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Memoirs of the Miami Valley - Volume Two
Maineville, Harveysburg, Waynesville

Maineville. (page 418) Only nine miles south of Lebanon, in Hamilton township, at the intersection of two roads, lies the little village of Maineville, a hamlet of pretty homes, grassy lawns, cement sidewalks, so attractive in every way that any city many times its size might be glad to include it within its suburban area. As is readily seen, its appellation indicates that the name of the village is in honor of the most eastern state in our republic, from which the majority of the settlers came. It was first dubbed Yankeetown, but its legal christening by the name it now bears took place March 23, 1850, when by enactment of the state legislature it was incorporated as the town of Maineville in Warren county. The first clearing in the township is said to have been made by a man named Wilson, but from unknown reasons he decided to locate elsewhere. Not until the War of 1812 was over, were permanent settlements made. Mr. Howe, in his Ohio history, states that Dr. John Cottle, an educated physician, who, in 1818, announced to the settlers in Warren county that he was qualified to heal all physical ills, was Maineville's first comer ; but Mr. Josiah (page 419) Morrow, who for long years has devoted his time and interest to the records of Warren county and is the most reliable authority that can possibly be found, asserts that Moses Dudley ante-dated the settlement of Dr. Cottle by three years. A farm of 200 acres was purchased by Mr. Dudley, and he enjoyed the pleasant privilege of residing in the first frame house erected in that locality. Both Mr. Dudley and Dr. Cottle, with their families, made the long pioneer journey from Maine to the Miami valley. Mr. Morrow also states that a man named Carr, a blacksmith by trade, was one of the very earliest settlers.

            In 1822, Benjamin Tufts, father of Benjamin, Moses and Seth G. Tufts, whose names are prominent in the prosperity of the little village, joined the settlement as fellow-pioneers from the same far off state, and they were soon followed by others from the same corner of the republic. A small trade and early industries thrived, among them a wagon-maker's shop owned by Robert Blackstone and Josiah Greeley was a welcome craft in the business of the village.

            In common with all immigrants from the New England states, the church and schoolhouse were pre-eminent in the minds and intents of the settlers at Maineville, and in eleven years after the coming of Moses Dudley he was pastor over a small congregation of Free Will Baptists, that held their first meetings in a schoolhouse that stood in the neighborhood of the village cemetery; the edifice was known as the Salt Spring church, and erected its first brick structure in the year of 1840. As to education, no township in the county equaled the settlers in this pretty corner of Hamilton township in aspiration to give the best possible educational attainments to their children, and plans were formed for its accomplishment. The year 1840 witnessed the formation of a joint stock company. whose progressive ideas and efficiency took form so rapidly that on Monday, September 25, 1848, the Maineville academy was an actuality ; pupils were entering its doors to be under the instruction of Mr. John F. Foster, recently graduated from Kenyon college, as principal. The bell of the school was summoning its young people before the little village was in possession of a legal name, postoffice or graveled road. Financial aid came from settlers for many miles around. The public spirit of Gov. Morrow was shown in his large subscription to the erection of the academy, and acceptance of the presidency of its first board of trustees. So popular did the school become that for years its attendance of pupils came from all parts of Hamilton township, and it continued longer in existence than any other academy ever built in Warren county.

            But the firm establishment of the public school system, and also of free high schools, closed the doors of nearly all the academies in the country at large, and in the year 1874 the building was purchased by the Maineville special school district. The village was given a postoffice under the governmental care of Col. James Ford, first postmaster.

            No factory whistles are ever heard in Maineville, consequently no tall chimneys are dark blots against the sky, or pour forth clouds of thick black smoke to sully and begrime the many attractive (page 420) homes. In some things the village is ahead of far larger towns, as was shown in the passing of an ordinance by the village council in the year 1855, forbidding the owners of certain animals known by the un-euphonious name of hogs, to permit them to use the village streets for promenading.

            Harveysburg. If, on a hot summer day, the little village of Harveysburg is entered from the east and one rides up the long street under the great over-hanging trees to the comfortable hotel, the impression will be that a new haven of peace is welcoming the visitor; new, because fresh paint and whitewash are so strongly in evidence. But it seems to be an unwritten law in the civil ethics of the pretty town, that each spring must witness the beautifying and freshening of weatherworn houses with paint, back fences clothed with fresh coats of snow-like whitewash, vines artistically trained, and lawns kept as smooth and clean as a parlor rug. If Harveysburg is approached from the north, a hill, over whose side the ascending road curves like an immense "S," must be climbed before the village is gained; and the traveler, if he .is a lover of scenic beauty, will turn, when the summit is gained, for a backward look over the road that brought him from the railroad station at Waynesville, five miles distant. A landscape of wondrous beauty and extent will meet his eyes. Right and left, reaching to the bending horizon, will stretch field after field of waving grain, the gold of waving wheat blending with the green of swaying corn, diversified by clumps of darker woodland, among which are scattered comfortable, luxurious homes, all telling the beauty and fertility of this corner of the Little Miami valley and the wealth of its owners.

            The land on which this little hamlet stands was entered by Col. Abraham Buford in the year 1787, but later purchased by Rhoden Ham, who built his home cabin upon it in March, 1815. Twelve years later it came into the ownership of William Harvey, whose name was given to the settlement whose primitive homes overlooked the sparkling waters of Caesars' creek that flows around the base of the hill. Mr. Harvey purchased the land in the year 1827, and the next year platted and laid out the village, recording it as a town in January, 1829.

            At one time in its history, Harveysburg, small as it is, was one of the most active business centers of Warren county. In the sixties the pork-packing activities of the Antrim brothers was a concern that did an immense business that, perchance, was not surpassed by any other firm in southwestern Ohio. But today its trade is local, its stores and groceries do the snug, comfortable business that keeps worry from those engaged in it, and maintains a village spirit of common interest, too often lacking in places of larger size. This kindly spirit has been characteristic of the village since its founding, and it is not strange that in slavery days it was a station on the underground railway, and many a poor, frightened black face has welcomed the lights of Harveysburg as joyfully as the tired-out prodigal did the sight of his father's house. Many are the names on tombstones in the Waynesville cemetery and country churchyards that are associated with the (page 421) development of this beautiful section of Warren county : Hatton, Dakin, Welsh, Haines, Collett, Shidaker, Sabin, Mercer, Hadley, Antrim,    Wales, Harlan, Johnson, King, Wilson, Macey, MacDonald and others are interlinked with the progress and promotion of all that led to the prosperity of Harveysburg and its vicinity. The village has always been a strong Republican stronghold, and Warren county's first supreme offering to the preservation of the Union in the great civil contest, was the life of Jabez Turner of Harveysburg, who was killed at the battle of Scarey Creek, West Virginia, July 17, 1861.

            The public spirit of the little town is plainly evident in the organization known as the Women's league, formed in the fall of 1914. The town was poorly lighted, and the first step of progress taken by the league was constant jogging of the minds of the masculine part of the community in favor of lighting the town with electricity. It took two years of unceasing labor on the part of the women to accomplish their object. But discussion and publicity brought out a vote in favor of a bond issue, and now not only are the village streets lanes of light, but many of the citizens are enjoying its convenience and brilliancy in their homes. The members of the Women's league were not only propagandists, but contributors as well, the neat sum of $200 being given by them to the good cause; they also helping to the extent of $130 towards the electric lighting of the Harveysburg town hall, and likewise buying a piano for the room. Aware that if pleasure was not furnished the young people in their home town, it would be sought elsewhere, the league has supplied the citizens with two fine lecture courses, home talent plays, and entertainments of various kinds, all first class. The league has a splendid record for patriotism in its work for humanity during the recent attack of Germany upon world liberty. This organization, numbering only forty-five members, with no electric or railroad line connecting it with business centers, has kept splendidly in touch with all agencies for the alleviation of the sufferers in Belgium and France, and also contributing to the comfort of our boys who crossed the sea to show the world what it meant to fly America's Stars and Stripes. Among the many avenues of help extended by the league there is a credit of constant work and donations to the Red Cross, including a gift of $166.91; a donation of $50 to the work of the Young Men's Christian association overseas, bed comforts to the distressed people of Belgium, and sweaters to the Warren county boys at Camp Sheridan-a record of patriotic kindness, characteristic of the people of pretty little Harveysburg. And yet, even greater offerings of loving patriotism have come from this comparatively isolated little town. A service fag, dedicated Sunday, June 2, 1918, bore twenty-five blue stars, attestations of the loyalty of twenty-five young men willing to give their lives, if need be, that others might possess what every son of America enjoys -Liberty !

            Waynesville. This pretty hilltop town, with its thriving population of nearly nine hundred people, is no inconsiderable factor in the social, intellectual and financial progressiveness of Warren county. There is something wonderfully attractive about the little (page 422) village, as one climbs the hills to the streets upon which stand the inviting, comfortable homes that tell of refined, cultured home-life.

            One might fancy that the beautiful, kindly spirit of the Friends, who formed a large majority of the first settlers of Waynesville, still rested in gentle benediction upon the town.

            In the sketch given of Samuel Heighway is told the story of the coming of the first colonists to this attractive corner of Warren county, that is bordered by the clear waters of the Little Miami river. But this same stream, that flows so quietly under the overhanging trees and reflects a million stars when the shades of evening fall, is capable of very angry moods, and has been known to sweep over its banks, washing away bridges and sending its swirling waters even into the village.

            Perchance, the wealth of a community can be estimated by the standing of its banks, and Waynesville is justly proud that the Waynesville National bank is rated today as the sixth honor bank in the state of Ohio. While the commercial life of the village is always good, its stores and activities of all kinds doing a steady, unfluctuating business, the main deposits and sound investments are made by the wealthy farming population whose fertile, magnificent farms encircle the village. And what is but just to tell, the management of the Waynesville bank from its inception has been so wise, so prudent, so firm in its honesty to its depositors, that it is regarded by the surrounding community as a very Gibraltar of trustworthiness. This was plainly shown in the panic of the year 1893, when other banks were shaken to their deepest foundation, the Waynesville National bank serenely breasted the storm without being compelled to rediscount a single bill.

            The bank was founded in December of 1874, and in the. following month directors were elected, men whose names are prominent in the constantly increasing prosperity written in the history of the village : S. S. Haines, Joel Evans, Jonas Janney, B. A. Stokes, S. W. Rogers, A. P. O'Neall, and E. A. Brown. The direct management of the organization was placed in the hands of S. S. Haines, president ; S. W. Rogers, vice-president ; Joel Evans, cashier ; W. H. Allen, assistant cashier. On the first day of the ensuing February the bank was formally opened for business. Mr. Haines was retained in the presidency of the bank until his death in 1895. In the year 1882, Mr. Allen was advanced to the office of cashier, and thirteen years later made a director and vice-president, while still having the responsible duties of cashier resting upon his shoulders. In the year 1903, the death of Mr. Rogers brought Mr. Allen the occupancy of the president's chair, a position which he still holds at the present time. The business of the bank is transacted in a handsome brick and stone building, that would find a conspicuous place in towns much larger than the village of Waynesville.

            For some years there was a private bank in Waynesville under the presidency of Mr. Israel Harris, who should have mention in the story of Waynesville, by reason of his fine collection of curios that for value gained a national renown. Two departments of his museum, if it may be so called, were his assemblage of ante-historic pottery, which eventually found a place in the Smithsonian (page 423) institution at Washington, D. C. The most unique collection. of Mr. Harris' were the beautiful pearls found in the waters of the Little Miami river that flowed so near his door. Gems that the leading jewelers of the largest cities in the country pronounced as perfect and valuable as those gathered from the waters of the Orient, and for which .he was offered large prices.

            The trade industries of Waynesville are few, the leading ones being a large four mill employing about twelve men, and the Waynesville canning factory, which gives about two hundred people steady work for three months in the year. But its up-to-date progressiveness shines out in the electric lighting of its streets and many of its homes, the power coming from the Dayton Power and Light company. For about twenty years the village operated a power plant of its own, but as it only furnished a morning and evening current it was abandoned in favor of the greater and more constant power.

            Waynesville keeps abreast of the times intellectually, possessing a public library which is supported by the township, assisted by a state library. The latest books along all lines of thought are found upon its shelves, and the librarian, Miss May Wright, pleases all the patrons and visitors to the library by her efficiency, familiar acquaintance with the best literature and always pleasing address. The current news, both foreign and home, comes weekly to the people of Waynesville through the columns of the Miami Gazette, a weekly journal edited and published by Mr. I. D. L. Crane, whose childhood's home was near the village where he is now giving his energies to bringing to his numerous friends and neighbors items of interest from all sources. The Gazette was established about eighty-one years ago by Messrs. Sands and Sweet, the latter becoming in time its sole proprietor. It then passed into the editorship of Mr. T. J. Brown, who most ably filled its columns for thirty years. Mr. Crane in his boyhood was connected with the paper, but later was in the employ of the Farm and Fireside, published at Springfield, Ohio, but in the spring of 1908 became the editor and publisher of the enterprising Waynesville journal, which he keeps up to a degree of efficiency that makes it a welcome visitor in the homes of its subscribers. Mr. Crane is ably assisted in his editorial labors by his wife, whose fondness for good literature is well known. But, haply, the thing that brings Waynesville most prominently and favorably before a wide public is an institution known as the Friends' home, maintained by the Friends of the Indiana Yearly Meeting. It was founded fourteen years ago, and has constantly grown in the appreciation and high regard of all acquainted with the organization. It is not a charitable institution, but the spirit that pervades it is one of true, sweet Christian kindliness. Throughout all southwestern Ohio the Friends' home at Waynesville has enviable renown as a model home, not alone for the fine executive ability of its board of directors, but more for the happiness that is brought in a quiet gentle way to all residing under its roof. Mr. and Mrs. Howell Pierce are the administrative force, and the home is most prosperous under their very capable management.

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