More Interesting Dayton Facts

  • Susan Koerner Wright, mother of Wilbur and Orville, enjoyed making things for and with her children. Reportedly, her husband Milton could not hammer a nail straight, and she was the handy person in the family. She often made toys for the children, and even put together some small appliances to make her household chores easier.
  • In 1900, Dayton listed more inventions than any other city in the United States.
  • John Patterson could not stand Charles Kettering, and would often fire him from his company, NCR. Edward Deeds would always hire him back.
  • During rainy seasons, carriages would get stuck in the mud. To remedy this, huge logs were buried under the mud, lining Dayton streets in a “corduroy” fashion, preventing wagons and animals from sinking.
  • Dayton has a history of big floods. In 1847, the levee broke as a result of residents near the river taking dirt from too close to the levee to fill potholes.
  • James M. Cox, founder of Dayton Daily News, served two terms as Governor of Ohio. He also unsuccessfully ran for President of the United States in 1920.
  • No unsolved murders occurred in Dayton in 1920.
  • Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell believed Dayton should have an art museum. She opened one at St. Clair and Monument in 1920, with 3 exhibits being permanent. Seven years later she offered the city a large, Italian villa style building, finished in 1930. Julia paid the operating expenses for the Dayton Art Institute until she died in 1944.
  • In the late 1950s doctors at WPAFB were given an assignment – to pick out astronauts. Unsure of what astronauts were, they discussed with the government until they concluded that they were something like test pilots. Of the men recruited, they picked men who fit their criteria, arbitrary items such as age, size, height, etc. When the government reviewed the list, they asked why there was no marine on the list. The doctors had picked one out, but he was slightly older and slightly taller than their cutoff points. That man was John Glenn.
  • The David Bernie family was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1976 for having the most physicians in a single family. In the 1930s, General Practitioner David Bernie met Helen Kuhr. Helen’s brother Abe was a family doctor and his wife Hortense specialized in Pulmonary Medicine. Helen and David wed and had eight children. Of the three daughters, all three married doctors, and one became a doctor herself. All five of the boys became doctors. Of their fifteen grandchildren, about five of them became doctors.
  • Washington Presbyterian Church Cemetery, located at the corner of Miamisburg-Centerville Road and Southwind Drive (next to Midas), holds 89 graves, including Revolutionary War General Williams Dodds. The graves range in dates from 1830 to 1898.
  • Reverend David Winters organized the first reformed church located on Ludlow Street. For 17 years, he preached sermons in both English and German, with crowds so large that extra benches would be brought in for accommodation. Many couples wanted him to perform their wedding ceremony, as there was popular belief that any marriage over which he officiated would be prosperous. In his ministry, he married over 5,090 couples. Over time, he retired from the Ludlow Street church to focus on more rural churches until approached by a group of his friends, requesting that he help them found a German Reformed Church. Together with an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in the neighborhood, the two denominations joined together to build a church. To honor their minister, they named the church David’s Church.
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Interesting Dayton Facts

During one of our research sessions at the library, we found a great book, For the Love of Dayton: Life in the Miami Valley 1796-2001, that was published by the Dayton Daily News in 2001. The book chronicles the history of Dayton year-by-year in little blurbs, and there were a lot of fascinating facts that we just had to share!

  • 1803 – Colonel George Newcom became the first sheriff, serving until 1809. He took little pity on lawbreakers, lowering alleged offenders into his empty well, where they remained until trial.
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Happy 2018, Dayton!

And we’re back! We hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and happy holiday season, and that you are as excited as we are to see what 2018 brings!

We have had a busy past few months with Thanksgiving, Sara’s wedding, and Christmas, so we thought that we would give you a glimpse into our lives, and share what we have been up to with some pictures!

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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!

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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