The Hobart publishing Company.

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

. (page 52 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

replaced by another structure in 18.^2, and much better one
in 1896. The last named building was struck by lightning in
1912 and burned. A modern brick structure costing about
S8,000 was soon erected and was dedicated April 26, 1914.

The Methodists built a church in the northern part of the
village about 1875. The first school house was built on the
present site of the cemetery in 1848. .\s in New Madison and
Harrison township generally a fine educational spirit prevails.
Resides the school and church buildings there is now a city
hall, bank, postofifiice, hotel, K. of P. building, newspaper office,
saw mill and greenhouse in the village. Flourishing K. of P.,
Pvthian Sisters and a Jr. O. U. A. M. organization also exist
here. This village supported a noted physician in the person
of W. W. French, who came in 1842, and built up an immense
practice extending into Indiana. Hon. O. E. Harrison, form-
erly state senator and an assistant prosecutor in the Depart-
ment of Justice, was for some time principal in the school at
this place. H. W. Emerson, who is said to have been the
shrewdest financier ever living in Darke county, came to Har-
rison township about 1816, and was a banker in Hollansburg
for several years. Later he moved to Greenville and served as
president of the Farmers Bank.

The only other villages in the township are Braffettsville,
on the line between sections 33 and 34, Wilv's station on


the Pennsylvania railway in section 28 and Yankeetown on
the high ground at the cornering of sections 25, 26, 35 and 36.
The latter village has a new U. B. church erected in 1912, and
is the oldest village in the township.

Allen Township.

This township is one of the northern tier and lies just east
of Mississinawa. It was taken from Brown township in
March, 1839, and containd all of townships 14 and 15 north,
range 2 east, except one tier of sections from the eastern part
of each. It was reduced to its present size in 1848, when
township 15 was thrown into Mercer county, and now con-
tains thirty sections of land. It is drained mainly by the up-
per Wabash and the head of the north branch of the Still-
water. The former enters the township near the extreme
northwest corner and runs southeastward to the southeast
quarter of section 15, thence northeastward to the southeast
quarter of section 11, where it crosses the Wabash township
line. The Stillwater rises in the southwest corner of section
17, near school No. 4, flows southeastward to southeast quar-
ter of section 26, thence southward and crosses the Brown
township line near the center of the south line of section 35.
The water shed between the Wabash and Miami basins trav-
erses this township, and the surface is generally rolling with
occasional hills along the streams. The uplands contain much
clay, while the bottoms are of a rich dark soil. There was
much fine hard timber in this section which was cut off to a
large extent later than that in the sections further south.

Ephriam and Aaron Ireland were the first settlers and lo-
cated in the northeast quarter of section 34. Other pioneers
were George Reigel and sons, John, David, Jacob and Jona-
than ; Samuel Zerby, Samuel Aspaugh. Landis Light, John
Hagerman, Matthias Barnhart, Francis Jenkinson, Henry
Brown and James Cochran.

The first school house was built in 1840 in section 30. There
are now nine school districts, besides village schools.

The Methodists erected the first church in 1854, two miles
west of Rossburg at the northeast corner of section 32, and
the Lutherans erected the next about half a mile farther west
on the south side of the Lightsville pike in 1855, where the
Holiness church now stands. Bishop John Seibert is credited
with being the first preacher in the township, and the Evan-



gelicals the first to hold services in private houses. Rev. T.
Hiestand was the pioneer Methodist preacher.

There was no railroad in this township until the C. J. & M.
(now C. N.) was constructed through the second tier of town-
ships about 1883. This road has been largely instrumental in
developing the township and since its construction three vil-
lages have been developed, viz., Rossburg, New Weston and

Rossburg (formerly Rossville.)

This -^-illage was laid out by John G. Ross in 1868, at the
cornering of sections 26, 27, 34 and 35. A blacksmith shop, a
store and a postofiice soon formed the nucleus of the new vil-
lage and it made but little progress until the building of the
"Mackinaw" railway about 1883; since that time it has made
substantial progress and now contains a town hall, a council
chamber, a bank, a hotel, a postofifice, a railway station and
U. B. and M. E. churches, besides a lodge, elevator, m.ill and
several stores. The population in 1910 was 261.

New Weston.

This is one of the new villages of the county and is located
four miles north of Rossburg on the line between sections 3
and 10. Like Rossburg, its development was due largely to
the construction of the Cincinnati Northern railway. It now
contains a town hall, a postofifice, telephone exchange, public
school, U. B. church, elevator, depot, livery, lodge and stores.
The population in 1910 was 258, just three less than Rossburg.

Burkettsville (Gilbert's Station.)

This village is located one mile north of New Weston at
the intersection of the county line and the C. & N. railway.
It has grown up since the construction of the railway. It is
built in a community largely Catholic, like the southern part
of fiercer County generally, and contains a Catholic church
and school, a town hall, station, elevator and Church of
Christ on the ]\Iercer county side, while on the Darke county
side are located the postoffice, public school, hotel, elevator,
stores and the Catholic cemetery. The total population in
1910 was 236.

Allen township has roads on most of the section lines, many
of which have been graded and built up in recent years mak-


ing fine pikes. The real estate was assessed at $1,757,390 and
the chattels at $484,350 in 1913. The population in 1910 was

Brown Township.

This township was organized in December, 1833, when it
was taken from- Richland. As now constituted it comprises
all of township 13 north, range 2 east, except one tier of sec-
tions on the east, making it six miles north and south, and five
miles east and west. It lies largely in the plain between the
Alississinawa and the Union Moraines, mentioned in Chapter
1, and is one of the most level townships in the northern part
of the county.

Its territory is drained by the upper Stillwater and its
branches which reach nearly every section of the township.
The main stream enters the township near the northwest cor-
ner, and flows southeastward to Ansonia, at the center of sec-
tion 22, thence eastward, crossing the east line near the north-
east corner of section 23. The main southern tributary is the
Woodington branch, which rises in the northwestern part of
Greenville township and flows in a northeast direction past
^^'oodington and joins the main stream about a half mile
west of Ansonia. The North Branch rises in the western cen-
tral part of Allen township, flows in a southeast direction, and
joins the main stream about a fourth of a mile east of An-
sonia. On account of the level condition of the land and the
large number of tributaries the upper valley of this stream,
beginning a short distance above Ansonia and extending into
eastern Jackson and southeastern jMississinawa townships, was
originally subject to overflow after every freshet, and was
known as the "spreads of Stillwater." On this account the
land in this section was considered alm^ost worthless in early
days, and for probably forty years after the first settlement
remained a morass, the last retreat of the wolves in the county.
By extensive and systematic ditching, mostly in the "sixties
and seventies," it became the most fertile and valuable tract
in the township. Lands in this township sold in early days
from $1.00 to $2.50 per acre — the former price prevailing in the
vicinity of Ansonia. The original forest showed a diversity
of fine hard timber, which, at first, was cut down and de-
stroyed indiscriminately, but, upon the building of the rail-
ways became a valuable asset to the landowners and supplied


material for an immense business in the manufacture of
hardwood hubs, spokes, staves, etc.

The trails of St. Clair and \\'a3'ne crossed the western part
of this county, following the general course of the present
Fort Recovery pike. St. Clair's army camped in the neigh-
borhood of Woodington and made special mention of the
heavy forest there. Signs of an extensive encampment on the
higher ground of the Tillman farm in the southern part of sec-
tion 20, were found in early days. The outline of a low em-
bankment was distinctly seen and numerous relics were found
here. Some fine springs are located here and today there is
an artesian well of considerable strength. Wayne's army
camped in the Stillwater at the crossing of the old trail, prob-
ably near the southeast corner of section 6, on the evening of
July 28, 1794, that being the first day's march northward from

John lA'oodington was probabh' the first settler in the town-
ship. He located along St. Clair's trail in the southern part
of section 29. William Teegarden came in 1817, and located
in the southwest quarter of section 20. His brother Abraham
came in 1820, and entered the southeast quarter of section 18.
Daniel Dewall settled in the east half of the northeast quarter
of section 20, in the same year. Other early settlers were
James Titus, Smith Marquis, James White, David and Silas
Riffle and Thomas Marcum.

The first school house was a pole cabin built about 1827, in
section 28. John Hofifman was the first teacher. There are
now nine school houses in the township besides the one in

The first church was built by Abraham Teegarden in 1835,
on the north side of the present Ansonia pike, a short distance
west of the intersection of the Fort Recovery pike in section
18. It was a "Campbellite" church and has been discontinued
many years. The present "Teegarden" Christian church is
located about a fourth of a mile west of this site on the op-
posite side of the road in section 19, and was built about 1881,
as the result of the "splitting" of the original Teegarden
church which stood at the southwest corner of the intersection
of the Fort Recovery and Union City — Ansonia pike. The
original church was built in 1862, and when the division oc-
curred in 1881, the members living to the south organized the
Christian church at Woodington and those living to the north
the one above mentioned. The Teegarden church is now the
only rural congregation in the township — a condition due


largely to the proximity of various churches in surrounding

Brown township is well supplied with railways. The C. C.
C. & St. L. R. R. crosses in a straight line inclining south of
east. It enters near the center of the east line of section 2o,
and crosses the v/est line at the extreme northwest corner of
section 30. The Logansport division of the Pennsylvania rail-
way cuts diagonally across the southwestern corner of the
township. The Cincinnati Northern R. R. was the last con-
structed through the township, being in a north and south di-
rection through the second tier of sections from the east line,
and has proven quite beneficial in afifording larger market fa-


The principal village is Ansonia (originally Dallas), which
was laid out in 1845, near the center of the east line of section
22. In early days the location was considered unhealthy, but
since the drainage of this section has changed materially in
this respect. It is situated in the Stillwater bottoms and is
about forty-five feet lower than the county seat. Being eight
miles from Greenville, and about ten miles from Versailles,
and Union City it makes a convenient trading point for a large
section of surromiding territory, and has been a good com-
mercial center for many years. The building of the "Bee
line" railway in 1852 gave Ansonia enlarged commercial op-
portunities and made it a center for the manufacture of hubs,
staves and spokes for many years, until the supply of hard-
wood in the neighborhood had been greatly reduced. The
construction of the Cincinnati Northern railway some thirty
years later made it a shipping point of importance and guar-
anteed the future stability of the place. Besides several sub-
stantial mercantile establishments, Ansonia now has a town
hall, fire department, postoffice, two banks, hotel, public
school, three churches, a newspaper, Masonic, T. O. O. F. and
K. of P. lodges, two elevators, a tobacco warehouse, and a
union railway station.

The M. E. church in Ansonia is the outgrowth of services
held in the vicinity of the village in early days — probablv from
1845 to 1850. Later services were held in a school house a
short distance north of the village, and still later in the village
sschool house. Regular services were held after the organi-
zation of the Hillgrove circuit in 1863. Amons: those who


preached prior to the organization of the Ansonia church were
H. O. Sheldon, J. T. Bower, H. Boyers, M. Perkey, A. Arm-
strong, H. Burns. Some of the early pastors were Benj. L.
Rowand, D. G. Strong, Henrj' Burns, Jason and William
Young, Valentine Staley, James Jackson, P. M. Young, M. M.
Markwith, R. D. Oldfield, and E. D. Whitlock, under whose
pastorate a neat, brick church costing some $3,200 was erected
on the northwest corner of High and Cass streets and dedi-
cated in 1873. This structure served until 1902, when it was
remodeled and furnished at a cost of about $4,200, giving in-
creased and modern facilities for the Sunday school, and a
better auditorium. Great stress is placed on the work of the
Sunday school in which the enrollment is now about 100. The
enrollment in the church is about 136.

The Christian church was organized in early days and built
a place of worship on West Cross street. This denomination
prospered and in 1894-95 erected a beautiful, modern, brick
church on the southeast corner of Weller and Cass streets at
a cost of some $5,000. A good congregation and a prosper-
ous Sunday school assemble here from Sunday to Sunday.

There is also a substantial Lutheran church on South Main
street, which has been supported by the descendants of the
early German families for several years. The pastor of Grace
church, in Greenville usually serves this charge.

Ansonia has taken great pride in educational matters for
many years as shown by the fact that a commodious and
substantial three story brick school house was erected on a
two acre plat in Plulse's addition at a cost of some $10,000, as
early as 1873. Competent instructors and a strong board of
education have been important factors in maintaining a high
standard of education in the village, which has been fortunate
in securing services of such men as Professors J. H. Royer,
P. C. Zemer and the present efficient incumbent, G. H. Garri-
son, who has served as superintendent since 1904. The pres-
ent school building -was erected on the site of the above men-
tioned structure in 1903 at a total cost of some $23,000, includ-
ing the heating system. The building is of red pressed brick,
two stories in height and has eight rooms. The schools have
a well equipped library and a well furnished laboratory. Eight
teachers are employed. The high school was organized in
1873, and the first class was graduated in 1877. It was
raised to a first grade high school in 1907, at which time
Messrs. G. M. Marshall, C. J. Stephen, J. F. Howard, E. E.


Vance and James Fry were on the Ijoard. Tlie enrollment
for 1912 and 1913 was 135 in the grades and 102 in the high
school.. There were sixteen members in the class of 1913,
making a total alumni of 193 members. The superintendent-;
to date have been J. M. Syckes, John H. Royer, P. C. Zemer,
William Beachler, D. D. Bates and G. H. Garrison.

Ansonia has been the home of some of the best !;no\vn
physicians in the county, among whom were Drs. Knouf, W.
E. Hooven, L. C. Anderson and H. A. Snorf.

C. M. Anderson, one of the most brilliant attorneys Darke
county ever produced, was a citizen of this place, and Dr. S.
A. Hostetter, the president of the Second National Bank of
Greenville and a man of unusual ability, was for years a
physician and influential resident of this place.

This village has been a strong lodge center for years and
the social life of the surrounding country has been materially
influenced by the various fraternal and secret organizations.
Ansonia Lodge F. and A. M. was chartered on October 21,
1874 with sixteen members bv the Grand Lodge of Ohio and
now has about 125 members, including many of the most con-
servative and substantial men of the community. Ansonia
Ledge, I. O. O. F. No. 605, was instituted cm June IS, 1875,
with sixteen charter members and now has about 110 mem-
bers, including many representative citizens. In recent years
this lodge erected a neat and substantial three-story brick
' building on the southwest corner of Main and Weller streets.
The first story is occupied bv a bank and the third story is
used as a lodge room, being beautifully furnished and
equipped for that purpose. The Daughters of Rebekah or-
ganized on June 18, 1894, with sixteen charter members and
now have about 120 members. The K. of P."s also have a
lodge here.

The principal streets are finely graded, and have curbs and
cement walks, and the streets are lighted by electricity. The
banks and newspaper are mentioned elsewhere in this volume.
The enterprise of the citizens was shown by the erection of
the first mausoleum in Darke county. This modern burial
structure was built in the cemetery in 1911, under the direc-
tion of J. P. Collett, a former resident of Brown township and
a descendant of one of its prominent families. It is built of
rock faced Bedford stone, lined with \^ermont marble and
contains a public receiving vault, one private tomb, and four


family groups, and 140 cr\pti in all. An endowment fund of
$240 is reserved for its support.

The population of Ansonia in 1910 was 636, and of the
Brown township entire, 1,944. Earl Hostetter is mayor, and
Hilton Millett is clerk of the ^■illage. The real estate of the
township was assessed in 1913 at $2,492,830 and the chattels
at $1,093,000. Willard.Whitesell is the township clerk.

Greenville Township.

This township is the most central and by far the largest in
Darke county, containing approxiinatelv sixtv square miles of
territory. At first it included the entire county. Twin town-
ship was detached in July, 1817, and included all of the county
south of a line running due east from the northwest corner
of section 31, township 11 north, range 1 east. In the same
month Wayne township was detached from the northern part
and included all the territory north of a line running due east
from the northwest corner of township 12 north, range 1 east,
to the northwest corner of township 9 north, range 4 east,
thence south to the middle of the latter township, and thence
east to the county line. In March, 1819, all of Greenville
township that lay in range 1 was taken into a new township
called ^Vashington, and in the same month Adams township
was formed, containing all the land in the county east of a
line running south from the northwest corner of section 4,
township 10. range 3, to the southwest corner of section 28.
township 9, range 3.

In September, 1830, two tiers of sections across the north
end of Greenville township were taken into a new township
called Richland. In 1821, Neave township was laid out. tak-
ing four tiers of sections from the south side oi Greenville

The Union Moraine, which extends through the central part
of this township in a general direction somewhat south of
east, separates the drainage basin of the Stillwater on the
north from that of Greenville creek on the south . As before
mentioned Greenville creek skirts this moraine belt on the
south and west and with its southern branches, ^^'est Branch,
Mud creek. Bridge creek and Dividing creek and minor
branches drains the southern part of the township, while the
Boyd's creek branch of Stillwater drains much of the north-
ern and northeastern section, and the upper waters of the


\\'oodington branch, the extreme northwestern corner. The
surface is somewhat rolling, especially along Greenville creek,
and in the southern portion where the signs of glacial action
are quite plain. The valley of Mud creek is an especially no-
ticeable feature, heretofore mentioned. There is a diversity
of bottom and upland suited to all kinds of crops raised in the
county, and the soil compares favorably in productiveness
with any section of equal size in the county.

This township is especially well supplied with pilces as most
of the important roads of the county converge at Greenville,
in the south central part. The Logansport division of the
Pennsylvania railway crosses the northern part in a straight
line in a direction south of east. The Indianapolis division
crosses the east boundary on the south line of section 32,
township 10 north, range 3 east, runs almost due west and
keeps south of Greenville creek to the county seat. It then
turns southwest, down the Mud Creek valley and crosses the
southern line in the southeast corner of Section 9. township
11 north, range 2 east. The Dayton and Union Railway
crosses the southern line in section 12, township 11 north,
range 2 east, runs west of north to Greenville, and thence
northwesterly on the north side of Greenville creek, crossing
the west line in section 18, township 12 north, range 2 east.
The Cincinnati Northern crosses the south line along side of
the Pennsylvania, keeps parallel with the latter almost to
Greenville, then turns northward and traverses four and a
half sections of the northern part of the township in practi-
cally a due north and south direction, crossing the northern
line midway in section 3, township 12 north, range 2 east. The
Ohio Electric railway comes in from the south on the Eaton
pike which it follows to Greenville. From this point it follows
the Union City pike and crosses the west line near the same
point as the D. & U. above mentioned. On account of the
diversity of surface and soil, Greenville township was orig-
inally covered with a diversified growth of fine timber, includ-
ing oak, beech, hickory and sugar on the uplands: elm, ash,
walnut, sycamore and linden on the lowlands, besides a great
variety of less common trees and bushes. The central loca-
tion, attractive and fertile uplands and comparatively health-
ful conditions led to the early settlement of this township as
extensively noted elsewhere. The only villages in this town-
ship, besides the county seat, are Coleville, Pikeville and
Woodington. The former is situated in the nortliern part of


section 19, township 12 north, range 2 east, and was platted
In 1848. It is located on the -north bank of Greenville creek
on the Greenville and Union City pike, the D. & U. railway
and the Ohio Electric railway. There is a general store, a
school, Christian church and a station ("Sit. Heron) at this

Pikeville was platted in lSf>f), at the intersection of the
Beamsville pike and the P. C. C. & St. L. railway in the north-
ern part of section 12, township 12 north, range 2 east. It
now contains a general store, a school, a Union church build-
ing, a station and grain elevator.

Woodington is located in the northeast corner of section 5
township 12 north, range 2 east, at the intersection of the
Fort Recovery pike and the P. C. C. & St. L. railwa}-. It was
platted in 1871, and was probably named for John Wooding-
ton or one of his descendants, who lived in this vicinity. Gen-
eral St. Clair camped near this place on the evening of the
first day's march from Greenville (October 30, 1791). The
village now contains a general store, a school, a Christian
church, a station and an elevator. From the writings of E. M.
Buechly we gather the following facts concerning fruit cul-
ture in Greenville township :

The first nursery in Darke county planted for commercial
purposes was set out about 1832, by David Craig on the east