Dayton Fun Facts Part 1

Occasionally in our research, we come across a really interesting fact, but there isn’t enough for a full story. We like to compile these into lists to share. Here are a few!

  • Mad River, the former Wayne Township (now Huber Heights), Wayne High School, and Wayne Avenue are all named for Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
  • Abraham Lincoln credits the first mention of his presidential race to Dayton, Ohio.
  • On March 30, 1901, the Dayton Daily News was run by a women-only editorial staff. Local historian Charlotte Reeve Conover approached James M. Cox and asked him to allow the Young Women’s League to run the paper for one day to raise money for a new building. Despite predictions of failure, the paper not only went to press on time, but the demand was so high, they had to work overtime to compensate. The ladies received a check for $1,800 for their efforts.
  • Walter Stebbins High School was originally Mad River Township High School, where Stebbins was the superintendent from 1943 to 1960. After his death in 1960, the school was renamed in his honor.
  • Dayton was home to many burial mounds. There was one found on the corner of Mound Street and 5th street, one on Dayton Street, one north of the head of Central Avenue, one of Huffman Hill, one on Neibert Farm, and one in Oakwood. Most of the mounds were removed for city expansion.
  • Woodland Cemetery had a record 225 burials in 1848, due to the cholera epidemic.
  • The construction of Huffman Dam required moving the entire village of Osborn from the location that was to become a flood basin. It was joined with the village of Fairfield and is now known as Fairborn. Huffman Lake was created when soil was removed to build the dam.

The Sad Tale of James Murphy

Jan 31, 1875: Barlow Hall, which was located at the corner of Fifth Street and Pearl Street, hosted the wedding of August Scheckelhoff and Agnes Neehaber. August worked at The Champion Plow Work, along with Colonel William Dawson. Colonel Dawson volunteered to be the Master of Ceremonies for the wedding.

James Murphy, member of the notorious “chain-gang” and well-known hooligan, showed up with a few of his fellow gang members, wanting to get in. When Colonel Dawson turned them away at the door, they threatened him. Later that night, they attacked him. In the midst of the scuffle, Dawson was stabbed. He bled to death in the street before medical help could arrive.

Police could only find one clue, a cap near Dawson’s body. After a few hours, the cap led them to the home of James Murphy. Another man, Lewis Meyers, was arrested as an accomplice. The public was outraged; and the police had to get special guards to protect Murphy from a lynch mob. After his trial, Lewis Meyers was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to two years in prison. But James Murphy was tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang.

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Dayton Firsts Part 8

  • First Girls’ School – Opened in March, 1815, by Mrs. Diomecia Sullivan on the west side of Main Street, south of Third Street.
  • First Show – A display of “wax works and figures,” on February 13, 1815.
  • First Fire Engine – Came from Philadelphia and through Cincinnati, and arrived in Dayton in the spring of 1826.
  • First Milliner – The first millinery store was opened by Ann Yamans in June 1815. She advertised her supply of goose feathers, and announced that military gentlemen could find her shop on Main Street, south of Second Street, with a full stock of plumes and decorations.
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