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Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History


Miami County Ohio

Chapter 21


The General Harrison Land - The Randolph Slaves
Last Indian in Elizabeth Township - Revolutionary Pensioners
The July Fourth Celebration of 1827 at Troy
Prominet Miami County Lady - John Morgan's Raiders
A Lincoln Letter

I shall devote the present chapter to certain phases of our county's history that are not generally known. In the history of every community there are many facts and incidents that have escaped the eye of the general reader. Many of these have escaped notice so long that they have passed into the traditionary age, therefore I call a few for the reader's information.


William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States, was at one time a Miami County land owner, having title from the government to the east half and northwest quarter of Section 21 in north Staunton Township. He came into possession of this land in 1816 and in 18I8 he sold the southeast quarter to Henry Orbison, who is well remembered in the county and who resided at the time of his death at the corner of Main and Oxford Streets in Troy. Mr. Orbison paid General Harrison $480 for this quarter and John Gilmore paid $520 for the northeast quarter. David Orbison, son of Henry Orbison, came into possession of this land and discovered that Harrison's wife had never signed the deed, so he rode horseback to North Bend, Hamilton County, during the summer of 1851 and secured a quit claim deed from Anna Harrison, widow of the General. The deed bearing her signature is still in possession of the Orbison family.


The celebrated John Randolph, of Virginia, although a slave holder, was not a believer in slavery. What slaves he held he inherited from his father, never purchasing or selling any himself. He was a bachelor and at his death in 1833 it was found that his will provided that his slaves should be set free and conducted to Ohio, where each should have a tract of land to he bought for them by the Randolph estate. The will was contested, but in 1846 the executor was able to carry out its provisions. It was a long journey from Roanoke, Va., to the Miami country, but the ex-slaves freed by the humanity of their master willingly undertook it. The band of set out on their long journey, crossed the mountains and reached Cincinnati. Then four boats were chartered, the party traveling upward through Dayton, Piqua, Sidney, or into Mercer County. They were not well received in Mercer County, in fact, were driven therefrom, after which they turned southward and left some of their number in this county. The larger number located at and about Piqua, where some acquired homes and the conveniences of life. The number of the Randolph slaves that left Virginia was 380, and while perhaps none of these are yet living in the county, they have any descendants who are still here. The full list of negroes and mulattoes liberated by the Randolphs will is recorded in the clerk's office at Charlotte County, Va., and the court records of our own county contain descriptions of the persons thus emancipated.

Each adult child so liberated was designated by a number, but few of them having more than one name. I transcribe for the curious reader the following descriptioiis of several of the Randolph slaves:

"No. 215-Frank, dark complexion, 5 feet 11 inches high, 25 years old, small scar on forehead, whitish appearance on the hands.

"No. 218-Sylvia, dark, 5 feet 5, 25 years old.

"No. 221-Sally, mulatto, 5 feet 2, 28 years old, her two children, Craddock aged 7, Jim aged 4."

For several years the Randoph negroes tried to get back their Mercer County lands, but all their efforts have proved futile, for the latest court decisions have been against them. The value of this land is now estimated at $250,000 and the descendants of these ex-slaves now number about 4,000 people, residing mostly in Ohio and Indiana.


The last Indian to inhabit Elizabeth Township and in fact one of the last redmen to occupy any part of the county was Wauger. He lived in that particular section till 1820, when he left for the far west, in the heart of which he died. For some years a young Indian, probably his son, lived with him, the young buck occupying his time in loafing and hunting. Captain Williams in his sketch of Wauger says:

"He built a rude hut close by a spring on a farm afterwards owned by Isaac Sheets. That spring, together with a brooklet from a spring on the farm of A.D.Sayers, that was settled by Christopher Knoop, formed a stream that ever since has been known as Wauger Creek, which flows through Sections 32 and 31 and empties into Honey Creek on the old Daniel Babb farm, not far from the old mill that once stood on the Troy and Dayton Road east of the Miami River. The land along Wauger Creek was low and marshy, and on the farm near the homestead of James M. Dye, now owned by Mark Knoop, there was a large beaver dam, the remains of which were found a few years ago in the construction of the Knoop ditch which converts the swampy land along Wauger's Creek in to fertile fields for corn and wheat.

"Wauger was a peaceful, quiet Indian, and the young buck who remained with him, I have no doubt was his son. They gave no trouble to the settlers, and followed closely the business of trapping, hunting enough to supply their food, with some venison to trade to the settlers for meal and flour. He was noted for his love of money, for he never spent a cent on clothing, drink or provisions.

'Wauger had no squaw with him in his hut, but he or the young Indian prepared their simple, frugal meals. The fact that he had no wife with him excited some conmenent among the old pioneers, and the further fact of his remaining away from his tribe was a source of wonderment among the Knoops, Dyes, Carvers and Jacksons who lived near the old Iiadian's hut. For most of those named remembered the Indian village on Pleasant Run on the Sprowl farm, where there were a number of squaws and pappooses with the band.

"Wauger gained the good will and confidence of his white neighbors. When he left for the far West he gave no reason for his departure, but quietly as he came, twenty years before, he left the neighborhood and the country, leaving no trail behind him, and no information as to his future home. He was probably the last Indian that lived in Elizabeth Township, and while the people with one accord called the creek along which he trapped "Wauger's Creek," he was forgotten or dimly remembered like a half- forgotten dream."


Following is a list of citizens of Miami County who were granted pensions on account of their service in the War of the Revolution, and the commands to which they belonged:

            John R. Bold, private, New York Militia.
            William C. Bailey, corporal, Virginia Line.
            John Battenbouse, Virginia Line.
            John Byrne, private, Penn. State Troops.
            Benjamin Brandon, private, North Carolina Troops.
            Lewis Boyer, dragoon, Van Hur's Cavalry.
            Joseph Connor, private, Virginia Line.
            John Campbell, private, Penn.  State Troops.
            Thomas Edwards, private, Penn.  State Troops.
            Ezekial Farmer, private, South Carolina Troops.
            Daniel Fielding, sergeant, Continental Line.
            John Gerard, private, Virginia Line.
            Patrick Hegan, private, Penn.  Militia.
            Isaac Julian, private, Penn.  Militia.
            Alexander Jackson, private, Penn.  Militia.
            Thomas Kelsey private, New York Troops.
            David Lloyd, sergeant, Penn.  Troops.
            Joseph Line, private, Penn.  Troops.
            J.W.Meredith  private, Delaware Line.
            Levi Munsell, private, Connecticut Line.
            Benjamin Morris, private, Virginia Troops.
            David Munson, private, Penn.  Militia.
            William Mitchell, private, Penn.  Line.
            David H. Morris, private, Penn.  Line.
            Benjamin Pegg, private, Penn.  Line.
            Harrison Parsons, private, New Jersey Troops.
            Henry Penney, private, South Carolina Troops.
            Edward Severno, private, New Jersey Troops.
            Alexander Telford, private, Virginia'Line.
            Abram Thomas, private, Penn.  Troops.
            Aaron Tullis, private, Virginia Line.
            Isaac Taylor, private, New Jersey Troops.
            Samuel Wiley, private, Penn.  Line.      

All but four of the above soldiers were over seventy-five years of age when their pensions were granted. This list is valuable inasmuch as it shows from what localities some of the first settlers of the county came and enables present residents to trace their ancestry back to the days of the Revolution.

On July Fourth, 1827, a great celebration was held at Troy, at which a company of the veterans of Seventy-six was present and marched in the procession. After the parade a banquet was served at the tavern of Azel Skinner, at which all the veterans of the Revolution were honored guests. The Miami Reporter of July 17, 1827, gives a full account of the celebration and the toasts drunk at the banquet, among them were the following:

"The day we celebrate; we hail its return with joy, may it never be forgotten by freemen. The heroes of '76: May their bright example stimulate their sons to preserve the inestimable jewel of liberty bequeathed to them by their fathers unblemished till time shall be no more.

"Henry Clay: The great enlightened advocate of Domestick Manufactures, and Internal Improvement, he merits our warmest thanks for his exertations in their favor"

"Our National Standard: The Eagles of Rome have long since been buried in the dust; the Eagle of Napoleon lies trampled on and forgotten; but the Eagle of North America, floats high in the air triumphant and respected by all the world at once the awe of despots and the scourge of tyrants, as freemen we will support it."

"The State of Ohio: An infant in age but a giant in population and resources, may she ever continue to be a home for freemen."

The names of Samuel Winans, and of John Day appear in the list of veterans of '76 whose names do not appear in the list of pensioners given above.


It is not generally known that a Miami County woman has long been at the head of the Andersonville Prison Board, which keeps in order that famous burial ground for Union Soldiers who were starved to death in the South during the Civil War. This lady, Mrs.Sarah Darst Winans, who is a native of Lost Creek Township, has long been prominent in Relief Corps work, having served as National president of that organization, but her greatest work has been that of preserving the Andersonville Prison grounds. Largely through her efforts this famous plot of ground has been beautified and kept in order. She visits Andersonville at stated intervals in discharge of her duties and today that place, sacred to all loyal people, owes much of its beauty to her admini strative abilities. Quite a number of Miami soldiers are buried there and the modest headstones that mark their graves tell in silent language the story of their awful sufferings and their devotion to their country.


Very few citizens of the county are aware that two of John Morgaii's raiders were captured at Piqua during the memorable rebel raid through Ohio in 1863. Dr.F.E.Kitzmiller of that city, has furnished me with the following interesting account of this little known incident of the Civil War.

"In 1863 John Morgan's brigade became scattered in southern Ohio. In Piqua those days all was excitement of war and the latest news from the front was upon every one's lips. No person in Piqua ever expected to see a live rebel in this vicinity, and I will never forget old Piqua one morning about 9:30 when something happened.

"Two men, both young, but tired and care-worn, came into Piqua upon the Urbana Pike to Main Street, then south to the Public Square and went west on High Street to College, then south to the Covington Pike. These men were horseback, each riding a small bay horse. The horses were also very tired.

"Within five minutes after they went west from the public square they were suspicioned as being Morgan men.

"They rode through Piqua very slowly, allowing their horses to walk, no doubt to avoid suspicion. Within ten minutes after they left the public square, my father, E. A. Kitzmiller, William Brooks, the liveryman, and myself, started west in my father's buggy. We drove fast and came up to the two men about two hundred yards east of the toll gate, which was at the corner of Covington Avenue and Washington.

Just as we approached the two men the town marshal, Samuel Garvey, and Zach Shipley came up along side of us, horseback.

"The two men made no effort to escape and were ordered to dismount, which they did. They were then searched. They carried no firearms and stated that they were on their way to Indiana to visit a sister.

"Attached to the saddle of each horse was found a small package containing a little wearing apparel, and on the inside of each package was found a half of a Union cent, the same being cut in two. This was considered very suspicious, and they were told to mount their horses and proceed ahead of us to town.

They were taken to the old town hall, the present City Building, where they confessed that they were members of John Morgan's brigade and they both said they were glad they were under arrest."

These fellows were quite intelligent, and two men were never better treated in Piqua than they. They smoked and ate and had a jolly good time until 3 o'clock p.m. when they were taken to Columbus and confined in the Ohio penitentiary as prisoners of war. When they left Piqua for Columbus more than a thousand people cheered them a good-bye.

"For years I have wondered whether either of these men were alive and a year ago I wrote a Lexington, Keiitucky. newspaper, making inquiry. They published my letter, but no answer ever came.

"I recently received a letter from O.B.Gould, warden of the Ohio Penitentiary, saying the John Morgan men were all confined there, but they had no record as to where they were captured.

Mr. Shipley and myself are the only, persons alive who were connected with the capture, and by inquiry I can find no one here who seems to remember the matter.

"I write this that the matter may not be forgotten."


Comparatively few people know that one of Abraham Lincoln's characteristic letters is in the possession of a citizen of this county. The owner is Mr.J.L.Hill, of Fletcher, and the letter was received by his father, who was a personal friend of Lincoln's, in 1856. This rare letter from one of the greatest men the world ever produced is highly treasured by its present owner. Mr.Hill in furnishing the Lincoln letter for reproduction in this work says that the great President often visited his (Mr.Hill's) father in Illinois in company with Judge David Davis, United States Senator and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Lincoln's letter is as follows:

Luther Hill, Esq. SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Sept. 8, 1856. Dear Sir: I understand you are a Fillmore man. Let me prove to you that every vote withheld from Fremont and given to Fillmore, in this state, actually lessens Fillmore's chance of being President.

Suppose Buchanan gets all the slave states, and Pennsylvania, and any other one state besides; then he is elected, no matter who gets all the rest.

But suppose Fillmore gets the two slave states of Maryland and Kentucky; then Buchanan is not elected; Fillmore goes into the House of Representatives, and may be made President by compromise.

But suppose again Fillmore's friends throw away a few thousand votes on him, in Indiana and Illinois, it will inevitably give these states to Buchanan, which will more than compensate him for the loss of Maryland and Kentucky; will elect him, and leave Fillmore no chance in the H.R. or out of it.

This is as plain as the adding up of the weights of three small hogs. As Mr.Fillmore has no possible chance to carry Illinois for himself, it is plainly his interest to let Fremont take it, and thus keep it out of the hands of Buchanan. Be not deceived, Buchanan is the horse to beat in this race. Let him have IIIiaois, and nothing can beat him; and he will get Illinois, if men persist in throwing away votes upon Mr. Fillmore. Does some one persuade you that Mr. Fillmore can carry Illinois? Nonsense! There are over seventy newspapers in Illinois opposing Buchanan, only three or four of which support Mr. Fillmore, all the rest going for Fremoiit. Are not these newspapers a fair index of the proportion of the voters, if not, tell me why?

Again, of these three or four Fillmiore newspapers, two at least are supported in part by Buchanan men, so I understand. Do not they know where the shoe pinches? They know the Fillmore movement helps them, and therefore they help it. Do think these things over and then act according to your judgment.

Yours very truly,

End chapter 21
1909 History of Miami County Ohio

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