Tag Archives: schaeffer

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: David W. Schaeffer (~1825-1894), 35th O.V.I. Civil War

David W. Schaeffer was born about 1825 or 1826 in Germantown, Montgomery County, Ohio. On April 2, 1850, in Montgomery County, Ohio, he married Frances Sophia Browning (born about 1826).

David and Frances had four sons:

  1. Walter B. Schaeffer (born Jan. 1851; died June 11, 1936);
  2. Arthur David Schaeffer (born about 1853; died Mar. 31, 1918);
  3. Harry F. Schaeffer (born Oct. 29, 1854; died Oct. 7, 1931); and
  4. Clarence E. Schaeffer (born about 1857; died Apr. 27, 1861).

According to Dayton city directories, David’s occupation prior to the Civil War included being a clerk (1850, 1860-61), as well as later (1856-1859) operating with his brother Valentine a staple and fancy dry goods store, which was located on the east side of Main between Second and Third.

After the Civil War broke out, David responded to the call for troops. David enlisted in the Union Army on September 15, 1861, signing up for three years of service.

Signature of David W. Schaeffer, from a letter to his family, 29 Aug. 1861

Signature of David W. Schaeffer, from a letter to his family, 29 Aug. 1861

He was mustered in to the Thirty-fifth Ohio Infantry, Company I, on September 24, 1861, at Camp Chase. As a private, he was transferred to Company H, Thirty-fifty Ohio Infantry. He was appointed a first sergeant, and on October 24, 1862, was promoted to second lieutenant. On March 19, 1864, he became a first lieutenant, and on September 8, 1864, he was made captain.

Sgt. D. W. Schaeffer named in Recruitment ad for 35th O.V.I., Aug. 1862

Sgt. D. W. Schaeffer named in Recruitment ad for 35th O.V.I., Dayton Daily Journal, 25 Aug. 1862

The majority of this collection consists of correspondence between David and his wife Frances, as well as their sons, during David’s time in the Union Army, from 1861 to 1864. He describes several of the battles in which he participated. His unit participated in the following battles:

  • Siege of Corinth (Mississippi), April 30, 1862;
  • Perryville (Kentucky), Oct. 8, 1862;
  • Tullahoma (Tennessee) campaign, June 23-30, 1863;
  • Chickamauga (Georgia), Sept. 19-20, 1863;
  • Missionary Ridge (Tennessee), Nov. 25, 1863;
  • Buzzards Roost (Georgia), Feb. 25 and 27, 1864;
  • Dalton (Georgia), May 9, 1864;
  • Resaca (Georgia), May 13-16, 1864;
  • Kennesaw Mountain (Georgia), June 30, 1864;
  • Pine Mountain (Georgia), June 14, 1864;
  • Pine Knob (Georgia), June 19, 1864; and
  • Peach Tree Creek (Georgia), July 20, 1864.

David was mustered out of the army on September 27, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Shortly after his return home, his wife Frances died of typhoid on November 21, 1864.

On December 14, 1865, in Montgomery County, Ohio, David married Catherine Starr (born June 3, 1829), whose first husband Henry Link had died in 1858. Catherine had one son, Oscar Link (born about 1852). David and Catherine had three sons of their own:

  1. Charles W. Schaeffer (born Jan. 20, 1867; died Oct. 31, 1933);
  2. George Starr Schaeffer (born Nov. 3, 1869; died Feb. 11, 1918); and
  3. Willie Schaeffer (born about Sept. 1871; died Mar. 29, 1872).

[Charles and George Schaeffer were actively involved in the Stillwater Canoe Club. Many photos of the club – and the brothers – can be found in the Dayton Metro Library digital collections.]

After the Civil War, David was a collector for the Internal Revenue Service (1866-1869), and by 1870 he had become an insurance agent, selling both fire and life insurance, an occupation he continued right up until his death. The family was active in the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, where David was an officer.

For many years, from at least the mid-1850s until after David’s death in 1894, the Schaeffer family home was located on the southeast corner of Ludlow Street and Water Street (Monument Avenue). It was originally numbered 6 Ludlow Street but was later changed to 240 N. Ludlow Street. As of 2011, the Chase Bank drive-through is now located on the former site of the Schaeffer home.

David W. Schaeffer home, 240 N. Ludlow, is the large house on the corner (far left) of this photo.

David W. Schaeffer home, 240 N. Ludlow, is the large house on the corner (far left) of this photo.


Chase Bank, southeast corner of Ludlow and Monument, on site of former D. W. Schaeffer home (Photo 2012)

Chase Bank, southeast corner of Ludlow and Monument, on site of former D. W. Schaeffer home (Photo 2012)

David W. Schaeffer died on September 5, 1894, in Dayton, Ohio. His second wife Catherine Starr Schaeffer died on February 5, 1909, in Dayton. David and both of his wives are buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton, Ohio.

Tombstone of David W. Schaeffer in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio

Tombstone of David W. Schaeffer in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio


This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2011 for the Schaeffer Papers (MS-020) 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; 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.

Manuscripts crossovers

I could write a list of reasons why my job rocks. (Hmm, that sounds like a new category of blog entries, just waiting to happen…) After all, I get to preserve and organize history. I get to read history written in people’s own words, as they were living it. (That email to your sister where you complain about the falling value of your house or the rising prices of gas and food? That’s going to be “history” someday. Something to think about…)

Arranging and describing a stand-alone manuscript collection (so people know what is there and where exactly to find it) is generally pretty darn cool, in an of itself. And there are always “tasty nuggets” to be found.

But I think one of the coolest things in processing is when you get “crossover” between collections. By that I mean, you have collections where the people reference each other; or they both talk about the same event or person. I think I enjoy finding those things because it shows that history is not really linear; it’s not cut and dry. It’s more like a web – of people, places, things, events, movements. It’s actually fluid, and it’s expanding in every direction.

Now that I’ve made your head explode with depth, let me get down to the nitty-gritty of some of the crossovers I’ve found recently in the Dayton Metro Library manuscript collections.

Earlier today, as I was processing the Lowe Papers (MS-009), I came across several folders of newspaper clippings. In one, the Cincinnati Commercial boasted of having a first-hand account of the Battle of Murfreesboro, as reported by their correspondent “W. D. B.” I had to grin. He wasn’t named, but I knew that W. D. B. was William D. Bickham, a Commercial correspondent and later editor of the Dayton Journal. How did I know? Because I just finished processing the Bickham Collection (MS-017) a few weeks ago!

In an opposite crossover between the two collections, the Bickham Collection contains a newspaper clipping noting that Manorah Lowe (mother of Thomas; widow of John W.) had been made the first “postmistress” of Xenia.

These two collections, as well as another Civil War collection, the Schaeffer Papers (MS-020) make mention of Dayton congressman and well-known Copperhead Clement Vallandingham. (What good Dayton area Civil War collection could get by without at least mentioning him? I mean, come on.)

I suppose I should not be surprised at these types of crossovers. After all, if you take two collections that focus on the same time period and geographic location, you are bound to have some overlap; that just seems logical. And yet, I still get excited about it when I find one.

I think the earlier you go, particularly in Dayton history, the more likely you are to find these types of connections, too. For instance, the population of Dayton in 1860 was only about 20,000 people. In 1820, there were only about 1,100 people in Dayton. Which is why perusing DML’s Van Cleve-Dover Collection (MS-006) and Brown-Patterson Collection (MS-015) is so much fun. Both of these collections contain many documents from Dayton’s earliest days, so you do see a lot of the same people’s names over and over again, which I find strangely comforting and friendly (and exciting) even though these people lived about 200 years ago. (Early 19th century Ohio history has long been of interest to me, with the frontier settlement and all. Those two collections include many useful documents for that era of study. I also have a special affinity for the John Johnston Farm in Piqua – and by the way, there are several Johnston letters in the Brown-Patterson collection.)

And of course, these are just some examples of the “crossovers” you can find within the Dayton Metro Library’s collections. That’s not even taking into account all the different collections at other institutions.

Historians are probably out there shaking their heads, thinking, Lisa, you nut; this is what we do all the time. We go out and look for all the resources we can find on a particular person, place, thing, event, movement, etc., so we can write about it. Maybe I just think of it differently because of the difference in what I’m trying to do when I “find” these connections. I usually find them in the course of processing an individual collection. I’m just working with that collection, trying to get a grip on what is in it, why it’s important, how to arrange and describe it so that people (*cough*historians/researchers*cough*) can find what they need/want in it (if it’s there!). And then I will happen upon something that reminds me of something I saw in another collection. I wasn’t looking for it; I just remember seeing something like it somewhere else.

In any event, I think these little “crossovers” are fun, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you. I’m sure there are many others. But I tend to notice the ones in collections I myself processed. You don’t always notice them unless you have waded through the entire collection yourself.

The collections discussed here are publicly available for research at the Dayton Metro Library, Main Library, Local History Room, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, OH 45402. For more information on the collection, contact the library, or feel free to leave a comment on this blog.