Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History

Miami County Ohio

Chapter 7


Elizabeth Township is the only one in the county which retains the name originally given to the area, or a part of it, which was first embraced within the county limits. The western part of the county, known as Randolph Township, lost its name when it was broken up into townships. There is no record of settlements in Elizabeth Township prior to 1800, the settlers, seemingly not having penetrated that far eastward.

The states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia furnished some of the first white men who came to Elizabeth Township. These were Michael Shidaker, John and Jacob Mann, George Williams, John Flynn, John Gearhart, and the Cecils. They found the forests of Elizabeth unbroken by the work of the settler, and they at once set to work to flood the ground with sunshine and establish themselves on farms. It took a good deal of energy for these men to bring order out of chaos, but they were equal to the emergency. All day long their axes rang in the wildwood, and cabin homes began to appear in every direction. They were installing a little commonwealth of their own. John Shidaker, one of the first settlers, was a shred man. He purchased a whole section of land from the government and walked to Cincinnati to make the payments, carrying his gun on his shoulder. hearing that the Indians or some desperate white man might rob him, he carried his money in his gun. It is stated that he got through safely, completed his transaction and tramped back to his cabin home. Samuel Kyle was another of the early settlers of Elizabeth Township. He was a Pennsylvanian. He was one of the first pioneer preachers of the county, having joined the Christian Church with his parents. He organized the Cove Spring Church in a log schoolhouse that stood on or near the Kyle cemetery. He served as pastor of the church for many years, and at one time was a member of the state Legislature.

In 1813 Robert Sproul came from Ireland and settled near the Cove Spring Church-i. He was a pronounced Presbyterian. Jacob Harter, another of Elizabeth's pioneers, served in the War of 1812 and took part in the siege of. Fort Meigs and the battle of Perrysburg. Harter, while reared in Kentucky, was a native of Virginia. A number of the settlers of this township took part in the war. John Williams and-.d Jacob Mann both bore a captain's commission, and Philip Sailor, William Mitchell, William Shearer and John Shidaker were privates. It is narrated that all these men were fearless and faithful in the discharge of their duties and were a credit to the community which they represented.

For some time after the settling of the township the Pottawatomies gave the whites no little trouble. The Indians, committed no depredations, but they had the habit of lurking around the settlements, frightening the women and children and keeping them always in a state of alarm. The people of the township were greatly relieved when the last Indian took his departure and the frontier saw him no more. With the Indian were the wild animals. Wolves were plentiful in the township, even as late as 1820 and it required the utmost exertions of the settlers to exterminate them. Sheep, which had been early brought into the township, the first flock by the Knoops, were visited by wolves and numbers of them destroyed. The were the ferocious grey wolves and their predatory excursions in packs forced. the settlers to keep large dogs capable of doing battle with the invaders. More, than one desperate conflict took place between wolf and mastiff.

John W. Dye built the first mill in Elizabeth Township. It stood on Lost Creek near the stone house which stands on the John Lefevre farm. It was a wonder of the early days, as it was built in 1813. In order to accommodate the people, a road was built from the Dye mill to Troy, an innovation which was much appreciated., In 1823 Michael Carver put up the second grist-mill, and others followed, Distilleries, saw-mills, turning-lathes,, and other industries followed one another until Elizabeth Township became one of the most progressive of the east side divisions. For years good roads were unknown, but at last came the Troy and Springfield Pike, which runs through, the township from east to west, and other efforts in good road building became successful. Today the township is well supplied with good roads.

ALCONY. Having no incorporated town, Elizabeth Township is in this particular a little behind some of her neighbors. The village of Alcony, or Miami City, as it is sometimes called, is the only settlement within her area. Carr, Hart and Vandeveer laid it out in 1858, and Philip Dick erected the first house. The village has now a population of 200 and lies in a beautiful region. Some years ago a postoffice was established there and the people are now served daily by the rural route System. Alcony has a good church, good pavements, and her people are among the most progressive in the county. Elizabeth Township contains the Knoop Children's Home, an account of which will be given in another chapter. In this township are found numerous small cemeteries which mark the last resting place of many of the first settlers. It seems that in the early days families buried their dead on the farms instead of in a general graveyard, and this probably accounts for the many small God's acres. Not a few soldiers of the Revolution are buried in this township. These men, after serving in the Continental army, sought a home beyond the Alleghanies and were laid away among the growing settlements of the Miami country. It would require too much space to enumerate the full history of Elizabeth Township or to record the strides she has made since the coming of her first settlers. The township now has a population of 1,400 and can boast of one of the best country school systems ever devised. This is shown by the class of scholars turned out by the annual examinations.

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