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DPH Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 293157
Dayton, Ohio 45429-9157
Col. George Newcom's Tavern
The first jail was the tavern's dry well
Dayton... a Midwest police story, but one unlike others in this nation.
The history of law enforcement in Dayton goes as far back as the beginning of its settlement and embodies the story of Dayton itself.
Post-Revolutionary War, pioneers headed beyond the Appalachian range from larger eastern cities. A main corridor for the movement westward was the Ohio River: from Pennsylvania and (West) Virginia to Kentucky and Ohio.
Dayton was typical of many emerging cities throughout the Midwest during the frontier expansion.
In 1796, Dayton was founded in a river wilderness on the western edge of the new frontier. Named after a signer of the U.S. Constitution, Jonathan Dayton, this new community was settled along the banks of the confluence of the Great Miami and Mad Rivers.
Its population was meager - only 5 families at the start - but within a year, local police service began with the appointment of its first constable, Cyrus Osborn, in June 1797.
Miami-Erie Canal looking toward E. First St. ca. 1890
The adjacent buildings to the right still stand.
(the canal is now Patterson Blvd.)
By 1830, Dayton was second in Ohio to Cincinnati in population and was growing. By the Civil War, Dayton was the 45th largest city in the nation. Only the Ohio cities of Cincinnati and Cleveland were larger although the state capital, Columbus, was on the rise. Dayton would remain a top 40's city for 110 years until 1970. It remains a major Midwest metropolitan community.
As the city of Dayton grew in national prominence, it police history evolved in traditional (and also not so common) ways.
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