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

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Ries, C. R. Leftwich, W. D. Rush, G. F. Schermund, S. A.
Hostetter, L. J. George, Conrad Kipp, S. C. Riegel. and B. P.

President of the company, Conrad Kipp ; vice-president, C.


R. Leftwich, treasurer: G. F. Schmermund, secretary and
general manager, W. D. Rush.

The old Bell telephone system, which had been operated for
probably twent}' years, was giving service to about 300 sub-
scribers in 1900. In August, 1911, they had fifty-five sub-
scribers in Greenville with twenty-one toll stations. The toll
stations and subscribers' stations at that time were discon-
tinued and all the property was taken over by the Greenville
Home Telephone Company. Telephone rates are $2.00 and
$1.00; business $2.00 and residence and farm $1.00.

The Fire Department.

The fire department dates existence from a destructive fire
in the early part of 1871. In the early days, the business
rooms were mostly two stories in height and were scattered
in location so that fires were readily controlled. However,
on the night of December 13, 1855. the Buckeye House, on the
southeast corner of Broadway and the public square (]Ma-
sonic Temple site) took fire in the third story and burned to
the ground, causing a total loss to the proprietor, J. L. \\'in-
ner. By a concurrence of favorable circumstances the fire
was confined to this one building, but the public was stirred
and the purchase of a hand fire-engine and organization of a
fire fighters brigade was discussed. No action was taken and
the matter was dropped until after the big fire on the night
of April 21, 1871, which started in the livery barn of George
Stevens (known as the "Flying Dutchman") just east of the
present government building and spread eastward to the
Blottman building and Tod and Snyder's stable on East Third
street, scattering fire brands on the Christian and Lutheran
churches, and causing a loss estimated at from fifteen to fifty
thousand dollars.

The citizens now became convinced of the necessity of pro-
viding for adequate fire protection and appealed to the city
council to organize a fire department, and procure proper
equipment for same. Accordingly, the council passed an ordi-
nance on June 1, 1871, creating a fire department consisting of
a chief, first and second assistants, three fire wardens, and
such men as might be required from time to time. At this
meeting bonds were issued for six thousand dollars to pay the
expenses of the new department for the years 1872, 1873 and
1874. Rev. D. K. McConnell, of the Christian church, was


appointed as the first chief with T. P. Turpen first assistant,
and F. E. Moores, second assistant, John C. Turpen secre-
tary, D. M. Stevenson treasurer, E. J. Hickox engineer.

A Silsby steam fire engine, two hose reels and five hundred
feet of hose were purchased at once, at a cost of $7,250 — the
engine being deli\'ered, tested and accepted by council June

This engine was housed at first in a frame building on lot
59, West Main street, until the completion of the new city
hall in 1875, when the outfit was transferred to a room in the
north side of that building which had been constructed for
the purpose. In those days the engine and reels were run
out by the minute men who composed the volunteer force of
the department. The three wardens looked after the hose and
equipments during fires, protecting the property from dam-
age, one assistant chief looked after the engine and the other
after the hose reel, while the chief took charge of all.

When the company was organized John T. Lecklider was
mayor, and George W. Moore, J. G. Martini, F. M. Eidson, J-
P. Winget and D. E. Vantilburg, councilmen.

A second Silsby fire engine was purchased for $3,450 under
an ordinance passed by the council May 21, 1881. With the
growth of the department it became imperative that more
adequate housing facilities be provided. Accordingly, on
February 26, 1883, the council passed an ordinance to issue
bonds not to exceed seven thousand dollars for the purchase
of real estate for the fire department and for equipment, and
on May 28, 1883, authorized the purchase of a lot, forty feet
by one hundred feet in size, off the east side of lot number 73
on the northeast corner of Broadway and the public square
for $3,500. The old brick building on this corner, the first
erected in the county, was soon torn down and a commodious,
two story modern fire department building erected with two
large exits on the square, stable accommodations for several
horses in the rear, and sleeping apartments and a council
chamber above.

A second team was purchased about this time and a Game-
well fire alarm system installed.

A combination chemical engine and hose wagon was pur-
chased in the fall of 1905, at a cost of $1,365. The last pur-
chase was a hundred-horse-power American LaFrance triple
combinatian, motor fire engine, weighing about eleven
thousand pounds with attached equipments, and having a ca-


pacity of 750 gallons per minute. This engine was delivered
January 30, 1914, and cost $9,000.00.

It has a speed of sixty miles and has displaced one of the
teams of horses.

Since the organization of the company in 1871, D. K. Mc-
Connell, John Winget John Ries, C. S. McKeon. Taylor Dor-
man and James Boyer have acted as chief.

The present firemen are George Hathaway, Louis Hatha-
way, C. A. Hufnagle and Benjamin Dunker, and the minute
men, George Murphy, Ben Ream, George Ream and Oscar

The Postofifice.

The history of the Greenville postoffice would make a fas-
cinating story in which businesss and romance ahe strangely
intermingled. In early days the arrival of a letter from an-
other section of the state or from the older settlements of the
eastern states was hailed with delight and counted an im-
portant event in the family. .Sometimes the postage on a
single letter was twenty-five cents which was paid by the re-
cipient. The office was usually in a little store room of some
local merchant, who took charge of the mail along with his
other afifairs. and waited upon his patrons at convenience.

About 1828 and for several years later, it is said, the post-
office was located in a little frame building on the southeast
corner of Water and Sycamore streets. Abraham Scribner is
mentioned as one of the early postmasters. The office was
later located in a frame building just east of the present site
of the new government building, then later across the street
Trom this point in a small brick building on the rear of the
present traction office lot. For several years prior to the
ci\il war it was located in the Hufnagle building on the north-
west corner of the Broadway and the public square. It is
said that John Jobes acted as postmaster here about 1840,
and a certain Captain Smith, about 1855. Smith was suc-
ceeded by John S. Shepherd, who moved the office into the H.
A. Webb room, on Broadway near Third street. O. H. Long
succeeded Shepherd. In September, 1861, E. W. Otwell
became postmaster, and removed the office, it seems, into the
Harper building, one door south, and later into the old Peb-
bledash home of his father, Dr. Curtis Otwell, on the south-
west corner of Broadway and Fourth street (court house site").
He was succeeded in the fall of 1865 bv T. W, McCabe. who


moved the office to a little frame building on West ?vlain
street on the present site of the H. St. Clair Co., wholesale
grocery. Ham Slade succeeded McCabe, but was elected
count)' clerk in 1868, and his unexpired term was filled out by
George Perry. In 1871 we find the postoffice in the Waring
building on the west side of the public square (Craig's tin
shop), and Henry Stevenson, holding the office. Stephenson
died during his incumbency and was succeeded by his wife,
during whose term the office was located in the opera house
on Third street (about 1874 to January, 1879), and then in
the rear of the Allen building on Fourth street opposite the
court house. Daniel Heim succeeded Mrs. Stevenson during
the first Cleveland administration when the office was located
in the Roland building on the northeast corner of Fourth and
Broadway. Here the office remained and here George Perry,
Daniel Heim, Isaac Killer, Alonzo Jones and William Halley
served successively in the capacity of master of the mails,
until the completion of the new government building on the
southeast corner of East Main street and the public square,
January 1, 1910.

Free mail delivery was started in Greenville on Monday,
May 16, 1898, with L. O. Lecklider, W. R. Pruner and AValter
Maines as carriers, and A. Kellogg and Cassius Stoltz as sub-
stitutes. At that time two deliveries were made in the busi-
ness section and in the residence section daily. With the
growth of the city and the increase in business, a demand
arose for a building adequate for the needs of the city, and a
committee of representative citizens, including A. N. Wilson,
John C. Clark, James I. Allread and Charles M. Anderson
were sent to Washington, D. C, to lay the city's claim before
the senate finance committee. Through the active co-opera-
tion of Harvey C. Garber. then the representative of the
fourth congressional district, their efforts eventuated in the
securing of an appropriation of some thirty-five thousand dol-
lars for the construction of a government building, provided
that the citizens furnish the site. Several eligible sites were
inspected by an agent of the government including the Kat-
zenberger property on the southeast corner of Main street and
the public square. As usual in such cases there was strong
competition between the residents of the older northern and
the rapidlv developing southern section of the city over the
location of the proposed building. This was soon stopped,
however, by a committee of business men with interests cen-


tering in the neighborhood of upper Broadway and public
square, who purchased a plot of ground practically 101 feet
by 126 feet in size, on the above mentioned corner and had it
transferred to the United States of America, on March 5, 1907,
for the consideration of one dollar.

The old brick building which had been erected by Potter
in 1832 and occupied by the Katzenberger brothers as a gro-
cery for many years was soon torn down. The work of exca-
vation was soon commenced, and the building completed in

The new structure is of the colonial style of architecture,
carried out in detail with small window panes, pillared en-
trances, deep white cornices and roof ballustrades and dor-
mers. The walls are built of red pressed brick and the roof
is pitched low. There is an entrance on Main street and one
on the public square. The building is heated by low pressure
steam, lighted by electricity and equipped with sanitary
closets, shower baths, hot and cold water in the basement. A
high marble wainscot surrounds the vestibule. There is a
large lobby on the ]\Iain street side which also extends past
the public square entrance. It has an artificial mozaic floor
and is faced with quarter sawed, paneled oak wainscoting.
The main work room is on the southeastern side of the
building. It is well lighted and equipped for the numerous
clerks and carriers. The money order and register and postal
savings division is on the east side. The postmaster has a
separate room facing the public square. The office was trans-
ferred to the new building by Postmaster \Vm. E. Halley,
January 1, 1910.

I\Ir. Halley was succeeded by Mr. .\dam H. Sleeker, the
present incumbent, October, 1913.

The office force now comprises the postmaster, the assis-
tant postmaster, !Mr. Joseph C. Katzenberger, five clerks, five
city carriers, two janitors, cme messenger and eleven rural
carriers. James Perry and Osborn Wilson are the mailing
clerks : Kittv Spain, money order clerk ; Ella Calderwood,
stamp clerk : Tillie Dunn, auxiliary. Walter ]\Iaines, J. J.
OT>rien, Ora Ganger, Charles Brumbaugh, and Jesse Bruss
are the city carriers, and Elam IMiller the messenger.

The postmaster now receives a salary of $2,700.00 and his
assistant $1,300.00 per year.

The gross receipts of the office in 1913 were about


Greenville is one of the few second-class offices in Ohio now
housed in a government building.

Greenville Public Schools.

The social and intellectual progress of Greenville and
Darke county is well indicated by the transition from the
little log house to the modernly planned and equipped pressed
brick school building.

The development of the Green\-ille schools up to 1880 has
been reviewed in another place, from the old log school house
on Elm street, and the first two brick grade schools, the
private schools, the establishment of the high school in 1869,
and the first few years of the histor}' of that institution. The
growth of the city and the advancing requirements of High
school work soon called for the erection of another school
building. In response to this demand a fine lot comprising
some three acres was purchased on East Fifth street, between
Montgomery and Green streets, about 1881, and a beautiful
large brick building with two graceful towers, two stories
high and with mansard roof was constructed in 1883 at a cost
of some $75,000.00. This building was intended primarily for
a high school — an assembly room, a laboratory, an extra rec-
itation room and a large auditorium on the second floor being
set aside for the use of this department, while the rooms
down stairs and the east room up stairs were devoted to the
lower grades for the convenience of the pupils living in the
eastern section of the city. Since being remodled this build-
ing has fourteen regular session rooms and one assembly
room. From 1867 to 1888, Prof. J. T. Martz continued at
the head of the schools and by his scholarship, discipline and
tenacity of purpose established an enviable reputation for
Greenville educational institutions. In 1888. Prof. F. Gillum
Cromer, now president of the Miami Valley Chautauqua,
became superintendent, and held this position until 1895.
During his incumbency he introduced several of the advanced
ideas of education, including the savings bank, the fire drill,
and a circulating library, and revised the curriculum. C. L.
Brumbaugh fnow representing Franklin county, Ohio in con-
gress), became superintendent in 1895, and held that office
until 1899. During this period four good sized classes were
graduated and a demand developed for a sectional grade
school to accommodate the pupils living in North Greenville.


This demand was met by the purchase of a lot on North
Main street, between Wayne and Spring streets and the
erection of a modern one story, four roomed, grey brick
school, with central dome, large corridor, scientific lighting
and ventilation, at a probable cost of some twenty-five thous-
and dollars. Prof. E. M. Van Cleve (now superintendent of
the Ohio Blind commission), was the able and enthusiastic
superintendent from 1899 to 1903. During his incumbency
the Carnegie library and museum was built, and became an
important auxiliary to the schools. Prof. Van Cleve was a
good literary student and did much to build up the library and
revise and strengthen the curriculum. Prof. J. W. Swartz
served from 1903 to 1905. During this period the "Depart-
ment Plan" was gradually introduced, by which all seventh
and eighth grades, except one room at the North building
were organized into a department of four teachers. Prof.
Swartz also paid special attention to the development of
athletics in the high school. Prof. W. S. Rowe served from
1905 to 1906. In the fall of 1905 the board introduced the de-
partment of household arts, furnishing a very complete
equipment for domestic science. Manual training and the
kindergarten were made possible through the thoughtful be-
quest of the late Mr. Henry St. Clair, who purchased the
equipments for these departments and had them installed
under the direction of the board of educaion, in the summer
of 1905. Prof. James J- Martz sticceeded to the superin-
tendency in the fall of 1908. and served until his resignation in
the spring of 1914. Prof. Martz is a son of the late Jacob T.
Martz, the first superintendent, a graduate of the Greenville
high school (class of 1891), a graduate of Ohio Weslyan Uni-
versity, and had several j'^ears of experience in high school
work before assuming this responsible office. During his
term several important changes and improvements have been
made including the remodeling and moving of the old West
school building, the erection of the Henry St. Clair memo-
rial hall (which now houses the department of industrial art,
household arts, manual training and kindergarten), and the
erection of the new South school building. This latter build-
ing was erected in 1911, at a cost of some $25,000, on a fine
lot located south of Sater street between Washington and
Wayne avenues, and was built to accommodate the grade
pupils of the rapidly growing south side. On account of its
late construction it embodies manv of the latest ideas of


school architecture. It was designed by Howard and Aler-
riam, and constructed by E. E. Bope, following the erection
of the memorial hall by those builders. It contains eight reg-
ular grade rooms, besides two large play rooms and toilet
conveniences in the basement.

Several factors have contributed to the rapid development
of the public school system, and the gradual increase in the
number of graduates, among which might be included the
following: the Boxwell-Patterson law, making it possible
for rural grade graduates to enter any high school in the
county, without conditions ; the popular demand for higher
education ; the broadening and strengthening of the high
school courses ; the employment of specialists as instructors
in the various branches of the curriculum ; the greatly im-
proved equipment and conveniences, and the holding of an-
nual institutes. These'things have all acted favorably in the
Greenville schools as shown by the fact that the enrollment
in the high school has increased from 155 in 1900, to 303 in
1914. While the total enrollment has increased from 1,076 to
1,352 during the same period. With four modernly equipped
brick buildings, the Carnegie library and the Memorial build-
ing, all located with special reference to the conveni-
ence of the pupils of the various sections of the city.
Greenville has a school system that is probably not excelled
by that of any city of its size in the state of Ohio. The high
school has been certified by the Ohio School commissioner as
"first grade" for several years, permitting its graduates to en-
ter the freshman year of some of the best colleges and uni-
versities of the United States without condition. Within re-
cent years special development has taken place in the grades
in the departments of music, drawing, applied art, manual
training, and the progressive study of English literature. In
the high school great progress has been made in these same
departments, besides domestic economy, modern and ancient
languages, history, science, mathematics, art, expression,
pedagogy, commercial training and athletics.

The total number of graduates to date is 7-14, of whom 479
were girls and 265 boys. 150, or more than one-fifth of the
entire number, have been graduated in the last three classes.

The monthly pay roll shows the following items :


Superintendent's saary $ 255.55

High school tuition 1,379.16

Grade tuition 1,750.00

Library employees 135.00

Janitors 325.00


The following schedule of teachers for the school year of
1913-14 shows one superintendent, five principals, besides
twenty-two grade, nine high school, two kindergarten and
four special teachers, a total force of forty-three. Practically
all of the high school instructors have taken courses covering
a period of from one to five years in some standard Ameri-
can college or university, while nearly all of the grade teach-
ers are graduates of the high school,^ and have had special
normal or college preparation.

East Building.

O. E. Bowers, principal: Carrie Rush, Lillian Hoel, Mabel
Turner, Alcie Allen, Mary Studebal-:er, Anna Stephens, Esther
Gaskill, Isabel Ketring, Louise Hall, and Nannie Eller, grade
teachers ; Onda Ridenour, kindergarten.

West Building.

J. B. Long, principal ; Alargaret Mannix, Kitt Townsend,
Lucile Iverlin, Ivlyde \\'hiteley, Elsie Black.

North Building.

Mary Stallman, principal ; Edith Dininger, Lelia Miller,
Grace Reed.

South Building.

Clara Heckerman, principal ; Elizabeth Lynch, Estella
Mong, Lucile Fitzgerald, Cena Davis.

High School.

Minor McCool, principal, biology ; Frederick Roehm, Ger-
man ; E. F. Babb, mathmetics; Ophelia G. Byers, English;
H. H. Howett, history ; Harry Metzger, science ; IMyrtle
Boyer, phonography and typewriting; Inez Osborn, Latin:


Alma Polk, English ; Nelson E. Thomas, algebra and com-
mon branches.

Special Teachers — Memorial Hall.

Anna Bier, industrial art ; Grace Cowles, domestic econ-
omy; L. Evelyn Roberts, music; E. W. Bowers, manual train-
ing ; Mary C. Ferris, kindergarten ; J. J. Martz, superintend-

Members of the board of education — John Mong, presi-
dent; Dr. W. T. Fitzgerald, J. E. Williams, clerk; J. O. Win-

Prof. F. C. Kirkendall, formerly of Chillicothe, Ohio, has
been chosen to succeed Prof. J- J. Martz, resigned, as super-


The social and fraternal life of the citizens of the county
seat has found partial expression in various lodges, societies,
clubs, etc., organized from time to time since the founding of
the town.

The Masonic order is now represented by three organiza-
tions, viz., Greenville Lodge No. 143, F. and A. M., which
received its charter October 20, 1847 ; Greenville Chapter No.
77, R. A. :\I., chartered October 17, 1857, and Matchett Coun-
cil No. 91, Royal and Select Masters, chartered October 4,

The first named has a membership of about 240; the sec-
ond about 185 and the last about 100 of Greenville's represen-
tative citizens. For many years the Masons met in a hall
which they had fitted up on the third floor of the Koester
building on the northwest corner of Broadway and Third
streets. They recently removed to the new rooms which
they had constructed and fitted out in the building now known
as the Masonic hall on the southeast corner of Broadway and
the public square, at a cost of some fifteen thousand dollars.
The lodges are in a flourishing condition. In recent years
they have conducted the ceremonies incident to the placing
of the corner stones of the Carnegie library building, the
Episcopal church and St. Clair memorial hall and are quite
active in the ritualistic work of the order.

The Odd Fellows are now represented by a strong subordi-
nate lodge of some 340 members, besides an encampment and
Daughters of Rebekah organization. The original organiza-


tion was known as Greenville Lodge \o. 195, I. O. O. F.,
and was instituted ^larch 15, 1852. In 1873, this lodge erected
the present Trainor opera house, with a fine hall on the upper
floor at a cost of some $20,00.00. This venture proved un-
profitable and the heavy indebtedness incurred finally led to
the division of the lodge and the establishment of another
known as Champion Lodge No. 742, which was instituted
July 22, 1885, with thirty-five charter members. These
lodges continued separately until January, 1909, when they
were consolidated as Champion Lodge No. 742. This lodge
has met for several years in an upper room of the Ohio block,
but expects soon to be housed in fine and commodious quar-
ters in the remodeled Turpen building, formerly known as
the Turpen House.

Greenville Encampment No. 90, I. O. O. F. represents the
higher work of Odd Fellowship and now has a membership
of about 100 members. Bee Hive Lodge No. 266. Daughters
of Rebekah was organized as an auxiliary to Greenville Lodge
No. 195 in 1889, with about ten members. In 1909 it was
merged with the Seven Star Lodge, an auxiliary to Cham-
pion Lodge, and the consolidated lodge retined the name "Bee
Hive." This has been one of the most active ladies lodges in
the city.

Greenville Lodge No. 161, Knights of Pythias was insti-
tuted May 16, 1883, with 33 charter members and now has
a membership of about 380, being probably the strongest
lodge numerically in the city. Besides the regular lodge there