This Day in Dayton, 21 May

The beginnings of Dayton Union Seminary may have been in May 1857, when David H. and Rachel B. Crouse and Samuel R. and Anna A. Seawright purchased lots 5 and 6 in Horram's Original Plat for Fairfield/Dayton from Charlotte Bush. These were two of the four lots soon occupied by the Dayton Union Seminary. According to tradition, among the earliest private secondary schools in the county was the one at Dayton, which is said to have opened its doors in 1850 (Hooker). However, no record can be found of the school until December 7, 1858, when David H. and Rachel B. Crouse and Samuel R. and Anna A. Seawright deeded lots 5 and 6 in Horram's with “privileges and appurtenances,” to the Trustees of Dayton Union Seminary, who were W. J. Snoddy, J. M. Bayless, Robert Baker, Samuel Davis, and John Royal. The price was $150. One might speculate that the two families had the school in mind when they bought the land. A few weeks later, on January 24, 1859, Platt and Elisabeth Bayless sold lots 27 and 28 to the same trustees for $100, the other two lots needed for the school. These four lots in the first block of Washington street were soon occupied by the private secondary school in Dayton, first incorporated as the Dayton Union Seminary and later the Dayton Methodist Episcopal (ME) Academy, or simply the Dayton Academy or the Dayton High School. Associated with the school was a literary society that went by several names: Dayton Platonian Society, Dayton Institute, and Dayton Union Literary Society. Documents for the society from 1865–66 include the names of Jennie, James, Josie [sic], Frank, John, and Anna Royal (TCHA’s Alameda McCollough Research Library), members of three Royal families who lived west of Dayton where SIA is located today.

Susan ClawsonComment