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

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had recently been remodeled at a cost of some $20,000. The
gigantic task of successfully moving this building some dis-
tance to the southwest of its original site was accomplished
by a Pittsburg contractor in the summer of 1909 at a cost of
some $7,000.00, which sum was furnished by ^Irs. St. Clair.
The school board erected a new foundation on which to place
the building and this with other improvements cost probably
$10,000.00, making the cost of the high school building with
its various improvements from time to time probably
$75,000.00. In the spring of 1910 the work of excavation for
the memorial hall was prosecuted and on Thursday, June 30,
1910, the corner stone was laid with impressive ]\Iasonic cer-
emonies. The dav was intensely sultrv and the services
were performed under a canvass canopy in presence of a
large throng. Charles J. Pretzman, right worshipful grand
orator of the grand lodge of Ohio Free and Accepted Ma-
sons, was the orator of the day. Mrs. Clara Turpen Grimes,
of Dayton, Ohio, was the soloist of the day and instrumental
music was furnished b}' the National Military Home band, of
Dayton, Ohio, under the leadership of Pearl Culbertson, both
being descendants of pioneer Darke countv families, ^^'or':
on the building progressed slowlv and it was not dedicated
until Friday, !May 3, 1912, on which occasion the principal



address was made by George W. Manix, Jr.. an orator of the
Greenville bar, and vocal music was rendered by the well
tramed Girls' Chorus of the Greenville high school. The
members of the board of education when the construction of
the building was begun were: D. W. Bowman, president; W.
T. Fitzgerald, clerk; John Mong, F. T. Conklin, Charles J.
Herr and Harry Vance. James J. Martz was superintendent
of the public schools. Mr. Bowman was given charge of the
construction on behalf of Mrs. St. Clair and carefully
watched the progress of the building and insisted that the
work be carried out in detail. The original plans were al-
tered, a fine stone coping displacing the metal trimmings and
a beautiful green tile roof being substituted. Other improve-
ments were made and a fine two manual organ with chime
attachments installed at a cost of some seven thousand dol-
lars, making the total expense of constructing and furnishing
this building and moving the high school building approxi-
mate $135,000.00, the excess over the original estimate of
$100,000.00 being furnished by Mrs. St. Clair. This beautiful
building is constructed of Bedford stone and a superior qual-
ity of gray pressed brick. The vestibule and lobby are fur-
nished with marble pillars, wainscoting and steps with mo-
saic tile floor, and are lighted by three large emblematic
stained glass windows. On the east side of the basement is
located the athletic room ; on the west side are two rooms
equipped for the manual training department of the schools.
On the rear beneath the stage are the boiler room and one
dressing room. The main auditorium, which occupies the
central portion of the building, and is equipped with a large
balcony and private boxes, seats some eight hundred persons.
To the left of the auditorium on the first floor are two rooms
used by the domestic science department and so constructed
that they can be thrown together and be used for a small
auditorium with a seating capacity of probably two hundred
To the west of the auditorium are the kindergarten and
board office rooms. On the east side of second floor are the do-
mestic science kitchen, dining room and sewing room. On
the west side of this floor are the music room and an assem-
bly room constructed for the use of the ministerial association
occupies the rear of the building which can be shut off from
and the medical association. A well equipped modern stage
the main auditorium by an expensive fireproof curtain. With
the possible exception of the seating capacity of the main


auditorium this building carries out the generous designs ol
its donors and is a very useful and ornamental institution.
Besides its utility as a supplementary institution of the
Greenville school system it affords unusual facilities for the
presentation of plays and musicals of a higher order than can
be staged in many cities of the size of Greenville and can be
used to good advantage for chautauquas, county institutes,
political and religious conventions and large public gather-
ings generally. It also contributes much towards beautifying
the city and the appropriation of ground from the school lot
for its site could be largely compensated for bj^ the purchase
and removal of the Matchett house, which now obstructs the
view from the business portion of the city, thus making a fine
central park with possibilities of future beaut}' beyond the
dreams of the unobservant.

Howard & Merriam of Columbus, Ohio, were the archi-
tects of this magnificent building and E. E. Bope of the same
citv, the contractor.



From a material standpoint three things have probably
contributed more toward the making of Darke county than
all other forces and institutions combined, viz. : drainage,
roads and railways. We have previously noted the remark-
able results accomplished by drainage operations and road
building and will consider briefly the effects of railway build-
ing. The first means of transportation of supplies of food
from the older settlements to Darke county was by means
of pack horses over the military trails cut by St. Clair and
Wayne. The difficulties and dangers encountered by these
pack trains were typified in the sending back of a whole reg-
iment by St. Clair to guard a train of supplies advancing from
Fort Washington, October, 1791, and in the vicious attack on
Lieutenant Lowery and his men while bringing supplies to
Wayne's new camp at Greenville in October, 1793. It was a
slow, tedious and hazardous process in those early days but
the most efficient known. After the trails had been widened
and improved, heavy wagons were used. No doubt many of
the early settlers came into the county from distant points in
large conestoga wagons drawn by from four to six horses
whose combined strength was often necessary to pull the
cumbersome vehicles over the rough corduro}' stretches and
through the swampy places. As the roads were improved
lighter vehicles were employed. The National road was
finished from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio river in 1825 and
to the Indiana line in 1830, thus furnishing a valuable out-
let for the produce raised within its reach. The Erie canal
was opened in 1825 and as a consequence grain soon increased
fifty per cent, in price. The first railway in Ohio was finished
in 1838 and it is interesting to note that the first railway
reached Darke county thirteen years later. The significance
of this event, its far-reaching influence and the enthusiasm
aroused can scarcely be conceived in these days of many rail-
ways. To give an adequate account of the bnildina: of this


road we herewith quote from Beer's History of Darke county
published in 1880:

"The pioneer road of this county was known as the Dayton
and Union Railroad. The company was chartered February
26, 1846, as the 'Greenville and Miami Railroad Company,' for
the construction of a railroad from the town of Greenville to
any point on the Dayton & Western railroad, or any point
on the Miami or Miami Extension Canal, which the directors
might determine. The incorporators were Daniel R. Davis,
Hiram Bell, William M. Wilson, Rufus Kilpatrick, John Col-
ville, George Ward, John McClure, Jr., John C. Potter, Eras-
tus Putnam, Alfred Kitchen, James Hanaway, Henry Arnold,
^^^ B. Beall, I. N. Gard, Abraham Scribner, Russell Evans,
John C. Shepherd, Adam Baker, Abraham Studabaker,
Charles Hutchins, Joseph Ford and Solomon Riffle, of Darke
county ; General -H. Bell was the first president ; Henry Ar-
nold, Esq., first treasurer, and Hon. William M. Wilson, the
first secretary. The capital stock of the company was
$200,000. divided into shares of $50 each. At the expiration
of a year. Dr. T. X. Gard was elected president, succeeded by
David Studabaker. During 1848, the enterprise was first
fully presented to the people of the county for their sup-
port. Among the most acti^•e in forwarding the undertaking
not only to obtain a favoraljle vote, but to secure means to
do the necessary preliminarv work, were Dr. Gard, Judge
Wilson, General Bell, i\Ir. Studabaker, Mr. Kitchen and
Major Davis. There was then but little money in the county :
the largest subscriptions that could be obtained were $500,
and there were but eight or ten of these.

On January 5, 1848, an act was passed by the legislature,
authorizing the commissioners of Darke county to purchase
stock in the G. & M. R. R. Co., to any amount not to exceed
$50,000, provided a majority of the voters of the county were
in favor thereof. On the first Monday of April, the proposi-
tion to aid was carried by a majority of 637 votes, and on the
13th, the commissioners subscribed the maximum amount in
aid of the road. August 21, the auditor was authorized to
isstie an order on the treasurer for $110.00, to pay for the sur-
vey of the road. Februarv 2, 1849, the town council o^
Greenville was in like manner empowered to subscribe there-
to any amount not exceeding $10,000. Judge Wilson contin-
ued secretary of the company from organization to about
1850. tliat is, during the preliminary work of the company. Tn


ox s








1850, a new organization was effected, with E. B. Taylor as
president, and an act was passed authorizing the county and
town to sell any or all stock to said company, or any other
formed to extend the railroad from Greenville to the State
line. Mr. Taylor went to New York, negotiated a loan of
$150,000, bought iron and other necessaries to equipment. In
July, 1850, the first locomotive intended to be used for laying
the track of the road from Dayton to Greenville, arrived at
Dayton ; it was brought from the establishment of Swinburn,
Smith & Co., of Paterinn, New Jersey, and weighed fourteen
tons. The first installment of iron was shipped from New
York for Dayton on the 26th of June. The residue of the
iron was then on the way from Liverpool to New York. It
was of the T pattern, and weighed about nineteen pounds to
the square foot. The bridge across the Miami river at Day-
ton was completed and intended for use by three roads, the
others being the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton and the Day-
ton & Western. The contract for laying the track was let
to A. DeGraff. The depot and other buildings were placed
under contract, and all the* work systematically pushed for-
ward. Two additional locomotives weighing eighteen tons
each, were contracted for delivery, one in August, the other
in October. Two passenger cars were constructed at Dayton,
in the establishment of Thresher, Packard & Co., The
"burthen'" cars were manufactured at the Greenville foundry
and machine shops of Messrs. Edmondson & Evans, and Tay-
lor Brothers. The grain crop of 1851 was unprecedentedly
large, and the road was expected to highly benefit all inter-
ests, whether farming, mechanical, mercantile or commercial.
It was stated at the time that this event "was an important
epoch in Darke couny history," and such it has since proved
to have been. It enhanced values and facilitated communica-
tion. It was noted that "the running time between Green-
ville and Dayton will be less than one hour and a half, and
the distance may be performed with perfect safety in less
than one hour." On February 19, 1851, DeGraff started out
from Dayton with a train to be used for track laying. The
train was platform cars with houses built on them — three for
sleeping rooms, one for dining room and one for a kitchen.
The job of laying the iron was in charge of John Horrien. On
May 25th, the main track of the road was finished to the
depot buildings, and a meeting was called to arrange for a
celebration of the event. The event dulv honored, was


marked by a large crowd, and made memorable by an emeute
at Greenville on part of the roughs. The board of directors,
at a meeting held at Dayton, August 30, 1853, declared a ten
per cent, dividend from the earnings of the road, from Janu-
ary 1st to September 1st. This dividend was declared after
deducting expense of repairs, running interest and other ex-
penses, and there remained a reserve fund of $5,000. The re-
ceipts for August were for passengers $6,261 ; transportation,
$4,215 : mail, $333 ; total, nearly $11,000. The cost of the road
was about $550,000. Outstanding bonds, $341,000, and the
liberal dividend to stockholders created an enthusnasm which
greatly facilitated the induction and completion of the road to
Union, and of other roads constructed through the county.
Mr. Ta3dor continued to be president of the road until July,
1855, when he resigned. Meantime, tlie compan}- had been
authorized b}- the legislature to extend the railroad to the
Indiana State line, by such route as the directors might select,
within the county of Darke, "and the act had been accepted
by resolution of the board o' director? as an amendment to
the charter of the company. The road was built through to
Union City three years after its completion to Greenville, that
is, in 1853. When President Taylor resigned, the road went
into the hands of the bondholders, by whom it was operated.
At length, suit was brought for foreclosure of mortgage
August, 1861, but a plan of reorganization and capitalization
of stock, and debt was agreed upon, and the road was sold
October 30, 1862, to H. C. Stimson and S. J. Tilden for
$1,000, subject to the mortgage of $150,000. In 1855, Judge
Wilson, secretary, resigned, and the chief office was removed
to Dayton. All control of the road passed from the citizens
of the county that year."

The opening of the G. & 1\I. railwav was the occasion of
much rejoicing in the county seat which was manifested in
various ways. The social leaders got up a dance for which
the following invitation was issued :


The compan}- of yourself and lady is solicited to attend a
cotillion party to be gi^en at Greenville, on Fridaj- evening,
June 11. 1852, in honor of the opening of the Greenville and
Miami Railroad.


Greenville— E. B. Tavlor, \Y. H. Dailv, R. A. Knox, J. B.


Grover, J. D. Fairer, O. A. Lymaii, J. G. Rees, T. K. Potter,
J. R. Knox, W. R. Weston, D. Laurimore, W. C. Porterfield.

Dayton — D. Z. Peirce, R. D. Harshman, C. B. Herrman,
D. Beckel, J. S. ^^■esto^, J. O. Conklin, D. E. Mead, E. A.

Greenville, June 8, 1852.

"In the summer of 1854, the road was completed from Dod-
son to Dayton, and the company continued to operate the
entire line from Dayton to Union City until April, 1853,
when, in accordance with an agreement on January 19th, pre-
viously, the joint use of the track of the Dayton & \\'estern
Railroad Company, from Dayton to Dodson (fifteen miles),
was secured, between which points each company had a line
of road running nearly parallel. By this agreement, the com-
pany was enabled to take up and dispose of the iron between
Dayton and Dodson. January 19, 1863, the company was re-
organized, under the name of the Dayton & Union Railroad
Company. When the road was opened for business, in 1850,
land along its line might have been bought for $5.00 per
acre ; it has since been sold for $100 per acre. The country
■was wet, and water stood in the woods and clearings along
the track for months at a time. This is now drained, arable
and valuable. Then, abotit Arcanum, houses were to be seen
at long intervals ; now fine farm houses dot the landscape in
all directions. Arrangements are now in progress to relav the
old track, and annul the agreement for the joint use of the
Dayton & Western rails."

Since the above was written, land has been sold as high
as $300 per acre. At first but a single train, which carried
both passengers and freight, was run during the day time ;
now four passenger trains and one freight are run through
each way daily.

Mr. Dwight Irwin has been the efficient and accommodating
agent at Greenville since 1898. The countv records in 1912
show a total mileage of over twenty-six miles of main track
and over three miles of siding in the countv, with propertv
listed for taxation at the countv treasurer's office in 1912, at

The stations on this line are Gordon, .Arcanum, Delisle.
Jays^•ille, Green\'ille. Coletown, Hillgrove and ITninn Citv.


. The C. C. C. & St. L., or "Big Four" Railway.

The beginning of the Green\'ille and iNIiami rail\va_\- in-
spired another enterprise and in 1848 the charter of the Belle-
fontaine and Indianapolis railway was granted by the legis-
latures of Ohio and Indiana. Mr. William M. Wilson then
represented Darke county in the Ohio senate. The charter
drafted for the proposed new road provided that certain
places, as Sidney and Greenville, should be on the road "pro-
vided" the)'- were "practicable" points. It seems that 'Sir.
Wilson's vote was secured for the charter with the definite
understanding that the road would be constructed through
Piqua and Greenville, his home town. The words '"if practi-
cable" proved to be a "sleeper" and the road was constructed
on a "bee line" through Sidney and Versailles, leaving Piqua
and Greenville several miles to tlie south. It is said that
much laboring and lobbying was done on account of this road
and Mr. George Ward, who represented both Darke and
Shelby counties in the legislature, is credited with being
largel}' instrumental in causing the nmre northern route to be
adopted, ^^^ork on this road was soon commenced in Darke
count)-, probably as early as the fall of 1848 or the spring of
1849, making it the first line started within this territory. The
road was not completed until 1852 or 1853, however.

This road crosses the county line about the center of the
eastern boundarj- o-^ W'ayne township, runs directly to Ver-
sailles and then continues in almost a straight line, in a direc-
tion slightly south of west, to Union City, having as inter-
mediate stations Dawn, .\nsonia and Elroy. It was com-
pleted in the early fifties and has proven of immense value in
developing Wayne, northern Richland. Brown and Jackson
townships by providing a ready market for the large quanti-
ties of grain, timber and manufactured timber products. This
road is also an integral part of one of the great railway sys-
tems of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, forming a remarkable
chain of connection between the commercial centers of these
states. It has about twenty miles of finely graded main track
within the county, listed for taxation in 1912 at $1,204,770.00.
It does a large freight business and is k-nown for the well
appointed and fast through passenger and mail trains which it

The construction of thi^ important trunk line to the north
of the cnuntv seat aroused the citizens of Greenville to extend


the Greenville and Miami road to an intersecting point on the
state line — thus giving Greenville another outlet for travel
and traffic and laying the foundation for Union City, which
has since developed into an important manufacturing and
railway center.

The Pennsylvania Railway.

The P. C. C. & St. Louis railway now operates two lines
which radiate from Bradford, the division point — the Logans-
port division extending in a straight line to Union City, a. dis-
tance of about twenty and one-half miles, and the Indianap-
olis division, extending to Greenville and thence southwest-
erly toward Richmond, a distance of about twenty-six and one-
third miles. The Logansport division passes through Adams,
northern Greenville and Jackson townships in a direction
somewhat north of west, with intermediate stations at Hora-
tio, Stelvideo, Pikeville and Woodington. A second track has
recently been finished on the right of way, the grading im-
proved, several overhead crossings constructed, and vast irn-
provements made making this probably the most improved
and valuable stretch of railway in the county. As it con-
nects New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Chicago
an immense amount of business is transacted. Work on this
division in Darke county was begun in 1852 and continued
about two years, when financial embarrassment overtook the
enterprise. Work was resumed in 1858 and regular trains
were running from Columbus to Union City by the last of
April, 185Q. The road at that time was known as the Co-
lumbus, Piqua and Indiana Railroad and was incorporated at
?2,000,000 by Wm. Wilson and John C. Potter of Darke
county, with others from Miami, Champaign, ]\Iadison and
Franklin counties.

The Indianapolis division of this road was built through
Darke county during the years 1862 and 1863. It was organ-
ized in 1861 as the Richmond and Covington Railroad Com-
pany for the purpose of connecting the first division at Brad-
ford with the Indiana Central Railroad at Richmond, Ind.
Evan Baker, of Greenville, was president of the road at this
time, and A. Price was the contractor. On account of the
hills of gravel and excellent ballasting material along the
right-of-way the cost of construction was reasonable, and the
estimate for completing the road was seven thousand dollars
per mile. Darke county was asked to subscribe $25,000.00


or about one-fourth of the amount needed to put the road
through. E. Baker, the Careys, P. Pomeroy and Thos. War-
ing were largely instrumental in pushing the work to comple-
tion. Through lease, purchase, manipulation and re-organ-
ization both of these divisions finally became an integral part
of the great Pennsylvania Railway Co., which is one of the
greatest and most efficient railway systems in the world, con-
necting the seaboard at New York with St. Louis and Chica-
go, the gateways to the west and northwest. Tlie value of
this road to Greenville and Darke county is almost ines-
timable. The amount of business transacted by this road
at Greenville alone is estimated at about $140,000.00 yearly.
Eighteen heavy passenger and mail trains and sixteen sched-
uled freight trains pass this point daily. This division
passes through Adams, southern Greenville, Neave, north-
western Butler and Harrison townships and has intermediate
stations at Gettysburg, Greenville, Weaver's New Madison
and Wiley's. The total main trackage of these tTvo divisions
in Darke countv is over sixty-seven miles in length. The
total value for taxation in 1912, as listed in the county treas-
urerer's office was $3,873,450.00.

W. J- McCurdy has been the efificient agent of this com-
pany at Greenville since 1889.

The Cincinnati Northern Railway.

The main north and south railway operating in the county
is the Cincinnati Northern, which crosses the northern boun-
dary at Burkettsville, passes almost directly south through
Allen, Brown and northern Greenville townships to the coun-
ty seat, and then continues down the Mud creek prairie
through Neave township and across the Maple swamp district
of Butler township, leaving the county about one mile below
Castine. The intermediate stations from the north downward
are New Weston, Rossburg, Ansonia, Meeker. Greenville,
Ft. JeiTerson, Savona and Castine. This road has about
thirty-one and a third miles of main track and over seven
miles of siding in the county, and was valued for taxation
in 1912 at $751,570.00. It has a unique history, illustrating
in a striking manner the difficulties encountered in early rail-
way construction. The construction of this line was first
agitated in 1853, it then being the object to extend it from
the straits of Mackinac to Cincinnati. Large and enthusias-


tic meetings were held in Van Wert, Greenville and other
l<oints in that year, and local organizations effected. Survey
commenced in August and Moses Hart took stock subscrip-
tions at his store in Greenville. By October 19, $200,000.00
had been subscribed. The estimated cost was less than $17,-
500.00 per mile and the distance from Greenville to the
northern line of the state was one hundred and eleven miles
on the route proposed. From various causes the construction
of the line was delayed, l)ut the directors did not abandon
hope of final success. Changes were proposed in the route