Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A. E. Merritt ~ Contractor and Builder

Ad in the Miami ~Visitor newspaper, March 23rd, 1850

A(bsolem). E. Merritt (1809-1874) was a contractor, a carpenter and builder. He was also referred to as an architect. His home was located on the northwest corner of Third and North Streets, cattycorner from the Waynesville Methodist Episcopal Church. He bought this property, Lot #1 of the Joseph B. Chapman Addition to Waynesville on June 13th, 1845 for $138.00, Warren Co. Deed Book #26, pp. 601-602 (The handwritten deed is housed in The Mary L. Cook Public Library). In 1847 he took out a $300.00 mortgage on this property from David Evans. The mortgage was paid off on June 11th, 1853 (The mortgage paper is housed in The Mary L. Cook Public Library). He and his wife Esther Kindle (1809-1892) took out another mortgage for $500.00 in 1861 (This mortgage paper is housed in The Mary L. Cook Public Library). His carpentry shop was on North Street.

Mr. Merritt was very active in the social and political life of Waynesville. He was a large subscriber to the building fund for the new 1840 Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the main contractor for St. Mary's Episcopal Church (Also see, History of St. Mary's Episcopal Church). He donated $50.00. In 1854 he was elected mayor of Waynesville and the town council members were Dr. W. H. Anderson, Wesley Haines, Emmor Baily, Levi Hartsock and Daniel Jones. He was associated with E. R. Printz from 1857-1865 in the drug and grocery business (“Early Waynesville” by Judge John W. Keys ).

As a prominent man and leader in Waynesville, his lengthy description of a journey to Mt. Holly, New Jersey was published in the Miami-Visitor on April 5, 1854.

It is not surprising that A. E. Merritt was interested in improving the schools. In the 1850 Federal Census of Warren County, Ohio (Waynesville), he is listed as a 40 year old father, married to Esther P. Merritt who was 41, with five children: Elizabeth R. (11), Keziah (9), Charles E. (7), Esther (4) and Emma (2). Mr. Merritt was listed as a trustee in The Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Waynesville Academy, For the Year Ending Ninth Month, (September) 1846. A. E. Merritt continued his interest in education by serving on the new Union Schoolhouse board when it was contracted to be built in 1855 and he was involved in all the political controversy in the village that finally led to the building of the new school. He and Joel Evans were two of the contractors for the building. The first Union Schoolhouse stood from 1857-1891 and was then replaced by the present structure. A. E. Merritt served as the District Clerk of School District #7 (Waynesville) for many years.

In 1856, A. E. Merritt belonged to the Waynesville Teachers’ Association along with G. M. Zell, D. C. Halsey, George Pliny Brown, Samuel Scott, Miss A. Brown, Miss E. Brown, Coates Kinney, William Henry Venable, Jesse T. Butterworth, John C. Kinney, A. Sellers, Mrs. M. L. Brown (Mary Louise Seymour Brown, wife of Geo. P. Brown), Mr. Hart and Jason Evans (Miami-Visitor, Jan. 30, 1856, February 27th, 1856 & May 7th, 1856).

A. E. Merritt was also highly involved in the Wayne Township Bible Society. According to the Miami-Visitor dated Augut 3, 1859, he was the vice-president of this Bible Society. It is evident that Mr. Merritt was also a Temperance man by the lengthy article he wrote against the evils of alcohol, which was published in the Miami-Gazette on October 18, 1865.

He was the Postmaster of Waynesville for a number of years. Housed in The Mary L. Cook Public Library are two of his Postmaster certificates: one dated April 29th, 1861 and the other June 9th, 1873.

A. E. Merritt was also involved in the establishment of the Waynesville Literary Society and the Waynesville subscription library during the 1850s, both of which were begun by John Wesley Roberts, the publisher of the Miami-Visitor newspaper. Mr. Merritt was on the Board of Trustees for the Waynesville Library Association in 1855.

On August 3rd, 1867, A. E. Merritt bought lot 51 in section H in Miami Cemetery for $22.00. The Miami Cemetery Association deed is housed in The Mary L. Cook Public Library.

The Merritt house ~ Waynesville


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