By Ralph and James Boggs (1953)
In the year 1900 the population increased to 1,791, the Crampton and Sons Boiler Works went out of business, as did the Cresent and Metallic Fence Stay Company; the Citizens National Bank was organized and the Covington Home Telephone Company was started. Some of the businesses in 1900 were; Covington Gazette, Covington Tribune, Covington Woolen Mills, Wagner Tile and Brick Yard, Covington Flouring Mills, Sugar Grove Flouring Mills, The J. W. Ruhl quarries, C. H. Jackson quarries, Dreese Saw Mills, R. M. Alberry Saw Mills, C. T. Dreese Talcum Powder Co., Covington Lumber Company, Covington Telephone Company, Falls Electric Light Company and the Covington Steam Laundry, Covington Building and Loan and Stillwater bank.
Lodges were: Masonic Lodge; I. O.O. F., Mildred Lodge; Langston Post G. A. R., Camp S. of V.; Amokee Tribe I. O. R. M.; Demoiselle Council D. of P.; Patrons of Husbandry; Stillwater Lodge K. of P.; Stillwater Grange and the Order of the Gobblers.
The mayors of this period were: B. Neff (1850), Joseph Marlin (1851, 1852), William Robinson (1853), Thomas Anderson (1854), C. H. Gross (1855), William Robinson (1856), Charles Wild (1857), Isaac Sherzer (1858). No dates can be found for the years 1859 to 1871. but the following men held the office: William Couffer, Thomas Worley, W. G. Bryant, Isaac Sherzer, David Diltz and J. L. Smart. John V. Griffen (1871, 1872, 1873), Adam Minnich (1874- 1876, 1876-1878, 1880-1882, 1882-1884), David Diltz (1870, 1878- 1880), D. C. Shellabarger (1884-1886 ), J. H. Marlin (1886-1888), S. C. Sisson (1888-1890), D. J. Martin (1890-1892-1894), S. D. Palmer (1894-1896, 1896-1898, 1898-1900), and M. H. Nill (1900- 1902).
Those serving on the council during this period were: James Fahnestock, John Patterson, Charles Gross, C. W. Carlton, Hamilton Bartmess, R. H. Neely, James Purdy, John Sowers, R. N. Cox, W. Fahnestock, L. H. Anderson, Daniel Lehman, John Harrison, Joshua Orr, Johnson Huggins, William McDowell, John Whitmer, William Holsinger, J. R. Shuman, James Campbell, G. F. Buchanan, Thomas Marlin, Henry Langston, Joseph Albaugh, Thomas Latchford, Thomas Worley, William Minton, Jacob Widner, John Smart, J. A. Corwin , D. C. Shellabarger, O. Rankin, George Davidson, Rush Reynolds, J. W. Ruhl, Adam Weaver, J. R. Kauffman, David Diltz, John Keister, Ezekiel Boggs, Conrad Neth, Charles Westhaven, C. Wysong, Conrad Shefbuch, Francis Dills, Jacob Kendall, Martin Stienhilb er, G. Neth, A. L. Marlin, Michael Maier, L. H. Kensinger, James Latchford, E. D. Simes, Richard Brandon, Charles Boehringer, G. W. Butt, Maddison Kendell, Clark Adams, Jacob Wagner, T. P. Covault, S. D. Palmer, A. M. Ruhl, S. W. Ullery, Alden Boggs, W. H. Richeson, William Day, J. C. Ullery, George Dreese, Jacob Tobias, Lee Dollinger, Ephram Pearson, Charles Boyer, Thomas Marlin, L. H. Coate, Oliver Younce, E. S. Mohler, J. V. Metzger, J. Guy O’Donnell, E. W. Gross, Alex Brandon, G. W. VanAtta, W. W. R outson, and Lon Conover.
The city marshalls were: Daniel Lehman (1851), C. B. Maury (1852), William Porter (1853), Jackson Shade (1854), David Diltz (1855,1856), Phil Hartzell (1857), B. Gilbens (1858), none available 1859 to 1871; Abraham Fisher (1872, 1873), George Speelman (1874, 1875, 1876-1878, 1880-1882), William Gavin (1878, 1879, 1884-1898), Jacob Tobias (1898-1900). In 1898-1900 William Gavin served as township constable. Harvey Hake was appointed Marshall and night watch in 1901.
The officers in the year 1900 were: M. H. Nill, mayor; W. H. Richeson, clerk; C. M. Gross, treasurer, Jacob Tobias, marshall; Alex Brandon, street commissioner; and councilmen were Oliver Younce, C. Shafer, Harry Furnas, Lon Conover, Clark Adams and J. V. Metzger.
Some highlights of the council meetings: In 1852 the council approved the erection of a market house which was built by Sam Barnhardt on ground purchased from James Fahnestack. This market house was made of frame and was 40 feet long, 18 feet wide and 16 feet to the eaves. 1853 saw a dry ordinance passed prohibiting anyone selling intoxicating beverages in quantities less than one quart except the taverns and drug stores. In 1854 an ordinance was passed to elect the Marshall, treasurer and supervisor instead of the heretofore appointments. In 1856 the market house was sold to Lewis Face. 1870 was the first election for street commissioners. 1873 was the first election for fire wardens. 1872 the ditch or branch running through town was constructed and Wall and Pearl Streets first graded. On December 2, 1874 the council voted to purchase 20 globe gaslight lamps from the Globe Gas Light Company of Boston, Mass., not to include posts and baskets. These were the first street lamps and were purchased for $17.00 per lamp. The first lamp lighter was, Maddison Kendall, appointed in December 1874. In 1887 the council created a Board of Health with Dr. Reinhart in charge. In 1889 a permit was granted by the council to the Dayton Natural Gas Company to lay gas lines in the village of Covington. In. 1896 the first, electric light contract was made between the city and W. A . Shelt and W. H. Deeter on April 15. Also in this year the position of city solicitor was created. On June 9, 1898 the council passed a resolution to build a bandstand. 1901 the council ruled that all future sidewalks must be concrete.
The last 25 years of the 19th century saw the city officials very busy improving and creating the fire department, making, improving, grading and graveling the streets, erecting and maintaining street lights, and building sidewalks, gutters, sewers and ditches. The railroads came, schools were built, fire department was organized, population was increasing and there was considerable talk for several years for a water departments.
AFTER 1850 all business of a permanent or temporary character confined to High Street and all the more aristocratic people lived on that street. It was customary in this period for all merchants to carry a general stock of merchandise including a barrel of old rye, served to customers in good sized glass tumblers. In those days boys were stout and rugged; good runners, hoppers, wrestlers and boxers; and the girls lacked but little of being their equal. There was Joe Ullery who dealt in merchandise and hogs, Daniel Crowell in whose fence was a big hole and a little hole to accommodate the big dog and the little dog coming in and out; Doctor Harrison, Pete Nicholay whose place of business was always known by the smell of “New Orleans Sugar”. Pete kept and sold as many as nine kinds of whiskey all out of the same barrel; Lew Leonard and Ab Routson were the toniest merchants in town; Daniel Lehmans livery stable, Dr. Shortell, who took pictures and pulled teeth; Berry Dunning sold cheese, dried herring and sold lemonade; John Sowers burned lime, quarried stone, bought wheat and corn and swapped horses; Charley Gross repaired wagons and carriages and Diltz and Son used to peg soles on rough boys.
Hamilton Bartmess kept and sold leather and harness; Squire Widener kept the post office and sold merchandise; George Porter, the violinist; Charles, Aaron and Bill Lindsay owned and operated large distilleries and did an extensive business; Mr. Rankins blacksmith shop; John Newman, who always wore a scissor-tail coat and high double decker hat, kept a tavern and sold good red liquor; Henry Bowman had no equal as a fiddler; Jack Shade hero of two wars; Mr. Paff who repaired clocks and watches down near the bridge to West Covington; Campbells’ Mills on Greenville Creek where the first suicide in Covington was committed by Charles Patty; Charlie Cartwright the Confederate and a tailor; Dave Martin a lawyer and best looking man in Covington; Tom Clark the Englishman; the Schillings from way back; Christ Dunkle and Sam Kensinger, millers; Dutch Wagner who carried on a miscellaneous nickle-in-the-slot business on Main Street; Tom Hill, David Brandenburgh and Jim McBride drove oxen and horses for the Smith Mills; The Murrays, Simes and Perrys all well-known families; Henry Etter who was the first and only man to swim over Greenville Falls, doing so stark naked and sliding 300 feet; the first murder about 1840 when Greenlee killed Tice, who kept the two-mile tavern stand west of town and rented the building from Greenlee; Davie Croft who built, owned, operated and controlled many water grist mills, saw mills and farm; the Toblases, Weigles, Jakes and Cassels, all prominent families; George Sipes the stoutest man in Newberry; the colored barber also a good fiddler and runner; Mr. Purdy who sold coffins, chairs and furniture in the days when you were measured for a coffin, and Esquire Joe Marlin who contributed largely to the legal and civil history of Covington, also Squire John Shuman.
Thomas Worley sold drugs and medicine; Joshua Orr burned lime and quarried stone; Squire Branson, the Republican Party leader; William Reisner carpenter and wheelwright; Old Man Lokie and son, Al, kept a tavern, balky horses and drove the stage lines. Starting on the Piqua turnpike at the west end of town and going west the first house was Old Man Stephenson’s, an old crippled sailor who taught school in the township district for, many years’; next house going west was occupied by Abe Olewine whose wife, a Tobias, fed all the boys wonderful cakes, pies, bread and apple butter; a quarter mile farther west old man Corbin kept and operated the drop pole at the toll gate; Jake Tobias occupied the next place and Henry Etter the next; one and one half miles west of town stood the old Botdorf blacksmith shop operated by Botdorf and Kinsey who also made guns; next was Louis Yingst, another blacksmith; further on was Yacob Yengling and the next was the two mile tavern stand first operated by Jack Shade’s father, next by Greenlee and from him to Tice whom he killed, and from Greenlee to Clingenpeel then to Abe Hoover and finally to Jacob Zimmerman who bought the farm and discontinued the tavern stand which had operated for more than forty years.
On May 23, 1849 a stock company was organized to build a railroad from Columbus to Covington and in October of that year a vote was taken and passed and Newberry Township decided on the proposition of taking $10,000 of stock in the Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railroad. This railroad was completed to the Darke and Miami County line late in 1852 and completed: to Union City in 1859. The original name Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railroad was changed to the Pittsburgh, Columbus and St. Louis Railroad, later to the Pittsburgh Columbus Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, then to the Chicago Columbus and St. Louis Railroad and finally became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. Originally the railroad was to pass farther north of Covington but local citizens raised a sum of money (said to be $1,000) to induce the construction to touch the village with a depot site to be furnished at the present Armory site, being donated by Benjamin Lehman. This railroad entered Covington directly behind the Drees coal yard and angled southwest behind the Lumber Yard and the Brooks Service Station on Broadway. It crossed present route 36 about half way between Pearl Street and High Street and then paralleled Broadway to the river, where it crossed about 60 feet south of the present highway bridge. During the construction of the railroad through Covington, the work was done by several hundred Irish laborers. At this time there came to Piqua the Robinson Circus, which had also, as laborers, a large group of Irishmen. Subsequently, a “holiday” was declared by the railroad Irish to attend the circus and enroute to the gala affair, several of them became highly inebriated and engaged the circus Irish in a clanish war which resulted in a badly mangled railroad crew. Two days later, as the Robinson Circus attempted to pass through Covington near the Drees Coal Yard, the railroad Irish lay in wait with pick handles and a burning desire for revenge but when John Robinson, the circus owner, threatened to loose the lions and tigers from their cages, the circus passed, unmolested.
The railroad was standard gauge and the engines were wood burners. Ballast was gravel taken from the premises of Fort Buchanan. This railroad, operating on the ground level, existed until 1907.
In March 1862 the Richmond and Covington Railroad Company was formed, by several Miami and Darke County men among whom were Henry Kitchen, John Gill, John Sowers and John Bradley. These men constructed a railroad from the end of the Piqua, Columbus and Indiana Railroad, a few miles west of Covington, to Richmond, Indiana where they joined with the Indiana Central Railroad at the state line. Early in the spring of 1870, Jack Spade, a daredevil engineer, came speeding across the streets of Covington, thundered down the grade and was soon over Main Street where Jot Kensinger was driving the family cow across the street. Spade, perceiving the animal, opened wide the throttle, trying to throw the cow clear of the tracks but unluckily, the “cow catcher” did not remove the obstruction, the cow rolling under the fire box and serving to raise the engine off the rails as it approached the river bridge. Spade and the fireman jumped clear of the train as it piled into the river on the south side of the bridge but the brakeman stayed with the train and was crushed by the engine.
In 1853 the most violent wind and rainstorm of the half century occurred, the following year the wheat crop was a total loss having been destroyed by the weevil. 1856-1857 was a very cold winter in which it was still below freezing until May 12 and the apple trees did not bloom until the last week in May. In 1859 it frosted on June 5, July 3 and 4 and August 29 In 1863 a hurricane hit Covington and the mercury dropped from 75 degrees to 17 degrees below zero in 10 hours.
Harris Creek Church was built in 1855 and this same year the first Lutheran Church was started in a rented building at the corner of High and Dodd Streets. By 1860 the population had increased from 451 in 1850 to 791, a gain of 340, and school was still being held in the present fire house and in dwellings.
THE FIRST MEETING of the Covington Cemetery Association was held December 25, 1861 in the store of Flockemer and Kensinger at which time the following temporary officers were elected: W. M. Fahnestock, Pres.; J. L. Purdy, Sec.; and J. R. Shuman Treasurer. They purchased five and one half acres at eighty dollars per acre from David Ingle, and commenced selling lots at five dollars each. This plot originally was the Ingle family burying ground. In 1864 the old cemetery at the Baptist Church was moved to Highland Cemetery, and in 1900 David Face presented the stone and iron entrance as a gift to the cemetery.
Currently the cemetery embraces 25 acres and contains approximately 5000 bodies. The avenues or streets in the cemetery are named with names of trees and flowers. About 1890 the grounds were given the name of Highland Cemetery. The cemetery is operated solely by funds from burials and the sale of lots. The present board members are C. E. Koon, Chairman: Roger O’Donnell sec-treas.; Ed Boehringer; Robert Perry and Frank Hartle, who are elected and serve without compensation.
The Highland Mausoleum Association was organized December 29, 1912 and elected the first board of trustees composed of: W. V. Swisher, A. B. Bashore, Jacob Kendall, A. F. Mikesell and Ben Loxley Jr. The Mausoleum was erected in 1912. Present trustees are O. L. Hoover, Pres.; Blanche Hedirck, Mary Wine and Mrs. L. W. Kendell. Revenue is derived from the sale of crypts and the Mausoleum Association pays the Cemetery Board each year for caretaker service. The total number of crypts is 112 and at present 42 are filled and 70 empty.
CIVIL WAR; On that memorable day in April 1861 when the old flag was struck by traitor hands and a semicircle of hostile batteries converged their fire on Sumpter, compelling its surrender, and firing souls to revenge the deed brought Miami County to the front. In a single day the Covington Blues had enrolled and responded to the President’s call. A second day saw them at Columbus swiftly organized as Company I, Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
The number of soldiers raised in Miami County by the two calls were nearly 4,500 men. These men enlisted in various branches, chiefly the 110th, Eleventh, Forty Fourth, Seventy First, Ninety Fourth, 147th Ohio Infantry. Newberry Township sent more able bodied vigorous young men to the war than any township of its size in the United States.
The Covington Blues were organized in 1850 with Jack Langston captain, Jack Shade 1st lieutenant and Dave Martin 2nd lieutenant. After leaving Columbus in 1861 they went to Washington where they were formed into Company E of the Eleventh Regiment O. V. M. The officers at this time were Jack Langston, captain; Jack Shade, 1st lieutenant and “Hi” Moore, 2nd lieutenant. The Covington Blues fought at South Mountain, Antietam Creek, Bull Ran, Monocacy, Sharpsburgh, Nashville, Chattanooga, Gordons Mills, Mission Ridge, Rocky Face, Buzzards Roost, Resaca and were mustered out of the service June 26, 1864.
More about the Covington Blues and it’s impact on the Civil War…
The Covington Blues included some of the first Ohioans to volunteer for military duty with the United States Army during the American Civil War.
At the start of the American Civil War, both the North and the South had to rely on individual states to supply the armed forces with men and supplies. In the case of Ohio, Governor William Dennison turned to the Ohio militia to provide the federal government with necessary troops. The Ohio militia system had been in decline since the end of the War of 1812. With Great Britain’s departure from Ohio and the declining threat from Native Americans, Ohio citizens and their government had felt little need to support strongly this system for the state’s defense.
In April 1861, following President Abraham Lincoln’s call for seventy-five thousand volunteers to end the South’s rebellion, Dennison dispatched George McClellan and Jacob Cox to the state arsenal in Columbus to investigate the guns and other supplies that Ohio had on hand to help equip the militia units. The two men found some cannons that were unusable, old muskets, and other junk. Despite the lack of equipment, Dennison encouraged Ohio communities to revive the militia system and to form units that they would send to Columbus, the state capital.
While the state militia system had deteriorated, numerous communities had maintained units. These units existed primarily to march in parades and to provide young men with something to do in their spare time. Among these units were the Covington Blues, originally organized in 1850. This unit traveled quickly from Miami County to Columbus, in answer to the governor’s call. It became Company I of the Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This unit served as part of the first two Ohio infantry regiments organized for the war. Governor Dennison dispatched these regiments to Washington, DC, to protect the nation’s capital, on April 19, 1861. This was just four days after President Lincoln’s call for volunteers.
Post Civil War…
A paper of national scope had its birth in Covington in 1866 when Elder James Quinter of the Church of the Brethren began printing a paper which he called “The Gospel Visitor”, today published in Elgin, Illinois as “The Gospel Messenger”. This was the first printing and publishing house in Covington and was located where the Wright Merchandise Mart now stands.
The inadequate quarters and scattered situations of the schools impelled the Board of Education to build in 1867-1868 a three story brick house upon the site now occupied by the present structure. It contained 10 school rooms and a large hall and was built at a cost of $10,000. The Board of Education at that time was J. C. Ullery, Isaac Shirtzer, Hamilton Bartmess, Lewis Leonard, M. R. Shellabarger and Michael Bashore. In November of 1868 Supt. R. F. Bennett, with his four teachers, moved into this splendid building and the next year the sixth teacher was added. Two years later the Covington Schools graduated nine members. This first graduating class was composed of: Ermina Cable (Mrs. H. H. Bear), Belle Routson (Mrs. J. T. Bartmess), Belle Quinter (Mrs. Rev. Myers), Hattie Billingsley (Mrs. Robert Harwood), Angie Harrison (Mrs. B. F. Rhodehamel), A. F. Hickman, J. W. Reisner, A. L. Marlin and R. W. Himes.
In 1869 the First Church of the Brethren was built within the village of Covington at Main and Ullery Streets and in the same year J. R. Shuman laid out West Covington which was that portion west of the river and southwest of the village. This part of town never has entered the corporate limits. (The population of Covington in 1870 was 1,010). 1870 is marked as the year the first newspaper was printed in Covington. Mr. S. W. Ely started the Stillwater Valley Gazette but sold it in 1874, to William A. Brown who changed the name to the Covington Gazette. The Stillwater Valley Gazette was first printed on the second floor of the Widner Building, (Shafer’s) later moving to the second story of the building where the bank stands today. Mr. Brown later moved the Covington Gazette to the third floor of the Shellabarger Building, now Streibs.
The Stillwater Valley Bank started as a private institution in 1871 but was not incorporated as a state bank until 1908. The first officers of the institution, as a state bank, were: Jacob Kendall, Pres., A. C. Cable, Cashier, A. J. Maier, assist ant cashier. It closed during the depression of 1931 and never reopened. The last officers were; R. F. Alberry, president, Levi Warner, vice president; A. J. Maier, cashier; Robert Weikert, assistant cashier; C. C. Maier, W. S. Routzahn and Herbert Kendall were board members.
1871; J. M. and S. M. Mohler manufactured drain tile; S. W. Ely was editor of the Stillwater Gazette; Leonard Ullery and Kinsinger proprietors of a grist mill and dealers in flour and grain; David Diltz auctioneer; J. Murlon, Justice of the Peace; G. W . Rauch, tanner and dealer in hides; Rush Reynolds, postmaster and operator of a grocery, confectionary and bakery; Dr. R. J. Poisons, proprietor of The North American Health Institute and Jacob Mohler operated a grist and saw mill. The corporation limits of the town were about the same as today, except for the east which was approximately on Grant Street.
1875; marked the building of the second Lutheran Church which was erected at the corner of Wall and Bridge Street. The 1875 bussiness directory was; W. A. Brown, publisher; H. H. Baer, merchant mill; J. B. Dunning, groceries; Harrison Fisher, merchant; N. W. Furnas, building stone and lime; George Kreighbaum, blacksmith; Joseph Marlin, Justice of the Peace; Hiram Moore, plasterer; Rush Reynolds, postmaster and groceries; J. W. Ruhl, stone and lime dealer, Jack Shade, bricklayer and Samuel Wiley, bricklayer.
REDMAN, which was a portion of the town lying on the hillside west of High Street, starting at the north corporation line and running, south 500 feet, was plotted Feb. 19, 1877 by J. R. Shuman and entered the city March 27, 1885.
The German Baptist Mutual Insurance Company was formed in 1879 and the Dayton, Covington and Toledo Railroad (narrow gauge) was incorporated. This railroad was later known as the Delphos division of the C. H. & D. and it was at one time owned by John Ringling of circus fame. The railroad entered the village of Covington on the southeast corner just east of the present Sellman apartments, continued north past the tobacco warehouse, hub and spoke factory and ran down what is now Grant Street, cutting a cross the present high school’s front yard and passing between Rudy’s elevator and another tobacco warehouse. The depot sat at the site of the present school. The rail road crossed the Piqua Turnpike, continued west of the Covington Lumber Co. and on north. It crossed route 48 on the Ebberts farm and followed the Stillwater river for awhile passing through Blue, Abe Station, Bloomer and on north. It was made standard gauge in 1891. Last train was in the early 1920’s.
By 1880 the population had increased to 1,459, the first fire engine was purchased, the voters went to the April elections in sleighs and Mr. Brown sold the Covington Gazette, to R. and W. F. Cantwell. In 1882 the “Old Order Dunkards” split off from the Brethren Church and a new Greenville Creek Church was erected.
1883 saw a complete crop failure, the crops being planted late combined with a bad year and a killing frost on Sept. 9. The next spring (1884) a killing frost occurred on May 29. In 1886 the Covington Building and Loan was organized and the present Presbyterian Church was erected. The Lewis Woolen Mills in West Covington started manufacturing blankets in 1887. It changed hands in 1917 and was called the Covington Woolen Mill Company, and later in 1930 went completely out of business.
By 1890 the population had increased to 1,779 and the business directory was as follows: A. Routson & Co., dry goods; Cozzens and Brown, dry goods; A. Dreese and Co., dry goods; J. W. Lyle, Conrad Kriegbaum, W. C. Shuman, Richeson and Ullery, Ed Simes, A. B. Stapp, all groceries; T. A. Worley and son and Ratcliff and Dollinger, drug stores; flouring mills were J. S. Mohler and E. Kendell and Son; stone quarries were operated by G. W. Butt, J. W. Ruhl, Lewis Face, Charles Barringer and David Martin; two lumber companies were Dreese Brothers and the Joseph Murphy Lumber Co.; meat markets were C. E. Fashner, C. W. Schmidt and Will Yount, millinery stores, Mrs. S. Townsend. Miss Mina Purdy and Mrs. Richard Schilling; bakeries were C. W. DeWeese and Charles Eberenz; F. W. Weeks was photographer of the Elite Studio; blacksmiths were G. W. Speelman, Henry Tucker, D. M. Lauver. Louis Speelman, Al DeWeese, and Coate and Shafer; Thomas Fine operated a feed store; the livery stables were T. P. Covault and Son (Empire Livery), O. McGowen and Son, and Fosdick and Gross; grain houses were Baer and McClary, Shuman, and Sowers and Co.; tailors were Ruhl and Fennemore, John Belser, Harry Fox; the bank was the Stillwater Valley Bank; Hotels were Central Hotel, Hill House and Leland Hotel; two dairies were operated by Matt Himes and L. D. Falknor; nurseries were B. F. Albaugh, Mesh Cassel and Harry Fox; Greely Furnas was the coal oil dealer; I. A. Corwin was superintendent of the gas works and telephone company; Henry Staley and J. B. Metzger ran harness shops; the attorneys were William Freshour and J. H. Marlin; saloons were operated by Samuel Hoeflich, J. M. Popp, Henry Schloss and Gottleib Warner; The Whitmer Brothers Company and the Cincinnati Furniture Company were the two undertakers and furniture dealers; John Geyer and Wesley Anderson were the barbers; John S. Dollinger was postmaster and the Covington Gazette was the town’s newspaper. R. F. Bennett was school superintendent and R. W. Himes was principal. Teachers were Z. L. Ramsey, Bella Dorsey, Agnes Flammer, Lola Fahnestock, Effie Kinney, Meda Westfall and Kate Marlin The school board was Jacob Kendall, A. S. Rosenbarger, J. R. Shuman, M. Maier, C. Finfrock and A. C. Hall.
Some of the factories were: Hub and Spoke factory owned by J. G. Wagner and Joshua Grubb; the Brandt Machine Shop started in 1879 (burned down in 1902) and was located where the Brethren Parsonage now stands, here also William Boggs manufactured pin cushions and spool racks; J. G. Wagner Brick and Tile Factory; Fahnestock and Westfall pump factory; C. M. Gross Buggy Works; M. Maiers Buggy Works; Maiers Brush Shop; Elijah Hill manufactured Proprietary Medicines and the Covington Manufacturing Company on North High Street operated by William Boggs, manufactured lawn swings. The largest of the factories was the hub and spoke factory which employed 40 men who turned out 1200 rims and 2500 spokes each week and made 2000 hub blocks each day.
In 1895 Judge Dwyer of Dayton, in conjunction with Colonel Orr of Piqua, promoted gas service to the city of Dayton from wells on the Judge’s farm where natural gas was first found in Western Ohio (near North Star.) The lines were laid thru Covington and branch lines served Piqua and Troy. It was organized as the Miami Valley Gas and Fuel Company and furnished gas to the consumers unmetered until the field near North Star diminished. When the supply became insufficient, lines were laid to connect the existing lines with a field at Red Key, Indiana. This supply also soon dwindled and connections were made with a strong supply discovered at Sugar Creek in southeastern Ohio. About this time all the small companies were taken over and reorganized and became known as the Ohio Fuel Gas and Supply Co., which is a subsidiary of the Columbia Gas System from which source we receive our supply now, supplemented by a supply of Texas gas, the distribution being made through the Dayton Power and Light Company.
On January 15, 1896 it was decided by a vote of the people to build a new school house in place of the one existing which had been condemned. The old building was torn down and the grounds prepared for the erection of the new structure, which is the present grade building. The schools first entered this building on January, 18, 1897.
In 1897 R. M. Alberry and sons built a dam across Greenville Creek about one and one eighth miles from Covington at which site they constructed a power plant where the 28 foot water fall turned the generator to supply the first electric power to Covington. This plant was one of the first hydroelectric plants in the state and later furnished electricity to Pleasant Hill, Ludlow Falls and a number of rural lines. In 1911 the organization was incorporated as the Buckeye Light and Power Co. with J. H. Marlin of Covington as president, T. Russell Robinson of Boston as secretary-treasurer, and R. F. Alberry of Covington as general superintendent. The Buckeye Light and Power Company promoted and built the first rural electric lines in the United States and filed first rates with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for the construction and operation of rural lines. About 1927 or 1928 the Buckeye disposed of their property to the United Public Service Company of Chicago. This company in turn was absorbed by the Dayton Power and Light Company who now own the property.
The Covington Tribune was established in 1898 by J. H. Marlin and O. W. Yount. Mr. Yount stayed one year and sold his interest to his partner. In 1905 J. H. Marlin sold to a brother, A. L. Marlin and his son W. L. Marlin.