Watevilet Ave. and the Shakertown Pike
by Charles F. Sullivan
One of Dayton’s main streets is Wayne Ave. and the name is given to it because in the 1790’s, Mad Anthony Wayne of Revolutionary fame was sent to fight the Indians between here and Lake Erie.
He spent some time at Waynesville in camp and drilling his soldiers, so that place carries his name. From there he came through Dayton on the road now called Wayne Ave.
This Avenue starts at Third street but not at a right angle, nor does it fit with the compass but runs almost south east until it reaches the top of the hill where the Dayton State Hospital now stands. Here the road forks and the one to the right is called the “Wilmington Pike,” because it goes through Bellbrook to Wilmington. The left fork goes east, is called Wayne Ave. After passing the State Hospital grounds, it forks again and Wayne goes straight ahead to Smithville road, but Watevilet turns a little south going through Belmont and on leaving the corporation, it becomes the Shakertown Pike. Why these two names?
In very early times the Shakers had a settlement upon a little hill not far from the corporation, south of the pike probably a hundred feet, they built a two story brick house of four rooms in each story and a large hall running through it.
They owned about a square mile of land and when the organization was young they worked the ground thoroughly. The men did the heavy work leaving the lighter work for the women.
They were officially known as the Society of Believers “In Christ’s Second Coming,” sometimes called “The Millenium Church” or “Alethians.”
In 1747, in England, there was a revival in the Quakers church and from it this new sect sprang. Jane and James Warden were the original leaders but when they retired Ana Lee became their leader.
Six men and two women came to America with Ana Lee August 6, 1774, settling in the Watervilet Woods not far from Albany, N.Y. They did not believe in any adornment of the body, did not prohibit marriage, yet did not approve of it and did not accept it as a Christian institution. If a man and wife joined them, they would consider themselves as brother and sister. They did prohibit intoxicants and tobacco. Disease was a sin against God. Their headquarter was at New Lebanon N.Y. and at their best they had 4869 in the organization but lately about 500.
There was one colony here in which a relative of John H. Patterson was a member. One south of Lebanon Ohio, which has been taken over by the United Brethren denomination and used in their work. Two in Kentucky, one not far from High Bridge, owned by that state as a point of interest for tourists. One in Indiana.
From this you will see where the Shakertown pike and Watevilet Ave received their names.
Naturally these colonies did not flourish for they had no children coming along to carry the burden as the older ones had to retire. The taxes on this farm could not be paid by these old folks, so after it had been carried for years, the State took over this farm, moved their dairy upon it and raise lots of produce for the use of the Hospital. Thus it is a money maker for the state for it is probably about three miles from the Hospital.
Chas. F. Sullivan
24 Brady Street
Dayton 9 Ohio