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Montgomery Co., Ohio
History & Genealogy


The History of the City of Dayton
The Montgomery County, Ohio.

by Rev. A. W. Drury

  ROBERT R. DICKEY, SR.  The life work of Robert R. Dickey, Sr., was so varied, so extensive and so honorable in its purposes that his history is inseparably interwoven with the annals of Dayton through a period of more than a half century.  Fearless in conduct and stainless in reputation, he was honored wherever known and most of all where he was best known.  He stood as a representative of the best type of citizenship and when he passed from the scene of earthly activity it was the uniform expression throughout Dayton that the world was better for his having lived.
     His life record began during the pioneer epoch of the history of Ohio, his birth occurring near Middletown in Butler County, Oct. 26, 1816, his parents being Adam and Mary (McKee) Dickey. The father was a native of County Antrim, Ireland, where he was born in 1768.  As a young man of eighteen years he made the long and tedious voyage across the Atlantic in a sailing vessel and located near McConnellstown, Pennsylvania, in 1784.  He had been a resident of that place for about six years when, in 1790, he wedded Mary McKee, a native of Pennsylvania and a second cousin of George Washington.  Three children were added to the family while they maintained their residence in McConnellstown, whence, in company with an uncle, they started westward to Ohio, locating at Cincinnati, then known as Fort Washington.  The trip was made on the Ohio river on flatboats which Mr. Dickey had built and on which he brought two four-horse teams and two wagons.  While at Fort Washington he was joined by two brothers who came from the Emerald isle to the new world.   He devoted his attention to the manufacture of brick and from the brick of his kilns was built the first brick house in Cincinnati.  After four years there passed he took up his abode near Middletown, Butler county, in 1803, and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, milling and distilling, making shipment of his produce to the New Orleans markets on flatboats of his own construction.  His activity and enterprise constituted features in the early development of that part of the state, where he continued his residence until his death in 1828, while his wife survived until 1844.
     From the age of eleven years, when his father died, Robert R. Dickey was dependent upon his own resources.  Prosperity had attended the father through his business activities for many years, but shortly prior to his death, he met with reverses occasioned by fires and other misfortunes, and there was little left to the family when he passed away.  At a time when most boys were attending school Robert R. Dickey therefore was providing for his own support, but in the school of experience he learned many valuable lessons and was constantly broadening his knowledge through investigation and contact with the world.  He made his initial step in business life as an employe in a brickyard, where he was paid less than five dollars per month in compensation for labor that averaged fourteen hours per day.  Subsequently he was employed at farm work at five dollars per month and in 1830 he was employed upon the public work of Ohio and Indiana by his brothers, who were made contractors.  His adaptability and ready resource enabled him to advance until at the age of seventeen he was made superintendent of a large gang of men, his sound judgment well equipping him for this position of responsibility.
     It was in the year 1842 that Mr. Dickey became a resident of Dayton, where he engaged with his two elder brothers, John and William, in quarrying stone until 1853.  Ever watchful of opportunities, he sought out new lines of business that would yield profitable returns, and in 1847, in connection with his brothers, placed a line of packet boats on the Wabash and Erie canal and later, as a member of the firm of Doyle & Dickey, built the locks at St. Mary's and at Delphos.  Extending his activities in still another direction, he became one of the organizers of the Dayton Bank in 1845 and served for several years as one of its directors.  Thus through his energy and keen business discernment he became recognized as one of the foremost representatives of industrial, commercial and financial activity in his adopted city.  In 1852 he became one of the stockholders in the Exchange Bank with Jonathan Harshman, Valentine Winters and J. R. Young.  The following year chronicled his connection with the Dayton Gas, Light & Coke Company, of which he became a large stockholder, while in 1855 he was elected its president.  He served as its chief executive officer for three years, when ill health compelled him to resign, although he continued as a director.  In 1880, however, he was once more chosen chief executive officer and continued in the position until Jan. 1907, when the infirmities of age necessitated his retirement and he was succeeded by his only son Robert R. Dickey, Jr.  He was also extensively identified with other important business concerns.  From 1868 he was one of the directors and largest stockholders of the Dayton National Bank and from 1894 to 1897 was the head of the Globe Iron Works.  He was also president of the Dayton & Western Railroad Company, now a part of the Pennsylvania system, and was one of the directors of the Cooper Hydraulic Company.  Whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion.  He was watchful of every opportunity and had the ability to coordinate forces, bringing them into harmonious unity, resulting in the attainment of the desired end.  His labors were always of a character that contributed to the city's development and progress as well as to individual prosperity, and at no time was he too busy with his private concerns to take an active and helpful interest in matters of general moment.
     On the 17th of June, 1850, Mr. Dickey was married to Martha J. Winters, a daughter of Valentine Winters and a representative of one of the well known pioneer families of Dayton, her native city.  Her father was for some years a leading financier of the community and her grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Winters, was an honored pioneer minister of the Miami valley.  Mr. and Mrs. Dickey  became the parents of three sons but two passed away ere the father's death.  William Dickey, who was born in 1852, died July 15, 1896, and Valentine, born in 1855, died Mar. 30, 1890.  Extended mention is made of the surviving son, Robert R. Dickey, Jr., on another page of this work (below here).
     The death of the husband and father occurred Sept. 14, 1908, when he was in a ninety-second year of his age.  He was one of Dayton's oldest citizens, not only in years but also in length of his residence here, having for sixty-six years made his home in the Gem city, which was a place of only about six thousand population at the time of his arrival.  His labors were an important factor in making it one of the most prosperous and beautiful cities of Ohio.  It was characteristic of him that he was neglectful of no duty, either of a public or private nature.  Every movement of progressive citizenship received his endorsement and his cooperation, and in his business life he was notable as one who never made engagements that he did not keep nor incur obligations that he did not meet.  Denied the advantages of any but the most meager educational discipline, he nevertheless won a place among the far-sighted, intelligent men - men who learned to correctly value life's opportunities and its purposes.  His own success never affected in the least his interest nor his friendship for others less fortunate.  He judged men by their character worth and not by their possessions, and yet his own life stands as a splendid example of the success to which an individual may attain by persistent, honorable effort.  His friends were numbered among the young and old, the rich and poor, and there is none who does not entertain for Robert R. Dickey the most sincere respect and confidence.  His reputation for business integrity was unassailable and he ever maintained the strictest justice in his dealings.  He ever held to the highest standards of manhood in every relation, and at last passed to his reward full of years and honors, but his memory is yet cherished in the hearts of all who knew him.
Source: The History of the City of Dayton and The Montgomery County, Ohio. by Rev. A. W. Drury 1909 - Vol. II - Page 185
  ROBERT R. DICKEY, JR..  It has been said that the most difficult position in which any man can be placed is that in which he must stand comparison with a successful and honored ancestry, for the world is apt to judge of his work not by its individual merit but rather to claim that its accomplishment has its rise in inherited tendency or in favorable influence.  In the control of important business interests, however, Robert R. Dickey, Jr., has proven his own strength and given indication of his enterprise, his initiative spirit and a strong and stalwart purpose.  Born in Dayton in 1867, his youthful days were spent in the hoe of his father, Robert R. Dickey, Sr., and his preliminary education was acquired in the public schools.   The father determined that the son should not be handicapped by a lack of education as he was in his youthful days and sent him to a preparatory school in Easthampton, Massachusetts.  Desirous of enjoying still higher educational facilities, Robert R. Dickey, then entered Yale University, from which he was graduated in 1888.
     Following his return to Dayton, he started in business life as assistant secretary in the Dayton Globe Iron Works, continuing in that position until 1893, when his previous experience and developed powers led to his selection for the position of secretary.  Four years later, in 1897, he was chosen president and treasurer of the company and now occupies this dual position in which connection he is devoting his energies to executive control and administrative direction.  In other fields of labor he has also given proof of his keen business discernment and powers of systemization.  He was one of the organizers of the Acme Sign Printing Company in 1894, became its first president and so continued for eleven years, while at the present time he is secretary and treasurer of the American Board & Box Company, their successors.  He is also the vice president of the Cooper View Hydraulic Company and from 1899 until 1908 was secretary of the Dayton View and Hydraulic Company.  For four years he has been director and for two years vice president of the Winters National Bank, is a director in the Oakwood Realty Company, in the City Railway Company and in the Dayton Country Club Company, while since 1907 he has been president of the Dayton Gas Light & Coke Company.  In all these positions he has proven that he is liberally equipped with the force of character and ambitious spirit that are necessary in the accomplishment of results in the business world, and in all of his undertakings he keeps in close touch with the spirit of modern business enterprise and progress.
     In 1894 in Dayton Mr. Dickey was married to Miss Myrtle Thacker, a daughter of Newton Thacker, and they have one son, Robert R. Dickey, III.  The parents told membership in the Episcopal church, in which Mr. Dickey is serving as a vestryman, and their attractive personal qualities have one them notable social prominence.
Source: The History of the City of Dayton and The Montgomery County, Ohio. by Rev. A. W. Drury 1909 - Vol. II - Page 187


Nathaniel Diehl

NATHANIEL DIEHL.  The farming interests of Montgomery county find a worthy representative in Nathaniel Diehl, who is the owe of a farm comprising one hundred and fifty-eight acres, situated on the east side of Liberty road in Madison township and about three miles southwest of Trotwood.  In addition to this property he also owns another farm adjoining the home place on the north and it is now cultivated by a tenant.  Having spent his entire life in this county, Mr. Diehl has a wide acquaintance and his admirable qualities have won him favorable regard.
     He was born on the 23d of January, 1857, in Jackson township, and is a son of John and Susan (Earsman) Diehl.  The former was also a native of this county, born in Perry township, and his parents were John and Susan (Miller) Diehl.  The great-grandfather of our subject was the founder of the family in Ohio, coming to this state from Pennsylvania.  He was one of the pioneer settlers in this portion of  the country, arriving when much of the land was covered with dense forest, through which the Indians still stalked at pleasure, hunting wild game and also shooting wild animals, which were numerous.   Mr. Diehl cleared his land and in the midst of the wilderness developed a farm, bringing his field under cultivation.  He arrived a little before the Indian troubles in this section of the country and like other pioneers had to face not only the hardships and difficulties incident to the development of new land but was also constantly menaced by the skulking foe.  The old homestead is located on the Eaton pike at the outskirts of New Lebanon, and in fact one part of the town is situated on the old farm.  The land is still in possession of the family, which has long been a prominent one.  During the war of 1812 John Diehl, Sr. engaged in teaming for the army between Dayton and Cincinnati and was an enlisted soldier.  His work was very dangerous because of the unsettled condition of the country and the fact that the Indians became imbued with a spirit of war, which was rife in the land.  John Diehl, the father, was born in Perry township and largely assisted his father in clearing the old home place.  Having arrived at years of maturity he married Susan Earsman, and they became the parents of four children, Aaron, Nathaniel, John Quincy and Sarah Ann.  The last named became the wife of Sylvester Manning.
From his infancy to the present time Nathaniel Diehl has been identified with the interests of Montgomery county.  His education was acquired in the common schools, where he mastered those branches of learning which equip one for the practical duties of life.  He worked on the farm during the periods of vacation and his training in the labors of the fields was not meager, for he early took his place at the plow and soon became familiar with the best methods of cultivating and caring for the harvests.  Since 1880 he has resided upon his present farm, which he purchased in that year and has since cultivated, making it a very valuable property.  It presents a most attractive appearance, for in the midst of well cultivated fields stands a beautiful and commodious residence, surrounded by fine shade trees and a well kept lawn.  In the rear are good barns and ample sheds for the shelter of grain and stock and the fields bring forth rich harvests, while in the pasture are seen good grades of horses, cattle and hogs.  The farm work is carried on along progressive lines and as the years have passed Mr. Diehl has prospered, becoming the owner of valuable property, his two forms returning him a substantial financial income.
     On the 12th of October, 1879, was celebrated the marriage of Nathaniel Diehl and Miss Mary E. Garst, a daughter of Elias and Sarah (Coffman) Garst.  Her father was a very prominent and influential farmer during the many years of her residence in this county.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Diehl have been born ten children: Alta, the wife of Warren Lentz, by whom she has a daughter, Lola; Ira M., who wedded Laura Swygert; Ora, living at home; Maud, the wife of David Whitehead, by whom she has a daughter, Violet; Amy, at home; and Sadie, Medda, Orpha and Russell, also under the parental roof; and Ida, the youngest, in school.
     The Diehl family belong to the conservative branch of the Dunkard church and are very active in its work.  In all of his life Mr. Diehl has been actuated by his Christian belief and the New Testament teachings, endeavoring to shape his course in harmony therewith.  He is thus widely known as a man of untarnished honor and business rectitude, always endeavoring to deal justly with is fellowmen, while in his judgments he is considerate and charitable.
Source: The History of the City of Dayton and The Montgomery County, Ohio. by Rev. A. W. Drury 1909 - Vol. II - Page 552
  JOHN CLEMENT DIETZ is a reprehensive of the mercantile interests of Dayton, for he is now conducting a substantial and growing business as proprietor of a drug store.  He was born in this city, July 30, 1842, and was here reared, spending his boyhood days in the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Dietz.  His father was born in Bavaria in 1813 and in early manhood bade adieu to friends and native country and sailed for the new world, settling in Dayton.  Here he was married and with the passing of the years the family circle came to include nine children, of whom five sons and two daughters are yet living. 
     John Clement Dietz, of this family, was reared in Dayton and at the usual age entered the public schools, wherein he continued his studies until he became a pupil in St. Thomas Seminary, a Catholic institution at Bardstown, Kentucky.  There he continued for two years, after which he returned to Dayton in 1856 or 1857 and started in business life, entering the drug store of Thomas Dover.  For twelve years he continued with that gentleman and his thorough reliability, enterprise and diligence won him continuous success.  He afterward engaged in clerking for Edward Weakley, in whose drug store he remained for two years when, in 1871, he established a drug business for himself at the corner of Wayne and Pearl streets.  There he continued until 1886 when he removed to the corner of Jones street and Wayne avenue.  He now has a well appointed store, in which he carries a large line of drugs and druggists' sundries and his business is constantly growing as the reliability and enterprise of his business methods are fully understood.
     Mr. Dietz was married in 1868 in Dayton to Miss Desdemona Dracelin and they had three children: Clara, who died at the age of ten years; James A., who married Sylvia Ogier and died in 1902 at the age of thirty years, leaving one son, John Wilber; and Edward C.  The last named was married to Miss Sarah Norris and they have one son, James Edward Dietz.
     Mr. Dietz
has been a member of the school board and has done good public work in that connection.  His political allegiance is given to the democracy.  Those who know him respect him for his reliability in citizenship as well as in commercial circles and his record illustrates what may be accomplished by determined and well director labor.
Source: The History of the City of Dayton and The Montgomery County, Ohio. by Rev. A. W. Drury 1909 - Vol. II - Page 407




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