The Naming of Clarke and Benham Streets

Though few residents of Dayton are aware of it, a very interesting tale is told in connection with the naming of Benham and Clarke Sts., two of Dayton's most important streets. 

Old residents relate the tale as follows: It was in the year of 1820, when a great number of settlers were coming to these parts to establish homes.  When one of the boats floating down the Ohio river reached the present site of Dayton the attention of the settlers on board was attracted by the signaling of a man, who some one on the boat recognized as a noted renegade.  The man seemed to be unable to move, and the boat was anchored, and two of the settlers, Benham and Clarke, volunteered with another to go ashore and assist the wounded man.

 Just as soon as Benham and Clarke reached the injured man, they were fired on by Indians, who had been lying in ambush.  The third man immediately rowed back to the boat to escape the Indians.  The captain of the home-seekers' boat, fearing the further wrath of the Indians, took up anchor and went on down the river, in the meantime, leaving Benham, Clarke and the renegade, who had been killed by the last volley from the Indians' guns.

The Indians, fearing the home-seekers, beat a hasty retreat, and as a result, Clarke, as it was learned later, with a leg made useless by bullet wounds, and Benham, with a helpless arm, were left to their doom.

The boat containing the home-seekers soon reached a military post at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers, and the plight of the two men, as a result of their plucky and fearless attempted rescue, was told.

Scouts were sent up the river, but did not arrive until the next day when they found only the body of the renegade, and returned to the post, thinking that the two men had been carried off by the  redskins.  On the third day after the news of the episode Benham and Clarke arrived at the army post.  Benham had crawled all the way, with Clarke on his back.

The story of the bravery of the two men was handed down to their children by home-seekers who witnesses the scene in which two men were attacked, and as a result the settlers in Dayton, then Jamestown, named the two streets, which they had established near the scene of the trouble, Clarke, and Benham.


From the Kentucky Post of October 28, 1914.