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being located on West Third street, directly behind the lot that
had been chosen for the site of the courthouse then in the public
prospective. The town received its charter in the month of Feb-
ruary, 1805 ; in the following June advertisements for the erection
of a brick courthouse were inserted in the columns of the Cincinnati
and Lexington newspapers. The contract was secured by Benjamin
Archer, one of the associate judges, for $4,766, the building to be two
stories in height, and cover a space of ground 38x42 feet at the
corner of Third and Main streets. Whether "thieves and robbers"
were less numerous, according to the population, or whether there
was not anything in the building worth the trouble of unlawful
appropriation, might be a mooted question, for so great was the
confidence of the legal authorities in the honesty of the people that,
for the space of four years, the doors of the courthouse in Mont-
gomery county were minus lock or bar.

The rapid growth of county business in a few years necessitated
the erection of a new court house, and in the year 1817 a two-story
brick structure, twenty feet deep and forty-six feet front, at a cost of
$1,249, was built on a corner of the court house lot.

However, Montgomery county was not satisfied with the out-
ward appearance and accommodations of the building; its increasing
population and wealth demanded better representation through its

In the midsummer of the year 1845 special commissioners, con-
sisting of Messrs. Samuel Forrer, Horace Pease and John W. Van
Cleve, delivered a contract to Mr. John W. Gary for the construction
of a courthouse that in elegance of appearance and availability of
interior would be a credit in every way to the public spirit of the
county. The result was that in the year 1850 there stood on the
northwest corner of Main and Third streets, in the very heart of the
enterprising little city, a courthouse, that in proportion and design
was not only an ornament to Montgomery county, but was im-
mediately classed among the beautiful structures of the Miami
valley; by many, indeed, it has been ranked with the most elegant
public buildings of the state. Both city and county grew so rapidly
in the number of inhabitants that but a few years had slipped by
before a still roomier courthouse was deemed requisite for satisfac-
tory accomplishment of the public business of the county, but by a
vote of 3,916 to 412 the proposition was voted down by the people
when presented to them for ratification. But on March 13, 1867,
the need of the new courthouse was approved by legislative act, and
the preliminary steps towards its erection were soon taken by the
commissioners. The excavations and building of the new structure
were begun in the summer of the year 1880 on North Main street
on land adjoining the courthouse built thirty years before. The
new structure cost many times what was paid by the county for the
former building, and though a handsomer modern building, it
must be said that it lacks the majestic, satisfying beauty of the
courthouse of 1850; and for the beauty of the city, it seems almost
unfortunate that the new building could not have been added to
the older one on similar lines of architecture. The courthouse now



in use was ready for occupancy in the year 1884, public sentiment
prevailed against the demolition of the older edifice, and it is utilized
as the domicile of the Probate court.

Montgomery county proved no exception to the general rule
that larger prisons are needed as population grows, and seven
years after the building of the log jail in 1804, it was removed
to give place to a stone jail, part of which was used as a sheriff's
residence. There was no city prison in Dayton before the year
1858, all offenders finding lodgment in the common jail; but that
year an old engine house, located on South Main street, between
Fifth and Sixth, was utilized for the purpose, which, in 1872, was
abandoned for the use of a church near the corner of Logan and
Sixth streets, purchased from the United Brethren. Dayton finally
awoke to the realization that a city prison worthy of the town was
to be seriously considered. After much contention as to a desir-
able location for the new edifice, additional ground west of the
courthouse, and adjoining it, was purchased, and in the winter of
1875, at a cost of over two hundred thousand dollars, the building
was ready for its unhappy, forcibly detained, lodgers. The sheriff's
residence, which is a part of the prison, fronts on West Third
street, and is a large, rather handsome house, and the passer-by, if
he failed to notice a small signboard on the east side of the mansion,
which announces that the stone walk between the residence and
the courthouse is the "Jail entrance," would think it a modern
commodious dwelling.

The Dayton Law Library. But two of the original incorpo-
rators of the Dayton Bar Association, the Hon. John A. McMahon
and Judge Thomas O. Lowe, are still numbered with those who
live "this side of the veil." Mr. McMahon resides in his home city,
venerated and honored by the whole community, but Judge Lowe,
some years ago, abandoned legal pleading for work in the ministry,
and is the occupant of an eastern pulpit. The other incorporators
were Messrs. A. Cahill, Samuel Craighead, John Howard and E. S.
Young. The expressed aim of the organization was "the advance-
ment of legal knowledge and the better and more convenient dis-
charge of professional duties connected therewith, to purchase, hold
and acquire a library and books, for the purposes. Uses and objects
of said corporation."

The first election of directors was held December 24, 1868,
with Mr. J. A. Jordan as chairman and Mr. William Craighead
filling the office of secretary. Seven directors were chosen : Messrs.
D. A. Haynes, J. A. Jordan, T. O. Lowe, C. L. Vallandigham, E. S.
Young, J. A. McMahon and D. A. Houk. The first association
officers were Mr. D. A. Haynes, president; Mr. O. M. Gottschall,
secretary, and Judge T. O. Lowe, treasurer. The first library board
consisted of Messrs. Young, McMahon and Jordan. The bill for the
first payment for books amounted to $2,500, purchased from Banks
& Brother of New York City. One of the sources of revenue for
filling the library shelves can be seen in a resolution passed by the
board of directors as follows : "Resolved, that a committee of three
be appointed members of the board of directors, to confer with the
commissioners of the county, to make with them a contract by the
n— 12


year to defend indigent persons accused of crime, the proceeds of
which shall be paid into the treasury of the association for the
purpose of purchasing books for the use of said association and to
belong to the same." The first librarian appointed was Mr.
J. A. McDonald at a salary of $100, which allowance was later

The library was first mstalled in a back room of a second story
of a building located on North Main street, but in the fall of 1871
was removed to a room adjoining the old superior court in the Clegg
building on East Third street. In the year 1873 the association
discovered that its exchequer would not permit the meeting of the
librarian's salary, and the county was asked to assume it, which
was done, the librarian's office being placed on the list of county
assessments as "court assistant." In the year 1896 the attorneys
voted to change the name of the organization from "Dayton Bar
Association" to the "Dayton Law Library Association," and though
no legal steps were taken for a new charter, the name immediately
became popular and is now ased in connection with the corporation.
The association is in "good and regular standing" as member of the
American Association of Law Libraries, and a majority of the Day-
ton bar have their names on the membership list of the local or-

The lawyers of Dayton and Montgomery county are justly
proud of the splendid array of legal literature upon the library
shelves of the Dayton Law Library Association. Reports of the
different courts of law in all states and territories are flanked by
the year books and statutes from the same sources. Original edi-
tions, almost worth their weight in gold, of Irish, Australian, English
and Scotch reports are a priceless acquisition, while the latest and
most comprehensive text books stand ready to yield up their lore
to the student desiring to acquire thorough, practical knowledge of
the tenets of his profession.

This splendid collection of legal lore is handsomely ensconced
in four rooms on the third floor of the new courthouse, under the
care of the very efficient librarian, Mr. Daniel W. Iddings, who,
since the day of his appointment, January 2, 1899, has devoted both
time and interest to the work intrusted to him. Since the incumb-
ency of Mr. Iddings, the membership of the association has about
doubled in numbers, and the well-stocked shelves are silent witnesses
to the growth of the library from 5,640 volumes in January, 1899,
to its present enumeration of 16,443 tomes. And so wise has been
the selection of books by Mr. Iddings, that the library has been
pronounced the freest from worthless literature of any law library
in the State of Ohio. An additional room, now in course of prepara-
tion, will soon relieve the somewhat plethoric condition of the
shelves, and new steel book cases will be security against both
human and insect invaders. The present governing officers of the
Dayton Law Library Association are the Hon. J. A. McMahon,
president; the Hon. O. B. Brown, vice-president; the Hon. J. W.
Kritzer, treasurer ; Mr. D. W. Iddings, secretary and librarian ; ad-
ditional trustees, the Hon. E. P. Matthews, the Hon. R. R. Nevin,
and Mr. E. H. Turner.


The Edmond Stafford Young Law Library, One of the most
highly regarded names connected with the legal fraternity of Mont-
gomery county, is that of Edmond Stafford Young, one of the in-
corporators of the Dayton Bar Association, who, for many years,
was a leading attorney in the city of Dayton. After his death, in
loving memory of his work and influence, his sons George R. Young
and William H. Young, in the year 1912, took upon themselves the
founding of a library in connection with the Dayton Law Library,
to be known as The Edmond Stafford Young Library, the collection
to consist of the most valuable legal literature. Mr. George R.
Young's death occurred several years ago, but his brother, Mr.
William H. Young, continues the work of affectionate remembrance.
The collection already amounts to nearly six hundred volumes.


The year 1799 saw the entrance into the Miami valley of its
first physician. This was Doctor John Hole of Virginia, who had
seen service in the army during the war of 1776, and who, after
returning to his home in Virginia, came north to Cincinnati where
he started a new practice. Later still he located a few miles south
of Dayton and was for several years the only physician to whom the
widely scattered families of the valley could turn. How primitive
were the times as indicated in the fact that was often paid for his
services in such communities as "leather shoes," "a winter's smok-
ing of tobacco," and venison hams. Dr. Hole died in 1813.

The first doctor to take up residence in Dayton itself was John
Elliott, who arrived before the incorporation of the town. The
year of his coming to Dayton was 1802, and his activity was limited
to a brief seven years, as he died in 1809. In addition to his pro-
fession he was influential in forming the Dayton Social Library
association in 1805, which had the distinction of being the first
library which the state legislature allowed to be incorporated.

The next few years brought several more physicians to the
town, among them Dr. James Welsh in 1804, Dr. William Murphey
in 1805, Drs. Abraham Edwards and Charles Este in 1810. In 1812,
came Dr. John Steele, a graduate of the University of Pennsyl-
vania and the first physician in Dayton to possess a medical degree.
In fact, there were only three medical schools in the whole country
at the time Dayton was settled, and it was some time before medi-
cal degrees were a matter of course. Dr. Steele was a man of broad
interest, active in matters connected with public welfare, being at
one time a member of the state legislature and more than once a
member of the Dayton town council. His active life was terminated
by his death in 1854.

Another physician who claimed a prominent place in hearts
of Dayton's citizens was Dr. Job Haines, a graduate of Princeton
and also of the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania,
who settled in the city in 1817. From that time until 1860, the
time of his death, he led a most active and useful life, the record
of which may be found in part of his own diary which still exists
in the Dayton Public library. The fact that doctors in those days


found time to assume duties outside of their profession is attested
by Dr. Haines' having at one time been mayor of the town. A
homely but enduring monument to his memory is found in the water-
cress which lines the banks of so many streams in the valley and
which Dr. Haines is said to have brought from Pennsylvania across
the mountains in his saddle bags.

The foregoing are the most prominent among those physicans
who ministered to Dayton's needs while it was still a village. Dur-
ing the life time and practice of the last-mentioned, however, Day-
ton had grown to a population of 10,000, and could muster forty-
one doctors. In 1849, therefore, ten of these physicians called a
meeting of the rest of the profession for the purpose of forming a
medical organization. From this meeting came the Montgomery
County Medical society with Dr. Edwin Smith as its first president.
The Civil war interrupted the history of this organization which
held no meetings during the years 1861-1865, but which, except for
that break, has had a long and useful existence. Since 1849 its
presidents have been as follows : Edwin Smith, 1849 ; M. Garst,
1850; Julius S. Taylor, 1851, 1857; John Davis, 1853, 1867, 1876;
Job Haines, 1853, 1854; James Crook, 1855; J. A. Coons, 1856; W.
H. Lamme, 1858; S. G. Armor, 1859; C. McDermont, 1860, 1868;
J. C. Reeve, sr., 1861, 1873, 1877, 1878; Richard Gundry, 1866, 1869,
1870, 1871, 1872; T. L. Neal, 1874, 1875, 1880, 1881; J. M. Weaver,
1879, 1891; J. S. Beck, 1882, 1883, 1901, 1902; W. J. Conkhn, 1884,
1885, 1899, 1900; H. S. Jewett, 1886; C. H. Humphreys, 1887; E.
C. Crum, 1888; F. H. Patton, 1889; George Goodhue, 1890; G. C.
Myers, 1892; Horace Bonner, 1893; G. B. Evans, 1894; R. R. Petit,
1895; D. C. Lichliter, 1896; D. W. Greene, 1897; D. C. Huffman,
1898; J. C. Reeve, jr., 1903, 1904; F. C. Gray, 1905, 1906; C. W.
King, 1907; W. S. Smith, 1908; E. M. Huston, 1909.

The medical profession of Dayton has always been in the fore-
front of advanced measures for the public health, even when those
measures were far from what are now included under that term.
It has established hospitals, boards of health and quarantine regu-
lations and if its advice had always been heeded Dayton would
have been saved many a devastating epidemic. The earliest
hospital was one which the War of 1812 brought into existence.
After the humiliating surrender of Hull's army on August 22, 1812,
an immediate effort was made to undo the wretched tragedy and a
force of men under Captain James Steele was rapidly organized and
sent out against the British and Indians at Piqua. In December,
an engagement took place in which eight of the men of the Nine-
teenth Infantry were killed and forty-eight wounded. These
victims were brought to Dayton in wagons after a ten day's trip,
in condition which may well be imagined. The old histories say
that icicles of blood hung from underneath the wagon beds. These
forty-eight wounded soldiers had to be taken care of in some way
by the people of Dayton, then but a small village. The citizens
opened their homes and some had as many as four patients to be
cared for. When these private efforts were exhausted a small mili-
tary hospital was established on the courthouse corner. It con-
sisted of several tents, affording small protection against the bitter


winter weather and its staff consisted of Dr. John Steele as the
head, two other doctors assisting and the devoted women of Day-
ton as nurses. The impassibility of the roads prevented the im-
portation of either supplies or equipment so the hospital was one in
name only and owed whatever success it might have had to the well
meaning efforts of the early doctors and the helpful citizens.

It is a far cry from that day to the present when our well-
equipped hospitals are a credit to those who have brought them into
being. The first of these is St. Elizabeth hospital which was founded
in 1878 under the organization of the Sisters of the Poor of St.
Francis. It began its existence in a plain two-story brick dwelling
on Franklin street which was put in as good order as the place and
the means permitted and twelve beds provided. Its need was imme-
diately emphasized by the fact that before it was formally opened
there were two amputations performed and during the first year 183
patients received treatment. The first medical staff which con-
tinued as long as this building was occupied, consisted of Dr. J. C.
Reeve, sr., chief of staff ; consultants, Doctors John Davis, Thomas
L. Neal, E. Pilate; visiting physicians and surgeons, Doctors H. S.
Jewett, J. D. Daughtery and W. J. Conklin.

It was in 1882 that the needs of enlargement having been per-
sistently kept before the public, it became possible to build a new
hospital. It was situated on Hopeland street, had a capacity of
two hundred beds and represented the best ideas in hospital con-
struction of that day. The increase in ward work led to the en-
largement of the staff and its division into a medical and surgical
service which became effective in January, 1883. Since the time of
its first construction St. Elizabeth hospital has been several times
enlarged until now its capacity is many times that of its original
form. It maintains a large medical and surgical staff, an equally
large staff of nursing sisters, has a finely equipped operating hall
and continues its work with increasing facilities and gratifying suc-
cess each ensuing year. The devotion of the Doctors and the
Sisters to their work is irrespective of the religious affiliations of
their patients. Their duty is to relieve suffering in whatever form
and regardless of creed. In its thirty-seven years of existence St.
Elizabeth hospital has had the gratutious services of over seventy
of Dayton's physicians and surgeons all of whom have given gladly
of their time and training.

The Miami Valley hospital owes its existence to a society of
Protestant deaconesses of Dayton and was organized in 1890,
having for its first habitation the Adam Pritz home on East Fourth
street which was opened for the admission of patients in October of
that year, with thirty-seven beds and during the first year cared for
eleven hundred patients. The first staff of the hospital was as
follows : chief, Dr. J. S. Beck ; surgeons, Drs. George Goodhue, Wil-
liam Plattfaut, P. N. Adams; physicians, Drs. G. C. Myers, C. W.
King, and F. D. Barker. In 1894, this institution also became too
small for the demands upon it and a new building was constructed
on Magnolia street overlooking the city from the south and costing
in the neighborhood of $150,000. Here as in the past the doctors
gave loyally of their services. The difficulty of securing a sufficient


number of nurses led to the establishment of a Nurses' Training
school which, however, does not belong to this chapter.

It is true, but not as well known as it ought to be, that the great
desire and aim of the medical profession is preventive rather than
curative. They inform us that 50 per cent of illness and death is
unnecessary and can be prevented. They urge upon the city the
care and segregation of those afflicted with tuberculosis, the sani-
tary control of slaughter-houses, universal vaccination, the ventila-
tion of public buildings, the care and feeding of infants, the clean-
ing of our streets, and the inspection of the milk supply. They keep
a record of all cases of contagious disease and when the maps in the
Health Board show the prevalence of measles, diphtheria, or typhoid
fever in any district of the city they descend upon it and order a
general clean-up and strict quarantine. Through these preventive
measures the death rate is steadily lowered and the infant mor-
tality decreased as any one may see for himself by the figures in the
health reports.* If the general public were as interested in main-
taining a high rate of health as are the doctors we should have only
the actually unpreventable cases of disease and death. But the
public is careless and prefers to call in the doctor after they are
sick instead of taking his advice so as to avoid sickness.

No stronger proof of the above statement could be had than an
experience with an epidemic of small-pox which occurred in Day-
ton in 1910 or 1911. In a certain school room of the city (which
for reasons quite comprehensible cannot be designated), a little
girl came to school with a flushed face and a high fever. The teacher
soon noticed her condition and the child was sent home. Shortly
after another pupil showed the same symptoms and was also dis-
missed. One after another other children in this room were at-
tacked and then, to make a long story short the doctors found they
had on their hands a well-defined epidemic of small-pox. Before
this condition had been ascertained, the trouble had spread to the
next room and a number there had succumbed. Investigation was
immediately begun to find out where the disease came from and
how it had got such a start.

No one could trace the contagion of the first child taken down,
but it was most evident that all the others (about forty in all) had
taken the disease from her. Questions elicited the fact that only ten
per cent of the children in that school house had been vaccinated.
The matter had not been compulsory, but had been left to the in-
dividual preferences, or it might better be said, prejudices, of the
parents involved. Then the startling fact came out that every
single vaccinated child in those two school rooms escaped contagion,
even the one occupying the same seat with the first victim, and
remained perfectly well ; every unvaccinated child without ex-
ception came down with the disease. A chart of the two rooms
affected showed the absolute preventive eflfect of vaccination. If
the whole thing had been arranged by the doctors to prove their
claim of such immunity, it could not have been better done. But
it was far from a "show up." It was a proof positive that Jenners'

*See article on health in account of Dayton's City Government.


wonderful discovery has saved the world from untold suffering and

Imagination will be needed to compass the suffering and loss
in this particular case. The fever, aching, the painful and loath-
some eruption on the sufferers may be taken for granted ; the schools
were fumigated and closed for six weeks — loss of that much school
time ; destruction in every infected household of all bedding, cloth-
ing, etc., that had come into contact with the patient (estimated at
the time as $5,000). Loss of time and pay for the teachers; loss
of money for the Board of Education for the disinfection and reno-
vation of the school house. All this might have been saved if the
doctors advice as to universal and compulsory vaccination had
been strictly followed. Small-pox was once the scourge of the
British army; now under strict military discipline, acting under the
principle that prevention is better than cure, there are practically
no cases at all, even when the troops are quartered in such centers
of small-pox as India.

Why was this epidemic in Dayton not given to the public in
order that its lesson might not be lost? For reasons which may
well be understood. In the interests of public sanity and business
concerns it seems not wise to let a panic grow. The corporate mind
acts under the stress of the mob spirit when actuated by fear. Com-
plete disorganization of public life might have followed the revela-

Online LibraryJohn Calvin HoverMemoirs of the Miami valley (Volume v.2) → online text (page 25 of 87)