THE STORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY
THE success of Gen. St. Clair as governor of the whole Northwest Territory was doubtful inasmuch as his type of mind refused to grasp new conditions and meet new emergencies. The antagonism of politicians and land speculators with whom he had been compelled to deal inflexibly added to his conservative attitude in a country where only the opposite attitude was possible to advancement, spelled his fall. Ohio felt she needed the standing of a state and although the territory. did not have the requisite population of sixty thousand measures were set in motion to that end. Gen. Worthington and Gen. Baldwin went to Washington to use their not inconsiderable influence, with the result that on April 30, 1802, congress passed the necessary enabling act to render Ohio a state. On November 1st of the same year, the first constitutional convention met at Chillicothe and adjourned on the 20th of the same month, having accomplished their object. The new constitution provided for the widest individual liberty and the least governmental power. It forbid slavery and proclaimed religious liberty. On March 1, 1803, the first state legislature met at Chillicothe and Ohio became a political area and a political fact. She was the seventeenth in the sisterhood of states and began her history with boundaries substantially the same as at present. Charles Willing Byrd discharged the duties of governor until the first regular state election took place.
Montgomery county was in 1.804 the largest of the divisions in the Miami lands. In it were included the present counties of Preble, Darke, Mercer, Allen, Van Wert, Paulding, Williams, Fulton, Henry,. Defiance, Putnam, Auglaize, Shelby and Miami. As the census increased and county business increased new boundaries had to be made and new county seats set up. At the time of the emergence of Ohio as a state, Montgomery county was six or seven times as large as it is now, taking in the areas of fourteen of our present counties. The sixth section of the Act of Congress which establishes Ohio as a state contained this clause: "The temporary seat of justice of Montgomery County shall be held at the house of George Newcom in the town of Dayton," and thus established Dayton not merely as the geographical but the judicial center of the then great west. As at present constituted Montgomery county is divided into fourteen townships, viz.: Washington, organized 1801; Miami, German, Madison, 1803;; Jackson, 1890; Perry, 1829; Van Buren, 1841; Mad River, 1841; Wayne, 1810; 1814; Jefferson, 1820; Butler, 1805; Harrison, 1817; Randolph, 1841; 1804; and Clay, 1825.
(page 18) Of the areas of this county half of two townships and a fraction of a third drain to the Little Miami while the other parts of the county slope to the Great Miami.
The story of the settlement of Montgomery county has been often told and printed. In this place a mere condensation will suffice.. When finally the peace treaty signed at Greenville following the victory of Gen. Wayne's forces over the Indians had given security to this valley the settlers began to push in in search of homes. In the winter of 1795-6, after the preliminary survey by Dunlop and Van Cleve, a party was made up in Cincinnati to establish and occupy a town at the mouth of Mad river. In the spring, the party was divided in three parts, two of which started north with their wagons through the woods in the path surveyed by Dunlop, and one by river in a pirogue. All three arrived about the same time, the river party debarking at the head of Jefferson street and proceeded to build a shack out of the remains of the boat and make themselves otherwise at home. This was April in 1796. Among these pioneer families were the Van Cleves, the Newcoms, the Thompsons, the Hamers, the Mercers, and the Davises, sixty in all.
For five or six years the history of Dayton was the same as that of all pioneer settlements, hard living in a rough country, no roads, heavy woods to be felled, danger from wild animals and Indians, ague, cold winters and hot summers, work from sunrise to sunset and no money. The greatest difficulty did not arise from physical hardship but in that of uncertain title to property. At one time there only six families left in Dayton, the rest having moved away to where they could be sure of ownership to their homes. Daniel Cooper was the man who saved the day in early Dayton. He bought almost all the land there was in the new settlement and gave his purchasers good titles, then went to Cincinnati and settled it with the government at his own risk.
Then things began to move. In the winter of 1797 Dayton township was formed. The name Dayton was given because, next to Symmes, Gen. Jonathan Dayton was the most prominent man in the negotiations that led to the original purchase. Its boundaries embraced all the territory between the Miami rivers from an east and west line through the middle of Washington and Miami townships to the Indian boundary line, including several whole counties and large portions of other counties. In March, 1803, the legislature enacted a law by which seven new counties were formed, four of them being taken from Hamilton and Ross counties, namely: Butler, Warren, Montgomery and Greene. Gen. Richard Montgomery, for whom the county was named; was an Irish officer in the British army and came to America in that capacity in 1754. When our troubles with the mother country began Gen. Montgomery took the part of the colonists, was commissioned by Congress, and had an honorable career in the Revolutionary war. In 1807 Montgomery county was reduced in size by the formation of Miami county out (page 19) of its northern area. In 1808 it suffered a further reduction by the organization of Preble county.
Thus, while Montgomery county was at the time of the Dayton settlement a part of Hamilton county and later became the parent of three other entire counties, her boundaries were successively rearranged until they preserved approximately their present state. The officers appointed for Dayton township in 1799 were, Samuel Thompson, constable; J. McGrew, assessor, and John Ewing, collector. A new office was created for Dayton township-that of justice of the peace-to which D. C. Cooper was appointed.
His docket, beginning Oct. 4, 1799, and closing March 15, 1803, is the earliest local official record in existence. The assessments for Dayton township for 1799 were $233.72, of which the amount collected was $224.64.
In 1800 Jerome Holt was appointed constable of Dayton township, his duty being to "list the free male inhabitants of twenty-one years of age and older," for which service he was paid $19.50. In 1801 Benjamin Van Cleve was appointed surveyor for Dayton township, and took in $576.62/. This tax list proved conclusively that as the population was increasing so rapidly Dayton township should be reorganized, which was done by a meeting at the house of George Newcom on the first Monday in April, 1802, when the first election was held. It resulted in the selection of a town clerk, several trustees, two overseers of the poor, three fence viewers, two appraisers of houses, and several road supervisors and constables. These officers served until the organization of Montgomery county, which took place, as has been told, the following year. When Dayton became the county seat the entire population consisted of seven or eight men, six women and eight children, a total of a little over twenty persons. Of the scattered families living up and down the valley there is no record whatever. After the land question was satisfactorily settled the town increased rapidly. The act of the legislature creating Montgomery county passed March 24, 1803, and on June 21 the first election was held, the occasion being that of deciding upon the first member of Congress from the new state. The candidates were Jeremiah Morrow, William McMillan, William Goforth. The winning name was Jeremiah Morrow, who for the next ten years was Ohio's only representative in Congress and was one of the ablest public men of his day. The election was followed shortly by the convening of the Common Pleas court. Hon. Francis Dunlevy of Lebanon, president of the first judicial district, opened court with Benjamin Archer, John Ewing and Isaac Spinning as associate judges. The next year county commissioners were appointed and held their first session in June, 1804. In 1805 the town of Dayton was incorporated by an act of the Ohio legislature bearing the date Feb. 22, 1805. Credit for this was due to the activity of D. C. Cooper who was a member of the assembly at that time. The charter provided for the election of town officials, including a select council, provided for the place of meeting and ordered fines for anyone refusing to act as a city officer if elected. That same year the first court house was built on the site. of the present one, the first jail was erected, the Dayton (page 20)
Library society was incorporated, and a flood eight feet deep swept over the center of the town. In 1806 the first school was established, and in 1808 the Dayton academy was incorporated. In 1809 Robert Patterson built a fulling mill, and D. C. Cooper installed a carding machine. By this time there was one two-story brick store and dwelling on the corner of Jefferson and First streets belonging to H. G. Phillips; there was one drug store, one blacksmith shop, a cooper shop and a carpenter shop.
From such small beginnings has Montgomery county grown in the century and more since its settlement. At the present time within its four hundred and eighty square miles of territory it has a population estimated on the increase since the last census as two hundred thousand, with Dayton, its county seat, at one hundred and sixty thousand; with property valued at $261,824,700.
Townships of Montgomery County
The legislative act establishing the territory of Montgomery county went into effect May 1, 1803. Shortly afterward the first four townships in the district were organized by the associate judges of the County court, viz : Washington, German, Dayton and Elizabeth townships. The boundaries of the first-named took in all land embraced in the southeast corner of the county, from the Miami river east to the Greene county line, extending south approximately from the present northern boundary of the township for about seven miles to the Warren county line. Dayton township comprised the territory touching the Greene county line west to the Miami river, north of Washington township to a line parallel and close to the north boundary- of the eighth range of townships. In the tract denominated as the German township was embodied all land lying from the state line east to the Miami river, and from the limiting confines of Butler county north to a line running west from the same stream to the state line parallel to and several miles south of the present south line of Miami county. Elizabeth township contained the residue of the county lying north of Dayton and German townships.
Washington Township. Originally, Washington township was one of the largest townships in Montgomery county, extending seven miles north and south, and on the east and west from German township to the border line of Greene county. But 'in the year 1829, it surrendered a strip of land on its western frontier to the forming of Miami township, and eleven years later was compelled to yield an area of one mile in width to assist in the making of Van Buren township, thus decreasing its own size to a territory comprising about thirty square miles, its length exceeding its width by the distance of one mile. Settlements in Washington township antedated those .at Dayton by about two months. In the early spring of the year 1796 three surveyors from Kentucky were so charmed by the potentialities of the land lying around the present site of the village of Centerville that they selected home sites in that vicinity, and returning to Kentucky for their families and primitive household effects, later returned and built cabins upon the (page 21) farms selected by them. Their names are worthy of record-Benjamin Robbins, Aaron Nutt, and Benjamin Archer. The last named pioneer, however, did not remain long in the township, removing in the year 1824 to Fort Wayne, Indiana; but his six years' residence on Ohio soil placed him among the influential men of Montgomery county, and his name is found on the early records of the .associate judges of the Montgomery Court of Common Pleas.
The three log cabins soon became the nucleus of other frontier homes where the privations and rude pleasures of pioneer life formed a common bond of fellowship and sympathy. The newcomers were not all from Kentucky; from the less fertile lands of New England, flatboats and ox-teams brought earnest men and brave-hearted women to help lay the foundation of a future, that in the short space of a hundred years would place Montgomery county in the fore rank of progression in the middle west. Hole, Stansell, Ewing, Wilson, Bailey, Munger, Harrison and Maltbie are names prominent among many who made the early history of Washington township.
The township is now distinctively recognized as a farming district ; but primitive records tell of efforts to carry on numerous flouring mills, saw mills, an oil mill and one cotton factory; but the diminution of the two streams that ran through the township (Hole and Sugar creeks) caused by the cutting away of the forests, fast lowered the available water power, that ere long was superseded by the introduction of steam as a motive power.
The abandoning of the little factories, which for a few years seemed to promise large business activities in the township, quickly rendered apathetic the commercial life of the three villages that had sprung up in the township.
Centerville, the oldest of the three centers of this trio of small commonwealths, gives the year of 1805 or '06 as the date of its platting as a town. Its name was derived from its location, being situated about midway between its sister villages, Woodburn and Stringtown. It stands on an elevated site-the highest point between Dayton and Lebanon. Twice has Centerville received articles of incorporation, first in the year 30 and later in the year 1879. The name of Samuel S. Robbins is given as the man who had the honor of first presiding over the civic life of the community.
The duties of the mayor were exceedingly light, and his friends determined that the village annals should record something to reflect honor upon his official life. The "boys" of the village made up a pony purse and bribed a fearless soul, by name Joseph Beck, to lead his horse on the pavement in the presence of his Honor the Mayor. Not a single moment did that redoubtable official hesitate to uphold the majesty of the law. A warrant brought the daring Joseph Beck before the fire-flashing eyes of his Honor; unfortunately, the offense was not of such magnitude as to place the offender "in durance vile," but the contents of the pony purse was decreased by the compelled payment of a fine of fifty cents.
Centerville, with its population of about four hundred inhabitants, is now the tiny metropolis of a splendid farming community, and is recognized as one of the most attractive hamlets in (page 22) Montgomery county. Two splendidly macadamized pikes, viz: Miamisburg and Centerville, and Dayton and Lebanon roads, that cross the magnificent farming district of the township, are connecting links between the quiet village life and the busy outside world.
Naturally, the business life of Centerville is entirely local with the exception, perchance, of a large stone quarry. In the summer of the year 1919, a very high grade of marble deposit was discovered in the quarry of the Casperis Stone quarry located near Centerville, which is estimated to be worth in the neighborhood of twenty-five or thirty million dollars. This important and valuable "find" was made by the Norcross Marble company of Cleveland, Ohio. The company had purchased some building stone from the Centerville quarry, and noticed that a portion of it presented an uncommon appearance; so peculiar and individualistic was it, that tests were made of its properties, and luckily for the owners of the quarry, four excellent grades of marble rewarded their scientific investigation, all good, but one grade in fact excelling the famous marble of Tennessee. Mr. R. F. George, secretary of the Norcross company, is reported to have said, "Two of the other grades are in a class by themselves, but of very high grade."
This discovery will add very materially to the wealth of Washington township. The Cleveland company has secured a lease and contract for all marble excavated in. the quarry, paying a royalty per cubic foot, in addition to a large amount given for the lease.
The output will be largely increased, from one car, its present production, to four or five carloads a day, employing a force of over fifty men using the most modern equipment for excavating.
The Norcross company has been in business in Cleveland for fully three decades. Its capital stock is rated nearly half a million dollars, and the value of its plant in that city is said to be worth $250,000. The Centerville marble receives its cutting and polishing in a northern city, but there is serious planning for a plant to be soon erected nearer the quarry, which is to be afforded good shipping facilities by the building of a branch line connecting with the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern railway.
The attractive town possesses schools of excellent reputation, over which Miss Ada Potter, as superintendent, exercises a most wise and capable administration. Sunday mornings see the village folk quietly wending their way to either of the two churches of the village, whose doors are invitingly open with true Gospel welcome. The largest congregation gathers in the large auditorium of the Methodist sacred edifice, where the Reverend R. L. Moon earnestly proclaims Bible truths in accordance with the teachings of John Wesley; and with equal zeal and sincerity the Reverend Dr. Bowers tells the story of salvation to a goodly number of adherents to the Baptist faith in their own place of worship. The need of diversion from the more sober cares of daily living is recognized by the people of Centerville, and first-class entertainments are many times brought to the village, for Centerville can boast of a town hall so handsome and so spacious that it would be an addition to the public building in towns much larger. It was dedicated July, 1909, (page 23) and cost the village $14,000. The station of the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern railway passing within a mile of the village, enables lovers of the opera and theatre to enjoy these pleasures without much inconvenience to themselves. The United States Government has a faithful guardian and distributor of the daily mail in Mr. Clarence McCray, while the temporal wants of the community are well supplied by one general store and three groceries. As physician of Centerville, Dr. D. Keever has the confidence of the entire village and its environment.
Woodburn, the name of a village that in the early years of the nineteenth century, started its community life with larger commercial ideas than either of the other settlements, is now but a small nest of farm dwellings resting in the shade of a village church: It is located in the northwestern part of Washington township. Stringtown, situated in the southeastern part of Washington township, in the "good old days" was celebrated mainly for a large tannery, but is now but a handful of comfortable country homes.
Elsewhere is given a brief summary of the splendid Red Cross work done by the residents of Washington township. Their patriotism also found other avenues of expression. Over four thousand dollars for the war chest, and about two hundred thousand dollars in subscriptions for Liberty bonds and War Saving Stamps came from the generous pocketbooks of the citizens of the township ; and the sale of War Saving Stamps is still going on. The heart sacrifice of the mothers and fathers of the township came when forty-one of its finest young men were enrolled in the American armed forces. Of this number, some saw action in France, several were in the camps of Great Britain, and the rest awaited the "call to arms" in American cantonments. One brave boy, William Johnson, of near Centerville, "went west," falling in battle on the 15th day of October, 1918. But, like other brave fellows who sailed from American shores to fall on foreign fields, he found that "going west" was only to meet the glorious dawn of immortality. The list of enrolled men in the army from Washington township is as follows: Ray Guises, Leoniel Tuttle, Roy Stoneburieer, Leslie, Clarence Grant, Frederick Bell, George Paul, Walter Goldsbury, Carl Kaylor, William Taylor, Carl Weaver, Edward Prass, Chester Miller, Ralph Miller, Lester Slagle, Keever Espey, Stanley Guiser, Ralph Miller, Lawrence Nutt, Wayne Keever, Argyle Moore, Herman Woods, Kenneth Coppedge, Charles Apple, Raymond Taylor, Dr. C. D. Slagle, Medical Reserve Corps. Those who saw service overseas were : Earl Pine, Luther Lamb, Ellis Frizell, Mark Wilson, Russell Seifer, Raymond Deardorf, Edward W. Keever, Wilbur Nutt, Roy Wilson, Roy Maggert, Arthur McCray, Perry McCray, Homer Carpenter, Malcolm Merrill. Clay Township. In the northwestern part of Montgomery county lies the political division of the county called after one of the greatest of American statesmen. Its boundaries are as follows: On the east by Randolph township, on the west by Preble county, on the north by Darke and Miami counties, while Perry township meets it on the south. Local history gives the first settlements of the (page 24) township as not earlier than the year 1804. That year, Joseph Roerer and family made their slow way from their Virginia home to test the fortune of the future in the Miami valley, building their cabin a little southeast of the center of the township. But other brave, enterprising spirits followed "the trails" and in the year 1815 there were enough families in that part of Montgomery to necessitate the building of a schoolhouse for the junior pioneers. But it was not until ten years later that the district was constituted a township by the commissioners of Montgomery county. The first schoolmaster was a Teuton by the name of John Holsmiller. A historian recounts that no German nor geography was taught in the early schools of Clay township, "but certainly good manners and morality were, and the youth instructed beneath the old 'clapboard roof' became splendid men and women, whose lives were characterized by honesty, industry and economy." There is said to be no waste land in Clay township, every foot of it being available either for fruit or grain producing. Of the thirty-six sections in the township, over half of the area is fine plow land. The district is a network of excellent, well-kept turnpikes. The boundary lines of Clay township included thirty-six sections, comprising an area of 23,040 acres of land, in which the three villages, West Baltimore, Phillipsburg, and Brookville, rest like tiny islands of community energy and life in an environment of woodland, golden grain, and luxuriant pastures. This territory of agricultural beauty and almost prodigal fertility, is crossed "and recrossed by. splendid macadamized roads, and to Clay township is awarded the credit of leading Montgomery county in reaches of fine highways which are built and kept up at the expense of the township.
Clay township cannot claim an exclusive right to West Baltimore, as part of it only is included within the territorial limits of the township ; the other part of the village lying within the boundary lines of Preble county. The land on which the village was located was surveyed by Mr. Jacob Frees in the summer of the year 1852. The year of the platting of Phillipsburg was 1836, and the work was done by Mr. James Hanks ; the village was named in honor of one of the proprietors of the land, Phillip Studybaker. Ten years later the settlement was given a postoffice, and Mr. Peter Smith intrusted with the receiving- and delivery of the mail, that was brought either by the stage-coach or post courier. The same year, 1836, saw the erection of the first schoolhouse. The incorporation of the town was not made until the year 1899, and it has always been recognized as a village energetic and having a keen eye to business. Surrounded by a rich agricultural territory, tobacco being one of the leading products of the neighborhood, it is one of the stirring business settlements in Montgomery county, and supports a fiscal organization, known as the Citizens Banking company, with one officer on board always, Mr. S. A. Mosby, acting cashier.
The largest and most active business center in Clay township is the village of Brookville, located in the southern part of the township on the branch of the Pittsburg, Columbus, Cincinnati & St. Louis railway running to Richmond, Indiana. Jacob Frees, the man who platted the hamlet of West Baltimore, also surveyed the site (page 25) of Brookville in the year 1850, the land being owned by Jacob Flory. The situation of the town, on the banks of the pretty stream, Wolf creek, adds much to the natural beauty of the environment of Brookville, and the splendid roads that lead out from it in almost every direction bring visitors and trade from many points. Preceding the platting of the village, by about nineteen years, a general store was established on the present site of the enterprising town, kept by Warren Estabrook, a part of whose name has been perpetuated in the name of the village. As early as the year 1852 a Methodist church was dedicated and warehouses were erected. The post office was established in the year 1855, and Moses Wagamon given the appointment of postmaster ; the same year witnessed the opening of the first tavern, built by Mr. G. B. Adams. The incorporation of Brookville was made in September of the year 1874, and on Mr. James Smith was conferred the honors and responsibilities of the office of village mayor. The business of the town has always been in good shape. Various industries on a comparatively large scale have thrived in the town. Stores and shops of all kinds have found liberal support, and mills and several manufactories have been agencies that increased the prosperity and reputation of the village. . It is the center of a large tobacco raising district, and large shipments of lumber are also made from the town.
The Brookville Bridge company, organized in the year 1898, was at first a private concern until the spring of the year 1906, when it was incorporated under state law ; its splendid structural work and magnificent steel bridges are in large demand far and wide. In what might be strictly called "money business," the Brookville Building & Savings association with its fair loans is a true help to those desiring to build or deposit small weekly savings ; while the business activities of the thirteen hundred people, which is the estimated population of the village, together with the prosperous agricultural environment of the place fully occupy the time of the officials of two banks in the town. These financial institutions are the Citizens State & Savings bank and the First National bank, the officers of the last named being H. E. Gardner, president ; W. H. Becker, vice-president; and Abraham Hay, cashier. The Brookville Star, first published in the year 1889, is a progressive sheet, and holds its own with other papers published in the county.
Harrison Township has the distinction of being the most irregularly shaped township in Montgomery county, varying in width from over five miles at its northern part to one mile at its southern extremity, this variation being caused by the line of its eastern limitation following the meanderings of the Miami river. Twenty-four full and eleven fractional sections of land are included within its area. Its boundary line on the east is the Great Miami river which separates it from the townships of Wayne, Madison and Van Buren, while its southern terminal touches the territory of Miami township ; Jefferson and Madison townships border it on the west, while Randolph and Butler form its northern boundary. Like its sister townships, Harrison township is noted for excellent wheat and corn crops, and nearly every farm in the district (page 26) has a splendid, cool, sparkling spring somewhere in its area, and the crossing of the township by the two streams, Wolf creek and Stillwater river adds to the fertility of the soil. Splendid turnpikes stretch like dust ribbons in every direction, connecting the rural population with the community life in other parts of the county.
In every particular the primitive life of the early settlers of Harrison township was similar to that of their neighbors in the surrounding townships. The mode of settlement was the same. After the erection of the rude cabins, came the saw and grist mills and schoolhouse; religious worship was observed in the homes of the pioneers or in the schoolhouse. Many of the first settlers of Harrison township were strict Calvinists, and united with the little congregation of the First Presbyterian church in Dayton in religious worship. It is interesting to know that the Sunday services of this church were first held in the block house that stood at the head of what is now Main street in the county seat. Old-school Baptists had a strong following in the township, and at an early day the Methodist circuit rider guided his steed through the trackless forest and formed the ever-popular "class meeting" in the cabin of a pious brother of the faith. There are no settlements in Harrison township large enough to be denominated "villages," but the district is dotted with schoolhouses and pretty little country churches, indicative of an intelligent and sober-minded population, while the splendidly cultivated farms that meet the eye in every direction are significant proofs of scientific, up-to-date tilling of the soil.
Randolph Township might be termed a large community of scientific husbandman, for as a wheat producer its record has not been surpassed by any other township in Montgomery county. This township, which embraces six miles of territory longitudinally, running north and south, and has a width of about four and one-half miles, includes an area of twenty-six miles. Its boundaries are Madison township on the south, Miami county on the north, Butler township on the east, and Clay township on the west. It is mainly remarkable for the large number of springs that help to make the ground almost unequaled for fertility; these springs are constant sources of supply to Bowman's creek and Baker's creek which empty into Stillwater river near the county line.
The first authentic settlement in the township was about the year 1802. A family by the name of Mast, originally from North Carolina, built the first cabin homestead in the woods bordering Stillwater river ; other settlers soon followed and smoke ascended from scattered mud and stick chimneys in every part of the township. Possessing the same desire for education of their children that was characteristic of all pioneer settlements in the Miami valley, in the year 1805 a log schoolhouse was erected north of Union village, where children came from the rude cabins to learn the rudiments of primary studies and have their quill pens sharpened by James Wright, the first teacher in the township. Naturally, four and saw mills were the first manufacturing activities of the township. Distilleries followed. The first manufactory for the "liquid fire" was built by Benjamin Lehman. In the year 1847 a large distillery was erected (page 27) by the Turner Bros. at Salem, which, for about thirty years did an immense business ; there were also distilleries near Union village. The township is crossed by good turnpikes, which are not only a source of gratitude to touring automobilists, but afford the farmer easy access to neighboring markets. The numerous creeks and larger streams are bridged by good structures, and with the well tilled farms on which stand the elegant homes and commodious barns of the owners, skirting either side of the road, one beautiful landscape after another opens before the charmed eyes of the delighted traveler.
The first religious settlement in Randolph township was that of the broad-brimmed, close bonneted Quakers or Friends. As early as the year 1807 their quiet services were held in the district; their first meeting house was built not quite a mile west of the Dayton and Covington pike, and for a quarter of a century Rocky Spring meeting house was the place where, on every "First day" and "Fourth day" a small congregation of the best citizenship that ever came to American shores, awaited the "moving of the Spirit." A number of graves that can only be identified by crumbling, weather-beaten over-turned moss-grown slabs, are all that remain to tell where the first sacred edifice in Randolph township was located. The next organized religious community in the township was that of the German Baptists, or the Dunkers, or Dunkards, as they are more generally known. A preacher of that faith by the name of Emanuel Flory, in the year 1810, was successful in finding enough people holding a faith similar to his own to warrant the organization of a congregation. But, for many years their assembling together "according to the injunction of St. Paul," was at the cabins of the members, where physical maintenance in the shape of dinner for all present was provided by the owner of the cabin at the close of the spiritual feast. The Dunkards are valuable assets in every way to the well-being and prosperity of Randolph township and the county at large. Splendid tillers of the soil, devoted in principle and life to the highest ideals of character, the Miami valley would be poorer every way if they were not a part of its great citizenship. The United Brethren, Baptists, Brethren in Christ, and Methodists, are also well represented by large congregations in different parts of the township.
To a man possessing the cognomen of John Leatherman, is the village of Salem indebted for its first platting in the year of 1816.
Mr. Leatherman had broad ideas concerning the future of the town, for he did not stop his survey until he had made a plat of seventy-five lots. The village was quite an important business center in the early days of the township, and the excellent turnpikes that were soon constructed made it a favorite and popular meeting place for the neighboring settlers. The building of the Dayton, Covington & Toledo Narrow Gauge railroad in the late '70s increased the value of the village as a trading point. The Dayton & Northern traction line has now materially added to the importance of the locality. Union village was laid out in the same year as was the village referred to above, its surveyors being Messrs. David Hoover and Daniel Rasor. The railroad that touched Salem also included the (page 28) settlement of Union village, and was a great help to the farmers in carrying their produce, particularly grain, to larger shipping points. If steam and electricity had not superseded water power, Union village today would be almost unrivaled in the number of its mills and factories, for the potentialities of the water power at Union village are well nigh unequaled.
Not until the year 1841, under the name of Harrisburg, was the little village of Englewood platted by Mathias Gish, to whom' also is credited the ownership of the first hotel or tavern in the settlement. The name Harrisburg was dropped for Englewood in the year of 1899. The village is connected with the outside world by splendid pikes, Dayton & Covington traction line, and the Delphos branch of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad. The rich agricultural environment of Englewood supports a village bank known in monied circles as the Farmers' State bank, under the following capable officials. Mr. W. L. Waymire, president, Mr. C. E. Heck, vice-president; and Mr. Charles O. Lightner, cashier.
Taylorsburg is a small farming settlement located in the southern part of Randolph township, located on the Dayton & Northern traction line. It was platted in the early history of the township by Adam Rodebaugh.
Madison Township was named after one of the earlier presidents of the United States, and includes thirty-six square miles or, in land terms, twenty-three thousand and forty acres of territory. Its boundaries are Harrison, Perry, Jefferson and Randolph townships.
The fact that its area lies in the limits of the Miami valley, is proof positive of the richness of its soil, and heavy crops reward the farmer for his toil. The land is especially rich in the bottom lands of Wolf creek which crosses the township in a southwesterly direction. The township is dotted with evidences of the presence of the Mound Builders, whose antiquity is so great that the fact that they ever did live is as misty and unreal as the fabric of a dream. But the mounds in Madison township that have been opened, revealing to the curious gaze of the nineteenth century, human skeletons and evidences of rude, domestic life, is ample testimony that the strange race, which history calls Mound Builders, lived amid the beauty and quietude of the Miami valley, perchance centuries before the American Indian claimed the forests of the middle west for his own abode.
The names of Williams, Ward and Wolf are given as. the earliest settlers of Madison township. Almost contemporaneously came Peter Dietrick with his wife Barbara and eight children. In the year 1804 Jacob and George Kunz, sons of Pennsylvania, crossed the mountains and purchased large farms just south of the central part of the township. Madison township in certain areas abounds with fine building stone, and George Kunz proceeded to erect a house for himself and family from stone quarried probably on his own land, a two-story affair, which made his home the aristocratic residence of all that region. Other farms were also taken by men whose names hold foremost places in the pioneer history of Montgomery county : Shiveleys, Gripe, Wogaman, Vaniman, Florys, John, Olinger, Heck, (page 29) Heeter, Stutsman, Whitmore, Owen Wilson and others each and all worthy of a distinguished place in the story of privation and high ideals that make up the record of America's early history. There could be from necessity, no commercial enterprise in the early history of the township. Markets were far distant, and the majority of roads but were trails, and the pioneers knew absolutely nothing of the wants now considered essential to modern comfortable living, and were happier for that lack of knowledge. Mills were erected which, for many years, represented the business interests of the township.
German Baptists and "Regular" Baptists were the first religious societies in the township. Great attention was given by the pioneers of Madison township to the education of their children, and this interest in the mental attainments of the young has been a strong factor in the development of Madison township. The district is dotted with attractive brick schoolhouses in which only instructors fully qualified for their most important work, are employed. In the year 1840 Mr. William Towman laid out the village center of Amity ; sixteen lots show that he did not hold very extensive ideas concerning the growth of the settlement. Later, Mr. Robert Brooks, the first merchant of the village, became the owner of the land and increased the number of lots in the plat. The place has never increased in size or population, and is simply one of the pretty little agricultural points of community life where a general store supplies the immediate needs of a farming environment. The passing of the railroad through the locality where the present village of Trotwood is situated, led to the establishment of the thriving little business center known as Trotwood. In the year 1854 Mr. L. R. Pfoutz saw the potentialities of the location as a town center and took the initiative by building a business house and opening a store for the trade of the farmers around him. The place was considered important enough by the United States Government for the establishment of a postoffice, of which Mr. Pfoutz was made the first postmaster of Trotwood. The Adams Express company, and later the United States Express company, also opened shipping offices in the place. Some time later a regular plat of part of the village was made by Mr. Robert F. Pleasant, and four years later it was regularly incorporated. Trotwood is a modern village in a large number of things, owning its own telephone system and waterworks plant. Its financial affairs are largely in the hands of a bank that has the confidence of the entire farming community that surrounds the village, and is recorded in the fiscal world as the Farmers & Citizens bank, over which as official managers are Mr. J. W. Devers, president ; Mr. Harvey Swank, vice-president ; and Mr. A. F. Gump, cashier. A branch of the Pittsburg, Columbus, Cincinnati & St. Louis railroad, formerly called the Dayton & Western railroad, connects Trotwood with markets both east and west. Jefferson Township was formed in the summer of 1805 by the commissioners of Montgomery county from territory taken from German township, and included the following area of land, which was bounded by the Miami river on the east, and "by the southwest branch of the Miami and line continuing west from the north boundary (page 30) of the eighth range, between the Miami river on the north ; by the line running west between the fifth and sixth tier of sections in the township, beginning on the river between sections 25 and 36, in the third township, fifth range, and continuing west to the line between the third and fourth ranges ; thence north with said line to the first-mentioned line." But thirty-six years later the boundaries were changed, and Jefferson township now contains the land lying between Jackson township on the west, Miami township and the Miami river on the east, Miami and German townships on the south, and Madison township on the north.
Rich bottom land, well timbered in certain localities, produce splendid grain crops and abundant yields of tobacco. The district is drained by Big Bear, Little Bear and Possum creeks, and the magnificent turnpikes that cross the township in various directions bring city markets into easy communication. The Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad runs through the southeastern part of the township, likewise affording fine shipping facilities to the farmers. The settlement of the township in nowise differed from settlements made in other portions of the Miami valley. There were the rude cabins, clearing of forests, building of the small log schoolhouses ; step by step modern civilization pressed its way down the century, each step marked by personal privation and sacrifice, but glorified with the light that only shines from the torch of true liberty. The names first found on the records of pioneer life in Jefferson township are John Gripe, a frontiersman from Pennsylvania, and John Miller and brother-in-law, Gingerick by name, early settlers from Virginia. We read that Peter, a son of Michael Weaver, who crossed the mountains with his family in the early years of the century and located on Little Bear creek, followed the carpenter's trade, and proved himself an adept in the art of building- windmills, making and erecting the first one ever seen in the State of Ohio, and that before he had attained his majority. With the name of Jacob Miller, who in the opening year of the century reached the banks of the Miami, is connected the story of great friendship with the Indians, his unfailing kindness to them winning their love and confidence to such an extent that his life and property was never in danger from them. He was known among them as the "good man the Great Spirit sent from the east."
As in all of the townships of Montgomery county the building of grist and saw mills were the first manufactories in Jefferson township. The abundant waters of Big Bear creek, in the year 1807 or the year following, were used by Henry Weaver in running both a grist and a saw mill. But even before the erection of these mills a still house and distillery were busy at work. As in the other townships of the county, the first schools were subscription schools, held in log cabin buildings. In the year 1838 the building of district schoolhouses was provided for by legislative enactment. Jefferson township is divided into eleven districts, in each of which a substantial brick building stands for the benefit of the youth of the township. Good teachers, well qualified for their work, are carefully looked after by those having that important duty resting upon them. The religious sentiment of the townships is (page 31) divided between the Lutherans, Baptists, United Brethren, and Reformed, each having its own house of worship.
There is but one village in the township, which was platted by Peter Becher, who owned the land, in the year 1815, but it is only a center for the small trading activities characteristic of a small country community. But to Jefferson township belongs the glory and honor of having within its boundaries one of the great landmarks of the Republic, the National Soldiers Home, than which no finer institution of the kind can be found in the entire world. A full description of the magnificent estate will be found elsewhere. Butler Township includes about forty-five sections and fractional sections of territory, which originally were parts of Randolph and Wayne townships. On the south and north it is bounded respectively by Harrison township and Miami county, and is approximately six miles in length and seven miles in width, its eastern and western limitations being the two streams, Miami and Stillwater rivers.
At the time of the formation of Butler township, in the year 1817, the northern part of the district was mainly swamp land, but scientific farming has developed it into one of the richest grain-producing areas of Montgomery county. Settlements had been made in that region years before the formation of the township.
Pioneer records chronicle names associated with the first development of that portion of Montgomery county : John Quillan, whose son William is said to have been the first child born in Butler township ; Sinks, Waymire, Plummer, Sunderland, Compton, Swallow, Hutchins, Pearson, Curtis, Jones, Mooney, Stokes, Fox, Miller, Sloan, Johnson, Engle, Cooper, Furnas and Johnson, are a few of the long list of men who braved the dangers of frontier life in founding homes in the wilderness for their families, and will always be held in respectful and affectionate memory by generations who, today, are happy and prosperous through their great sacrifices.
Butler township has the advantage of splendid turnpikes, which enable the farmers to reach neighboring markets ; while the Dayton, Toledo & Chicago railroad which runs along the eastern line of the township affords ample shipping facilities for all produce raised in that section of the country. The population of Butler township numbers about twenty-one hundred people, and in the century that has elapsed since the formation of the township, three villages have sprung from the desire for community life. The oldest settlement, Little York, was platted. in the fall of 1817 by Andrew Waymire.
Its existence was due to the wish that the pioneers had to be near a mill, for both saw mills and grist mills were essential to the comfort of the pioneers, they typified shelter and food. The building of a distillery in that locality followed in the near future. It is now one of the quiet little farm villages that dot the middle west, through which runs the county road, and is not far from the Dayton, Toledo & Chicago railroad. Little York antedated the birth of Chambersburg by thirteen years. This latter village was laid out by William Kennedy and Robert Hosier in the month of January, 1830, and is located in the southern part of Butler township on the Dayton and Troy pike.
(page 32) Vandalia, with its population of five hundred souls, might almost be called the township seat of Butler. Laid out in the midsummer of the year 1838 by Benjamin Wilhelm, it was not incorporated as a village until February 7, 1848, when Mr. Wilhelm was honored with the official title of mayor of the new corporation. The following year the little settlement was almost swept out of earthly existence by the cholera ; of a population of two hundred people, fifty died from the dread scourge, another fifty fed in terror from the settlement, leaving only one-half the original number to again take up the life of the village. Though small in population, the residents of Vandalia are wide awake to many things that indicate a true progressive spirit. The shaded streets with their cement sidewalks are brilliantly lighted with electricity, and the Dayton & Troy Electric railway hourly carries passengers to other community centers. There is no need for a fortunate investor to sleep with a revolver near at hand, or a frugal housewife to secrete her savings in a carefully hung stocking in a smoky chimney, for the Vandalia State bank, organized; in the year 1912, is a trustworthy place for all depositors. The officers of the institution are Mr. Ed 0. Rankin, president; Mr. W. H. Riley, vice-president, and Mr. F. W. Rosnagle, cashier.
In two churches is centered the religious life of the village, the English Lutheran church, under the pastoral care of the Reverend Joseph Keyser, and the church of the United Brethren in Christ, whose pulpit is regularly filled by the Reverend Ivory Zimmerman.
In common with other townships of Montgomery county, the schools of Vandalia are in line with the best methods of modern education; six hundred and ten pupils are enrolled under the able superintendency of Professor Adam Puterbaugh. No factories or mills are located in the village, but two garages plainly indicate that horseless carriages are fast crowding out the necessity for "livery barns" or stables. Two well-stocked stores and one grocery supply the physical needs of the villagers, and a handsome town hall draws the best line of entertainments for appreciative audiences. The daily mail is competently looked after by Uncle Sam's official, Mr. Cory Brusman. Vandalia's war activities in Red Cross work are told elsewhere. The total subscriptions of Butler township towards the purchasing of Liberty bonds amounted to the handsome sum of $200,000. But even a greater gift is recorded. For of the sixty valiant young hearts that, obedient to patriotic duty, enlisted in defense of a world-right to freedom of thought, conscience and political rights, one brave boy sealed his devotion to the common cause of humanity with his life blood.
Miami Township. In the winter of the year 1829 the commissioners of Montgomery county ordered that territory be taken from Washington township, and a new township formed to be called Miami township ; land was also taken from the township of Dayton and German. The boundaries of Miami township are as follows : On the east by Washington township, and on the west by Jefferson and German townships; its south line guards Warren county, while its northern line separates it from Harrison, Jefferson and Van Buren townships. The township is crossed by the Miami river, whose (page 33) waters are increased by the inflow of numerous small streams, of which the largest are Bear and Hole's creeks, the latter taking its name from a pioneer family whose log cabin stood upon its banks. The waters of Hole's creek furnished the motive power for the running of. many of the mills in the early history of the township. The principal natural wonder of the township is the Great Mound, which lies about one mile southeast of Miamisburg, which the curiosity of the residents in the year 1869 led to an exploration of its interior. The sinking of a shaft revealed a human skeleton in a sitting position, surrounded by wood, stone and the bones of small animals. Like its surrounding townships, Miami township is noted for splendid grain harvests and teeming orchards, but tobacco has been the main staple produced by farmers. The cultivation of the "weed" was introduced into the township as early as the year 1841 by Ralph Pomey, whose farm lay south of the village of Carrolton ; and the numerous large tobacco warehouses standing in the thriving town of Miamisburg fully attest constantly increasing trade in the tobacco markets.
As is quickly seen, the prosperous, beautiful town of Miamisburg took its name from the stream upon whose banks it is so picturesquely located. The first settlers had christened it Hole's Station, naming it from the same family whose name had been given to the creek. The town is second to the city of Dayton, the county seat of Montgomery county, in population alone. The same enterprise, the same business activity, the same determination to be a leader in the commercial world, that has placed Dayton in the lead among the business centers of the middle west, is found in Miamisburg. The town is greatly favored with first-class shipping and traveling facilities. The building of the Miami and Erie canal was the first outlet for freight and passenger traffic in the township, and the water channel was literally alive with packet boats plying between Dayton and Cincinnati. Then came the building of good roads, and Main street in Miamisburg is a section of the Great Miami Turnpike, constructed in the year 1840. Soon other turnpikes, leading in various directions, added to the routes of traffic and the prosperity of the village had begun. But now the tow path is indistinguishable, for grass, undergrowth, wild roses and stately hollyhocks run riot along the banks of the sluggish water of the artificial channel, and the splendid roads are surrendered to the almost omnipresent automobile, for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, with the great system of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis railroad bring and take wonderful loads of freight to and from the little city, keeping it in constant communication with great emporiums in every direction. The Ohio & Cincinnati Electric line, connecting Miamisburg with the "Queen City of the West" is no inconsiderable factor in the commercial and social life of Miami township.
The first flour mill in Miami township was built in the year 1812, in the northern end of the pioneer village on the banks of the Miami. Truly, it would seem of small significance if placed by the side of the Great Peerless mills of Miamisburg, equipped, as they are, with the most modern machinery, and sending their (page 34) product to all points of the compass. For many years the Great Peerless mills have furnished four to the National Soldiers' Home at Dayton. Mr. S. E. Waters is at the head of this important industry.
Two large, up-to-date dry goods stores and one well-supplied shoe store furnish the citizens of Miami township with everything requisite to the comfortable and stylish adornment demanded by the fashionable demands of modern life, while the abundantly filled shelves of eleven groceries supply the wants and satisfy the fastidious cravings of the physical appetite. Of the first-named source of supply, the E. B. Thirkield & Sons company is the larger and longer established store, being under the supervision of the Thirkield firm of Franklin, whose store in that village was one of the first established in the Miami valley. The firm name carries a wide reputation for honesty of dealing. The store of Mr. Howard L. Smith, though perhaps not quite as large as the Thirkield establishment, maintains an excellent business reputation and supplies its customers with the latest novelties and modern styles. In the line of modern shoe equipment, the Buehner store on South Main street pleases the most exacting tastes.
The groceries that keep the smile of contentment upon the faces of their many customers are conducted respectively by Charles E. Bauer, John Brumbaugh, Gruver Brothers, George T. Humphrey, Jacob Klaiber, Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., Miamisburg Grocery & Pool Room, John Mills, Harry Miltenberger, E. T. Munea and W. H. Rockhold & Son.
As before stated, the raising and shipping of tobacco is one of the main avenues through which wealth flows into the hands of many of the residents of Miami township. Eleven large warehouses, located in various parts of Miamisburg, certify to the magnitude of the business, viz.: Miami Leaf Tobacco company, A. S. Gans, H. C. Weaver, W. O. Joslin, H. Tietig & Son, Miamisburg Leaf Tobacco company, I. N. Weiser, E. A. Krussman, Block & Goldsmith, Joseph Weaver, and C. C. Shupert. What might be termed "tangible pleasures" of the tobacco trade are found in the cigar stores of the town under the management severally of James Hassett, A. C. Moore, and the Hoffman Cigar Store, all situated on South Main street. It is difficult to find any vocation, trade, or profession that is not represented in the progressive citizenship of Miamisburg.
Jewelers, clothing stores, druggists, fruits and produce stands, millinery, sporting goods, photographic supplies, blacksmiths, carpenters, five and ten cent store, meat markets, carriage repairing, f lour and feed store, plumbing and heating, second hand stores, dealers in coal, lime and cement, restaurants, milk depots and creameries, machine shops, automobiles and accessories, garages, insurance agencies, lumber and coal dealers, each and all by their industry and enterprise earning comfortable livelihoods and building up the sound commercial life of the town. For years a large twine and cordage factory, employing many hands, was a large contributor to the business activities of Miamisburg, but the death of the principal stockholder and general manager of the factory, Mr. J. C. Groendyke, of Chicago, brought about a temporary (page 35) closing of the plant, but it was re-opened in the fall under the chief control and management of members of Mr. Groendyke's family. A firm that possesses one of the largest out-reaching trades in the town is a branch of the National Stove Repair company, located at 428 Park street. Parts for all kinds of stoves are made at this plant. Two wheel and spoke manufactories, known respectively as the Bookwalter Wheel company and the Mitchell Wheel company, find it necessary to keep constantly "hard at it" to fill the orders that pour in upon them. But the most and widest noted of Miamisburg's industries are the paper mills located a little to the northeast of the town, close to the line of the Ohio Electric railway. There are two large plants, respectively, The Miamisburg Paper company and The Ohio Paper company. The latter manufactory is under the excellent management of Mr. R. J. Connelly, president, and Mr. H. W. Scheeble, secretary and treasurer.
In the business and financial interests of Miamisburg must be included the banks and building and loan associations, whose splendid standing in the community at large evinces the confidence of their large and wide clientele. The First National bank, located on North Main street in Miamisburg, is the older of the two banks and thrives under the official management of Mr. T. V. Lyons, president; Mr. C. F. Eck, cashier, and Mr. A. Shuster, assistant cashier. The Miamisburg Banking company, situated on the same thoroughfare, was established in the year 1907, and its official board is composed of Mr. John J. Schwartz, president; Mr. P. Swartzrauber, vice-president;. Mr. John H. Schoenfeld, cashier, and Messrs. Ernest R. Miller, Ernest Rost and Louis Schellhaas. The Building and Loan associations do a constantly increasing business, for Miamisburg is experiencing the same need of more extensive housing for the people that is felt in every city and town throughout the country at large, and the associations are enabling people to acquire comfortable homes at a low interest upon the money borrowed:
The Miamisburg Building and Loan association was organized in the spring of 1893, and re-organized August 23, 1915. The present officers and directors of the association are: Dr. W. S. Bookwalter, president; Mr. John V. Fornshell, vice-president; Mr. J. S. Mc Knight, vice-president ; Mr. Charles A. Eicher, secretary, and Mr. Mahlon Gebhart, attorney. The Mutual Building and Loan company has a seniority of thirteen years. Its authorized capital is $2,000,000. Its strong official force is as follows : Mr. S. H. Mays, president; Mr. C. W. Dodds, vice-president; Mr. J. M. Purnell, secretary and treasurer ; Mr. A. W. Reiter, attorney, and Mr. E. C. Weber.
A Board of Public Affairs governs the municipal affairs of the six thousand people, big and little, who nightly sleep under the roofs of the pretty town that stands so proudly on the banks of the limpid waters of the Miami river. And justly is it proud of its beauty. Its location commands admiration. Its miles of paved streets and cement sidewalks, in the residence district, are flanked by beautiful homes, many of which are made still more attractive by luxuriant shade trees and grassy lawns. In these homes are found all the (page 36) conveniences and comforts generally considered as the property of city homes alone, electric lights, natural gas for cooking and heating, and a fine water system. Both the water works and electric light plant are owned by the city; the gas is furnished by the Ohio Fuel Supply company. A fine city building that stands on the east side of the old canal, houses the offices of the Board of Public Affairs, also the police headquarters and the fire department, which for efficiency and equipment is the pride of the town. Both the Home and Bell Telephone companies have connections in the city. An opera house, seating about six hundred people, attracts first-class amusements for pleasure loving people, and a moving picture theatre, accommodating eight hundred lovers of the pictured drama, is in process of erection ; near this handsome building, in the near future, will be built a large modern building that will be occupied by the Benjamin Sullivan Clothing company, which was recently re-organized.
Five churches on the first day of the week gather those religiously inclined in Miamisburg into five various folds. Over the Lutheran congregation, which is the largest in the city, the Reverend J. S. Herold officiates as clergyman ; the Reverend Addyman Smith is pastor over the congregation of the Methodist Episcopal church ; Reverend W. C. Andreas conducts services at the United Brethren church ; the pulpit of the Reformed church is filled weekly by the Reverend N. B. Mathes, while the sacred offices of the Catholic church are in charge of Reverend Bernard Robers. Miamisburg rejoices in the fact that her schools are in line with all methods of advanced educational methods, and three commodious schoolhouses, the Central Avenue auditorium, Central High school and Kercher Street school house are necessary for the accommodation of the eight hundred pupils who daily are in attendance for class instruction. The schools are under the supervision of Mr. Harris B. Beyer. The parochial schools of the town keep equal step in progressive methods of mental training.
The good people of Miamisburg are not unlike the rest of humanity, and are troubled with problems of "right and wrong," and likewise bodily aches and pains. Four able attorneys devote both natural ability and acquired legal lore to the solving or adjusting of the former troubles, viz.: Messrs. Mahlon Gebhart, William A. Reiter, R. E. Vanderveer and Robert H. Zehring. The healers of all the ills that disturb the physical frames of the people of Miami township, especially in Miamisburg, are W. S. Bookwalter, H. E. Diers, E. B. Doan, Burnet Weaver, C. A. Lynch, W. M. Luburgh, Charles T. Hunt, E. E. Kimmel, and C. S. Judy. Three dentists, by the new scientific methods of alleviating pain, thus abolishing the terrors that for generations made a visit to a dentist's office comparable to going to a torture-chamber, are kept busy with numerous calls for relief of aching molars. They are G. F. Bidenham, N. B. Hartwell and W. J. Thomas.
It would be difficult to find a town in which there is more social pleasure and a love of good literature than in Miamisburg. The shelves of the handsome Carnegie Public Library are kept stocked with the latest books on all subjects, ranging from scientific (page 37) to fiction, and the frequent demands for "something to read," fully occupies the time of the very able librarian, Miss Clara Schuler. A large share of the social life of Miamisburg is expressed by the numerous organizations for intellectual improvement that meet weekly or bi-weekly at homes of the members. Among them are the Ladies' Monday Night club, Research club, and Round Table club. The Ladies' Relief Corps is auxiliary to the organization of the Grand Army of the Republic. There are also well-established societies of Daughters of Liberty and Rebecca. That the men of Miamisburg also have places of social assemblage is plainly evident from the number of lodge organizations in the town: Masons, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Catholic Knights of Ohio, Moose, Red Men, Junior Order American Mechanics, Macabees, Haragari lodge, Eagles, Grand Army of the Republic, and the Business Men's club, all are agencies calculated to give husband and father an excuse to stay out a little beyond the orthodox hour for home return, and the weekly prayer meeting has not been included. There is but one newspaper in Miamisburg, The Miamisburg News, a wide-awake journal, Democratic in politics. A strange fact connected with its history is that it has been under the same editorial management since its founding nearly forty years ago. Mr. Charles E. Kinder, who, prior to his assuming the editorship of the News, was connected with a Putnam county paper, comes from one of the oldest and most respected families in the Miami valley, and his journal is devoted to all that tends to the progressiveness of Miami township in all directions. Mr. Kinder has been most efficiently assisted in the duties of editorship and office management of the paper for nearly a score of years by Mr. Daniel H. Holzman. The official duties of the Miamisburg postoffice are in the hands of Mr. William Alexander, who has a capable force of three clerks as assistants. The office also has a prompt city delivery route and a wide rural delivery.
When the realization came that the United States was really at war with aggressive Germany, Miami township and her villages were quick to respond to every governmental and humane call for help in all directions. A branch of the Dayton Airplane company was located at Miamisburg and the efficiency of the Red Cross unit is noted elsewhere. The following comprehensive and valuable summary of the result of the five Liberty loan campaigns for the districts of Miami township, Miamisburg, West Carrollton, Jefferson township, Washington township and Van Buren township, recorded at the First National bank at Miamisburg, is taken from the Miamisburg News:
First loan……….$70,000 $ 85,000
Second loan ... $72,000 $115,000
Third loan….. $64,800 $262,300
Fourth loan ... $151,000 $390,400
Fifth loan ... $115,450 $303,500
Totals $473,250 $1,158,200
(page 38) The subscriptions received at the same bank from the same sources for the Victory loan plainly indicate that high prices and the high cost of living had in no degree cooled the determination of the residents in the townships of Montgomery county to support the Government in its every appeal for aid. Following is a concise summing up of the number of subscribers, and amounts subscribed : Miami township, 50 subscribers, subscription, $34,500; Miamisburg, 345 subscribers, subscription, $236,800; West Carrollton, 10 subscribers, subscription, $19,800; Jefferson township, 30 subscribers, subscription, $9,400; Washington township, 22 subscribers, subscription, $4,950; Van Buren township, one subscriber, subscription, $5,000. The total subscriptions for Miami township, all sources, amounted to the large sum of $347,950. Outside of the city of Dayton, Miami township led all the other townships by a large amount.
Miami township has carefully preserved a list of the brave boys who, at their country's call, enlisted in defense of the divine right of freedom as God means it for the great human family. It is truly a "Roll of Honor." Eight splendid sons of Miami township gave their lives in defense of the great principles of world democracy for which they carried "Old Glory" across the seas : Alonzo Ballinger, John Newton Catrow, Dean Fry, Everett Galaspe, Albert Henry, Henry Hughes, Oral Johnston, and Benjamin Karpur. Whether the traveler takes the C. C. C. & St. L. railway or the Ohio Electric line at Dayton in order to reach the pretty little town of West Carrollton that is touched by both roads, he will ride through one of the most attractive sections of the Miami valley. On the last-named route he will follow for a while the sluggish waters of the old canal, whose undisturbed surface seem to reflect pioneer days in its greenish waters, but his eyes will feast on the splendid farm land and attractive homes that lie beyond on either hand. As the car enters the environs of West Carrollton, the pretty modern homes that face the car line will be to him convincing proof that the village is wide awake to all things necessary for progressive living. West Carrollton, whose baptismal name was Carrollton, received the addition of West when it was ascertained that there was another town in Ohio bearing the same appellation, was platted in the month of May, 1830, by Alexander Grimes, H. G. Phillips and Moses Smith. It is now a tiny metropolis of about fifteen hundred people, who possess the same spirit of enterprise and business activity that is found in the larger centers of Dayton and Miamisburg, owning its water works system and enjoying the comfort that comes with paved streets and cement sidewalks. The thoroughfares are brilliantly lighted, as are also many of the town residences, by electricity furnished by the Dayton Power & Light Co., while the natural gas that is also used in the village for both heating and domestic use is supplied by the mains of the Ohio Fuel Supply company.
A Mayor and six Councilmen have the oversight and control of the village government, and their meetings are held in the City building, whose upper floors are also headquarters for the gatherings of the Community Center of the village and the lodge room (page 39) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the last-named occupying the third floor. One is quickly persuaded upon meeting Mayor C. H. Bloss, that he is a man whose greatest interest is to advance all things pertaining to the progressiveness of his home town ; the six gentlemen associated with him in the oversight of civil affairs are Messrs. Miles Andrews, Charles Chamberlain, J. M. Dryden, Rufus Eck, James Partlow and Burch Washburn. Mr. H. J. Wilson is the efficient clerk of the village.
Three handsome churches are found in West Carrollton, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian, the pastors of which are respectively, the Reverends Charles Cramer, L. P. Pence and E. A. Walker. The Methodists lead in point of membership. The schools of the village are outranked by none in everything that goes to ground the youth of a town in the fundamentals of a sound, thorough education ; both the high school and graded schools are under the superintendency of Mr. C. W. Flessinger. The entertainments of the village are held in the auditorium of the high school building. The first large business activities of West Carrollton were a distillery and large flouring mill, established about five years after the platting of the town by Messrs. Perry and Horace Pearl, which, about thirty years afterward, passed into the ownership of the Messrs. Turner, who continued business along the same lines until the year 1871, when the property was purchased by Mr. G. H. Friend, who discontinued the flour making and distilling, and converted the buildings into paper mills, manufacturing an excellent grade of straw paper and other materials for use in building. Slowly, but steadily, the business grew, until in the eighties pulp mills were established, and by the year 1892 the capacity of the mills was about doubled, and West Carrollton stands today as one of the largest paper mill centers in the big State of Ohio, if not, indeed, of the middle west. These splendid activities are located between the Ohio Electric railway and the main line of the C. C. C. & St. L. railroad, which afford convenient and rapid facilities for shipping. Cement walks and tiny green spots make the exterior of the mills quite attractive, and the tasteful offices evince familiarity with wide metropolitan commercial requirements.
The Miami Paper company was organized in the fall of the year 1912, the property and business interests of the Friend Paper company passing into the ownership of the new organization. The equipment of the new plant was immediately increased with the best and most modern paper making machinery, and improvements made in every department of the mill, so that, today it ranks in every particular with the most progressive plants for paper making in the United States. A daily output of 160,000 pounds keeps the four hundred employees fully occupied, and the material sent out cannot be surpassed for quality of finish. Four different kinds of paper are supplied to the wide demand for book paper, bond paper, ledger paper and writing paper. The present officers of the mill are W. W. Sunderland, president; A. H. Nevius, vice-president and general manager ; W. S. Hayden, treasurer ; G. F. Thornburg, secretary and assistant treasurer ; J. F. Dunifer, assistant general manager.
(page 40) The Miami Tablet company, located so near the Miami Paper company that it may be said to touch elbows, was originally a part of the Miami Paper company, but was organized as a separ4te plant in the, month of December, 1916. The wish of two leading tablet manufacturers to be identified with the paper industry at West Carrollton, led to the organization of the new company. This factory is up to standard in both equipment and quality of material furnished to the trade. From their modern machinery comes daily an output of seventy-five thousand tablets, and their force of one hundred employees are consequently busy people. The officers of the Miami Tablet company are Mr. H. F. Dayton, president; Mr. Wm. F. Albrecht, vice-president and general manager; Mr. W. W. Sunderland, treasurer, and Mr. A. H. Nevius, secretary. Two other mills, in proximity to the plants of the Miami Paper company and the Miami Tablet company, are the West Carrollton Parchment mills and the American Envelope company. The latter was organized in the winter of the year 1895, one or two years preceding the establishment of the West Carrollton Parchment mill. The chief officers of the West Carrollton Parchment mill are Mr. Miles Moyer and Mr. Krebs. It would be a singular thing if, in the center of a great tobacco raising district, West Carrollton was without a representative in the business of shipping the commodity, and the large warehouse of the Billman Brothers does a most gratifying business.
As a natural sequence to the wide financial transactions attending the commercial activity of a mill center, a bank would be a necessary adjunct, and it is furnished in the institution known as the West Carrollton Bank, one of the staunchest fiscal establishments in the county. Its officers are Mr. William Stroop, president; vice-presidents, Messrs. William Wilhelm and R. C. McConnaughy; cashier, Mr. W. E. Dean.
Notwithstanding the smallness of its population, the village of West Carrollton evinces an interest in welfare work that is lacking in many towns more than treble its size. It has a community center started in the spring of 1919, which contributes largely to the Social, intellectual' and musical fif of Lite village. JL originators were the heads of the different mill activities, but its most generous contributor is the Miami Paper company. A committee, consisting of eight men and four women are in charge of all pertaining to the interests of the center, and chiefly from their planning come the many and diverse entertainments provided ; this committee, or board of directors, is elected annually, but no director is an official of any of the factories. Mayor C. H. Bloss holds the important office of general secretary, and Mr. C. W. Plessinger is president. That the directors are heart and soul enlisted in making the organization successful along all lines of entertainment, is plainly in evidence, when the programs show that lectures, sociables, moving pictures, church aid society meetings, basket ball, school parties, Americanization classes, Sunday school class entertainments, checkers, pool, with a large orchestra that is always ready to add to the enjoyment of the occasion. The center is affiliated with the Young Men's and the Young Women's Christian associations of Dayton.
(page 41) Five groceries and three stores supply the material wants of West Carrollton, and numerous ships attest that there is scarcely any trade that is not represented in the village. The duties of the postoffice are cared for most efficiently by Mr. John S. Heeter.
The interest taken by the people of West Carrollton in the different Liberty loans is found elsewhere, but it is a pleasure to note the patriotism of the village in the number of sons and brothers who went from its homes, as soldiers in the greatest contest ever waged for human liberty. Five splendid boys of the village are sleeping in foreign graves, but their heroic sacrifice is enshrined in the hearts of every one who knew them, and their resting places are sacred places to the people whose freedom they died to save : Emon Boldman, Walter Crum, Edward Folk, H. E. Howell and Clarence E. Jones, are those worthy of eternal remembrance.
Mad River Township. Local history is authority for the statement that, although Mad River township vas 'one of the last townships to be organized, it is more closely identified with the growth of social and commercial life of the city of Dayton, than any other township in Montgomery county. Not until the early summer of the year 1841 was the present boundaries of the township established, these limiting lines separating it from Greene county on the east, Van Buren township on the south, Wayne township on the north, and Miami river and the corporation line of the city of Dayton being the western boundary. Its length takes in six miles of territory, its greatest width being five and one-half miles. Two large streams, the Great Miami and Mad rivers, with a few small tributaries render the bottom lands singularly fertile and productive, and the farms surrounding the beautiful county seat are well. nigh unparalleled for attractiveness in both picturesqueness and fruitfulness.
Many settlers had built home fires in the township long years before the region was distinguished as a separate political unit. As early as the year 1796, a small colony came from Cincinnati to the upper lands of the Miami valley, three families selecting land within the present boundaries of Mad River township. Their names are written in pioneer history as Morris, Hamer and Gahagan. As his name would foreshadow, William Gahagan was a son of "Old Erin," and hatred of English domination brought him to the shores of the new Republic. He served under Wayne in the campaigns of 1794 and '95 with a true Irishman's fervor. William Hamer brought his family, consisting of his wife and six children, into the wilds of Mad River township ; five more olive branches were grafted on his family tree after the establishment of his home within the township. Happy, indeed, was the pioneer, whose home resounded with the mirth of a numerous progeny of frolicsome "tow-heads," and the man around whose fireside gathered no happy little flock received the unstinted commiseration of the settlement. Other names connected with the growth and progressiveness of Mad River township, are Lock, Edgar, Oyler, Robinson, Houser,--- Grimes, Cottom and Lemon. Like the story of pioneer settlements all over the Miami valley, the list of names worthy of distinguished remembrance is a long one, and are worthy of record in every history of (page 42) the district that is written. Perchance, the most influential and prominent of the earliest of the newcomers to Mad River township was judge Isaac Spinning. Born in the State of New Jersey in the beginning of the last half of the eighteenth century, he was on the borderland of middle life when he came with his wife and children to Mad River township and settled on a tract of nearly a thousand acres of land in the eastern part of the township. A lawyer by profession, the legal ability and attainments of Mr. Spinning soon commanded recognition, and in the early summer of the year 1803 he received the appointment of one of the associate judges of Montgomery county, remaining on the judicial bench until the date of his death, which occurred the day before Christmas in the year 1825. As a patriot, he had also won the esteem of his fellow pioneers, having, when but a lad, served in the memorable struggle of America against English domination and tyranny. Another name, perhaps equally prominent in the story of the settlement of Mad River township, is that of Jonathan Harshman, whose many descendants, today, are influential men and women in the commercial and social life of Montgomery county and vicinity. By birth, a son of Maryland, upon reaching the years of manhood, a life in regions farther west attracted him, and he removed to the State of Kentucky. But being a man of strong convictions, he saw the cruel injustice of human slavery, and with his family crossed the river into the free territory of Ohio, locating in the northeastern part of Mad River township, where a village settlement will carry his name, probably until the end of time. For many years Mr. Harshman as a distiller and miller held a leading place in the business activities of the Miami valley, and acquired much wealth. To him and his wife (nee Susannah Rench) were born nine children, four daughters and five sons, and their descendants, as has been stated are today among the stalwart figures of the business and social life of the Miami valley. The history of Mad River township credits it with running more distilleries and mills than any other township in Montgomery county. Statistics disclose figures that credit the establishment of thirteen distilleries between the towns of Dayton and Springfield, in which 1/,500 galions oL w illskey were made every twenty-four hours; this enormous manufacture of spirits was not in the earliest years of the century, but even in pioneer times the planting of a small still, capable of holding nearly twenty bushels a day, was found on many farms. The large distillery built by Jonathan Harshman in the year 1832 had a capacity of five hundred bushels per day. Some years later it was enlarged by his son, George Harshman, but was destroyed by fire in the year 1878. Previous to his engaging in the distillery business, Jonathan Harshman had been profitably operating both four and oil mills. Other settlers who engaged in milling and distilling, and who acquired comfortable sufficiency of wealth from those industries, were George W. Smith, George Kneisly, and William Harries.
One of the features of Mad River township for many years was the. beautiful fruit farm of Nicholas Ohmer, which had the just reputation of standing at the head of all the fruit farms, not only in (page 43) the Miami valley, but in the State of Ohio. Mr. Ohmer was of French descent, his parents coming to America in the year 1832, their son, Nicholas, the eldest child, being at that time nine years of age. After trying several locations as possible home sites, the growing town of Dayton was chosen as a permanent home. A confectioner's shop and restaurant was opened on Second street between Main and Jefferson streets, and a year later, 1838, a branch store on the corner of Third and Main streets, the present location of the Phillips House, was placed in charge of young Nicholas. A few years later the father retired from business, and Nicholas was at the head of the restaurant business in the city. So successful was he in this industry that many restaurants on different railroad lines were owned and managed by him in connection with a son and brother. But the French blood in the veins of Mr. Ohmer demanded that he devote part of his life to the beautiful as well as to the practical things of existence. The cultivation of flowers and fruits was really a dominating passion with him, and his rapidly increasing wealth permitted free indulgence in the beautiful activity. Purchasing a large tract of land near the location of the present state asylum, a handsome residence became the center of exquisite f lowers and choice fruit, which he cultivated to such an extent that he was soon counted among the wholesale fruit shippers of the middle west.
Early schools were of course established in Mad River township, in which religious services were held by the first settlers. But the nearness of Dayton, in which churches and congregations were being. rapidly constructed, retarded building.
Mad River township is especially rich in shipping conveniences ; remote, indeed, is the farm from whose home or fields cannot be traced the smoke of a locomotive against the horizon. Five railroads cross its territory, connecting its agricultural life with markets north and south, as well as east and west.
Van Buren Township. Like Mad River township, the closeness of the county seat, renders the history of Van Buren township very similar to the township mentioned above. The area of Van
Buren township contains nearly twenty-five square miles, and constitutes an area of rich, highly cultivated land, its nearness to the city of Dayton, like the land of Mad River township, making it a desirable location for financial investment. One of the many sources of wealth found in Montgomery county lies in the stone quarries of Van Buren township. Many public buildings in southwestern Ohio have been built from stone taken from these quarries, bringing literally millions of dollars into the pockets of the owners of the stone pits.
Associated with the early development of the township, are the work and interest of men named Rike, Prugh, Snyder, Bradford, Stutzman, Bridgman, Kramer, Newcom, Rice, and others, whose thorough comprehension of the bright future awaited every industrious man who came to the rich territory of promise in the Miami valley, made them valiant forerunners not only of progressive development along commercial lines, but of all things that tended to the upward development of humanity.
(page 44) The first Shakers appeared as settlers in Van Buren township in the year 1805. These were followed in the next few years by others of the same faith, until there was quite a settlement, to which was given the name of "Shakertown." The chief industries of this peculiar people, were the raising of fine garden seed, improvement of live stock, and wool growing, but naturally the singular beliefs of the Shakers, in time, tended to diminish their number, and now they are scarcely more than a name and a remembrance in the township.
Originally called Buddsbury, the small village of Beavertown is one of the oldest settlements in Montgomery county. Located only a few miles from the county seat, its proximity to Dayton has prevented its acquiring any large place in the business life of the county. A blacksmith shop occupied by Ephraim Arnold in the year 1812, is said to have been the nucleus around which gathered the cabins of incoming settlers. For many years Beavertown has been one of the strong citadels of the United Presbyterian church, and was at its organization numbered among the very strictest of the psalm-singing and close communion sects. Some very able men have been pastors of the church, and the village has good schools.
Oakwood, the little village in Van Buren that can almost shake hands with its friends in Dayton over the corporation line, so close is it to the county seat, was first platted in the year 1832, and replatted, as its territory was added to, later. But it did not obtain its articles of incorporation until the summer of 1907. Fearful of being caught as a Dayton suburb and thus being counted in the city limits, it determined to be in a position to manage its own affairs, and in the summer of 1907 obtained a village charter ; the future only will show whether it can succeed, or not, in keeping out of the incorporating clutch of Dayton. Oakwood has excellent schools, and with its many pretty homes, is one of the most modern and attractive villages of Montgomery county.
German Township. German township was one of the four original townships established by the associate judges of the county court in the spring of 1803 and included all of the land lying west of the Miami river extending to the state line parallel with and for several miles south of the present boundary line of Miami county. Its present limiting boundaries are Miami township in the east, Preble county on the west, Jefferson and Jackson townships on the north, and Warren and Butler counties on the south. Its area contains thirty-seven and a fraction sections.
The channel of Big Twin creek crossing the township from northwest to northeast divides it into nearly two equal sections, the territory of which is, perhaps, more distinctively marked by special characteristics than any other township in the county-lowlands and uplands. The former are rich bottom lands of the streams, Mud Lick, Shawnee creek, Dry Run, Big Twin, and Little Twin creeks. These little valleys constitute about one-third of the land in the township, and from them come the magnificent yearly crops of grain, tobacco and fruit for which the township is noted; the uplands are less fertile, and consequently less valuable for tillage.
(page 45) The largest of the valleys lying within the area of German township is known as Twin valley, its name arising from the union of the "Twin" streams at Germantown, the final outlet of the water being a few miles below the town in the Miami river. The luxuriant valley varys from one to two miles in width. Upon a hill commanding Twin valley can be traced the outlines of a fort, inclosing an area of about twenty-five acres, the citadel of that pre-historic race, the Mound Builders.
The coming of the first residents of German township vary in no essential particulars from the early settlements of the other townships of Montgomery county. The wigwams of some of the Shawanee tribe still stood on the banks of the stream that preserves their name, and it was with reluctant, saddened hearts that the poor red men saw their beloved forests fall before the relentless ax of the encroaching pioneers.
The first newcomers were, many of them, squatters, who because of inability to pay for their clearings, like poor Joe, were compelled to abandon the land and "move on," and their rude efforts at primitive civilization became the property of more capable hands.
The actual settlers in German township had erected log cabins and taken possession of farms as early as the year 1804. The large majority of them were Germans, either by birth or descent, the latter coming mainly from Pennsylvania, although immigrants from other states were well represented in the peopling of the township. Names that today are found in all lines of social and commercial life throughout the Miami valley can be read on the crumbling stones of country churchyards, and well may the descendants be proud of the men and women whose toil and privations made it possible for their grand and great-grandchildren to enjoy the luxuries and privileges of wealth. Gunckel, Emerick, Kiester, Stump, Shu Lindamuth, Zeller and Schaefer, are a few of the names associated with the intellectual and material advancement and prosperity of German township, and there are many more worthy of preservation in the chronicles of the Miami valley. It was inevitable that a township mostly Teutonic in settlement should be staunch adherents to the tenets promulgated by that Christian hero, Martin Luther. There was no regular church organization in the township previous to the year 1809, when the German Reformed and Lutherans consolidated, bought ground for a church and graveyard, and, at a cost of five hundred dollars, erected the first log church in German township. It is noteworthy of record that all denominations were made welcome to interments in the church cemetery ; the only exceptions were the bodies of criminals and suicides. Christian love and fellowship could not permit the bodies of the poor unfortunates to lie so close to the dust of the saints. While the Lutherans and members of the Reformed church were united as a congregation in perfect harmony, they were glad to listen to pastors who were of their own profession of faith, and in the year 1815 the part of the congregation accepting Lutheran tenets called, as regular minister, the Reverend John Casper Dill, while on the Sundays specially claimed by the Reformed people, the Reverend Thomas Winters supplied them with Gospel food.
(page 46) This same Thomas Winters is worthy of special mention in the story of the settlement of the Miami valley. Of German parentage, his parents coming from the "old country" and settling in Maryland, where their son was born in the year 1798. His license to preach was handed to him by the hands of the Reverend Otterbein, the noble founder of the United Brethren church. His work was not confined to ministering to the spiritual needs of the little assembly of earnest listeners in the church in German township ; in common with all the clergymen of that early day, there were several folds under his care, necessitating his presence at regular intervals at Clear Creek in Warren county, Beaver Creek settlement in Greene county, Slifer church in Montgomery county, and Lewisburg and West Alexandria in Preble county. His work was well done. He thoroughly understood the art of winning the confidence and affection of his hearers and, notwithstanding his arduous labor, managed to disseminate theological and other valuable information. He could preach with equal ability either in the English or German language. His life and teaching were of paramount influence in the Miami valley. Mr. Valentine Winters, for many years an influential man in banking circles in Dayton, was a grandson of the pioneer clergyman.
Germantown, the largest village in German township, was platted by Philip Gunckel in the fall of the year 1814. The surveyor had an eye to the future beauty of the town, and his work provided for wide streets, which are now splendidly graveled throughfares, electrically lighted, and bordered with wide, smooth cement sidewalks. Like many of the other towns located on the banks of streams, the building of a mill was the beginning, or rather the start of the town of Germantown. Mr. Gunckel was builder of the mill, and for many years it was the only structure of the kind in a radius of many miles.
With a population of only about eighteen hundred people, the village of Germantown possesses a reputation for business push which lies in the hands of men known throughout the Miami valley for honesty in dealing and sound commercial judgment. The largest industry of the township is tobacco raising, and ten large tobacco warehouses attest the extent of the activity. These are owned respectively by G. P. Bailey & Son, Joseph Endress, Robert Grubbs, Kercher & Endress, Pioneer Leaf Tobacco company, E. Rettich & Co., Schaefer & Rettich, A. J. Ross, and Harowitz Bros. The coming of the Cincinnati & Northern railway to Germantown in the year of 1886, and connection by traction with Dayton, Cincinnati & Miamisburg six years later, opened swift transportation of grain and tobacco to the farmers of the township.
Two banks receive the fat deposits of thrifty farmers, and of the township and business centers of the village. The Farmers' & Citizens' Savings bank, established in 1904, is under the careful control of Mr. Adam Gilbert, president; Mr. Ed Rettich, vice-president ; and Mr. T. K. Zehring, cashier ; while the affairs of the First National bank, organized in 1863, are wisely managed by Mr. John A. Shank, president ; Mr. Charles F. Huber, vice-president ; and Mr. E. C. Oblinger, cashier. A building and saving association (page 47) does a big business, for Germantown, as well as its neighboring villages, feels the necessity of more housing room, and by the financial accommodations granted by loan organizations, people are building homes for occupancy and rent.
The business streets of Germantown are lined with excellent dry goods stores, fine groceries, drugstore, restaurants, cigar stores, bakeries, shoe stores, all industries necessary to the comfort and progressiveness of any town. The people of Germantown are not only widely known as a fine commercial community, but are justly commended for appreciation of the highest things in life. Every first day of the week witnesses well-filled churches and Sunday schools. The United Brethren congregation, under the pastorate of the Reverend W. J. Underwood, has the largest membership in the village, although the Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran church can count a greater number of names on its membership record ; but a large per cent of the latter congregation resides in the township, outside of the village limits. The clergyman in charge is the Reverend A. F. Siebert, D. D. St. John's Reformed church is in care of the Reverend H. L. V. Shinn, while the Reverend Aaron S. Watkins, LL. D., is spiritual watchman over the congregation of the Methodist Episcopal church.
In educational matters the village of Germantown is no laggard. A high school attended by one hundred and two pupils under the principalship of Mr. McClure, and a public school comprehending eight grades, taught by Mr. A. W. Altdee, with Mr. J. J. Martz as superintendent over both schools, prepare the youth of Germantown for the practical things in life. There is also a military school, known as the Miami Military institute, of which Col. O. G. Brown is president. The youth of Germantown have also the advantage of one of the finest Carnegie libraries in the Miami valley. The amusement loving people of the village have the privilege of enjoying excellent entertainments in a small, up-to-date opera house, while moving picture fans can nightly, in a theater devoted to the attractive art, see their favorite actors on the screen.
The physical ills of the people are most competently looked after by Drs. N. W. Cowden, T. H. Dickinson, W. W. Hetzier; P. A. Kemper, J. L. Travis and E. C. Ziegler; while all legal adjustments are ably conducted by two attorneys, Mr. Chester A. Eby and the Hon. William Buck, mayor of the village.
German township responded with patriotic fervor in its subscriptions to the Liberty loans, the amount credited to its citizens approximating $998,000, and not less patriotic were its gallant sons.
Over one hundred splendid boys wore the khaki, and on the names of three of them will ever shine the glory. that only radiates from personal sacrifice, a sacrifice that to them signified the surrender of human life for a hero's crown : David Eagle, Arthur Gephart and Corporal Grover C. Becker.
Jackson Township. In compliance with a petition presented to them in June, 1814, the commissioners of Montgomery county formed a new township to be called Jackson in honor of the seventh president of the United States. Its original boundaries embraced eight square miles of land which six years later were detached and (page 48) included in Perry township. The present boundaries of Jackson township are Jefferson township on the east, Preble county on the west,
Perry township on the north, and German township on the south. These boundaries include thirty-six square miles of land, than which there is no better in-the State of Ohio. It is well drained by several large streams, and watered by many never-failing springs, which are always a source e of satisfaction to every good farmer. The earliest settlements in Jackson township were made along the southern and northern borders of the township. The first reliable record ascribes the first cabin homes to have been built by three families from Pennsylvania, near the present site of Farmersville. Their names were Oldfather, Pfoutz and Stoner. They were followed by Abraham Swartzell, to whom, in the new home in the wilderness, was to be born six sons and three daughters. Big families were the rule in pioneer days, and each child was welcomed with a love that now often seems lacking in many modern homes. The settlers that rapidly followed these sons of Pennsylvania to Jackson township, were mainly from the same state. They were induced to come by the glowing letters that the first immigrants sent back to their old homes, telling of the free open life, the richness of the soil, and the magnificent crops.. The descendants of these sterling pioneers are still found in the Miami valley, worthy posterity of an honorable ancestry. Stayer, Rumbarger, Cook-the list is too long for the space given.
It has been truthfully said that history repeats itself, and it is certainly proved by pioneer records. Experiences were the same. The only difference lay in locality and names. In Jackson township the building of the little log schoolhouse preceded the erection of a church, which was the general rule, for on Sundays the schoolhouse could serve as a temple of praise and worship. In the year of 1810, Adam Stayer, a staunch Lutheran, prevailed upon the settlers to build a church, which was the first in the township. The first real road in Jackson township was made in the year 1805, and ran from Germantown through Farmersville to Tom's Run; the following year the Dayton and Eaton road to the state line, crossing Harrison township, and running between Jefferson and Madison and Jackson and Perry townships was built. Other turnpikes speedily followed, and now Jackson township is celebrated throughout the state for the number of splendid, macadamized roads that intersect it in every direction.
In the year 1832 Oliver Dalrynple, a store and tavern keeper, platted the present village of Farmersville, which he named Farmersville in honor of the tillers of the soil, who were his friends and neighbors. Seventeen years later it was incorporated by legislative enactment. Farmersville holds its own among the progressive country villages of the Miami valley; its bank, known in financial circles as the Citizens Bank of Farmersville, being one of the safe, best conducted institutions in Montgomery county. Its present officers are Mr. D. C. Mills, vice-president ; Mr. E. M. Heisey, cashier; and Mr. Mark Kurtz, assistant cashier.
The proximity of New Lebanon to places much larger has prevented its rapid development, but it is recognized as one of the (page 49) busiest of small towns in the Miami valley. Its age as a corporated village only numbers forty-one years, but it was platted as early as the year of 1843. Mr. N. S. Price had the honor of being its first mayor. A part of the village "laps over" into Perry township. The Farmers' Bank at New Lebanon does an active and solid business with its farming environment, and is conducted under the able management of Mr. O. F. Brumbaugh, president; Mr. O. E. Kreitzer, vice-president; and Mr. O. K. Edwards, cashier. Johnsville, which also partly lies in Perry township, is but a small settlement such as is found all over the middle west. Perry Township, situated in the western part of Montgomery county is, in shape, perhaps the most perfect township in Montgomery county, being perfectly square, running six by six, thus containing an area of thirty-six square miles. Its boundaries are Preble county on the west, Jackson township on the south, Clay township on the north, and Madison township on the east. The district was made a township by the commissioners of Montgomery county in the spring of the year 1820. Every schoolboy knows that it carries the name of the famous commander of Lake Erie renown. Settlements in Perry township began more than a decade before its organization as a separate political unit in the county. And fortunate, indeed it was for both county and state that so honest, energetic and thrifty a class of settlers first lighted the blaze of civilization upon the rude hearths of Perry township's pioneer cabins. They were mainly of German ancestry, emulous to do the will of their Creator, which found expression in neighborly kindnesses, and embracing every opportunity to increase their temporal wealth; and today their descendants enjoy the fruit of their labors in splendidly cultivated farms upon which stand homes furnished with all the comforts and conveniences required by modern life. In the year of 1816, Andrew Clemmer erected the first grist mill in the township on the banks of Tom's creek, which furnished the meal for a wide neighborhood. A German named Miller was the first school instructor in that part of the township ; in the year 1814 a second log temple of learning was built west of the Shank farm. In time these primitive, rough edifices gave place to neat, attractive schoolhouses and no township in Montgomery county is better supplied with school edifices, and have teachers finer equipped by mental training to teach the youth, than Perry township. As before stated, the earliest settlers in the township were of Teutonic descent, crossing the mountains mainly from Pennsylvania. The moss-grown stones in the early churchyards record the names of Shank, Wogoman, Brumbaugh, Miller-the list is too long for chronicling. But as one stands by the sunken mounds and tries to decipher the almost indistinguishable lettering, and then turns the eyes to the cleared woodland, the great fields of sun-kissed grain, the cattle luxuriously browsing the thick lush grass of wide pasture-fields, everything so finished, so complete, the query comes, does the present generation ever give a thought to the men whose toil and sacrifice first made it possible for their descendants of the twentieth century to enjoy life comparatively free from hard physical labor and privation?
(page 50) The village of Pyrmont is the only one lying entirely within the boundaries of Perry township, as Jackson township claims part of the little towns of New Lebanon and Johnsville. Pyrmont took out corporation papers at one time, its platting by Daniel Mundhenk taking place in the year 1835. But so little interest did the villagers feel in its becoming a municipal center that its charter was permitted to lapse. The first postmaster was named either Rankin or Harper, the office being established five years after the village was platted. Wayne Township is found in the northeastern corer of Montgomery county in friendly proximity to Greene county on the east, the same county and Mad River township protecting it on the south, its northern boundary separating it from Clark and Miami counties on the north, and the Miami river washing its western line of limitation. The date of its birth into the sisterhood of townships was January 1, 1810. In its name is kept alive the memory of the famous Revolutionary hero who was the idol of the Ohio pioneers. The topography of Wayne township finds the country generally "rolling" land, no finer crop-growing soil to be found anywhere in the beautiful Miami valley. In pioneer days the fields lying in the Mad and Miami river valleys were often inundated by the overflow of these streams, causing great destruction of crops, which was even a more serious loss to the primitive farmer than to the husbandman of today. But the clearing out of the forests, and the building of dams has lessened the danger of inundation to a minimum. History recounts that the first blacksmith shop in the township was built by Mr. Stoffel Coon, and doubtless his rude shop was a favorite meeting place for the farmers, who brought him their plows upon which to do the iron work necessary. There are no factories in Wayne township, the industries next to farming being working of the stone quarries and the manufacture of lime in the central part of the township. The stone taken from the quarries is said to be "par excellence." The material used in erecting the splendid cathedral in Cincinnati was dug from the quarries on the old Troy pike. Like the adjacent townships, Wayne township is favored with good roads, but it possesses no community center large enough to be denominated a village. A tiny settlement called Taylorsville approaches the nearest to the name. The absence of town centers has not prevented Wayne township from keeping equal pace with the other townships of Montgomery county in maintaining schools that would be a credit and pride to any town, big or little.
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