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Welcome to
Greene County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

Green County 1803  - 1908.
Edited by A Committee of the Home Coming Association -
Xenia, Ohio -
The Aldine Publishing House
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

Pg. 135

"Hoke" Smith, Editor of the Xenia Republican

    When, a few years ago, a citizen of Xenia went to South America on a business mission, he was not long at his hotel until sought out by another who had formerly lived beneath the Stars and Stripes and who wanted to learn the news from home.  He showed the Xenian a little old-fashioned railroad locomotive which bore the name "Xenia" in faded letters.  It had once been in use on the old C. H. & D. Railroad when that line was a narrow gauge, and for years had snorted and puffed its way through Xenia.  Then when its day of usefulness had ended here it had been bought, together with several other of the old engines, by a sharp contractor and had been shipped to Columbia, S. A., where it is still in service.  Go where you will in the world, there is always some evidence at hand that Xenia is on the map.  The products of our factories go all over the world and Xenians themselves are everywhere.  Be it a great disaster or a great celebration, you will always find some Xenian in it.
     The St. Louis balloonists who sailed above Xenia some time ago, remembered the city because of its hundreds of shade trees.  Many of the fine old trees have given way before ruthless hands for the building of cement sidewalks and street paving, but the

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possessed of a streak of economy which has given us cramped quarters in some sections.








(Photo of Carnegie Library, Xenia, Greene Co., OH added by Sharon Wick)

     A building in which all may take a great pride is the fine Carnegie library located on East Church Street, built by the generosity of Andrew Carnegie who gave $20,000 for the building property and afterward contributed $1,350 for the furnishings.  Last year there were circulated thirty thousand volumes for home use.  Away from the noise of the city and set in a green sward it affords a restful place where all may have access to the best of of literature.
     Another public building which may prove to be a reality before long is a Government building for which Congress has made an appropriation of $10,000 for a site, but at this writing the location has not yet been decided.  It would be the home of the Xenia post office and other Government offices of the Sixth Congressional District, of which Xenia is the largest city.


(U. S. Post Office, Xenia, Greene Co., Ohio added by Sharon Wick)

     The Xenia post office is now occupying a room in the Y. M. C. A. building on the southeast corner of Greene and Market Streets.  The post office force consists of the postmaster, assistant postmaster, five clerks, six city carriers, ten rural carriers, one mail messenger and one special delivery messenger.  The yearly pay roll for these employees amounts to $23,840.  Twenty-five mails are received and a like number dispatched each day.  Postal receipts for the year ended Mar. 31, 1908, were $18,827.62.  Money orders written the year ended 1907 amounted to $62,179.62.  Money orders paid the same year amounted to $50,833.71.

















     The many splendid churches of the city are a tremendous factor in the life of the people.  An open-hearted generosity marks the benevolences of the various churches and thousands of dollars are given annually to the cause of missions and for home work.
     One hundred years ago this autumn a minister of the A. R. church preached at Xenia and two years later, 1810, a congregation was organized.  That congregation became the First United Presbyterian church just 50 years ago, when the Associate Reformed united with the Associate church and formed the United Presbyterian denomination.  In 98 years the congregation has had nine pastors: John Steele, J. R. Bonner, R. D. Harper, W. G. Moorehead, T. H. Hanna, J. H. Wright, W. B. Barr, R. G. Ramsay and S. E. Martin.  The present membership is more than 300.  Plans have been drawn for a new house of worship.  An enviable record has been made by the congregation in many lines of Christian work.
     Of the beautiful church homes of the city is the Second United Presbyterian church at the corner of Market and West Streets.  It was erected at a cost of $28,000 and has only been occupied about a year.  The church is of picturesque appearance, of the English timbered style of architecture.  It was constructed of native limestone.  Last year this church gave for benevolences the splendid sum of $5,872.59.  It has a membership of 365.
     Christ Church Episcopal was established in Xenia 52 years ago.  It was a small congregation but a zealous devotion to duty marked those who held its standard aloft.  Last year the church took on new life.  A new church edifice has just been completed on East Church street at a cost of $8,000.  There are now 86 communicants, a number having double within the past year.  The church while small is beautiful in its arrangements, being of the early English Gothic style of architecture.  The plans for it were drawn by the rector, Rev. H. J. Simpson.
     The First Methodist Episcopal Church is another congregation  which is worshiping in the comparatively new church.  This congregation consists of over 800 members.  Ten years ago the church was remodeled and converted into a beautiful structure.  On Home-Coming Sunday will be celebrated the centennial anniversary of its founding in Xenia.
     The Reformed Church of Xenia is looking forward to this Home-Coming with pleasurable anticipations.  The pastors who have presided over this congregation for almost sixty years are all living at this writing.  The venerable P. C. Praugh was its pastor for 25 years and is still in the harness.  He was succeeded by Rev. S. B. Yockey who occupied the pulpit for an almost equal length, 23 years and how is still a resident of Xenia.  After him for shorter periods have been Rev. M. L. Fox, Rev. Henry Gekeler and the present pastor Rev. Ernest Evans. It is hoped that all the old pastors may be present and occupy the pulpit together at Home Coming time, representing a period of church history as before stated of most sixty years.  The church has a membership of 250 and the congregation has recently purchased the lot at the corner of Detroit and Church Streets where a church and parsonage will be erected at a cost of $30,000, leaving the old and parsonage will be elected at a cost of $30,000, leaving the old church home at the corner of Detroit and Market streets. 
     Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church is an offshoot from the First M. E. Church.  It was organized about forty years ago, the church building being located on East Main Street and being pleasant and commodious.  It has a membership of about 350 and last year gave for benevolences approximately $1,000.
     The First Presbyterian Church was organized about 1826.  It has a membership of about 340.  The house of worship is located on West Market Street.  It is one of the strong congregations of the city, contributing liberally to benevolences and its membership exerting a great influence upon the community. (click here for photo of 1st United Presbyterian Church)
     The Lutheran Church, on West Main Street, was organized in 1852 and has a membership of about 70.  While not so large as some others it does earnest, active work.

First Methodist Episcopal Church
Zion Baptist Church
Second United Presbyterian Church

Interior of 1st M. E. Church added by Sharon Wick.  Click on photo to see back side.

Clearer photo of 2nd Presbyterian Church added by Sharon Wick.  Click on photo to see back side.

     The First Baptist Church of Xenia is situated at the corner of Market and Whiteman Streets.  It was organized Nov. 2, 1844, the first pastor being Rev. T. P. Childs.  This church is especially noted for having sent out many young men and women

(Click here for another view of the Catholic Church)

who have become leaders in Christian work and in the missionary field.  The membership is about 170.
     On May 31, 1908, was dedicated the new house of worship for the Society of Friends.  It is located on Spring Hill.  After four years of work prior to that time in Xenia the Friends felt that they had a work to perform and earnestly set to work to accomplish it.  The membership numbers 115.
     On Orient Hill there is a neat brick church erected by a recently organized congregation of the Disciples of Christ, which has about 40 members.
     Those of the Catholic faith worship at St. Brigid's Church.  It has a membership of about 275 families, and is now probably larger in numbers than at any time in its history.  The congregation was founded in 1849 and for a time the few families who gathered together for worship were visited by a priest at stated intervals.  Then came a permanent organization, the dedication of the church took place 56 years ago and from that time the congregation has grown and flourished.  The first resident pastor was Father Blake, who served for the long period of 35 years.
     There are a number of churches in the eastern part of the city where the colored residents of the city worship.  The different denominations have able and earnest pastors and much influence is exerted and good accomplished by these churches.
     St. John's A. M. E. Church is located at the corner of Church and Monroe Streets and has a membership of 350.  The church was organized over 50 years ago and some of the leaders in the church history have been its pastors, several afterwards attaining the office of bishop.  It is considered one of the leading churches of the Ohio A. M. E. Conference.
     The Zion Baptist Church is located on East Main Street and has a membership of about 350.  It is one of the pioneer churches, having been organized over 60 years ago.  A new building was erected ten years ago at a cost of $10,000.
     Other churches which are doing a splendid work among the colored citizens of the city are the Middle Run Baptist, Third Baptist, Free Will Baptist, Third M. E. Wesleyan, Christian and A. M. E.














     Three newspapers occupy the field in Xenia, the Gazette (daily and semi-weekly) and the Xenia Republican and the Xenia Herald (weekly); these are treated of in the Historical Sketch.
     A monthly publication of much note in the United Presbyterian church is that of The Woman's Missionary Magazine, issued from the job rooms of the Xenia Republican.  The editors are Mrs. W. C. Hutchinson and Mr. George Moore; secretary, Mrs. H. C. Dean; and treasurer, Mrs. S. M. Kelso.  Over eight thousand copies of the Magazine are printed each month.  The July number just issued from the press contained the proceedings of the Woman's General Missionary Convention held at Pittsburg and for this one number alone over four tons of white paper were used.  All the women connected with the work of issuing the Magazine give their services without compensation whatever.




     Out of Dayton Hill lies that other city, Woodland Cemetery.  The green sward is kept in perfect order and those who visit the resting place of their loved ones will find Woodland more beautiful than in the days of old.  The cemetery comprises forty acres and within it rest dead to the number of 6,818.


     Affliction has come upon us in different occasions but the crowning calamity in the history of Xenia occurred on May 12, 1886.  A terrific flood came on, in which the lives of 28 people were sacrificed.  The storm occurred between eight and nine o'clock at night.  Shawnee, a tiny stream which passed through a populous part of the city, was converted by a cloud-burst into a torrent of water which descended like an avalanche upon the

homes of many living in Barr's Bottoms.  At ten o'clock the fire bells sounded the alarm and soon another alarm sounded.  Dense darkness reigned everywhere but above the roar of the storm and surging waters could be heard the calls of those in distress.  It was a night of wild terror and horror.  Huge bonfires were built, the shadows of which gave added awe to the scene.  There were many heroic deeds performed that night in the efforts to save the drowning, the record of which would form thrilling chapters were it within the province of this brief sketch.  Twenty houses were swept away in Barr's Bottoms, near the Little Miami depot, only three remaining.  Orrin Morris and his wife and five children perished.  The house bearing the family floated down the stream until it struck the solid masonry of a bridge and then all was still.  Two children of the family were rescued.  The next morning the sun came out bright and warm, disclosing a scene of utter desolation.  For a time Xenia was cut off from all communication with the outside world.  The office of the mayor was converted into a temporary morgue in which lay the bodies of the dead in somber array.  Xenia has had many other calamities but none so great in the loss of life as the great May flood.


     We have been favored in many ways.  Though fire and flood have scourged us, the people have never for an instant lost faith in the divine guiding hand.  At times we have seemed to have gone backward in the moral scale and wrong has triumphed over right but through it all there has been an abiding faith of the people that what is for the best interests of the city will ultimately triumph.
     Much work for the good of the city has already been accomplished in the years just passed, but there is still much to be done.  The men and women who know Xenia as the "old home" want to see it thrive and prosper and grow bigger and better.  So in this Home-Coming year we welcome them with glad hands, proud of our achievements in the past, humble in the thought that we might have done better, and hoping that in the days to come we may make more of our opportunities, that progress may ever mark our path.




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