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Leonard Hill Local History Collection

Identifier: MS-28

Scope and Content

The Leonard Hill Local History Collection consists of a variety of primary and secondary sources related to several topics in Piqua area history. The documents include feature articles, newsletters, brochures, two diaries, and a log book.

Of primary interest are the original diaries and log book. The farmer’s diary of John B. Miller provides a wealth of information about a mid-19th century farm community, although the script is difficult to decipher at times. Mr. Miller faithfully recorded four types of information for each year, 1836-1843: (1) an accounting of winter meat purchased for the coming year; (2) a list of deaths, burials, marriages, etc., throughout the year; (3) the amount of grains raised and sold; and (4) single-line entries of daily events, describing weather, work, family health, purchases, and visits. As indicated, the diary does not elaborate on or evaluate his activities, but the volume of data for this concentrated period of time allows much room for expansion by the researcher. The precision of the diary’s method, for example, each yearly account begins with winter meat and ends with the last day of the period, and most monthly accounts are confined to one page, which enables the reader to easily place events in a useful context and adequately compensate for the small gaps. Four months are missing, those of January 1836, January-February 1841, and December 1843.

The 1862 Union soldier’s diary recounts two months following the battle at Richmond, Kentucky in which he had been captured, paroled and returned to Union custody, north of Columbus, Ohio. He struggled to overcome the paroled soldier stigma, which appeared to inhibit his reacceptance into active service. This document is very readable and also provides insights into regional army administration and 25-year old Major General Lew Wallace. Secondary materials in Folder 5 provide interpretative accounts of this and related Civil War campaigns in the Ohio area, which can readily assist the reader in placing this soldier’s story into a broad context.

The Miami and Erie Canal Log Book was mandated by the State of Ohio, Office Board of Public Works, which required each boat captain to record labor, location, distance dredged each day, and time lost for repairs or delay. This document records the work of James R. Spencer, “Foreman”, between July 1, 1879 and September, 1904, in the form of one-line entries on destinations, materials hauled, and construction and repair of the canal locks. Entries are made consistently throughout the period, despite a notable gap between July, 1882 and November, 1886, and several minor lapses not exceeding four months. As an adjunct to the log book, is a photograph of State boat, Frank J. McCollock of Bellefontaine, 1891-1894, with unidentified employees aboard. Also see feature article on the canal days in Folder 8, referenced in the Container Listing.

The collection includes some local tracts on personalities, events, and landmarks of Allen, Clark, Montgomery, and Miami Counties. The Container Listing notes topics of significance to facilitate their use. For instance, a small collection of articles, pamphlets, and poetry reports on the locations and characteristics of remaining Ohio covered bridges.


  • Creation: 1836-1971
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-1970


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Biography

Leonard Uzal Hill was born in January of 1885 in Spring Creek Township, Miami County, Ohio, the son of Willis and Alice Hill. He farmed until age 62, when he devoted more of his time to his fascination with local history. His first major research project culminated in a book about the War of 1812 hero, Colonel John Johnston, who is the grandfather of John H. Patterson, founder of the National Cash Register Company. He has since published a history of Miami County and the Piqua Presbyterian Church. In 1970, he compiled and published a reproductive scrapbook of his many studies and newspaper articles originally printed between 1948 and 1970, concerning Miami County history. This volume is entitled Local and Regional History. Leonard U. Hill died December 10, 1984, in Piqua, Ohio, at age 99. He is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua.


0.5 linear feet (1 Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



The local history collection of Leonard Hill includes a variety of 19th century events and topics related to Piqua area history. Included are an early 19th century farmer's diary by John B. Miller, a Miami and Erie Canal log book by foreman James R. Spencer, and an 1862 Union soldier's diary recounting two months following the battle at Richmond, Kentucky in which he had been captured, paroled and returned to Union custody, north of Columbus, Ohio. In addition, various clippings and magazine articles pertaining to local history and genealogy are included.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 3 series:

  1. Series I: Subjects, 1836-1970
  2. Series II: Local History, 1954-1971
  3. Series III: Historical Society Notes, 1966

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives web site at It is also available in the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository at .

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Wright State University Archives in November, 1975, by historian Leonard Hill.

Related Material

Hill, Leonard U. (Leonard Uzal), John Johnston and the Indians in the Land of the Three Miamis. With recollections of sixty years, by John Johnston. Piqua, Ohio, 1957. F495.J6 H5

Hill, Leonard U. (Leonard Uzal), A Reproduction Of A Scrapbook From Newspaper Articles On Local And Regional History, 1948-1970. Piqua, Ohio, Printed by Hammar Graphics, 1970. F499.P6 H5

Hill, Leonard U. (Leonard Uzal), A Sesquicentennial History Of The Westminster United Presbyterian Church Of Piqua, Ohio : 1812-1962 / by Leonard U. Hill And Associates. Piqua, Ohio : Magee Bros., 1962. BX9211.O35356 W406 1962.

Miami Co., Ohio. Sesquicentennial Committee A History of Miami County, Ohio (1807-1953) ... written by a group of more than forty people under the supervision of Leonard U. Hill, chairman of the County Sesquicentennial Historical Committee). 1953. F497.M6 M5 1953

Processing Information

Processed by Patricia R. Shama, June 1981.Finding aid reformatted, and subject terms added by Toni Vanden Bos and Amanda Marquart, March 2015.

Guide to the Leonard Hill Local History Collection (MS-28)
Finding aid prepared by Patricia R. Shama, June 1981
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 Apr: Finding aid revised by Lisa Rickey
  • 2021 July: Finding aid dates and extent revised, and last sentence in biographical note added by Lisa Rickey.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA