Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers --Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association

From the 1880 History of Miami County Ohio
pages 334-389

Nearly eighty years ago the sturdy pioneer might have been seen standing upon the picturesque banks of the Stillwater; nothing disturbs the sublime and oppressive silence of the primeval forest that surrounds him, save the gentle plashing of the murmuring stream below, and the occasional song of the wild-bird, as it flits from branch to branch. Yet how sweet and beguiling so ever may have been the siren voice of nature, his purpose here is not to yield to her seductive influence, but, turning his back upon all her fascinations, he boldly advances still deeper into the profound recesses, and anon the death-like stillness of these umbrageous solitudes is broken by the music. of his ax, resounding throughout their illimitable depths, which had hitherto re-echoed but to the howl of the wolf, the scream of the stealthy panther, or the savage whoop of the blood-thirsty red man. The giants of the forest soon yield to the steady strokes of his ax, and erelong the smoke from his cabin chimney may be seen curling through the tree-tops;. the rays of the sun, piercing the gloom, generate new life; the germ of civilization is planted , which, through the vivifying influence of advantageous surroundings, has developed into the present thrifty and vigorous community, now known as Union Township. It will be observed that the local history of the above township is so closely interwoven with the general history of the county that, in many instances, it will be almost impossible to confine ourselves to its specific narration. Not with standing we shall use every precaution to avoid repetition of facts, and tautology of language, yet, in our endeavor to disentangle the one from the other, this may, at unavoidably occur. The exact time at which the tract of land, embraced within the present limits of what is now known as Union Township, became an organized body seems rather indefinite. Diligent research, however, reveals the fact, that prior to July, 1801, when the first election for county officers was held, the entire county constituted but two townships, viz., Elizabeth, comprising all the territory east of the Miami River, and Randolph, embracing the portion west of the same river. At the October election following, it seems Randolph had disappeared, and the territory formerly known by that name, was subdivided into five townships, of which Union, lying in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, is one. It embraces a rectangle eight miles long and six miles wide, containing an area of forty-eight miles, being the largest township in the county. Traversed by the Stillwater River on the east, the two branches of Ludlow Creek on the north and west, and numerous other fine streams, a great portion of the township is, therefore, rendered gently undulating, thus forming a complete system of natural drainage which very materiality enhances the productiveness of the soil.


The most attractive elements of a new country in the eyes of a pioneer are its topography, productiveness of soil, water facilities, etc. Nature, therefore, offers to the observer the only lucid solution why the country in the immediate vicinity---------pg 335 of the almost classical Stillwater and its tributaries should have been chosen by our forefathers as a resting place and nucleus, around which should cluster the forest homes of succeeding generations; for here she has lavishly displayed her power in blending the grand with the beautiful, the sublime with the picturesque, The precipitous banks of Stillwater axe gradually mellowed into irregular elevations, these into gentle undulations, until, as they recede, they are finally blended into the level plains that stretch far away in the distance. The many perennial springs that escape from the placid lakelets that give them birth flow gently along the descending plain, increasing in velocity as they near their end, till at last they leap from rock to rock, many feet to the river below. We need not, therefore, wonder that Union Township is invested with a history that ante-dates the admission of the State into the Union.

There appears to be some diversity of opinion in regard to the first of those resolute men who invaded the wild domain of nature in this township and wrested from her giant grasp the gifts with which she so reluctantly parts. The weight of authority seems to be in favor of Henry Fouts, who, in company with Leonard and Adam Eller, in the year 1801, erected the first cabin nestled in "this forest primeval." The Ellers located in the southern part of the township, east of Stillwater, while Fouts settled on the west side. Part of the land owned by Fouts seventy- nine years ago, is still in possession of his posterity, he having been dead about fifty-seven years. The next year, Caleb Mendenhall, with a family of six, increased the same. night of his arriial by the birth of a daughter to seven. The next year, 1803, John Mast, and son-in-law, Frederick Yount, came, and located a mill-site higher up. They were followed in 1804, by, David Mote, Sr., with his sons Jonathan, Jeremiah, William, John and Jesse, all except William, with families, settling further westward and northward. About this time the portion lying east of the river , was settled by Leonard Fineher, William Fincher, William Neal, Benjamin Pike, Jacob Byrket, and many others whose exact time of settlement is not known.

David Mote was born in 1733, and was doubtless the oldest man who emigrated to this township. At the time of his arrival be was seventy-one years old. He and his wife both died in 1817, at the residence of his son John. They had been married over sixty years. Their eldest son Jonathan purchased Section 20, and settled by a splendid spring not far from its center. He was so proud of his home that he called it "the garden spot of the world." He came here at the age of forty-six, accompanied by five sons and five daughters. His wife dying on the way, he buried her by the wayside, in a very rude coffin, the best that could be provided. His children grew up, married, and many of them settled, for a time, around him. It is not known that any of them are living, and few of his grandchildren are in this township. Jonathan married again in 1806 or 1807, having kept his faiaily nearly, if not all, together. In 1810, he built the first brick house in this township, and the first on Stillwater. Like the other immigrants, he cleared a farm and taught his children to labor. Having lost his second wife a few years after marriage, he remained single until 1819, when he married the third wife. She died in a few months, and he never married again. The Motes were all Quakers or Friends. Jonathan had been disowned by them about the close of the last war with England, and never regained his membership. After the death of his last wife, he lived for some years like a hermit. His youngest son, Jeremiah, marrying, he transferred his farm to him, reserving his house and a life maintenance on the farm. This was not very large, as he had previously bequeathed and sold the greater part of his land. It contained, however, more than 100 acres. The son soon traded his interest in the farm, which was again transferred to a third party. In.the spring of 1839, the old man, ill and unhappy, went to the house of his nephew, who lived adjoining, and shortly after died there.

Jeremiah Mote removed from this State at the time of his father's death, and died soon after. He left a numerous family, a part of them being yet in their minority. Three of his grandchildren are living here at an advanced age. William Mote married about 1814, and lived here until 1830, when he died, leaving three children. He was a very quiet little man, and is said to have killed more deer than any man in the country. John Mote, the Doctor, requires particular mention, being the first and longest practicing physician in the township. He was born in 1767, the birth-year, also, of John Q. Adams and Andrew Jackson. He possessed all their firmness, and, though but slightly educated, much of their ability. He appears to have been the first on the west of the river to settle away from a spring, the first to have a well and sweep, upon which was suspended what Wordsworth calls

The old oaken bucket,
  the iron-bourid bucket,
  The moss-covered bucket
  that hung in the well."

Such were his temperance proclivities that he might have said further, with the same poet,

How sweet from the green mossy briin to receive it. As poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips. Not a full, blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it, Though filled with the nectar that Jupiter sips."

The Doctor was an industrious ancl prosperous man, carrying on farming with his medical practice. Vomiting, blistering and blood- letting were his favorite remedies. Very tenacious of preconceived opinions, he could hardly be convinced that there was such a disease as sick stomach or vegetable poison. When called to a patient suffering with that disease, he treated him for bilious fever, and the patient died. It was not until after he had been afflicted with it himself, and was told by a visiting neighbor that he had the poison, because he (the reighbor) could smell it, that he concluded there might be such a disease, and took remedies for it. He practiced forty years, and died in the harness, for, having returned from visiting a patient, he fell between his house and barn, receiving a severe injury in the hip; he was helped into the house, but never walked afterward, having received, it was thought, a light paralytic stroke. After a few weeks of patient suffering, he died, having survived his wife but a few years. This occurred in 1845. His children were four sons and five daughters, namely, Elizabeth, John, two Daniels, David, Rachel, Anna, Rebecca and Mary, not one of whom is now living. But two of his grandchildren are living in this township. Dr. Mote was a warm hearted and conscientious man, opposed to secret societies, and an Abolitionist of the highest type. If the world had more such as he, it would be better. Jesse Mote, the other brother, died so long ago that little is known concerning him worth publishing. Of the immigrants of 1805, the family of Samuel Jones, from Georgia, of whom mention has already been made, appears to have been the most prominent: Abiathar Davis, from the same State, came here about the same time, accompanied by his four sons, Samuel, Amos, John and Benjamin, and three daughters, viz., Mary, Lydia and Sarah. He established all his sons on Section 17, except Amos, who resided but a short time in the county. Davis evidently knew the value of good water, for he chose a place well supp lied. with never-dying springs; he improved his farm, and by industry and economy, secured a competency: The greater part of the township's earliest settlers seem to have been actuated by these sentiments:

Get what you can,
and what you get hold,
Tis the stone
That will turn all your lead into gold.

It is not to be wondered at, then, that they succeeded in leaving large quantities of both land and money to their children. Mr. Davis and family belonged to the denomination of Friends; he died in 1838. In 1805, a large number of immigrants came from Newberry, S. C., the greater number of whom were Friends. Of these, Isaac, James and George Hollingsworth brought families, while their brother Nathan, who accompanied them, had no family. Isaac occupied a portion of Section 20, and James a part of Section 32. The Hollingsworths were a stalwart and powerful race of men. "Big Isaac," as he was called in the South, though a Quaker, knew no such thing as fear; he was born in 1748, and married in 1773; consequently, was the father of a family during the Revolutionary war. In those terrible times, when law was unregarded, and the country overrun by British and Tories, he was bold in speaking his mind to either. On one occasion, he remonstrated with an English officer, who was in the act of approaching his corn-crib for grain; the officer unsheathed his sword, and threatened his life, but Mr. Hollingsworth advanced boldly, and, taking the sword from the Englishman's hand, said, "Thus far shalt thou go, but no. farther," causing the officer to give up the attempt as useless. After coming to this country, the young Quakers began wearing suspenders, a practice which Mr. Hollingsworth considered as savoring of pride, and often at log-rollings, if the young men were not on the alert, he would slip his fore-finger under their suspenders, and then the button had no thing to do but to fly, Notwithstanding his rough exterior, he had an excellent heart. Once an Irishman applied to him for work, when he put him to work at removing a pile of rocks, which task completed, he had him carry them back, after which, he paid him for his labor. His wife frequently attended missions, and he used to say that his corn never grew better than when she was out on a preaching tour. He died in 1809, and was buried in the West Branch burying-ground. Elisha Jones, a son-in-law of the preceding, settled on the same section in 1807. He was a chair-maker ancl general mechanic, by trade, as well as farmer, and was more successful in his business transactions than any of his neighbors. He cleared and worked a large farm with his own hands, and saved some money besides his expenses each year: this he judiciously invested in improvements, and in purchasing more land for his children. He owned 650 acres of land in this township, which. added to what he ow ned elsewhere., made a total of 1,600 acres. At his death he, left this land.together with considerable money at interest, to his wife and ten surviving children. A circumstance, most remarkable in it's character, happened to this family. On the morning of May 22, 1817, Mrs. Jones, stepping to the door to attend to some household duties was struck dead by a flash of lightning from a passing cloud. The cloud from which the electric fluid proceeded was of exceedingly small dimensions, but the peal was heard miles away. Although every means were taken to restore the unfortunate woman, she was never seen to breath or stir again. Her niece was not far from the spot, and was rendered unconscious by the stroke, but finally recovered, and is now a resident of Iowa. On the day succeeding the catastrophe, the remains of Mrs. Jones were followed to the grave by the largest concourse of people that had ever convened at that place. One year from this time, Mr. Jones married Rebecc the daughter of Enoch Pearson, of Monroe Township, with whom he lived two years, and died at age of fifty-five years. In many respects, Mr. Jones was a remarkable man; though possessing but a limited education himself, he was the ardent patron of learning, was a great reader , and especially delighted in reading the grand epic of Milton. He was a man industrious, energetic and skillful in business, conscientious in the observance of all religious duties, and honorable in all transactions with his fellow-man. Joel Hollingsworth, born in 1778; he came here with a small family in 1806, and settled in Section 11, on the North Branch of Ludlow's Creek. Strong and fearless as his father, he encountered and overcame every difficulty that presented itself, and in the course of years had a large farm under cultivation; being also of an adventurous spirit, he repeatedly built flat--bottomed boats upon the Stillwater, which he loaded not only with his own pork and flour, but with that of his neighbors, and transported to New Orleans. These were enterprises both difficult and dangerous, yet Joel delighted in them. At such times, he left the management and work on his farm to his sons. From one of these trips, he brought home the first telescope ever pg...338 possessed in this township, which was an object of wonder to his neighbors and their children. They would draw it out and view distant objects with wonder. He reared twelve children, of whom, not one is now a resident of this township, and only about half are living. In 1839, he removed to Indiana, where he died about twenty years ago. His neighbor and cousin, Thomas McCool, settled adjoining, him on the west, about the same time; he was a farmer also, but had in addition, a taste for office. He was accordingly repeatedly elected magistrate for what was called the Creek nation. He settled many a controversy between them, if not with the wisdom of a Hale, at least with the dignity of, a Mansfield. Some of these suits, conducted without attorneys, were most unique if not ludicrous in their character. One of these cases I must briefly notice. A man whom I will call I. F., known not only as the laziest man in the township, but most likely the laziest in the State, once rented a rather desolate little farm, which he had acquired in early times, to W. F., reserving a favorite apple-tree and little cabin as a residence for himself. W. F.'s geese making a raid upon I. F. apples, the latter brought suit against the former to recover damages. The trial ended, the magistrate rendered a verdict in accordance with the facts, which verdict was that W. F. pay to I.F., 61 cents damage, and each party pay his own costs. The laughter of the spectators can better be imagined than described. Squire McCool's chirography was somewhat like the late Senator Choate's, of Massachusetts, which is said to have resembled the track made by a spider crawling out of an inkstand. A transcript from MeCool's docket once came to court which could not be deciphered by the writer himself. He remained on his farm during the war, a firm believer in the doctrines of Abolition, after which he removed to Iowa, where he died.

Isaac Hasket, a pioneer noted for his great physical strength, came hereabout the same time as the preceding he came accompanied by his wife and child, the three having journeyed here from South Carolina on horse back. By trade Mr.Hasket was a carpenter; a barn, built by him in 1819, is still standing; it is the property of Frederick Yount, and is probably the oldest in the township. Mr. Hasket moved several times, but in 1823 he settled permanently on Section 19, at the age of forty-five. He was the father of five sons and three daughters ; of these, Thomas is a prosperous fanner, living near his father's last residence, while John, the fourth son; has a farm which joins him on the west, and also a large amount of land in different places. Joseph, the fifth son, now resides in Indiana. With the help of his children, Isaac cleared a large farm and provided land for his children. He died in 1846, leaving a name which for honesty and sobriety cannot be excelled. Henry Coate, with his father and five brothers, came from South Carolina at about the date of the preceding, and settled on Section 6, on Ludlow's Creek. He was not only a farmer, but also a skillful blacksmith; he did all the work required by the farmers, such as making trace-chains, hame-hooks, log-chains, mattocks, boes, axes and sickles. The most important of all his shop productions were his sickles. In those early days, all grain, except oats, was cut by them, and to be provided with them was quite a requisite with the farmer. No livelier time was known to the farmer than when a company of merry reapers, falling into diagonal line, thrust their sickles into the teeming fields of golden grain. Much skill was required to reap with speed and neatness, and men prided themselves in the acquirement. The fields being laid off in regular two-handed lands, the work went on with order and precision until the field was finished, when, if the farmer had no more, the reapers would go to his neighbors. From twenty-five to thirty dozen of wheat to the hand was a day's labor, and 50 cents per day was the price. For many years, Henry Coate's shop furnished sickles for the surrounding country, until they were nearly superseded by the scythe and cradle. During all this time, Henry Coate had the clearing of his lands and farming operations going on. He accumulated much land and money by his industry, and was able to give all his children a good start in the world. The names of them were Lydia, Isaac, Mary, Esther, Samuel, Rachel and Rhoda, all ---- --pg 389 dead. When age had come upon Henry Coate, he gave up his trade, his business, and spent the residue of his life in quietude. Born about the year 1770, he had witnessed the terrors of the revolution when quite a boy. When a man, he assisted in opening up the wilderness and building up our country. Thrice married, he died in 1848, leaving a widow who survived him several years. His name is held in honorable remembrance by those who knew him. The year 1808 experienced a revival of immigration, only part of which, however, swelled the weak settlements in this township. Among those who came about this time we may enumerate John Pearson, who, after following a romantic life for about two years, settled permanently near the south bank of Ludlow's Creek, in Union Township. The greater portion of the Foregoing list were the heads of families, and settled in this township prior to the year 1810. The States of South and North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, all seem to be the reservoir from which flowed this almost unpreced ented tide of emigration, which not only fed Union Township, but also Warren, Clinton, Montgomery and Miami Counties; and, while it swelled the thin settlements of these counties, reflexively decimated almost to extinction the districts from which it flowed. In evidence of this, we are informed that it extinguished two large Friends Meetings, one in Georgia and one in South Carolina; from which we conclude, and the facts confirm it, that this township was first settled by the Friends, or ,Quakers, hence giving rise to the soubriquet of Quaker Township, which it has by common consent received. The stream of immigration seems to have exhausted itself during the years 1808, 1809 and 1810, after which it almost wholly ceased, and thenceforth the township received accessions principally from Pennsylvania and the New England States, which, in compa rison to the Southern current, was very meager, diminishing, in fact, almost to complete cessation for several years, never fully regaining its former impetus. Subsequently, the war with England engaged the public mind and called out the whole energy of the nation, paralyzing the spirit of emigration. As a natural consequence, therefore, the southwestern, northeastern and northern portions of the township remained undisturbed and safe in the repose of nature. The other portions of the township having been occupied, and the labor of clearing off little homesteads been accomplished, the inhabitants manifested no desire to leave them to erect new homes in the virgin wilderness; therefore, so late as the year 1825, all the territory previously referred to remained a vast wilderness, uninhabited, save by its native denizens, who held fortliin wild revelries in their gloomy solitudes.


In noting the various attractive features of a country that play an important part in rendering it habitable, and conduce to its settlement, we know of none more deserving of recognition in this township than the Stillwater; and, as we have in our introductory remarks but cursorily alluded to it and its tributaries, we shall now endeavor to describe that portion of it within the limits of this township more definitely. Stillwater takes its name from the sluggishness of its current, frequently appearing to be in a state of tranquillity, or so lazily moving along in a deep, unbroken volume, that its progress is almost imperceptible. This beautiful stream enters Union Township near the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 4, flowing southwesterly until it nears the center of the section, when slightly turning it divides, inclosing a long, narrow island; re-uniting, it pursues its course toward the southeast till it approaches the corner of the section, when it takes a line nearly due south, which it continues nearly to the center of the southeast quarter of Section 9, where it takes a course a little :south of east to the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of the section, when it flows south, slightly deflecting to the east, pursuing a meandering course till it reaches the center of the northeast quarter of Section 34, where it flows in a semi-circle dividing in its recurve it incloses an island, after which, uniting, it flows southwesterly out of the township, near the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of Section 34.

A peculiar characteristic of this stream is distinguishable in the fact that throughout nearly its entire course in this township, the left or east banks are lofty and abrupt, presenting a bold, rocky front to the water, while on the opposite side the land recedes for a considerable distance, nearly on a level with the river, when it gently rises and stretches away in undulating plains. As a natural consequence, therefore, all, or nearly all, the "bottom" lands are on the west side of the river. Another beautiful stream deserving of mention in this connection is:


which derived its name from one of the original surveyors of the public domain.

The Main, or North Branch of this stream takes its rise from the junction of two small creeks near the center of the northwest quarter of Section I1; thence flowing across the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of the same section, it passes east through the southern portion.of Section 1; deflecting slightly south, it continues about a mile, when turning, after receiving the Southwest Branch, it flows meandering in a generally northeast course, and empties into Stillwater, near its entrance into the township.


The scenic, features of this stream are its most prominent characteristics.

A short distance below the crossing of the Dayton and Covington pike, the stream glides along, gently plashing from ledge to ledge in its descent until it trembles on the brink of the precipice; then, leaping thirty feet over rocks whose dark heads are thrust through the foaming water, it bubbles and boils, then rushes on, its mad career along the canon through whose rocky cleft we can trace the meandering course of the stream hewn from the solid rock; cascade fountains within, a beautiful cedar grove and green ascending sward in the conservatory, with an outlook through the descending vista, along which the foaming stream finds its way still tumbling down-massive buttresses, and dark alcoves, in which grow beautiful mosses and delicate ferns, while springs burst out from the further recesses and wind in silver threads over floors of lime rock.

To these grand and beautiful combinations is attributable the almost constant influx of visitors during the pleasant seasons to this Niagara of Miami County.


The physical conditions of a country determine in an eminent degree the direction of development, as well as the character of the people in so far as character is dependent upon occupation. In some localities we observe the full development of agricultural pursuits, in another pastoral, in a third manufacturing-all, to a great extent, influenced inceptively by the physical conditions of the locality. Chief among these are the numerous magnificent ever living springs located in this township, in the vicinity of Stillwater. Without trenching upon the general geology, of the county, we may say in this connection, that these springs issue at the immediate outcropping of the Clinton limestone, which is overlapped by the Niagara. The vast surface of porous Niagara rock, many feet in thickness, receives the water as it percolates the drift, which grows deeper as it recedes, gradually sinking down until it reaches the impervious Clinton, and flows out over it to its outcropping as previously remarked.

Hence, the foregoing premises stand out as lucidly explanatory of the early manufactories, and the various directions of development the different branches of industrial pursuits have taken. The soil of this township is rich and productive, yielding abundant harvests of all the cereals and grasses, and possessing within itself all the chemical elements of regeneration.

By means of artificial drainage, such as tiling, etc., almost the entire township has been utilized and brought up to a high state of cultivation, as is evidenced by the many fine farms, splendid residences, blooded stock and heavy crops.

In addition to these, nature has deposited in this township untold riches in her quarries of limestone, suitable for quick-lime and all kinds of building.

Hydraulic, or water-lime, is also found in some localities. This is so called because it will set under water. It is composed of lime-clay, silica, or sand, and sometimes magnesia. But this will be treated of more at length in the general history of the county.

The gravel banks, afford ample material for the building of the many excellent pikes with which the township is intersected. Sand of excellent quality is also found in vast quantities in the drift.

Valuable timber of all kinds, such as oak, ash, sugar, maple- from whose sapgreat amounts of sugar and that boys' delight, "home- made molasses," was manufacfured---hickory, elm, walnut, poplar, beech, and many others, whose, names will appear elsewhere.

The mast of the oak afforded a nutritious supply of food for the hogs, and the hickory-nuts and walnuts were the delight of the pioneer fireside during long winter evenings, when the huge back- log was rolled on, and the forestick placed upon stones in front, with space filled in between, and the cheerful, crackling blaze lighted up the whitewashed cabin wall. But with the influx of people and the rapidly expanding population, the timber is fast melting away, and not many generations will have passed ere the once unbroken forests of this township will have disappeared, and in their stead waving fields of wheat and corn will be seen, and the Indian's wigwam and the pioneer's log hut will have given place to the stone mansion of completely developed civilization. Such, throughout the countless ages of the world, have been the transitions marked by the footprints of time.


The ordinance, by Congress, of 1787, forever prohibiting slavery in the Northwestern Territory, while slavery was allowed to exist in the South, were the two principal reasons which caused at that time the great tide of emigration. The emigrants were anti-slavery in their character, and, though those from North and South Carolina passed through the fertile regions of Kentucky, where slavery existed, they would not stop there, but traveled on to the land of freedom west or northwest of the Ohio River. Continuing on above the settlements already made, many of them pitched their tents, as already stated, in Union Township, truly glad that their long and perilous journey was ended. They found here what they expected, and what the poet calls

"Dark, mepbitic, tangled woods."

The first thing in order was, for those who were able, to select and purchase their lands. In those days, land could be entered only by the section, and that at $2 per acre, rendering it impossible for the poorer ones to buy themselves homes. The Government, however, allowed them, on paying 20 per cent down, to preempt the land and pay the balance in four annual installments, without taxes, which conditions, if complied with, entitled them to receive from the Government a patent, or deed in fee simple, and then their lands were brought under taxation.

Those who were unable to enter a section of land would sometimes put their money together, enter the land in the name of one of the party, then survey and divide it.

By this means the emigrants mostly obtained homes. It was not long, however, until Congress reduced the price of its lands to $1.25 per acre, and also, allowed the entry of quarter-sections, or 160 acres. In process of time, the downward sliding scale adopted by Congress allowed the entry or purchase of public lands to reach tile low amount of forty acres, but we think the lands in this township were taken before this law was enacted.

The next thing after purchasing homes from the Government was to make them such. Like the children of Israel, they found the land possessed (not so much by men, as in their case,) by the denizens of the forest, the bear, the wolf, the wildcat, the deer, the rattlesnake. with numberless minor inhabitants, who seemed disposed to hold it, if not by force, at least by the title of preoccupancy. The writer well remembers hearing the terrific howling of the stealthy wolf at midnight, causing his hair to rise, and seeing the half-devoured carcasses of sheep that had become their prey in the pasture.

Simultaneously with the extirpation of wild animals came the erection of houses, stables, barns, and clearing away of forests for cultivation. The tools necessary for subduing, the forests, and erecting their rude buildings, were at once brought into requisition. The shopping and hewing, or broad ax, the hand and crosscut saw, the mattock, the froe, the beetle or maul, and the iron and wooden wedges, were either brought along or procured for the occasion. The sight of the grand and lofty forest trees of gigatntic proportions, with interlocking branches, with earth- hiding uindergrowths, presented a scene appalling to any heart but those of the heroic pioneer. They came to conquer, and were no more dismayed than were Hannibal or Napoleon at the Alps looming up before them.

A common friendship and fellow-feeling pervaded the hearts of the flrst settlers. The first who had come and made a start (as it was called), by living in their wagons until a tent or house was built, readily threw open their doors to those who followed, and assisted them also in making a start, the first object being, after selecting a site, to clear it off, erect a house for the family, and a stable for the horses. On such occasioiis, they made what were called " dropping frolics," the neighbors ga thering in with their axes, crosscut saws, etc., and assailing the forest simultaneously with a most hearty good will. These scenes continued for many years, and were conducted with sport, animatioii and gayety. The writer remembers them during the years of long ago, being by them reminded of tile description of the poet:

Loud sounds the ax,
redoubling strokes on strokes,
On all sides round the forest
hurls her oaks Headlong,
deep echoing groan the thickikts brown.
Then rustling, crackling, crashing, thunder down."

The fall of the forest giants would be attended by shouts of applause from the jolly wood-choppers, who proceeded immediately, if it was an ash, oak, hickory, poplar or black walnut of proper size, to work it into rails, stakes, boards or shingles. I may remark that but few shingles were made in those early times, the roofs being mainly constructed of clapboards, four feet long, upheld by rib-poles below, and kept to their places by weight-poles above. A mtid-and-stick chimney, some eight or ten feet in width, would be joined at one end of the building on the outside, a suitable opening having been cut in the wall for it. The first ten feet of the chimney were joined to the house or hut. were built of cleft timber called slabs, being securely line d with stone laid in clay mortar. The upper part of the chimney was detached from the building, and made of riven sticks and clay mortar, being about three and one-half feet in width and two and one-half in thickness, reaching two or three feet above the roof to secure it against fire. The chimneys being considerably narrowed in at about ten feet distance from the ground, afforded a safe roosting place to poultry from the prowling wolves, and warm, comfortable quarters in winter they even roosted on t he chimney tops, enjoying the warm columns of air ascending from the covered fires. A friendly co- partnership appeared to exist between the chickens and their owners in this recognition of mutual rights, the latter enjoying the fire by day, and the form er by night. Many a time did the toil-worn pioneer hear from his chimney's summit the clarion tones of the chanticleer ringing out upon the air, and telling him of approaching day.

The industrious pioneer would obey the call, and quickly look around to see if any contributions had been levied upon him during the night by his wild neighbors the wolves and foxes; if he found all safe he would consider himself fortunate.

The cabins of those early days were about eight feet high by twenty or twenty-four in length, and eighteen or twenty in breadth, being somewhat larger than the one described by the poet as " The Hoosier's Nest"

"In other words a Buckeye cabin,
Just large enough to hold Queen Mab."

Containing from four to five hundred square feet, they at once answered the purpose of kitchen, dining-hall, bedroom, sitting-room and parlor. They often, particularly during the winter, contained the inevitable hand-loom for weaving both summer and winter apparel. In some case the people had an upper halfstory on their houses, which gave them much bed room.

Though it could hardly be said of these people as of some of old, that they loved darkness rather than light, yet so little appreciation had they of light that their windows were not only like angels' visits, few and far between, but small in dimensions, ranging from four to eight and nine panes to the window. The writer well remembers seeing a cabin, in which a family of seven or eight persons resided, having, but one window, and that having but four panes or lights, all told; it was even deemed necessary to have it inclosed by a shutter, which was upheld by one hinge in its center, thus allowing it to swing somewhat awry. Instead of chests and bureaus, they had broad pieces of elmbark bent around in the form of lard-cans, in which they put such clothing as they had not room to hang upon the nails around the walls. It might be remarked that this house received additional light coming through its capacious chimney and fire-place, this, with the aid of the blazing fire, rendered the room not exactly one of darkness. Was not this primitiveness in its most primitiveform? Everything connected with this family-their education, thoughts, pastimes, costumes and aspirations-was adapted to their mode of living. Being muscular and industrious, they cleared away the dense forests, killed deer and wild turkeys in abundance, wore deerskin breeches, and seemed to possess the philosophy of adaptation to condition and animal enjoyment. I would not have my readers believe that the above- described family was a sample of the early settlers in general, but only of those who were possessed by forest philosophy.

Before finishing the history of the primitive cabins, I would tell something of the mode of cooking in them. Having described the chimneys, I must further state that a strong pole, called a lubber- pole, placed at a safe distance above the fire, reached across the fire-place ; on this was suspended an iron potrack or trammel, composed of two parts, each about three feet long the upper part had a hook supporting it on the pole, with a clasp at the lower end, and a row of holes a few inches apart between. The other part had a catch at the upper end, and a hook at the lower. By means of the holes and catch, a sliding scale was established that enabled the cook to adjust the pot or kettle at the proper distance above the fire. The pot, kettle, Dutch oven, skillet and, long-handled frying-pan constituted about all the cooking utensils of those primitive days, The grease or oil lamp, holding about a gill of lard or grease, with its curved handle, to which was attached a little bar, with hook, spike and wick-picker, thus allowing it to be hung or fastened to a crack in the wall, was then thought to be a cheap and valuable substitute for the tallow candle. These lamps, when filled with oil, gave forth a brilliant light, superior to that of the candle; but when the oil was low, their light became dim and flickering. Wood being handy and abundant in those days, the reader may well believe that, during cold weather, large fires were not wanting. Back-logs, such as would require two men to carry, would be placed against the back wall. Near each jamb would be placed either two large dog-irons or two large racks to hold up burning fore-sticks. A fire, such as would send forth light and heat throughout the house, would then be made, around which the inmates would while away the tedious hours in calm domestic enjoyment, thinking that they enjoyed as much happiness as the rest of mankind. Who is there to dispute it?

In regard to food, it may be supposed that the early settlers of this township were but meagerly supplied, particularly as to variety. Wild meats, such as venison, wild turkey, pheasant, quail and fish, were abundant, only requiring skill in the hunter and angler to get ample piscatorial supplies from the Stillwater and its tributaries. But bread, another indispensable article of food, was, to many, almost unattainable. The scarcity of both grain and mills was the cause of this want ; but the courageous and patient pioneer, making a virtue of necessity, conformed his wants, as much as possible, to his circumstances. Lye hominy, so-called (which needs no description), was brought into almost universal use, and many a hungry laborer, both male and female, satisfied, their hunger by this simple article of food. The author remembers hearing it said that a man who once sat down to dine upon nothing but a loaf of bread, consoled himself by saying: , I have a variety here. I have top crust, bottom crust and crumb. That man surely understood the philosophy of contentment. A settler of 1833 related this circumstance : "I had to go a long distance to mill to get material for bread, and, stopping at a cottage by the way, asked the good housewife if she could provide me with dinner. She rather demurringly replied that she had little else but meat. I told her to provide what she could, and I would be satisfied. She went to the green corn patch, and returned with several ears that had just passed from the milky state, being about half way between roasting-ears and ripeness. Cutting the grain from the cobs, she pounded it in a mortar until it became somewhat pulpy; stewing the grain, then, in a vessel, she placed it, with meat, upon a most humble table, and invited me to dine. Having an appetite sharpened by fasting and travel, I partook with a hearty good will, and thought I had never eaten a more delicious meal, Another circumstance which I will relate shows that people were not always satisfied with such meager diet. I heard it told a great many years ago, but in what township it happened I cannot tell. After the means of living had been much augmented, two men were hired to make fence-rails, their employer, as usual, boarding them. Their food consisted of a kind of fermented corn bread, called pone, and hominy. This fare not being satisfactory to the laborers, they made their labor unsatisfactory to their employer. One day, a member of the family observing that their mauls descended with slow speed and feeble force, and guessing the cause, told his parents those mauls seemed to say, Hominy and pone! Hominy and pone!' and suggested an improvement in their food. This was accordingly made, and the re- animated beetles then descende d to the lively tune of, Meat, cabbage and breadm Meat, cabbage and bread !' thus proving that the improved diet, if it did not, like Tam O'Shanter's fiddle, put life and mettle into the heels, it did, into the hands of the railsplitters."

The first settlers of this township, having come from a region very diffrent in climate, soil and productions from this, had much to learn, but no one to teach them. They had left the land of the cedar, the chestnut and pine; a land whose's soil, if soil it might be called, was so sandy, so sterile, so desolate, that, in the language of C. B. Faulkner, a Southern statesman, it seemed "barren, desolate.: and seared, as it were, by the hand of heaven; a soil that annually requires the aid of every ounce of fertilizing material that could be obtained to make its productiveness anything, like remunerative." So great was the contrast between the fertility of the Atlantic slope and the regions of the Stillwater and Great Miami, that an emigrant who had left South Carolina in 1803, at the age of seventeen years, and returned with the author in 1850, declared, after he had seen his old native State, that he would leave it if he had to go all the way upon his hands and knees.

One thing of great advantage to the immigrant, but of the art of which he was totally ignorant, was that his township was abundantly furnished by nature with the materials for molasses and sugar making. This tree, namely, the sugar maple, of which I have just written, is too well known to require a description ; neither need I dwell upon the great luxury in its sirup or molasses, which, when properly made, is so much superior to that of sorghum or sugar-cane that its flavor is almost equal to that of the fabled nectar of the gods. Neither will I describe the process of its manufacture, for it is too well known, but I will say something of the convivial enjoyments of the young people of those ear ly days, when they met around the sugar furnace or boiler, at what was called a "stirriniig-off." The poet, whose vivid imagination enables him to paint scenes as with the flashing fires of Mount Parnassus, thus describes

"Some sat apart, to tell and hear Things only meant for Love's own ear, While some, with little ladles, dipped The liquid sweet anti slowly sipped, That seemed to linger on the taste; Others, with skill and nicest care, Drew off the thick and grainy paste, To form in crystals in the air."

Our forefathers appear not to have suffered much in going through the process of acclimation, as but few deaths are recorded in those early days. They endeavored to learn the easiest and cheapest methods of clearing away the forests and sowing and planting them with cereals and grasses best adapted to their nature. They had left a country in which cotton, tobacco and rice were the staple articles of the markets, but these they did not attempt to cultivate here. Some would raise a few stalks of tobacco, for mouth consumption, but none for the markets, and indeed, if they had, they would havefound no market here for it. Their great aim was to raise that which was nutritious and beneficial. It was left to after years to bring the cultivation of tobacco and the making of whisky.

The forests of this township were so dense that the smooth clearing-off of a single acre for an orchard cost a vast amount of labor. As much as two hundred cords of timber would have to be cut and burned before the ground was ready for the planting of ap ple or peach trees. A vast amount of undergrowth had also to be grubbed up by the roots and burned. While these were in a green state, it was no easy matter to burn them. The first object of the enterprising pioneer, after getting his necessary buildings, was to have a garden and orchard. When these were obtained and attempted to be plowed, a new difficulty presented itself The numerous stumps left standing, with their green roots, interposed a formidable barrier to the plowshare. These roots spread out in all directions, crossing each other and forming a network, which tried the mettle of the team and the patience of the driver. The plow, stopped by the stubborn roots, would have to be drawn back and the team started again. If the roots broke and the plow passed through, they would often spring back with such force as to make it necessary for the driver to spring up, or he would receive their recoiling blows upon his toes or shins. Being unable to keep his feet up more than a moment or two, they would sometimes descend too soon and receive the strokes as aforesaid. On such occasions, the man or boy, if a rough, would make use of expletives that grated harshly on the ears of the moralist. These misfortunes, the writer, when a boy, full oft en experienced, but his early training prevented him, on such occasions, from indulging in profanity. In a few years, however, these tenacious roofs would decay and fertilize the soil, the unresisted plowshare would pass steadily through them, and the teeming crops would amply reward the previous pains and labors of the husbandman.

The plows of those days were very simple and unique in their construction and, though they were somewhat superior to those which the prophet Elisha used with twelve yoke of oxen, they were greatly infenor to those of the present day ; they were called bar-shares, having an iron shoe and wooden mold-board; the sheath and beam were often made from a fence-rail, and the handles would be of the most unpretentious character. A man who was anything of a mechanic could make one of them in less than two days, and they were not considered worth painting in time these were succeeded by the bull plow, about the only difference being that the front part of the mold-board of the latter was iron; this, was, however, considered a decided improvement. In a few years, the bull plow was succeeded by the patent, the moldboard of which was made of cast iron , these were made at plow-shops, construct ed with skill and painted. Many successive grades of improvement have brought this indispensable implement of husbandry to its present almost perfect form.

In those early days, mast, such as acorns, hickory and beechnuts, grew in the forests in great abundance, furnishing autumnal and winter food for swine. The mast-made pork, as it was called, though softer and more flaccid that the corn-fed, was savory and much relished by the people, and, though millions of wild pigeons annually infested the forests, they did not appear materially to diminish the acorn crop. The pigeon-roosts, or places where these birds came to pass the night, were almost marvelous to behold. They would come to their nightly rendezvous in innumerable multitudes, settling in the tree-tops, in the greatest confusion. All night long the, breaking of overloaded limbs could be heard, crashing on the ground, wounding or killing a part of their feathered-occupants. The roosts would occupy a great many acres. In the early morning, when the feathered myriads had flown, the upper forest would resume its usual quiet, while the lower would be strewn with wounded, fluttering birds, many of, which. would be taken to grace the tables of the neighboring cottages. The flesh of these birds was not as white and savory as that of the quail, but it was eatable and appeased the hunger of many families. One of these roosts existed for years in the western forest, not far from the present village of Laura. The writer has seen these birds in innumerable myriads passing overhead with a rushing sound, in one direction in the morning, but in the other in the evening. Their forest supplies having about ceased, they are now seldom seen.

The pecuniary resources' of the early settlers of this township, were very limited; they had but little paper money, no specie but the old Spanish coin, consisting of milled dollars of 100 cents value half-dollars of 50; quarter-dollars of 25 eleven-penny bits of 12 1/2 - and five or flippennybits (so called) of 6 1/4 cents value. For the convenience of change, the larger pieces were many of them quartered, and they had what was called "cut- money." In the course of time, paper money and the American decimal coin came into use the Government at length, not liking a mixed metallic currency, determined, to make it all national, and, accordingly, passed an act, during Pierce's administration, cutting down the Spanish coin 20 per cent in value, at the same time offering its previous value in national coin at the mint this caused it nearly all to be sold to the Government, and recast into our governmental currency. Once in a while an old Spanish dollar, quarter, levy and tip may be seen, being kept only as mementoes of the past. But if money was scarce in those days, the real necessity for it was in like proportion; the taxes on land were hardly 10 per cent of what they are at present. Luxuries, both in food and equipage, such as now exist, were then hardly known; and, although the people were not bookish men, they seem to have understood the philosophy of adaptation, and to have reasoned like the poet:

"Our portion is not large, indeed,
But then how little do we need,
For nature's calls are few;
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,
And make that little do."

Accordingly, instead of casting about for money to purchase the requirements of life, as is much done at present, they looked to themselves to acquire them. From the sugar-tree, as above stated, they obtained sugar and molasses; from their fields they drew the flax that, furnished their summer apparel; and from their sheep they clipped the wool which clothed them in winter. The ancouth but strongly made flax-breaks, the neatly made little spinning- wheel, humrning all day long, and a part of the night, preparing both warp and woof, or chain and filling, (as it was caIled) for the awaiting loom. For every-day wear the linen was left uncolored, but for Sunday it was sometimes striped and checkered with copperas -; these fabrics were both cooling and enduring, being well adapted to the wear and tear of the clearing and harvest field. The wool, after being carded by machinery, was spun upon the big wheel, and woven into flannel, linsey or cloth (satinet coming in in after years) sometimes flannels and linseys would be striped and checkered in the most unique manner, according to the taste of their owners. With the exception of carding and filling, which last was applied to cloth, the work was done at home, leaving but little to pay for outside assistance. For coffee, they used scorched or browned rye, barley, wheat flour, potatoes, etc. For tea, they could get all they desired from the buds of the aromatic spicewood and the roots of the sassafras. They depended for beef and pork on their own raising, and also their own grain for bread. Those who brought no wagons depended mainly on sleds of their own making. There being an ample supply of oak bark, those who, wished to could do their own tanning. The writer knew a man who, in addition to furnishing him with things as above stated, also made the shoes for his family. This man owned 160 acres of land, which he cultivated without much hired help, and could say at the end of almost ever succeeding year, "I have $5 for the tax gatherer, $4 for the schoolteacher, $1 for the store- keeeper, and a fig for the doctor," A few articles, however, such as salt, iron, nails, cooking utensels, cutlery, etc., had to be purchased ; but the demands for such from each family cost but few dollars per annum. To obtain those articles, it was necessary to go to Cincinnati, that, being the nearest place where they could be had. Accordingly, one would furnish a wagon and two horses, or one, another would find the requisite number for a fourhorse team, and, thus combining, they would start, taking a few barrels of flour, either for themselves or neighbors, and provisions, both for themselves and here, they would start for the Queen City, often with a spirit of hilarity, particularly the younger ones, as thinking they were doing something rather big. It would require from five to six days to make the trip; when made, the neighbors would joyfully gather in to receive the articles they had sent for. This custom lasted for more than twenty years, until the completion of the canal to Dayton made it no longer necessary.

We will now call the reader's attention to the costumes of the first settlers of this township. Being nearly all Friends, they brought with them the form of dress peculiar to that society. The men wore low-crowned, broad-brimmed hats, short breasted coats, with straight collars and no unnecessary buttons, long vests, and pantaloons without suspender. This form of dress was defended upon the ground that they found it comfortable, and did not seekchange, and that it was the same as. in the days of George Fox, he founder of the society; the only difference between it and the costumes of the English noblemen, being in the ornamental ribbons and fixtures appended to the latter. The portraits of the Father of his country, and the elder Adams, represent them as wearing the same kind of coats, The dress of the females was equally, plain and conformable to the ancient order; on their heads the wore immense, white beavers, having an indentation or crown in the center, about half an inch in depth, and encircled by a white band or ribbon; the brim was full six inches in width and having also white ribbons attached to the extremities; they were drawn down over the ears, and the strings tied under the chin, thus securely holding it on the head. These hats were of very fine texture, being made of beaver fur, and were ra ther costly ; they were not calculated tc keep the head warm, but to shade it. The next upper garment was a bed gown or wrapper, reaching just below the waist and lapping over a petticoat or skirt the sleeves of the gown reached only to the elbows, wher e they were met by other pieces called slips; even gloves, in those days, were made to reach to the elbows They had also plain silk bonnets called hoods. These garments, made of as many pieces as possible, constituted the tout ensemble of a Friend or Quaker woman's dress. Their dress, however, excepting their beavers, did not differ much from that of other women. After coming here, the young women declined to wear these beavers, and, in time, the old laid them aside. These early female fashions changed a great many years ago. The male fashions have changed also, and now very little is to be seen of the original. Of all articles of female apparel, the beaver was the most grote sque: stuck upon a woman's head, it looked somewhat like an inverted tray, or sugar-trough, with both ends out -, the article had undoubtedly been carried from Pennsylvania to the South, for in years long after its discontinuance, a family from that State having come and settled here, the mother wore one not only to the Dunker meetings, but to the Milton stores, where she did her trading. Passing, on horseback, by the schoolhouse, some of the sharp-eyed children would see her, and, giving the signal to the scholars, that mother D------was passing, order would be for the time suspended, and both teacher and scholars, rushing to the door and windows, would join in irrepressible laughter. The good old dame did not seem to be sensible of the merriment she was causing, nor that she was the only representative of the head-dress of a bygone generation, for we think she wore it until her death.

We propose now to give our readers a brief account of the labors and experiences of a prominent family of this township, having obtained the first fifteen years of its history from an only surviving son, now in his eighty-sixth year, and the only man living who remembers those early scenes.

We refer to Samuel Jones, who came from Columbia County, Ga., and settled here in the year 1805. He was not the first settler, it is true, but none of those are left to tell their tale. About the first of June, in the year aforesaid, two teams, one d rawn by four and the other by two horses, reached in the morning their place of destination, with his household goods and family, having stayed the previous night at his brother-in-law's. The place selected for their residence was about a half-mile west of the Stillwater, and nearly two miles north of Milton, in Section 9, on the north bank of a most romantic glen, full forty feet in depth, which still remains unreclaimed from the forest. His family consisted of seven sons and four daughters, namely, the sons-John, Jonathan, Francis, Samuel, Jesse, Thomas and Asa the daughters were Dorcas, Mary, Sarah and Rachel. The eldest son was about twenty-five, and the youngest daughter about five years of age. There was, to use the words of Jesse, the only survivor, and who gave us this history, "not a stick amiss when we arrived there." Stalwart brothers, with their father and other help, soon made the impression that betokened in the near future a conquered wilderness. They first felled a large white oak; while some were sawing off board-cuts, others were riving them; others, still, were cutting forks and poles and putting up a tent frame. Before night they had it covered and weather boarded on three sides, the south one being left open a small cooking-tent joined it on the south. The main tent, having the ground for floor, was covered with leafy brush, on which were placed their pallets. Whether their first night's slumber was sound or not, we are left to guess, but the thought of having reached their long-wished-for home must have given them much enjoyment. They had brought with them their necessary cooking utensils, such as pot, tea-kettle, skillet and frying pan. During their long journey, they had learned the trade of or gypsy-cooking, and were thus at no loss in preparing forest meals. Their greatest difficulty was in getting material for bread. Of wild meat they had abundance, such as venison, wild turkey, fish, etc. The river, not having been as yet much disturbed by fishermen, was teeming with its finny inhabitants, whole shoals of which, in sportive gambols, would spring out of the water, dropping back with a splash.

These fish could be taken by bushels, either with the hook or the drag-net. The drag-net was made principally of grapevines, some thirty or more feet in length and four feet in width; the strandy vines were interwoven with bark and the interstices filled with full-leaved shrub branches, presenting an impassable barrier to the larger fish. They were thus caught in desired quantities, and fish, flesh and fowl seemed the order of the day. Tliey had a rather singular way of shooting deer after night. Providing tliemselves witli a canoe or dug-out, they would erect a board pallisade or screen on the side next the shore ; on the same side was pl aced a lantern or blazing torch. Behind this screen, and nearly opposite the light sat the hunter, ritle in hand, with the barrel painting shoreward throught port-hole, and waiting in silence for the deer to come down and drink. The the unuspecting, animal, being blinded by the light light and hearing little or no noise, would allow the canoe to come within a rod of him, This was considered rare sport. As before remarked, while meat was plenty, bread was scarce, the family once going, three weeks without any except what thet made from grain pounded in a mortar. Hominy was then used daily, but was a poor substitute for bread. Corn was bought at 25 cents, and wheat at 50 cents per bushels At that time, wheat and corn were both ground by the same buhrs, and the flour, if bolted, was done by hand. This enterprising finally went cheerfully on with their work, and soon had cleared an acre of land, and, stranueas it may seem, they sowed two crops on it, one of turnip seed and the other of wheat. From it, in December, they got a good crop of turnips, and in the next summer a good crop of wheat. In October, they built a substantial log house, which afforded them comfortable winter quarters. During, the winter and spring they cleared several acres for corn in the Stillwater bottom, and, though it was not planted until the 5th or 6th of June, it yielded a most bountiful crop. As corn was more easily obtained than wheat, it was used to much greater extent. In addition to triple loaves, baked in the skillet, they had the jonnycake of widespread popularity, which remained in use for many years. This consisted of a flat cake of corn dough put upon a board about six inches wide and twenty or twenty-four inches long, liaving the ends rounded. This was placed on its edge before the fire, and, being always in sight, was baked without scorching. It has been remarked by an old Revolutionary soldier named Conner, who lived on Stillwater, that they frequently substituted "nigger's " foot for the boad.

In a few years, Samuel Jones' seven sons (excepting Jonathan, who settled in Indiana), were married and settled not far from him his four daughters also did the same, and he had the singular satisfaction of beholding quite a community of descendant s springing up around him, subduing the wilderness and making it the abode of civilized life. Some of them being good hunters, many a deer, turkey, pheasant and other wild animals fell before their unerring rifles. The howling of the wolf had no terrors for them, the gobble of the wild turkey was music in their ears, and the timid pheasant, as it started up in fliglit before them, might have reminded them of these thoughts of Pope:

"See, from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exultant on trimphant wings,"

while the lugubrious notes of the solemn midnight owl and shrill cries of the tone whippoorwill might have served as a serenade, as lying, rifle in hand, concealed in their canoes at night, they awaited the approach of the thirsty but unsuspecting deer. Of the skins of these animals, with the aid of their brains steeped in water, they made a beautiful, white, soft and spongy leather, very useful for breeches, aprons and other articles in general. So enduring was this material, that clearing and log-rolling, which told fearfully on common clothes, hardly affected it. A ball-cover of it would hardly wear out. John, the eldest son, was a blacksmith as well as farmer, and was very serviceable as such while he lived. These men all lived to see the empire of nature pass away, and teeming fields, bountiful orchards, flowery gardens, handsome residences, churches, villages and schoolhouses spring up where once frowned a dense wilderness.


It appears in history that the first white settlement in Miami County was made at Staunton, a little east of Troy, in 1798. About nine years afterward, on the 16th of January, 1807, a county government was formed and three men were appointed either by the court or County Commissioners at Staunton, to give names to three townships now comprised in the territory of Union, Concord and Monroe. The name of one of those men the author cannot ascertain, but the names of two were Samuel Jones (of whom I have before written) and John North. They met, soon after their appointment, at the house of Samuel Jones, to perform the duty assigned them. After some discourse upon the propriety of giving becoming names, Samuel Jones said, "I find that wherever my neighbors meet, either at logrollings, raisings, or at church, a spirit of harmony and unity pervades them, so I will call my township Union. "Well" responded the man whose name is unknown, "since you have selected so good a name for your township, I will select one equally appropriate for mine, "so, lighting his pipe to electrify his mind, he walked off alone to hunt the desired name. After a short time he returned and said, "Mr. Jones, since you have named your township Union, I will call mine Concord, which name, I think, is about as good as yours." We do not learn that Mr. Jones made any objection to it. The other man, North, seemed to be influenced by a personal consideration. Having served in the Revolutionary army, and perhaps under Col. Monroe, who afterward became President of the United States, in honor of him he named his township Monroe. Of the twelve townships in this county, but four of them have the names of distinguished men. Indeed, the practice of naming both counties and townships after great men is now much more, common than at that early day. We are not to suppose that the naming of a township has any effect upon the character of its inhabitants, but facts here almost warrant the opinion that old father Jones' conclusion was a correct one, namely, Union; for of the voting population, a fraction over four-fifths are Republicans. I do, not state this to extol one political party or disparage the other, but merely mention it as an historical fact, attributable, perhaps, mainly to the influence of the Friends.

The organization of the township government took place soon after this meeting and was held at the same house; at this preliminary meeting, as in all others, the officers, such as Chairman and Clerk or Secretary, have to be chosen viva voce. This mode was adopted, but for some time none could be found willing to serve, mostly alleging ignorance and incompetency as the reason, Said old Squire Thomas McCool nearly fifty years afterward, "When I was asked to serve as Clerk, I told them I knowed nothin' about it and declined to doso." It seemed for a time that we would not get organized at all; at last they appointed for Clerk Samuel B. Edwards, who appeared to have more brass than brains, so the work went on and was at last finished. When done and signed, some one asked what the B. in Edwards' name stood for he, being slow to reply, a bystander volunteered for him, "I'll te ll," said he "what it stands for ; it stands for Booby." This answer appears to have been accepted by the company, and it seems was. Edwards' debut and finale, for we never heard of his serving as a civil officer afterward.

This first election meeting seems to have been a very crude one, yet it was the foundation of all subsequent ones for a period of seventy-three years, and, of all who participated in those early elections, not one now remains. No person is now living who can tell the names of many of the first elected civil officers of this township. John Coate son of Marmaduke Coate, of Newberry District, South Carolina, is said to have been its first elected Clerk, and, though his place of residence is now in Newton Township, it was then in Union. We have now reached the time when the village of Milton was begun, and, as it is far the most important one in the township, we propose to give its early history.


About the year 1805, one Joseph Evans, a native of Newberry, S. C., immigrated with his family to this township. He appears to have first settled in Section 13, but, being of a very appreciative and diwerning mind, he soon discovered a site better adapted to his taste and spirit of enterprise. This was in Section 21, in the western bank of the classic Stillwater. Nature appeared to have exerted herself here in the production of the grand and beautiful; it was in proximity to those romantic cascades, or waterfalls, of which we have previously spoken, made by the perennial springs, which afforded ample power for propelling machinery, -the green carpeting of the river banks, the grand display of umbrageous forests, covering the valleys and bluffs, made it look as if it might be the place where Queen Violenta led her fairy troupe in their mazy moonlight dances. This place Evans selected as the proper one for a village; purchased the land and had it surveyed in lots, comprising each fifty-three rods, with two principal streets, one Main and the other Miami, running parallel with the river bluff, and crossed at right angles by a number of streets and alleys. The flrst sale of lots took place in 1807; the crier was George Buchanan, who resided near, and the lots sold were neither high nor many. This Buchanan was a carpenter and cabinet-maker of more, than ordinary skill, and such he continued to be for many years. Griffith Mendenhall, a fourteen year-old son of Caleb Mendenhall, of whom, mention will be made, informed the author that he and his younger brother, William, mounted two steers and rode them to the sale of these lots, thinking to witness something extraordinary; their mode of traveling would be thought extraordinary at this time. Joseph Evans was the father of four daughters qnd one son, namely, Elizabeth, Anna, Rebecca, Robert and Susan; his eldest daughter, though young in years, is said to have read Paradise Lost, and to have so much admired it that she induced h er father to give the village the name of its illustrious author. It was at first called Milton only, but, when a post office many years after was established there, the qualifying word West was added.

This village, though it became the place for holding elections and transacting the legal business of the township, continued for many years without any material growth. Its founders, Evans, George Buchanan and Samuel Pearce, appear to have been its only residents for several years. Evans owned the first store in the township, opening it soon after his settlement there; the author remembers seeing an advertisement of his store in the Ohio Sentinel of 1810, published in Dayton -, so it appears that Evans, at that early day, knew that which many business men have hardly yet learned, namely, the value of advertising. One small store was at that time all- sufficient for the demands of the township.

Up to 1825, but three families, namely, those of John F. Jay, a carpenter, Robert Finney, a hatter, and Abner Vore, lived in the town proper, though two others, Oliver Benton and Samuel Kelly, lived just above. Benton was a New Yorker, and son of a soldier of the Revolution. He had been a partner with Joseph Evans in a store in Cincinnati, and, having married his daughter Ann, came to Milton and established a dry-goods store, on land bought of his father-in- law, adjoining Milton. This was about 1817 or 1818. The first post office appears to have been established here at this time (a weekly one), and kept by Benton. He was a man well educated for those times, of much refinement of manner, skilled in business, and of far more than ordinary mental capacity. He acted for a time in the triple character of Postmaster, merchant and magistrate. For a long period he owned the only store in the township, and used to send his furs and butter by wagons to the Cincinnati market. He was an ardent patron of schools, never failing to send his children, and, being foremost in the employment of teachers, thus giving them a good education. These remarks apply to the time before schools were established by the State. Benton, after holding the post office fifteen years or upward, was displaced by C. W. Beebe, of opposite politics. He divided a portion of his land into lots and streets, and added to Milton, thus increasing its area and adding to its facilities for growth and advancement. About the year 1836, Benton removed his store and family to Springfield, Clark County. In 1840, or near that time, he returned, taught school, and practiced law in the magistrate courts.


It is said a carding, machine was established previous to 1812, in connection with the gristmill of John Mast during the carding, season it operated alternately withthe grist-mill, but its capacity was small. About the year 1815, Samuel Kelley, an enterprising Massachusetts Yankee, erected a woolen-mill on Section 21, just west of Stillwater, on the Spring stream. At first, wool-carding was only done, leaving to the wheel to spin it into wearing, material. The fulling-mill followed, and in those days did good work. A few years later, the spinning jenny was introduced. In about 1820, Davis W. Thayer, after having rented the Kelley Mills, bought them and enlarged and improved them, soon after which the power loom was introduced, followed soon by the broad hand loom for weaving blankets, People from all parts came here with wool to have it converted into flannel cloth satinet and other cloths. Though these mills have often chanced owners, they are still in active operation, buying wool, exchanging and manufacturing goods, etc. After Kelley rented to Thayer, he built a cotton manufactory on the river bluff, just above Milton. about 1819, which he subsequently converted into a woolenmill; and finally sold to William Rutledge, its present owner. About 1824, Seth Kelley, a younger brother of Samuel, erected a scythe-factory on the river batik, also in Section 21. The water from the woolen factory was used to run his triphammer, grindstones and bellows. The history of the sickle manufactory is described in the biography of Henry Coate.

The manufacture of linseed oil was begun in about 1819, though on a small scale, as the flax was raised only for the lint.

Powder was also made in early days near Mast's Mill, but, it is presumed, in small quantities. Guns were also repaired, and it is said the Indian chief Tecumseh frequently came here to have his guns repaired. But the most of the latter described works have disappeared, and been replaced by modern improved machinery.

From 1826 to the present, Milton has been slowly improving. Should it be asked why a village having such great water-power, such fertility of soil, and such enterprising inhabitants around it, continued so tardy in its growth, our answer would be, that its life-blood has long been drained by Dayton and Troy. Remote from canals and railroads, its large grain and pork trade has gone almost exclusively to the above-named markets. It was trade that built Palmyrain in the desert; it was trade that built New Orleans in the fevered swamps of Louisiana. It is trade, in fact, that builds all towns and cities, however much their eligibility of situation may contribute to it. In 1840, a turnpike was made from Dayton, through Milton and on to Covington. This helped the village to some extent, but did much more for Dayton and Covington. The great desideratum of Milton was a canal or railroad, and, as a railroad was practicable, great exertions have at different times been made, both by the village and township, to secure one. From some cause or other, the schemes have all failed, until the people became incredulous of ever setting one. They, however, at last have one, and can hardly realize how much they are indebted to Mr. Arnold, of Dayton, for it. He conceived the scheme of making one from Dayton, through Milton and Covington, to Versailles, and with indomitable energy, pursued it until it is almost accomplished. Though a narrow gauge, it takes off a great amount of grain which Milton depot furnishes. The scream of the iron-horse has revived the hopes of the people. Capitalists have come, and a great revival of house-building and trade is the consequence. From a population of about eight hundred souls, we expect to see it ere- long, doubled or tripled.

We now resume the individual history of some of Milton's most noted citizens. Joseph Evans, the founder, returned to Milton about the year 1828 or 1829. His removal to Cincinnati appears to have pecularily injured him. He still owned several lots, on one of which he built a dwelling and storehouse. He continued merchandising on a rather small scale until late in the autumn of 1837, when he died of abdominal dropsy. As nearly as can be ascertained, Evans was the first magistrate elected in Milton, and the first member of the State General Assembly. He was a man of considerable ability. After his removal to Cincinnati, no magistrate appears to have lived in Milton until the coming of Dr. Benjamin Crew. He came there about 1827, and entered upon a lucrative practice of medicine. Getting the people's confidence, they made him a Justice of the Peace. Being of a very enterprising spirit, and having accumulated money, he entered into merchandising, in 1832, with Gardner Mendenhall, thus driving a triple business. He appeared to be on the high road to wealth when he was stricken down by consumption, in 1834, but he left behind a name in every way worthy and honorable. Two sons, Casper W. and Menalcas, survive him. The first is a harness and trunk maker, in Dayton the second is a farmer, in this township.

Soon after Crew's death Milton was incorporated, and C. W. Beebe became the first Mayor. From that time onward, it has had many Mayors, Marshals and Councilmen, the history of whom I leave to the inhabitants. The first tavern in Milton, it seems, was opened by Wiley S. Jones, in 1826 or 1827, and was run successfully by different men for a great many years. The first meeting-house (Methodist) was built about 1833, previous to which meetings had been held both in the schoolhouse and private houses. Friends, Methodists and Christians now bold meetings there. Schools were taught in Milton from an early period, but the names of teachers, previous to 1820, can hardly be ascertained ; from that time to 1830, we have the names of Charles Mills, Daniel H. Jones, Mark McCool, Bonham, Rebecca and Susan Evans, some of whom taught several terms-all subscription schools.


The village of Georgetown, or New Lebanon, appears to owe its paternity to George Hatfield. It was laid out about the year 1840, in Sections 15 and 22. Its growth has been very gradual, because of its isolated position. It lies within sight of the county line on the west, and draws considerable of its trade from Darke County. A rich country, surrounds it, and a large dry-goods trade is carried on by the firm of Levi Ammon & Sons. It once had a large trade in Oak shingles, made by the citizens, but the scarcity of timber and coming of pine shingles have ended it. Its inhabitants number not far from 150 souls. The German Baptist have a church here. Its post office is Pottsdam.

Laura is situated about three miles north of Georgetown, in Section 3, and is about the same age. Its founders were Wesley Sharp and Riley McCool. Being near the North Branch of Ludlow's Creek, and one of its tributaries, the ground around it is not level like that of Georgetown. Being also near the county line, a part of its patronage comes from Darke County. It has a graded schoolhouse and two churches (Christian and Union) in its precincts. Although its population is superior to that of Georoetown, being some 200 inhabitants, its trade is not as great. It, however, enjoys one great advantage or blessing not possessed by many villages. It has no liquor den, because the inhabitants will not tolerate one. The proximity of these two villages to Milton, and their want of a railroad, will necessarily prevent them from receiving that growth which would follow were they more favorably situated.


The establishment of divine worship was coeval with the first settlement of this township. The little colony of Friends held informal meetings, flrst at the cabin of Caleb Mendenhall, and subsequently at the neighboring cabins. According to the discipline of the Friends Church, no branch can be established without the consent and recognition of the Superior Meeting within whose jurisdiction such branch is established, and the parent meeting at Bush River, from which these had removed, having ceased to exist by reason of such removal, no formal meeting could by its authority be established; hence it became necessary to obtain authority from the nearest quarterly meeting to establish a monthly meeting.

On the 13th of December, 1806, application was made to the quarterly meetfng at Red Stone, Penn., the nearest meeting, for the establishment of a monthly meeting, which was granted. Subsequently, a yearly meeting having been established in Richmond, Ind., the privilege of holding a quarterly meeting was by it granted to West Branch, in June, 1812.

Thus we see by this record that there has been a recognized Friends Church in this township for, beginning with the social informal meetings, seventy-four years. From two causes, viz., deaths and an almost continual outflow of emigration, commencing about 1833, by means of which various churches in Iowa and Indiana were built up, this church to-day does not contain as many members as were once comprised in one of its three monthly meetings.

William Neal and Enoch Pearson, who came in 1806, were the pioneer preachers of this church.


About the year 1819, a great revival of religion took place, in Kentucky, which, on account of the extraordinary zeal and piety of its converts, was denominated the Christian Brotherhood, or Church, from which, his soul being full of holy zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ, and the evangelization of his race, came one Abraham Snethen, who, by his influence as a minister, established in the year 1820, a church on Ludlow, in the western part of this township, which still exists, and is known as the Christian, or generally called, New Light Church.

During the year 1846, a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Covington, was in the habit of coming to the town of Milton to preach, and, as there was no church building there of his denomination, he usually occupied the Methodist Church.

For the regular accommodation of its members, the attempt was made, pnncipally by one individual, to build a church, but, failing to receive the pecuniary aid anticipated, after having partially completed the same, he abandoned it for some years. Finally it was purchased by a new branch of the Christian Church, under the auspices of Elder William Jay.

In 1850, a church house was built on the Milton & Tippecanoe road, one mile east of Milton, by the members of the Christian Church, which was occupied by them until so badly injured by a storm as to render it unfit for occupancy. Desiring one in the mean time more centrally located, they sold it, and erected a magnificent structure, one and one-half miles east on the same road, which was dedicated about August, 1879.

After having built the new structure, they sold the old one-to the German Baptists, or Dunkards who now occupy it.


Prominent among the churches in this township, is the German Baptist, whose preachers were among the first to proclaim the Word of God in the Great Miami Valley. The first members of this church immigrated from Swartzenaugh, Germany, in the year 1719, and settled in Germantown, Penn. They had been severely persecuted on account of their religious faith, and fled to America, with a hope of gaining liberty, and of having the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of their conscience. For sixty years their progress was slow, owing to the difficulties and hardships of a new country, in its unsettled state, caused by the French war of 1755, and the Revolution twenty years later, and the many subsequent Indian wars all along the borders of the new settlements. In 1748, Christopher Saur published the first German Bible in America, also edited the first paper ever issued from the church. They organized their first Sabbath school in 1740, and the first annual conference of which we have any knowledge was held in 1778. The liberty and protection the Constitution of the United States gave them, instilled new energy, and their progress became more visible. The first meeting-house of the church we have any account of was built in Franklin County, Penn., in 1793. The first brother that settled in Virginia, was John Garber, in Flat Rock Valley, in 1777. He was an eminent minister, and built up a large congregation. From this valley, Jacob Miller moved to Ohio. and settled on the west bank of the Great Miami River, near Dayton, in 1806. He was the first one to settle on the west side, was an able man, and did much toward founding the church, and to him the church is gratefully indebted for its present efficiency. He was born in Pennsylvania, in 1735 he raised a very exemplary family of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters, three of his sons becoming able ministers of the Gospel.

There are, at this time, about seventy-five organized churches in Ohio, with many large and commodious houses for worship. There are organized churches in twenty of the States of the Union, and eleven religious periodicals printed by members of the church, and devoted to its advancement. There are three colleges under control of the church, one in Mount Morris, Ill., one in Ashland, Ohio, and one in Berlin, Penn. The students of these institutions are watched over with great care, and are welcomed, regardless of religion or sect, if they conform to the moral standard required.

This denomination of religionists began their labors here in 1800, and, from the silent few who gathered in each other's cabins for worship, have sprung the many that now inhabit this region. These people are plain, unostentatious, make no display of finery, or a gaudy appearance, are honest, temperate, and among the best citizens in the land. In this county, the townships of Union, Newton, Newberry and Monroe have large organized churches, which are presided over by a, number of excellent ministers, who bid fair to bring the church to a high standard.


This denomination in Union Township has a membership of about eighty, who have just erected a new edifice in which to worship, near Potsdam. The structure is 36x46 feet. They have services every four weeks, which are conducted by the Rev. George W. Wright, of Painter Creek, Darke County. Jacob Swank and his nephew, John Swank. were the first preachers in this church, which is now in good condition, being in Union and harmony with themselves and the world. Trustees, Henry Fess, Henry Arnett, Abraham Wright , Exhorters, Joseph Sando, Abraham Wright Deacon, Moses Blackburn.


The seed of Methodism seems to have fallen in stony places in this township, for about the year 1833, they organized and built a church, which sprang up and flourished for a season, but, after an existence of ten or twelve years, it began to decline, until at present it numbers but few members, and the house is occupied mainly by the Friends.

In the village of Laura are also two churches, one built by the successors of the church established by A. Snethen, the other by the united efforts and means of the citizens, regardless of denomination and open to all Christian people.

In addition to those already enumerated, there is a church in the eastern part of the township denominated "Second Adventists or Soul Sleepers."


In connection with the Friends' Church are three flourishing Sabbath schools, one of which-located in Milton continues during the entire .year. In addition to these, there are various union schools held during the pleasant season, not under the control of any particular denomination, but for the accommodation of the general public, irrespective of creed or sect.


The first schools in this township were taught at West Branch, from 1808 to 1832, in the old Friends' Meeting-House. From the remains of certain manuscript, it appears that one John How, an Englishman, taught as early as 1808, though probably not the first; he was a very fine penman, and somewhat of a classical scholar. A period of about nine years elapses, during which the teachers are not known. In 1817, Charles Mills taught. In the following year, Daniel H. Jones wielded the rod, and in 1819, Davis W. Thayer held the scepter of studious sway. He afterward became magistrate, manufacturer and merchant. In 1820, Charles Mills again ruled the young thoughts. His place was filled in 1821 by David Mote, who took his first steps as instructor here. In 1822, one Thomas Adams, from the East, a superior scholar, and highly recommended, drew many students for miles, and taught the largest school ever collected at this place, but, owing to inefficiency in government, his school was a failure and finally ended in zero.

The following year found Charles Mills in the schoolroom again, who made up his complement by subscription. He was an old veteran in the ranks, having served forty years in the schoolroom.

In 1824, during the summer it was controlled by Jacob Angle, a New Yorker.

During the winter of 1825, the school was taught by Daniel H. Jones, who was said to be rather an extraordinary man, a kind of nniversal genius, a mechanic, mathematician, surveyor and poet.

In 1826, the school was taught by David Mote, and in 1827 by Gardner Mendenhall, one of West Branch's students. While teaching, five wagons came from Troy, and hauled off nearly all his corn crop to satisfy a paltry muster fine. The next winter David Mote taught again.

During the autumn of 1828, and winter of 1829, the schools were taught by Alexander L. Wilson. James Hanks, a land surveyor, held the birch during the winter of 1830. During a part of the autumn of 1830, and following winter, the young ideas were direct ed by W. B. Jones, of South Carolina, who inaugurated the tickets of reward. He continued till 1832. The last winter school was held at West Branch.

In the way of books, Webster's Speller, Murray's Grammar, American Preceptor, Pike's Arithmetic, etc. The public schools are too well known to need a description here.

Return to the main 1880 History Page

Copyright © 1999 by Computerized Heritage Association.
All Rights Reserved.