John H. Wartinger and Wartinger Park

On Kemp Road, about a quarter mile from North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, sits Wartinger Park. The designated historical park is owned by the City of Beavercreek and was named for John Wartinger. Building Codes at the time required that green space be set aside while plotting a development, and about 5 acres were set aside for a park – later 4.3 acres, as Beavercreek Fire Station #3 was built. The park was cared for by the Flower Trail Garden Club from 1976 until 1983, when it was turned over to the City of Beavercreek.

In 1975, Wartinger Park was named for John Wartinger, who served his community in several ways:
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Benjamin Robbins

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of Centerville, along with his brothers-in-law, Benjamin Archer, and Aaron Nutt, Sr..

Robbins was born in New Jersey in 1760 and was a surveyor and farmer. He married Bathsheba Nutt (Aaron’s sister) in 1782. Throughout their marriage, they had a total of 12 children:

  • Nancy (1783-1858)
  • Richard (1784-1837)
  • Abigail (1787-1854)
  • Elizabeth (1790-1879)
  • Benjamin (1791-1792)
  • Rebecca (1793-????)
  • Samuel (1795-1862)
  • Aaron (1797-1825)
  • Levi (1800-1866)
  • twins Mary (1803-1833) and John (1803-1805)
  • Bathsheba (1806-1845)

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Fun Facts about the Van Cleves

One of the first settlers to Dayton and one of the big names as well, how much do you know about Benjamin Van Cleve? Here are some facts about Benjamin, and his son John.

Benjamin Van Cleve (1773 – 1821)

  • His marriage to Mary Whitten was the first marriage registered in Dayton. They had one son, John.
  • Benjamin accompanied the first party of settlers to Dayton.
  • Benjamin established Dayton’s first library, post office, and school, all in his log cabin.

John Van Cleve (1801 – 1858)

  • He was a child prodigy. At 16, he was teaching Latin and Greek and translating plays from German and French.
  • He contributed collections to Dayton’s first natural history museum
  • Helped found Woodland Cemetery
  • Was reportedly over 300 pounds and very sensitive about his appearance. He refused to marry and would not sit for portraits or photographs.

Ida Weller

Ida Evaline Albrecht (later Albright) was born in 1876 to farmer parents. Her father’s farm was located on the western side of State Route 48, where Bethany Lutheran Village now stands.

In 1893, At the age of 17, Ida graduated from the Washington Township High School on West Franklin Street. The building still stands today, and until recently, was the Las Piramides Mexican restaurant. Two years later at the age of 19, Ida earned her teaching certificate from Ohio Northern College and from 1895-1897, Ida taught at Schoolhouse Number 8, which was located at McEwen Road and State Route 725.
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William Walton

While driving through Centerville, have you ever spotted a tiny sign – “Walton House Museum” and wondered what it was? So have we! As it turns out, this stone house was built in 1838 by Henry Reese, who bought the parcel of land from one of Centerville’s founders, Benjamin Robbins. Eventually, William Walton and his wife Miriam (known as Mary) bought the house in 1927.

William Walton was born April 1st, 1876 to Samuel and Mary Walton. William was the grandson and great-grandson of the founders of Spring Valley, Moses and Edward Walton. Also, William’s older sister Edith married Colonel Edward A. Deeds and later created the beloved Deeds Carillon Bells.

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Lewis Kemp and the Oldest House in Dayton

Lewis and Elizabeth Kemp and their family of eight children moved from Frederick, Maryland to Mad River Township in 1806. Kemp bought 822 acres of land at $10 an acre, and settled on a piece of land that looks out over the modern-day Huffman Prairie. Shortly after their arrival in 1806, Kemp built a brick and limestone house with a stone foundation. A brick addition was added around 1832.

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Aaron Nutt, Sr.

Aaron Nutt, Sr. was born on July 17th, 1758 in New Jersey to Quaker parents Levi and Ann Ivens Nutt. At age 14, Aaron’s mother sold him to be an indentured servant for a local tailor, John Lippencott. Through his period of service, Aaron became a skilled tailor.

Aaron served in the New Jersey Militia in Lippencott’s place after Lippencott was drafted in 1777. Aaron was assigned non-combat duties, due to his Quaker beliefs, and served as a spy and a teamster (a person who drove a team of animals pulling a wagon). Even though he never saw combat, Aaron was not allowed membership in the Quaker Society of Friends, since he participated in the war.

At the age of 20, Aaron married Mary Archer on May 4th, 1779. During their 17-year marriage, Aaron and Mary had nine children. Aaron and his family moved to Kentucky in 1788, along with his brother-in-law Benjamin Archer, then they all moved to Ohio in 1799. A brother-in-law already settled in the area, Benjamin Robbins, offered to store Aaron’s family’s possessions and let them stay with them while they built their home, but Aaron responded with, “I am not going to unpack until I enter my own cabin” and with help, built his new home in just one day.
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Dr. Dudley Keever

On a Ridgeville Ohio farm in 1859, Dudley Keever was born to Quaker parents. Dudley’s father Moses was a doctor serving Ridgeville and Springboro. Dudley attended a one-room schoolhouse, then Miami Valley Institute in Springboro, and then graduated the Miami Medical College in Cincinnati (later the University of Cincinnati) in 1884.

Now Dr. Keever, Dudley started his own practice in Springboro, and then met fellow Quaker Ida Wright, who he married. In 1890, the Keevers moved to Centerville and opened a practice on the northeast corner of Main Street and Franklin Street, where City Barbecue is presently.

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The Murder of Jesse Kelsey, Jr.

Born in 1829 to one of Centerville’s most prosperous farmers, Jesse Kelsey Sr., Jesse Kelsey Jr. was the 9th of 12 children. He married Unity Stokes on September 4th, 1856, and lived on a farm in Centerville on the southwest corner of what is now Spring Valley Pike and Dayton-Lebanon Pike, near the Kroger Marketplace. In September of 1862, Jesse Jr. and Unity were expecting their first child.

On the night of September 7th, 1862, just 3 days after celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary, Unity woke up to see a man standing over her and Jesse Jr. while they slept. She woke Jesse Jr. up, and he shouted at the man, who then fired a pistol at him. Jesse Jr. rushed Unity out of the room to safety and was struck by another pistol shot, and fell to the ground, dead.

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