Colonel Edward Andrew Deeds

This post will focus on Colonel E.A. Deeds in a sporadic and incomplete way.  I’ve read much about the man and his achievements. *I highly recommend browsing jdong’s flickr set from his visit to Moraine Farm in Dayton last year.

He formed the Barn Gang [which was the precursor to the Engineers Club] at his Moraine Farm estate [which had the first private airstrip in the United States].

IMG_8254 by jdong.

Deeds’ home, today owned by the NCR Corporation, was called Moraine Farm and was the first home in the United States to have a private airstrip. The home also includes an observatory that houses a 7′ refractor telescope. Deeds died at Moraine Farm in 1960 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.

IMG_8236 by jdong.

In 1912, NCR company was found guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Deeds and 27 other NCR executives and managers were convicted for illegal anti-competitive sales practices and were sentenced to one year of imprisonment. Their convictions were unpopular with the public due to their efforts to help those affected by the Dayton, Ohio floods of 1913, but efforts to have them pardoned by President Woodrow Wilson were unsuccessful. However, their convictions were overturned on appeal in 1915 on the grounds that important defense evidence should have been admitted.

Deeds helped rebuild Dayton after the 1913 flood and was instrumental in forming the Miami Conservancy District.

Deeds also was in charge of military aircraft procurement at McCook Field which later became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

He also had the historic, walking village idea for Carillon Park to complement Deeds Carillon and tell Dayton’s impressive history.  Below is his bust at Carillon Park:

Colonel Edward A. Deeds by only1tanuki.

Preservation Dayton describes him in this way:

Engineer and longtime NCR executive who hired Charles Kettering to electrify the cash register. In their spare time, they began tinkering out of Deeds’ garage with William Chryst, another NCR employee on ideas to make a fortune in the auto industry. Went on to create a long list of automobile and engineering inventions and to head Dayton’s DELCO (Dayton Engineering laboratories Co.) operations with Kettering. DELCO later became part of General Motors. Deeds contributed to the rebuilding of Dayton and formation of the Miami Conservancy District after the flood of 1913, and took the job of military aircraft procurement at McCook Field in 1917, precursor to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, although located much at the present site of Kettering Field. He took over NCR in 1931 from John H. Patterson’s son Frederick, trying to restore stockholder confidence during the depression. Moraine Farm, an historic property now owned by NCR was once his sprawling estate. The Carillon Tower in Carillon Park is was funded by his wife and named after him. The historical elements of the park were the brainchild of Deeds himself.

When Deeds died in 1960, newspapers all over the world reported it including the New York Times.

This 1932 Time article “Deeds & The Cash” details Deeds’ 205-ft. yacht The Lotosland which was the first private yacht to house a pipe organ and seaplane tender.

Model of the “Lotosland,” the First Civilian Ship to Carry an Amphibian

Airplane, Carillon Park, ca. 1970

Model of the  Lotosland,  the First Civilian Ship to Carry an Amphibian Airplane, Carillon Park, ca. 1970

23 thoughts on “Colonel Edward Andrew Deeds

  1. There are yachts and then there is the Lotosland. I don’t ever think I’ve seen a yacht that big.

    Deeds was a key player in the development of Pratt & Whitney, into a big company and a key feature of the Hartford, Connecticut business community. I wasn’t aware he was a leader of National City Bank, which was one of the major NYC banks. I do know Deeds also kept an estate in Connecticut in addition to Moraine Farm.

    A true captain of industry.

  2. Indeed. Where did you learn of his involvement with Pratt & Whitney?

    He also nearly doubled the size of his alma mater (Denison).

  3. Pingback: Update: Dayton’s Creative Class and Col. Deeds « for the LOVE of DAYTON

  4. The Pratt & Whitney connection came from a book entitled “The Rise of the Gunbelt” (a pun on “Sunbelt”), about the economic geography of defense spending, focusing on aerospace.

    There is quite a bit in it about the early days of aerospace manufacturing and base locations. Dayton was discussed in a subsection of the book.

  5. Pingback: Moraine Farm on the market for $8 million « for the LOVE of DAYTON

  6. I am looking for information about Col. Deeds interest in Skeet shooting in Dayton. It appears he was associated with the Dayton Polo Club and then later the Miami Valley Skeet Club. I am seeking information regarding the Col E.A.Deeds Cup–awarded annually from 1952 to 1993 to the areas top skeet shooter.

  7. My dad spoke of Col Deeds and I am interested in our genealogical connection. Do you have any of that type of information?

  8. What a positive site – and very well presented.

    I am reading past posts and I’m looking forward to more.

    Here is a minor edit for you. “Deeds also was in charge of military aircraft procurement at McCook Field which later became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

    Many people assume that McCook Field was renamed Wright – Patterson, but that is not actually correct.

    McCook Field was located across the river from Triangle Park, between the river and North Dixie. McCook Shopping Center is still there, but very run down.

    In fact, Orville Wright use to observe McCook Field while getting his haircut at the Engineers Club. He looked out the 2nd story window and upstream. McCook Field was located on the same side of the Miami River but past the Miami/Mad Confluence. Stop by the Engineers Club sometime, if you don’t already frequent the spot, go up stairs and take a look across Riverscape. It is truly inspiring.

    Military aircraft procurement was moved to Wright Field, just northeast of Huffman Prairie where the Wrights made improvements to their flyer and taught themselves to fly. Wright Field was later combined with Patterson Field. Patterson Field is where the United States Museum of the Air Force is located. When the two fields were joined, it formed Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    If you don’t mind, you may want to edit your sentence so that it reads that “Aircraft Procurement was moved from McCook Field to what is now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

  9. Pingback: The sound of bells and NCR’s exit from Dayton « For the Love of Dayton

  10. I just found a silver tray that was given to C.N. Turner, Jr. dated June, 1939 from Colonel E A Deeds. I am not sure of the connection, but C. N. Turner, Jr., worked for NCR Corporation

      • C.N. Turner, Jr. was my wife’s father. He was 34 when he received the silver tray from Colonel Deeds and was working for NCR when he died at the age of 41. I assume that he was working for NCR when he received the silver tray. I would like to post a picture, but I do not see a method of posting the picture on this site. If you Google Colonel Deeds and Silver tray, you will find where Colonel E.A. Deed gave one to a C,R.P. Smith also in June – 1939

  11. Hi, I found a book of Colonel Deeds Industrial Builder by Isaac F. Marcosson 1947 and wonted to know if it has and value. It has all kinds of pictures of him and Orville Wright and Henry Ford and the Barn Gang and of him as a little boy .Please email me at Thank you . Hope

  12. I know that Thomas Watson the founder of International Business Machines was employed by NCR. Was he there when Deeds was the CEO?

  13. Tom Meis Eleva, wi I happen to own the first Canadian fishing camp that Colonel Deeds established in northern Ontario, Canada. It is the Cross Lake Camp referred to in the book written by Marcosson. I enjoy sharing information on this most interesting man.

  14. The Barn Gang worked on inventions out of a horse barn behind a home on Central Avenue in Dayton, no where even near the Deeds mansion far to the south on Stroop Road. That barn was moved to Moraine near the GM plant and used as a museum for many years. It has been moved to Carillon Park. I’m pushing 80 and know local history like the back of my hand because branches of our family lived it Some of my mother’s ancestors settled in what is now SW Ohio in territorial days. Those of my father’s just after Ohio statehood was attained. Samuel Thompson, one of Dad’s blood cousins, came to Losantiville (now Cincinnati) when it was the Ohio Territory. It deeply pains me when I read so many errors regarding Dayton history. My uncle-by-marriage John Ellsworth “Jack” Larason (wife Alma, Dad’s sister) and his close friend friend Ernest Gilbert “Mac” McCauley were engineers at McCook Field, my childhood playground. Mac invented the steel propellor and had patents on other aircraft parts. He founded McCauley Aviation Corp. in 1938. That company had various names later. Mac & Jack bought homes a few blocks apart in Linden Heights. After Mac divorced in 1938, my aunt “Huddy” Hilda Elizabeth Hollopeter, Dad and Alma’s sister, Jack’s sister-in-law, became Mac’s long time companion, in Oakwood and Ft. Lauderdale. My 1st cousin Charles Larason could not pronounce Hilda as a baby so she became “Aunt Huddy” to all of us. Even Mac called her Huddy. They also had a home at Indian Lake. In a photo of them there Mac is standing on a higher level wood plank next to Huddy because he was much shorter than she was. Those of the Patterson, Stoddard, Wright, Rike and other local families are blood-kin of my late father. The said Constable Samuel Thompson (1753-1815), my 4th great-granduncle-by-blood, was Leader, The Thompson Party, the first 12 settlers arriving by pirogue at what is now Dayton on 1 April 1796. As such, .Samuel Thompson is actually First Citizen of Dayton. Samuel drowned February of 1815 in the Mad River at today’s site of the Lower Keowee Street Cpl. Tony Stein Memorial Bridge. No one here even knows the name of Samuel Thompson nor of his key role in the founding of Dayton. No one even cares about getting it right as I have tried for some time to correct that error of history, with no support of any type from a number of local “leaders”. So many of my family are wrapped up in Dayton history but I’ll take that to my grave. I realize that my next book should be about all of that local history in my brain but I’ll likely not live to do that. So mote it be…
    -Dr. Lawrence Kent, 9 March 2014

    • Yes, this was a remarkable man. The most impressive issue to me was the joining together and sharing ideas, concepts and issues. This venue produced some of the greatest progress in our country. My connection to all of this is the fact that I own the camp on Cross lake in Northern Ont. Canada. This site is the first camp that was established. We make regular trips there every summer.

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    • I appreciate receiving any information. I have visited the farm on two occasions. It happens that I own the site in Ontario Canada where the Colonel set up his first remote camp. That of course makes a connection for me. I have a couple of copies of the book, “industrial builder” I have read it a couple of tines. That book should be required reading for every school history class in America.

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