so. He was prominent in the Knights of Columbus and Irish Fellowship organizations, as well as in professional associations. Dr. Costolo was instrumental in establishing the tuberculosis hospital at Lima, and was its first superintendent, and three years on the board of trustees, returning to Sidney in 1916. His death occurred in March, 1918, at his home on Ohio avenue. Dr. Flint Hubbell, a grandson of Hezekiah Hubbell and son of Dr. James A. Hubbell, of Quincy, was born in Quincy, Ohio, in 1879. Finishing the course provided in the Quincy schools, he graduated from Ada normal university and Starling Medical college, and began practice at Quincy in 1901. Before locating in Sidney, Dr. Hubbell took advantage of several valuable post graduate courses, spending six months as an interne at Bellevue hospital, New York, and in 1904 graduated from the Chicago clinical school, after which he spent eight years in practice in Sidney. Again, in 1912, Dr. Hubbell attended a post graduate course in the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat college at Chicago. Dr. Hubbell became a member of the county, state, American and international medical and surgical associations, (page 367) held a high professional position, locally, with as bright a future still open. before him as any physician of the county ever faced. His sudden death occurred at the close of the winter of 1918. Dr. John Franklin Connor, born and reared in Sidney, has been in the medical and surgical service of the English army ever since the outbreak of the world war in 1914, shortly after his professional career was launched. His return to Sidney a few weeks since (June, 1919), places him once more in the local ranks, and he will succeed to the general practice of Dr. A. W. Hobby.
The Drs. O. O. and Vernon LeMaster are brothers and natives of Indiana. Dr. O. O. LeMaster was born in 1876, and graduated from Starling Medical college in 1902, practicing in Kettlersville, Shelby county, for twelve years before settling in Sidney. Dr. Vernon LeMaster was born in 1887, and graduated from Michigan university medical college in 1914, about which time both brothers came to Sidney. Lieut. Vernon entered the army medical service during the war, and has just returned from overseas service with the U. S. colors. (1919.)
Dr. W. Judd Conklin, son of Dr. H. S. Conklin, became a physician of brilliant attainments, eminent in Dayton (where he was one of the principal founders of the public library), and was often called to Sidney in medical councils. Dr. Harry Conklin, another son, practiced medicine here in association with his father. He died while yet a young man. Dr. W. R. Keve, who married Dr. H. S. Conklin's daughter, was also his partner for a time, and a brilliant and capable physician. He removed to Piqua. Dr. H. A. Tobey was a son-in-law of judge Jacob S. Conklin, and a partner of Dr. H. S. Conklin for some time. He rose to an eminent position as psychopathist, and removed to Columbus. Dr. Lester C. Pepper was born in Shelby county near Sidney, in 1875, but spent his youth in Conover, Ohio, where he graduated from the high school in 1893, and prepared himself for medical practice by a year's readings under Dr. W. H. Parent of Lockington, followed by four years' work at Starling Medical college, graduating in 1898. He located in Loramie the same season and practiced his profession there until 1907, when he removed to Dayton for two years; after which he settled in Sidney, and has taken high rank as a physician. He is president of the Shelby County Medical society for the current year, and is a member of the Ohio State and the American Medical associations. Dr. Pepper was married in 1913, to Miss Clara O. Kolb, of Handen, Ohio, and five very beautiful little Peppers are growing up in their home. Dr. A. W. Grosvenor was born near Fort Loramie, Shelby county, in 1856, and received his academic education through the county schools and personal application, afterward graduating from the Ohio Medical college at Cincinnati in 1882. He practiced first at Lockington, then spent some years at Hardin, before locating in Piqua, where he practiced for about eleven years. In 1902-3 Dr. Grosvenor took a course in the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat college at Chicago, being an interne at the same institution, and returning to Piqua practiced as a specialist in these lines for two years. He (page 368) came to Sidney in 1906, and has remained as a permanent factor in the local profession, among whom he is held in high regard.
Dr. Millard F. Hussey was born in Port Jefferson in 1858, educated at Lebanon normal college and at the Ohio medical college at Cincinnati, graduating from the latter in 1891. He located in Sidney and has long been accounted among the best of the city's citizens and doctors. Dr. Allen Hussey, a brother, who was born in Greene county in 1847, was also a graduate of the same college in the class of 1872, and practiced in Port Jefferson for twelve years. He died in 1884.
Dr. Millard F. Hussey's eldest son, Cyril C. Hussey, born in Sidney in 1894, has already taken his B.S. degree, in 1917, at the University of Ohio, and M.D. at Johns Hopkins university, 1919, and will next complete a year's internship at Maryland hospital for Women before entering practice.
Dr. J. W. Milholland, a graduate of Miami University medical school in '76, and long a physician of Pemberton and Sidney, still lives in East Sidney, but is now broken in health and mind, and retired from practice. He was well-known and of excellent standing. Dr. J. D. Geyer, a physician who became prominent in the profession and as a citizen, was first a student under Dr. B. M. Sharp, afterward completing his preparation for the practice of medicine at Indiana Medical college in 1883. He was twice president of the Sidney board of education. His death occurred in the summer of 1914.
Dr. Kidder is also remembered as a physician of old time, about fifty years ago. His home was on Ohio avenue.
Dr. Werth, who was for a time associated with Dr. H. S. Conklin-perhaps fifty years ago or less-afterward became a professor of nervous diseases in Columbus Medical college-which was merged, 1879 and 1880, into Starling-where many later students from this section came into scholastic contact with him. Dr. Werth was of German birth and education.
Dr. Arthur Silver was born in Sidney, Ohio, in 1880. He attended the public grade and high schools of Sidney, and graduated therefrom in 1898, later attending Miami university, where he completed the course in 1904. He then entered the medical college of Ohio at Cincinnati, and after completing the course became interne and house surgeon at the Cincinnati General hospital from 1908 to 1910. From 1910 to 1912 he was associated in Cincinnati with Dr. Horace J. Whitacre, in surgery. Dr. Silver then returned to Sidney and practiced until he was commissioned in the medical corps of the U. S. Army, in 1916, during the Mexican border troubles. He served throughout the campaign, discharged, and was immediately recalled upon the entry of the United States into the world war, being discharged finally in December, 1918. He has reentered local practice and is district surgeon for both the Big Four and B. & O. railroads.
The osteopathic method of treating diseases has developed a dignity it was scarcely permitted to wear twenty years ago when it was new; and there are now (1919) in Sidney four representatives of the system, all of whom are busy doing their share toward (page 369) relieving those forms of human ailment for which their treatment is especially prescribed. They are: Drs. F. D. Clark, Margaret Wilson, T. J. Emley, and B. H. T. Becker. Mrs. Becker is also a graduate osteopath. One chiropractor, W. R. Sayre, has also located in the city.
The dental brotherhood is of high grade, and goodly number, including Drs. J. A. Throckmorton, J. F. Richeson, C. B. Orbison, William Shea, R. W. Guthridge, R. M. Kerr, O. S. Sickman, Lieut. Comstock and Taylor Davidson. Among the earlier dentists who are remembered for their skill and worth are Drs. J. S. Stipp and S. B. Messinger, both of whom are deceased.
It is a remarkable fact that with the death of Dr. William Gaines at Houston, in July, 1919, there is not a physician left in Shelby county, outside of Sidney, who is located south of the Big Four railroad; and with the exception of Dr. Strosnider at Newport and Dr. Raterman at Fort Loramie, there is not now a resident physician west of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad in Shelby county. It is not possible to make the list of county physicians complete, in a chapter of this kind, and many careers may have been lost sight of which were of importance in their day and place. At Port Jefferson, when the elder Dr. Hussey located there, three physicians were already practicing, Dr. Pratt (whose descendants are now prominent in Bellefontaine, Ohio), Dr. Osborne and Dr. J. Sharp, uncle of Dr. B. M. Sharp. Dr. Crumbaugh was also a physician of Port Jefferson. Dr. Carter, who was in practice from 1868 until his very recent death at Jackson Centre, should not be forgotten. And there are others. Dr. Edward McBurney, an old soldier of the Civil war, is still in practice at Jackson Centre, and at Botkins Dr. George M. Tate, the oldest physician in the entire county, attends to quite a number of patients, though past eighty years of age.
Dr. Thomas Beamer, eclectic, who practiced many years at Plattsville, died in 1918. The elder Dr. Gaines (father of Waldo N.) preceded his son at Pemberton. Dr. H. G. Steeley was a pioneer doctor of Anna, long deceased.
Other physicians practicing in the county are:
Montra, Dr. Charles Faulkner (twenty-five years in practice); Maplewood, Dr. Charles Howard Lisle; Houston, Dr. William Gaines (deceased); Pemberton, Dr. Waldo N. Gaines ; Newport, Dr. James N. Strosnider; Loramie, Dr. Frank Raterman; Botkins, Dr. Fired McVey, Dr. Arlington Ailes, Dr. Mary Ellen Hauver, Dr. Edgar McCormick; Anna, Drs. C. E. Johnston, G. E. Martin and Milliette, and Dr. Edw. A. Steeley; Kirkwood, Dr. E. A. Yates, native of Conover, Ohio, and graduate of Medical College of Ohio.
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