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From the 1880 History of Miami County Ohio

Brown Township, in the extreme northeastern corner of Miami County, is bounded on the north by Shelby County, on the east by Champaign County, on the south by Lost Creek Township and west by Spring Creek Township, in Miami County. The country round about is watered by several streams of considerable importance, of these, Spring Creek flows through the two northwest sections in the township, and passes from them into Spring Creek Township. Lost Creek, the most important water course in the township, rises by three heads in the northern part of the township, and flows in a southwesterly direction to the central part of the western portion of the township, when it takes a course directly south, and enters Lost Creek Township at its northwestern section. Leatherwood Creek rises in the eastern part of the township, and flows in a northwesterly direction into Shelby County. It was so called from the great amount of that species of timber which skirted its banks. Ramp Run, another small stream in Brown Township, received its name on account of the great abundance of ramps, a vegetable production resembling Indian turnips, which grew along its course. The township contains some thirty sections, making about 19,200 acres of tillable land. At present, there are not more than ten miles of mud road in the township, which presents a cobwebbed appearance of free pikes, which have been built at an average cost of between $1,200 and $1,600 per mile.

The flrst white man who located himself permanently within the present limits of Brown Township was John Kiser, who emigrated from Virginia in the early days of the nineteenth century, and came immediately to Ohio. He settled flrst near Dayton, but, in 1806, came to this township and purchased the northeast quarter of Section 30, where he built his rude cabin and began life in this section of Miami County as a bachelor; but, soon growing weary of a "life in the forest alone" he took to himself a wife, and began in earnest the work of clearing his farm and making a pleasant home for his family. This, for one man, was no small undertaking, requiring not only a great expenditure of muscular force, but also a will so determined as not to be thwarted by any common difficulty. Mr Kiser, however, proved equal to the emergency, and soon had cleared a few acres of ground, from which he raised the first crop of corn and vegetables in the township. Isaac Kiser, the oldest child of this family, was born in the fall of 1810, and was the first white child who had his nativity in Brown Township besides him, two other sons and two daughters were born to Mr. Kiser. Isaac, the eldest, still lives near the spot of his birth, the oldest resident in the township. He is a man greatly respected by all, who, by his untiring industry, has succeeded in accumulating a goodly portion of this world's goods, which he does not hesitate to use for any laudable and benevolent purpose that may come under his observation. His sons, two of whom carry on the mercantile business in Fletcher, are wide-awake citizens. Mrs. Kiser has in her possession one of the coats worn by the Britishers during the Revolutionary war; it is a sleeveless red jacket, and was taken during the war by a relative of Mrs. Kiser, from whom she received it. This is, without doabt, the oldest article of apparel in the township, the sight of which reminds one not only of the futile attempts of Great Britain to rule the United Colonies, but also of the grand work accomplished by our forefathers, when they obtained for themselves and their descendants such desirable homes as are to be found not only in Brown, but in every township, almost, throughout the United States.

The second settler in the township was John Simmons, a native of Pennsylvania, who immigrated here in 1807, with his family of ten children, and located himself on Section 36; he, shortly after his arrival, entered several hundred acres of land in the vicinity, and was for many years the largest land-holder in the township. Upon his arrival here he found the neighborhood sparsely settled, the Kisers being the only white settlers for miles around , nothing daunted, however, by the gloominess of the external surroundings, he went to work with a will to build for himself a home and name in the place he had chosen to live, the initiatory steps to which proceeding was the erection of a cabin of round logs, which contained two rooms, being what was known as a double log house, and the flrst of its kind in the township, as the house inhabited by Kiser contained but one room and a little loft. to which access was had by means of a small ladder. The Simmons residence was for the time a rather pretentious structure. A porch extended the length of the house, and in summer this served as a dining-room; the roof was of clap-board is manufactured by Mr.Simmons. The floors and doors were of puncheon plank: the latter, swung upon the old-time wooden hinges, made a screeching noise on being opened, not calculated to be particularly soothing to persons of a nervous temperament. Patent locks and modern bolts were not used in the construction of this dwelling; instead, a wooden catch answer ed every purpose. This was attached to the inside of the door by wooden pins, and was opened from the outside by a leather string which protruded through a gimlet hole and was fasened to the latch inside. At nights the house was locked by merely pulling in the string, thus making it impossible to open the door from the outside. The principal feature of this house was its window, which was of real glass, a substance by no means commonly used to admit light in those primitive dwellings. The cabin of Mr. Simmons, however, was illuminated during the day by a small glass window, about I0xl2 inches in size, and thus the use of greased paper for that purpose was dispensed with in that household.

The first year of his arrival here, Mr. Simmons, after building, his house, succeeded in clearing two or three acres of land, from which he raised corn enough for family use during the next year. In a few years subsequent to his settling here, he managed to clear mote than fifty acres of his wooded homestead, from which he raised good crops of corn and a little wheat. There being no market near at hand, and farm products being exceedingly low, the inducements to farm extensively were not great, even had it been possible all grain, beyond what was necessary for home consumption, had to be carried to the neighboring towns for a market; and there being no regular roads at this time, and wagons not being yet in use, it will readily be seen that the means and modes of transportation were neither numerous nor convenient. Most of the surplus grain in this township was for many years taken to Dayton for sale, till Piqua became a town, after which the narrow pathway through the woods to that place was frequented more than that which led to the more remote market, and hence the first sale of grain in Piqua from this township was made by a son of Mr. Simmons, who carried to that place a few bushels of corn on the back of the old family horse, which he disposed of after some trouble, for the then enormous price of 9 cents per bushel, which he received in cash. On so small a scale as this began the sale of grain in this township, which has since assumed, in comparison, proportions almost gigantic.

The third settler in Brown Township was William Concannon, who emigrated from Pennsylvania in 1807 and entered a farm in the western part of Section 36. He had, upon his arrival here, a large family of sons and daughters, so that, in the work of clearing, he was not single-handed, as his children were, some of them, old enough to lend a helping hand in the arduous struggle for a living, which was to be obtained from the farm, which contained plenty of nothing but wood, water and wild animals. However, by the united exertions of himself and family, Mr. C. soon caused his immediate surroundings to assume a more agreeable aspect. While himself and boys did the chopping, the girls piled and burned the brush, so that, the spring of their arrival here, not only did they build their cabin, but also succeeded in redeeming two or three acres of the surrounding forest from its original worthless condition, which they converted into a cornfield, from which they obtained grain enough to provide them with bread during the following winter. Mr. C. resided upon this place until his death, many years afterward. This family, with the two preceding ones, constituted, for some time, the whole population of the township. Mr. C. was a prominent man in the little colony, and, after the township was organized, figured conspicuously in its affairs till his death.

John Adney immigrated here from Pennsylvania, of which State he was a native. in 1807. Upon arriving in this township, he entered the southwest quarter of Section 31 and erected his cabin and put up a rude barn, as preliminaries to the more extensive operations which he expected to carry on afterward. He was accompanied to this township by his family, consisting, at that time, of several sons and daughters. Mr. A. worked upon this place seven years, and succeeded in clearing quite a large portion of his farm, when he disposed of his property here to Nicholas Platter, in 1815, and Mr. A., with his family, swelled the mighty stream of emigration pouring westward, and sought a home where such an abundance of wood and water was not to be contended aginst. Mr. Platter moved upon the place immediately after the removal of Mr. A., where he remained for fifteen years, when he disposed of his property to a Mr. Hamilton, in 1830. As will be seen hereafter, Platter was among the first of those who took the initiatory steps in establishing what was, at that time, one of the most important branches of the manufacturing pursuits then being carried on in the township. Alexander Oliver emigrated from Pennsylvania, with his family of three boys and two girls, in about 1808. He entered the northwest quarter of Section 30, upon which he built the first cabin and felled the first tree in that part of the seetion. Mr. Oliver remained upon this place till 1823, when, growing tired of the immense quantities of wood and water, the only redundant articles that might be made subservient to the use of man in this vicinity, he sold his farm and moved farther west, and procured a home among the prairies. At about this time in the history of this township, rumors became rife in the neighborhood concerning the fearful depredations of the Indians, not only in the State at large, but in the neighboring townships in particular. The terrible tragedy that has made the names of Dillbone and Gerard household words throughout Miami County, plunged the inhabitants of their respective neighborhoods into such a state of feverish excitement as was not to be allayed for the space of several years. Blockhouses were built, flrearms procured, constant watch was kept, and all signs of danger rapidly reported from settlement to settlement. Brown Township, like the others, became submerged in a sea of feverish excitement, and preparations w ere made here to protect themselves and families from the flendish cruelty of the red man. The few families in the neighborhood met at the house of Mr. Kiser in January, 1812, and decided to build a house where the inhabitants might meet and spend the nights free from danger. Accordingly, the blockhouse was built on Kiser's place early in the summer of 1812, and this was the common rendezvous in all times of apprehended danger. Nothing occurred, however, to mar the peace of the little colony, and, their fears gradually subsiding, the old fort was finally abandoned as a place of refuge, and, instead, was used by Mr. Kiser as a stable and general storehouse for many years; but a quarter of a century has passed away since the old house has fallen a prey to Time's destroying finger, and to-day not a vestige of the building remains to remind the dweller in this peaceful community of the tarbulent scenes that were hourly expected to be enacted in the days when the old blockhouse was built. After the war was declared ended and comparative peace again restored, the stream of immigration, which had ceased during the war, again began to pour westward, and quite a large portion of its surplus waters reached Miami County. Owing, however, to the fact that Brown Township is situated in a remote part of the county from the principal business centers, it was several years before the tributaries of the before-mentioned stream reached vicinity. Among the first families to come to Brown Township after the war was that of the Munsells. Asa Munsell accompanied by his family, emigrated from Massachusetts, their native State, in 1818. They settled near Marietta upon their arrival in Ohio, but, two years later, came to this township and located themselves permanently. Leander Munsell, a son of Asa, entered a quarter-section of land, which was situated some distance east from the present site of Fletcher. Mr. M. was a man of energy, and noted for the uprightness of his character and unflinching integrity, and was always deeply interested in all improvements necessary for the comfort and welfare of the neighborhood in which he lived. He built the first frame house in the township in 1820. He is also noted as having been. the only inhabitant of Brown who ever occupied a seat in the Legislature of tile State, to which he was elected, and filled to the satisfaction of all his constituents. He also took a prominent part in affairs pertaining to his county, for the good of which he was an indefatigable worker till his death. John L. Malloy settled on Section 25, near the present site of Fletcher, in 1821. He purchased his farm of eighty acres of John Simmons, and built his logcabin, the floor of which was of sawed boards, instead of the puncheons usually used for that purpose. Mr. Malloy, in conjunction with John P. Davis, engaged in the lumbering business, and they were the only two men in this township who took advantage of the transporting facilities offered by the river, in carrying their lumber to the south. They made many successful trips to New Orleans, and some of them are reported as having been exceedingly hazardous. On one occasion, they had waited several weeks for the river to rise, that they might push off with an unusually large cargo of fine cherry lumber. They had grown somewhat weary and careless with the long delay, and, consequently, were not prepared for the emergency which came upon them, by the water rising unexpectedly, and without previous indications of so doing, in the middle of the night, and it carried the boat, with all on board, rapidly down the stream as far as Troy, where, becoming entangled among the "Ninety-nine islands," it was found impossible to extricate themselves. Toward morning, the boat grounded, and shortly went to pieces, the lumber being carried off by the swift current, while the proprietors, with difficulty reached the shore. Such were some of the difficulties experienced by those who attempted to carry on commercial relations with the South by navigation, in the early days of our history. Mr. Malloy was engaged in this work many years, and was, for the most part, eminently successful in all his operations. He subsequently, however, removed from Brown Township, with his family, to California, where he became a bonanza king, and died years ago, possessed of a large estate.

John H. Wolcott, a native of New Jersey, emigrated with his family to Butler County, Ohio, in 1807, where he remained till 1820, when he came to Miami County, and located, first, in Lost Creek Township, where he remained one year, removing to Brown Township, in the spring of 1821, when he entered the north half of Section 5. Mr. Wolcott's family besides himself and wife, consisted of six boys and one girl, and, with the assistance of his boys, he soon caused the wilderness to disappear, in a great measure, from the spot he had chosen for his home. The first residence of this family did not differ materially from the dwellings of a majority of the first settlers in the township. The cabin consisted of a single room, with floor of puncheon-plank; the greater part of one side of the house was taken up by the huge fireplace, which answered the triple purpose of furnace, grate and range. The sun sent its gladdening, cheerful rays into this humble home, through a window made of real glass, instead of the greased paper then commonly used, the size of which did not exceed l0xl2 inches. Mr. Wolcott was, by profession, a surveyor, and was the first regular operator in that profession who became a permanent resident of Brown Township, and most of the land in the township was first surveyed by him. As a citizen, he was one among the most prominent in the township, and always took great interest in all affairs of a public character, pertaining to the well-being of his neighborhood. His sons, some of them, now live near the old homestead, and are among the most prosperous and influential men in that part of the township.

Giles Johnson, from Virginia, immigrated to Brown Township in 1820 and entered the southeast quarter of Section 6, and built the first cabin on that section. This family consisted of five boys and two girls, who all took part in clearing the farm, as well as bearing their share of all other duties necessary to be performed in the early days of our settlement. Upon their arrival here, there was no cleared land in this part of the township, neither was there any regularly laid out wagon road but all produce, beyond that necessary to meet the demands of home consumption, was conveyed to Troy on the, back of the old family horse, which picked its way through the brush and briers, which skirted the pathway between the farm and town, with difficulty; and when, at last, a market-town was reached, the geater part of the work was yet to do, for, instead of driving the horse with its load of grain to a grain warehouse, and at once disposing of the load for a good price, it was necessary to go from house to house, and from store to store, selling a little here and a little there, and even then the producer considered himself fortunate if he was so lucky as to dispose of his products by evening, when he returned home with a few cents in his poeket, satisfied with having sold his corn even for the pitiable sum of 7 1/2 cents per bushel.

Michael Sills emigrated from Pennsylvania in an early day, and coming to Ohio, settled first in Champaign County, where he remained till 1820, when he moved with his large family of boys and girls to Brown Township, Miami County. He took a lease for the southwest quarter of Section 6, and, with the assistance of his boys, cleared the farm on which he located, for one-half. The second log-cabin on this section was built by Mr.Sills, which, as to size and comfort, was as unpretentious as any in that neighborhood. After living in this humble home for about fourteen years, this family decided to remove to a country where such a superabundence of forest was not to be found, and consequently, in the spring of 1834, Mr, Sills started, with his family and all his household goods, in search of a more desirable location farther West. They finally settled permanently in Indiana, where members of the family still reside, having become the possessors of fine farms in the most productive part of the State. John Oliver, who settled in the northern part of Section 6, was a native of Pennsylvania, from which State he emigrated in an early day, coming immediately to Brown Township, where he entered land of which he had cleared a considerable portion, when he disposed of it to Azel Griftlth, who, with his family of three boys and one girl, moved upon this place in the spring of 1820, where lie remained for four years, when he sold the property to George W. Dobbins, who moved here in 1824, and was the first keeper of a public-house in this part of the township. His tavern-stand was by no means an immense structure, or, at least, would not be considered such at the present day, but at that time it was considered a rather pretentious building, and certainly was as large as the limited amount of traveling at that time and in this part of the country would justify in building. In height it boasted a single story, in the loft of which beds were sometimes hastily set up, or rather laid down, for they boasted no bedstead in cases of emergency. There were only two regular rooms in the house, and these answered the purposes of kitchen, bedrooms, parlor, drawing-room and bar.

The northwestern quarter of Section 6 was entered by William Graham, who was a native of Maryland, from which State he emigrated in 1818 and came immediately to this connty, settling on the farm before mentioned. He erected the cabin on this section, and was one of the most industrious, energetic men in the communitty, in which he resided. Upon locating here, Mr. G. applied himself assiduously to the labor of clearing his farm, of which he had cleared considerable when he disposed of his property here and moved to Illinois.

William Cox, a native of Pennsylvania, immigrated to Brown Township in 1815, and entered the southwest quarter of Section 1, Range 12. He had a large family of sons and daughters, who all assisted in the clearing of the farm. Some years subsequent to his settling here, he disposed of his property in this township to Sylvanus Allen, who moved here from Montgomery County, and still lives on the farm he purchased from Mr. Cox. The northwest quarter of Section 1, Range 12, was entered in 1817, by Edmund Yates, who erected a second logcabin on this section. Joseph Jackson emigrated from New Jersey in 1826, and entered the north half of Section II, in this township, where he built his cabin of one room the same year. He had a family of sons and daughters, all of whom died of consumption, save one, who lost his life in the army.

Fred Gray, from New Jersey, settled on the southeast quarter of Section 5, in Brown Township, in 1828. His family consisted of four boys and three girls; one of the former lost his life in the service of his country. Mr. Gray sold his farm in this township, after living upon it many years, and purchased another in Lost Creek Township, this county. At the present time, he resides in Lena, this township, being among the oldest residents of the place.

Maj. Manning emigrated from New Jersey, in 1818, and, coming to this township, entered his farm on Section 3. He built a house of round logs, the size of which was 18x20 feet. The hands who assisted in the raising of this house came a distance of six miles. So thinly was the township settled at that date, that men could not be procured for such purposes without calling upon all the inhabitants of the community for several miles around. In 1824, Mr. Manning built a hewed-log house, which, at that time, was considered the second best dwelling in the township, being judged of sufficient importance to justify the authorities in imposing a tax upon it.

John P. Corry, a brother-in-law of Maj. Manning, with whom he came to this township, was a native of New Jersey, from which place he emigrated in 1818, and reaching Ohio, stopped in Dayton the 4th day of July of the same year, Mr. Corry was the first merchant in this part of the township, having purchased a small stock of goods, which he sold at his house as early as 1825. After having been engaged in this business for three or four years, he sold his property here and removed to Shelby County, subsequently moving on to Illinois, where be located permanently.

Joseph Shanks emigrated with his family of five boys and four girls, from Pennsylvania, in 1794. He reached Ohio the same year and located near Cincinnati. His son Peter, hearing of the wonderful fertility of the Miami Valley, came to this county and settled on Section 29 in Brown Township in 1821. The roof of his cabin was made of good shingles instead of clapboards, and the floor of smooth puncheon, so that this house was considered among the most elegant in the township at that time. He occupied this house till 1837, when he built his present residence. Mr. Shanks arrived here in the fall, and consequently was not over stocked with provisions. He spent the winter in working wherever he could find employment, and by his industry, managed to keep the, wolf from the door till the spring of 1822, when he had cleared about four acres of his farm, on which he raised that summer a good crop of corn. He also, the same year, put out quite a number of fruit trees, from which, in a few years, he obtain ed a plentiful supply of good fruit.

William Manson, a native of Pennsylvania, immigrated to this township with his family of three girls and one boy, in 1819. He entered a quarter-section of land, on which he built the first cabin. There had been a log schoolhouse built on this section the year previous to the arrival of Mr. Manson in the township. It was made of round logs, the benches of split logs, and the outlet to the fire. place was by a "cat and clay " chimney, an in artistic structure of mud, straw and sticks.

Besides the pioneer settlers already mentioned, the names of John Wilson, William Walkup, David Newcomb, Thomas McClure, Benjamin Sims, Joseph Rollins, etc., are known as having been among those who sought to subdue the wilderness, and who, by their industry, became important factors in all things pertaining to the well-being of the new country.

The township was organized and the first officers, of which any record can be found, were elected in 1819, and were as follows, viz.: Trustees, Alexander Oliver, William Walkup and William Manson; Clerk, Joseph Rollins Treasurer, Levi Munsell ; Justice of the Peace, John Wilson Supervisors, John Oliver and Daniel Newcomb Lister, Jacob Simmons Fence Viewer, Benjamin Sims; House Appraiser, Thomas McClure; Overseers of Poor, John Simmons and Peter Kiser.

The present officers are: Trustees, David Manson, Charles Simms and D. S. Carmony; Clerk, A. McClintock: Treasurer, W. I. Kiser; Constables, C. H. Lane and C. M. Williams; Assessors, J. M. Frazier and John Duncan; Supervisors, Frank Sayers, Benjamin Wolcott, James Coddington, S. Worthington and W. E. Myers. The only railroad in the township is the Cincinnati, Columbus & Indiana Central, now leased and operated by the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad, passing east and west through the center of Sections 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36, and on which line are located the stations of Conover and Fletcher.


Conover, one of the three in the township, is a small station on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway, containing scarcely a, dozen houses. The land on which the village is situated was first entered by a Mr. Jones, from whom Solomon G. Brecount, the founder of the place, purchased it and laid out nineteen lots, in April, 1856. It was named in honor of A. G. Conover, of Piqua. The original plat has been increased by a single addition, which was annexed in June, 1863. The lots are l50x50 feet in size, and the streets are sixty feet wide. The first house in the place was built by Brecount & White, and was used as a miscellaneous store- room. The grain store of the, Brecount Bros. has been in operation in this place many years, and is doing a thriving business. This store, and the steam saw-mill near it, are the more important enterprises in the place. Besides these there are a blacksmith- shop, dry-goods store and shoe-shop in the place, as also one church, of which an account will be given in its proper place.

Lena was laid out bv Levi N. Robbins, in 1830, and was first called Elizabethtown, in honor of his wife, but, there being another town of that name in the State, in order to prevent all irregularities in postal matters, it was deemed proper to chanre the name of the village, which was accordingly called Lena. But, after the place had been named some time, there was found to be another place of the same name in Ohio making the new name no better than the old. However, despairing of finding any name not already appropriated by some Ohio village, they concluded not to make another attempt in that direction, but the post office was called, as it is to this day, Allen's Post Office, in honor of Sylvanus Allen, who was the first Postmaster in the towns hip, having had the office as early as 1830, at which time the Postmaster, for his labor, received and sent his own mail free, and got $2 per year in cash. Mr. Allen, also, was instrumental in establishing the second post office in Brown Township, in Fletcher, in 1832, which was first kept by old Squire Malloy. At the time Lena was laid out, there was nothing on the spot but woods, so that the only recommendation the place had was its abundance of shade. The first store was built by Joseph Beek, who cleared off a spot of ground large enough for his cabin, which he erected in 1830, and used as a store-room, the first in the place. He occupied this room several years, when he put up a small frame, in which he carried on his business, till he was burned out a few years later. . Before the village was laid out Elah Hayhurst had built a little log shop, as early as 1824, in which he did all the black smithing for the neighborhood; but after Lena was laid out the first blacksmith was William Graham, who had emigrated-from Pennsylvania and located here shortly after the first settlements were made in this place. The wants of the community are now attended to, and the business of the place carried on in Lena,. by two dry-goods stores, one grocery store, three blacksmiths, one wagon-shop, three physicians, one millinery-shop, one agricultural implement store, one tailor and three carpenters, while the spiritual development of the citizens is attended to by one resident minister.

Fletcher, a station on the Pittsburgh Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad, is the largest and most important village in the township, and was laid out in 1830, by John L. Malloy. The original plat consisted of forty-six full, and four fractional, lots, the size of the former being 66x99 feet. In the old plat, twenty-eight full lots lie north of Main street. and eighteen full, and four fractional lots south of the same street, which is sixty feet wide, as is also Railroad street, the cross streets being only forty feet wide. Since the date of its foundation, the place has been enlarged by five additions, viz.: Parrot's Addition. Moses' Addition, Clark's Addition, Eichelbarger's Addition, and Council's Addition. The first place of business in the village was in a little log-cabin, built by Samuel Dougherty, in 1830. He kept a miscellaneous stock of goods, embracing almost everything necessary to meet the demands of his customers, from the stimulating liquid down to a paper of pins. The cabin in which he carried on his business, has been weather-boarded, and is, today, in a good state of preservation. Samuel Crane, who was about the second merchant in Fletcher, sold goods as early as 1835; after carrying on the business for some time, he was burned out. The third merchant here, was Isaac Dukemineer, who erected a brick, and began business about 1850. After doing a good business for many years, he disposed of his property to Alonzo Montgomery. Isaac Kiser, Michael Duncan, and Solomon Brecount were also among the earliest merchants in this place. The various branches of commerce are carried on here by two dry-goods stores, one drug store, one grocery store, four blacksmith-shops, two shoeshops, one furniture store, two milliner- shops, one hotel, one tin and stove store, one barber, two grain ware houses, two physicians, one dentist, one dealer in patent medicines, two stock dealers, and one hamess-shop. The officers of the corporation are, Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Michael Duncan; Clerk, J. G. Simmons; Treasurer, W. A. Lewis Marshal and Supervisor, John Robbins Councilmen, A. McClintock, C. W. Crebors and J. P. Coffield.


Probably the first distillery in the township was built and operated by Nicholas Platter, who erected a copper still in 1820, which he worked for about ten years, and is said to have manufactured a superior article of whisky. He disposed of his place, which was on the southwest quarter of Section 3l, to a Mr. Hamilton, in 1830, who carried on the business in his stead. The second distillery in the township, was built on Section 25, by Daniel Newcomb, in about 1821. His business in this line was not very extensive, but he did considerable work for his neighbors, for many years, and is said to have produced an excellent quality of whisky. The first blacksmith-shop in the township, was kept by Benjamin Bowersock, as early as 1814. It was situated on the southeast quarter of Section 19, on land entered by Benjamin's brother David. Benjamin Bowersock subsequently purchased eighty acres of land for himself, and then built the second smithy in the township.

The third blacksmith-shop in the township was built in 1828, by Joshua Duer, who operated it several years. Owing to the fact that not much work in this line was done in those days, those who worked at this trade found it necessary to combine it with farming, in order to make, both ends meet at the end of the year. The first saw-mill in the township was built by John L. Malloy, on the banks of a small run which passed through Section 25, where the mill was built. This was about 1821, and, at that date, people in the vicinity began using sawed boards, instead of roughly-split puncheon, for flooring purposes. Mr. Malloy also-connected with the saw-mill a corn-cracker, at the same date, which was the first and only grist-mill in the township till steam mills were introdced. He devoted-himself to these industries very successfully for many years, when he disposed of them and removed to California, where he died years ago.

The second saw-mill in the township was built and worked by David Gray & Porter, in 1830. It was situated on Big Lost Creek. They had operated this but a few months when John D. Hendley built the third saw-mill in Brown Township, on the same stream, about half a mile east from Gray & Porter's mill. However, there was plenty of work for each mill to do, and the whirr of the saws, as they rapidly converted logs into fine boards, might be heard at considerable distance, from early dawn to nightfall.

The first steam saw-mill in the township was the one owned by Harrison Loudenback, near Conover, which he began operating about the time the railroad was completed through the place; after operating it some time. he disposed of the property. since which time it has passed through several hands, and is now owned by J. W. White, who is doing quite an extensive business in that line.

The first steam grist-mill in the township was the property of Benjami F. Shattuck, who erected it in Fletcher in 1849. He operated it successfully about four years, when it was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt.

In about 1857, Mr. Shattuck put up another mill near Fletcher, at the railroad, but, in a short time, this also was destroyed by fire and was not rebuilt.

The Coppock Bros., who have been dealing in grain a good while, and have been doing a large business, which is constantly increasing, this year added a steam grist-mill to their business, which will, doubtless, not only prove advantageos to them from a financial point of view, but will also prove a factor of no small importance in making Fletcher the business center for all the surrounding country.

The grain warehouse near Lena has been in operation about twenty- five years. It is now the property of L. W. Colvin, who, being a man of good business ability and unswerving honesty, is almost constantly handlingly large quantities of grain.

The only tile factory in the township is the property of H. S. Carmony, who has been running it since 1872. The work is done by a Penfield machine, which was purchased by the proprietor for $450. The buildings are substantial and commodious, the pressing shed being forty feet square; the drying room is l80xl8 feet. A third room, made wholly of iron, is 17x24 feet. The kiln, 12xl5 feet, is the second largest in Miami County. Two kilns, containing 700 rods of tile, are burned every two weeks. Eight different sizes of tile are manufactured here, and three men employed in the work, which is all disposed of near home, the demand for the article up to the present time exceeding the supply.


The first regular congregation in Brown Township, was the Methodists. They built their first church in Fletcher, in 1820, on land donated by Alexander Oliver; it was a brick building, and the first brick house of any kind in the township. Owing to the fact that the records of the church have been lost, nothing can be said of its early history, save that its members have always been forward in good works. Among the first ministers, James B. Findley may be mentioned. The old church has been torn down many years, and some of the lumber used in the making ot the pulpit in 1820 is now in the possession of a lady in Fletcher, who has had it converted into cupboard doors, in which capacity it has served, and promises to serve many years. The church was rebuilt some twenty- five or thirty years ago, and at the present time the property is worth about $3,000. Services are held every two weeks. Sunday school is held every Sabbath morning, the average attendance being sixty-five. G. W. Gillmore is the Superintendent. The Methodists also have a church in Lena, worth about $2,500, which is in a prosperous condition. George Malloy is remembered as having been one of the pioneers who preached for this congregation in its infancy here.

The Baptists are as old a denomination as an in the -township. Traveling ministers preached for this branch of the church in the house of Mr. Kiser as early as 1809. Their first brick church was built on the farm of Edmund Yates, in 1830. This has ceased to exist long ago. The Baptist, in Fletchor, was organized Tuesday, January 29, 1861, at which time there were fifteen members in the congregation. David E. Thomas, from Piqua, served as minister here till his death, in 1864. E. D. Thomas, of Illinois, was then called to the pastorate, over which he presided one year, and was succeeded by Elder Daniel Bryant, who served three years, when J. W. Weatherby, from New York, took charge of the congregation for a single year. George W. Taylor, the next minister, preached two years, after which William S. Kent, from Virginia, served the same length of time. Joseph N. Scott from Pennsylvania, then took chaxge of the congregation, over which he has presided ever since. The church, a frame structure, 36x46 feet, was completed in 1862, at a cost of $1,500. In the winter of 1867/68, Rev. Daniel Bryant, assisted by Elder Shepardson, of Piqua, had quite a revival, thirty-two persons uniting with the church. Other revivals, conducted by different ministers, have taken place at different times. Since the call of Rev. Scott, the congregation has been increased by thirty-one persons uniting with the church. The present membership is ninety nine. Church property is valued at about $2,000. Wilber Higgins' is Superintendent of the Sunday school, which has an average attendance of sixty persons.

The Presbyterian Church in Fletcher was organized in the fall of 1837 by Revs. James Coe and Samuel Cleland, who were deputed to act in that capacity by the Presbytery at Sidney. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Cleland, from Romans, eighth chapter and first verse, and the congregation was named the "Newton Presbyterian Church." Previous to the organization of the church here, Rev. F. A. Hemper, a licentiate minister, had preached for tte people here. The congregation at first consisted of twenty members. The first ruling elder was William Brown. Matthew Dinsmore and James MeQuillen were ordained elders. by Rev. Coe, at William Brown's schoolhouse, January 27, 1838. Rev. D. H. Green, formerly of Delaware, Ohio, the present pastor, re sides in New Paris, and preaches for the people here every two weeks. Robert Scott is Superintendent of the Sunday school, which has an average attendance of forty. The church edifice is of brick, the whole property being worth about $4,500.

The Baptist Church at Lena is a branch of that denomination at Honey Creek, and was organized as a separate congregation June 23,1855, with forty-four members, all of whom had applied for and received letters of dismissal from the Honey Creek Church. The first officers of the organization were : Moderator, William Fusan Clerk, William J. Wolcott Deacons, Jeremiah McKee and James Wilson; Singing Clerks, John R. West and William J. Wolcott. The first sermon after organization was preached by Rev. Matthews, on July 2l, 1855. Rev. David Scott, the first minister, served the church six years, and Rev. William Matthews the same length of time T. N. Frazee served during the war two years, and was succeeded by T. J. Price, who preached here four years; James Randle then took the charge for three years, after which James Simpson served the congregation six months, till the arrival of the Rev. Nixon, the present pastor, during whose time of service about one hundred and fifty persons have united with the church. B. B. Wheaton, George L. Wolcott and A. L. Brecount have labored as volunteer ministers at, different times. The church property is valued at about $3,000.

The Universalist Church at Conover was organized at Lena, by Rev. E. Moore and T. S. Guthrie, the first Sunday in February, 1868, with a membership of thirty two persons. First officers were, Trustees Dr. W. S. Cox, J, A. Hill and J. Abott Treasurer, Dr. Cox Clerk N. W. Cady first Deacons were, Calvin Hill and Moses Benham. Rev. E. Moore, the first pastor, served three years, and during that time received thirty-seven members into the church. J. D. Lauer succeeded him, in 1871, at which time, the church at Conover being completed, services were subsequently held there, and the name of the organization changed from Lena to Conover. Rev. Lauer preached for the congregation till the lst of March, 1879, having during that time received one hundred and five persons into the church. J. H. Blackford, the present minister, has been preaching for this people since the spring of 1879. Besides these regular Ministers the church has been favored at different times by the presence and assistance of Re vs. S. P. Carlton, I. B. Grandy, T. S. Guthrie, H. F. Miller, E. Dick, C. N. Dutton and W. Woodley. One hundred and seventy-two persons in all have united with the church since its organization, Between 75 and 80 members now compose the congregation. The present brick edifice was erected in Conover in 1870-71, at a cost of $3,700. Present officers are, Trustees, Dr. W. S. Cox, B. H. White, and A. L. Brecount Treasurer, Alfred Morris; Clerk, Joseph Johnson ; Deacons, S. Abott and W. S. Cox, M. D.


The first schoolhouse in Brown Township was built in 1810, on Section 36. It was of round logs, and so low that a tall person found it necessary to bow the head in entering this place of learning. The seats were of split logs with wooden pins for legs. The door was made of a split slab, and was so narrow that only one could pass through it at a time. The window was a nicely greased paper pasted over a hole sawed in the logs, The first teacher in this old style academy was "Aunt Sallie Tucker," a spinster, who made it her business to teach the young idea how to shoot. The second teacher in the township was old "Aunt " Patty McQuillen. The third was probably Aras Denman and the fourth George Layman. The second schoolhouse in Brown Township was on William Manson's farm, and was built in 1818. Joseph Rollins was the first teacher in this school. Scholars came here to school through mud and snow a distance of four or five miles. Probably the third schoohouse in the township was on Section 11. John Dinsmore taught here as early as 1828.

The special district of Fletcher was organized in 1874, when the old house having been sold for $90, the present building of two rooms was built, at a cost of $4,500, the whole property is now worth $5,000. The enumeration of the district 1879 was 163. The teachers have been as follows, viz., 1874, N. W. Cady Principal; Rebecca Wharton Assistant; 1875 the same teachers were employed; 1876, William McFarland, Principal; Rebecca Wharton, Assistant; 1877, A. McClintock, Principal; Ella White, Assistant; 1878, the same; 1879, D. B. Earhart, Principal; Mrs. Ella Brown, Assistant part of the year, and Albert Lane the remainder of the year. They have school during nine months of each year, and pay the Principal for his services $50 and the Assistant $30 per month.

The following report of the Clerk for the year ending September 
1, 1879, shows the condition of the township schools at present.
     Balance on hand September 1, 1878............. $1,980.16
     State tax.........................................421.50
     Irreducible funds.................................321.17
     Township tax for school purposes................3,190.50

                              Total receipts........$5,913.83


     Amount paid teachers...........................$2,310.21
     Amount paid for sites of buildings................700.00
     Amount paid for fuel, etc.........................242.76

     Total expenditures..............................3,252.77
     Balance on hand September 1, 1879..............$2,660.36
     Number of schools in the township......................6 
     Total value of school property................ $5,000.00 
     Number of different teachers employed.................10 
     Average wages, male...............................$39.82 
     Average wages, female..............................30.00 
     Number of weeks school is in Session..................33 
     Number of different pupils enrolled................. 393 
     Average monthly enrollment...........................218 
     Average daily attendance.............................217 
     Enrollments between 16 and 21 years old...............61 
Masons in Lena.  The charter for Social Lodge, No. 217, was 
issued October at Chillicothe.  The charter members were as 
follows: G.C. Smith, George Throckmorton, J.W. Kelly,  

H.S. Carmony,  J.W.Loy,  A.C.Larone, N.Jackson, A.G.Boyd
and Amos Flowers. 

First officers: N.Jackson WM, G.C.Smith SW, and J.W.Kelly JW,

There are forty-three members at present.  The officers now are
J.J.Leedom, WM; L.F.Wolcott SW; W.L.Graham JW; E.A. Brecount, S D;
J.G. Wright, JD;  W.S. Cox M.D. Treasurer; J.F.Collins, Secretary;
E.F.Davis, T.; S.L.Abiover and B.H.White, Stewards.  The oldest
living member of the lodge is Squire Throckmorton; the youngest,
James Wright.  Joseph Frazier and James Wilson are both upward of
sixty years of age.  The property of the lodge is worth about

I.O.O.F at Lena.  Industry Lodge, No. 256, received its charter
from the Grand Lodge at Zanesville, Ohio, February 23, 1854.  The
charter members were James Griffis, Joseph Eichelbarger, Joseph
Reeder, John Miller and G. P. Holloway.  There are now thirty-nine
members, of which the following are the present officers;  S.S.
Yates, N. G.; E.H.  Stith, V.G.; John M. Stith, Secretary; Caleb
Williams, Per. Secretary; James M. Griffis, Treasurer; Jared
Wolcott, W.; David F. Lane, C.; Noah B. Wells, I.G.; J. W. Domyre,
O. G.; W. Williams, R.S.N.G.; W. Roberts, L.S.N.G.; John G.Wolcott,
R.S.V.G.; Scott L. Allen, L.S.V.G.; Thomas Wheaton, R.S.S.; Isaac
J. Merritt, L.S.S. They built their first hall in 1854.  This was
sold in 1876, and the present hall, thirty by fifty feet, was
completed in the summer of 1877. The property is worth $1,000, for
which amount it is insured.  The oldest member of the lodge is E.
W. Yates, who joined the 13th of December, 1856.  James Carter is
the oldest person in the lodge, and Jared Wolcott the youngest. 

I. O. O. F in Fletcher.  Taylor Lodge, No. 322, received its
charter from the Grand lodge of Ohio, convened at Mansfield May 14,
1857, the officers of the Grand Lodge at that time being W.
Chidsey, M.W.G.M.; Hiram Viele, M.W.G.D.M.; C. J. Pardee, R.W.G.W.;
Alexander E. Glenn, R.W.G. Sec.  William F. Slater, R.W.G.Treas.
The charter members were James Griffis, T. M. Beamer, I. M.
Jackson, Joseph Reeder, Oliver Toms, Emanuel Toms, Daniel Brelsford
and N. I. Finch.  The present offlcers are A. McClintock, N.G.; G.
F. Fryling, V.G.; B. F.  Simmons, R.S.; W.A. Lewis, P.S.; E. F.
Drake, Treasurer; Dr. J. B.  Beamer, C.; J. H. Newman, W.; W. T.
Shanks, R.S.S.; H. G. Kemp, L.S.S.;  W.I. Kiser, R.S.N.G.; V. B.
Sanders, V.G.R.S.; J. C. Wones, V.G.L.S.; W. R. Luce, G.; L. Davis,
S.V.G.  At this date there are sixty active members in the lodge.
J. Sanders and Charles Search are the oldest living members of the
lodge, both being upward of sixty.  The latter is the second oldest
in membership of any member of any secret organization in Brown
Township.  The building in which they meet is the property of the
society.  The lower floor is rented to the Kiser Brothers, who
carry on the mercantile business here.  The whole property is
probably worth about $1,200.

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