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

From Volume two of the book:
Published in 1920

 Part 1 

Pages 495 - 511

- Forward - The Boundaries of Miami County - The County Seat -
- The Miami County Courthouse WarEarly Transportation -
- The Miami Canal - County Schools - Eary Banking -
- Journalism - Physicians - Dental Associaton -
- Miami County Bar Association -

This being a history, or as the title suggests, the Memoirs of Miami valley, it will not be the province of this work to review those infinite details of each county, which have been so faithfully depicted in the past. Rather, it is a purpose to treat the Miami valley as a whole, with such variations as will be found necessary to preserve those vital or epochal events of each county.

Thus, the great conservancy work will be treated as a whole as will also the Symmes purchase and other events. So, the work is intended primarily as a comprehensive history of the Miami valley in all of its important phases, with a broader and we might say a more sympathetic insight into the modern phases of each county embraced in this work.

Very properly the history of Miami county must begin with the Indian occupancy. It is true, the Mound Builders antedated this period. This period, however, has been the subject for numerous researches by archeologist, historian and student and is familiar to almost every school child and taught as a part of school curriculum. The monuments left by those pre-historic people is the best assurance of the interest of future generations.

The great Algonquin tribe, occupied this part of Ohio when the first white man penetrated into its fastness. The Algonquins were a powerful confederacy and held absolute sway over this dominion. They had successfully contested all attempts to dislodge them, frequently measuring their strength with the powerful Iroquois.

The Algonquins were composed of a number of tribal units, apparently, however, without many distinctive differences. The French first applied the name Miamis to the Indians living in and around what is now Miami county; by others they were called the Twi gtwees; the provincial council of Penn, referring to them as the Tweechtwese.

The history subsequent to the early incursion of the whites finds their allegiance divided between the French and the English. The same lack of common interest being found here as with other tribes throughout the country; the Miamis were allied with the French and a number of the other tribes in this vicinity were allied with the English. The English together with the Cherokees, Delawares and other tribes were victorious in one of their many clashes with the French and their Indian allies, including the Miamis; subsquently, the Miamis being continuously harassed by the English, removed to the Maumee river and left this territory to the Shawanoes, a nomadic tribe, who came originally from the South, in all probability from the vicinity of Florida.

There had been sporadic attempts at settlements by the whites in this region; as far back as 1749, the French and English beginning that long drawn out contest for supremacy, which only ended with the fall of Quebec. One Christopher Grist, who was an English agent for the Ohio Trading company who visited this part of the valley, found the Indians on terms of amity with the white adventurers as late as 1750. He referred to their villages as 50 miles up the Miami and states their number to have been at least 200. It is asserted and claimed with some degree of validity that some of these villages were near the present site of Piqua.

As far back as 1849 the French controlled the trade of this country and claimed possession by right of settlement. The French Governor of Canada, Grallisonier, caused lead plates, engraved with the claims of the French government, to be placed at the mouth of rivers running into the Ohio. One of these plates dated August 16th, 1749, was found near the mouth of the Muskingum. However, this attempt at possession was abortive, as the French claims were in constant dispute by the English. There was desultory fighting between the English and French for permanent possessi on and when the keystone of the situation, Quebec, passed into the hands of the English, the English claims were largely secured.

The French had built a line of fortifications from the Ohio toward the Great Lakes; and about 1749 the English had established a trading center at the mouth of Loramies creek. This so-called intrusion of the English, impelled the French to demand of the Twigtwees the surrender of the trading house to them. Their refusal to do so, resulted in the seizure of this place by the French and their Indian allies; the Indian defenders being killed or driven away and the English traders were carried to Canada as prisoners.

In October, 1753, the Twigtwees, Shawanoes and other tribes in this vicinity sent representatives to meet the commissions of Pennsylvania. This meeting was held at Carlisle and a treaty was concluded. Benjamin Franklin was one of the commissioners. in the summer of 1780 General George Clarke, after a prolonged contest with the savages, destroyed all the Piqua towns on Mad river, laid waste their cultivated lands and destroyed the last vestige of their possessions. The Shawanoes, humiliated by this defeat, moved to the Great Miami. Here they built a new settlement and largely turned to hunting for their subsistence. Two years later, recovering from their chastisement, they engaged in a series of raids into Kentucky, killing all whites whom they encountered. They committed many terrible outrages and swooped down on all unprotected settlements, killing without mercy.

This condition called for reprisals and General Clarke in 1782 raised an army of 1,000 Kentuckians. The well known fighting ability of these famous frontiersmen earned for them the name "Long Knives." They were fearless and their life in the wilderness had inured them to its hardships. The Indians had great respect for the fighting qualities of these men and often when the Indian scouts reported the "Long Knives" coming, the Indians fled into the wilderness without any combat. Clarke and his "Long Knives" crossed into the Ohio, at what is now Cincinnati, and began their march into the interior fastness. Scouts were sent in. advance and the command soon reached the vicinity of Dayton. They then marched up the great Miami and crossed the river about four miles below the Piqua towns.

A pow-wow was about to be held in the Piqua Towns. Braves with their squaws, were flocking in from all parts of the territory. Amoung these was a party on horseback, attended by their squaws. In this party was a white-squaw, a Mrs. McFall, whom the Indians had captured in a raid into Kentucky. This party had emerged from the forest when they came into full view of General Clarks ruggad army of "Long Knifes." Taken by surprise and terror stricken they fled, leaving their squaws and Mrs McFall, the white woman, in the hands of General Clark. When Clark and his men reached the Piqua towns he found them deserted, the entire Indian population having fled at first alarm.

During the following night, Indians lurking in the surrounding bushes fired on the outposts. The whole army was aroused and hurling themselves into the bush and woods, they fires indiscriminatly into the darkness. The next morning five Indians were found dead. During this skrimish several horsed had strayed away. Captain McCracken and another were detailed in search of them. The Indians fired at them, mortally wounding both. Captain McCracken lingered, until the command reached Cincinnati on its return trip, where he died and was buried. Among those who settled in Miami county, who engaged in the activities of this enterprise,were Abrahamm Thomas and Captain Barbee, the latter of Barbee, the latter of whom became ajudge of this county.

The spirit of the Indians was at this time completely broken. Clarke had laid waste the towns, destroyed their crops and other substance. They were now reduced to absolute want and had been thoroughly cowed in this engagement.

On January 31, 1786, a meeting was held at the mouth of the Great Miami. General Clarke, Richard Butler and Samuel H. Parsons, Commissioners, met the Delawares, Wyandottes, and Shawanoes. At this meeting some of the Indians were still disposed to treachery and some of them were prepared to defy Clarke and his associates.

The stern demeanor of Clarke, his uncompromising attitude, and his utter fearlessness, thoroughly cowed the Indians. Clarke abruptly accepted the mandate of one of the chiefs who seeking to bluff Clarke, gave him the alternative of war or peace, dictated by the Indians. Clarke instantly hurled defiance at the assembled Indians, choosing war if he could not have peace on his own terms. The Indians finally acquiesced and the terms of peace were arranged. This signal victory of Clarke and his associates again endeared himself to the pioneers of this territory, who idealized him as much as the Indians feared him.

The last great campaign against the Indians, which initiated the subsequent security from their attacks, was the Wayne expedition, headed by the intrepid Mad Mad Anthony Wayne. After a bloody contest at Fallen Timbers, the Treaty of Greenville was accomplished in 1795, which ceded all the lands held by the Indians in what is now Miami county. A mounument commemorating this event was erected at the foot of the Maumee Rapids. This is a great limestock rock carved with the prints of many turkey feet. When Me-sa-sa or Turkey Foot, the English equivalent who was the Indian chief in the fight at Fallen Timbers, saw his braves deserting him he leaped with desperation on a rock at this spot. With all of his Indian eloquency and fired with desperation, he exposed himself to the enemy and harangued his warriors, but they fled in a panic of fear. Brave Me-sa-sa was struck by a bullet and died heroically on this spot. To preserve the memory of this brave Indian the turkey feet were carved in this stone and for many years the remaining Indians made Pilgrimages to it, leaving offerings to the spirit of Me-sa-sa. It has been the object of interest to tourists and sightseers from many sections of the country.

By treaty and voluntary relinquishment, the Indian title passed out between 1784 and 1794, and the latter date found the Indian menace reduced to a minimum. The signing of the Treaty following the Wayne expedition gave impetus to the new settlement of this region. The next event of importance, the John Cleves Symmes purchase, might be said to mark the beginning of the real settlement of the Miami valley. The territory had assumed a definite position and titles could be made secure. The vanguard of the great army of pioneers now began to pour over the Alleghenies. The Symmes purchase is treated elsewhere in this work.

Settlements were made in the vicinity and on the site of the present city of Dayton, by General Dayton and others and the drift began northward. Among the first to reach the present limits of Miami county were Samuel Morrison, David H. Morris and others. They located near the mouth of Honey creek and in the spring of 1791 established a permanent settlement. A short time later the boundaries of the town christened Livingston were defined. The same year Jonathan Rollins, Samuel Hillard, John Gerard, Shadrach Hudson, Daniel Cox, Thomas Rich and others entered Miami county.

In the spring of 1798 John Knoop, Benjamin Knoop, Henry Gerard, Benjamin Hamlet, John Tilden and Daniel and Christopher Knoop located near the present village of Staunton. In the spring of 1799 we find that John Gerard, Uriah Blue, Joseph Cole, Abram Hathaway, Nathaniel Gerard and Abner Gerard joined the little colony at this place. The settlers were from various parts of the country and although they filtered in slowly at first, Miami county soon drew a generous share of the sturdy pioneers. They came from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia; from the Carolinas and Georgia and among the early settlers was a general sprinkling of Yankees. There was a pronounced Scotch-Irish strain in this vanguard of civilization, especially in the contingent from the Carolinas.

The land was heavily wooded with a touch of prairie appearing here and there. The sound of a woodsman's ax resounded throughout the valley and log cabins began to appear as if by magic. The valley soon became dotted with these primitive dweilings of the pioneers and the great tide of settlement had begun.

As the settlers gathered into communities and established definite settlements, the necessity for gristmills and sawmills became apparent. This was the next step in the march of progress, and by 1807 there were six mills in operation in this county, as follows: Mordecai Mendenball's on Honey creek; Henry Gerard's on Spring creek; John Freeman's and John Manning's on the Miami river; Moses Coate's on Ludlow creek; Mast's, Weddle's and Empire's on Stillwater.

A great deal of trading at this early time was in the nature of exchange. Money was rarely seen at that time and values were largely standardized on a trading basis. Periodical trips were made to Cincinnati which was generally a community affair. A tr ip of this kind was an event of great importance, goods needed at the settlement were listed, the wagon was provisioned and articles that might be traded, such as were produced at that time, were sent to Cincinnati on these trips to be traded for the necessities of the settlements.

Up to and including the year of 1807, we find the following settlers of Miami county living here at that time: On the east side of the river, south, were Samuel Morrison; David H. Morris; William and Mordecai Mendenhall; Robert Crawford; John H. and Cunningham Crawford; William Ellis; Benjamin Lee; Daniel Agnebrood; Christian and Daniel Lefevre; John Andrew; Step hen, Benjamin, William and Andrew Dye, jr.; John, Christian and Benjamin Knoop; Cornelius Westfall; Fielding Lowry; Thomas Sayres; Peter Felix; John Gerard; Simon Laudry; Uriah Blue; Barnabus and James Blue; Jonathan Rollins; Shadrach Hudson; John, Samuel and Lewis Winans; Abner, Henry and Nathaniel Gerard; Richard Winnans; John Orbison; Joseph, Charles and Samuel Hillard; Benjamin Hamlet; William Knight; John and Joseph Webb; David and John Knight; Richard Palmer; John Wallace; William Brown; Joseph Coe; Stephen Winnans; Abraham Hathaway; William Carter; Bennett Langley; Caleb Hathaway; William and James 1. McKinney; John and Jacob Mann; Lewis and Obadiah Winters; Philip Sailor; George Williams; Jacob Sailor; Chris Prillman; John Batterall; Peter H armon, John Flyn; James McCampbell; Ralph French; Samuel James andi Louis DeWeese.

On the west side of the Miami, to the north we have John Johnston, who was Indian agent; Frank and James Johnston; Benjamin Leavel; Hugh Scott; Mr. Hendershot; Armstrong Brandon; John and Enos Manning; Alexander Ewing; Joseph McCool; Mathew Caldwell; the Statler family; the Beedles; James Brown; William Mitchell; Alexander McCullough; Robert Mackey; William Barbee, sr., father of Judge Barbee; James Orr; Reuben Shackelford; Aaron Tullis and his sons, John, Aaron, William, David, Joel, John T. and Stephen; Henry and Peter Kerns; Samuel Kyle; Thomas and Samuel Kyle, jr.; William Adams, Abraham Thomas; Robert McGimsey; William, Adam and Samuel Thomas; William Gahagan; John Peck; John Orbison; James Knight; Jesse Gerard; George Kerr; James Yourt; George F. Tennery; Joseph Layton; Frederic Yourt; Jesse Jenkins; Andrew Thomson; Amos and David Jenkins, and David Jenkins, Esq.; Samuel Freeman and his sons, Samuel Daniel, John, Noah and Shylock; Samuel and Enoch Pearson; Peter Oliver and his sons, William and Thomas; Arthur Stewart; Andrew Wallace; James Yourt; William Brown; Thomas Williams; Joseph Fumas; Joseph Evans; John Mote; Jonathan Mote; Benjamin Pearson; Robert and Joseph McCool; William, Thomas and John Coppock; Samuel, Jesse, John and Moses Coates; Thomas Hill and his sons Nathan and John; Michael and George Williams; William Long; Robert Leavel; Samuel Jones; Jacob Ember; Jonathan Mills; David Patty; Abiather Davis; Caleb Neal; John Mart; James Nayton; Samu el Davis; Jonathan Jones; Samuel Teague; Samuel Peirce, and Robert McConnell.

In 1868 we find the following living, enumerated above: Christian Lefevre, Eliza Webb, John Webb, John T. Tullis, Samuel Thomas, Robert McCool, Samuel Coates, David Patty, Samuel Davis, Jonathan Jones, and Robert McConnell.

Boundaries of Miami County.
Hamilton county and Montgomery county, Ohio, having been designated and organized the County of Miami was laid off with the following description:

"All that part of Montgomery county be and the same is hereby laid off and erected, into a separate and distinct county, which shall be called and known by the name of Miami, to-wit: Beginning at the southwest corner of Champaign county and southeast corner of Section 1, Township 2, and Range 9; thence west with the line between Ranges 9 and 10 to the Great Miami river, crossing the same in such directions as to take the line on the bank of the said river, between Townships 3 and 4, in Range 6, west of the said river; thence west with the said line to the state line; thence north with the same to the Indian boundary line; thence east with the same to the Champaign county line, thence south with the said county line to the place of beginning.

"From and after the first day of April, 1807, said county of Miami shall be vested with all the powers, privileges and immunities of a separate and distinct county. January 7th, 1812, all that part of the county of Montgomery lying north of the county of Miami shall be, and the same is hereby, attached to the said county of Miami; and all that part lying north of the county of Darke shall be, and the same is hereby, attached to the said county of Darke."

January 3, 1809. So much of the county of Miami as lies west of the middle of the fourth Range of Townships; east of the meridian drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami, be and the same is hereby erected into the county of Darke. January 7, 1819, a part of Miami was taken in the formation of Shelby, which left it as it is now.

County Seat.
A seat of justice was first established at Staunton, in the house of Peter Felix, a French trader and the first session of court was held at this place, June 23rd, 1807. Two commissions were produced, signed by Edward Tiffin, Esq., Governor of the state of Ohio, sealed with the great seal of the state of Ohio and countersigned by the Secretary of the State. The one bearing date the fourth day of February, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven (1807) appointing John Gerard an associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the county of Miami; and the other, appointing John Crawford Associate judge as aforesaid and bearing date the fifth day of February One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven (1807). Whereupon the said John Gerard and John H. Crawford took the oath to support the constitution of the United States and the state of Ohio and also the oath of office, and constituted a Court.

"The Court proceeded to prepare notifications to be set up in public places in the county for the election of a sheriff and a coroner and three county commissioners and signed the same.

"Ordered, that the electors of this county meet on Friday, the third day of July next, in Elizabeth Township, at the house of Peter Felix, in Staunton, and the electors of Randolph Township at the house of Mr. Joseph Evans in the town of Milton, for the purpose of electing a sheriff, coroner and three county commissioners.

"Ordered, that the listers of each Township be notified to proceed to take the list of the practicable property in their respective townships, also to take in the enumeration of the white male inhabitants above 21 years of age.

"Adjourned until Tuesday, the fourteenth day of July, at this house, and appoint a clerk, pro tempore to our courts."

At a court held at Staunton on Thursday, the 14th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1807.

Present, the Honorable Francis Dunlevy, Esq., president of our courts, and John Gerard, and John H. Crawford, Esqs., associate judges. Cornelius Westfall was appointed clerk pro tempore of the Court of Common Pleas for Miami county, whereupon judge Dunlevy administered the oath to support the constitution of the United States and of the State of Ohio and also the oath of office prescribed by law.

A certificate was produced in the court, certifying that Thomas Kyle was a regularly ordained minister of the Gospel, and on application, license was granted to the said Thomas B. Kyle to solemnize marriage according to law.

The State of Ohio, Miami County, Common Pleas, September term, 1807.

Before the Honorable Francis Dunlevy, Esq., president, John Gerard, Thomas H. Crawford, associate judges; Cornelius Westfall, clerk, pro tem.; Stephen Dye, sheriff; Arthur St. Clair, Esq., prosecutor for the state. Grand jurors impaneled and sworn to-wit: James Blue, foreman of the jury; James L. McKinney; Henry Orbison; Joseph McKorkle; Henry Robinson; Daniel Knoop; Theodore Sanders; Michael Blue; John Huston; William Miller; Andrew Dye, jr.; Matthew Caldwell; John Wallace; John Jenkins; James Youart, and Isaac Holt, constable.

Common Pleas, May Term, 1808. The state of Ohio, Miami county, ss:

Before the Honorable Francis Dunlevy, Esq., president; John Gerard, John J. Crawford, and William Barbee, Esqs., associate judges. Present Cornelius Westfall, clerk; Stephen Dye, Esq., sheriff; Isaac G. Burnett, Esq., prosecutor for the state. Grand jurors impaneled and sworn, to-wit: Arthur Stewart, foreman; James Marshall; William Ellis; Charles Hillard; Alexander Ewing; Joseph Beedle; Robert Mackey; Jesse Gerard; Albia Martin; Joseph Case; Samuel Freeman; Jacob Kinser; John Manning; Patrick Lafferty; Abraham Hathaway; John Smith, constable.

The grand jurors, after receiving their charge, went out of court, and after some time, returned back to court, and made presentments as follows, viz.:

We present George Overpeck for an assault and battery, and Alanson Shaw for assault and battery. And then the grand jurors having nothing further to present were discharged.

June 6, 1868. Present, John Gerard and William Parker, Esqs., associate judges; Cornelius Westfall, clerk. The commissioners for the county of Miami, made application for the appointment of a commissioner, in the place of Joseph McCorkle, resigned, who was one of said board. Arthur Stewart is duly appointed to fill said vacancy.

Common Pleas, September term, 1808. The state of Ohio, Miami county, ss:

Before the Honorable Francis Dunlevy, Esq., president; John Gerard, John H. Crawford; William Barbee, Esq., sheriff; Isaac G. Burnett, Esq., prosecutor for the state. Grand jurors impaneled and sworn, to-wit: David H. Morris, foreman; Reuben Shackelford; Bennet B. Langley; Joseph B. Robinson; Thomas W. Furnas; Moses Coate; Andrew Dye, Sr.; Isaac Embree; John Knoop; Michael Fair; Benjamin Knoop; Thomas Coppock; Joseph Evans Shadrach Hudson and Levi Martin.

September term, 1808, September 17. It is ordered by the court, and is hereby understood, that Lots No. 34, 135, 145 and 146 are appropriated for the purpose of building a schoolhouse and academy, for public utility, on said lot.

Session of the associate judges. The State of Ohio, Miami county, ss.:

Sessions of November, Anno Domini, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight (1808). Be it remembered that on the fifth day of November, being the next judicial day after our Court of Common Pleas, at the house of Benjamin Overfield, in Troy. Before John Gerard, John H. Crawford. and William Barbee, Esqs., associate judges. Present Cornelius Westfall, clerk.

It was not until the September following the formation of the county that the commission appointed to define the seat of justice made their report. This report, signed by Jesse Newport, Daniel Wilson and Joseph Lamb, fixed upon a fraction of section 21, and the northeast corner of section 29, township 5, range 6, east of the Meridian line drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami river.

The site selected embraced a tract somewhat in excess of one hundred and twenty acres, forty of which was owned by Aaron Tullis, who deeded this to Cornelius Westfall on the 31st day of July, 1813, for $120.30. On the same day William Barbee and Alexander McCullough deeded to the town director the east part in section 28 for $421.50.

The second place of holding court in this county was in the home or tavern of Benjamin Overfield at Troy. This was situated at the corner of Water and Mulberry streets. The structure was built of hewn logs, with two stories, the lower floor being used for the tavern bar and the upper floor for the court. ln 1815 a new court house was started in the public square, but was not finished for a number of years, and as the population steadily increased it was realized that another of larger proportions was needed. This was brought about and it was located on lot 42, now occupied by the post office, and it served from 1845 until the present structure was finished in 1885.

Court House War
When the site was originally selected as the site for, the county seat., there was keen disappointment, not only among the people of Staunton, who claimed priority, but Piqua also advanced many reasons why the county seat should be located at that place. The final selection of Troy marked the beginning of the so-called court house war between Troy and Piqua.

When the court house was erected in 1845, being the second one owned by the county, Piqua again advanced its claims for the erection of that court house in Piqua; but these claims were again denied and the new court house was erected in Troy. This intermittent warfare over the county seat lasted more than seventy-five years. The rivalry was very hostile at times and the controversy engendered a very bitter feeling between the two groups of citizens.

When the erection of the present court house was proposed the old time feud was again awakened. Delegations from both places visited the State capital in 1884 to present their claims to the State legislature. After a prolonged struggle between the two delegations and much wire pulling by both sides, in which it was proposed (in advance of the times) to take a referendum vote, the legislature decided the matter by the act of April 10, 1884 (81st O. L. 425), enacting a law which finally resulted in the building of the new court house at Troy.

That the court house question was the only source of hostility between the two towns and their people is attested by the feeling subsequent to the settlement of this question. From a state of bitter hostility the two communities developed a cordial friendship and unreserved co-operation, leaving no traces of their rivalry and its former bitterness.

Early Transportation
in Miami County. Probably one of the first public transportation services rendered in this county was that of the early ferry operated at Troy. As this town developed the need became imperative for some method of crossing the river - a matter of daily importance. A ferry was established between Market street and the opposite shore and tolls charged were as follows: Foot passengers, 6 1/4 cents; man and horse, 12 cents; loaded wagon and team, 75 cents; empty wagon, 50 cents. An attempt was made to ferry the boat by means of a rope and pulley, but this proved abortive after several pronounced failures. First River Transportation. In the spring of 1819, river transportation was inaugurated under the auspices of Fielding Loury. Three boats were put into service on the river, the first under command of Captain Gahagan; the second under Captain Hunter and the third under Captain Hamlet. The boat manned by Captain Gahagan was rammed by that under Captain Hunter, and the former boat sank with all of its cargo. After strenuous efforts lasting three days it was raised and put into service. About the middle of July the boats were again launched and cargoed for their maiden voyage.

Mrs. Loury, wife of Fielding Loury, with her two daughters, embarked on one of the boats for an intended visit to her parents at St. Francisville. While on the Mississippi Mrs. Loury became ill and died. They buried her on the banks of the Mississippi, and her husband, who arrived at St. Francisville the following December, learned of this tragedy for the first time. On his return north, he brought the remains home for burial. The venture was a financial failure and completely ruined its promoter, Mr. Loury.

The Miami Canal
The tentative plans for the rehabilitation of canal traffic at this time (1920), evokes an interest in the history of the old Miami canal. The service rendered by this waterway was a tremendous one; indeed, no little of the present greatness of the Miami valley is due to this early outlet of commerce. The service rendered to the early inhabitants, their industries and institutions, was comparatively as great to them as that rendered today by the locomotive, electric and auto transportation. It was no less great because of its comparative slowness. It filled the needs of its time, and, as a single factor, contributed more to the development of this region than any other of its time.

The revival of waterway transportation is a matter of serious discussion at this time and one that will be a reality no doubt in the very near future. On the 14th.of December, 1818, the subject of internal improvements by canals was first called to the notice of the state legislature by Governor Brown in his inaugural address. On January 14, 1820, the house of representatives responded to this recommendation, calling for information as to the practicability of a waterway connecting the Ohio river and the Great Lakes.

January 31, 1822, an act was passed authorizing an examination of this subject. Benjamin Tappan, Alfred Kelley, Thomas Worthington, Ethan A. Brown, Jeremiah Morrow, Isaac Minor and Ebenezer Buckingham were appointed commissioners and these later reported favorably on the project. In January, 1824, Messrs. Williams and Kelley were appointed to direct examinations and survey. February 25, 1824, Nathaniel Beasley was appointed canal commissioner. At this time an act passed both branches of the legislature, authorizing the procuring of funds for the purpose of constructing the canal. Robert Young was a member of the senate from Miami county at this session and John McCorkle of this county was a member of the house of representatives.

A permanent board of canal commissioners was organized. One of its first acts was to invite Governor DeWitt Clinton, of New York, "Builder of the Erie Canal," as a guest to attend the commencement of operation. Work was begun July 4, 1826, near Newark, Licking county, Governors Clinton and Morrow turning a spade full of earth each, the same ceremony being shortly repeated at Middletown. The canal was finished from Cincinnati to Dayton and the first boats arrived at the latter place January 25, 1829. The boats were named as follows: The Governor Brown, The Farrer, The General Marion and The General Pike. It is needless to say that there was great rejoicing at the terminals on the arrival of these boats.

Colonel John Johnston was untiring in his efforts to extend the canal north; as a citizen of Miami county he was very anxious to extend the benefits of the canal to this community. Being one of the canal commissioners, his influence was of great importance in its final accomplishment. That the canal was extended in this direction is largely a personal achievement of Colonel Johnston.

On February 3, 1830, a bill passed the senate authorizing a survey from Dayton to the Auglaize river, stipulating the costs of a survey at $1,506, the most practicable route to be selected. Largely due to Colonel Johnston's efforts, the canal was routed through Troy, Piqua, etc. On October 22, 1832, public sale of canal lands took place at the Piqua land office, Thomas B. Van Horn acting as register and Joseph Young as receiver.

Local contractors secured a great share in this extension, among them being Brownell and Sumner, J. G. and A. C. Furrow, William Johnston and others. Samuel Davis built the locks at Lockington and A. G. Conover was a civil engineer on this work. William J. Jackson was one of the chief engineers. The work on this division was completed and the water turned in at the state dam June 30, 1837. The "Emigrant" was launched the next day with a "passenger list" of "seventy souls" and thus was initiated the first water traffic through Miami county.

July 4, 1837, one of the greatest celebrations Piqua has ever held was in honor of the opening of the Miami canal for traffic. There were processions and orations and general festivities. Colonel John Johnston addressed the meeting and a grand ball was held at Tamplin's hotel in the eveming. Many toasts were given and responded to. Among those speaking on this occasion were Colonel Johnston, General Robert Young, General Robert Lucas and General William Henry Harrison. On this occasion there was a delegation of fifty or more citizens from Troy, who attended the Piqua functions in a body.

This canal served the people of Miami county for many, many years. Its usefulness justified its construction beyond the expectations of its early sponsors. With the advent of the railroads and the quicker methods of transportation, canal traffic gradually dwindled and eventually was abandoned entirely.

County Schools

The first school in Miami county was organized in 1813 at what is now the corner of Market and Water streets, Troy. At that time there was not even a township organization. There were only fifteen children in this first school, which was considered a very good enrollment at that time, and the first teacher was Samuel Kyle. He was succeeded by John G. Clark. Somewhat later "The Academy" was built, a little brick school house on the present site of the Edwards building. The records of these very early schools are unreliable, but it is definitely known that Micajah Fairfield, who later started the Miami Reporter, taught for several years in the academy and was followed by Thomas Barrett, afterwards county judge, and by John Pettit, who took charge in 1831.

The educational development of Miami county since that period is even more remarkable than its commercial growth. From the poorest log-cabin school house and its untrained instructor, to the splendid well-equipped institution of today, with its corps of specialists, is the growth of one hundred years of constant effort. The following summary is a review of Miami county schools under county supervision. The schools of Piqua, Troy and other towns will be set forth more fully in the chapters devoted to these places.

Supervision. Miami county is especially proud of its system of district and local supervision of schools. There are four large districts and five of the smaller or "4,740" districts. Only one of the large districts has an excessive number of teachers , namely, fifty-one; the other three have from thirty-one to thirty- five teachers each. As a result of this division of supervision among a number of men, the schools are closely supervised in practically every case. It has been possible to get genuinely solid results even in the one room rural schools. In this class of schools a special effort has been made to improve methods of teaching in the lower grades with special emphasis placed on reading. As a result, the wasteful and almost worthless methods which formerly prevailed in this subject have practically disappeared from the county and have been replaced by modern methods applied daily. This change in reading methods, affecting the rural schools chiefly but also some of the villages, has un doubtedly been the greatest specific benefit derived from the close cooperative supervision. Commensurable improvement has also been made during the past four or five years in the teaching of spelling and elementary arithmetic as proven by the repeated use of Ayres and Courtis tests.

Normal Training. County Normal school was established at West Milton in September, 1914, and has proven a very successful and helpful institution. It has had an average enrollment of about twenty each year, with the average number of graduates slightly less. The method used to keep up the normal school enrollment has been personal solicitation by the county superintendent among the senior classes of the various high schools. It is a good deal more economical in the long run to train teachers in,a normal school than it is to supervise those already into service into being good teachers, although the latter can be done. The percentage of teachers who have had normal training depends not only upon the presence of a county normal school, but upon the willingness or ability of boards of education to pay enough money to attract teachers with training. By a constant campaign of education, the village and rural boards have been led to see that it is much better to employ a teacher with adequate normal training than to take chances on an "inexperienced" applicant. Nearly all of the boards of the county pay a higher wage to the teacher with one year normal training than to a teacher with less training, except in a case of those teachers who have had a number of years' experience and who have proven successful. Boards of education are usually quite willing to spend money to the limit for the best grade of teachers, once they are convinced that there are marked differences in the kinds of teachers to be had. As a result of the constant application of this policy, eighty teachers or fifty-three per cent of the elementary teachers in the village and rural schools of Miami county have had one year or more normal training of a recognized sort. About fifty of this number are graduates of the Miami County Normal School, while the remainder came from normal schools in other counties or from the State normals. A few of the graduates of the Miami County Normal School are teaching in other counties.

The text books used in the elementary schools are uniform throughout the entire county district, excepting the fact that two systems of primary reading are in use the Aldins being used in the towns and the New Education being used in the rural schools.

High School. The standard of teaching in the high schools is high. All high schools, except one, are first grade and the exception is planning to reach first rank in another year. The large high schools offer very liberal courses, giving many opportunities for elective studies. There are four teachers under the Smith-Hughes law, two ladies and two men. Each of these come in contact with a large number of rural pupils. A special effort has been made to make the enrollment of the high school classes as large as is reasonable in every community. Teaching of agriculture and domestic science has been stimulated not only in the high schools, but in the grades by the organization of boys and girls clubs in connection with the State University Extension Service.

Centralization. The first successful vote for centralization in this county was taken in Elizabeth township in December, 1914. There are at present three centralized schools in operation, each of them maintaining first grade high schools. During the past year four more townships have voted to centralize, all of them by a good majority, two of the majorities running as high as seventy-seven per, cent. Three of these new schools are maintaining high schools. The fourth lying near Troy will continue to use Troy High School for secondary education, but will build a fine building for the eight grades. Centralization is proving to be all that is claimed for it. There has been a very marked increase of interest in school affairs as the first big result. The work of the teachers has proven much more efficient, which is shown by the fact that the centralized schools graduate about sixty-five per cent more, pupils per capita from the eighth grade than do the one-room schools. One of the three centralized schools in operation deserves special mention, as it is said to be the largest and best equipped rural school in Ohio.

Bethel township, Miami county school. The township lies in the southeastern part of Miami county between Tipp City and New Carlisle. It contains some of the best improved farm land to be found anywhere and is also the home of numerous fruit tree nurseri es. This abundant wealth has made it possible to erect a magnificent school building at a cost of approximately $160,000 at contract prices before the United States entered the war. The building is constructed of a beautiful pressed brick, with terrazz a floors in all the corridors. The front entry way is especially beautiful.

The portico is supported by gray sand stone columns. The broad stairway, just within the entry, is made of marble. Indirect lighting system is used in all the rooms. There are eight grade rooms, six of them being on the first floor. The high school occupies all of the second floor except the rooms used by the seventh and eighth grades. The study hall is a beautiful room, seating eighty pupils. The high school recitation rooms are of different sizes and each is well adapted to its purpose. There are separate laboratories for both physics and chemistry with demonstrating and recitation room lying between the laboratories. In the basement is the agriculture laboratory, manual training shops offering both bench work and forge work and the household art rooms. These last include kitchen, pantry and sewing room. All laboratories are fully equipped in every detail. A pressure system supplies gas so that Bunsen burners may be used. The water system is adequate for all purposes throughout the building, including the laboratories. Both the domestic science and agriculture laboratories are presided over by Smith-Hughes teachers and each laboratory is fully equipped to meet the requirements of the State Board of Education in these particulars. The pupils' seats throughout the building are Moultrap chairs. The building contains two pianos and is in every respect well furnished. The library room is especially beautiful and is well lighted both day and night. It contains a collection of books much larger than is usually found in a public school building. It is card-catalogued and is under the charge of one of the teachers during several periods of the day. A number of magazines are taken and the reading room is proving very popular.

The building contains an auditorium and gymnasium, each of which is large and well arranged. The auditorium has a seating capacity of over five hundred. The stage is ample for all purposes. Located at the rear of the auditorium is a fire-proof booth for a motion picture machine, which will probably be installed in the near future. The gymnasium is thought to be the largest floor found in any school building in the county. Ample provision has been made not only for players, but spectators, as double galleries have been arranged on three sides. The floor is well finished. In connection with the gymnasium are ample shower baths. The grounds consist of a ten-acre tract which is beautifully situated. There is ample space for play, agriculture experimentation and community meetings. The latter will be held in a four-acre grove which covers a part of the school property. The whole plant has been arranged and planned with idea of being used as an educational and social center in all seasons of the year both day and night. It is said to be as near ideal as any rural school plant in ecistence.

The school conducted in this magnificent plant is worthy of its quarters, from janitor to superintendent. Every employee in the building is especially adapted to the position which he or she fills. A fine corps of teachers is the result of the desire of the Board of Education to have the best and a willingness to pay the price to get it. The people of Bethel Township deserve a great deal of credit for the wonderful financial and moral suppore which they have given to the cause of education and community welfare. A school so unusual is naturally receiving a great many visitors, and visitors are always welcome.

Splendid Junior Red Cross work was done by the pupils and teachers of the county schools during the war, an account of which may be found in this volume under the head of "Miami County in Red Cross Work." Mr. L. J. Bennett, who has been county superintendent since 1914, is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, where he earned the degrees A. B. and A. M. He later studied at Columbia University, where he took the master's degree. Before occupying his present position, he was superintendent of schools in Covington, Ohio.

Early Banking

The old State banks have outgrown their usefulness, a new era of banking was ushered in with the advent of our National and State chartered banks and savings institutions. Prior to the old State banks, currency was as fluctuating as a "grain exchange" when the "bulls and bears" are at death grip. Part of the wisdom of the early merchants consisted in being informed on the latest value of currency.

All this uncertainty of the "wild cat" banking days retarded the stability of business in general and it was not until the institution of sound banking laws that the country began to stride forward commercially.

Bank failures during early days seems to have been a pastime and the currency issued was as questionable as the beautifully engraved "wild cat" oil stock is today, in fact, the security behind the banks of that time was frequently less than the real assets of the worst oil fakes of today. The State banks remedied the situation to a great extent. The gradual evolution of the new banking system, which has, with many improvements, continued to this time, solved the currency question and methods of exchange for all time to come.

Among the early banks to be established in Miami county was the Piqua National bank, established in 1847. First organized as the Piqua branch of the State Bank of Ohio, the First National of Troy was established in 1863 as successor to the Miami county branch of the State bank, founded in 1847.

In 1871 the Miami County bank was established, later becoming the Troy National bank. A more detailed history of banks and banking in Miami county will be found in the sketches of Troy, Piqua and other towns.

Miami County Journalism. Prior to 1820 there was no means of news dissemination in Miami county. Communication was indeed slow; newspapers from other parts reached the community many days after publication. Very little news of general interest was received at the settlement as most of the papers received confined their general news to Congressional doings. Indeed, almost all news of interest was passed along by word of mouth. Every stranger was a source of news supply and generally regaled his hearers with the happenings along his journey, what he heard and what he saw, etc. Oftentimes a gullible public was feasted on strange and impossible yarns by these early "news" vendors. However, new arrivals, traders and wayfarers were called upon to furnish the latest news, thus serving the needs of the community until the advent of the newspaper. About 1820 the first newspaper was established in Miami county, William R. Barrington, from Philadelphia, establishing "The Piqua Gazette." A more detailed story of the development of newspapers in Miami county will be found in the sketch of Piqua and Troy.


Possibly in no other profession has so complete a change in method been made as in medicine in the last hundred years. In the last five years, under the impelling demands of the war, inventions that seem almost to revolutionize surgery have been made, and the efficiency of the entire profession has increased in leaps and bounds. Not only have scientists been able to provide curatives for disease, artificial limbs to replace shattered legs and arms, but have, by means of antitoxins and vaccinations, prevented the spread of malignant diseases that otherwise would have caused infinite numbers of deaths. When the first men came to Miami county the only resources to medical aid was the overworked country "doctor" who, mounted on horseback with his saddle bags hanging on either side, rode over almost impassable roads to the aid of the isolated sufferers. No more heroic figure can be painted than the pioneer doctor, for early and late, day and night, in fair weather and foul, he traveled weary miles in the interest of humanity. As good as were his intentions, however, methods at that time were so primitive that many a person got well in spite of the doctor's aid rather than because of it. Of course, everyone is familiar with the bleeding process, that was supposed to be the panacea for all ills, which probably cost the life of as many persons as it saved. Anesthetics were unknown and the crude surgery of the day must have caused untold pain and suffering. Germs were as yet undiscovered and the necessity of segregation of patients suffering from contagious diseases was not realized. Epidemics of typhoid and small pox sometimes would leave a community almost depopulated, for in spite of all their care, ignorance of natural laws caused a tragic spread of the disease.

One of the earliest physicians in Miami county was Dr. Henry Chapeze, who came to Ohio in 1814 from his former home in Kentucky. He built a brick office on the corner of Wayne and Water streets in Piqua. In 1820 Dr. John O'Ferrall joined him and they worked hard to take care of the sick in the community. Other doctors in the early history of Piqua are: Drs. Jackson, Teller, Jorden, Hendershott and Worrall.

Of the Troy physicians, none stands out so prominently in the early days as Dr. Asa Coleman, who was born in Glastonbury, Conn. In 1811 he came out to Troy where he became identified with church and civic affairs and was known as a valuable citizen apart from his renown as a doctor. He enlisted in the War of 1812 and was made a lieutenant-colonel in 1818. At one time he was representative from Miami county and also an associate judge. He died in 1870. In 1850 his son, Dr. Horace Coleman, opened an office in Troy, but later became examining surgeon in the United States Pension Office in Washington. Other doctors of past fame are Dr. Alfred Potter of Casstown, Dr. G. Volney Dorsey of Piqua, Dr. William Patty of Newton township, Dr. Isaac S. Meeks of Lost Creek township, Dr. De Joncourt, Drs. Abbott, Telford and Sabin of Troy.

The Miami County Medical Society

The Miami County Medical Society, which was organized some fifteen years ago, enrolls most of the doctors of Miami county. At the regular meeting, December 5th, at the Piqua club, the following officers were elected: President, L. A. Pearson; vice-president, R. O. Spencer; secretary-treasurer, J. F. Beachler; State delegate, J. E. Murray. The members enrolled at present are: Drs. A.J. Bausman, S. N. Bausman, J. N. Baker, J. Barker, W. Coleman, J. R. Caywood, Van S. Deaton, E. B. Davis, A. B. Frame, S. D. Hartman, G. Carrie, H. W. Kendall, B. J. Kendall, Ada L. Malick, J. E. Murray, R. M. O'Ferrall, H. Pearson, W. R. Thompson, T. M. Wright, I. C. Kiser, H. E. Shilling, L. A. Ruhl, J. Eichelberg, C. W. Bausman, C. A. Hartley, C. R. Coate, J. Prince, G. C. Ullery, M. Brubaker, F. Keener, C. E. Hetherington, J. F. Beachler, Chas. Baker, I. Trout, 0. Stultman, P. L. Snorf, J. Funderberg.

Miami county has reason to be proud of the response made by its physicians during the war. When the urgent call for doctors came many offered immediately and although all who volunteered were not called, the following were chosen for service: F. W. Thomas, E. M. Clark, M. R. Haley, Robert Kunkle and E. A. Yates from Piqua; L. N. Lindenburg, J. S. Shinn from Troy; Judson Teeter from Pleasant Hill, and J. H. Warvel of Bradford.

Miami County Dental Association

Miami County Dental Association. The Miami County Dental society is included in the Western Ohio Dental society as a part of the Ohio Dental association. The Western Ohio division includes Miami, Darke and Shelby counties. This branch of the State organization was formed in 1914, and Piqua was the place of meeting designated for future meetings-unless otherwise decreed by vote. Besides the executive officers, the constitution required the election of one vice-president from each of the counties represented. The present officers are Dr. A. A. Davis of Troy, president; Dr. F. A. McCullough of Troy, secretary and treasurer. The vice-presidents are Dr. J. J. Little, Darke county; Dr. V. W. Bedford, Shelby county; Dr. E. G. Eddy, Miami county.

Miami County Bar Association

Miami County Bar Association. A number of years ago a bar association was formed in Miami county. This, however, ceased to be active, and for many years lay dormant. It was not until 1914 that an active organization of the bar of Miami county was effected. At that time G. T. Thomas of Troy was elected president and F. C. Goodrich was elected secretary.

On April, 11, 1901, a banquet was held by the bar association in Piqua that will long linger in the memories of those present. The toastmaster on this occasion was A. F. Broomhall of Troy. The responses were made as follows: Early Bench and Bar, Major Stephen Johnston, Hon. H. M. Jones and Hon. J. F. McKinney; The Early Troy Bar, Hon. J. W. Morris; Early Prosecuting Attorneys, Judge H. H.,Williams; Probate judges of Miami County, Judge W. C. Johnston; Miami County Lawyers as Legislators, Hon. T. B. Kyle; Lawyers in journalism, Capt. E. S. Williams.

In his response, the venerable M. H. Jones, dean of the Miami county bar, recalled his early life as a lawyer and reviewed the early bench and bar of Miami county and famous trials of that period. Mr. Jones recalled that he was admitted to the bar on May 11, 1848, page 512 by the old supreme court at Cincinnati and was examined by a committee composed of judge Salmon P. Chase, Judge Timothy Walker, author of "American Law," and Judge Coffin. "After this examination," Mr. Jones continued, "buying a few law books, I took passage on the canal packet under command of Capt. W. J. Downs of Piqua, where I arrived without a dollar in my pocket. There were then practicing in Piqua Col. James H. Hart, Samuel S. McKinney and Gordon N. Mott. Two or three years later came Mal. S. Johnston, J. F. McKinney and James T. Janiver. In Troy there were active in practice then, Daniel Grosvenor, George D. Burgess, Ebenezer Parsons, William I. Thomas, Harvey G. Sellers, Charles Morris, George H. Aylesworth and Henry B. Smeltzer.

Mr. Jones recalled many amusing anecdotes of early practice and described the characteristics of many of the figures of the bench and bar of early days.

"Our supreme court at that time," said Mr. Jones, "was composed of five judges who traveled to every county in the state annually, two being a quorum, and generally traveling together in a buggy. On one occasion the court came to Troy in their buggy in the evening, went to the court house and got the papers in all the cases from the clerk, read them and considered them in their room at the hotel that night, decided them, putting a slip in each package announcing their decision, took them back to the clerk before breakfast next morning, called his attention to their decision, and told the clerk to tell the lawyers when they came in, and after an early breakfast - started in their buggy to 'hold court' in the next county. You can imagine the pious ejaculations of the lawyers when they came into court to try their cases."

The above anecdote and many others were recited by Mr. Jones amid the hearty laughter of all those present on this occasion. The evening was enlivened by the speakers who covered the entire range of practice, in all its pathos and humor. Tribute was paid to the departed members, Hon. J. F. McKinney and John W. Morris.

This banquet will long linger in the memories of those present. It marked a period when there were but few of the older lawyers living. Some of these have since passed away. The responses on this occasion were treasured as the personal reminiscences of those who may well be remembered as pioneers of the Miami county bar. The Miami County Bar association now embraces most of the lawyers of this county. It meets annually each January.

End Part 1
(Pages 495 - 512)
Memoirs Of The Miami Valley

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