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From the 1880 Hist Miami County Ohio, pages 393-400


    In the pioneer history of Lost Creek Township, nothing, beyond the ordinary routine of incidents connected with the early settlement will be found. Here, as to other places, came the hardy pioneer, armed with his trusty ax and a heart to be subdued by no difficulties, and, on the banks of the beautiful stream which has given its romantic name to the township, he erected his log cabin and cleared a patch of land. The men of those days have, with few exceptions, joined "the innumerable caravan," and those who remain, notably Gen. Webb and Alexander McDowell, Sr., find the infirmities of years bearing heavily upon them.

        Alas! how few are left to tell
        How they lived long ago;
        The grass is growing o'er their graves,
        On hill. in valley low.
        The plowshare strikes a musket old,
        That tells with silent tongue,
        The story of the good old days,
        When the pioneer was young."


    The origin of the name "Lost Creek " is involved in much obscurity, but, as usual in such cases, tradition is called upon to tell its story. This case is no exception. It is said that, away back, before the white settler planted his foot in this region , a Shawanoes Indian, having found himself lost after a long and unsuccessful chase, reached the banks of the stream in his wanderings. It was a creek which he now saw for the first time, and he eagerly followed it, with the hope that it would lead him out of his unpleasant dilemma. But in vain. The glittering water drew him on and on, until the warrior concluded that, like himself, the stream was " lost," too. From that day, so says tradition, the stream bore the name of Lost Creek, and the naming, of the township through which it flows was, of course, a natural sequence. There is, in the topography of Lost Creek Township, much that would encourage early settlement. The land is gently rolling, the soil rich and fruitful, And the country well watered. Natural springs, whose supply of cool water is exhaustless, abound everywhere, and of these the early.settler was not slow to take advantage. Lost Creek Township is to-day one of the best grain- producing townships in the State, her soil yields readily and in abundance, and to her rich acreage she justly points with pride.


    On December 10, 1818, the Comraissioners of Miami County, assembled at Troy, ordered that the thirteenth township should be known by the name of " Lost Creek," and; on the 25th of January of the succeeding year, they proceeded to fix substantially its boundaries. At the latter meeting (January 25), Brown and Staunton Townships were laid out and bounded. But, before this, the settler had erected his cabin in Lost Creek Township. As early as 1802 to 1804, Willis Northcutt and John Rogers had settled here, and, later, Gen. John Webb, Alexander McDowell, Sr., and a number of others. Gen. Webb says, in his manuscript autobiography, from which we shall quote at length further on, that, as early as 1808, he taught school a short distance from where the village of Casstown now stands.


    The first records of the Township Clerk's office, which are still well preserved, show that at the first election held under the permanent establishment of boundaries, John Lenon, George W. Green and James Buckles were elected Township Trustees, and J. K . McFarland, Clerk. Of these parties, but one, James Buckles is living at this date. The election was held at the house of George Puterbaugh, a short distance east of the Lost Creek Baptist Church, and on the old Puterbaugh farm, now owned by Harrison Youtsey. The poll-books of that election, could they be unearthed, would show,a meager poll, for the inhabitants of Lost Creek Township were " few and far between " at that time, and it would be safe to say that there was no " log-rolling " at that election. The pioneers went to the farmhouse, deposited their ballots, and, after discussing local affairs, which meant the common good, not politics, mind you, they returned to their work. In the spring of 1820, Jonathan Yates, J. K. McFarland, Jonas Sutton and John Webb were drawn as grand, and Levi Westfall, Willis Hance and James Frazee, Sr., as petit jurors. The Township Clerk of that date denominates the last mentioned gentlemen as " petty jurors."


    Prior to the formal organization of the township, as has already been said, a number of settlements had been made. Beside dwelling houses at that day, principally log-cabins, George Green had erected a grist-mill, with which a distillery was connected, and James Frazee had also put up a still. In 1814, John K. McFarland put up a carding and fulling mill near the site of Casstown but, as the new venture did not yield the desired profits, we believe it was abandoned a few years later. During this time, the several accomplishments were not entirely neglected, for, as already mentioned, Gen. Webb had taught the young idea, and John E. Cory had conducted a singing-school. Mr.Cory opened the school in his own house, in 1814, and probably numbered among his scholars, nearly all the young folks in the community.

    THE WAR OF 1812

    During these times, the early settlers of Lost Creek Township were not wholly without fear. The outbreak of the second war with Great Britain was calculated to seriously interfere with their repose. The Indians were not far distant, and more than once, the pioneer and his little family cowered, as it were, in the shadows of the tomahawk. Almost within the boundaries of the township, David Gerard and Henry Dilbone and wife fell before the merciless hatchet of the Shawanoes. Alexanaer McDowell, Sr., with Gen. Webb and others whose names have, unfortunately, been lost to your historian, entered the army and guarded the frontier posts. In 1811, Gen. Hull's troops, en route to Detroit, passed through this section of the county. A halt was made at Rogers' bloclihouse, that occupied the site of George G. McDowell's dwelling, and the pioneer women relieved the wants of the troops, many of whom were shoeless and in a suffering condition. It is supposed that anterior to this event, Gen. Wayne marched through a portion of Lost Creek Township on his way to punish the confederated tribes at the rapids of the Maumee. After the war of 1812, our pioneers enjoyed the blessings of peace, and settlements rapidly increased. As houses sprang up everywhere, the distances between neighbors became lessened, acquaintance was extended, and society received the long needed impetus.


    The year 1821 saw the erection of the first regular meeting- house in Lost Creek Township. This structure was built of hewn logs, near where the present brick church of the Lost Creek Baptists now stands. Its dimensions were 30x36 feet. On the minutes of that early congregation is found the following queer contract pertaining to the old church: "Agreed to employ Brother Abia B. Martin to lay two floors in the meetinghouse, to plough and groove both floors, to plain one side of the upper floor, and to make two doors and casings, for which the church agree to pay Brother Martin $20 in work at Mr. Fordyce's, if said Martin should want it there; if not, to be paid in corn, wheat or young, cattle." In 1837, a secession from Lost Creek Baptist Church resulted in the erection of another log-house,of worship, known as Providence Meeting- House, on the Casstown and Addison turnpike. This latter landmark, like its predecessor, has disappeared before the ravages of time, and, overgrown with weeds, is the site around which " the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." Afterward, the log church of the Lost Creek Christian Congregation, was erected on the Barnett Rapp farm, and then followed the houses of worship that dot and beautify the township at the present day.


    Gen. Webb was the first Justice of the Peace within the boundaries of Lost Creek Township. The certification of his bond, by the Township Clerk, bears date of December 11, 1819, and he served uninterruptedly, we believe, until 1849. Among the other early Justices were John Lenon, Abraham Buckles, James Fordyce and Thomas Shidler. The last named gentleman represented Miami County in the Ohio Legislature. He died only a few years ago. John Wilson also served as Justice.


    In 1832, the cholera devasted the happiest homes in the township. Its blows fell everywhere without mercy, and in more instances than one, husband and wife, or parents and children were buried in the same grave. There are several incidents connected with this terrible visitation that approach the domain of the thrilling. One night a merry party of neighbors gathered at the house of Mr. John Martin. Reports from districts then ravaged by the pestilence, at once became the theme for conversation; but, by the merriest of the assembled party, they were lightly treated, and a dance was proposed. A violin was soon found, and before long its merry strains awakened the echoes of the night. Louder and louder grew the sounds of pleasure. The hand at the bow knew how to use it, and the motto seemed to be, " no sleep till morn." At last some one suggested a "cholera tune," which was played; but at the close of it, so say the few living participants, frightful noises were heard among the horses in the barn, and almost every cheek became blanched. The soberest said it was a death token, and the assembly, silently and soberly dispersed. Not long afterward, a few hours at the farthest, the cholera did come. It entered that very house, and smote its people with death, and many of the participants in that merry gathering fell victims to the dread plague. The hand that drew the bow that night has not lifted another since, although its possessor still lives, an aged and venerated citizen of the township. In 1836, the dread scourge again visited this section of the count but did not rage with the violence that characterized its former visit. At that time the nearest physicians resided in Troy, and more than once they were hurried out on Lost Creek, to at tend a cholera patient.


    The only incorporated village within the limits of the township is Casstown,. which is situated in the southeast corner thereof. It is now a village of 375 souls, a beautiful and thrifty place. It was laid out in 1832, by Rankin Westfall and Luke Daney, from land purchased of James Frazee. At the time of the survey only three cabins occupied the site of the town, which was called Trimmensburgh, in honor of ------ Trimmens, a man who helped to lay it out. Afterward the name was changed to Casstown, in lionor of Lewis Cass, united States Senator and General, and an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency. Mr.Daniel Knoop put up the first brick house in the town, a small affair, only fourteen feet square, and Joseph Green an Joseph Campbell opened the first stock of goods. Knoop also brought on a lot of goods, and continued in the business at the original stand until a few years since. He is now dead but his widow still resides in Casstown. Casstown is noted for civility and good morals. Not a drop of liquor is sold within the corporation. It contains three churches, and one hall devoted to the I. O. O. F., which order is in a flourishing condition. Small as it was during the late civil war, it sent out an entire company of soldiers, who did good service around Washington, for which they received the personal thanks of President Lincoln. Several miles north of Casstown, and in the township, is a small collection of houses which bears t he name of Sodom, or Pencetown but it has no post office: and is hardly called a village.


    In education, Lost Creek Township has a good record. Forty years ago the total number of school children enrolled in the township was 647 the school buildings were mostly log structures, and poor affairs at the best but now a substantial brick building graces every district, and the school furniture is of tile latest pattern and cannot be excelled. In Special District No. 1, which includes the village of Casstown, a large and handsome brick building has been erected within the past few years, In this a thorough graded school is kept nine months of the year, and the result is that it ranks among, the best schools in the county. More than forty years ago, when Thomas Long was Superintendent and Visitor of the common schools of Lost Creek Township, the system of school visitation was strictly adhered to. Mr.Long was a careful, methodical and painstaking man, and the entries in his journal exhibit the condition of our country schools at that day. Of a visit to the school in District No. 1, January 22, 1839, he says: "The order in the school is not good, too much confusion, but little Government exercised by the teacher, very little exercise of moral influence, and but very little time is spent to convince the scholars of the propriety of such measures as would be conducive to their good." He found in the schools at that day not enough system in writing, the philosophy of arithmetic illy taught, and, finally, noisy schools. The Board of Education of Lost Creek Township profiting by Mr. Long's experience, have brought the schools to a high grade, and all today are in a flourishing condition.


    The Lost Creek Baptist Church. The oldest religious body in Lost Creek Township is the Lost Creek Baptist-Church. The nucleus were members of the old Staunton Church, now torn down, and an organization was effected at the house of Jonathan Cavault, in 1816. Samuel Deweese was the first minister, and Rachel Webb was the first accession. David Archer had the honor of being the first Moderator, and John Wilson, afterward Judge. and a member of the Legislature, Clerk. The history of the building of the church structure has already been given. The Pastors of the church, since its organization to the present time, have been Samuel Deweese, Moses Frizee, Robert Stapleton, Willis Hance, Thomas A. Warner, William Fuson, Thomas J. Price, N. Martin, John Blodgett, David Scott, David E. Thomas. James Harvey, W. R. Thomas, W. A. Welsher, I. M. Chapman, W. S. Hamlin, and N. B. H. Gardner. At present the membership does not exceed forty souls. The Christian, Church. This church was organized by Elders Samuel Kyle and William Dye in May, l821, with about twelve members. For the first nine years no extensive records of its proceedings were kept. The first regular Pastor was Elder Joseph Kirby, and Thomas Long served as Clerk for forty-two consecutive vears. While this conoreoation has made no noise in the world, it has pursued the even tenor of its way, doing much good. The Pastors of the church, since it's organization to the present time, number some of the best and purest men to be found in the ministry. They are Samuel Kyle, William Dye, Joseph Kirby, Adam Thomas, M. D. Briney, Daniel Long, Josiah Knight, D. W. Fowler, John McMillen, H. Y. Rush, C. A. Morse, Thomas Wells, Thomas A. Brandon, C. T. Emmons, E M. Rapp and Joel Thomas.


    The Casstown Baptist Church was organized between 1850 and 1852, by memhers from the Staunton Baptist Church and the Salem Congreoation at Troy. The first-named church had become reduced in numbers, and, being too near Troy, it was decided to establish a new one, and thus the present flourishing congregation at Casstown became a Christian body. The first meetings of the Casstown Baptists were held in the old Universalist Church (now Odd Fellows' Hall) in that village until their own new church was dedicated, May 25, 1856, Since that time the chnrch has kept steadily forward, and is in a prosperous condition at the present day. Among the able men who have sustained a pastoral relation with the Casstown Baptist Church, we record the well-known names of Willis Hance, Sr., Robert Stapleton, Samuel Deweese, William Sutton, Moses Frazee, L. C. Carr, E. D. Thomas, Daniel Bryant, David E. Thomas, John Blodgett, J. G. Tunison, J. W. Weatherby, J. W. Miller, W. S. Hamlin, and A. B. Nixon, the present Pastor. Many of the above Pastors rest from their labors. Casstown Lutheran Church. The Casstown Lutheran Church was established between 1835 and 1840. The congregation not possessing a house of worship of their own, meetings were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church until a Lutheran Church was erected. This was a substantial stone structure, which gave way, in 1867, to a handsome brick edifice, in which the congregation still worship. Among, the pastors of the Casstown Lutheran Church, since its formation, have been Revs. Link, Anghe, Harris, Weills, We lsh, Hershiser, Lilly and Helnig. Casstown M. E. Church. This religious body was formed a few years prior to the establishment of the Lutheran Church. A house, now used as a planing, mill, was the first place of worship, but a beautiful brick church replaced it a few years ago. The congregation is in a flourishing condition. Its pastors are selected atinually by the General Conference.


    We believe that we can no better illustrate the life, trials, triumphs and experiences of a pioneer than by giving the history of one written by his own hand and such a document we introduce at this point. It is from the pen of Gen. Webb, and we preface it by saying that what the old gentleman says of other places is peculiarly applicable to the early settlement of Lost Creek Township:

    "I was born of Baptist parents, at May's Lick, Mason County, State of Kentucky, May 17, 1793. My parents were church members before I was born. In the Month of November, 1797, my father removed to Ohio, six years before the State was admitted into the Union, and wintered near Waynesville. In March following, he settled in the dense wilderness between the two Miami Rivers, near where the city of Dayton now stands. There was no mark of an ax (excepting those of Indian tomahawks) there until my father and brothers cut logs to build a cabin, into which he put his family. At that time, the cabin was hardly up and covered, and it was without floor, chimney or door. Our nearest neighbors were Indians, bears, wolves, foxes, wildcats, turkeys, deer and raccoons. Spring opened early, vegetation grew rapidly, the ground was loaded with hickory-nuts, walnuts, etc., and the woods swarmed with different kinds of singing birds. I was not nine years old, and, not realizing our lonely situation, I thought it a paradise. About forty or fifty rods east of our house stood a little prairie, in which we made our first garden, but we were soon compelled to inclose it with a high staked and ridered' fence, to keep the deer from destroying the fruits of our first planting.

    We had to watch our cornfields, to prevent the squirrels and raccoons from pulling, up the corn in the spring, and from eating, the ears in the fall. The wild pigeons were very plentiful and destructive, picking up the wheat almost as soon as sown.

    "My father sowed the first wheat and clover seed, and planted the first apple and peach trees and built the first cabin in that region. After eight years of life there, father exchanged farms with my brother-in law, Timothy Green, and moved three miles west, near the present site of Beavertown.

    There being, no school near us then, my mother taught my youngest sister and myself at home. Our main books were the spelling book, Testament and Bible. l was eight years old before l saw a schoolhouse, and never went to school in any house but a log- cabin. ln 1811, father sold his farm of 240 acres for $2,000, intending to purchase land in this (Miami) county for his sons. One day he mounted a young, hard-mouthed horse, intending to select a location, and started off. But the horse, becoming frightened, ran a quarter of a mile, threw my father against a stump, broke his arm in two places, and crushed his shoulder and skull, of course killing him instantly. This occurred on Thursday, November 28, 1811.

    On the day following father's funeral, our family assigned to mother all the money and property that he left, and shortly afterward I purchased the land I now occupy, two miles north of Casstown, from John Rogers, for $320. At that time Rogers owned an entire section. There were two cabins on my piece, a lot of land inclosed; and I gave Rogers in payment, an order on my mother, for I was but eighteen years old, and engaged in "keeping" school. Two years before this I taught the first school ever held in this region.

    In the following spring, mother and I, with my brothers Elisha and Joseph, moved to this neighborhood. Joseph having no house on his land, moved into one of my houses. He had purchased a quarter- section of land, where John Mitchell now lives (i.e. the present Hyatt farm-ED.), and subsequently built a cabin there. He afterward exchanged it for a quarter-section then owned by Richard, Palmer, my brother-in-law, and now owned by George Hammon and Joel Burton, adjoining the village of Casstown.

    "In the latter part of the winter of 1813, I volunteered as a soldier, expecting to go to Detroit. But the surrender of Hull's army there, left our whole northern and northwestern frontier exposed to Indian depredations. The general Government, therefore, caused a line of block-houses to be built along the frontier of Ohio and Indiana, and called out a large portion of the frontier militia to be stationed in them. So we were marched to Greenville, Darke County, under Captain Charles Hilliard, where we remained six months. John Sconer and Gosberry Elliott, two of our soldiers, were killed by the Indians, also Philip Taylor, an Indian trader, Mr. Rush, a settler, and two Iiitle girls, daughters of a Mr. Wilson. In August of the same year (1814) the savages killed David Gerard within a mile of our house, and the same evening Henry Dilbone and wife further up on Spring Creek.

    "In the month of March, 1815, our two houses were consumed by fire, and we removed to Roger's until I built another cabin. I was teaching school in one of my own cabins at the time of this calamity. During this year, Priscilla Knight and I were married, and lived happily together for more than half a century. At our first company muster, after our return from Greenville, I drilled the company at the request of our captain. I was twenty years old at that time (1813). Having been appointed Orderly Sergeant, I was shortly afterward elected Captain. My company's membership extended as far north as there were inhabitants at that time. As there were a few settlers scattered along the Miami as far as where Sidney now stands, our place of company drill was on the ground where Elder D. E. Thomas' house now stands (i.e., near the D. &,M. R. R. depot adjoining Piqua). I afterward acted as Major at regimental musters, and shortly after was elected Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel successively. A short time subsequent, I was elected Brigadier General, receiving every vote in the county but one, and, by the resignation of Gen. Young, I became acting Major General of the Tenth Division of Ohio Militia. The division embraced the counties of Montgomery, Darke, Shelby and Miami, and consisted of ten regiments of infantry, riflemen, cavalry and artillery.

    In 1819, I was unanimously elected Justice of the Peace of Lost Creek Township, in which office my whole term of service extended over thirty years. During that time, I married more than one hundred couples. I was a trustee of the original survey of the township, and, assisting in the survey, wrote all the leases. I also assisted in the survey of a number of county roads, and administered on many estates. In 1838, I resigned my military commission, and, many years after the war of 1812, I received two warrants for eighty acres of Government land each, and I now receive a yearly pension for services rendered the nation.

    "In 1861, at the outbreak of the rebellion, the young men asked me to drill a company of Home Guards, which I consented to do. A company was speedily recruited, and made rapid improvements in the tactics. The patriotic ladies raised funds for the purchase of a beautiful flag, which was presented to the company at Casstown. On that day, the company was drawn up in a hollow square, the ladies and speakers facing inward. George C. Clyde presented the standard in the name of the ladies and D. E. Thomas accepted it in behalf of the company, in a neat speech. The whole affair was a grand and success.

    "In speaking of the " financial frauds " of the old days, Gen. Webb says:"in 1819, I was appointed administrator with the widow on the estate of ------. Her bad management and the confused condition of the estate came near ruining me. The first difficulty I encountered was to clear it of a judgment for $18,000, in favor of John H. Piatt, of Cincinnati. There were other jndgments and other claims, and the result was that the estate proved to be insolvent, with but 40 cents on the dollar. The widow bought and kept it at its appraisement, for which she gave no security, and paid nothing, and I had to foot the bill! At various times I bailed---- ---- and others, and was left to pay the amounts. Many years after, I bailed -------; he availed himself of the bankrupt act, and, as usual, left me to pay his debts. I took stock in the Troy Manufacturing Company; it failed. I took stock in the Addison, Troy & Covington Turnpike Co.; it fizzled. Then I invested in two toll-bridge companies at Troy; one of the bridges fell before it was finished, and the other was washed away shortly after completion. I was generally called a good fellow, and consequently was often imposed upon.

    "These difficulties, poor health and a large family, often seriously afflicted, have affected my progress. From the foregoing, it would seem that I have been a poor economist and financier. This is true, yet my family have been comfortably and respectably raised."

    Gen. Webb concludes his memoir by saying that, on the 9th of Auoust, 1827, he was received into the Lost Creek Baptist Church, and baptized by Elder Willis Hance. He was for many years Clerk of the Mad River Association, and prepared its minutes for publication. On one occasion, Mr. Webb went to Columbus on horseback to attend to some business pertaining to the church charter before the Legislature.


    During the war of the rebellion, no rural township replied more liberally to the calls of the President than Lost Creek. Her citizens were among the first to enlist in 1861, and from that eventful period until the termination of the struggle, she had more than two hundred soldiers at the front. They took part in some of the most sanguinary battles without, so far as we are able to learn, having a single one of their number killed outright. Of her war record, Lost Creek Township is justly proud, and should her citizens ever be called upon again to take up arms in defense of principle, we doubt not that they will obey with the enthusiasm that characterizes them in everything they undertake.


    We here append a list, as complete as can be obtained at this late day, of the old settlers of the township:

    John Webb *, Elisha Webb, Asa Rogers, John Shidler, Alexander McDowell*, Abram Cromer, James Buckles*, Timothy Green, James Frazee, George Green, Willis Northcutt, ------ --Rogers, John W. Martin, Willis Hance, Benjamin Hance, J. K. McFarland, George Puterbaugh, Giles Johnston, Allen Ralston, William Babb, Daniel Knoop, John Wilson, William Burton*, Thomas Shidler, Henry Whitmore, William Wallace, Richard Palmer, Williim C. Knight, William Saunders, John Lenon, David Archer, Jonathan Yates, Reuben Westfall, John Darst, Thomas Stretch, Joseph Webb, Joseph Layton, James Fordyce, Jonas Sutton, Daniel H. Knoop*, Thomas Long, Barnett Rapp, Samuel McDowell*, John Shanks, Levi Martin, Jacob Youtsey, Jonathan Cavault, Josiah Martin*, Peter Clyde, -----------Trimmens, Andrew Egnew. Of all the foregoing, only those whose. names are marked with an asterisk (*) are 'living at the present time. The rest have passed down the " corridors of time," and rest from the arduous labors which they performed so well. Truly, it can be said of t hem, when looking, upon the fair land which they helped to improve, Their works do follow them."

          O, many a time it hath been told,
          The story of these men of old-;
          For this, fair poetry hath, wreathed
          Her sweetest, purest flower;
          For this, proud elequence hah breathed
          His strain of loftiest power.
          Devotion, too, hath lingered round
          Each spot of consecrated ground,
          And hill and valley blest;
          There where our pioneer fathers strayed,
          There, where they loved, and wept, and prayed,
          There, where their ashes rest."



    Lost Creek Township is now in a healthy condition. The roads that bisect it are well piked, and in admirable condition for travel. The farming land is well drained, and much of it clovered in alternate seasons. Plenty of good water is afforded for stock, and all the farms are highly improved. A great deal of corn is annually raised in Lost Creek, which finds a ready market at Troy, and the acreage of wheat and other cereals is large and constantly increasing. Of her citizens, we have said much in the foregoing pages. They are intelligent, industrious and energetic, worthy successors to the men who cleared the unbroken forests, and brought order and light out of " chaos and confusion." We predict that the future of Lost Creek Township is one to be envied, for her exhaustless resources are certain to place her in the first rank of such organizations. She might well claim our State motto as her own--Imperio imperium.

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