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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Remembering The 'Forgotten' Local Town Of Cozaddale

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 82
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Cozaddale is a forgotten little town located in the extreme southeastern portion of Hamilton Township. The Cozaddale- Murdock and the Roachester-Cozaddale Roads intersect it. John Jackson Cozad founded this little farm town in 1871. Perhaps the evolution of the Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad (formerly the Hillsborough and Cincinnati line, now the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) played a large part in the founding of the town.
The area of Cozaddale was originally named Spence's Station. The 1903 Atlas says that the acquisition of this name originated with John W. Spence, who for many years after the completion of the railroad, was assigned the duty of general storekeeper, postmaster, and railroad agent and held these positions for at least thirty years. It is with doubt that Spence's Station had a post office. This writer has a complete collection of all the names and dates of all the early post offices and postmasters in the County and I cannot find any reference to Spence's Station.
Cozad owned 323 acres to the North and West above his village. He purchased the land, from which his town developed, from Daniel Snell. He had nearly 200 lots in his plat, with a division of eight streets. John Cozad formed a building association, which had general backing from the people. However, opposition was met with his project, but after two years it appeared that Cozad would win out.
After several cottages and one large three-story building had been erected, trouble began and the association folded, which practically ended the progress of the small town of Cozaddale. Cozad apparently left the area sometime in 1873.
The French Brothers Creamery was established in 1890 at great expense. The creamery was equipped with a machine for manufacturing ice. The daily capacity of this mechanism was four tons.
The Odd Fellows lodge was organized in Cozaddale September 2, 1873. The identification of the lodge was Cozaddale Lodge No. 557, I.O.O.F.
Cozaddale's post office was originally located in Dallasburgh. On June 2, 1871, John J. Cozad was named the first postmaster of Cozaddale.
Other postmasters were: William Renshaw, 23 June 1874; Austin P. Simonton, 15 Dec 1885; Charles N. Tigar, 6 Aug 1887; William Renshaw, 18 June 1889; Nicholas Sanning, 12 Aug 1892; Charles N Tigar, 6 Dec 1893; William Masters, 17 Nov 1897; Edson C. Gaskill, 13 Dec 1902; Frank C. Fryburger, 21 Aug 1913; and Theodore A. Tigar, 13 June 1917.
John Jackson Cozad was born on his father's farm near Allensville, Ohio, in 1830. Apparently dissatisfied with his home life, Cozad ran away at the age of 12. His next home was on the riverboats running up and down the Ohio and Mississippi. His occupation was dealing faro, a card game. He later turned up in South America, and still later in the California gold fields.
He married Theresa Gatewood of Malden, Virginia, in 1858. Two sons were born to this union, namely, John A. and Robert Henry Cozad. At about this time he was engaged in promoting business in his home State, which eventually led to the founding of Cozaddale, Ohio.
Cozad, in his early 40's and still on the lookout for "better things," ventured to the new State of Nebraska. Looking for a new town-site led him to the north bank of the Platte River, which was bisected by the Union Pacific Railroad. He bought 40,000 acres of prairie from the railroad and then ventured to round up settlers. In 1873, some 30 settlers arrived, mostly from Ohio, and the town of Cozad, Nebraska, was born.
John J. Cozad became a hay tycoon in his new State. In due time, Cozad, as a farmer, had constant quarrels with the cattlemen. These frequent encounters forced him into exile. Cozad, feeling despondent over his farmer status, had an argument with a man named Pearson. Pearson pulled a knife and Cozad consequently pulled a gun and killed Pearson.
The fugitive, Cozad, immediately got out of town. His wife sold all his holdings, and with her two sons, she discreetly slipped away. John Jackson Cozad and his family completely disappeared. For about 75 years nothing was heard of the Cozad family.
Two years after the incident at Cozad a gentleman by the name of Richard Henry Lee appeared as a property owner on the boardwalk at Atlantic City, N.J. Lee was a very tight-lipped man, as were his companions and sometimes business associates. His constituents included a struggling young artist by the name of Robert Henri, identified as a nephew, and Frank Southern, who was identified as a brother-in-law. John Jackson Cozad and his two sons, Robert Henry and John A. had been located.
Lee/Cozad lived a quiet life among the residents of Atlantic City. With his two sons he ran Lee's Pier, which encompassed an amusement center of gambling, drinking and exhibits, including a bicycle railway out into the ocean.
The city fathers of Atlantic City decided to widen the boardwalk. A right-of-way was sought across Lee's property and he refused, and consequently constructed a barrier across his section of the walk. The city still tried to cross his property. Lee apparently drew some of the Cozad fire from within and began to tote a pair of six-shooters. Council members apparently saw the happenings that were almost evident and decided to widen the boardwalk around "Lee's Fort." Lee quickly started buying all the surrounding property.
The case was taken to the New Jersey Legislature and a bill constituting a beach front park took almost four years to pass, which gave them power to condemn property. Lee had lost. By 1900 he had disappeared. The boardwalk can well remember "Lee's Fort."
Lee/Cozad died in New York City in 1906 of pneumonia. He was buried in Pleasantville, N.J. His remains were later removed and interred in Providence, R.I.
John A. Cozad, alias Dr. Frank Southern, became a distinguished Philadelphia physician. He served as a member of the City Council of Atlantic City for three years.
Robert Henry Cozad, alias Robert Henri, went on to become one of America's best-known artist. His finest canvas was one in which he painted his father's portrait.
Robert Henri was born in Cincinnati on June 25, 1865. He was educated in Cincinnati at Chickering Institute, it being one of the largest private schools in the country. His first aspiration was to be a writer. However, his creative talent as a boy showed a great deal of artistic quality, an art career being his final decision. In 1886, he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Henri abandoned Philadelphia in 1888 and traveled to Paris hoping to find a niche. After two years, finding himself dissatisfied with the quality of teaching and his own individual progress, he decided to return to the United States.
In his youth the master occupied himself with painting landscapes, waterfronts, city streets and industrial subjects. Later his projects turned to portraits. He involved himself in painting common people such as Negro and Dutch children, Spanish gypsies, Irish peasants, and the brightly clad American Indians and Mexicans. He always emphasized, "The beauty of a work of art lay in its execution rather than in the subject." He also contended, "a picture of a tramp painted in a vigorous and original style was more beautiful than a hackneyed portrait of a society belle."
Although he won many medals and prizes for his work, he emphasized that prizes were generally awarded to the wrong artists, and that competition amongst artist was ridiculous. Robert Henri began teaching in Philadelphia in 1891, traveled to Paris and taught in the late nineties, and for about three decades taught at art schools in New York. He taught and inspired many of the great artists in America.
Henri was the author of "The Art Spirit," a book that encouraged his generation and continues to be used by aspiring young artists. His influence among the youth tended to teach independence, originality and individuality in each specific circumstance.
Robert Henry Cozad, alias Robert Henri, died in New York City on July 12, 1929. Shortly before his death, a canvass of his constituents, artists, dealers, collectors and museum officials, named Henri as one of the three most important living artists in the United States.
When researching this family the writer was fascinated with the whole aspect of the adventures, which surrounded such a prestigious relationship. This is just another positive notch in the relationship of Warren County and its people.

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This page created 23 July 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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