Dayton’s 220th Anniversary

Happy 220th Anniversary Dayton!

If the 50th anniversary gift is gold, I suppose we could make the 220th anniversary gift some Dayton Firsts:

First day:

“April 1, 1796. Landed at Dayton, after a passage of ten days, William Gahagan and myself having come with Thompson’s and McClure’s families in a large pirogue.”

– Benjamin Van Cleve, in his journal.


“The boat party was the first to arrive. Rounding the curve in the river, where for so many years since then it has been flowing under the Dayton View bridge, the pioneers perceived before their eyes the swift current of Mad River emptying itself into the main channel, just as it had been described, and saying to each other (so we may imagine), ‘Yes, this must be the place,’ they tied the pirogue to a tree at the head of St. Clair Street and led by Mrs. Thompson, all clambered ashore.

At that moment DAYTON came on the map!”

– Charlotte Reeve Conover, The Story of Dayton.

imageFounder’s Point at Riverscape. Underneath the canopy, there are some footprints in the concrete simulating the steps of the settlers. Also, there is an etching stating, “On April 1st, 1796, the first settlers of Dayton, led by Samuel Thompson, came ashore near this spot. The party included the first Daytonian, Benjamin Van Cleve. According to one account, the first person to set foot on shore was Catherine Van Cleve Thompson, great-great-grandmother of the Wright brothers.”

First Preacher – Rev. William Hamer of the Methodist denomination.  He came to Dayton with the first party of settlers.

First Birth – David Hamer, son of William Hamer, Methodist minister, born on the site of Dayton in December, 1796.

First Mill – An old-fashioned “tub mill” was built by William Hamer to grind corn.  It stood where Monument Avenue now crosses Patterson Blvd. and water for operating it was brought across from the mouth of Mad River by means of a little race.

First Death – John Davis, who resided in a cabin near the bluffs (south of the NCR plant) was accidentally killed at D. C. Cooper’s mill in 1799.

First Wedding – Benjamin Van Cleve and Mary Whitten, daughter of John and Phoebe Whitten, married Aug. 28, 1800.

First Doctor – Dr. John Hole, a Revolutionary soldier, emigrated from Virginia and settled at what became known as “Hole’s Station,” now near the site of Alexandersville.  The first doctor to live within the settlement of Dayton was Dr. John Elliott, who came here in 1802.

First Brewery – The first brewery was opened in 1816 by Robert Graham, who conducted a tavern at First and Monument.  The first brick brewery was erected by Henry Brown in 1820 on the south side of Second Street, west of Jefferson.  He advertised beer “Equally as good as that now brewed in Germantown.”

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