The late Samuel Ewing, who formerly and for many years was one of the leading figures in the social life of the city of Xenia and who died at his home, "Roberts Villa," in that city on October 6, 1917, was born in Xenia and had spent all his life there. He was born on September 22, 1833, and was thus past eighty-four years of age at the time of his death. In a notice regarding Mr. Ewing's death the Cincinnati Enquirer referred to the deceased as "a member of one of Greene county's oldest and wealthiest families." As such, Mr. Ewing, of course, had a position to maintain in the community in which he had resided all his life, and he maintained it to the day of his death, a typical "gentleman of the old school."
Samuel Ewing was a son of John and Prudence W. (Roberts) Evving, the latter of whom was born in Xenia on December 28, 1814, daughter of Silas and Cassandra (Sparks) Roberts, the former of whom was a Pennsylvanian and one of the early residents of Xenia, having settled there in 1808. Upon locating at the new town of Xenia, Silas Roberts bought a tract of two hundred and eighty acres of land immediately north of the townsite and extending south to the line now formed by Church street and gradually increased his holdings there until they comprised many hundreds of acres. Although some of this land was sold, the Roberts estate still comprises five hundred and seventy-eight acres and as all overtures in the way of taking over and platting the same for town-lot purposes have been discouraged by the estate the growth of the city to the north in that section east of Detroit street has been effectually blocked, the only building save "Roberts Villa" in that tract being the public library, a lot for which was set off by the estate when the new library was projected. Silas Roberts died on July 29, 1864. His wife had preceded him to the grave nearly seventeen years, her death having occurred on September 11, 1847. They were married in 1814, and they had seven children, those besides Mrs. Ewing having been the following: Micajah, who died in 1883; Emesetta, who died unmarried in 1900; Diana, who died unmarried in 1914; Louisa, wife of John Lackey, who died in 1910; Mathias who died in California in 1850, and John, who died in 1872. After their brothers and sisters had gone, the Misses Emesetta and Diana Roberts continued to make their home on the old home place and in the '70s they erected there a quite remarkable big brick house, typical of a much- favored style of architecture of the period and handsomely and lavishly appointed and finished within. In that big house on the edge of town, and which has ever been styled "Roberts Villa," they spent their last days and there Samuel Ewing, who inherited it, spent his last days in lonely splendor, maintaining liis
position to the end.
John Ewing, who was for years a merchant at Xenia, was bom in Campbell county, Kentucky, January 6, 1800, a son of John and Margaret Ewing, who were reared and married in York county, Pennsylvania, and who in 1795 moved to Kentucky, moving thence in 1801 to Ohio, and until he was fourteen years of age John Ewing thereafter made his home in Hamilton and Clermont counties, this state. He then, in 1814, came up into this part of the state and became employed in the store of James Gowdy, one of the first merchants in Xenia. He continued that connection until he grew to manhood, when Gowdy admitted him to a partnership and upon Gowdy's retirement from buisness in 1838 he became proprietor of the store continuing thus in business at Xenia until his own retirement in 1861. Originally the Ewing, or Gowdy, store was located at the corner of Main and Greene Streets, but in 1849 Mr. Ewing erected a three-story structure at the corner of Main and Whiteman streets and thereafter carried on his business in the latter building. He also built what is now known as the Grand Hotel, but which in his day was known as the Merrick Hotel. He died at his home in Xenia in 1893. His wife had long preceded him to the grave, her death having occurred in 1858, and he did not remarry. They were married on December 12, 1833, and were the parents of six children, those besides the subject of this memorial sketch being Miss Elizabeth Ewing, of Xenia; Miss Ida Ewing, of New York City; Mrs. Cummins B. Jones, of Los Angeles, California; William Ewing, of Two Buttes, Colorado, and James Ewing, of Los Angeles. The father of these children was reared in the Covenanter church and his wife was a Methodist.
From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A.Broadstone, editor. B.F.Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918