A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Oxford Township: Pages 536 - 540
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GATH, DANCIER (Oxford Twp., pp. 536-537)
Among the business men of Oxford who deserve mention is Samuel GATH, Jr. He is a native of Oxford Twp, born on Jan 1, 1847. His parents came to the village when he was a boy, and he has been a resident of the village ever since. His father became engaged in the furniture & undertaking business, & the son began his attendance at funerals and assisting in the store & shop at about 14 years of age.

During the war, though under age, he was a member of the "Squirrel Hunters" organization, in 1862, & was out with the hundred day men, being a sergeant of Co. A, 167th OH National Guards, & soon after the expiration of that term volunteered & became a member of Co. D, 47th OH Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war, his discharge dating Washington, D. C., May 31, 1865. In Jan, 1868, he became a partner with his father, & so continued until Aug 1871, when he purchased his father's interest & continued business alone, discontinuing the furniture trade after a few years, & turning his attention more exclusively to undertaking, for which he seems to be specially adapted and in which he has been enterprising & very successful. Mr. GATH married, Feb 20, 1870, Miss Mary, dau/o Smith J. DANCIER, who was then a resident of Oxford, but now resides at Camden. Mr. & Mrs. GATH have a family of three children, two daughters & a son--Mary Etta, Jan Dancier, & Jeannetta.

HILL, BODMAN, RHEA, HAYDEN, HINCKLEY, KEELY (Oxford Twp., pp. 537-538)
Edward L. HILL, M. D., was born in Williamsburg, MA, Jan 23, 1827. His parents were Russel & Lucretia (BODMAN) HILL, of the same place. The father was a son of Ephraim, & grandson of Samson HILL, who traced his descent back to an English origin, while the mother, who is still living in Williamsburg, is a dau/o Dr. Joseph BODMAN, of a family of German-English extraction. Dr. HILL pursued his preparatory education at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, MA, & passed thence into Amherst College. He took his professional course in the College of Physicians & Surgeons, in New York City, receiving his diploma in 1852. Soon after this he located in the practice of his profession at Chester Factories, in Western MA. While residing here he warmly espoused the cause of temperance, & while diligent & successful in his calling, he was bold & fearless in the expression of his convictions of the right and of principle, as he held it. It was during his residence here that the organization of a lodge of the Carson League in the place caused open and signal opposition to be raised by the friends of the liquor traffic, which took the desperate form of personal injury and the destruction of the property of many who had identified themselves with the workings of the league, which spirit culminated in 1855. Dr. HILL was among the foremost in the happily successful efforts then made to ferret out the lawless miscreants and to bring them to light & justice, and to establish peace & safety among the community, he being personally instrumental in the arrest, identification and conviction of several of the more prominent of the evil doers.

In 1856 Dr. Hill removed to Columbus, OH, where he practiced his profession for the 3 years following, but in the Spring of 1859 he changed his residence to Oxford, OH, succeeding to the practice of Dr. Robert RHEA, who had removed to Chicago. On the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, & upon the call for the first 100,000 volunteer troops, Dr. HILL enlisted for 3 months, & was made surgeon of the 20th Regiment OH Volunteer Infantry, & was among the first to depart for the seat of war, his term of enlistment being from Apr 9 to Aug 26, 1861. Returning from this enlistment, he soon after re-entered the army, & was again made surgeon of the reorganized 20th Regiment, his commission bearing date of Sep 18, 1861. He was made senior surgeon on the operating board of the 3rd Division 17th Army Corps in the Vicksburg campaign; then surgeon in charge of General Hospital No. 2, at Vicksburg. Afterwards he acted as superintendent of the 17th Army Corps' hospital at Marietta, GA, in the Atlanta campaign, returning home in Nov 1864. Since that time Dr. HILL has been in the active practice of his profession.

Dr. HILL was married Apr 24, 1850, to Hope Lucinda, dau/o Cotton HAYDEN, of Williamsburg, MA, a family whose name is not unknown to eminence & distinction, & among whom we find the late ex-Governor Joel HAYDEN of Haydensville, MA, & Mr. Peter HAYDEN of Columbus, OH. Dr. & Mrs. HILL have five children born to them, four sons now living, & a daughter, who died while the father was in the army. The youngest of the sons was the subject of a severe attack of acute diphtheria in Nov 1881, & while lying at the point of death, all other remedies & treatment having failed, the anxious father decided to venture upon the operation of tracheotomy, as a last resort to save the life of his boy. And this he did, ably & intelligently assisted by Dr. H. D. HINCKLEY, Dr. G. W. KEELY, a skilled dental practitioner & neighbor of Dr. HILL, administering the anaesthetic. The operation (one of the most delicate & uncertain known to modern surgery) proved eminently successful, & although the life of the little patient hung trembling in the balance for days, he soon rallied & made a perfect recovery.

Early in 1865 Dr. HILL made a public profession of religion, & united with the (then) Second Presbyterian Church of Oxford. In Apr 1866, he was made a ruling elder of the same Church. Dr. HILL was also clerk of the session for some 10 years. He is a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Society of Amherst College, MA; a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1853; was made an honorary member of the OH Medical Society, Jun 3, 1856; & a member of the American Medical Assn. in 1867; he is a member of the Union District Medical Assn., & also of the Butler Co. Medical Society; in 1869 he was Worthy Master of Oxford Lodge, No. 67, F. & A. M. Dr. HILL has ever been a warm & earnest Republican in his political preferences, &, although not active in political strifes, he is of a firm & uncompromising nature, standing fearlessly for his cherished principles. Of an affable & kindly disposition, he easily wins & usually retains the friendship & confidence of the community among whom he moves.

HILLS, RINGWOOD (Oxford Twp., p. 538)
Volney L. HILLS was the dau/o Joseph & Margaret HILLS, & was born Feb 6, 1815. She came to Cincinnati (Hamilton Co., OH), with her parents in 1817, from MA, where she was born. At the time of her death she was in the 66th year of her age. In the year 1829 she removed with her parents to Oxford, & on the 5th of May 1833, was married to James D. RINGWOOD at the home of her parents. There were born to this couple five children, one of whom died in infancy, & the remainder, three daughters & one son, still survive. Her husband died two years & two months previous to her death, since which time her life seemed to be on the wane.

HOWE, SEARS, KING, WHITE (Oxford Twp., p. 538)
James H. HOWE is descended from an English family of this name, which, on coming to this country, early settled in MA in the vicinity of Boston. A son by the name of Ebenezer was born Jul 13, 1765. A Connecticut family named SEARS, who afterwards made their home in NY State, had a daughter, Sarah, & to her Ebenezer was married Nov 9, 1793. The two remained with the father-in-law & had three children born to them. Somewhere in 1800 or 1801 Mr. SEARS & his family (with the HOWEs) emigrated to the valley of the Little Miami & settled near Loveland, where the elder SEARS purchased each of his children farms. The good man was spared to be over 100 years of age. The HOWE family remained here till about 1813 or 1814, & then moved to the wilds of IN & took up some land upon Hannas Creek. In that neighborhood in 1815, Aug 7th, James H. HOWE was born, & grew to manhood, taking up his residence at the age of 18 at College Corner. Jan 2, 1856, he was married to Mrs. Jerusha (KING) WHITE, formerly of MA, but born in Cazenovia, NY, Jul 1815, who had been a resident of OH since 1834. His father came to Oxford in 1822, & resided on a farm until 1830, the time of his death. Mr. & Mrs. HOWE are now residing in a pleasant home in the village of College Corner, enjoying the quiet & serenity of their advancing years. They have no children.

Robert C. HUSTON, M. D., is a native of PA, & was born in Greene Co. in 1813. In 1818 his parents, John & Sarah (MORRISON) HUSTON, emigrated to IN. When Robert was about 11 years of age an old neighbor & friend, who was visiting the family, & at the time residing near Venice, persuaded Mr. HUSTON to allow the son to return with him for the purpose of securing some school advantages, & he remained there, having his home with this old neighbor about two years, after which he returned to his parents at Connersville, (IN), where he remained enjoying the benefit of the common schools of that day. In 1834 he entered the preparatory school of Miami University, & continued his studies, literary & professional, up to 1840, & the same year commenced practice in connection with Dr. Erasmus ROSE, then at Liberty, Union Co., IN. One year later he opened an office at College Corner, where he practiced his profession 10 years. In 1852 he removed to Oxford, where he has since resided, enjoying a practice which requires his full time. He married twice, the first time in 1842, his wife being Jane, dau/o Major James MONTGOMERY, who was originally from the same county in PA from which the HUSTON family came. He obtained his military title by service in the War of 1812, & was an early resident at Oxford. The issue of this marriage was 4 children, three sons & one daughter. The latter is now the wife of Dr. J. N. BRADLEY. The sons are all residents of Butler Co. The eldest, James W., resides on his father's farm, the old MORETZ estate; R. W. L. is a resident of Oxford, & the youngest, John C., is now in the drug trade at College Corner, & is also the postmaster. His 2nd marriage occurred in 1872, his wife being Sarah W., dau/o Sylvester & Jerusia LYONS, & therefore sister of Mrs. Professor BISHOP. His residence on the north side of High, & at the west corporation line, is a handsome property, & has been his home for the past 20 years. The doctor is a Republican in politics, & takes an honorable part in all matters of public interest. His affiliation & special interest religiously is with the Presbyterians. He has been an active & successful practitioner for 40 years, & is a member of the State Medical Society, & also an active & prominent member of the Butler Co. Medical Society.

KING, BOOTH (Oxford Twp, pp. 538-539)
Hiram KING, farmer, is a native of Butler Co., & was born in Oxford Twp., in 1832. His parents, Thomas & Nancy KING, came from the State of NY about 1819, & lived a number of years in Cincinnati (Hamilton Co., OH). Mr. KING was a carpenter, but when work at his trade was scarce took his ax, in the use of which he was expert, & helped clear a considerable part of the ground now occupied by the city. He had many offers of house-building with town-lots for pay; but not foreseeing that it was destined to be so great a city, he came to the interior to secure a home, & located in the southern part of Oxford Twp., about 1830. A few years later he removed to the farm upon which Hiram now resides. Mr. KING had a family of 8 children, only two of whom are now living--William S., now a resident of Pettis Co., MO, & Hiram, who now owns a part of the old homestead, upon which he has lived since he was one year old. Although Mr. KING had a very limited education he has taken an active interest in education, and has been of great use in promoting the interests of the schools in his district, in which he has been a director a number of years and until after building of their present substantial brick house. Mr. KING has been an authorized exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal Church for over 20 years past. He has gained his knowledge of books by improving his spare hours and at great disadvantage, and has accumulated a good rural library. He is known as a man of good general information, able to hold his own in ordinary debate, either secular or religious, and has been the leader in maintaining a Sunday-school in the district school-house.

He married, in 1859, Ann E. BOOTH, by whom he had one child, a daughter, Anna E., who is now a young lady. She graduated at the Oxford High School. His first wife dying, he married, in 1861, Martha E., her sister, by whom he had two children--Thomas L. and Laura B. Mr. KING's wife is a dau/o William BOOTH, who is a native of England, & an old resident of Oxford Twp., his farm adjoining Mr. KING's. Mr. KING comes from a hardy stock, who were noted for longevity. His grandfather, Samuel KING, was soldier of the Revolution, & served during seven years of that memorable struggle. His great-father KING & his wife lived to pass more than 80 years of wedded life.

George Washington KEELY, D.D.S., is the grandson of John KEELY, a German by nativity, born in 1753. He came to this country in 1762 with his parents and settled in PA, afterwards becoming a soldier in the Revolutionary War, & being wounded in the battle of Brandywine. His son, John second, was born in Dauphin Co., PA , Jan 16, 1779, & died in Oxford, OH, May 7, 1848. He married Miss Ann IDDINGS, a native of Northumberland Co., PA, who was born Aug 7, 1787. Mr. & Mrs. KEELY came to Oxford, OH in 1818, & in 1822, on the 22nd of Oct, George W. KEELY was born. The residence of the family was but a short distance south of the university buildings, & the boy had the privileges of the schools of the town, & when but a mere lad of some 14 entered Miami University. Three years later, the president, Dr. BISHOP, retired. Mr. KEELY was warmly attached to the doctor, and feeling that the trustees of the institution were dealing unjustly by him, manifested his own sympathy by refusing longer to be numbered with the students of the school, although it had been his expectation to have pursued a full graduating course.

Not long after this he spent a little time with Dr. J. D. WHITE, then a practicing dentist in the city of Hamilton; but in the Fall of 1839 entered the office of Dr. John ALLEN, then a noted dental practitioner of the city of Cincinnati (now of NY), with whom he spent the following years. Returning to Oxford in 1841, Dr. KEELY established himself in the practice of his chosen profession by opening an office in a building at the corner of High & Beach Streets, where he remained for a year and a half, then moving to & occupying an office on Main St. Afterwards, in 1867, he rented the rooms corner of High & Main Streets, where he has continued his practice ever since. Agreeable to the customs of the day and the practice of many dentists in the early history of the profession, Dr. KEELY sustained for some years a series of periodic visits to neighboring towns in the States of OH & IN, which extended over the years of his early practice.

On the 13th of March, 1851, Dr. KEELY was married to Miss Susanna WELLS, in the city of Cincinnati, who bore to him three children, only one of whom, a son, Charles I. KEELY, D.D.S., is now living, and is a practicing dentist as partner of his father, located in Hamilton. The married life of Dr. & Mrs. KEELY was of short duration, as she was taken away by death May 25, 1856. April 21, 1861, Dr. KEELY was again married to Miss Cornelia CONE, of Oxford, who has borne him eight children, three of whom only are now living, two daughters and a son. After having been in active practice for some twelve years he graduated at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, in March 1853.

Being of an ingenious & scholarly nature, Dr. KEELY has ever been among the foremost in all movements which look toward the elevation & advancement of the interests of the profession of his choice, & has been ready to aid by his presence, councils, & means every organized effort upon the part of his brother practitioners for the advancement of its standards. He was present at the meeting of dentists, first held at Niagara Falls, where the foundations were first laid for the organization of the American Dental Assn., in 1859; has been an almost constant attendant upon its annual sessions; was elected its president in Philadelphia, in 1876, & presided as such in Chicago in 1877. He was an active mover in the organization of the Ohio State Dental Society; was once its president, & has for the last 10 years been re-elected to its treasurership. He has been, and now is, either an active or honorary member of the following: Mississippi Valley Dental Society, Mad River Valley Dental Society, & of the KY, IN, MO, IL, & WI State Dental Societies respectively, & was elected a member of the NY Odontological Society.

He has been a trustee of the OH College of Dental Surgery for the past 20 years, & often president of the board of trustees, & for the past 15 years has lectured to the students on the "Cause & Management of Irregularities of the Teeth," which he has made a labor of love for the past 25 years.

He has been a liberal contributor to the literature & periodicals of his profession. From his reports on Dental Education, made in 1874 & 1875 before the American Dental Assn., copious extracts were reproduced in the "History of Dentistry in the U. S." He has often accepted invitations to lecture on some of the specialties pertaining to the practice of dentistry, one being "Causes & Prevention of Irregularities of the Teeth."

When 21 years of age he became a member of the Masonic fraternity, & was one of the charter members of the lodge of Odd Fellows in Oxford when it was organized, having previously been a member of the Brookville, IN lodge. In addition to his professional activity, Dr. KEELY has taken the warmest interest in every thing pertaining to the well-being of his native town. City improvements, the grading of the streets, the embellishment & adornment of the city parks & college campus, improvement of public buildings, etc., have in him a sure promoter & active worker; while the several educational institutions--Miami University, of which he is a trustee; Oxford Female Institute, Oxford Female College, & Western Female Seminary--have ever a warm place in his heart, & to their advancement he has contributed liberally of both mental & manual effort & pecuniary means.

The doctor is a man peculiarly social in his nature, a skillful & intelligent practitioner, kind & indulgent in his pleasant household, & a warm & sympathizing companion & friend, having a high place in the esteem & confidence of his fellow-citizens.

KEELY, PRENTICE, HEBER, SPENCER (Oxford Twp., pp. 540-541)
Isaac Iddings KEELY, son of John, was born on the 24th day of Aug 1809. In the latter part of 1817 his parents moved to Oxford, with the intention of making it a permanent home, for the benefit of their growing family in the way of schools. Isaac was then a lad of 7 years of age. He attended the first session of the first school ever taught on the university grounds, and he made the first speech at the first exhibition ever given in that school. At the proper age he began to work at the bricklaying trade with his father, & soon became a very expert & rapid workman. To show the rapidity of his movements, we mention one instance. There had been some talk as to how many bricks he could lay in a day. One thousand bricks were considered a day's work in an ordinary wall. He made a wager that he could lay one thousand bricks in two hours. The place was on a wall in a building in Oxford, where the corners were raised & where one hundred bricks made one course. So his wager was that he could lay ten courses in two hours. He began about 10 o'clock in the morning & completed his task in just one hour and 31 minutes, having taken into his hands and laid in the wall, smoothing the joints on the outside, one thousand bricks in one hour & 31 minutes. Up to that time no one in that part of the country had ever done so well or handled so many bricks in the same time.

In very early life he developed into a trader, & began to deal in cigars, watermelons, & indeed any thing that he could handle in the way of trade. When very young, not more than twenty, he took charge of the business, relieving his father of the trouble & vexation of the management. It was not long before he had all the family employed & quite a number of men at work for him. He built more houses in Oxford than any one man. He spent some two or three years in peddling clocks. Here he handled dry goods, groceries, boots, shoes, & hats, and all kinds of notions; also, lumber & shingles; & all the time engaged in building & in trading real estate. He was a wholly unselfish man. He would sacrifice every thing for his friends. He would confide in & trust men to any reasonable amount, & had that confidence most shamefully abused by those whom he had befriended the most.

About the year 1844 or 1845 he began to lecture on animal magnetism or mental electricity. He claimed for it that it was a science, & he applied it to the curing of various diseases that prey upon mankind in this world. He did succeed in curing many afflicted people to such an extent that it excited the wonder & astonishment of the communities in which he lectured. Being possessed of strong will & energy, he knew no such word as fail. The late well-known George D. PRENTICE, then editor of the Louisville, KY, Journal, in his daily of January 15, 1848, said of him:

"We never before saw such a crowd at the Odd Fellows' Hall as was assembled there last night. It was supposed that nearly a thousand persons were present. No great political orator, no popular Methodist preacher, no powerful actor, has ever been able to draw such multitudes together in this city as are now drawn nightly by Mr. KEELY. The experiments last night were wonderful, & we presume that none who saw them doubted that they were precisely what they seemed to be."

He was compelled to cease lecturing on account of the fearful strain on his nervous system. In 1850 he went to Edinburg, IN, & began to build houses, & buy and sell real estate. At one time he sold to the Junction Railroad Company real estate to the value of $18,000, taking in pay their stock, two-thirds of which was a total loss. Here he built a great many houses, bought & sold and engaged in general trade. He had the ability to make a great deal of money, but failed to save his earnings. He did not seem to be able to accumulate or save money, so that after years of toil he died comparatively poor. He commenced to operate in Indianapolis about 1854, but did not remain there long. His health began to fail him at Edinburg.

Early in 1857 he with his wife & child returned to Oxford. He was broken in health, & his end was evidently near. Here among his friends he spent his last days. He was cheerful & hopeful. His mother, brother, & sister in turn tenderly nursed him during the last weary months of his life. His disease was laryngitis. He died on the 18th day of August, 1857, lacking six days of being 48 years of age. The following is from the pen of one who knew him long & intimately:

"A man has recently fallen in our midst whose brief career and sudden demise should prove a profitable lesson, calling our thoughts to the solemn warning, 'Be ye also ready.' Isaac I. KEELY, who departed this life on the evening of the 18th inst., of laryngitis, lacking a few days of being 48 years old, was a man of peculiar character. His ambition & energy were as unbounded as his benevolence, neither failing till means & health failed. We knew him from his youth up--from the time he entered college & delivered the first speech ever made in old Miami University, & recited his algebra lessons, till the day the solemn tones of its bell announced his journey to the tomb--and of him we have had but one opinion, & that is, a noble soul imprisoned in a feeble casket. We have often known him to perform deeds of charity to the sick widow & orphan that would have astonished Bishop HEBER or the monks of St. Bernard, not letting his right hand know what the left was doing. He was ardently devoted to his parents, brothers, & sisters, and all who were allied by consanguinity. Being the oldest of boys, much devolved on him in educating & settling in life the younger members, & he met this responsibility with a liberality surprising his neighbors.

"A more unselfish man never lived. He gave to his friends beyond endurance. This trait of character caused him to go out as he came into this world--but a few feet different. Nor was his charity confined to those only. He had a heart to feel for human woe and a hand to help in time of need.

His enterprise was not confined to one State; he built houses in different States for posterity to enjoy. This community will bear us witness when we say that I. I. KEELY did more to make this town what it is than any other one man that ever lived in Oxford. As a religionist he was doubtless misunderstood by many. He was no sectarian--liberal & ardent, but sincere in his opinions.

As defender of the science of animal magnetism or metal electricity as a curative agent, he was often denounced by ministers & other good men as a charlatan, a mountebank, an infidel in collusion with Beelzebub. This had a natural tendency to sour his mind against all sects. He reverenced the Deity, believed in Jesus Christ as the only Savior of sinners, & trusted in his merits for salvation. He believed in the efficacy of prayer; and when he could only whisper he said to an old friend, 'When you pray remember me.' He gratefully received the daily visits of the Rev. Mr. SPENCER during his last hours. He had many friends to follow his remains to the grave, & was honored with a Masonic procession, of which fraternity he was an acceptable member."