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

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City pike if the cemetery is to continue to be adequate for the
city and township use for many years to come. Since 18:)4
the following persons have served as trustees : Wm. Collins,
George W. Coover, John Tomlinson, D. R. Davis, Moses Hart,
Joshua L. Winget, Abram R. Doty, Jahugh Compton, J. A.
Schmermund, A. J. Arnold, S. L. Kolp, George W. Perry, Jacob
Halderman, Henry Heverling, W. J. Reece, Z. T. Dorman.
The following persons have acted as secretary since 1853 :
Michael Spayd, Wm. M. Wilson, J. R. Knox, George H.
Martz, J. T. ^lartz, W. J. Reece. The present board is con-
stituted as follows : Frank Schreel, president ; John Suter, vice-
president; W. S. Meeker, treasurer; I. X. Smith, secretary and
superintendent. The following article by the superintendent,
who completed thirty years of service here on .\pril 1, 1914,
is not inappropriate here :

"With Tallyrand I can say, 'Show me your cemetery and I
will know of the culture and refinement of your people.' Were
he permitted to inspect the beautiful cemeteries of our land
today his estimate of the refinement and intelligence of our
people would run very high. The word cemetery signifies a
resting place. Our cemetery is therefore but an exquisitely
beautiful dormitory where our loved ones sleep.

"The burial of the dead has ever been one of the acts most
touching to the human heart, and the one most tenderly per-
formed. At death the body is all that is left to us of the loved



544 DARKE COUNTY

and lost. The burial of the mortal part has always been ob-
served with more or less tenderness and regard as the people
were more or less educated, refined and enlightened. From
the earliest history which we possess we learn that the dead
were tenderly cared lor. In the Uible we read ol the pur-
chas of the Cave of Machpelah by Abraham from the Children
of Heth, for a burial place. This cave became a sacred spot to
Abraham and to his descendants. In that Cave were buried
Sarah, the wife of Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, Jacob and
Abraham himself.

"The duty of giving honorable burial tu the dead was recog-
nized from the earliest times, and we find this illustrated m
the case of Jacob, who died in Egypt. Yet, according to his
desire, his remains were taken to the family burial place — the
cave of Machpelah — for interment. And when Joseph was
about to die in Egypt, he exacted an oath from his kinsmen
that his bones should be transported, at the Exodus, to the
Promised Land for final interment and it was as he desired.

"The burial with friends, in their own land, was esteemed a
great privilege by the patriarch of old, and the custom largely
prevails today of bringing our friends home for burial. To
this respect for the dead, widespread as it has ever been, the
world has been indebted for some of the grandest specimens
of architecture ever erected by men. Among these are the
Pyramids of Egypt, the Tomb of Mausolous and the Tombs
of the Kings of Golconda, and in our own cemetery there are
many beautiful artistic structures. The St. Clair-A'an Dyke
monument is a magnificent piece of art, the W. S. Turpen
monument a massive structure of granite that will endure for
centuries, the soldiers' monument, erected and donated by our
late comrade, Frank McWhinney and wife, to the memory of
all Darke county soldiers, does credit to any of its kind in
western Ohio. And the compartment mausoleum, the finest
and best built in the state. In its crypts will be placed many
a loved one.

"It is nothing new, then, that the living should tenderly
care for the bodies of their dead friends, and should provide
pleasant and attractive grounds in which to 'bury their bod-
ies out of our sight.' Since the burial of the dead in church
yards has ceased, large and beautiful cemeteries have been
provided for burial purposes. Our own country has taken the
lead in this respect, and in the vicinity of Cleveland, Toledo,
Dayton, Cincinnati, and other cities in our land, the most



DARKE COUNTY 545

beautiful cemeteries in the world may be found. It is one of
the best marks of the intelligence of any community to see the
cemetery, belonging to such community, well cared for — a
place to attract people by its quiet beauty, its neat and well
kept grounds, and why should we not set apart the most beau-
tiful spot on earth for the shes of our beloved? Let the hill
tops of the 'Silent City' be kissed by the first morning ray and
the last gleam of day; let dancing rivulets sing their glad
hymns of praise ; let silver lakelets picture the glories of earth
and heaven ; let Luna and the starry hosts shed their hal-
lowed influence upon the peaceful scene ; let Flora contribute
her choicest oiTerings ; in short, let nature and art so combine
as to express in our cemetery our highest ideals of beauty and
harmony.

"As I roamed through one of our most beautiful cemeteries
this past summer, the virgin forests all aglow with the pink
and scarlet skies, the crimson woodbine, the purple oak, the
golden chestnut and beech, the multi-colored maple, etc., etc.,
as I turned into the paths along the calm, silver lakelets, in
which the wonderful autumn tints were mirrored and along
the banks of which the robins and hermit thrushes were sing-
ing their Te Deums, and then, as I rambled over the emerald
lawns spangled with beds of fragrant flowers, I thought if the
dead could speak, how heartily they would thank those who
had prepared such an entrancing retreat for their long, long
sleep It is well for the living to pass often through the
streets of the "City of the Dead."

"Among the varied anticipated improvements of our pro-
gressive city, let us not forget our cemetery. The time will
soon be here, yea, it is here now, when Greenville cemetery
must be enlarged. Let the land lying adjacent to, and parallel
with the cemetery be secured at once. This, with proper grad-
ing, platting and landscape gardening, could be converted into
a most beautiful cemetery, and furthermore this would per-
petuate the cemetery we now have and remove all doubt of
its ever becoming an abandoned cemetery.

"Peace to this place of rest!
'Tis common earth no longer now,
The gleaming sickle, and the laboring plow
Here ceases their toil — for holy grounds
Are gardens of the grave — the bounds
'Twixt life and death — the awful bourne
(35)



546 DARKE COUNTY

From whence no traveler doth return,
Is peopled with dim mysteries —
The Spirit Realm around us lies ;
■ Peace to these shades, these hills and dells.
Where silence, like a presence, dwells."

TOWNSHIP SKETCHES.

Darke county is one of the large political and geographical
units of Ohio, being approximately thirty miles from north to
south and twenty miles from east to west and comprising
about 586 square miles of territory. It contains twenty town-
ships, which, if of equal size, would each have about thirty-
square miles of territory. However, on account of the loca-
tion of the county seat about three miles south u- the exact
center of the county and the early development of the sur-
rounding territory, Greenville township, which originally com-
prised the entire county, early assumed a commanding posi-
tion, enlarging what would have been her just share in an
equal division of territory by the addition of two tiers of sec-
tions on the south side and two tiers on the southeast, making
her territory finally to comprise about sixty square miles, and
throwing the county seat nearer the center of this large and
important township. In order to adjust the map to this
changed condition one township was omitted immediately to
the east and five townships made smaller than an average,
while about eight square miles were added to the western side
of Adams township, making it the second largest in size in the
count}'. Roughly speakinfg, there are four tiers of five town-
ships in each running north and south. Beginning at the
northwest corner and taking tier by tier they are as follows :
First tier, Mississinawa, Jackson, Washington, German and
Harrison; second tier, Allen, Brown, Green\ille, Xeave and
Butler ; third tier. Wabash, York. Richland, Van Buren and
Twin ; fourth tier, Patterson. W'ayne. Adams. Franklin and
Monroe. Accordingly we will give a brief sketch of each in
the order named for convenience of reference and regularitv of
treatment, regardless- of size or relative importance.

Mississinawa Township.

As suggested by the name, this township is the starting
point of the Mississinawa branch of the \\^abash river. This
stream rises in the north central part of the township, runs



MERGE R










lU^rirtlXM











SKETCH IIAP OF DARKE COUNTY, OHIO.



DARKE COUNTY 547

southeasterly, just crossing the eastern line, then turns south-
westerly, making a bow across the southern part and provid-
ing a drainage basin for about three-fourths of the entire area
of this division. Within a mile of the head of this stream the
eastern branch of the Wabash arises and flows northeasterly
into Mercer county. The upper waters of the west branch of
the Stillwater drain a small part of the southeastern section.
With the exception of the northwestern section, which is in-
clined to be hilly, the surface is generally level and highly pro-
ductive, especially along the creelc bottoms. In early da\s it
was covered with a fine growth of native trees, oak. ash, elm,
hickory, sugar, maple and beech being .ound in abundance.
This township is absolutely regular in outline, being five miles
east and west and six miles north and south and is geograph-
ically known as township 14, range 1. Previous to March,
1839, it was a part of Jackson township. At that time the
northern tier of sections belonged to Gibson township which
extended to the Greenville township line. On April 12, 1848,
Gibson township was thrown into JNIercer county and this tier
of sections added to Mississinawa giving it the proportions
which it now possesses.

Philip Reprogle is said to have been the pioneer settler in
this township, locating in 1833 half a mile east of the present
site of Rose Hill. Joseph and W'illiam Reprogle soon fol-
lowed, settling in this vicinity in 1835. Prominent among
the early settlers were: John B. Anderson. Samuel C. Carter,
David Brooks, John A. ^IcKibben, Hugh McKibben, Wm.
Van Kirk, Wm. B. Light, Francis Whitaker, E. PI. Fisher and
Mahlon Peters. The Methodists are credited with Ijuilding
the first church, in 1851, near the southern line, a mile and a
half east-of the southwestern corner of the township. There
are now six churches in this township as follows: Fir^^t ]\1. E.
church at Lightsville : First U. B. church at Rose Hill : 'Sit.
Zion near Buck's Corner; Christian in central part; two
Brethren (Progressive Dunkard). The date of the erection of
the first school house is probably unknown. .\t the present
time there are nine rural schools in this township.

The only villages are Lightsville and Rose Hill, both on the
Fort Recovery pike in the southeastern part of the township.
The former was platted by Wm. B. Light in 1874, in section
6. There is a school employing two teachers in this village.
Rose Plill was laid out in 1852 at the joining of sections 14, 13,
22 and 23 on the high ridge of the divide.



548 DARKE COUNTY

This township has the unique distinction of producing more
natural gas than any in the county. In all probability fifty
wells have been drilled within the last six years, mostly by
the Salem gas company, of Salem, Indiana. These wells are
about eleven hundred feet deep and some of them supply gas
to Fort Recovery. Indications of the presence of petroleum
have been noticed in a few of these wells, but no permanently
flowing well has been drilled.

Although there are no railways or important towns in this
township the tax levy of 1913 shows a real estate valuation of
$1,524,530 and personal property to the extent of $348,560.
Population in 1910, 1.258.

Jackson Township.

This township at the time of its erection, 1833, embraced
what is now known as Gibson township in Mercer county, and
Mississinawa and Jackson townships in Darke county, known
geographically as townships 13, 14 and 15 of range 1 east,
then belonging to Washington township. Gibson township
was detached in 1836, and Alississinawa in 1839, reducing
Jackson to its present proportions. The northern part is com-
paratively level with a gentle slope toward the Mississinawa
basin, and has a dark loamy soil, which is very productive. A
variety of forest trees originally grew in this section, includ-
ing oak, walnut, ash, elm and hickory. The central part of
this township is undulating and contains considerable clay
in its elevated portion. Beech was the predominating timber
in the primitive forest here, interspersed with considerable
sugar maple and shell bark hickory. The southern part of the
township is the most rolling, while the soil contains a larger
per cent, of loam and loose fertile soil, especially in the val-
leys and low lying tracts. The headwaters of the Stillwater
drain the eastern half of the township and form what is known
as the "flats or spreads," of Stillwater, a district known in
early days for the swampy condition during the spring fresh-
ets, but now well drained and almost entirely reclaimed by the
plow. Perhaps because of its dense woods, lack of roads and
comparatively inaccessible condition this township was not
settled as early as some others. However, about 1829, Jacob
and Richard Strait, Gilbert Vail, Tobias Miller, Abraham
Miller, John Armstrong. John Wright, William and Samuel
Dennison and John Woods made settlements and were soon



DARKE COUNTY 549

followed by William Parent, John McFarland, Isaac Beal,
William Ross, Frederick Roe, William K. Marquis, John
Crumrine, Gilbert Hand and Joseph Hay. The first school
house was built in section 35. The first church was built by
the J\Iethodists. With the progress of road building, railway
construction and drainage this has become one of the best
townships in the county. Union City (Ohio side) is located in
the southwestern, Hill Grove in the southern and Elroy in
the eastern part of this township. Three railways and a trac-
tion line traverse the southern part of the township and con-
verge at Union City. The tax assessment of 1913 showed
$1,975,720 in real and $1,086,720 in personal property outside
of Union City. Adding the latter the grand total assessment
was $4,058,880. indicating the substantial growth of this town-
ship in the brief history of its existence. The population of
Jackson township, including Union City, Ohio, in 1910, was
2,968.

Union City. Ohio.

Union City was platted in 1838, and incorporated December
6, 1853. It is distinctively a railroad center and owes its re-
markable development to that fact. The Greenville and

. Miami railway was completed to this point from Greenville
on December 25, 1852. The Union and Logansport Railroad
(now the Logansport division of the Pennsylvania railway)
was started under the title of the ^Monroe and Mississinawa
railroad, in 1854, but not completed until 1867. The "Bee
Line" or Big Four reached Union City about the same time
as the G. and M. (now D. and L'). For many years Union
City has been known for its large output of building material
and vehicles, its elevators and warehouses. The main busi-
ness and public buildings and institutions are on the Indiana

-side, but there is a large public school house, a U. B. church, a
Free M. E. church and an I. O. O. F. lodge, known as State
Line Lodge No. 724, which was instituted in 1883. The census
of 1910 gave Union City, Ohio, a population of 1,595, and the
entire city a population of 4,804. The tax assessment of real
property on the Ohio side in 1913 was $744,550, and of per-
sonal property $251,890.

Washington township.

This township originally comprised the territory now in-
cluded in Washington township and all of German township.



550 UARKE COUNTY

except the southern tier of sections. German township, it
seems, was detached in 1820. In 1833, the north tier of sec-
tions in the latter was thrown into Washington township, but
returned in December, 1834, since which time Washington
township has remained as it now is in dimensions. The upper
waters of Greenville Creek drain the northern section and
Grout creek the central and southern sections of this town-
ship. It contains nearly twenty-one thousand acres of land
which was originally covered with a dense growth of timber
and was noted for the large number of excellent springs. As
previously noted Indian settleriients were numerous along
the Grout creek prairie where they left many marks of their
former habitation. The soil is very productive and probably
produces as much grain and produce as any in the county. The
first settlers to locate in this township were Alartin and Jacob
Gox of Pennsylvania, who settled on the south side of Green-
ville creek in sections 13 and 14 on October 16, 1816. They
were followed by James Brady and Samuel Gole, from Sussex
county. New Jersey, who came in March, 1817, and settled in
sections 26 and 27. Samuel Gole, Sr., and Levi Elston came
in 1818 and were followed by John Snell and Daniel Shively.
'The latter settled in section 27 on Grout creek and formed the
nucleus of what was later known as the Dutch settlement, to
which came the Hecks, Millers, Raricks and Glapps from
Pennsylvania and Maryland. Besides these several families
were added to the original settlers from New Jersey and
formed the Jersey settlement in the eastern part of the town-
ship. The list of pioneers should include the names of Joel Go-
sad, Nathanil Skidmore, Jeremiah Rogers, Samuel and Peter
Kimber, Henry Greviston, Ignatius Burns, Philip Manuel,
Moses Grumrine. Jesse Gray, Jacob Ghenoweth, Gonrad Har-
ter, Gharles Sumption, Solomon Harter, Joseph Dixon, L. D.
Wintermote, Hezekiah Fowler, David Wasson, John S.
Hiller, Isaac Vail, Thomas F. Ghenoweth, Aaron Hiller and
Johnson Deniston. The first road from Greenville to reach
the early settlements crossed at the old ford, ran along the
north side of Greenville creek to beyond Dean's (Weimer's")
mill, where it crossed just below the old Murphy graveyard.
The next road crossed Greenville creek at the same point,
recrossed to Tecumseh's Point, kept south of Greenville
creek, crossed West Branch north of the old George Fox mill
and continued on to the Jersey settlement and Grout creek.
As before noted these were some of the earlv roads of the



DARKE COUNTY 551

county, and have been replaced by portions of the present
Union City and Winchester pikes. John Llapp built the first
rude grist mill on Crout creek, largely with volunteer help, iii
1823, and Jeremiah Rogers later built a saw mill i^n Hoovers
branch of that creek. David Clapp built a flour miU un Crout
creek in section 15, in 1832, which later became known as
McClure's mill and served the community until recent years.
It is to the credit of this township that the first church in the
county was erected along the township line in section 36 about
1819, by the jNIethodists as before mentioned. A second
church was built by this denomination in section Z2 at an early
date, and was known as the Chenoweth church, it is sii 1
that the first big Alethodist camp meeting in the county was
held in section Zi on what is now known as the Houpt farm.
The third church was built by the Presbyterians in section 14
on the farm of ^Martin Cox. All of these early churches have
been discontinued but others have ta!:en their place and the
township has not lost its early religious character. There is
a German Baptist church in section 9, a Disciple church in
section 29 and a Union church in section 18.

The only village of consequence in the township is HTU
Grove, which is located in the northwest corner of section 4
and extends partly into Jackson township. Tliis village was
laid out in 1848, by W. Nickel, and is situated on the Dayton
& Union and Ohio Electric railways which traverse the north-
eastern portion of the township. It now ha-; a Rearmed and
a United Brethren church, a school house and a few shops,
but on account of its proximity to the thriving railway town
of Union City, has been unable to make much progress. Nash-
ville is the only other village in this township. It is located
on the township line in section 34, at the intersection of the
old State road and the Palestine pike. It contains one gen-
eral store and a U. B. church, the latter being in German town-
ship. The small railway mileage and the ab-ence of large
towns make Washington distinctly a rural township with
some of the best farms and farmers in the county. Like other
townships of this class it makes slow increase in population
as many of its young men are attracted to the nearby cities
and commercial centers. Its population in 1890 was 1.485, and
in 1910. 1,388. The real estate assessment in 1913, was
$1,955,233.00 and the personal property was listed at
$535,520.00.



552 DARKE COUNTY

German Township.

This township is known geographically as township 11
north, range 1 east, and was formed in 1820 from the southern
part of Washington township with the addition of one tier of
sections from the northern portion of Harrison township. It
comprises about thirty-three square miles or over twenty-one
thousand acres of land, most of which is exceptionally fertile.
The eastern part is drained by the upper waters of West
branch, the northwestern section by the head of Crout creek
and the southwestern portion by the upper waters of the
Whitewater river. The West Branch prairie is gently rolling
and although somewhat boggy in early days, it has been re-
claimed and is one of the choicest farming and grazing sec-
tions of the county. This valley, with its numerous springs,
its gentle slope and its beautiful groves of maple, beech, oak,
etc., was a favorite dwelling place for the Indians who built
several villages here as well as on the upper waters of Crout
creek, and left numerous distinct marks of their extended hab-
itation. The western part of this township is fiat, but the
south central portion is somewhat broken. The pioneer set-
tler was probably James Cloyd, who settled land on the prairie
just south of the present site of Palestine in 1814. Jonathan
and Alexander Pearson settled in this same neighborhood
about 1816. Samuel Loring settled in the southwest quarter
of section 14 about this time and later laid out the town of
Palestine. John Wagner, who oriTinallv came from Berks
county, Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1806, and settled with other
Pennsylvania Germans at an early date in the IMiami valley,
entered the northwest quarter of section 24 en tlie edge of the
West Branch prairie about 1816. In the fall of that year he
sent his sons Daniel and William with some stock which they
were to feed on the luxuriant prairie hay that grew in that
region. Here they erected a rude temporary hut and spent
the winter with two or three Indian families as near neigh-
bors. Several emigrants came in the fall of 1817, among
whom were Martin Ketring and family, and George Teaford,
who settled in section 22, Henry Ross, who settled in the
northwest part of section 24, and George Stingley and family,
who settled in the southeast quarter of section 12. John
McNeil, James ^^'oods and Wear Cassidy are also mentioned
as early settlers. As in the other townships the most attrac-
tive, best drained and easiest opened sections were entered



DARKE COUNTY



first. Thus it happened that the wet, level land in the extreme
southwestern part of this township was not entered until
1826. The first school house was built as early as 1820, in
section 14 near Palestine, and the second in 1822 on the north-
west quarter of section 13. William R. Jones was the first
teacher. The residents of German township have always
taken much interest in educational matters. Until recently
there were ten special school districts in the township besides
the Palestine school. Two of these have recently combined
with the Palestine district and erected a commodious, modern
brick school house having six rooms at a cost of about $15,000.
Four teachers are employed in this school, two of them teach-
ing in the high school, which gives a three-year academic
course. This school is located on the south side of Cross
street near the western limits of the village of Palestine. Prof.
Harter ^^"heeler is the efficient superintendent.

The Lutherans are credited with employing the first min-
ister, Jacob Ashley, who came monthly from Germantown,
Ohio, and preached in the settlers' cabins, receiving therefor