Some Famous People of Xenia, Ohio

Samuel Martin (1796-1879) was born in Ireland. He came to Xenia, Ohio in 1834 and purchased the practice of Dr. Joseph Templeton. Dr. Martin served as a medical teacher to a number of men wanting to become doctors in the Xenia area. (For more info, go here.)

Tenskwatawa, brother of Indian chief Tecumseh who was born near Xenia, was considered a prophet who prophesied William Henry Harrison’s short presidency. (For more info about Tecumseh, go here. More about Tenskwatawa, go here andhere and here.)

Joseph Warren Keifer (Jan. 30, 1836 – April 22, 1932), soldier, congressman, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was born near Springfield, Ohio. Keifer was educated at home and in the district school. He taught for one term (1852-1853), worked on the family’s farm and attended nearby Antioch College (1854-1855). In 1856, after studying some on his own, he began reading law with a Springfield firm and was admitted to the bar in January 1858. Following a two-month tour of various Midwestern cities, evaluating them as possible sites for relocation, Keifer returned to practice law in Springfield, where he remained for the rest of his life. (For more info on Keifer, go here.)

Whitelaw Reid (1837-1912), editor of the New York Tribune, was born in Xenia and educated in Oxford, Ohio. He was the candidate for vice-president on the unsuccessful 1892 Republican ticket and later became the U.S. Minister to France. His work Ohio in the War became the definitive work on the subject.

Whitelaw was a journalist and diplomat. In 1868 he became leading editorial writer for the New York Tribune and in 1872 principal proprietor and editor in chief. He served as minister to France 1889–92 and as US ambassador to Britain 1905–12. His publications include After the War: a Southern Tour 1866, Ohio in the War 1868, Problems of Expansion 1900, and American and English Studies 1913. (For more info on Whitelaw, do here and here and here.)

Thomas Barlow Walker (1840–1928) was a Businessman, collector, and philanthropist, born in Xenia, Ohio. (For more info on Barlow, go here.)

Arthur Meier Schlesinger (1888-1965) was a foremost American historian. Born in Xenia, Ohio, he became a professor of history at Harvard (1924-54) after teaching at Ohio State University and the State University of Iowa. In 1928 became an editor of the New England Quarterly. His well-known works in the field of colonial history include The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (1918) and Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776 (1958). He is also known for his interest in the interpretation of social history, as in The Rise of the City, 1878-1898 (1933) and Political and Social Growth of the American People, 1865-1940 (1941). His most important work is New Viewpoints in American History (1922), essays on American historiography. With Dixon Ryan Fox he edited the “History of American Life series (13 vol., 1927-48), which remains a valuable examination of U.S. social and cultural life. (For more info, go here.)

Helen Hooven Santmyer was born in Xenia, Ohio (1895). She read Sinclair Lewis’ novel Main Street when it was published in the nineteen-twenties, and it offended her. She decided that she could write a better book about a small town. It took her fifty years to finish, but she wrote …And Ladies of the Club. It was published when she was eighty-eight. A later version was called Ohio Town. (For more info, go here.)

Vic Dickenson was a trombonist who came up with Midwestern territory bands in the Thirties and Forties. He born in Xenia, Ohio in 1906. He played with Bennie Moten, Blanche Calloway and Claude Hopkins in the late Thirties, joined the Count Basie Band in 1940, and later toured with Benny Carter. From the Fifties onward he often played with Bobby Hackett and Ruby Braff or led his own groups. In the Sixties he played in The World’s Greatest Jazz Band and, later, frequently performed in small groups with Bobby Hackett. Admired for his witty, unusual phrasing and inventive sound, he was a major instrumentalist with an instantly recognizable style. Dickenson died in 1984. (For more info, go here and here.)

James P. Vaughn was born in Xenia, Ohio. He did his military service in the South pacific, and received degrees in journalism and in English Literature from Ohio State University. He taught at Southern University in Louisiana and at West Virginia State College. Currently he works as an editor in a New York publishing house while writing plays and poetry. His poems Movie Queen and Morning were publishing Langston Hughes book titled New Negro Poetry. ( For more info, go here.)

Know of other famous personages of Xenia? Let it be known; send an email to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *