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History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

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He practiced law until the breaking out of the rebellion, when
he quit his books and volunteered in the service of the union,
where he remained over four years. During his services in
the army his ability as an engineer was soon discovered and
he was deputed and assigned to that duty. After his return
home from the war he settled on his farm a few miles north
of Greenville and died in 1889 in the seventy-second year of
his age.

John S. Bascom, son of Linus Bascom, read law in the
office of W. 'SI. Wilson, but upon being admitted to the bar
was appointed postmaster at Greenville, which office he held
for several years and died of consumption in 1843.

Hiram Bell was an eastern man ; came to Darke county in
1837; represented with two others, Darke, Mercer and Miami
counties in the House in 1840-1, and represented the third
district in the thirty-second congress in 1853-55, and died in
December, 1855. He was perhaps the ablest lawyer in his
time at this place.

Onias C. Skinner read law at the office of Hiram Bell, was
admitted to practice in 1841, was partner with his preceptor
several years, married the daughter of Major Dorsey and
moved to Illinois, where he soon became one of the judges in
that state, dying while still a young man.

Charles Bell also read law at the same office at the same
time. He was an eastern man and when admitted to the
bar returned to Vermont, his native state.

O. A. Lyman also read law at the same office, was admitted


to the bar in 1843, practiced with his preceptor for several
years, then went to Dayton and opened an office there with
John Reily Knox. Later he moved to New York City and be-
gan the practice there, but soon became religious, studied
theology a year, secured license to preach the gospel and re-
ceived a call from a Presbyterian church in Cleveland, Ohio,
which he accepted, but soon afterwards died. He was an ex-
cellent joifng man in every particular, and was a charter
member of the Greenville Masonic lodge, 1847, and worship-
ful master in 1851 and later was grand lecturer of the state.

John Curtis was also admitted to the bar in 1848 and was
soon after appointed postmaster, which office he held several
years. Resigning, he moved west with a view of practicing
law, but soon died.

In 1846 ^^'iIliam Collins came to town, after reading law
and having been admitted to the bar at Eaton. He, at that
time was about forty-five years of age, had been a United
Brethren preacher, and presiding elder. He was a very
pleasant and at times powerful speaker and was fast gaining
in practice when he died of consumption in 1855.

In 1852 Evan Baker was admitted to the bar. He was
born in Virginia in 1808 and was a resident of Butler town-
ship nearly all his life. He was identified with public im-
provements of the county, was elected to the legislature in
1854 and was the author of the Ohio ditch laws and at the
time of his death in 1863 he had a large law practice. He
was president of the Richland & Covington railroad, for the
location of which through Greenville he had labored long
and earnestly.

John T. Lecklider, born near Gettysburg, practiced law in
Greenville for a while and was also mayor of the city of
Greenville, in the seventies. In 1874 he removed to Indian-
apolis successfully practicing law for a period also travelling
extensively abroad. Possessed of an artistic and poetic tem-
perment, he published a volume of his poems in 1913.

On the 17th day of September, 1848, Mathew T. Allen first
saw the light of day at his father's house in Butler township,
Darke county, Ohio. "Jim," as he was familiarly called, was
six feet and slender and of dark complexion. After a par-
tial course at Otterbein University, Mr. Allen began the
study of law in Winchester at the age of eighteen and was
admitted to the bar immediately after he became of age.
After serving as assistant prosecuting attorney in Indiana,


Mr. Allen removed to Greenville in July, 1872, and continued
in active practice. He was master of Greenville lodge, F. &
A. M., 1880, and was one of the prominent attorneys here in
his day. "Jini" was clever, sociable and mirthful. After suc-
cessful practice here he removed about 1885 to Los Angeles,
California, where he was a judge of the district court of ap-
peals, at the time of his death in 1914.

M. C. Benham, a native Buckeye, was admitted to the bar
in 1876, came to Greenville and made commercial law a

Theodore Beers was born in Darke county in 1826, com-
menced the practice of law in 1832 and was well read in the
law. His misfortune consisted in his inability to tell what
he knew but what he did say was law, not gush.

Louis B. Lott was born in New Jersey in 182.S and came to
Darke county, in 1855, was minister of the M. E. church in
New York. He was more of a politician than a lawyer, giv-
ing most of his time to political affairs. He represented this
county in the legislature in 1862-65 and then went into prac-
tice as a partner of M. Spayd, practicing later with A. T.
Bodle. During that partnership he displayed good legal abil-
ity and proved to be an earnest and effective speaker. He
died in March, 1889.

Although George W. Calderwood practiced law but a short
time in the firm of Calderwood, Collins and Calderwood, he
as the famous "Darke County Boy," deserves a whole chap-
ter of this book. I can not do him justice.

Emlen ^^^ Otwell was born in Guilford county, North
Carolina, in February, 1831. and received a common school
education at Otwell Seminary, near what is now Weavers'
Station. His college education was obtained at Wesleyan
University at Delaware. After his graduation he read law in
the office of A. R. Calderwood. after which he practiced law
for a number of 3'ears. Later on he gave less time to pro-
fession and purchased the Greenville Journal, which he edited
with ability until his death in 1902. Among his partners at
various times were William .-Xllen, J. K. Riffle. J. C. Clark, H.
K. McConnell and T. C. Aliller.

J. E. Breaden was born in this county in July, 1852, ob-
tained a common school education and finished educational
course at Chickering Institute in Cincinnati at which insti-
tution he graduated in 1873. Soon after he entered the law
office of Calderwood & Cole and was admitted to the bar in


187t). Alter a partnership with Judge Clark for three years,
he practiced law with his former preceptor, Judge Calder-
wood until the latter's death in 1891. He continued in the
active practice of his profession alone and was respectful,
kind and courteous. At the time of his death he was a mem-
ber of the Ohio state board of pardons, to which position he
had been appointed by Governor Bushnell, who held him in
high esteem.

Ira Lecklider was horn in Darke countv in 1855, admitted
to the bar in 1878. He was dark complexioned, o: slender
build, and active and was a partner of I. N. Ullery.

Lee F. Limbert was born in Clay township, Montgomery
county and after a term in the Commercial College at Dayton,
read law and was admitted at Columbus in October, 1877. He
was good natured, full of life and energy and was a partner of
E. F. Ratlifif. Later he spent six m.onths in the Indian -service
in the west and was city solicitor of Greenville and in 1890
was a member of the board of managers of the Ohio reforma-
tory at Mansfield. Subsequently he practiced law at Dayton
as a member of the firm of Gottschall, Crawford and Limbert.

David P. Bowman Avas born near Palestine in 1841 and
jiassed his boyhood on a farm and was inured to all the toil
that fell to the lot of farmers' son of that day. He was four-
teen years old before he could read, but with zeal took up
such advantages as he could obtain and then taught school.
After studying law for several years he was admitted to the
bar in 1872 and began the practice of law in Greenville, com-
ing into the forum "Xot decorated for pomp, but armed for
battle." At the time of his death, he was a law partner of
General C. M. Anderson. Of German ancestry he was an
accomplished German scholar and was familiar with the lit-
erature of the land. He died in 1878 after a short illness.

John Devor was born in Greenville in 18,31 and was a graiKi
son of John Devor, who entered the first half section of land
in Darke county and laid out the town of Greenville in 1810.
At nineteen years of age the subject of this sketch began the
study of law with Hiram Bell and was admitted to the bar
in 1852. For thirteen years he was a law partner of Michael
Spayd and subsequently for eleven years a partner of Judge
'^^'illiam Allen. Four j'ears he was assistant assessor of in-
ternal revenue for the ^ourth district of Ohio, and was a mem-
ber of the electoral college at the election of Benjamin Har-
rison, president, in 1888.


Swan Judy was born in December, 1850, in Clark county,
Ohio ; was admitted to the bar in 1875, after having gradu-
ated from the law department of the University of Michigan
in 1875. He immediately entered upon the practice of law in
partnership with the late Tilichael Spayd but later opened an
office of his own, forming a partnership with D. P. Irwin in
1879, which partnership continued until the fall of 1887.
After serving as justice of the peace he died in 1892.

I. N. Ullery born in 1853 at Greenville, Ohio, taught school
and attended the Normal School at Lebanon, later studying
law in the office of Gen. C. M. Anderson, and being admitted
to the bar in 1878. He practiced but a few years, his death
occurring July 21, 1882.

\A'illiam H. Gilbert was born in Adams township in 1864,
taught school while a young man and began reading in the
office of Meekers & Bowman in March, 1886. He was ap-
pointed special court bailiff and law librarian and completed
the study of law in the law liberty. After his admission to
the bar in October, 1888, he formed a law partnership with
Walter S. IMeeker. but removed a number of years ago to
Troy, Ohio, where he enjoys a lucrative practice.

Edward J. Tobin was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1867, grad-
uated from the common schools at Union City, Ohio, and
taught school for a number of years. He began the study of
law with Anderson & Bowman and entered the Cincinnati
Law School in 1889. After his admission to the bar and
practicing here a short time, he moved to Chicago, 111.

David P. Irwin was born near Greenville in 1849, taught
school eight years in the county and in the spring of 1876 he
began reading law with Elijah Devor and A. T. Bodle. In
1879 he was admitted to the practice of law in all the courts
of Ohio, was a member of the city council and was a success-
ful practitioner until his death in 1912.

]\lillard F. Myers was born March 17. 1850, near Harrisbnrg,
Pa., and spent a good portion of his boyhood in Darke county.
He taught school several years and read law at the same time
in the office of Hon. David L. Meeker. In February, 1874 he
was duly admitted to the practice of law and practiced in
Greenville for a number of years, was mayor one term and
then moved to Fitzgerald, Ga.

Volney Miller was born on a farm near New Madison in
April, 1860, attended the common schools in his neighborhood
and two winters at the Greenville high school. During the



years of 1881-4 he followed farming, improving odd hours in
the study of law under Judge D. L. Meeker. In October,
1884, he went to Ann Arbor, Mich., and in June, 1886 grad-
uated from the law department of the University of Michi-
gan. He was a member for a while of the firm of Brandon &
Miller and then removed to Union City, Indiana.

Richard Dills was born in 1847, a native Buckeye. His life
previous to 1875 was given to scientific investigations and
traveling. He was quite a linguist, speaking several lan-
guages correctly. He commenced the practice of law in 1875
as a partner of the late D. P. Bowman.

Charles Frizell was born in Darke county and obtained his
education at the naval academy at Annapolis, and later read
law with Calderwood & Cole and was admitted in 1875. He
was a good conversationalist and a genial good fellow and
about 1890 removed to Chicago, 111.

Richard S. Frizell was born in Greenville, in 1854 and was
a son of the late General J. W. Frizell. He was a fine scholar
and developed into a good lawyer. He was energetic and
took considerable interest in politics serving two terms as
mayor of the city. He died while comparatively young in

H. K. ;\IcConnell was born in Miami county in 1856 and,
according to the county atlas in 1875, was a practicing attor-
ney in this city. He had been at one time a pastor of the
Christian church of Greenville, C)hio, and for a while a part-
ner of E. W. Otwell.

Barnabas Collins was born in Preble county in May. 1836.
His father William Collins, was a lawyer and clergyman of
high standing, and has already been referred to in this chap-
ter. Barnabas Collins became a practical printer when a boy
and spent a short time at Delaware, being interested chieflv
in literature. He read law under Calderwood & Calkins and
was admitted to the bar in 1858, the same year that he mar-
ried the daughter of Judge Calderwood. In the spring of
1861 he was nominated in Indiana on the Union ticket as a
candidate for state senator but withdrew from the canvass
and entered the Eighty-si.xth Indiana Volunteer Infantry as
first lieutenant. After his return from the army he settled in
Greenville, where he occupied a respectable position as a
member of the Darke county bar. In 1876 he represented the
fourth Congressional district in the Republican National con-
vention at Cincinnati that nominated Mr. Hayes for the pres-


idency. Air. Collins tastes gravitated to fields of literature
and science and he gratified them even at the expense of his
profession. As a local historian he had few equals in his
county and he was also a poet of local celebrity. He moved
'to California, about 1880, and was a member of the legisla-
ture there before his death.

Jacob Baker was born in Butler township during the "hard
cider"' campaign in 1840. He was admitted to the bar in 18''i4
and practiced continuously for many years having been en-
gaged in some of the most important civil and criminal cases
ever tried in the county. He was elected to the legislature in
1868 and voted for Allen G. Thurman for senator in prefer-
ence to Mr. Vallandigham. Although one of the youngest
members of the house, Mr. Baker was the author of several
measures, which he successfully carried through. He was a
deelgate from the fourth district to the St. Louis convention,
which nominated Tilden for president in 1876. He was de-
feated in the nomination for the judgeship several times and
for nomination to Congress. He found time and means to in-
dulge his inventive tastes, having invented a steam canal
boat, a convenient office desk and a centrifugal 'orce puni]).

J. C. Thornton was mentioned by Judge Clark in his toast,
"Reminiscences." at a bar banquet, as being inpractice in
Greenville in 1875.

Thomas A. Burns was born in Champaign county in 1836
and in his boyhood struggled through circumstances that
were anything but genial to his aspiring nature. He farmed
and taught school until the sound of the war trumpet in 1861
when he enlisted in Company A. Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteer
Infantry. After holding various non-commissioned offices
he was elected first lieutenant and in a short time he was
commissioned captain of Companv E, One Hundred and
Ninety-four Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was mustered out
with his regiment in 1865, after having served over four and
one-half years. He studied law in Troy and was admitted to
the bar in 1868, after which he moved to Versailles. Ohio,
where he practiced law. He Avas state senator of this district
from 1892 to 1894.

G. W. Studebaker was born in Darke county in 1840 and
spent his boyhood days on a farm, the plow, spade and ax
being implements to which he was no stranger. In 1865 he
commenced the study of law under the instruction of A. R.
Calderwood and in 1871 after an examination before the su-


preme court was regularly admitted as an attcrr.ey and
counselor-at-law and opened a law office at N'ersailles. In
May, 1875 he assisted Geo. W. Calderwood in the establish-
ment of the Greenville Sunday Courier. He was mayor of
\'ersailles .or si.x conseciiti\'e }ears, was president of the
school board and m 1875 was chosen l)y the Republican part}"
as a candidate for state senator.

Allen Andrews was born in 1849, worked as a farm lad,
taught school and read law under Judge Allen, was admitted
to the bar in 1874 and was a partner of J. K. Riffel in 1875.
He subsequently moved to Butler county and is now in prac-
tice at Hamilton with his son. He is an excellent orator, verv
prominent in Masonic circles and was most worshipful grand
master of the state of Ohio for one year.

Judge Clark also mentions Messrs. Ozias and Lindamood
as students of law here forty years ago.

Michael Spayd was attorney here for many years and has
been mentioned as a partner of several other attorneys. I
have been unable to secure much reliable information about

Edwin B. Putnam was the son of the pastor of the first
Presbyterian church at Dayton where he was born in 1829.
He served in the rebellion for ninety days as adjutant of the
One Hundred and Fifty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He
practiced law both before and after his service in the army,
and died in 1868.

David Putnam was l)orn in 1821 on the present site of New
Madison within the stockade, which formerly constituted old
Fort Black. He was reared in New Madison and obtained
his school privileges in a log building and at the age of four-
teen went into his father's mill where he was employed for
two years. In 1836 he started for Texas walking to Cincin-
nati. After successful commercial transactions in the south,
Mr. Putnam was in business successively at New Madison
and Palestine, was a farmer, later traveling agent for the New
York Mutual Insurance Company. In 1861 Mr. Putnam was
commissioned second lieutenant, subsequently raised a full
company and was elected captain. After organizing the
Twenty-eighth regiment of the Ohio National Guard he was
elected colonel and in May, 1864. this regiment was ordered
out for one hundred days' service. On his return home, Col-
onel Putnam began the study of law under the direction of
Judge A. R. Calderwood at Greenville and was admitted to


the bar in 1866. He was a justice of the peace three years
and a notary public half a century. About ninety years Col-
onel Putnam resided in Darke county and deserves mention
in this chapter.

John Reily Knox was born in Butler county in 1820 and
was graduated with honors from Aliami University in the
class of 1839. While a student at Oxford he was the founder
of the college fraternity, which he and his associates named
Beta Theta Pi. The fraternity expanded rapidly and at pres-
ent has seventy-four active chapters with a total membership
of about 20,000. After leaving college Mr. Knox studied law
and was admitted to the bar in 1843. At the time he had a
reputation as a speaker and was in demand during the excit-
ing Harrison campaign of 1840. He was elected in 1860, one
of the presidential electors in Ohio, and as such cast his offi-
cial ballot to make Abraham Lincoln president of the United
States. He was connected with the management at Miami
University as a member of the board of trustees in 1859 and
for a period of twenty-nine years until his death. For a pe-
riod of fifty-five years he actively followed the profession of
his choice. He labored arduously in the organization of the
County Bar Association, was made its first president and
continued in such oftice to the time of his death. He as-
sisted materially in organizing the Greenville law library. He
was, as Judge Clark remarked at a banquet, a scholar and the
most thorough and polite gentleman, bv nature and culture,
of any one who was ever a member of this bar. He dis-
liked the scramble for office and was but once a candidate
before his partv for nomination. Although not aiipreciated
by all, he was by nature most kind and courteous, unostenta-
tious and unpretentious. He had a tall, erect and well pro-
portioned body and the carriage of a trained gentleman, al-
ways neat and tidy. He had a high respect for the dignity
o' courts and the profession. He never resorted under any
circumstances to the practices of the petifogger. In a rough
and tumble fight before a jury he refused to engage in im-
proper practices, always maintaining the dignity of a gen-
tleman and relying upon the law and the merits of his case.
He died in 1898 and his death came as a great blow to the
thousands of members of his college fraternitv all over the
United States. He seemed to have never grown old in re-
spect to fraternity matters, but was a frequent attendant at
the banquets and conventions. "Pater Knox'' will be long


revered by the members of the fraternity whose principles he
helped to establish. He was a vestryman of the Episcopal
church and died after the sun of life was well set in the west,
but like the great law giver of old "his eye was not dim
nor his natural force abated."

Jacob T. Martz, lawyer and educator, was born in Darke
county in September, 1833. He attended the Ohio Wesleyan
University at Delaware, at which institution he graduated in
1856. During the nine succeeding years he engaged in teach-
ing and also read law under Judge D. L. Meeker and was ad-
mitted to the bar in June, 1860.

In the spring of 1862 he was elected superintendent of the
public schools and resigned in 1865 to form a law partner-
ship with J. R- Knox. In August of that year he was ap-
pointed recei\er of the Cincinnati & Mackinaw Railroad,
which work occupied his time for nearly five years. In 1871
the superintendency of the Greenville schools was tendered to
him without his solicitation, and the board prevailed upon
liim to continue his good work which he did for seventeen
consecutive years until June, 1888. Under his supervision he
saw the school grow from four to twenty-two teachers. He
assisted in organization of the Darke County Teachers" As-
sociation of which he was president. He was also a member
of the board of count}' school examiners for about twenty-two
years and assisted greatly in advancing the qualifications of
the teachers in the county. He was for six years secretary of
the Darke County Agricultural Society. For many years he
was secretary of a building company. He was superinten-
dent of the Sabbath school of the Methodist Episcopal church
and for more than eight years was recording steward of its
official board. He was verj- much interested in the history of
Darke county and contributed an article of about twenty-four
pages to the county history published in 1900, entitled His-
torical Sketches of Deceased Citizens of Darke County. He
had also contributed a carefully prepared article on Educa-
tional History to the Darke county history compiled by W.
H. ]McIntosh, in 1880. After resigning as superintendent of
the city schools, he resumed the practice of law in the firm of
Knox, ]\Iartz & Rupe, whom he outlived and then practiced
alone until his death in 1911.

In mid May, 1868. a spare looking young man of twenty-
three, arrived in Greenville. .Sun-tan gave a healthy color to
his face and his long curly hair gave him a look of import-


ance. The countenance of Charles Anderson was gra\-e and
thoughtful. He had a high, straight forehead, a nose less
aquiline than Roman. His heavy eyebrows, his high cheek
boneSj his chin long, but well formed denoted a man of reso-
lution. Such was the appearance of Charles M. Anderson, who
was born in Juniata county, Pennsylvania in 1845. He had
taught school, had served in Ohio regiment during the war
as a private soldier and was honorably discharged the day he
was twenty-one years old in 1866. For some months subse-
quent to his return from the army he attended the Normal
school at Lebanon and also took up the study of law. After
his admission to the bar he at once engaged in practice, open-
ing an ofihce in Greenville, where he rapidly rose to a posi-
tion as a leader of the bar. He had a fluency of language
almost startling in its depictures and developed fine oratorical

Quoting judge Clark; "On great occasions, when he, as if