A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Pages 335 - 340

History of Butler County: Hamilton

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James Ellwood MOREY was born in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio, on the third day of April, 1845. He is the son of William and Derexa MOREY, and is the thirteenth child in a family of fourteen children, of whom nine were sons and five daughters. His childhood and youth were spent in the ordinary duties and pursuits of a farmer's son, and in attendance upon the public school of his district, and as he grew older the Morning Sun Academy, until he reached his seventeenth year, when, on the 7th of August, 1862, he enlisted in the Ninety-third Regiment Ohio Volunteers in response to President Lincoln's second call for 300,000 men. In the Fall of the same year he was taken prisoner, but was soon exchanged and again took his place in the ranks. He continued in the service until the 14th of June, 1865, when he was mustered out and honorably discharged, the rebellion being subdued and peace declared. His regiment formed part of the Army of the Cumberland. He took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Mission Ridge and Lookout Mounain, Rocky Face, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Lovejoy Station, Columbia, Nashville, and numerous skirmishes and minor engagements.

Returning home at the close of the war, he entered Miami University in 1865, from which he was graduated in 1867, and in the same year began the study of law in the Indianapolis Law College. He received his diploma in March, 1868; was admitted to the bar the following August, and at once commenced the practice of law at Hamilton, in which place he has since resided.

On the thirty-first day of January, 1870, he was elected secretary of the Hamilton Insurance Company, and from that time gave his attention to the insurance business, until August, 1878, when he returned to the active practice of law, to which he has since exclusively given his time. On the 18th of October, 1880, he entered into partnership with his brother, Henry Lee MOREY, and Allen ANDREWS, under the firm name of MOREY, ANDREWS & MOREY. He was brought up in the Universalist faith, and is a member of that Church. He is a charter-member of Lone Star Lodge, No. 39, Knights of Pythias, Hamilton, Ohio. On the 16th of April, 1873, he was married to Winona CHADWICK, daughter of Clinton and Ellen CHADWICK, of Camden, Preble County, Ohio.

Mr. MOREY is a man of excellent health, strong mind, and good morals. He is kind, sympathetic, obliging, and greatly attached to his home, family, and friends. In business he is careful, industrious, and enterprising, and has been very successful. As a citizen he is public-spirited, influential, and deeply interested in the improvement of his city and county. As a lawyer he is zealous in his profession, cautious in counsel, and careful of his clients' interest; and, in the trial of any cause, strong and tenacious. To the court he states his propositions with force and clearness, and before a jury he is candid, earnest, and effective. In politics he is a firm Republican.


Micajah HUGHES, of Liberty Township, president of the First National Bank of Hamilton, was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, on the 25th of January, 1807. He is the son of Elijah and Sarah (MUCHNER) HUGHES, who were both natives of the same county, and removed to Ohio, settling in Liberty Township in 1815. Mr. Hughes followed the occupation of a blacksmith in Maryland, but after coming to Ohio, also embarked in farming. He was born November 4, 1777, and died August 8, 1849, and his wife died September 10, 1845, being born May 5, 1780. Micajah HUGHES was educated in an old log school-house, in Liberty Township, located in Huntsville. He soon was initiated into farming, and in 1832, in company with Daniel, his oldest brother, bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, in Lemon Township, which they owned together until 1837. In the meantime they had bought another farm in the county, then dividing it. Micajah took the farm on which he now lives, of one hundred and twenty acres, and forty acres of woodland, two miles distant. Their partnership was dissolved in 1837, when Mr. HUGHES married. His business from that time on has been to farm, trade in stock, and loan money.

He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank in Hamilton, in August, 1863, and has ever since been its president. The first meeting to form this bank was held on the day on which the battle of Gettysburg was fought, but the meeting at which the permanent organization took place was on the 6th of August. The capital was originally $50,000, of which Mr. HUGHES owned one-tenth, but a few months after it was increased to $60,000, and in Janaury was made $100,000, its present capital. Mr. James BEATTY was the first vice-president. The average dividend of the bank since its beginning has been sixteen and two-thirds per cent; the highest divident, twenty-four per cent, and the lowest, ten. The deposits now are over $700,000, mostly received from farmers.

The bank has been uniformly successful in its history, never having been obliged to close its doors or ask the least indulgence. Its stockholders are conservative money-lenders, who never receive favors from the bank or use its funds for their own purposes. In proportion to its capital it has the largest deposits of any bank in the State, except one in Cleveland and one in Cincinnati. Mr. HUGHES now owns but one thousand dollars' worth of stock, just enough to qualify him to be president, by request of stockholders, though he formerly owned twelve thousand five hundred dollars of stock. He pays the largest personal tax in Butler County, being on upwards of eighty-seven thousand dollars, all his property being in this county, except ten lots in Louisville, Kentucky.

He was married on the 3d of March, 1837, to Miss Phebe F. CASSIDY, born September 19, 1814, of Lemon Township, who was the daughter of John and Sarah CASSIDY, farmers. Mrs. HUGHES is still living, at the age of sixty-six. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. HUGHES, though but five are now living. The oldest, Mrs. Helen TAYLOR, was born may 23, 1839; Albert, born April 23, 1843; George W., born June 29, 1844; Joseph B., born November 21, 1848; Alexander C., born January 16, 1851, and died August 14, 1867, at Minneapolis, where he had gone for his health. He was a lawyer of Hamilton. Sarah L., born February 4, 1841, died November 9, 1871, was an accomplished scholar and writer. She possessed a high degree of literary skill, and her letters from Europe excited much attention. Alice M., born July 2, 1845, died July 1, 1861; Evelyn, born October 22, 1853, died November 1, 1853; Clarence E., born March 3, 1855, died September 11, 1864.

He has always been a Democrat, casting his first vote for Jackson, in 1828, and voting for the candidates of that party ever since. He has frequently been a delegate to the State Democratic Convention. He was a director of the Butler County Insurance Company for ten years, and was on of its organizers.


As nearly as we can ascertain, the history of Universalism in Butler County dates back to 1838, when occasional preaching services were held in the city of Hamilton, and at various other places in this county.

James MCBRIDE estimated the attendance upon the various Churches in Hamilton, in 1842, as follows: "Methodist, 300; Presbyterians, 200; Associate Reformed, 200; Episcopal, 50; Reformed Presbyterians, 100; Baptists (Old School), 30; Universalists, 100. Total population of Hamilton and Rossville, 2,552; of age to attend Church, 2,089. Total attendance, including 200 Catholics, 1,030; non-attendants, 1,059."

In one of our old county papers we find the following announcement: "Rev. D. R. BIDDLECOME, Universalist, will preach at Jacksonburg, at 3 P.M., and in Hamilton in the evening." About this time there was an occasional sermon by some Cincinnati missionary Universalist minister, who preached at Oxford, Bunker Hill, and other places. Rev. Henry GIFFORD, Rev. Abel C. THOMAS, Rev. John GURLEY, Rev. George ROGERS, Rev. E. M. PINGREY, Rev. W. W. CURRY, Rev. Ben. F. FOSTER, Rev. J. C. PETRAT, Rev. N. M. GAYLORD (brother-in-law of General VAN DERVEER), Rev. Mr. DAVIS, and Rev. Mr. W. S. BACON were the early occasional expounders of this faith "once delivered to the saints."

Among the old-time attendants upon the Universalist Church services we find the following names: Jacob MATTHIAS, Isaac MATTHIAS, John W. ERWIN, John K. WILSON, Perry G. SMITH, John O. BROWN, Peter JACOBS, Thomas REED, Richard EASTON, and Isaac WARWICK. At this time these friends of liberal thought met in the lower rooms of the court-house, which were ordinarily well filled, and the religious services were always characterized by most excellent music. Their present church was erected in 1851 and cost about $9,000. Besides other generous contributions, John W. ERWIN donated the church bell, which was a premium bell, and cost five hundred dollars cash. Christopher HUGHES, Ludwick and Jane BETZ, and Jasper JOHNSON were now attendants upon public worship with this congregation.

The Rev. Jonathan KIDWELL, a most able controversialist, and other prominent Universalist divines, occasionally held public debates with the ministers of opposing faiths at various places in Butler County. Churches have been built at Oxford and Bunker Hill, which have for many years had preaching about every alternate Sunday. Rev. C. H. DUTTON, Rev. William TUCKER, Rev. J. P. MACLEAN, and Rev. C. L. HASKELL, in the order named, have been the more recent pastors of the Hamilton society. It has an interesting Sunday-school, with about eighty names enrolled, and an average attendance of probably fifty-five.

Unfortunately the church property of this society has become involved in litigation, which for final adjudication has been appealed to the Supreme Court. H. L. MOREY, J. E. MOREY, B. F. THOMAS, John W. ERWIN, R. N. ANDREWS, Dr. S. H. POTTER, S. O. PEACOCK, and various influential citizens of Butler County attend this church. Should the Supreme Court finally decide adversely to this society, it proposes at once to build a new and beautiful modern church edifice; otherwise, to entirely renovate its present house of worship.


James Edwin CAMPBELL lawyer, of this city, is a native of Middletown, where he was born on the 7th of July, 1843. he is the son of Dr. Andrew CAMPBELL, of whom a full account will be found elsewhere in this work, and Laura P. REYNOLDS, daughter of John P. REYNOLDS, once a publisher in New York State, and afterwards a leading and influential citizen of Middletown. Mr. CAMPBELL's father was of Scotch extraction, and his mother of English. The family of Mr. REYNOLDS was originally settled in Devonshire, Jonathan REYNOLDS emigrating from Plympton Earl, in that county, in 1645, and on his arrival in America, taking up his dwelling near Plympton, in the Plymouth colony, now a part of Massachusetts. Mr. CAMPBELL is sixth in descent from Jonathan REYNOLDS. The family, after settling in Massachusetts, extended to Rhode Island and New York, and are now numerous in these two latter States, having many members who have filled important positions in the State and national councils. By another branch of his maternal family, he is descended from John PARKER, who commanded the American troops at the heroic struggle at Lexington, which began the Revolutionary War. His paternal great-grandfather, Andrew SMALL, at the age of eighteen, went with Montgomery on the fatal expedition to Quebec, suffering untold miseries on his return through Canada. Both of his grandfathers were soldiers in the War of 1812.

James E. CAMPBELL was educated in the free schools of his native town, and in later years received instruction from the Rev. John B. MORTON, an early and successful teacher of that place, and for many years the pastor of the Presbyterian Church. When approaching maturity he began the reading of law, and taught school for a short time.

In the Summer of 1863, after the navy had become thoroughly organized in all its departments, and had won some of its most glorious victories, he became a master's mate on the gunboats Elk and Naiad, serving on the Mississippi and Red River flotillas, and taking part in several engagements. But the unhealthiness of the climate soon affected him, and after a year, being surveyed by a board of surgeons, he was discharged, returning home a mere skeleton. As soon as he had sufficiently recovered his health he resumed the study of law, and during the Winter of 1864 and 1865 he became a student in the office of DOTY & GUNCKEL, Middletown, being admitted to the bar in 1865.

In the Spring of 1865 he began the practice of his profession in this city. During the interval he was bookkeeper of the First National Bank at Middletown, and was also a deputy collector in the Internal Revenue service of the Third District for about eight months in Hamilton, under General Ferdinand VAN DERVEER, Collector. He was elected prosecuting attorney of the county in 1875 and 1877, holding that position for four years and filling the duties of his office most acceptably. From 1867 to 1869 he was United States commissioner. In 1879 he made a very close race for the Ohio State Senate, being defeated by only twelve votes. During the war he was a Republican, and remained so until the GREELEY campaign, when, in common with thousands of others, he cast off the party yoke, and voted for GREELEY and BROWN. Since that time he has acted with the Democrats.

In addition to his business as a lawyer, he has paid much attention to insurance, and has gradually gained a large and valuable buisness in this line, and has been charged with many important receiverships and other trusts. Mr. CAMPBELL is a Knight Templar, a member of the Knights of Pythias, and the Grand Army of the Republic. He was married to Miss Libbie OWENS, daugher of Job E. OWENS and Mary A. PRICE, on the 4th of January 1870. Her father was a native of Wales, and her mother of Welsh descent. They have three children. Mr. CAMPBELL is a hard worker, and can accomplish more in one day in his business than the most of men. He attends the Presbyterian Church, and contributes liberally to the support of all benevolent and charitable enterprises.

He is systematic in all his efforts, and his offices are models of neatness. Socially no man stands higher. He is courteous in manner, thorough in his acquisition of detail, and of the highest integrity of character. As a lawyer he has few superiors at his age, possessing great skill in ascertaining the true points of a case. He is a good, clear, logical speaker, and well informed on all questions of law. No young man in Hamilton has a better or more honorable record, and no one is deserving of greater credit than he.

At the Democratic Convention held at Lebanon, August 16, 1882, he was nominated unanimously for the position of Congressman, and is now making a most gallant campaign in behalf of his party.


Captain Israel GREGG, for many years a prominent steamboat man, was for a long time a resident of Hamilton. He was born on the 20th of February, 1775, in Virginia, but his parents, who were adventurous pioneers, removed to Brownsville, Pennsylvania, shortly after, where, on attaining a sufficient age, he was taught the art of a silversmith, and on reaching his majority set up for himself. Two years after, or on the 12th of July, 1798, he married Elizabeth HOUGH, one of the younger children of a Quaker family, and sister of Joseph HOUGH, for twenty years the leading merchant of Hamilton. Another brother, Benjamin, was auditor of the State of Ohio from 1808 to 1815.

Mr. GREGG afterwards became interested in steamboating, and in 1814 was in command of the steamboat Enterprise, built at Brownsville by Daniel FRENCH, on his patent, and owned by a company at that place. It was a boat of forty-five tons. It made two voyages to Louisville in the Summer of 1814. In December she took in a cargo of ordnance stores at Pittsburgh, and sailed for New Orleans, arriving at that port on the 14th of the same month. She was then dispatched up the river in search of two keel-boats, laden with small arms, which had been delayed on the river. She had reached twelve miles above Natchez when she met the boats, took their masters and cargoes on board, and returned to New Orleans, having been out six and half days, in which time she ran two hundred and sixty-four miles. She was then for some time actively employed in transporting troops, etc. She made one voyage to the Gulf of Mexico, as a cartel, and one voyage to the rapids of Red River with troops, and nine voyages to Natchez. She set out for Pittsburg on the 6th of May, and arrived at Shippingport on the 30th, twenty-four days out, being the first steamboat that ever arrived at that port from New Orleans. She then proceeded to Pittsburg, where her arrival was warmly greeted, as the passage from the sea by the means of steam had been successfully accomplished for the first time. Captain GREGG afterwards commanded the Dispatch, a small boat of twenty-five tones, built at Brownsville, which was wrecked near New Orleans in 1819, and he continued as a commander in the river service for several years after.

He then became an inhabitant of Hamilton, where he dwelt the remainder of his days. He was elected sheriff of Butler County in 1835, and served four years, also holding other offices of trust and responsibility. By his first wife he had eleven children, who are now all dead. Upon her decease he married Mrs. Phebe KELLEY, of Rossville, an aunt of William D. KELLEY, of Pennsylvania, on Thursday, the 5th of December, 1822, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. H. BAKER. By this marriage he had two children: Jane H., now the wife of J. C. SKINNER, and Sarah, widow of Samuel CARY. He died on the 20th of June, 1847, aged seventy-three years. He was a man of great uprightness and benevolence, and his memory is still cherished by those who knew him.


Joseph Barcalow HUGHES, auditor of Butler County, was born November 12, 1848, on his father's farm in Liberty Township, in this county. He is the son of Micajah HUGHES, president of the First National Bank, and grandson of Elijah HUGHES, a native of Baltimore County, Maryland. The family emigrated to this county from Maryland about the close of the War of 1812, and settled in their present neighborhood, in which they have ever since resided. They are noted for their good, practical common sense, industry, sobriety and sterling honesty, and, as a consequence, have accumulated large estates, and are considered among the first families of Butler County.

Micajah HUGHES was married more than fifty years ago to Phebe FREEMAN CASSIDY, a native of the county, a lady whose good sense and good judgment have contributed in no small degree to her hasband's prosperity. This long and happy union has been blessed by ten children, of whom Joseph is the sixth.

Reared upon a farm, he grew up with all the advantages of out-door life and physical exercise; attending district school until he had attained such proficiency that an advanced school became necessary to develop the intellect which nature bestowed so profusely upon him. For this purpose he attended the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and afterwards, to acquire a business education, he went to a commercial college at Dayton, Ohio, at both which seats of learning he showed himself a young man of excellent memory, quick perception, good judgment, and sound understanding.

He was married November 12, 1868, to Miss Mary DAVIS, daughter of Almon DAVIS, a wealthy farmer of Liberty Township. Mrs. HUGHES was born in April, 1848. She is a lady of culture and refinement, and is one in every way fitted to make home attractive and happy. One child, Gordon Taylor, a bright, intelligent boy now twelve years old, has been given them to bless their union. Mr. HUGHES engaged in farming with fair success until 1875, when desiring to furnish his boy with better facilities for education, and being himself of an enterprising commercial and manufacturing disposition which farming did not gratify, he moved to Hamilton and engaged in mercantile pursuits until 1881, when he sold out to his brothers. While engaged in business his attention was directed to the subject of manufacturing the beautiful ware known as Wedgewood, large quantities of which are imported from England and sold in this country, and he became impressed with the belief, after investigation, that it could successfully be manufactured in America.

Acting upon this belief, he with others organized the Royal Pottery Company, of which he was elected president, about three years ago, for the manufacture of this ware. The necessary buildings and machinery were constructed, skilled workmen were brought direct from England to start the enterprise, and the problem was successfully solved by turning out goods equal to the best imported from Europe, thus demonstrating what American enterprise and skill can accomplish when led by intelligence and good judgment. Since Mr. HUGHES's election to his present position, he has disposed of all his interest in the company, as well as other outside business, that he may devote his whole time and attention to the duties of the office to which the people have elected him; but as a manufacturer and a merchant, his good judgment, thorough methods, and fair dealings procured him a fair share of success, and the respect of all with whom he dealt.

From his earliest youth he has taken an earnest interest in politics, allying himself with the Democratic party, being a true disciple of the teachings of Jefferson, Jackson, Madison, and the other great founders of that party. He is thoroughly democratic in his principles, is opposed to all monopolies and to all legislation for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, or to any thing tending towards monarchy, absolutism, or aristocracy.

For years he has been a hard worker in the ranks of his party, acting as committeeman in his township, attending conventions, and helping worthy friends to public positions, but not until the Hancock campaign in 1880 was he put forward as a leader by his admirers, who began about that time to estimate the man at his true value.

At the Morrow convention in 1880, which nominated General WARD for Congress, he was selected by the delegation from his county to second the nomination, which he did in a neat and appropriate speech, being the first time he had attempted the difficult task of speaking in public. During the political campaign of that year he spoke at various points in the county, discussing the political questions of the day in a manner that showed a thorough knowledge of the subject, to the gratification and, we may add, surprise of his friends, and with credit to himself.

In the campaign of 1881 he contributed greatly to the success of his party by his writings to the Daily Democrat, in a manner that shows him to be a good writer as well as a good speaker, and his abilities as a political strategist are recognized by his being made chairman of the county executive committee of this county. As a speaker he is thoroughly honest and sincere in his utterances, and therefore impresses himself upon his hearers; his sentences go direct to the point, and convince by their directness rather than by their eloquence. As a writer he is forcible, fair, and direct; but if occasion require, he can be pungent and sarcastic, covering the object of his attack with ridicule, in which respect he is much more effective as a writer than speaker.

It is reasonable to suppose that the public would look to such a man as one well calculated to fill a public office with credit to himself and with honor to them, and therefore when he was nominated by his party by an overwhelming majority, and triumphantly elected to the office of auditor of this county, in the Fall of 1881, it was no more than was to be expected in recognition of his abilities and reward for political services.

He entered upon the discharge of the duties of his responsible position in November, 1881, to serve for three years. In the discharge of those duties it is safe to predict, from the integrity displayed by him in the past, that the interests of the public will be properly guarded, and that the laws governing his official acts will be honestly and faithfully executed. He is a man of incorruptible honesty and unflinching honor, possessing that conscientious regard for the sanctity of an oath that insures its faithful observance. He is a Knight Templar, is a past Chancellor Commander in the Knights of Pythias, and a valued member of other orders with which he is associated. With his natural shrewdness, industry, and ambition, we predict for him a future that will place him in the front ranks as a citizen, a politician, an officer, and a thoroughly cultured, upright gentleman.


Thomas V. HOWELL, the leading dry-goods merchant of Hamilton, was born in this city, in what is now the First Ward, September 28, 1826. He is the son of Hezekiah and Sarah A. (VIRGIN) HOWELL. Mrs. HOWELL was the daughter of Thomas VIRGIN, an early settler in Liberty Township, and afterward in the War of 1812. He was killed by Indians, on the Rocky Mountains. Mr. HOWELL received a limited education in the common schools, and when from ten to twelve years of age entered the employment of George P. BELL, a prominent merchant, and continued with him some ten years, when he wen6t to Cincinnati, with the firm of REILLY & WOODS. He returned to Hamilton, and entered the employment of BROWN & LEIGH, remaining there until March, 1849, when, in company with D. G. LEIGH, they purchased the business of William B. VAN HOOK, and began the firm of LEIGH & HOWELL, under which title they traded for two and a half years. mr. LEIGH then sold out to John DYE, and the new firm of HOWELL & DYE was formed.

About 1854 Mr. HOWELL purchased the interest of his partner and carried on business by himself for twelve years. On beginning in 1849, his trade was not limited exclusively to dry goods, but embraced all that is commonly sold in country stores, including at one time a large stock of boots and shoes, and afterwards of millinery. In 1870 he admitted his son, David LEIGH HOWELL, as a partner under the firm name of T. V. HOWELL & Son. In 1875 they built the store since occupied by the firm, a handsome three story building, and admirably adapted to its present use. Their former store had been on the corner of Third and High, in the place now occupied by HUGHES Brothers. The firm also carries on an extensive concern in Middletown, and are large dealers in all lines. Much of their goods is imported directly by themselves.

Mr. HOWELL was married October 20, 1849, to Miss Sarah A. CONNER, daughter of David CONNER, a former well-known resident of this place. They are the parents of one daughter and one son, the former being Kate C. HOWELL, and the latter David L. HOWELL. Mrs. HOWELL and daughter are members of the United Presbyterian Church. He is a self-made man, and had no early advantages. He is a member of the Masonic order, and contributed liberally of his means and influence in sustaining the government during the war.


William B. VAN HOOK was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, on the twenty-sixth day of October, 1795. His parents were Dr. Benjamin F. VAN HOOK and Catherine VAN HOOK, who were Hollanders, and who had emigrated from New Jersey to the North-west Territory at a very early period. Mr. VAN HOOK remained in Cincinnati until the last war with Great Britain, when he enlisted as a private in Captain David OLIVER's company, and served as a soldier until peace was declared. He moved from Cincinnati to Hamilton in the year 1818, where he continued to reside until his death, which took place in 1871.

He was by trade a carpenter, which he followed for many years. He had more than ordinary skill as a mechanic and builder. About 1818 he and the late James B. THOMAS went from Hamilton to New Orleans on a flat-boat, where they remained for several months, working together at the carpenter business. Mr. Van Hook and the late Colonel BALL, of Trenton, walked all the way back to Hamilton through the then Indian country. He was shortly afterwards married to Julia Ann STEPHENS, who survived him, and who died in June, 1882.

In early life Mr. VAN HOOK exhibited quite a taste for the the theater, and, as an amateur, played with and assisted the since eminent tragedian, Edwin FORREST. The circumstances are related elsewhere. Mr. FORREST never forgot his old friend, and never visited Cincinnati afterwards without sending for him.

Mr. VAN HOOK was a man of more than ordinary merit, and filled with ability offices of public trust. For several years he was a member of the Ohio Legislature; was speaker of the House of Representatives, and was warden of the Ohio penitentiary. He was at various times a member and president of the city council of Hamilton. During the late rebellion he was deputy provost marshal of the Third Congressional District. In politics he was always an unwavering and ardent Democrat, but during the war of the Rebellion acted with the Union party. For more than half a century he was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity. He died at his home in Hamilton, Ohio. At the time of his death he was probably the oldest citizen of this place. He was a highly respected, useful, and honored citizen.