Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History
Miami County Ohio
The Children's Home -
Benevolence of John H. Knoop
The Schmidlapp Free Public School Library, Piqua
The Troy Free School Library -
The Young Men's Christian Association
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union
The Young Women's Christian Temperance Unions
Colored People's Temperance Union
Woman's Christian Association of Troy
The Ball Memorial Hospital at Piqua -
The Altrurian Club of Troy
The Civic League -
Regimental and Other Military Organizations
The Maryland Association
The Children's Home--It was not until recent
years that public institutions sprang up within the county. The need of
these had long been felt. The County Infirmary had cared for the indigent,
including their off-spring, but the time came when a proper home for the
latter was found to be a necessity. The Infirmary was not regarded as a
suitable home for the little wards of the county, and a place was needed
where they could be educated apart from the influences that surround an
infirmary. To this end many discussions arose, but nothing promised to
come out of them till a single man stepped forward and solved the problem.
John H. Knoop, a bachelor, a man of wealth and one of the first settlers
of the county, gave stability to the idea of a Children's Home. He possessed
several hundred acres of excellent land which was situated in Elizabeth
Township. Mr. Knoop emigrated to the county at an early day and settled
at Staunton. His old cabin, said to be the first house erected within the
limits of the county, is standing at the present day upon the old Knoop
farm now occupied by William R. Saunders. Perhaps it was his own boyhood
spent in the wilderness of the Miami which caused John H. Knoop to sympathize
with the homeless child, the little one cast adrift upon the world, sometimes
by the act of heartless parents, and always by circumstances over which
the waif had no control. He resolved to brighten the future of the homeless
child and to this end he proposed to deed to the county land upon which
should be erected a Children's Home, where the poor youth of the county
could be housed and schooled away from all improper influences.
The Women's Christian Association first brought before the public the
necessity for an institution of this kind in 1877, and this was so well
received that the directors of the County Infirmary advocated it in their
report, which was made in March of that year. On the 4th of June, John
H. Knoop (conjointly with his brother Jacob) conveyed to the county, through
its commissioners, Isaac Clyne, W.H. Northcutt and D.C. Branson, 160 acres
of land situated in Elizabeth Township, to be used for all purposes of
a Children's Home. The county auditor, W.I.Tenney, was authorized by the
commissioners to inform the voters of the county that they would be called
upon to vote on the proposition to build a Children's Home, at the coming
October election. The need of such an institution was so apparent that
it was thought it would carry unanimously, but 175 votes were cast against
the building of the Home to 5,891 in favor of it.
Having sanctioned Mr. Knoop's munificent proposition, the good work
was not allowed to lag. During the following spring the commissioners visited
various children's homes for the purpose of familiarizing themselves with
the construction of the proper buildings, and in May, l878, building contracts
amounting to over $16,000 was awarded to several parties. The plans and
specifications of the main building were drawn up by D.W. Gibbs, an architect
of Toledo. Having progressed thus far, R.P. Spiker, of Piqua, Jacob Roher,
of Tippecanoe City and Samuel K. Harter, of Troy, were a pointed trustees
and in January, 1879, Washington Barnes of Troy was made superintendent.
The building was finished and ready for occupancy the last of that month.
Mr. Barnes served as superintendent fill 1891, when he resigned, to be
followed by Henry Jay, who later gave way to Rufus Fish, who is the present
efficient superintendent, while his wife fills the position of matron of
Since the erection of the Home proper other commodious buildings and
annexes have been added, until now the Knoop Children's Home is one of
the best institutions of the kind in the state. Within the last few years
a handsome chapel and schoolhouse have been built on the grounds, and everything
has been done for the comfort of the children. The farm, so generously
donated to the county by John and Jacob Knoop is very productive, one of
the best east of the Miami. It is well drained and cared for and annually,
under the present management, brings forth good crops. The Children's Home
is governed by a board of trustees who aided by the superintendent, makes
an annual report to the commissioners, which report is always open for
inspection by the public. In connection with the Home is a well-conducted
Sabbath school and the day school conducted by a corps of excellent teachers
is a credit to the institution.
Visitors to the Home are admitted from 1 to 4 p.m. except Saturday and
Sunday and the Sunday school is open to every one. The regular meetings
of the trustees take place on the first Monday of each month, when friends
and relatives of the children are allowed to call upon them. Sometimes
the children were taken out of the Home and raised by proper parties and
these children were looked after by the superintendent, who sees that they
are well cared for and properly schooled. The average number of children
occupying the Knoops Home is about sixty. A competent physician is regularly
employed by the trustees to look after the health of the children, and
their every want is supplied. Miami County is proud of the Knoop Children's
Home, as well it may be, for it fills a longfelt want and is today the
most prominent of its public institutions. The present roster of the Home
is as follows: Superintendent, Rufus Fish; matron, Mrs. Rufus Fish; trustees,
David DeWeese, John T. Knoop, Ellis Kerr, and C.L. Bennett.
The Schmidlapp Free Public School Library--The largest public library
within the limits of the county is the Shmidlapp Free Public School Library
situated in Piqua. This handsome library was secured through the generosity
of Jacob Schmidlapp, a wealthy gentleman of Cincinnati, but born and raised
in Piqua. The Library was organized in 1890 and at first had quarters in
the old Schmidlapp home on Main Street and at first consisted of two rooms,
the stock room and reading room. These quarters were soon found to be inadequate
and in 1898 a large addition was built. At the present time the building
contains a large stock room, storeroom, two well appointed reference rooms,
a children's room, storeroom, librarian's office and the office of the
clerk of the Board of Education. The library is supervised by the Board
of Education of Piqua, which consists of the following persons: President,
Oscar Fisher; vice-president, Mrs. W.P. Orr; clerk, George Dettmer; trustees,
C.C. Jelleff, Otto Von Bargen, Dr. W.J. Prince and F.P. Brotherton.
The Schmidlapp Library does not issue a printed report as do other public
institutions of the kind, but the librarian annually puts out a statistical
account of the library's patronage, etc. The Library now contains about
15,000 volumes and h as a circulation of over 50,000 books a year. Its
shelves are well stocked with books of every sort and keep up with the
demands of the reading public. Its active personnel is as follows:, Librarian,
Jessie H. Masden; assistant librarians, Sue Hetherton , Gertrude Irvin;
library committee, Charles Jelleff, Will J. Prince, M.D. The Schmidlapp
Free School Public Library is the pride of the citizens of Piqua and is
well patronized. The volumes on its shelves are selected by a discriminating
committee and none but the best literature of the day is found there.
Free School Library-The nucleus of the Troy' Free School Library
was brought together in the "Reception Room" of the old Edwards
school building by the beloved first superintendent of the Troy public
schools, William N. Edwards. From time to time a few additions were made
to this by the classes graduating from the school, but at the end of twenty
years there were only 150 volumes, but these were all well selected books.
In I88O the public spirited citizens of Troy determined that Troy should
have a public, library and a number of professional men organized a lecture
course, each man delivering one lecture. The proceeds of these entertainment's
were used in maintaining a reading room for a few months, but there being
no funds to keep up the library, it was dropped for the time. In I885 C.L.
VanCleve, then superintendent of the Troy schools, moved the school library
to the new Kyle Building, appointed one of the high school pupil's librarian,
wrote to several of the older graduates living in other cities for donations,
and arranged to give out the books to pupils and citizens who held cards,
the cards being issued to any one who donated $5 to the purchase of new
books. Not much use was made of the library, however, for the reason that
it was in a remote part of the town, was only open during a limited number
of hours each week and the patrons of it were mostly people who had as
good, if not better libraries of their own.
In March 1894, a number of women in Troy organized the Altrurian Club,
with the avowed purpose of creating a sentiment in favor of a public library.
In 1895 the Altrurian Club petitioned the Board of Education to place the
school library in a room accessible to all and to make it a free public
library. The school board consented, providing a room could be obtained.
The club agreed to raise a large sum of money for the expenses of the library
as an inducement to the City Council to grant the use of a room in the
City Building. A small room on the second floor of the City Building was
granted them and the school board allowed the school library to be moved
to the City Building. Mrs. Clarissa D. Williams was appointed librarian
and the room was opened to the public one- half of each day. The work of
cataloguing the books was at last completed and the Troy Public Library
opened to the public December 5, 1896, the total number of books at that
time being 2,111, and nine magazines were placed up on the reading table.
The Altrurian Club raised over one thousand dollars for the support of
this library by conducting a number of entertainment's, issuing a Woman's
Edition of the Miami Union and publishing two editions of the Altrurian
Cookbook. The editors of the three county papers published in Troy, The
Miami Union, The Buckeye, and the Democrat, assisted in creating a sentiment
for, the public library by each week publishing either an editorial or
news item. Other literary clubs in Troy began making donations each year
to the public library until 1902, when the time seemed ripe for establishing
the library upon the basis that it should be supported by the tax payers
of Troy. A mass meeting of all the clubs in the city was held in September
1902, at which time it was decided to petition the city council to donate
the room on the first floor of the City Building for library purposes.
This room was then used as a post office, but the lease would terminate
in a few months, and the post of ice would be moved to the first floor
of the, I.O.O.F. Temple. The City Council granted the request and appropriated
sufficient money to remodel and furnish the room, which would be ready
for occupancy by May 1st, 1903. That day was set for a "book shower,"
and all winter committees from every club in Troy were busy working to
make the book shower a success. On May 1st 1903 H.P. Weatherhead, as president
of the Council, formally presented the furnished library room to the city
of Troy, A.F. Broomhall in behalf of the Board of Education and the citizens
of Troy accepted the gift. The donations received that day amounted to
$1051.50 in money and 1,300 volumes of books, many of them being valuable
books of reference which would have cost several dollars per volume.
A tax was levied for the support of the library and over $3,000 each
year is appropriated for the expenses of the library. The annual report
of the librarian shows that on November 30, 1908, there were 9,640 books
in the library, fifty-eight magazines upon the reading table and a number
of daily papers and all the weekly papers of the county, these last being
donated by the publishers. During the year 16,468 visitors had dropped
in either to look over the magazines or to consult books of reference;
2,575 people are enrolled as patrons and the number of books placed in
circulation during the year was 34,867, the library having been closed
several weeks by order of the Board of Health because of an epidemic of
small-pox in the city. During the month of March 3,767 books were issued.
The library is now open every day, except Sundays and legal holidays, and
under the efficient management of the librarian, Mrs. Clarissa D. Williams,
and her assistants, Miss Blanche Mitchell and Miss Anna Mary Dinsmore,
it is an aggressive force in all that pertains to the betterment of the
individual and, through the individual, the civic life.
The Young Men's Christian Association of Piqua is another prominent
institution, which has already accomplished a great work. Since its founding
a few years ago it has advanced along the lines of moral improvement until
it has reached the position it occupies today. It is the only institution
of the kind in the county. Others which have been suggested have not materialized,
so that Piqua may be called the pioneer in this direction. This excellent
YMCA has the following officers: President, J.H. Clark; vice- president,
H.K. Wood; secretary, J.F. Stewart; treasurer, E.M. Bell; general secretary,
Edmund McDonald, Jr.; musical director, Christ F. Kunz, Jr.; office secretary,
Ray Besanceney; board of trustees, Charles H. Browia, H.H. Gravett; D.O.;
E.W. Lape, D.F. Licklider, L.W. Pool, A.G. Rundle, C.F. Wilder, J.B. Williamson.
Woman's Christian Temperance Union -The county has been thoroughly organized
by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. There are branches of this noble
institution in every township and the workers are indefatigable in the
good cause. The W.C.T.U. of Miami County is of comparatively recent growth.
A few years ago there were few within the county but through the earnest
effort of the Christian women the work has received a stimulus, which has
not been allowed to lag. Following are the presidents of the various unions
now in the county, with the name of the president of each organization:
West Milton, Mrs. Rev. Maxwell, Laura, Mrs. Mattie Brandon; Potsdam, Mrs.
E.P. Stauffer; Phoneton, Mrs. Ollie Bell; Brandt, Mrs. Emma Heffner; Tippecanoe
City, Mrs. Mary Ross; Piqua, Mrs. John Miller, Bradford. Mrs. Margaret
Winters; Lena Mrs. Ida Duer; Covington Mrs. Amanda Kendig; Pleasant Hill,
Mrs. Martha Shaffer; Troy, Mrs. Mary Westlake; Casstown, Mrs. Callie Webb.
Young Women's Christian Temperance Union - There are five Young Women's
Christian Temperance Unions in the county in addition to the foregoing.
They are as follows: Fletcher, president, Mrs.J.E. Eichelbarger; Pleasant
Hill, Mrs. Bertha Troas; Piqua, Mrs. Ida Bayes; Covington, Miss Lova Williams;
Troy, Miss Sue Statler. There is also two Young Men's Christian Temperance
Unions. The Troy Y.M.C.T.U. was organized three years ago and is now in
a flourishing condition with a membership of over sixty . This society
has rooms on Water Street in the McCullough Building, where a Bible class
is conducted. Another Y.M.T.C.U. is conducted at Ludlow Falls.
A Colored People's Temperance Union is conducted in Troy, of which Mrs.
Elizabeth Fletcher, wife of Rev. Fletcher, is president. Summing up, Miami
County has over 600 members of the various temperance unions operated today
within its borders and these societies have worked untiringly to secure
local option within the county and as Miami last fall voted dry, they feel
that they have achieved a great victory.
Apropos of temperance in 1873 an attempt was made to rid the county
of its saloons in a decidedly unique manner. This is called the Woman's
Crusade. Bands of women, appeared in front of saloons and held religious
services on the sidewalk. The excitement extended to the remotest borders
of the county and continued till the end of the crusade. Despite the earnest
efforts of the women but little was effected. The Crusaders were, as a
rule, treated respectfully by the vendors of liquor and in some instances
were permitted to hold services in the barrooms. Very few men took part
in the Crusade of 1873, the whole work devolving upon the women. After
awhile the Crusaders discovered that their efforts were unavailing and
the effort was abandoned. In 1908 the second crusade against the liquor
interests was inaugurated under the provisions of the Rose Law recently
passed by the Legislature. The requisite number of signatures to call an
election were secured and this event took place November 24th. Prior to
the election an exciting campaign was inaugurated by the opposing parties
known as the "wets" and the "drys," temperance or local
option meetings were held in every section of the county and great demonstrations
were held in the larger towns. Speakers from other states were introduced
into the county and the campaign was not entirely free from, personal "amenities."
The liquor men whose headquarters were in Piqua held no public meetings.
One of the largest votes ever polled in the county was had on the 24th.
It resulted in a majority of 1,309 for the "drys.", On December
24th the saloons and breweries in the county closed their doors and Miami
joined the other "dry" districts of the State.
The Woman's Christian Association of Troy is a strong charitable organization
which is given rooms in the City Building by the City Council. Here every
Saturday afternoon the members of the society conduct a sewing-school,
teaching the children of the poor how to sew. As soon as a child completes
a garment it is given her to wear, and thus many of the poorer children
are taught how to become neat seamstresses and so grown able to earn a
good living. This society also takes special pride in looking after the
comfort of the poor of the city and many families are kept by them through
the rigors of the winter. Annually the Knights of Pythias of Troy give
a Charity Ball, the proceeds of which are turned over to the Woman's Christian
Association for expenditure among the needy as is also the annual Thanksgiving
offering at the Union Thanksgiving services.
Ball Memorial Hospital-The only public hospital in the county is the
Ball Memorial Hospital at Piqua. This hospital was opened a few years ago
and is conducted on advanced lines. It employs a corps of competent surgeons
and nurses and so far has been very successful, treating all kinds of cases.
It was erected largely through the instrumentality of a Mr. Ball, who was
once a prominent resident of the city. A few years ago a hospital was opened
at Troy, but it was not operated very long and now no longer exists.
The beginning of the Memorial Hospital was had in 1904 when Mrs. Edward
C. Thayer, of Keene, N. H., proposed to erect and give to the city a hospital
to cost $20,000, to be known as the Memorial Hospital, in memory of the
late De Los C. Ball, her brother, and at one time a respected resident
of Piqua. The generous offer was accepted and five acres on Park Avenue
were secured. The hospital is conveniently situated and is one of the most
compete hospitals in the country. All departments are well equipped. The
operating room, sterilizing and anesthetizing rooms are on the third floor,
also a pathological laboratory for the accommodation of physicians. The
hospital was dedicated and formally presented to the public with impressive
ceremonies, November 30th, 1905, but was not opened till the following
December. It was founded and maintained for the benefit of all classes,
and is managed by a Board of Trustees, composed of twelve citizens of Piqua,
assisted by a Board of Lady Managers. At present it is officered as follows:
President, W.P. Orr; vice-president, John H. Young; treasurer, Henry Flesh;
secretary, George M. Peffer; superintendent, Elisabeth L. Hatfield. Board
of Trustees: Gen.W. P. Orr, John H. Young, Henry Flesh, George H. Rundle,
Robert H. Patterson, James R. Duncan. (Life Members): Term expires 1913
- Charles L. Wood, Samuel K. Statler; Terms expire 1911 - Daniel Spencer,
George A. Brooks; Term expires 1909 - Samuel Zollinger, Frank Lange, Trustee
Ex-Officer - The Mayor of the City of Piqua.
School Libraries - About forty years ago nearly every school had a circulating
library, but these were discontinued and now few rural schools possess
anything of the kind. The smaller towns of the county depend somewhat for
their reading matter on the in adequate bookshelves of the high schools,
but outside of Troy and Piqua no regularly officered libraries are in existence.
The two exceptions are the outgrowth of earnest work on the part of citizens,
especially the ladies, and with little effort similar institutions could
be established and kept up in the lesser towns.
Social Clubs--Within the county a large number of social clubs exist.
The membership is almost exclusively feminine. The Altrurian Club of Troy
is probably the best known of these literary and social organizations.
Most of these women's clubs belong to a State Federation, which is under
the jurisdiction of the National Federation. The members of these clubs
hold weekly meetings, at which literary papers are read and discussed.
Some of the papers describe personal travel by the authors, while others
discuss a certain era, giving a pen picture of past events and celebrated
personages. Of late years the club has become quite popular in the county
and there are few progressive women who are not connected with one or more
of these organizations. In another chapter will be found some of the organizations
conducted by the women of the county.
The Civic League--An attempt was made during 1908 to establish what
was called a Civic League, which was to benefit the colored race. The league
appeared to meet with some success and its prospects were favorably commented
upon, but in a short time the leaven of politics was injected into the
organization and disrupted it. Since that time nothing has been heard of
the Civic League. It passed out of existence and in all probability will
not be revived. There are numerous local societies in the county that do
not come within the scope of a work of this kind. These exist within certain
neighborhoods and families and comprise in part social organizations which
culminate annually in family reunions. All these clubs are officered and
the membership of some is large. Almost every well known family now has
an organized club and in some cases family histories have been published.
Each of the clubs has a historian whose duty it is to gather family data
and present the same at the annual gatherings. In this way traditions are
collected and preserved and relationship extended. Several of the largest
family clubs meet annually at the Miami County Fair grounds.
Regimental Organizations--Apart from the clubs mentioned stand the regimental
organizations that embrace the old veterans and their families. These reunions
are separate and apart from the department encampments of the Grand Army
and Woman's Relief Corps. These regimental reunions are held every year
by the several regiments from this county that served in the War of the
Rebellion, and the gatherings are most interesting in character. At these
reunions the fast disappearing wearers of the Blue live over the camp,
the march and the battle. Campfires form a noted feature of these gatherings
which will be kept up till the last veteran has answered the roll call
and passed beyond to rest, in the shade of the trees.
The Maryland Association of Ohio was organized in Miami County in 1897.
It is composed of Marylanders and their descendants residents of Ohio.
From a small affair the society has reached statewide proportions and meets
annually, though not always within the limits of the county. It has now
a membership of 3,000. The present officers of the association are Albert
Kerns, president; T.C. Harbaugh, secretary, and S.T. Fout, treasurer. This
completes the list of public institutions. societies, etc., which properly
come under the head of the present chapter. All Mentioned are flourishing
and well conducted and there is not one that is not accredit to the county
in which it exists.
End chapter 15
1909 History of Miami County
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