FAMILIES - MILLER

Lewis. A. Miller - a.k.a. "L. A." Miller

HORSEPOWER FROM FOUR LEGS TO FOUR WHEELS

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This section provides a glimpse of how the primary mode of transportation in Darrtown, Butler County, and southwest Ohio transitioned from horse-drawn wagons and buggies to gasoline-powered autos and trucks, during the early 20th century.

 

Two sources of information are utilized in this section:

  1. Journal entries from the L. A. Miller diaries
  2. Images from the "We're from Hamilton, Ohio" Facebook page.

1. Journal entries from the L. A. Miller diaries

1913, July 18: A hot day. I went to Hamilton, O. after Margaret Phillips (sister-in-law) this PM. The weather became cooler this 8 PM. Our drive home was more pleasant, especially for the horse. 1914, July 30: Autos are getting very thick. The U.S. is going Auto Crazy. 1915, January 27: Arnold & Kirk (Miller & Mee) went to Hamilton, O. in a sleigh, this am. 1916, May 28: Arnold & I went over to take a look at J. M. Doty's auto. Buick & a very substantial machine. Ask $250. I think we will buy it. 1916, May 29: Mr. J. M. Doty came over this A.M. and we went over to farm. I traded in cow & two calves for $100 on auto. I gave him check for $140. He, paying $10, on telephone rent. Auto stands at $250. Buick 1910 model - original cost $1000. Has been run less than 10,000 miles. We went to Hamilton this P.M. I on biz., in regard to farm & the folks to have a ride in auto. 1916, Jun. 20: This P.M., I went to Oxford to meet Mr. S. H. Allen on Tel. biz. On way home, the left front wheel of buggy came off at S. L Herzog's . My horse, Dirk, became unmanageable & ran away - upset me and left me - the shaft coming off. Walked home. Horse not hurt much - stopped running, as soon as he freed himself of shaft. 1917, Jan. 20: This PM, went to Hamilton, O. with J. Beiser and coming home an auto, driven by a neighbor, Mr. Geo. Kolb, not being able to get out of a rut, caught our hind wheel and shook us up. In fact, threw Mr. Beiser out of the rig. The horse being gentle, he stopped at the word. No one hurt seriously. 1917, .Jan. 27: I went to Hamilton today to attend to some biz. I came home in the rain. The horse got soaked pretty thoroughly & I got a little wet. 1917, Apr. 17: Attended Schollenbarger Bros. Livery stock sale. A general sacrifice. Auto has killed the biz. 1917, Oct. 24: Dick got tangled up & threw himself & broke shafts of buggy this AM. I rode him home. 1919, Jan. 13: At home this AM getting in some fodder for cow, calf, and horse from the Abry barn, where I stored some last Spring 1919, Mar. 3: At home. I went to blacksmith shop and got Dick shod (Collinsville, Oh.) this AM. 1919, Mar. 4: A fine day. So many teams at Fr. Glardon’s moving that I did not take my horse and wagon.

WEBMASTER NOTES:

In the year 1913, from November 9 through November 13, after visiting with his parents, who lived in West Chester, Ohio, Mr. Miller traveled further east on “fur” business. He reported on his business contacts in Brown, Clermont, and Highland counties. This entire journey was achieved by horse and buggy - a distance of at least 150 miles, round-trip.

The May 28,1916 entry is the first time that Mr. Miller mentioned possible ownership of an auto.

FOR A BIT OF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: In 1913, the Ford Model T, created by the Ford Motor Company five years prior, became the first automobile to be mass-produced on a moving assembly line.

 

See "History of the Automobile" at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_automobile

The March 4, 1919 entry indicates that many in the Darrtown area were still using horses and wagons for transportation, even though

automobiles were increasing in usage.

2. Images from the "We're from Hamilton, Ohio" Facebook page.

The following images correlate with the topic of how people made the transition from horse-drawn vehicles to those powered by gasoline engines, in the early 1900's.

 

The photos posted below depict scenes from the streets of Hamilton, Ohio, from the 1890's through the 1940's. These images have been added to the this "Miller Diaries" section, because, in his diaries, Mr. Miller frequently writes about going to or through Hamilton by horse and auto.

 

Perhaps this section will help you imagine what it was like for people to travel as described

... in Mr. Miller's diary entries, above, and

... as depicted in the images below.

1890

Notice that the "street car" is being pulled by a horse and there are no rails in the street.

Looking southwest across the  northwest corner of Third and High streets.

1893

Notice all the horses and carriages and

no autos. Also, there appear to be some rails running down the street; so, PERHAPS some form of rail transportation was available.

High Street, looking at Butler County Court House.

H. Frechtling's properties on the 100 block of High Street.

The building at the right bears the name, "Hamilton House Hotel."

Still, all horses and carriages and

no autos.

1895
1908

Parade on Main Street, looking east. The iron truss bridge (at the right in the background) led to High Street on the east side of the Great Miami River.

 

This bridge fell, during the 1913 flood.

1910

In this 1910 image, horse-drawn carriages dominate the streets.

The Adams Express Company, located in the First National Bank building, attracted this crowd to a sale of unclaimed freight.

1910

In this 1910 image, horse-drawn carriages share High Street with automobiles.

1916

This 1916 image, shows a Butler County Lumber Company truck (see name below driver's seat).

 

Also, it appears that this may have been a belt-driven vehicle. Notice, in front of the back wheel, the round object that may have been a pulley and a belt appears to run from the pulley to the engine at the front of the truck.

High Street, looking east.

1930

All cars, no horse-drawn vehicles in this 1930 photo.

1936

Southeast corner of Second and High streets.

The Paramount theater sign appears at th center of the photo. The theater was located across the street from the Butler County Courthouse - which is out of sight, beyond the right margin of this photo.

1945

High and Front streets, looking east.

Notice the "Hotel Butler" sign at the skyline and there is a "Wilmur's" sign in front of the white building.

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