Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History
Miami County Ohio
TROY, THE COUNTY SEAT
- Establishment of the County Seat -
Rivalry Between Staunton and Piqua -
Troy Enters the Contest -
First Survey by Andrew Wallace -
Absence of Graft -
Description of Troy in 1815 -
Log Courthouse Built -
Brick Court House Built in 1816 -
Overfield's Tavern -
Queer Real Estate Transactions -
William Barbee -
"Squire" Brown and other Early Settlers -
The "Broadford War" - -
First Railroad -
Opening of the Canal -
The Cholera Scourge in 1850 -
First Court of Common Pleas -
Troy Merchants in 1828 -
The Jackson-Adams Campaign -
Runaway Apprentices -
Appearance of the County Seat in 1853 -
Mayors Since 1840 -
Early Schools and School Teachers -
The Post Office -
City Government -
Corner Stone of the Court House Laid, 1885 -
Masonic Temple Erected -
It was about ten years from the time of the appearance of the first
white settlers in the county until the establishment of the county seat
at Troy. A court of justice had previously operated at Staunton, being
held in the house of Peter Felix, the trader; but the need of a permanent
county seat was felt and it was determined to set it up. Already a good
deal of rivalry existed between the various interests in the county. Piqua
desired to have the honor of being the county town and there were those
who considered Staunton the best site. Among the latter the pride of first
settlement existed. The first settlement had been made at Staunton and
its central situation appealed to many. A good deal of "log rolling
P>The county was formed by an act of the Legislature dated 16 January
1807, but it was not until the following September that the commission
appointed to lay out the seat of justice for Miami County made their return
to the court. This report was signed by Jesse Newport, Daniel Wilson, and
Joseph Lamb. They fixed upon Fractional Section 21, and the northeast quarter
of Section 28, Town 5, Range 6, east of a meridian line drawn from the
mouth of the Great Miami River. The site selected consisted of forty acres
that was owned by Aaron Tullis, who deeded the tract to Cornelius Westfall,
town director, on the 31st day of July, 1813, for $120.30, or about three
dollars per acre. On the same day William Barbee and Alexander McCullough
deeded to the town director the east part, northeast quarter of Section
28, containing 144 acres and 77 poles, for $421.50.
From the very outset a relentless warfare began over the establishment
of the county seat upon the spot described above. The commissioners had
been bothered almost to death by the advocates of the different sites.
Piqua seemed to consider herself in line for the county seat and could
not realize that it could be placed elsewhere than within her limits. As
the controversy over this important matter progressed the county seat campaign
waxed extremely warm. Piqua got out a map prepared especially to establish
her claims and Piqua was the only visible settlement on the map. Troy,
in order to controvert Piqua's assumption, forthwith went into the map
business herself and produced a chart which showed Troy in the center of
the county and her rival so far away, apparently, that communication with
the rest of the county would be well neigh impossible. It was then that
the rivalry between the two towns began, and the first "court house
war" was succeeded by another many years later by the descendants
of those who contended in the first.
Not to be left in the lurch, Staunton put in a bid for the county seat.
It was claimed that the site of the Dutch Station was the most desirable.
The Hathaway and Marshall farms were offered as excellent sites for Miami's
seat of justice, and Samuel Beedle and Judge Adams were anxious to sell
their farms for this laudable purpose. It was therefore a sore disappointment
to Piqua and the land lords of Staunton when it was decreed that Concord
Township should hold the county seat.
The town, which was to be thus honored, was first surveyed by Andrew
Wallace, who completed his work December 16, 1807. He was allowed $44.50
for his services, and Robert Crawford for his services as director, purchasing
the site, laying out and selling the lots, was allowed twenty-four dollars.
There was no graft in those days, the whole proceedings were singularly
free from all chicanery and everything was honestly conducted.
January 13, 1810, the court settled with Robert Crawford and it was
found that he had sold lots to the amount of $2,820, that he had paid accounts
as per vouchers, to the amount of $2,163, and paid orders on the treasury,
$415. It was then ordered that he be allowed in future on the amount of
all lots sold five percent; and on all moneys received and paid out, four
percent, and fifty cents for each deed executed to purchasers. The first
survey of Troy comprised eighty-seven lots, commencing on Water and Clay
Streets, numbered one, extending and comprising all between the river and
Back Street to Short Street.
I extract from Drake's "Picture of Cincinnati and the Miami Country,"
published in 1815, the following concerning the new county seat:
Troy, on the west side of the Great Miami, twenty miles above Dayton
and seventy-two miles north of Cincinnati, is the seat of Justice. It was
laid out by the commissioners in 1808 and incorporated in 1814. It has
a public library and a post office. The houses are chiefly of wood. No
permanent county buildings have yet been erected. The reserves and donations
by the commissioners are, a square for the court house; one lot for the
jail, another for the cemetery and a square for an academy. The site of
this place is handsome, but a bayou is occasionally formed across it in
high floods and the plain declines into a swamp at the distance of a mile
from the river. This swamp, lying to the southwest of the Town, has rendered
it unhealthy, but the expense of a drain that Would convert it into dry
and arable land is not estimated very high. As in other towns on the Miami,
well water is easily obtained. Sandy limestone is quarried about two miles
distant. Good timber is plentiful.
Shortly after the establishment of the county seat a log courthouse
was built. It was a double log house and was well built; one end of the
structure was used for confining prisoners, the other end comprised the
sheriff's living room, while court was held in the upper story. The log
courthouse was occupied until 1816, when it was superseded by one of brick,
which was erected in the Public Square. This temple of justice cost $2,500
and stood until l841, when a third court house, which occupied the present
site of the post office was built at an expense of $20,000.
With the establishment of the county seat west of the river the glories
of Staunton departed. Piqua started to outrival Troy, and other town sites
were laid out in different parts of the county. Beautifully situated on
the banks of the Miami, then dressed in the emerald garb of Nature, the
new county seat opened its doors to the world. It grew rapidly from the
first. There were several additional surveys as new land was added to the
town, and there were frequent sales of lots.
One of the first settlers of Troy was a Mr. Overfield, who became the
first Boniface of the town. He opened an excellent tavern for that day,
and treated all alike. No matter whether the guests came in buckskin or
broadcloth, they got the same attention, and Overfield soon became famous
as a tavern keeper. This tavern became a great resort for those who attended
the first courts held at the county seat. The latest news and the latest
decisions were discussed about his fire, and some pretty heated arguments
were indulged in. There was good whiskey at the tavern and it is to be
supposed that the flowing bowl went round during the discussions. When
this first Boniface of Troy had a little leisure he was to be found nights
on the Miami, fire-hunting for deer for he was a famous Nimrod and loved
the sport. More than once the venison he served his guests was of his own
To show some of the queer real estate transactions which took place
early in Troy, I will give a deal of Overfield's as a sample. The tavern
keeper bargained with Cornelius Westfall for Lot No. 2, which was on the
corner of Water and Mulberry Streets. The price was $95, which Landlord
Overfield agreed to pay on or before a certain date. He secured the note
by a mortgage on the premises and 150 bushels of corn, one barrel of whiskey,
one mare and colt, seventy-eight hogs, one cow and calf, one yearling bull,
three beds and bed clothes, four bedsteads, two tables, one chest, one
spinning-wheel, one corner cupboard, ten split-bottom chairs, three kettles,
two Dutch ovens, one tea kettle, one pot, one frying pan and all the queensware
and glass furniture - surely enough to cover the $95 note. Whether business
became poor or whether he found himself in financial straits I do not know;
Landlord Overfield failed to "come to time" and indulgence was
granted him on his appeal and the note and mortgage were at last satisfied.
Another early settler of Troy was William Barbee, commonly known as
"Billy." He had been a volunteer under George Rogers Clark and
during the expedition against the Indians at Piqua he had seen much of
the region where he afterward settled. Barbee was a man of good parts,
honest and industrious, and afterward held several, offices of honor and
trust in the county. He bought a lot on Market Street for sixty-five dollars..
He became soon after a landowner, for he Married a young lady who owned
eighty acres of good land while he owned about as much. He embarked in
the blacksmith trade and shod many horse during the War of 1812. There
was a good deal of money in blacksmithing just at this time and Barbee
kept everlastingly at it. He went into the dry-goods business, but found
it a losing venture when the sheriff seized on the stock. This failure,
however, did not discourage Barbee. He began to buy cattle, which he drove
to Chicago and with considerable profit. In course of time lie amassed
a good deal of money and he is said to have been worth a quarter of a million
at the time of his death. Barbee was whole-souled and generous to a fault
and no alms seeker ever turned from his door unsatisfied.
Another early citizen of Troy was "Squire" Brown, who crossed
the river from Staunton and opened a saddlery. He was a good saddler and
in his shop he dispensed law as a justice of the peace. He was one of the
first postmasters of Troy. Brown took several apprentices who afterward
became prominent citizens. Henry Culbertson was one of these, and Isaac
Peck another. Nearly every person, who resided in Troy at this time had
a trade. There were shops of every description and stores were springing
up on every street.
Joseph Culbertson had come to Troy in 1808. He was a poor boy, but he
brought to Troy a trade which flourished from the first. He was a hatter
and it was not long till Culbertson's hats found a ready market beyond
the confines of the town. At the corner of Water and Clay Streets a plain
frame house was occupied by William Brown, who started a carpenter shop
in conjunction with John Wallace. Wallace was fond of his toddy and lost
out in his intercourse with it, but his partner Brown, who was more abstemious,
became a prominent citizen and at one time filled the office of County
Among the first doctors in Troy was DeJoncourt. He was of French extraction
and had his office on the corner opposite the Wallace and Brown carpenter
shop. DeJoncourt lanced and "pilled" his patients for some years
and gave place to some other disciple of Hippocrates. Doctors were few
and far between those days and when they became established in a community
they did a good business, for chills and fever prevailed during certain
seasons and "bloodletting" was considered necessary.
It was not until 1815 that the people of Troy had a house of worship.
Mr. Gahagan donated a lot on the west corner of Main and Clay Streets and
soon a log church arose on the site. It was a church edifice renowned for
its simplicity. No organ pealed forth its sonorous tones, no frescoes adorned
the rough walls, no chimes called the people to worship and cushioned pews
and paid choirs were unknown. In this first Methodist Church at the county
seat worship was conducted for some years, or until Troy had so increased
in wealth and population as to demand a larger and better house of worship.
A frame building known as the Clerk's Office was located where the Grunder
store now stands. It was a double frame affair, office in front and kitchen
in the rear. Later on this official building gave way for a brick affair
12xl5 feet square between Mulberry and Walnut. It, small as it was, held
about all the offices connected with the town. Cornelius Westfall, who
was clerk, had a monopoly on all other offices, for he was town director
and master commissioner in chancery, besides taking care of the post office.
There is no record showing that Mr. Westfall was not capable of filling
a few more offices if they had been thrown in his way. In office holding
he was certainly a "Jack-of-all-trades."
In 1830 Joseph Skinner built a large brick house on the southeast corner
of Main and Plum Streets. The south end of the building was constructed
for a jail with heavy brick walls and sills of black walnut. The following
sheriffs occupied this building: John Shidler, T.W. Furnas, Joseph Defrees,
Stephen Johnston. Joseph Pearson was the first sheriff to occupy the present
During the first several decades of Troy's existence there was little
to mar the even tenor of its way. In 1842 occurred the famous "Broadford
War" or the "Battle of the Broadford" as it was facetiously
called. The late Stephen Johnston of Piqua was sheriff at the time, and
Hon. Thomas Corwin looked after the welfare of the State of Ohio from the
executive's chair at Columbus. The "war" originated in this wise:
Several Troyans, whose names have been lost from the records of fame,
conceived the idea of weaning men from the wine cup by preaching a temperance
crusade among the rural townships. They may have been good conscientious
citizens, but they soon discovered that the ruralites did not need regeneration
at that particular time. At several of these temperance meetings the speakers
were assailed with all sorts of missiles, especially stale eggs, and this
so roused their indignation that they swore out warrants against the offenders,
who were arrested and lodged in the old brick jail at Troy.
It was thought for a while that this would end the affair, but soon
the mutterings of a storm reached the county seat. The people of the country
were rising in their might and it came to be known that mobs were collecting
for the purpose of storming the jail and releasing the prisoners. The utmost
excitement prevailed in Troy. Sheriff Johnston saw his habitation a heap
of ruins and himself probably swinging from a convenient pole and he set
about to counteract the revolutionists and maintain the peace and dignity
of the county. He promptly called out the Militia to help him as a Posse
Comitatus to preserve peace, especially in Troy. Forthwith there was a
gathering of the clans of war and all peaceful pursuits were for the time
being abandoned. Captain Adams and Lieutenant Carson put their company
of light infantry in motion and Col. Clarke and Captain E.Y. Barney appeared
at the head of their dragoons. Piqua, throwing aside her jealousies for
a moment, came, to help her sister town. The Piqua squadrons were met by
the citizens of Troy and the Lafayette Blues, commanded by Captain Mayo.
At any moment the mob might enter Troy and leave wreck and ruin in its
track. Those who had gone to the "seat of war" had left weeping
families at home and it was expected that blood would flow in profusion
in the streets of Troy. At length some wily strategist who had probably
studied the Napoleonic campaigns proposed that the militia take up a position
at the Broadford Bridge, where the mob could be intercepted and the battle
fought outside the walls of Troy. This proposition was received with delight
and forthwith the legions were marched to the Broadford, where they encamped.
Here for two days and nights the utmost vigilance was exercised. Rumor
followed rumor thick and fast. The revolutionists, it was asserted, were
not far away. Scouts were sent into the woods and the pickets were doubled.
The brave militia slept on their arms, some dreaming of the homes they
never expected to see again. At last it dawned on the minds on the Miami
Spartans that the foe was not coming. Perhaps they had overawed him with
their formidable preparations for his reception and at last the recall
was sounded and the Broadford army broke camp and marched back to Troy.
It presented a splendid appearance and doubtless
"Twere worth ten years of peaceful life One glance at
As the valiant soldiers returned to the bosoms of their families from
the bloodless campaign they could exclaim triumphantly
"We routed them, we scouted them! Nor lost a single
Such was the "Broadford War," for a long time celebrated in
the annals of the county, and many believed that Sheriff Johnston's promptness
not only saved the county buildings but probably prevented the streets
of Troy from being deluged in blood.
The coming of the canal and the railroad to Troy were events of supreme
importance to it. The former was finished to the town in 1837 and at once
there was great rejoicing. The county seat was thus placed in touch with
the outside world and Troy markets were greatly benefited. About this time
produce in Troy was commanding the following prices: Flour, per barrel
$2.62; wheat, 37 1/2 cents; bacon, per pound 31/2 cents; chickens, per
dozen 50 cents; eggs, 3 cents; butter, 61/4 cents; sugar, 61/4 cents; tallow,
61/4 cents. The finishing of the canal permitted the shipping of all kinds
of farm produce from Troy and the farmer took advantage of it. In fact
the canal was found inadequate for the shipping of grain and the railroad
was acknowledged to be the only salvation for the town. In 1850 the first
train on the C.H.& D. ran from Dayton to Troy. It was a day long to
be remembered by all who inhabited the town and the surrounding country.
A large crowd came to "see the fun" as they expressed it, but
it was a different kind of fun from what they expected.
The cars were old flat ones with railing around the sides to keep the
people from falling off. The crowd that came from Dayton was composed of
a rough set of men. They had imbibed pretty freely before leaving the Gem
City and by the time the train reached Troy they were ready for anything
and some were spoiling for a fight. They went over town in a boisterous
manner and made themselves obnoxious to everybody. By the time they were
ready to start back to Dayton they were picking up stones and throwing
them at the cars. When finally they got on board they began throwing stones
into the crowd composed of men, women and children who had come down to
the track to see them off. This caused a stampede on a part of the lookers-on,
but the men in the crowd returned the volley of stones with interest and
things looked serious for a time. At last the whistle blew and the cars
pushed away from the indignant Troyans. Such was the exciting scenes attendant
upon the arrival and departure of the first steam cars that entered Troy.
The opening of the canal was also attended with more or less excitement.
Soon after the water was let into the long basin a party of Troy people
hired a packet and took a ride down the canal to where it crossed the river
about half way between Troy and Dayton. A Mr. Crumpacker steered the boat
and as it was entering the lock he steered it into a waste-way and was
compelled to back out again. The occupants on the boat became frightened,
thinking they were going over the wasteway. There was much excitement on
board and no little screaming on the part of the women passengers; but
finally the boat was righted and taken safely through the lock. At that
time there was but one house in Tippecanoe and it was owned by John Clark,
who was proprietor of nearly all the land in sight.
Troy was visited by a cholera scourge about 1850. The dread disease
also visited other parts of the county and the death rate rose rapidly.
The whole town was in a state of alarm, for no one knew when he might be
attacked and it was some time before the epidemic was stayed and the inhabitants
The first Court of Common Pleas held its November session up stairs
at Mr. Overfield's, commencing November 5th, 1808. Troy was then a small
place and had recently been made the county seat. There were as yet no
newspapers in the town. As has been mentioned, Overfield kept tavern and
his establishment contained a bar, as did all the taverns at that early
day. The late John T. Tullis, one of the pioneer residents of Troy, in
his interesting reminiscences has this to say of the time of which we write:
There was sometimes a little friction in running a court and bar-room
as near neighbors, but Judge Dunlavy was prompt and allowed no annoyance.
On one occasion, George Kerr, a wealthy farmer of good repute and ex-Governor
Arthur St.Clair were discussing the quality of Mr. Overfield's beverage,
when, getting much interested, they raised their voices an octave above
the key note. The Judge sent his respects to the gentlemen by Mr. Dye,
requesting an interview in the court room. When they came in the Judge
said: 'Gentlemen, the court assesses a fine of two dollars each for contempt.
Mr. Kerr replied: `It bears me in mind, that you might as well say ten.'
`Well I say ten,' the Judge answered, turning to his associate on the bench,
'What do you say, Mr. Barbee?' `I say ten for Mr. Kerr' said Judge Barbee,
`and ten for the Governor.' They put down the dust and Mr. Kerr, being
a little excited, retorted: `Judge Dunlavy, I knew you when you were so
poor you had to lie in bed until your wife washed your breeches.' Though
it was very convenient to have the court so near a watering place where
there was plenty of good liquor, yet it was not always held there, but
in the early days of the county it was held wherever the judges happened
For a time the courtroom at Troy was occupied by the Presbyterians for
religious purposes; the same building was not very secure. Joseph Beedle
and some of his friends were incarcerated for a few days for uncovering
Jimmy Mackey's ---house and happening to want water, he slipped a log,
a part of the floor between the two stories, and went up, bucket in hand,
to the well to fill his bucket. Before the family could give the alarm
he made his ingress through the same aperture through which lie had made
his ingress. This feat admonished the county functionaries that the jail
was not a safe deposit; so Joseph Skinner was set to work about 1828-30
(the date is uncertain) to build a strong jail and a two-story brick house
for the jailer on the same lot, which answered a good purpose until the
new stone jail was built.
Merchandizing in Troy about 1828 was yet in its infancy. The only newspaper
then published at the county seat was the Miami Report, published by the
Micaiah Fairfield. Among the Troy merchants at this period were Mayo &
Bosson, and William Barbee. Barbee had the largest establishment and consequently
the best trade. He was a good patron of the advertising columns of the
Reporter. He made annual trips to New York to select his stock and upon
his return he always announced his selection for the benefit of the public.
Some of the goods sold in the stores at that time have long since gone
out of date, as the following inventory of Mr. Barbee's stock will show:
"Superfine Blue steel mixed cloths, satinets, bang-up cord, Rowen
Cashmere; black lasting, domestic plaids and stripes, Ticking, checks,
Sheeting and skirting, cambric, Jackonet, books, hair-cord, Jubilee muslin,
calico; Gingham, crape robes, satin Levantine, blue and black Gros de Nap;
linen and cotton laces, silk valencia and Swandown Ve stings, Leghorn and
straw bonnets, Prunella and Morocco shoes, silk and cotton shawls and handkerchiefs,"
etc., etc. The stores also kept groceries, hardware and liquors.
At this time T.W. Furnas was sheriff of the county and Daniel Grosvenor,
auditor. It was at the time when the famous Jackson-Adams campaign was
at its height and Troy was a center for the foment. Some of her citizens
headed by John Wiley and Dr.Asa Coleman met at the house of Col. Humbert
in Troy, on October 11, 1829, and organized what might be called a vigilance
committee in the interest of John Quincy Adams. They issued a proclamation
addressed to the "Friends of Order and Good Government," in which
they called upon every friend of Adams to exert himself for their candidate.
"Do, then," the call said, "for the sake of that liberty
which you now enjoy and which you will be glad to leave as the most valuable
legacy to your children, turn out on the day of election and secure it
while it is yet in your power. A little negligence on your part may prove
fatal to liberty with all its concomitant blessings." The committee
on the part of Concord Township, including Troy, consisted of John G. Telford,
William I. Thomas, Thomas Barbour, William Tullis, David Tullis, Daniel
Grosvenor, Lewis Humbert, James Knight and Asa Coleman. In this year Concord
gave a large majority for Allen Trumble for Governor of Ohio.
It would seem that some of the citizens of Troy as early as 1828, had
to put up with a good many trifling employees. It was the day of apprenticeship
and when the young apprentices did not find things to their liking they
"stayed not upon the order of their going," but took leg bail
and made themselves scarce. Henry W. Culbertson, who was a saddler at the
time, advertised for one of his runaway hands in the following amusing
ONE-FOURTH OF A CENT REWARD
Ran away from the subscriber an indented apprentice to the saddling
business by the name of James Gibbs, said boy about 15 years old, dark
complexion, has large black eyes and black hair, very talkative and a most
intolerable liar. Whoever will return said boy to me in Troy, Miami County,
shall receive the above reward, "but no thanks. H.W. CULBERTSON."
The result of this advertisement, if any, is not on record, but it is
not likely that the subscriber was ever called upon to pay the liberal
From the reminiscences of Charles N. Burns I call the following data
concerning the appearance of the County Seat about the year 1853:
"The schoolhouse was new, as was also the Morris House (now
Hotel Troy). Everything else was or seemed to be old. West Main Street
beyond Elm, was in the future and the "plank road" began near
that point. Main Street east of the railroad had but few houses, Market
Street south of the canal soon become a country road, and excepting at
Main and Market, I think there were but two other bridges crossing the
canal at Union (the Dayton Road) and the Lover's, beginning at the corner
of Oxford and Franklin and running on to between George Streets and the
Hafer grocery and meeting the McKaig Avenue, then a lane.
The mill at the lock on Main Street was owned and run by Hanson Mayo.
The entire square west of the school house was vacant `commons'. At the
corner of Water and Oxford were Stockton's carriage and smith shops. The
Galt House (now Masonic Temple) was then as now, except the frame addition
on the west. `Lawyer's Row' was then one office used by Judge Pearson.
`The Railroad House,' George Simmons, proprietor, was a two story brick
where Steil's Store is now, on the north corner of Main and Public Square.
Old frame shells occupied space bordering the square on Market Street,
both sides except the Morris House; south of the Square were also frame
shells. Franklin Street ended at Union. East of that and south of the canal
was `country' and west of the canal `swamp'. There were very few stone
walks in town and those in front of the stores principally. Mr. Edwards
started the planting of trees on the walks.
"Little Henry" Culbertson was the principal dry goods man
and Evans & Elliott kept a dry goods store in the corner of the Galt
House. Joe Youart kept a dry goods store where the Troy National Bank is
now and on a big sign in front were painted in large letters these words:
`Joe Youart, Family Grocery, Loafers Retreat' Politics, Religion and the
Fine Arts discussed at all hours.
"The town was dark at night except when the moon shone. There
were neither gas nor oil lamps. In fact, I believe, that most of the people
used either tallow candles, lard oil or camphene in their houses. There
was no manufactory in Troy then except a shop or two for making plows,
wagons and buggies for the local trade, and I believe a flax mill above
In later years John Kelly of Troy invented the first corn planter and
put it on the market. This was about 1875.
The municipal government of Troy dates from among the early days of
it's existence. It is to be regretted that no list of its mayors prior
to 1840 is obtainable. Since that time to the recent the list of mayors
is as follows: William B. Johnson, George D. Burgess, Joseph Pearson, Henry
S. Mayo, S.L. Bayless, Harvey G. Sellers S., O. Binkley, Charles Morris,
John T. Somerville, H.W. Culbertson, H.J. Pettit, W.P. Ross, N.C. Clyde,
W.D. Ilughes, M.W. Hayes, James Knight, G.T. Thomas, George S. Long, J.F.
McCaskey, M.K. Gantz, T.M. Campbell, A.L. McKinney, John W. Morris, J.O.
Davis, Thomas B. Kyle.
Troy was the first place in the county to inaugurate a good system of
public schools. The population of Concord Township in 1804 consisted of
but three families. Samuel Kyle taught the first school in Troy in 1813.
The log schoolhouse occupied the corner of Market and Water Streets. He
rarely had more than twelve pupils and the schoolhouse and its surroundings
were quite primitive. John G. Clarke presided over the Troy public schools
in 1816 and he had a unique way of reaching the hearts, to say nothing
of the brains of his scholars. Clarke did not live in local option days,
so he gave his pupils whiskey, diluted with sugar and water, and occasionally
he had some laughable experiences with his classes. In 1826 Micajah Fairfield
taught in Troy, then Uriah Fordyce, Miss Mary Barney, George D. Burgess,
afterward judge of the Court of Common Pleas; Robert McCurdy, and Irving
Giles. Some of the other early school masters of Troy were B.F. Powers,
G.A. Murray, E.P. Coles, Minor W. Fairfield. The first board of education
consisted of Charles Morris, Rev. Daniel Rice, B.F. Powers, William B.
Johnson, Zachariah Riley and Henry S. Mayo. Salaries were small in the
early days of Troy's school system. The first roster of her public educators
received the following yearly pay: N.W. Edwards $800, Jonathan Arnott $400,
Arnold Finner $400, Miss Susan Linn $300, Miss Catherine Gaylor $225, Frances
Rice $225, Miss Louise Thorne $200, Miss Bishoprick $200. In course of
time the first public school buildings gave way for better ones; as the
school population increased others still more costly and commodious were
erected and these supply the city's educational wants at the present day.
The public schools of Troy will be treated more at length in the Educational
The churches of the County Seat, to be mentioned more at length hereafter,
have kept pace with the needs of the hour, having developed from the primitive
tabernacle into the splendid religious edifices that house her present
day worshippers. The Methodist Church of Troy was organized in 1815, the
Episcopalian in 1831, the Christian in 1856, the Presbyterian in 1818,
the German Lutheran in 1841, the Baptist in 1834. All these churches are
an honor to the various denominations. The Catholic Church came long after
the others, but it is today one of the most progressive churches in the
From the time of Cornelius Westfall, the first postmaster of Troy, the
mail services of the county seat has shown rapid progression. In early
days this service was slow and laborious, but the postal needs of the people
were not great. One post office building has followed another until now
the service is well housed in the Odd Fellows' Temple. There have been
no defalcations in the Troy post office; the postmasters have been faithful
and diligent and worthy of the important trusts imposed upon them. It is
a matter of interest that John W. Morris still treasures a government draft
for one penny, which was sent him when he presented his final accounting
as postmaster. Following is a complete list of the postmasters of Troy:
Cornelius Westfall, W.I.Thomas, John G. Telford, Levi Hart, John T. Tullis,
Joseph Pearson, Henry J. Pettit, John Block, Robert M. Barbour, Thomas
B. Rose, George W. Bull, Samuel McKee, Harriet E. Drury, John H. Drury,
Frank M. Sterrett, John W. Morris, N.C. Clyde, J.W. Davis, S.D. Frank,
Walter M. Kyle, Elva A. Jackson.
The present roster of the post office, which is one of the best conducted
in the state, is as follows: Postmaster - E. A. Jackson; Clerks- T.J. Gibbs,
R.H. Widiier, George W. Humphreys, J.C. Fullerton, W.J. Kingham, Miss Ella
Warner; City carriers-Harry G. Hollis No.1; J.W. Robbins No.2; Noah A.
Ellet No.3; Benjamin F. Robbins No.4; Arthur May No.5; Rural carriers -James
C. Stratton No.1; Charles E. Buckels No.2; Calvin Kerns No. 3; Elijah E.
Moore No. 4; Harry H. Stewart No.5; Edmund S. Whitmore No. 6; Charles W.
Penrod No. 7.
The city government, at the head of which is Mayor Thomas Barton Kyle,
has the following efficient roster: President of council- J.B. McCoole;
auditor-Charles Rannells; treasurer- John K. DeFrees; solicitor- T.M. Campbell;
members of council- C.W. Douglas, C.G. Snook, S.D. Frank, John Laufer,
C.H. Kramer, George Braunschweiger, Clarence J. Marr; Board of Public Service-John
M. McLain, R.H. Southerland Jr., A.E. Childs; Board of Public Safety- L.H.
McConnell, Al.K. Gantz; Board of Review- John Henne, William Stephey, C.L.
Yost; Trustees of Sinking Fund and Board of Tax Commissioners- W.E. Boyer,
John Hall, D.W. Smith, C.L. Yost; Board of Education- T.B. Kyle, A.F. Broomliall,
W.E. Boyer, R.W. Crofoot, Horace Allen, E.W. Maier; Chief of Police- John
Headly; Chief of Fire Department- Amos Hetzler; City engineer-H.J. Walker.
The Board of Health is in the hands of the Board of Public Service and
the Public Library is controlled by the Board of Education.
It is the intention to treat the newspapers, the banks, parochial schools
and other institutions of the City of Troy under separate headings, to
which the reader is referred.
On the 16th of June, 1885, the corner stone of the magnificent new court
house which graces one of the squares of Troy was laid with appropriate
ceremonies. The erection of this Temple of Justice forever put an end to
the "County Seat War" which originated almost a century ago.
With blare of brass bands, march of military and civic orders, profuse
decorations of bunting and National colors, and display of fireworks, the
16th of July 1885, passed into history and marked a memorable day in the
annals of Miami County.
There was laid with impressive ceremonies, and amidst a scene never
before witnessed in this part of Ohio, the corner stone of a magnificent
new court house, which will mark the progress and development of the Twelfth
County in Ohio, and stand for the next century as a monument to the intelligence
and public spirit of the taxpayers of today. The generations who come after
us will praise the wisdom which selected so beautiful a site for the county's
capitol, and builded upon it an edifice in harmony with the population,
wealth and intelligence of Miami County in 1885. Those who were active
to secure the new courthouse will soon pass away; those instrumental in
its location will die and be forgotten, but the beautiful building will
stand for ages, and a county with a population of a hundred thousand, with
a tax duplicate of more than a hundred million, will transact its official
business in the building erected in 1885.
The day was all that could have been expected as to weather in mid-
summer, and as pleasant as could have been wished for. A delightful and
much needed rain the night before put the streets in splendid condition,
and cleared the atmosphere. The sun appeared brightly Thursday morning
as though the Ruler of the Universe were smiling upon the consummation
of a glorious project. By afternoon it grew warm, decidedly warm, but all
during the day there was a delightful air, and much of the time a refreshing
breeze. The crowd began to come early. Before nine o'clock the side streets
were full of vehicles, and the walks filled with happy, joyous faces.
The escort committee from the Grand Army of the Republic, Knights Templars,
Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias, and Odd Fellows, headed by the G.A.R.
Band, marched to the I.B. and W. Railway to meet the delegations from Hollingsburg,
Greenville, Union City Arcanum and other western points, several car loads
of humanity being unloaded at this place.
The northbound C.H.& D. train brought the Tipp Fire Department in
uniform, visiting delegations from Tipp, Dayton, Miamisburg and Hamilton;
the southbound train brought the Piqua division Uniform Rank Knights of
Pythias with Band, the Sidney and Kirkwood bands and a large crowd of people,
and the noon train on the I.B. & W. unloaded the greater portion of
the inhabitants of the eastern part of the county, and most of Clark living
in the neighborhood of New Carlisle.
Champaign County from the neighborhood of Addison was here in force
and the G.A.R. Post of that town brought along their large flag, which
was suspended across Main Street.
The procession formed at about 1:30 o'clock and moved in the line announced
by program, through the principal streets and entered the court house enclosure
at the west entrance. A platform had been erected at the northeast corner
of the building and this was occupied by prominent Masons and members of
The procession was admitted to have been one of the finest ever witnessed
in this part of Ohio. The ceremonies preparatory to performing the act
of formally laying the corner stone began with music. Following this Rev.
Mr. VanCleve made a short but impressive prayer. The grand treasurer, Jos.
Bains, then placed the copper box filled with articles in the mortice of
the corner stone, and the ceremony of " leveling.. plumbing and "
squaring," sprinkling upon it wheat, wine and oil was conducted by
Right Worshipful Grand Master J.M. Goodspeed.
The orator of the day was the late Captain Elihu S. Williams, who delivered
an oration replete with eloquence and historical data, which evinced a
vast amount of research. In summing up the history of the county Captain
Williams closed with the following peroration:
"In 1807 Miami County had but little over one thousand inhabitants.
Today she has forty thousand.
In 1807 she cast 208 votes; today she can cast 10,000 votes, and
her property returned for taxation reaches in round numbers twenty-four
millions of dollars.
We have a Nation of fifty-five millions of people and we hold within
the limits of our vast domain the line of perpetual snow and the home of
We stand in the front rank among the nations of the earth in wealth
and power, and around our magnificent heritage of land and sea is drawn
the sacred circle of liberty which the demon of slavery will never dare
I thank God that I am an American citizen, a resident of Ohio, and
that I live in Miami County, a county in which no home is out of sight
of a school house nor out of hearing of a church bell. Her farmers stand
among the first of the state in wealth and intelligence. Her merchants
stand high in integrity and honesty. Her clergy are noted for their pure
lives and zeal in the cause of their Lord and Master. Her courts stand
among the first for judicial knowledge and legal ability. Her lawyers do
not hesitate to enter the legal arena and throw down the glove of challenge
to the first and foremost of the State.
Then let this court house be built upon the foundation the corner
stone of which we this day plant and let it rise in its architectural beauty
as a sign and a symbol that the protecting arm of the law is around every
home, and that justice like the sun shine and the rain of Heaven falls
alike upon the rich and the poor, without regard to race or color. No man
is too high for its reach and no man is too low for its grasp. A shield
of protection for the innocent and a swift, strong arm of punishment for
This splendid building dedicated to justice cost $400,000 and is one
of the most imposing court houses in 'the United States. It is massive
in structure and houses all the county offices. That it will long stand
as a monument to the progress made by the county during the first hundred
years of its existence goes without saying.
The Troy Masonic Temple Company was incorporated July 31, 1906. Its
capital stock is $40,000 divided into sixteen hundred shares of twenty-five
dollars each. The Temple was completed in 1908 and dedicated with imposing
ceremonies December 29, of the same year. The structure is one of the finest
in the state dedicated to fraternal purposes. The Temple Company is officered
as follows: E.M. Faulkner, president, H.A. Cosley, secretary, F.W. Steil,
treasurer. The directors are H.A. Cosley, E.M. Faulkner, C.A. Hartley,
T.B. Kyle, L.H. McConnell, F.W. Steil and Walter Duer.
--- End chapter 8 ---
Harbaugh's 1909 History of Miami County Ohio