Midway between Columbus and Indianapolis is Bradford junction, the heavy traffic of the Pan Handle making it one of the really big division points of the Pennsylvania Railway company. Bradford, incorporated in 1870, is distinctly a railroad village. In 1862 the Richmond & Covington Railroad company was incorporated, who staked their junction with the Columbus, Piqua & Indiana railway on John Somers' land, September 5, 1864, the Richmond & Covington road was sold to the Columbus & Indianapolis Railroad company and the next month, October 17, this company was consolidated with the Indianapolis Central Railway company taking the name of the Columbus & Indianapolis Central Railway company. In 1867 the Columbus & Indianapolis Central Railway company became part of the Columbus & Indiana Central Railway company. February 12, 1868, this company consolidated with the Columbus, Chicago & Indiana Central Railway company. This company then began building their roundhouse which was the starting point of Bradford.
The village lies northwest of Covington on higher ground and is ten miles southwest of Piqua. Partly in Newberry and partly in Adams township, it was incorporated in Darke county, but pays taxes in Miami county. Bradford junction was so named by Thomas Bradford, a mail clerk. The little hamlet at this point had been called Richmond and the junction was first called Union City junction. Employees of the railroad company purchased lots and came here to live and so helped build up the village. William Romans, a master mechanic ; Daniel Rice, first foreman of the roundhouse ; Christian Sears, Moses Wise, and Wade Steele were among those buying land and laying out lots, as well as the (page 613) railroad company itself. A grain warehouse was put up by W. H. Sowers in 1868 and J. H. Sowers & company engaged in the grain business being the first firm of importance. The depot was built in 1869, replacing the box cars used for years. In 1870 the Iddings turnpike, on which Main street was laid out, was extended to Covington and the Darke county line piked at the same time. Nathan Iddings, the only pioneer now living in Bradford, has always contributed to the prosperity of Bradford. In 1870 he had a general merchandise store in east Bradford. He organized the first bank and he purchased and improved more property than any other man there. His confidence in Bradford is evidenced by the fact that he holds two hundred distinct pieces of property in and near the village. By his efforts Klinger's turnpike crossed by sixteen railroad tracks was closed in 1917 and given over to the railroad company that now occupies the erstwhile pike and has 40 tracks crossing it.
Bradford is a scattered village. The streets, narrow but compensated by beautiful shade trees in the residence portion, and all the streets are being well paved.
A black broad-breasted yard, with a track mileage of sixty miles, puffing engines, a smoky atmosphere, roundhouse, repair and storage buildings forms the scene staged in coming into Bradford station on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Columbus & St. Louis railroad. When traffic runs high, as many as seventy-five trains are handled in a day, crews and caboose changed, engines and cars shifted. The first land appropriated for these yards consisted of two hundred acres, which has been increased to three hundred acres. Sixteen engine stalls was the capacity of the first roundhouse.
In 1917, extensive improvements of their terminal facilities at this point were made by the railroad company with an expenditure of $2,500,000 that incidentally greatly increased Bradford's prosperity. The roundhouse now has fifty stalls, new machine shops and an office annex has been built. The big powerhouse has three sterling boilers, with 800 horsepower total and one 1,500 cubic foot and one 500 cubic foot air compressors. The oil handling house has a storage capacity of 100,000 gallons with the most up-to-date equipment for handling oil. A sand house has twenty carload capacity. The stores department for the Columbus division is also maintained here, for which four new buildings were erected this year. All the cars and locomotives running on the Columbus & Logansport division of the P. C. C. & St. L. are now taken care of and repaired at these yards.
Eight hundred men are employed, forty per cent making their homes in Bradford, this includes fifty men working out from Bradford on bridges and fences.
Founded in 1906 under the International Committee of the Railroad Department of the Young Men's Christian Association, the Railway Y. M. C. A. at Bradford is one of the best in the country. It has been written up in The Saturday Evening Post and in railroad periodicals ; its fame has spread abroad as the railway companies of England have sent for information as to the plans it pursues. The big comfortable two and a half story frame building with basement is on the grounds, forming a "Y" between the two divisions of the (page 614) railroad, opposite the little depot. On the broad and shady porch that runs the whole width of the building a rocking chair feet of railroad men may be seen any summer afternoon, some of them having been in the employ of the Pennsylvania company a quarter of a century and more. It has a membership of eight hundred and 365,000 railroad men enjoyed its privileges in 1919. There are 75 sleeping rooms, reading room with one of the best libraries in the state and fifty current periodicals.
A large, well kept cafeteria, serving six to eight hundred a day, is under the direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Hefiner for the last sixteen years, and known for her kindliness and skillful catering as "Mother Hefiner." A billiard room is also on the ground floor and the shower baths and boys' club room are in the basement. It is officered and directed solely by railroad employees. The first president was C. A. Skeele. At present the official board consists of President, J. T. Allen, a conductor ; vice-president, J. E. Paul ; treasurer, W. O. Terry; A. L. Lincoln, recording secretary ; the three last named officers are engineers. The first secretary was J. E. Baldridge and the present one is J. E. Conley, whose efforts have so efficiently improved the standards of this organization in every way.
First to build a church in Bradford were the Baptists in 1870, who were closely followed by the Reform church. Methodists built their church on School street. The Catholic church of the Immaculate Conception on Clay street was built in 1875. The Brethren (old German Baptists), are now worshipping in the Masonic Temple but expect to build soon.
Increasing growth of the population in the last several years has very much over-crowded the schools and additions to the present buildings are to be erected as soon as possible. The first school house was on the Miami county side of Bradford until 1876 when a building was constructed on the west side of the village. In 1908 two acres of land were purchased on what is now School street and the present school buildings erected. The school enrollment increased from 410 in 1880 to 2,465 in 1918.
The First National bank of Bradford, now the only bank in the village, was organized in 1908 with a capital stock of $25,000 and the first officers were J. E. Deeter, president ; J. R. Allen, secretary ; J. A. Crowell, cashier. In May, 1919, this bank bought the Bradford State bank, a reorganization of a private bank founded by Nathan Iddings and David Arnold that had had an existence of twenty-three years and was during that time the only bank in Bradford. Present officers of the First National bank which has been increased to a capitalization of $0,000 are: President, J. E. Deeter; vice-president, J. R. Allen; cashier, F. R. Dwyer and its location is at the corner of Miami and Main streets.
The Bradford Building & Loan association has its office in a little one-story frame structure on Miami street. It is capitalized at $100,000 and its president is R. R. DuBois and secretary, L. E. Harvey. Other members on the Board of Directors are: A. R. Patty, W. K. Zeller, Charles Moore, C. Katherman, John Arnold and S. S. Miller.
(page 615) Dr. William Commons, in the early 70's, published "The Railroad Gazette," the first Bradford newspaper. In 1877 two weekly papers were put out, "The Free Press," by H. M. Bellow and "The Independent," by A. B. Maurer, later merged into the Bradford Gazette by L. D. Bell. In 1884, A. F. Little bought the three existing weekly papers and consolidated them into "The Sentinel." This paper was made a semi-weekly in 1888. Mr. Little, the editor and owner, was mayor for a number of years.
Bradford is furnished with electric lights and power by the Greenville Light & Telephone company, who also control the Bradford Telephone system. While the village is supplied with water by the wells system, the railroad company has its own pumping station on Harris creek.
The Bradford Lodge of Masons, No. 593, has its own temple, built by Nathan Iddings, with a membership of 143; and its auxiliary order of the Eastern Star also meets there. Red Men, Maccabees, Odd Fellows, D. of A.'s and Junior Order have posts, also the G. A. R. and the American Legion is represented by the Ben Cole post.
Brandt was laid out in 1839 by the Voorhis Brothers who owned the land. The first to take up their residence here were Thomas Wilmington and Benjamin King, who soon after began the manufacture of plows, quite the most important business of its day. John Dinsmore built the first tavern of which Thomas Forbes was proprietor, and an early store was opened by Michael Heffiner. The building of the National highway was responsible for the existence of Brandt, and in its early history was a resting place for travelers. In 1868 a school building was erected with good opportunities for education. This school has been superseded by the centralized township school a mile and a half north. An organization of a Methodist congregation was effected in Brandt in 1839, dedicated by the renowned Granville Moody. The Lutheran church in Brandt dates back to 1862. Brandt has never progressed beyond a hamlet owing to her being of the line of railroad, and its inhabitants have never numbered over two hundred.
Situated in the southeast corner of Lost Creek township, Casstown is an unusually pretty little village picturesquely placed. It is the only incorporated village in the township and has a population of about three hundred. James Frazee, who settled in this neighborhood about 1814, was the original owner of the land and from him it was purchased by Rankin Westfall and Luke Daney who laid it out in 1832. It was first called Trimmensburg in honor of a man who assisted in survey, but later was re-named Casstown in honor of Lewis Cass, United States senator and at one time spoken of for president. Daniel Knoop built the first brick house and Joseph Green and Joseph Campbell opened a store at an early date. Before possessing a church of their own the Lutherans held their services in the Methodist church. The first little stone church (page 616) gave way to the present substantial brick building erected in 1867.
Members of the Baptist congregation from Staunton and Troy assisted in organizing the Casstown Baptist church in 1851 and Willis Hance was the first pastor. A church was built on Center street, which is closed, however, at the present date. The Casstown Methodist church on Center street is one of the best of the smaller Methodist churches in this county. The Brethren church on Main street is the outgrowth of the German or Baptist church and at present lacks a pastor. Casstown has the advantage of a good school a quarter of a mile to the north and a fine new centralized township high school at the east edge of the village is being built. The Swearingen Grain company is perhaps the most important concern, their elevator having been put up on East street in 1905. A good business is done as Casstown is in the midst of a rich farming district. Troy, four miles to the east, is its banking point. The Springfield, Troy and Piqua traction line runs through the village.
This is a pretty country hamlet of about 200 inhabitants, a small station on the Pennsylvania line. The land on which it is situated was first entered by a man named Jones, from whom it was purchased by Solomon Brecount. It was platted by Brecount into nineteen lots in April, 1856, and he named it Conover in honor of his friend, A. G. Conover, of Piqua. The original plot was enlarged by an addition in June, 1863. The streets are wide and the grounds for the homes are ample and well kept. Brecount built the first house, used as a miscellaneous store. This firm also established a grain and feed store that did a thriving business in this fertile farming country. Later Brecount, Wolcott & company built a grain elevator which the company operated until two years ago when it was bought by the Farmers' Co-operative Elevator company which is now doing an important business handling coal as well as grain, and has just installed an expensive coal handling device.
The officers of this company are: William Moon, president; A. J. Brantner, secretary and treasurer. An Universalist congregation was organized in February, 1868, and Rev. E. Moore was the first pastor and services were held in Lena until 1870, when the present brick church in Conover was built. This church is without a pastor at the present time. Conover has the advantage of an unusually fine centralized township school, located in the neighboring village of Lena and called the Lena and Conover High school. The Conover postoffice also serves Lena by rural route. Conover banking is done in St. Paris.
Amidst most picturesque environments on the Stillwater river Covington had its beginning as a community on the east side of the Stillwater when Daniel Wright and Jacob Ullery laid out thirty-six town lots in Section 30 with St. Mary's road to the east. Streets were laid out parallel to the river, running north and south. a portion of St. Mary's road being taken into High street, and today this is the principal business street of the town and in extent just a mile (page 617) and a quarter; Water street was laid out next to the river on a bluff and Main street at the foot of the plateau that carries High street.
Noah Hanks was the surveyor.
Covington was first called "Friendship," a name that well might suit it today as there is a very democratic and friendly spirit in the town with no class distinctions, real merit rather than wealth being the "Open Sesame”‘ in this community. It also showed the name of Newberry on the original town plat that was surveyed by one Benjamin Cox. Further back in 1794 General Wayne had fastened the name of Fort Rowdy to his encampment on the ground where the Armory now stands. The first postoffice, however, bore the name of Stillwater. Daniel Wright had been living here in 1816 at the time he laid out the town with Jacob Ullery, and Ullery already had a sawmill in operation on Greenville creek where it emptied into the Stillwater at Covington. The Stillwater on Government surveys at present is designated as the western branch of the Great Miami, emptying into that river four miles north of Dayton, and its name of Stillwater had been gained by its tranquil current, so slight that at times any movement is almost imperceptible. Elijah Reagan and Michael Ingle, the tanner, in 1807, were the first to build log cabins, and the earliest stores were on Main street, Noah Hanks putting up one at the corner of Main and High streets where the present newspaper office of the Tribune now stands. This was the first store in Newberry township. Michael Ingle is of importance in the history of Covington from the fact that he brought 800 acres of land into a high state of cultivation. He also produced some very good leather at his tannery. His well, dug through the rock, was the only one in the settlement for at least ten years. In 1810 he purchased his third quarter section. This section became quite valuable for its quarries. Samuel Brown was a contemporary of Ingle's, purchasing a quarter section next his land, where he built a cabin, that he occupied, however, only a short time, soon moving away. William and John Coates were early settlers ; their cabins were in what was originally the hamlet of New Jefferson, now part of Covington. The cabin of William Coates was adjacent to the present site of the Pennsylvania station, while his son-in-law, Daniel Wright, built on a location that would now be near the corner of Main and Wright streets. The Revolutionary war found the settlers scattered and seeking safety in more thickly settled localities, fearing Indian attacks, and not returning until 1814.
Noah Davenport and a brother-in-law by the name of Wagner. appeared on the scene in 1817 and put up a sawmill and his grist mill rivaled Ullery's for several years. Aaron Boggs was a later owner of Coates' mill property, where he turned out laths and broom handles. This mill has been long abandoned but there are still traces of the mill race on Stillwater just west of the cemetery. Jacob Ullery sold his grist mill to Benjamin Lehman in 1818 and late in 1818 a new frame building was erected and a flouring mill was actively in operation in 1820.
The growth of Covington was very slow, ten years after the first survey there were only three families living there. Indeed (page 618) there has never been a period of rapid growth in its history, nor the suspicion of what is termed a boom. It was in 1835 when the village was incorporated a town, that Gilbert Adams was elected Mayor; William Robinson, recorder; Charles Corwin, Joshua Orr and Thomas McKenzie, town trustees. The Mayor elect is Col. W. Z. Marlin, a hero of the World war. From captain of Company A, of Covington, he was promoted to major and received his commission as lieutenant-colonel for gallantry in pursuing the Germans across the Escaut river after the Battle of Lys in Flanders. The Dunkards. A very large per cent of the people in Covington are of German descent. The Dunkards or German Baptists have made a very strong impression in Covington and the neighboring country. They were the first to go into the church field. This denomination today has a distinct settlement on the Germany pike which branches off from the Troy pike and is about a mile and a half from Covington. In 1845 they had a church organization but no place of meeting. Their first church held 800 people and their men have always gone unshaven, appearing with long beards and uncut hair. The clothes of both men and women are made very plain to stifle vanity. The women wear the black bonnets and are never without the white cap to cover their hair. The orthodox members neither take an oath, nor bear arms and so were conscientious objectors in the World war. Automobiles, smoking and alcoholic drinks are among the prohibitions. Thrift and conservatism not only were practiced by the Dunkards but these virtues spread through the community. The old homes were built flush with the sidewalk in Covington to conserve garden space in the rear.
But while the population of Covington is of German descent patriotism and loyalty was distinctly evidenced in the World war. Churches. Church of the Brethren. This is the liberal element of the Dunkards. Their first church in Covington was on the corner of Main and Ullery streets. A handsome new edifice was built in 1910 when the congregation was the largest in the town. Their first church was called the German Baptist church but the name of the Brethren was taken when the new church was built. The present pastor is Reverend George W. Flory.
Presbyterian Church. The remodelled Presbyterian church at the corner of Pearl and Wright is the largest and best arranged church building in Covington today. This church was organized in 1842 and later in conjunction with an organization of what were known as the Cumberland Presbyterians, who had been in existence as a church entity in Covington since 1838, built a church which was completed in 1844.
This church united these two organizations, and the original church was used until several years ago when it was handsomely improved and enlarged. The present pastor is Rev. L. N. Montgomery.
The Christian Church. Second in the organization of churches was the New Light or Christian church in 1820. The first place of worship was on Trotters creek and the first preacher was a man by the name of Stackhouse. Caleb Worley was a pastor for a number of years. The present church building is the third structure built (page 619) and all occupied the same location on Pearl street. Rev. Edwin Flory is the pastor.
The Lutheran Church. The first German Lutheran church was a frame building on the east side of High, south of Dodds street, built in 1840. The present St. John's Evangelical church was erected in 1880 at the corner of Wall and Bridge streets. This congregation has so increased that a new church is soon to be erected. Their pastor is Rev. H. C. TerVehn.
The first church built by the Methodists in 1836 was blown down by a cyclone, and this organization was left without a place of worship until 1850 when the present church was built at the corner of Spring and Pearl streets, of which Rev. W. W. Kent has the pastorate. This church was built by the old blue stocking Presbyterians.
Schools. A source of great natural pride is the splendid school system and the fine school building that now houses over 400 pupils. The first schoolhouse was built in 1815 of logs and as there was no glass for windows, greased paper was used in the window sashes to give some degree of transparency for light. This stood on the present site of D. C. & P. traction office on High street. The second schoolhouse, built in 1820, was a frame structure afterwards used as a chair factory of which James Purdy was proprietor. Later the brick building now used as a fire department and council chamber was the schoolhouse. Among the earlier teachers were Amos and James Perry, James Hanks, Joshua Sanders, David Brumbaugh, Anderson Ballard, John Barbour and Benjamin Dunham. The present school building was completed and dedicated in 1897 and includes the eight grade rooms and high school; the high school is classified as one of the first grade. It stands at the head of Wright street on Wall street, and a magnificent view of the river can be obtained from its towers. R. F. Bennett was the first superintendent and C. H. Detterbug is the present superintendent. Covington's Board of Education Jr. 1918-1919 were J. L. Reck, Dr. H. W. Kendall, George A. O’Donnell, C. E. Aspinall and L. H. Fox. Financial Institutions. The well-to-do farmers near and in Covington not only require the two banks now in existence but have helped to build up the Covington Building & Loan association of Covington. This association was organized in March, 1886, and now has the reputation of being one of the safest institutions in Ohio. Its first officers were president, S. W. Ullery; secretary, E. S. Mohler; treasurer, C. C. Shuman; attorney, J. Guy O'Donnell. Its present quarters are now in the brick building erected by Dr. H. W. Kendall in 1917, and considered at that time the most pretentious building in the town. Its capitalization is now $2,500,000 and it has over 2000 stockholders. The present officers are Charles Boyer, president; J. L. Reck, secretary; other directors, Calvin Teague, Jacob Tobias, J. W. Lyle, J. W. Metzgar, William Fortner, H. W. Kendall.
The Stillwater Valley Bank started as a private institution in 1871 and was not incorporated as a state bank until 1908. The first officers of the institution as a state bank were, president, Jacob Kendall ; cashier, A. C. Cable ; assistant cashier, A. J. Maier. The (page 620) official board in 1919 were : D. G. Wenrick, president ; B. F. Alberry, vice-president; J. L. Cramer, second vice-president ; Jacob Kendall, cashier; the capital stock, $50,000.00.
The Citizens Bank was incorporated May 31, 1900, with a capital stock of $25,000, and its first officers were president, Henry Flesh of Piqua ; vice-president, J. W. Ruhl ; cashier, J. L. Goodnight ; other directors, J. G. Bartmess and S. B. Freshour. The first quarters were in the Worley business block across the street from the present bank building. Business developing, a new two-story brick building was put up in 1916 on the corner of High and Wright streets. The capitalization of the Citizens is still $25,000; and it is officered by J. W. Ruhl, president ; A. K. Rankin, vice-president; A. W. Landis, cashier ; L. N. Van Atta, assistant cashier. Other directors, George Worley, C. M. Patty and M. B. Ullery. The above banks and building association were headquarters for war work including Red Cross subscriptions and Liberty Loans.
The Buckeye State Mutual Insurance association is not only the largest mutual insurance company in Ohio, but is unique because of its origin, dating back to 1879. In March of that year seven men prominent in the German Baptist church devised plans for an insurance company that should be officered only by men of their church. One hundred thousand dollars' worth of risks were secured within a month by unpaid solicitors, and the German Baptist Mutual Insurance company was established.
In June, 1918, the stress of world conditions and public sentiment compelled the company to rid itself of its title "German" and the new title of "Buckeye State" was substituted. The present risks in force amount to $62,500,000, and the officers are : C. H. Jackson, president; C. B. Maier, vice-president and auditor ; D. G. Wenrick, secretary and treasurer ; Forest Honeyman, adjustment inspector. It has its offices in the Newberry Township building. No town in Ohio is better off in the way of good service from public utilities. Forgotten are the days of tallow candles and coal oil lamps and wood piles which did service until the Miami Valley Gas and Fuel company entered Covington in 1889 with its pipe lines that carried gas for light and heating from the gas fields of Indiana and later from Lancaster field including eastern Ohio and Nest Virginia.
The Buckeye Light and Power company was organized in 1911 with J. H. Marlin of Covington as president, and T. Russell Robinson of Boston, secretary and treasurer. A dam was constructed with a twenty-eight foot water fall at Greenville Creek falls: the power plant being located one and an eighth miles from town. This plant is one of the best hydro-electric plants in the state. The company also furnishes electric light and power to Pleasant Hills, Ludlow Falls and to a number of individual country lines. The Stillwater Telephone & Telegraph company is noted for its excellent service, with subscribers at Covington, Pleasant Hill and rural routes. The company was organized in 1900 with a capital stock of $20,000. Its first directors were : A. J. Venier, M. C. Rorick, John P. Rorick, L. E. Simes, Geo. H. Probeck, J. S. Corwin, J. L. Goodnight and John Weaver. Capital stock has been (page 621) increased to $71,000 and there is direct connection with the Central Union & Ohio State Telephone companies and with the Postal Telegraph company. The water supply here is very wholesome and obtained from wells and the Stillwater river beds into which flow a number of springs. The pumping station is at the foot of Wright street. The officers of the company in 1919 are: president, L. E. Simes; vice-president ; J. L. Cramer ; secretary and treasurer, S. A. Kraus ; other -directors, Glenn Shawyer and Dr. H. W.
Railroads. The first railroad into Covington was the Columbus, Piqua & Indiana railroad that was built through Miami county in 1859. Three years later, in 1862, the Richmond & Covington Railroad company was incorporated and planned to have their junction with the Indianapolis division, at Covington. The merchants here objecting the junction was staked four miles west of Covington and was known as Bradford Junction. This property is now operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad company and has four passenger trains a day.
The Dayton, Covington & Toledo railroad was incorporated in 1879 and constructed as far north as Covington in 1880. This railroad was later known as the Delphos division of the C. H. & D. and is now privately owned by John Ringling of circus fame. It has two passenger trains a day. The Dayton, Covington & Piqua traction lines give excellent passenger service, the trains leaving and coming hourly. One mail a day is carried by the traction line from Dayton and intervening stations including West Milton, Pleasant Hill, Ludlow Falls, Union and Englewood.
Industries. A tannery established by Michael Ingle was among the first industries of Covington. Extensive quarries were operated for many years until the use of concrete for building purposes superseded stone. The Covington stone quarry did a flourishing business in the early days and J. W. Ruhl operated a quarry and lime kiln. The C. H. Jackson quarries were a prominent concern, and are now owned and operated by the Ohio Marble company of Piqua. Wagner's Tile and Brick yards also prospered in the quarrying days. Crampton & Sons Boiler works and The Crescent and Metallic Fence Stay company went out of business twenty years ago. Manufacturing is not extensive at present, the population being largely retired farmers. Piqua gives employment to a number of men and women in her mills. There are a number of postal clerks employed on the Pennsylvania - road to Indianapolis who live in Covington and some are employed at the Bradford yards. Covington Woolen Mills, formerly the Lewis Woolen Mills, organized by A. J. Lewis in 1887, manufactured a high grade blanket, its "Miami Fleece Blankets" having an enviable reputation. At the death of Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Lewis and her sons William J. and C. E. Lewis carried on the business for a few years until it was taken over by the Covington Woolen Mill company in 1917. The Mills are a mile west of town about halfway to Greenville falls, and their product has always been of the best quality. Army blankets were furnished the government for the World war. The present officers of the Covington Woolen Mills are : president, H. C. McCrossin; (page 622) secretary and manager, W. J. Lewis ; treasurer, Jacob Kendall, and the company has been capitalized at $40,000.
The Drees Saw mill is operated by William Drees and supplies a quantity of crating to Piqua and Troy factories. This company supplied their output to the government during the World war. The Con F. Drees Novelty Works factory is the first seen on entering Covington on the D. C. & P. Traction company coming in from Piqua. A variety of articles are manufactured, talcum powder, fly traps, and seven metal toys, wagons, miniature Fords, trailers, etc.
The Covington Lumber company, on Piqua avenue, which has been established for thirty years, has just been purchased by George Worch of Versailles.
The Sugar Grove mills, two miles south of town on the Stillwater, have a capacity of fifty barrels a day and the company is proud of the fact that two carloads of their product a month went to Belgium during the period of the war. Their output of cornmeal is of such a quality they are called the "cornmeal kings of the valley." The president of the present company is Jacob B. Kendall and this company succeeded Ezekiel B. Kendall & Co.; J. N. Arndell is the manager.
The Covington Flour mill on Bridge street, owned by W. L. O'Roark, formerly of Covington Roller mills, is noted for its product, "The Pride of Covington flour." This mill was first built seventy-five years ago by D. E. Fall and later was owned by Neer & Cossell, and entirely rebuilt in 1909. It has a capacity of 100 barrels a day and during the World war operated for ten months solely on government orders.
The Westville Creamery company has been in business for twenty years. R. R. Johnson is the president, William B. Johnson, secretary and general manager. A main plant is located at Westerville, a few miles out of Columbus. When the plant at Bradford burned January 1, 1919, it was decided to build at Covington. This fine new plant for butter making was completed May 31 of the same year and is one of Covington's important institutions. Being the center of a fine tobacco raising country, there are four tobacco warehouses located here, owned by the National Leaf Tobacco company, Gill Trembly Tobacco company, Huffman Tobacco company and the Hoeflich warehouse.
Newspapers. The Covington Tribune Gazette is now being published by F. J. Little. The first paper issued here was the Stillwater Valley Gazette, brought out in 1870 by S. W. Ely, and later came under the control of William A. Brown, now editor of the Greenville Advocate, who changed the name to the Covington Gazette. In May, 1883, W. F. Cantwell bought the Gazette and it enjoyed a very good circulation in the Stillwater valley. The Covington Tribune was established in 1898 by J. H. Marlin and O. W. Yount and the control of this paper was assumed in 1905 by A. L. Marlin and his son, W. L. Marlin, now Col. W. L. Marlin of World war fame. These two papers, the Gazette and Tribune, were consolidated and published by A. F. Little, who also publishes the Bradford Sentinel.
(page 623)The Armory. Much pride is taken in the armory, erected in 1916 on High street, directly across the street from the traction office. It is an impressive structure of pressed brick and had just been completed before the troops left for the border. After the declaration of war with Germany the local companies were stationed awhile in the armory. Lieut. Colonel William Marlin's efforts were instrumental in obtaining this armory from the state, and it is now used for the meetings of the Grand Army of the Republic, Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, of which Covington has a growing organization, and will be headquarters for the members of the A. B. Cole Post of the American Legion.
Lodges. Among the lodges established in Covington are F. & A. M., Covington Lodge, No. 168; Knights of Pythias, Stillwater Lodge, No. 233; Junior Order United American Mechanics, No. 221; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Amokee Tribe, No. 132; Independent Order of Red Men; Covington Chapter, No. 275; Order of the Eastern Star, Demoiselle Council, No. 53; Mildred Rebekah Lodge.
Fletcher has only been an incorporated village for the last fifty years although laid out back in 1830 by John Molloy. The original plot of the village consisted of forty-six full and four fractional lots. Since then the place has been added to by Parrot's addition, Moses' addition, Clark's addition, Eickelberger's addition and Kiser's addition. John Kiser, a Virginian, was the first settler coming in 1806 and his son Isaac was the first white child born within what are now the corporate limits of Fletcher. He also built the first tavern. Samuel Dougherty kept the first little shop in a log cabin he built in 1830. Samuel Crane started a second store in 1835 and Isaac Dukemineer came along in 1850, building a brick store room.
Farming land near Fletcher was purchased at $1.25 an acre in those days and farm laborers were paid $8.00 a month. Isaac Kiser went into the general merchandising business with Michael Duncan; they also bought and sold horses, riding horseback and leading perhaps a half dozen horses all the way to Philadelphia where they purchased their supplies to be shipped via Cincinnati by canal to Fletcher. Alonzo Montgomery and Solomon Brecount were contemporaries of Isaac Kiser, known for years as "Squire Kiser," as he was township justice and personal adviser to many. In 1894, the first grist mill in the township was built at Fletcher by Benjamin F. Shattuck, destroyed four years after it was built by fire. On this same location on Walnut street and the railroad, now stands the grain elevator and feed mill operated by the Fletcher Grain & Supply company, an incorporation of farmers since 1915. The officers are John Caven, George Pence and Francis Willard, and LaVerne Berryhill is the manager. This is the most important business of Fletcher and it is understood they buy and sell more grain than any firm between Columbus and Indianapolis.
The citizenship of Fletcher is composed of retired farmers and it has a population of 375. The present mayor is Herbert Harbaugh (page 624) and Mrs. Maude Carter is the postmistress. It is a station on the Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Columbus & St. Louis railroad, seven miles east of Piqua, with a passenger service of four trains a day, two east and two west, and three mails. Two paved roads run through the town, the Piqua and Urbana State road and the Fletcher and Casstown road. Main street is part of the Urbana road, this street being a mile in length, and well paved.
The village is now being poled for electric lights by the Dayton Power & Light company to do away with the present oil lamps lighting the homes and streets. J. C. Suber has a general merchandising store, there are one drug store, four groceries and two blacksmith shops and the Sunlight creamery does an active business in collecting cream for shipment. Forty homes in this little village are occupied by widows, the majority of whom have pensions. There are three churches in the village. The Methodist church in Fletcher was the first church built in the township, and was erected in 1820 on land donated by Alexander Oliver. The present church building is of brick and located on Main street in the center of the village. As early as 1809 the Baptists held services in the home of John Kiser. The present church is a frame building on East Main street that was built in 1862 at a cost of $1,500. In 1837, the Presbyterian church was organized in Fletcher by the Presbytery at Sidney. The Presbyterian church today stands on Walnut and North Presbyterian streets and is a substantial brick structure. A new centralized school house is under construction just west of Fletcher, this village being in the township school district. Until this is completed the school house on Walnut street is being used. This present school house was built in 1874 when the special school district of Fletcher was organized. The first log cabin school house in the Brown township had been built in 1810, the second school house was put up on William Mason's farm in 1818.
Georgetown or New Lebanon was sponsored by George Hatfield and laid out in about 1840. At one time it had a thriving industry in oak shingles but the scarcity of timber in that locality put a complete end to that business. Its postoffice title is Pottsdam and the present population is little over a hundred. The German Baptists have a church there but it is without a regular pastor.
Laura is situated near the North branch of Ludlow creek in Union township, on quite rolling ground. It was laid out about 1840 by Wesley Sharp and Riley McCool. It is now quite a thriving community of about 400 inhabitants, incorporated as a village some thirty years ago. It is a station on the Big Four road. Anderson & Coppock's grain elevator is one of the most important industries. A tobacco warehouse has been established by Andrew J. Schaurer, and The Laura Lumber company does a flourishing business. In its precincts are an excellent graded school and two churches, the Christian church and The Friends (Quaker) church. (page 625)
Lena was laid out by Levi N. Robbins in 1830 and was first named Elizabethtown in honor of his wife. This was subsequently changed to Lena, because there was another town in the state called Elizabethtown. Strange to say, after the new name was selected, there was found to be another postoffice in the state by the latter name. It was eventually decided to call the postoffice at Lena, Allen's postoffice, in honor of Sylvanus Allen, the first postmaster in the township. The first store in the village was built by Joseph Beck. William Graham operated the first blacksmith shop in the village after it was laid out. The postoffice has been discontinued and Lena is served by rural route from Conover about a mile away. The Lena Conover High school located here is a credit to the community. The Masons established Fidelity Chapter O. E. S., at Lena, August 6, 1897, and the Odd Fellows, Silver Star lodge, June 28, 1896.
Ludlow Falls has been an incorporated village since 1910 and has a growing population of about two hundred. It was built on Ludlow creek at the point where Ludlow falls makes its descent of thirty feet over jagged rocks into the canon below. Prosperity is contributed by the fact that Ludlow Falls is on two railroad lines, the Peoria division of the Big Four and the old Delphos division of the C., H. & D., now owned by John Ringling, and also a station on the Dayton, Covington and Piqua Traction. The grain elevator operated here by Meyers & Patty company is one of the best known in this part of the country. A very good township school is located in the village. There are two churches in Ludlow Falls, the Christian and the Friends (Quaker) churches.
This village, the only one in Newton township, was founded by the late J. K. Teeter (father of U. B. Teeter), who settled here in 1837. Six years later, May 26, 1843, he laid out the original plat, one mile square, and it was surveyed by James Hauk. This plat consisted of eight lots, all west of Main street, lot No. 1 being the lot now occupied by the Whitmer Hardware store. It is well laid out with wide streets and its comfortable homes denote its population of prosperous retired farmers. The first building was erected by S. T. Coote on lot two; and in 1847 J. K. Teeter put up the second building as a store room and home for his family. The citizens first decided to call the village Newton, after the township, which had been named in honor of the physicist, Sir Isaac Newton. The earliest postoffice in the locality had been established about a mile southeast of Newton, and from the unusually lovely landscape was called Pleasant Hill Postoffice. This postoffice was moved to Coppocks mill in 1840 for convenience, still retaining the name of Pleasant Hill. In 1850 when this postoffice was moved to Newton, the name of this village was changed to Pleasant Hill, and John Whitmore was the first postmaster.. June 30th, 1866, the village was, incorporated and its first mayor was (page 626) Charles W.. Davis. The construction of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton road through here began in 1879, and gave Pleasant Hill her first shipping facilities. Today the Dayton, Covington and Piqua Traction whose cars first came through here in 1902, gives an hourly passenger service, and it is also a station on the Delphos division of the old C., H. & D. road with two passenger trains a day.
Telephone service has been rendered by the Stillwater Telephone & Telegraph company of Covington since 1911, and electric light and power has been obtained since 1900 from the Buckeye Light & Power company, also of Covington. The water supply is excellent, from a system of wells, and the present village water works were installed in 1908. The population now numbers fully a thousand and has about doubled in the last forty years. The present mayor is Frank M. Longnecker.
The first place of education was a log cabin just within the village limits when John Whitmore, father of the Whitmore Brothers who own the present hardware store, taught. A one-story brick was the next school building, on the lot now occupied by the residence of Mrs. Ella Schafer; and in 1862 that structure was torn down and the two-story brick in which Mrs. Ella Schafer now lives was erected. Sub-district No. 7, including Pleasant Hill, was organized into a special school district November 3, 1866. Owing to increasing population a new school building was erected in 1874-75, and in 1875 Horatio Pearson became school superintendent. In the development of the village, religion played an important part. Pleasant Hill now has four churches. The first church building in the corporation was a log house built in 1820 by the Christian denomination just south of the cemetery, and was the second church in Newton township. It has been known as Hopewell church. The next church of this denomination was built in 1868; this structure was torn down in 1910 and a handsome edifice was built. The first church building of the church of the Brethren or German Baptists (originally Dunkards) was built in 1841, just north of Pleasant Hill. In 1853 this denomination came to Pleasant Hill to worship. In 1903 the Brethren church was built on Church street. The church of the Brethren or Progressive have a brick building on Church street. The River Brethren worship in what is called the "White church," stuccoed frame painted white, on South church. For a time the Lutherans also had services in this church, but these have been discontinued.
There is practically no manufacturing done at Pleasant Hill. Myers, Patty & company own the grain elevator on High street and the railroad. This elevator and the other buildings were built in 1890 by Read & company, from whom they were bought eighteen months later. This company also owns and operates a grain elevator at Ludlow Falls and one at Rangeville (four miles north of Covington). They buy and sell grain and tobacco and do some grinding of meal and feed. The old grain mill they own on Monument avenue, a square south of their present plant, and which was built in 1879 by Patty, Whitmore & company, they are using now (page 627) as a tobacco warehouse. Myers, Patty & company are incorporated for $25,000 and the officers are: President, G. W. Whitmore; vice-president, J. G. Myers; secretary and treasurer, W. O. Patty; other directors, C. N. Patty and N. B. Peter. The Rogers D avis Lumber company, incorporated in 1914 for $25,000, is one of the important institutions, and has its plant located at the foot of Monument street. They do a retail business in lumber, coal and building material. This was originally the Daniel Moul Lumber company. Beery Correspondence School for Horsemanship is a most unusual enterprise, being the only school of its kind in the world. It was founded by Professor Jesse Beery, a native of Pleasant Hill, who had been an expert trainer of horses for 20 years, giving exhibitions in all parts of the United States for many years before he started his correspondence school.
There are a number of courses taught by mail, including "colt training, vicious horse training, how to ride and train saddle horses, animal breeding and feeding." Seventy-five thousand students have taken his courses. On the roll now are pupils in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. This business makes quite a difference in the postoffice at Pleasant Hill, as the Beery mail averages 2,500 letters and inquiries a day in January, February and March, received from all parts of the world. A special "breaking" bridle is manufactured by this company and a number were sold the government. New courses have been added for "Practical Child Training" and "School Room Discipline." The Beery school was incorporated in 1908, with Jesse Beery as president; A. J. Lauver, vice-president ; Roy Coppock, secretary. July, 1919, the capital stock was increased to $50,000, and the officers are: President, Jesse Beery; vice-president, A. J. Lauver (also general manager of the Burroughs Adding Machine company) ; treasurer, C. F. Perkins ; secretary, Harry Whitmer.
The first bank in Pleasant Hill was not established until 1907; before this time the banking was done in Covington and Troy. This institution is a state bank capitalized first at $15,000 and increased in 1913 to $25,000. Its location in a three-story brick building is at the corner of Main street and Monument avenue.
The present officers are J. G. Myers, president; Chas. Whitmer, vice-president; C. F. Perkins, cashier; F. C. Longnecker, assistant cashier ; directors, J. G. Myers, Chas. Whitmer, F. M. Longnecker, C. M. Patty, Chas. H. Jackson. This bank was headquarters for the local Liberty Loan organization, for which C. F. Perkins was chairman. Liberty Loan bonds were sold to the amount of $222,350. The Pleasant Hill quotas were oversubscribed in every instance. In the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign they had the record of subscribing 315 per cent of their quota.
The Pleasant Hill News, issued first in 1914, is a weekly paper published and owned by H. C. Marlin, a son of J. H. Marlin of Covington. Several newspapers before this had struggled vainly for existence, among them the Pleasant Hill Advocate. The Grand Army post in Pleasant Hill is strong, as there is no post in West Milton. Their monument, erected in 1895 in the center of the village to Civil war heroes, gives its name to (page 628) Monument avenue. Lodges have been established by the Masons, Odd Fellows and Junior Order.
Staunton township and the settlement called "Dutch Station," which later became Staunton, was the cradle of Miami county history, and many of the early events were enacted in this neighborhood. Peter Felix, the little French trader, was in all probability the first merchant of Staunton, and was also the first tavern-keeper. The first official session of court was held at the house of Peter Felix, and here justice was first dispensed in Miami county. It was thought at that time that Staunton was destined to be the county seat, but subsequent events decreed that Staunton should be famous only for its past achievements. The county seat was established at Troy and this step marked the decline of Staunton, and loss of her early prestige. However, it will always be remembered for its historic interest. Here, in the early days, the best of the first settlers gathered and transacted their business. Around this little village are woven the early legends of the county; the fame of Peter Felix, Simon Landry, the Knoops and Carvers and many of the early pioneers.
Tippecanoe City, a village in Monroe township is by reason of its uniformly wide streets, the best laid out of any community in Miami county, and with its well kept grounds and homes is a model of sightliness. Located in a fine farming country its industries are equally divided between agriculture and manufacturing. It lies on the West bank of the Miami river, and the Miami and Erie canal, finished to Troy in 1836, gave an early outlet for its products.
Land where the present village now stands was cleared by Robert Evans in 1839, who disposed of it to his brother-in-law, John Clark. Clark's family had emigrated to Miami county from Maryland. In 1840 Mr. Clark laid out the village but it was not regularly incorporated until 1851. Hyatts village, now a part of Tippecanoe City, was the first location and when the canal came the village moved east. It was the first post village, dating back to 1820, and Levi N. Booker was elected the mayor in 1851. The early settlers came chiefly from Virginia. and South Carolina with a sprinkling of the thrifty Pennsylvania Dutch. Some South Carolinians were granted land south of the Cowlesville road for services in the Revolutionary war.
In 1839 Thomas Jay built the first store room, a frame structure, and the first tavern was put up the next year by Henry Krise. Among the pioneers of Tippecanoe City contributing to its prosperity were Mordecai Clark, Henry TenEyck, Jacob Rohrer, George Smith, Henry Hawver, Josias Kerr, Isaac Harshbarger, Sidney Chafee, Samuel M. Morrison, Dr. E. L. Crane, Eli Motter, Rev. John Rutter, Dr. J. Gilbert, Samuel Staley.
The business street of the town is Main, and John Clark's home, a substantial brick, still standing at the east end of this street, was built by him in 1851. John Morrison built a business building on Main street in 1850 and in 1867 the Chafee business block on Main and Second streets was completed.
(page 629) The census of 1910 showed a population of 1881, but the vote of the village in the fall of 1919, numbering 780, would indicate a population of 2,500. Among the contributing factors to this growth of population have been the railroads, traction lines and splendid public utilities. The Dayton & Troy Traction line, with an hourly service from Dayton to Piqua, connects with the Western Ohio traction line at Piqua and with the Springfield, Troy & Piqua at Troy. At Dayton it makes connections with the Ohio Electric line, the Cincinnati & Dayton traction and the Dayton, Springfield & Xenia. The car barns and electric power house for this road are in Tippecanoe city. The Baltimore & Ohio road has two passenger trains a day and five mail trains.
The Tippecanoe Water & Electric Light plant is under municipal ownership, and furnishes water, electric light and power to the village. The power plant is located on East Main street just east of the Canal. A system of wells supplies the purest of water. The Tipp Telephone company was organized in 1898 by H. G. Ritter, B. F. Dietrick, Eli Saunders, E. H. Timmer and J. A. Kerr. It was the first independent company in the United States to obtain connections with the Bell Telephone company. A. R. Garver is now president, and John I. Yount, manager.
There are three Protestant churches and one Catholic church now existent in Tippecanoe city. The first place of worship for the Methodists was a rude log house built in 1820. Twenty years later a more modern church was built on the same ground and this did service from 1840 to 1860. Zion's English Lutheran church, located on Main street, is a very neat modern structure. This church is especially interested in the Sarah Feightley Home for women over sixty on Main street, established at the death of Miss Feightley, who left her home and estate for its endowment. St. John's Catholic church was first a mission church and it was not until 1858 that their present church was built and a regular priest appointed. The priest also conducts services at St. Paris and Bradford.
The Masons, Odd Fellows, Grand Army of Republic, Women's Relief Corps, Maccabees, Royal Arcanum, Junior Order of Mechanics, and Ben Hur's have lodges in Tippecanoe.
With more than $2,000,000 worth of real property on which taxes can be levied the Tippecanoe schools have no reason to suffer from the want of funds. It is a separate school district with a large territory from which to draw. A log cabin in Hyattsville was the first seat of learning, but the first real school house in Tippecanoe City was erected in First street, and its old bell now peals forth in the Baptist church. This property was sold in 1854 and a frame building put up on Dow street between First and Fourth streets. In 1868 a square brick structure was erected to replace the frame building and this served its purpose until 1896. The present school buildings, both the high and grade school buildings, have beautiful grounds and are located on the block bounded by Dow, Third, Fisk and Broadway, with very attractive campus and wonderful old maple trees and is most prominently in view from the Tract in cars. The present grade school building was finished in 1896 and took care (page 630) of all pupils until 1917 when the handsome high school building was dedicated.
The soundness of their banking institutions is a matter of pride to the citizens of Tippecanoe City. During the World war they were most active in Red Cross and War Loan campaigns and activities. The Tipp National bank was organized March 5, 1883, with a capital stock of $60,000, and was soon doing business in its own brick building on the south side of Main street. The first officers were Samuel Sullivan, president ; Jacob Rohrer, vice-president ; A. W. Miles, cashier; other directors, G. W. Weakly, W. W. Crane, J. W. Bowman, Wm. Ashworth, John Brown. A bronze tablet is in evidence on their office, received from the Federal Reserve bank in recognition of their liberal support in subscribing more than their full quota of Treasury Certificates of Indebtedness, Series Five, before the bonds were put on the market. Present officials are : President, T. C. Leonard ; vice-president, E. L. Crane; cashier, A. W. Miles; assistant cashiers, M. T. Staley and Harry Fidler ; directors, T. C. Leonard ; E. L. McKinney ; A. L. Harshberger, A. W. Miles, E. L. Cooper, H. D. Kerr.
The Citizens National bank was established in 1907, and incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000. It is located in its own commodious brick building, erected specially for banking purposes. The present officials are: President, A. R. Garver ; vice-president, L. R. Fergus ; cashier, Charles 0. Davis.
The Monroe Building & Loan association, located in Monroe township building, is the biggest and oldest financial institution in Tippecanoe City, having prospered rapidly since its incorporation, July 19, 1875, to assist men in owning their homes. From its original capitalization of $100,000 it has increased to $1,000,000. Present officers : President, M. T. Staley ; vice-president, Eli Saunders ; secretary, D. D. Kessler; attorney, R. A. Kerr ; other directors besides the officers are J. H. Pohlman, C. B. Herr, C. A. Huber, A. L. Hagerty, W. M. Kessler.
First of the series of weekly newspapers published was the Tippecanoe City Reflector, that ran just two years from 1853 to 1855.
The Fireman's Gazette was brought out a short time in the 50's. It was not until 1866 that another attempt was made, when Charles Crowell for a short time published the City Item. In 1869 Joshua Horton issued the first number of the Tippecanoe City Herald, which he edited until April, 1880, when it was sold to Caldwell & company, the members of which were W. F. Caldwell, W. C. Staley and L. G. Gates, who were in control for four years. In 1881 J. A. and E. H. Kerr purchased a half interest, and W. F. Caldwell continued a year as editor and manager until he moved to Piqua. The plant is in the rear of the Tipp National bank. J. R. Horton, grandson of the founder of the Herald, was in control for a few years, buying out the Kerr interest, and the present owner obtained possession in 1912.
For a short period there were two papers here, the Herald, republican, and the Tippite, democratic, edited by Eldon Leonard. The Miami and Erie canal running north and south just east of the village, offered the first shipping facilities. Live stock as well (page 631) as farm products, leather, cooperage lumber; products of the breweries and distilleries were sent down the canal on fat boats to the Ohio and thence by river boats to Pittsburg and the east. In 1851 the Dayton & Michigan railroad was built to Tippecanoe City opening wider the avenue of industry. This line has been absorbed by the Baltimore & Ohio railroad and gives Tippecanoe City two passenger trains a day besides its freight service. The Dayton & Troy traction line with its hourly passenger service, also helped shipping facilities.
The Johns' grist mill was the first of any importance to be built here. At its inception in 1840 water rights were obtained at the canal lock for a period of 99 years and under these rights the present flour mills run by Foster who succeeded John K. Herr are still operating and prosperous. Some few years later this same Uriah Johns cut a race across Main street and built a second f lour mill, also a flaxseed oil mill. The second four mill he sold to Chafee & Smith and a very interesting law case of water rights ensued.
A flaxseed oil mill was built by Jonathan Favorite and Wesley Roberts in 1839 and a malt house established by Walter Norey, a Scotchman, was unsuccessfully managed, and turned over to a stock company in a few years. Col. Reuben T. Hutchins operated a malt company from 1852 until 1877, when he sold it to S. R. and B. F. Rhodehamel who successfully carried on the business for a number of years.
A linseed oil mill built by Jonathan Favorite and Wesley Roberts in 1839, where the Tipp Whip factory stands did quite an extensive business for some years. Their property was bought by the Tippecanoe Whip company in 1885.
George and Edward Smith built one of the early distilleries in 1852. S. L. Chafee built his distillery in 1855 on the canal at the end of Dow street, and Dietricks Distilling company operated from 1885 to 1917.
An interesting enterprise was the Tippecanoe Grape Sugar company, of which Mr. B. F. Rhodehamel was also president. This plant was located on First street and the canal and glucose was manufactured. The company was capitalized at $75,000. It was sold to the American Glucose company in 1883, who operated it for four years from main offices at Peoria, Ill. An explosion occurred in 1887 when the factory was dismantled.
On the site of the old glucose plant, the Lin Dell company with offices in New York, established a canning factory. This has 104 employees, and aids the truck farmers of the neighborhood from whom they purchase fruits and vegetables.
The Amola Soap company has its factory for manufacturing toilet articles, on south First street in the buildings formerly occupied by the Davis Whip company. The business had been established for thirty years in Peoria and in 1917 was purchased by A. L. and H. R. Harshberger and moved to its present location. . They now have 25 employees and a factory floor space of 20,000 square feet. At present it is subsidiary to the Tippecanoe Whip company whose officers are J. W. Bowman, A. L. Harshberger, (page 632) W. C. Staley, W. B. Ten Eyck and Jacob Prill, but the company is shortly to be incorporated.
The Tippecanoe Whip company was in existence from 1884 until 1917 when their property on East Main street was sold to the Miami Conservancy district. They were a prosperous firm during the days of buggies. This whip company succeeded to the occupancy of the old linseed oil property.
Ford & Company's Wheel plant, owned by Leonard, was established in 1865 with its factory on First street. It did quite an extensive business first in wheels for wagons, then for automobiles.
Two years ago the property was taken by the Miami Conservancy. They employed about 100 hands and their wheels were used in foreign countries as well as in this.
The Northern Manufacturing company is one of the largest and most progressive manufacturing firms of Tippecanoe City. It was capitalized June, 1919, at $100,000, to make buffets and bedroom furniture. The company bought the Tipp Furniture company, whose factory buildings had been erected in 1890 on Second street, and the Ford & Company's plant, covering about 8 acres on Second street, was purchased two years ago, and two new buildings were added to the three already there. On Fifth street six buildings are now in use and five blocks of ground occupied. Between 75 and 100 men are given employment by this company. The officers are A. R. Garver, J. H. Rohrer, J. B. Garver, J: B. Backman.
The Tipp Building Manufacturing company is engaged chiefly in the making of kitchen cabinets. Modern factory buildings are located on Walnut street west of the B. & O. railway tracks. It has a capitalization of $75,000 and its officers are H. J. Ritter, A. R. Garver, Ben and Ed. Timmer. This business dates back to a planing mill on the same location built by Robert Smith. Trupp, Weakly & company purchased Smith's mill in 1872, put in extensive machinery and developed a big building; material business finally absorbed by the Tipp Building Manufacturing company. The American Strawboard company of Akron, 0., is now turning out 11 to 12 tons daily of strawboard from its mills in Tippecanoe City and they employ about 35 men in its operation. The local management of this mill and of others at Piqua is under Mr. J. F. Anderson. The Tippecanoe mills were bought from the Tippecanoe Strawboard company, organized in 1885, with a capital stock of $35,000. First officers : W. W. Crane, H. E. Hawver and W. C. Staley. The capital stock had been increased before the sale of the property to the Trust.
The Tipp Novelty works, owned by James and Russell Scheip, have an attractive group of buildings on the North side of Sixth street. Here toys of every description are made, that have a market all over the world, and any number of dolls, blocks, wagons, etc., go to the children in Australia.
Bohlander & Sons nursery is one of the show places of the town as well as an important adjunct in giving healthful employment to a number of men. Over 3,000 varieties of trees, evergreens, shrub and perennials are grown on the land the company has under contract, or under their management elsewhere.
(page 633) The nursery consists of seventy acres, and fifty gardeners are employed. Fully 150 acres are under their management or contract, with 50 more men employed. The firm not only supplies stock for the beautifying of estates but act as landscape gardeners. Peter Bohlander founded the business more than 70 years ago, starting on 15 or 20 acres near Dayton, later moving to the present location and at his death his son, W. F. Bohlander assumed control. The reputation of this concern has spread all over the country. The Tippecanoe Knitting mills on North First street, are a subsidiary of the Superior Underwear company of Piqua, and take care of the overflow of the Piqua plant. They were bought from the Tippecanoe Underwear company, organized in 1907, operated there until 1913, when they sold their machinery and building to the Superior. When in operation this mill employs 100 operators.
West Charleston was the first hamlet settled in Bethel township and one of the oldest settlements in the county. It was laid out in 1807 by Charles Friend, who first called it Friendtown. Land contiguous to the plots laid out by Friend were purchased in 1814 by John Newcomb, who became the first storekeeper in a log cabin. John Schlosser established the first tavern and later William Boyer and a man named Lightcap also opened a tavern to take care of the comparatively heavy travel through there at that time by stage coach. Among the early stage drivers who made West Charleston a stopping place were Jerry Self, Calvin Adams and Lewis Russell. A small showmaker's shop was set up "in the bush" north of the little settlement by James Ferguson who also did some tanning. With no canal- in the early days nor railroad later West Charleston remains today a little hamlet of about a hundred population and with but one store. There are two churches, "The Brethren," and "The Union," where services may be held by any denomination.
First to settle in Section 21 of Union township was a South Carolinian, named Joseph Evans, who brought his family north in 1805. The natural advantage of this high and fertile ground on the west bluff of the Stillwater which runs in a deep gorge below the level of the surrounding country, made a strong appeal to Evans who purchased the land in 1807 and had it surveyed and plotted into lots comprising 53 rods each and Main and Miami streets were laid out parallel with the river bluffs. The lots were sold and the place called Milton, to gratify Miss Elizabeth Evans, his oldest daughter, whose favorite book was Milton's Paradise Lost." In later years the name of the village was changed to West Milton as there was another village named Milton near Toledo. The Evans family, George Buchanan, a carpenter, and Samuel Pearce, were the only residents for a number of years, and Evans opened a store in 1810, the first in the township. Growth of the community at this point was so slow that in 1825 there were but three families living in the town proper. A weekly postoffice had been established in 1817 (page 634) and Oliver Benton was postmaster. The village of West Milton was not incorporated until 1834 when C. W. Beebe became first mayor. In earlier years, there was some manufacturing in the neighborhood of Milton with rather crude machinery of course. John Mast installed a carding machine in his grist mill, operating alternately with the grist mill. Samuel Kelley erected a woolen mill on Section 21 just west of the Stillwater on the Spring stream. In 1820 Daniel W. Thayer bought the Kelley Mills and improved them to make blankets. Samuel Kelley after disposing of his mills to Thayer built a cotton manufactory just north of Milton, completed in 1824, subsequently converting it into a woolen mill and sold it to William Rutledge. There was also a scythe factory on the river bank in Section 21. Linseed oil was manufactured on a small scale. West Milton is one of the oldest headquarters in the state for making lightning rods. There are two firms in the business here today, the D. H. Mast company and the L. H. Mast company. This is the only manufacturing done in the village at the present time. Geographically it is the center of the cigar leaf tobacco producing field of Ohio, four big tobacco warehouses being located here. Indeed the village is in the midst of the best agricultural country in the world, and farming land here has grown very valuable. West Milton is the outgrowth of a Quaker settlement, the majority of these settlers coming from South Carolina. Being of the society of "Friends," their garb was of the sober Quaker gray. Descendants of these first settlers while no longer adhering to the fashion in dress, still have the virtues of quiet dignity, sobriety and honesty they inherited from their forefathers and are noted for their integrity.
As the town had no outlet for any shipping by canal which was the earliest route in Miami county, her industrial progress was slow. It was not until 1879 that the railroad came through. Today the Dayton, Toledo & Chicago road gives service and residents of the village often seek the convenience of the Peoria division of the Big Four road, that has a station at Ludlow Falls just a mile and a half distant. The Dayton, Covington & Piqua Traction brought through in 1902, affords invaluable service with its hourly trains. This company has its car barns and powerhouse located here and eighty of their employees make their homes in West Milton. Overlook park was established by the D., C. & P. company at the north end of the town. This includes forty acres of land and has been made into one of the most beautiful parks in the state. One of the natural attractions is a picturesque waterfall, where the Spring branch empties into the Stillwater. Boating, bathing and fishing are some of the sports enjoyed in this park during the summer months. A dancing pavilion, cafe and rest room have been built and visitors come from all neighboring points on the line. The gorge of the Stillwater, almost a hundred feet .below, affords many artistic bits of scenery.
Miami street, where the traction line passes, is the business street. Pearson's hotel, on this street, is quite a comfortable two-story brick building erected in 1906 by Robert Van Horne Pearson, and has been an hotel site for seventy-five years. Among the (page 635) happy conditions which contribute to the health and to the happiness of this community are first its high location, being 128 feet above Dayton, and second its pure water supply, as the municipal water works has eleven springs to draw from. By the census of 1910 the population was shown to be 1,209, increased, it is estimated, about 200, and over this happy community of 1,400 A. G. Miller has jurisdiction as mayor of the village.
The first Quaker church in the world having a steeple and bell was built in West Milton. This was an unheard of thing at the time and inquiries came as far as from England asking if it could be true.
The Quaker sect had their first monthly meeting in Union township, two miles south of West Milton, in 1807. This was the central church for a number of years until transferred to West
Milton, when the West Branch church was abandoned in the 80's. On South Main street is the Methodist Episcopal church, first established in 1833. The West Milton Christian church was established, through the efforts of William Jay, at the south end of Miami street.
The first bank established was the West Milton bank in 1882. This bank was nationalized in 1908 and became the First National Bank, retaining the same officers as follows : Robert M. Douglass, president; C. B. Douglass, vice-president ; D. F. Douglass, cashier. The present location is on Miami street.
The Citizens National bank, organized in 1907, occupies one of the finest small bank buildings in the state. It has a white marble front and most up-to-date banking equipment. Originally this bank had an authorized capital stock of $30,000, with $18,000 paid up. The officers were : President, C. E. Emmerick; first vice-president, Adam Pfeifer; second vice-president, A. J. Iddings; cashier, Noble B. Hunt; directors, C. E. Emmerick, Adam Pfeifer, Dr. W. H. Kessler, J. C. Minnick, B. J. Ford, L. A. Pearson, G. A. Falconer. The capital stock of $30,000 is now all paid up and the officers are : President, L. E. Ellerman; vice-president, C. E. Emmerick; cashier, L. C. Gnagay; assistant cashier, H. E. Pearson. It is worthy of note as showing the wealth of the community that the deposits of the two banks amount to $1,500,000 for a population of 1,400; over $1,000 per capita.
The West Milton Loan & Savings association was first incorporated as the West Milton Home Savings association, December 1st, 1887, with an authorized capital stock of $100,000. The first officers were : President, J. W. Smithman ; secretary, J. E. Hart; treasurer, P. O. Vore.
The West Milton Home Telephone company, established in 1882, is now managed by H. S. Blessing, one of the Brethren church preachers. The officers are : President, Charles Ammon ; vice-president, Arthur Patty ; secretary, L. A. Blessing; treasurer, Daniel Long; other directors, N. W. Rinehart, Havilah Coppock and J. C. Henderson. This company also supplies service to Laura, Englewood and Verona. Stillwater Valley Electric company is owned by L. A. Pearson and has supplied electric light and power to West Milton since 1907. (page 636) The power plant is on the old Coppock flouring mill site on the Stillwater river, used as a mill site a hundred years ago. Masonic, Odd Fellows, Rebecca, Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters.
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