The Demise of Samuel D.
I was at the library today and did something I have been meaning to do for many years. I pulled the microfilm for the October 1874 Dayton Newspaper to review the obituary for Samuel Edgar. The original owner of the Old Crack House. Samuel died from a paralyzing stroke. Several days before he died this appeared on the front page of the newspaper;
Serious Illness of S. D. Edgar
The many friends and acquaintances of our venerable townsman, Mr. S.D. Edgar, will regret to learn that he is suffering from an attack of paralysis, from which it is feared he may not recover. He retired on Sunday evening, apparently in his usual health, and yesterday morning, when a member of the family went to summon him to breakfast, he was found lying on the floor in an insensible condition. A physician was called, when upon examination, it was ascertained that Mr. Edgar had been stricken with paralysis. His left side was completely powerless and up to yesterday evening he was in an entirely unconscious condition, unable to speak or recognize his friends. The physicians who visited him yesterday regard the attack as necessarily fatal.
Mr. Edgar is one of the oldest citizens of Dayton, having been born and reared on the farm on which he lives, seventy eight years ago. (This should read sixty eight years ago). By industry and economy during his long life, he has amassed a large fortune, and although suffering for several years with partial blindness, he has been able to superintend his extensive business affairs, and up to the time of his sudden prostration was unusually active and vigorous for one of his age.
Then a few days later this obituary was published. I learned something new about good old Samuel! Can you say "Moonshine?"
Obituary - Death of an Old Citizen
Mr. Samuel D. Edgar, whose serious illness was announced in Tuesday's Journal, died Thursday morning after remaining in the unconscious condition from the time of his first attack Sunday night. Mr. Edgar was one of the oldest citizens of Dayton, and was highly esteemed by a large circle of friends and acquaintances in the city and country. He was born March 25 1806, on the farm now in the corporation, on which he has resided until his death. His father, Robert Edgar was a native of Staunton, Augusta county Virginia, born in 1770, where his father lived, and was killed by the Indians in 1790. After the death of his father, Robert emigrated to Ohio settling first at Cincinnati, and removing thence to Dayton about the year 1796. In the year 1797 he was married to Mrs. Margaret Kirkwood, and took up his residence on the grounds now occupied by the Holly Water Works buildings, where he lived two or three years, and by hard labor earned the money to purchase eighty acres in the eastern part of the city at two dollars per acre, which is still the Edgar farm, on which Samuel D. Edgar lived all the sixty eight years of his life.
When he arrived at the age of maturity Mr. Edgar commenced working for himself, and with the aid of his father, who furnished a small amount of capital, started the first distillery in the county, which he worked a few years and made some money, which he invested in real estate in the city. He afterwards became proprietor of a large amount of property in the eastern part of the city and was one of the proprietors of the Dayton Hydraulic Company which has added so largely to the manufacturing interests of Dayton. He was president and superintendent of the company for several years, and after retiring from the position, devoted the remainder of his life to the improvement of his farm, on which he resided in a pleasant suburban residency on Wayne Street in the suburbs of the city. He was one of the stock holders in the Wayne and Fifth Street Railroad Company, and was the first president of the company, and was one of the most active members of the company, contributing liberally of his means to secure the success of the enterprise. During his long residence in Dayton, Mr. Edgar has enjoyed the considerence and esteem of a large circle of friends. Although almost incapacitated for business for several years past by partial loss of sight, he has been able to be about until stricken down by his late illness, and always had a friendly word of recognition for his numerous friends. In the management of his business affairs he has been a good citizen, contributing his means literally to many public enterprises in the city. He was the father of four children, three of whom survive him, all married.
I used to believe that Samuel inherited his fathers farm as he was the eldest surviving child at the time of his fathers death. It turns out that this was not the case. He was given 40 acres for a farm and the 80 acres that included a stone quarry a couple of miles up the road by his father in 1832. He added to the farm over the next several years. His younger brother was given the rest of the farm, about 100 acres. When the younger brother sold a prime piece of real estate in 1857 Samuel made arrangements to buy the remaining 90 or so acres from him, borrowing money in order to acquire the property. I suspect he was actually trying to preserve the family farm as the city limits started to encroach on his property line. Had he lived a few more years, our neighborhood would look a lot different.