Murder & Mayhem in Dayton and the Miami Valley is Out!

Sara’s book has been published by The History Press!wp-1624473617276.jpg

You can purchase from Sara directly at one of the upcoming author events (we’ll update you), or from the book at the following links:

Dr. Helen Octavia Dickens Henderson

Even as a child, Helen Octavia Dickens knew she wanted to be a doctor even though she had many odds stacked against her as a black woman born in 1909. Helen’s father was born into slavery then raised by a Union Colonel from the age of nine. After obtaining his freedom, he named himself Charles Warren Dickens, after the famous author he once met. Helen Octavia Dickens was born in Dayton on February 21st, 1909.

Helen’s father Charles had dreams of becoming a lawyer, but when racial prejudice reared its ugly head, preventing his dream, he took a job as a janitor to support his family. He never lost hope in the future for his children and sent them to one of the few integrated schools in the area to get them the best education possible. Daisy Dickens, Helen’s mother, worked as a domestic servant until she married Charles. Despite Charles insisting his wife stay at home, he encouraged Helen to become a nurse. But Helen had different plans. If she could be a nurse, Helen reasoned, she could also be a doctor. “It was what I wanted to do and I didn’t see why I couldn’t do it.” she’d say.
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The Story of Natalie Clifford Barney

In honor of Pride Month, we thought we would re-share the story of Daytonian Natalie Clifford Barney.

“I built a fire to welcome her
And my voice sighed
Aloud her name. To be with her
This night, I would have died…”

Natalie Clifford Barney was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1876, to an affluent family. By age twelve, Natalie knew she was a lesbian. Although society in the late 1800’s was very conservative, Natalie knew she would “Live openly, without hiding anything.”

Natalie developed an interest in the French language as a child. Her governess often read Jules Vern stores aloud to her in French, and she had to learn the language quickly to understand the stories.  In adulthood, Natalie was fluent in French, and published most of her work in French.
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Dayton viewed by New York 1878

Howard Burba, a well known Dayton Daily News reporter in the early 1930s, wrote many stories centering not only around Dayton events, but Dayton itself. One of which was an article he found from the New York Daily Graphic, October 29, 1878. Quotes from this article describe Dayton as seen through the eyes of C. H. Miller, a New York journalist.

Here are some excerpts from the article he wrote:

    • Dayton, the county seat of Montgomery Co., is universally conceded by visitors to be one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. And its surroundings are equally attractive. It is notable for its broad, clean, smooth avenues, its uniformly comfortable and numerous elegant residences, its admirable public school system and school houses, its handsome church architecture, its numerous and large manufacturing establishments and the general air of thrift and solid comfort which pervades the community. It is indisputably one of the most delightful of inland cities for a home, and as reliable in its established wealth and credit as any fortunate city in the Union. These are features which impress all strangers, and the well-contented people of Dayton are pardonable for the pride they take in their most enviable city.”

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This Day in History – November 6th, 1967

Phil Donahue’s talk show premiered November 6, 1967 on WLWD-TV in Dayton. The first guest to appear on the show was atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

Considered to be a pioneer of the genre, Donahue’s show included controversial topics and had audience involved in the story, interacting with the host and guest and often asking questions.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Donahue moved to Dayton to host a phone-in radio show called Conversation Piece. This show aired from 1963 until the start of his show in 1967.

The Phil Donahue Show was later syndicated and went on to be the most watched syndicated talk show in 1980. The show won twenty Emmy awards and was inducted into the national Television Hall of Fame. The show ran in syndicate for twenty-six years, finally dipping in rates when other talk shows chose more inflammatory topics, while Donahue strayed away from the shock tactics. When the show ultimately went off the air in 1996, it had aired nearly 7,000 episodes in total.

This Day in History – October 3rd, 1920

On October 3rd, 1920, the Dayton Triangles beat the Columbus Panhandles in what was the first game of the NFL.

The American Professional Football Association, renamed the NFL in 1922, was formed in Canton, Ohio on September 17, 1920. The first game was played right here in Dayton, Ohio.

Workers from local factories such as Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco), Dayton Metal Products (DMP Co), and Domestic Engineering Company (Deco, later renamed Delco-Light) made up the roster of the team. The three factories formed an industrial triangle, which lead to the name of the team.

The first game was played at Triangle Park. During that game, Triangles Player Louis Partlow scored the first touchdown of the NFL and Triangles Kicker George “Hobby” Kinderdine kicked the first extra point. The other touchdown of the game was scored by Francis Bacon, with another kick by Kinderdine. With a 14-0 victory, the Dayton Triangles won the first game of the NFL.

Asahel Wright

While driving through downtown Centerville, you may have noticed a little sign on the side of the road denoting the Asahel Wright Museum.

Asahel Wright was born in 1786 in New Hampshire and moved to Centerville with his parents in 1814. In November of 1814, Asahel leased a farm of seven acres of land from Aaron Nutt, located near the southeast corner of Far Hills and Alex-Bell Road. Later, in August of 1816, he then purchased a portion of Lot # 3 of the Nutt Platt for $150, making the first recorded purchase of the property.

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Dan the Hermit

During the course of our research here at Dayton Unknown, we come across many authors over and over again, leading us to search their writings for more information and idea for future posts. One such author is a <em>Dayton Daily News</em> reporter from the 1930s, Howard Burba. Burba was always able to weave an interesting story, including this one about Daniel the Hermit.

The following is an excerpt of an article written by Howard Burba, which appeared in the Dayton Daily News on March 4, 1934.

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8.4.2019 – One Year Later

One year ago, tragedy struck Dayton in a way that will remain in our memories forever. Over the past year, we have watched the city heal and rally together in the midst of a lot of trials.Today we would like to honor the victims of the shooting that took place in the Oregon District on August 4th, 2019.

  • Megan Betts, age 22
  • Nicholas Cumer, age 25
  • Thomas “Teejay” McNichols, age 25
  • Lois “Lola” Oglesby, age 27
  • Logan Turner, age 30
  • Beatrice “Nicole” Warren-Curtis, age 36
  • Saheed Saleh, age 38
  • Monica Brickhouse, age 39
  • Derrick Fudge, age 57

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Philip Zenni – Mr. Titanic

During the icy, dark night hours of April 15, 1912, terrified passengers were crowding the deck aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, attempting to get into lifeboats as they were being lowered, under capacity, into the water. Men were being pushed back from the lifeboats, as the general rule was “women and children first.” Phillip Zenni, a passenger from Syria and the only known passenger heading to Dayton, Ohio, wasn’t buying it. Everyone should get a chance to get off this boat, he thought. Zenni waited until the officer keeping passengers back had turned his back, and once he was clear, Zenni jumped onto Lifeboat 6, made famous by the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.

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