Bucket Brigade Murder

At one point in Dayton History, we did not have a paid fire department, but a “Bucket Brigade.” Volunteers essentially stood in line and passed buckets of water from one to another to put out a fire, and in later years, to fill the hand pumped engine that spurted water onto the fire – an early model of the present day fire truck. Early Dayton employed this technique, with a team of volunteer fire fighters and fire wardens.

On the morning of September 10, 1893, a fire alarm rang out and as normal, the entire town lined up to see. Charles Greene, one of the city’s fire wardens, had the duty of organizing the team to line up in order to fight the fire. In the midst of this madness, Greene noticed that one of the volunteers, Matthew Thompson, was not lined up properly, standing a distance away from the group. Greene yelled for Thompson to get in line. As Thompson refused, the two men began to argue, culminating in Greene first knocking Thompson’s hat off with a splinter of wood he had nearby, then after more words were exchanged, smacking him on the head with the piece of wood.

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The Man They Had to Hang Twice

August 13, 1853 – It was a riderless horse and wagon that started the search. Two gentleman having a conversation on the street corner noticed the horse casually strolling by with a wagon attached, nobody at the reins. Thinking there must have been an accident, the men stopped the horse and turned it around, and rode with it. Shortly after, they made a grisly discovery: two bodies were discovered savagely beaten in the woods on Stoddard’s farm.

The bodies were identified as Elizabeth Young and her son, James. Investigation of the scene pointed to a struggle, followed by difficult deaths for both Elizabeth and James. Among the evidence were a broken hair comb, drag marks, and bloody leaves. The cap James wore was found 30 yards away from his body.

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Dayton Firsts Part 7

It’s time for some more interesting facts about the early days of Dayton!

  • First Masonic Lodge — The Masonic Lodge, and the first fraternal organization here, was St. John’s Lodge No. 13, the charter of which was granted by the state Grand Lodge at Chillicothe on January 10, 1812.
  • First Bank — The first banking institution in the city was known as the Dayton Manufacturing Company. It was incorporated by the legislature in 1813, and began business on December 13 of that year, in a building at the first alley south of Monument Avenue on Main Street.
  • First Stone Residence — About 1813, William Huffman built the first stone residence at Third and Jefferson. It served as both dwelling and store.
  • First Workman’s Association — Formed at McCullum’s Tavern on Saturday, March 15, 1813, and known as “The Workman’s Association.”
  • First Regular Ferry — Charles Tull opened the first regular ferry in Dayton at the head of Ludlow Street in December, 1814.
  • First Big Fire — Grist mill, fulling mill and two carding machines operated by Colonel Robert Patterson near the present site of NCR burned on Oct. 7,1815.
  • First Market House — It occupied a frontage of 100 feet on Second Street, extending west from Jefferson and was formally opened on July 4, 1815.
  • First Laundry — The first laundry in Dayton was started by John Williams on Second Street, west of Main Street, in about 1870.