Category Archives: Biographical Sketches

Bio Sketch: James Steele (1778-1841), pioneer & merchant in Dayton, Ohio

James Steele was born October 28, 1778, in Virginia, the son of Robert Steele and Agnes Coulter. Other children of Robert and Agnes Steele who came to Dayton included: Dr. John Steele (1791-1854), a doctor who came to Dayton in 1812; Samuel Steele (d. 1839); and Martha Steele (d. 1813), who married William McClure (d. 1812). In 1788, Robert Steele moved his family from Virginia to Fayette County, Kentucky, near Lexington.[1]

James Steele (Object # NCR.1998.L0368.041 from Dayton History. Used with permission.)

James Steele (Object # NCR.1998.L0368.041 from Dayton History. Used with permission.)

About 1805 or 1806, James came to Dayton, Ohio, and went into the merchant business with his brother-in-law William McClure, in the firm of McClure & Steele.[2]

On December 2, 1807, James entered into a business partnership with Joseph Peirce (whose sister Phebe he would later marry), as the firm Steele & Peirce. James constructed a brick building on the southeast corner of First and Main Streets, which housed a general store. The pair remained in business together until Joseph’s death in 1821.[3]

Articles of Co-Partnership, Steele & Peirce, 1807, pg 1

Articles of Co-Partnership, Steele & Peirce, 1807, pg 1 (FPW 38:14)

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Steele & Peirce co-partnership signatures, 1807

Steele & Peirce co-partnership signatures, 1807 (FPW 38:14)

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Steele & Peirce operator's license, 1808

Steele & Peirce operator’s license, 1808 (FPW 38:13)

During the War of 1812, James Steele served as a captain and was ordered to provide protection to citizens in the Ohio towns of Piqua and later St. Mary’s.[4]

In November 1812, James Steele married Phebe Peirce (about 1784-1861), daughter of Isaac Peirce and Mary Sheffield. Phebe was born about 1784 in Rhode Island.[5]

Phebe (Peirce) Steele (Object # NCR.1998.L0368.042 from Dayton History. Used with Permission.)

Phebe (Peirce) Steele (Object # NCR.1998.L0368.042 from Dayton History. Used with Permission.)

From 1815 to 1822, James was a director of the Dayton Bank. He became president of the Dayton Bank in 1822, following the death of the previous president (and James’s brother-in-law) Joseph Peirce. James also held the position as bank president until his own death in 1841.[6]

James was interested in many aspects of community life. He served for many years as a trustee of the Dayton Academy, as well as a trustee of Miami University. He was also an active supporter of the second building of the First Presbyterian Church, which was completed just before his death in 1841. He was also one of the original stockholders of the Woodland Cemetery Association and served as the Association’s first president.[7]

James Steele was also active in civic life, serving as an associate judge of Montgomery County for 14 years; an elector for the state of Ohio during the 1824 presidential election, in which he voted for his friend Henry Clay; and a senator in the Ohio legislature for 4 years, from 1834-1838.[8]

James Steele died August 22, 1841, and Phebe (Peirce) Steele died March 11, 1861. They are both buried in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.[9]

James and Phebe Steele had two children:

  1. Robert Wilbur Steele (1819-1891); and
  2. Joseph Peirce Steele (about 1821-1887).

Robert Wilbur Steele was born July 3, 1819, in Dayton, Ohio. He attended the Dayton Academy and Miami University. Robert was very active in many aspects of education in Dayton, including serving as a member of the Board of Education for over 30 years and being one of the incorporators of the Cooper Female Seminary in 1844. He was one of the founders of the Dayton Library Association and served as its director and president for many years. He also served as president of the Woodland Cemetery Association from 1858 until his death. Robert W. Steele was married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Smith, and they had several children, including daughter Mary Davies Steele (about 1843-1897); his second wife was Clara P. Steele, with whom he had one child. Robert W. Steele died September 24, 1891, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[10]

Joseph Peirce Steele was born about 1821 in Dayton, Ohio. He was never married. He was identified as an “idiot” in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. He died June 6, 1887, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[11]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Robert W. Steele & Mary Davies Steele, Early Dayton (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 89, 115; Frank Conover, Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: A. W. Bowen, 1897), 175; Montgomery County Genealogical Index, Dayton Metro Library; Lindsay M. Brien, Miami Valley Will Abstracts from the Counties of Miami, Montgomery, Warren, & Preble, in the State of Ohio, 1803-1850 (Dayton, OH: Lindsay M. Brien, 1940), 76; Lindsay M. Brien, A Genealogical Index of Pioneers in the Miami Valley, Ohio, 2nd ed. (Dayton, OH: Montgomery County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, 2007), 186, 124.

Sources disagree whether James Steele was born in Rockbridge County (Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 89) or Rockingham County (Conover, Centennial Portrait, 175).

[2] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 89; James Steele: McClure & Steele in Account with Samuel and George Trotter, 1806-1807, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 38:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio).

[3] John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 116, 134; Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 89; James Steele: Steele & Peirce, Merchants – Documents and Letters relating to the Business, 1807-1821 [several documents], FPW, 38:14.

The business documents pertaining to Steele & Peirce includes the articles of co-partnership, dated December 2, 1807. The store remained until the 1860s, when it was removed to make way for the Turner Opera House.

[4] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 90-91; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 135; Conover, Centennial Portrait, 175.

[5] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 91; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; U.S. Federal Census, 1850.

[6] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 90; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116.

[7] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 90; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 134-135.

[8] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 90; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 135; Conover, Centennial Portrait, 175.

[9] Conover, Centennial Portrait, 175; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[10] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 91-92, 200-201;Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 135-137; Conover, Centennial Portrait, 175-176; Charlotte Reeve Conover, Some Dayton Saints and Prophets (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1907), 49-77; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[11] Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 91; U.S. Federal Census, 1850; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

Bio Sketch: Dr. John Elliot (d. 1809), first doctor in Dayton, Ohio

John Elliot was born in New York, probably sometime around 1760 or perhaps earlier. During the American Revolution, John served as a surgeon’s mate in a New York regiment until he was discharged at the end of the war in 1783.[1]

After the Revolutionary War ended, John Elliot was commissioned, in a document signed by George Washington, as a surgeon in the United States Army. He served in the west under Arthur St. Clair and Anthony Wayne. He was stationed for a time at Fort Washington, near Cincinnati, and he served with Wayne in the campaigns of 1794-1795, which resulted in the Treaty of Greenville. John was mustered out with the rest of his regiment, being honorably discharged on June 1, 1802.[2]

Fort Washington (Cincinnati), ca. 1790

Fort Washington (Cincinnati), ca. 1790 (Library of Congress, image # LC-USZC4-403, public domain)

In that same year, 1802, Dr. John Elliot came to Dayton, Ohio, to reside, becoming the second physician to make his permanent residence in the Dayton vicinity—Dr. John Hole had arrived earlier in Washington Township—and the first physician in Dayton proper.[3]

In addition to being the first doctor in Dayton, Dr. John Elliot was instrumental in forming the Dayton Social Library Association in 1805. This association was the first library authorized by the state legislature.[4]

Dr. Elliot was quite popular in Dayton, both socially and professionally.[5]

About 1789, John Elliot married Anna Dorett. Anna was born about 1774 and died about 1794. John and Anna had two children, both of whom were born at the military post in Vincennes, Indiana:[6]

  1. Julia Ann Elliot was born in February 1790.
  2. Henrietta Eliza Elliot was born in June 1792.

After the death of their mother, Julia and Henrietta went to live with Mrs. Jeremiah Hunt, of Cincinnati, who raised the girls along with her own family. The Hunts were family friends of the Elliots.[7] The Hunt brothers—Jeremiah, Jesse, and Abijah—were merchants as well as sutlers (merchants who sold provisions to soldiers in the army), so perhaps Dr. Elliot met them when he was stationed at Fort Washington, in Cincinnati.[8]

By 1805, the girls seem to have been residing with the family of Jesse Hunt, Jeremiah’s brother. This may have resulted when Jeremiah Hunt moved to Natchez, Mississippi, temporarily joining his brother Abijah there.[9]

In 1805, John Elliot addressed a letter to his daughter Julia “at Mr. Jesse Hunt’s, Cincinnati,” and in it, he instructed her to “pay the utmost respect to all Mrs. Hunt says to you.”[10] A few years later, when Dr. Elliot died, the letter sent to inform his daughters of his death was also addressed to Jesse Hunt.[11]

Dr. John Elliot's signature, 1805

Dr. John Elliot’s signature, 1805 (FPW 38:1)

Several letters from Dr. Elliot to his daughter Henrietta, between 1806 and 1808, instruct her to attend her studies and to respect and obey “Mrs. Symmes,” although the specific identity and role of Mrs. Symmes is not clear.[12]

Julia and Henrietta Elliot, aged 19 and 16 respectively, were still residing in Cincinnati when their father died rather suddenly on February 27, 1809, in Dayton, Ohio, having been ill only one day and two nights.[13] H. G. Phillips wrote to Jesse Hunt with the news, adding: “We should have sent for the Girls, but from the nature of his indisposition, we supposed it would be improbable to get them here in time.”[14]

H. G. Phillips to Jesse Hunt announcing death of Dr. John Elliot, 27 Feb. 1809

H. G. Phillips to Jesse Hunt announcing death of Dr. John Elliot, 27 Feb. 1809 (FPW 38:3)

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Invitation to John Elliot's funeral, 27 Feb. 1809

Invitation to John Elliot’s funeral, 27 Feb. 1809 (FPW 38:4)

Dr. Elliot was buried with military honors on February 28, 1809, including a military procession from his home on Water Street (Monument Avenue) to the Old Burial Ground on Sixth Street. His remains were later moved to Woodland Cemetery.[15]

John Elliot (d. 1809) grave marker, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

John Elliot (d. 1809) grave marker, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Julia Ann Elliot, sometimes called Julianna, was born in February 1790 in Vincennes, Indiana. On July 16, 1809, at Cincinnati, she married Joseph Halsey Crane. Joseph H. Crane was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, August 31, 1782, and moved to Dayton, Ohio, about 1804. He was a Dayton lawyer and a state representative around the time of his marriage; he would later be a U.S. Congressman and a judge. He also fought in the War of 1812. Julia and Joseph Crane had twelve children, most of whom died as children, but two of their sons grew up and became lawyers: Joseph G. Crane and William Crane. Judge Joseph H. Crane died November 13, 1851, and Julia (Elliot) Crane died February 25, 1861. They are both buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[16]

Julianna (Elliot) Crane, undated

Julianna (Elliot) Crane, undated (Object # NCR.1998.L0008.062, Dayton History. Used with permission.)

Henrietta Eliza Elliot, sometimes called Harriet, was born in June 1792 in Vincennes, Indiana. On November 10, 1810, she married Joseph Peirce (1786-1821), a Dayton merchant. They had five children: Mary Ann Peirce, who married Edward W. Davies; David Zeigler Peirce; James S. Peirce; Jeremiah Hunt Peirce; and Joseph Crane Peirce. Joseph Peirce died on September 27, 1821, and Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce died on February 13, 1864. They are both buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[17]

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce, undated

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce, undated (FPW 37:21)

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] W. J. Conklin, Pioneer Doctor: A Medical Sketch of Dayton, 1796-1825 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1900), accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/page/page/1558641.htm; New York in the Revolution as a Colony and State (Albany, NY: J. B. Lyon Co., 1904), 1:40; Harvey E. Brown, “Register of Medical Officers who Served to the Close of the Revolution and were Discharged in 1783,” in Historical Notes Concerning the Medical Department of the United States Army (Washington, DC: Surgeon General’s Office, 1873), accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/medicaldepartment/appendixa.html.

Brown lists “John Elliot” as a surgeon’s mate in the First New York Regiment; New York in the Revolution lists “John Elliot, Jr.,” as a surgeon’s mate in the Third New York regiment.

[2] Conklin, Pioneer Doctor; Ohio Adjutant General’s Office, and Daughters of the American Revolution, The Official Roster of the Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in the State of Ohio (Columbus, Ohio: F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1929-1959), 1:125; Obituary of John Elliot, Dayton Repertory, 1 Mar. 1809, in FPW, 38:4; Harvey W. Crew, History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 91-92; Howard Burba, “The Night They Dedicated the Library,” Dayton Daily News, 6 May 1934, accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/library.html.

[3] Conklin, Pioneer Doctor; Crew, History of Dayton, 92; Memoirs of the Miami Valley (Chicago: Robert O. Law Co., 1919), 2:179; John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 143.

[4] Memoirs of the Miami Valley, 2:179; Burba, “The Night They Dedicated the Library.”

[5] Conklin, Pioneer Doctor; Sarah Schenck Crane, The Crane Family History (Cincinnati, OH: Ebert & Richardson Co., 1911), 55.

[6] Crane, The Crane Family History, 55-56.

[7] Crane, The Crane Family History, 55-56.

[8] Andy McMillion, “The Hunt Family of Jefferson County, MS: Genealogy and History,” accessed 20 Mar. 2012, http://jeffersoncountyms.org/hunt_family.htm; Cincinnati: The Queen City, 1788-1912 (Chicago & Cincinnati: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1912), 483.

[9] McMillion.

[10] John Elliot to Julia Elliot, 15 Dec. 1805, FPW, 38:1.

[11] H. G. Phillips to Jesse Hunt, 27 Feb. 1809, FPW, 38:3.

[12] John Elliot to Henrietta Elliot, 1806-1808 [several letters], FPW, 38:2.

[13] H. G. Phillips to Jesse Hunt, 27 Feb. 1809, FPW, 38:3.

[14] H. G. Phillips to Jesse Hunt, 27 Feb. 1809, FPW, 38:3. Several sources incorrectly state that John Elliot died on February 26, 1809 (Dayton Repertory) or March 26, 1809 (Crew and The Official Roster of the Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in the State of Ohio). However, the date “February 27, 1809” is quite legible on Phillips’ letter, and clearly states that the doctor died “this morning at 3 o’clock.”

[15] John Elliot: Funeral invitation and obituary, FPW, 38:4; Conklin, Pioneer Doctor; Crew, History of Dayton, 92; Woodland Cemetery tombstone inscriptions. John Elliot is not listed in the Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database.

[16] Crane, The Crane Family History, 20-25, 55-56; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 92-94; “Joseph Halsey Crane,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present, accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000872; “Joseph Halsey Crane,” Wikipedia, last modified 17 Mar. 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Halsey_Crane; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[17] Crane, The Crane Family History, 55-56; Harvey W. Crew, History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 143; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also Series III, Subseries 3: Joseph Peirce Family.

Bio Sketch: Joseph Peirce (1786-1821), pioneer, merchant, & banker in Dayton, Ohio

Joseph Peirce was born March 6, 1786, in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Isaac Peirce (1749-1821) and Mary Sheffield (1757-?). The other children of Isaac and Mary Peirce were: Phebe Peirce, who married James Steele; Samuel Peirce; Lucy Peirce; Elizabeth Peirce; and Eliza Peirce.[1]

Joseph’s father Isaac Peirce was a Revolutionary War veteran, having served in 1779 as an aide-de-camp to General Horatio Gates. Isaac was a shareholder in the Ohio Company and migrated with his family to Marietta, Ohio, in 1788, then became one of the founders of nearby Belpre, Ohio, in 1789. Isaac eventually moved to Dayton, Ohio, after his son Joseph, and died there on August 28, 1821.[2]

Joseph Peirce spent several years of his childhood living in the stockade at Belpre during the Indian Wars. He received a good education even on the frontier, because the Ohio Company had brought excellent teachers with them.[3]

In 1805, at the age of 19, Joseph Peirce moved to Dayton, Ohio, apparently at the urging of Daniel C. Cooper, who has been credited with influencing many of Dayton’s earliest important settlers to the town between 1804 and 1808. Joseph’s cousin Charles Russell Greene was another who came to Dayton at Cooper’s urging, about 1804 or 1805. Joseph’s and Charles’s mothers were sisters, and their fathers had both been shareholders in the Ohio Company.[4]

Joseph Peirce's signature, 1812

Joseph Peirce’s signature, 1812 (FPW 37:3)

On December 2, 1807, Joseph entered into a business partnership with James Steele (who would later marry Joseph’s sister Phebe). The firm of Steele & Peirce sold general merchandise, and the pair remained in business together until Joseph’s death.[5]

Articles of Co-Partnership, Steele & Peirce, 1807, pg 1

Articles of Co-Partnership, Steele & Peirce, 1807, pg 1 (FPW 38:14)

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Steele & Peirce co-partnership signatures, 1807

Steele & Peirce co-partnership signatures, 1807 (FPW 38:14)

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Steele & Peirce operator's license, 1808

Steele & Peirce operator’s license, 1808 (FPW 38:13)

On November 10, 1810, Joseph Peirce married Henrietta Eliza Elliot (1792-1864), sometimes called Harriet, daughter of Dr. John Elliot. Henrietta was born in June 1792 in Vincennes, Indiana.[6]

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce, undated

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce, undated (FPW 37:21)

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Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce's signature, 1840

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce’s signature, 1840 (FPW 37:18)

In 1812, Joseph Peirce served on the Ohio legislature. In 1813, he was elected a trustee of the newly established Dayton Bank, and in 1814, he became its president, a position he held until his death.[7]

Joseph Peirce died on September 27, 1821, at the age of only 35 years, as a result of a fever which swept through Dayton, taking the lives of several other residents as well. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[8]

Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce died on February 13, 1864, probably in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[9]

Tombstone of Joseph and Henrietta Peirce, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Tombstone of Joseph and Henrietta Peirce, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77 (Photo by the author, 2011)

Joseph and Henrietta Peirce had five children:

  1. Mary Ann Peirce (1811-1880);
  2. David Zeigler Peirce (about 1813-1853);
  3. James S. Peirce (1815-1816);
  4. Jeremiah Hunt Peirce (1818-1889); and
  5. Joseph Crane Peirce (1821-1899).

Mary Ann Peirce was born in September 1811 in Dayton, Ohio. On November 24, 1829, in Montgomery County, Ohio, she married Edward Watts Davies (1802-1873). They had several children, including: Eliza Peirce Davies, who married Joseph Dart; Samuel Watts Davies, who married Eliza P. Howard; Lucy Z. Davies; Joseph Peirce Davies, who married Louie Phillips; Julia Crane Davies, who married Robert C. Schenck. Mary Ann (Peirce) Davies died September 24, 1880, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[10]

David Zeigler Peirce was born about 1813 in Dayton, Ohio. On December 15, 1842, in Montgomery County, Ohio, he married Eliza Johnston Greene (1821-1885), daughter of Charles Russell Greene and Achsah Disbrow. David died August 17, 1843, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[11]

James S. Peirce was born May 1, 1815, probably in Dayton, Ohio. He died May 15, 1816, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[12]

Jeremiah Hunt Peirce was born September 8, 1818, in Dayton, Ohio. On June 9, 1846, in Dayton, Jeremiah Hunt Peirce married Elizabeth Hannah Forrer (1827-1874), daughter of Samuel Forrer and Sarah Howard. They had eight children: Samuel Forrer Peirce; Henrietta Elliot Peirce, who married Henry Eugene Parrott; Edward Davies Peirce; Sarah Howard Peirce; Mary Forrer “Mellie” Peirce; Elizabeth Forrer Peirce; John Elliot Peirce, who married Mary Frances Harsh; and Howard Forrer Peirce. J. H. Peirce married Mary Forrer as his second wife. Jeremiah H. Peirce died on May 6, 1889, in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery.[13]

Joseph Crane Peirce was born January 13, 1821, in Dayton, Ohio. On December 23, 1856, in Montgomery County, Ohio, he married Louise Smith. They had no children. Joseph C. Peirce died September 24, 1899, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[14]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Harvey W. Crew, History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 143; John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 116; Robert W. Steele and Mary Davies Steele, Early Dayton (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 80; Ohio Adjutant General’s Office, and Daughters of the American Revolution, The Official Roster of the Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in the State of Ohio (Columbus, Ohio: F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1929-1959); Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; “Jamestown Births and Deaths,” in James N. Arnold, Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, First series: Births, Marriages, and Deaths (Providence, RI: Narragansett Historical Publishing Co., 1891), 26.

[2] Crew, History of Dayton, 143; Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 80; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[3] Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 80, 88.

[4] Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 80, 87-88; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116; Roz Young, “Dayton Final Resting Place for Cincinnati’s First Mayor,” Dayton Daily News, 20 Aug. 1994, accessed 14 Mar. 2012, http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/youngdanielcooper.htm. See also Series III, Subseries 6: Cooper/Greene Family.

[5] Crew, History of Dayton, 143; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116; Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 80. Business documents pertaining to Steele & Peirce can be found in Series III, Subseries 5: Steele Family. The articles of co-partnership, dated December 2, 1807, can be found in Box 38, Folder 14.

[6] Crew, History of Dayton, 143; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also Series III, Subseries 4: Elliot Family.

[7] Crew, History of Dayton, 143; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116.

[8] Crew, History of Dayton, 143; Steele and Steele, Early Dayton, 81.

[9] Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[10] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 211-212; Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 25 Jan. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[11] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116; Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[12] Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[13] Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 106-129; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116-117; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also FPW, Series II: Jeremiah H. Peirce Family.

[14] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 116-117; County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 19 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

Bio Sketch: John H. Howard (1813-1878), lawyer in Dayton, Ohio

John H. Howard was born October 5, 1813, in Belmont County, Ohio, the son of Horton Howard (1770-1833) and his third wife Hannah Hastings (1774-1833).[1]

John Howard (object NCR.1998.L0010.070 from Dayton History, used with permission)

John Howard (object # NCR.1998.L0010.070 from Dayton History. Used with permission.)

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John H. Howard's signature, 1832

John H. Howard’s signature, 1832 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 36, Folder 7)

Beginning in 1832, John attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He first attended the grammar school for the year 1832-1833.[2] He entered the sophomore college class in 1834. While at Kenyon, he was a member of the prominent literary society, the Philomathesian Society. John graduated from Kenyon College with an A.B. degree in 1837.[3]

Letter from John to his sister Sarah, 18 Sept. 1833, discussing school at Gambier

Letter from John to his sister Sarah and brother-in-law Samuel Forrer, 18 Sept. 1833, discussing school at Gambier (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 36, Folder 8)

John moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1839, and read law in the office of Odlin & Schenck. He was admitted to the bar in 1840. John was a lawyer in Dayton for nearly 40 years, several of which he practiced with Daniel A. Haynes in the firm Haynes & Howard, one of the best firms in the state. In later years, he practiced law with his son William, first as John Howard & Son, then as Howard & Howard.[4]

John served as mayor of Dayton from 1848-1854. In the 1876 election, John ran as a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress from Ohio’s 4th district, losing by less than 100 votes to the Democratic candidate John McMahon.[5]

John Howard contested the 1876 Congressional election but still lost after a re-count (Dayton Journal, 10 Nov. 1876)

John Howard contested the 1876 Congressional election but still lost after a re-count (Dayton Journal, 10 Nov. 1876)

On June 21, 1841, in Hamilton County, Ohio, John married Ann E. Loury, daughter of Fielding Loury, Sr. Ann was born about 1818 or 1819 in Troy, Ohio.[6]

John H. Howard died on May 8, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. His wife Ann died September 14, 1886. They are both buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[7]

John Howard (back row, center) and family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 66

John Howard (back row, center) and family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 66 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

John and Ann had at least seven children, although only two of their children lived to adulthood:

  1. William Crane Howard (1842-1900);
  2. Eliza P. Howard (about 1844-1884);
  3. Ann Howard (about 1845-1853);
  4. Alice Howard (1847-1848);
  5. Horton Howard (1850-1853);
  6. Mary Howard (about 1850-1853); and
  7. John Howard (1854-1860).

William Crane Howard was born April 24, 1842, in Dayton, Ohio. From August 1862 until April 1863, William served as a second lieutenant in the 17th Independent Battery Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery. [For more on William’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 5, here on my blog.] He studied law with his father, and the two practiced law together from 1864 until John’s death in 1878. On December 5, 1865, in Montgomery County, Ohio, William married Anna Keifer (about 1843-1879). They had four children: Eliza K. Howard, Ann E. Howard, Louise Howard, and John H. Howard. Shortly after the death of his wife in 1879, William moved, with his children and his widowed mother, to the Cincinnati area, where he was a U.S. Clerk. He later moved to the San Francisco, California, area, where he died October 30, 1900. William was buried next to his parents and siblings in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[8]

Eliza P. Howard was born about 1844 in Dayton, Ohio. On May 18, 1871, Eliza married Samuel Watts Davies (1838-1919), son of Edward Watts Davies and Mary Ann Peirce. They had three children: Mary D. Davies, Edward Watts Davies, and John Howard Davies. Eliza P. (Howard) Davies died May 9, 1884, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[9]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; John Howard to his family, [several letters], 36:7-8. John signed a few of his letters “John H. Howard.”

[2] Several letters from the time period of the August 1833 cholera outbreak are addressed to John at Gambier, Ohio. Also, according to Kenyon College historian Tom Stamp, it was not unusual for a young man of John’s age (19 or 20) to enter the grammar school at Kenyon, during that time period.

[3] Personal correspondence from Lydia Shahan, special collections assistant, Greenslade Special Collections & Archives, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, 19 Mar. 2012. John Edgar, in Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity (1896), p. 113, incorrectly states that John graduated in 1839.

[4] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 113; David C. Greer, Sluff of History’s Boot Soles: An Anecdotal History of Dayton’s Bench and Bar (Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 1996), 75; Dayton City Directories.

[5] “Mayors of Dayton” List, Dayton Metro Library Local History Question & Answer File; Greer, Sluff of History’s Boot Soles, 75; “How Soldiers Voted in Ohio: Why a Democrat was Elected to Congress from a Republican District,” 21 Oct. 1876, Cincinnati Enquirer, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 1841-1922; Dayton Journal, Aug.-Oct. 1876 [several articles].

[6] Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 25 Jan. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 112-113; U.S. Federal Census, 1860; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[7] Obituaries of John Howard, 10 May 1878 and 11 May 1878, Dayton Daily Journal; obituary of Ann E. Howard, 15 Sept. 1886, Dayton Daily Journal; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. John and Ann Howard are buried in Section 66, Lot 125.

[8] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. X (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 583; Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Dayton City Directories; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1900; Great Registers of California, 1866-1898 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Obituary of William C. Howard, [1900], in James O. Oliver scrapbook, Vol. II, Part 2, page 180, Montgomery County Historical Society Collection, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. William is buried in Section 66, Lot 127.

[9] U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1880; Augustus W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), 2:84-87; Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Ohio Births & Christenings Index, 1800-1962 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Eliza is buried in Section 66, Lot 127; her husband was later buried beside her.

Bio Sketch: Mary (Howard) Little Affleck (1809-1891), bearer of many sorrows

Mary Howard was born March 6, 1809, in Belmont County, Ohio, a daughter of Horton Howard (1770-1833) and his third wife Hannah Hastings (1774-1833).[1]

On September 21, 1827, in Franklin County, Ohio, Mary Howard married Harvey D. Little (1803-1833). On October 2, 1828, Mary was disowned by the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting for marrying contrary to discipline.[2]

Mary (Howard) Little's signature, 1831

Mary (Howard) Little’s signature, 1831 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 35, Folder 3)

Harvey Deming Little was born in 1803 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and came to Columbus, Ohio, with his parents around 1816. He apprenticed to a printer and was a newspaper editor and publisher for a few years, before turning to the practice of law around the time of his marriage. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the newspaper business, managing the Eclectic and Medical Botanist, a major proponent of his father-in-law Horton Howard’s An Improved System of Botanic Medicine.[3] Harvey also wrote many published poems, some of which were published in a St. Clairsville, Ohio, newspaper under the pseudonym “Velasques.”[4]

Harvey D. Little's signature, 1827

Harvey D. Little’s signature, 1827 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 35, Folder 7)

[For some examples of Harvey and Mary’s poetry, see the post immediately following this one.]

Mary and Harvey had four children:

  1. Caroline Augusta Little was born in 1828. [Check out this July 11, 1828, letter where Harvey talks about the new baby.]
  2. Horton H. Little was born about 1829.
  3. Richard Murry Little was born about 1831.
  4. Harvey D. Little, Jr., was born about February 1834.

Mary’s family was devastated by the Columbus cholera epidemic of 1833. In less than three weeks’ time, she lost her parents, a sister, her husband, and two children to cholera. In the first week of August 1833, five-year-old daughter Caroline Little and four-year-old Horton Little both died. Harvey D. Little, Sr., died on August 22, 1833; he was about 30 years old.[5] Mary was left a 24-year-old widow, with one remaining child and another on the way.

In the spring of 1834, Mary lost her remaining two children to scarlet fever. Three-year-old Richard died on April 30, and three-month-old Harvey Jr. died on May 7.[6] Mary had lost her husband and four children within the span of one year, leaving her a childless widow at only 25 years old.

Tombstone of Harvey D. Little and the four children, brought here to Woodland Cemetery in 1851

Tombstone of Harvey D. Little and the four children, brought here to Woodland Cemetery in 1851 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

On November 1, 1837, in Delaware County, Ohio, Mary married Dr. John G. Affleck (1802-1877), a widower with one daughter.[7]

John Gladstone Affleck was born in Scotland in 1802. He immigrated to Virginia in 1820 and studied medicine in Maryland. He was a doctor and newspaper editor in Belmont County, Ohio. John and Mary raised their family in Bridgeport, in Belmont County, not far from where Mary had grown up.[8]

John G. Affleck died February 5, 1877, at his home in Bridgeport, Ohio.[9]

Afterwards, Mary resided with her daughter Mary Sharp, first in Bridgeport, and later in Buffalo, New York. Mary (Howard) Little Affleck died April 24, 1891, probably in Buffalo.[10]

Mary and John had four children:

  1. Harriet B. Affleck (1839-1912);
  2. Howard Gladstone Affleck (1840-1862);
  3. Edward Tullibardine Affleck (1843-1911); and
  4. Mary Forrer Affleck (1849-?).

Harriet B. Affleck was born in July 1839 in Belmont County, Ohio. On September 30, 1858, she married Benjamin Clark Patterson (1827-1900). They had two children: John G. Patterson and George Edward Patterson. Harriet (Affleck) Patterson died February 24, 1912, in Belmont County, Ohio.[11]

Howard G. Affleck was born in 1840, in Belmont County, Ohio. From April 1861 to August 1861, Howard served in the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company B, in the Civil War. From December 1861 to April 1862, he served in the 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company H. On April 6, 1862, Howard was fatally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. He lingered for several weeks before dying at his parents’ home in Bridgeport on May 15, 1862.[12] [For more on Howard Affleck’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Parts 1-3, here on my blog.]

Edward T. Affleck was born August 23, 1843, in Belmont County, Ohio. In the spring of 1864, Edward enlisted as a first lieutenant and adjutant of the 170th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War. He was taken prisoner at Winchester, Virginia, on July 24, 1864, but was eventually paroled in March 1865.  [For more on Edward Affleck’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 12, here on my blog.] On May 17, 1871, in Columbus, Ohio, Edward married Laura Walkup. They had four children: Howard Gladstone Affleck, II; Florence Affleck; Rankin Walkup Affleck; and Edward Tullibardine Affleck, Jr. Edward Sr. had several occupations over the years, including railroad clerk, wholesale coal dealer, bank cashier, and vice president of a dairy. Edward T. Affleck, Sr., died January 27, 1911, in Toledo, Ohio, where most of his immediate family lived.[13]

Mary F. Affleck was born in April 1849, in Belmont County, Ohio. On June 4, 1874, in Belmont County, Ohio, she married Joseph Frank Sharp (1848-?). They had nine children: Edward Affleck Sharp; Howard Gladstone Sharp; Marshall Forrer Sharp; Sarah Peirce Sharp; Harry L. Sharp; Helen G. Sharp, who married George A. Neubauer; Frank W. Sharp; Herbert M. Sharp; and one unidentified child. The family eventually moved to Buffalo, New York, where Mary probably died, sometime between 1920 and 1930.[14]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20.

[2] Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166;

[3] William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices (Columbus, OH: Follett, Foster, & Co., 1860), accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=c4ssJ5obTk8C, 116-118; Emerson Venable, Poets of Ohio (Cincinnati: Robert Clark Co., 1909), accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=vZ5AAAAAYAAJ, 42-43; Berman and Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements, 48.

[4] Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West, 116. Coggeshall describes Harvey’s poetry at length and includes four of his poems. At least two of Harvey’s poems can be found in Sarah (Howard) Forrer’s Album of “Original and Selected Pieces” of Poetry and Miscellany, FPW, 5:5. Another example (“The Dead Father”) can be found in The Columbian Star, 14 Aug. 1830, 110.

[5] Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 9-20 Aug. 1833 [four letters], FPW, 1:15; Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, 12 Aug. 1833 [two letters], FPW, 1:13; Ohio State Journal, 10 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. In 1851, the remains of Harvey, Caroline, and Horton Little were moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

[6] Ohio State Journal, 3 May 1834, 10 May 1834; John Howard to Samuel Forrer, 7 May 1834, FPW, 36:8; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. In 1851, the remains of Richard and Harvey Little Jr. were moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

[7] Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch.

[8] Obituary of John G. Affleck, The Intelligencer, 6 Feb. 1877, in Affleck Family: Obituaries, FPW, 36:6; A. T. McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson,” in Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens (Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1903), accessed 21 July 2011, http://www.ohiogenealogyexpress.com/belmont/belmontco_bios_p.htm.

[9] Obituary of John G. Affleck, FPW, 36:6.

[10] Mellie Peirce to Howard F. Peirce, 24 Apr. 1891, FPW, 18:21; Mary Affleck to Mary (Forrer) Peirce, 1888-1891 [several letters, all postmarked Buffalo], FPW, 35:5.

[11] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; U.S. Federal Census, 1840-1910; Ohio Deaths,1908-1932, 1938-1944, & 1958-2007 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[12] Obituary of Howard G. Affleck, in Affleck Family: Obituaries, FPW, 36:6; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; U.S. Federal Census, 1840-1860; Sarah Forrer to Samuel Forrer, 9-24 May 1862 [three letters], FPW, 4:2; Howard Affleck to Mary Affleck, 10 Apr. 1862, Howard G. Affleck Civil War Diary and Mary Affleck Letter Book (Mss. A64-275), Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, New York.

[13] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; Martins Ferry Historical Society, “Edward Tullibardine Affleck,” accessed 21 July 2011, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohmfahs/cw-affleck.htm; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1910.

[14] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1930; Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

Bio Sketch: Horton Howard (1770-1833), Quaker leader, Ohio pioneer, federal land agent, doctor, & cholera victim

Horton Howard was born January 22, 1770, in either Carteret or Craven County, North Carolina, the eldest son of Bartholomew Howard and Ruth Stanton. Horton’s namesake was his father’s step-father, Parmenas Horton.[1]

Signature of Horton Howard, 1799

Signature of Horton Howard, 1799 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 34, Folder 9)

The other children of Bartholomew and Ruth Howard were: Mary Howard (1773-?), who married Aaron Brown and lived in Logan County, Ohio; Henry Howard (1775-?); Avis Howard (1777-?); and John Howard (1779-about 1836), who married Cherry Dew and then Hannah Raley, and had several children, most of whom lived in eastern Ohio.[2]

Horton’s parents were members of the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers), but they were also slaveholders. The family owned about 26 slaves, according to the 1790 census for Craven County.[3]

Slave-holding was technically contradictory to Quaker beliefs, but freeing one’s slaves was discouraged in North Carolina, with a law actually forbidding it by 1796. As a way of getting around the problem, a Quaker could transfer ownership of his slaves to the Meeting to which he belonged, thus relieving the individual from owning slaves, and the slaves were often freed through colonization in places like Haiti or Liberia.[4]

Horton apparently used this method to free the slaves he had inherited from his father, according to his daughter Sarah:

Left by his father in possession of slaves, who might have made him wealthy, he freed them all at the age of 21… He left them in the care of the yearly meeting of Friends, who have since sent them to Hayti [sic], I have heard. He said he was much affected the morning he became of age…for he being the eldest had the first choice. After parting with his slaves Carolina was no place for him, and he determined to move to that part of the N.W. Territory now known as the State of Ohio…[5]

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 created the Northwest Territory, where slavery was prohibited. This was attractive to southern Quakers, including Horton Howard, who wished to rid themselves of any local ties to slavery. The availability of good, relatively inexpensive land was surely alluring also.[6]

In 1799, the Contentnea Quarterly Meeting of eastern North Carolina decided to send a few men to investigate the lands and resources in the Northwest Territory, for a possible settlement by members of their community.

Borden Stanton later wrote about how this decision had evolved:

…for some years Friends have had some distant view of moving out of that oppressive part of the land, but did not know where until the year 1799, when we had an acceptable visit from some traveling Friends from the western part of Pennsylvania. They thought proper to propose to Friends for consideration, whether it would not be agreeable to best wisdom for us unitedly to remove northwest of the Ohio River—to a place where there were no slaves held, being a free country. This proposal made a deep impression on our minds… there were three of them who went to view the country…[7]

Those three men were Horton Howard and his father-in-law Joseph Dew, of the Core Sound Monthly Meeting, and Horton’s brother-in-law Aaron Brown, of the Trent Monthly Meeting. The three traveled first to the Quaker communities of Redstone and Westland in southwestern Pennsylvania (near Fredericktown), using these as a jumping off point to eastern Ohio.[8]

During their journey, Horton wrote the following to his wife Mary:

…We are now at Winchester in Virginia having crossed the Blue Ridge of Mountains and are between it and the Alligany [sic] Mountain about four Hundred and fifty Miles from Home and One Hundred and thirty six from Redstone. We have been favoured [sic] to get along so far with less Difficulty and fatigue than we expected but we have travailed [sic] slow…and now we all go Comfortably on Horseback being pretty well seasoned thereto.

Father seems considerably Heartyer [sic] than when he left home but has nothing at Present to write.

It hath so fell out that after leaving Contentney [sic], we have attended Meetings as they as they [sic] came of Course at all the settlements of Friends where we have come Viz. Jack swamp 1st day, Wayn Oak 4th day and Last of the Yearly meeting, 5th day at Curls, 1st day at Ceder Creek, 4th day at south Land Mo. Meeting, 7th at Crooked Runn Mo. Meeting over the Mountain and this being 1st day at Center Meeting within a Mile of this place; some of which have been seasons of refreshment…[9]

Check out these images of the original 1799 letter (click to view full resolution):

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg 1 of 2

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg 1 of 2 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 34, Folder 9)

.

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg. 2 of 2

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg. 2 of 2

By mid-June, the three had safely crossed the mountains and reached the Westland Monthly Meeting, as evidenced by Westland’s meeting minutes for June 22, 1799:

Our esteemed friends, Joseph Dew and Horton Howard, attended this meeting and produced certificates from a Monthly Meeting at Coresound, in Carteret County, North Carolina, expressive of Friends’ unity with their viewing this part of the country and other parts adjacent, with a prospect of removing and settling within the verge of this, if way should open, and our friend, Aaron Brown, also attended…[10]

From Pennsylvania, the three men set off into Ohio to explore further:

They traveled on till they came to this part of the western country [near present-day Colerain, Belmont County, Ohio], where they were stopped in their minds, believing it was the place for Friends to settle. So they turned back and informed us of the same in a solemn meeting… This information, in the way it was delivered to us much tendered our spirits, and strengthened us in the belief that it was right. So we undertook the work…[11]

When the trio of explorers returned to North Carolina, they reported favorably on what they had seen in the new territory. Core Sound MM sent many families to the northwest, and the response from Trent MM was so overwhelming that all the families removed, with Trent MM actually ceasing to exist afterwards.[12]

Although most of these families did not begin the journey north until January 1800, Horton Howard was granted a certificate to Westland MM on September 1, 1799, and was received there on October 26, 1799.[13]

The Howards and the other Quaker families remained near Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, through several months of 1800, waiting for the opening of a new federal land office in the Northwest Territory, which would grant deeds for property in Ohio.[14]

On May 2, 1800, Congress passed the Harrison Land Act, which authorized four new federal land offices in the Northwest Territory, the first of which opened for business at Steubenville on July 2. Lands could be purchased in tracts of 320 acres each (a half section) for $2.00 per acre.[15]

Horton Howard’s family was among the first to leave Fredericktown. On September 16, 1800, he purchased a tract of land in what is now Colerain Township in Belmont County, near what would soon be known as Concord (now Colerain). By the end of the year 1800, approximately 800 Quakers had moved to Ohio.[16]

In December 1801, a new Quaker congregation—the Concord Monthly Meeting—opened in Belmont County, Ohio. This was the first Monthly Meeting of Friends in the Northwest Territory, and Horton Howard was among its charter members.[17]

Horton was appointed the first men’s clerk of the Concord Monthly Meeting in 1801. He was later the first clerk of the Short Creek Quarterly Meeting in 1807 and the first men’s Ohio Yearly Meeting from 1813-1815.[18]

Although Horton was much devoted to his work within the Society of Friends, he also needed a means of supporting his growing family. Horton became employed by the federal land office in Steubenville. He worked as a land agent, helping thousands of people locate and acquire suitable property in eastern Ohio.[19]

In April 1815, the Howard family joined the nearby Plainfield Monthly Meeting, which was also located in Belmont County.[20]

The family remained in Belmont County for another five years, until the summer of 1820, when the Horton was appointed as a land agent at one of the newly opened federal land offices further west.[21]

In April 1820, Horton wrote to his friend Thomas Rotch about his feelings in regards to his new assignment:

…it will require a great deal of dilligence [sic] and Industry to arrange my affairs and remove to Delaware on the Whetstone fork of scioto [sic] in Ohio to be ready to open the public sales of Land, as the Law contemplates as I suppose that is to be my residence for a time unless the President should think it would do to run the Risque [sic] of further displeasing the People of Indiana by giving appointment to a nonresident of the State of Indiana as he did last year in appointing General Harrison’s son to the Office of Vincennes. I believe this is all that prevents my getting the Brookville Office in that state which on account of the Great body of friends there &c. &c. I should have preferred.—But it is clearly an unequivocally settled that I get one of them and if in Ohio I get my Choice…[22]

Horton did not get the appointment in Indiana, and so he moved his family to Delaware, Ohio, as expected. In July 1820, Horton and his family were granted certificates to the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting in Delaware County, Ohio, and they were received by that congregation on August 31 of the same year. (The family would later be disowned from the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting in 1829 for joining the Hicksite faction of Quakers.)[23]

Probably in connection with his duties as a federal land agent, Horton Howard was apparently involved in surveying and mapmaking, his signature appearing on several early 19th century Ohio and Quaker maps.[24] As a matter of fact, when Horton sent his daughter Sarah to school in Cincinnati in the fall of 1825, he particularly encouraged her to learn “the art of painting or shading maps,” which surely would have been a useful skill to have in the family.[25]

The year 1828 had more changes in store for the Howard family. Horton wrote to his wife Hannah in February 1828:

…I expect to be at home in time to prepare for the new appointment as Receiver—But as there may be an order to remove the office at an earlier period, Joseph [Gest] must be prepared to be in readiness accordingly, and as soon as he shall be informed of the time fixed for the removal he should write to Neal McGaffy to make provisions for Joseph to take possession of the House I rented in Tiffin by the time the office must be there…[26]

The federal land office at Delaware did indeed remove to Tiffin in 1828, but the Howard family did not go with it. Instead, they moved slightly south to Columbus, Ohio, where Horton and his wife Hannah lived until their deaths.[27]

Although he was born in the pre-Civil War South, Horton Howard did not agree with slavery. In 1791, he freed all the slaves left to him by his father. His daughter Sarah later wrote of her father’s feelings towards his (former) slaves:

And when I tell you that his property consisted chiefly of slaves, you will agree with me that he acted from principle. He chose a life of comparative poverty, rather than live in affluence on the produce of slave labour, and yet he was not the abolitionist of our day [1851]. I have often heard him say that he could feel for the master as well as for the slave, that it is difficult to know what course to pursue… I suppose my Father would as soon have thought of selling his Children as his negroes

He told the poor blacks, if they would go with him to the new country he would do the best he could for them… He gave a small piece of land to each of the men who came with him—they had labored for him and the land was given for that—that they might provide for themselves. They were much attached to us and we to them… [One man] came every year while we lived in the eastern part of the state, and brought his family to see us, when mother dear, king good mother collected all of Father’s old clothes for him, and her own, and ours for his wife and children, and when dear father died, there was a complete suit of his old master’s clothes sent to the poor old freedman…[28]

Although Sarah wrote that her father “was not the abolitionist of our day,” records show that Horton Howard was inclined towards abolition. In 1818, he wrote a letter to his friend and fellow Quaker Thomas Rotch, asking Rotch to assist with presenting an anti-slavery statement to Congress.[29]

In addition to being a leading Quaker pioneer in Ohio, a federal land agent, and a low-key abolitionist, Horton Howard was also trained in medicine, though he did not formally practice it. In 1832, he published a two-volume set entitled An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, giving an explanation of his medical background in the Preface:

From exposure in early youth, my health became much impaired, and my constitution weakened by sickness; insomuch that from the age of thirteen to twenty-one, I was a constant prey to disease, and all its concomitant ills—its pain and anxiety—its gloomy forebodings, and the repulsive prospect of a slow decay. During this period, I not only applied for medical aid to the best physicians of my native state (North Carolina), but I devoted a portion of my time to the study of medicine, in the hope not only of finding something to mitigate my sufferings, but also of acquiring the knowledge of a useful and honorable avocation for life. Stimulated by these earnest hopes and sentiments, I prosecuted my book studies, aided by the best physicians of my acquaintance, until I had acquired a competent knowledge of the practice of medicine.—But alas! My fondest anticipations were but idle dreams: neither my books, nor my physicians, brought that relief—that grateful solace to my sick-worn frame, which I so ardently desired, and so anxiously sought from their aid!

…Moreover, I became acquainted with the appalling fact, that with all the knowledge which I, or the best medical practitioner possessed, and with the use of such remedies as were generally relied upon in the treatment of disease, it would be a matter of uncertainly whether I should cure or kill! With these sentiments indelibly impressed upon my mind, I abandoned the idea of following a practice, which could only be pursued at the hazard of destroying life… My health was finally restored by a peculiar kind of regimen [botanic medicine] which will be particularly described in my medical work.

From these considerations, and from these alone, I abandoned the idea, of following the practice of medicine as a profession; although I have practiced very considerably among my immediate neighbors, more especially in sickly seasons; but for which I have never charged, nor have I ever received, any compensation.

In the summer of 1825, the bilious fever prevailed epidemically, which swept off numbers of my acquaintances, amongst whom I lost a lovely daughter [Hannah]… Other branches of my family, as well as several of my neighbors, suffered by the same epidemic, all of whom recovered by the assistance of such medical aid as I was then capable of affording them; which indeed I had reason to believe was at least equal to any that could have been derived from any other source.

About the time of which I am now speaking, or soon after, I heard much talk of the botanic physicians, usually styled steam, or patent doctors; and as prejudice in the mind of the multitude, often goes in advance of almost every great and good work, so it was in this instance; and myself with the rest, and particularly with the medical faculty, imbibed prejudices the most hostile, and feelings the most contemptuous, towards this infant institution of rational medicine…[30]

However, in the winter after the bilious fever epidemic of 1825, Horton changed his mind about botanic medicine after observing its use in healing an extremely sick neighbor.

I had seen the effects of the new medicines in but one case; but that was one of virulent character, and it yielded to the means employed, as if they acted by a charm: I came to the conclusion that it was my duty as a man, and as a Christian, to forego all my prejudices, and avail myself of the knowledge of these botanic medicines, for the benefit of my own family.[31]

Horton then studied Dr. Samuel Thomson’s system of herbal medicine and became convinced of its effectiveness:

Sickness in my own family, as well as amongst my neighbors, and friends in distant parts of the country, soon afforded opportunities which confirmed my highest opinions of the new practice; and I commenced, with zeal and energy, proclaiming my convictions to the world. I pursued this course because I believed that mankind would be benefitted by the new system, and that it was my duty to encourage its promulgation.[32]

Horton soon became an agent for Thomson directly. However, Horton eventually found Dr. Thomson’s original system to be imperfect, broke with Thomson, and improved upon the botanic system. Knowing that Dr. Thomson would resent the publication of a “revised” version of his original book, Horton published his own book on the subject—An Improved System of Botanic Medicine—in 1832.[33]

After the publication of the first volume of the work, Thomson filed suit against Horton Howard, but Horton apparently won the case, because the second volume of An Improved System of Botanic Medicine was published the same year. Horton published a third and final volume, specifically focusing on women’s medicine—A Treatise on the Complaints Peculiar to Females: Embracing a System of Midwifery; the Whole in Conformity with the Improved System of Botanic Medicine—which was also published in 1832.[34]

Unfortunately, Horton Howard’s botanic remedies were no match for the cholera epidemic that struck Columbus in the summer of 1833. Horton Howard’s immediate family lost six members during that epidemic, including Horton himself, his wife Hannah, a daughter Ann, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.[35]

Horton Howard died on August 14, 1833, of cholera, at his home in Columbus, Ohio; he was 63 years old. He was buried the following morning in Columbus. His wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard died August 20, 1833, of cholera, at home; she was 59 years old. She was presumably buried near her husband in Columbus. The remains of both Horton and Hannah Howard were eventually moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton in 1851.[36]

Tombstone of Horton and Hannah Howard, Woodland Cemetery

Tombstone of Horton and Hannah Howard, Woodland Cemetery (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

Horton Howard was married three times and had 11 children.

Horton’s first wife was Anna Mace. They were married August 7, 1791, at the Clubfoot Creek Meeting House, which was near the Neuse River in Craven County, North Carolina. Anna was born about 1769 and died of tuberculosis on March 12, 1797, in North Carolina; she was 27 years old.[37]

Horton and Anna had two children, both of whom were born in North Carolina:

  1. Henry Howard was born June 13, 1792, and died August 30, 1840.[38]
  2. Ruth Howard was born December 15, 1794, and died of croup on April 15, 1796.[39]

Horton’s second wife was Mary Dew, daughter of Joseph and Vylee Dew. They were married February 25, 1798, at the Clubfoot Creek Meeting House in Craven County, North Carolina. Mary was born February 24, 1771, and died of “inward decay” on September 5, 1804, probably in Belmont County, Ohio; she was 33 years old.[40]

Horton and Mary had three children:

  1. Joseph Howard was born December 20, 1798, in North Carolina, and died about April 1856, probably in Ohio. He married Pharaby J. Patterson in 1821.[41]
  2. Rachel Howard was born May 15, 1802, in Belmont County, Ohio, and died of bilious fever in August 1829. She was unmarried.[42]
  3. Horton J. Howard was born March 23, 1804, in Belmont County, Ohio, and died July 21, 1883, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He was a newspaperman and printer at St. Clairsville. He married Mary M. Bates in 1825, then later Eliza W.[43]

Horton’s third wife was Hannah Hastings, daughter of John and Sarah Hastings. Hannah was born February 24, 1774, in Wilmington, Delaware. Horton and Hannah were married December 5, 1806, at a public meeting of Quakers in Wilmington, Delaware.[44]

Signature of Hannah Hastings (later Mrs. Horton Howard), 1804

Signature of Hannah Hastings (later Mrs. Horton Howard), 1804 (Dayton Metro Library, Box 34, Folder 21)

Horton and Hannah had six children, all of whom were born in Belmont County, Ohio:

  1. Sarah Hastings Howard was born December 27, 1807, and died December 11, 1887. She married Samuel Forrer in 1826.[45]
  2. Mary Howard was born March 6, 1809, and died April 24, 1891. She married Harvey Little in 1827, then Dr. John Gladstone Affleck in 1837.[46]
  3. Ann Howard was born June 11, 1811, and died of cholera on August 9, 1833, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[47]
  4. Hannah Howard was born March 7, 1812, and died of bilious fever on August 6, 1825, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[48]
  5. John H. Howard was born October 5, 1813, and died May 8, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. He married Ann E. Loury in 1841.[49]
  6. Jane Howard was born February 2, 1816, and died August 6, 1819, probably in Belmont County, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[50]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Howard Genealogical Information, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 36:20, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Bros., 1936), 1:271-272.

[2] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[3] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; 1790 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition.

[4] H. E. Smith, “The Quakers, their Migration to the Upper Ohio, their Customs and Discipline,” Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly 37 (1928): 39-41.

[5] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[6] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 41; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:137.

[7] Borden Stanton to friends, 25 May 1802, quoted in Smith, “The Quakers…,” 45-46.

[8] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 41-42; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia, last modified 29 Aug. 2007, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.quakerpedia.org/index.php?title=Horton_Howard.

[9] Horton Howard to his wife Mary (Dew) Howard, [no date] 1799, FPW, 34:9.

[10] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42.

[11] Borden Stanton to friends, 25 May 1802, quoted in Smith, “The Quakers…,” 46.

[12] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43.

[13] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:272, 4:40.

[14] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43; John S. Williams, “Our Cabin, or Life in the Woods,” American Pioneer 2 (1843), accessed 29 Feb. 2012, http://vault.hanover.edu/~smith/w11comphist.htm.

[15] Carol Willsey Bell, Ohio Lands: Steubenville Land Office, 1800-1820 (Youngstown, OH: Carol Willsey Bell, 1983), i, v; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[16] Bell, Ohio Lands, 7; Smith, “The Quakers…,” 43-45; Williams, “Our Cabin, or Life in the Woods”;

[17] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:[7], 4:137; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; J. A. Caldwell, Hisory of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio (Wheeling, WV: Historical Publishing Co., 1880), 186.

[18] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[19] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; Bell, Ohio Lands, 172; Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, [several letters dated 1811-1823], Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, Massillon Public Library, Massillon, Ohio, accessed 29 Dec. 2011, http://www.massillonmemory.org.

[20] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:338.

[21] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 16 Dec. 1819 and 28 Apr. 1820, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, Massillon Public Library, Massillon, Ohio, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[22] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 28 Apr. 1820, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, B-95-10, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org/u?/p15005coll39,1400.

[23] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:338, 4:1166.

[24] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; “Topographical Map of the State of Ohio” Map (1828), http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/29048990; “Map of Meetings in the Contiguous Parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, & Ohio” (1813-1828), http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/697639491. Horton also mentions mapmaking in some of his correspondence (FPW).

[25] Horton Howard to Sarah Howard, 23 Nov. 1825, FPW, 34:13.

[26] Horton Howard to his wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard, 14 Feb. 1828, FPW, 34:10.

[27] Horton Howard to his wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard, 14 Feb. 1828 and 11 Aug. 1828, FPW, 34:10.

[28] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[29] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 30 Oct. 1818, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, B-95-7, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org/u?/p15005coll39,1436.

[30] Horton Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine; Founded upon Correct Physiological Principles; Embracing a Concise View of Anatomy and Physiology; Together with an Illustration of the New Theory of Medicine (Columbus, OH: Horton Howard, 1832), accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.archive.org/details/improvedsystemof01howa, 1:3-4.

[31] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:5.

[32] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:5-6.

[33] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:6-7; Christopher Hoolihan, “Horton Howard,” An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008), accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=nGcDUS7WUqYC, 3:371-372; Alex Berman and Michael A. Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements: Vox Populi (New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 2001), accessed 8 Oct. 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=gIWWi3HZU8oC, 47-48.

[34] Hoolihan, “Horton Howard,” 3:372.

[35] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 9-20 Aug. 1833 [four letters], FPW, 1:15; Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, 12 Aug. 1833 [two letters], FPW, 1:13; William T. Martin, History of Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus : Follett, Forster & Co., 1858), 305-306; Ohio State Journal, 9 Aug. 1833, 17 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 7 Sept. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Berman and Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements, 48.

[36] Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 15 Aug. 1833 and 20 Aug. 1833, FPW, 1:15; Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ohio State Journal, 17 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Horton and Hannah Howard are buried in Section 66, Lot 125.

[37] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:271-272.

[38] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[39] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[40] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:272.

[41] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[42] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[43] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:224.; Find A Grave, accessed 29 Feb. 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78237126.

[44] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:150.

[45] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

[46] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20.

[47] Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 9 Aug. 1833, FPW, 1:15; Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ohio State Journal, 17 Aug 1833, 7 Sep 1833, 2 Nov 1833; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[48] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:4; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[49] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20.

[50] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

Bio Sketch: Luther B. Bruen (1822-1864), Dayton lawyer & Civil War casualty, & Augusta (Forrer) Bruen (1833-1907) & family

Augusta Forrer was born April 5, 1833, in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Forrer (1793-1874) and Sarah Howard (1807-1887).[1]

On December 8, 1853, in Dayton, Augusta married Luther Barnett Bruen, one of the proprietors of the Cincinnati Gazette and later Dayton lawyer. Luther was born September 14, 1822, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Luther Bruen and Susan Barnett.[2]

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, undated

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 33, Folder 9)

.

Luther B. Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, Montgomery County Picture File, photo #1766)

Luther B. Bruen, undated (Dayton Metro Library, Montgomery County Picture File, photo #1766)

Shortly after the Civil War broke out, Luther enlisted with the regular army, accepting a commission as a Major with the 12th United States Infantry. He was first stationed at Fort Hamilton, near the harbor in New York City, where he was in charge of recruiting for his regiment.[3]

In January 1864, Luther was sent to the battle front with the Army of the Potomac. On May 13, 1864, he was wounded during the Battle of the Wilderness near Laurel Hill, Virginia, receiving a shell fragment in his knee. He was transferred to Douglas Hospital in Washington, DC, where after 10 days, his leg was amputated above the knee. He survived about three weeks longer and then died at the hospital on June 21, 1864, with his wife by his side; he was 41 years old. He was buried June 28, 1864, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[4]

[For more on Luther’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 9, here on my blog.]

Augusta and her children stayed with her parents for much of the time that Luther was in the army, and they stayed for many years after Luther died. Augusta eventually moved to Bristol, Connecticut, where her son Frank lived.[5]

Shortly after Augusta’s death, a family friend wrote to the family: “Augusta said to me once – that she hoped her husband would wait for her but that she sometimes feared he would progress so far ahead of her that she should never reach him.”[6]

Augusta (Forre) Bruen, late in life

Augusta (Forrer) Bruen, late in life (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 33, Folder 9)

After 43 years as a widow, Augusta (Forrer) Bruen died October 18, 1907, at her home in Bristol, Connecticut, after several months’ illness; she was 74 years old. She was buried on October 21, 1907, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[7]

Bruen family plot, Woodland Cemetery, Section 102

Bruen family plot, Woodland Cemetery, Section 102 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

Luther B. Bruen and Augusta (Forrer) Bruen had four children:

  1. Sarah Howard Bruen (1854-1951);
  2. Frank Bruen (1857-1945);
  3. Robert L. Bruen (1859-1932); and
  4. Mary Howard Bruen (1863-1936).

Sarah Howard Bruen, usually called “Sella,” was born on September 1, 1854, in Dayton, Ohio. On May 29, 1878, in Dayton, she married Frederic Willets Wright, Sr. (1851-1915) of Springboro, Ohio. They later lived in Long Island and Baltimore. They had five children: Sarah Bruen Wright (1879-?), who married Singleton Burdette Mitchill (1881-1938); Kathleen Wright (1882-1966); Alice Wright (1883-1971); Mary Willets Wright (1888-1962), who married Nicholas Bosley Merryman, II (1886-1939); and Frederic Willets Wright, Jr. (1890-?), who married Mary Ogden Harvey (1901-?). Sella (Bruen) Wright died April 23, 1951, probably near Baltimore, Maryland.[8]

Frank Bruen was born February 23, 1857, in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Cornell University in 1878 with a civil engineering degree, and he was a cost engineer in Bristol, Connecticut. He never married. Frank Bruen died on October 18, 1945, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[9]

Robert L. Bruen was born April 8, 1859, in Dayton, Ohio. He was a special insurance adjuster. On October 15, 1885, in Larimore, North Dakota, he married Amelia Russell Sawhill (1868-1938). They had two children: Kathleen M. Bruen (1887-1894) and Robert Luther Bruen (1889-1894). Robert L. Bruen died December 11, 1932, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[10]

Mary Howard Bruen was born June 26, 1863, in Dayton, Ohio. Her father did not even meet her until she was over six months old, and he died a few months after that. As a young woman, Mary often accompanied her cousin Howard Forrer Peirce as vocalist while he played the piano. She never married. Mary Bruen died March 11, 1926, at Bristol, Connecticut, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton.[11]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio); Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 129. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

[2] Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 129, 132; 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition.

[3] U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Profiles (database), Ancestry Library Edition; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Luther Bruen to Samuel Forrer, 27 Aug. 1862, FPW, 33:10; Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, [several letters in 1862], FPW, 4:5; “Major Luther B. Bruen: Death of a Gallant Officer” (obituary), Dayton Journal, 23 June 1864, reprinted in Bruen, Christian Forrer, 132-133.

[4] “Major Luther B. Bruen: Death of a Gallant Officer” (obituary); U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Profiles (database), Ancestry Library Edition; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Luther is buried in Section 102, Lot 1348.

[5] 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition; 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition; [Various letters], FPW.

[6] Laura Vail Morgan to Sarah H. Peirce, 7 Nov. 1907, FPW, 17:10.

[7] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 129-130; “Sister of Mrs. J. H. Peirce Dies in Bristol” (obituary), Dayton Herald, 19 Oct. 1907, reprinted in Bruen, Christian Forrer, 130; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Augusta is buried in Section 102, Lot 1348, near her parents.

[8] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 133-137; Sherwood Episcopal Church Cemetery (Cockeysville, MD) interment records, Find A Grave, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GScid=1963094.

[9] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[10] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136;

[11] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136; Sarah Forrer’s diary, [Dec. 1863] and 14 Feb. 1864, quoted in Frances I. Parrott, “Sons and Mothers,” [undated], FPW, 32:4; Various letters from Howard F. Peirce to his family, FPW, 24:7, 25:3, 25:6; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

Bio Sketch: H. Eugene Parrott (1839-1933) & Henrietta (Peirce) Parrott (1848-1919) (& family), early residents of Oakwood, Ohio

Henrietta Elliot Peirce, sometimes called “Etta,” was born November 21, 1848, in Dayton, Ohio, the eldest daughter of Jeremiah H. Peirce (1818-1889) and Elizabeth H. Forrer (1827-1874). Henrietta was named after her paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Henrietta Elliot.[1]

Henrietta (Peirce) Parrott with daughter Mary Edward Parrott, 1881

Henrietta (Peirce) Parrott with daughter Mary Edward Parrott, 1881 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 32, Folder 24)

Henrietta received most of her education at home or through teachers of particular subjects. Like her sisters, Henrietta was artistic, winning an award at the Ohio State fair in 1866 for best pencil drawing. She also had a lifelong interest in gardening. As a young lady, she attended the commercial college to learn bookkeeping.[2]

On June 9, 1871, Henrietta Peirce married Henry Eugene Parrott at Five Oaks, her parents’ home in Dayton, Ohio.[3]

Henry Eugene Parrott, usually called “Eugene,” was born March 1, 1839, in Dayton, Ohio, the youngest surviving son of Thomas Parrott (1797-1864) and Sarah Sullivan (1880-1883). Eugene attended the Dayton Academy, Delaware College (later Ohio Wesleyan University), where he graduated in 1860 and later held the distinction of being its oldest living alumni.[4]

At the time the Civil War broke out, Eugene’s father and older brother Edwin operated a linseed oil manufacturing business in Dayton. After Edwin took a commission in the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Eugene began to take a more active part in the business. Thomas Parrott wanted did not want his youngest son to go off to the war, Eugene wrote in his diary, in May 1862:

Father said to me this eve’g: “I wish you wouldn’t attend the war meeting ‘Gene, for I don’t want you to get into the notion of going to war. I am an old man and this suit (about the oil presses) troubles me a great deal & my private business, & I don’t want to have any more business to attend to. If the call is urgent Joseph [the middle son] will go & I think I ought to have one son at home to help me.[5]

Nevertheless, Eugene did participate in the war effort. On June 11, 1862, Eugene went on a steamboat from Cincinnati to retrieve sick and wounded soldiers from the Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee (Battle of Shiloh), remaining with the relief workers about two weeks.[6] In September 1862, he was among the “Squirrel Hunters” who defended Cincinnati against the threat of attack from the Kirby Smith’s advancing forces.[7] [For more on H. Eugene Parrott’s Civil War service in 1862,  see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 7, here on my blog.] In July 1863, Eugene enlisted as an adjutant and lieutenant in the 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was commanded by his college comrade Col. William Lemert, and served six months, being mustered out in February 1864.[8]

After the Civil War ended, the Parrott brothers Eugene and Edwin both returned to the linseed oil business. In 1869, the brothers incorporated the Malleable Iron Company, a foundry which had been established a few years earlier by others. Eugene served as secretary and treasurer of the company; his older brother Edwin as president. In 1882, new officers took over the company, and Eugene became involved in marble dust manufacturing. In later years, he held positions at the Dayton Board of Trade, the Dayton Automatic Gas Savings Company, and the National Cash Register Company.[9]

Despite his various forays into the Dayton business world, Eugene’s first love was farming. He owned a large farm in present-day Oakwood known as Briar Hill, with a herd of dairy cattle, as well as horses.[10]

Location of H. Eugene Parrott's farm 'Briar Hill' in Oakwood, 1875

Location of H. Eugene Parrott’s farm ‘Briar Hill’ in Oakwood, 1875 (1875 Montgomery County, Ohio, Atlas, pg. 116)

Initially, Briar Hill farm had a little frame house on the property, and this was the home to which he brought his bride, Henrietta.[11] His young wife was said to be “even fonder of the country than her husband.”[12]

In the winter of 1879, Eugene and Henrietta moved their growing family into a new stone and frame house that had been designed by an architect from Springfield, Massachusetts. Demonstrating their artistic abilities, Henrietta and her aunt and sisters personally did some of the decorative carving and painting inside the house.[13]

Eugene Parrott was one of the original signers of the petition to create the village of Oakwood, which was incorporated in 1908, and served as the village’s second mayor from 1910-1913.[14]

During the 1913 Flood, Henrietta invited refugees to stay at Briar Hill. The house was eventually sold in 1918. Henrietta’s will divided up the Briar Hill property among the family, resulting in the private road, Briar Hill Road, which still exists, although the Parrotts’ 1879 home burned down in 1969.[15]

Further evidence of the family’s stamp on Oakwood is Forrer Boulevard, named for Henrietta’s grandfather Samuel Forrer; it formerly included what is now Oakwood Avenue and extended all the way from Far Hills to Park Avenue. Another example is Elizabeth Gardens Park, which was named for Henrietta’s mother Elizabeth (Forrer) Peirce.[16]

In addition to farming and business activities, Eugene taught Sunday school at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church for many years.[17] He was a member of the “Saturday Club,” a men’s literary club in Dayton that met to hear papers and hold discussions, and he was also a Scottish Rite Freemason.[18] And even in his old age, he never abandoned his love for horses and the outdoors, engaging in daily two-hour rides even after he reached 90.[19]

Henrietta E. (Peirce) Parrott died April 21, 1919, at the home of her daughter Mary Edward (Parrott) Clunet, Briar Hill, Oakwood, Ohio, after several months of illness; she was 70 years old. She was buried on April 23, 1919, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[20]

Henry Eugene Parrott died December 31, 1933, at Five Oaks in Dayton, Ohio (which was by then the home of his daughter Frances I. Parrott); he was 94 years old. He was buried on January 2, 1934, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[21]

Gravestones of Henrietta and H. Eugene Parrott, Woodland Cemetery, Section 103

Gravestones of Henrietta and H. Eugene Parrott, Woodland Cemetery, Section 103 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

H. Eugene Parrott and Henrietta (Peirce) Parrott had nine children:

  1. Edward Peirce Parrott (1872-1873);
  2. John Ennals Parrott (1874-1929);
  3. Samuel Forrer Parrott (1875-1875);
  4. Elizabeth Forrer Parrott (1876-1979);
  5. Frances Isabel Parrott (1878-1934);
  6. Marianna Parrott (1879-1879);
  7. Mary Edward Parrott (1880-1945);
  8. Roger Sheffield Parrott (1883-1950); and
  9. [infant] Parrott (1887-1887).

Edward Peirce Parrott was born November 16, 1872, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named for Henrietta’s brother Edward Davies Peirce, who had died a few years earlier. He died March 1, 1873.[22]

John Ennals Parrott was born January 25, 1874, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named for his father’s cousin John Parrott and for his father’s great-grandmother whose maiden name was Ennals. John was a lumber broker in Dayton. On June 21, 1905, in Dayton, he married Sophie Adéle Reynolds (1882-1944). They had one child: John E. Parrott, Jr. (1906-1966). John E. Parrott, Sr., died June 26, 1929, in Dayton, Ohio.[23]

Samuel Forrer Parrott was born April 5, 1875, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named after his great-grandfather Samuel Forrer, who died the previous year. He died August 21, 1875.[24]

Elizabeth Forrer Parrott, usually called “Beth,” was born May 27, 1876, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named for her grandmother Elizabeth (Forrer) Peirce, who died a few years earlier. On October 10, 1901, at Briar Hill, Beth married Samuel Ellis (1866-1929). They had six children. Elizabeth F. (Parrott) Ellis died in November 1979, probably in Buffalo, New York, where she had resided for many years.[25]

Frances Isabel Parrott was born January 21, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named after her father’s older sister Frances, who suggested Isabel as the middle name. She never married and lived with her father until his death. For several years, she was a reporter for the Dayton Daily News and an active member of the Montgomery County Historical Society. She died on July 13, 1934, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident the previous day.[26]

Marianna Parrott was born June 15, 1879, in Dayton, Ohio. She died October 29, 1879.[27]

Mary Edward Parrott was born October 28, 1880, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named after her mother’s aunt Mary (Peirce) Davies, who was often called “Mary Edward” (Mrs. Edward Davies) to distinguish her from Mary (Loury) Davies (Mrs. Samuel Hiley Davies). On February 27, 1902, in Montgomery County, Ohio, Mary Edward Parrott married Nathaniel Shannon Clunet (1866-1965), a contractor and consulting engineer from Baltimore. They had four children: Henrietta Parrott Clunet (1902-1998), who married Robert A. Ferguson Light (1897-1992); Mary Edward Clunet (1907-2001), who married Edmund Rossiter Sawtelle (1905-1964); Aimee Lannay Clunet (1909-1995), who married L. Keith Wilson; and Natalie Shannon Clunet (1911-1986), who married Roy Gerald Fitzgerald, Jr. (1910-1990), and later Charles J. Thornquest (1910-1986). Mary E. (Parrott) Clunet died June 15, 1945, at her home, Briar Hill, Oakwood, Ohio.[28]

Roger Sheffield Parrott (1883-1950). He was named Roger because his parents liked the name and Sheffield after his mother’s great-grandmother whose maiden name was Sheffield. Roger graduated from West Point in 1908 and attended the officers’ school of artillery at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was a career soldier and served on the staff of General John Pershing during WWI. In 1924, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in the Philippines in 1909. In his later years, he was in charge of student military instruction at Princeton University. He was a U.S. Army colonel when he retired. On February 11, 1909, in Dayton, Ohio, Roger married Mary Barlow Ohmer (1883-1950), daughter of Edward G. and Clara (Legler) Ohmer, of Dayton. They had two children: Virginia Sheffield Parrott (1912-1986), who married T. Hughlett Henry, Jr., and Thomas Alexander Parrott (1914-2007). Roger S. Parrott died November 11, 1950, in Washington, DC.[29]

The last child of Eugene and Henrietta Parrott was a son born on June 2, 1887. He died the same day and so was never named.[30]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 106; Frances I. Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce (Dayton, OH: s.n., 1919?), n.p.

[2] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 107; Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, & Brian L. Meggitt, eds., Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2000), 670.

[3] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106.

[4] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106-112; Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio).

[5] H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 26 May 1862, FPW, 31:1.

[6] H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 11-22 June 1862, FPW, 31:1.

[7] H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 2-13 Sept. 1862, FPW, 31:1; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 110.

[8] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 110; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[9] Harvey W. Crew, History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 430-431; Dayton City Directories.

[10] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111.

[11] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.

[12] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111.

[13] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.

[14] Harry G. Ebeling, “Parrott Family Key to North Oakwood Development,” Oakwood Register, 17, no. 22 (27 May 2008), accessed 27 Feb. 2012, http://www.oakwoodregister.com/archives/2008/v17num22_052708/people.html.

[15] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Ebeling, “Parrott Family Key to North Oakwood Development.”Bruen, Christian Forrer, 107-108.

[16] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Ebeling, “Parrott Family Key to North Oakwood Development”; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 107-108.

[17] H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, [several entries], FPW, 31:1; The History of Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: W. H. Beers & Co., 1882), 650-651.

[18] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111; Henry Eugene PARROTT: Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Membership Cards and Certificates, FPW, 31:5.

[19] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111.

[20] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106-108; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Henrietta is buried in Section 103, Lot 1793.

[21] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106, 108-112; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Eugene is buried in Section 103, Lot 1793.

[22] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 112; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. (Woodland Cemetery records call him “Edwin P.”)

[23] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 112-113; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; Ohio Births & Christenings Index, 1800-1962 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; California Death Index, 1940-1997 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[24] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 113; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[25] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 113-114; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Social Security Death Index (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Find A Grave, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=70644723.

[26] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 114-115; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 22 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

[27] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 115; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; Ohio, County Births, 1856-1909 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 22 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

[28] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 116; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 22 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; “Services Monday for Mrs. Clunet” (obituary), Dayton Journal, 16 Jun 1945; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; Social Security Death Index (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Georgia Death Index, 1933-1998 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 22 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

[29] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111, 116-122; Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; “Roger Sheffield Parrott” in Hall of Valor, Military Times, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=16155; Princeton University Archives, Faculty database, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://www.princeton.edu/~mudd/databases/faculty.html; Fauquier (VA) Democrat/Times-Democrat Newspaper Index (database), Fauquier County Public Library, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/government/departments/library/index.cfm?action=FDIIndex; U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Gravestone of Virginia S. (Parrott) Henry, Maryland Gravestones, accessed 28 Feb. 2012, http://marylandgravestones.org/view.php?id=2403; “Thomas Alexander Parrott,” Wikipedia, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Alexander_Parrott.

[30] Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

Bio Sketch: John Elliot Peirce, Sr. (1861-1940), Dayton businessman

John Elliot Peirce, Sr., usually known as J. Elliot (or simply “Elliot” to family), was born April 17, 1861, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Jeremiah H. Peirce (1818-1889) and Elizabeth H. Forrer (1827-1874).[1] Elliot was apparently named after his great-grandfather, Dr. John Elliot.

Elliot received his education at Cooper Academy and continued his studies until he was about 20 years old.[2]

J. Elliot Peirce, 1883

J. Elliot Peirce, 1883 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 28, Folder 9)

About 1881, Elliot began working as a clerk at Peirce & Coleman, the lumber business in which Elliot’s father J. H. Peirce was senior partner.

On September 10, 1885, J. Elliot Peirce married Mary Frances “Fanny” Harsh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. V. Harsh of Findlay, at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Findlay, Ohio.[3]

Mary Frances (HARSH) Peirce on her wedding day, 1885

Mary Frances (HARSH) Peirce on her wedding day, 1885 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 28, Folder 16)

After Elliot’s father J. H. Peirce died in 1889, Elliot soon became president and treasurer of the Peirce & Coleman Company, which he incorporated in 1891. Under Elliot’s presidency, Peirce & Coleman did business in general contracting and building, especially in dealing hardwood lumber. Elliot remained president of Peirce & Coleman until 1896, when the company was dissolved.[4]

Beginning about 1891, Elliot was secretary and treasurer of the Superior Stone Company, which produced cement sidewalks and marblelithic work. This company ceased to exist about 1895.[5]

After the Peirce & Coleman Company dissolved in 1896, Elliot turned his attention more fully to the Dayton Marblelithic Company, of which he was then vice president. By 1900 he was manager of the company and would continue to be associated with it until his death. The Dayton Marblelithic Company (later simply “Marblelithic Company”) initially dealt in marblelithic, clay tiles, mosaics, and marble; it later dealt also in ceramic, rubber, asphalt and cork tile, structural glass, and linoleum.[6]

J. Elliot Peirce, undated

J. Elliot Peirce, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 28, Folder 9)

In the late 1890s, Elliot embarked on another type of business venture, when he hired Dayton architect Charles Insco Williams to design and build the Algonquin Hotel (now the Doubletree Hotel), which opened at the southwest corner of Third and Ludlow Streets in 1898. The Peirce-Williams Company, of which Elliot was president and general manager, were proprietors of the hotel until about 1917.[7]

Algonquin Hotel, southwest corner Third and Ludlow, Dayton, Ohio

Algonquin Hotel, southwest corner Third and Ludlow, Dayton, Ohio (Dayton Metro Library, Local History Postcards, postcard #0462)

For many years, the J. Elliot Peirce family lived near Elliot’s childhood home, Five Oaks. Elliot’s home, like Five Oaks, was described as being on the west side of Forest Avenue, except Elliot’s was north of Rung Road, rather than just opposite it. In the early 1900s, Elliot’s house was described as being at the southwest corner of Broadway and Old Orchard, later southwest corner of Homewood and Old Orchard. For many years while Elliot operated the Algonquin Hotel, the family lived at the hotel but kept their home in the Five Oaks neighborhood as a summer house. In 1918, Elliot’s house was identified as 551 N. Old Orchard. In 1922, the family residence was 1037 N. Old Orchard, a house that still exists at the southwest corner of Homewood and Old Orchard. About 1930, Elliot and Fanny moved to 339 Kramer Road in Oakwood, where they lived until death.[8]

Fanny H. Peirce died on November 4, 1936, at her home, 339 Kramer Road, Oakwood, Ohio; she was 73 years old. She was buried on November 6, 1936, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[9]

J. Elliot Peirce died on June 6, 1940, at his home, 339 Kramer Road, Oakwood, Ohio; he was 79 years old. He was buried on June 8, 1940, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[10]

Grave of J. Elliot Peirce family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Grave of J. Elliot Peirce family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 77 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

J. Elliot Peirce and his wife Fanny Harsh had five children:

  1. Elizabeth Forrer Peirce (1886-1973);
  2. Virginia O’Neil Peirce (1888-1985);
  3. Mary Frances Peirce (1890-1969);
  4. Dorothy Howard Peirce (1900-1986); and
  5. John Elliot Peirce, Jr. (1900-1959)
Virginia, Elizabeth, and Mary Frances Peirce, 1898

Virginia, Elizabeth, and Mary Frances Peirce, 1898 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 28, Folder 10)

*

Jack and Dorothy Peirce, 1902

Jack and Dorothy Peirce, 1902 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 28, Folder 10)

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, usually called Bess, was born August 7, 1886, in Dayton, Ohio. On June 29, 1911, at Five Oaks, she married Joseph Bradford Coolidge (1886-1965), a lawyer from Medford, Massachusetts. They had two children: Mary Elizabeth Coolidge (1912-2008), who married Robert Schantz Oelman (1909-2007); and Dorothy Peirce Coolidge (1916-2000), who first married Robert R. Woodward (1909-1955) then married John D. Runyan (1912-1994). Elizabeth F. (Peirce) Coolidge died May 5, 1973, in Dayton, Ohio.[11]

Virginia O’Neil Peirce was born January 28, 1888, in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Smith College in 1910. On June 29, 1910, at Five Oaks, Virginia married General George Henry Wood (1867-1945), son of Major General Thomas J. Wood (1823-1906) and Caroline (Greer) Wood, of Dayton. They had two children: Thomas John Wood, III (1911-1996), and Peirce James Wood (1914-1987). Virginia O. (Peirce) Wood died October 26, 1985, in Brevard County, Florida.[12]

Mary Frances Peirce was born July 24, 1890, in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Smith College in 1912. She worked at the Marblelithic Company with her father and brother. She never married. Mary F. Peirce died on August 26, 1969, in Brevard County, Florida.[13]

Dorothy Howard Peirce was born September 6, 1900, in Dayton, Ohio. On June 14, 1924, at Five Oaks, she married Robert Alexander Johnston Morrison (1898-1976), a trainmaster from Cincinnati. They had several children. Dorothy H. (Peirce) Morrison died June 3, 1986, in Cincinnati, Ohio.[14]

John Elliot Peirce, Jr., usually called Jack, was born September 6, 1900, in Dayton, Ohio. He worked at the Marblelithic Company with his father. He was unmarried. John E. Peirce, Jr., died in April 1959 in Brevard County, Florida.[15]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 126; Frank Conover, Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: A. W. Bowen, 1897), 305; Augustus W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, (Chicago: Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), vol. 2, 663.

[2] Conover, Centennial Portrait, 305; John Elliot Peirce, Sr.: Report cards from Cooper Academy, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 28:7, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio); Drury, History of the City of Dayton, vol. 2, 664.

[3]. Bruen, Christian Forrer, 124-125; John Elliot Peirce, Sr.: Newspaper Clippings, FPW, 28:8.

[4] Drury, History of the City of Dayton, vol. 2, 664; Conover, Centennial Portrait, 305; Dayton City Directories.

[5] Dayton City Directories.

[6] Drury, History of the City of Dayton, vol. 2, 664; Dayton City Directories.

[7] Curt Dalton, Dayton (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2006), 62; Dayton City Directories.

[8] Dayton City Directories; Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.

[9] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 124; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Fanny is buried in Section 77, Lot 20.

[10] “J. E. Peirce Funeral Set” (obituary), Dayton Journal, 7 June 1940; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Elliot is buried in Section 77, Lot 27.

[11] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 125; Social Security Death Index (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 15 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org; Obituary of Robert S. Oelman, 16 May 2007, New York Times; Obituary of Mary Elizabeth (Coolidge) Oelman, [July 2008], Scobee-Combs-Bowden Funeral Home web site, accessed 17 Feb. 2012, http://www.funeralplan2.com/scobeecombsbowdenfuneralhome/archive?id=140657; Obituary of Dorothy (Coolidge) Runyan, Dayton Daily News, 27 Jan. 2000.

[12] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 125; Social Security Death Index (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[13] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 125; Dayton City Directories; Social Security Death Index (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Death notice of Mary Frances Peirce, Dayton Journal Herald, 7 Oct. 1969; Dayton City Directories.

[14] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 126; Ohio, County Births, 1856-1909 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 17 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Dorothy Howard (Peirce) Morrison: Newspaper Clippings, FPW, 30:3; Spring Grove Cemetery Interment Database, accessed 17 Feb. 2012, http://www.springgrove.org; U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[15] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 126; Dayton City Directories; County Births, 1856-1909 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 17 Feb. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Dayton City Directories.

Bio Sketch: Elizabeth Forrer Peirce (1857-1930), nurse in Dayton, Ohio

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, often called “Bess,” was born September 5, 1857, in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Jeremiah H. Peirce (1818-1889) and Elizabeth H. Forrer (1827-1874).[1] Elizabeth was probably named after her mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Forrer, or possibly her great-grandmother Elizabeth (Neidig) Forrer, who had died a few years earlier.

As a young woman, Elizabeth studied at Cooper Female Seminary in Dayton.[2]

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, undated

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 29, Folder 10)

Elizabeth lived at Five Oaks nearly all of her life. Even in her old age, Elizabeth lived there with her Aunt Mary (Forrer) Peirce and her sister Sarah Howard Peirce.

However, on two separate occasions during her thirties, Elizabeth made extended stays in Boston, Massachusetts.

The first of these times began in November 1890, when Elizabeth went to stay with her brother Howard F. Peirce, who was studying and performing in Boston. They lived at 198 Tremont Street. While there, Elizabeth attended many lectures (several on literature) and visited friends, including the Diman family.[3]

After staying for about a month, Elizabeth wrote to her sister and aunt back home, asking whether she might stay longer, if they could afford to be without her (and to keep financing the visit). Elizabeth wrote:

Do you and Aunt Mary think it would be a possible thing to get along without my share of the house money for the first two or three months of next year[?] Then if the money can be spared, will it be right for me to stay away from home so long a time[?] I would like very much to stay. The perfect freedom from all care and worry has made such a wonderful change in the way I feel, that it seems to me the cure is worth trying, for a longer time. As you say, we ought to make the best of ourselves, mentally, morally, and physically… Howard would like me to stay, and I think he would hate to go back to the way he was living before I came…[4]

It was decided that Elizabeth would stay in Boston. She remained there until the end of April 1891, after which time she returned to Five Oaks.[5]

Elizabeth apparently felt that she had no right to leave home permanently while her feeble sister Mellie was still alive, but after Mellie died in July 1892, she began to think seriously about a profession for herself: nursing. She informed her Aunt Mary of this desire in October 1892:

I am finding out all I can, as to the rules in regard to training schools connected with the Hospitals, as I expect to make that nursing a study. I have always felt an inclination for that vocation but never thought I had any right to think of leaving home for good as long as Mellie lived. Now it seems to me I have the right to choose my own way of living. I fear you will not approve of my plans, but I am going to give you some of my reasons. Every woman who has no family to take care of ought to have a business or profession, and can not help being dissatisfied and unhappy without it… If at any time I find that I am not strong enough I can give it up, and nothing is lost…[6]

Elizabeth argued that while her aunt might find teaching a more suitable profession, she did not think she would make a good teacher. She also expressed a desire to earn her own money.[7]

Elizabeth was right that Aunt Mary would disagree with her choice. Mary wrote to Elizabeth’s sister Sarah a few days later:

Bess has written me telling what she is wanting to do. Of course, I would not presume to oppose her, but I am very sorry she has chosen a profession that we think will undoubtedly result in invalidism. I hoped, after the years of sadness and sorrow through which we have passed, that when you were once more restored to health and all home together [to] live happily in our lovely home, as your father had so carefully and kindly arranged.—If the poor child would only turn her attention to literary pursuits and not try to break down the little strength she has, it does seem to me, the result might be more satisfactory. I have been feeling very sad since receiving her letter.[8]

Elizabeth executed her plan to train as a nurse in August 1893, returning to Boston again to train as a nurse in the Massachusetts general hospital there. She remained in Boston until October 1894, although her school work had ended in June.[9]

After Elizabeth returned to Five Oaks at the end of 1894, she began working as a nurse in Dayton. She is listed as a nurse in the city directories from 1895 through the 1901-1902 edition. From 1902 until her death, she has no occupation listed.[10] It is not clear why her nursing career ended. Although her formal career had ended, Elizabeth still kept busy with many activities outside the home.

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, undated

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 29, Folder 10)

Elizabeth was one of the founding members of the First Unitarian Church of Dayton, along with her sister Sarah Peirce and her Aunt Mary Peirce.[11] She was also active in the Woman’s Literary Club, of which she was a founder and past president, as well as the Needlework Guild of America.[12]

Elizabeth’s cousin and close friend Frank Bruen described “Bess” as…

…the court of final resort upon all family dilemmas or questions of fact. If anyone felt a doubt about some matter, it was settled by a reference to “Aunt Bess.” She never betrayed a confidence; was kind and efficient, interested in the welfare of all the family, and bent upon doing all in her power to further it…[13]

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, later in life

Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, later in life (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 29, Folder 10)

Elizabeth F. Peirce died on November 19, 1930, at her home at 120 Volusia Avenue in Dayton, Ohio; she was 73 years old.[14] She was buried on November 21, 1930, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[15]

Grave of Elizabeth Forrer Peirce in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Grave of Elizabeth Forrer Peirce in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

 

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This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 123.

[2] “Funeral for Miss Peirce to be Friday,” Dayton Daily News, 20 Nov. 1930, in Elizabeth Forrer Peirce: Obituaries, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 23:9, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio).

[3] Various letters from Elizabeth F. Peirce to her family, FPW, 19:9, 19:13, 20:4.

[4] Elizabeth F. Peirce to her sister Sarah H. Peirce, 1-2 Dec. 1890, FPW, 19:9.

[5] Various letters from Elizabeth F. Peirce to her family, FPW, 19:9, 19:13, 20:4.

[6] Elizabeth F. Peirce to her aunt Mary Forrer Peirce, 11 Oct. 1892, FPW, 20:4.

[7] Elizabeth F. Peirce to her aunt Mary Forrer Peirce, 11 Oct. 1892, FPW, 20:4.

[8] Mary Forrer Peirce to her niece Sarah H. Peirce, 15 Oct. 1892, FPW, 12:4.

[9] Various letters from Elizabeth F. Peirce to her family, FPW, 19:9, 20:2, 20:4; Frank Conover, Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: A. W. Bowen, 1897), 310.

[10] Dayton City Directories.

[11] “Funeral for Miss Peirce to be Friday,” Dayton Daily News, 20 Nov. 1930, in FPW, 23:9; Finding Aid, First Unitarian Church of Dayton Church Records (MS-230), Wright State University Special Collections & Archives (Dayton, Ohio), accessed 18 Jan. 2012, http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/collection_guides/guide_files/ms230.pdf;

[12] “Funeral for Miss Peirce to be Friday,” Dayton Daily News, 20 Nov. 1930, in FPW, 23:9.

[13] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 123.

[14] “Funeral for Miss Peirce to be Friday,” Dayton Daily News, 20 Nov. 1930, in FPW, 23:9.

[15] Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 2 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Elizabeth is buried in Section 77, Lot 24.