Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History
Miami County Ohio
THE TOWNSHIPS (WESTERN)
Townships; Their Boundaries and History-Early Settlers; Heroes of the
Revolution and War of 1812; Developement of Natural Resources; First Mills;
Founding of the Villages; Bradford, Covington, Tippecanoe, West Milton,
Before giving in detail an account of Troy and Piqua, which are the
largest municipalities of the county, I shall devote two chapters to the
history of the townships and the towns which are found within their limits.
Prior to 1807 the county comprised but two townships. The division west
of the Miami was called Randolph Township, while the eastern section was
named Elizabeth. The genesis of these titles as applied to the divisions
is obscure and not traceable. Randolph Township being too large, was not
permitted to retain its name very long. In fact it disappeared within a
year and the territory therein embraced was divided into more townships.
In the same manner, that portion of the county which had been given the
general name of Elizabeth, was divided until the six townships lying east
of the river had been formed.
Washington Township, though the smallest in area, is the most populous
division of the county. It is named for General Washington and justly so
since to the "first great American" we owe so much concerning
the opening of the Miami country. The boundaries of Washington Township
are as follows: On the north by Shelby County, on the east by Springereek
and Staunton Townships, on the south by Concord and Newton and on the west
by Newberry. To Washington Township belongs the credit of some of the first
settlements in the state. It was the home of some of the Indian tribes
so closely identified with the history of the county and it witnessed not
a few stirring events in early history. It has aptly been said that "here
was the last home of the red man in the county and here the earliest white
settlements." From the Indian cantons in Washington Township, the
Indian forayed into Kentucky and when loaded with the spoil of his depredations,
he returned to the banks of the Miami and at Piqua told to attentive listeners
around the forest fires the story of the bloody raid.
The county had been a legally organized commonwealth about seven years
before Washington Township came into existence. Prior to this time (1814)
several settlements had been made within its present limits. One Job Gard,
who had been a soldier in Wayne's army, taking note of this particular
region when the army passed north to punish the Indians on the Maumee in
1794, returned after the camapaign and built for himself a cabin out of
timber which had been used in the construction of old Fort Piqua. Gard's
settlement is supposed to have been an event of 1798. This first pioneer
of Washington Township remained in his habitation for three years when
he sold out to John Manning, a man closely identified with the early history
of the county. From this date the tide of settlement in the northern portion
of the county can easily be traced. The cabins of the settlers, hitherto
far apart, were to be found in little groups which formed a protection
from the indians and stimulated neighborly intercourse. The needs of the
little colony in Washington Township increased. Hand mills for the grinding
of corn were erected, but these failing to sufficiently provide for the
wants of the community, regular mills came into use, and in 1804 Manning
erected one near what is now the south end of Harrison Street in Piqua.
It was the first real mill in that section of the county.
With the organization of the township the first trustees were elected.
They were John Widney, Benjamin Brandon, and William Mitchell. The Mitchells
came from Tennessee and were hardy, honest and enterprising people. It
is noticeable that many of the first settlers of the county came from the
Southern states. This fact may be traced to the Boones and others who had
penetrated this region years before to carry back to their friends flattering
reports of the fertile valleys which lay north of the Ohio, a veritable
"land of promise." It is somewhat remarkable that but little
is known of the actual settlement of Washington Township outside of the
City of Piqua. One of the first inhabitants of the township was the celebrated
Col. John Johnston, the Indian agent. Others were James and Frank Johnston,
Hugh Scott, Benjamin Leavell, John and Enos Manning, Armstrong Brandon,
and Matthew Caldwell. Another well known character was Joseph Porquette,
who kept about the first liquor store in the county.
The late Dr. Dorsey, in his reminincences, has this to say of Porquette,
who, from his name, was evidently French: "At that time there was
quite a broad strip of land between the east side of the street in Piqua
and the west end of the river bridge. This was claimed by Porquette. Ewing,
a local trader, kept a tavern, in which he had a few articles of traffic
which he sometimes exchanged with the Indians for skins and furs. As the
village grew, the consumption of liquor naturally increased, and Porquette
kept some whiskey on his side of the street, which was not a little frequented
from the fact that the first blacksmith shop stood hard by, and hence it
happened that occasionally little disturbances arose in this vicinity,
somewhat to the disgust of the good and sober people in the other houses.
As the numbers year by year increased and these outbreaks became more marked
and frequent, Porqette's little piece of ground was at length called by
the distinctive appellation of the 'Devil's Half-acre,' that it might be
known that it was believed that this was all the territory to which it
was believed His Satanic Majesty could rightfully lay claim within this
locality. This name continued for many years, and it was only after the
larger portion of the ground was buried in the canal and the evil spirit
properly laid beneath its waters that the name was lost and is now only
remembered by a few of the old inhabitants.
Much of the improved land in Washington Township today was cultivated
by the Indians in corn. It was this fact which induced George Rogers Clark
to invade this particular locality in 1782 when, as has already been narrated
in this work, he devastated these fields, laying them waste and depriving
the red men of their sustenance. The Indian corn fields stretched along
the bank of the Miami in Washington Township and were cultivated by the
women of the various tribes. When the whites came they found some of these
fields in a fair state of cultivation, but the Indian method was very primitive.
The pioneers of Washington Township at once improved on the Indian's work
and before long their own fields were the wonder of the early days. As
the village of Piqua grew in importance a little market for grain was established
and later on the boating industry enabled the settlers to reach the outside
world which lay beyond the forests of the Miami. No other township in the
county furnished a sturdier group of settlers than Washington. They came
of a hardy race, immigrants from beyond the barriers of the Alleghanies,
men who made that long journey alone, looking for the new land of which
they had heard and longed to possess. If the docket of Mathew Caldwell,
who was the first justice of the peace of Washington Township, could be
unearthed, its few entries would show how peaceably its first inhabitants
got along together. There was little litigation and nearly all the cases
that came up before Justice Caldwell were settled by the advice of friends
or of the Justice himself. In short the neigborhood was not disturbed by
quarrels, and it was not until Piqua became a large town that the dockets
assumed visible proportions. Since it is designed to give the history of
Piqua in a separate chapter we will turn our attention to another township.
The organization of Concord Township is contemporaneous with the formation
of the county. It is located centrally, being bounded on the north by Washington,
on the east by the Miami, on the South by Monroe and on the west by Newton.
Its name means "peace," though at various times since its promotion
and during political years it has swung away from that appellation. It
does not contain much Indian history, as no Indian villages seem to have
been built within its borders. Among the first whites to settle in Concord
Township were: Aaron Tullis, William Barbee, Reuben Shackelford and Alexander
Telford. These came about 1804. In 1806 came John Peck from Kentucky with
four sons, Jacob, John, Joseph and Isaac and four daughters. This family
located on the Boone place south of Troy. Peck arrived in the winter season
and paid $100 for 160 acres of excellent land, only one acre of which was
cleared. His little cabin of simple construction contained but one room,
16x18, and this housed the entire family. Peck drove all his cattle through
the wilderness from Kentucky, guarding them by day and by night from Indians
and wild beasts. It was a long and perilous journey, but the pioneer was
undaunted and was at last rewarded for his trouble by finding a home near
the waters of the Miami. In the second year of his residence in Concord
Township all his stock died save one mare, three cows and 4 few sheep,
and with this remnant he was compelled to begin life anew. It was a gigantic
task which confronted John Peck and his family, but all went to work with
a will and before long found themselves well situated with all the losses
recovered and good prospects ahead. In 1805 Abraham Thomas joined the little
colony in Concord Township. Thomas had had some experience in war, as he
had been a soldier in the Revolution, and an enlisted man in both of Clark's
expeditions against the Indians in the Miami Country. Like Mr. Peck, he
made the journey from Kentucky with his family, consisting of his wife
and four children. The emigrants reached the Staunton settlement, where
they remained for a few hours, then forded the Miami at the "broad
ford" as it is yet called. From the river bank Thomas and his sons
were obliged to cut a road through the forest to their farm not far south
of Troy. On this piece of land these pioneers first cut the brush out and
built what was called a camp. This was not the comfortable cabin a few
of which may still be found standing at the present day. It was a structure
still more modest in its pretensions. Instead of logs, the sides were hastily
built up with poles, the cracks between them were stuffed with moss and
the roof and floor were made of bark. The front side of the structure was
left entirely open and a huge fire built in front of it. Here there were
no troubles with rats in the cellar, cats in the garret, smoky chimneys,
slamming doors or lack of ventilation. The good housewife cooked her bear
meat, venison and wild turkey at her primitive range and spread a board
which epicures might envy. The family lived in such a camp for a few weeks
until a more substantial log cabin could be completed. The cracks of this
were chinked with mud and daubed with mud and a door and chimney were not
forgotten. One little aristocratic feature of the new structure will readily
be forgotten nowadays. Four panes of real glass were used in the windows
instead of greased paper. When the cabin, one of the first erected in Concord
Township was finished, Pioneer Thomas and his sturdy sons went into the
woods, which soon resounded with the sound of their axes. The first task
was the planting of an orchard, trees for which they had thoughtfully brought
from Kentucky. In time these trees bore luscious pipins, and but few years
have elapsed since the last of these pioneer orchards disappeared.
Across the river from the Staunton settlement lay what was known as
the Gahagan Prairie. Mr. Thomas rented ten acres of this rich bottom land,
which he planted with the necessaries of life, while he and his sons cleared
the homestead. On this farm Mr. Thomas passed the remaining years of his
life, dying in 1843, and was buried by the famous LaFayette Blues, a Troy
military organization commanded by Lieutenant Pettit. Abram Thomas is a
fair sample of the early pioneers of the county. It is said of him that
his character was unimpeachable, that he possessed a daring spirit, and
being of a robust and hardy constitution, he was often detailed for the
most important and hazardous service in time of war. He took part in the
Revolutionary War and in many a hard fought Indian skirmish before and
since that period.
Among the other early settlers of Concord Township were Foust, McGimpsey
and Steward. These settled near the Peck place, and in 1807 the small colony
was increased by the addition of David Jenkins, of South Carolina, and
James Knight of Pennsylvania. The Concord colony was increasing. Gahagan's
Prairie was giving forth crops that cheered the heart of the pioneer and
made him satisfied with his change. In fact this tract, having once been
"farmed" by the Indians, was easily induced to yield to the industry
of the settler. Such was the fertility of this ground that the first year
with its primitive utensils Mr. Peck got forty-one bushels of corn to the
acre. Through the woods of Concord, over the winding trails, the settlers
went to mill on horseback. No wagons were theirs. Up to about 1814 only
two wagons were to be found in this whole region and they were not accessible
for use. While the Pecks and Thomases were the first pioneers to break
ground in Concord Township, there were others who were contemporaneous
with them. There were James Orr, James Youart, A. McCullough, James Marshall,
John Johnson, Henry Orbison and Joseph McCorkle. The majority of these
men came from Kentucky, which section sent into Miami County some of its
foremost citizens. When one looks back over the history of Concord Township,
much of which belongs to the history of Troy which is to be related hereafter,
he must give unbounded credit to the men who overcame the difficulties
of the wilderness and brought order out of chaos. Let us consider for a
moment a few items plucked at random from the early chapters of this township.
Soon after the first settling of the township came the war of 1812 with
its attendant Indian horrors. The panic which grew out of the threatened
danger spread along the Miami and for a season paralyzed the pioneer settlements
of Concord. They were believed to be in the shadow of the tomahawk, but
fortunately the danger passed and peace once more hovered over the Miami
frontier, guarding it as a mother guards her young; the tide of immigration,
halted by the war, revived and returned to its former sweep.
The progressive agriculture of the present day as seen in Concord Township
was in its infancy a century ago. There was scarcer any market, not even
for the small amount of grain raised by the settlers. Teams were almost
unknown, fences had not come into vogue, and mills were few and far between.
It did not require much corn to fatten hogs, as the woods furnished them
with sustenance. Owing to a scarcity of fences all cattle were belled and
hogs marked. The only market was across the river at Staunton and the produce,
which consisted mainly of butter and eggs, was taken thither. Groceries
were confined to those of the most simple description and the pioneers
of Concord Township were often put to their ingenuity to supply their wants.
Sugar was made from sap of the maple tree, sage and sassafras took the
place of "Oolong," and browned rye was a substitute for coffee.
Doctors had not invaded the neighborhood and home-made medicines, tansy
and penny royal, were the "cure alls " of that day.
The harvests were cut in the simplest manner with the sickle. Corn huskings
which were great and jolly affairs, came vogue in Concord as they did in
other parts of the country. They put the corn in piles, with a rail in
the center. Then two members of the party were selected to "choose
up" and the huskers were chosen. At a givin signal all hands went
to work and amid much merriment the work was completed. This was but one
of the recreations of the first settlers of Concord Township. Everything
was cheap then but the clothing which the pioneers were forced to buy.
Fine shirts were not known, because muslin was too high -75 cents per
yard. The housewife spun for the family and linsey-woolsey dresses were
the first seen in Troy. The Concord pioneers cut cordwood and got it into
Troy, where it brought thirty-seven and one half cents per cord which he
could exchange for half a yard of muslin. Corn brought eight cents a bushel,
wheat seldom more than twenty-five and oats six and one-fourth cents. The
farmer of today would smile at these prices but they were considered "pertty
fair" by the men who broke ground here one hundred years ago.
The history of Troy will form a chapter by itself, hence nothing more
concerning Concord Township need be written here. It is today one of the
foremost of the twelve divisions of the county. It is richly supplied with
turnpikes which enter Troy from every part of the county and steam and
electric roads add to its wealth. Troy is the only incorporated town within
the limits of Concord Township. Eldean is a hamlet on the Trop-Piqua turnpike
and the D. & T. electric car line, about two miles north of Troy.
The most interest seems to cluster about the early or pioneer history
of any place. This is not only true of nations, but of smaller commonwealths,
towns and cities. The coming of the first settlers has a charm which later
history cannot take away. There is something in the early migrations to
this county that is still unexplained. Several townships, notably those
in the Stillwater region, were largely settled by people from the far south,
from North and South Carolina. Why they settled one part of the country
and not the other is still a mystery. Monroe Township was settled to a
great extent by people from that section of the Union. Monroe is found
in the southern tier of townships, bounded on the north by Concord, on
the south by Montgomery County, on the west by Union Township, while the
Miami separates it from Bethel and Elizabeth, which stretch away to the
east. Its first settlers came from South Carolina and when they reached
the fertile lands of Monroe they found the Indians in possession, living
in primitive villages that sheltered the red tribes of the forest.
Samuel Freeman seems to have been the first white man to break ground
in Monroe, which he did in 1801. His habitation was the beginning of house
building in the township. From North Carolina in 1802. came John Yount,
who entered a choice piece of land at $2 per acre. Next came Michael Fair,
who emigrated from Frederick County Maryland, the home of Barbara Freitchie,
and he was followed a little later on by John Clark, also of Maryland.
The Clarks were of good stock, sturdy and industrious, and produced
a long line of descendants as notable as themselves. David Jenkins left
his South Carolina home to begin a new life among the woods of of Monroe
and with him came Elisha Jones, another son of the Palmetto State. Jenkins
being a man of some culture, filled various township offices, all of which
he discharged faithfully, winning the respect of his neighbors. Among the
other pioneers of Monroe are to be found Thomas Pearson, his three sons
Enoch, Jonas and Thomas, Jr., Samuel Pearson, John Jay, Paul Macey, George
North, George Kerr, the Laytons, Ferguses, Westlakes, Puterbaughs, Shafers,
Furnaces, and a number of others whose name at this late day are not obtainable.
The Maceys were from Tennessee, the Norths from Georgia and the Kerrs from
Virginia. All these hardy pioneers brought families with them, and these
increasing as the years went by, populated Monroe Township with an excellent
class of citizens.
In Monroe the settlers found land to their liking. Many settled on Freeman's
Prairie, which was situated southeast of Tippecanoe City and opposite the
mouth of Honeycreek on the west side of the Miami. The mills to which the
pioneers had access were few and far between. They were, very primitive
as compared with the mills of the present day. Dr. Asa Coleman in his reminiscences
describes one of these mills as follows: "These early erected mills
were quite primitive in their structure and material. The mill-stones were
generally manufactured in the county, often in the immediate vicinity of
the site where they were to be used, of single stones worked out of the
large boulders which are to be found on the surface in various parts of
the county. Very little iron except the spindle gudgeons and a few bands
were used, wood being exclusively used for all other purposes; iron being
too expensive and difficult to obtain. These mills from these circumstances
were very simple structures calculated principally for the grinding of
corn. The first grinding of wheat for flour was very imperfectly done.
In some at first the bolt was turned by hand, a somewhat laborious operation,
but wheat bread being a rarity the labor was willingly performed. At the
time of the organization of the county there were six or seven of these
milling establishments in operation. There were Mordecai Mendenhall's on
Honeycreek, Henry Gerard's on Springcreek, John Freeman's and John Manning's
on the Miami, Moses Coate's on Ludlow Creek, Mast's, Weddle's and Empre's
on Stillwater." A number of these sawmills sawed lumber for the first
frame houses erected in Monroe Township.
Tippecanoe City, the principal town in Monroe, dates its incorporative
origin in the year 1840. It was named for "Tippecanoe," the sobriquet
given President W. H. I. Harrison for his defeat of the Indians at the
battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. It lies in the eastern part of the township,
its northeastern boundary being formed by the Miami River. For some years
Tippecaiioe City had no market facilities, but the building of the Miami
and Erie Canal supplied this want and later the shipping facilities were
further increased by the Dayton & Michigan Railroad and the D. &
T. traction line. Tippecanoe City's first post office was called Hyattsville
and Henry J.Hyatt was the first postmaster. Hyatt lived in a log cabin,
where he was merchant, tailor and postmaster all in one.
It is said that a division of sentiment preavled over the naming of
Tippecanoe City. A Mr. Jay, who purchased the first lot, wanted the place
to bear the appellation of Jaytown, while Mr. Clark wanted it called Sharpsburg
after his home in Maryland, but the presant name was selected and the discussion
ended. The first tavern in the now prosperous town was built by Thomas
Krise, who for some years furnished entertainment for man and beast, and
he is said to have been an enterprising landlord.
From the very first Tippecanoe City seemed to prosper, owing to the
energy of its inhabitants, until now it has a population of almost 1,800.
Its first official roster is as follows: Mayor-Levi N. Booker; recorder-E.F.
Shields; marshal-Eli Snell; treasurer-L. Wilcox; councilmen -Thomas Jay,
Michael Shellabarger, Henry Krist. From that time to the present the mayors
of Tippecanoe City have been I.K. Gilbert, H.H. McCabe, C.W. Wheeler, John
Mann, E.T. Shields, T. Kibby, A.H. Wesler, Levi Jay, A.E. Kerns, Ellis
H. Kerr, W.G. Fritz, L.A. Sheets, S.E. Smith, B.B. Scarff, G.J. Smith,
R.N. Eyler. Messrs. Shields, Wesler, and Kerr filled the mayor's office
at different times.
The present city officers are: Mayor-R.N. Eyler; clerk-S.O. Mitchell;
treasurer-J.S. Pohlman; solicitor-W.E. Lytle; marshal-C.J. Frost; councilmen-W.H.
Clarke, E.T. Davis, G.O. King, Will H. Long, D.W. Prill, L.L. Youart; street
commissinoer- S.S. Westfall; police-Cris Eickhoff, J.H. Fenner.
Tippecanoe is a noted manufacturing center, but this industry will be
mentioned in a special chapter. It has two banks (see "Banks and Banking"),
a fine public school, and excellent churches. Ginghamsburg, a village of
some local importance, is situated in Monroe Township, with Fredericktown
(Fidelity P.0.) and Cowlesville, the latter a cluster of houses on the
Dayton & Troy Traction line.
In writing the history of Union Township one must go south to discover
its fountain head. The tide of emigration that flowed northward from the
Carolinas broke upon the shores of the Stillwater and populated Union.
When that vast area lying west of the Miami, and which for a time was known
as Randolph Township, was cut up into five smaller divisions, Union became
one of these about 1807. It is bounded on the north by Newton Township,
on the south by Montgomery County, on the east by Concord and Monroe Townships
and on the west by Monore Township in Darke County. It is traversed by
the Stillwater in the eastern part, while two branches of Ludlow Creek
and other streams water its large area.
There being no finer land "out of doors" it is no wonder that
the first white men who penetrated to this region concluded to make it
their home. In the year 1801 Henry Fouts and the two Ellers, Leonard and
Adam, settled in Union Township in the very heart of the "forest primeval."
They had looked at other land, but found the region of the Stillwater to
their liking. The next year came Caleb Mendenhall with his family of six,
and he was followed by John Mast and Frederick Yount. The last named located
a mill site and for a while supplied the settlers with flour and ground
meal. In 1804 David Mote, Sr., with five stalwart sons, settled in Union.
They chose the western part of the township, while east of the river received
Leonard and William Fincher, William Neal, Benjamin Pike, Jacob Byrkett
and others. The Motes led the vanguard of Quakers who settled in Union
Township, a class of people who have given to this county much of the stability
and prosperity it now enjoys. These people, quiet, unobtrusive and strictly
honest, are found all over Union Township, forming within themselves a
class noted for its integrity. The descendants of the first Quaker residents
have filled many positions of trust and are numbered today among the foremost
citizens of the county.
The year 1805 found Samuel Jones in Union Township. He emigrated from
Georgia, as did Abiather Davis, who brought with him to the fine lands
on Stillwater four sons and three daughters. In the same year Newberry
District in South Carolina sent a little colony of Quakers into the township,
among whom were Isaac, James, George and Nathan Hollingsworth. Elislia
Jones, a chairmaker, came in 1807, having been preceded a year previous
by Joel Hollingsworth, another Quaker. Joel was a man of both ingenuity
and business, for he built flatboats upon Stillwater and transported his
own produce to New Orleans, making quite a little sum by the operation.
It is stated that upon one return trip Mr. Hollingsworth brought home a
telescope, a wonderful thing in those days. Neighbors came from far and
near to inspect the wonderful instrument and for months it was the newest
thing under the sun.
One cannot help noticing the stalwartness of the first settlers of Union
Township. They were men of powerful physique and people of more than the
average culture and perseverance. For instance Isaac Hasket rode horse
back from South Carolina, accompanied by his wife and child, and many others
followed his example. He was a blacksmith whose forge was always aglow
and his hands and skill turned out all sorts of farming implemeiats, including
sickles in profusion. There were no keener sickles in the Stillwater Valley
than those he fashioned and the bearded grain went down before them in
a marvelous manner. So rapid was the settlement of Union Township that
it is asserted that two large Friends or Quaker settlements in Georgia
and South Carolina were almost depopulated to furnish inhabitants in this
section. The tide of immigration rolled resistless this way for several
years or until Union Township was almost entirely populated with Quakers.
When the township came to organize itself into a body politic it chose
Samuel B. Edwards as clerk. He was a man not calculated to make the best
possible officer, but something had to be done and he was selected. He
served but one term and the people seemed glad to exchange him for another
elector. John Coate is said to have been the first duly elected clerk.
Settled as it was by people of decided worth, Union Township soon became
a recognized branch of the county's existence, a position which it holds
today. It is noted for its liberality in everything, for thrift and industry.
Its principal town is West Milton or Milton, as it was first called. The
town was named for John Milton the English poet, and it is said that "Paradise
Lost" held such a sway over the mind of a fair daughter of Union Township
that she managed to have its chief town named for her favorite author.
West Milton, with a present population of over 1,000 is situated on
the west bank of the, Stillwater. The site of the town was selected by
Joseph Evans, who came from the Newberry District, South Carolina. He was
so pleased with the location that he resolved to establish a village at
this point. The first lots were sold in 1807. For years the village had
a sluggish growth, and as late as 1825 but three families occupied the
site, but in course of time the village took on new life and began to assume
considerable proportions. Oliver Benton became the first postmaster of
West Milton and added the occupations of merchant and justice to his other
one. He owned the only store in the town and wagoned his products to Cincinnati.
As the town grew, manufacture was encouraged, a carding machine was set
up, and a woolen mill followed. Samuel Kelley was the proprietor of the
mill, but in 1820 he sold out to David Thayer, who wove blankets there.
In 1824 a scythe factory was established at West Milton and the manufacture
of linseed oil became an infaut industry there in 1819. Not until 1840
did the town get an outlet by turnpike, when the one from Dayton tapped
the place. Years afterward the railway came and now, besides this convenience,
West Milton is tapped by the Dayton, Covington and Piqua Traction Line.
About 1834 the prospering town took out papers of incorporation and C.W.Beebe
was called to fill the first mayor's chair. Today the town of West Milton
has two prosperous banks, a number of manufactories, a fine school, excellent
and commodious churches, well paved streets and handsome business blocks
and dwellings, all of which go to make it one of the foremost towns in
the county. Its future is bright, for its citizens take an interest in
everything that goes to make it prosperous and influential as a town.
The present official roster of West Milton is as follows: Mayor- W.O.Martindale;
clerk- Charles E. Fox; treasurer- Philip Yount; marshal- Cyrus Long; councilmen-
David Stoltz, E.M. Crew, Oren Coates, A.G. Eidemiller, Smith Gassett, Cyrus
Folkerth; board of education-Gainor Jennings, John Henderson.
The villages of New Lebanon and Laura are situated in Union Township.
The former has a population of 250, the latter, 400. The picturesque hamlet
of Ludlow Falls, near the beautiful cascade of the same name, is a promising
place. New Lebanon, or Georgetown, was laid out in 1840. It has a German
Baptist Church, and the postoffice is Potsdam. Laura, named for the daughter
of its first postmaster, was incorporated in 1892, and is a well conducted,
thriving town. It is officered at present as follows: Mayor- Robert Wylie;
clerk- Arthur Hess; treasurer- George Swisher; marshal- Milton North; councilmen-
Ellis Lowery, William Coate, Charles Hall, Urias Netzley, Benjamin Welbaum,
Newton Township, the second of the three known as the "Stillwater
townships," occupies the extreme western part of the county. Newberry
and Washington bound it on the north, Union on the south, Concord on the
east, and Darke County on the west. It is watered by the Stillwater and
tributary streams, and the land is fair and fertile. There is no township
the county that has better roads than Newton. These pikes running in every
direction, reach every section of the township, giving every inhabitant
an excellent outlet everywhere.
The history of Newton Township is contemporaneous with the greater history
of the county. The same class of people that poured into other parts of
the Stillwater Valley gave Newton her share and established the division
which bears her name. They came, many of them, from the South, from the
Carolinas, from Georgia and adjacent states, and not a few had seen service
under the banner of Washington. Hardy sons of the new republic were they,
men inured to every danger, strong willed and capable of making a home
north of the Ohio.
The first of these imniigrants to Newton Township was Michael Williams,
who had heard of the land from General Harrison. He came about 1799, and
with his four sons, proceeded to build the new home in the Miami wilderness.
In 1804 Marmaduke Coate, in spying out the Stillwater Valley, entered Newton
Township and became its second pioneer. This family began at once to make
an opening in the forest which rang with the music of their axes and before
long the sunshine kissed soil it had never kissed before. There was determination
in everything the Coates did, and Newton Township owes much today to this
Thomas Hill seems to have been the third settler to invade the township,
which he did about 1805. Among other things, he is noted for having erected
the first copper still ever seen in the township, and it is on record that
he made the best of whiskey. After Hill came Thomas Coppock, the progenitor
of one of the most noted families of the county. He too, came from South
Carolina. Coppock might be called one of the first abolitionists, for he
was opposed to slavery and was not loath to leave a section where the crack
of the slave driver's whip rang continually in his ears. He was a blacksmith
by trade and obtained coal for his forge by burning charcoal. He was one
of the first men in the county to be elected county commissioner.
One year after Coppock's arrival Samuel Teague, Benjamim and William
Furnas took possession of Newton Township land and cleared the same. Jacob
Embree followed the first newcomers, and William Long left Virginia to
find a home in Newton. Long was another good citizen, and his household,
it is said, furnished the third preacher in the county. In 1807 Alexander
Mills arrived to swell the little colony in Newton; then followed the Iddingses,
Ballingers, Mileses, Leavell Perrys, Dicksons and others. Newton was increasing
slowly but surely in population and it was of the best quality. There wasn't
a drone in it. The Falkners, Renches, and Freshours added to the Newton
colony, and the Teeters and Deeters established themselves near the Stillwater.
Industries soon began to spring up, primitive, it is true, but it was
a laudable beginning. Embree erected a saw-mill with a corn cracker attachment
and the people rejoiced. Next Robert Dickson put up a saw mill on Panther
Creek and George Freshour went into the same business. Newton Township
was surely moving along. In the midst of these growing industries the War
of 1812 broke out and for a time business was stifled. A dark cloud hung
over the township, but when it was dissipated by the sunshine of peace,
business flourished again. There were now numerous openings in the township
where the forest had been and on every side was heard the hum of prosperity.
Homes sprang up in every direction, farms were cultivated throughout the
township and villages began to spring into existence. Newton Township bid
fair to outstrip some of her neighbors.
Pleasant Hill, or Newton, as it was first called for Sir Isaac Newton,
the philosopher, was surveyed by James Hanks in 1843. I.K.Teeter laid it
out. The town which now has a population of 700 souls is the only one in
the township. When the postoffice, which was first kept some distance from
the town, was moved into it, John Whitmore became the postmaster. In 1866
the village was duly incorporated, its first officers being: Treasurer-
Fred Deeter; marshal- J.G. Ritter; trustees- William Patty, MD; John H.
Williams, -D. Minnich, John Whitmore and Joseph Pearson. The present official
roster of the town is as follows: Mayor- D.M. Coppock; clerk- C. Roy Coppock;
treasurer- D.E. Rothermal; Marrshal- Sidney Strong; council- H.H. Coppock,
president; J.C. Kriegbaum, Henry Martindale, Martin L. Gates, Daniel Hayworth,
Jesse Berry; board of public service- Dr.A.J. Bausman, G.P. Hoffman, Samuel
Berger. In August 1908, council passed an ordinance authorizing the sale
of $16,000 worth of bonds for waterworks, which sold at a premium. Council
also granted a franchise to a Covington firm to furnish electricity for
lighting purposes. Pleasant Hill has shown its loyalty and public spirit
in numerous ways, among these being the erection of a handsome Monument
in her public square to the memory of the heroic sons of Newton Township
who went forth to do battle for the Union in 1861 and 1865. The township
has one good bank situated in Pleasant Hill, where there are also one newspaper,
several handsome churches, and up-to-date school building and several factories.
Last but not least of the western tier of townships is Newberry. It
occupies the northwest corner of the county and is bounded by Shelby County
on the north, by Darke on the west, by Washington Township on the east
and by Newton on the south. There is no exact data giving the organization
of Newberry Township, but historians place it about 1810. The nomenclature
of the name Newberry is also undiscoverable. It is watered by the Stillwater
and Greenville Creek, into which flow numerous tributaries that afford
it excellent drainage. In the early days of the township's existence it
was the abode of many poisonous reptiles which infested the stony banks
of its streams, but the settlers made war on them and they were finally
South Carolina has the distinction of leading the way into Newberry.
In 1806 one McDonald settled on Harrison's Creek near Covington, and in
the following year Michael Ingle erected a cabin at the mouth of Trotter's
Creek. Ingle was a tanner, but a farmer as well, and he resided on his
farm till 1838. He is regarded as Newberry's first white settler. Following
the Ingles came the Coates, William and John, and soon Daniel Wright put
up his little cabin. These men were true sons of the soil and labored hard
to establish themselves in their chosen quarters. In 1810 Jacob Ullery
purchased land in Newberry Township and his selection has proven the most
valuable within its limits.
Newberry Township's prosperity was hampered by the same misfortune that
was felt in other parts of the county - the War of 1812. Some of her citizens
were the first in the field. They saw the danger and responded nobly. Captain
George Buchanan commanded a company in which many of Newberry's citizens
served, and his scope was the Stillwater Valley, which was several times
threatened by the Indians. A blockhouse, which stood near the site of the
old Pan Handle Depot in Covington, afforded protection for the inhabitants.
It was near the spot where stood "Fort Rowdy," which marked General
Wayne's encampment in 1794. At the breaking out of our second war with
England there were nine families in Newberry Township. These people lived
in constant dread during the greater part of the struggle, and though Indian
depredatious were committed in other parts of the county, Newberry did
not experience any of the actual horrors of war.
The town of Covington, which is the principal municipality in Newberry
Township, was laid out by David Wright and Jacob Ullery in 1816. Benjamin
Cox surveyed the land for the town, but his work was never acknowledged
by Ullery and Wright . There is a tradition that when the town came to
be named, "Friendship" and "Newberry" were suggested
and even the name of "Rowdy" was thought of; but the first postoffice
was called Stillwater, certainly an euphonious name. Afterward the name
of Covington was given to the beautiful town.
When it came to house building, Elijah Reagan distanced all his competitors
and erected the first one, Michael Ingle put up a double log cabin and
Noah Hanks built a frame store. This is the genesis of Covington. After
the house building came various industries until now Covington, for a town
of its size, keeps pace with its neighbors. It has now a population of
1,800. It has furnished some prominent legislators in the Ohio Assembly
and numerous county officers. The first election for town officers was
held in 1835, at which the following were chosen: Mayor- Gilbert Adams;
recorder- William Robinson; trustees- Charles Orwan, Joshua Orr, Thomas
McKenzie. Samuel Patterson was elected mayor in 1837. From this date the
mayor's record seems to have been lost, but the following persons have
filled the office since 1850: B. Neff, Joseph Marlin, C.H. Gross, William
Couffer, T.A.Worley, W.G. Bryant, Isaac Sherzer, David Diltz, J.L. Smart,
John V. Griffin, Adam Minnich, D.C. Shellenbarger, J.H. Marlin, S.C. Sisson,
D.J. Martin, S.D. Palmer, R.F. Alberry, M.H. Nill. The present roster of
Covington is as follows: Mayor- M.H. Nill; clerk-Glen P. Shawver treasuror-John
S. Dollinger; marshal-H.J. Hake; council-W.H. Minton, B. Swisher: R.W.
Himes, Charles MeMakin, William Vandergrift, A.S. Rosenberger. Covington
is a well situated and well governed town. It has two banks (see Chapter
II Banks and Banking"), two newspapers, the Gazette and Tribune, many
churches, a fine system of waterworks, an electric light plant, a well-graded
public school, three railways, two steam and one electric, and numerous
shops and stores. There is no more progressive town in the county.
Newberry Township also contains a part of the town of Bradford, which
has the Pan Handle yards, a bank and numerous industries. Several small
clusters of houses which can scarcely be designated as towns dot the township
and these show signs of healthy growth.
I have given briefly in the present chapter the history of the six western
townships of the county. An unabridged History of the same would fill a
whole volume. Some of the industries etc., of these townships and their
towns will be treated under proper heads later on. Suffice it to say that
the western townships will compare favorably with similar divisions throughout
the state. They have made wonderful strides since their formation, keeping
pace with the march of progress, and abreast with everything that builds
up a community. Having treated them less briefly than they deserve, owing
to our limited space, we will now turn to the six townships that lie east
of the Miami, for they have a history which will rival in interest that
of their neighbors on the west.
--- End Chapter 6 ---
Harbaugh's History of Miami County Ohio, 1909