FAMILIES I-L: KYGER ~ George W. Kyger
According to the Darrtown Family Tree, both husband and wife, George W. Kyger and Mary (Beeler) Kyger are "Darrtown Pioneers."
George W. Kyger
The George W. and Mary (Beeler) Kyger family
Oxford Press Column Chronicles Kyger Family
The following article summarizes the arrival and founding of the Kyger family in Milford Township and then focuses on the Huston Daniel Kyger branch of the Kyger family, which retained its roots in and around Darrtown.
The following is an abbreviated reprint of a 1976 Oxford (Ohio) Press column written by Bob White. Some parts of the original story that dealt with the Kyger family's involvement in Oxford history were omitted. Harry Ogle contributed the original article to the Darrtown.com website in January 2012.
"Kyger Brothers in Business Here a Century Apart
In the Oxford Citizen of 1872, the Kyger Brothers (George and Moses) were advertising ‘Hats, Shoes, Clothing, Hosiery, and Notions,’ with ‘Wool and Country Produce Taken in Exchange.”
In today’s Oxford Press of 1976, the Kyger Brothers (Frank H. and George F., grand-nephews of the above) are advertising Plymouth, Chrysler, and Dodge models in a family car dealership that’s been serving Oxford for the past 45 years.
Daniel Kyger and his wife, Ann Teegarden Kyger, of Pennsylvania, headed west at the beginning of the nineteenth-century and settled along the Four Mile Creek about 1803, the ruins of their log cabin [HOVER] still visible near the intersection of Lanes Mill and Schollenbarger Roads. To them were born six children:
> George Kyger (1820-1879) married Sarah Ann Bradbury and was associated in business in Oxford with his brother, Moses.
> Moses Kyger (1817-1890) first married Maria Bacon (1823-1849) and following her death married > Jane E. Cathcart (1830-1901)
> Maria Kyger married John Wallace.
> Henriette Kyger (1827-1904) married Joseph Nichol.
> Elizabeth Kyger (1828-1911) married Oxford businessman, John Chatten.
> Huston Daniel Kyger (1831-1908) married Louisa Flenner.
The sixth child, Huston Daniel Kyger (1831-1908) married Louisa Flenner (1845-1886), daughter of a prominent Milford Township family, and it is their grandsons who are currently active in Oxford commerce.
The Huston Daniel Kygers had five children:
Anna Kyger married William Ramsey, and they were parents of William Ramsey, who resides on University Avenue, and Murray Ramsey, of Hamilton.
Luella Kyger, who died at age twelve.
John Flenner Kyger married Effie Meeks and was prominent in Hamilton.
Catherine Kyger married Clarence McVicker.
George Huston Kyger married Marie Kabig and they were the parents of Helen Louise “Billie” Kyger (Mrs. Orland Rader of Columbus); Frank Huston Kyger and George Flenner Kyger, better known as “Bunny” Kyger, both of Oxford."
…skip forward to additional Darrtown-related history in this article...
"Unlike his brothers, who were active in the Oxford community, Huston Daniel Kyger remained in Milford Township, where he operated a mill, raised large quantities of tobacco, and was perhaps best known for his racetrack and the prize trotting horses that he raised.
His son, George Huston Kyger, grew up around horses, learned to train them there and in upper New York, and for a time also manage the farm, dealing in Poland China hogs. But, then horsepower began to gain speed on horse power, and George H. Kyger began to sell Model T’s for Louis Wuille."
This is an image of the Kyger cabin that sat near the intersection of Lanes Mill and Schollenbarger Roads.
Huston Daniel Kyger Dead
The following is a reprint of a September 19, 1908 Hamilton Journal article that Harry Ogle contributed to the Darrtown.com website in January 2012.
"H. D. Kyger Dead
Well Known Horseman Is No More
He Was Born Near Where Life’s End Came For Him Early Saturday
Huston Daniel Kyger, of Darrtown, one of the most widely known horsemen and wealthy stockowners in the state of Ohio, died at his home near Darrtown at 6 o’clock this morning, aged 77 years.
The aged horseman had been in feeble health for the past few years, and while racing his horses, in company with his son, George, on the Virginia circuit, at Parkersburg, W. Va., he was stricken with a general breakdown in health, and was brought to his home in Darrtown. Pneumonia set in and the life of the aged horseman was despaired of. His family was called to his bedside, and the life of the best known and wealthiest racing horse owner in Butler County passed away at 6 o’clock this morning.
Mr. Kyger was born April 17, 1831, at the Kyger home, one mile west of Darrtown, Butler County, Ohio, and lived there until past the age of 30 years, when he moved to his present home. He was married to Leona Flenner March 23, 1871.
Mr. Kyger, at the time of his death, was the owner of nearly fifty head of fine racing horses, and has been in the horse racing business for over 30 years. His horses were widely known, and have been driven often by Mr. Kyger himself on all the tracks in Ohio and surrounding states. At one time, his horses stood foremost on local racing circuits and many sensational records were made by them. His famous racer, ‘Kit Curry,’ established a wonderful record on the Grand circuit and won for Mr. Kyger many honors in the racing world. This was the only horse that went through the Grand Circuit two years in succession and was pronounced by experts the greatest racer the world has ever seen.
As a farmer and stock raiser, Huston D. Kyger stood among the best in the country, and was an authority and expert on most all things pertaining to the products of the farm and stock. He was well liked throughout the county and his large host of friends will be very sad indeed to hear of the death of one of the most respected residents of the county.
Mr. Kyger was a kind and loving father and husband, and his death will be deeply mourned by those about him. His wife preceded him in death, August 26, 1886. Of five children, four are still living to mourn the loss of their beloved father, and also three grandchildren.
The passing away of Huston D. Kyger blots out the life of one of the most useful citizens of Butler County. His enemies were few and friends many. His name will always be a monument to the memory of local racing circles, and will always be remembered foremost in his particular calling.
The funeral will take place at 10:30 o’clock, Tuesday, at the house. Internment, Darrtown cemetery."
1860 Census provides glimpse of
H.D. Kyger's farm and horse racing business
BELOW: The first image is a copy of the original 1860 U. S. Census report.
The handwritten information is summarized in the second image below.
Observations about the 1860 Census above
Since the federal census collected information according to a person's place of residence, it is tempting to assume that all persons listed in the report for the H.D. Kyger property actually lived on the Kyger farm. Note that the dwelling numeral (1509) and the family numeral (1418) are identical for all those listed. These numerals were assigned by the census taker, in the order that he visited dwellings and families in Milford Township. In this instance, the census taker was listed as William H. Keepers.
Mr. Kyger's farm/horse racing business was large enough to sustain his employment of nine "day laborers." The report does not indicate the occupations of the last three names on the list.
The numeral "15,000" was the reported value of H.D. Kyger's real estate and the "1,200" was the reported value of his personal property. According to an Internet "inflation calculator," one dollar in 1860 would be worth $7.78 today (Sept. 15, 2012). At that rate, H.D. Kyger's 1860 real estate would be worth 16,700 in 2012 dollars.
The column furthest to the right, in the image above, displays each person's place of birth.
The image at the right summarizes the info that appears in the original, handwritten 1860 U.S. Federal Census above.
Information about Kyger's Horses, Including Kit Curry
News Article Touts Kyger Stables
The following is a reprint of an undated news clipping that Harry Ogle contributed to the Darrtown.com website in January 2012.
"Darrtown also made sports page news via the horses of Huston Daniel Kyger, whose trotting track was located on the north side of Scott Road, near the present new subdivision.
One of Kyger’s most famous trotters was “Kit Kurry,” whose Grand Circuit record was 2:18 ½. Kyger, who reportedly refused 0,000 for her, is said to have discovered the mare pulling a huckster’s wagon in Eaton (Ohio). Her mother had been one of the fine-bred Kentucky mounts left behind by Morgan’s Raiders, when they swept through Ohio.
At one time, H. D. Kyger had as many as 70 race horses, including colts, and Kyger’s son, George H. once had a horse named “Frank” with a record of 2:12 on the Grand Circuit.”
Information about the USTA
"Founded in 1939, the U.S. Trotting Association brought order to what had been chaos: In prior years, the sport was administered by regional organizations, each with differing rules, that often failed to honor each other’s suspensions.
The USTA, which since 1948 has been headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, ruled as the sport’s sole regulatory body until the 1960s, before the state racing commissions took over most of those functions, but the USTA retains an important role in the sport today because of its mission and grassroots leadership."
The location of Kyger's trotting track (mentioned at the left) is affirmed in the Recollections of Lawrence Baumann, who farmed the land where the track once stood. That property became the "new subdivision" (mentioned in the article at the left), which consists of Shannon and Darr Drives. Also, see the "Historical Sites In and Around Darrtown" map.
Kygers' horses were "trotters," that raced in the sports world of harness racing. The official organization for that harness racing is known as the United States Trotting Association. For information about the Grand Circuit of trotting horses, click the link at the right.
The fact that the USTA was not founded until 1939 may explain why (in 2012) records of Kit Curry are not available through an Internet search.
- famed trotter
from Kyger's stable
- Darrtown, Ohio
RIGHT: This photo was found at a website that is hosted by the Middletown Library; see "Library Lens."
George C. Crout is credited as the photographer.
The following is a reprint of an April 14, 1986 Hamilton Journal newspaper clipping that Harry Ogle contributed to the Darrtown.com website in January 2012. The clipping included the following handwritten notes:
"Horse - Kit Curry - Owned by H. D. Kyger"
"Huston Daniel Kyger - Known as H. D. or Hous Kyger - Born 1831"
"Owned horse named Frank - Not Franky"
The "Kit Kurry" newspaper story, which appeared on Page B-3, in a column titled "Other Days," was written by George Crout, a Journal-News contributor. The newspaper stated that George Crout "is a longtime Butler County historian and educator. His column appears each Monday in the Journal News.”
"Kit Curry Finds Track to Fame
One hundred years ago, Kit Curry was the best-known name in Butler County and local citizens kept close touch of her travels and earnings.
Her home was a barn near the Darrtown race track, with an extended family that included 70 others. Kit Curry didn’t find herself above living in a horse barn, being Ohio’s most famous equine.
Huston Daniel Kyger, who assembled Butler County’s finest stable, had discovered Kit Curry pulling a huckster’s wagon along the streets of Eaton (Ohio). He bought the Cinderella horse, learning that her mother had been one of the fine Kentucky mounts left behind by Gen. John H. Morgan’s Raiders, as they raced across southern Ohio in 1863.
Riding behind her in a high-wheeled sulky, Kyger often drove the light bay mare to victory at the track. The racing season of 1888 was one of the best ever. Kyger left home on May 12, with the first race at Columbus, Ind., where the eight-year-old mare’s record was 2:23 ¼.
At the last race of the season at Lancaster in October, her time had fallen to 2:18 ½. During that season, Kit Curry was entered in 20 races and placed in all, but one.
Her largest winning was at Hartford, Conn., where second place gave her 500. Her best time was at Cleveland.
Kit Curry continued to trot to victory in many more races. On the Grand Circuit, she finally posted her record at 2:18 ¼. Her owner refused many offers, turning down one for 0,000.
While she was his best horse, Kyger developed many other noted racers, including Mansfield, Ed Ammon, and Franky.
H. D. Kyger was a member of a pioneer family of the county that had migrated to Milford Township. One of his sisters married Joseph Nichols, who also became a noted horseman. Born in 1834, Kyger was educated in school at Darrtown. In 1871, he married Louise Flenner of another pioneer family.
Hugh, as he is known, early in life became a breeder of fine horses and gained a national reputation in racing circles, following the national circuit for 35 years. In a addition to his racing interests, he ran a 225 acre farm, a planning mill and sawmill, as well as a tobacco business.
His sons, John and George, remained with their father, until his death in 1908 and continued to develop trotting horses, until 1915, when the horses were sold. The brothers then turned to raising of pure-bred Holstein cattle. The Kyger name is still well-known in Oxford, now on an automobile agency."
George Huston Kyger
The information that appears below was found at pages 407-409 of:
Since the article bears the title, "George Huston Kyger," one might assume that it focuses solely on the life of George Huston Kyger. However, the story is actually a record of the Kyger family that originally settled near the intersection of Lanes MIll Road and Schollenbarger Road, west of Darrtown. The record even includes a listing of the "in-laws" of Huston Daniel Huston.
Note also that this account is written in present tense; George Huston Kyger was alive, when this record was written. Some items appear in brackets, in an attempt to clarify family relationships.
"Belonging to one of the honored pioneer families of Butler county, George Huston Kyger is numbered among its native sons, his birth having occurred at Darrtown, where he now lives, July 17, 1878, a son of Huston Daniel Kyger.
He [George Huston Kyger] has passed his life here as a farmer and stock raiser and is accounted one of his community's most progressive and enterprising agriculturists and substantial citizens.
The paternal grandparents of Mr. George Huston Kyger, Daniel and Ann (Teegarden) Kyger, were pioneer settlers of Butler county, taking up land on section 30, Milford township. This was all wild property, but the sturdy grandparents transformed the wilderness into a productive farm and comfortable home and there rounded out long and honorable careers. They were the parents of these children:
George, deceased, who was a merchant at Oxford, Ohio;
Moses, deceased, who was a resident of that place;
Maria, deceased who was the wife of John Wallace, deceased;
Henrietta deceased, who was the wife of Joseph Nichols;
Elizabeth, deceased, who was the wife of the late John Chatten.
Huston Daniel Kyger was educated in the home schools of Darrtown town in which community he was reared as a farmer on the home place and was married in 1871 to Louisa Flenner, of Milford township, a daughter of Adam and Catherine (Wehr) Flenner, natives of Butler county and farming people of Woodsdale, Ohio.
Early in his career, Huston Daniel Kyger [father of George Huston Kyger] became a breeder of fine trotting horses and gradually developed into a man of national reputation in that line, having bred and owned such horses as Kit Kurry, Mansfield, Ed Ammon, Frank and others. He followed the racing circuit for thirty-five years all over the United States, but while he was one of the best known horsemen of his day, he did not devote his time entirely to that business, as he was also the owner of a fine farm and a planing mill and sawmill, in addition to which he carried on an extensive tobacco business, in which latter he lost some $65,000 when he was burned out in 1876. He was a Democrat in politics and an influential man in his party during his day, and as a fraternalist, was a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was also the principal founder of the Home Protective association, of which he was the author of the by-laws, and was always active in matters of this kind. His death occurred September 19, 1908, at the age of seventy-four years, while Mrs. Kyger passed away in 1886, aged forty years, in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. They were the parents of five children:
Anna, who married William Ramsey, of Darrtown;
Ella, who died single;
George H., of this notice;
John F.; and;
Catherine, who married Clarence McVicker, of Darrtown.
John F. Kyger, [son of Huston Daniel Kyger and brother of George Huston Kyger] of Darrtown, is a farmer of Butler county and in partnership with his brother, George H. He is president of the Butler County Farmers' bureau and of the Queen City Milk Producers' association of Cincinnati, a breeder of pure bred Holstein cattle and active in township and county affairs. He married Miss Effie Meeks.
Like his brothers and sisters, George Huston Kyger attended the public schools of his native place and was reared on the home farm, where the brothers remained with their father until the elder man's death. With him, they had been in the trotting horse business for several years and had assisted him in developing some of his most famous animals, but in 1915, the brothers, who had taken over the management of the farm, turned their attention more particularly to the raising of pure bred Holstein cattle, a business in which they have continued to the present, with constantly-increasing success.
Mr. Kyger and his brother operate a farm of 225 acres, devoted to general farming purposes, and are accounted among the most progressive and thoroughly capable men in their line in this part of the county. Their farm work is characterized by the use of the most highly improved equipment and nothing but modern methods, practically applied, are sanctioned.
George Huston Kyger was married June 6, 1916, to Maria Kabig, born in Wood county, Ohio, and they are the parents of two children:
Helen Louise, born April 17, 1917; and
Frank Huston, born April 2, 1919.
Mr. Kyger is a staunch Democrat in politics, and as a fraternalist, is a member of the Knights of Pythias at Darrtown."
Background info on the parents of Louisa Flenner, wife of Huston Daniel Kyger
Adam and Catherine Flenner [in-laws of Huston Daniel Kyger] were the parents of these children:
Chambers, a farmer of Milford township, who married Laura Elliott of Darrtown and died March 3,1899;
Nathan, who is single and resides at Darrtown;
Louisa, who became Mrs. [Huston Daniel] Kyger;
Harriet, who married William Levin of Darrtown;
Lavanda, the widow of John Clements, of Hamilton; and
Catherine, who married Cornelius Irwin.
For his second wife, Adam Flenner [father-in-law of Huston Daniel Kyger] married Amanda Harnnek, of West Chester, Ohio, and they had these children:
Ollie, who is deceased;
James, of Trenton, Ohio;
Elizabeth, who married Joseph Wehr, of Overpeck, Ohio; and
Isabelle, who married George Cook, of Westchester.
Billie Kyger Essay Wins Prize
The following is a reprint of an Oxford Press news article that Harry Ogle contributed to the Darrtown.com website in January 2012. The news clipping carried a handwritten notation that read "May, 1930." Editor’s Note: This is the essay that won first prize in the contest sponsored by the Oxford Press
Kyger Log Cabin Built in 1803 Still Stands on Four Mile Creek
By Billie Kyger
“Great-grandfather Kyger must have been a true pioneer to have left his father and mother in Hampshire, Virginia, and to have braved it down the rapid, but beautiful Ohio.
I sometimes wonder why he chose to venture up the Great Miami. Maybe his horses too, wandered away from the camp, along the Ohio and came into the beautiful and fertile valley of the Miami, as did those of my pioneer great-great-grandfather, Daniel Flenner. But I am sure that if it did happen, the horses knew where the grass was the greenest, for Butler County is called “the Garden Spot of Ohio.”
Around the year 1803, he settled in Butler County, section 30 of Milford Township, a few yards from the Four Mile Creek. In 1827, he secured his lease from Miami University, paying three dollars an acre for the land.
It was here among the willows and the great white oaks that he hewed the first logs and made the clapboards for a cabin that has stood for a century and a half.
This house was really more than a cabin for it had two stories, with two rooms on each floor. Even today, not one of those huge white oaks that were hewed and placed there so many years ago has sagged one inch. In only a few places have the stones that were chinked together between the logs fallen out. The great old fireplace stands at one end, with every stone still in place.
The little narrow stairs at the right of the fireplace rise about four or five steps, then make a left turn and proceed to the second story, where one almost runs into the great stone chimney. There, on the second floor, connecting with the same flue, is a smaller stone fireplace.
The stones used in making these fireplaces and the four to five-inch foundation of the house came from the bed of the creek that runs by the cabin. Fifty yards or so from the house, in a clump of willow trees is the spring. My father has told me that one of the early industries of Darrtown was the weaving of willow baskets. Every spring the young shoots would be cut from these willows and taken for the weaving.
Grandfather played among these trees as a small boy and one of his playmates was a blacksnake that lived along the creek. It became so tame that he could feed it milk from a cup. Many years later, when he had a daughter of his own, she stepped on a blacksnake, which nearly frightened her to death, but grandfather would not allow it to be killed.
True to the pioneer custom, great-grandfather had his orchard. Here great-grandmother, who would have been Ann Teegarten, of Virginia, would gather apples and spend autumn days simmering her apple butter in great copper kettles over and open fire. Here, too, she must have baked her corn pone on large flat rocks.
In our home today stands a cherry desk, of Governor Winthrop design, which great-grandfather Kyger brought down the Ohio River on a flat boat. It is one of the original furnishings of the cabin, and stood there perhaps seventy-five years. Would it not interesting, indeed, if that desk could talk to us for an hour? What romantic tales it might tell. The other day, another member of the family gave a wine glass to me. It, too, had belonged to my great-grandmother, who brought it from Virginia, to her new home in Ohio. I know I shall always treasure it.
I always enjoy visiting the old cabin, not only because it was the home of my great-grandfather, but also because it is one of the few, if not the only, original cabin standing in this part of the country."
RIGHT - On August 5, 2013, Alan Kyger of Oxford, Ohio, provided this image and the following information about the photo:
"The gentleman at the far right is my great grandfather H.D. Kyger, born in Darrtown in 1832, died 1908. The young man fifth from the left, with no tie, is my grandfather George Hueston Kyger, born 1878, died 1955."
Butler County property records reveal that the Kyger property passed through three other owners, before being purchased by Frank Baumann, in 1952.
By combining (1) historical documentation (look for the 1914 Map at this website on a page titled, Maps) and (2) the memory of Janet (Baumann) Jewell - granddaughter of Frank Baumann, - we can confirm that the house seen in the above photo stood on the first farm east of Darrtown on the south side of Scott Road. Janet recalls living in this residence, when she was a young child.
In the 1960's, Lawrence Baumann, son of Frank Baumann, built a new home, in front of this house - closer to Scott Road. For many years, after the Lawrence Baumann family moved to their new home, this former Kyger home stood empty and/or was used for storage.
The Luther McVicker residence was located across the road, from this property, in the mid-20th century.