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

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How things are done the adverbs tell.
As slowly, quickly, ill or well.

Conjunctions join the words together.
As men and women, wind or weather.

The preposition stands before

A noun, as of or through the door.

The interjection shows surprise.
As — Ah, how pretty! Oh. how wise!

The whole are called nine parts of speech,
\Miich reading, writing, speaking teach.

Then Mollie LaMotte-AIartin will be expected to come for-
ward, dressed in checkered ginghan.i, her hair combed back
and plaited and tied with a blue ribbon, and read the soul-
inspiring poem that has thrilled admiring millions of school
children all over the United States.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are —
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is set.

And the grass with dew is wet.

Then you show your little light

By twinkling, twinkling all the night.

Then school will close by all the pupils singing:

Ohio. Columbus. Ohio, Columbus — on Scioto river!
Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, Indianapolis — on \\'hite river.
Illinois. Springfield, Illinois, Springfield — on Sangamon river.
Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg — on Sus-
quehanna river.
And so on through all the states in the imion.

You see that kind of geography has some class to it. I think
that any child that goes to school knows what an isthmus.


island, inlet, bay, river, creek or cape is as well as it knows
the streets of the town it lives in.

Oi" course it will add to the pleasure of the occasion by play-
ing "Ring around the rosy," "Come Philander, let us be a
marching;" "Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green;"
"How oats, peas, beans and barley grow, neither j-ou nor I,
nor anybody know;" etc.

Of course it wouldn't be "school" at all unless we sang those
songs the same as we did m our childhood days. \Miat is the
use of being young again unless we act young?

Another thing I move you, Mr. President, and that is to
have "Alex" whip Al Gilbert, Chester Fletcher and Volney
Jenks. I never saw such naughty boys in my life as they
were. Lick 'em, and lick 'em good, teacher! They were so
devilish that they often tempted me, but I was too nice a boy
to ever get a licking — more than once or twice a day.

And another thing, teacher, if you'll let me carry a bucket of
water for the pupils, I will promise not to put any salt in it —
that is, very much more than I used to. I just bet we'll have
a good time. Won't 3^ou ccme, Mr. Bodle, and hold school for
us just one more day? We'll all be awfully nice; none of us'll
shcot paper wads across the room, nor make faces at you be-
hind your back, nor write "love missives" to the girls. \\'e've
forgotten all about such things. In fact, we never bother our
heads about "love." No. indeed! We just let it bother us.
and that's all it ever does to any one. It just bothers them
and they never bother about it at all."

* * Sc

The following extract from a letter written by the same
writer to James W. ]\Iartin, secretary of the committee ap-
pointed to invite ]\Ir. Calderwood to the annual meeting of
the Darke County Pioneer Association, September 5, 1909,
are not inappropriate here:

Oh, those school days ! Think of the "classics" we had to
recite to Alex. Bodle, Caroline Hinkle— God bless her mem-
ory!— Rachel Collins, I. W. Legg, J- T. Martz, Em. Otwell,
Bart Otwell, Bill Otwell, and other teachers from 1856 to

Those "classics" have been ringing in my ears for over half
a century. (But say, Jim, right here is where I don't want you
to tell any of the pupols how old I am, for I want them to
think I am still a "school boy.")


Xow to the recitations:

Do you remember, Jim. that one Alvin Gilbert used to re-
cite? It began with something like this:

"Marj' had a little lamb."

Then A'olney Jenks would follow with *

"You'd scarce expect one of my age."

Then Taylor Dorman would step forward with the dignity
of one of Sam Cable's watermelons, and boldly and auda-
ciously look into the eyes of the pupils and say :

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star."

You remember how Harrv Knox would stand pigeon-toed,
and with his hands behind his back, and in a voice that
sounded like an apple falling from one of the trees in Sam
Pierce's public orchard, say:

"The boy stood on the burning deck."

I think Harry believed everv word of that story, for he soon
after went to sea in search of Cassabianca. The prelude to
that story was beautiful — historically so; and history never
lies unless I write it. The words read : "There was a little
boy, about thirteen years of age, whose name was Cassa-

There's exactly where you get your Cassabianca : but how
Mrs. Hemans discovered that he was thirteen years of age,
history doesn't say, and I'll be "blowed" if I will ever say that
I ever saw a boy thirteen years of age.

I would give a whole lot to see McGuffey's primer,
McGufFey's first, second and third readers. Think of James
Bland letting that little bird out of the cage : of George Rolfe
drowning that cat in the well : of Albert Ross and Dash, and
the wagon that Dash was hitched up to (I always wanted to
steal that wagon) ; of Richard and Robert, the lazy boys, who
laid in bed until the clock struck ten ; of the three brothers —
one went to heaven, one went to hell, and the third one got a
job and went to work ; of the farmer and his wheat field, and
how he drove a mother quail and her little brood out of the
field. Many of those stories will live with me to the end of
mv davs.


We sat on benches in those days.

There were two kinds — those with backs and those without.

The big boys and girls got the former.

There were two great blessings afforded us. One was to
pass the water, and the other to carry in the wood. I always
wanted to pass the water! Come to think of it, we carried
the water, too. Sometimes from Turpen's, sometimes from
Gilbert's, often from Gary's.

Ah, me, but didn't we have some games !

"Blackman," "bullsoup," and "tag."

We had slates, too; but I haven't see one for so long that I
have forgotten whether they were square, oblong, or round.

And the spelling class — I can't forget that. How proud
the boy or girl was who 'went head," and then down to the
foot again, then up to the head again, and received a card
called "Reward of Merit."

When you got five, they were exchanged for another five.

Five of the others assured you of a prize — a little book.

No "promotion cards" in those days. It was left to the
teacher to put you into another class, if desired.

Those were the days of curls for girls. A girl without a
curl wasn't in style.

Bullion's grammar was the text book on correct speech, but
I couldn't understand it. and I have let grammar alone ever
since and confined my manner of speech to the vocabulary of
my associates.

Another subject that puzzled me was algebra. I couldn't
comprehend it then, and I know less of it now.

The best reader in my class was Belle McGinnis. The best
m.athematician was Jim Ries — next to him, Dave Girard.

In those days, the teacher wrote the text for the copy books,
v;hich consisted of two phrases :

"Many men of many minds;
Many beasts of many kinds."

The other was :

"Tall oaks from little acorns grow."

However, about that time Peyton's copy books came out
and the teachers were relieved ; but they had one task left —
they used to walk around among the pupils and look over
their shoulders to see if they were making any progress.

Very few boys had coats in those davs ; most of them wore


"roiidabouts." Few ,if an}-, of the boys wore shoes ; boots
prevailed. The little boys had red leather tops to their boots,
and the poor little "tad" without red tops to his boots always
felt humiliated.

Ray's ]\Iental Arithmetic was as far as I went in figures. I
never learned how to calculate interest, as I forgot all tlie
rules the next day. Now I am glad of it. Xo one will take
my note, so what's the use in knowing anything about in-

1 must not forget Webster's Spelling Book ! I never saw
one that didn't have a blue cover. Up to 1858, it contained no
definitions. Nothing but words, words, words. Then to pre-
pare the public mind for the sale of Noah Webster's Dic-
tionary, they put a few definitions in the speller, so as to stim-
ulate the mind to buy the book. It was a great business
stroke. Of course, there was the small school dictionary, but
they wanted to sell the big one, and if they had embodied
definitions to any great extent in the Speller, the sale of the
big book would have been endangered. But as an educational
proposition, the speller wojild have had far the advantage and
the pupils of 1850-1860 would have been greatly benefitted.
* * *

But what I started in to say was that some of us Greenville
folks — boys and girls — thought that we were "sum punkins"
at spelling, and were eager to go into the country and "spell
down" our country cousins. I don't know of a single instance
where we won out. They knew as much about Webster's
Spelling Book — and a little bit more — than we did.

Probably of Jesuit Origin. Found in Washington Township.


To the French Catholic missionaries probably belongs the
honor of heralding the gospel among the Indian settlements
of primitive Darke county. As before noted it is well known
that they planted mission stations at strategic points in the
wilderness between the great lakes and the Ohio. It is more
than probable that they had stations at Loramie's store and
Pickawillany, and at these places learned about the villages
on the headwaters of Greenville creek and the upper Still-
water. The finding of two double silver crosses of the style
worn by members of the Jesuit order on the farm now belong-
ing to Ira G. Blocker, in section 23, Washington township,
lends color to this supposition. These crosses were about
three inches in length and were plowed up by Mr. Philip L.
Rogers near the site of a fine flowing spring — one about 1879
and the other about 1884. Numerous arrow points, stone
hammers and Indian relics were found from time to time on a
knoll located near by, indicating that a camp or village had
formerly been located hhere. One cross is now in the Katzen-
berger collection in the Public Museum. The other has been

The ne.xt religious teachers that penetrated Darke county
were probabl}' the chaplains or preachers with the armies of
St. Clair and Wayne. Fortunately, we have a printed ser-
mon entitled "The Altar of Peace," being the substance of a
discourse delivered in the council house, at Greenville, July
5, 1795, before the officers of the American army and Major
General Wayne, commander-in-chief and Minister Plenipoten-
tiary from the United States, to treat with the Indian tribes,
northwest of the Ohio, by the Rev. Morgan, John Rhys (or
Rhees) representing the Missionary Society of Philadelphia,
an organization whose members "renounced" all sectarian
names and adopted simply that of "Christian," and whose mis-
sionaries were supposed to be "capable of practicing or teach-
ing some useful art as well as a rational system of religion."

At this time many representatives of distant tribes were


present at Greenville and preparations were being made .or
peace negotiations. Accordingly Rev. Rhees appropriately
chose as his text Judges 6:24. "Then Gideon built an altar
unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah Shalom ; i. e., the Lord
give peace." Among other things he said : "All the precepts
of Jehovah center in one syllable — Love. The laws and the
prophets, like the rays of the sun collected to a focus, here
shine and burn. The man who loves God as the Supreme
good, and his neighbor as himself, surmounts every obstruc-
tion with ease, because he is borne above earth on the wings
of love ; the philanthropist is every person's neighbor, the
white, the black and the red are alike to him ; he recognizes in
each a brother, a child of the same common parent, an heir of
immortality, and a fellow traveler to eternity. He knows how
to make allowance for the prejudices of nations and individ-
uals ; instead of declaiming and tyrannizing, he endeavors to
lead (with the cords of love and the bands of men) all his
fellowmen to think and judge for themselves what is right."
* * *

"In order to establish a durable peace some sacrifices must
be made on both sides. The love of conquest and enlargement
of territory should be sacrificed — every nation or tribe having
an indefeasible right of soil, as well as a right to govern
themselves in what manner they think proper, for which rea-
son the United States purchased the right of soil from the In-
dians. Self-interest and avarice, being the root of all evil,
ought to be sacrificed as a burnt offering, for the good of man-
kind. The desire of revenge should be immediately offered on
the altar of forgiveness, although th}^ brother transgress
against the seventy times seven in a day. Dissimulation and
intrigue with every species of deceptive speculation and
fraudulent practice ought to be sacrificed on the altars of
strict honor and inflexible justice." * * *

"Let us therefore, in the first place, follow the example of
Gideon by erecting an altar, and offer the necessary sacrifices
to obtain peace ; let us by acts of righteousness and deeds of
mercy make that peace permanent ; let ever}' probable means
be made use of to enlighten the poor heathens, that they may
quit their childish and cruel customs, and add to their love of
liberty and hospitalit3^ piety, industry, mechanical and lit-
erary acquirements ; let us join them in the prayer that the
'Great Spirit' may enlighten their eyes and purify their
hearts, give them a clear sky and smooth water, guard them


against the bad birds, and remove the briars from their paths ;
protect them from the dogs of war, which are ever exciting
them to acts of barbarous cruelty, that they may never attend
to tlieir barking, but contiiiue to keep the bloody hatchet in
the ground and smoke the calumet of peace until its odors per-
fume the air."

"Sweet peace! source o. joy, parent of plenty, promoter
of commerce and manufactures, nurse of arts and agricul-
ture. Angelic Peace ! Could I but set forth thy amiable qual-
ities, who would but love thee? O, daughter of Heaven, first
offspring of the God of Love hasten, to make thy residence
with us on earth." Rev. Rhys is described as "The Welch
Baptist hero of civil and religious liberty of the eighteenth
century"^ — and from the tone of the above sermon we judge
that the epithet is not inappropriate.


After the settlement of the county it seems that the recently
formed and rapidly growing sect then and long after known
as "New Lights," but now known as Christians, furnished
the first accredited preachers. This sect originated in Ken-
tucky during the great religious revival of the first years of
the nineteenth century, and naturally extended its influence
and gained many early converts in the Miami valley.

The Kentucky revival, above mentioned, also caused the
starting of the Cumberland Presbyterian and the Shaker de-
nominations. Had it not been for this manifestation it seems
probable that Presbyterianism in the Miami valley would now
be as strong as it is in western Pennsylvania, from which
locality so many of the early pioneers came. Of these sects
the Christian has exerted the most power in the Aliami valley ;
the Shaker is now practically extinct, and the Cumberland
Presbyterian has united with the main body of Presbyterians.

David Purviance was one of the originators of the Chris-
tian denomination. His son John settled in the AVhitewater
valley near Braflfetsville with Elder Nathan Worley, an illit-
erate but zealous worker from Montgomery county, and a
number of like faith, where they established a communit}' of
kindred spirits.

To Judge John Purviance is given the credit of deli^•ering
the first sermon to a civil congregation within the bounds of
Darke county. This event is said to have happened at the


house of Judge Rush (Prophetstown) in 1811. Greenville
early became the strategic center of the various competing
denominations. Here many of the first churches were estab-
lished and from this point proceeded to establish missions in
various parts of the county and encourage their develop-
ment. On October 15, 1833, it seems that Solomon Riffle
and wife deeded to William Martin, John Swisher, Alexander
Craig, David Potter and John N. Parcell, trustees in trust, lot
Xo. 23, on the south side of Third street, between Broadway
and Walnut street, where the Hunt house now stands, "for
the use and benefit of the first Christian church that might
be organized in the town of Greenville for the purpose of
erecting thereon a meeting house." A low brick edifice with
sidewalls about eight feet high and two front doors opening
into separate iasles, and a floor on a level with the ground,
was erected here about 1836. Services, no doubt, were held
here with more or less regularity, until on January 3, 1841,
the Christian church was properly organized by Elders Elijah
A\'illianison, John B. Robertson, Hallet Barber and Elisha
Ashley. On July 31, 1841 it voted to become a member of the
Eastern Bluffton conference. The charter members, who
signed the original declaration of principles were: Elijah Wil-
liamson, Charlotty Williamson, James R. Brandon, Anna
Brandon. Alexander Brandon, Thomas Brandon, Rhoda Bran-
don, Lucretia Brandon, Ma*-y Scribner aiid Ruhannah

From the time of the cjrganization the n^embership in-
creased in seven months from ten to eighty-eight. The fol-
lowing elders served as pastors up to August, 1841 : J. B.
Robertson, N. Barber, D. Purviance, L. Purviance, E. Ashley,
I. Guston and E. W. Williamson ; John Stevenson and John
Van Meter were appointed deacons. August 18, 1846, Elder
\\'iIliamson was chosen pastor for one year. In April. 1848,
the enterprise of erecting a new meeting house was launched
as the original structure was considered unsafe. In 1850 the
church procured a quitclaim deed from Solomon Riffle and
wife at a cost of $24.00. so as to authorize the trustees to sell
the property. It seems that John Vanmeter proposed to pay
them $105.00 for the lot and to donate a strip of ground front-
ing on the west side of Walnut street, between Third and
Fourth streets, for the site of a new church building. This ex-
change was effected and a substantial brick structure thirty-
six by fiftv feet with two front doors and black walnut wood-


work was soon erected. In 1853 the church, by request, was
dismissed from the Bluti'ton conference and applied for ad-
mission to the Miami conference. Elder Purviance preached
about one year. Rev. James Elliott was pastor in 1850, Elder
J. W. Marvin was pastor in 1853 and ended his work Septem-
ber 1, 1854, H. K. McConnell was called as pastor May 25,
1856, resigned August 14, 1860, and was re-elected September
11, 1860. In 1857 there were sixty-one additions, and on Au-
gust 25, 1859, there were one hundred and fourteen members.
In the interval from 1861 to 1868 it appears that no regular
pastorate was maintained.* During these years there was oc-
casional but not continuous preaching. As a consequence the
members became somewhat scattered although the church did
not disband, nor cease to have its regular trustees. In 1868
Jonathan Gilbert, Joseph ^\'illis and George Ullery were trus-
tees, religious services were restored and a pastor supplied
f(jr a while in the person of I. S. Palmer, whose pastorate
closed April 28, 1868. T. M. Mc^^'hinney and D. K. McCon-
nell both occupied the pulpit for probablj^ eighteen months
each. The church record for April 6, 1874, reads as follows :
"It was thought not more than six or eight members could be
relied on to engage in the work of the church immediately
though many more would join in the work as soon as it ad-
vanced." Among the active and faithful workers during this
period of depression were James Markwith, Henry Tillman,
Mrs. Tillman, Martha Ford, E. S. Reed, Mrs. Reed, Mrs. D. H.
R. Jobes and Harvey Howard. These were times of testing,
but the handful of members called Elder I. T. Lynn to the pas-
torate in June. 1874. He served a few months and was suc-
ceeded by Elder Sample. From January 16, 1875, to July, 1876,
there was no regular pastor, but the church was repaired at
this time and rededicated on the fourth Sunday in July, 1876,
by Rev. N. Summerbell, assisted by Elder McCulia. The
former was called as pa.stor to serve one year from October,
1876, but, being called to Dayton to assume the editorship of
the "Herald of Gospel Liberty," he was succeeded by Elder C.
W. Choate, a j^oung student, who served acceptably until
September, 1878. During his pastorate the church debt was
nearly paid off, the membership increased to seventy-eight
(of whom fifty-one had joined since the rededication). a fair
Sabbath school built up, regular prayer meetings, services
maintained and preaching services held twice a month. Elder
William A. Gross was called to succeed Choate. He first


preached half of the time, but in 1880 was engaged to preach
three Sundays in the month for the conference 3'ear for five
hundred dollars. Rev. Gross served until 1882, and was suc-
ceeded by Elder Furniss. who served a few months. Rev. C.
W. Garoutte was called to the pastorate in the winter of 1883-
84 and served until the fail of 1900. During his pastorate a
great revival took place, the church increased in numbers and
the work was carried on with zeal. The congregation was
outgrowing the building on ^^'alnut street and it soon became
apparent that a new edifice was needed to meet the require-
ments of the membership. Accordingly on April 4, 1887. a
liuilding committee was appointed consisting of the following
members : Samuel Ullery, W. E. Moore, Samuel Ludy and
David Beanblossom. A large new lot was purchased for
$4,000.00 on the south side of ^^'est Fifth street just off of
Broadway and the work of erecting the new church was soon
begun with Mr. Beanblossom as contractor. The structure,
when completed, cost about $7,000.00 and was at that time
probably the largest and best church structure in the town.
C. A. Beck succeeded Garoutte in the pastorate and was in
turn succeeded by T. A. Brandon ; C. W. Hoeffer served from
September, 1895, to 1896. G. W. Shane commenced a short
pastorate in Januar}^, 1897, and was soon succeeded by W. A.
Gross. Dissatisfaction and dissension arose during this
period suceeding the erection of the new church, with the
result that the membership and interest decreased greatly.
Under the preaching of S. G. Palmer. H. A. Smith, Omer
Thomas, E. A. Watkins. P. H. Fleming and W. D. Samuels,
the church has again been revived and has now one of the
largest congregations and most prosperous Sunday schools
in the city.

In April. 1904, IMrs. Frank Mc^^'hinnev purchased for and
donated to the church, a nev^'ly-built two story frame house
on East Fifth street between Walnut and Ash streets for a
parsonage. The church has been remodeled and redecorated
twice in late years, in order to accommodate the growing Sun-
day school, and provide a better auditorium. The enroll-
ment on the church record at this time is 438, which the
Sunday School shows 677 members at the close of 1913. Rev.
J. J- Douglass is pastor of the church and J. A. Cottrell is
superintendent of the Sunday School and the church is in a
prosperous condition. The Christian denomination, partly
because of its free and informal mode of worship, its simple


Statement of belief, its claim that the Bible alone is its creed,
and its easy educational requirements for admission to the
ministry, appealed to the pioneers "who sought freedom from
restraint, and independence of thought and action, and deliv-
erance from formal customs."' Thus it became established in
the villages and rural districts at an early date, where it is
today in a thriving condition, and exerting a powerful influ-
ence for righteousness. Probably, for the same reason, this
denomination has never become verj^ strongly entrenched in
the cities, as witness the neighboring city of Dayton,
where but one small congregation ■existed until with-
in the last few years. In Darke county, it has today good

Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 57)