Edith Deeds

Edith Deeds was born in Spring Valley in 1869, to Samuel and Mary Walton, and was the older sister of William Walton. In her early life, Edith studied music, painting, and languages at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Though her father Samuel was a Quaker, the family attended the First Baptist Church after moving to Dayton. It was there that Edith met Colonel Edward Deeds. Edith and Edward married on June 5, 1900. Throughout their marriage, Edith assisted her innovative husband and the infamous Barn Gang by performing office work and participating in the development of the automobile self-starter.
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Benjamin Archer

In 1788, Benjamin Archer moved to Kentucky from New Jersey with his brothers-in-law, Aaron Nutt, Sr. and Benjamin Robbins. The three men struggled with the existence of slavery in Kentucky and after issues with land titles, they decided to leave Kentucky and move to Ohio. Archer, Robbins, and Nutt are considered to be the founders of Centerville.

Archer purchased over 500 acres of land near Clyo Road and Alex-Bell Road – which was originally outside of Centerville’s city limits. Archer came back to Ohio in 1798 to settle with his family.
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A Brief History of Spring Valley

At the intersection of two busy trade routes, the village of Spring Valley was founded in 1844 by a Quaker father and son duo, Edward Walton, and Moses Walton (grandfather and great-grandfather of William Walton). The Cincinnati-Xenia Pike crossed the Little Miami Railroad, and with the many natural springs and Little Miami River, the location provided the perfect crossroads to build an agricultural market.

By 1860, Spring Valley had a hotel, tannery, two blacksmiths, two cabinetmakers, two physicians, two grocers, and a shoemaker, along with a wool mill and flour mill, started by prominent citizen, George Barrett. Moses Walton also partnered with George Barrett’s son, Isaac, to produce and distribute smoked meats, wool, and flax products nationally.
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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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More Fun Dayton Facts

Here are some more Dayton fun facts!

  • In 1920, Dayton had no unsolved murders.
  • During WWII, Lieutenant Harry Zavakos was reported MIA and presumed dead after his plane was shot down over China. He was actually found by the Chinese and slowly moved across the country to be returned to his unit. During the time the Chinese transported Zavakos, they continually fed him fried chicken.
  • Flight personnel gave Dayton the moniker “The Popcorn City” due to the popcorn sold at Wileswood Country Store. Some ground crews would refuse to work on aircrafts if the flight crews did not return from a trip to Dayton with “Dayton popcorn.”
  • In 1979, while excavating for the Gem Savings headquarters, the skeleton of an adult male was discovered. The site was originally the location of Dayton’s first cemetery. Since the bodies had never been moved from the location, one theory is that this particular skeleton was John Davis, an early Dayton pioneer.
  • Dayton’s most successful professional sports team was the Dayton Gems, a hockey team that played in Dayton from 1964 to 1977.
  • Electricity was introduced in Dayton in 1882, when the first electric light turned on in the Dayton Morning Journal office.
  • Ponderosa Steakhouse, which was founded in Indiana, moved its headquarters to Dayton in 1968, where it flourished for decades.
  • During WWII, there was such a drastic labor shortage in Dayton, that a job draft was considered to fill the positions.

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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Fun Dayton Facts

Here are a few more interesting facts about Dayton!

  • Of the original purchasers of the land for Dayton, Jonathan Dayton’s name was chosen because it was considered the most pleasing name to grace the township.
  • Dayton’s first hanging took place on a gallows east of the river, where Sinclair Community College is now located. This fact is the basis for the storied hauntings of the campus.
  • Dayton’s flood of 1866 cost the city a quarter of a million dollars and left only the corn crops standing in its wake.
  • Dayton born Daniel Denison Bickham pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1886 for one game. He returned to Dayton when his father called him home because he felt baseball was “not a gentlemanly sport.”
  • Charles Bickham, Daniel’s brother, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1904 because he “crossed a fire-swept field, in close range of the enemy and bought a wounded soldier to a place of shelter.
  • Father to Daniel and Charles Bickham, William Bickham, was Dayton’s leading newspaper editor. After the riot that burned the office of the Dayton Journal, Bickham arrived to revive the paper and return it to financial stability.
  • The Wright brothers built their first glider for about $15.

Miscellaneous Dayton Facts

It’s been a while since we shared some miscellaneous facts about Dayton, so here are a few!

  • The expression “You’re fired” dates back to John Henry Patterson, founder of NCR. Patterson was reported to have terminated an employee by having his desk taken outside and set on fire.
  • The name of the horse in the statue with John H. Patterson in Hills and Dales Park is Spinner.
  • The Ohio accent is the basis of the accent taught to newscasters – The Ohio accent is considered to be so bland that you don’t hear the accent, just the words.
  • The group Stars of Joy was the first local African American gospel group to air on WHIO TV.
  • Possum Run Creek got its name from the great number of possums being caught in the lowlands.
  • John H Patterson urged the city to build a road over the canal, and that’s how Patterson Boulevard got its name.
  • The Thomas Clegg house on the corner of First and Jefferson is Dayton’s oldest continuously occupied home. Downtown used to be a glamorous place for the rich to live in young Dayton, but the 1913 flood and increasing noise of streetcars and traffic made downtown living less appealing. The house was renovated in the early 2000s for condo use.
  • The Wright Brothers purchased Spruce from Requarth Lumber in Downtown Dayton for the second and third Wright flyers.

Dayton’s 225th Anniversary

“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.”

Hamilton the Musical & Dayton

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. But did you know the story of Alexander Hamilton has ties to Dayton?

The plot of Hamilton follows the life of Alexander Hamilton, which ended after a duel (or affair of honor)with politician Aaron Burr. Burr was later implicated in traitorous plots against America, along with one of Dayton’s founders, James Wilkinson, who was also Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army at New Orleans. Burr and Wilkinson conspired to commit treason by using their positions and working with both France and Spain at different times to take land for themselves to establish a separate country.

In 1806, Burr wrote Wilkinson a “cipher letter,” and Wilkinson panicked, double-crossed Burr, and sent a letter to President Jefferson, telling him of Burr’s activities. This letter led to Burr’s arrest for Treason. Wilkinson then testified in court, heavily emphasizing Burr’s role in the acts of Treason. Burr was later acquitted of the crimes.