from the 1909 History of Miami County Ohio
by Thomas Harbaugh

The first settlement in Brown Township was made in 1806 by John Kiser, who was a Virginian. At first he located in the vicinity of Dayton, but leaving his first habitation after a brief sojourn, he moved northward till he entered the forests of Brown Township, where he concluded to build his cabin. His industry enabled him to clear some ground, upon which he put his first crops, and in course of time became one of the foremost farmers of the county. Isaac Kiser, son of this first settler, was the first white child born in Brown Township, and he first saw the light where the village of Fletcher now stands. The Kisers were well calculated to become the first settlers of a county. They came of a hardy stock of people and were men whom no trials could balk and to them Brown Township today owes much of it's prosperity.

In 1807 John Simmons arrived from Pennsylvania and joined the little colony. He came with ten children to swell scanty population. He built the first double-roomed cabin in the township and for a long time the structure was an object of curiosity among the neighbors. What was more, a porch extended the length of this wonderful house and during the summer the Simmons family dined thereon. Simmons had real glass windows, and this excited the envy of the less fortunate neighbors. His squeaking doors had wooden hinges and wooden catches. These catches were raised from the outside by means of a string and when the family were ready to retire at night they pulled the string inside and considered themselves secure. Of course there was no patent on the Simmons "safety lock."

William Concannon is credited with being the third man who settled in Brown Township. He, too, was an emigrant from the land of Penn. Concannon came in 1807 as did John Adney. Alexander Oliver was added to the township's population in 1808, but he soon grew tired of the location and, being of a roving disposition, he sold out and moved farther west. Everything went well within the limits of the township till the killing of Gerard and the Dilbones not far off, by the Indians, threw the inhabitants into a state of fear. A block-house was built on the Kiser farm in 1812 and became a retreat in time of danger. But the township was not invaded by the enemy and the block-house finally was put to other uses.

In the year 1818 the Munsells were added to the population of Brown Township, then the Malloys came three years later. About the same time John Wolcott and Giles Johnson put up their cabins and Michael Sills exchanged his home in Champaign County for one in Brown Township. It was impossible at this late day to enumerate all those who entered this township at the dawn of its history. Many records of the first settlers have been lost and that, I regret to say, through utter carelessness. Among the first families to inhabit Brown Township were those of William Cox, Edmund Yates, Joseph Jackson, Frederick Gray, Major Manning, John D. Cory, Joseph Shanks, William Manson, John Wilson, William Walkup, David Newcomb, Thomas McClure, Benjamin Sims, and Joseph Rollins, all good men and worthy citizens. Nearly all these families came from the East. They crossed the Alleghanies, taking that well defined trail which led to the valley of the Miami and, pushing on, at length found a resting place in the county. Not one of them, it is said, ever repented his choice of a home.

In 1819 the township was formally organized. At that time it did not contain many inhabitants, but it was thought best to be "somebody in the world," as one of the organizers expresses it, so the township proceeded to elect officers as follows: Trustees-Alexander Oliver, William Walkup, and William Manson; clerk-Joseph Rollins; treasure- Levi Munsell; justice of the peace-John Wilson; supervisors-John Oliver and Daniel Newcomb; lister-Jacob Simmons; fence viewer-Benjamin Sims; house appraiser-Thomas McClure; overseers of the poor-John Simmons and Peter Kiser. This was quite an array of officials for a township, but - doubtless the exigencies of the occasion demanded it, though in later years some of the officers were lopped off and the business of the township delegated to fewer officials.

Brown Township soon became one of the most progressive of the six east of the Miami. Isolated somewhat from the early markets, it had a slow growth for a few years, but it at last overcame these difficulties, until now it is accessible to the best markets in the state. It has for years been favored with shipping facilities by the Pennsylvania lines, which now cross the township from east to west, tapping its two towns, Fletcher and Conover, and affording to the farmer a splendid outlet for his products.

Fletcher is the only incorporated town in Brown Township. John L. Malloy laid it out in 183O. The first store in the village was kept by Samuel Dougherty and a queer store it was. His shelves were laden with every species of merchandise required by his customers. It was a miscellaneous stock, from shoe pegs to liquors, and what Dougherty didn't sell could not be found in any store in the county. Samuel Crane soon appeared as a rival of Dougherty's, probably to prevent him from getting all the money there was in the neighborhood, and later an Isaac Dukemineer put up a brick store and Fletcher put on the airs of a metropolis. The village was named Fletcher in 1814. Today this pretty little village has a population of about 400 and is officered as follows: Mayor-R. E. Berryhill; clerk-W.0.Shreve; treasurer-I. C. Kiser; marshal-W. P.Kiser; council-Joel Carter, Bent Erhart, Daniel Kiser, Barna Ralston, James Gayhart, John Moore; board of education-W. L. Mumford, Joseph Coppock, W. R. Doub, James T. Hartley, Charles Morton.

Fletcher is the home of a progressive public school, several good church edifices, a town hall, and several fraternal societies. It also contains a grain elevator and its shipping facilities are of the best.

Conover is a small lying four miles east of Fletcher Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway. It was laid out in 1856 and was named for A.G.Conover, one of the surveyors of the county. It contains several stores, shops and a church, the latter of the Universalist order. Its entire population is perhaps 100 souls.

Lena, also in Brown Township, is situated a short distance north of Conover. It was founded in 1830 by Levi Robbins. The town was first called Elizabeth, but the name was afterward substituted for that of Lena, but the post office was called Allen's. It is not on the railroad. While it remains but a village, after the rather lengthy period of its existence, it is a bussy little place, containing several stores, good houses and a prosperous lodge of Free Masons. Brown Township is the banner Democratic township of the county and can always be relied upon to roll up a large majority for that party.

Return to Main Page

Copyright © 1998 by Computerized Heritage Association.
All Rights Reserved.