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History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

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Shortly afterward Matthew Young came from Pickaway
county, and in conjunction with Creviston, purchased a tract
of land northeast of Coletown, where the latter resided until
1825, when he moved to Washington township. James Rush
served as one of the first Associate Judges of the Common
Pleas Court for fourteen years, being chosen by the legisla-
ture in 1817 and again in 1824. He moved to Indiana about
1831, leaving a daughter, a Mrs. John Deardorff.

Henry Rush died in 1813, leaving a wadow, three sons and
one daughter. Mrs. Rush later married James Bryson, who
has several descendants now living in Darke county. Andrew
Rush was murdered by the Indians in 1812, as will be noted
elsewhere.

Linus Bascom settled north of Greenville about 1811
and he opened a trading station. After the murder of An-
drew Rush in the spring of 1812 he abandoned his store and
came to Greenville, where he opened a store on the northeast
corner of the public square, and became one of the prosper-
ous citizens. (See sketch of J. L. Bascom in Vol. II).

Probably the most notable addition to the new settlement
in 1811 was Abraham Scribner. a brother of Azor Scribner. the



DARKE COUNTY 151

pioneer merchant of the town. He was about thirty years
old at this time, almost deaf, and of a singular disposition.
In 1813 he enlisted in the war and later participated in the
battle of the Thames with Harrison. In 1814 he married
John Devor's daughter. About this time he entered some
prairie land near the mouth of Mud creek, erected a log house
on it, and brought his wife up from her home in ^lontgom-
ery county. In probably two years he traded his land to
John Compton, of Dayton, for a stock of goods, estimated to
be worth $1,600 at retail, and opened shop. He later built
a small building on the southwest corner of West Main and
and Elm streets, and still later purchased the brick build-
ing on lot Number 59. \\ ith the exception of a few
months' residence in Henry county, Indiana, he car-
ried on business in Greenville until his death in 1846 or 1847.
He was married three times and raised a large family includ-
ing several sons. Prominent mention is given to his name
as he was closely identified with the early life of Greenville,
being especially active in party politics as the autocrat of the
Democratic party for several years. Speaking nolitically,
"Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive."

^^'e are now at the threshold of the War of 1812. At this
time a stockade was erected at Greenville which was then a
small outpost well known for its previous connection with
the Wayne campaign from 1793 to 1796. It seems that four
blockhouses were erected to protect the budding settlement ;
one on the northern outskirts of the town, on the north side
of East Water street between \\'alnut street and the ravine,
formerly skirting the vv'est side of the old cemetery ; one to
the south near the present southeast corner of Wayne avenue
and Armstrong street; one on lot 59 West Main street (oppo-
site the Wayne memorial tablet) ; another probably on West
Water street just north of the intersection of Elm street, on
the east side of the old ravine overlooking the old fording
place. It was garrisoned first by a few men under Captain
Wolverton and Lieutenant Fish, the soldiers being mostly
from the neighboring counties of Miami, Montgomery,
Greene. Warren. Butler and Preble, together with some who
were prospective settlers. Later, Mayor Geo. Adams took
command.

"Among these soldiers can be enumerated John and Sam-
uel Loring, James Cloyd, David and Peter Studabaker
(brothers of Abraham and John Studabaker, alreadv men-



152 DARKE COUNTY

tionedj, Jacob Aliller (who for many years was known by
the cognomen of 'Proaps'), Joseph Gass, Asa Spencer, Thom-
as Briggs, David Riffle, Hezekiah and Lewis Phillips, and
John Ellis. Some of these men were married, but for the
time being had left their wives and children 'below in the
settlement,' as the common phrase then was, and others,
either during the war or at its close married in the vicinity.
John Loring had entered a quarter section adjoining Devor,
as early as 1809, but had sold to John Stoner. A consider-
able part ot the Loring quarter section is now part of the
town of Greenville. Sam Loring brought his family to
Darke county after the war, and located on the quarter sec-
tion on Vi^hich a portion of the village of Palestine is laid out.
James Cloyd, at the return of peace, married a daughter of
Andrew Noffsinger, and remained a resident of German
township, until his decease, some four or five years ago, at
which time he was president of the Pioneer Association of
Darke county. John Ellis was in St. Clair's army at the time
of the defeat at Recovery, in 1791 ; was with Wayne from
1793 to 1796, and participated in the defense of Recovery, at
the time of the Indian attack, and in the rout of the Indians
at Rouge de Bout, in 1794. After the second treaty of Green-
ville, in August, 1814, he brought his family and settled at
Castine, where he resided for a number of years, and sub-
sequent to 1840, he removed to Mercer county near Recovery,
where, after some years' residence, he died, at the age of over
ninety. Ellis, in his youth, had been a prisoner with the
Indians, and exhibited, ever after through his long life, many
Indian characteristics. David Studabaker was killed in the
army, during the war of 1812. Peter Studabaker, between
1825 and 1830, removed to the Wabash, below Recovery, and
some years later, farther down the river in Indiana, where his
death occurred some twenty years since.

"The Phillips brothers, about 1816, located on Miller's Fork,
near the south boundary of Darke county, where both died in
their old age. Joseph Gass, who was a near relation of the
compiler of the journal of Lewis and Clark's expedition to
the mouth of the Columbia river, at the commencement of
this century, married a daughter of William Wilson, resided
in several localities in Greenville township, until about 1833,
when he left and went to Wisconsin. David Riffle, after the
war, purchased land on Stillwater, above where Beamsville
now is, and removed there in 1814, and after the lapse of a



DARKE COUNTY 153

few 3-ears, died there about 1820. Thomas Uriggs married
the Widow Wilson, relict of the William Wilson who was
distinguished b}' the name of "Little Billy Wilson." His un-
cle, William Wilson, the father of the children murdered by
the Indians, being known as 'Old Billy." ''

During the progress of the war emigration practically
ceased and many of the early settlers returned to their former
homes in the ^Nliami valley. Block houses were erected
in various parts of the county at about this time, among them
Ft. Rush, near Prophetstown ; Ft. Brier on the bend of the
Stillwater in the southwest quarter of section 27, Richland
township (probably named after Captain Samuel Brier, of
Price's regiment of Ohio militiaj ; Ft. Black (now New Madi-
son) and Ft. Studabaker on the south of Greenville creek be-
low the present site of Gettysburg. Besides these, Ft. Nesbit,
a military supply station, was built in section 29, Harrison
township. These afforded a measure of security to the scat-
tered settlements, but the hostile Indians, for the most part,
remained in the neighborhood of the lakes. A few lamentable
atrocities occurred, however, which sent thrills of terror
through the community. Accounts of these have been pre-
served and serve to illustrate the temper of the time.

An Indian family comprising father, mother and a son
about fourteen years of age, came from the direction of Ft.
Recovery and camped at a spring (now on the Clate Rahn
farm) about a mile northwest of the fort. Their presence
was made known to the garrison by a white man who had
traveled with them. Early the next morning Lieutenant
Fish, with three or four men, stealthily approached the camp
and shot the man and woman while engaged in preparing for
the morning meal. The boy escaped after being wounded
and the news of the cowardly act spread like wildfire among
the Indians. As a result Ft. Meigs, in the northern part of
the state, was beseiged by a large body of enraged savages
before the middle of the following afternoon and fuel was
added to th^ smoldering discontent of the northwest tribes.

A large body of friendl}/ Indians, probably mostly of the
Delaware and Shawnee tribes, were located on the Miami
river above Piqua under the protection of the United States
agent. Col. Johnston. These were supplied with white flags
when desiring to pass outposts in safety. On one occasion
a number of these Indians were fired upon while approaching
a party of whites with unfeigned confidence. Two of the



154 DARKE COUNTY

Indians were killed, one wounded, the rest taken captive and
their property confiscated. Such dastardly deeds were, no
doubt, largely committed by the rougher class of backswoods-
men who thought that there was no good Indian but a dead
one, and we are not surprised at the consequent reprisals by
the savages.

About the last of April, 1812, Andrew Rush set out on
horseback from his home on the ^^'est Branch for Terry's mill
on Greenville creek at the bend above the present site of
the Main street bridge. After getting his grist he started
for home but lingered a while at the home of Daniel Potter
and Isaac Vail, who lived over a mile up the creek on the
north side. Here he was warned of the impending danger of
savage depredations. Rush joked about their solicitude and
proceeded on his way at about 4 p. m. It seems that the road
or trail which he traveled lay between the present Union City
pike and Greenville creek, following in and out along the
blufif. Before he had proceeded half a mile further he was
shot, tomahawked and scalped just above the later site of
Rush's or Spiece's mill in section 28, Greenville township.
His mutilated body was discovered by relatives on the fol-
lowing afternoon lying on his precious bag of meal. The
alarm was spread throughout the neighboring settlements,
houses were barricaded and many found refuge in the bloc'>
houses. The news spread to Troy and Lexington. Preble
county, and by the night of the third day two companies of
militia were camped at Greenville. On the following day the
Preble county militia advanced about two miles to the site
of the tragedy and buried the body of Rush. After this they
proceeded to Ft. Rush, to protect and relieve the families of
the settlers who had taken refuge there, and to escort the
women and children back to the older settlements, where they
remained until hostilities ceased.

In the early fall of 1812 the garrison at Greenville was
small, comprising but three companies of militia under ]\Iajor
Lanier. Several of the men had enlisted for service in the
w-ar with the British and Indians and were with the army
waiting for orders to advance to the aMumee. At this juncture
the Indians from the region of the Mississinawa became trou-
blesome to the pioneer settlements of western Ohio, murdering:
any whom they found outside of the blockhouses and steal-
ing horses and cattle. Combining various accounts it seems
that on October 2d, Patsv and Anna Wilson, daughters of



DARKE COUNTY 155

"Old Billy Wilson," living north of town and aged respective-
ly fourteen and eight years, accompanied by an older broth-
er, had gone to the woods on the north side of Greenville
creek to gather berries or wild grapes. When near the pres-
ent site of the pond in the Meeker woods the girls were at-
tacked by two or three prowling Indians, within gunshot of
Terry's stockade which was located on the opposite side of
the creek. While the children were separated they were
fired upon by the Indians, without effect. The girls became
too terrified to make their escape and were soon dispatched
by the tomahawk. The boy ran for Terry's mill pond, formed
by the darning of Greenville creek near the foot of East Water
street, whither he was pursued by one of the Indians armed
with a tomahawk and scalping knife. One account says that the
boy had laid his gun down and was unable to secure it; an-
ther says that he had a shotgun with him, loaded with small
pigeon shot, and that he wheeled and aimed at the Indian
who instantly retreated, allowing him to swim the mill pond
and spread the alarm. Abraham Scribner and A\'m. Devor
were attracted to the scene of the murder by the cries of the
boy and the screams of the girls. Here they found the mu-
tilated bodies, and carried them to the fort. The scalp had
been taken from the head of the eldest and a long cut made
on the head of the j^ounger in an attempt to scalp her. Both.
apparently, had been killed by the blows on the head with the
back of a tomahawk. Their bodies were buried under a tree
near the site of their murder, where they remained until
July 4th, 1871, when they were disinterred and transferred
to the new cemetery with imposing ceremonies, as elsewhere
set forth in this volume.

In the summer of 1813 another tragedy occurred in con-
nection with the military operations in western Ohio. It
seems that one Gosbary Elliot, a private in Capt. Sunderland's
company, Second (Price's) regiment, of Ohio militia, was
carrying a dispatch from Fort Greenville to Major Price, who
was stationed at Lexington (near West Alexandria) in Preble
county. He probably followed the trace leading through Fort
Jefferson and on in the direction of the present pike to Ithaca
and Lewisburg, and when near Beech Grove was attacked b}^ a
roving band of Indians. Tradition says that he took refuge be-
hind a beech tree and dispatched two or three of his assail-
ants with a rifle, and when his ammunition was exhausted
engaged in a hand to hand tomahawk fight until finally slain



156 DARKE COUNTY

by one of the remaining redskins. His remains were interred
nearby, but were disinterred some years later and placed in
the old cemetery at Fort Jefferson, where they now lie un-
der the shadow of the new M. E. church, unmarked save
by a broken fragment of slate stone. The tomahawk marks
on the beech tree behind which he fought could be seen from
the road until the decay of the tree about thirty years ago.
Elliot's army record is as follows :

"Commencement of service, Feb. 16th, 1813: expiration of
service, Aug. 15th, 1813; term of service charged 4 months
29 days ; for Andrew Zellar killed by the Indians July 14th,
1913."

One tradition is that Elliot was accompanied by John
Stoner, who was chased some three miles further along tiie
trace to the first crossing of Miller's Fork, where he also was
slain. It is generally thought, however, that Stoner was
slain later in the season. Stoner's army record shows that he
served in Capt. Samuel Brier's company, Second regiment,
Ohio militia, from April 12th, 1813, to Oct. 11th, 1813.

This shows that he, like Elliot, enlisted for a term of six
months. However, it is probable that tradition is right and
that the date of his death was either not reported or through
some error was not entered on the record. Stoner's remains
were buried near the spot where he was killed, but were taken
up in the fall of 1836 and reinterred in the Ithaca cemetery,
where they still lie.

The defeat of the British and Indians and the death of Te-
cumseh at the battle of the Thames in the fall of 1813, damp-
ened the ardor of the hostile Indians and made them desir-
ous of peace with the Americans.

Overtures were made to the representatives of the United
States Government by some of the hostile tribes. The chiefs
and head men began to assemble at Greenville in the spring of
1814 and on July 22 signed a compact with General Harrison,
as noted in Chapter 13 of this book. Concerning conditions at
this time Judge Wharry says :

"There was in attendance at Greenville during the time of
the negotiations preceding the treaty and until it was signed,
a large concourse of white men as well as Indians, ^len
were here from Cincinnati, Dayton, Hamilton, Chillicothe
and various other places in Ohio ; Maysville, Lexington,
Frankfort and other places in Kentucky : from points on the
Ohio river, and even from Marvland and Pennsvlvania. Many



DARKE COUNTY 157

of these came to look at the country with a view to a settle-
ment in it if they were pleased with it, and the Indian ques-
tion so settled that they could emigrate to it and be freed
from Indian disturbances; others to look out lands that it
would be safe to buy as an investment of their surplus money ;
others to see what was to be seen, and make money if they
could out of either Indians or white men as opportunity
should offer, and many came with no defined object. Be-
tween the time of the treaty and the opening of the year 1816,
many entries of land in Darke county were made at the land
office in Cincinnati. The lands were sold by the government
on a credit of one-eighth down and the residue in seven annual
installments. A number of tracts in the vicinity of Green-
ville were taken up on speculation that did not change hands
for many years, and were kept unimproved. Among those
who thus purchased, and probably never saw the lands they
bought were Gen. James Taylor, of Newport ; Gen. James
Butler, of Frankfort, Ky. ; George P. Torrence, David K.
Este, David Wade and William Burke, of Cincinnati ; Nathan
Richardson, of Warren county ; Joseph Hough, of Chillicothe ;
Talbot Iddings, Andrew Hood and John Devor, of Mont-
gomery county, and some others, whose purchases many of
them long remained an eyesore, withheld from improvement,
in the vicinity of Greenville. Many of these tracts, none of
which were less than a quarter section, remained in first hands
from twenty to forty years, brought in the end but little more
than the purchase money and interest to those who had pur-
chased them, and added proof, if proof were necessary, that
the well-being and progress of society in this nation demands,
that the title of the soil, vested in the national government or
the states, should not be transferred save to actual settlers.

"]\Iany other purchases were made on credit, by men who
failed to pay out. and were compelled in the end to relinquish
part to save the residue, or entirely forfeit their purchases.
The United States was, in the end. under the pressure of the
debt entailed by the war of 1812 and other causes. compelle<l
to abandon the system of selling the national demand upon
credit.

"Congress, however, in a year or two after the forfeiture.
authorized the issue of what was termed land scrip, to those
who had lost their purchases, equal in amount to what thev
had paid, which, being receivable at any government land
office in payment for the lands of the United states became



158 DARKE COUNTY

for some years a part in some measure of the business cur-
rency of the country, as the scrip could pass fron hand to
hand until it was canceled at the land office.

"The emigration to the town, township and county, frcmn
the time of the 'stampede' on the breaking out of the Indian
troubles, and until after the treaties between the United
States and both the Indians and England, was scarcely no-
ticeable. Although many people came here, they did not
come to stay, and were here for transient purposes only, and
the population of the town, township and county, after the
departure of the crowd who were here at the treaty, and after
the withdrawal of the garrison at Greenville and from the
other small stockades erected for protection in the evil days
at Fort Nesbit, Fort Black and Fort Brier, was little, if any,
greater than in the spring of 1812.

"It may not be amiss here to recapitulate, as well as can
be done, who were as residents within the limits of the town-
ship of Greenville after the treaty was signed in 1814, and
by the term limits of the township confine the enumeration
to the bounds of what is now Greenville township, and not,
as then the whole county of Darke. In the town were Moses
Scott, Azor Scribner, David Connor and John Loring, and
the wife of the murdered John Stoner and his orphaned chil-
dren. \\'ith these, as boarders or employers ofif and on, were
Abraham Scribner, James Cloyd, Philder G. Lanham. Silas
Atchison and probably some others whose residence cannot
be definitely stated. North of the town, in Ireland, dwelt
Enos Terry, Joe Wilson, "Old Billy" Wilson, "Little Billy"
Wilson, Asa Spencer and in their families as dependents and
hangerson, John Mooney, Joe Gass, and probably others not
now remembered. Down the creek, below the town, and
within a mile of it. was David Briggs, with whom resided his
brother Thomas. Up Greenville creek, Aaron and Mathias
Dean had commenced the erection of the mill in manv years
afterward designated Dean's mill, but on the murder of Rush,
the work ceased, and they left for the !Miami, near Middle-
tOA\n, and did not return and complete it until after the war.
Up Mud creek, on the west side, were Thomas McGinnis.
Barney Burns, Henry and James Rush. The widow of An-
drew Rush, with her two children, the oldest of whom was
born November 28th. 1809, lived on the West Branch where
it was crossed by the 'Squaw Road.' David Miles was on
the knoll where Mr. Griffin now resides, about a half mile



DARKE COUNTY 159

southwest of the mouth of ^lud creek. On the east side of
Mud creek were Abraham Miller and John Studabaker, and
just above the last, but outside the present township boun-
dary, Zadok Reagan had located in the edge of the prairie,
at what was known in after years as the 'Burnt Cabin.' On
Bridge creek were David Thompson and George Freshour.

"Betwen the sii;ning of the treaty of 1814 and the organiza-
tion of the county in the spring of 1817, under the law of the
preceding winter, the emigration to the township, as well as
to the residue of the county, taking into view the sorry pros-
pect of making a living in it, had increased the population
more than threefold. In these two and a half years, George,
Peter, John, Moses and Aaron Rush, brothers of the three
who came in 1810. ?Ienry Hardy and Archibald Bryson, who
had married their sisters, came to the county; James Bryson,
who married the widow of Henry Rush, came, and John Hil-
ler returned from j\Iiami county, to which he fled three years
before on Indian account. Some of these parties settled out-
side of Greenville township, and others remained but for a
brief period. On the West Branch and Greenxille creek
were settled John McFarland. Daniel Potter, Da\id \\'illiam-
son, Joseph Huflfman and Isaac Dunn. \\'ith Williamson
came his brothers James and John, who remained but for a
brief period ; one went to Butler county, and the other re-
turned to his father's house in Greene county to die of con-
sumption. On the south of Greenville, between town and
Abraham Miller's, Henry House, an old soldier of Wayne's
army, with a family of sons and daughters, was located. In
the southeast was located on Bridge creek, Nathan Popejoy ;
between him and David Thompson was settled William Ar-
nold, and south of Thompson, now came Abraham Studa-
baker from his first location below Gettysburg. Down the
creek were located William, George, Jacob, Andrew and Joel
Westfall, on the north side ; and William Hays, Sr., and Wil-
liam Hays, Jr., on the south side. Ebenezer Byram first set-
tled up Greenville creek above Dean's mill, which, on their
return, was completed in a year or about that after the war,
but soon removed out of the township down the creek to
New Harrison, as his place is now termed, but which had no
existence until years after his death. To Ireland came David
Douglass, James Stephenson, or Stinson, as the name was
usually pronounced, and Robert Barnett. Over the creek, on



160 DARKE COUNTY

the Recovery trace, was located David Irwin, and southwest
of him, on the creek, David Ullery. East of Terry's place
was located Alexander Smith, the first temporary sheriff of
the county. Justice of the Peace of Greenville township for
several years and once for a few days, owing to the non-re-
ceipt of election returns from some locality between Green-
ville and Maumee bay, had a seat in the state legislature, from
which he was ejected on a contest with the far-famed Capt.
Riley, who a few years previous, had been a prisoner riding a
camel from Timbuctoo to Mogadore across the desert of Sa-
hara, in Africa. Smith was afterward a candidate for the
lower house of the state legislature, but was defeated by Gen-
eral James Mills. Riley also again was before the people of
the district, which then included nine or ten counties of