This township is situated on the northwest corner of the county, and is bounded on the west by Darke County, on the north by Shelby County, on the east by Washington Township, and on the south by New-ton Township; is seven miles from the north to south, and six from east to west, containing forty-two square miles, and is composed of portions of four original surveyed townships. While it does not appear when it was organized, it would seem to be about the same date as Newton--1810.
The lands in the western and northwestern part of this township are the most elevated in the county; general surface undulating, inclining to southeast, being traversed, from west to south, by the Stillwater River, and Greenville Creek, with their numerous tributaries. A small portion is slightly broken, but few declivities occur. As was the entire county, this township, in an early day, was covered with an unbroken sheet of forest, of various species of timber, too well known to be here described. The noble oak and the valuable sugar maple are, however, fast disappearing, and, ere many years passed away, will have entirely disappeared. So, also, are growing scarce the ironwood, witch-hazel, box-elder, white thorn, plum and black haw, juneberry, papaw and spicewood, densely blooming in the early spring; ginseng, yellow and red pucoon root, wild onion, swamp cabbage and spikenard abounded, that forest pest called "ramps," which, when eaten by cows, imparted to the milk and butter a taste and flavor resembling a mixture of garlic, jimson, etc.
In the number of its venomous reptiles, Newberry stood without a rival. During the early settlements, the yellow rattlesnake seems to have made the limestone ledges along the Stillwater and Green- ville Creek his favorite home, for, on prying up the rocks, they could be seen, sometimes by the dozens, and, even now, large quantites of bones are frequently discovered in the clefts of the rocks, thus attesting their former abundance.
Stillwater River enters Miami County near the northwest corner of this township, and, after pursuing a southwest direction, it suddenly turns northeast, then, forming a curve, it runs nearly south, past Covington, and passes out of the township about two miles west of the southeast corner. Near the center of the township, it cuts a channel through the limestone, at the southern most terminus of which were, in early days (called) the Falls of Stillwater, descend-ing about twelve feet in a mile. The banks of the river are bold and high. Limestone bluffs, skirting either bank afford excellent quarries of stone, which also makes good lime.
Greenville Creek enters the county in the southwestern corner of Newberry, flows first northeast, then bending, runs southeast; resuming its original course, empties into the Stillwater near Covington. Greenville Falls, a short distance from Covington, is a beautiful display of nature and a place of much resort.
Harrison's Creek, on the west, and Trotter's Creek on the north and east, both tributaries of the Stillwater, are streams of much value, and early drew the hardy pioneer to their banks.
Springs of excellent ever-living water abound in this township. some of them, not far from Covington, supposed to possess excellent medicinal virtues.
Summing up: Newberry, with two lines of railroad, passing through at four points of the compass, her numerous pikes, exhaustless stone, and lime, her rich soil, unexceled natural drainage, water-power, and in fact, all the natural resources that conduce toward the advancement and development of any country, as materials--and a thrifty, intelligent and energetic community, as agents--we need not wonder that she stands foremost in wealth and agricultural prosperity.
According to tradition, the first location made and cabin built in this township was by a South Carolinian named McDonald, on what is known as Harrison's Creek, about two and a half miles northwest of Covington, near the year 1806. In 1807, John Harrison came to Ludlow's Creek, Union Township, remained one season, and returned to South Carolina, accompanied by McDonald, both leaving their lands and cabins.
In 1807, Michael Ingle, having heard of the beautiful little prairie on Stillwater (Michael Williams' Prairie, now Pleasant Hill), prospected up the river, and, finding it occupied, pushed further on to the mouth of Trotter's Creek and made a selection of excellent farming land, in Sections 17 and 20. Mr Ingle was, *461 prior to this, a resident of Montgomery County, and by occupation tanner. Mr. I., immediately began clearing up and improving his purchase, on which he reseided until his death, in 1838. Cotemporaneously with Ingle, Samuel Brown purchased and built on the quarter-section with Ingle. Priority of settlement vibrates between these two men, but Brown soon left, and the honor is awarded Ingle as being the first permanent white settler in Newberry Township. The next were William and John Coats, with one or more sons-in-law of the former, who settled on the northeast quarter of Section 30, cornering with Ingle's purchase on the southwest. William Coats cabin stood about fifty rods northwest of the present Pan-Handle depot, while his son's cabin was near the spring running from the cellar of the Leonidas House, and his son- in-law, Daniel Wright's, cabin stood near and south of the corner of Main and Wright Streets, Covington. Another settler, whos name cannot be ascertained, cleared a few acres and erected a cabin, on the southeast quarter of Section 30 prior to 1810. Of all these early settlers, none but Ingle remained upon the original location. He added another quarter-section to it, raised it to a high state of cultivation, brought a family of seven sons and four daughters, dividing among his sons a portion of their patrimony, four of whom lived and died upon the same, three sold out and removed to newer States, and today less than eighty acres out of eight hundred purchased by the father remain in the hands of his posterity. Michael Ingle was honorable, industrious and energetic. He established and conducted the first tannery in the township, and from his customers bore the reputation of turning a good article of leather. He also built one of the first houses in Covington, and dug through the solid rock the first well in the town, which had no companion for a dozen years or more.
His energy sometimes resulted in loss, as on one occasion, in 1825, he harvested a fine crop of wheat, which he had partly hauled in by Saturday evening. "My wheat," he said, "was the first in the ground on Stillwater, and I will have all in the barn before any of my neighbors." It was all housed, and on Monday the barn was struck by lightning and, with its contents, burned.
At the opening of the year 1810, many purchases had been made and several clearings begun, and little cabins dotted the forests with life and animation. During this year, Jacob Ullery purchased the southeast quarter of Section 30, but did not occupy it until the spring of 1811. This tract of land proved to be the most valuable property in the township. On it is located the splendid waterpower that operates the Covington Mills, the stone quarry of the Covington Stone Company, the extensive quarry and limekiln of J.M. Ruhl, and a large portion of the valuable stone quarried at Covington in the past fifty years has been taken from the ledges in this tract, and the supply, to all appearances, is still inexhaustible. In the spring of 1812, on the breaking-out of the war, the settlers here all left their clearings for a temporary place of safety during an apprehended invasion by hostile Indians. Some went to Montgomery County, some to their Quaker friends in the Ludlow settlement. Ingle stopped at Williams' stockade, in Newton Township, while Ullery removed his family to Lost Creek, where he resided until the spring of 1814, when he took up his permanent residence on, and began the improvement of, his property.
Newberry in the War of 1812
In the spring or early summer of 1812, a company of volunteer militia, to serve four months, was organized principally west of the Miami River. George Buchanan, of Milton, was elected Captain, James C. Caldwell, of Piqua, First Lieutenant, and Gardner Bobo, of Spring Creek, a Revolutionary veteran, Ensign. The company was mustered into service May 5, 1812, as First Company, Second Regiment, Fifth Brigade and First Division Ohio Militia, commanded by Jerome Holt, Colonel.
The field of duty assigned Capt. Buchanan was the Stillwater Valley and adjoining territory. With his company he began as soon as was praticable the erection of a block-house, as headquarters, military defense and protection to the settlers within reach. This block-house stood a few rods west of the Pan-Handle depot, in Covington, also about thirty rods north of Wayne's Camp, or breastworks of brush and logs thrown up in 1794, and christened "Fort Rowdy".
We believe Capt. B. and his company--we say company because in those days epaulets did not mean absolute authority as now--assumed to call their works "Fort Buchanan." Lieut. Col. Holt, under whose orders Capt. B. was acting, knowing that the point selected for the block-house was on or near the spot selected by that old Indian fighter, "Mad Anthony," and through deference to the old veteran, ignored Fort B. and, June 18, officially addressed Capt. B. as follows:
June, 18, 1812 Capt. George Buchanan: Sir--You will make a return of your company to me by the 25th, stating the number of men, and their equipments, and of your camp equipage, so that I may be able to make a general return, as I received (orders) for that purpose. I am, sir, yours To Capt. George Buchanan, Fort Rowdy Jerome Holt, Colonel
This address, however faithfully the orders were obeyed, was niether accepted nor relished by Capt. B. and his command as a proper appellation for the important post, in the erection of which they had so faithfully labored. In addition to this, they had not encroached upon the gorund occupied by Wayne, and therefore, when the report was made out in due form and returned to Col. Holt, he learned that he was commanding Fort Buchanan instead of Rowdy; and in his next communication he accepts the name in part, but addresses Capt. B. at "Buchanan Block-House." ignoring the dignified name of fort. Following this is an order dated at Greenville, July 20, 1812, from Col. Holt, transmitting an order from, the Governor throguh Gen. Munger, dismissing all the men stationed on the frontiers west of the Miami toward the Wabash, includinmg Capt. Nesbit's and Capt. VanCleve's companies, unless hostile movements of the Indians required their services. Intelligence is also conveyed in the order that the Great Council with the Indians is postponed until the 15th of August, 1812, and requiring Capt. B. to notify his company to rendezvous at Troy on the 13th, join the other companies, march to Piqua and there remain until the council is over. They are enjoined to be punctual, and attend the council fully equipped at Troy by 10 o'clock.
After the date of this order we have no further intimation of the occupancy of Buchanan's block-house as a military post, although it was used by the families in its vicinity as a place of refuge during emergencies. The line of defense was extended further west in Darke County; consequently, no further record of interest occurs in regard to this post, after the following from Col. John Johnston, Indian agent at Upper Piqua, viz.: That certain hostile Indians had been seen in the vicinity of Fort Recovery, which intelligence had been communicated to him by Francis Duchequet, a French interpreter and trader. The same notice requested Capt. B. to send a detail of men to Upper Piqua to protect certain public property in Col. Johnston's care, which he considered exposed to capture and destruction; also that his wheat in the field was dead ripe, and the detail to serve two purposes--guard the property and reap his wheat. The records do not show whether the men were furnished for this occasion, but tradition says that a part of the active duty performed by this garrison was cutting four acres of wheat with the sickle, and stacking it on Jacob Teller's farm, across Stillwater, where it remained in safety till he returned to his cabin in 1814. At the breaking-out of the war, it is said there were nine families living in this township, viz.: Michael Ingle, and perhaps his son John, Jacob Ullery, Samuel Brown, William Coats and his son and son-in-law, Daniel Wright, and a brother, John Coats; the balance unknown to us. The settlers were located near each other for mutual support and protection. North of Grenville Creek and west of Stillwater were but two improvements; north of Trotter's Creek and east of Stillwater were none; west of Stillwater and south of Greenville Creek, two; 463 three or four small clearings west of Stillwater, and south of Trotter's Creek; all the rest was one unbroken forest, though great quantities had been purchased for speculation.
There is no evidence tending to show that this township was the favorite resort of the Indians, or their occupancy of it. From the absence of Indian names for the streams, or prominent natural objects, we infer that it was not permanently inhabited by them; some pre-historic specimens, however, exist. Since the advent of the whites, none but hunting parties, and encampments during the War of 1812, near Trotter's Creek, on the farm now owned by H. Mohler, three miles north of Covington, consisting principally of Delawares. In only one instance is it known that they injured the whites, which was the killing of some cattle.
These peculiar people have left numerous evidences in this township of their mechanical enterprise. The most noted was located near Greenville Falls, was about forty feet in diameter at the base, and built about twenty feet high, material used being loose gravel, apparantly from the bed of Greenville Creek. The upper interior contained many human bones. Two or three other mounds and pits exist, but none of peculiar interest sufficient to note. The principal mound has been dug away, and the stone converted into lime, the owners caring little for the sacredness of the bodies resting there.
All apprehension of danger having been removed by the treaty of peace, the settlers returned to their cabins and clearings, and early in 1814, before the treaty with England, we find the number of immigrants augmenting and the clearings increasing. John Cable, west of Stillwater; John Hay, north of him; John Harrison and his sons Richard and Bargitto, on the creek that bears their name, above Cable; John Trotter on the creek named for him, and the Templeton brothers, Samuel, William and David, adjoining Trotter; John Carson and Samuel Nicholson in the same neighborhood; Sylvester Thompson, Joshua Falknor, south of Ullery, on both sides of the river; and in 1816, Amos Perry, nearly opposite the falls of Greenville Creek; William Knox on Trotter's Creek. We cannot mention all who came, but only such as became prominent citizens in those early times whose descendents are with us now. John Barbour, in 1817, joined the Trotter's Creek settlement.
Early in 1816, Daniel Wright, in partnership with Jacob Ullery, laid out thirty-six town lots in Section 30, Wright's portion covering the site of Wayne's encampment, the timber having been cut off by Wayne's army. These thirty-six lots lay between the St. Mary's road, then established, and the east bank of the Stillwater. Three streets were laid out, and named, running north and south; first, Water, next to the river, on the bluff; Main, at the foot of the hill, and High, being the St. Mary's road, and a section line between 29 and 30. Three streets crossing at right angles were: First, on the north, Wright, next, Ullery, for the proprietors, then Spring, for the beautiful spring that burst from the rocks, beneath the shade of a white oak grove that grew upon the bluff. The lots were numbered from east to west, beginning at the northwest corner of the plat. Benjamin Cox was surveyor, and duly recorded his work so far as he was concerned, but, from ignorance of what was required of them, neither of the proprietors ever acknowledged the plat, which has in late years caused a loss of several thousand dollars to the corporation of Covington. This town plat was given a name, which seemed both ambiguous, viz.: "Friendship," or "Newberry." The citizens, not understanding, gave it the name Gen. Wayne had so appropriately dubbed this point immediately following a drunken carouse of his officers here, and which it had ever since retained: Rowdy. When a post office was established here, it was known as Stillwater. When the town was laid out; there was but one habitation on the spot, *464* namely, Daniel Wright's, who lived just weat of Miami and south of Wright Street, near a spring that flowed from the bluff at the termination of the latter street.
Elijah Reagan built the first house on the lot now owned by H.E. Routson, west of his stable. Michael Ingle built a double log cabin where the elegant mansion of H.E. Routson, now stands; his son, John built a hewn-log cabin on the northwest corner of Main and Wright Streets. A small log house was built on the southeast corner of Main and Wright Streets, and on the opposite corner some one built a two-story hewn-log house, but it was never covered, and remained uninhabited until it rotted down.
Noah Hanks built a small frame storeroom on the corner of High and Wright Streets, where Routson & Son's store is, which was the first frame building in the township, and in it Hank's kept the first store in the township. At the end of ten years, after the platting and survey of this town, it had but three families living in it, two vacant houses; one house, Daniel Wright's had been burnt, and twelve years elapsed after the town was laid out before a new house was built. In 1828, Singer & Hilliard, of Piqua, built a frame, yet standing--the oldet in the place--for a storeroom.
In 1815 or 1816, Jacob Ullery erected a saw-mill at the mouth of Greenville Creek, which was the first utilizing of water in propelling machinery in the township. With his saw-mill he began preparing material for a grist-mill.
In April 1816 or 1817, occured a destructive tornado, seeming to arise in the clearing of Daniel Burns one mile northeast of Coving- ton, now H. Hickman's farm, unroofing his stable. Entering the timber from the northeast, it leveled the heavy forest, piling the trees upon each other in all directions, along a track about eighty rods in width. Where the land is not cleared, its path can be easily traced at the present, by the beautiful growth of young timber. Shortly after Ullery got the saw-mill in running order, an enterprising settler, Noah Davenport, and his brother-in-law, Wagner, purchased a few acres at the mouth of Harrison's Creek, and erected a rival saw-mill, and near it a very primitive grist-mill. The shaft was a hickory log with the bark on, and the stones were made of boulders dressed into shape. The mill was used for grinding corn, had a good run of custom, and was the first in the township, and commanded patronage within a radius of from six to nine miles. From some unknown cause it ceased operations, and when seen in 1826, both saw and grist mill were abandoned, and the ruins lay bleaching in the sun, and the stream had resumed its originl channel, unmindful of the days when it rippled by the old mill. As near as can be ascertained, Benjamin Lehman purchased Jacob Ullery's mill property in the fall of 1818, and immediately began the erection of a sub-stanttial frame building for a flouring-mill, which he put into active operation about 1820. It is said that Lehman paid $4,000 for the Ullery property, built a grist-mill, and, in 1822, sold to John Brumbaugh, the mills and all the land west of the river, for $3,500.
Brumbaugh increased the capacity, which made it one of the best mills in the county, and of inestimable benefit to the ever- increaseing population for many miles around, as it was located in the Upper Stillwater Valley, with no other for miles north of it. For years it stood without a rival. During Lehman's occupancy of this property, previous to this, a wool-carding machine had been erected on the tail-race of the mill, the remains of which may still be seen just below the corn-crib, at the present Covington Mills. It cannot be ascertained who were the first operators, but we do know that one Riley operated it at one time, and subsequnetly, in 1827, one Thomas Bolles, of Piqua, who added a fulling machine, which in those days was highly essential, when the wheel and the loom, in the hands of a housewife, clothed the family in home-spun.
It has been stated that Michael Ingle tanned the first leather, and his reputaion as a superior workman lived after him. His son continued the business after the old man retired, but not with so good results, The Hanks brothers established a tannery in 1820, which is now known as the Covington Tannery. They were not successful. In 1824, it had nearly ceased, and in 1825, was rebuilt by Benjamin Lehman, and operated by John Ross, who, about the 465 year 1830, purchased the property. Between 1816 and 1817, Philip Hartzell settled west of the Greenville Falls, and was the first to manufacture pumps. Before this inovation, the windless, the fork and pole, and the "old oaken bucket which hung in the well," disappeared. Having now given the names of the earliest settlers, provided them with mills, houses and manufactories, and seen them on thriving little farms, we now turn to another branch of manufacture, which sprang out of the making of breadstuffs, viz., the Arabian art of distilling spiritous liquors. The furnaces of no less than four have been seen in this township, and, though they have disappeeared, their evil influence can easily be traced in the posterity of those, who, in early days, indulged in the use of their production. These were resorted to as the best method of getting money out of grain in a condensed form, in order to obviate hauling the bulk over the almost impassable roads, and when there were no railroads, and nothing but the flatboat flosted during high water to New Orleans, with its cargo of flour, whiskey, pork, etc. This method of commerce was carried on for some time, the mouth of Greenville Creek being the head of navigation on Stillwater. Fort Wayne was also a good market, as well as Cincinnati, when they could be reached by wagons, where the flour and whiskey would be exchanged for a return load of salt and merchan-dise.
We now see our hardy settlers fairly established in agriculture and the mechanical arts, and surrounded by all the necessary comforts that tend to make life enjoyable. The vast forests have given place to fields of grain, and cattle, sheep and horses quietly roam where the wolf and the deer were wont to claim primeval sway. Yet, in the language of one of the erlier times, "We had no meeting, no school, no Sunday, no Squire or Constable, we was just like the Injuns," and certainly a community devoid of all the safeguards of temporal and spiritual liberty would rapidly degenerate into a dangerous state of heathenism, notwithstanding the moral worth of its ancestry.
Schools and Schoolhouses
Children were growing up in ignorance and required the instructin necessary to make them useful men and women, therfore schools were needed, and, the people feeling this necessity, a schoolhouse was projected, and built of round logs cut up from the surrounding forest, clapboard roof with knees, ribs and weight- poles, wooden or stick chimney, well plastered with tough clay, stone backwall for fireplace--a log cut out nearly the length or breadth of the building, in which were set perpendicular sticks about a foot apart for sash, on which was pasted wrapping paper, leaves of old copy-books, or letters from friends in the old settlements, well greased with lard, possum grease or coon oil, to render it semi-transparent--this was the educational window, and this the pioneer schoolhouse of the early settlers of all the Northwest Territory.
The first house of this kind erected for school purposes, stood near the north end of High Street, Covington, west of the road, and near the present residence of Mrs. Catherine Shellenberger. Uncle John Ullery says he knows well the location and distinctly remembers the old house as the first place he ever went to school. It appears not to have remained long, and must have been built about 1815 or 1816, as no one living save Mr. U. remembers it. The next was built about a half mile further north, on the opposite side of the St. Mary's road, and is remembered by a number of persons who obtained the rudiments of their education within its rude unclassical walls. Andrew Ballard is the only person who is remembered as having taught in this house.
It remained long the seat of learning in this township, and looked well on the exterior as long as sit was new. It was built in 1819 or 1820, and was finally burned down, as was supposed, to prevent its occupancy during the long vacations by a disreputable family. The rubbish from its chimney, and the pit from which the mud was taken to plaster its walls, can, after a lapse of sixty years, be seen to-day. The contrast between the privilages of the youth of to-day and the boy of pioneer times is truly wonderful. 466 While the light of day struggled through greased paper, the light of knowledge was as dimly shed through the facilities afforded by the times to enlighten the chambers of the intellect, and to obtain a knowledge, through letters of language, men, and things in general. In the Trotter's Creek neighborhood, John Barbour, who joined that settlement in 1817, initiated schools, by teaching one term in part of William Knox's dwelling about 1827 or 1820. Benjamin Dunham was the next to take up the birch and spelling-book at Trotter's Creek. Dunham's term of teaching was held in a vacant cabin one mile north of Knox's, in about 1820 0r 1821. We learn of several other terms of teaching in the neighborhood, as a teacher or vacant house gave an opportunity, up to 1824, when a hewed-log schoolhouse was built on an acre of ground deeded by Moses Mitchell to Newberry Township, for a graveyard and other purposes. This house was a step in advance, although it too, had greased-paper windows. William Dowler, who located in the neighborhood in 1823, was the first teacher in this house and for some years subsequent. James Perry was the first teacher in the village of Newberry, Covington in a house previously mentioned, built for a dwelling by John Ingle. Date of this term unknown. Amos Perry and James Hanks are spoken of as having taught in the village subsquently. We would have remark, by the way of ecplanation, that, while Covington existed under the name of Newberry, it never had a schoolhouse. When the firdt lots were laid out, No. 34 was sold to Jacob Ullery, at a nominal price, and deeded for a school lot, but the official who held the deed never had it recorded, and in course of time moved away, taking it with him; the lot was taxed, sold for the same and never redeemed.
The earlier school teachers who are remembered are Amos Perry and his brother James, James Hanks, Joshua Sanders, David Brumbaugh, Anderson Ballard, John Barbour, Benjamin Dunham, Aaron Carson, _____Connelly, William Dowler and David Ross. A large majority of these persons were personally known by men now living, to be men of good and influential standing, but none of them had what would now be termed a liberal common-school education.
No records show, the beginning or existence of civil government in this township. It is said that Amos Perry was the first Justice of the Peace, and John Thompson the first Constable, but when they held office, tradition does not inform us. It was since 1816, how- ever, because Perry did not become a resident until that date.
Tradition also informs us that both Newberry and Newton Townships were organized under the former name, and when the population increased, Newton was organized seperately, and Newberry retained the original name. Newberry has nest for hungry and greedy politicians, but has had an occasional representative outside her own organization.
She has four times represented Miami County in the Ohio Legislature, viz." Amos Perry in 1832; Washington N. Weston, in 1844; Col. J.C. Ullery, in 1870-71, and the same in 1876-77. One of her citizxens has filled the County Recorder's office. Two terms of County Com-missioners have been filled from her borders, and the present Clerk of the Court is one of her native citizens.
In the late war of the rebellion, her sons gave themselves freely to support the Union.
DUNKARDS.--The Dunkards, or as they now style themselves, German Baptists, were the first to take the field in proclaiming the Gospel. It can hardly be said that they had a regular organization in this township previous to 1845, notwithstanding they held 467 meetings under the leadership of Michael Etter, a resident of Newton Township, at the time of the organization of the Upper Stillwater Congregation, as early as 1818 About 1845, they had a church organization, and, in the absence of any house of worship, they held meetings in private dwellings and barns. As their numbers increased, they were obliged to seek more suitable accommodations. Their first building was a substantial brick, known as the Upper Stillwater Church, capable of seating eight hundred persons, and containing all the appendages necessary for the usages of their communion services.
In 1869, they built a neat and comfortable structure in Covington, but this is not strictly the headquarters of the Covington Church.
In the last thirty years, this denomination has largely increased, and is now the strongest in numbers and wealth of any other in the township, its members being pricipally composed of the agricultural population.
CHRISTIANS.--The next in the order of organization was the Christian, or New Light Church, in 1820. This church did not have a house of worship, but held service in private dwellings and barns, and the most convenient schoolhouse; was organized near Trotter's Creek and known as the Trotter's Creek Church. The preacher's name who organized it was Stackhouse, and the organizing members, so nearly as can be remembered, were William Knox and wife, William and Lemuel Templeton and their wives, John McClurg and wife, Samuel Nicholson and his wife, and Mrs. David Templeton. In 1824, Caleb Worley became its Pastor, and continued so for many years, when finally, dissensions arose and its organization ceased.
METHODISTS.--Following the Christians in chronology, were the Methodists, who organized about 1832 or 1835; built a church in Covington in 1836, which was blown down May 5, 1837. This was the first church building in the township. The Methodists, though noted for planting beside "all waters," and rarely failing to build up and maintain a church when once started, yet, in Covington, after three or four attempts at organization and a lapse of thirty- five or thirty-six years, have now no church organization here.
BAPTISTS --In 1835, the Regular Baptists organized a church and proposed to erect a building; a lot was purchased and the framework put together on the site early in the spring of 1838, only waiting for a proper foundation to be laid, whereon to rear the frame. The work was delayed, when, finally, the lot was leased by the school district, a schoolhouse was put up on it, the first in Covington, serving also the purpose of a meetinghouse until 1844, and remained a schoolhouse until 1848.
It appears that when the workmen began work on the foundation, the frame had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, although having, up to that time, lain in full view. The theory was that some evil-minded persons had thrown it into the river during the then existing freshet, as some portions of it were found among the drift, and sub-sequently one participant confessed it. Thus discouraged, the Baptists ceased to exist as an organization.
The present Baptist Church was organized in 1848, and built their house in 1849. The Christian Church of Covington was organized by Rev. Caleb Worley, with seven members, in 1837, and its sturdy growth enabled its members to build a comfortable brick structure in 1846, which was the first church erected by that denomination in the township, and which the present structure erected on the same spot the best church building in the township.
Previous to 1840, the German Reformed and Lutherans had organizations in the northern part of the township, and in the year named they also had a building for worship.
The first organization of the Cumberland Presbyterians was made in January, 1838. While being accomplished in this township, it passed beyond its borders. The present church, organized in 1842, sub-sequently built a church, and ranks about third in strength and wealth in the township.
The Presbyterian Church was organized in June, 1842, at Covington, and, in conjunction with the Cumberland Presbyterians, built the church now owned by the society. The building was 468 finished in 1844, and used by both organizations for a number of years, until the Cumberlands sold out to the Methodists and built for themselves.
Summing up, we have the following places of worship in Newberry; Dunkards 2; Christians, 3; German Reformed, 2; Union, 1; Methodists, 1; total, 16. Six of these are in the village of Covington, three in Bradford, two in North Clayton, the others in the country.
Roads and Bridges
There are but few things that add more to the general comfort and convenience of a community than good roads, or an easy method of social and commercial intercommunication.
Some time previous to 1816, the exact date we cannot ascertain, a road was established and, we presume, cut through Newberry. The Piqua & Greenville was located, perhaps some years later, crossing the northern part of the township from east to west. The Troy & Greenville, crossing the town plat on Wright Street, was still later. In 1826, however, these roads were not yet all opened through the forest; now they are either all covered by free pikes or vacated in favor of pikes constructed on more eligible localities near by.
In 1836, a project was set on foot to connect Springfield with Greenville by constructing a pike between the two places, passing through Troy and Covington. A company was formed, stock taken, the State subscribing perhaps half. In 1837, the clearing and grubbing was commenced, and perhaps some grading in Newberry, which was the first actual work on turnpikes in the township.
In 1838, the capitalists and business men of Dayton, seeing the importance of holding the rapidly increasing trade of the Stillwater Valley, which they had heretofore enjoyed, and foreseeing the danger of its being diverted to points along the Miami Canal, the just completed to Piqua, organized the Dayton & Covington Turnpike Company, secured the necessary stock and began the work of construction in 1839.
When the success of this enterprise was fully secured and under way, our neighbors of Piqua moved to connect that city with the Dayton & Covington pike in order to secure a large prospective trade from the rich farm products of the Stillwater Valley and Darke County, and forming a company, bridged the six miles of black swamp lying between the Miami and Stillwater with the old Covington pike.
In 1841, the Dayton & Covington pike was completed, and in 1843 the Piqua & Covinton pike was completed between the two places, making Newberry the first in the county having two turnpikes terminating within her borders, Covington, a turnpike center, and giving it a daily mail and stage route to the north and west.
The Springfield, Troy & Greenville Company having failed, and most if not all the grading having been done, a new company was formed west of Covington, along the road to complete it from Covington to New Harrison, Darke County, which was soon accomplished, and proved a good investment to the stockholders, and beneficial to the citizens along the line.
These road enterprises were well supported by the citizens of Covington, which was the first town in the county within whose limits three pikes terminated.
At present there are fifty miles of free pike within the bounds of this township, and not one mile of tollroad. These roads have all been paid for within the last ten years by the farmers living along the respective lines. The different streams that are crossed by these roads are spanned by twenty-three structures that may be properly termed bridges, not including small bridges and culverts. Six of the former are common wooden bridges; eight or nine are late improved iron bridges, and not many years hence every road will be graveled and every stream spanned.
Bradford, or Bradford Junction, as the station is called, is situated in Newberry and Adams Townships, Miami and Darke Counties- -Miami Co. having a greater portion of inhabitants by a small majority, the whole population at present being nearly 1,400. The town only dates back to 1868, when the Cincinnati, Columbus & Indiana Central Railroad Company commenced building the roundhouse at the junction of their roads, which is in Miami County, and this was the starting-point of the town. It was formerly called Richmond, and Union City Junction, but, in 1868, it received its name Bradford from Tom Bradford, a mail agent on the Cincinnai, Columbus & Indiana Central Railroad, who called it after himself, there being no other town in Ohio of that name.
At this time, Charles Rapp lived on the Miami County side, and the depot consisted of an old boxcar, the mail being generally carried around in Charlie's pockets. Early in 1868 the Railroad Company commenced their buildings, and soon after a boasrding-house was built by Charles Dearworth, and called the "Locust House." In this same year, William Romans, master mechanic of the Cincinnati, Columbus & Indiana Central Railroad, laid out some lots on the Miami County side, and Dan Rice, who was foreman of the roundhouse, bought some land and laid out lots, which he sold, this being also in Miami Co. Lots were afterward laid out by the Railroaad Company, Christian Sears, Moses Wise, Wade Steel and Long. On the Darke County side, the first lots were laid out by Solomon Routzong. In August, 1868, W.H. Sowers came and put up a warehouse at the junction, engaging in the grain trade under the name J. Sowers & Son. About this time, there was a small store on Routzong's land, in Darke County, which was afterward burned. In the same year was built the Hoover House, by a man named Hoover, and another hotel was built a little east of the Hoover House, by Rice, and called the Bradford House. Among the first houses built in West Bradford, was one put up by John S. Moore, the same year. In 1869, J. Sowers & Son engaged in general merchan-disae business, in addition to their grain trade, and in 1869, the depot was builkt at the junction. In 1870, Nathan Iddings also engaged in the general merchandise business in East Bradford; this he continued until he was forced to give it up on account of a sun-stroke, and has since engaged in a general Notary and real estate business, having more house erected in Bradford than any other one man.
J. Sowers & Son continued their business for some time, till 1975, W.H. Sowers purchased the Hoover House, when the firm continued under the same name, another son taking his place, and they are still engaged in the grain business at the Junction. W.H. Sowers is, at resent, Postmaster at Bradford. The Railroad Company at first completed twelve stalls of their roundhouse, afterward increaseing the number to twenty-four, and there is probability that the entire circle may be filled out, which would give forty- eight stalls for engines. Bradford, after its commencement, continued to improve quite rapidly, numerous houses and stores being put up on both sides of the county line. In 1870, the first schoolhouse was erected, on the Miami County side, which was used until the completion of the present fine school-building in 1876, on the West Side. The contractors were Dennis Dwyer and George Manix. The cost of the structure was about $28,000. It is four stories high, including the basement. Its ground dimensions are 75&56 feet, with two towers additional, twenty-two feet square base and seventy feet altitude. The building is finished in a fine style, and is an ornament to the town. A hall in the fourth story is well furnished, and will seat 600 persons. There is a good school-bell, and heating is done by steam. The school enumeration is 410. The present School Board are Solomon Routzong, D.J. Smith, William Weaver, N. Iddings, Valentine Staley and R.T. Hughes. D.S. Myers has been Superintendent from the first, a fact creditable to all parties. The other teachers have taught the same period. They are M.J. Hunter, Mrs. D.S. Myers, Miss Minnie Garber, Miss Clara Gulick and Miss Jennie Baumgardner. The old school-building is at present used as an agricultural store by Henry Klinger. The first hardware and tin store was opened by John Clark, who came in 1870, and was the first Justice in Bradford. He is still in the hardware 470 trade, his store bring in Darke and his house in Miami County.
At present. Bradford does considerable business, principally or to a large extent with the railroad and its employees, but there are a number of firms who do a considerable business with farmers living in the vicinity. Among the most prominent business houses and men on the east side or in Miami County we would mention: Fink & Bro., general merchandise; W.H. Sowers, Postmaster and stationer; Solomon Urbansky; J.M. Little & Co., drugs; E. Baker & Co., grocery; E.B. Maurer, grocer, and Henry Klinger, agricultural implements.
The Hoover House is now kept by Ogden & Co.; the Bradford House by C.M. Yost.
The corporation is a unit; that is, there are not two sets of civil officers, and there is but one post office. Moore was Postmaster in 1869; then W.H. Sowers held the office, which was then removed to the East Side, where it has since remained. The first Mayor of Bradford was Peter H. Smith; Clerk, Ed Davidson; Marshal, George Doll. The present officers of Bradford are J.A.W. Smith, Mayor; M.J. Williamson, Clerk. H.W. Smith, Marshal; and the members of the Council are D.J. Smith, John Gettz, and Messrs. Beck, Kinney and J.M. Fink.
There are four churche edifaces in Bradford--three in Miami County, and one in Darke County. The first church building was put up in Miami County by the Baptists in 1870, who organized a society that year. Their first preacher was Northrop, from New Madison. Their first regular pastor was a young man named Tuttle; afterward, J.R. Deckard, _____Abrams, ______Gardner, _______Smith and the present Pastor, Matthews. Next in Miami County the "Reform Church" erected a church. Among the first Pastors were John Stuck and Mr. Gough; their present Pastor is J.E. Dingledine. After them came the Methodists, who built their church in 1872, which is also in Miami County. Their first preacher weas Bradley; then Pilcher, Staley, Powel, Oldfield, and Matthews, the present Pastor. The Cumberland Presbyterians have a society, organized on June 3, 1876, by James Best, assisted by H.D. Onyett, of Covington. Their present Pastor is James Best, and they rent the Reform Church, where they hold service one-half the time. The Catholics erected a church in 1875, in the Darke County portionm, and their first services were held by Father Shelhamer. They have no resident priest.
Return to the main 1880 History Page
Copyright © 1998 by Computerized Heritage
All Rights Reserved.