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

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tion was probably determined largely by the fact that it lies
at the intersection of the Greenville and Eaton pike with the
old New Garden road. In early days the latter road was trav-
eled extensively by the Quakers from Miami count)' when
attending their semi-annual meetings at New Garden, Indiana.

New Castine was first platted in 1832, on land belonging to
John Ellis, Joseph Banner and Frederick Smith. About a
year later Dr. J. P. Love and Samuel Brosserman bought out
Banner and Smith's interests and replatted the town, claiming
that the original proprietors had not conformed to the law,
requiring legal notice of the act.

In the early years of the history of this village there was a
blacksmith's shop, a pottery, a hatter's establishment, a hotel,
etc. A directory published in 1857 shows the following en-
terprises:

John E. IMatchett, physician and surgeon.



584 DARKE COUNTY

Dr. J. p. Love, dry goods, groceries and medicines.

F. Michael, dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes.

P. V. Banta, dry goods and groceries.

Frank Ford, Castine house.

P. Stephenson, boot and shoe maker.

J. Longanbaker, blacksmith.

A. Henderson, cooper.

Jacob Roller, harness maker.

S. B. Minnick, sawyer.

J. W. Hamiel, sawyer.

P. C. Hetzler, minister U. B. church.

The village grew and prospered but the building of the
Little Miami railway through West Manchester some two
miles to the south, and the growth of the latter village seemed
to retard its progress. The building of the Cincinnati North-
ern railway through here about 1894 was a "red letter" event
for the village. The village now has a U. B. church, a German
Baptist church (built bout 1871), an L O. O. F. hall, an ele-
vator, stock 3^ards and station. The population in 1910 was
given at 142.

Tecumseh (Savona P. O.)

This village was laid off in the north central part of section
9, and given the name of the distinguished Indian chief, who
lived for a short time in Darke county. In recent years the
post office and station have been called "Savona," probably to
avoid confusion, as there is now a town by the name of
Tecumseh in Michigan. The Peoria and Eastern and the C.
N. railway cross at this place, making it a good shipping point,
and giving it some prospect of future development.

The village now has a U. B. church, a store, a station, an
elevator and about thirty buildings in all.

The census of 1910 gave Butler township a population of
1,592. The tax duplicate of 1913 showed real estate listed at
$2,425,100, and chattels to the extent of $1,114,660.

Wabash Township.

This township was erected in 1841, and contains all that part
of townships 14 and 15 North, of range 2 east, and 12 and 13
north of range 3 east, that lay in York township, except two
tiers of sections on the south. In 1848 township 15 north,
range 2 east, and township 13, range 3 east, were taken into
Mercer county, and in June, 1848. sections 2, 11, 14 and 23



DARKE COUXTY 585

were taken from Patterson township and added to the east
side of Wabash, making it four sections north and south and
about five and one-half sections east and west. It probably
derived its name from the \\^abash river which drains its up-
per portion.

Some of the early settlers in this township were William A.
Davison and Nimrod Ross, who came in 1838. They were
followed by Isaac Finkbone, Elijah Shook, Justin Skinner,
Samuel Hayes. John M. Houston and A. D. Birt.

The first school house was built in 1840 in section 13 and
the first M. E. church in the southeast quarter of the same
section in 1844, where a church still exists. The first teacher
in the above school was Elijah Raines, from Greene county.
The elevated plateau between the Wabash and Stillwater
creeks runs through the southern part of the township and is
covered with a light soil, underlaid with a stiff clay, subsoil
capable of producing good crops of grain. The northern part
of the township is drained by branches of the Wabash and
contains much good fertile bottom land. Besides the M. E.
church mentioned there is a Christian church in the northwest
quarter of section 12, a church in the southeast corner of sec-
tion 3, a Lutheran church in the southwest quarter of section
15, and a Catholic church at Delvin, in the northeast corner of
section 15. The latter is called St. John's church and was
organized in 1892 with thirty families under the Rev. Leo
Boehmer. The first church building was completed in 1893,
under Rev. Louis Hefele. Rev. Charles Votheis succeeded
Hefele. Later it was attended from Versailles, Ohio. In
1906, it was attached as a mission to St. Nicholas church, Os-
good, Ohio. Rev. J. Rahrle looked after the interest of the
parish from 1906 until 1912, and was succeeded by Rev. B. H.
Franzer. This mission will soon be consolidated with the
church now building in North Star.

There is no railway in this township. The entire popula-
tion in 1910 was 1,225. The real estate was listed for taxation
in 1913 at $1,331,470, and the chattels at $229,390.

North Star.

This is the principal village in the township, and is situated
at the quartering of sections 8, 9, 16 and 17 near the center of
the township. It was laid out in 1852. It is seventeen miles
from Greenville and eighteen miles from Celina on the pike



586 DARKE COUNTY

surveyed by John Devor in 1841. It now contains a town
hall, postoffice, public school, store. Christian church and a
Catholic church.

York Township.

This township was organized in June, 1837, being detached
by the commissioners from Richland township. At first it
comprised all that part of the county lying north of a line
commencing at the southeast corner of section 15, township
11 north, range 3 east, and running west to the southwest cor-
ner of section 13, township 13, range 2. In June, 1841, Wa-
bash township was detached from the northern part of this
territorj' as elsewhere mentioned leaving York practically five
miles long, north and south, and four and a half miles wide,
east and west. The northern part of this township is drained
by Swamp creek, which runs in a direction generally east and
west through nearly all of the northern sections. Indian
creek drains the southern part of the township. It enters near
the southwest corner of section 1, flows in a southeasterly di-
rection and crosses the eastern boundary near the southeast
corner of the township. The soil in the southern portion is of
a clayey nature and the land is level. Along Indian creek the
soil is a warm sandy loam which is very fertile. In the east-
ern central section the soil is a light clay and the surface is
rolling. The original forest comprised much excellent hard-
wood including beech, maple, oak, hickory and some walnut.

The first settlements were made in the southern part,
mostly along Indian creek. Among the pioneers were New-
berry York, who settled in section 15 in the southeastern part
of the township in 1834; William A. Sonday, Samuel Reigle,
who came about 1838; Da^■^d Lyons, in 1838; James Winget,
David Williams, in 1840; Samuel Sherry, Samuel Lanick, Wil-
liam Aliller, Mahlon Martin, Samuel Winbigler and Samuel
Hughes. The township was probably named for Newberry
York, above mentioned, who was a justice of the peace, in
early days and later became an associate judge and an influen-
tial man in the county. He had seven sons and two daugh-
ters, and his descendants include several of the prominent
families of the county today.

Early conditions were much the same as in other townships
and it is difficult today when riding over the many miles of
improved pikes to realize that they are the result of many
experiments in road building — starting first with the bridle



DARKE COUNTY 587

path, and progressing through the blazed trail, the rambling
house to house road, the cut out road, the surveyed mud road
and finally the graded pike.

Among the early families were quite a number of Pennsyl-
vania Germans and it is said that the first preaching in this
township was by German Lutheran ministers, who conducted
services at private houses. The first church was a log struc-
ture, capable of seating about one hundred people. It was
built in 1848, near the center of section 4 along the main road
on an acre plot deeded by Ezra Marker for a church and cem-
etery. It was distinctly a neighborhood institution and was
erected by the co-operation of the settlement. A new frame
church was completed on this site in 1856, in which services
were held until 1878. With the passing away of the first gen-
eration and the scattering of their descendants the church de-
clined and only the old cemetery now appears on the map.

The Methodists held services as soon as sufficient settlers
could be interested. Local preachers and exhorters were
among the first representatives of this denomination. Services
were held in a log school house located about three-fourths
of a mile west of the present site of Brock. It is said that the
Methodists built a church on the northeast corner of section
18 as early as 1838, or 1839. In 1857 they built a frame
church in Brock, and held services there for probably forty
years. In recent years, however, they were succeeded by the
Christian denomination.

J. P. Hafer is credited with being the first school teacher in
the township. He taught in an old cabin before the erection
of a regular school building. Probabh^ the first school house
was built in 1830. Another was erected in 1837, on land be-
longing to Judge York. There are now six school districts in
the township.

There are no railways in the township and the only village
is Brock, located on the Greenville and St. Mary's pike on the
line between sections 4 and 33. Ezra Marker, George Bert-
ram, Jacob Winbigler and Egbert Winterworth were instru-
mental in laying off and developing this place. It now has a
town hall, public school and a Christian church. There is
also a christian church in the southwest corner of section 30.
The population of the entire township in 1910 was 902. The
assessment of real estate in 1913 was $1,306,860, and the chat-
tels were entered at $184,970.



588 DARKE COUXTY

Richland Township.

This township as now constituted is less regular in shape
than most of the others in the county and comprises territory
taken from townships 10-3; 11-3, and 13-2. It was taken
from Wayne township with sixteen sections from Greenville
and four from Adams, and was erected September 8, 1820. As
originally constituted it comprised practically all the land now
included in Allen, Wabash, Brown, York, Richland and two
tiers of sections now forming the northern part of Greenville
township. In March, 1829, all of township 12, range 2, then
belonging to Richland, was put into Greenville township. In
December, 1833, Brown township was detached and in June,
1837, York township in its original form was detached, re-
ducing Richland to its present proportions. The entire town-
ship is drained by the Stillwater which enters near the north-
west corner, runs southeasterly to the center of section 3, then
takes a circuitous eastern course through the central part of
the county, turns northward in the northern part of section 4,
then eastward in the southwest quarter of section 27, and
leaves the township near the line between sections 27 and 34.
The surface is broken along its course, comprising fertile
stretches of bottom land interspersed with hills. There is a
diversity of black loam and mixed clay lands which are quite
productive under scientific cultivation.

Fort Briar located in the southeastern part of the southwest
quarter of section 27, on the south side of the Stillwater just
beyond the bend, was erected during the war of 1812, and
was used as a place of refuge by the earliest pioneers. Among
these were Jacob Hartle, who came in the summer of 1817.
David RifHe and sons, Jacob and Solomon, and George Ward
came in the spring of 1818, James Stephenson and George
Coppess in 1819. These were soon followed by George Beam,
Adam Coppess, Henry Stahl, Philip Plessinger. Peter Brewer
and John Horney, John Miller and John Coppess, Sr. For
some ten years there was no further emigration on account of
the ague and milk sickness, which prevailed. From 1834 to
about 1850. the following prominent names were added :
Daniel Warvel, E. Deming, D. L. Miller, W. J. Warvel. D.
Hartzell. Philip Hartzell. George H. Winbigler, Alfred Cop-
pess, H. Kent, John E. Breaden and S. D. Rush. In more re-
cent years quite a number of German immigrants settled in
various parts of the township, so that the population today is



DARKE COUNTY 589

largely of German descent. This fact accounts for the fine
condition of many of the farms and the relative high standing
of this comparatively small township in agricultural matters.

The first school house was erected about 1824 on the farm
of John Coppess in section 24, across the creek from the Cop-
pess cemetery. It was built of logs and had a capacious fire-
place. John AVilkins and Thomas Crawson taught here.
There are now seven school districts in the township.

John Childers, the Baptist minister, mentioned in chapter
ten, is credited with delivering the first sermon in the house of
James Stephenson. The Methodists purcahsed a building in
the Coppess neighborhood which had been erected as a school
house and converted it into the first church of the township.
The United Brethren built the next church, a log structure, in
Beamsville, in 1842, on a site donated by Fred Beam. There
is now a church in the southwest corner of section 24, and a
Christian church in the center of section 9, besides the
churches in Dawn and Beamsville.

The "Big Four" railway crosses the north end of the town-
ship, and the Pennsylvania, the southern. There are three
villages in Richland township, viz., Beamsville, Nevada
(Dawn P. O.) and Stelvideo.

Beamsville.

This village is located on the Stillwater at the intersection
of the Greenville and Ansonia pikes near the center of the
west line of section 32, range 3. It was platted in 1837, by
John Beam, who also erected the first house. Rev. M. Win-
termuth. Baptist, was the first preacher in Beamsville, and was
succeeded by Rev. Seymour Craig. The Reformed and
United Brethren Societies built a union church on the north
bank of Stillwater west of Main street about 1842. In later
years the Reformed denomination took over the property and
held services for several years but finally disbanded. Rev.
George Adams represented the Christian church as early as
1848-49. All these denominations have disbanded except the
Christian which still has a flourishing church and Sunday
sschool in the \-ilIage. The township house is located here,
also school Xo. 5, which built a new two-room modern brick
school house a few years since. A good general mercantile
business is carried on in this place. Among the prominent
physicians who lived here were Ford. Smith, Hooven, Hos-
tetter. Peck, Tillman, Zellers, Husted and Brandon.



590 DARKE COUXTY

Nevada (Dawn Postoffice.)

This village was laid out in 1854 by L. W. Johnson at the
center of section 20, when he erected a saw mill. Additions
were later made by Shelley, Birch, Uriah Winbigler, O. F.
Davidson and James McFarland. The "Big Four" railway
has a station here and considerable mercantile business is
transacted. The Methodists built a church on the north side
of the village in 1872, and the Christians on the south side
in 1907. School No. 4 is located opposite the last named struc-
ture on south Main street.

Stelvideo.

This village was laid out by Solomon Farmer in 1851, near
the center of the south line of section 9, range 3, township 11.
It is located on the Logansport division of the Pennsylvania
railway and lies in the midst of a fertile country. The story
of its establishment is thus related by an early writer : "About
the time when the 'forty miners' were en route overland to the
gold fields of the far Pacific, John Patterson determined to
realize his expectations nearer home. He had inherited a
large farm, located east of Stelvideo. There being promise
of quite a village here, Mr. Patterson brought a number of
lots, erected a steam saw mill, a two-story tavern and induced
the erection of several other buildings. These improvements
were made in 1852 and 1853. Through correspondence with
Alfred Brisbane, S. Andrews, Dr. Nichols and other noted So-
cialists, Stelvideo soon became a center for modern radicalism
of all kinds, save and except 'free love.' Meantime, the dress
reform movement was being agitated by Amelia Bloomer and
other ladies. The costume was generally adopted by the fem-
inine population of this village. So many 'isms' and 'ologies,'
so much amplitude in freedom and brevity in costume was
obnoxious to the people residents in the neighborhood, who
proceeded to make Paterson and his 'confreres' desirous of
going elsewhere. The Pluribus Unum hotel was vacated, sev-
eral houses partially completed were left unfinished, the saw
mill and other property was disposed of at a sacrifice, and Mr.
Patterson and his followers moved to Berlin Heights, in
Huron county, where quite a colony of Modern Liberalists of
various phases assembled. They published a weekly news-
paper, and, for a time, attracted popular attention."

The wearing of "bloomers" bv the women of this villatre,



DARKE COUNTY 5'Jl

who followed the liberal ideas of those days caused the village
to be dubbed "Bloomertown" for many years.

There is a railway station and a grain elevator in this vil-
large and a Christian church a short distance north.

The tax assessment of Richland township in 1913, showed
real estate to the value of $1,391,130 and chattels amounting
to $863,330. The population in 1910 was given at 1,070.

Van Buren Township.

This township as now constituted lies immediately north
of Twin and between Neave and Franklin townships. It was
erected in June, 1838, and named for President Van Buren,
who was then in office. At that time it contained all of town-
ship 8 north, range 4 east, that is in Darke county, and all of
township 9, north, range 3 east, except sections 5, 6, 7 and 8,
which were included in Greenville township. Franklin town-
ship was detached in June, 1839, being formed of four tiers of
sections ofif the east side.

The northern and extreme western part are drained by some
minor branches of Greenville creek, and the southern part by
upper branches of Painter creek.

It is one of the most level townships in the count}', and the
soil, being largely of an alluvial nature, is very fertile, pro-
ducing good crops. As noted in Chapter I, a distinct moranic
belt passes through it in a north and south direction which
was formerly traced by the large number of boulders strewn
along its track, and the presence of gravel cairns along its
course. Some of the boulders along this moraine were of im-
mense size, but most of these have been blasted, buried or
removed, leaving the surface free for cultivation. Before the
forests were cut off and the land drained, it is said that from
one to five feet of water covered most of the surface of this
township during half of the year. On this account settlement
was delayed and it is probable that no settlers came before
1818. Between this time and 1826, the following pioneers
established homes in the wilderness:

Samuel Pearce. Samuel ]\Iartin, Elias Burt, Eli Townsend,
Jacob Sebring, John Charkwith, Isaac Byers, James Gregory,
David and William Byers, Richard and James Gower. John
Fourman, Mordecai Ford and Jacob PotofF were also early
settlers.

The first school house was built in the southwest quarter of



592 DARKE COUNTY

section 20, and was taught by Mordecai Ford. There are
nine school districts in this township.

The Christians are credited with building the first church
in the township, which was erected at Delisle, in 1851, over
thirty years after the first settlement. Among the pioneer
preachers in this denomination were Revs. Sneithen. Ashley.
W^illiams and Mordecai Ford.

The United Brethren established a church at Abbotsville,
about 1850, and the Methodists one just east of Jaysville about
the same time. Rev. Edward Caylor caused the erection of a
church at Ninevah, near the center of the township, in the
northeast corner of section 2, about 1869. It is now known
as Caylor's Chapel. There is also a Dunkard church across
the road from school Xo. 6. near the center of the north line
of section 35.

This township is strictly rural, the only villages being De-
lisle and Jaysville, both of which are stations on the D. & U.
railway, w-hich crosses diagonally through the southwest part
of the township. Jaysville is located on the west line between
sections 18 and 19, and contains an elevator, a store and a
blacksmith shop, with a M. E. church a short distance east.
It was named after some member of the Jay family, who were
early settlers. The Ohio Electric railwav passes through this
hamlet.

Delisle.-

Delisle was laid out about 1850, by a Mrs. Fairchild, prob-
ably in anticipation of the building of the Greenville and
Miami railroad. It early gave some promise of developing
into a good trading center, but like Jaysville, was too near
Greenville and Arcanum to make much of a town.

The Abbottsville cemetery, located on the Arcanum pike
and the Ohio Electric railway in section 20, is one of the pret-
tiest and best kept cemeteries in Darke county, and is the
burial place for many families in Arcanum, and the western
part of the township. It seems that a man by the name of
Abbott laid off a town in this neighborhood in early days, and
that a store and wagon shop w«re at one time in operation
here. Both of these have disappeared.

Poplar Ridge is the name of a small settlement on the
Greenville and West Milton pike, which crosses the northern
part of the township in a direction north of east. This is one
of the oldest pikes in the county and is known to have existed



IJAKKK CdUNIV 593

as early as 1815. It was prubably cut through the forest
during or before the war of 1812, to connect Greenville with
Dayton.

The township has been well drained and piked and one
traveling through it now would scarcely suspect that it was
once practically covered with swamps.

The population in 1910 was 1,360.

The real estate assessment in 1913 was $1,717,590, and the
chattels were entered at $603,730.

Twin Township.

This township was erected in July, 1817, and contained all
of the county south of a line running due east from the
northwest corner of section 31, township 11 north, range 2
east. A tier of sections was taken from the northern part upon
the creation of the townships of German, Neave and Van
Buren. Harrison, Butler and Monroe vvere successively de-
tached as elsewhere mentioned, leaving Butler as now con-
stituted, it being identical with the civil division known as
township 8 north, range 3 east, containing thirty sections.

This township was named from Twin creek which drains
much of the southern portion of the township as originally
constituted. The northern part is drained by the upper waters
of Painter creek and the eastern section by the head waters of
Ludlow creek. The eastern part is quite level, and, in early
days was covered with water for considerable periods each
year. This condition was quite discouraging to early settlers
but after extensive and successful drainage, the land became
\ery productive, the soil being rich, deep vegetable loam, en-
riched by ages of rank vegetable growths which had been sus-
tained in the vast mora'sses of by-gone ages. Along ]\Iiller's
fork the land is more rolling and elevated, yet very produc-
tive. As formerly stated a distinct glacial moraine, or mo-
raine belt, is traceable through the southwestern part of this
township, skirting the valley of Miller's fork and following
that stream into Preble county below Ithaca. An old Indian
trail, apparently followed this elevated belt and it is said by
some authority that Wayne's army took this elevated route
in preference to that of St. Clair. The road from Ithaca to
Fort Jefterson and Greenville follows this old trail and is one
of the early highways of the county. As before mentioned,
Elliott and Stoner were both slain along this trail, during the
(38)



594 DARKE COUNTY

war of 1812. The body of Stoner is buried in the cemetery at
Ithaca.

Jacob North is said to have been the pioneer o. Twin town-
ship. He came from Lewisburg and settled on ^Miller's fork,
probably about 1812, but was alarmed at the killing of Elliott
and Stoner and the warning of a half-breed friend and re-