Beavercreek history written by ex-engineer

Founding of city related to founding of nation.

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During his career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, David Shumway worked in the nuclear field, then other areas of engineering. After his retirement in 1993, he helped start a small engineering company, retiring again in 2005. Since then he’s turned his interest to writing, and recently completed a 90-page book on how Beavercreek Twp. became a city.

“I moved to Beavercreek in 1961 when I started at WPAFB, and pretty much grew up here,” said the 76-year-old Niagara Falls, N.Y., native.

Although Shumway had no background in history, he did like to write, attributing that interest to a family background in writing and publishing.

After retirement, when he became a community contributor for the Dayton Daily News opinion pages, “I thought I’d do a 500-word column on Beavercreek, but as I researched, I found it so fascinating that it just kept getting bigger and bigger — much too long for a column.”

He ran into roadblocks finding information, and so he turned to the Beavercreek Historical Society and its director, Jill Kincer.

“Jill told me that the hard copies of archived articles about the Committee of Eleven and the Charter Commission — groups that worked to found the city — were in the Special Collections at Wright State University, so I spent days there, going through the archives. Nothing was in any order, so I went through boxes, but it was kind of fun.

“I talked to some of the Committee of Eleven and Charter Commission members who are still around, who’d gotten the charter together and ready to be approved by voters.”

Shumway found correlations between the founding of the city of Beavercreek and the founding of the nation. “There were battles and infighting similar to those at the U.S. Constitutional Convention, and it took about the same amount of time.

“There were interminable lawsuits, it tired out judges and went to the Ohio Supreme Court twice. Dayton and Kettering kept fighting us, and Fairborn was encroaching on the township. I became an expert on the Ohio Revised Code.

“Efforts started in 1962 0r ’63, and Beavercreek didn’t become a city until 1980.”

Between research and writing, it took Shumway close to a year to finish and publish his 90-page “Birth of a City.”

“Jill helped me with the editing. I did two drafts, then the final, all in a 12-point font, then had a printer copy and bind 10 sets. I formally presented one to the City Council, gave copies to a few city trustees, one to the WSU archives and another to the Beavercreek library — and one to the historical society, which Jill talked me into joining.”

“ ‘Birth of a City’ is such a well researched modern era history of Beavercreek,” Kincer said. “It was no easy task to pull together the story of all the twists and turns the lengthy incorporation effort took. His work is very special.”

Now Shumway is starting on another local history project, the historical area settled by Shakers.

“I volunteer for the Marianist Environmental Education Center at Bergamo, and that land encompasses the 50-60 acre area that used to be Shakertown,” Shumway said. “The head of the center is working on his history of the area from the geological stance, going all the way back to the glaciers.

“I talked to someone who’s working with him, and we’ll work together. I’ll focus on Shakertown, help with the narrative and organize material. There are boxes of photos I’ll sort through. I’m just looking for another project.”

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