"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
Pg. 138 -
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
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
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.
FIRE DEPARTMENT AND WATER WORKS.
GAS AND ELECTRICITY
TWINE AND CORDAGE INDUSTRY
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
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.
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
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
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.
C. A. AND SALVATION ARMY.
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
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.
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
THE GREAT FLOOD
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.
< CLICK HERE
to RETURN to TABLE OF CONTENTS >