The Tragic Life of Enos Doolittle and his Doolittle Tavern

In 1820, Enos Doolittle arrived in Centerville, where he quickly rented a building and opened a dry goods store. Two years later, Enos married Bathsheba Robbins, the youngest daughter of one of Centerville’s founders, Benjamin Robbins.
In the same year, Enos started buying several lots of land, and in 1823 he eventually built a two-story stone building and opened the Doolittle Tavern where the current Town Hall stands. According to The History of Montgomery County, Ohio, Containing a History of the County from 1882, the Doolittle Tavern was known as the best place to stop west of the Allegheny Mountains. Continue reading

Have you bought Sara’s Book yet?

Have you bought Sara’s book yet?

Murder & Mayhem in Dayton and the Miami Valley came out last June, featuring many true crime stories in Dayton from the 1800s and early 1900s.

You can buy an autographed copy directly from Sara here!

Also stay tuned for a post soon with some teasing previews of the stories in the book!

Tonja Buford-Bailey

Tonja Yvette Buford-Bailey was born December 13, 1970 in Dayton, to a mostly-single mother, and is one of seven children. At 8 years old, Tonja joined the track club at her elementary school and while attending Meadowdale High School, she became a four-time state hurdles champion.

Her successes led to three trips to the Olympics – Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, and Sydney in 2000. When Tonja made the team in 1992, she was just 21 and was the second youngest Olympian from the U.S. to be sent to Spain. Once the Dayton Daily News published an article about Tonja going to Barcelona, it was publicized that her mother wouldn’t be able to afford the trip to Spain. The article spurred Daytonians on to donate funds to pay for the trip, and Tonja’s mother was able to see Tonja compete.

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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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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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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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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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