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Memoirs of the Miami Valley - Volume Two
The Story of Butler County, Manufacturing Industries of Butler County

(page 424)




By Clayton A. Leiter


            ON MARCH 24, 1803, by special enactment of the Ohio legislature, Butler county was organized.  Previous to this time Ohio had suffered from a lack of organization of its counties and to meet these difficulties, the legislature created at this time not only Butler county, but also Columbiana, Franklin, Galia, Greene,. Montgomery, Scioto and Warren counties.

            Butler county, as then created, comprised approximately four hundred and eighty square miles of territory. The court of quarter sessions, which met May 10, 1803, with judges James Dunn, John Greer, and John Kitchell, as associate judges of the Common Pleas court, on the bench, created Fairfield, Liberty, Lemon, St. Clair and Ross townships. There was no change in the number of townships until December 2, 1805. As originally created, Fairfield township embraced the present Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth wards of the city of Hamilton ; Madison was a part of Lemon township; Union a part of Liberty; Wayne, Milford, Reily and Hanover, parts of St. Clair; and Morgan was a part of Ross. Wayne and Milford became townships December 2, 1805, from territory taken from St. Clair. On December 8, 1807, Reily township, named for John Reily the first clerk of the courts of the county, was separated from St. Clair. Madison became a township May 7, 1810, being taken from Lemon. Morgan was taken from Ross March 4, 1811; Oxford from Milford, August 5, 1811; Hanover from Reily and St. Clair, December 2, 1811. Union township, the last to be created, was taken from Liberty in 1823.

            The first tax duplicate of Butler county was made by John Reily in 1805, and reached a total of $871.64; and upon this there was collected the first taxes, which had been levied in 1804. This duplicate, which is still in existence and covers twelve pages of foolscap paper, contained a list of all the taxable property of the county, while the duplicate of today covers. more than five hundred pages of a ledger and is all typewritten. Showing the growth of Butler county in material wealth from the time of its organization until today, the tax duplicate of the county for 1920 reaches a total of $142,554,000 for all property returned for taxation-both real and personal. The original tax duplicate showed that sixty-four non-residents owned 29,727 acres of land ; while three hundred and ten residents owned 87,398 acres, making a total of 117,125 acres owned by only 374 individuals. The largest owner of land in Butler county was Elias Boudinet, for whom Boudinet street, now Park avenue, in the city of Hamilton, was named. Mr. Boudinet was the owner of Sections 13, 14, 20, 21 and 25 in Lemon township. Other (page 425) large non-resident land owners were Elijah Bursh, 1,065 acres in sections 8, 9, 16, 17, Lemon township ; John N. Cummins, 1,240 acres in Fairfield township ; William Henry Harrison, later a president of the United States, 640 acres in Union township ; Henry Rhea, 1,895 acres in St. Clair township; Benjamin Scudder, 640 acres in Liberty township ; John Cleve Symmes, 640 acres in Fairfield township ; Jonathan Dayton, for whom Dayton street in the city of Hamilton was named, 2,130 acres in Liberty and Fairfield townships.

            Resident owners of Butler county land then included David Beatty, 855 acres in Fairfield township and Hanover township ; Daniel Doty, 2,955 acres in Lemon ; Samuel Dickey, 400 acres ; Samuel Dickey, of Elk Creek, 370 acres ; Ralph W. Hunt, 2,600 in Lemon ; Mathew G. Hueston, 1,543 acres in Fairfield ; Thomas Kyle, section 28 in Lemon ; Solomon Line, 834 acres in Fairfield ; Ennos Potter, 640 acres in Lemon ; and Joel Williams, 2,505 acres in Ross and St. Clair.

            The payer of the smallest amount of taxes levied on the first duplicate was John Reily, who owned lots in Hamilton, Williamsburg, Cincinnati and Deerfield, his Hamilton holdings consisting of a lot now bounded by High, South Second and Court streets and Journal square on a portion of which the Rentschler building, Hamilton's first building of pretentious proportions, now stands. Upon all this property Mr. Reily paid the enormous tax of two cents and seven mills. The largest taxpayer of the county at that time was Celadon Symmes, whose total taxes were $21.67.

            When Butler county was established in 1803, its southern boundary as set forth in the act of the Ohio legislature was such as to cut directly through about the center of the north tier of sections in Hamilton county. This resulted in much confusion but was finally remedied in 1808, when the present boundary line between Hamilton and Butler counties was established. The line between Butler and Preble counties was established in February, 1808, but later, in 1815, a portion of Butler county extending north along the Miami river was transferred to Warren county and became Franklin township in that county, where the village of Franklin is now located.

            Butler county was named after General Richard Butler, a soldier of the Revolutionary war who had distinguished himself in an heroic manner on numerous occasions. General Butler was a native of Pennsylvania. He lost his life when General St. Clair met defeat at the hands of the Indians.

            On April 5, 1803, the Ohio legislature named a commission consisting of James Silvers, Benjamin Sites and David Sutton to select the seat of justice for Butler county. This commission met in Hamilton in July, 1803, and considered the several places suggested. One of these was situated on the Great Miami river four miles north of Hamilton on a tract of land owned by William McClellan and George P. Torrence. Jacob Burnet, John Sutherland, Henry Brown, James Smith and William Ruffin, who owned land on the west side of the Great Miami river opposite Hamilton, later known as Rossville, suggested their land for the establishment of the seat (page 426) of justice. Israel Ludlow, for whom later Ludlow street and Ludlow park in the city of Hamilton were named, submitted a proposition to give to the county a square in the town of Hamilton for public buildings. All proposals were carefully examined and after due deliberation the commissioners accepted the proposition of Mr. Ludlow and established the seat of justice in Hamilton. This decision was reported to the court of common pleas, then in session, on July 15, 1803. Israel Ludlow, however, died January 21, 1804, before carrying into execution his proposition ; but later Charlotte Chambers Ludlow, John Ludlow and James Finlay, administrators of his estate, petitioned the common pleas court for leave to complete the contract. At the December term, 1808, the court granted the prayer of their petition and in pursuance of this decree the administrators conveyed by deed to Butler county the square of ground now occupied by the court house, and also a square of ground to be used as a burying ground, for a consideration of $200.

            The first terms of court held in Butler county were held in the house of John Torrence at North Water and Dayton streets, now North Monument avenue and Dayton street. The old Torrence tavern stood at this corer until the summer of 1919, when it was torn down by the Miami Conservancy district to make way for flood prevention work. Just prior to its destruction it had been used as a laundry. The first session of the common pleas court in Butler county was held in the Torrence tavern, Tuesday, July 12, 1803.

            The Supreme court for Butler county held its first session at the same place October 11 of the same year. After this the sessions of the court were held in one of .the buildings of Fort Hamilton, situated near the east end of the present High and Main street bridge. This building was of frame construction, forty by twenty feet, 'one story in height and built roughly of undressed boards and without either filling or plastering. This building rested upon blocks, while under it the hogs and sheep of the village found shelter from the storms of winter and the heat of the sun in summer. The judges' seat was a rough platform of unplaned boards at the north end of the room, while a long bench, much like those used by carpenters, was used by the members of the bar for a table alongside which rough hewn benches provided seats for them. Clients, witnesses and spectators occupied the remaining section of the room. Here court was held until, 1810, when a stone building, assigned also for a jail, was erected on the south side of the public square and was used until 1817, when Butler county's second court house was built. This second building was used until 1884, when it was torn down to give way to the present imposing stone structure. The present building has continued in use since then, except for the period of about a year following the disastrous fire of March, 1912, after which a new tower was placed upon the building and the interior of the structure rearranged to provide greater room and more- conveniences for the various county offices.

            In 1803 the court selected the old powder magazine of Fort Hamilton as a county jail. This building stood on what is now South Monument avenue, directly in the rear of the present United Presbyterian church, until 1906, when it was purchased by the late (page 427) Oliver Morton Bake and presented to the John Reily chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. This organization moved the building to the east end of the High and Main street bridge and converted it into a chapter house. Here it stood until the disastrous flood, which swept it away on the morning of March 25, 1913. Incidentally it might be said that Butler "county's first jail was very insecure. It was a building only about twelve by sixteen feet and was built of hewn logs, with floor and ceiling of the same material. The roof was hipped on all four sides, coming to a point in the center, this point being surmounted by a huge wooden ball. The door was made of oak planks and in its center was an aperture shaped like a half moon to admit light and air and permit the feeding of any incarcerated persons. Escapes from this primitive prison were almost as numerous as the commitments which were made to it. This building was used as a jail until 1809, when the stone building on the south side of the public square came into use. The office of the clerk of the courts was at first located in a small log house, originally a sutler's or trader's place, adjoining the Fort Hamilton garrison. It stood just south of the present United Presbyterian church and faced the north. In this building, which was two stories high, were also located the commissioner's office, the recorder's office and the postoffice. In 1809 the clerk's office was removed to the south room of the home of John Reily, where it remained until a brick office was built in 1821 on the public square.

            Shortly after the seat of justice for Butler county was established in Hamilton, it was decided to erect a new jail; and the citizens of the county made subscriptions of "money, whiskey, grain, stone, lime, brick, mechanical work, labor, and hauling" for this purpose. In October, 1804, Benjamin F. Randolph and Celadon Symmes were named to collect these subscriptions, some of which, however, remained unpaid as late as 1815. On September 30, 1805, Ezekiel Ball, Mathew Richardson and Solomon Line, the commissioners, contracted with John Torrence and John Wingate to build a jail on the south side of the public square. This building was to be of stone, twenty by thirty-three feet, two stories high and to be finished by September, 1806, for a consideration of $1,600. When the building was completed it was finished interiorly, at an additional expense, for the purpose for which it was intended. On February 2, 1807, William Squier was contracted with to erect an exact duplicate immediately to the east of the original structure at a cost of $1,690. While this structure was to be completed by December 1, 1807, still it was 1810 before it was ready for occupancy by the jailor and his family. The two buildings were then used jointly. The west half of the first floor remained the prison, while the east half became the home of the jailor and his family, a hall, running north and south, separating the two sections. The upper floor over the jailor's quarters was used for a court room from 1815 until 1817 and it was here that judge Dunlevy held court.

            It was on March 4, 1846, that the county commissioners contracted with Alexander P. Miller for the erection of the present jail for the sum of $8,581. This structure was built of solid lime stone, the facing being hand cut. As originally planned the front of the (page 428) building was arranged in apartments for the accommodation of the sheriff and his family. Under these apartments were built two secure cells for the temporary confinement of offenders. On the second floor there were two rooms for the confinement of females and minor offenders. The main prison was placed in the rear portion of the building and here the cells were arranged. The windows were nineteen feet above the floor of the prison. The cells were built of iron plates, sunk in stone masonry, while the doors were gratings of heavy iron. At this time the Butler county jail was a fine example of jail construction as to both security and convenience. This -prison continued in use until 1897, when, upon orders from the state board of charities, extensive improvements were made at a cost of $15,000.

            Modern steel jail equipment was then installed. The walls of the jail now, more than a century after its construction, remain as solid as the day they were built, without a crack or flaw.

            The contract for Butler county's second court house was made with John E. Scott November 20, 1813, for $9,000, the building to be completed by the year 1816. This building was of brick on a stone foundation, two stories in height and fifty-four by fifty-four feet. On the first floor was the court room, while the second floor was given over to the grand and petit jury rooms. At the completion of this building, the contractor represented that he had lost money on the work, and by special enactment of the Ohio legislature the commissioners were authorized to make an additional allowance of $1,000. The first session of court in the new building was held at the April term, 1817. When first built, a tower was placed upon this structure and in this tower was placed a bell. This bell was used not only for the assembling of court but on various public occasions. For many years it was rung at 9 o'clock in the morning and evening and at noon each day by a person paid by public subscription to do so. It was soon found that the building as then arranged was inconvenient and finally, in 1836, the commissioners contracted with William H. Bartlett to superintend a number of alterations agreed upon. When this work was finished in 1837, the court house was in the shape in which it remained until torn down in 1885. It was fifty-four by forty-four feet, with a portico of ten feet projection on the north side facing High street. The portico was fastened to four columns of Grecian-Ionic design, thirty-two feet in height and supporting a cornice and pediment of the same design. On the north end of the building was a cupola surmounted by a figure of Justice, holding the scales of justice and a sword. The court room was then placed on the second floor, with the judges' bench at the south end of the room and a gallery at the north end. The first floor was converted into offices for the sheriff and coroner together with jury rooms. This work cost $15,915. The building was slightly remodeled in 1850, just prior to which a fine clock, now in the tower of St. John's Evangelical church, with four faces, had been placed in the cupola. This clock, which cost $1,000, was paid for by popular subscription.

            In addition to the court house, which occupied the center of the public square, two office buildings had been built, one to the cast and one to the west of the temple of justice. In February, 1820, the (page 429) commissioners contracted with Pierson Sayre for these two buildings, each forty feet long, twenty feet wide and twenty feet high, the contract price being $2,486. They were completed in 1822. In 1836 the west building was extended twenty-three feet and made two stories high. Thomas Moore did this work at a cost of $1,500. In 1837 the east building was improved in a similar manner, Jacob H. Elrick doing the work at a cost of $1,825. These buildings were occupied by the clerk of the court, treasurer, auditor, recorder, probate judge, coroner and commissioners. They continued in use until the completion of the new court house in 1889. In 1885, through the efforts of Senator George F. Elliott, the commissioners of Butler county were authorized by enactment of the Ohio legislature to issue bonds for the erection of a new court house. The abandonment of the old court house was at once planned, and on Saturday, June 6, 1885, judge Alexander F. Hume presiding, a farewell session of the common pleas court was held in the building. A building committee consisting of Thomas Slade, Eli Long, L. N. Bonham, county commissioners, and Col. James E. Neal and C. B. Johnson was appointed by the court and on February 16, 1885, organized with Col. Neal as chairman, and Joseph B. Hughes auditor-clerk. On March 30 D. W. Gibbs & Co. of Toledo were employed as architects and on April 21 plans for the building were adopted. On June 19 the contract for the erection of the building was awarded to Freeman Compton at his bid of $182,127.93, while the contract for the heating system went to Isaac D. Smead & Co. of Toledo for $26,890. Finally work had progressed so far that on October 29, 1885, the cornerstone of the new structure was laid by the grand officers of the Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio, S. Stacker Williams of Newark, grand master. The new court house was completed and accepted February 4, 1889, and had cost, complete with its furnishings, $304,886.43.

            The first step toward the erection of an infirmary in Butler county was taken June 4, 1831, when the county commissioners named Daniel Millikin, Jonathan Pierson and Caleb DeCamp to receive proposals for a site. As a result of their investigation the site where the present county infirmary now stands was chosen. This land, consisting of ninety-nine and one-third acres, was purchased August 2, 1831, from Thomas Espy for $1,800, half in cash and half in one year. In December of the same year James McBride prepared plans for an infirmary building and on July 6, 1832, Daniel Doty, who had received the contract, began work on the structure. In 1835 Daniel Beaver erected a "mad house" of brick on the infirmary farm at a cost of $900. In 1856 William B. VanHook erected the stone building, still standing, for the insane inmates. An attempt was made in 1883 to sell the infirmary property and erect a new infirmary building on cheaper ground near McGonigle. The proposition was submitted to a vote of the people and was overwhelmingly defeated.

            D. W. Gibbs & Co. of Toledo were employed in 1884 to prepare plans for a new infirmary building. A contract was let to Freeman Compton, on the plans accepted, and the present structure was erected. It was accepted and dedicated in 1885.

            (page 430) Butler county has always been an active political center. For years it was known as the Gibraltar of the Democracy of Ohio. However, practically at all times, efficient and conscientious officers have been chosen by the people of the county to serve them in the public duties required. Butler county has been honored by three of its sons being elected to the governorship of the state-the Hon. William Bebb, who was governor from 1847 until 1849; the Hon. James Edwin Campbell, who was governor from 1890 until 1892, and Governor James Middleton Cox, who was governor from 1912 until 1916 and was again elected in 1917 for the term beginning January 1, 1918, being Ohio's World War governor.

            Josiah Scott, a Butler county man, was a member of the Supreme court of the state from 1847 until 1872, while John Woods was auditor of state from 1845 until 1852, and John M. Millikin was treasurer of state from 1876 until 1878. James B. Vance and Elijah B. King were members of the constitutional convention from May 6, 1850, until March 10, 1851; Lewis D. Campbell a member of the constitutional convention in 1873, and David Pierce of the constitutional convention of 1912. Elijah Vance was the speaker of the     Ohio senate during its thirty-fifth session, 1836-1837, while the Hon. James E. Neal, later United States consul to Liverpool, England, was the speaker of the house of representatives of the sixty-third general assembly, 1878-1880. James B. King was a member of the state board of equalization in 1853.

            Butler county since its organization has been in either the first, second, third or seventh congressional district of Ohio, but has always been represented by able men who made their mark in the halls of congress. When Butler county was organized, the whole state was one congressional district, but in 1812 it became a part of the first district; in 1832, a part of the second district; in 1853, a part of the third district; in 1882, a part of the seventh district; and again in 1884, a part of the third district which now comprises Butler, Preble and Montgomery counties. Butler county was represented in congress from 1803 until 1813, by Jeremiah Morrow, Warren county, Federal; 1813 until 1816, by John McLean, Federal of Warren county; 1816 until 1819, by William Henry Harrison, Federal, Hamilton county, 1819 until 1823, by Thomas R. Ross, Whig, of Warren county; 1823 until 1825, by Thomas Ross, Whig, Warren county ; 1825 until 1829, John Woods, Whig, of Butler county; 1829 until 1821, by James Shielas, Democrat, Butler county ; 1821 until 1833, by Thomas Corwin, Whig, of Warren county; 1833 until 1839, by Taylor Webster, Democrat, Butler county; 1839 until 1845, by John B. Weller, Democrat, Butler county; 1845 until 1847, Francis A. Cunningham, Whig, of    Preble county ; 1847 until 1849, David Fisher, Whig, Clinton county ; 1849 until 1853, Lewis D. Campbell, Whig, Butler county; 1858 until 1863, Clement L. Vallandigham, Democrat, Montgomery county; 1863 until 1871, Robert C. Schenck, Republican, Montgomery county ; 1871 until 1873, Lewis D. Campbell, Democrat, Butler county; 1873 until 1875, John Q. Smith, Republican, Clinton county ; 1875 until 1877, John S. Savage, Democrat, Clinton county ; 1877-1879, Mills Gardner, Republican, Fayette county; 1879-1881, (page 431) John A. McMahon, Democrat, Dayton ; 1881-1883, Henry Lee Morey, Republican, Butler county ; 1883-1889, James Edwin Campbell, Democrat, Butler county ; 1889-1891, Henry Lee Morey, Republican, Butler county ; 1891-1894, George W. Houck, Democrat, Montgomery county; 1894-1897, Paul J. Sorg, Democrat, Butler county; 1897-1901, John L. Brenner, Democrat, Montgomery county; 1901-1905, Robert J. Nevin, - Republican, Montgomery county ; 1905-1911, James M. Cox, Democrat, Montgomery county ; 1911-1921, Warren Gard, Democrat, Butler county. Prosecuting attorneys of Butler county have been Daniel Symmes from Corry,        1803-1804; Arthur St. Clair, 1808-1810; David K. Este,      1804-1808; William 1810-1816; Benjamin Collett, 1816-1820; John Woods, 1820-1825; Jesse Corwin, 1825-1835; John B. Weller, 1835-1839; Elijah Vance, 1839-1843; John Woods, part of 1843; Thomas Millikin, 1843-1844; Oliver S. Witherby, 1844-1848; Michael C. Ryan, 1848-1852; Isaac Robertson, 1852-1856; Z. W. Selby, 1856-1860; Fred Van Derveer, 1860-1862; Samuel Z. Gard, 1862-1866; Elijah Vance, 1866-1870; John W. Wilson, 18701871; S. Z. Gard, 1871-1872; Henry Lee Morey, 1872-1874; James L. Vallandigham, 1874-1876; James E. Campbell, 1876-1880; John F. Neilan, 1880-1885; William C. Shepherd, 1885-1888; Culbertson J. Smith, 1888-1894; Edward E. Hull, 1894, died before taking office; W. K. Rhonemus, 1894-1895; Culbertson J. Smith, 1895-1898; Warren Gard, 1898-1904; Robert S. Woodruff, 1904-1908; M. O. Burns, 1908-1912; Ben A. Bickley, 1912-1918; Isaac C. Baker, 1918-1920.

            The sheriffs who have served Butler county are William McClellan, 1809-1813; James McBride, 1803-1807; John Wingate, 1807-1809; William McClellan, 1813-1817; Pierson Sayre, 1817-1821; Samuel Millikin, 1821-1825; John Hall, 1825-1829; Pierson Sayre, 1829-1831; William Sheely, 1831-1835; Israel Gregg, 1835-1839; John K. Wilson, 1839-1843; William J. Elliott, 1843-1847; Ferd Van Derveer, 1847-1849; Aaron L. Schenck, 1849-1851; Peter Murphy, 1851-1856; Joseph Garrison, 1856-1860; A. A. Phillips, 1860-1864; A. J. Reese, 1864-1868; Robert N. Andrews, 1868-1872; William H. Allen, 1872-1876; Marcellus Thomas, 1876-1880; Frank D. Black,        1880-1884; George W. St. Clair, 1884-1888; Isaac Rogers, 1888-1892; Frank Krebs, 1892-1896; William Bruck, 1896-1900; Peter Bisdorr, 1900-1904; Luke Brannon, 1904-1908; Andy Graf, 1908-1912; Harry A. Metcalfe, 1912-1916; Frank E. Pepper, 1916-1920.

            The clerks of the court of Butler county have been John Reily, 1803-1842; Taylor Webster, 1842-1846; James McBride, 1846-1852; M. C. Ryan, 1852-1858; John McElwee, 1858-1864; Edward Dalton, 1864-1866; Patrick Gordon, 1866-1873; Jarvis Hargitt, 1873-1879;         Barton S. James, 1879-1880; W. S. Caldwell, 1880-1881; R. B. Millikin, 1881-1887; A. J. Welliver, 1887-1893; Christian Pabst, 1893-1899; John L. Huffman, jr., 1899-1905; Larwence M. Larsh, 19051908; Charles Bronson, 1908-1912; John F. Heath, 1912-1916; A. W. C. Huffman, 1916-1922.

            The first auditors of Butler county held an appointive office, but since 1832 they have been elected by a vote of the people. Those who have served this capacity are as follows : John (page 432) McClure, 1820-1831; James O'Conner, 1821-1832; James B. Cameron, 1832-1843; James B. Cameron, jr., 1843-1844; Ludwig Betz, 18441847; Alfred-Thomas, 1847-1848; Franklin Stokes, 1848-1850; Wilson H. Layman, 1850-1852; William S. Phares, 1852-1858; James Daugherty, 1858-1860; Henry H. Wallace, 1860-1862; William C. Hunter, 1862-1866; S. A. Campbell, 1866-1870; Adolph Schmidt, 1870-1874; H. P. P. Peck, part of 1874; Henry H. Wallace, 18741876; S. B. Berry, 1875-1881; Joseph B. Hughes, 1881-1885; Richard Brown, 1885-1888; S. A. Campbell, 1888-1889; Richard Brown, 1889-1892; Frank X. Duerr, 1892-1898; Henry C. Gray, 1898-1901; 1901-1907; Joseph E. Brate, 1907-1911; W. W. Crawford, 1911-1915; Quincy A. Davis, 1915-1919; Harry J. Long, 1919-1921.

            As with the auditors, the office of county recorder was at first appointive, but finally in 1831 was made elective with terms of three years. The recorders of Butler county have been John Reily, 1803-1811; James Heaton, 1811-1820; Isaac Hawley, 1820-1821; Charles K. Smith, 1821-1835; William S. Ingersoll, part of 1835; Isaac T. Sanders, 1835-1841; Israel Gregg, 1841-1844; James George, 1844-1847; John H. Gordon, 1847-1853; Henry H. Wallace, 1853-1859; John H. Gordon, 1859-1863; William Russell, 1863-1869; Samuel Davis, 1869-1875; Peter Bender, 1875-1878; Alexander Getz, 1878-1884; Henry C. Gray, 1884-1887; Robert M. Elliott, 1887-1890; Henry C. Gray, 1890-1896; William J. Becker, 1896-1902; John C. Braun, 1902-1909; Homer D. Gray, 1909-1913; Walter J. Braun, 1913-1917; Henry Tiemeyer, 1917-1921.

            While the office of county treasurer was at first appointive, it became an elective office in 1827 and has so remained ever since. Butler county's treasurers have been Joseph F. Randolph, 1803-1811; Hugh B. Hawthorn, 1811-1812; Hugh Wilson, 1812-1827; Charles K. Smith, 1827-1836; William Hunter, 1836-1844; Richard Easton, 1844-1848; Dr. Robert B. Millikin, 1848-1850; Henry Traber, 1850-1803; Franklin Stokes, 1853-1854; John W. Snyder, 1854-1858; Elias H. Gaston, 1858-1862; N. G. Oglesby, 1862-1864; David W. Brant, 1864-1868; John D. Lindley, 1868-1870; Seldon A. Campbeli, part of 1870; John C. Lindley, part of 1870; William Russell, 1870-1872; David Yeakle, 1872-1876 ; Hugh H. Jones, 1876-1880; William B. Oglesby, 1880-1882; James T. Gray, died before taking his office in 1882; Harry Engle, 1882-1883; Frank W. Whitaker, 1883-1887; William W. Boyd, 1887-1891; Thomas M. Boyd, 18911895; Joseph Sloneker, 1895-1899; Wilmer S. Brown, 1899-1903; Harry E. Engle, 1903-1907; John G. Somers, 1907-1911; Harry J. Long, 1911,1915; Fred W. Engle, 1915-1919; Louis T. Nein, 1919-1921.

            The men who have served as coroners of Butler county were Samuel Dillon, 1803-1805; Joshua Delaplane, 1805-1807; David Beatty, 1807-1815; Samuel Dillon, 1815-1817; John Hall, 1817-1819; Joseph Wilson, 1819-1821; James B. Cameron, 1821-1825; William Blair, 1825-1831; William Hunter, 1821-1833; James S. Greer, 1833; William J. Elliott, 1840-1843, no record ; John Crane, 1843-1846; B . F. Raleigh, 1846-1848; Clement Clifton, 1835-1839; John M. Flagg, 1848-1852; Joseph L. Garrison, 1839-1840; 1840-1843, no record; John Crane, 1843-1846; B. F. Raleigh, 1846-1848; Clement Clifton, 1848-1852; Joseph L Garrison, 1852-1854; (page 433) Jacob Troutman, 1854-1856; J. Longfellow, 1856-1858; S. L. Hunter, 1858-1864; Thomas Reed, 1864-1866; William Spencer, 18661870-1872; William Spencer, 1872-1885; B. Talbott, 1885-1891; John R. Brown, 1891-1892; Charles Krone, 1892-1897; O. P. McHenry, 1897-1901; Thomas D. Sharkey, 1901-1905; August Schumacher, 1905-1909; Dr. John A. Burnett, 1909-1913; Henry Krone, 1913-1917; Edward Cook, 1917-1921.

            The early surveyors of Butler county were appointed, the office finally became an elective one. Under appointment, James Heaton served from 1803 until 1822; and was then succeeded by George R. Bigham, 1822-1836; Ludwig Getz, 1836-1842; Benjamin F. Raleigh, 1842-1849; Mathew R. Shielas, 1849-1856; Alexander King,   1856-1863; Abram C. Marys, 1863-1871; Mason S. Hamilton, 18711874; John C. Weaver, 1874-1882; T. E. Crider, 1882-1884; Benjamin F. Finch, 1884-1886; William Brannon, 1886-1887; John C. Weaver, 1887-1895; Louis A. Dillon, 1895-1914; Fred M. Hammerle, 1914-1920.

            About half of Butler county, that portion which lies east of the Great Miami river, is part of the original Symmes purchase. On August 29, 1787, judge John Cleve Symmes of New Jersey submitted to the congress of the United States a proposition for the purchase of one million acres of land, more or less, lying between the Great Miami and Little Miami rivers. The exact boundaries of the Symmes purchase were fixed by congress at Philadelphia on April 12, 1792. The deed for three hundred and eleven thousand six hundred and eighty-two acres, approved by Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury, and signed by George Washington, president of the United States, is dated September 30, 1794. The consideration was given as    $165,063.42.   In October, 1795, Symmes began the transfer to other purchasers parts of the land which he had thus acquired and this year no doubt saw the beginning of the settlement of the Great Miami valley and of Butler county.

            At this time the Great Miami valley was inhabited principally by the Miami Indians, while to the north were the Piquas, and to the east and northeast were the Ottawas. Adventurous immigrants attempted settlements in the territory, but the hostile Indians prevented this until under the act of congress in 1791 General Arthur St. Clair, with General Richard Butler second in command and Colonel Darke leading the advance, left Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, and on September 17 reached a point twenty-five miles from Fort Washington, on the east bank of the Great Miami river. Here they halted and erected the first of a chain of forts, naming it Fort Hamilton, in honor of the secretary of the United States treasury, Alexander Hamilton. To this fort it was that General St. Clair retired after the defeat at Greenville on November 4, 1791. Practically all of the buildings and stockade of Fort Hamilton were built by Captain Armstrong, who had been left in command of the fort by General St. Clair. The defeat of General St. Clair caused him to resign, January 8, 1792, although the congress, after a thorough investigation, had absolved him from any blame whatsoever. On January 28, 1792, General Wilkinson, who had been made the (page 434) successor of General St. Clair, started from Fort Washington for Fort Hamilton. William Henry Harrison, later a president of the United States, and John Reily, who became one of the early settlers and prominent citizens of Hamilton, were members of this expedition.

            They arrived at Fort Hamilton the next day, crossed the river, and followed the trace road cut through the forests by General St. Clair. They returned February 5, having recovered the bodies of seventy-eight soldiers, who had fallen in the battles with the Indians, and one piece of artillery. Later General Anthony Wayne, "Mad Anthony," as he was known, was placed in the Miami country with an army of five thousand men and through his vigorous work and his victory in "The Battle of Fallen Timbers" on August 20, 1794, near Fort Recovery, the savage menace was practically removed. Major Jonathan Cass was then in command at Fort Hamilton. Darius E. Orcutt, a soldier in the army of General St. Clair, married Sallie McHenry at Fort Hamilton and erected a log cabin just beyond the confines of the fort. It is thus believed that he practically became the first settler of Hamilton. Israel Ludlow had purchased from Jonathan Dayton, an associate of John Cleve Symmes, the site and the surroundings of Fort Hamilton. The first purchasers of lands from Ludlow were John Greer, Isaac Wiles, Benjamin Randolph and John Torrence. In June, 1795, when Wayne's volunteer army was disbanded, quite a number of the officers and the men who had been located at Fort Hamilton purchased lots and built homes. On August 3, 1795, the treaty of peace between the United States government and the twelve tribes of Indians was signed by General Wayne and the chiefs of the several tribes. John Sutherland then purchased a tract of land, erected a building and opened the first store in Hamilton, on the spot where the McNeely home still stands on North Front street, just north of Market street. Fort Hamilton was abandoned in the fall of 1795, and the stores and property were sold at auction.

            The first house on the west side of the river was built near what is now North B street and Park avenue by Archibald Tolbert, who operated a ferry across the river at that point. Later Isaac Falconer, the father of Dr. Cyrus Falconer, erected a building and opened the first public house on the west side of the river, opposite Fort Hamilton.

            The first white woman to locate in Butler county was perhaps a Mrs. Potter. The late Benjamin Sweet, of Liberty township, whose parents brought him to Butler county, in 1813, stated on numerous occasions before his death that he remembered a Mrs. Potter, who was acknowledged in his youthful days as the first white woman to locate in Butler county, near Hamilton. The first white man to settle in Butler county is not known, but David Gregory was among the first, and his wife, Margaret Gregory, is admittedly the second white woman to live within the present confines of Butler county.

            In a graveyard on the farm of Peter Shepherd, in Liberty township, is the tombstone of David Gregory, who died July 9, 1802, aged 34 years. In the same graveyard is the tombstone of his wife, Margaret Gregory, who died August 12, 1821, aged 66 years. From this it would seem that Mrs. Gregory was twelve years the senior of her (page 435) husband. However, engraved upon this woman's tombstone is this inscription :

            Here lies the woman, the first save one, Who settled on the Miami above Hamilton. Her table was spread, and that of the best, And Anthony Wayne was often her guest.

            From a population so small and so uncertain, less than a century and a half ago, Butler county has become closely settled, villages have sprung up in every locality, cities have developed and today Butler county boasts of Hamilton, with its population of sixty thousand ; Middletown, with a population of twenty thousand ; Oxford, with a population of four thousand, and a number of smaller villages ranging in population from two hundred to one thousand. Butler county as a whole has a population today of approximately one hundred and twenty thousand people.


Manufacturing Industries of Butler County


            Hamilton is essentially a manufacturing city. Situated in the heart of the beautiful Great Miami valley, with ample rail connection with the outside world, it is ideally located for this purpose. The growth and success of Hamilton's industries have been due to the fact that their employees are everywhere recognized as the most skilled in the world. As a general rule, too, the conditions of employment and wages have been such that industrial disturbances, although occurring occasionally, have never been chronic nor of long duration, so as to seriously affect the productiveness of the plants. Another feature of Hamilton's industries is that it is an acknowledged fact that more Hamilton workmen own their own homes than in any other city of similar size and such great employing capacity in the entire United States. With such ideal conditions existing, Hamilton's industries stand pre-eminent in their various lines. The products of the city's manufacturing plants go to every quarter of the globe. Its paper-making machinery has ever found a ready sale in Japan ; its Corliss engines can be found in China, Russia and Australia; its machine tools are used in every factory of importance throughout the civilized world ; its safes protect the wealth of thousands of homes, offices and banks ; its stoves cook the meals in thousands of homes; its furnaces give comfort when the blasts of winter come ; while every postal card bearing the stamp of the United States postoffice service department is made in Hamilton. Into such a world-wide market go the products of the factories of Hamilton that the city's chamber of commerce has adopted for its slogan, "Known in the World's Markets." In Hamilton and its immediate vicinity there are one hundred and forty-one factories, many the leaders in their lines, but all of more or less importance. These factories give employment to fifteen thousand operatives and have an aggregate weekly payroll of $250,000. The normal annual output of the industries of Hamilton is conservatively estimated at (page 436) $11,250,000. The capitalization of Hamilton's factories reaches a total of approximately $14,500,000, representing property holdings of over $24,000,000.

            Among the chief products of Hamilton's varied industries are farm tractors, Corliss engines, gas engines, bank vaults, safes, sugar mills, plate glass machinery, frogs and switches, automobile accessories, sanitary appliances, coke, pig iron, castings of all kinds, machine tools, stoves, punching and shearing machinery, agricultural implements, woodenware, paper, cans, tobacco, wood-working machinery, woolens, felts, beer, leather, books, catalogues, wire and grille work, furnaces, knit goods, sifting and mixing machinery, mops, wringers, music stands, autographic registers, asphalt paving, malt, computing scales, tanks, music-roll punching machinery, carbon paper, typewriter ribbon, flour and hundreds of other products.

            Hamilton has fifteen splendid foundries and is the third city in Ohio in melting capacity.

             Hamilton's newest industry is a tractor plant erected by Henry Ford & Son, Incorporated, of Detroit, Mich. This plant was completed during the summer of 1919 and began operations about January 1, 1920. When operated at full capacity and complete in all its details, the Ford plant will give employment to five thousand skilled workmen. The coming of the Ford tractor plant to Hamilton has given a great impetus to the other manufacturing plants of the city, many of which have erected and are now erecting large additions which will mean increased production and a greater satisfactory employment to the workmen of the city. With Henry Ford owning six hundred acres of land adjacent to the Ford plant, which will permit of a vast extension of this industry, and the construction by him of an hydro-electric plant that will assure every manufacturing concern an ample supply of electric power, Hamilton's industrial future is as bright and promising as its past is secure. Hamilton became a manufacturing center in its earlier days through the establishment of an hydraulic system which assured cheap power. The system of hydraulics-one on the east side, with two branches. and one on the west side-was constructed by the Hamilton and Rossville Hydraulic company, which was incorporated March 24, 1841. The first water for power was supplied January 27, 1845, to Hunter, Erwin & Hunter, who operated a flour mill at the west end of High street. Great impetus was at once given manufacturing in Hamilton and soon the following mills and factories lined the hydraulic on the east side : Miller, Campbell & Co.'s sawmill, Owens, Lane & Dyer machine shop, William Bebb's and L. B. Campbell's cotton mill, William Beckett's paper mill, McGuire, Klein & Erwin's paper mill ; Burnett's sawmill, Shuler & Benninghofen's woolen mill, the Hydraulic Sash factory, John W. Erwin and William Hunter's four mill ; Aaron Potter's Marble works, Charles F. Eisel's planing mill, Samuel K. Leiter's planing mill, Peter Black's Machine shop, the Long & Alistatter factory, the Deinzer, Stephan & Co.'s hub and spoke factory and the Hamilton River mills. On the west side power was furnished to Joseph P. Wilson's sawmill, William A. Elliott's four mill, the West Hamilton mills, the West Side tanneries and the Kennedy Brush factory.

            (page 437) From the earliest days progress has been the watchword of Hamilton's industries. From the start made when water power was cheap and abundant, the plants of Hamilton kept up with the advance in manufacturing, accepted every assured development and today they stand pre-eminent in their various lines. One of Hamilton's earliest, now one of its greatest, industries is the plant of the Niles Tool Works company. This plant removed to Hamilton from Cincinnati in 1871, the people of Hamilton donating a part of the ground and the material for the plant. At first the plant was operated by a partnership, but in 1892 the Niles Tool Works company was incorporated, and later in the same year a reorganization took place and the capital stock was increased to $2,000,000. The company then possessed a number of valuable patents that placed its machine tools far in advance of those of its competitors. Branch offices were maintained throughout the world. Later, in 1901, there was a merger of machine tool interests and the Niles-Bement-Pond company was formed, although the Niles company- maintained its independent organization. For many years the products of the Niles works have been accepted by the United States government as standard. The officers of the company are : J. K. Cullen, president ; S. D. Felon, vice president ; J. L. Blair, secretary; John B. Cornell, treasurer.

            Sohn & Rentschler for a number of years conducted a very successful foundry at North Fourth and Vine streets, but the food of 1913 wrecked the plant and Henry Sohn and George Adam Rentschler, the proprietors, decided to discontinue the business, while its contracts were turned over to the Hamilton Foundry and Machine company, controlled by the Rentschler interests

            The year 1918 saw the passing of another industry which in its day had stood pre-eminent in its line. It was the factory of the Bentel & Margedant company on North Fourth street, where wood working machinery was made. In 1918, however, all persons interested except the Margedant family disposed of their holdings, the plant was sold to the Long & Allstatter company, and then the Margedants placed all their interests in the Central Foundry company, with Captain A. W. Margedant as president and treasurer ; Carl E. Margedant, vice-president, and William C. Margedant, secretary. A large gray iron casting foundry was erected on the east side of Mill road between Dayton and Heaton streets. The H. P. Deuscher company is one of Hamilton's oldest concerns ; and its products have gone into every state of the Union. It was in 1879 that H. P. Deuscher started business in a small way operating the Variety Iron works. In 1888 the business was incorporated as the H. P. Deuscher company with $50,000 capital stock. It then manufactured the Barbour corn drill ; white castings were made for the Fashion school desk and the Norris Brothers' implement works. A number of other implements which gained a wide sale were manufactured. In 1893 the company began the manufacture of heating and ventilating appliances. In August, 1910, the entire plant was destroyed by fire. It was immediately rebuilt but along the most modern lines and the manufacture of gray iron castings made the exclusive business of the company.

            (page 438) A company that has achieved great success and which has brought fame to Hamilton as a manufacturing center is the Hoovens, Owens & Rentschler company. It was incorporated in 1880 with a capital of $250,000, which has since been increased to $2,000,000, to manufacture the Hamilton Corliss engine. The success of the business was almost instantaneous and rapid progress was made from the very start. Many additions have been built to the plant until today it occupies more than three city blocks and employs two thousand skilled workmen and furnishes a product known in every quarter of the globe. With the outbreak of the World war the company took up the manufacture of marine engines for the Emergency Fleet corporation and achieved a far greater success than most of the concerns which attempted to aid in the winning of the war through their products. Great credit for the wonderful success achieved by the Hooven, Owens & Rentschler company, not only, in its great war work but along all lines of progress, is due to Gordon Sohn Rentschler.

            Occupying a distinct position in the paper manufacturing world is the Champion Coated Paper company. This company began operations in June, 1895, in a small building forty by two hundred feet, operating but one paper making machine. Today the plant of the company covers the space of ten city blocks and its output of coated paper far exceeds the output of the combined competing mills. It was the Champion Coated Paper company that first developed the process of coating paper on both sides in one operation. In December, 1902, the coating mill of the company was destroyed by fire, causing a loss of over $1,000,000,, partially covered by insurance. Again during the flood of 1913 the west paper mill, sorting room, warehouse and a portion of the finishing mills were destroyed by fire, while all other portions of the mill were damaged so that the loss from fire and water reached a total of $2,500,000. However, the mills were rapidly rebuilt and again placed in operation. All the postal card paper used by the United States postoffice department is manufactured by the Champion Coated Paper company. The Estate Stove company is another industry that has brought fame to Hamilton and success to itself. This company was originally the F. WE Kahn Brothers. The nucleus of the present mammoth establishment was the foundry of Martin, Henderson & Co. at Hanging Rock, Ohio, established in 1842. The plant was removed to Hamilton in 1884, with Felix, Lazard and Samuel Kahn at the head of the establishment. The company's business has increased most rapidly and today its products of one-register furnaces and gas stoves are sent to all parts of the world where gas, either natural or artificial, is burned. During the World war thousands of the smaller field kitchens used by Uncle Sam's fighting forces were made by this company in Hamilton. The present officers of the company, which was incorporated December 31, 1905, are Felix Kahn, president ; Lazard Kahn, vice president ; Samuel Kahn, treasurer; David F. Kahn, secretary; E. W. Hake, assistant secretary. Another long established manufacturing concern of Hamilton is the Black-Clawson company, engaged principally in the manufacture of paper-making machinery. Started originally by Peter (page 439) Black as a general machine shop, it finally, under the direction of his son, the late Frank Xavier Black, began to specialize in the manufacture of paper-making machinery and finally the Black Clawson company was organized with $50,000 capital stock by Mr. Black and Linus P. Clawson. Later other interests entered the concern, which was re-incorporated February 27, 1903, with $1,000, 000 capital stock. The company today has for its officers Frank Trowbridge, president ; A. C. Shinkle of Covington, Ky., first vice president; Herman L. Kutter, secretary, and H. Robert Dilg, treasurer.

            Engaged originally, when organized in 1874, in the manufacture of farm implements, the Long & Alistatter company has had a long and successful career, expanding its business from time to time until it is now engaged in the manufacture of trip hammers, hydraulic presses and some of the heaviest machinery placed upon the market. So greatly had the business of the company expanded that in 1918 it acquired the property of the Bentel & Margedant company for a foundry and an additional machine shop, while the abandoned plant of the MacNeale & Urban Safe company on Millville avenue, in West Hamilton, was taken over to be devoted exclusively to the manufacture of farming implements. A sale of the interests of the Long family in the company in 1918 resulted in a reorganization of the company, with the capital increased to $800,000. The present officers of the company are William M. Rumely of Chicago, Ill., president ; F. Pierce Long, vice president ; R. A. Pfau, secretary, and R. E. Clark, treasurer.

            The Advance Manufacturing company, with a plait on North B street, is another of Hamilton's older manufacturing plants. It is the outgrowth of the Owens, Lane & Deyer company of half a century ago and later the business of the late William Ritchie. It is engaged in the manufacture of gas engines and appliances. The company was incorporated with $50,000 capital stock October 28, 1887. Oscar N. Ritchie is the present manager of the concern. The American Foundry and Machine company, engaged principally in the foundry business, however, making stoves and heating plants, has a large factory in East Hamilton. The company was incorporated July 20, 1905, with a_ capital of $100,000. The officers of the company are Abraham Ballinger, president ; Aaron Jacobs, secretary.

            The Automatic Electric Sterlinzer company is one of Hamilton's newest manufacturing concerns, having been incorporated in July 1917, with $25,000 capital stock. Its officers are C. J. Koehler, president and treasurer ; J. H. Reichart, vice-president and S. B. Koehler, secretary. It is engaged in the manufacture of electrical specialties at South Seventh and Walnut streets.

            The American Frog and Switch company is engaged in the manufacture of frogs and switches for railways. It is one of the important industries of Hamilton and has seen quite a rapid growth since the incorporation of the company in June of 1901. Its large plant is located on West Main street. The company is incorporated for $400,000 with C. E. Hooven, president ; Don Hooveri, secretary: Eugene S. Griffs, treasurer; William H. Raabe, engineer; L. F. (page 440) Phipps, chairman of the board of directors. These men together with Charles E. Heiser constitute the board of directors.

            The Carr Milling company, engaged in the handling of wheat and the manufacture of high grade flours, was incorporated in April of 1897, with a capital of $50,000. This business has been in existence since the early sixties of the nineteenth century and is the outgrowth of the former Carr and Brown Flour mill, at one time situated at North Fifth and Dayton streets and operated by water power. W. Barton Carr is the president ; Jessie J. Carr, vice-president; and F. E. Barker secretary of the company.

            One of Hamilton's newer industries is the Ceramic Machinery company, operating an extensive shop on the Middletown pike opposite the fair grounds. This company was incorporated November 22, 1907, with a capital of $100,000. Its officers are Fred E. Goldsmith, president ; Anthony H. Walburg, of Middletown, vice-president ; Frank B. Yingling, secretary and treasurer.

            The Cincinnati Brewing company, now engaged principally in the manufacture of ice, in its large plant at South Front and Sycamore streets, is the outgrowth of the beer manufacturing business of the late Peter Schwab. The company, with a capital of $250,000, was incorporated in 1882. The company officers at present are Ferdinand Schwenn, vice-president and treasurer ; and Edward Stephen, secretary, practically all of the members of the Schwab family having passed away.

            The Columbia Machine Tool company, whose factory is at Fair Grove and Wilby avenues, sprang into existence in December, 1916. It is engaged in the manufacture of lathes and other machine tools. This company is capitalized at $100,000 with F. E. Goldsmith, president; Eugene S. Rich, vice-president; and Frank B. Yingling, secretary and treasurer.

            The Cullen and Vaughn company was incorporated in December, 1913, and took over the business of the Bender company which a number of years ago succeeded J. F. Bender & Brothers, general contractors and builders. The company for several years operated a large planing mill at North Fifth and Dayton streets, but its principal holdings are now a large lumber yard on the south side of Dayton street at North Fifth. The main offices of the company have been removed to Columbus.

            The plant of the Eagle Woodenware company was removed from Zanesville to Hamilton in 1912 and is engaged in the manufacture of buckets, baskets, mops and similar articles of family use.

            The plant is located on Dayton street just east of the Miami and Erie canal. The company was incorporated in 1912 and has F. M. Fritsch, president and treasurer ; and L. B. Fritsch, secretary. The W. P. Eaton Packing company, incorporated in September, 1918, has proven very successful. With a capital of $80,000 when incorporated it increased its capital to $180,000 in August of 1919, and took over the plant of the George Rupp Packing company on South Monument avenue, one of the oldest meat packing industries in the Great Miami Valley. Thomas E. Slade is president ; and W. P. Eaton, secretary and treasurer of the company.

            (page 441) The Fischer Can company occupies the buildings formerly used by the defunct Columbia Carriage company on Central avenue opposite South avenue and is engaged in the manufacture of tin cans and other kinds of tin containers. The company was incorporated in 1916 and has for its officers Charles Fischer, president; Carl H. Albrecht, secretary and treasurer.

            Two large concerns are engaged in the milk and dairy business in Hamilton, taking a great portion of the milk supplied by the farmers of the county. The Frechtling Dairy company was incorporated in 1908 with a capital of $10,000. It operates a plant on South Front street. The officers of the company are : Arthur Frechtling, president; Walton S. Bowers, vice-president; Carl Frechtling, secretary, treasurer and general manager. The Hamilton Milk company was incorporated in January, 1901, with a capital of $25,000. It has a large plant at the northwest corner of the Baltimore & Ohio railway and Walnut street. Howard T. Mallon is president of the company.

            A small but important concern in the manufacturing world of Hamilton is the Hamilton Brass and Aluminum Castings company.

            It was incorporated in December, 1917, and operates in the rear of 704 South Eighth street. Charles W. Cork is president; and Charles E. Koehler, secretary and treasurer.

            The brick making industry was at one time an important one in and around Hamilton. The Stillwaugh and Durrough plants occupied an important place in the industries of the city. At the present time, however, but one such plant is in operation, that of the Hamilton Brick company, incorporated on February 5, 1895, with $50,000 capital stock and operating a large plant along the Miami and Erie canal north of Heaton street. J. F. Bender, sr., is president and treasurer of the company ; with F. W. Bender, vice-president and Thomas Eickelberger, secretary.

            The Hamilton Caster and Manufacturing company, with a capital of $20,000, being incorporated in May, 1910, has its plant at Hanover street and Central avenue. John A. Weigel is president and treasurer ; Anthony Krogman, vice-president ; and D. Louis W. Teigel, secretary.

            The Hamilton Construction company is engaged in the general contracting business and has been very successful since its incorporation in February, 1916. It has a capital of $25,000 with George Georgenson as president; William J. Hartman, vice-president; and William C. Shafer, secretary and treasurer. Its general offices are at 231 Court street.

            Occupying an important place in the manufacturing world in general and especially among the industries of Hamilton is the plant of the Hamilton Foundry and Machine company in East Hamilton. The progress of this company has been almost phenomenal, while its plant has of necessity been increased from time to time until it is now one of the largest in the city. The company is engaged in the manufacture of castings and also machine tools. It is incorporated for $150,000 with George Adam Rentschler, president; Gordon Sohn Rentschler, vice-president and manager ; and Henry A. Rentschler, secretary and treasurer.

            (page 442) Hamilton's chief cold storage plant is operated at North Sixth street and the reservoir by the Hamilton Ice and Cold Storage company, an organization incorporated with $100,000 capital stock July , 1904. The officers are Frank J. J. Sloat, president; and E. J.        Heiser, secretary.

            The Hamilton Lumber company does mill work and deals in lumber and builders' supplies. It has a plant at 940 Central avenue and has been in existence since January 11, 1906, when it was incorporated for $100,000. Its officers are John I. Griesmer, president and treasurer; William F. Blaut, secretary and assistant treasurer. The Hamilton Machine Tool company operates a large plant in Lindenwald giving employment to many men and turning out a product of machine tools that has had a wide sale. The company has been incorporated with $350,000 capital since January, 1903, although it operated prior to that time for a number of years. The present officers of the company are Charles F. Hilker, president and general manager ; M. L. Milligan, vice-president ; and J. Kenneth Hilker, secretary and treasurer.

            Mattresses are made in Hamilton by the Hamilton Mattress company with a plant at South Sixth and Rigdon streets. This company was incorporated in September, 1912, with a capital of $10,000 and has for its officers J. Reuben Schantz, president; John Kaefer, vice-president; Chris W. Kaefer, secretary and treasurer. The Hamilton Moulding Sand company has had a prosperous career owning large deposits of moulding sand along the Great Miami river near Trenton. The company, with a capital of $30,000, has been in existence since September 30, 1911, with William B. Mayor, president; Capt. James A. Murphy, vice-president and treasurer; and Margaret Murphy, secretary.

            The Hamilton Otto Coke company for a number of years was engaged in the manufacture of coke at a large plant at Cokeotto, but recently has unfortunately had some financial difficulties. It is a corporation with a capital of $595,000. J. C. Thors of Cincinnati, who died August 28, 1919, was the president.

            The Hooven Automatic Typewriter company manufactures a device for making any number of duplicate copies of a typewritten letter. It has a plant at Central and Kruger avenues. C. E. Hooven is president and manager of the company.

            The Iron City Foundry company was incorporated January 4, 1918, and at once added its product to the many gray iron foundries of Hamilton and vicinity. The company has $50,000 capital with A. D. Stucky, president; C. E. Freeman, vice-president; and F. Gilford Traber, secretary and treasurer.

            The Leabarjan Manufacturing company makes music rolls for player pianos and also the machinery with which these rolls are manufactured. The company has been in existence since 1911 with Charles Bartels, president ; Franz Jansen, vice-president and treasurer; and Leo F. Bartels, secretary. The plant is located at 521 Hanover street.

            Dealing in paper stock and having a clientele throughout the entire country is the Leshner Paper Stock company, incorporated for $50,000. It operates a large plant on Central avenue. Nathan (page 443) Leshner is the president; and Henry C. Henn, secretary and treasurer.

            Another of the newer manufacturing plants of Hamilton is that operated by the Liberty Machine Tool company at Weller and Zimmerman avenues in Lindenwald. This company was incorporated in December, 1917, with a capital of $100,000 and has for its officers Peter Benninghofen, president; Abraham Ballinger, vice-president; Brandon R. Millikin, secretary; and Charles E. Heiser, treasurer.

            With the advent of prohibition on July 1, 1919, the plant of the Martin Mason Brewing company was at once turned over to the manufacture of near-beer and in this line has scored a phenomenal success. The company has been incorporated since 1896, although the brewing business had been conducted by the Mason family for many years prior to that time. William O. Schlosser is president of the company; Otto W. Myer, vice-president; and Roy H. Schlosser, secretary and treasurer.

            Perhaps no greater variety of product is turned out by any Hamilton Manufacturing concern than is produced in the plant of the Fred J. Meyers Manufacturing company in East Hamilton, which was removed to this city in 1883 from Covington, Ky., after the company had been incorporated for $125,000. Such articles as rat traps, fancy grill work, all kinds of kitchen utensils and practically any article made of tin or iron for home use or office is made by this concern. Its officers are: Fred J. Meyers, president; John A. Wulftange, vice-president; George C. Bramlage, secretary; Joseph Wulftange, treasurer; Fred L. Meyers, cashier. The company's large plant is located in East Hamilton.

            The Miami Iron and Steel company, with a capital of $625,000 for a time operated the steel plant at Cokeotto, but was finally succeeded by the Hamilton Furnace company.

            A successful business, with a wide-spread demand for the products of its plant on South Eighth street, has been built up by the Miami Valley Knitting Mills company, engaged in the manufacture of underwear and other knitted garments. This company has a capital of $175,000 with Henry Niederauer, president; William Niederauer, vice-president ; E. G. Ruder, secretary ; and Ida Niederauer, treasurer. This company was the outgrowth of a knitting plant established by the Niederauer family a number of years ago.

            A large and successful plant, which has added much to the prestige of Hamilton as a manufacturing center, is that of the Mosier Safe company on Grand Boulevard in East Hamilton. The Mosier Safe company has been incorporated since 1895, with a capital of $1,300,000. Its chief production is burglar proof safes and bank vaults and in this line it has a world-wide reputation. The management of the affairs of the company are at present in the hands of Gustav M. Goldsmith as secretary and Edward A. Glaeser as assistant secretary.

Tobacco is the product of the Louis Newburgh Tobacco company operating a large tobacco plant in East Hamilton, where each year thousands of tons of tobacco are prepared for the market. S. (page 444) M. Newburgh is the president; Henry Newburgh, vice-president; Alex Pappenheimer, secretary; and Murray A. Newburgh, superintendent.

            The Slifer Packing company is the result of careful business methods and a personal attention to business affairs. The company is the outgrowth of the meat business of the Slifer brothers. It was incorporated January 21, 1907, with a capital of $20,000 and conducts large packing plant and abattoir at South C and Millikin streets, together with a number of retail meat markets. Ross R. Slifer is the president ; Emma Slifer, vice-president ; and Fenton G. Slifer, secretary and treasurer.

            The Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe company has since coming to Hamilton from Cincinnati added considerable prestige to Hamilton as a manufacturing center. Its large plant, just modernly equipped, is located on Grand boulevard, East Hamilton. Its chief products are safes and bank vaults, but during the great world war its production was given over almost entirely to the government and steel hatches for the famous submarine chasers became the product of its shops. William F. Forepaugh of New York is the president of the company while Elmer Ellsworth Watson is the resident supervisor.

            Innumerable manufacturing plants of greater or less importance are scattered throughout Hamilton. Many of them are not incorporated and are conducted on a small scale, but have the possibilities of growing into large and prosperous concerns. The dawn of a new day in the industrial world of Hamilton has come. No longer does the city through its Chamber of Commerce or other organizations seek the company desiring a location for its plant; but the rather, companies with capital invested, ready to erect plants and start operations, stand knocking at the door seeking locations. The conditions under which the manufacturing plants have come to be conducted are ideal from every standpoint from the success they have achieved, from the working conditions granted to their employees ; and from the financial strength they have shown when conditions were not favorable for even ordinary production. "Made in Hamilton” stamped upon machine tools, written upon safes, engraved upon any product stands for quality, excellent working conditions, and satisfied workmen.

            Middletown is also essentially a manufacturing city and as such it has gained a world-wide reputation from the products of its factories-especially the product of the plants of the American Rolling Mill company-Armco iron.

            Middletown's earliest industries were engaged in the manufacture of paper and tobacco. A water supply of easy access made the manufacture of paper a possibility, while the great tobacco growing territory near to Middletown attracted those men who desired to locate their plants near the source of the supply of their raw material. Both these industries grew and flourished in the early days of industrial Middletown and for years the names of Wrenn, Harding, Wardlow, Thomas, Harvey, Tytus, and Gardner were known wherever paper was used; while the tobacco world was familiar with the names of Sorg, Wilson, and McCallay.

            (page 445) Gradually, however, other industries found Middletown a desirable location-the great American Rolling mills were secured and the industrial future of Middletown assured. Today Middletown has thirty-six manufacturing plants, giving employment to nine thousand men, with an aggregate weekly payroll of two hundred thousand dollars and an aggregate annual value of their products of seventy-five million dollars.

            Without disparagement to any other industrial concern, it can -be said that Middletown's greatest industrial asset is the American Rolling Mill company operating two large plants in Middletown, one at Zanesville and one at Columbus. This company has carried the fame of Middletown into all parts of the world with its famous rust-proof product-Armco iron. The company also has its own coal mines at Marting, West Virginia ; and its own ore mines in the Lake Superior District.

            The American Rolling Mill company, with a capitalization of forty-one million, five hundred thousand dollars, has a wonderful organization with George M. Verity, president; Joseph H. Frantz, C. R. Hook, vice-presidents ; N. W. Collard, treasurer ; R. C. Phillips, secretary ; and W. S. Horner, Samuel M. Goodman, Frank H. Simpson, J. M. Iseminger, J. M. Hutton and Paul Sturtevant, directors.

            The American Rolling Mill company began operations in Middletown in March, 1901, just about the time the United States Steel corporation came into existence and absorbed practically all of the rolling mill companies which were then manufacturing sheet iron and steel. Prior to that period the iron and steel business of the country was divided into a large number of distinct branches. The sheet metal business was carried on by such manufacturing companies as The American Steel Roofing company of Cincinnati, whose business was absorbed by the American Rolling Mill company in 1900; the Cincinnati Corrugating company, owned by J. G. Battelle and J. H. Frantz, and others, later owners of the Columbus Iron and Steel company. The galvanizing of sheet metal, making the product known commercially as "galvanized iron," was carried on by such companies as The American Galvanizing Works, Cincinnati. The American Rolling Mill company was one of the first to bring together all of these various branches of the industry. The company's original conception included an open hearth furnace department, which manufactured steel ingots ; a bar mill department, which reduced these ingots to billets for sheet bars ; a sheet mill department, which converted the sheet bars into sheets ready for market as black iron or steel bars ; a galvanizing department, which coated certain percentage of the black sheets making galvanized iron and steel; and a factory department, where both black and galvanized sheets were used in the fabrication of sheet metal building materials of all kinds. The progress of the company from the time of the location of its plants at Middletown was rapid. Production increased far beyond expectations, while demands exceeded the capacity of the company to produce. This resulted in 1910 -in the erection of the new East Side plant at Middletown. In 1916, the company gave up its New Jersey charter and became incorporated (page 446) under the laws of Ohio and later absorbed the plant of the Columbus Iron and Steel company. Today the American Rolling Mill company stands pre-eminent in its line of manufacture. The growth of its business has been due not only to the commercial value of its products, which have always been maintained at a high standard, but also due to the sterling manhood of the company's president, George M. Verity and his able associates. Mr. Verity is not only the directing genius of the American Rolling Mill Co., but he is a patriotic energetic citizen of Middletown, devoted to the city's progress, purity, betterment and enlargement. He has done great things for Middletown and is wholly unselfish in his service, while a more loyal organization never stood behind any man than does the American Rolling Mill Co. behind George M. Verity.

            During the great world war the plant of the American Rolling Mill company was promptly given over to the manufacture of war material. The company and the men displayed every evidence of loyalty and devotion and no demand of the government failed to meet with a prompt and hearty response.

            One of the most noted features of the war work of the American Rolling mills was the equipment of the famous Armco Ambulance corps which did such a noble work in France. A complete history of this noted organization will be found in the chapter covering "Butler County in the World War."

            Aside from its vast manufacturing industries, the American Rolling Mill company maintains its own hospital, its own welfare department, its home gardens, and every feature that may interest, help and inspire its thousands of satisfied workmen.

            The Crystal Paper company, located at Amanda, is one of Middletown's distinctive plants. This company was incorporated July 6, 1894, with a capitalization of $60,000; and although the business has grown to vast proportions and many improvements and enlargements of the plant have been made, this capital has not been increased. The company started with two small sixty-inch machines with a total production of four hundred pounds of light weight tissue in twenty-four hours. The company is today operating one sixty inch machine, one eighty-inch machine, one one hundred-inc ; machine and one one hundred and twenty-inch machine, with a total production of thirty thousand pounds of light-weight tissue every twenty-four hours.

            A feature of the tissue industry is the coloring phase. The Crystal mill specializes in colors and shades. A color expert is a necessary adjunct of the business. Matching shades is a task requiring extreme patience and a keen and discriminating eye. It also entails much loss of time and money in experiments. The shades are produced by combining dyes, and great care must be exercised in the developing of these various shades. At the Crystal mills, American dyes are used exclusively. Prior to the world war, the German product was used, but war conditions stimulated the industry in the United States. No matter what the German industry may attempt, the Crystal Paper company considers the American dyes the equal of anything Germany has ever produced and will continue the use of American dyes.

            (page 447) The affairs of the Crystal Paper company are in capable hands, the president being J. W. Van Dyke ; vice-president, Z. W. Ranck, and D. E. Harlan, secretary, treasurer, and manager.

            Barkelew Electric Manufacturing company is one of Middletown's newer but most successful concerns, engaged in the- manufacture of Barkelew knife switches, motor starting switches, woven wire brushes, fuse blocks, fuse holders, bar copper and other specialties. The company was organized in 1904, under the laws of Ohio, with a capital stock of $15,000. The officers of the company are C. W. Denny, president and treasurer ; W. O. Barnitz, vice-president ; and G. E. Denny, secretary.

            The Interstate Folding Box company is an example. of what persistency and determination will do. This company was organized by S. Bergstein in 1912, with a capital of $10,000, but in 1913 it sustained a loss due to the food, followed almost immediately by a fire which destroyed the entire plant, which reduced the assets of the company to less than $2,000. The banks and the paper mills of Middletown immediately extended deserved credit and in August of 1913, operations were resumed on a small scale. The present capital stock of the company is $75,000, and the business has reached a volume of $350,000 annually. The officers of the company are S. Bergstein, president and treasurer ; E. Wertheimer, vice-president ; and E. M. Bergstein, secretary.

            The Colin Gardner Paper company was incorporated in 1900; the Gardner Harvey Paper company in 1908; the Gardner Paper Board company, in 1916; and the Enterprise Machine company in 1917.

            The Colin Gardner Paper company, incorporated in 1900, was the original company. It prospered from its very first inception and in 1904 more than doubled the capacity of its mill by adding another large machine. This made a two-machine box board mill at the plant of the Colin Gardner Paper company, which condition remains today. When in 1908, the Gardner-Harvey Paper company was organized, a very large board machine, trimming one hundred and twenty-five inches, was installed in this plant for the manufacture of paper board. In 1916, the property of the old National Box Board company was purchased and the Gardner Paper Board company was organized to take over this mill.

            These three companies have prospered and are running today under their three separate names, but the sales and purchasing departments are operated by a company known as the GardnerHarvey company. With these three mills and four large board machines in operation, these concerns have a capacity of two hundred and twenty-five tons every twenty-four hours. The Enterprise Machine company's plant was built originally to take care of the repair work of these companies' mills and other paper mills in the Great Miami valley; but when the war came on, the machine shop was put on a ninety-five per cent war production, and so continued until the spring of 1919. The machine business is steadily increasing and is proving quite an asset to the GardnerHarvey interests.

            (page 448) The officers of the Colin Gardner Paper company, the GardnerHarvey Paper company and the Gardner Paper Board company are exactly the same : E. T. Gardner, president; Colin Gardner, jr., vice-president ; R. B. Gardner, treasurer ; and M. S. Johnston, secretary; the only difference being that George H. Harvey is the general manager of the Colin Gardner Paper company, while Tom Harvey is the general manager of the Gardner-Harvey Paper company and the Gardner Paper Board company. The officers of the Enterprise Machine company are George H. Harvey, president; E. T. Gardner, vice-president; Colin Gardner, jr., secretary; and M. S. Johnston, treasurer.

            The C. C. Fouts company, with its capitalization of $75,000, is one of Middletown's progressive manufacturing concerns. Among the products of its factories are a portable copper-iron supply tank, grain bins, hog houses, crude oil storage tanks, and oil wagon tanks. In 1918, the company doubled its capacity, with every indication that by 1920, the same things will again be accomplished. The officers of the company are C. C. Fouts, president, and P. W. Fouts, secretary and treasurer ; with C. C. Fouts, P. W. Fouts, F. A. Fouts, P. H. Rogers and H. F. Rogers, directors.

             The Wrenn Paper company was established in 1858 and produces blotting and filter papers. The present capitalization of the company is $75,000, while the officers are John Gibson, jr., president and treasurer; Austin Smith, vice-president; and J. J. Hollowell, secretary.

            The Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper company operates a wax paper mill in Middletown, its home offices being in Nashua, New Hampshire. The products of the Middletown plant consist of waxed papers which are used in wrapping bread, candy, chewing gum, soap and other food and household products. The management of the Middletown plant is under the direction of L. C. Anderson. The company has been in existence for a great many years ; its present officers being James Richard Carter, of Boston, Massachusetts, president ; Winthrop L. Carter, of Nashua, New Hampshire, treasurer; and George L. Lowe, of Boston, Massachusetts, secretary.

            The Paul A. Sorg Paper company is an Ohio corporation, incorporated in December, 1899. Its present capital stock is $1,000,000, of which $750,000 is common stock and $250,000 preferred stock. The officers of the company are J. A. Aull, president ; M. T. Hartley, vice-president and treasurer ; A. F. Smith, vice-president ; L. C. Anderson, secretary; H. E. Johnson, assistant treasurer, and C. E. Aull, assistant secretary.

            The company has three machines, and most of its products are in the line of specialties. The numbers one and three machines make large quantities of paper for waxing purposes, while the number two machine makes rope, jute and sulphite specialties.

            The O. K. Paper Pail company has been incorporated since 1906 and is engaged in the manufacture of paper pails such as are used for oysters, beans, kraut, pickles and ice cream ; also cake and clothing boxes. The company has a capitalization of $55,000, with (page 449) W. D. Oglesby, president ; and M. E. Thompson, secretary and treasurer.

            The Wardlow-Thomas Paper company is one of the older paper manufacturing plants of Middletown, being devoted to the manufacture of rope and manila papers. The officers of the company are Mark A. Thomas, president ; James Lawrence, vice-president; and E. C. Woodward, secretary and treasurer. The Advance Bag company is engaged in the manufacture of paper bags. The officers of the company are Morris W. Rennick, president; E. Leibee McCallay, secretary; C. S. Jackson, treasurer; and C. T. Elliott, vice-president and sales manager. The Kit Paper Box company is operated by practically the same company.

            The Raymond Bag company is an old concern established in 1868 and incorporated March 5, 1897. It was located in Cincinnati until August, 1910, and up until that time was controlled by several brothers by the name of Raymond. During 1910 the Lawrence Bag company was organized, but later this company was dissolved and the Raymond Bag company, with a capital of $250,000, taken over. The factory was then moved to Middletown. The company now has the following offers : President, James Lawrence ; vice-president, A. H. Walburg; secretary, W. F. Lawrence ; and treasurer and general manager, George Brown. The company manufactures rope bags for the packing and shipping of flour, meal and the products manufactured by flour mills ; also rope bags for the packing and shipping of cement, lime, plaster, talc and clay. The company also manufactures rope, Kraft fuel bags and plain Kraft four bags.

            The Shartle Brothers Machine, company was incorporated in 1912 and makes a specialty of paper mill machinery. The company has been very successful in this line of work and has enjoyed much prosperity, owing to the careful management of its affairs. The company is capitalized for $100,000, and Charles W. Shartle is president and treasurer ; H. D. Martinedale, secretary ; and G. Kafenberger, as vice president.

            One of Middletown’s newest industries, incorporated in the fall of 1919, is the Mid-West Castings company, with Carl J. Jack, president ; F. C. Wittlinger, secretary and treasurer; and Moran Wittlinger, general manager. The company at once began the erection of a factory along the Big Four railway tracks, in the W. O. Barnitz addition to the city.

             The Middletown Artificial Ice company is engaged in the manufacture of ice. The company was incorporated in 1914 with a capital of $100,000. The company late in 1919 increased its capital to $200,000, and installed equipment which would increase the product of its plant to one hundred and fifty tons of ice a day. The officers of the company are H. B. Hanger, president ; L. B. Weisenburgh, treasurer; and J. L. Glass, secretary and manager.

            The Miami Cycle company originated a number of years ago with the Sorg interests and is engaged in the manufacture of Ray cycles and ordinary bicycles, together with a number of specialties.

            (page 450) It is one of Middletown's largest manufacturing plants and for a number of years its business was conducted by a board of managers, consisting of Harry S. Wise, J. S. Ash and C. R. Miller. Under their management great progress was made. In 1918 Mr. Miller resigned to go to a Detroit, Michigan, concern. Recently Mr. Ash acquired the holdings of Mrs. S. Jennie Sorg and Mrs. Ada Sorg Pritchett in the company and thus passed into supreme control of the concern. Following this Mr. Wise tendered his resignation. The company is strong financially and holds contracts for many thousand bicycles a year, one contract alone calling for the delivery of fifty thousand wheels a year.

            Among the other manufacturing concerns of Middletown are the Cullman Brothers company, of which Joseph F. Kullman, of New York, is president; the Denny Lumber company, Charles E. Denny, president; the F. O. Diver Milling company, Charles E. Diver, president; the Harding Paper company, with a large mill at Excello, of which T. A. Jones is manager ; a branch factory of the P. Lorillard company, manufacturers of tobacco, with H. C. Boykin as the resident manager. The Ohio Corrugated Culvert company, with C. T. Goldman president; the Waite Clock and Manufacturing company, with J. L. Waite, president.

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