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Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History


Miami County Ohio

Chapter 6


Washington; Concord; Monroe; Union; Newton; and Newberry
Townships; Their Boundaries and History-Early Settlers; Heroes of the Revolution and War of 1812; Developement of Natural Resources; First Mills; Founding of the Villages; Bradford, Covington, Tippecanoe, West Milton, Etc.

Before giving in detail an account of Troy and Piqua, which are the largest municipalities of the county, I shall devote two chapters to the history of the townships and the towns which are found within their limits. Prior to 1807 the county comprised but two townships. The division west of the Miami was called Randolph Township, while the eastern section was named Elizabeth. The genesis of these titles as applied to the divisions is obscure and not traceable. Randolph Township being too large, was not permitted to retain its name very long. In fact it disappeared within a year and the territory therein embraced was divided into more townships. In the same manner, that portion of the county which had been given the general name of Elizabeth, was divided until the six townships lying east of the river had been formed.


Washington Township, though the smallest in area, is the most populous division of the county. It is named for General Washington and justly so since to the "first great American" we owe so much concerning the opening of the Miami country. The boundaries of Washington Township are as follows: On the north by Shelby County, on the east by Springereek and Staunton Townships, on the south by Concord and Newton and on the west by Newberry. To Washington Township belongs the credit of some of the first settlements in the state. It was the home of some of the Indian tribes so closely identified with the history of the county and it witnessed not a few stirring events in early history. It has aptly been said that "here was the last home of the red man in the county and here the earliest white settlements." From the Indian cantons in Washington Township, the Indian forayed into Kentucky and when loaded with the spoil of his depredations, he returned to the banks of the Miami and at Piqua told to attentive listeners around the forest fires the story of the bloody raid.

The county had been a legally organized commonwealth about seven years before Washington Township came into existence. Prior to this time (1814) several settlements had been made within its present limits. One Job Gard, who had been a soldier in Wayne's army, taking note of this particular region when the army passed north to punish the Indians on the Maumee in 1794, returned after the camapaign and built for himself a cabin out of timber which had been used in the construction of old Fort Piqua. Gard's settlement is supposed to have been an event of 1798. This first pioneer of Washington Township remained in his habitation for three years when he sold out to John Manning, a man closely identified with the early history of the county. From this date the tide of settlement in the northern portion of the county can easily be traced. The cabins of the settlers, hitherto far apart, were to be found in little groups which formed a protection from the indians and stimulated neighborly intercourse. The needs of the little colony in Washington Township increased. Hand mills for the grinding of corn were erected, but these failing to sufficiently provide for the wants of the community, regular mills came into use, and in 1804 Manning erected one near what is now the south end of Harrison Street in Piqua. It was the first real mill in that section of the county.

With the organization of the township the first trustees were elected. They were John Widney, Benjamin Brandon, and William Mitchell. The Mitchells came from Tennessee and were hardy, honest and enterprising people. It is noticeable that many of the first settlers of the county came from the Southern states. This fact may be traced to the Boones and others who had penetrated this region years before to carry back to their friends flattering reports of the fertile valleys which lay north of the Ohio, a veritable "land of promise." It is somewhat remarkable that but little is known of the actual settlement of Washington Township outside of the City of Piqua. One of the first inhabitants of the township was the celebrated Col. John Johnston, the Indian agent. Others were James and Frank Johnston, Hugh Scott, Benjamin Leavell, John and Enos Manning, Armstrong Brandon, and Matthew Caldwell. Another well known character was Joseph Porquette, who kept about the first liquor store in the county.

The late Dr. Dorsey, in his reminincences, has this to say of Porquette, who, from his name, was evidently French: "At that time there was quite a broad strip of land between the east side of the street in Piqua and the west end of the river bridge. This was claimed by Porquette. Ewing, a local trader, kept a tavern, in which he had a few articles of traffic which he sometimes exchanged with the Indians for skins and furs. As the village grew, the consumption of liquor naturally increased, and Porquette kept some whiskey on his side of the street, which was not a little frequented from the fact that the first blacksmith shop stood hard by, and hence it happened that occasionally little disturbances arose in this vicinity, somewhat to the disgust of the good and sober people in the other houses. As the numbers year by year increased and these outbreaks became more marked and frequent, Porqette's little piece of ground was at length called by the distinctive appellation of the 'Devil's Half-acre,' that it might be known that it was believed that this was all the territory to which it was believed His Satanic Majesty could rightfully lay claim within this locality. This name continued for many years, and it was only after the larger portion of the ground was buried in the canal and the evil spirit properly laid beneath its waters that the name was lost and is now only remembered by a few of the old inhabitants.

Much of the improved land in Washington Township today was cultivated by the Indians in corn. It was this fact which induced George Rogers Clark to invade this particular locality in 1782 when, as has already been narrated in this work, he devastated these fields, laying them waste and depriving the red men of their sustenance. The Indian corn fields stretched along the bank of the Miami in Washington Township and were cultivated by the women of the various tribes. When the whites came they found some of these fields in a fair state of cultivation, but the Indian method was very primitive. The pioneers of Washington Township at once improved on the Indian's work and before long their own fields were the wonder of the early days. As the village of Piqua grew in importance a little market for grain was established and later on the boating industry enabled the settlers to reach the outside world which lay beyond the forests of the Miami. No other township in the county furnished a sturdier group of settlers than Washington. They came of a hardy race, immigrants from beyond the barriers of the Alleghanies, men who made that long journey alone, looking for the new land of which they had heard and longed to possess. If the docket of Mathew Caldwell, who was the first justice of the peace of Washington Township, could be unearthed, its few entries would show how peaceably its first inhabitants got along together. There was little litigation and nearly all the cases that came up before Justice Caldwell were settled by the advice of friends or of the Justice himself. In short the neigborhood was not disturbed by quarrels, and it was not until Piqua became a large town that the dockets assumed visible proportions. Since it is designed to give the history of Piqua in a separate chapter we will turn our attention to another township.


The organization of Concord Township is contemporaneous with the formation of the county. It is located centrally, being bounded on the north by Washington, on the east by the Miami, on the South by Monroe and on the west by Newton. Its name means "peace," though at various times since its promotion and during political years it has swung away from that appellation. It does not contain much Indian history, as no Indian villages seem to have been built within its borders. Among the first whites to settle in Concord Township were: Aaron Tullis, William Barbee, Reuben Shackelford and Alexander Telford. These came about 1804. In 1806 came John Peck from Kentucky with four sons, Jacob, John, Joseph and Isaac and four daughters. This family located on the Boone place south of Troy. Peck arrived in the winter season and paid $100 for 160 acres of excellent land, only one acre of which was cleared. His little cabin of simple construction contained but one room, 16x18, and this housed the entire family. Peck drove all his cattle through the wilderness from Kentucky, guarding them by day and by night from Indians and wild beasts. It was a long and perilous journey, but the pioneer was undaunted and was at last rewarded for his trouble by finding a home near the waters of the Miami. In the second year of his residence in Concord Township all his stock died save one mare, three cows and 4 few sheep, and with this remnant he was compelled to begin life anew. It was a gigantic task which confronted John Peck and his family, but all went to work with a will and before long found themselves well situated with all the losses recovered and good prospects ahead. In 1805 Abraham Thomas joined the little colony in Concord Township. Thomas had had some experience in war, as he had been a soldier in the Revolution, and an enlisted man in both of Clark's expeditions against the Indians in the Miami Country. Like Mr. Peck, he made the journey from Kentucky with his family, consisting of his wife and four children. The emigrants reached the Staunton settlement, where they remained for a few hours, then forded the Miami at the "broad ford" as it is yet called. From the river bank Thomas and his sons were obliged to cut a road through the forest to their farm not far south of Troy. On this piece of land these pioneers first cut the brush out and built what was called a camp. This was not the comfortable cabin a few of which may still be found standing at the present day. It was a structure still more modest in its pretensions. Instead of logs, the sides were hastily built up with poles, the cracks between them were stuffed with moss and the roof and floor were made of bark. The front side of the structure was left entirely open and a huge fire built in front of it. Here there were no troubles with rats in the cellar, cats in the garret, smoky chimneys, slamming doors or lack of ventilation. The good housewife cooked her bear meat, venison and wild turkey at her primitive range and spread a board which epicures might envy. The family lived in such a camp for a few weeks until a more substantial log cabin could be completed. The cracks of this were chinked with mud and daubed with mud and a door and chimney were not forgotten. One little aristocratic feature of the new structure will readily be forgotten nowadays. Four panes of real glass were used in the windows instead of greased paper. When the cabin, one of the first erected in Concord Township was finished, Pioneer Thomas and his sturdy sons went into the woods, which soon resounded with the sound of their axes. The first task was the planting of an orchard, trees for which they had thoughtfully brought from Kentucky. In time these trees bore luscious pipins, and but few years have elapsed since the last of these pioneer orchards disappeared.

Across the river from the Staunton settlement lay what was known as the Gahagan Prairie. Mr. Thomas rented ten acres of this rich bottom land, which he planted with the necessaries of life, while he and his sons cleared the homestead. On this farm Mr. Thomas passed the remaining years of his life, dying in 1843, and was buried by the famous LaFayette Blues, a Troy military organization commanded by Lieutenant Pettit. Abram Thomas is a fair sample of the early pioneers of the county. It is said of him that his character was unimpeachable, that he possessed a daring spirit, and being of a robust and hardy constitution, he was often detailed for the most important and hazardous service in time of war. He took part in the Revolutionary War and in many a hard fought Indian skirmish before and since that period.

Among the other early settlers of Concord Township were Foust, McGimpsey and Steward. These settled near the Peck place, and in 1807 the small colony was increased by the addition of David Jenkins, of South Carolina, and James Knight of Pennsylvania. The Concord colony was increasing. Gahagan's Prairie was giving forth crops that cheered the heart of the pioneer and made him satisfied with his change. In fact this tract, having once been "farmed" by the Indians, was easily induced to yield to the industry of the settler. Such was the fertility of this ground that the first year with its primitive utensils Mr. Peck got forty-one bushels of corn to the acre. Through the woods of Concord, over the winding trails, the settlers went to mill on horseback. No wagons were theirs. Up to about 1814 only two wagons were to be found in this whole region and they were not accessible for use. While the Pecks and Thomases were the first pioneers to break ground in Concord Township, there were others who were contemporaneous with them. There were James Orr, James Youart, A. McCullough, James Marshall, John Johnson, Henry Orbison and Joseph McCorkle. The majority of these men came from Kentucky, which section sent into Miami County some of its foremost citizens. When one looks back over the history of Concord Township, much of which belongs to the history of Troy which is to be related hereafter, he must give unbounded credit to the men who overcame the difficulties of the wilderness and brought order out of chaos. Let us consider for a moment a few items plucked at random from the early chapters of this township. Soon after the first settling of the township came the war of 1812 with its attendant Indian horrors. The panic which grew out of the threatened danger spread along the Miami and for a season paralyzed the pioneer settlements of Concord. They were believed to be in the shadow of the tomahawk, but fortunately the danger passed and peace once more hovered over the Miami frontier, guarding it as a mother guards her young; the tide of immigration, halted by the war, revived and returned to its former sweep.

The progressive agriculture of the present day as seen in Concord Township was in its infancy a century ago. There was scarcer any market, not even for the small amount of grain raised by the settlers. Teams were almost unknown, fences had not come into vogue, and mills were few and far between. It did not require much corn to fatten hogs, as the woods furnished them with sustenance. Owing to a scarcity of fences all cattle were belled and hogs marked. The only market was across the river at Staunton and the produce, which consisted mainly of butter and eggs, was taken thither. Groceries were confined to those of the most simple description and the pioneers of Concord Township were often put to their ingenuity to supply their wants. Sugar was made from sap of the maple tree, sage and sassafras took the place of "Oolong," and browned rye was a substitute for coffee. Doctors had not invaded the neighborhood and home-made medicines, tansy and penny royal, were the "cure alls " of that day.

The harvests were cut in the simplest manner with the sickle. Corn huskings which were great and jolly affairs, came vogue in Concord as they did in other parts of the country. They put the corn in piles, with a rail in the center. Then two members of the party were selected to "choose up" and the huskers were chosen. At a givin signal all hands went to work and amid much merriment the work was completed. This was but one of the recreations of the first settlers of Concord Township. Everything was cheap then but the clothing which the pioneers were forced to buy.

Fine shirts were not known, because muslin was too high -75 cents per yard. The housewife spun for the family and linsey-woolsey dresses were the first seen in Troy. The Concord pioneers cut cordwood and got it into Troy, where it brought thirty-seven and one half cents per cord which he could exchange for half a yard of muslin. Corn brought eight cents a bushel, wheat seldom more than twenty-five and oats six and one-fourth cents. The farmer of today would smile at these prices but they were considered "pertty fair" by the men who broke ground here one hundred years ago.

The history of Troy will form a chapter by itself, hence nothing more concerning Concord Township need be written here. It is today one of the foremost of the twelve divisions of the county. It is richly supplied with turnpikes which enter Troy from every part of the county and steam and electric roads add to its wealth. Troy is the only incorporated town within the limits of Concord Township. Eldean is a hamlet on the Trop-Piqua turnpike and the D. & T. electric car line, about two miles north of Troy.


The most interest seems to cluster about the early or pioneer history of any place. This is not only true of nations, but of smaller commonwealths, towns and cities. The coming of the first settlers has a charm which later history cannot take away. There is something in the early migrations to this county that is still unexplained. Several townships, notably those in the Stillwater region, were largely settled by people from the far south, from North and South Carolina. Why they settled one part of the country and not the other is still a mystery. Monroe Township was settled to a great extent by people from that section of the Union. Monroe is found in the southern tier of townships, bounded on the north by Concord, on the south by Montgomery County, on the west by Union Township, while the Miami separates it from Bethel and Elizabeth, which stretch away to the east. Its first settlers came from South Carolina and when they reached the fertile lands of Monroe they found the Indians in possession, living in primitive villages that sheltered the red tribes of the forest.

Samuel Freeman seems to have been the first white man to break ground in Monroe, which he did in 1801. His habitation was the beginning of house building in the township. From North Carolina in 1802. came John Yount, who entered a choice piece of land at $2 per acre. Next came Michael Fair, who emigrated from Frederick County Maryland, the home of Barbara Freitchie, and he was followed a little later on by John Clark, also of Maryland.

The Clarks were of good stock, sturdy and industrious, and produced a long line of descendants as notable as themselves. David Jenkins left his South Carolina home to begin a new life among the woods of of Monroe and with him came Elisha Jones, another son of the Palmetto State. Jenkins being a man of some culture, filled various township offices, all of which he discharged faithfully, winning the respect of his neighbors. Among the other pioneers of Monroe are to be found Thomas Pearson, his three sons Enoch, Jonas and Thomas, Jr., Samuel Pearson, John Jay, Paul Macey, George North, George Kerr, the Laytons, Ferguses, Westlakes, Puterbaughs, Shafers, Furnaces, and a number of others whose name at this late day are not obtainable. The Maceys were from Tennessee, the Norths from Georgia and the Kerrs from Virginia. All these hardy pioneers brought families with them, and these increasing as the years went by, populated Monroe Township with an excellent class of citizens.

In Monroe the settlers found land to their liking. Many settled on Freeman's Prairie, which was situated southeast of Tippecanoe City and opposite the mouth of Honeycreek on the west side of the Miami. The mills to which the pioneers had access were few and far between. They were, very primitive as compared with the mills of the present day. Dr. Asa Coleman in his reminiscences describes one of these mills as follows: "These early erected mills were quite primitive in their structure and material. The mill-stones were generally manufactured in the county, often in the immediate vicinity of the site where they were to be used, of single stones worked out of the large boulders which are to be found on the surface in various parts of the county. Very little iron except the spindle gudgeons and a few bands were used, wood being exclusively used for all other purposes; iron being too expensive and difficult to obtain. These mills from these circumstances were very simple structures calculated principally for the grinding of corn. The first grinding of wheat for flour was very imperfectly done. In some at first the bolt was turned by hand, a somewhat laborious operation, but wheat bread being a rarity the labor was willingly performed. At the time of the organization of the county there were six or seven of these milling establishments in operation. There were Mordecai Mendenhall's on Honeycreek, Henry Gerard's on Springcreek, John Freeman's and John Manning's on the Miami, Moses Coate's on Ludlow Creek, Mast's, Weddle's and Empre's on Stillwater." A number of these sawmills sawed lumber for the first frame houses erected in Monroe Township.

Tippecanoe City, the principal town in Monroe, dates its incorporative origin in the year 1840. It was named for "Tippecanoe," the sobriquet given President W. H. I. Harrison for his defeat of the Indians at the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. It lies in the eastern part of the township, its northeastern boundary being formed by the Miami River. For some years Tippecaiioe City had no market facilities, but the building of the Miami and Erie Canal supplied this want and later the shipping facilities were further increased by the Dayton & Michigan Railroad and the D. & T. traction line. Tippecanoe City's first post office was called Hyattsville and Henry J.Hyatt was the first postmaster. Hyatt lived in a log cabin, where he was merchant, tailor and postmaster all in one.

It is said that a division of sentiment preavled over the naming of Tippecanoe City. A Mr. Jay, who purchased the first lot, wanted the place to bear the appellation of Jaytown, while Mr. Clark wanted it called Sharpsburg after his home in Maryland, but the presant name was selected and the discussion ended. The first tavern in the now prosperous town was built by Thomas Krise, who for some years furnished entertainment for man and beast, and he is said to have been an enterprising landlord.

From the very first Tippecanoe City seemed to prosper, owing to the energy of its inhabitants, until now it has a population of almost 1,800. Its first official roster is as follows: Mayor-Levi N. Booker; recorder-E.F. Shields; marshal-Eli Snell; treasurer-L. Wilcox; councilmen -Thomas Jay, Michael Shellabarger, Henry Krist. From that time to the present the mayors of Tippecanoe City have been I.K. Gilbert, H.H. McCabe, C.W. Wheeler, John Mann, E.T. Shields, T. Kibby, A.H. Wesler, Levi Jay, A.E. Kerns, Ellis H. Kerr, W.G. Fritz, L.A. Sheets, S.E. Smith, B.B. Scarff, G.J. Smith, R.N. Eyler. Messrs. Shields, Wesler, and Kerr filled the mayor's office at different times.

The present city officers are: Mayor-R.N. Eyler; clerk-S.O. Mitchell; treasurer-J.S. Pohlman; solicitor-W.E. Lytle; marshal-C.J. Frost; councilmen-W.H. Clarke, E.T. Davis, G.O. King, Will H. Long, D.W. Prill, L.L. Youart; street commissinoer- S.S. Westfall; police-Cris Eickhoff, J.H. Fenner.

Tippecanoe is a noted manufacturing center, but this industry will be mentioned in a special chapter. It has two banks (see "Banks and Banking"), a fine public school, and excellent churches. Ginghamsburg, a village of some local importance, is situated in Monroe Township, with Fredericktown (Fidelity P.0.) and Cowlesville, the latter a cluster of houses on the Dayton & Troy Traction line.


In writing the history of Union Township one must go south to discover its fountain head. The tide of emigration that flowed northward from the Carolinas broke upon the shores of the Stillwater and populated Union. When that vast area lying west of the Miami, and which for a time was known as Randolph Township, was cut up into five smaller divisions, Union became one of these about 1807. It is bounded on the north by Newton Township, on the south by Montgomery County, on the east by Concord and Monroe Townships and on the west by Monore Township in Darke County. It is traversed by the Stillwater in the eastern part, while two branches of Ludlow Creek and other streams water its large area.

There being no finer land "out of doors" it is no wonder that the first white men who penetrated to this region concluded to make it their home. In the year 1801 Henry Fouts and the two Ellers, Leonard and Adam, settled in Union Township in the very heart of the "forest primeval." They had looked at other land, but found the region of the Stillwater to their liking. The next year came Caleb Mendenhall with his family of six, and he was followed by John Mast and Frederick Yount. The last named located a mill site and for a while supplied the settlers with flour and ground meal. In 1804 David Mote, Sr., with five stalwart sons, settled in Union. They chose the western part of the township, while east of the river received Leonard and William Fincher, William Neal, Benjamin Pike, Jacob Byrkett and others. The Motes led the vanguard of Quakers who settled in Union Township, a class of people who have given to this county much of the stability and prosperity it now enjoys. These people, quiet, unobtrusive and strictly honest, are found all over Union Township, forming within themselves a class noted for its integrity. The descendants of the first Quaker residents have filled many positions of trust and are numbered today among the foremost citizens of the county.

The year 1805 found Samuel Jones in Union Township. He emigrated from Georgia, as did Abiather Davis, who brought with him to the fine lands on Stillwater four sons and three daughters. In the same year Newberry District in South Carolina sent a little colony of Quakers into the township, among whom were Isaac, James, George and Nathan Hollingsworth. Elislia Jones, a chairmaker, came in 1807, having been preceded a year previous by Joel Hollingsworth, another Quaker. Joel was a man of both ingenuity and business, for he built flatboats upon Stillwater and transported his own produce to New Orleans, making quite a little sum by the operation. It is stated that upon one return trip Mr. Hollingsworth brought home a telescope, a wonderful thing in those days. Neighbors came from far and near to inspect the wonderful instrument and for months it was the newest thing under the sun.

One cannot help noticing the stalwartness of the first settlers of Union Township. They were men of powerful physique and people of more than the average culture and perseverance. For instance Isaac Hasket rode horse back from South Carolina, accompanied by his wife and child, and many others followed his example. He was a blacksmith whose forge was always aglow and his hands and skill turned out all sorts of farming implemeiats, including sickles in profusion. There were no keener sickles in the Stillwater Valley than those he fashioned and the bearded grain went down before them in a marvelous manner. So rapid was the settlement of Union Township that it is asserted that two large Friends or Quaker settlements in Georgia and South Carolina were almost depopulated to furnish inhabitants in this section. The tide of immigration rolled resistless this way for several years or until Union Township was almost entirely populated with Quakers.

When the township came to organize itself into a body politic it chose Samuel B. Edwards as clerk. He was a man not calculated to make the best possible officer, but something had to be done and he was selected. He served but one term and the people seemed glad to exchange him for another elector. John Coate is said to have been the first duly elected clerk. Settled as it was by people of decided worth, Union Township soon became a recognized branch of the county's existence, a position which it holds today. It is noted for its liberality in everything, for thrift and industry. Its principal town is West Milton or Milton, as it was first called. The town was named for John Milton the English poet, and it is said that "Paradise Lost" held such a sway over the mind of a fair daughter of Union Township that she managed to have its chief town named for her favorite author.

West Milton, with a present population of over 1,000 is situated on the west bank of the, Stillwater. The site of the town was selected by Joseph Evans, who came from the Newberry District, South Carolina. He was so pleased with the location that he resolved to establish a village at this point. The first lots were sold in 1807. For years the village had a sluggish growth, and as late as 1825 but three families occupied the site, but in course of time the village took on new life and began to assume considerable proportions. Oliver Benton became the first postmaster of West Milton and added the occupations of merchant and justice to his other one. He owned the only store in the town and wagoned his products to Cincinnati. As the town grew, manufacture was encouraged, a carding machine was set up, and a woolen mill followed. Samuel Kelley was the proprietor of the mill, but in 1820 he sold out to David Thayer, who wove blankets there. In 1824 a scythe factory was established at West Milton and the manufacture of linseed oil became an infaut industry there in 1819. Not until 1840 did the town get an outlet by turnpike, when the one from Dayton tapped the place. Years afterward the railway came and now, besides this convenience, West Milton is tapped by the Dayton, Covington and Piqua Traction Line. About 1834 the prospering town took out papers of incorporation and C.W.Beebe was called to fill the first mayor's chair. Today the town of West Milton has two prosperous banks, a number of manufactories, a fine school, excellent and commodious churches, well paved streets and handsome business blocks and dwellings, all of which go to make it one of the foremost towns in the county. Its future is bright, for its citizens take an interest in everything that goes to make it prosperous and influential as a town.

The present official roster of West Milton is as follows: Mayor- W.O.Martindale; clerk- Charles E. Fox; treasurer- Philip Yount; marshal- Cyrus Long; councilmen- David Stoltz, E.M. Crew, Oren Coates, A.G. Eidemiller, Smith Gassett, Cyrus Folkerth; board of education-Gainor Jennings, John Henderson.

The villages of New Lebanon and Laura are situated in Union Township. The former has a population of 250, the latter, 400. The picturesque hamlet of Ludlow Falls, near the beautiful cascade of the same name, is a promising place. New Lebanon, or Georgetown, was laid out in 1840. It has a German Baptist Church, and the postoffice is Potsdam. Laura, named for the daughter of its first postmaster, was incorporated in 1892, and is a well conducted, thriving town. It is officered at present as follows: Mayor- Robert Wylie; clerk- Arthur Hess; treasurer- George Swisher; marshal- Milton North; councilmen- Ellis Lowery, William Coate, Charles Hall, Urias Netzley, Benjamin Welbaum, Hervey Cassell.


Newton Township, the second of the three known as the "Stillwater townships," occupies the extreme western part of the county. Newberry and Washington bound it on the north, Union on the south, Concord on the east, and Darke County on the west. It is watered by the Stillwater and tributary streams, and the land is fair and fertile. There is no township the county that has better roads than Newton. These pikes running in every direction, reach every section of the township, giving every inhabitant an excellent outlet everywhere.

The history of Newton Township is contemporaneous with the greater history of the county. The same class of people that poured into other parts of the Stillwater Valley gave Newton her share and established the division which bears her name. They came, many of them, from the South, from the Carolinas, from Georgia and adjacent states, and not a few had seen service under the banner of Washington. Hardy sons of the new republic were they, men inured to every danger, strong willed and capable of making a home north of the Ohio.

The first of these imniigrants to Newton Township was Michael Williams, who had heard of the land from General Harrison. He came about 1799, and with his four sons, proceeded to build the new home in the Miami wilderness. In 1804 Marmaduke Coate, in spying out the Stillwater Valley, entered Newton Township and became its second pioneer. This family began at once to make an opening in the forest which rang with the music of their axes and before long the sunshine kissed soil it had never kissed before. There was determination in everything the Coates did, and Newton Township owes much today to this enterprising family.

Thomas Hill seems to have been the third settler to invade the township, which he did about 1805. Among other things, he is noted for having erected the first copper still ever seen in the township, and it is on record that he made the best of whiskey. After Hill came Thomas Coppock, the progenitor of one of the most noted families of the county. He too, came from South Carolina. Coppock might be called one of the first abolitionists, for he was opposed to slavery and was not loath to leave a section where the crack of the slave driver's whip rang continually in his ears. He was a blacksmith by trade and obtained coal for his forge by burning charcoal. He was one of the first men in the county to be elected county commissioner.

One year after Coppock's arrival Samuel Teague, Benjamim and William Furnas took possession of Newton Township land and cleared the same. Jacob Embree followed the first newcomers, and William Long left Virginia to find a home in Newton. Long was another good citizen, and his household, it is said, furnished the third preacher in the county. In 1807 Alexander Mills arrived to swell the little colony in Newton; then followed the Iddingses, Ballingers, Mileses, Leavell Perrys, Dicksons and others. Newton was increasing slowly but surely in population and it was of the best quality. There wasn't a drone in it. The Falkners, Renches, and Freshours added to the Newton colony, and the Teeters and Deeters established themselves near the Stillwater.

Industries soon began to spring up, primitive, it is true, but it was a laudable beginning. Embree erected a saw-mill with a corn cracker attachment and the people rejoiced. Next Robert Dickson put up a saw mill on Panther Creek and George Freshour went into the same business. Newton Township was surely moving along. In the midst of these growing industries the War of 1812 broke out and for a time business was stifled. A dark cloud hung over the township, but when it was dissipated by the sunshine of peace, business flourished again. There were now numerous openings in the township where the forest had been and on every side was heard the hum of prosperity. Homes sprang up in every direction, farms were cultivated throughout the township and villages began to spring into existence. Newton Township bid fair to outstrip some of her neighbors.

Pleasant Hill, or Newton, as it was first called for Sir Isaac Newton, the philosopher, was surveyed by James Hanks in 1843. I.K.Teeter laid it out. The town which now has a population of 700 souls is the only one in the township. When the postoffice, which was first kept some distance from the town, was moved into it, John Whitmore became the postmaster. In 1866 the village was duly incorporated, its first officers being: Treasurer- Fred Deeter; marshal- J.G. Ritter; trustees- William Patty, MD; John H. Williams, -D. Minnich, John Whitmore and Joseph Pearson. The present official roster of the town is as follows: Mayor- D.M. Coppock; clerk- C. Roy Coppock; treasurer- D.E. Rothermal; Marrshal- Sidney Strong; council- H.H. Coppock, president; J.C. Kriegbaum, Henry Martindale, Martin L. Gates, Daniel Hayworth, Jesse Berry; board of public service- Dr.A.J. Bausman, G.P. Hoffman, Samuel Berger. In August 1908, council passed an ordinance authorizing the sale of $16,000 worth of bonds for waterworks, which sold at a premium. Council also granted a franchise to a Covington firm to furnish electricity for lighting purposes. Pleasant Hill has shown its loyalty and public spirit in numerous ways, among these being the erection of a handsome Monument in her public square to the memory of the heroic sons of Newton Township who went forth to do battle for the Union in 1861 and 1865. The township has one good bank situated in Pleasant Hill, where there are also one newspaper, several handsome churches, and up-to-date school building and several factories.


Last but not least of the western tier of townships is Newberry. It occupies the northwest corner of the county and is bounded by Shelby County on the north, by Darke on the west, by Washington Township on the east and by Newton on the south. There is no exact data giving the organization of Newberry Township, but historians place it about 1810. The nomenclature of the name Newberry is also undiscoverable. It is watered by the Stillwater and Greenville Creek, into which flow numerous tributaries that afford it excellent drainage. In the early days of the township's existence it was the abode of many poisonous reptiles which infested the stony banks of its streams, but the settlers made war on them and they were finally exterminated.

South Carolina has the distinction of leading the way into Newberry. In 1806 one McDonald settled on Harrison's Creek near Covington, and in the following year Michael Ingle erected a cabin at the mouth of Trotter's Creek. Ingle was a tanner, but a farmer as well, and he resided on his farm till 1838. He is regarded as Newberry's first white settler. Following the Ingles came the Coates, William and John, and soon Daniel Wright put up his little cabin. These men were true sons of the soil and labored hard to establish themselves in their chosen quarters. In 1810 Jacob Ullery purchased land in Newberry Township and his selection has proven the most valuable within its limits.

Newberry Township's prosperity was hampered by the same misfortune that was felt in other parts of the county - the War of 1812. Some of her citizens were the first in the field. They saw the danger and responded nobly. Captain George Buchanan commanded a company in which many of Newberry's citizens served, and his scope was the Stillwater Valley, which was several times threatened by the Indians. A blockhouse, which stood near the site of the old Pan Handle Depot in Covington, afforded protection for the inhabitants. It was near the spot where stood "Fort Rowdy," which marked General Wayne's encampment in 1794. At the breaking out of our second war with England there were nine families in Newberry Township. These people lived in constant dread during the greater part of the struggle, and though Indian depredatious were committed in other parts of the county, Newberry did not experience any of the actual horrors of war.

The town of Covington, which is the principal municipality in Newberry Township, was laid out by David Wright and Jacob Ullery in 1816. Benjamin Cox surveyed the land for the town, but his work was never acknowledged by Ullery and Wright . There is a tradition that when the town came to be named, "Friendship" and "Newberry" were suggested and even the name of "Rowdy" was thought of; but the first postoffice was called Stillwater, certainly an euphonious name. Afterward the name of Covington was given to the beautiful town.

When it came to house building, Elijah Reagan distanced all his competitors and erected the first one, Michael Ingle put up a double log cabin and Noah Hanks built a frame store. This is the genesis of Covington. After the house building came various industries until now Covington, for a town of its size, keeps pace with its neighbors. It has now a population of 1,800. It has furnished some prominent legislators in the Ohio Assembly and numerous county officers. The first election for town officers was held in 1835, at which the following were chosen: Mayor- Gilbert Adams; recorder- William Robinson; trustees- Charles Orwan, Joshua Orr, Thomas McKenzie. Samuel Patterson was elected mayor in 1837. From this date the mayor's record seems to have been lost, but the following persons have filled the office since 1850: B. Neff, Joseph Marlin, C.H. Gross, William Couffer, T.A.Worley, W.G. Bryant, Isaac Sherzer, David Diltz, J.L. Smart, John V. Griffin, Adam Minnich, D.C. Shellenbarger, J.H. Marlin, S.C. Sisson, D.J. Martin, S.D. Palmer, R.F. Alberry, M.H. Nill. The present roster of Covington is as follows: Mayor- M.H. Nill; clerk-Glen P. Shawver treasuror-John S. Dollinger; marshal-H.J. Hake; council-W.H. Minton, B. Swisher: R.W. Himes, Charles MeMakin, William Vandergrift, A.S. Rosenberger. Covington is a well situated and well governed town. It has two banks (see Chapter II Banks and Banking"), two newspapers, the Gazette and Tribune, many churches, a fine system of waterworks, an electric light plant, a well-graded public school, three railways, two steam and one electric, and numerous shops and stores. There is no more progressive town in the county.

Newberry Township also contains a part of the town of Bradford, which has the Pan Handle yards, a bank and numerous industries. Several small clusters of houses which can scarcely be designated as towns dot the township and these show signs of healthy growth.

I have given briefly in the present chapter the history of the six western townships of the county. An unabridged History of the same would fill a whole volume. Some of the industries etc., of these townships and their towns will be treated under proper heads later on. Suffice it to say that the western townships will compare favorably with similar divisions throughout the state. They have made wonderful strides since their formation, keeping pace with the march of progress, and abreast with everything that builds up a community. Having treated them less briefly than they deserve, owing to our limited space, we will now turn to the six townships that lie east of the Miami, for they have a history which will rival in interest that of their neighbors on the west.

--- End Chapter 6 ---
Harbaugh's History of Miami County Ohio, 1909

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