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From the 1880 History of Miami County Ohio


By Dr. G. Volney Dorsey

Washington Township, the smallest in size, though the wealthiest and most populas of the townships of Miam County, is situated on the western side of the Great Miami River, and, numbering from the west is the second in the northern tier of townships in the county. It is bounded on the north by Shelby County, on the east by the townships of Spring Creek and Staunton, on the south by Concord and Newton, and on the west by Newberry. The surface is undulating in the eastern and southern portions but flat in the western part. The soil is very fertile, especially in the bottoms adjoining the river, and on the flat lands of the west, which are deeply covered with a black vegetable mold, forming, when drained, an exceedingly productive and durable farming land. The southern portion, in the vicinity of the Miami, has fine quarries of an excellent quality of limestone, which is extensively used throughout the northwest part of the State, and also in the neighboring counties of Indiana.

The portion of this township around the old Indian town, known commonly as Upper Piqua, was among the earliest settlements of the State, and hence the Indian history, as well as that of the early white settlements, is full of very interesting details which are rapidly passing away. The history is very largely, indeed an un-written one, and as such, much of it has perished with the actors and their immediate decendents, while the scanty materials which remain are daily passing away, with the lives of those, who, holding them only by oral tradition, have too frequently neglected to put them in any durable shape. They are scattered over the country in the memories of the few settlers of townships and neighborhoods who came in, in the early days, and, they must be seperately and laboriously gathered for some hand to unite, in time, into a more complete and continuous narrative. Local history is not only interesting in itself, but is valuable as a record of the past, which is the foundation of a present and future. Facts connected with the early history of a village or township, often have an imnportant bearing on events in which the whole county is concerned, and through these, may reach even to a higher importance. To secure these passing facts, which are being so rapidly lost beyond the possibility of recovery, is the object of the present work.

Washington Township is particularly noted as one of the most celebrated of the Indian locations in the Northwestern Territory. Here was the last home of the red man in the county, and here were the earliest white settlements. The Shawanese villages, known in early history of the West as the Twighteewee Towns, celebrated in the early border warfare, and where prisoners were generally brought when captured by these Indians, in their raids on the white settlements in Kentucky and Western Virginia, were located about two miles higher up the Miami River than the site of the present city of Piqua at what is usually called Upper Piqua. It was here that Fort Piqua, long a British post of some importance, was built. This fort was located after the capture of Fort Du Quesne by the English, and formed one of the most westerly of the British points of defense. It was afterward used as a place of deposit for provisions and supplies for our armies when engaged in Indian warfare in the West, and was especially serviceable to Gen. Wayne when he marched through the county to chastise the Indians after the unfortunate defeat of Gen. St. Claire at Fort Recovery in the present county of Mercer. The last commander of this post was Capt. I.N. Vischer, in 1794. After this time, it was almost entirely abandoned, and it was finally dismantled and the materials removed.

The last battle of the French wars, and indeed the last encounter of any importance between the French and English forces in North America, was fought at Upper Piqua (as the fort and grounds in its vicinity have come to be designated), on a part of the farm known as the Col. John Johnston farm, just above the mouth of Swift Run, on the plat of ground lying to the right of the St. Mary's turnpike, where it winds around the hill after crossing the creek. From eight hundred to one thousand European troops were engaged on each side with large bodies of Indians, the French being aided by the Miamis, Wyandots and Ottawas, and the English by the Delaware, Shawnees, Senecas and others. Col. John Johnston used frequently to relate the fact that he had been told by the Indian chief Cornstalk, who remembered well the scenes of the battle, though then only a boy, but present then with his tribe, the Shawnees; it began, he said, at sunrise, on a warm day in June, and continued until it became dark in the evening. The French were finally defeated, and re-treated toward Detroit, or more probably toward Vincennes, but never made a stand afterward in the county. Many persons now living remember well that bullets and cannonballs, occasionally a sword or bayonet, and sometimes the old and rusted barrel of a musket, were plowed up in cultivating these grounds, for many years after they were brought under the entire control of the white settler.

Upper Piqua was the headquarters of the Shawnees as long as they remained in the Miami country, but was finally abandoned, when they went north to Wapakoneta. Before their removal, however, to the West, beyond the Mississippi, they came down in body to the old grounds, and remained several days in the neighborhood of their former homes, and several members of the tribe since their removal when visiting the East, have turned aside to look again on the honored and well-remembered spot.

Piqua in the Shawnee tongue signifies "ashes," and the legend, as related by the Indians, is, that long years before the white man came, they burned a captured enemy on the site of their town, and when the body was reduced to cinders, they saw suddenly the form of a man rising from the funeral pile, and standing erect before them. Struck with astonishment at the vision, they exclaimed, "Otatha-he- wagh-piqua," "He has come out from the ashes"--and from that time the name of the town was called "Piqua." The late George C. Johnston, Esq., who was for many years a trader with the Shawnees, and was adopted into their tribe and spoke their language perfectly, is the authority for this history. The name thus continues to hand down to succeeding generations the language and tradition of the red man, who is so rapidly disappearing from among us.

Washington Township was organized with its present limits in 1814, but several years before that time a settlement and village were commenced on the present site of Piqua. A mman named Joe Gard, who accompanied Wayne's army to Greenville in the capacity of a sutler, returned after a time to the old fort at Upper Piqua, and remained there until it was broken up and the works destroyed. He then, having gathered up a portion of the wood and irom used in its construction, removed with it lower down the river, and located himself at what was then called, from the eastern detour of the river, Piqua Bend. Here he built a cabin and made what was then called an improvement, which usually meant clearing off a patch of ground and surrounding it with a worm fence. This was about the year 1798.
Long before this, however, portions of the land in and about the bend were cultivated by the Indians in corn, but no white man had yet made his home on them. In 1799, John Manning bought the improvement of Gard and occupied it for several years. It was located on what is now the east side of Harrison Street, toward the south end of the street,and extended a short distance down the hill, then much more considerable than it now appears, and stretched along the river bank, on what is now Water Street. Settlers now began to come in slowly, and, as a protection against the Indians, their cabins were placed somewhat close together. It was not long before the families began to desire something better than the hand-mill, usually operated by a lever attached to a sweep. not much unlike the old well-sweeps which can still occasionally be seen in the country. These hand-mills and the primitive hominy mortars, made by hollowing out the log of a good sized tree, were the main sources of supply of farinaceous food for the early inhabitants of the West, but as numbers increased, all began to wish for something better. Accordingly, about the spring of the year 1804, Manning commenced the erection of a mill on the Miami, near the south end what is now Harrison Street, and perhaps two hundred yards west of the present steam flouring mill now standing on the south side of Water Street. This was the first mill in this section of the country. John Manning and Matthew Caldwell entered the land on which the town of Piqua stands, and also considerable tracts in the immediate vicinity, and on the 29th day of June, 1807, Armstrong Brandon began the work of laying out the town plat on their lands. Brandon was subsquently connected with the original proprietors in the ownership of the town plat. In this year Piqua consisted of seven houses, all built of logs, and owned and occupied by John Manning, Edward Manning, Alexander Ewing, Benjamin Leavell, Arthur Brandon, Nathaniel Whitcomb, and Joseph Porquette. All these houses were built on that part of Water Street, in the vicinity of the Lock Mill and the railroad. Ewing opened the first tavern in a house standing on the west side of Main Street, below the railroad, and very near the present location of Benkert's saddler shop. On the opposite side of the street was the cabin of Joseph Proquette. At that time, there was quite a broad strip of land between the east side of the street and the river bank, since occupied by the canal, the railroad and the west end of the river bridge. This was claimed by Porquette. Ewing was a trader, and, in addition to his tavern had a few articles of traffic which he sometimes exchanged with the Indians for skins and furs. As the village grew, the consumption of liquor very naturally increased, and Porquette kept some whiskey also on his side of the street, which was not a little frequented, from the fact that the first blacksmith shop stood hard by, and hence it happened that occasionally little disturbances arose in the vicinity, somewhat to the disgust of the good and sober people in the other houses, and as the numbers year by year increased, and these outbreaks became more marked and frequent, Porquette's little piece of ground was at length called by the distinctive appellation of the "Devil's Half-acre," that it might be known that this was all the territory to which it was believed His Satanic Majesty could rightfully lay claim within the limits of the town. This name continued for many years, and it was only after the larger portion of the ground was buried in the canal and the evil spirit probably laid beneath its waters, that the name was lost, and is now only remembered by a few of the old inhabitants.

There was no post office until 1811, when a weekly post-route was extended from Dayton. Arthur Brandon was the first Postmaster, receiving his commission from President Madison. He was succeeded after a few years by William Johnston.

The first Trustees elected after the organization of the township before noticed in 1814, were John Widney, Benjamin Brandon and William Mitchell. The latter, and his brother Robert, came from Tennessee several years before, and were the first settlers in the township outside the boundries of the village, The first Justice of the Peace in the township was Matthew Caldwell. In those days there was little litigation; the early settlers lived quietly and peacably, neighbors settled their small difficulties by the advice and counsel of friends of the parties, and when more serious troubles occured, which could not be adjusted in this way it was not unusual to decide the matter by a physical encounter, in which the longest arms and the most ponderous blows demonstrated the possessor of the most rightful acuse.

The village continued to increase, growing up with the influx of inhabitants into the surrounding country. In 1820, there were about four hundred inhabitants, and in 1830, nearly seven hundred. As early as 1823, an act of incorporation was granted by the General Assembly of the State, in which it is stated that "the householders in the town of Piqua, in the county of Miami, having complied with the provisions of the act of the General Assembly, entitled "An act to provide for the incorporation of towns," and having filed in the office of the Secretary of Statee, the documents required by the above-recited act, etc." This act of incorporation bears the date January 7, 1823, and has the signature of Jeremiah McLene, then Secretary of State, and the grand seal of the State of Ohio affixed. The town is therein described as "situate on the western bank of the Great Miami River, and was originally laid out by John Manning and Matthew Caldwell, and includes a part of fractional Sections 17 and 18, in Township No. 6 east, First Meridian, comprising one hundred and one lots, and containing in said original plat fifty-two acres, which said plat was recorded on the records of the county of Miami on the 28th day of August, 1807, and also an addition thereto called the North Addition, which was laid out by Enos Manning and Charles Murray, which said last meantioned plat was recorded in the Recorder's office of the county aforesaid on the 10th day of July, 1816, and consists of fifty-three lots, being part of fractional Section No. 17, Township No. 6 and Range No. 6 east, First Meridian. The whole of said town as contained on and represented by said plats, is bounded by the Great Miami River on the north, by the lands of Charles Murray and Manning on the east, by the Great Miami River and lands of William Johnston on the south, and by the lands of John Campbell, Matthew Caldwell and John Kyte on the west, which said town was originally named and called Washington, but was afterward, by an act of the Legislature of this State, changed to Piqua, by which name it is now known and called."

The original of these "Letters of Incorporation," is now in possession of Dr. Dorsey, and is preserved at the Citizens' National Bank, of Piqua.

In the winter of 1832-33, the General Assembly of Ohio passed an act extending the Miami & Erie Canal, which already reached from Cincinnati to Dayton, from the latter point to Piqua, a distance of thirty miles. In the spring of 1834, the surveys having been made and the line generally located, the letting of the various sections was advertised, and during the summer the work was put under contract. An immediate impetus was given to the growth of the village, which it was well understood would become for a time the head of navigation, so soon as the canal should be completed. Several hundred Irish and German laborers were soon at work in the town and vicinity, north and south, for it was necessary to carry the canal nearly four miles to the north of the town, to the State dam on the river, where the supply of water was to be obtained. Contractors on the north end of the line made their headquarters in Piqua. Bodies of engineers flocked into the town, estimates were paid every sixty or ninety days, and the population in a single year ran up to more then fifteen hundred. Business of all kinds also increased very largely, and the little village of a few years before, assumed all the appearances of a busy, growing and prosperous town. In the summer of 1837 the work was completed, the water was turned into its new channel, and the first canalboat, an old hulk which had been brought up on wheels from Dayton, or somewhere in the vicinity, was floated on the waters on the 4th of July of that year. The entire and successful navigation of the canal was soon established. Freight boats and a line of packets for travel were making regular trips. The town and the entire neighboring country felt the effects of the large increase of business and travel, and piqua, as the head of navigatinon on the canal, was the most important town in Northwest Ohio. This continued for nearly seven years before the canal was extended and completed through to the lake at Toledo. During all these years, Piqua enjoyed the trade of all the northwest of Ohio, and much of Eastern and Northeastern Indiana. The heavy goods for all of this region of country were brought here by water, and conveyed thence by wagons to their destined places of sale. A very large portion of the products of all the same country poured in here also for shipment on the canal. No railroads, as yet, traversed the land, and the Southern market was still the point to which the produce of the Great West slowly wended its way. Towns that have now grown to importance through the aid of great railroad facilities, were then dependent on wagon transportation for all their supplies, and Richmond, Fort Wayne, St. Mary's, Lima and all their surroundings, naturally drew to Piqua as the nearest point where the heavy and cumbrous carriage on very bad roads could be changed for the easy and comparatively rapid transportation of the canal. In 1844, when the canal was open to the lake for business, Piqua had already grown to be a town of nearly five thousand inhabitants. Since that time the growth has been less rapid, but it has still gone forward. Railroads have cut much of the trade from the more distant towns, but the increased population and wealth of the fertile Miami Valley, one of the best tracts of land in the world, and teeming with everything that can conduce to the comfort and happiness of men, have still enabled the young city to go forward in its career of prosperity, with scarcely a step backward, save in those seasons of commercial and financial depression which have been so severly felt throughout our country.

At various times since the organization of the county, Piqua has desired and has made vigorous attempts to secure the location of the county seat in her corporate limits. Having been always much the largest and wealthest town in the county, it was believed that the real interests of the county would be subserved by the removal of the business of the whole county to this place. And there is no doubt that at various times, could the voice of the people have controlled the location of the seat of justice, its place would have been at Piqua. But the completion of the county buildings at Troy has, for a time at least, and perhaps forever, settled that much-vexed question. For years past, Piqua has been turning her attention to the increase of her manufactures as the surest means of securing an increase of population and wealth. There are very few points in the State, where the efforts of the people in this direction have been crowned with more complete success. Her extensive and inexhaustable stone quarries supply her with the best possible material for building; her railroads have opened the way for the easy access of all the coal necessary for steam machinery, and iron is also brought in abundance and at cheap rates. The river and canal afford a good supply of water power; but, perfectly aware that yet more was necessary to insure the necessary facilities for increased machinery, the people in 1865 conceived the idea of constructing an hydraulic canal, which would not only afford an ample supply of water for domestic purposes and for the suppression of fires in every part of the town, but would also afford a large amount of additional power for manufacturing purposes. This canal is taken out from the Miami & Erie Canal, at Lockport, in Shelby County, below the entrance of the Sidney feeder, and more that four miles to the north of Piqua, brought across the Loramie River, and, passing along the western border of the town, finds its was again to the canal at the south end of the corporation. The fall from the point of exit at Lockport to its entrance into the main canal at Piqua is fifty-two feet. The supply of water is abundant; there are several small reservoirs on the line, and one two miles above Piqua covering about sixty-five acres. These act as important feeders, adding a valuable supply of water, in addition to that derived from the State. There are already on the hydraulic, a large paper-mill, one of the largest oil-mills in the State, and another paper-mill and straw-board manufactory to be erected during the present year. The supply of water for all domestic purposes is abundant, and is afforded at a very moderate cost. Our citizens avail themselves freely of this luxury in the summer-time, keeping their dooryards and pavements well sprinkled, as well as the streets throughout the city, freeing us from the dust so prevalent in most of the towns in the State. The pressure afforded by the fall alone is quite sufficient to carry the water to all points and to the uppermost stories of the houses for domestic purposes, and, in case of a fire, a telegraphic communication is arranged from the City Hotel office to the waterhouse, at the west end of North Street, when an additional pressure is put on, sufficient to carry streams of water four inches in diameter to the roofs of the highest buildings. The water-works are returning a good income to the city, and the cost of running them does not exceed $150 per year.

The gas works of the city were erected in 1854, by R.T. Coverdale, Esq. who took one-half the stock, the balance being taken by ten citizens of the town. The works have been successful and renumerative. The original stock was bought up by A.G. Conover and Joseph G. Young, and, on death of these gentlemenm the stock of Mr. Conover was purchased by Mr. Spinning, of Dayton, who, with the estate of J.G. Young, still carries on the works. Many of the large houses and manufacturing establishments are lighted by the gas machine, patented and manufactured by John Stafford, of this city, which is highly successful, and its claimed to furnish a cheaper light than is afforded by the gas company.

The streets of the city, though unfortunately rather narrow, have been carefully improved, a good system of sewerage has been gradually introduced, and few cities of the second class in the State can boast of cleaner or smoother streets for driving. The paving of the sidewalks is, in many places, very rough, having been laid down at an early day with small irregular surface flagging, serving only the purpose of lifting the passengers from the mud, but being by no means agreeable for walking, but on Main Street this has been almost wholly replaced by smooth and well-jointed paving-stones, taken from the neighboring quarries, and the same improvement is being gradually carries out on the other streets.

Piqua is well supplied with railroads. The great east-and-west road, the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway, passes directly thru the town, making travel in both these directions exceedingly convenient. New York, Washington and the Eastern cities are reached in twenty-four hours time, without change of cars, while Chicago and St. Louis are brought within a few hours travel, and all Western cities are readily reached. The Dayton & Michigan road crosses the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis railway, just on the eastern side of town, and furnishes easy communication to the north and south. Our people go to Cincinnati in less than four hours, allowing sufficient time for attending to business and returning the same day. These means of carriage, together with the Miami & Erie Canal, give great facilities for the transportation of all the products of the country, hence Piqua is the center of a very large grain trade. Stone and lime are carried very extensively in all directions.

The inhabitants of Piqua have never ceased to value the great advantages of canal transportation. They have ever regarded the Miami & Erie Canal as one important source of their wealth and prosperity; and, while in many parts of the State a willingness and even an anxiety has been manifested to abandon our canals, the people of Piqua, in common with nearly all the inhabitants living in the vicinity of this important line, have stood up bravely and faith-fully, for the maintenance of these important works. We are glad to see that this sentiment is beginning again to be strong and popular in the State. For years, the people on this line have been obliged to resist attempts at hostile legislation in the General Assembly, but they have always been found at the post of duty, and are now beginning to see evident effects of their long and contin- uous struggles. The Miami & Erie Canal Association has been very largely instrumental in producing this change of feeling in the people. Their careful and steady opposition to all measures tending to injury of our canals, and the publications which they have laid year by year before the members of the Legislature, and distributed the State, have awakened the people to the importance of caring for these works and preserving them for the benefit of all the inhabit- ants. These works have long since paid the State for their construction. They have increased its wealth by hundreds of millions of dollars, and under proper management, will always not only keep up all their own expenses, but will also pay no inconsiderable revenue into the State Treasury. The officers of the Miami & Erie Canal Association are G. Volney Dorsey, of Piqua, President; Emanual Schultz, of Miamisburg, Vice President; J.C. Richardson, of Glendale, Secretary; and Thomas Fox, of Lockland, Treasurer. The Executive Committee, G.V. Dorsey, Piqua; C.H. Wardlaw, Middletown; W.P. Huffman, Dayton; Henry Pearce, Cincinnati; Philip H. Herzing, St. Mary's; Richard Slawson, Piqua.

The Legislative Committee, Stephen Johnston, W.J. Jackson and J.F. McKinney, whose duty require them to meet the unfriendly legislation by statistics and agreements presented by the Standing Committees on Public Work in the Legislature of Ohio, which duties have been dis-charged by them with ability and success, defeating all attempts to cripple or injure the canals of the State by legislation.

Municipal Govenment

From the date of incorporation among the towns of the State, in 1823, up to 1850, Piqua was governed under the act of the General Assembly regulating such corporations, but, on the 19th of March, in the year 1850, it was incorporated as a city of the second class, and Stephen Johnston, Esq., was elected Mayor. The first City Counsil convened April 9, 1850, and the members were Patrick Scully, James Noland, Rankin Walkup and Henry Rouser. The first City Marshal was Samuel B. Garvey. The same number of wards has been continued up to the present time, with only slight changes in their several boundries. Two members of Counsil are now elected from each ward. The present Mayor is George Dettmer, Esq.; City Marshal, John Frantz; City Clerk, James Hatch; City Solicitor, W.D. Jones, Esq.; President of Council, Henry Flesh, Esq. Members: First Ward, H. Flesh, W.H. Harbaugh; Second Ward, Amos Abele, John F. Hemsteger; Third Ward, G.N. Ziegenfelder, William McWilliams; Fourth Ward, William P. Orr, Howard Scudder. Street Commissioner, W.B. Segner.


The earliest settlers, coming as they did from Pennsylvania or from some of the Southern or Slave States, knew nothing of the common-school system. However, they were generally persons of a moderate degree of culture, and, in a few instances, very well educated. As soon as the most pressing wants of providing for actual subsistence and shelter were properly attended to, they began to realize the importance of looking after the training and education of the younger members of their families. The first schoolhouse was built in 1809, outside of the then limits of the town and near the present corner of Main and Young Streets, and the first teacher was Isaac Hendershott. The early appliances for the accomodation of scholars were of the rudest and most economical description; benches of plank or puncheons- that is, broad slabs split or hewn from the trunk of a tree served for seats; they were without backs, supported on four clumsily formed legs, let into the seat by holes bored with an auger, and so high that the feet of the smaller scholars generally hung dangling little more than half way to the floor. The writing tables used by the larger and more advanced pupils were planks also, fastened with wooden hinges to the log walls, enabling them to be let down when not in actual use. These composed the entire school furniture, but the instruction was substantial, and good men and women came forth from these early centers of learning prepared to do their duty bravely and well in the great battle of life.

It was not until 1818 that a brick building of small size was erected on the public square, dignified with the more pretentious name of a seminary, and where more through and systematic instruction was given. The first instructor was Rev.John Finley. The same building was frequently used for church purposes by various denominations of Christians, particularly by the Methodists who had yet no church building of their own, and men of note and ability, such as William Raper, James and John Finley, and Henry T. Bascom, afterward President of Augusta College, Kentucky, and one of the greatest pulpit orators of the West, gave there earnest and pure religious discourses to enlighten and guide these early pioneers.

No system of common public schools was organized until about 1850, when a Board of Education was elected, under what was then called the Massillon law of the State. Three district schoolhouses were erected, one for the north, one for the west and one for the south portion of the town, and a regular system of schools was commenced. These house were small size, having a single room below and above, with a small hall or entry attached to each; they were deemed, however, sufficient for the wants of the time, and served a good purpose for several years; they have now all disappeared, and are remembered only among the things of the past, and their places are supplied by the excellent and really elegant buildings of the ward schoolhouses, which, particularly in the north and south districts, are an honor and ornament to the town. In 1854, after much discussion and no inconsiderable opposition among the citizens, it was determined to erect a high-school building, and introduce a regular system of graded schools. The committee appointed from the Board of Education to select a site for the house and to superintend its erection, consisted of G. Volney Dorsey, President, and William Scott, Treasurer, of the Board. After careful examination, two acres of ground were purchased, in the western part of the town, from Matthew Caldwell, Esq., and the present high school was built. The plan of construction, so far as regards the internal arrangements, was modeled on the comparison of what were then the three best school buildings in the State--those of Massillon, Columbus and Lebanon--and the building, when completed, was considered one of the very best at that time in the State. Many far superior have since been erected, but, at that time, the Piqua High School was considered unequaled in excellence of its arragnments for the accommodation of both teachers and scholars. The first teacher and Superintendent, Mr. A.G. Chambers, of Miami University, to whose judgment, activity and energy in organizing and putting the schools in operation, is due much of the success which has since attended them. The present Superintendent, Mr. C.W. Bennett, of the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, has been for several years at the head of the schools, and is known throughout the State as an able and successful educator. He is supported by a very able corps of assistants, among whom should be mentioned Miss Mary Hall, Principal of the Female Department, and Mr. C.F. Wilder, at the head of the Grammar School. The Board of Education consists of G. Volney Dorsey, President; F. Hardy, Secretary; and Messrs. John D. Shannon, J.F. Hummel, Jennison Hall and Simon Anderson. The School Examiners for the city are Rev. Lyman Fisher, C.W. Bennett and G. Volney Dorsey. Great care has been taken to employ only thoroughly competent teachers. The course of instruction is through, and by no better scholars are made at any of the high schools of the State than are graduated at Piqua.

Much of the marked success of our public schools, is to be attributed to the fact that the citizens of the town have always manifested great interest in their welfare. The school examinations and exhibitions, the graduating exercises, and the literary entertainments of the societies connected with the schools, have been liberally patronized by the best citizens and ladies of the town, and every encouragment has been extended to students to endeavor to reach a high standard of excellence. The course of study in the high school embraces, in addition to the English branches, Latin and German, and a scientific course is also given for those desiring to graduate without entering classical studies. This course is quite largely patronized by young men from the surrounding country, and from many of the neighboring towns. Drawing is taught by a competent instructor and many of the pupils have made commendable progress, and give decided indications of possessing artistic talent. It is also intended to introduce music as part of the regular course.


Piqua has long been noted for the number and excellence of its churches. Very few places of the same size present so many attracttions to those wishing to locate in a thoroughly moral and church-going community. The denomination which was the first to occupy the field by the erection of a place of worship, was the United Presbyterians, who as early as 1816, built a log church in the south part of the town. Prior to this time, religious services had been held in the houses erected for schools, sometimes in the homes of the early settlers, and not unfrequently in the open air, under the spreading branches of the leafy groves, which were "God's first Temples." The first minister appointed to this church was Rev. Dyer Burgess, a gentleman of decided talent, though somewhat eccentric in manners. He succeeded in laying the foundations of a flourishing congregation, which still continues to occupy a leading and influential position among the religious divisions of the city. This house, which occupied the lot on the southeast corner of Downing and Sycamore Streets, was replaced in 1837, by a neat brick building erected under the ministry of Rev. James Porter, of Miami University, who filled the pulpit for several years with acceptance and ability. Another larger building has since been erected on Downing Street, between Green and Ash Streets, and the pulpit is now occupied by Rev. John H. Brown. The families of the Campbells, Wileys, Pattersons. Gillespies and Sawyers, are among the oldest and most widely extended of the membership of this church.

The Methodists firsts occupied the seminary in the public sqare as a place of worship, but in 1825, they built a small brick church on Spring Street, between Ash and High Streets, on ground now lying on the east side of the canal. Here they continued to worship until 1836, when a larger building was erected at the southeast corner of Wayne and Green Streets, now known as the Green Street Church. Under the pastoral care of Rev. Granville Moody, this building was entirely remodeled, and so much improved as to become one of the finest churches in the county, occupied by a very large and wealthy congregation, embracing many of the leading citizens of the town. A very large and flourishing Sunday schhol is connected with the church, conducted in such manner as to render it both attractive and instructive; the music is very fine, both vocal and instrumental, and a large number of young persons are to be found who date their earliest religious impressions from the lessons here given, and still find their moral sentiments strengthened by the exercises in which they are every week engaged. The present minister is Rev. Mr. Cassatt; the Superintendent of the Sunday school, Mr. Joshua W. Shipley. The church has an excellent organ, and a large and well-instructed choir of singers. To the energy and ability of Mr. Ship-ley much of the excellence of the music as well as the success of the Sunday school is attributable.

Another flourishing Methodist Church is situated on Water Street, between Coldwater and Downing Streets, known as Grace Church. Rev. James Stevenson is the present minister in charge. This congregation an offshoot of the Green Street Church, located themselves first on Wayne Street, south of the railroad, in the house now occupied by the German Reformed Church; but, finding their numbers rapidly increasing, they determined to remove to what was deemed a better location, and chose their present site, as being more in the center of population in the city. They have a very handsome building, a good Sunday School and an active working congregation. Many of the oldest citizens of Piqua are active members of the Methodist Church, among whom may be named J.M. Chevers, Henry Kitchen, Samuel Petit, William H. Crosier and Stephen Widney; while among those who have resided a less number of years in the city, but are known as prominent members, may be mentioned the families of the Shipleys, Dr. C.S. Parker, the Bowdies, Bennetts, Zollingers, Crons, Rhodehamels, Woods, Halls, etc.
The Old School Presbyterians had their first church on Wayne Street, south of Sycamore, on what is now called the old cemetery lot, a brick building erected in 1830. Rev. James Coe was the first minister, a man still deservedly held in high esteem by many of the old members of the congregartion. Under the pastorate of Rev. John A. Meeks, the present church was built, on the southeast corner of Wayne and Ash Streets, about the year 1844. It has undergone many excellent improvements, and is now one of the best church buildings in the city, a flourishing Sunday school and a numerous and zealous congregation give a foundation rendering this one of the strongest denominations in the county. It is commonly known as the First Presbyterian.

The Second Presbyterian Church, under the name of the New School Presbyterian, was erected a few years later, also on Wayne Street, between Green and Ash. The first minister was Rev. Mr. Graves, who was succeeded by several excellent and able men, and the congregation was, for many years, large and flourishing; but in the union of these two divisions of the Presbyterian body in 1876, this congregation, under their own Pastor, Rev. J. Thompson, passed into the "Old School, and united their strength, under his leadership, with their brethren of this church. Mr. Thompson still continues as the minister of the united church, and is considered an able and acceptable Pastor. This union contributed much to the strngth of the church, which stands among the first in the city in every good work. Among the earliest members of this church, and those who did much in forming its character and placing it on a stable foundation, were the Elliotts, Adamses, Meekers, Statlers, Youngs, McKees, Mortons, Sages, Mitchells and Laymans. Some of these families have almost or quite passed away; in some, the younger branches are found commected with other churches, but the work laid out by their fathers still remains firm and steadfast.

The Baptists erected their first church in 1830, on Ash Steet, between Spring and Harrison, where they continued to worship until 1848, when they erected their present house on High Street, near Wayne. Many able men have occupied their pulpit, among whom may be mentioned Revs. John L. Moore, John E. Thomas and David E. Thomas, Mr. Osborne, Dr. Shephardson, and the present excellent minister, Rev. Lyman Fisher. A few years ago, a portion of the congregation seperated from the old church, and erected a new and handsome building on Ash Street, west of Broadway, where they have since continued to worship, sometimes employing a minister regularly, and at other times dependant on supplies obtained from neighboring churches. They have, therefore, now two good houses of worship; but the congregation, in their divided state, being weak, it would seem, would do well to imitate their Presbyterian brethren and unite their strength in one fold and under one pastor. The leading families among the old members and founders of this church are the Hilliards, Mannings, Blues, McCampbells, Garveys, Drakes and Cavins.

St. James Parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church was organized about the year 1820, under the supervision of Rev. E. Johnson, of Cincinnati, who, in connection with Rev. Mr. Allen, of Dayton, held services whenever they were able to attend the wants of the congregation. Col. John Johnston, of Upper Piqua, who was an active member of the church, was appointed a lay reader, and frequently served the parish in this capacity when the services of a regular minister could not be obtained. The first building for worship was erected on the corner of North and Spring Streets, a small but handsome brick church, built in 1825, well finished, and supplied with a bell donated by friends of the church in Ireland. The lot was given by a Mr. Murray, a member of the Roman Catholic Church and an Irishman. It was to be held by the parish so long as it was occupied by a church, but failing to be so used, was to revert to him or his heirs. This took place when the present church was erected on Wayne Street, near High. The first Rector regularly installed over the parish was Rev. Alvah Guyon, who enteres on his charge in 1830 and continued until 1842. Several excellent and able men have officiated in the rectorship of this church, among whom were Rev. Richard S. Killen, Rev. Chauncey Fitch, D. D., Rev. Henry Payne, Rev. Wyllys Hall and Rev. Henry Badger. The present Rector is Rev. J.H. Benton. The parish owns a neat parsonage immediately south of the church edifice. Among the old families of the church, we find the very widely extended name of the Johnstons, embracing no less than six distinct tough relate families, the Greenhams, McCorkles, Judge M. G. Mitchell, the Morrows, Scott, Chapeze, Adams, O'Ferrall, and others among the most prominent and active of the early citizens.

The German Lutherans have a large and very handsome church building on the corner Green and Downing Streets. They form a large, intelligent, and wealthy congregationm have a good Sunday school, show the German devotion to music by the fine organ in their church, and their love of Fatherland by having services entirely in their native tongue.

The United Brethren have a small church on Broadway, near High Street, with an active and faithful congregation.

The German Episcopal Methodists have also a small frame chusrch at south end of Wayne Street, and maintain a thorough organization.

The Roman Catholic Church erected their first church in Piqua, St. Mary's Church, about 1840, on the southwest corner of Broadway and North Streets, a very handsome and well-finished building, with a good parsonage attached; and immediately opposite, on the east side of Broadway, this church has an excellent sschool, conducted by the Sisters of Charity, who are known as very efficient teachers. This is now known as the Irish Church, while the German Catholics have a large and fine church, St. Bonifacius, erected in 1864, on Downing Street, south of the railroad, together with an excellent house, formerly occupied by the Brothers of the church, but now used as a parsonage. A schoolhouse and Sisters' house, on Adams Street, a short distance west of the church, belong also to the German church, which has a large and wealthy congregation.

The present Pastor of the Irish Church, or St. Mary's is Father Henry; the Pastors of St. Bonifacius are Father Fischer and Father Weiderhalt.

The Jews have a congregation also, which. though not numerous, is composed of some of the best and most active business men of the city. They have a room used as a synagogue in the building of Mr. Aaron Friedlich, on the northwest corner of the public square on Main Street.


The "Piqua Female Bible Society" was organized in 1817, under the of several excellent and benevolent ladies connected with the various churches of the town. It is one of the oldest of the auxiliaries of the American Bible Society, which came into existence only one year previous to its formation in 1816. The first President was Mrs. Rachel Johnston, and among the early members we recognize the names of Mrs. McLean, Mrs. McCorkle, Mrs. Morrow, Mrs. Widney, Mrs. Campbell, and others of the oldest settlers of the town and township. Mrs. Johnston continued to officiate until her death, in 1840, when Mrs. Eliza Petit, the present President, was chosen her successor, who for forty years, has faithfully attended to all the duties of her office, and has kept the society active in the prosecution of its great and glorious work.

The Masonic Order has very fine rooms in the third story of the large building on the southwest corner of the public square. The order was early introduced into the town, while yet only a small village, and Warren Lodge was established about 1835. Ward Lodge was established several years later; both occupied the same hall for many years, and have finally united as one body. A large and elegant Chapter is also in the same building.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows has two large and well attended lodges, and, as a beneficiary institution, exerts a widely exteneded influence for good. Their hall is in the upper story of the town house, in the public square. There are also several other orders or societies actively engaged in benevolent work in the city--the Very Ancient Order of Druids, The Benevelent Order of St. Patrick, connected with the Roman Catholic Church, and also the Order of the Royal Arcanum which meets in the Odd Fellows' Hall.

The Young Men's Christian Association has been organized for several years. They have excellent rooms in the basement of the opera house building--a reading room and library, and an active membership exerting a very decided influence for good among the young men of the city. The reading room is open every day, and also in the evening, is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals, and affords a most excellent place to resort to those who desire to spend an hour in reading or examining books or papers.


The first paper published in Miami County was issued at Piqua, July 6, 1820, under the name of the Piqua Gazette. The publisher, being printer and editor, was William R. Barrington, of Philadelphia, a gentleman of culture and a very able and foricle writer. Mr Barrington continued the publication until 1837, when the paper was sold to Jeremiah A. Dooley, and the name was changed to the " Intelligencer". It afterward passed through several hands, and was for a time very ably conducted by John W. Defrees, Esq., now the editor of the "Miami Union", at Troy; it was sold by him to Messrs. Writer and Brading, the former of whom became afterward sole proprietor. On the breaking-out of the rebellion, Col. Writer went into the Army and served reputably during the war, but the paper, being left without any responsible head, in a short time ceased to be published. The paper, when started by Barrington, was the advocate of the principles of the old Whig party, and under Mr. Defrees, passed to the Republican party, and continued to support the cause during the remainder of its existence.

No Democratic paper was published until 1847, when a party of gentlemen, of that party, formed a stock company, purchased a press and materials for an office, and employed D.M. Fleming, Esq., one of the stockholders, as editor. The paper was issued under the name of "Piqua Enquirer". The stock was afterward purchased by Mr. Fleming, under agreement with the company, and the paper has since been under his control. In the autumn of 1860, Mr. Fleming left the Democratic party, changed the name of his paper to the "Piqua Journal", which it still bears, and became an earnest advocate of the doctrines of the Republicans. In this faith the paper became steadfast, except for a short time, when the devotion of the editor led him to the support of Andrew Johnson, then President of the United States. This was, however, only temporary, and it has continued since entirely firm in its adherence to the Republican Party.

The "Miami County Democrat",. was first published by Messr. Horton & Teverbaugh, in 1860; but both these gentlemen entering the service of the country, on the breaking-out of the war, the paper was for a time discontinued, but was revived after the cessation of hostilities, under the editorial management of the Messrs. Smiley, who still continue to conduct it as an active and unswerving supporter of the doctrines of the present Democratic Party.

The "Miami Helmet" was commenced in 1874, by the Miami Publishing Co., and placed under the editorial management of I.S. Morris, Esq. It is devoted primarily to the support of the temperance cause, and has labored zealously and successfully in this field. It has not, however, been an extremist in the support of the political party known as the Temperance or Prohibition party, but has been always willing to throw its strngth to the aid of good and honest and temperate men, men who stand by the cause of the country, of morality and of re-ligion. The Miami Publishing Co. has a fine office, a good steam printing press, and under the direction of Mr. M. Rouzer, is rapidly becoming one of the most flourishing corporations of the city. The President is Mr. S. McWilliams; Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. Lewis Leonard.


There are two National banks in the city. The Piqua National is the successor of the Piqua Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, which was organized in 1847, with a capital of $100,000. President, William Scott (died: 1 June 1880, his son, John M. Scott, is now President) Cashier, Joseph G. Young; Teller, Henry Greenham. In 1865. this was changed to a national bank, and the same officers were continued. On the death of J.G. Young, in 1875, Henry Greenham was appointed Cashier, and continued until his death, in 1877. The capital in-creased to $200,000, when it was organized as a national bank. The present officers are President, William Scott; Cashier, Clarence Langdon; Assistant Cashier, John H. Patterson; Teller, Frank Roe.

The Citizen's National was organized in 1866, by William and M.N. Megrue, the former being President, and the latter Cashier, with a capital of $100,000. In 1867, it was bought from these gentlemen, by G. Volney Dorsey and Robert B. Moores, the former becoming Pres- ident, and the latter Cashier. The present officers are President, G. Volney Dorsey; Vice President, M. Friedlich; Cashier, Henry Flesh; Teller, Walker McC.Dorsey. In 1879, the capital stock was reduced to $60,000.


Though Piqua stands to-day among the best manufacturing towns in the State, yet the commencement in this line was very feeble and progressed slowly. We have already mentioned the erection of the first mill. Benjamin Leavell, who came to the village in 1805, was the first carpenter and millwright who opened business regularly. One of the earliest, if not the first blacksmith, was Joseph Defrees, and Nathaniel Whitcomb opened the first shop for making shoes. The earliest cooper's shop was by a Frenchman named Porquette, on the bank of the river nearly opposite Ewing's tavern, where Porquette kept also a small drinking house, and close by stood the blacksmith shop. The commencement of the linseed oil manufacture, which now forms so important a part in the wealth and activity of the city, was made by John McCorkle in 1824. He built a small oil-mill on the Miami River, on the west bank, just opposite to what is now Patter-son's mill, half a mile south of the town. The mill was run by water, and the machinery used in crushing the seed and pressing out the oil was of the most primitive description. The crusher was an immense block of limestone perfectly circular, about fifteen inches thick and five feet in diameter, this large stone was placed on its edge in a circular trough, formed of strong oak plank fitted closely and capable of holding any liquid put in it. Into this trough a certain quantity of flax-seed was poured by hand, and the large stone revolved in the trough by means of a large wooden lever passing through the center and attached to the horizontal shaft of the water-wheel. When the seed was sufficiently crushed, it was taken out and put in strong lined bags and subjected to the action of a screw press, similar to that frequently used at present in the manufacture of cider. The oil was probably not very throughly extracted, and the oil-cake, though no doubt richer in nutricious matter than that now coming from the powerful hydraulic press, was of little value, as a very limited demand was found for it.

The earliest cabinet-maker was Joseph Bennett, who, for many years, had his shop and residence on the northeast corner of Main and Green Streets. Bennett was a good workman, an excellent citizen and a man of some enterprise; He gradually enlarged his business with the growth of the village, and was at length a considerable manufacturer. Specimans of his handiwork are still found in several of the houses belonging to the old inhabitants. The first chair-maker was James Hughes, who manufactured the old-fashioned solid wood-bottomed chair and the split-bottom, formed from splints of the white ash. Hughes also manufactured spinning-wheels, at that time an important article in every family. The small wheel was used in spinning tow and flax, was turned by treadle or foot-piece attached to the crank passing through the center of the wheel, by strong string, sometimes of cord more frequently of leather or raw-hide; the flax start was wound on a distaff inserted into what was called the arm of the wheel. The female operator sat on a chair while spinning. But the large wheel, the glory of the young and active girls, was used by the operator standing, who put the wheel in active motion by means of a short stick or roller, the rapid motion of the wheel turned the spindle still more rapidly, and to this the maiden attached the end of the long woolen roll, brought, from the carding-mill, or formed more slowly at home with the hand cards, and, having secured the hold of the roll to the spindle, she walked rapidly backward twenty or thirty paces, drawing out a lengthened thread of the woolen yarn, which. when sufficiently twisted, she allowed to be more slowly rolled on to the spindle. This was continued by successive whirls of the wheel, until the spool was filled, when it was taken from the wheel head and replaced by a new one.

In the early settlement of the country, it was not at all uncommon for the young girls of eighteen or twenty summers to take their wheels on their shoulders, and, carring in their hands a sufficient supply of wool or flax, to assemble at a neighbor's house, and in a long porch with ground or puncheon floor, or even, in pleasant weather, in the open dooryard, the wheels were set down and the spinning began, each striving to excel the others in dextedrity, in rapidity, and exxcellence of the thread produced, and thus the day was passed in work and friendly gossip, and when evening came, the lads gathering in from the neighboring fields, the dance began to the music of the violin, which, with some sufficiently artistic performer, was sure to be found in every settlement.

Covering for the head was necessary as well as for the feet, and hence the hatter-shop was an important part of the manufacturing business of every new town in the West. The earliest hatters were John Brown and Lewis Webb. Hats were made of wool or fur of the raccoon or opossum, muskrat or, more rarely, of the beaver. Men and boys went to the shop and left their measure for a hat of whatever description wanted, the proper block was selected, and in due time the proper article appeared. A hat that would not last at least five years was a bad production, and by care, and keeping an old one to wear in bad weather, the Sunday hat was often made to do duty for double that period of time.

Few towns in the State of the size of Piqua can now boast of better and more flourishing manufacturing establishments. The first improvement on the canal was made by using the power from the lock at the south end of Main Street in 1839, where the flour-mill was erected by Mr. Beall, of the city of Baltimore. The mill was small but was sufficient for the demands of business for a short time, but in a few years a much larger establishment was demanded, which was built by Messrs. Young & Yager. These buildings were of frame, but in 1872, a fine brick mill was erected by O'Ferrall & Daniels; this burned in 1879, and the present very large and excellent mill was erected by Conrad Amendt, which is in every respect a model establishment, and does work not inferior to any mill in the county.

On the same water-power is located the extensive woolen-mill of F. Gray & Co., one of the finest factories in Western Ohio. Originally started as a woolen-mill for the manufacture of cloths, blankets, fine flannels, etc.; the enterprising proprietors about four years ago turned their attention to the manufacture of papermaker's endless felts, which are prodused by no more than five establishments in the United States, most of the paper-mills both East and West formerly importing their felts from England. By skill and perseverence, however, Messrs. Gray & Co. have devleoped an immense trade in this line, their felts are now recognised as not in any respect inferior to the best English productions and are in use throughout the United States from Maine to Georgia, and from New York to California; they are sent even to South America, to Germany and to Japan. Connected with this mill are also extensive knitting works for the production of yarn socks.

The machine-shops of John O'Ferrall & Co. are situated on the west end of Water Street, near the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis railway. They manufacture thrashers and seperators, sugar-mills, corn-drills, hay-rakes, tile machines, etc. An iron Foundry is connected with the establishment, which is doing a large and flourishing business. THeir machines are extensively sold through the West, and their threshers are considered among the best in the market. In the corporation, are also two of the largest linseed oil mills in the State. That of Wood, Farrington & Co., stands near the west end of Water Street, on the hydraulic canal, just beyond the point where the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis railway crosses what was formerly the old Covington road. The capacity of this mill has been doubled in the last two years. They now crush 500 bushels of flax-seed daily, and manufactures from four to five thousand barrels of linseed oil per year. The mill is run principally by the water-power furnished by the hydraulic, but can also be run by steam if there is a deficiency in the supply of water. A side track connects the mill with the railroad and cars are loaded and unloaded directly from the doors of the mill. All the modern improvements in crushing and the best hydraulic presses for pressing out the oil are in use at this establishment. The Mill of Orr, Leonard & Daniels is also a very extensive and elegant work, situated at the south end of Main Street, directly on the railroad, built with all the modern improvemnts and employing the best machinery, operated entirely by steam. This mill was erected in 1879, but is already doing a very heavy business. It will probably, be en-larged during the present year, rendering it the largest oil-mill in the State. The older members of this firm have also a very fine oil-mill two and a half miles below town, on the Mimai River, where they have carried on an extensive business for many years. In the mill in townm this firm crushes from 450 to 500 bushels of seed per day, making 700 to 800 gallons of oil; and in the mill below town, about 400 bushels of seed are crushed, yielding about 600 gallons of oil. If to this we add the product of the Wood & Farrington mill, using, as above stated, not less than about 400 bushels of seed per day, and yielding 600 gallons of oil, we have from these three large mills a consumption daily of 1,200 bushels of seed, and a yield of from 1,800 to 2,000 gallons of oil. It is safe to say that no city outside of Chicago in the Western country is so largely engaged in the manufacture of oil as Piqua, all brought about by the activity and business energy of a few men.

This important industry is contributing very largely to the business of the city. Each of these mills, that of Wood, Farrington & Co., and also of Orr, Leonard & Daniels, purchase seed at various points through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, to the amount of more than $100,000 per annum, which is manufactured at their establishments, and the oil and oil-cake are shipped to various parts of the Unites States and Europe.

The extensive furniture factory of Messrs. L.C. & W.L. Cron, is one of the most important industires of the city. This establishment, which has been in successful operation for about ten years now employs nearly one hundred hands; their factory is situated across the bridge, at the lower end of Main Street, on that part of the street leading to the Dayton & Michigan Railroad depot, where they already have very extensive buildings, but are this year erecting another very large brick factory, in order to accommodate their continually increasing business. Here is also their finishing-room, which. in extent and completeness, will compare favorably with any like establishment in the State. Their extensive show-room is on Main Street, nearly opposite the City Hotel, where may at all times be found very large quanities of finely finished furniture. This firm sends also large quanities of furniture, in the rough or unfinished state, to the Eastern cities.

The furniture factory of Aug. Fritsch & Son is also desrving of notice. The house has a reputation for the manufacture of excellent and beautiful furniture, and they have a well-filled show-room on Main Street, between Ash and Green.

Caspar Brandel, at the south end of Main Street, is also an enterprising manufacturer, and had for many years done a large business.

The handle factory of Gray & Murray, at the north end of Wayne St., is a new establishment, recently commencing business, but already employing a large number of hands, and using up every day eight to twelve cords of ash wood, in making spade, hoe and fork handles, which are immediately shipped to various points in the East and West. During the present year, these gentlemen expect to add to their works machinery for the manufacture of ax-handles, and short handles for hammers, etc., which will also consume a large amount of hickory timber.

At the north end of Downing Street, and in the immediate vicinity of the last-named works, is found the foundry and machine shops of Messrs. Bowdle Bros. These enterprising gentlemen, who have been long established in the same locality, manufacture steam engines of various patterns, as well as making castings for many kinds of machinery, and are noted throughout this section of the country for their excellent work.

Three exrensive carriage and buggy factories are also located here. The largest is that of J.P. Spiker, on Wayne, near High Stret, which employs about forty hands, and turns out a large amount of very fine work. Mr. Spiker is now merging his factory in a large stock company, known as the Spiker Wagon Works. This company is incorporated by the State, with capital of $40,000, and has purchased extensive grounds on the west end of High Street, extending north two squares to Green Street, and embracing seven acres, on which they are erecting buildings for their works, and to which the Wayne Street Works will be ultimately removed. This bids fair, from the well-known character of the gentlemen engaged in it, to become one of the most important industries of the city.

The carriage factory of Curtis & Reed, on Water Street, near Wayne, is also a flourishing establishment, and is rapidly growing in favor of the community.

The factory of W.R. Crosier & Son, the oldest in the city, is located on Downing Street, between North and Green, and has for many years, done a large and lucrative business. These three establishments all manufacture the finest carriages and buggies, which have repeatedly taken prizes at the fairs in our own and many of the adjoining count-ies. The Spiker Company will continue the manufacture of carriages and buggies, but will add to this the making of road wagons of superior quality, somewhat after the style of the celebrated Studebaker wagon, so largely manufactured at South Bend, in Indiana. There are already in the city several establishments manufacturing large wagons on a limited scale, but doing a very good business, among those which may be named the works of John Reedy, William Keese and Joseph Clouse

One paper-mill is already in operation on the hydraulic, at the west end of North Street. This establishment, belonging to the heirs of Loomis, does a good business in the manufacture of coarse wrappping paper, and consumes a large amount of straw for this purpose. Another mill, on the south end of the hydraulic, near the Rocky Branch, is now being erected by the joint-stock company, the leading men being Messrs. Jarvis, Orr, Leonard, Ziegenfelder and Clark. These enterprising gentlemen will invest a large amount of capital, in this work, which, it is understood, will be devoted to the manufacture, principally, if not entirely, of what is known as straw board. A large number of hands will be employed here.

Three large breweries are carried on in the city. That of J.L. Schneyer, at the south end of Spring Street, is a model of completeness and excellence in the way of manufacturing beer. The malting-room, cooling-room, ice house, and every department connected with the business are most completely furnished, and the product of the establishment is said to be of superior quality. The building is about 60X80 feet, three stories in height, and is pronounced by judges to combine all the requisites for the manufacture, while extensive cellars are provided, where the beer is laid down until it attains the peculiar qualities which entitle it to the name lager.

The Messrs. Schmidlapp, have also a very good establishment immediately across the street from Schneyer, and on the south of Water Street, immediately east of Gray's Woolen Mill. A third brewery is operated by Messrs. Butcher & Freyer, and is situated near the north end of Spring Street. This is the oldest establishment for brewing in the city, manufactures largely and has extensive cellars on the eastern bank of the Miami River near the east end of the middle bridge, for the production of lager beer. There is now in course of construction at the corner of Downing and Sycamore Streets, an extensive building for manufacturing malt. Messrs. Schmidlapp & Bro. of Cincinnati, and Leopold Keifer, of Piqua are the proprietors. In addition to all these active manufacturers are to be noticed the flouring-mill of Kinsell & Co., on the river bank, nearly opposite the south end of Harrison Street; the large liquor house of J.D. Holtzermann & Son, on the corner of Main and Water Steets, where are also manufactured the celebrated Holtzermann Bitters, which are very extensively sold through Western Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; the gas machine factory of John Stafford, on the west side of the public square, and the truss hoop factory of Messrs. Butterfield, at the north end of Wayne Street, on the Miami & Erie Canal.

Coopering is not so extensively carried on here as was done several years since, when we were nearer to large supplies of timber, but the shops of Vogel and of Stein and several others still produce large numbers of barrels every year. Messrs. Hardesty & Speelman have a large steam planing-mill and factory for building material at the west end of Water Street, and are doing a good business as manufacturers and builders. The planing-mill and factory of Isaac Whitlock is at the corner of Broadway and Broome Streets. The proprietor is actively engaged as a manufacturer and contractor.

The extensive and elegant marble works of J.F. Hummel are on the corner of Spring and Ash Streets, east of the canal. No fairer monuments are produced in the State than those gotten up by Mr. Hummel, and his work is found in the cemeteries of Columbus, Springfield, Detroit and Cincinnati. The best Italian and American marbles are used, and large quantities of Scotch granite are also imported for these works. The marble works of McKee & son are on the corner of Ash and Wayne Streets, where much good work is found.


Trade is the natural heritage of the Yankee nation, and that part located at the early site of Piqua was not found wanting in the common characteristic of the race. The Ewings were among the early traders with Indians and with whites, and the first goods sold in the village were trafficked by members of this family. In the old Ewing tavern, located on Main Street, on that portion now south of the railroad, and about where Benkert's saddler's shop is now standing, was the first trading-point in the bounds of the village. This was early in 1809; but, in 1812, Nicholas Greenham, an Irishman by birth and a trader by profession, arrived in town, and, renting a room from Ewing, opened a regular country store. Furs and all kinds of country produce were bought, and goods exchanged for them, and the whiskey bottle and pitcher of water, with a glass tumbler or tin cup at their side, invited every customer to partake of the liberality of the storekeeper and sharpen his intellect for the barter which was to come off. This was the universal custom; every one drank, and almost every one kept sober; drunkenness was a rare fault, and was regarded with peculiar dislike. About five years later, John McCorkle commenced the business of selling goods and buying whatever was to be sold from the surrounding country. He and Greenham were both successful traders, accumulated money and property, and were soon known as the leading business men of the county. McCorkle represented the county in the Lower House of the General Assembly, and was known as an ardent advocate of the canal then located, since 1824, from Cincinnati to Dayton, and which he was very desirous of seeing extended further toward the North. He unfortunately died in 1829, without seeing his hopes realized. William Scott was the next of the early merchants or traders of the rising town. Then John M. Cheevers, Jacob and Abel Furrow, Byram Dayton, James Defrees, Young & Sons, David J. Jordan (afterward Jordan & Kitchen), William Keyt, L.R. Brownell (afterward the firm of Brownell & Carncross). Demas Adams, William and Lewis Kirk, gradually came in , about in the order of their names here given, and kept up the trade of the village to 1833. Shortly after this time, the various branches of trade began to divide themselves. The earliest liquor store was opened by John M. Cheevers, at the north end of Main Street; the first iron store, by S.H. Brown, on the southwest corner of the public square; the second, by John Morrow, at the place now occupied by James Scott in the same line of business. The earliest distinct grocery house was that of Sawyer & Davis, on Main Street, just north of the corner now occupied by the Citizens' National Bank. The first drug store was kept by M.G. Mitchell, on Main Street, a little south of the present Spencer's store; the second, by Daniel Ashton, afterward merged into the firm of Ashton & Ewing.

The establishments in the early days were small, increasing, however, in capacity, with the demands of trade and the filling up of the country, and we see a few of the older men who still survive, so as at least to look on at the increasing business of the town, and to compare the present with the former days of commercial affairs. J.M. Cheevers and William Scott (since this writing William Scott passed away having been stricken with paralysis) still walk the streets, as they have done for more than half a century, and, though not actively engaged in trade, still feel a lively interest in everything connected with the financial and commercial pursuits and changes of the day.

William Scott is the oldest of the dry-goods merchants in the city, indeed, no business man in the place has been so long and steadily engaged in trade. For fifty-seven years Mr. Scott continued closely and personally to attend to his business as a merchant. The house is now carried on in the name of John M. Scott & Co., but the original head of the house is always seen about when not engaged in the bank, and looks actively after the interests of the establishment, For more than half a century Mr. Scott has done business on the same square on Main Street, where he is now found. Other prominent dry-goods houses are C.S. Parker & Co., F.W. Reiter; D Spencer & Co.; C. Gross; Stein & Co. and A. Berting.

The large clothing houses are Henry Flesh, A. Friedlich, J.F. Hemsteger, P.I. Gates & Co., M. Friedlich. M. Newhoff, D. Urbansky and C.W. Bachelor.

The prominent grocery houses are John Zollinger & Son; Sawyer & Co., G. N. Ziegenfelder; P.A. Williamson. John Harbaugh & Co.; D. Louis; Charles Lebolt; M. Ziegenfelder and M. Belier, etc.

In iron, hardware, stoves, etc., the principal dealers are R.E. Reynolds; George Lee and James Scott.

In boots and shoes--William Ward, George Pfistner, Amos Abele and J. V. Bartel.

There are two well filled book-stores: I.N. Todd and J. Merring.

Jewelers--A. Wendel. Aug. Thoma & Sons. Richey and M. Ryan.

Tobacconists--John Lang, Leopold Keifer and Christ & Wiltheiss.

Druggists--A.C. Wilson, Ashton Bros., Brandiff & Hedges, P. Graef Jr. and Hunzinger.

Two large establishments engaged as tanners, curriers and leather dealers--J.M. Brown and T.J. Wiley.

The daguerrean gallery of I. Thorpe will very well repay a visit to any lover of art. Mr. Thorne keeps a handsome collection of pictures at his rooms, on Main Street, and his photographs, both plain and colored, are finished in the best style. The rooms of Mr. F. Gale are in the third story, over the large grocery house of D. Louis, on Main Street. Mr. Gale is said to be very successful in his pictures of young children, and he has, himself, made some improvements in the art of photography, which are considered valuable.

The heavy grain dealers are Messrs. Farrington & Slauson, on the public square and at their storehouse below the railroad, on Main Street, and Messrs, Orr & Leonard, also on the east side of the public square and on the canal. Both these houses are large buyers and employ an amount of capital in the grain trade not exceeded by any dealers in the county.

There are two large hotels, the City, kept by A.J. Roe and Harry Morse, on the corner of Main and Ash Streets, and the Leland, by Mr. C. May, at the south end of the opera house block. Both are excellent houses. A large number of smaller houses of entertainment are found in various parts of the city.


The need of legal learning and advice is not felt early, as a general rule, in a Western community, and our pioneer fathers wee no exception to the rule. The ordinary magistrate was the depository of the law, and what legal lore he failed to possess was not considered worth having. Increase in population and trade, however, with the complications of business necessarily following in the train, soon made gentlemen of the legal profession welcome members of the community. William McLean, brother of Judge John McLean, of the United States Supreme Court, and also Postmaster of the United States, was the first regular professional lawyer who settled in the village. He came to Piqua about the year 1820, and represented Miami District, which comprehended nearly all Western Ohio north of Warren County, in the Congress of the United States, from 1823 to 1829 inclusive. He was a man of decided ability, honest and upright, and possesses great influence in the community in which he lived. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Church, as was also his excellent wife, and their house was for many years the well-known resting-place for ministers and itinerants of this denomination. Shortly after his last term in Congress, Mr. McLean removed from Piqua to Cincinnati, and was for several years extensively engaged in merchantile pursuits, but, his health failing, he retires from business, spent several months in the Island of Cuba hoping to derive benefit for his pulmonary disease from the change of climate, but failing in this he returned to Cincinnati, spent some time in revisiting several points in his old Congressional district, Piqua among others, returning, finally to his Cincinnati home, where he ended his long and useful life in 1839.

The second member of the legal profession in Piqua was Gen. Robert Young, a student of McLean's, and who soon succeeded to his business during his absence in Congress, and after his removal from the county. Gen. Young was for many years the leading lawyer of the northern part of the county, terminating a long life of labor and usefulness at Piqua in the year 1855. Among other early lawyers of the town may be mentioned the names of Samuel E. Browne, Gordon N. Mott, after-ward for many years a Judge of the Courts in California, Samuel R. Mott, Samuel Stover, Hon. R.L.P. Baber, now of Columbus; Joseph Ewing, now residing in La Fayette, Ind.; N.F. Wilbur and Judson Miller, now deceased. Among those still remaining in the town, the earliest members of the bar were S.S. McKinney, M.H. Jones and Stephan Johnson; while the later members of the profession are Hon. J.F. McKinney, William C. Johnston, Walter B. Jones, Theodore Brooks, N. Wagner, A.C. Buchanan, J.R. Hatch and J. McDonald.


As in the profession of law, so too in that of the healing art, the actual wants of the early settlers were easily satisfied. The diseases of the pioneers were few and simple, a knowledge of the powers of "roots and herbs" acquired from the aboriginal inhabitants, or from whites who had sojourned among them, was usually adequate to the relief of ordinary maladiesm, and in more serious cases the aid of a distant physician was sometimes invoked. In ordinary surgical cases, as of fractures or dislocation of limbs, some intelligent man was usually found whose skill was sufficient for the emergency. Col. John Johnston, the well-known Indian agent, of Upper Piqua, a man of general information, abundant resources, and cool, deliberate judgement, was well known for miles around the country as a skillful manipulator of broken bones, and used frequently to say that he rarely failed to make a good cure even in the worst fractures, with splints of green hickory bark, in which he carefully inclosed the injured limbs, and which soon hardened sufficently to retain the parts in proper position and so held them until the bones were firmly united, and in connection therewith, he used what was commonly called by the people a "Shocking Machine", being the old-fashioned electrifying machine; it was one of the great wonders of science, intorduced at that early day into our sparsely settled country, and used by him as a remedial agent in nervous complaints.

About the close of the War of 1812, Henry Chapeze, of Kentucky, a well educated physician, located at Piqua. His office and residence were on the southwest corner of Wayne and Water Streets, on the lot now occupied by the house of Hiram Brooks, Esq. A brick office erected on this lot was the first building of that material in the village limits, and is well remembered today by many of the older inhabitants. Dr. John O'Ferrall settled in Piqua about 1820, and these two gentlemen have the honor of being the pioneer physicians of the town and of the northern part of the county. Both continued in the practice of their profession for many years, riding over large extents of forest country, sometimes without roads, at other times over ways almost impassable, where the worst mudholes and deepest marshes were bridged over by rows of round logs, making no very secure causeway for either horses or man. The rude cabin and rough fare of the early settlers were their resting-place and their refreshment; a scanty renumeration, and very frequently none at all, was the reward rendered for services; but these faithful men toiled on, waited and hoped for better days, and lived to see at least their dawn if not their full development. Dr. Chapeze died about 1828; but O'Ferrall, a younger and more vigorous man, survived until 1850, living to see the country which he entered as a wilderness blooming with improvements and filled with elements of wealth and progress.

Among the other early physicians, are found the names of Dr. Jackson, afterward a prominent Democratic politician of Indiana; Dr. I.T. Teller, Dr. David Jordan (ecletic), Dr. Isaac Hendershot, Dr. Worrall, all of whom are now passed away.

Dr. Dorsey, who read medicine for a portion of the time in the office of Dr. O'Ferrall, commenced practice as a partner of O'Ferrall in the year 1836, and the firm continued until January 1, 1842, when it was dissolved; but Dr. Dorsey has continued the practice from that time until the present, with the exception of four years, from 1862 to 1865 inclusive, when he acted as State Treasurer, residing in Columbus. In 1842, Dr. John O'Ferrall, Jr., commenced practice with his father, and has continued in business, with some interruptions to the present time.

The other prominent physicians of the city are Dr. J.A. Smith, Dr. V. Dorsey Brownell, Dr. Stumm (homeopathic), all now deceased; and Drs. C.S. Parker, W.S. Parker, J.F. Gabriel, S.S. Gray, H. Smiley, A. Ash-ton, B. LKehman, G.S. Hyde, F.W. Walton(Eclectic), T.F. Spittle and C. Clemmer(homeopathists), and E.A. Kitzmiller, all now in private practice.

Stone Quarries

No account of Washington Township can be complete without notice of the extensive quarries of limestone which add so much to its wealth, and, by the facility they afford for building, contribute, also, very largely to the prosperity and progress of the township and the town. These quarries are all found on the west side of the Miami, and commence immediately south of the Rocky Branch, lying on the south border of the city, and coming out on the west side of the turnpike leading from Piqua to Troy, on the west side of the river. Stone also abounds on the east bank of the river, though the quarries on that side have never been extensively opened or worked. The first quarry below the branch is that of Mr. Harvey Clark, who carries on actively. The second is that of Henry Kitchen, now operated by Mr. J. Mitchell. The third is the well known Hamilton Quarry, now owned by Dr. Dorsey, and carried on by James Hamilton, as agent. The fourth, is the very large and extensive quarry of Mr. David Statler, two miles south of the city, which has been for years worked by that gentleman with great success.

Until the last twenty years, the great value of these quarries was scarcely thought of; but, as the country has progressed in improvement, the demand for building material has caused them to be carefully explored and operated, and a source of wealth has been developed, which, in the early settlement of the country, was never taken into account. A well managed stone quarry, has come to be regarded as a treasure little inferior to the mines of the precious metals in the Far West.

Primitive Commerce

After the development of the country about Piqua, when exportation became a necessity in order to get the sight of a little money, flat-boats were constructed, and loaded with flour, bacon, corn in the ear, cherry lumber, furniture, and other products.

The boats were built here, on the bank of the Miami River, with two parallel gunwales. from sixty to seventy-five feet in length, and the boat about twelve feet wide. They were built bottom side up, the plank in the bottom running crosswise and spiked to the gunwales, with the ends imbedded in a rabbet cut into the gunwales deeper than the thickness of the boards, so as to secure the bottom from catching while floating over shoal places.

When the hull or bottom was caulked and completed, it was then turned over by raising up one side and letting it fall over upon brush piled up in sufficient quantity to save the hull from injury by the fall; it was then launced into the river, and the siding and deck completed, forming complete protection to the cargo and the boatmen. Some of the men engaged in this commerce were Joseph Bennett, a cabinet-maker; ____ Tinkham, a cabinet-maker, who would ship, by this means, bedsteads in large quantities, and coast along the Mississippi River, retailing out to the people along the river what-ever was in demand. The risk in navigating the Miami River required great skill and presence of mind, especially in passing over mill-dams and following the channel of the river through the "Ninety-nine Islands," as they were called, located a few miles below Troy. The pilot of notoriety was Robert Logan, a very large man, and when in command of one of these boats about to start on its journey, and standing upon the deck disciplining his boatman to the use of the oars, was looked upon with as much consideration as the greatest admiral who ever commanded a fleet. To see one of these boats pass through the channel of the river at these islands, was indeed a most thrilling sight, required the most consummate skill and quickness of action to wind this unwieldy craft through its tortuous route to safe passage. After passing into the Ohio River, the pilot and other men not wanted to coast were discharged, but some of the dangers of boating were still incident to the voyage.

Along the banks of the Mississippi are frequently found eddies, or whirlpools, into which the boat is liable to be drawn, and when once fairly in the circuit, it was difficult to cross the circuit and reach the straight current. An ancedote is told of one of these eddies in the Mississippi. The crew are each required at night to take his turn on the watch, and in case of an approaching steamboat, to swing the torch or light to prevent collision. On one occasion, a green hand was called on watch in the darkness of the night, and, shortly after taking his positionon deck, the boat, without his observation, was drawn into one of these eddies, opposite to which, on the bank of the river, stood a brick church, and the boat continued making a circuit during the whole time of his watch. When his turn was up, he awoke the man to take his place on deck, and upon being asked how he got along, replied, "First Rate," but added that "it was the darnedest place for brick churches he had ever seen in his life."

In connection with the history of flatboating, it was common for boatman returning from New Orleans to walk all the way home again, passing through a wilderness north of New Orleans and through what was then called Indian Nations, Choctaws and Chickasaws. Jacob Lands, Esq., and David Hunter, both of whom deceased at Piqua after a long residence, made this journey on foot, and have frequently related incidents connected with the journey through the Indian country.

Another fact in connection with this primitive commerce was the building of a large keel-boat by John Chatham on the public square in Piqua, directly west of Orr & Leonard's warehouse. This boat was built (the hull) and hauled to St. Mary's, the bow resting on the wheels of a wagon, and the stern on sled-runners, with eight horses, two teams belonging to James Johnston and John Campbell. It was then launched into the St. Mary's River, and was used on that stream to freight to Fort Wayne and on the Maumee River. It was about eight feet wide by fifty-five or sixty feet in length.

Commercial Facilities

The Columbus, Piqua & Indiania Railroad, now called the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway Company, was chartered by the Legis- lature February 23, 1849.

The charter was draen by Stephen Johnston, Esq., while working at a saddler's bench, with his sleeves rolled up. He had had some legislative experience, and was scalled upon to prepare the charter. The original, or rough draft is now among the papers belonging to the estate of M.G. Mitchell, deceased, who was elected President of the company, and for many years during the building of the roas was the principal manager of the enterprise. The road was completed from Columbus to Piqua in 1856, and gave to the northern part of Miami County facilities for an Eastern market. This road is now the great central railway, through fare from the East to the West, with branches and connecting lines reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The Dayton & Michigan Railroad was chartered by the Legislature, March 5, 1851, and was completed to Piqua in 1856, so that Piqua was given a southern outlet by rail, and, with its present history, embraces the commercial facilities commencing about 1820, and being completed within the lapse of thirty-six years. This time, compared with the development of the West now, would seem to be at a snail's gait, but to the retrospect of the pioneer of Miami County, to him is indeed marvelous.

Water-Works and Hydraulic Canal

The subject of creating an hydraulic power, to be displayed at Piqua, was an enterprise discussed by the citizens of Piqua for nearly forty years, and on the 7th day of April, 1856, the General Assembly passed a bill, authorizing M.C. Ryan, James G. Haley, T.L.P. Defrees & Co., to enlarge athe Lewistown reservoir, and in consideration to receive all surplus water on the line of canal created by them, for the use of hydraulic power, and these parties became an incorporated company under the name of the "Miami Hydraulic and Manufacturing Company," and were for some time actively engaged in trying to induce the cit- izens of Piqua to cooperate with them, but the enterprise failed, and they surrendered their contract to the State, and abandoned the enterprise.

The next step was the incorporation of the "Piqua Hydraulic Company," drawn up by Stephen Johnston, and signed December 12, 1865.

After the organization of the company, further legislature was deemed necessary, and, on the 6th day of April, 1866, a bill was passed by the Legislature of Ohio, authorizing the use of surplus water of the canal for hydraulic purposes.

Under the provisions of this act this company was enabled to contract with the State for the surplus of water. Dr. G.V. Dorsey was elected President, and continued as such until January, 1868, when he resigned, and Stephen Johnston, Esq., was elected President of the Board of Directors, and immediately entered upon the discharge of his duty, which was a general supervision of the work in obtaining the rights of way and raising money to carry on the work after the work was put under contract.

The enterprise at the time - in view of the stringent money market and magnitude of the work, was regarded by the citizens, with scarcely a single exception, as an impossible undertaking, but Mr. Johnston conceived the plan of the water works in connection with the hydraulic enterprise, and by that means secured $50,000 in bonds from the city.

He also conceived the plan of obtaining an appropriation from the city, the sum of $15,000, to pay for drainage, which would result by a proper construction of the canal.

This fund, together with other assests of stock subscribed, etc., induced the letting of the work, on the 16th day of March, 1869, to Messrs. Boyle & Roach, who, after completion of a large portion of the work, assigned their contract to Messrs. Burns & Gallager, who proved to be most efficient contractors. A.G. Conover, Esq., was the Engineer-in Charge of the work, and Jacob D. Holtzemin, Esq., Treasurer.

During the progress of the work two serious accidents occured, by the breaking away, during high water, of the embankment at Swift Run, which occasioned a loss of $40,000.

The canal is over six miles in length, and contains within its prism and reservoirs therewith connected, at least 150 acres of water-line, at an elevation of thirty-eight feet over the city, and three falls aggregating fifty-two feet six inches, for hydraulic power. The water-works, in point of efficiency in every particular, are not exceeded by any other water-works of the kind in the United States, and have already saved one-half their cost by the extinquishment of fires having most alarming outbreaks at the start.

They finally completed, and duly opened for test and display on the 14th day of June, 1876.

The plan of the work as completed was written out and foreshadowed by Stephen Johnston, and published in the preface of the City Directory in 1870.

Fortifications in Piqua

On the bank of the Miami River, near where the extensive woolen mills of F. Gray now stands, was a block-house and stockade therewith connected. The stockade remained as one of the relics of Indian warfare, and is still in the memory of some of the pioneers now living. Its northline, running east and west, was not far from the north line of Water Street, extending west to the present site of the Leland Livery Stable.

The First Use of Dynamite in Piqua

The Piqua Straw Boaed and Papre Company located its mills, which are now under roof, at the intersection of Main Street and the Rocky Branch.

The foundation required the blasting of shelly rock, which does not yield to powder, in consequences of the seams through the rock. Knowing this, the company determined to try dynamite, a very dangerous material to handle. They found a man, recently become a citizen, H.F. Ernest, who was well skilled in its use, and our people were amazed at the explosions and results of this powerful agency in blasting. Some of the blasts included as high as twenty different drill holes, and each connected with a wire was ignited by the use of a battery, all exploding at the same moment, and at a single blast would heave up more than one hundred tons of rock.

The work was a complete success, and is another step in the progress of science just introduced in April 1880. Nobody was injured during work of about one month.

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