>The D&U Railroad and Arcanum


Back in 1919, Mrs. McLeod visited Miss Mattie Ivester (later of Ivester Tavern see photo) of Arcanum, Ohio when she was 92 years of age. A newspaper article gives an interesting account of the area and how it was then to ride the D&U railroad passenger trains.*
She remembers the early days of Arcanum when only five families lived in Arcanum. Mrs. McLeod originally moved to Arcanum with her first husband in 1851, before the railroad was built through town. The other families residing in Arcanum then were Sam Smith who owned a small store. Sam was a brother of John Smith, who was the father of M. M. Smith and L. H. Smith. William Gunder and his family resided in a house standing several yards west of the Ivester home (A great, great, grandson now lives in a house located on the original site). William Gunder laid out the town of Arcanum in 1849.

Mr. Bolen kept a hotel in Arcanum and Mahlon Floyd and his family made up the total population of Arcanum in 1851 according to Mrs. McLeod. Her husband, Miller Davis, was the town blacksmith.

Mrs. McLeod remembers that when she arrived in Arcanum, everything was swamp and that when she visited the neighbors, she had to walk from log to log to keep out of the mossy green water. She remembers that Philip Albright came to church and used a ten foot pole to vault from one log to the next.

People thought the railroad would be too expensive, but the first night the workmen who were building the railroad arrived in town, her home caught on fire and 52 of the railroad workers helped to extinguish it. The railroad was completed through town in 1852 and she made a trip to Dayton on it the following year (1853). She remembers the water covered the cross ties in many places on the way to Dayton.
Note: *I was a very small boy when the D&U came through Gordon all decked out with bunting and flags and the whistle was blowing. Mother called me outside to see “the last passenger train to pass through Gordon.” I remember the pretty ladies with umbrellas and big hooped gowns waving at me as the train and cars passed through town.

From my book: A Place to Live available at http://www.lulu.com/popslinc [submitted by A. Lincoln]

  1. #1 by os on November 10, 2010 - 12:23 am

    >I really like these stories. I appriciate people like A. Lincoln who take time to tell us about times some of us missed. Keep them coming!

  2. #2 by Jeff Besecker on November 10, 2010 - 5:16 pm

    >I am a HUGE history buff and fear my generation is losing sight of the value of holding on to stories from our countries past. Darke county has played a very significant role in the development of our country and I hope that legacy will be held on to. Glad to see stories like this surface and hope our county historical society flourishes.

  3. #3 by Abraham Lincoln on November 11, 2010 - 12:06 pm

    >Reply to os…Memories of how things were is something that I have been interested in. I have a lot of things to talk about and will get on with it …

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