Henry A. Ford.

History of Hamilton County, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches online

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Illustrations and Biographical Sketches.


Henry A. Ford, A. M., and Mrs. Kate B. Ford.









Prefatory Note,

It should ever be borne in mind that the office of an historian is one
of immense responsibility; that it always tells for good or evil; and
that he will be held responsible for the consequences of a want of
fidehty. — [Hon. yacob.Burnet, Cincinnati.

An earnest and very laborious effort has been made
to compose this history in the spirit of Judge Burnet's
remark. No source of information available to the
writers has been left unsearched, nor any effort or ex-
pense spared to produce a work which should satisfy the
reasonable expectations of a city and county which have
waited nearly a century for the compilation and publica-
tion of their annals. The Hst of works consulted is too
large for convenient citation here. It includes those of
all the earlier writers — Burnet, Cist, the Drakes, Mans-
field, and others — with a multitude of later volumes, and
pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, and manuscripts in-
numerable. It has not been practicable in so many cases
to secure formal permission for the use of books con-
sulted or quoted; but it is trusted that due respect has
been paid to all copyrights, and that no author whose
writings have contributed to this volume will object to
such use as has been made of them. Acknowledgments
are also due to many persons, in all parts of the county
and at several points elsewhere in the State, for their
kind and helpful aid in the preparation of this book.
Particular mention should be made in this connection of

Miss E. H. Appleton, librarian of the Historical and
Philosophical society; Mr. John M. Newton, of the
Mercantile library; Chester W. Merrill, esq., of the Pub-
lic library ; Colonel Sidney D. Maxwell, superintendent
of the Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. H. A. Ratter-
man, secretary of the German-American Insurance com.
pany; all of Cincinnati — and to Louis W. Clason, mayor
of Madisonville.

It may seem, in some cases, that public institutions or
private interests of public importance have not received
the notice that was due to them, or are, possibly, wholly
unnoticed in these volumes. It may be concluded in
such cases, with scarcely any exception, that the omission
is the result of failure on the part of those possessing
desired information to co-operate with the historian.

The compilers regret most sincerely that their inability
to read some of the proofs has resulted in many errors
of typography, and a few of statement. It is hoped,
however, that all of any importance will be found cor-
rected in the errata at the close of the respective vol-

The special biographies and "notes of settlement"
have been prepared, in nearly all cases in both voluines,
by other hands than those of the compilers.











\. — Description.
\ — Geology and Topograpiiy
\ — 'I'he Aboriginal American
N -The Ohio Indians

■ V-Titles to Ohio — The Miami| Purchase
Vi/ -The Miami Immigration
VII. iThe Miamese
JIP.VII1 (The Miamese and the Indians '.

lij ; Civil Jurisdiction — Erection of Hamilton County
- H Progress of Hamilton county
Xl'.- Vl'Iitary History of Hamilton County
XLI.^i'he Morgan Raid through Ohio
XIII. — The County Institutions
XIV. — ^The County .Associations
XV. — Railroads .....
XVJ.— Cani!s ...
XVn.— Roads , .

XVIII. — Early Legislation and Legislators




XIX. — Courts and Court Houses .
XX. — Civil List of Hamilton County .


Siipijlementary Matter




.Armstrong Family
L'loud, Jared ,
Cilley, Bradbury
Gary, Freeman Grant
Cochran, Hon. John M.
Edwards, Williain. sr.
Ebersole, .Abram
Frondorf, Frank
Friend, George H.
Hill, Colonel W. H.

following 254

Hughes, Ezekiel ,

following 2t)2

Isgrig, Daninl


Langdon Family


McGill, William R.


Riddle, John L.

following 254

Sater Family

following 254

Sater, Joseph


Turpin Family


Wills, Thomas


Walker, George W



r 254





following 254
following 254
following 254
following 254
following 254

lit of E. J. Turpin ....

William Edwards
William R. McGill
" Abram Ebersole

T. M. Armstrong ....

Portraits, with biography, of Mr. and Mrs. Bradbury

Cilley, ..... between 262 and 263

Portrait, with biography, of Jared Cloud . between 262 and 263

Portraits, with biography, of Thomas E. Sater and

wife . . . . 282

Residence of George Wabnitz . . between 284 and 285

Portraits, with biography, of George Wabnitz and

wife ...... facing 286

Residence of Joseph Sater . . between 288 and 289

Thomas E. Sater . . between 288 and 289

Portraits, with biography, of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph

Sater ..... between 292 and 293

Portrait, with biography, of James P. Williams . facing 297

View of Mt. St. Vincent Academy . . facing 300

Portrait, with biography, of Dr. E. D. Crookshank . facing 305

Portraits of S. S. Jackson and wife, with biography facing 306

Portrait, with biography, ofG. W. H. Musekamp, belweun 30S an 309

Portrait of Daniel Isgrig
Poi trait, with biography, of Thomas Wills
Portrait, with biography, of F. Frondorf
Portraits of Richard Calvin and wife, w

raphy ....
Portraits, with biography, of Stephen E

wife ....

Residence of M. S. Bonnell
Portrait of Joseph H. Hayes .
Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. M. S. Bonnell

" Mr. and Mrs. James Campbell

Portrait, with biography, of Charles Flinchpaugh
Portrait of Charles Simonson
Residence of Charles Simonson
Portrait of Henrj- Attemeyer
Residence of F. G. Gary
Portrait of F. G. Cary
Portrait, with biography, of S. M. Ferris
Portrait of J. D, Langdon
Portrait of John Riddle

" Catharine Riddle

Hon. John M. Cochran


between 308 and 309
facing] 310
facing' 311

between 312 and 313


between 314 and 315

between 316 and 317
facing 318

between 318 and 319

between 318 and 319

facing 320
between 224 and 225
between 224 and 225

facing 337
between 344 and 345

facing 346

far ^


between 36

between tS wide at its mouth,
..iin sevei al large branches navi-
~-p7 the principal of which intersects with
hich runs into Lake Erie, to which there
\. portage to Sandusky.

Portraits of Gary Johnson and wife . . between 372 and 373

Residence of C. B. Johnson . . between 372 and 373

Portrait of Captain George W. Walker . . facing 377

Portraits of Benjamin Urroston and wife between 378 and 379

Portraits, with biography, of Reeves McGilliard and

^vife ..... between 380 and 381
Portraits, with biography, of John R. Field and

wife . . . • • between 380 and 381

Portraits of Joseph and Mrs. Joseph Jaclison between 382 and 383

Residence and Portrait of John hi Riddle
Portrait of G. H. Friend

Colonel W. H. Hill
Portraits of Rev. W. B. Chidlav

Portrait of Ezekiel Hughes
Portrait, with biography, of W. E'. Mundell

" " " Jacol Clark

Portrait of Herman Knuwener

III ( 1
between 3B4 and 385,,
facing ^86^
facing 394.

and Mrs. W. B.

between 408 and 409
facing 412
facing 41^
facing 421
facing 425







There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o'er all the world beside,
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons imparadise the nig^hl ;
A land of beauty, virtue, valor, truth,
Time-tutored age, and love-exalted youth :
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air.

Man, through all ages of revolving time,
Unchanging man, in every varying clime,
Deems his own land of every land the pride.
Beloved by Heaven o'er all the world beside ;
His home the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.

James Montgomery, "My Country."

Hamilton, the second county erected in the territory
now covered by the State of Ohio, but, ahnost ever since,
the first in the State in wealth, population, and general
importance, is the southwesternraost subdivision of the
Commonwealth. It is bounded on the south by the
river Ohio, next beyond which are the counties of Camp-
bell, Kenton, and Boone, in Kentucky; on the west by
Dearborn county, Indiana, and at the southwestern
corner by the Great Miami river; on the north by Butler
and Warren counties, Ohio, formed from its own territory
in 1808; on the east by Clermont county and the Little
Miami river, beyond which, from the northeastern corner
of the county, runs a narrow strip of Warren county.
Upon no side of its territory is the boundary a direct
line throughout. The tortuous windings of rivers supply
great curves on the eastern and southern boundaries, and
also break up the western line as it nears the southern ex-
tremity; and the northern line is considerably zigzagged
by the irregularity of the early surveys in the Symmes
(or Miami) Purchase.

The area of Hamilton, once so great as to include
about one-eighth of the present territory of Ohio, is now
among the smaller county areas of the State. It includes
but about three hundred and ninety square miles, or two
hundred and forty-nine thousand acres. Its surface was
probably part of a vast plain many thousands of years
ago, but has become exceedingly diversified and broken
by the long wash of streams and by the changes of the
geologic ages.

It is a remarkably well-watered and fertile country.
The underlying rocks of the Miami country are calcare-
ous, and the drift-gravels usually composed largely of
limestone. From both these sources fertilizing elements
are imparted to the soil.

The valley of the Ohio is about five hundred feet be-
low the general level of the county; while the valleys of
the Great and Little Miarais, of the Dry fork of White-
water, of Mill, Duck, and Deer, Taylor's and Blue Rock
creeks, and many small streams corrugate further the sur-
face of the couhtry.

The characteristics of some of these streams were no-
ticed by travellers at a very early day. Captain Thomas
Hutchins, of His Brittanic Majesty's Sixtieth regiment of
foot, afterwards geographer of the United States, during
his service with the British armies in this country in the
last century, made many explorations in the western wil-
derness between the years 1764 and 1775, the results of
which are embodied in a valuable Topographical De-
scription published in London in 1778. It contains,
probably, the first printed notices of the Miami river ex-
tant. He says:

Little Mineami river is too small to navigate with batteaux. It has
much fine land and several salt springs; its high banks and gentle cur-
rent prevent its much overflowing the surrounding lands in freshets.

Great Mineami, Affercmet, or Rocky river has a very strong chan-
nel; a swift stream, but no falls. It has several large branches, passa-
ble with boats a great way ; one extending westward towards the Wa-
bash river, and then towards a branch of the Mineami river (which runs
into Lake Erie), to which there is a portage, and a third has a portage
to the west branch of Sandusky, besides Mad creek, where the French
formerly established themselves. Rising ground here and there a little
stoney, which begins in the northern part of the Peninsula, between
Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, and extend across the Little Mine-
ami river below the Forks, and southwardly along the Rocky river to

A part of Captain Hutchins' description would hardly
be approved nowadays. However industrious he was in
observation, he would have necessarily to rely much upon
hearsay; and no little knowledge that he seemed to have
appears absolutely incorrect, or vague and indefinite,
when confronted with the facts.

Imlay, an English traveller, wrote in 1793, evidently
borrowing from Hutchins:

The Great Miami is about three hundred yards wide at its mouth,
is a rapid stream, without cataracts, with several large branches navi-
gable_for batteaux a long way up, the principal of which intersects with
a branch of the Miami river, which runs into Lake Erie, to which there
is a portage, and a third has a portage to Sandusky.


This region forms one of the richest, as well as the most
beautiful, sections of the State, an extension, indeed of
the far-famed "blue grass region" of Kentucky.* The
system of agriculture in this valley is esteemed the best
in the State, except that of the Western Reserve. By
underdraining and other permanent soil-improvements
and ameliorations important changes have been effected.
It is the most famous tobacco region of the State, and in
it more than forty per cent, of all the tobacco raised in
Ohio is produced. The very richest bottom lands are
selected for this crop, and the average yield for five years
is ascertained to be eight hundred and sixty-six and one-
half pounds per acre. In the early day comparatively
little wheat was grown in the valley, but within the last
quarter of a century it has sown a greater breadth, and
harvested a larger quantity than any similar area in the
State. A comparison of the Miami valley with other
parts of Ohio, made a {ew years ago, showed that fifty
per cent, wider breadth of soil was sown to wheat in this
valley than in any other part of the commonwealth.
The corn crop was also very large, averaging thirty-eight
and one-fourth bushels per inhabitant, against thirty-
seven and one-half bushels per inhabitant for the general
average of the State. Says the report cited below:

The farms throughout the valley are, as a rule, in good order; the
surroundings in neatness' and good taste more nearly resemble the
Western Reserve than does any other valley in the State. Many of the
inhabitants are Pennsylv,inians and iVIarylanders, who have brought
with them their ideas of good shelter and care of domestic animals;
hence, throughout the valley are found well-constructed and good-
sized, comfortable barns and other outbuildings. The interiors of
farm-houses, especially the more recent ones, are well arranged fo'r
convenience and comfort, and many of them are even luxuriously fur-
nished, f

How greatly and essentially the character of the county
is changing, however, is shown by the following extract
from the report of the secretary of the Hamilton County
Agricultural society to the State Board of Agriculture,
published in its annual report for 187 1. He says:

Our county is no longer a farming community. Our farms are now
occupied as dairies, rented by gardners, used as pasture or meadow,
and on the railroads and leading thoroughfares are being subdivided
and improved as country homes by the business men of Cincinnati.

Other crops are produced in great abundance and va-
riety from the soil of Hamilton county; the fertile valleys
near Cincinnati, especially the broad valley of Mill creek,
which has a peculiarly favorable location, are in great re-
quest for market gardening. The lands here, and indeed
generally throughout the county, are exceedingly valua-
ble; and large sums are invested in and large fortunes
realized by the pursuits of agriculture in this region.

The Mill Creek valley just mentioned, which consti-
tutes one of the most prominent and important physical
features of the county, begins near Hamilton, in Butler
county, not far from the valley of the Great Miami. In-
deed, it is said that in wet seasons the water is discharged
Irom a large pond near Hamilton at the same time
through Pleasant run into the Great Miami and by Mill
creek into the Ohio river. This creek becomes a con-
siderable stream as it nears Cincinnati; and traversing, as

*Ohio Geological Survey, vol. I, p. 26.
■|-Ohio Secretary of State's report for 1877.

it now does, the greatest breadth of the city, it is justly
reckoned, notwithstanding the pollution of its water by
manufactories and other establishments along its borders,
an important element in the topography of the city and
county. Other streams, except the Miami and Ohio
rivers, are comparatively insignificant, although some of
them, in the course of the ages, have come to occupy
broad and deep valleys.

North of the range of hills adjoining, or rather now
mostly in the city, in the country beyond Avondale and
the Walnut Hills, is a spacious basin or amphitheatre of
about twenty-five square miles, in which a splendid city
might advantageously be located, but to and through
which the city of Cincinnati will undoubtedly one day
extend. It is traversed by the Marietta & Cincinnati
railroad, and the Montgomery and other turnpike roads.
The soil in this and the northwest portions of the county
is for the most part friable clay, resting on limestone,
which gives them an excellent character as grass-growing
regions, from which much of the hay to Cincinnati is

Permanent springs are not very numerous in the
county, but well water of excellent quality is in general
obtained without difficulty. Ponds and morasses were
formerly frequent, especially in the northern part of the
county, but are less known now.

More attention is given in this valley to grain and
wool-growing than to stock-raising. The secretary of
State's report for 1877 says:

The lands are entiiely too dear to be devoted to sheep growing fo
wool; hence comparatively few fine-wooled sheep are in the valley, the
bulk of the sheep being ' ' native " and mutton breeds. As early as 1816
attention was being directed to the improvement in the horse stock of
the valley, and from that time until the present that interest has been
fully maintained. Those who are familiar with the strains of thorough-
breds will find that many of the famous horses of the west either were
bred in this valley or else traced back to stock in this region for its an-
cestry. Less attention is given to cattle in this valley than other agri-
cultural operations indicate, or than the wealth and fertility of the valley
warrant. But the lesser interest in cattle is fully compensated by the
greater interest in horses and in swine. This latter species of domestic
animals is one of the "leading agricultural pursuits" of the region.
The justly famous "Magie" (pronounced Mag-gee) breed of hogs is
claimed to have been originated in this valley. Early maturity and
large weights are the peculiar commendatory qualities of this breed, it
being no unfrequent occurrence that a head of fifteen or twenty are
slaughtered averaging near about si.\ hundred pounds net.

The average throughout the State is eight head of swine for every one
hundred acres of area. In the Miami valley the average is over thir-
teen head, or sixty-three per cent, more than the general average; or,
the State average is seventy-seven head for every one hundred inhab-
itants, and in this valley there are, in round numbers, seventy-nine
head to the one hundred inhabitants. When it is remembered that
more than one-fourth of the population of the State resides in this val-
ley, it will be seen at once that one-fourth of all the swine in the State
are grown here. Notwithstanding the Scioto valley has fifty-eight
head of swine more to the one hundred inhabitants, it has less to the
hundred acres than the Miami.

The climate of this part of the Ohio valley is mild
and genial. The average temperature of the year is
about 54° Fahrenheit, above zero, against 52° at Mari-
etta, also in the Ohio valley, 50° on the south shore of
Lake Erie, and 49° to 48° in the highlands, of the inte-
rior. In the early day the temperature was even milder.
Dr. Drake, in his Notices concerning Cincinnati, pub-
lished in 1810, says:


"The latter [the Ohio river, which he was compar-
ing with the Delaware at Philadelphia] at this place is
but seldom blocked up with the ice which it floats, and
was never known to freeze over." In his Picture of
Cincinnati, published five years later, he notes the
average temperature of 1808 as 56.4°; that of 181 1 as
56.62°, and the average for the eight years, 1806-13, as
54.25°, which, he says, "maybe regarded as an accurate
exponent of the temperature of Cincinnati." One
hundred degrees, from below zero to above, was the
mean temperature of those years. During nine years' ob-
servation the thermometer at Cincinnati was below zero
but twice in a winter. The mean summer heat for those
years was but seventy-four, and the thermometer stood at
ninety degrees or above for an aveiage of but fourteen
days a summer. In those times, according to Dr.
Drake's observation of six years, there was an average
per year of one hundred and seventy-six fair, one hun-
dred and five cloudy, and eighty-four variable days.
The annual fall of rain and snow amounted to thirty-six
inches, while now it is forty-seven and forty-three one-
hundredths inches at Cincinnati and along the Ohio val-
ley, against thirty-six in the northern part of the State.
Said Dr. Drake, in his publication of 1815:

This country h.is never been visited by a violent storm, either from
the northeast or southeast, nor do the clouds from any eastern point
often exhibit many electric phenomena. But from every direction on the
opposite sides of the meridian they come charged with lightning and
driven by impetuous winds. Of these thunder-gusts the northwest is by
far the most prolific source. They occur at any time during the day
and night, but most frequently in the afternoon.

He gives a vivid description of such a storm, which
occurred May 28, 1809, and of which some notice will
be found hereafter in the history of Cincinnati, in this

For eighty-three years ending with the last day of
1879, during which observations had been taken at Cin-
cinnati, the average temperature of the year was 57° 65',
and for the last decade of that period it was 53° 65',
showing a change of five degrees for the colder since
1797. Some of the cold seasons in that day, however,
were intensely severe. The lowest degree of Fahrenheit's
thermometer ever registeaed in the city was noted Jan-
uary 8, of the year last named, when, according to the
observations of Colonel Winthrop Sargent, secretary of
the Northwest Territory, it went to 18°, and would have
gone lower, it is believed, had not the then dense forests
of southern Ohio and the Cincinnati basin broken the
icy northwest wind that prevailed. The winter-of 1806-7
was also thoroughly frigid, and the seventh of February,
of that season, when the thermometer marked 11° below,
has come down in local tradition as "the cold Friday."
Other cold winters were those of 1855-6, 1856-7, and
1857-8, when the thermometer thirty-two times indicated
temperatures below zero, and at one time the Ohio was
for two months so soHdly frozen over that loaded wagons
crossed safely. Another severe winter was that of 1863-4,
which brought so much suffering to soldiers in the army.
On the first of January, 1864, which has a permanent
reputation in meteorology as "the cold New Year," 14°
below was touched at Cincinnati. Since then, the win-

ters of 1870-1, 1872-3 and the three succeeding winters,
and those of 1877-8 and 1878-9 have been among
the coldest known in the valley. Among warm winters
that have been observed are those of 1792-3-4, i795~6>
1799-1800-1, 1805-6-7, 1809-10-11, and 1879-80, the
last of these warmer than any other since 1827-8, and
10° warmer than any other since 1835-6. The thermom-
eter exhibited 69° above in the shade on Forefathers'
day, December 20, 1877, although that was a generally
cold winter, and stood at 63° or more for some days.

The average rainfall per year, during the eighty-three
years designated, has been 39.71 inches, and somewhat
lighter, 37.61, for the last twenty five years of the period.
Least fell in 1856 — 22.88 inches; and most, 69.42, in
1847. The average snowfall annually is about twenty
inches, against thirty-five in central and northern Ohio.
The greatest depth at one time ever observed in southern

Online LibraryHenry A. FordHistory of Hamilton County, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches → online text (page 1 of 120)