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Early Dayton
Chapter Eight: 1816-1835

CHAPTER VIII: 1816-1835


NEW BRICK COURT-HOUSE of 1817 – Ferries – First Bridges – Sabbath-School Association – Sunday-School Society – Game Abundant – Flights of Wild Pigeons – Migrations of Squirrels – Fish – Stage Coaches – Stage-Coaches – St. Thomas Episcopal Church – Shows Volunteer Fire Department, 1820 to 1863 – Leading Citizens Active Members – Feuds Between Rival Engine Companies – Financial Depression, 1820 to 1822 – Fever – Lancasterian School – Francis Glass – Gridiron Newspaper – Miami Republican and Dayton Advertiser – George B. Holt – Consolidation of Watchman and Republican – Dayton Journal – Contribution to the Greek Cause – James Perrine, First Insurance Agent – First Baptist Church Built – Letter from Dayton in 1827 – Canal Agitation – Dinner and Reception to DeWitt Clinton – First Canal-Boat Arrives – Enthusiasm of the People – Extension of Canal by Cooper Estate – Law Providing for Election of Mayor – Town Divided into Wards – Temperance Society – New Market-House – Rivalry Between Dayton and Cabintown – Private Schools – Manual-Training School – Seely’s Basin – Peasley’s Garden – Miniature Locomotive and Car Exhibited in Methodist Church – Daytonians Take Their First Railroad Ride – Seneca Indians Camp at Dayton – First Public Schools – School-Directors – Steele’s Dam – General R. C. Schenck – Political Excitement – Council Cuts Down a Jackson Pole – Cholera in 1832 and 1833 – Silk Manufactory – The Dayton Lyceum – Mechanics’ Institute – Six Libraries in Dayton – Eighth of January Barbecue – Town Watchmen-Lafayette Commemorative Services.


      It became necessary, on account of the increase of county business, to build a new Court-house in 1816.  Finished in 1817, it was of brick, two stories high, forty-six feet front and twenty feet deep, and cost one thousand two hundred and forty-nine dollars.  It stood on the corner of the Court-house lot.  The Watchman rented the upper story in 1818, “at fifty dollars per year and free publication of the annual report of the treasurer and election notices.”  For same time the second-story rooms were rented for lawyers’ offices.

      In the spring of 1817 the advertisements of D. Stout, saddler, J. Stutsman, coppersmith, and Moses Hatfield, chairmaker, appeared for the first time in the Watchman.  This year George

Newcom was elected State Senator, and William George and George Grove members of the lower house; D. C. Cooper, president of the Town Council; W. Munger, recorder; John Patterson, corporation treasurer.

      Until 1817 Daytonians could only cross the rivers by fording or in a ferry.  In December, 1817, a bridge at Taylor Street over mad River, built by the county for one thousand four hundred dollars, was finished.  It was a high, uncovered bridge, painted red.  It fell into the ricer in 1828, but was rebuilt at once.  In January, 1817, a stock company was incorporated to build the red toll-bridge across the Miami at Bridge Street.  The following gentlemen were the incorporators:  Robert Patterson, Joseph Peirce, David Reid, H. G. Phillips, James Steele, George S. Houston, William George, and William King.  It was not finished till 1819.  The people were very proud of this bridge, which the Watchman describes as “ a useful and stately structure, …little inferior in strength and beauty to the best of the kind in the State, and renders the Miami no longer an obstruction to the free intercourse with our neighbors on the other side.”

      The Sabbath-School Association, the first organization of that kind in Dayton, was formed in March, 1817, through the influence of Rev. Backus Wilbur, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church – a very popular man, for whom a number of prominent citizens were named.  He died in 1818.  The inscription on his monument at Woodland Cemetery was written by the celebrated Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton.  A long obituary of Mr. Wilbur was published in the Watchman February 18, 1819.  The Sabbath-School Association held its meetings in the new Presbyterian church.  An annual fee of twenty-five cents entitled any one to membership.  All denominations were represented, and most of the children of the town seem to have been enrolled.  The list of names preserved in the history of the First Presbyterian Church is very interesting.  Donors of five dollars or more became life-members.  The society was managed by ladies, the officers consisting of a first and second directress, a secretary, treasurer, and five managers.  The managers appointed the superintendent and the male and female teachers.  The first board of managers consisted of the following ladies:  Mrs. J. H. Crane, Mrs. Ayres, Mrs. Dr. Haines, Mrs. Hannah George, and Mrs. Joseph Peirce.  Mrs. Sarah Bomberger was the first superintendent, and held the position for nearly twelve years.  Mrs. George, mother of Mrs. Bomberger, was for several years secretary, and was very efficient.  Mrs. Bomberger was the daughter of Judge George, a leading citizen, who came to Dayton about 1805.  In 1810 she married William Bomberger, who was county treasurer for fourteen years.  Their children were George W., Ann, who married Peter P. Lowe, and William, who removed to Colorado and died there.  In the spring of 1822 Mrs. J. H. Crane, first directress of the Dayton Sabbath-School Association, reported that they had distributed one hundred and sixty-five books during the previous year, had one hundred and twelve tracts and five miniature histories of the Bible on hand, and $19.75 in the treasury.

      The Methodist Sunday-School Society was organized in July, 1818.  Their meetings were held in the academy building.  Adults and children were taught to read, and instructed in the Bible and catechism.  There were, of course, no public schools here at that date.

      D. C. Cooper and H. G. Phillips were the only persons in Dayton owning carriages in 1817.

      The old Newcom Tavern was reopened in December by Blackall Stephens.  The tavern was now called the “Sun Inn,” and the swinging sign was decorated with a large picture of the sun.  In an advertisement, in the Watchman, with the sun flaming at its head, the house is described as “pleasantly situated on the bank of the Miami River,” and the advantages of the inn, its comforts, sufficient supply of bed-linen, furniture, and other necessaries are set forth at length.

      Game was nearly as abundant here at the date we have now reached as it was twenty years earlier.  Mr. Samuel Forrer says in his reminiscences of Dayton in 1818:  “I remember that I killed three pheasants on the present site of Mr. Van Ausdal’s house, in Dayton View.  Quails, rabbits, etc., were found in plenty in “Buck Pasture,” immediately east of the canal basin, between First and Second streets.  Wild ducks came in large flocks to the ponds within the present city limits, but the ponds have since been mainly wiped out by drainage; and the fox-hunters had a great time on occasion by visiting the “Brush Prairie,” within two miles of the Court-house.  Deer, wild turkeys, and other game were killed in the neighborhood, and venison and wild meat were easily obtainable in Dayton.”  In 1821 Mr. H. G. Phillips frequently advertised a few coonskins for sale – used for caps.  The Watchman in April, 1822, notices a squirrel-hunt in Montgomery County lasting a day and a half, in which one thousand squirrels were killed, and their scalps produced in evidence.

      Within the recollection of Robert W. Steele, as late as 1830 and 1840, game and fish were still abundant.  An occasional deer could be found, and wild turkeys and pheasants were often shot by hunters.  Squirrels and quails were thick in the woods and fields, and in the fall immense flights of wild pigeons alighted in the woods to feed on the mast.  At irregular intervals of one of those strange migrations of squirrels would occur, for which no satisfactory cause has been given by naturalists.  Starting from the remote Northwest, they would come in countless numbers, and nothing could turn them from their course.  Rivers were no impediment to them, and boys would stand on the shore of the Miami and kill them with clubs as they emerged from the water.

      The rivers were still full of fish.  No more delicious table-fish could be found anywhere than the bass, when taken from the pure, clear water of the Miami and Mad rivers of that day.  On the mill-race, which has since been converted into the Dayton View Hydraulic, stood Steele’s sawmill, which ran only in the daytime.  At night the water was passed through a fish-basket, and each morning during the fish season it was found filled with bass of the largest size.  In 1835 one Saturday afternoon a seine was drawn in the Miami, between the Main Street and Bridge Street bridges, and two large wagon-loads of fine fish were caught.  Whatever hardships the pioneers of Dayton may be endured, there were in the enjoyment of luxuries that would have tickled the palate of an epicure.  Fish-baskets, alluded to the above, were usually made by building a dam on the riffles, so as to concentrate the water at the middle of the river, where an opening was made into a box constructed of slats, and placed at a lower level than the dam.  Into this box the fish ran, but were unable to return.  A basket of this kind remained on the riffle at the foot of First Street as late as 1830.

      Previous to 1818 people wishing to visit Cincinnati were obliged to travel by private conveyance.  But in the summer of this year a Mr. Lyon drove a passenger-coach from Dayton to Cincinnati once a week, beginning his trips in May.  On June 2 D. C. Cooper, of Dayton, and John H. Piatt, of Cincinnati, began running a weekly mail-stage between the two towns, passing through Springdale, Hamilton, Middletown, and Franklin.  Two days and a night were required for the trip, the night being spent in Hamilton.  The fare was eight cents a mile, with an allowance of fourteen pounds of baggage.  John Crowder, a colored barber of Dayton, and his partner, Jacob Musgrave, also colored, drove a coach and four that carried twelve passengers to Cincinnati and return in 1820.  Timothy Squier ran a stage to Cincinnati in 1822.  Five o’clock in the morning was the hour of starting by coach.  Worden Huffman owned the stage-line to Columbus, which connected at that place with a coach to Chillicothe.  In June, 1825, stages commenced running twice a week between Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.  When this line was first established, it was thought by many that all interested in it were throwing their money away.  It was not long, however, before it became necessary to increase the number of trips to two a week, and finally a daily stage was established.  In 1827 we were connected with Lake Erie by triweekly coaches, the trip taking four days.  Daily coaches were started June 25, connecting at Sandusky with steamers for Detroit and Buffalo, and at Mr. Vernon with a stage for Cleveland.  The fare to Cincinnati was three dollars, six dollars to Columbus, and twelve dollars to the lake.  Four hundred and ninety-seven passengers by stage passed through Dayton in 1825.  In 1828 there were stage-lines in every direction, twenty coaches arriving here every week.

      In the era of ungraveled roads, when the coach went bumping over rough wagon-ruts, or splashing into deep mud-holes, or stuck fast in the more, the journey to Cincinnati was a serious undertaking.  It was ten or fifteen years later than 1825 before a short and pleasant trip could be made over an excellent turnpike in an “Indian bow-spring coach,” which was superior to all sorts in use.  A guard accompanied each coach, and the drivers were well behaved, and understood their business.  In 1840 there were two daily lines of these coaches, owned by J. & P. Voorhees, one leaving at eight in the morning, and the other in the evening.

      In 1818 George Grove and Judge George were elected members of the Legislature, and Warren Munger town recorder.  George Newcom was elected State Senator in 1819, and Henry Stoddard and John Harries Representatives.  The number of voters in Dayton in 1819 was seven hundred and sixty-five, and the number in Montgomery County two thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.

      In 1819 St. Thomas Church – the first Episcopal church in Dayton – was organized by Bishop Chase with twenty-three members.  In 1831 Christ Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Ethan Allen, and in 1833 they built the first Episcopal house of worship erected in Dayton on South Jefferson, near Fifth Street.

      Shows in Dayton were few and far between at that period.  In 1819 an African lion was exhibited in the barnyard of Reid’s Inn for four days, from nine in the morning till five in the afternoon.  Patrons were assured that they would be in no danger, as the lion, “the largest in American, and the only one of his sort,” was secured in a strong cage.  Twenty-five cents admittance was charged; children, half price.  In April, 1820, “Columbus,” a large elephant, was on exhibition in the carriage-house of Reid’s Inn – admittance, thirty-seven and a half cents; children, half price.  In 1823 the advertisement of a menagerie, containing an African lion, African leopard, cougar from Brazil, Shetland pony with rider, ichneumon, and several other animals, appeared in the newspaper.  A band, composed of ancient Jewish cymbals and numerous modern instruments, accompanied the show.  The show at Reid’s Inn in 1824 contained but one elephant.  The first circus which appeared in Dayton exhibited in Reid’s barnyard July 19, 20, and 25, 1825.  No more circuses came till 1829, when two exhibited, both on July 5 and 6.  In August, 1827, a traveling museum, consisting of birds, beasts, wax figures, paintings, etc., visited Dayton.  One of the articles exhibited is advertised in a style worthy of Barnum, as “that great natural curiosity, the Indian mummy, which was discovered and taken from the interior of a cave in Warren County, Kentucky, where it was probably secreted in its present state of preservation for one thousand years.”  These museums, carried in cars or vans drawn by horses, traveled all over the Western country in early times.  When they reached a town or village, the horses were unharnessed, and the cars were fastened together so as to make a continuous room for the display of the curiosities.

      Cooper’s Mills were burned on the 20th of June, 1820, and four thousand bushels of wheat and two thousand pounds of wool destroyed.  They were soon after rebuilt by H. G. Phillips and James Steele, executors of the Cooper estate.  This was the first fire of any importance that occurred in Dayton, and led to the organization of the first fire-company.  Council provided ladders, which were hung on the outside wall of the market-house on Second Street, and also passed an ordinance requiring each householder to provide two long, black, leather buckets, with his name painted thereon in white letters, and keep them in some place easily accessible in case of an alarm of fire.  Before this no public provision for putting out fires had been made.

      On the night of November 16, 1824, George Grove’s hat-store and the shop of Hollis, the watchmaker, were destroyed, the loss being about one thousand dollars.  This fire, which was the first of any size which had occurred since 1820, created a good deal of excitement, as the corporation ladders were not in their place at the market-house, and the whole dependence for extinguishing the fire was on the leather buckets of citizens.  An ordinance was passed threatening persons removing the public ladders from the market-house, except in case of fire, with a fine of ten dollars, and providing that a merchant who was going to Philadelphia in the spring of 1825 should be furnished with two hundred and twenty-six dollars and directed to purchase a fire-engine.

      On March 18, 1827, soon after the engine arrived, the first volunteer fire-company of Dayton was organized.  George C. Davis was captain.  At the same time a hook-and-ladder company, of Van Cleve was appointed by Council Chief engineer of the Fire Department.  The following fire-wardens were appointed:  James Steele, Abram Darst, Dr. Job Haines, and Matthew Patton.  It was the duty of the wardens to periodically inspect the fire apparatus.  A board of fire-guards was soon after appointed, whose duty it was to isolate and take charge of the neighborhood where the fire occurred while it was in progress and immediately afterward.  The church bells sounded the fire-alarm; and fifty cents were paid to each sexton when the fire happened after nine in the evening.  The one who rang his bell first received a dollar.  The engine was a small affair, filled with the leather buckets, and the water was thrown by turning a crank on its side.  Not much care was taken of it, for a fire that occurred in 1831 it could not be used, as it was filled with ice, the water not having been taken out after a fire which had occurred several weeks before.  A second engine was bought in 1833 and a third in 1834, by subscription.

      In 1827 householders who had not themselves procured fire-buckets were provided with them by the town, the wardens distributing them at the engine-house, a frame building on the Court-house lot near the Main Street alley.  Council expended $112.50 on buckets, half of which were kept at the engine-house and the rest at private dwellings.  Buckets kept by citizens were for twenty years inspected every April by the wardens.

      An alarm of fire brought out the whole population of the town, and the greatest excitement and confusion prevailed.  Double lines were formed to the nearest pump, one line passing down the full buckets and the other retuning the empty ones.  Women were often efficient workers in these lines.  The water in a well would soon be exhausted, and a move had to be made to one more remote.  It was hopeless to contend with a fire of any magnitude, and efforts in such cases were only made to prevent the spreading of flames.

      In 1828 the following fire-wardens were appointed; James Steele, George W. Smith, Alexander Grimes, Matthew Patton, and Warren Munger; engineer, John W. Van Cleve.  In 1833 a company, called the “Safety Fire-Engine and Hose Company, No. I,” was formed and offered its services to Council.  To it was entrusted the new hand-engine, the “Safety,” which had suction-hose and gallery-brakes, and five hundred feet of hose.  The following were the first officers of the company:  Foreman, James Perrine; assistant foremen, Valentine Winters; secretary, J. D. Loomis; treasurer, T. R. Black; leader of hose-company, Thomas Brown; assistant leader, Henry Diehl; directors, William P. Huffman, Jacob Wilt, Peter Baer, Henry Biechler, and Abraham Overlease.  Fire-cisterns were built this year under the streets at First and Main, Third and Main, and Fifth and Main, and elsewhere.  The cisterns were pumped full from neighboring wells, or filled by the engines, with hose, from the river or canal.  In 1834 Alexander Grimes, I. T. Harker, John Rench, D. Stone, and others formed a company called the “Fire-Guards.”  They carried white wands, and it was their duty to protect property and keep order at fires.  The following fire-wardens were appointed in 1836:  First ward, Matthew Patton and Moses Simpson; second ward, James Steele and Abram Darst; third, Musto Chambers and Samuel Shoup; fourth, John Rench and David Osborn; fifth, A. Artz and William Hart.

      A Fire occurred here in 1839 which on account of bad management excited much indignation.  According to the newspaper report, while the work of preservation was going on outside, and officious crowd, as was apt to be the case in those days, was playing havoc within doors.  “In their eagerness to save the owners from loss by fire, they wrenched the doors from the hinges, pulled the mantels from their places, shattered the windows, and broke the sash.”  The next issue of the paper contained the following card from officers of fire-companies:


      “Each company claims for itself the right to control its engine, hose, and pipe, and any interference by an individual not a member of the association is calculated to create useless altercation and to retard the effective operation of the firemen.  The brakes of our engines are always free to those who desire to render effective aid.  All we ask is that those who are not connected with the Fire Department would either remain at a distance or work at the engines, believing, as we do, that the confusion created at fires is occasioned by those who are not connected with the engines.

      “E. E. DAVIES, President Second Engine Company.

      “E. FAVORITE, Vice-President.

      “V. WINTERS, Foreman Safety Engine and Hose Company.

      “FREDERIC BOYER, Assistant.

      “E. CARROLL ROE, President Enterprise Company.”


      It was difficult to maintain order in a volunteer fire department even when Dayton was a village, but as it grew into a city and the rougher elements of society were largely represented, fires became scenes of wildest excitement and disorder.  There was a constant rivalry between the different companies as to who should reach the conflagration first, as to which engine threw the first water, as to which officer or private member deserved most honor for heroic or long-continued service.  This led to bitter feuds:  the hose of an engine was sometimes cut by members or adherents of another company; while striving for the most advantageous position or engaged in an altercation on other instead of the fire; stones were thrown, ladders, trumpets – anything that came handy was used as a weapon of assault or defense, and both firemen and spectators were often seriously injured.  Going to a fire was like facing a mob, yet everybody went, whatever hour of night or day the flames broke out:  such unusual excitement was not to be missed by the men and women of our then quiet little town.  Every boy and nearly every man in town forty or fifty years ago was almost as ardent a partisan of the Independent Fire-Company, the Vigilance, the Deluge, Oregon, etc., as of the political party to which by inheritance or conviction he belonged.  But from 1856 there was, among the conservative class of citizens, a growing discontent with our unmanageable Fire Department.  In 1863 the first steam-engine was purchased and our present splendidly equipped and perfectly ordered paid department inaugurated.

      The flush times during the War of 1812 were followed by a serious and general depression in business throughout the United States, and the growth of Dayton till 1827 was slight.  Gold and silver were withdrawn from circulation to the great injury of business in this region, where good paper currency was scarce.  During 1820, 1821, and 1822, sales of all kinds were made by means of barter.  Wolf-scalp certificates, called log-cabin currency, were taken instead of cash.  There was some talk of returning to cut-money – dividing silver dollars into quarters, and Mexican quarters into three dimes.  The Dayton Bank suspended specie payment several times during this period.

      H. G. Phillips was president of the Town Council, and G. S. Houston recorder, in 1820; Aaron Baker, Luther Bruen, David Henderson, William Huffman, and Dr. John Steele, trustees.  A fever prevailed during the summer and fall of 1821.  There were seven hundred cases, and thirteen died.  The population was one thousand.  This year the three ponds southwest of town were drained – the “first two into the tail-race, and the other into the outlet from Patterson’s pond to the river.”  Matthew Patton was president of Council, and G. S. Houston recorder, in 1821.

      August 21, 1822, the Montgomery County Bible Society was organized at a meeting of which Joseph H. Crane was chairman, and G. S. Houston secretary.  Dr. Job Haines was elected president; William King, Aaron Baker, and Rev. N. Worley, vice-presidents; Luther Bruen, treasurer; James Steele, corresponding secretary; George S. Houston, recording secretary; managers, John Miller, John H. Williams, John Patterson, David Reid, James Slaght, John B. Ayers, Joseph Kennedy, Hezekiah Robinson, and Robert McConnel.  This year was also formed the Dayton Foreign Missionary Society.  James Steele was elected treasurer, and Job Haines secretary.  The membership fee was fifty cents a year, which could be paid in money, clothes, kitchen furniture, or groceries, to be sent to the Indians, of whom a number still lived in Ohio.

      In 1820 the Lancasterian or “mutual instruction” system of education was exciting great interest.  Sharing in the general feeling in favor of the new method, the trustees of the Dayton Academy determined to introduce it in the institution.  The trustees at that time were Joseph H. Crane, Aaron Baker, William M. Smith, George S. Houston, and David Lindsly.  A house specially adapted to the purpose was built of brick on the north side of the academy, and consisted of a single room sixty-two feet long and thirty-two feet wide.  The floor was of brick, and the house was heated by “convolving flues” underneath the floor.  The walls were thickly hung with printed lesson-cards, before which the classes were marched to recite under monitors selected from their own number, as a reward for meritorious conduct and scholarship.  For the youngest scholars a long, narrow desk, thickly covered with white sand, was provided, on which, with wooden pencils, they copied and learned the letters of the alphabet from cards hung up before them.

      The following are some of the rules adopted for the government of the school:

      “The moral and literary instruction of the pupils entered at the Dayton Lancasterian Academy will be studiously, diligently, and temperately attended to.

      “They will be taught to spell, and read deliberately and distinctly, agreeably to the rules-laid down in Walker’s Dictionary; and in order to do that correctly they will be made conversant with the first rules of grammar.  The senior class will be required to give a complete grammatical analysis of the words as they proceed.

      “They will be required to write with freedom all the different hands now in use on the latest and most approved plans of proportion and distance.

      “There will be no public examinations at particular seasons, in a Lancasterian school every day being an examination day, at which all who have leisure are invited to attend.”

      In 1821 the trustees adopted the following resolution, which would hardly accord with the present ideas of the jurisdiction of boards of education, or the authority of teachers:


      “Resolved, That any scholar attending the Lancasterian School who may be found playing ball on the Sabbath, or resorting to the woods or commons on that day for sport, shall forfeit any badge of merit he may have obtained and twenty-five tickets; and if the offense appears aggravated, shall be further degraded as the tutor shall think proper and necessary; and that this resolution be read in school every Friday previous to the dismissal of the scholars.”


      Gideon McMillan, who claimed to be an expert, having taught in a Lancasterian school in Europe, was appointed the first principal.  In 1822 he was succeeded by Captain John McMullin, who came with high recommendations from Lexington, Virginia.

      In 1823 there was a unique Fourth-of-July celebration under the direction of Captain John McMullin, of the Lancasterian School.  A procession, composed of the clergy of the town, the trustees, and two hundred scholars, marched from the school on St. Clair Street to the First Presbyterian Church, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Henry Bacon, and a sermon delivered by Rev. N. M. Hinkle.  It seems that Captain McMullin had served as a soldier, for the Watchman, in a notice of the celebration, says:  “Captain John McMullin appeared as much in the service of his country when marching at the head of the Lancasterian School, as while formerly leading his company in battle.”

      In 1823 Francis Glass, an interesting man and remarkable scholar, taught a boys’ school in Dayton.

      The Watchman, on the 3d of September, 1822, contained the prospectus of the Gridiron.  The sheet was much dreaded by person politically or otherwise obnoxious to the editor and contributors, and on it “evil-doers received a good roasting.”  Its motto was,

            “…….Burn, roast meat, burn, Boil with oily fat; ye spits, forget to turn.”


      The subscription price was one dollar per year, payable one-half yearly in advance, and it was printed on what was described as good medium paper, in octavo form.  Thomas Buchanan Read, then living in Dayton, with his reputation all to win, was one of the contributors.  A bitter political contest was being waged in Dayton at this period, and members of both parties, both in conversation and print, abused each other in a style that the present day would have occasioned trial for slander.  The Grid-iron published the severest and most unjustifiable attacks on its opponents, or on unobtrusive citizens.  Sometimes the broad burlesque or caricature of the articles excites a smile, but they are seldom even amusing.  The writers are not restrained by truth, honor, or good taste, but indulge in wholesale abuse, which is unredeemed by genuine wit or humor.  It was no wonder that such a scurrilous paper had a short career.

      George B. Hold, better known now as Judge Holt, began to publish and edit, in 1823, a weekly Democratic paper, called the Miami Republican and Dayton Advertiser, which was continued till 1826.  It was eleven by twenty-one inches in size.  Judge Holt was a native of Connecticut, born in 1790, admitted to the bar of Litchfield in 1812, and came to Dayton in 1819.  In 1828 he was elected judge of the Court of Common Please of Montgomery County by the Legislature, serving till 1836; elected again in 1842, serving till 1849.  He was a member of the Ohio Legislature in 1824 and 1827, “and was conspicuously connected with some of the most important early legislation of the State.”  In 1825 the first act establishing free schools was passed by the Legislature.  Judge Holt was an earnest and active advocate of the measure, and to him was greatly due the passage of the act.  In 1850 Judge Holt, who “had a high reputation as a lawyer, and was popular among all classes of the people,” was elected a member of the convention called to adopt a new constitution for the State of Ohio.  He was prominent in the convention, which many of the most noted men in the State attended.  From this period till his death, in 1871, he took little part in political or professional life, though he was an ardent supporter of the Union in the War of the Rebellion.  He was learned in his profession, and was a man of keen, strong intellect and literary tastes.  He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and highly esteemed as a citizen.  He has three daughters – Miss Eliza and Miss Martha Hold and Mrs. Belle H. Burrowes – and several grandchildren.

      In 1826 William Campbell, of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, purchased and consolidated the Dayton Watchman and the Miami Republican.  The new paper was published weekly, and was called the Ohio National Journal and Montgomery County and Dayton Advertiser.  After a few weeks it was sold to Jephtha Regans, who, in 1827, sold one-half interest to Peter P. Lowe, and they carried it on together till 1828.  It was Whig in politics, and its motto was, “Principles and not men, where principles demand the sacrifice.”  It was thirteen by twenty inches in size, with five columns to the page.  The paper was now called the Dayton Journal and Advertiser.  In 1828 J. W. Can Cleve purchased Mr. Van Cleve purchased Mr. Lowe’s interest.  In 1830, Mr. Regans having died, Mr. Van Cleve entered into partnership with Richard N. Comly.  In 1834 William F. Comly bought Mr. Van Cleve’s share in the paper.  Its size was increased to a seven-column folio, and it became the largest paper published in Ohio.  Any one examining the files of the Journal of this date in the Public Library cannot but feel a pride in the fact that early Dayton had a newspaper of such excellence, whether as to print, or editorials and contributions.  The owners’ chief aim was to publish a paper of the highest character.  R. N.  Comly left Dayton many years ago, but William F. Comly is well known to the younger, as well as the older, generation of citizens.  In his management of the Journal he exhibited a breadth of view, generosity, public spirit, and thorough disinterestedness of which only the noblest class of men are capable.  The Journal, without regard to the popularity of financial success of the editor, advocated every city reform and improvement, and was a wonderful power for good.  In so unobtrusive and matter-of-course a way was Mr. Comly’s work for Dayton done that probably few are aware how greatly indebted to town is to him.  In 1840 the Journal was changed to a daily, then to a triweekly.  Since 1847 it has been published as both a weekly and daily.

      February 9, 1924, a meeting was held a Colonel Reid’s inn to raise money for the Greek cause.  Simeon Broadwell was elected chairman, Dr. Job Haines secretary, and George S. Houston treasurer.  One hundred and fifteen dollars were collected, and William M. Smith, George W. Smith, and Stephen Fales were appointed a committee to remit the money to the Greek Fund Committee of New York.

      This year John Compton was president of the Town Council, and J. W. Van Cleve recorder.

      In June, 1826, James Perrine was appointed agent for the Protection Insurance Company of Hartford, and was the first person engaged in that business in Dayton.  Mr. Perrine was just beginning his long and honorable career as a merchant in Dayton.

      There were eight hundred and forty-eight voters in Dayton Township in 1827.  The population within the corporation was one thousand six hundred.  Dr. John Steele was president of the Town Council, and R. J. Skinner recorder.  George B. Holt was elected State Senator this year, and Alexander Grimes and Robert Skinner Representatives.

      In 1827 the Baptist society, organized in 1824, built, on the alley on the west side of Main Street, between Monument Avenue and First Street, its first church, costing two thousand dollars.

      The following is an extract from an interesting letter written December 11, 1827, by a person living in Dayton to a friend in New Jersey:


      “I will now give you some account of our town.  There are in it at present thirteen dry-goods stores, four public inns, seventeen groceries, one wholesale warehouse, two printing-offices, three wagon-maker shops, one tinner shop, one coppersmith shop, three hatter shops, seven shoemaker shops, seven tailor shops, three tanyards, three saddler shops, three watchmaker shops, one brewery, one flour-mill with three run of the stone, one sawmill with two saws, one fulling-mill, one set of carding-machines, and a cotton factory.  There are six schools, - three with male, three with female, teachers, - one tallow-chandler, and two tobacconists.  We have a market-house one hundred feet long, and it is well supplied.  There have been brought to it during the last summer and fall twelve to sixteen beeves a week, and other meat, poultry, and vegetables accordingly.  The productions of the country are much greater than can be consumed.  The article of butter is very great.  One merchant has taken in and sent to foreign markets thirty-two thousand six hundred pounds within one year.  We have pork in the greatest of plenty.  I was employed last year in taking in pork for Phillips & Perrine.  We took in upwards of eighty thousand pounds at $1.50 per hundred.  I started with it about the middle of February, and took it to New Orleans.  This is the second trip I have made down the long and crooked streams of the Ohio and Mississippi.  I shall commence taking in pork for Phillips & Perrine on Monday next, but I rather think I shall not take it to New Orleans for them this time, unless they give me higher wages.  I went for them the other trips for fifty dollars the trip, the distance by water being over one thousand five hundred miles.  I was gone each trip nearly ten weeks.”


      Thirty-six brick buildings and thirty-four of wood were erected in town during 1828.  The population was one thousand six hundred and ninety-seven.  Twenty stages arrived weekly.  Dr. John Steele was president of the Town Council, and John W. Van Cleve recorder.

      A meeting was called at Colonel Reid’s inn on the evening of June 29, 1821, to appoint a committee to cooperate with committees in other places to raise means to pay for a survey of the route for a canal from Mad River to the Ohio, and to ascertain the practicability and expense of such a canal.  Judge Crane was chairman of this meeting, and G. S. Houston secretary.  The following gentlemen were appointed to collect funds to pay for the survey:  H. G. Phillips, G. W. Smith, Dr. john Steele, Alexander Grimes, and J. H. Crane.  The law authorizing the making of a canal from Dayton to Cincinnati passed the Legislature in 1825.

      On the 4th of July, 1825, Governor De Witt Clinton, of New York, assisted at the inauguration of the Ohio Canal at Newark.  At a public meeting of the citizens of Dayton, James Steele and Henry Bacon were appointed a committee to wait on the Governor at Newark and invited him to partake of a public dinner in their town.  Resolutions were also adopted and preparations made for his reception.  Mr. Steele returned from Newark on the evening of Wednesday, the 6th, and reported that the Governor had accepted and would be here on Saturday.  A number of gentlemen of Dayton and a detachment of the troop of horse commanded by Captain Squire met the Governor at Fairfield and escorted him to town.  At 2:30 P.M. Governor Clinton and his suite, Messrs. Jones and Reed, Governor Morrow, Hon. Ethan A. Brown, Hon. Joseph Vance, Messrs. Tappan and Williams, canal commissioners, and Judge Bates, civil engineer, arrived at Compton’s Tavern, on the corner of Main and Second streets, where they were received by the citizens.  Judge Crane made an address of welcome, which was responded to by Governor Clinton.  About four o’clock the guests and citizens sat down to an elegant dinner prepared for the occasion at Reid’s Inn.  Judge Crane presided, and Judge Steele and Colonel Patterson acted as vice-presidents.  The dinner closed with appropriate toasts.  In the evening Judge Steele gave a reception to Governor Clinton at his residence, on the site of Music Hall.  The house, which stood far back from Main Street, as well as the yard, was brilliantly illuminated.  Governor Clinton addressed the people from the porch which ran along the Main Street side of the house.  On account of his advocacy of canals, Governor Clinton had long been popular in Ohio, and many boys were named for him.  His Dayton namesakes were presented to him at the reception, and to each of them he gave a silver dollar.  Some of the recipients of these gifts preserved them as souvenirs as long as they lived, though a silver dollar must have burned the pocket of a boy of that period, with whom a coin or money of any kind or amount was a rare possession.

      It was suggested in October, 1825, that it would be good plan to run the canal, which need not be wider than forty feet, down the middle of Main Street, reducing the sidewalks to twelve feet, leaving a roadway thirty-four feet wide on either side of the water, and rendering Main the handsomest street in Ohio.  This proposed course of the canal was a few days marked out by a line of red flags the length of the street.  It was feared that the canal would be located a mile from the court-house, which would seriously injure the town; and it was a great relief to citizens when the commissioners located it “on the common between the sawmill race and the seminary, on St. Clair Street.”  The construction of the canal was at first “violently opposed as a ruinous and useless expenditure”; but as soon as the law authorizing the expenditure was passed, and before the canal was located, the rapid improvement of Dayton and the increase in population proved the wisdom and foresight of those who, since 1818, had been agitated the subject of canal improvements in the Miami Valley.  One of the objections against the canal urged by opponents of the project was that it could not be made to hold water.  As the bed of the canal ran through loose gravel, there seemed to be force in the objection, and, indeed, some difficulty of this kind was experienced.  The bottom of the canal, however, soon “puddle,” and became water-tight.

      The first canal-boat built in Dayton was launched near Fifth Street on Saturday, August 16, 1828, at 2 P.M.  The citizens were invited to assemble at the firing of the cannon to witness the launch.  The boat was called the Alpha, of Dayton, and was built for McMaken & Hilton by Solomon Eversull.  The Alpha was pronounced by many superior to any boat on the line of the Miami Canal.  As the water had not yet been let into the canal, a temporary dam was built across the canal at the bluffs, and water was turned in from the sawmill tail-race at Fifth Street.  Trial trips were then made from the dam to Fifth Street and back.  The Dayton Guards, a military company of boys organized a few weeks before, made the first trip on the Alpha.  Friday evening, September 26, 1828, water was first let into the canal by the contractors from the mill-race at the corner of Fifth and Wyandotte streets.  In January, 1829, citizens of Dayton were gratified with the sight so long desired of the arrival of canal-boats from Cincinnati.  Four arrived during the day, each welcomed by the firing of a cannon and enthusiastic cheers from the crowd assembled on the margin of the basin.

      The people made a festival of the completion of the canal, which, they congratulated themselves, had begun a new era of prosperity for the town, and took every opportunity to celebrate the event.  There were several excursions, and on the evening of February 5, 1829, the canal being frozen over so that navigation was impossible, Captain Archibald, of the Governor Brown, which was embargoed by the ice at the basin, gave a handsome collation on board to a number of ladies and gentlemen.  The next evening the captains of a number of boats lying in the basin partook of a canal supper at the National Hotel, and drank a number of toasts suitable to the occasion.  On the 16th of April a steam canal-boat, called the Enterprise, arrived here.  Two cords of wood were used in the passage from Cincinnati to Dayton.  For many years it was believed that steam could be used in propelling boats on the canal, but after a fair trial it was found to be impracticable.  Twenty hours from Cincinnati to Dayton by canal was considered a rapid trip.  Merchandise was brought here from New York by water in twenty days.

      The completion of the State canal, which ended at Second Street, was soon followed by the construction of a new basin, beginning at the terminus of the original one and extending to First Street.  It was the construction of a new basin, beginning at the terminus of the original one and extending to First Street.  It was constructed by the Basin Extension Company, formed by H. G. Phillips and James Steele, executors of the Cooper estate, in 1830.  its object was to draw business to the part of town through which it passed.  This new basin ran down the ravine, fifteen or twenty feet deep, which extended from the head of Mill Street to the corner of Platt and Harris, thence to the corner of Second and St. Clair, and down St. Clair to Fifth.  “Through this ravine the waters of Mad River, breaking through the culvert in the levee near its mouth in spite of the exertions of men working night and day to prevent it, sought, at almost every flood, a channel through which to discharge themselves into the Miami below town.

      Until the extension of the Miami Canal to the north in 1841, Dayton was at the head of navigation, and supplies of every kind for this region for a long distance around were forwarded from here.  A brisk trade with Fort Wayne as a distributing point was kept up, and wagon-trains were constantly passing between the two pints.  Saynie’s Tavern, at the head of the basin, was the favorite resort of the wagoners, and his large stable-yard was nightly crowded with wagons, and his tavern with the drivers.

      In January, 1829, there were one hundred and twenty-five brick building in Dayton, six of stone, and two hundred and thirty-nine of wood.  There were two hundred and thirty-five dwelling-houses.  This year Timothy Squier opened the National Hotel in the building on Third Street adjoining the Beckel House.  The white population of Dayton in 1829 was two thousand two hundred and seventy-two; blacks, eighty-six.  There had been an increase of six hundred and sixty-one in the population during the past fourteen months.  The amount of merchants’ capital returned by the assessor of Montgomery County for 1829 was one hundred and twenty-nine thousand eight hundred and eleven dollars.  Under a new law passed by the Legislature, the free white male freeholders over the age of twenty-one who resided in the corporation one year voted for a mayor instead of a president of Council, and one recorder and five trustees.  John Folkerth was elected Mayor, David Winters recorder, and Nathaniel Wilson, James Haight, John Rench, Luther Bruen, and William Atkins, trustees.  An ordinance was passed by Council dividing the town into five wards.  The improvements of the town were nearly all confined to the tract bounded by the river on the north and west, Mill and Canal streets on the east, and Sixth Street on the south.

      At a meeting held in 1829 the first Dayton Temperance Society was formed.  William King was moderator and Dr. Haines secretary of the meeting.  The following persons were appointed to prepare a constitution and an address to the public:  A. Baker, Daniel Ashton, D. Winters, D. L. Burnet, John Steele, Job Haines, H. Jewett, William M. Smith, and Henry Bacon.  For some time the Dayton newspapers were full of arguments for and against temperance societies.

      On July 27, 1829, it was decided that the new market-house, which the city was about to build, should be located in the alley running from Jefferson Street to Main, between Third and Fourth streets.  For the purpose of widening the market-space, property costing one thousand one hundred and ninety-six dollars was purchased by Council.  A small building was put up on Main Street, which was extended to Jefferson Street in 1836.  All the space east of the market-house of 1829 to Jefferson Street was given up to the market-wagons.  The old market-house on Second Street was abandoned April 24, 1830.  A bitter rivalry existed between the parts of the town divided by Third Street.  People living north of Third Street appropriated the name of “Dayton” to themselves, and derision called that part of the town lying south of that street “Cabintown.”  When it was proposed to remove the market from Second Street to the present location, violent opposition was made, and every measure resorted to defeat it.  Two tickets were nominated for city officers, politics were forgotten, and this was made the sole issue.  Cabintown proved numerically the stronger, and the fate of the market-house was sealed.  When the market-house was moved, Thomas Morrison, who had it in charge, placed a large placard on it, “Bound for Cabintown,” which was read with the deepest chagrin by the people on market [now Second] Street.  So bitter was the feeling that for a long time many persons refused to attend market at the new location.

      Numerous advertisement of schools taught in Dayton appear in the newspapers between 1829 and 1834.  In 1829 Edmund Harrison, a competent and successful teacher, taught what he called an “Inductive Academy” in a building which he erected for the purpose.  He was followed by Ira Fenn.  In 1832 an accomplished woman, Miss Maria Henderson, daughter of Edmund Harrison, taught a school for young ladies.  In 1831 J. J. S. Smith, afterwards an eminent member of the Dayton bar, - father of S. B. and J. McClain Smith, - taught a school in the stone building on Main Street next to the High School.  To illustrate how new ideas penetrated the West, it may be stated that Dr. and Mrs. Foster, in 1829, advertised a school to be conducted on the method of Pestalozzi.

      Advertisements of singing-schools and writing-schools appear frequently.  The flaming advertisement of D. Eason, teacher of penmanship, recalls the day before the invention of steel pens, when no small part of the time of the teacher was spent in making and mending quill pens.  He offers to teach “the round running hand, the ornamental Italian hand, the waving hand, the swift, angular running hand without ruling, and various others, both plain and ornamental.”

      In 1833 David Pruden invited Milo G. Williams to come to Dayton to take charge of a manual-labor school to be established in a large brick building owned by him at the junction of Jefferson and Warren streets.  Shops were erected for instruction in various mechanical trades.  Mr. Williams was to conduct the academic, and Mr. Pruden the labor and boarding, department.  A large number of boys from Cincinnati and other places were attracted to the school by Mr. Williams’s reputation as a teacher, and the school for a time enjoyed great popularity.  Both the principals were actuated by philanthropic motives in their attempt to combine intellectual culture with preparation for the practical duties of life; but they were at least fifty years ahead of their times, and the school was closed from lack of pecuniary success.

      In 1830 a company was formed to construct a basin connecting the canal at its intersection with Wayne Street and a point at the southern extremity of the city.  Morris Seely was the main mover in this project, and great expectations were entertained in regard to it.  The Supreme Court had decided that the water-power within the city limits, and furnished by the canal, belonged to the State of Ohio, a decision which was afterwards reversed, and the water-power given to the Cooper estate.  It was believed that this water-power could be leased and utilized along the proposed basin.  Land was bought at what was then an extravagant price, and lots laid out.  These lots were small in size, and arranged for factories, warehouses, and docks, such as would be required in a large city, but were unsuited to a place with the pretensions of Dayton.  The scheme proved an utter failure, and left consequences that were an annoyance to the city for years afterwards.  The lots were unsalable, and the method of platting a serious detriment to that part of the town.  The canal, or ditch, as it was afterwards called, bred disease, and the city authorities were called upon to fill it up.  Before the controversy was finally settled, the excitement ran so high that the sawmill of Mr. E. Thresher, located on the canal at Wayne Street, which used the ditch as a tail-race, was burned.  A large part of the ditch is now filled up, and the lower end used as a city drain.  In connection with the basin and on its bank a pleasure-garden was opened by A. M. Peasley on Warren Street.  A small pleasure-boat was run from Third Street on summer afternoons to the garden, where refreshments were provided, and it was expected that large numbers of pleasure-seekers would resort there.  Like the basin, the garden was ahead of the times, and after trial of two or three years was abandoned.

      In 1830 Stevenson ran the first locomotive in England over the Manchester & Liverpool Railroad.  The same year a miniature locomotive and cars were exhibited in Dayton in the Methodist church.  The fact that the City Council by resolution exempted the exhibition from a license fee, and that the Methodist church was used for this purpose, illustrates the deep interest felt by the public in the new and almost untried scheme to transport freight and passengers by steam over roads constructed for the purpose.  A track was run around the interior of the church, and for a small fee parties were carried in the car.  A large part of the then citizens of Dayton took their first railroad ride in this way.

      The population of Dayton in 1830 was two thousand nine hundred and fifty-four, a gain of one thousand two hundred and thirty-seven in a little more than two years.  This year eighty-one houses were built.  In 1831 fifty brick and seventy-two frame buildings were erected.  The population was three thousand two hundred and fifty-eight.  Six thousand two hundred and nineteen passengers by coach passed through town this year.

      In November about two hundred and fifty Seneca Indians, men, women, and children, on their way to the reservation west of the Mississippi River, encamped at the big spring on the north side of Mad River.  They were here three days, and excited great curiosity by their singular, rude, and uncivilized habits and appearance.  One of the gaping crowd, who was watching them at dinner, moved off in some confusion when an Indian, at whom he was staring, looked up and said, “Indian eats just like white man; he puts the victuals in his mouth.”  At this point no houses had been erected on the northwest corner of First and Jefferson streets, and the lots were used for shows.  The Indians took great pleasure in riding on a merry-go-round, which was a feature of the show of 1831.  One afternoon a crowd of them, all intoxicated, came whooping down First Street.  Not satisfied with riding, they proceeded to break the merry-go-round and fight the owner and his customers.  Nothing could be done with them till the agent who had command of them arrived, armed with a club, which he used freely.  Their submission was so sudden and entire as to be laughable.  They feared the United States Government, which the agent represented, and fled before its representative like sheep to their camp across Mad River.

      The first Dayton public school was opened December 5, 1831, by Sylvanus Hall, “approved teacher,” in the school-room on Jefferson Street between Water and First streets.  Public money was appropriated to support it, but the amount not being sufficient, each pupil paid a dollar per quarter for tuition.  Three additional rooms were soon afterwards opened in different parts of the town for the convenience of scholars.

      School-directors seem at first to have been appointed at public meetings of citizens.  The following served during this period:  Luther Bruen, Nathaniel Wilson, Henry Van Tuyl, Thomas Osborn, Ralph P. Lowe, Simon Snyder, and William H. Brown.  The city charter of 1841 provided for the appointment by Council of a school-manager from each ward, and Council and this board worked together harmoniously for years.  The tax levy for school purposes was so small that frequently the schools could only be kept open a few months.  The teachers taught private schools in the houses the remainder of the year.

      Just below the mouth of Stillwater the Miami makes a bend in the form of a horseshoe, inclosing in it that part of Dayton known as Riverdale.  By cutting a race across the bend, a valuable water-power is obtained.  About 1829 James Steele, who owned the land, completed a dam across the Miami and the race.  In 1831 he erected a sawmill and afterward a grist-mill.  This water-power is now known as the Dayton View Hydraulic.  In digging the race an immense tooth of a mastodon was unearthed, which was deposited as a curiosity in the Cincinnati Museum.  As no other part of the skeleton was found in the vicinity, it is supposed that the tooth was brought with the drift from some other region.

      General Robert C. Schenck began the practice of law in Dayton in 1831.  He was a public-spirited citizen, taking an active interest in all efforts for the improvement of the town, and impressing himself upon this community long before he attained a national reputation.  He devoted much time and labor to the Dayton Lyceum, Mechanics’ Institute, Public Library, Woodland Cemetery, city park, the hydraulic, turnpikes, railroads, and public schools, and frequently gave gratuitous lectures at the invitation of his townsmen.

      This year the rivers were very high at Dayton, and there was much destruction of property and great distress caused by the unprecedented height of the Ohio at Cincinnati.  As soon as the news reached here that the homes of many poor people at Cincinnati had been washed away, a call for a meeting at the Court-house to raise funds for the flood-sufferers was published in the Dayton newspapers.  At the meeting two hundred and two dollars were raised by subscription and sent by John W. Van Cleve, Mayor of Dayton, to the Mayor of Cincinnati, “to aid in relieving the distressed people of that city.”

      At no time in the history of Dayton, except during the Civil War, has there been as exciting a political campaign as that of 1832, preceding the second election of General Jackson as President of the United States.  So bitter was the feeling on both sides in this contest that Whigs and Democrats, though neighbors and old friends, ceased speaking to each other on the streets.  Previous to Madison’s administration the people of Dayton seem to have been nearly all of one mind on the subject of politics, or at any rate not intense partisans; but for a number of years after that date an election rarely passed without several fights between the members of the two parties – usually on the corner of Main and Third streets, for the Court-house was the polling-place for the whole township, in which the territory now assigned to Harrison, Mad River, and Van Buren townships was then included.  Late on the night before the Presidential election in 1832, a tall hickory pole was erected on the outer edge of the pavement in front of the Court-house, and from it floated the American flag.  Great was the surprise and indignation of the Whigs when this pole greeted their eyes the next morning, and great the triumph of the party which had erected it.  Crowds of Whigs gathered on the corners, muttering angry imprecations.  It was evident that they would not permit the hickory tree to remain standing at the polls, and as certain that the Democrats would violently resist any efforts which the other party might make to remove it, and that a pitched battle would ensue if the authorities did not interfere.  A meeting of Council was held early in the morning, and presently those of the citizens who had not gone home to breakfast saw the Council, headed by the marshal, John Dodson, followed by John W. Van Cleve, the gigantic Mayor, ax in hand, and Dr. John Steele and F. F. Carrell, march to the hickory tree and from a circle around it.  The Mayor notified the marshal of the order of Council just passed to “cut down the pole and drag it out as a nuisance.”  It was the duty of the marshal to perform this perilous act.

      An account of this occurrence published in the Journal in 1889 called out two communications on the subject from eye-witnesses.  One of them says:  “In the face and in the defiance of an outraged and infuriated collection (not mob) of red-hot Jackson Democrats – and what that meant could hardly be appreciated by one of this cold-blooded, law-abiding, generation – the worthy marshal hesitated, as well he might.  A man of loft mien and determined purpose in every movement stepped to the front, seized the ax, and, wielding it as only a stalwart Kentuckian could wield it, with a few well-served strokes brought the offensive emblem to the ground.  When it fell, there was a pause; not a cheer was heard from the Whigs, and only muttered curses from the Democrats.  The audacity of this brace act of Dr. John Steele, a man universally known and respected, no doubt prevented a bloody riot.”  Another correspondent states that the pole was cut down by Herbert S. Williams.  Probably both accounts were correct, as from the size of the pole it would require a good many strokes of the ax to fell it, and more than one hand may have been employed on it.

      A canal-boat arrived in Dayton December 17, 1832, with twenty-five German emigrants on board, all of whom were ill with cholera, or something similar to it.  One of them had died the day before the boat reached here.  They all crowded into a small room together when they landed.  Seven of the Germans and the two nurses employed by the town died.  A board of health had been appointed by Council in the summer, so that all sanitary precautions were taken to prevent the spread of the disease, which was prevailing in other parts of the United States.  The Board of Health consisted of a member of Council and two other citizens from each ward.  The following persons were appointed:  First Ward, Aaron Baker and George C. Davis; Second Ward, James Steele and William Bomberger; Third Ward, H. G. Phillips and Stephen Whicher; Fourth Ward, Dr. Haines and E. W. Davies; Fifth Ward, James Mitchell and William Patterson.  There were thirty-three deaths here from cholera in 1833.

      During 1832 fifty-one brick and sixty-two wooden houses were erected.  A silk manufactory was established in town this year by Daniel Rowe.  He made sewing-silk and the warp for coarse stuffs.  Some handkerchiefs were also manufactured.  He advertises in June that he has two thousand Italian mulberry trees ready to pluck, and will furnish leaves, silkworm eggs, and frames for those willing to raise cocoons for him on shares.  He also offers to pay the highest price for cocoons delivered at the store of Swain & Demarest, and hopes by the next year to take all that the neighborhood could produce.  A number of persons planted mulberry trees at this time, and expected to engage in raising silkworms.  But the factory was not a success.  A silk company, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, was formed in 1839, but also failed.

      In 1832 the Dayton Lyceum was established, the object of which was “the diffusion of knowledge and the promotion of sociability.”  Meetings were to be held once a week “for lectures, communications, essays, and discussions of all subject except theology and the politics of the day.”  It was also proposed to collect a cabinet of antiquities and minerals, and a library.  A discourse was to be delivered “at the annual meeting of the society on the 27th of August, being the anniversary of the location of the town of Dayton.”  For several winters the Lyceum furnished courses of lectures and debates, which were of the highest interest and afforded great enjoyment to the people of Dayton.  In 1833 the library of the Lyceum was kept at the house of Ira Fenn.

      In 1833 the Mechanics’ Institute was organized.  The first secretary was Henry L. Brown, one of the best and most useful men who ever lived in Dayton.  The object of the institute was “moral, literary, and scientific improvement.”  A library and reading-rooms were connected with it, and for many years a course of lectures was given each winter.  A public address was delivered at the Court-house July 1, 1833, by Robert C. Schenck, in behalf of the Mechanics’ Institute, and during its existence every citizen of Dayton who had any ability for lecturing was called upon for that service.

      At this period there must have been unusual literary interest and activity in Dayton, for there were no less than six public libraries in existence, as we learn from notices in the newspapers.  None of them were large, but in the aggregate they reached a wide circle of readers.

      Charles Soule, afterwards a noted portrait painter, opened a store for the sale of engravings and for framing pictures in 1833.  He also carried on “his old business of sign and ornamental painting” at his shop.

      The second election of General Jackson to the Presidency was celebrated in Dayton on the 8th of January, 1833, by a barbecue on the common west of the basin, now Cooper Park.  National salutes were fired during the day.  Immediately on the arrival at noon of a canal-boat with from fifty to one hundred citizens of Miamisburg, “a hickory tree bearing the American flag, still larger and more majestic than that which on a previous occasion left a stump” (an evident allusion to the cutting down of the Jackson pole in 1832) was erected.  A large number of people from this and adjacent counties were present on this occasion.  After the erection of the pole a procession was formed, in front of which walked four Revolutionary soldiers bearing liberty-caps and two members of the Dayton Hickory Club carrying an appropriate banner, who were followed by another soldier bearing the American flag.  After moving through the principal streets, the procession passed into the Court-house, where an address was made and resolutions were adopted.  From the Court-house they proceeded to the common, where an ox was roasted whole, of which and other refreshments all were indiscriminately invited to partake.  The barbecue was followed by some “spirited sentiments,” after which the procession reformed and marched to the center of town, where it dispersed.  A barbecue was usually an uninviting feast.  The outer part of the ox was smoked and scorched, and the remainder uncooked, though the animal was always roasted for many hours.  After the feast the almost untouched carcass was hauled off by horses, surrounded by a crowd of boys and dogs, to be disposed of by hogs and hounds.

      There were one thousand and one buildings in Dayton in 1833.  The population was four thousand.  January 3, 1834, an ordinance was passed by Council for the appointment of one or more watchmen.  They were to wear uniform badges and have the same power to call on persons to assist them in arresting offenders as the marshal had.  The marshal and these watchmen constituted the police of Dayton.

      Plans for a covered wooden bridge over the Miami River on Main Street were advertised for on the 28th of January, 1834.  The county commissioners, on June 4, 1835, appropriated six hundred dollars toward the building-fund, and the remainder of the money was raised by subscription.  The bridge was opened for travel in 1836.

      The news of the death of Lafayette was received in 1834, and commemorative services were held on the 31st of August.  A procession, composed of the mechanics of the town, carrying handsome banners draped in black, and representing their different occupations, the Masonic Fraternity, and the Order of Independent Odd Fellows, formed about eleven o’clock, and marched to the Presbyterian church.  The exercises were opened with an impassioned and eloquent delineation of the talents of the deceased patriot.”  Then an ode, written for a similar occasion in Cincinnati by James Hall, was sung by the choir.  Solemn music by the Cincinnati band accompanied the exercises, which closed with a prayer and benediction by Rev. David Winters.  The committee of arrangements on this occasion was composed of the following gentlemen:  Thomas Clegg, George Owen, W. L. Helfenstein, E. W. Davies, Peter Odlin, John Steele, E. Browning, R. A. Thruston, E. Brabham, James Brown, Robert C. Schenck, John Anderson, Peter Baer, and C. G. Swain.

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