Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Each calling or occupation of life, if honorable, has its place in the ranks of human existence. Emerson said, "All are needed by each one; nothing is fair or good alone." It is thus that each honorable work becomes an intricate part in the activity and prosperity of the nation, but is a recognized fact that the noblest lives are those which are devoted in a large measure to aiding and assisting others. "Bear ye one another's burdens" is the divine command, whose execution and uplifts all who follow the mandate. Mr. Jay is devoting his life to a most humane work. It is concerned with those large, loving interests affecting humanity, and his broad sympathy and great kindliness well qualify him for the important task which he is now discharging. He is at the head of the Knoop Children's Home, at Troy, and under his supervision the institution has had a prosperous career. Its beneficent influence is like the ever-widening circles of the water and cannot be measured by any known standard. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me."

    Mr. Jay was born at Pleasant Hill, Miami county, on the 20th of November, 1850, his parents being Joseph Furnas and Mary (Coate) Jay. His father's birth occurred on the farm where Henry first opened his eyes to the light of day, the grandparents being William and Mary (Furnas) Jay, who entered the land prior to the war of 1812. There the grandfather resided until his death, which occurred at the age of sixty-five years. His wife, Mary, had passed away many years previous. She was born in Montgomery county and at the time of her marriage was a resident of Miami county. After her death her husband was twice married. Joseph Jay, the father of our subject, was born about 1814, spent his entire life on the homestead farm, and died in 1874, in his sixtieth year. His wife survived him until seventy-three years of age. The farm passed into possession of their son, Oliver Perry, who sold it about two years ago.

    Henry Jay, whose name introduces this review, spent his boyhood days under the parental roof and early became familiar with the work of the farm in its various departments. He pursued his education in the common schools of the neighborhood and in a high school at Pleasant Hill. He manifested exceptional mechanical skill in his youth, but was connected with agricultural interests until his marriage, which occurred August 27, 1875, Miss Laura A. Griffith, of Adrian, Michigan, becoming his wife. Her father, Rev. George L. Griffith, a minister of the Christian church, is now living retired near Troy, and is widely known in his denomination. He carried on farming in Miami county until he assumed charge of the Ludlow Falls Saw & Lumber Mill, which he operated until chosen superintendent of the Children's Home, at Troy. He was well known to the trustees of the institution, having had numerous business deals with them previous to this, and thus gained their confidence and proved his ability to superintend the home. On the 1st of March, 1891, he became its superintendent and his wife was appointed matron. Under his careful supervision the work has been carried forward most successfully. The task of securing homes for the children devolves almost entirely upon Mr. and Mrs. Jay, and they have been very fortunate in placing many of these little ones in families where they have received good care and are trained in habits of industry, economy and honesty, so that they become honorable men and women. Such is the confidence that the trustees repose in Mr. Jay that they have given him great latitude in his work, not hampering him with restrictions which would limit the field of his usefulness. The sanitary condition of the school is most excellent, and during the past five years, with an attendance of six hundred children, there has not been a single death in the home. An excellent Sabbath school is conducted in connection with the home, under the direction of S. G. Harbaugh, of Casstown, who is acting as superintendent. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, of Troy, also gives an earnest supervision to the work of the institution, and annually sends its representatives to the home with beautiful flowers for each child. Although there have been epidemics in the institution, about forty per cent being sick with diphtheria, the splendid care and attention which were given the children by the superintendent, the matron and the attending physician have enabled them to report that not a single death has occurred. Mr. Jay is a man of excellent business and executive ability, as well as of broad sympathy, and thus his labors are rendered effective and practical. His life is indeed a useful and honorable one, commending itself to the regard of all, and winning him high admiration for his many excellent qualities.


    Perhaps no institution in Miami county reflects more credit upon the citizens of the locality than does the Knoop Children's Home, at Troy, wherein many little homeless boys and girls are each year provided with tender care and given not only the necessities but also many of the comforts of life. Under the able superintendence of two men, who have had the place in charge, it has indeed been made a home, and the kindness and attention denied children by their parents or as the result of an adverse fate is here accorded them. The institution had its beginning on the 4th of June, 1877, when John K. Knoop deeded to Isaac Clyne, W. H. Northcutt and D. E. Branson, commissioners of the county, and their successors, the place known as the John Statler farm, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of valuable land in Elizabeth township, the condition attaching thereto being that the commissioners erect a building and maintain it as a children's home. The question of accepting the gift and providing funds to build and maintain the place was voted upon in October of that year, with the following result: five thousand eight hundred and ninety-one votes for and one hundred and seventy-five against its establishment. D. W. Gibbs, of Toledo, was selected as the architect, and on the 8th of May, 1878, contracts were awarded to various builders, the home being erected at a cost of sixteen thousand two hundred and seventy dollars and twenty-five cents. The total cost of the main building, including the gas fixtures, was twenty-four thousand one hundred and seventy- one dollars and fifty-nine cents and the entire improvements up to date have been made at a cost of forty-eight thousand dollars. The first trustees selected were William Scott, of Piqua; Jacob Rohrer, of Tippecanoe City, and S. K. Harter, of Troy. Mr. Scott, however, declined to serve and R. P. Spiker was selected in his place. W. Barnes was chosen superintendent and his wife, Mrs. Martha Barnes, was made matron. On the 10th of March, 1878, he assumed control, and when the institution was opened fifty-two children were placed in its care. Throughout the intervening years it has had a prosperous existence. The idea was put forth that the home would be overcrowded and that the expense would be too heavy for the tax payers, but in 1899, twenty-one years after the establishment of the home, there were only forty-five children therein. However, during the intervening years it has afforded shelter and secured homes for seven hundred and seventy children. Mr. Barnes, the first superintendent, remained in charge for twelve years, or until 1890, when he was succeeded by Henry Jay. Instructions equal to the regular ten-months schooling is given to the children in the home, who are under the care of two competent teachers. The terms of admission to the home are very liberal, the institution furnishing shelter and protection to such children, who by reason of abandonment by parents or orphanage or neglect or inability of parents to provide for them, become dependent on others. They must have resided at least one year in Miami county, or may be residents of other counties if the trustees wish to admit them to the school. All kinds of small products and fruits and grain are raised in sufficient quantities to provide the table and also for stock-feeding purposes, and thus the institution contributes largely to its own support. The majority of the children who have entered the home have been placed with private families, and in a greater number cases have received good care and attention and have grown to be a credit to those who have kindly sheltered them.


    Jacob Henne, proprietor of the Troy brewery, which for many years has been operated under the name of Joseph Henne & Son, was born on the 10th of July, 1861, in the city which is still his home, his parents being Joseph and Mary (Long) Henne. The father was born in Germany, and when about eighteen years of age crossed the Atlantic to the new world, locating in Troy. For a number of years he was engaged in the retail shoe business, and in 1874 he purchased an interest in the Troy Brewery, of Titus Schwind. The business was conducted for some time under the firm name of Henne & Mayer, after which Mr. Henne purchased his partner's interest, carrying on the business alone for some time. In 1884, however, he deeded a half interest to his son, Jacob Henne, who was associated with him until his death. The father departed this life December 28, 1890, and since 1895 Jacob Henne has been sole proprietor of the business. He was reared in Troy, obtaining his education in the public schools, and on putting aside his text-books he entered the brewery to learn the business, gaining a practical knowledge of the work in every department. His entire life has been given to this enterprise, and he is now the sole proprietor although operations are still conducted under the old firm name. He has made many improvements on the property, the plant now having a capacity of five thousand barrels per annum, and the sales are very extensive, the excellent product securing a liberal patronage. Since his father's death he has also been a director in the Troy National Bank.

    In politics Mr. Henne is a Democrat, warmly espousing the principles of that party. In April, 1891, he was elected a member of the city council for two years, representing the fourth ward, and in April, 1899, he was elected as water works trustee for a term of three years. Socially he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Those who have had business relations with him esteem him for his reliable methods, and in his circle of friends he is held in high regard.

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