Eliam E. Barney
10/14/1807 - 12/17/1880
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 plant around the school building. In 1839 he resigned as principal of the Academy, and 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.