Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Please help us remember those who have died while serving in our country’s military.

Interestingly, the holiday originated after the Civil War in 1868 as “Decoration Day,” when a group of veteran Union soldiers known as the “Grand Army of the Republic” established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of Union soldiers with flowers.

Please have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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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.

Dayton Firsts Part 4

It’s that time again! Let’s find out more about the early years of Dayton!

First Library — The first library association (also the first in the state of Ohio) was formed on February 1, 1805, through an act of the legislature. Rev. William Robinson served as the first president of the organization.

First Graveyard — Next to the Presbyterian church at the corner of Third Street and Main Street. In 1805, Daniel Cooper gave four acres of land between Ludlow Street and Wilkinson Street to form a cemetery shared by the Presbyterians and Methodists.

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The Runaway Slave in Dayton

A simple blurb in the paper was all it took to change one man’s life, and to start a huge political debate in Dayton.

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.

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Prominent Local Figures: James Wilkinson

Similar to the level of involvement Jonathan Dayton had, James Wilkinson’s contributions to Dayton Ohio were mostly in name. Wilkinson, Dayton, Arthur St. Clair, and Israel Ludlow, were the purchasers of the land now known as Dayton, Ohio.Born March 24th, 1757 in Benedict, Maryland, Wilkinson grew up with a sense of superiority over others. He believed that his social standing excused any and all bad behavior on his part. At age 7, Wilkinson’s father died, leaving him with the parting words,

“My son, if you ever put up with an insult, I will disinherit you.”

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The Man who Danced his Way to the Noose

Sunday, February 16, 1863 – The body of farmer George Lindemuth is found by a pedestrian taking a short cut. His throat had been slashed from ear to ear, and he had been robbed of all valuables.

Police learned that two days prior, Lindemuth had been seen in the company of John W. Dobbins, a well-known troublemaker in the area. Lindemuth had come to Dayton to sell some of his tobacco crop and decided to stay and have some fun before he returned to his farm. He met with Dobbins in a saloon and the two made their rounds in Dayton’s saloons and bars. One bartender reported seeing Lindemuth count his money and remark that he had just over $40 cash. He then asked Dobbins to go with him to the riverbank, where a house of ill-repute was operating. Lindemuth and Dobbins were seen walking toward Water Street (now Monument Avenue) and Jefferson Street.

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