1807 – 1880
Eliam E. Barney admired industry, order, and thoughtfulness. He was principal of the Dayton Academy at Fourth and Wilkinson Streets, and taught nature studies, reading, and botany. His unique method included asking his students to read chapters from horticultural journals and taking them into the woods to gather shrubs and trees to bring back and transplant around the school building. In 1839, he
resigned as principal of the Academy. In 1844, he took charge of Cooper Seminary, a school for young women. In 1851, Mr. Barney became associated with Ebenezer Thresher, a maker of railroad cars, beginning the Barney and Smith Manufacturing Company. It soon became Dayton’s first manufacturing business and at one time the
nation’s foremost producer of railroad cars. This multi-faceted man was also a noted philanthropist and was significant in promoting the planting and propagation of catalpa trees.