WILLIAM EAKER-George W. Smith-Roads-Journeys to the East-Goods Brought by Conestoga Wagons and Broadhorns to Ohio -Packhorses Moving Up Main Street-Groceries from New Orleans by Keel-Boats -A Voyage from New Orleans Described - Country Stores-Drinking Customs -Flatboating South -Excitement When the Fleets of Boats Left Dayton -Arrival of a Large Keel-Boat-Fourth of July from 1809 to 1840-The First Drug-Store-Indians and Wild Animals Both Troublesome-Rewards for Wolf-Scalps-New Sidewalks and Ditches or Gutters-Ohio Centinel -Earthquakes -William Huffman-Ohio Militia Encamped at Dayton-Business Beginning of 1812-Horatio G. Phillips-J. D. Phillips -Obadiah B. Conover.
No Two Daytonians were ever more useful and prominent than William Eaker and George W. Smith. For a time they were in partnership. Mr. Faker came here from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at a very early day. He opened a store on Main Street in 1811, removing later to old Market or Second Street, where he continued in business till his death in 1848, making a large fortune. He was a stockholder and director in the first Dayton bank founded in 1813, and remained a director till the bank ceased business in 1843. His store was very popular with customers, and he was indeed a general favorite in business and social circles, and noted for kind deeds. Probity, integrity, and goodness of heart were traits of character continually manifested by him during the course of his long residence here, and gained him the esteem and confidence of all. He was a stanch friend to all young men just entering business, as at the time of his death many prominent merchants and manufacturers were ready to testify. He was always a generous supporter of efforts to improve the town. He gave liberally to churches and charitable institutions. "At the outbreak of the Mexican War, he was one of the committee of citizens who pledged themselves to look after the families of volunteers, and to care for them in case the soldiers did not return. In every case these pledges were sacredly kept." In 1817 he married Letitia Lowry, who survived him thirty-four years- She was born in what is now a part of Springfield, Ohio, in 1799. Her father, Archibald Lowry, was the son of David Lowry, of Donnel's Creek, who came to the site of Dayton with the surveying party in 1795. He is mentioned in an earlier chapter as the first to send a flatboat south from Dayton, in 1799. Mr. and Mrs. Raker are represented in Dayton by their only daughter, Miss Belle Raker. The three sons-Frank, Charles, and William Raker- are deceased.
George W. Smith, a native of England, carne to Dayton from Virginia in 1804 and lived here till his death in1841 at the age of fifty-seven. After dissolving partnership with Mr. Faker, he was in business with Robert A. Edgar, and later with his son George. As he was a merchant, he was of course engaged in flatboating to the south. He built, near what is now known as Harries Station, extensive flouring-mills, a distillery, and houses for his workmen, calling the place Smithville. He was a man of wealth, and left a large estate. His first wife was a Miss Todd. Their two children died young. He married, second, Eliza Manning, and they had five children: James Manning, lately deceased, leaving one daughter, Miss Lida Smith,-married Miss Caroline Shoup ; George W.; Sophia, married Isaac H. Kiersteid ; Louisa, married Captain Fletcher, U. S. A. ; Ann, deceased, married W. G. Sheeley.
Roads, narrow, muddy, or cut up into deep ruts, were now opened to Piqua, New Lexington, Salem, Greenville, Xenia, Germantown, Lebanon, Franklin, and Miamisburg. Two years later a bridle-path was cut to Vincennes, two hundred miles distant. The State Road, known as the "Old Corduroy Road" which ran east and west through town, was built the same year. This was a road only in name, being almost impassable in wet weather. Mud-holes and low places were filled with poles, which floated, and through which the horses' feet would sink. Travelers were delayed for hours by mishaps. In 1812 three roads used by the army were kept in tolerable condition. With this exception, till 1839 roads were either so muddy or so rough that it was difficult to drive or ride over them. Roads were poor even in more thickly settled regions. The journeys of our Dayton merchants to Philadelphia to buy goods, and of their wives to the old homes in the East, were made on horseback, with clothes packed in saddlebags, and babies carried in a net swung around the father's neck, and resting on the pommel of his saddle. The bridgeless streams had to be forded. “Is he a good swimmer?" was a common question, when a man was trying to sell a horse to a customer. It was necessary to carry arms, as the road for miles passed through unsettled forests, along an unbroken track, marked only by blazed trees and where Indians and wild beasts lurked. Travelers usually camped for the night, and ate and slept on the ground. The journey east could be made from Cincinnati to Pittsburg in a flatboat, but public conveyances of any kind were unknown.
Goods for Dayton merchants were brought as far as Pittsburg from Philadelphia, then the center of trade, in Conestoga wagons, and from Pittsburg to Cincinnati by river in "broadhorns" ; thence they were either poled up the Miami, or brought here on packhorses. It was a common sight to see long line-teams, -often a dozen horses tied together,-in single file, the leader wearing a bell, and each horse carrying two hundred pounds, moving up Main Street. A train of this length was accompanied by three or four men, equipped with rifle, ammunition, ax, and
Blankets. Games in the woods supplied them with food. Men were stationed at each end, to take care of the leader and hind horse, keep the train in motion, and watch over the goods. Sometimes the train was composed of loose horses, taught to follow each other without being fastened together. Bells were attached at night to all the horses, and then they were turned out to graze. Occasionally Dayton merchants purchased groceries brought up from New Orleans to Cincinnati in keel-boats or barges, and hauled here, about 1812,-when the army kept the road in tolerable. condition,-in wagons.
The difficulties of an up-stream voyage are described in the following letter, written from Cincinnati, December 29, 1812, by Baum & Perry to Steele & Peirce, and found among the papers of the latter firm nearly eighty years after they received it: "We have just had the arrival of our barge from New Orleans. She was delayed at the falls for nearly two weeks before she could get over, detained five or six days waiting for the loading to be hauled from the lower landing to the upper, and finally had to come away with part of the cargo only, there being no wagons to be had, and ever since she left that place has been obliged to force her way for two weeks past through the ice. These are the circumstances which prevented her coming sooner. Knowing that sugar is much wanting at your place, have thought it advisable to load Mr. Enoch's wagon. and let it proceed to your town with that article, to wit, with six boxes, weighing as follows : 438 pounds for Mr. Henry Brown ; 448 pounds, Cooper & Burnet ; 432 pounds, Isaac Spining; 480 pounds, Robert Wilson ; 510 pounds, Steele & Peirce ; 430 pounds, Major Churchill." Freightage by wagon was one dollar per hundredweight. If a single box of sugar were taken, the price was twenty cents a pound, and eighteen and three-quarter cents per pound was charged if three boxes were bought.
Dayton merchants kept genuine country stores. and sold a very miscellaneous variety of articles. In front, close to the street, hitching-posts and feed-boxes were provided. Bottles of various kinds of liquor, principally whisky,-regarded in those days, according to Curwen, as "the elixir and-solace of life," even by ministers and their most conscientious parishioners were displayed, flanked by glasses, on the counter, customers being expected to help themselves. Purchases were usually paid for in wheat, rye, corn, beeswax, tallow, corn-fed pork, and similar products that would sell at New Orleans : but cash was demanded if the grain, pork, etc., could not be delivered in time for the annual spring trip south by flatboat.
Flatboating south was a necessity, for there was no sale in Ohio for the articles received in exchange for goods by our merchants. The Great Miami was clown on the map as a navigable stream, and towards the close of the flatboating era, and later, there were many attempts to introduce steamboats. Until 1828 our merchants depended principally upon keel-boats, built somewhat like canal-boats, and on flatboats for their connection with New Orleans, the only market for Western produce. Flatboatmen sold their boats -only used in descending streams, and kept in the channel by long, sweeping oars, fastened at both ends of the boat -when they arrived at New Orleans, purchased a horse, and rode home. The boats were inclosed and roofed with boards. On account of changes or obstructions in the channel or low water, it sometimes took a Dayton boat three weeks to reach Cincinnati.
May 24, 1809, the Repertory contains the first notice of a Dayton flatboat published here. It says : "A flat-bottomed boat, owned by Mr. Compton, of this place, descended the Great Miami yesterday. She was loaded with pork, four, bacon, and whisky, and destined for FortAdams." Later it is stated that " Mr. Compton's boat got safely through to the Ohio. Notwithstanding the representations made of the dangers of navigating the Great Miami, we are well convinced that nothing is wanting but care and attention to take our boats with safety from this place." Among the dangers encountered were dams and fish baskets, or traps, which often wrecked the boats. Sometimes boatmen destroyed, or tried to destroy, these obstructions, the owners defending their property, and serious or fatal injuries resulting on both sides.
Between 1809 and 1810 Paul Butler and Henry Disbrow established a freight line of keel-boats between Dayton, Laramie, and St. Mary's, connecting our town with Lake Erie by way of the Miami, Auglaize, and Maumee rivers. They built the two keel-boats used for this line in the middle of Main Street, in front of the Court-house. When finished, they were moved on rollers up Main Street to the river and launched. Nine flatboats left on the 13th or 14th of May, 1811, for New Orleans. A private letter dated Dayton March 28, 1812 says “We had a snowstorm on Sunday last, eight inches deep, but, as it went of immediately, it did not swell the river sufficiently to let Phillips and Smith's boat out." It was customary for boats to wait for a freshet before starting. At the head of Wilkinson Street stood for many years Broadwell's old red warehouse, where shipments were made, and which was the scene in the spring of much hurry, bustle, and business. It was swept down stream itself in the food of 1828. Boats built up the river used to come here, tie up, and wait for a freshet; when all the boats bound for New Orleans would set off together in a fleet. The departure of the feet was an exciting event to farmers, distillers, millers, merchants, teamsters, boatmen, and the people generally, as the following description from the Dayton Watchman of May 26, 1825, indicates: "Rain had fallen on Wednesday, and continued til Friday, when the river rose. The people flocked to the banks, returning with cheerful countenances, saying, `The boats will get of.' On Saturday all was the busy hum of a seaport ; wagons were conveying flour, pork, whisky, etc., to the different boats strung along the river. Several arrived during the day from the north. On Sunday morning others came down, the water began to fall, and the boats, carrying about forty thousand dollars' worth of the produce of the country, got under way." In May, 1818, the Watchman announces, as a matter of public rejoicing, the arrival of a keel-boat from Cincinnati belonging to H. G. Phillips and Messrs. Smith & Raker. It was the first keel-boat that had for a number of years, on account of obstructions, ascended the Miami. The boat was over seventy feet long, and carried twelve tons of merchandise.
The Fourth of July was a grand occasion in Dayton in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. A public meeting was held beforehand, at which a committee of arrangements was appointed. Benjamin Van Cleve, Owen Davis, and William M. Smith served in 18og. The militia and the people ,from town and country, forming on the river bank at the head of Main Street, marched in procession to the Court-house. Here they heard an oration and patriotic songs ; after which, reforming, they marched to the house of Henry Disbrow, where an elegant dinner was served, tickets costing fifty cents. Toasts were drunk and salutes were fired by the military companies, commanded by Captain Butler and Captain Steele. The afternoon was spent in sports and games, and there was a dance in the evening. In 1810 there was also a procession from the river to the Court-house, where the following exercises were listened to: Singing of an ode, prayer by Dr. Welsh, reading of the Declaration of Independence by Benjamin Van Cleve, and an oration by Joseph H. Crane. " The oration was eloquent and well adapted to the occasion." At there was a public dinner served under a bower, where seventeen toasts were drunk, a salute being fired as each toast was given.
In 1811 Dr. N. Edwards, Joseph H. Crane, and Joseph Peirce were the committee of arrangements. The procession was preceded by a sermon from Dr. Welsh, and followed at the Court-house by the usual exercises. Joseph H. Crane reading the Declaration, and Benjamin Van Cleve delivering the oration. This year political animosity, hitherto unknown in Dayton, had become so bitter that members of the two parties declined to dine together, as had been the custom on the Fourth of July, and unite in drinking toasts prepared by the committee of arrangements. There were two dinners, each under a bower prepared for the occasion ; one at Mr. Strain's and the other at Mr. Graham's, formerly Newcom's. Each company drank seventeen patriotic toasts, and then an eighteenth toast, expressing their political opinions. Mr. Graham's guests drank to the accompaniment of a discharge of small arms the " Health of Thomas Jefferson, Late President of the United States." At Mr. Strain's the final toast was, " May our young Americans have firmness enough to defend their rights without joining any Tammany club or society." And it was drunk "under a discharge of cannon and loud and repeated cheerings." There was the usual military parade in the afternoon and a dance in the evening. Military companies were popular and militia trainings gala occasions. Business was suspended and crowds flocked into town to witness the drill and parade, when, as on September 17, 1810, Colonel Jerome Holt assembled the Fifth Regiment for training purposes.
In 1815 the young ladies of Dayton were invited to join in the Fourth-of-July procession, assembling at Colonel Grimes's tavern. After the speeches, etc., at the Court-house, the procession marched to Republican Spring, where ladies and gentlemen dined together, as had not been the custom before on the national holiday. In 1816 the public meeting to make preparations for the Fourth of July was held at Reid's Inn. Dr. John Steele acted as chairman, and Benjamin Van Cleve as secretary, and Captain James Steele, Dr. Charles Este, George W. Smith, Fielding Gosney, James Lodge, Colonel John Anderson, and David Griffin were appointed a committee of arrangements. After the procession on the Fourth, Dr. Charles Este read the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Van Cleve Washington's farewell address. One hundred persons dined together at the house of Captain J. Rhea. Isaac Spining presided, and William George and Dr. Este were chosen vice-presidents of the occasion. Nineteen patriotic toasts were drunk with great hilarity. At in the afternoon the ladies and gentlemen of the town and country partook of a magnificent repeat, furnished by the ladies, inthe shade of the adjacent woods." In the evening there was a concert of vocal music at Mr. Bomberger's residence and a ball at Colonel Reid's inn.
In 1822 new features were introduced. Church bells were rung and cannons fired at daybreak and a flag run up on the town flagstaff. The exercises were held at the First Presbyterian Church. The procession was headed by the newly raised light infantry companies and riflemen. Captain Grimes's company wore a yellow roundabout coat, green collar and cuffs- white pantaloons and red leggings. Captain Dodds's company were dressed in white roundabout, trimmed with black cord, pantaloons the same, and a citizen's hat with red feather. Captain Dixon's riflemen wore blue cloth roundabouts, trimmed with white cord, and white pantaloons. Captain Windbrenner’s men were dressed in gray cloth coatees, trimmed with black cord, and pantaloons to correspond. After the militia came four Revolutionary veterans-Colonel Robert Patterson, Simeon Broadwell, Richard Bacon, and Isaac Spining, guarding the American flag and liberty cap. Judge Crane read the Declaration, and Stephen Fales "delivered a highly interesting and animating oration." The music " would have done honor to any place, and reflected great credit on the singers." The gentlemen dined at Mr. Squier's tavern, Judge Crane being electred president of the day, and Judge Steele and H. G. Phillips vice-presidents. After the regular toasts, the following volunteer toasts were given : By Judge Crane, " De Witt Clinton, the Able and Persevering Supporter of Internal Improvements" ; by judge Steele, "The Contemplated Canal from the Waters of Mad River to Those of the Ohio "; by Stephen Fales, "The Memory of General Wayne, the Deliverer of Ohio "; by Colonel Stebbins, officer of the day, " The President of the Day - a Descendant of a Revolutionary Officer, one of the first settlers in this place, and who has borne the heat and burden of the day with us: as distinguished for his modesty as his worth, his is the popularity that follows, not that which is pursued "; by Judge Spining, " May the cause that first inspired the heroes of '76 to shake of the chains of slavery be very dear, and supported by all true Americans "; by the four Revolutionary veterans, " The Heroes of the Revolution, that fell to secure the blessings of this day to us: may their children so maintain them that America may be a republic of Christians on the last day of time.”
The first "jubilee of the United States," commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, was celebrated July 4, 1826, by a procession from the Court-house, services at the brick church,-First Presbyterian,-a dinner at Mr. Rollman's tavern,- formerly Newcom's, - and a picnic at the medical spring near the present buildings of St. Mary's Institute on Brown Street. The Declaration was read by J W. Van Cleve, and an oration was delivered by Peter P. Lowe. In 1832 Edward W Davies read the Declaration. and Robert A. Thruston delivered
an oration. Adam Houk was marshal of the procession, and G. C. Davis, Robert C. Schenck, Jeferson Patterson, Peter P. Lowe, and George Engle assistant marshals. The following gentlemen were the committee of arrangements : Thomas Clegg, Charles G. Swain, David C. Baker, Charles R. Greene, George Grove, William Eaker, Peter Baer, Johnson V. Perrine, William Roth, John Engel, David Davis, Thomas Morrison, F. F. Carrell, Samuel Foley, and Thomas Brown. In 1840 the Declaration, " prefaced by some happy remarks," was read by John G. Lowe, and Peter Odlin was the orator of the day. The exercises were held at the Third Street Presbyterian Church. The Dayton Grays and the Washington Artillery, a new military company, paraded.
In April, 1809, Dr. Wood opened, in Reid’s Inn, the first drugstore established here, advertising in the Repertory " medicines in the small" for sale. The first political convention held in MontgomeryCounty convened September 6 of this year at the Court-house, David Reid, moderator ; Benjamin Van Cleve, clerk. Six hundred votes were cast at the election, and the following ticket was elected : State Legislature, Joseph H. Crane, MontgomeryCounty, David Purviance, PrebleCounty ; sheriff Jerome Holt ; coroner, David Squier ; commissioner, John Folkerth.
Both Indians and wild animals were still troublesome in 1810. The MontgomeryCounty commissioners paid thirty dollars in reward for wolf-scalps this year, and twenty-two dollars in 1811. There were two thousand four hundred Indians in Ohio in 1810; five hundred and fifty-nine lived at Wapakoneta, and many were now encamped at Greenville. Dayton people were very anxious, for Tecumseh and his brother, "the Prophet," were uniting the Indians in the West and South in a league against the whites, which two years later was useful to the British.
The town was slowly improving. The population in 1810 was three hundred and eighty-three. This year the Select Council provided for new sidewalks along Monument Avenue, then Water Street, from Main to Mill Street ; on First, from Ludlow to St. Clair, except the south side of First, between Jefferson and St. Clair, and on Main, from Monument Avenue to Third Street. The ordinance directed the walks to be " laid with stones or brick, or to be completely graveled, and a ditch dug along the outer edge." People were forbidden, "except when it was absolutely necessary" to drive over the walks, and fines collected for infringing this law were to be appropriated for paving street crossings. This ordinance caused general rejoicing, both among townspeople and visitors from the country, as is stated in the Ohio Centinel, a weekly newspaper eleven by nine inches in size,-a four-column folio,-which, on the 26th of duly, succeeded the Repertory. Isaac G. Burnett, a man of talent and education, was the editor and publisher till 1813, when it was discontinued from want of patronage, most of the men being away with the army, and the women too busy with farm and domestic work to have time for reading. It was a very good paper, and the editorials are still interesting reading to any one who cares for our early history. It contained the official and legal announcements for the whole Northwest Territory, and had a large circulation as far as Detroit and Chicago. It was "Republican" in principle, but was far from being exclusively political. Its motto was, "With slight shades of difference, we have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles." In 1811 a comet was visible, and there were severe shocks of earthquakes throughout. the Ohio valley from 1811 LO 1012. It was at this date that New Madrid, on the Mississippi, was entirely destroyed by earthquake. The superstitious were terrified by these "signs and portents " in sky and earth, regarding them as ominous of public or private misfortune. The Ohio Centinel gives graphic accounts of the shocks felt here on December 16 and 17, 1811; January 23 and 27, and February 13, 1812. While the alarming shocks were occurring at Dayton, the newspapers were filled with frightful descriptions of the catastrophe at New Madrid and startling earthquake news from other quarters, and it is no wonder that citizens read these reports with awe and dread, feeling that it was not improbable that a similar fate was in store for them. This year of disaster made a deep and never-forgotten impression. In illustration of the force of the earthquake on the 16th and 17th of December, when the earth was in a continual tremor, a pioneer grandmother used to relate an anecdote of a flighty little woman, who, partly for the purpose of asserting her own courage, of which, in fact, she had not a particle, and partly from a spirit of mischief and desire to shock her awestruck friends, threw herself laughingly on the ground, exclaiming: " How delightfully the world rocks ! I like the motion." The poor, frightened lady probably thought it better philosophy to laugh than to cry; but the village gossips considered such conduct very unbecoming, and proof positive that she was an atheist.
The revenue of MontgomeryCounty for 1811-12 was $1,748-87; the expenditures, $968.60. In 1812 William Huffman came to Dayton from New Jersey. He was for many years successfully engaged as a merchant and speculator in real estate. His stone house, the first stone residence built in Dayton, and which, according to pioneer habits, was both dwelling and store, stood on Jefferson and Third streets, on the site of the Beckel House. He and his wife lived to be very aged. Their son, William P. Huffman, deceased, was an enterprising citizen, doing much to build up the town. There were four daughters : Mary Ann, married Rev. David Winters; Catharine, Morris Seely ; Eliza J., Alexander Simms; Lydia A., first, William H. Merriman, second John Harries. Grandchildren : William H. Simms, Mrs. Ziba Crawford, William, Frank, George, Torrence, and Annie Huffman, Mrs. E. J. Barney, Mrs. J. R. Hedges, Mrs. C. F. Drury. In January, 1812, the Government began to raise troops for the war with Great Britain. While the Ohio militia were encamped in Dayton, the rendezvous for the troops, D. C. Cooper employed them to dig a mill-race. The army also brought work and business of other kinds to town. Early in 1812 Joseph Peirce wrote to his brother-in-law, james Steele, who had gone east to buy goods:"Business quite as good as could be expected. Groceries, especially coffee, are scarce in town. I think eight or ten barrels would not be too much for us, if they can be purchased cheap. A good assortment of muslins to sell at twenty-five cents would be desirable, and if L. Pascson can furnish you with them as cheap for four months as for cash, I would purchase pretty largely." Soon after, he wrote to another relative that he had been so overwhelmed with business since the arrival of the troops that he had not time to, attend to his private correspondence.
Horatio G. Phillips was one of the several merchants who laid the foundations of large fortunes in 1812. He was a native of New Jersey, and the son of Captain Jonathan and Mary Forman Phillips. He was born in 1783. His father was an officer in the Revolutionary army. In 1803 H. G. Phillips and a party of friends came west to seek a new home. At Cincinnati, on his return from a visit to Natchez, Mississippi, where he had had some thought of settling, he met D. C. Cooper, a New Jersey acquaintance, and at his invitation came to Dayton in the winter of 1804-05. At the close of the year 1805 he made the long, lonely journey on horseback, without a companion, to Philadelphia. Having purchased goods in that city, he went to Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where, on April 10, 18o6, he was married to Miss Eliza Smith Houston. The journey to Ohio was made on horseback to Pittsburg, thence by flatboat to Cincinnati, and from the latter place to Dayton in a wagon. Their home till 1812 was a two-story log house on the southwest corner of First and Jefferson streets. His store was in his dwelling. In 1809 he took his wife and their infant daughter back to New Jersey on a visit to the old home. They traveled on horseback, a lead-horse carrying their baggage. J. N. C. Schenck, of Franklin, Charles Russell Greene, and other merchants, going east for goods, traveled with them. all the men of the party being armed with rifles as roaming bands of Indians made the journey through the woods dangerous. There were now occasional taverns, where a night could be spent in primitive style.
In 1812 Mr. Phillips built a two-story brick store and a residence on the southeast corner of Main and Second streets. Dayton was at this period the thoroughfare of all regiments and wagons bound for the seat of war, and the army brought a great deal of trade to Mr. Phillips and other business men. Troops were always stationed here and their purchases added largely to the profits of our merchants. In 1812-13 Mr. Houston, whom Mr. Phillips sent to Philadelphia to purchase goods, bought more largely than the latter intended, and fearing the stock could not all be disposed of here, he opened a store at Troy, with Mr. Houston in charge. Fortunately, the war created a demand for pork, whisky, flour, and grain, taken in exchange for merchandise, and he accumulated a large amount of these articles at Troy and Dayton, which he sold at good prices at those towns, or at the forts between New Lexington and Urbana. In 1815 he opened a third store in Greenville, under the control of Easton Morris. He was actively engaged in business for many years, and retired in his old age. He was one of the founders of the first Dayton bank, and was interested in woolen mills at Hole's Creek. In 1830, in partnership with Alexander Grimes and Moses Smith, he laid out the town of Alexandersville. In 1843 or 1844 he, with others, purchased from John Kneisley the water-power afterwards owned by the Dayton Hydraulic Company. His partners were Daniel Beckel, T. D. Phillips. and S. D. Edgar. He was an ardent advocate of the building of turnpikes. The Phillips House, built in 1850, was named in his honor. In 1831 Mrs. Phillips died. "By her death society lost one of its most hospitable and gifted members and the church a liberal giver and an earnest, unselfish worker.” In 1836, Mr. Phillips married Mrs. C. P. Irwin, who survived him many years. By his first marriage he had three children who lived to grow up : Elizabeth, deceased, who married John G. Worthington, and with her son and daughter lived in Washington ; Jonathan Dickinson, born December 31, 1812, married Luciana Z. Greene, and died in 1871, his wife dying in 1881; Mariana Louisa, born March 30, 1814, married, first, Robert A. Thruston, and, second, John G. Lowe.
J. D. Phillips was a man of culture and taste, and very generous and public-spirited. When he gave anything to his native city,- and his gifts were large and frequent,-it was, if possible, beautiful as well as appropriate and useful. He was one of the founders of, and a very liberal contributor to, the Public Library, and the extent of his gifts in that and other directions was known only to a few intimate friends. He was a warm friend of the Public Library, and (about 1849) proposed to construct a room on the second floor of his new building especially adapted
to the use of the library, and lease it to the association on very favorable terms The proposition was accepted, and a room fortyby sixty feet, with lofty ceiling, supported through the center by Corinthian columns, was prepared. This room was elegantly furnished by special subscription, at a cost of over two thousand dollars. It is safe to say that at that day there was no library room in Ohio outside of Cincinnati that could compare with it in beauty and convenience. The room was finished in white and gold. A pair of handsome, large, revolving globes, in tall stands, and other ornamental and useful articles were, in addition to his contribution to the general fund given by Mr. Phillips He .. very hospitable, and loved, for his own enjoyment as well as for the honor of the town, to entertain at his residence distinguished guests during their stay in Dayton. His elegant, large ball-room was the scene of many a brilliant reception.
Mrs. John G. Lowe has, through a long life, been noted for generosity and active interest in benevolent and religious work, following the example of her mother, who was a leader in every undertaking for the benefit of the community. During the War of 1812 Mrs. Phillips took sick and wounded soldiers who were brought here from the battlefield, into her own home, and nursed them till they were well, and was one of the band of ladies who constantly forwarded provisions and clothes to soldiers at the front. Her daughter, Mrs. Lowe, was one of the founders and hardest workers in the Dayton Sanitary Association. which met daily to cut out and make garments and pack boxes of food and comforts for our men serving in the army during the Civil War. Mrs. Lowe has seven children living: General Gates P. Thruston, Mrs. G. W. Houk, Mrs. Charles Newbold, Henry C. Lowe, Houston Lowe, Mrs. Fowler Stoddard, Mrs. Thomas Caddis. A son and daughter, Dickinson P. and Jeannette J. Thruston, died in early manhood and womanhood.
J. D. Phillips had one son, Horace,-who married Miss Nannie Pease and lives in Seattle.-and four daughters. Mrs. A. McD. McCook, deceased, Mrs. J. P. Davies, Mrs. J. Harrison Hall, and Miss Sophia Phillips.
In 1812 Obadiah B. Conover settled in Dayton. Mr. Conover, who came from New Jersey, was for some years engaged in blacksmithing and the manufacture of wagons, plows, and other farming implements. About 1820 he opened a store on the southeast corner of Main and Third streets, the property still belonging to his descendants, though the pioneer building has given way to a modern business house. He was much interested and very useful in city and educational affairs, and in church and in Sunday-school work. He married a daughter of John Miller, who came to Dayton in 1799. Some of the characteristics of the grandfather have been inherited by sons and grandsons, from whom schools, libraries, and other pubic matters have received intelligent and constant attention. Mr. and Mrs. Conover had five children, all, as well as their descendants, influential citizens. The sons, Harvey, Wilbur, and Obadiah were men of superior talent and liberal education. who made themselves felt, the first two in Dayton, and the third in Madison, Wisconsin. The sons, and one of the daughters, Martha, who married Collins Wight, a prominent business man, are deceased. The second daughter, Hannah, married Colonel Hiram Strong, who was a gallant officer, and died in 1863 from wounds received in the battle of Chickamauga. Obadiah B. Conover has many grandchildren : Charles, Harvey, Lawrence, and Wilbur Conover, Mrs. W. A. Phelps, and Mrs. Emma Brown, children of Harvey Conover ; Frank Conover, Hugh D. Conover, deceased, and Mrs. Mary C. Grundy, deceased, children of Wilbur Conover ; Harry C. Wight, deceased, and Mrs. R. A. Rogers, children of Mrs. Wight ; Mrs. Hannah Frank and Mrs. W. B. Gebhart, daughters of Mrs. Strong.