The Hobart publishing Company.

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

. (page 57 of 57)
Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 57 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cation from the east line of section 31, on the Troy pike in the
spring of 1875. It has been remodeled and improved and still
serves this prosperous congregation. Rev. J. O. Moffitt of
Versailles is the present pastor.

The citizens of Gett3'-sburg have been noted for a zeal for
education. The first school house was a brick structure, and
was erected on Corwin street about 1850. A second brick
school house was erected in 1866 at a cost of .some $5,000.
This structure served until about 1893, when it was replaced
by a modern three roomed brick building at a cost of some


$10,000. A fourth room and an auditorium with a seating-
capacity of some five hundred was added later at a probable
cost of some $5,000. This building is located on a fine lot on
the north side of East Main street. A high school was estab-
lished here by Prof. B. O. Martin, in 1896, which has gradu-
ated many pupils to date. Prof. Keith Cannon is the principal
of the school. Pro;'. J. H. Royer. one of Darke county's best
educators, was at one time superintendent of this school,
which has included among its students men now prominent
in various callings, including Prof. Edward Rynearson, dis-
trict superintendent, Pittsburg, Pa. ; Aaron AIoul, expert ac-
countant ; Harvey Kendall, Glen Stoltz, Prof. Minor McCool,
principal of Greenville high school ; Prof. J. L. Selby, former
principal of Greenville high school. Besides these important
public institutions, Gett3"sburg now contains a bank, hotel,
postoffice, grain elevator, lumber yard, station, two tobacco
warehouses, three good general stores, a furniture store, a
grocery, a drug store, etc. The main streets have recently
been greatly improved by grading, curbing and laying ce-
ment walks and the village is lighted by electricity. As in
most towns of this size, the fraternal spirit is strong as shown
by the number of lodges. F. and A. M. Lodge No. 477 was
chartered October 21, 1874, with ten members. It now has
about sixt3'-five members. There is also an I. O. O. F., a K.
of P. and a Jr. O. W. A. M., the latter of which was chartered
March 4, 1903, with eleven members.

Wayne Fair is the mayor and John Kneisley, village clerk.
Samuel Hershey is township clerk. The real estate in Gettys-
burg was appraised in 1913 at $260,730. The population in
1910 was 320.


This flourishing village was platted in 1865, along the east
line of the southeast quarter of section 21, township 9 north,
range 4 east. The original plat was along the east line, but
entirely within Darke county. Being at the meeting point of
two recently established railways, it grew from the beginning
and in 1870, had 243 inhabitants. Additions were soon made
on both sides of the line and in 1890, it had a total population
o: 1,338, of whom 477 were in Darke county. This growth
was largely due to the development of the Pennsylvania rail-
way system, and the fact that this was an important division
point. Many railway employees and mail clerks made their


home here for convenience and the railway company estab-
lished a large round house and switch yard on the Miami
county side. The village was incorporated August 24, 1871.

A large, three story, brick school house was erected on the
west side as early as 1876, at a cost of some $28,000. This
building had two towers and an auditorium with a seating
capacity of about 600, showing the growth and enterprise of
the village at that time. This building was torn down and
replaced in 1908 by a modern eight-room brick structure with
an auditorium at a total cost with furnishings of probably
S30,000. The town has continued to grow, and on account of
its strategic location has a promising future. It now has a
city hall, school, hotel, two banks, and a Presbyterian church
on the Darke county side ; a fine large Railway Young Men's
Christian Association building, an M. E. church, a Brethren
mission, a hotel, station, elevator, lumber yard, stock3-ard and
round house on the Miami coimty side. It has the follow^ing
lodges: Bradford Lodge No. 560, I. O. O. F., instituted in
1872 ; Bradford Lodge No. 593, F. and A. M., chartered Octo-
l)er 19, 1905. with 26 members — present membership about
80; Christian Chapter No. 241, Eastern Stars, instituted July
14, 1905; Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, No. 826. The
population in 1910 was 1,844, of whom 669 were in Darke


Horatio is a small village in the northeastern quarter of
section 15, township 10, range 3 east, on the northern division
of the Pennsylvania railway. It has not made much growth
since its establishment — probably on account of its proximity
to Stelvideo. It now has a ppstoffice, store and an M. E.

The propert)' and improvements in Adams township are
indicated by the tax assesment in 1913, which was $3,146,550
on real estate, and $2,032,420 on personal property. The total
population of the township was placed in 1910 at 2,835.

Franklin Township.

This township was formed in June, 1839, by taking all of
township 8 north, range 4 east, that is, within the limits of
Darke county, and adding one tier of sections from the eastern
side of township 9 north, range 3 east, from Van Buren town-
ship, giving the new t( wnship 24 sections in all.


The surface is a level plain broken here and there by gravel
cairns, and the soil is deep and rich, having been formed
largely from the alluvial deposits of the immense swamps that
originally covered large portions of the land. Painter (or
Panther) Creek enters the southwestern corner of the town-
ship, trends northeastward and crosses the eastern county line
in the southeastern corner of section 9, draining probably
over half of the entire area. The northern part is drained by
a branch of Greenville creek, and the southeastern portions
by minor tributaries of the Stillwater.

Irwin C. Mote, esquire, deceased, wrote thus of pioneer
days in this township : "In the early forties we lived on the
highway between Franklin township, and the Stillwater mills.
\\'e lived there where Laura is now, and all the travel between
that township and the Stillwater mills had to go by our place
of residence. Many times there would pass our house a team
of one horse and a cow hitched up to the fore part of a wagon.
Some times there would pass two or three on horseback or
cowback, going to the mill, and at other times a lone man or
boy would pass riding a cow with a sack of corn thrown
across its back, destined for the Stillwater mills." * * *

"At the time that I write about, Franklin township was a
wilderness, and it was nearly one-half covered with water the
year round, and was full of nearly all kinds of game, such as
squirrels, turkeys and deer. There were also different kinds
of vicious animals in the wilds of that township, namely
wolves, bear, catamounts, etc. * * * That part of Darke
county is the garden spot of the world, but it took work and
labor to make it."

Among the earlv settlers were Samuel Hall, who located
in section 18, and John Haworth, who located in section 33
about 1824 or 1825. Eli Inman settled in section 8 in 1826,
and Daniel Oakes settled in section 19 about 1828. Later
settlers were Martin Brandt, Henry Finfrock, Theophilus T.
Penn)', Wlliam Hess and Christian Newcomer.

The following excerpt from the writings of Mr. Henry
Layer, whose biography appears in Volume II of this work,
contains many interesting items of early history and throws
some strong side lights on early social life. This article was
written about 1908:

"John Hess, who formerly lived near the village of Painter
Creek, but who is now deceased and buried in the Newcomer
cemetery, helped to build the first school house in this town-


ship. It was a log structure put up near the west bank of
the stream of Painter Creek on land at present owned by
Jonas Rhoades and in process of time this was lathed and
plastered and was made a comfortable house for those times
and it was in this log structure that the writer of this sketch
received his first instructions in the rudiments of education.
To the best of my recollection, David Olwine was the first
teacher who taught in this building, and I think he taught
about three winters in the same place, the schools at that
time being supported mainly by subscription, that is money
donated by the patrons of the school district. Those teachers
wlio succeeded David Ohvine in this newly organized dis-
trict were George H. Alartz, Benjamin Hathaway, B. JM.
Richardson, Joseph -\Iote, Moses Bonebrake, Joseph Drew,
Amos North and R. T. Hale, who came from Indiana and
was a very efficient teacher. In due time there was another
log school house built on land now owned by Edward Eck in
section 32, and also another on land now owned by Van
Rench in section 20, and in process of time there was another
log structure erected as a school house in what is now Red
River. The first house built in this township for religious
meetings was erected on land now owned by Samuel Beane in
section 30. This was used for religious meetings as well as
for singing schools. John Hess, deceased, and Lewis Hess,
who now lives in Yorkshire, Patterson township, being the
teachers who taught the rudiments of music in the book
known as the Missouri Harmony, and a great many of the
musical pieces used in the book then in use are still set forth
in our present system of song books. The second house built
in this township to be used for a meeting house was built by
the Newlights or Christian church on land now owned by
the John Spidel heirs in section 29. This house later on was
known by the name of "Buckneck," from an incident which
occurred in the immediate vicinity of the house, wherein a
man by the name of Ogan killed a male deer and gave the
neck of it to his near neighbor out of generosity. However,
these log structures for schools as well as ^eligious uses have
all been superseded by twelve good and substantial buildings
for school purposes and four large frame structures for devo-
tional services as well as for Sunday school.

"The first justice of the peace in this township of whom I
have any recollection was John Haworth and I think he was
succeeded by Daniel Young, who was succeeded b}- Ezekiel


Mote and then William Hess was elected, who held the office
to the time of his death in 1868, others who held the office at
different intervals whom we might name, but time and space
will not allow it.

"The first Sunday school organized in this township was
in the log meeting house built In- the Newlights, of which I
have made mention. When 1 was about twelve years old 1
attended Sunday school for the first time at that place, it be-
ing about two miles from where my parents lived, and I went
by myself. The superintendent being John W^ilson, who
knew me, gave me a book the title of which was "The Story
of Jane C. Judson," and he told me to take it along home
with me and read it through carefully and bring it back the
next Sunday then he would give me another, which I did,
and in this way I continued on and in process of time the
superintendent w^ould occasionally give me one of the prim-
ary classes to teach, w^hich greatly encouraged me in the
work. At present there are duly organized Sunday schools
in each of the four meeting houses in this township.

"My parents settled in this township when I was about
three years old, having moved from Schuylkill county, Penn-
sylvania, with another family, an uncle of mine, who located
in Clay county, Indiana. Both families moved in wagons a
distance of about six hundred miles, coming through Harris-
burg and crossing the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains,
passing through Columbus, which at that time was a small
place comparatively speaking.

"The population of Franklin township in 1840, was 291,
and in 1880 it was 1,871. Thus we see that the township was
verv sparsely populated and people neighbored with each
other who lived from two to three miles apart, it being no
uncommon thing for people to go three miles to a log rolling
or house raising, or barn raising and even not excepting corn
huskings, those gatherings being common in the early set-
tlements of this township as well as others.

"The first settlers in this township in selecting a site for
their buildings always chose the highest place on their land
without taking into consideration their outlet to any public
road, of which there were very few. The first public road of
which I have any recc^Iection was what is now known as
the Milton pike. People who first settled here made their
own outlets, cutting roads diagonally through the woods in
such a manner as to best meet their own conveniences with-


out paj-ing any particular attention to section or half section
or quarter section lines."

The sketch of the "Church of the Brethren" in chapter ten
contains some interesting history of that church in this town-
ship. Besides these churches there is a Union Christian and
Mennonite church at "The Beech," in the northwest corner
of section 7, and a Christian church on the eastern side of the
Milton pike in the southeast quarter of section 29.

The educational spirit of the citizens of Franklin township
is shown by the impressive fact that it contains the only
township high school thus far established in Darke county.
This high school was organized in 1905, and the first class,
containing twelve members, was graduated in 1908. Minor
IMcCool, now principal of the Greenville High school, was the
superintendent, and J- D. Crowell the principal of the school
at that time. A substantial modern school building contain-
ing five rooms and a basement, 44 by 60 feet in size, was
erected n 1907 at a cost of $7,500. This building is heated
by steam and lighted by a gasoline light plant. A stable and
shed capable of sheltering twenty horses and twenty-two
buggies was erected in 1913. A report issued in the fall of
1913, shows 49 graduates, 30 teachers instructed, 42 pupils in
the high school, 14 pupils from other townships attending the
school. A splendid physical laboratory and a library of some
300 volumes are notable features of this school. The school
is in a flourishing condition and has a splendid outlook. The
following persons have served as teachers since the establish-
ment of the school : Supt. Minor McCool, B. S. : Prin. J. D.
Crowell. B. S. ; Margaret Bridge, A. B. ; Supt. Chas. A. AVilt,
B. S. : Prin. Mabel McCurdy. A. B. : Prin. Alice Flory. A. B. :
Prin. Ruth Dull, A. B. The members of the board in 1913
were: H. H. Bireley, J- L. Swinger, David I.andis, Benj.
Landis, David Fourman and Josiah Eikenberr}'.

The only village in Franklin township is Painter Creek lo-
cated on the Milton pike in sections 19 and 30. It was
platted in 1870, and now contains a town hall, public school
and tile factor^^ There are good roads on nearly every sec-
tion line, besides the Greenville and Milton pike, which
crosses the western line near the center of section 13, and
leaves the county near the southeastern corner of the town-
ship. Besides the staple grains of this region, a large amount
of tobacco is raised and the land is accounted among the best
in the cnuntv.


The population in 1910 was 1,469, while in 1890 it was 1,731
indicating that this township, like most purely rural sections
of our countr}-, suffered a decrease during this period on ac-
count of the rush for the towns and cities. This condition,
no doubt, is temporary as the fertility of the land and vast
improvements will eventually attract a dense population.
The tax duplicate for 1913 showed real estate to the value of
$1,798,730, and chattels amounting to $467,520.

Monroe Township.

This township occupies the southeast corner of the county,
and was erected in June, 1836, by detaching from the east side
of Twin township all of township 7 north, range 4 east, that
is in Darke county, together with the eastern tier of sections
of township 8 north, range 3 east, making it six miles north
and south and four miles east and west.

Ludlow creek, which rises in the northwestern portion and
trends southeastward, drains about three-fourths of its area.
The surface is quite level, and in early days the network of
small branches forming the headwaters of Ludlow creek
spread out into swamps and quagmires, covering a large part
of the township. The drainage of these low wet areas re-
vealed a rich, deep vegetable loam, which has made Monroe
one of the most fertile tracts in tlie entire county.

Asa Jones and Henry Addington settled in the northern
part in section 8, about 1819, being the first to penetrate and
open up this howling swamp ash wilderness. John Mote and
family followed in about a year. Thomas Jones settled in the
northern part and George Gable in the southern part in 1823.
On account of the gloomy and forbidding condition of the
country, however, settlement was retarded, but others soon
cast their lot with the pioneers, .\mong these were William
and John Richardson, in the northern part, Samuel Cams and
Peter Shank in the southern part, and Joseph Brown. Peter,
Abraham and John Snorph in the southwestern part.

The first school district was laid out in 1836. It was three
miles long, east and west, and one mile wide. A school house
was started in this district, but much dissatisfaction arose on
account of the shape and size of the district which resulted in
the forming of new districts two miles square. The partly
finished school building was transferred to section 28, and
completed in 1837.


Asa Jones, the first settler, also became the first teacher.
On account of the sparse settlements and the swampy condi-
tion much difficulty and danger was encountered by the chil-
dren, who followed the long blazed paths to school. Difficul-
ties encountered, however, developed strong and stalwart
characters, and the little log school with its puncheon floor
and seats, its big fire place, rude furnishings and primitive text
books, sent out many, many a citizen of ability and integrity.

The first election in the township is said to have been held
in the fall of 1836, at which time John Oakes cast the first
ballot and Ezekiel Mote the second.

Several families of German Baptists settled in the town-
ship at an early day, and Philip Younce was one of their early
preachers. For a fuller account of the establishment and
growth of this denomination in the township and county the
reader is referred to the article on this church in chapter ten.
Today the members of this church own much of the land in
the township and have made of it a thrifty and substantial
community. There is a German Baptist church in the north-
east corner of section 6 and one in the southwest quarter of
section 1, besides a Lutheran church in section 19 and a M. E.
church in Pitsburg.

The township is well drained, and has pikes on most of the
section lines, besides the old state road which crosses the
western line near the northwest corner of section 12, and
runs in a straight line southeasterly crossing the east line
near the center of the eastern boundary of section 33. and
continuing on through Salem and Phillipsburg to Dayton.


The only village in the township is Pitsburg, which is
built on both sides of the line dividing sections 7 and 12. Its
early history, prior to the building of the Peoria and Eastern
(formerly I. B. & W.) railway, was one of struggle against
adverse conditions, and as late as 1880, the historian wrote of
it: "There is no village or city within the boundaries of this
township, but a place that bears the name of Pittsburg, of
which perhaps in a day away back in the past, some had an
idle dream of future greatness. But, alas, the ravages of
time, the destroyer of all things, have lain in the dust the
ambitions of its founders, and Pittsburg lives only in name in


Could the writer of these lines have postponed his verdict
until today he would have had quite a different tale to tell
for the Pitsburg of today is probably the best built and most
prosperous village of its size in Darke county. The last few
years have wrought a great transformation in its appearance
for it now contains a public school, an M. E. church, a bank,
hotel, fire department, elevators, lumber yards, besides ware-
houses, good stores and public conveniences and in the neigh-
borhood of a hundred buildings in all. It is an especially good
shipping point for the grain and immense crops of tobacco
raised in the surrounding country, and does a large mercan-
tile business with the prosperous farmers of this section.

For several years this village was known as Arnettsville
but the name was changed in 1909.

The census of 1910 gave the village a population of 240, and
the township 1,539, it being one of the few townships which
showed an actual increase over the census of 1900.

The real property of Pittsburg was assessed at $167,090
and the chattels at $166,020, while the entire township showed
valuations of $1,880,700, and $746,290, respectively in 1913.


Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 57 of 57)