David R. Hosterman, undated.
Source: Courtesy of the Wittenberg University Archives
Photo: D. Brooks Hedstorm, 2013.

Who was David R. Hosterman and what is his connection to Wittenberg? 

Read his agreement in the Deed from 1882 when he bought the property from the President and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Wittenberg College.

David R. Hosterman was born in Pennsylvania in 1838. In the 1850 Census, David’s parents, David and Susannah lived with his siblings Henry, John and Mary in Elk, PA. At the age of 21, David Hosterman married Harriet A. Chatterton of Clark County, Ohio in July of 1859. Harriet’s parents were born in England. In just four years, David would be drafted to serve in the Civil War for the Ohio 7th where he is recorded as being a married teacher, age 26. He survived his time of service, returned to Springfield, Ohio, and worked as a secretary for a Fire Insurance Co.

In the 1880 census account, Harriet and David have a household of children including: Arthur D., who worsk as a local editor for a daily paper; Frank E. and Hattie M. They are assisted by a live-in servant of Irish descent, Mary Castle, age 23.

In 1882, David Hosterman would purchase Lot 3777 (later 219 Ferncliff/529 N. Wittenberg) from the Board of Directors of Wittenberg for $1,000. He did not, apparently, live at the site and sold the lot within seven months to John Myers. Perhaps Hosterman was unable to carry the mortgage for the property as he passed on the $750 mortgage to John Myers. Hosterman purchased a great deal of property in Springfield as the following deeds attest:

  • 2/19/1881 from E. C. Clay, Lot 2110 for $200
  • 3/19/1881 from Anna Perrin, Lot 100 for $125
  • 3/28/1881 from Preston C. Parker, Lot 2110 for $500
  • 3/28/1881 from Mary L. Dickey, Lot 1088 for $1125
  • 4/4/1881 from Henry Morton, Lot 559 for $5
  • 4/23/1881 from Henry Hollenback, lot 18 & 117 for $200
  • 5/28/1881 from E C. Clay, Lot 2110 for $250
  • 10/25/1881 from Edward Conway, lot 2146 for $150
  • 1/7/1882 from Henry M. Aldham, lot 1089 & 1090 for $504
  • 2/27/1882 from Mary A. Wright, lot 1705 for $1050
  • 5/20/1882 from Martha C. Hosterman, lot 2265 for $1000
  • 8/12/1882 from Henry Rupert, lot 1089 & 1090 for $750
  • 6/28/1882 from Nancy Newby, lot 27 for $300
  • 8/14/1882 from Caroline Rummage, lot 23 for $900
  • 9/7/1882 from William H. Steele, lot 23 for $900
  • 3/28/1883 from George Spence, S10 R4 T9 for $1300
  • 4/16/1883 from Maggie Minor, lot 31 for $800

David Hosterman was a long term resident of Springfield and his employment reflects his investment in Springfield’s developing manufacturing  By 1890 he was President and Treasurer for Springfield Metallic Casket Co. and he worked for the Springfield Board of Fire Underwriters. In 1892, the Hostermans had seen their eldest son, Arthur, graduate from Wittenberg and they resided at 180 S. Limestone. Hosterman continued to work for the Springfield Board of Fire Underwriters, but now he was also a Real Estate and Loan Agent. In looking at the deed records, Hosterman purchased a significant amount of property in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio.

153 W. College Avenue on Wittenberg's Campus. The site of David R. Hosterman's last residence and where he died in 1913. Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom, 2013.
153 W. College Avenue on Wittenberg’s Campus. The site of David R. Hosterman’s last residence and where he died in 1913.
Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom, 2013.

While he did not attend Wittenberg, his son, Arthur, did. Hosterman was close enough to the Wittenberg College community and its president to write a letter to ailing Rev. Samuel Sprecher. Dated January 10th, 1906, Hosterman writes: “Greetings to Rev. Samuel Sprecher, D.D., on this ninetieth anniversary of his birthday:—With wishes for continued health and prolonged life, and for peace, comfort, and happiness in declining days. David R. Hosterman”


Grave marker at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Ohio. Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom 2013.
Grave marker at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Ohio.
Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom 2013.


Profile by D. Brooks Hedstrom, History, Wittenberg University.


Bell, P. G. A Portraiture of the Life of Samuel Sprecher, D. D., LL. D.,  (Philadelphia, PA: Lutheran Publication Society, 1907), 81.

Clark County Records Office. Deeds for David (D.) R. Hosterman. Springfield, Ohio.


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