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

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of Greenville, a Democrat, in 1858 by 78 majority. In 1862
the district was composed of Darke, Warren, Shelby, Logan
and Champaign and elected a Democrat that year, a Repub-
lican in 1864, 1866 and 1868: and a Democrat in 1870. In
1872 the district was composed of Darke, Preble, Greene and


Montgomery counties, and elected a Republican in that year;
a Democrat in 1874 and 1876. In 1878 the district was com-
posed of Darke, Shelby, Warren, Preble, Auglaize and Mercer
and elected B. S. Lesser, of Sidney.

State Senators.

Before the separation of Darke county from Miami the sen-
atorial district included Miami and Preble counties, and was
known as Champaign District. David Purviance represented
these counties from 1812 to 1815 inclusive; Thos. Furnas
from 1816 to 1819 ; Wm. K. Henderson in 1820, and W. Buell
in 1821.

In 1822 Darke county was included in the Preble District
with Mercer, Van Wert, Paulding and Williams. John Alex-
ander represented this district at the special session in 1821.
It seems that there was no representative at the regular ses-
sions of 1822 and 1823. David F. Heaton was the represen-
tative in 1825 ; John G. Jamison in 1826 and 1827. Van Wert
and Paulding counties were dropped from the district in
1828, and David F. Heaton again represented the district
in 1828 to June, 1832, inclusive, and John M. W. McNutt in
December, 1832.

In 1833 the district comprised Allen, Miami, Darke, Shel-
by, Wood, Mercer, Williams, Lucas, Van Wert, Paulding,
Putnam and Henry counties and was represented from 1833
to June, 1835, by Jas, Johnson ; in the regular sessions of
1835 and 1836 by John E. Hunt, and in 1837 by Curtis Bates.

In 1838 the district included Miami, Darke and Mercer
counties. In 1840 Shelby was added and in 1844 Mercer was
detached, making the district decidedly Whig. Wm. I.
Thomas represented the district from 1838 to July, 1842, in-
clusive ; Jos. S. Updegrafif in 1842 and 1843 ; John O'Ferral
in 1844 and 1845 ; Wm. W. Wilson in 1846 and 1847 : Jacob
S. Conklin in 1848 and 1849 ; Jas. H. Hart in 1850.

The constitution of 1851 made the sessions biennial in-
stead of annual. Darke county was then included in the
Twelfth District with Miami and Shelby, and was repre-
sented by Rankin Walkup, in 1852; John McClure, in 1854;
Wm. H. Lowder, in 1856; Isaac N. Card, in 1858; Hardesty
Walker, in I860: Wm. B. McLung, in 1862: L. B. Gunckel,
in 1864; J. E. Cummins, in 1866; John L. Winner, in 1868 and
1870: John W. Morris, in 1872; Jno. D. A'Torris, in 1874:
Nathan P. Burress, in 1876; J. M. Carson, in 1878: Geo. W.


Moore, in 1880; Jennison Hall, in 1882; A. C. Cable, in 1884-
1886; A. J. Robertson, in 1888-1890; Thos. A. Burns, in 1892;
McPherson Brown, 1894-1896; Geo. S. Long, 1898-1900; Orla
E. Harrison, H. L. Yount.

Edward T. \\'agner, represented Darke county in the Con-
stitutional Convention of 1912. which drafted the new Con-


The members o: the Ohio House of Representati\'es since
1820, have been: Jas. Mills, Jacob Miller, Jas. Riley, Joll
Wood, Mark T. Mills, Justin Hamilton, P. G. Goode, Stacy
Tavlor. These persons represented the various districts of
which Darke county was a part up to and including 1836. In
1837, Darke, Mercer and Miami were included in a district
which was represented by Hiram Bell. Justin Hamilton, Jno.
Briggs, Thos. Shidler, M. Purviance and I. N. Gard during
the period from that time to 1841 inclusive. Darke alone
was represented by Jacob Counts and John McClure in 1842,
and by D. Alexander. Jas. Bryson and Jas. W. Riley in 1843 ;
D. J. Hostetter, in 1844 : Ezek. Thomas, in 1845 ; J. S. Pur-
viance, in 1846; Jacob S. Conklin. in 1847; Luther Monfort,
1848; Geo. Ward, 1849; Jno. Lenox, 1850; Peter V. Banta,
1852; Evan Baker, 1854; J. C. Williamson, 1856; J. L. Winner,
1856-1860; Louis B. Lott, 1862-1864; Scipio Myers, 1866;
Jacob Baker, 1868; E. M. Walker, 1870; Thos. D. Stiles,
1872; E. M. Walker, 1874; S. A. Hostetter. 1876-1878; Chas.
Negley and W. Long. 1880; Chas. Negley. 1882; David Baker,
1884-1886. Harvey C. Garber was the representative in the
sessions of 1890 and 1892: C. A\'. Hoefifer. in 1894: W. E.
Ludwick, in 1896 and 1898; Clement L. Brumbaugh, in 1900-
1902; A. H. Judy. Chris Appenzeller.

The County Commissioners.

are now elected for a term of three years, beginning Sep-
tember 15. They are three in number, one being elected
each year, and their salary is $1,704.24 with an allov^'ance of
$3.00 per diem on ditches up to $500.00.

The first Commissioners elected in 1817 were .Archibald
Rryson, Abraham Studabaker and Silas .Atchison. Those
who have served in this capacity since the abuve mentioned
during the entire history of the county are Jacob Miller. AVm.
Curry, John McNeill, Joshua Howell, Dennis Hart. James


Bryson, Robert Robeson, David Briggs, Jacob Harter, Solo-
mon Riffle, John Swisher, Richard Lucas, Moses Woods,
Wm. B. Ludd, George Ward, John McGriff, Jr., John Col-
ville, Henry Lipp, Wm. Arnold, John Miller, Christian Har-
shey, Adam Baker, Samuel C. Baker, Isaac Reed, Daniel Rie-
gel, David Studabaker, Abel Slonaker, Stephen A. Greer,
Wm. Kerr, Michael Zeek, William Wright, Riley Gard, John
Stoltz, George Ivester, Samuel Alexander, David Oliver,
Jesse Woods, Jas. Auld, J. R. Holland, Elisha Berry, John
Antonides, Geo. D. Miller, Wm. Archard, Samuel Wilson,
John Frederick, Jno. G. Deubner, John H. Corwin, Wm.
Archard, R. K. Beem, S. J. Stapleton, Chris Appenzeller, A.
Kercher, Jacob Eberwine, P. J. Plessinger, John H. Noggle,
Jacob Zacharias, Geo. E. Niswonger, Jos. Alexander, Thos.
L. Brewer, N. D. Sipple, W. H. Townsend. D. F. Amspaugh,
Oscar Moist, A. B. Craig, Reuben Hannah, John Coblentz
and John Wondle.

The following is the first report of the County Commission-
ers filed in 1818, for the year commencing on the first Mon-
day in June, 1817, and ending on the first Monday in June,


Cash for orders redeemed $456.44|

Paid the Treasurer's commission 18.24f


In full of the county tax for the year 1817 $171.00

Store and tavern license and permits 76.57

On account sale of county lots 177.00

Fines 1 36.00

On roads not established 2.25


Leaving a balance due the Treasurer on the first Monday
in June. 1818, of $11.77.

The first commissioners received a total of $40.50 for their

The three Associate Judges drew $25.00 for their labor,
and less than fifty dollars was paid for all the expenses of
the court.



The grand jury was the most expensive item, drawing

The cost of road improvement for that year was $20.00.

It is intensely interesting to note that of the amount re-
ceived $47.75 was for six of the lots comprising the original
plat of the city of Greenville, out of the thirty-two. which
had been conveyed to the County Commissioners by the pro-
prietors of the plat for such public uses as might be deemed
desirable. The lots were mostly 99 feet by 165 feet, and
comprised the present very valuable sites of the Sellman and
Hopkin homes on West Third street ; the Dorman and King
properties on West Main street; Spidel feed and sale barn
on East Third street ; the Opera House and saloon property
adjoining on Third street ; the Kipp corner on the public
square, extending probably to Laurimore's restaurant on
Broadway, and the Cole property on the southwest corner of
East Main and Walnut streets. At that time a tax of thirty
cents a head was levied on horses and ten cents a head on
cattle. Tavern keepers paid a license of $8.00 and storekeep-
ers $10.00. John Devor was the tax collector.

The County Auditor

transacts a large amount of important business, including the
issuing of Commissioners' and other warrants on the County
Treasurer, making out the tax duplicate, auditing the ac-
counts of all the district and village and city schools, etc.
He is now elected for a term of three years, beginning in
October, and his salary is $3,135.00 per year.

Those who have filled this important position since the
establishment of the office in 1821, were Jas. Devor, H. D.
Williams, John Craig, John Beers, David Cole, Hiram Bell,
David Angel, C. C. Craig, Wm. M. Wilson, David Stamm,
John S. Winner, A. R. Doty, A. L. Northrop, Geo. W. Coo-
ver, Joseph C. Shepherd, John E. Matchett, D. B. Clews, E.
H. Wright, O. C. Perry, John D. Matchett, W. J. Kelly, John
C. Turpen, Cyrus Minnich, L. C. Klipstine, George Sigafoos,
J. W. Ditman, Ed. Culbertson, Frank Snyder and the present
incumbent, John L. Morgan.

The County Treasurer

is elected for a period of three years beginning in September.
His salary at present is $3,135.00. John Devor was the first


Treasurer, being appointed in 1818. Others who served
since him were : David Briggs, Linus Bascom, John Beers,
A. Scribner, Loring R. Brownell, Henry D. Williams, Jas.
M. Dorsey, Daniel Irwin, James Devor, Chas. Hutchins, Jas.
Irwin, AA'm. Schmidt, Jas. McKhann, Geo. H. JMartz, Thos.

P. Turpen, Eli Helm, John Simon, Bickel, H. C. Helm,

J. P. ]\Ieeker, T. F. Rogers, John C. Burns. John Suter is the
jiresent incumbent.

The County Recorder

is elected for a term of three years, beginning in September.
His salary is now $2,130.00. Abraham Scribner was appoint-
ed the first County Recorder in 1817, and was succeeded by
Easton Morris. Those serving since were : Joseph D. Far-
rar, Thomas Rush, John Wharry, Elias Brumminger, John
S. Shepherd. S. C. Eddington, Daniel Stevenson, A. F. Med-
ford, Benj. Beers. P. H. ]\Iaher, Richard Hunt, Daniel Sny-
der, James W. Martin, Wm. Townsend, Louis Gruber. The
present incumbent is Alva Binklev.

The County Surveyor or Engineer

is elected for a period of three }'ears, his term beginning
in September. His salary is five dollars per working day.
Those elected in recent years to this office, where accuracy
of detail and mathematical preci=;ion are prime requisites.
were: Eli Armacost, W. D. Brumbaugh, German Warner,
Jas. R. Marker, Chas. Slade. The present incumbent is Harry
Miller, who assumed office this year.

The first surveyor was probably John Devor, who made
the original plat of Greenville in 1808.

The Infirmary Superintendent

has a difficult and responsible position in caring for the de-
ficient, aged and infirm members of the county house, and in
taking care of the large farm attached thereto. This officer
was formerly appointed yearly by the Infirmary Directors,
who in turn were appointed by the Commissioners. Recent-
ly they have been appointed by the Commissioners direct,
thus eliminating a superfluous office.


Court Officials.

The Probate Judge is elected for a term of four years,
which begins in I'ebruary. His salary is $3,135.00 per year.

The Prosecuting Attorney is elected for a period of two
years, beginning" in January. His salary is $2,370.00 per

The Clerk of the Courts is elected for a term of three years
beginning in August with a salary of $2,785.00 yearly.

The Sheriff holds for a period of two years, beginning
January 1, and receives a salary of $2,300.00 per year.

In Chapter XXH, entitled "Bench and Bar," will be found
a complete list of those serving in the above court ofHces
since the organization of the county, with biographical
sketches of all Probate and Common Pleas Judges.

Darke county is now in the Fourth Congressional District,
which includes also the counties of Allen, Auglaize, Shelby
and Mercer. Since 1891, the following Democrats have rep-
resented this district at Washington : F. C. Layton (Au-
glaize), 1891-1896; Marshall (Shelby), 1897-1898; Robert

Gordon (Auglaize), 1899-1902; Harvey C. Garber (Darke),
1903-1906; W. E. Touvelle (Mercer), 1907-1910; J. H. Goeke
(Auglaize), 191 1-.

The county has uniformly gone Democratic on presidential
elections for several years, except that it gave Theodore
Roosevelt (Republican) a majority.


The County Infirmary.

Probably no public institution better illustrates the pro-
gressive and philanthropic disposition of the people of Darke
county than the beautiful new infirmary building, situated on
a commanding hillside some two miles south of Greenville on
the Eaton pike. Before the middle of the last century it was
customary in Darke and other Ohio counties to place their
weak, unfortunate and incompetent citizens in the homes of
residents who hoped to profit by their keeping. It can read-
ily be imagined that many abuses attended this pernicious
custom and that the growing spirit of charity and humanity
demanded a home maintained by a county tax where these
poor people might have proper care and attention.

Accordingly, on March 18, 1854, the County Commissioners
purchased a farm of 248 acres located in townships 11 and 12
in Greenville township on both sides of the Eaton pike for
the sum of $6,000.00. The object of this purchase was to
locate a home for the care of the infirm; sick and disabled
poor of the county. The contract for an infirmary building
was let on May 17, 1854, and the structure was completed
in January, 1856, at a total cost of about $8,500.00. This
structure was built of brick, three stories in height and was
40x84 feet in dimensions. The building was doubled in size
by an addition built in 1875-76, when it contained seventy-
two rooms ; substantial separate buildings were also erected
for a laundry and engine-house. The site chosen was on the
slope of a hill overlooking Greenville and the valley of Bridge
creek. This institution was opened for the reception of
inmates March 1, 1856, and an average of eighteen inmates
was maintained during that year. In March, 1880, the num-
ber of inmates was 106, including fourteen idiotic persons.

By a law enacted in recent years most of the insane patients
are sent to the district state hospital at Dayton, O., for treat-
ment and confinement. It has been estimated that about
ninety per cent, of all inmates confined in the infirmary are
there as a result of intemperance, directlv or indirectly. A


cursory glance convinces even the superficial observer that a
large per cent, suffer from senility or some form of mental
or physical weakness which incapacitates them for the ard-
uous duties of the normal citizen.

The original building was consumed by fire on the morn-
ing of June 2, 1897. At that time there were some seventy-
five or eighty inmates confined in the building, all of whom
escaped and found refuge in the large barn across the road.
They were soon removed to the fair grounds until suitable
temporary quarters had been erected just south of the site
of the burned building. At this time the Count}- Commis-
sioners and Infirmary Directors took prompt action to secure
the erection of a new building. The contract was soon let
to Hosacoster, of Richmond, Indiana, at about $75,000, who
pushed the work during the following winter and spring and
had it ready for occupancy in the fall of 1898.

John Studebaker, L. G. Turner and G. F. Trittschuh were
the directors ; John Noggle, Philip Plessinger and Chris Ap-
penseller the commissioners ; T. B. Miller, the superintend-
ent, and Dr. W. A. Rush the visiting physician at the time
of the fire, and to these officers must be given much credit
for the efficient manner in which they met the critical situa-

The new building is built of red pressed brick on a stone
foundation, has a slate roof and is two stories above the base-
ment. The front facade is ornamented with towers
and dormers and presents a pleasing and homelike appear-
ance. The front part of the building is built for the use of
the superintendent and family, and contains an office, sitting
room, bed room, reception room and pantry on the first floor,
five bed rooms and a bath room upstairs and a kitchen in the
basement. There is an offset in the building between the
superintendent's department and that of the inmates a short
distance to the rear. The main hall runs entirely through
the building from east to west. On the south side of this
hall downstairs is the male inmates' department, comprising
a large sitting room, dormitory, with some eighteen beds,
two separate bed room, three closets, three lavatories and a
large bath room, besides three other bed rooms on the ex-
treme east. Upstairs above these roms are a large hospital
room, dormitory, three or four bed rooms with four beds
each, bath and sanitary and three additional bed rooms as
below. The female department is situated on the north side

(Courtesy "Advocate")


oi the building and is arranged in abijut the same manner as
that of the males. A large dining room and two kitchens
occupy the rear of the main building. There is a basement
under the entire building containing furnace, coal and food
storage rooms besides the superintendent's kitchen.

A short distance east of the main building is located the
annex built to house the incurable insane. It is of brick,
two stories high, and contains eighteen cells, one large bath
room and nine separate cells with sanitary closet attached
on each floor. North of the annex is a brick laundry build-
ing equipped with modern machinery. Besides these there
is a slaughter house, an ice house, a large bank barn capable
of accommodating about forty head of cattle, ten horses, a
silo with a capacity of probably seventy-five tons of ensil-
age, a crib, a wagon shed and a hog pen. A twenty-five
horse power gas engine with a six-inch duplex pump draws
the water from a wonderful natural spring located just below
the edge of the hill on the west side of the pike some five
hundred feet from the engine house. This spring has been
enclosed by a wall sixteen feet square and the water stands
about five feet deep throughout the year. It is seemingly
inexhaustible as from five hundred to seven hundred barrels
of water have been pumped from it in one day in the summer
season to sprinkle the lawn, etc., -without visibly diminish-
ing the supply.

The cost of the entire group of buildings is estimated at
approximately one hundred thousand dollars and the land
comprising the farm is now probably worth thirty thousand

Shortly after the completion it was inspected bv the Sec-
retary of the State Board of Charities, who pronounced it the
best arranged and most complete infirmary of its size in Ohio.

Until recently this institution was conducted by a super-
intendent and three directors, appointed by the County Com-
missioners. By a new law the directors have been eliminat-
ed, and the Commissioners control it directly. Since its or-
ganization the following persons have served in the difficult
and responsible position of superintendent: Jacob Shively,
three years ; David Thompson, six years ; Wm. Thompson,
five years ; Crawford Eddington, seven years ; J. N. Braden,
three years ; John Brandon, ten years ; T. B. Miller, eleven
years: I. F. St. Tohn. three vears : Wm. .Smith, five vears.


The present very efficient and popular incumbent is G. Fred-
erick Trittschuh, who has served since 1910.

The following extract from the report of the Board of
County Visitors filed with the Probate Judge, December 14,
1913, shows the present condition of this very important
county institution :

"The Darke County Infirmary, situated about two miles
south of Greenville on the Dayton & Northern Traction,
comprises a farm of 241 acres, of which 140 acres is tillable,
25 acres is in timber, 55 acres in pasture, 10 acres in orchard,
5 acres in lawn and barnyard, and one acre in cemetery. The
farm land is in good condition and is valued at $125 per acre.

"This season the farm produced 457 bushels of wheat, 409
bushels of oats, 204 bushels of rye, 3,000 bushels of corn, 50
tons of hay, 75 tons of ensilage, 448 bushels of Irish potatoes,
69 bushels of sweet potatoes, 75 bushels of onions and an
abundance of vegetables of all kinds.

The cellar contains over a thousand cans of fruit and 85
gallons of apple butter.

On the farm at the present time are the following: Forty-
six cattle, seven horses, two hundred and twenty swine, one
hundred and fifty chickens. The stock is in good condition,
and the barn is well filled with feed for winter use. The total
value of the products for the year was $6,766.72.

The estimated net annual expense, beside products, was

Supt. G. F. Trittschuh and wife formerly received $1,200
per year, and now $1,400 per year.

The management of the farm and institution requires the
assistance of the following help : Two farm hands at $26.00
each per month ; an engineer at $50.00 per month ; six girls at
$17.50 each per month. Dr. S. A. Hawes is emplo^^ed as
physician for the institution at $150.00 per year.

The capacity of the infirmary is two hundred, and the popu-
lation is eighty-six. Of this number one is an epileptic,
six are blind, three are insane, and the majority of the
remainder are disaljled by old age. All the inmates who are
able assist with the work of the institution. The women are
employed with house work, quilt piecing, and sewing carpet
rags while the men are engaged in care of the buildings and
labor on the farm. The inmates seem contented and happy.

The insane are quartered in separate rooms in the annex.


The sexes occupy separate wings ol' the building. Aged
couples are also separated.

There are no soldiers or soldiers' widows at the infirmary.

The buildings are in excellent condition and are well kept.
The basement of the main building looks clean and sanitary,
with all the walls newly whitewashed. The buildings are all
lighted by electricity and heated by steam. The rooms are
ventilated by raising and lowering the windows.

The door yards are especially neat and clean in every part.
The lawn, with its artistically arranged shrubs and flowers,
]-)resent an attractive appearance.

Industry, care and thrift are in ex'idence throughout the

The water supplv is obtained from a spring and a driven

Protection against fire is provided by chemical fire ex-
tinguishers and water furnished by the tower system.

The inmates have access to daily and weekly papers."

The report of 1879 showed 114 inmates on August 31st of
that year: 193 persons admitted during the year; total cost of
ii-aintenance $8,314.49. The farm itself is now worth about
five times its original cost and the total value of ground and
buildings approximates $130,000.00.

The Children's Home.

The word home is one of the most sacred and suggestive in
the English language, calling up ties and associations dear to
the heart nf humanity — ties that bind old and young around
the common hearthstone — associations that cast a potent
spell over the entire earthly life of normal man.

To establish and maintain a home for the unfortunate
children of a large county is a work worthy of sincere com-
mendation. In early days such children were placed in the
infirmaries with the idiotic, the delinquent, the aged and in-
firm and brought under the depressing influences of such an
un~a\-ory environment.

Benevolent minded citizen'^ early saw the revolting fea-
tures of this custom and stirred up sentiment asjainst it. In
response to this sentiment the county commissioners ordered
that the proposition of establishing a children's home, and of
issuing bonds in a sum not in excess of S2S.0O0 to oav for the
requisite site and erect suitable buildings thereon, be sub-


milted to the qualified electors of the county at a public elec-
tion in April, 1882. The proposition was accordingly voted
on arid carried by a large majority. Taxes were levied for
this purpose in 1882, 1883 and 1884. The commissioners
then invited proffers of suitable tracts and after the consid-
eration of various propositions from owners of farms in dif-
ferent parts of the count}' finally decided upon a tract of
about fifty-two and one-half acres situated in adjoining cor-
ners of sections thirteen and fourteen, township twelve,
range two east, on the Beamsville pike about two and three-
fourths miles north of the county seat. This property was
purchased from George W. Manix, Sr., November 27, 1883
for $7,357.63. This site is centrally located, is sufficiently re-
mote from Greenville to insure quiet and home-like condi-
tions, but not being situated on any railway or traction line
necessitates the incurring of extra expense for the transpor-