From the Past


A brief history moment…Camden.

David E. Hendricks first traveled through the area serving as a soldier during campaigns under General Arthur St. Clair and General Anthony Wayne. Both General St. Clair and General Wayne used trails connecting Fort Hamilton to Fort Jefferson along Seven Mile Creek. Hendricks, considered to be one of Gen. St. Clair’s most fearless soldiers, volunteered for important missions and on one occasion traveled 75 miles to get an urgent message to Fort Washington for the General. It was under these campaigns that Hendricks discovered the beauty of what would become Camden, Ohio.

After the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, Hendricks returned to Fort Hamilton and married Roseanna Stackhouse. Once the land along Seven Mile Creek was surveyed and put up for purchase, Hendricks bought three lots and moved his family to what is now the eastern side of Camden in 1803. Two years after the Hendricks family arrived in the area George D. Hendricks, David’s son, was born on October 3, 1805. George is believed to be the first male settler born in Preble County.

The community was first laid out in 1818 under the name of Dover and became incorporated in 1831 as Newcomb, and in 1835 the name was changed to Camden. Although mail service had already been established as early as 1819, they would not receive their first post office until May 26, 1824.

In 1866 the first fire company was established and in 1895 The Camden Fire Department was created. By 1944 coverage was needed for a larger area and the fire department began operation as the Camden and Somers Township Fire Department.

World-famous novelist, Sherwood Anderson was born in Camden on September 13, 1876. His published works include eight novels, four collections of short stories, poems, plays, hundreds of articles, reviews, and essays. Another notable resident, Cyrena Van Gordon, was born in 1893 and graduated from Camden High School in 1910. After graduating, Miss Van Gordon studied at the College of Music in Cincinnati. She made her debut with the Chicago Civic Opera in 1913 and joined the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City in 1934. She retired from the stage in 1940.

Don Elston, born April 6, 1929, was a star on the Camden High School baseball team and on September 17, 1953, made his MLB pitching debut for the Chicago Cubs. Elston made 450 appearances in Major League Baseball, all but one was with the Chicago Cubs. He would amass a 49-54 record as a pitcher with a 3.69 era and 519 career strikeouts along with 64 saves. Elston remained with the Cubs until 1965.

From its early beginnings with some of Preble County’s first settlers Camden has a long and rich history. The beauty of the area attracted early pioneers from the South and East to clear land and build homes. From a few early settlers, Camden has grown to a population of about 2,000 residents but has managed to retain its small-town atmosphere throughout the years.

25 years ago…

Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1998

The Preble County Commissioners announced Monday their plans to construct a parking garage behind the courthouse in Eaton.

Parking in the downtown area has been a concern for many years. However, both county and city officials have been particularly focused on the situation over the past several months. This would help alleviate the downtown parking problem by providing county employees with a place to park without using the street.

50 years ago…

Wednesday, Aug. 29, 1973

John Mowen, R.R. 2, West Alexandria, reported the theft of 85 head of York-Hamp cross feeder pigs weighing between 90 and 100 pounds. Deputy Dane Brierly said the pigs have been taken over a period of time the past two weeks, not all at one time.

75 years ago…

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1948

Three Eaton baton twirlers attended a contest at Findlay last Saturday. The trio, Gene and Betty Jane Russelo and Carol Ashworth were awarded medals in their respective classes for their performances. Gene Russelo received a second-place medal in one event and third in another. Betty Jane Russelo received two first-place medals while Carol Ashworth copped two third-place medals.

100 years ago…

Wednesday, Aug. 29, 1923

Miss Cyrena Van Gordon, a former resident of Camden, has been engaged to sing at the Fall Festival at Cincinnati now in progress.

Miss Van Gordon’s position in the world of music has been fixed and from music critics, she has received high praise. Dramatic writers of the Chicago Herald-Examiner and Chicago Daily News gave her very flattering notices last year which were reproduced at the time in the columns of the Register-Herald.

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