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The Folks on Hole's Creek
Dr. John Hole & Zacharia Hole Biographical Information


Note.—The "History of Montgomery County" was printed in Chicago, by W. H. Beers & Co., in 1882. Its chapter X, on page 355, from which quotation is made below, was written by Ashley Brown. Of its township history, that on Washington Township was written by Joseph Nutt. That on Van Buren Township was written by F. A. Weakley and others.

This book, page 354, has the best and full account of the life of Maj. Geo. Adams, who entered 400 acres of land, and built his cabin in the bend of the river below or near Silver Creek (Hole's Creek), where he began cultivating his land in 1797, one year after the settlement of Dayton.

The following is the account written by Ashley Brown in this book, beginning on page 359, on




"Closely following the Dayton Colony up the Miami, in the spring of 1796, were parties of settlers who located at favorable points along the east bank of the river between Hamilton and Dayton. Squatters took possession of the rich bottom opposite the mouth of Bear Creek. Maj. Adams selected his land at the mouth of Silver Creek (Hole's). Col. Jerome Holt took land that is now in Van Buren Township, while others ventured further up Silver Creek (Hole's) on land now in Washington Township.

"Dr. John Hole purchased 1440 acres of land in Township 2, Range 6, and in the spring of the next year moved up from Cincinnati with his family.

"In Virginia, the militia were organized for defense of the colony» under the resolutions offered by Patrick Henry, in the Provincial Convention that assembled at Richmond, March 20, 1775. So that in the uprising of the people throughout the Colonies, after the battle of Lexington and Con-cord, Virginians promptly responded to the call for troops to resist the threatened advance of the British from Boston.

"Dr. John Hole marched with a battalion of Virginia militia, and shortly after their arrival at the American camp, then encircling Boston, he was commissioned Assistant Surgeon in the Continental army, and continued in active service through the Revolution.

"He was in the battle of Bunker Hill, and when the army was re-organized with Gen. Washington as Commander-in-Chief, he was assigned to the medical staff, in the division of gallant Brig. Gen. Richard Montgomery, in whose honor Montgomery County is named; and it is very probable that it was at the suggestion of Dr. Hole that the county was so named.

"During the assault upon Quebec before daylight, on the morning of December 31, 1775. Dr. Hole, with other surgeons of the American Army, established the field hospital near the walls of the fort, and it was there that General Montgomery's body was brought immediately after he was shot through the heart. The General was leading and cheering his men when he received his death shot.

"August 4. 1778, Dr. Hole married Miss Massie Ludlow of New Jersey, and before the close of the war three children were born to them.

"In 1787, they moved to Virginia, but after a short absence returned to New Jersey, where they remained until early in 1796, when they came west, traveling in a large covered wagon, arriving at Cincinnati early in April, where the family stayed until next spring.

"Leaving his family comfortably fixed in Cincinnati. Dr. Hole came up the Miami, and after visiting the several little settlements around Dayton, determined to locate on Silver Creek, and bought the land previously described, paying for it in military land bounty warrants granted to him as an officer in the Revolutionary army.

"He built his cabin close to the creek, on the spot where David Gephart's new two-story frame house now stands, a short distance below E. Bellman's mill. It was a round-log cabin, puncheon floor, cat and clay chimney. He cleared and grubbed several acres of land. chinked and daubed his cabin, and during the following winter made frequent trips to Cincinnati. and moved out with his family early in 1797,

"The Doctor met with no serious obstacles in establishing his family in their new home, although, with all other settlers, they suffered very much with fever and ague. He was the only physician in that pare of the valley, and, for many years, was in active practice in the cabins for ten or twelve miles around, riding night and day, often, from the necessities of the situation, having a bivouac for the night in thickets through which the bridle-paths led.

"Money being so scarce and of such little use on the frontier, his bills were settled at the convenience of his patrons, by the delivery to him of produce or cattle. For a year's attendance as family physician a two-year old heifer, or six Barbary sheep, a mare with foal, 200 bushels of corn, etc. Duebills would be given such as these:

"For medical service, I owe Dr. John Hole one pair leather shoes for a boy child. (Signed) BENJAMIN ROBBINS."

"Due to Dr. J. Hole, fifty pounds of salt. (Signed) BENJAMIN ARCHER."

"November 1, 1801. I agree to deliver to Dr. J. Hole a winter's smoking of tobacco, or five venison hams.  (Signed) G. ADAMS.”

"In 1799, Dr. Hole built a hewed-log mansion on the hill, a short distance northwest of his cabin, where his daughters, Matilda and Phebe, who are yet living, were born. From his comfortable circumstances and well-known hospitality, his cabin was a great stopping place for travelers and new-comers, and also had many visits from roving Indian parties.

"One day, while the Doctor and his son were in the clearing, three Indians came to the cabin and asked for dinner, which Mrs. Hole at once began to prepare. Being somewhat uneasy, however, she got one of the Indians to blow the conch shell, as a signal to her husband, who, with his son, hastened with their rifles to the cabin, but the Indians were peaceable, and after their meal went to the woods and killed a buck, taking to the cabin the hind quarters, in return for the good treatment they had received.

"The stream upon which the Doctor had located had been known to surveyors and explorers as Silver Creek, but from his prominence as a physician, and the fact of his being one of the largest resident land-holders of the country, as a matter of convenience in giving direction, it soon got to be known as Hole's Creek, and for more than eighty years has held that name in honor of him, as one of the first and most prominent of Montgomery County pioneers.

"Doctor and Mrs. Hole, and their children, were members of the early Baptist Church of Centerville.

"Dr. Hole's health began to fail, so that at the outbreak of the war in 1812, he was obliged to decline the position tendered him, in the medical staff of the army. He died January 6, 1813. His wife died July 25, 1842. They. with five children, are buried in the old cemetery, one-half mile north of Centerville.




"Father of Dr. John Hole, lived in the colony of Virginia, where, about the year 1750, he married Phebe Clark. Their eight children were born in Virginia.

"A year after his son, John, moved to the West, Zachariah Hole, with his wife and three sons, Zachariah Jr., William and Daniel, and two daughters, Polly and Betsy, came to the Miami Valley. The father and his three sons bought land on the east bank of the river, opposite the mouth of Bear Creek, which they afterwards entered at the land office in Cincinnati, paying $2 an acre for it.

"At the time of the threatened Indian outbreak, in the summer of 1799, a blockhouse and stockade were built upon Zachariah Hole's land, near the river, and the settlers were organized for defense, with Maj. Adams in command. Although there were several cabins between that and Dayton, none could be seen from the narrow road through the woods.

"The blockhouse and stockade were known as Hole's Station, and afterwards became quite a busy little point, where new-comers would halt while prospecting for land west of the river.

"Hole's Station became Miamisburg, and the town was platted in 1818."

In this volume, "History of Montgomery County," above named, is the longest and best history of Washington Township. It was written by Joseph Nutt. The fact is, Washington Township was settled before Dayton was, by men from Kentucky. On page 4, of this Washington Township history, Mr. Joseph Nutt says:

"Dr. John Hole removed to this township in 1797. He located three and one-half miles northwest of Centerville, where he entered a section and a half of land, on what he named Silver Creek, but what soon came to be known far and near as Hole's Creek, a name which is retained at the present day. He erected the first two sawmills in the township, was the first practitioner in the township, and was well known for his liberality and hospitality. His cabin was always open to travelers, and many recipients of his bounty relate that when asking for their bill for a night's lodging, they were told to 'go and do likewise.'

"While studying for his profession, he was appointed Assistant Surgeon by his preceptor at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was afterwards one of the regular surgeons in the army of Montgomery and Arnold at the storming of Quebec.

"In this battle, he says: 'I dressed the wounds of the soldiers beneath the walls of the fort by the flash of the cannon.' At one time in the battle a soldier was carried in and laid on the table before the doctor. 'I can't do anything for this man; his head is gone," he exclaimed, with his usual promptness. It was a mistake which might easily occur in the darkness of the night and confusion of the battle. He was near Gen. Montgomery when the latter received his death wound, and saw him reel and spin around like a top while advancing on the ice.

"Dr. Hole's cabin stood on the spot where David Gephart lately erected a farm house, just below Eno Belloman's mill. It was a round-log cabin, with clapboard roof and loft, puncheon floor and cat and clay chimney, that is, made of small sticks and filled in with clay. He died January 6, 1813 aged fifty-eight years.

"John Ewing Sr., better known as Judge Ewing, came here in the same year with Dr. Hole and settled on adjoining land. His descendants are still living in the neighborhood. His son Joseph was one of the first surveyors in Montgomery County, in which capacity he served fifteen years His son died January 30, 1882, on the old homestead farm, a few rods from his birthplace, eighty years before. He has a daughter still living in Dayton.''

On page 8 of the chapter on Washington Township, Nutt says:

"All kinds of industry have been carried on within the limits of Washington Township. Hole s and Sugar Creeks have afforded employment for seven sawmills, five flouring mills, one cotton factory, one fulling mill, and one oilmill. Besides this, there have been two horse-power carding machines and three steam sawmills."

"Isaac Harrison, a carder and fuller, came to Washington Township in 1808, and purchased land on Hole's Creek near Woodburn, and in 1814 he changed his sawmill into a carding and fulling mill, which was the second of the kind in the county. It was so operated until 1833, when a stone mill was here built to make clothing, iron, etc. This Mr. Harrison continued to operate until he died in 1842,

"The first flour mill in Washington Township was located on one of the branches of Hole's Creek. It ground much wheat for the army in 1812. The only factory in the county to make stoves, kettles and machinery was run near Woodburn, between 1819 and 1820. Here, too, soon afterwards, were made printed bedspreads, quilts and calicoes.

"Centerville is about midway between Woodburn and Stringtown. It was so named from its location, which is seven miles from Miamisburg, Springboro and Ridgeville, nine from Dayton, Upper Shaker Village, Waynesville and Franklin, and fourteen from Middletown, Xenia Lebanon and Lower Shaker Village. It is located at the highest point between Lebanon and Dayton, on the watershed of the Miamis."


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