Tag Archives: forrer-peirce-wood

Civil War Sampler: #4 Catch Me If You Can

My fourth Civil War Sampler block is Catch Me If You Can:

Catch Me If You Can, completed July 19, 2018

Catch Me If You Can, completed July 19, 2018

This is another block where I read the stories first and let that help me choose the fabrics. The stories Brackman chose to go with this block were about slavery, escape, emancipation.

I elected to go with something fairly literal to the stories. I chose fabrics with sort of “winding” patterns– zigging and zagging around in various directions, like you were trying to “lose” someone…like if you were running away from someone (or somewhere). And I think you can guess that the warm tans and chocolatey browns are meant to represent the skin tones of the African American slaves.

One of the stories Brackman mentions on the web is about a slaveholder named William Dunbar. While unrelated as far as I know, the library where I work is named after an African American poet from Dayton — Paul Laurence Dunbar — perhaps you’ve heard of him? His parents Joshua and Matilda Dunbar had both been slaves (in central Kentucky). His mother was freed with the 13th amendment; his father had escaped earlier to Canada and served in Massachusetts Regiments during the Civil War. The two didn’t marry until after the war. (Learn more from Wright State University Libraries’ Dunbar biography,  this Oxford University Press article, or the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.)

Another of Brackman’s stories talks about “a slave in Kentucky, who accompanied her mistress across the river to Cincinnati in the free state of Ohio” (and promptly made her escape). Can you imagine? Having Ohio RIGHT THERE. I grew up near the Ohio River. It’s…wide…but it’s not THAT wide.

Not surprisingly, there were a number of “stops” on the Underground Railroad that were just across the Ohio River, such as two in Ripley (Brown County) that I heard about for years but still never managed to actually visit: John Rankin House and John P. Parker House.

Despite being a “free” state, an Ohio law passed in 1804 (just one year after statehood) required all free blacks to register with the county courthouse and prove that they were in fact free. These are often called “manumission” registers; manumission meaning “freed from slavery” (in Latin, literally, “sent from hand” or released). We have some of these manumission registers at the archives where I work, such as this 1834 manumission record book from Miami County.

Speaking of manumission, someone I researched extensively in about 2012 was a slave-holder who freed his slaves. Horton Howard was, among other things, a Quaker living in North Carolina in the 1790s. He freed his slaves before moving to Ohio about 1799 or 1800. (You can read more about Horton Howard here, with the slave-holding part starting at about the third paragraph.)

Another local historical figure with whom I am reasonably familiar — but who did not do so well with the whole “manumit when you move to Ohio” thing was Col. Robert Patterson, a founder of Lexington, Kentucky, and later Dayton, Ohio. I don’t know all the details, but let’s just say that some of his servants who were enslaved in Kentucky also came to Ohio with them and continued to work for him, and there was definitely some question as to what the situation. There’s even a court case about it in the Montgomery County Records Center & Archives:

Robert Patterson slave case, 1805, Montgomery County (Ohio), Clerk of Courts, Book A1 Vol 2 page 60

Robert Patterson slave case, 1805, Montgomery County (Ohio), Clerk of Courts, Book A1 Vol 2 page 60

You can learn more about the Robert Patterson slave controversy in this 2006 Ohio Valley History journal article by Emil Pocock or this 2017 news article by Tom Eblen about the Patterson cabin on the campus of Transylvania University, which I have visited (twice), btw:

Lisa at Patterson Log Cabin, Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

Lisa at Patterson Log Cabin, Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

Just today I stumbled upon the stories of more enslaved people as a result of something a researcher mentioned. A couple traveling the Aviation Trail in pursuit of Wilbear happened to mention that their daughter volunteers at a house museum. I asked them where, and they said Dinsmore House in Burlington, Kentucky. (Never heard of it.) They said it was near the Ohio River, a little ways from Cincinnati. So I Googled it. I do love house museums. I was impressed that they have dedicated an entire page (and a long one at that) to naming all of the known slaves (21 of them) and describing what is known about each of them. Nice work, Dinsmore House!

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Civil War Sampler: #2 Star of the West

The second of my Civil War Sampler quilt blocks is Star of the West.

Star of the West, completed July 8, 2018

Star of the West, completed July 8, 2018

This is another block where I simply picked colors I liked. I did not make any particular effort to connect the colors or prints to the story next to the pattern in Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler book.

In this case, the story in the book happened to be about John C. Fremont. I guess you could say Fremont makes a good “Star of the West,” as he briefly commanded the U.S. Army’s “Department of the West” during the Civil War. He also held high offices in California and Arizona in the mid-to-late 1800s (definitely the Wild, Wild West indeed for those far-western states!).

You can read the stories on Barbara Brackman’s Star of the West blog post.

While I don’t have a lot to say about John Fremont, this caught my eye when skimming the blog post:

Star of the West (#1128 in BlockBase) is an old block with many other names, among them Clay’s Choice and Harry’s Star. Both names, according to Ruth Finley in her 1929 book, were tributes to Henry Clay, an earlier politician who also ran unsuccessfully for President.

Now, Henry Clay, I can work with.

There’s a reason why my entry for “Political Views” on Facebook says “Whig Party” and has for years. (I’m not even joking.)

When I think of Henry Clay, a few things come to mind, and I’ll take them in chronological order.

One of them is simply that I can hardly think of Henry Clay without thinking of John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster, because, all being important political contemporaries, they always found themselves in the same chapter of whatever K-12 American History book.

The second thing is a reminder of my time working at Dayton Metro Library. We had a few letters written by Henry Clay (at least two in the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection, which I processed). There was one researcher, an older gentleman from the area of Lexington, Kentucky, where Clay had lived (now a house museum) and where (if I recall correctly) the gentleman now volunteered – the man came up to visit (about 2 hours by car) and review those letters. He stands out because he had such a handsome accent; I think he was originally from Tennessee. But I digress.

Perhaps more importantly, what’s not to love about items in your local history collection that were written—and touched!—by people “famous” in the history books? I mean, sure, we all have our local heroes, but Clay appears in history textbooks nation-wide.

He came to Dayton once—Henry Clay, that is—in 1842. I suppose it could have been more than once, but the time everyone always seems to be asking about when they would ask us about “the time Henry Clay came to Dayton” was in September 1842. You can read an article that Howard Burba wrote about it in 1932. Burba called the September 29, 1842, rally “the date of the most spectacular political rally in this city’s history.” There’s also some references to a “barbecue” that I still don’t fully understand? More from The Papers of Henry Clay (note: that “Samuel Forres” in the Joseph Crane et al. letter should be Forrer – yeah, that Samuel Forrer).

And finally, the third thing is just my visit to Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay in Lexington, Kentucky, when I was there for the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting in 2015.

Henry Clay's Ashland Estate, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

Henry Clay’s Ashland Estate, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

The house is now a museum that you can tour, and the gardens are a sort of public park. (I saw lots of people just strolling along, some even walking their dogs, on the grounds. The only part that costs money to enter is the actual house.)

Back view of Ashland Estate, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

Back view of Ashland Estate, Lexington, Kentucky, May 2015

I think my absolute favorite part of the entire visit was sitting in Clay’s “back yard” (for lack of a better term) on a blanket on the grass eating my lunch. The above photo is from that moment, my vantage point from my comfy spot on the ground.

If you’re interested, you can learn more about Henry Clay and his Ashland Estate (like how to visit).

Until next time! (My third block includes symbolic colors! I’m sure you can’t wait.)

Revisiting old friends in the Archives

I got to revisit some “old friends” in the Archives at work today. These were old friends from the Dayton Metro Library, but they found me at my new job as an archivist at Wright State.

They weren’t living people or current friends; not really friends at all, if I’m being honest. But in a way, they felt like friends at the time, so I consider them that, still.

I’m talking about (long-dead) people whose papers I arranged & described. People who never knew me; who might not have even liked me (or I them) if we’d known each other in real life; but whom I hold in a special regard since I handled, (to some extent) read, and lovingly organized some of their most personal thoughts, little pieces of themselves committed preserved paper, and thereby history.

The first of the day today was David W. Schaeffer (whom you can learn more about in this biographical sketch I wrote about him in July 2012). A researcher, and relative of his, came to visit us today in the Archives from the Los Angeles area. She had found my blog post about him (the one linked above) last year, and we emailed back and forth a bit. I’m not sure how much help I could be, since basically all that I knew, I had poured into the biographical sketch already. But she wanted to meet me and see what we might have at the Wright State Archives that could help her during her research trip to Ohio. We talked about a few things, and I think she told me more about David than what I told her—for instance, that his middle name was Winters. The Schaeffers and Winters families were both early settlers of Germantown, so there seems to have been some connection there. After she left WSU, I believe she was on her way to Germantown. I’m not sure if that was the plan before she stopped in to see me, but I told her she really needed to check it out before she left the area (tomorrow being her last day in Ohio, she said). If nothing else, it would be a nice drive to Germantown at this time of year… (She had already visited the Dayton Metro Library and looked at David’s papers there.)

The second “old friend” that I ran into today at work was Horton Howard (read my biographical sketch of him from Aug 2012 on this blog), an early Quaker settler of Ohio—and sometimes doctor—whose daughter Sarah was married to Dayton canal engineer Samuel Forrer; all of these people (and many others) have papers in the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection at Dayton Metro Library, which I processed in 2011-2012.

Anyway. I ran into Horton while hunting around one of our storage locations for some Sanborn Maps. I did eventually find the map books, and nearby was part of our collection of rare medical books. A large book with the name “Howard” stamped on the spine caught my eye:

Howard's rare medical books at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives

Howard’s rare medical books at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives

And I thought, Oh that can’t be the same guy; that has to be a really common name, and I’m sure any number of “Howard”s have written medical books. Then I saw the book right next to it—about botanic medicine—and, recognizing it was a subject that Horton had in fact studied and written about, I pulled it off the shelf to look.

Sure enough, the title page said Horton Howard:

Horton Howard's Botanic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

Horton Howard’s Botanic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

So I checked the other one. Yep, Horton Howard:

Horton Howard's Domestic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

Horton Howard’s Domestic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

The publication dates through me for just a minute, knowing as I did that Horton died during the 1833 cholera epidemic in Columbus (as did his wife, a daughter, a son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren). But it turned out these were just reprints. One of them (I forget which one, sorry!) was like the seventh printing since 1832.

Now, I wasn’t QUITE as giddy about these finds as I might have been, since I had found the full text of the botanic medicine book online already and gleaned what I wanted to from it—-mostly from the fantastic preface that gives tons of info [block-quotes in the blog post] about Horton’s early life and medical knowledge (most of which was self-taught). But it was still pretty darn cool to see real life, 3-D copies of the works, complete with old school leather covers (which were in much better condition than I would have expected for 150+ year old books), hold them in my hands, and, I don’t know…..just remember good old Horton.

Just as an aside… I could visit Horton Howard and his family in one collection at the Wright State Archives anytime, but I already knew about that so it wasn’t a surprise: There are a few letters from Horton, his daughters Sarah and Mary, and a few other related people, in the Dustin/Dana Papers (MS-207). I have so far refused myself the indulgence of sitting down with them and just reading them all (even though there are only 10- just goes to show how busy I am)…but maybe one of these days! I’ve read so many pieces of that family’s story; it’s like found treasure when I stumble across pieces I didn’t even know where “missing” and are now found…

So, that’s my story for today. Hope you enjoyed it. Just goes to show, you never know when history will find you.

Bio Sketch: Maj. David Zeigler (1748-1811), pioneer & first mayor of Cincinnati,Ohio

David Zeigler was born Johann David Zeigler or Ziegler on July 13, 1748, in Heidelberg, Germany, the son of Johann Heinrich Zeigler and Louise Friederika Kern. He served in the armies of Friedrich der Grosse of Prussia and Catherine the Great of Russia before immigrating to the American colonies about 1774 or 1775.[1]

David Zeigler, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW 39:7)

David Zeigler, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW 39:7)

David settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and after the Battle of Lexington in 1775, he joined William Thompson’s Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion. In 1776, Thompson’s regiment was reorganized as the First Regiment, Continental Infantry, and David was commissioned a second lieutenant. He participated in many battles, including the Battle of Long Island (August 27, 1776), in which he was wounded. In 1778, David was promoted to captain in the First Pennsylvania Regiment. He was mustered out of the army in 1783 and returned to Carlisle, where he opened a grocery store.[2]

In 1784, David was appointed a captain in the regular army under Josiah Harmar, and from 1784 to 1790, he served at several forts on the frontier, including Fort Washington at Cincinnati. He participated in the protection of federal surveyors and the negotiation of treaties with Native Americans. David was promoted to major in 1790. He was with Arthur St. Clair at his defeat in 1791, and David was left in charge of Fort Washington when St. Clair returned east. David resigned from the army in March 1792.[3]

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

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

On February 22, 1789, at Fort Harmar in Marietta, Ohio, David Zeigler married Lucy Anne Sheffield. Lucy Anne, often called Lucianna, was born December 22, 1761, in Jamestown, Rhode Island, a daughter of Benjamin and Hannah Sheffield. Two other children of Benjamin and Hannah Sheffield were: Phebe Sheffield (1754-?), who married Charles Greene (1753-?), and Mary Sheffield (1757-?), who married Isaac Peirce (1749-1821). Therefore, the following individuals were included among the nieces and nephews of David and Lucianna Zeigler: Joseph Peirce, Phebe (Peirce) Steele (and by extension James Steele), Charles Russell Greene, Sophia (Greene) Burnet Cooper Loury (and by extension Daniel C. Cooper). David and Lucianna Zeigler did not have any surviving children of their own.[4]

After his retirement from the army in 1792, David Zeigler purchased and farmed a piece of land about four miles from downtown Cincinnati. Then, in 1797, he sold the farm to John Smith and removed downtown, opening a store on Front Street, east of Sycamore. Also in 1797, he was appointed the Supervisor of Cincinnati Township Highways.[5]

Signature of David Zeigler from a letter to Winthrop Sargent, 10 Nov. 1803 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW 39:7)

Signature of David Zeigler from a letter to Winthrop Sargent, 10 Nov. 1803 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW 39:7)

Cincinnati was incorporated in 1802, and at that time David Zeigler was elected as the president of the town council and chief magistrate, making him effectively the first mayor of Cincinnati. He served two terms in that capacity and might have served a third, but he declined the position in 1804. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson appointed David as first Marshal of the Ohio District. David served as Adjutant General of Ohio in 1807. And in 1809, he was made Surveyor of the Port of Cincinnati and served in that capacity until his death.[6]

David Zeigler died on September 24, 1811, in Cincinnati, Ohio. After his death, his wife Lucianna removed to Dayton to be near her nieces and nephews in the Peirce, Steele, and Greene families. Lucy Anne (Sheffield) Zeigler died November 18, 1820, in Dayton, Ohio. The remains of both David and Lucianna Zeigler were eventually buried together in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[7]

Tombstone of David Zeigler in Woodland Cemetery (photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

Tombstone of David Zeigler in Woodland Cemetery (photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

*****

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] George A. Katzenberger, Major David Ziegler (Columbus, OH: The F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1912), 4-5; Don Heinrich Tolzmann, The First Mayor of Cincinnati: George A. Katzenberger’s Biography of Major David Ziegler (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990), xiii, 55-56; Nancy R. Horlacher, The Major David Zeigler Papers, 1791-1822 (Dayton, OH: Dayton & Montgomery County Public Library, 1998), iv.

[2] Horlacher, iv; Katzenberger, 5-18; Tolzmann, xiii, 54.

[3] Tolzmann, xiii-xiv, 54-55; Horlacher, iv; Katzenberger, 19-32.

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

[5] Katzenberger, 33-34; Tolzmann, xiv; Horlacher, iv.

[6] Katzenberger, 35-43; Tolzmann, xiv, 55; Horlacher, iv.

[7] Katzenberger, 35-43; Tolzmann, xiv; Horlacher, iv.

Bio Sketch: Cooper and Greene families, pioneers in Dayton, Ohio

Daniel C. Cooper was born November 20, 1773, in Morris County, New Jersey, the son of George Cooper (1745-1801) and Margaret Lafferty. He was trained as a surveyor and first came to the Miami Valley about 1794. He settled in Dayton permanently in the summer of 1796. Cooper is largely credited with helping to settle a question of property rights in the early days of the city, between 1799 and 1801. He is also credited with attracting many of the important early settlers to Dayton. He also built Dayton’s first mills, served as its first justice of the peace, created a new plat (1809) of the city, and was a member of the town council. He also served several terms in the state legislature and state senate. He died on July 13, 1818, in Dayton, and his remains now lie in Woodland Cemetery.[1]

Daniel C. Cooper's signature, 1816

Daniel C. Cooper’s signature, 1816 (FPW 39:3)

.

Tombstone of Daniel C. Cooper, Woodland Cemetery

Tombstone of Daniel C. Cooper, Woodland Cemetery (Photo by the author, 2011)

In 1803, Daniel Cooper married Sophia (Greene) Burnet (1779-1826), the young widow of George W. Burnet (1773-1801) of Cincinnati, and daughter of Charles Greene and Phebe Sheffield. Sophia was born August 25, 1779, in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Daniel and Sophia had several children, but only David Zeigler Cooper (1812-1836) lived to adulthood, though he had no children. After Daniel Cooper’s death in 1818, Sophia in 1822 married General Fielding Loury (1781-1848), with whom she had one child: Fielding Loury, Jr. (1824-1882), who married Elizabeth Richards Morrison (d. 1914). Sophia (Greene) Burnet Cooper Loury died May 17, 1826, and is buried in Woodland Cemetery.[2]

Tombstones of Daniel C. Cooper and his wife Sophia, Woodland Cemetery

Tombstones of Daniel C. Cooper and his wife Sophia, Woodland Cemetery (Photo by the author, 2011)

Charles Russell Greene was born December 21, 1785, in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, the son of Charles Greene (1753-?) and Phebe Sheffield (1754-?). Sophia (Greene) Burnet Cooper Loury was his older sister, and Joseph Peirce (son of Isaac Peirce and Mary Sheffield) was his cousin. Like his brother-in-law Isaac Peirce, Charles Greene was also a member of the Ohio Company that migrated to Marietta in 1788, and so Charles R. Greene grew up on the Ohio frontier. In 1806, Charles R. Greene came to Dayton, where his brother-in-law Daniel C. Cooper and cousin Joseph Peirce already resided. He went into business with Cooper. He succeeded Benjamin Van Cleve as Clerk of Courts in 1822, serving in that capacity until his death; he was one of the first bank cashiers and one of the first fire wardens. Charles R. Greene was killed by Matthew Thompson on September 11, 1833, as a result of a dispute. [More information about the Charles R. Greene estate can be found in the Van Cleve-Dover Collection (MS-006) at the Dayton Metro Library. See finding aid.] He is buried in Woodland Cemetery. His wife, Achsah (Disbrow) Greene, and several children survived him.[3]

Tombstone of Charles Russell Greene, Woodland Cemetery

Tombstone of Charles Russell Greene, Woodland Cemetery (Photo by the author, 2011)

*****

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.


[1] Augustus W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, (Chicago: Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), 1:97-98, 1:25-233; John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 33-40; Robert W. Steele & Mary Davies Steele, Early Dayton (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 29-31, 61-66, 87; Charlotte Reeve Conover, Dayton, Ohio: An Intimate History (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1932), 16-20; Lindsay M. Brien, A Genealogical Index of Pioneers in the Miami Valley, Ohio, 2nd ed. (Dayton, OH: Montgomery County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, 2007), 27.

[2] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 36-37, 40, 112-113; Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 87.

[3] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 120-121; Drury, History of the City of Dayton, 1:130-131; Steele & Steele, Early Dayton, 87-88; Brien, A Genealogical Index of Pioneers in the Miami Valley, Ohio, 2nd ed., 69; “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.

The Estate Accounts of Charles R. Greene, 1833, can be found in the Van Cleve-Dover Collection (MS-006), Notebook 10, Dayton Metro Library. The books were in the possession of John W. Van Cleve.

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.

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)

.

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)

.

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.