Saturday, April 20, 2013

1880s Autograph Album of Merrill Ellsworth Dawson of Coshocton County, Ohio while at Antioch College


1880s autograph album of Merrill Ellsworth Dawson, with most autographs collected while he was a student at Antioch College at Yellow Springs, Ohio.


The album is approximately 7" x 4-1/4" and contains 46 pages signed by Merrill himself, two of his siblings, his Antioch schoolmates and friends, as well as plates of butterfly scenes interspersed throughout.  An alphabetical list of signers appears at the end of this post.


From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections and additions welcome!]

Merrill Ellsworth Dawson was born 31 January 1864 at Roscoe, Ohio, the son of William and Augusta Mehitable (Adams) Dawson, both Ohio natives.

Merrill had, I think, nine siblings.  Two of them signed pages in his album.  His brother John Quincy Dawson signed a page on Sunday evening, 13 September 1885.


Merrill's sister Abbie Dawson signed a page on 19 February 1889.


Many of the Antioch students who signed pages in Merrill's album were members of the Star Literary Society of Antioch College, which some abbreviated to S.L.S. or S.L.S.A.C.  One of these members was J. F. Gordon, or J. T. Gordon, who signed a page on 27 April 1884.


Another Star Literary Society member was James Ira Collins of Owensville, Indiana, who signed a page at Antioch College on 25 May 1885.


Female students also belonged to this society, as the page signed by Eva Durham at Antioch College on 14 May 1884 shows.


Two students produced artwork on their pages.  Alfred C. Jones of Mt. Joy, Ohio, in Scioto County, penned his page in April 1884.  I wonder if the star represents the Star Literary Society.


O. B. Thomas sketched an intricate bird in 1884.


An obituary for Dr. Dawson mentioned that he taught school for a time before entering medical school.

On 8 October 1889, in Coshocton County, Ohio, Merrill married Olive Rebecca Tredway, daughter of Resin Hammon Tredway and Mary Elizabeth (Welling) Tredway.  Olive was born 12 June 1867.


Merrill and Olive had a daughter, Ethel Vern Dawson, born 9 July 1890, before divorcing.  


The obituary mentioned above indicates that Merrill was president of his class at Western Reserve Medical School.  I found another reference to his 1895 graduation from the medical department of the University of Wooster.  I'm not sure if he attended both schools, or if  the obituary is in error.

On 27 October 1897, Dr. Merrill E. Dawson married Martha J. Riney, daughter of George Thomas Riney and  Nancy Jane (Edwards) Riney.  Martha was born about 1865 at Monroe, Ohio.  Merrill and Martha had two more children, a son Quincy Harold Dawson and a daughter Helen D. Dawson.

Merrill is shown as a physician in the 1900 Censuses of Hanover, Ohio, but by 1910, he was farming at Granville, Ohio.  At some point after 1910, he moved to Louisiana to raise cattle and oranges.  Sadly, he drowned in a river near Loranger, Louisiana in 1915.  His body was returned to Ohio for burial.


If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, or information on any of the signers listed below, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Alphabetical list of signers: [Note: given names within a specific surname may not be in alphabetical order.]



  • Page is very faint, but it was signed at Antioch College on 4 May 1884 by Orpha ? of what I think is Jeffersonville, Ohio.  The surname may begin with an E or C.
  • A. G. M., signed at Antioch College, on 13 June 1884
  • S. D. Bennett, signed on 6 May 1884 at Antioch College
  • N. W. Brandon of Versailles, Ohio, in Darke County, signed on "4.8.84"
  • Evelyn Branson of Selma, Ohio, signed 4 May 1884; "An Antioch Friend"
  • Ariel Brown of Mt. Sterling, Ohio, signed at Antioch College, on 12 May 1884
  • Herbert D. Chase of DeLancy, New York, in Delaware County, signed at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, on 30 May 1885
  • W. D. Clark, signed at Antioch College at Yellow Springs, Ohio, on 9 June 1885; initials that I think represent Antioch College Star Literary Society
  • E. E. Clark of Clermontville, Ohio, signed at Antioch College, on 15 May 1884
  • Alfred Coil, signed at Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • G. A. Collins of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, signed at Antioch College on "6-11-'84"
  • James Ira Collins of Owensville, Indiana, signed at Antioch College on 25 May 1885; member of Star Literary Society of Antioch College
  • Evelyn Darling, signed at Antioch College on 4 April 1884
  • M. E. Dawson, album owner, who signed his name on the inside front cover.  Became Dr. Merrill Ellsworth Dawson
  • John Q. Dawson, signed 13 September 1885; Merrill's brother John Quincy Dawson
  • Abbie Dawson, signed on 19 February 1889; Merrill's sister
  • Eva Durham, signed at Antioch College on 14 May 1884; "your friend in Star"; presumably Star Literary Society of Antioch College
  • O. Jay Fairfield, of Mt. Holly, Ohio, signed at Yellow Springs, Ohio, on "5-4-1884".  Mentions Antioch and Star, presumably the Star Literary Society of Antioch College.
  • A. L. Glendening of North Lewisburg, Ohio, signed at Antioch College on 20 April 1884
  • J. F. Gordon, or J. T. Gordon, signed at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on 27 April 1884; "Star Literary Society"
  • L. A. Harvey of Corry, Pennsylvania, signed at Antioch College, on 4 April 1884
  • George M. Hurst, signed at Yellow Springs, Ohio, on 26 May 1884.  He refers to Merrill as "brother", which was likely a relationship from a mutual fraternity or other organization.
  • E. W. Johnston, signed at Antioch College, on 6 May 1884
  • Alfred C. Jones, of Mt. Joy, Ohio, in Scioto County, signed at Antioch College  in April 1884
  • Annie Joe Long of Graham, North Carolina, signed at Antioch College on 20 May 1884, S.L.S., Star Literary Society of Antioch College.  I'm assuming she was the Annie who was the daughter of Dr. William Samuel Long, founder of Elon College, and his wife Artelia Elizabeth (Faucett) Long.
  • D. A. Long, signed at Antioch College, on 23 May 1884
  • C. M. McCoy o Unionville Center, Ohio, signed at Antioch College on 12 June 1885
  • Carena McKinney of Yellow Springs, Ohio, signed at Antioch College on 8 May 1884
  • H. P. Miller, of [possibly Galena], Ohio, signed at Antioch College, on 26 May 1884.  Someone placed a piece of tape to keep the page in place; sadly, the tape covers the surname and town name.
  • J. P. Miller, signed at Yellow Springs, Ohio, on 7 May 1884
  • F. D. Miller of Galena, Ohio, signed at Antioch College, in Ohio, on 17 February 1886
  • William H. Miller of Clayton, Ohio, signed at Antioch College on "6/1/1885"
  • S. E. Newhouse of New Lisbon, Ohio, signed at Antioch College on 24 October 1884; member of "Star Literary Society"
  • J. S. Patton
  • J. M. Prather of Felicity, Ohio, in Clermont County, signed at Antioch College on 6 November 1884
  • S. A. Rahn, signed at Antioch College at Yellow Springs, Ohio, signed on 5 May 1884; likely Samuel A. Rahn of Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • W. C. Ramsdell of South Westerlo, New York, in Albany County, signed at Antioch College in 1884
  • Henry T. Secrist of Bellefontaine, Ohio, signed at Antioch College, on 29 April 1884
  • Ella Shinkle of Higginsport, Ohio, signed on 12 June 1884; she refers to the S. L. S. in May 1884.  Star Literary Society of Antioch College
  • George W. Snypp, signed at Antioch College, on 26 April 1886
  • O. B. Thomas, signed "3.8.84"; Merrill's schoolmate, presumably at Antioch College.  Beautifully intricate sketch of a bird.
  • A. Thompson, signed 6 May 1884 at Yellow Springs, Ohio, presumably at Antioch College where the album owner was a student.
  • V. A. Troxell of Clayton, Ohio, in Montgomery County, signed at Antioch College on 1 June 1885
  • G. A. Weaver of Trotwood, Ohio, in Montgomery County, signed at Antioch College on 4 April 1884
  • Very faint; William Wright of Cochocton County, Ohio
  • Harvey S. Wright of Gettysburg, Ohio, in Darke County, signed at Antioch College on 1 June 1884.
Roscoe, Ohio


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