The influence of Jack the Ripper had a worldwide effect, along with the tabloid-like practice of naming killers. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a series of criminals were given similar monikers, from Jack the Peeper, a man who broke into houses to tickle the feet of the lady residents, Jack the Grabber, an exhibitionist, all the way to Dayton, where a vicious serial killer who terrorized Dayton for 9 years (1900-1909) was nicknamed, “Jack the Strangler.”
FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD. A reward of $50 will be paid for the arrest and return of BLACK BEN, five feet, six inches in height; weight about 145; color, very dark. Hold said fugitive and notify his legal owner J. C. Atkinson, Richmond, KY.
Before the article, Ben had been earning money through odd jobs around Dayton, working in homes and stores, getting work where he could. Nobody questioned his presence in 1832 Dayton, as it was known around town that Dr. Hibbard Jewett of Jefferson Street had opened his barn as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Ben worked in freedom for two years before the article was printed.
“My son, if you ever put up with an insult, I will disinherit you.”
March 1913, The Great Dayton Flood. Rising waters drove people to treetops and attics. People were spotted on rooftops, stranded, but were not able to be rescued. Survivors recount tragic tales, including watching a two-story house floating by, a man, woman, and child stranded helplessly at their front door. As the house was swept along with the current, on an ill-fated journey into the Dayton View Bridge, the man closed the front door suddenly. Moments later, the distinct sound of two gunshots was heard from inside.
Enter William “Bill” G. Sloan.
On the first Friday off every month, we share some firsts for Dayton!
First Prosecutor – Daniel Symmes, of Cincinnati
First Coroner – James Milles
First Jail – It stood on the site of the present county jail on West Third Street, and was erected in 1804. It was of log construction, 30×16 feet, with log flooring and ceiling. It contained two disconnected cells and was erected by David Squirer at his bid of $299.
First Post Office – The first post office was opened in 1804 in a cabin at First and St. Clair Streets with Benjamin VanCleve as the first postmaster.
First Metropolitan Police force – Organized in 1873 with a chief, two lieutenants, 26 patrolmen, three roundsmen and three turnkeys.