From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882
He who attempts to present with unvarying accuracy the annals of a township the history of which extends back through a period of more than three-quarters of a century imposes upon himself a task beset with difficulties on every hand. In the absence of records, these difficulties are often augmented by statements widely at variance furnished by early settlers and their descendants as data from which to compile a true record of the past. To claim for a work of this character perfect freedom from the slightest, or, in some cases, even grave inaccuracies, would be implying arrogate to one's self that degree of wisdom which alone resides in the councils of the Omniscient. If, therefore, the time and place of recorded events do not in every instance agree with the individual opinion of the reader, please bear in mind we have always inclined to those statements which seem best supported. To give facts and facts only should be the highest aim and ambition of every writer who professes to deal with incidents of the past. This shall be our goal, this our guiding star.
The township in question is in the northeastern part of the county, and comprises the territory between the two rivers, Stillwater and Miami. Its northern boundary is Miami County, and Harrison Township adjoins it on the south. Its shape is somewhat irregular, following, as it does, for its eastern and western boundaries, the windings of the rivers. Its extreme width is about seven miles, and length six miles, and contains about forty-five sections and fractional sections of land, which formerly belonged to the townships of Randolph and Wayne. The Commissioners of the county, at their session held October 7, 1817, ordered that those party of Wayne and Randolph Townships which lie between the Miami River and Stillwater be erected into a new township by the name of Butler. The latter title was given it in honor of a field officer of the militia. The surface of its territory is level, excepting the parts contiguous to the rivers and that which follows the meanderings of Poplar Creek, yet any part is easily susceptible of drainage. In the early history of the township, the north central part was denominated swamp land, and where once wild geese and ducks in countless numbers swam lazily about, while squirrels and pigeons gamboled or fluttered overhead, we now see, by artificial drainage, finely cultivated fields, teeming with the fast ripening harvest. For many years, however, this portion was entirely neglected, or rather avoided, as the interior could not be drained until sufficient outlets were furnished by those living on the borders. The soil of this section is a rich black loam, with yellow or blue clay subsoil, and is exceedingly fertile and productive. This impervious clay subsoil, however, renders tiling absolutely necessary in most parts. The land adjoining the streams has loam or clay surface, underlain with gravel. Water is easily obtained, even in the highest portions, at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet. Originally, the whole country was covered with heavy timber, consisting of walnut, oak, poplar, ash, maple, beech, sugar, elm and hickory chiefly, the greater portion of which, during the past half-century, has succumbed to the ax of the woodman. Within the township are several small streams, the largest of which is Poplar Creek, flowing southeasterly from the vicinity of Vandalia, emptying its water into the Great Miami. This township is crossed in either direction by several well-built pikes, among which is the National road, extending east and west through its center. The D. & M. R. R., running parallel with the Great Miami, passes through its extreme eastern border. The villages of Vandalia, Little York and Chambersburg are within its domain; also the stations Tadmor and Johnson's, on the railroad mentioned.
At about the beginning of the century, Martin Davenport and David Hoover, Sr., came from North Carolina to the Stillwater region, prospecting for land, and, on examining that in the vicinity of the present village of Union, in Randolph Township, were suited. Davenport died before reaching his home. In the summer of 1801, several families from the same vicinity of North Carolina, including David Hoover and family and David Mast and family, with others, left their native State for this region, and stopped south of Dayton, and there spent the winter, moving in the early spring to the land selected. While this settlement was made in what has since become Randolph Township, the settlement just over the river was made about the same time, and so closely connected with it that it is necessary to mention it in order to properly introduce the pioneers of Butler Township. Hoover was so delighted with the appearance of the country that, on his return, vivid descriptions of it were given to the entire neighborhood, which excited them to a desire for a home in the West. John Quillan, then a young man, accompanied these first families to the Stillwater region, driving thither the team of David Mast, and, soon after their arrival, was united in marriage to Obedience, a daughter of Mr. Mast, and settled on the opposite side of the river (in Butler Township) to those families, entering the northeast quarter of Section 11. Quillan spent his life in this vicinity, living to a ripe old age, dying during the late civil war. He became the father of quite a number of children, who assisted in converting the wilderness of that period to the cultivated fields of the present. Mr. Quillan served in the war of 1812. His son William is said to have been the first child born in this township. It is held by some that Thomas Newman came with these first families, to whom he was related, having married a Hoover, and, with his family, settled along the east side of Stillwater. We failed to verify this, but, in a conversation with Aunt Mollie Sheets, who was a Hoover, and came with these advanced families, that Newman came very soon afterward, if not with them. The families of George Sinks and Henry Yount, hailing from the same neighborhood in North Carolina, immigrated to the Stillwater settlement that same year (1802), locating, the former in Section 2, Township 5, Range 5, where he entered 320 acres of land; and the latter in Section 25, same township and range, entering the full section. He also entered one-half of Section 30, Township 3, Range 6, land adjoining the other tract. Mr. Yount had been married in North Carolina, to Mary Waymire, and had grown children on coming. George Yount entered Section 3, Township 5, Range 5, lying partly in Butler and partly in Randolph Townships; also a quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5. The sons and daughters of Henry Yount were John, Andrew, Daniel and Sarah. In November, 1805, the families of Daniel Waymire and Philip Plummer, coming from Guilford County, N. C., moved on the Henry Yount land in Section 25, Yount vacating and going down into Warren County, on Clear Creek, where he remained two years and returned, and during his absence Waymire farmed his land, there being two fields of about eighteen acres cleared. Plummer only remained until spring, and then went further north, entering the northwest quarter of Section 13. After raising two crops on the Yount land, Waymire moved on the section to the north (24), and from there to the Plummer land, which he purchased. These early families were all related, and were neighbors in the State of North Carolina. The parents of Daniel Waymire were from Germany, and while crossing the ocean, about the year 1735, the mother died, and her remains were given to the mighty deep. The father's sisters were sold for their passage, and never afterward heard of. The father settled in North Carolina, and again married, and from the two unions have since descended over three thousand persons. Father Waymire died in 1800, and his children all came to Ohio. Daniel married Sophia Plummer, and to them were born Davis, Mary, Solomon, Daniel, John, Catharine, Elizabeth, Henry, Sarah, Rebecca, Rosana and Isabelle, several of whom are now residing in the township. Davis, the oldest, was born in the year 1802, is hale and hearty, and has resided in the township longer than any one in it, and for a period of nearly forty years served the people as a Justice of the Peace, and was their Clerk for thirty years. The father, Daniel Waymire, died July 3, 1825, and was buried in the old Lutheran Graveyard on "Independence Day;" the mother, too, was buried there. The Plummer family was large, none of whom are now residing in this locality. The children, as nearly as we could learn, were Sophia, John, Catharine, Sarah, Betsy, Susan, Delilah and Philemon. Turning your attention to the eastern part of the township, where, in Sections 13 and 14, Township 3, Range 6, in the year 1806, Richard Sunderland and William Compton settled, having together entered 707 acres of land. Sunderland, in company with two brothers, had, prior to the year 1804, entered 160 acres each in Section 20, Washington Township, where he had been twice burned out. Thence he went to the land above described. The Sunderlands were from Pennsylvania. The wife of Richard was Nancy Martin, a native of the Keystone State; their children were William and Elizabeth, twins; the latter married Isaac Miller, the father of the Millers now residing in the eastern part of the subdivision; William Sunderland married a daughter of James Miller, and to them were born six children. The parents, Richard and Nancy Sunderland, died, and were buried on the farm, in the years 1863 and 1846 respectively, Their remains have since been removed to the cemetery in Miami County. William Compton was from North Carolina. His family was quite large, wife's name was Martha. They belonged to the society of Friends, or Quakers. Both were interred on the homestead. Mr. Compton's share of the above-described entry was 303 acres, lying in the southern part of the sections named. Abijah Jones and family, from North Carolina, settled in the southern part of the township in 1805. He was a minister of the Friends' society, and his name is the first recorded as such on the books of the old "Randolph meeting," an account of which will be given under the topic of churches. Mr. Jones died in 1852, in his eighty-fifth year. Sylvanus Swallow and wife, Elizabeth (Barnard), and family, emigrated from North Carolina in the spring of 1807, and settled in the northeast quarter of Section 29, on land entered by him. Mr. Swallow was a native of Delaware, where he was born February 28, 1776, and his wife of North Carolina, born June 4, 1782. On reaching the above tract of land, Mr. Swallow pitched his tent, in which the family resided for several months. Their children were James O., John A., Sampson B., Cynthia, Belinda, Catharine and Priscilla. This was a family of Friends, and the remains of the parents were interred at the Friends' meeting-house graveyard. Some time prior to this, the father, John Swallow, came to this locality and entered 160 acres in Section 19. The Barnards, consisting of mother and son, accompanied the family of Sylvanus Swallow and settled in Section 28. The son was a single man, Samuel by name, and late in life married Rebecca Compton. Benjamin Hutchins, Sr., of English descent, with a numerous family, settled in Section 29, there entering 160 acres of land, he having come from Rockford County, N. C. Isaac Hutchins, a son of Benjamin, married Rebecca Jones, eldest daughter of the old patriarch, Abijah. Their son, Daniel H. Hutchins, was a minister of the Friends' Society, and served the people of this vicinity many years. Joseph Pearson and wife, Margaret Cammack, emigrated from South Carolina in 1808, and, after stopping for awhile on land owned by George Yount, on the west side of Stillwater, crossed that stream and entered one-half of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5. They raised a large family of children, two of whom are the wives of Davis and Henry Waymire. Mr. Pearson, as likewise did other of the above-named families, left the South mainly on account of slavery. He did not want to raise his children under its influences. Father Pearson died January 17, 1840, and the mother July 17, 1854. Prior to the year 1809, the following-named had settled between the two rivers, but at what date they came we cannot establish, but it is evident that they were here before the beginning of the second decade of the century: John Curtis, Joseph Beeson, Daniel and Stephen Jones, John Holderman, the Cobles, Henry Crowel, Henry Woodhouse, James Insco, James Reed, William Gallohan, Joseph Evans, John Mooney, Benjamin Kiser, Jacob Stokes, John Fryback, David Fog. William Miller, Jacob Rhodelhamer, John Sloan and Michael Engle. Mr. Curtis was from North Carolina, and entered one-quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5. He died at the close of the late war, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. Beeson was from the same neighborhood in North Carolina that the Swallows came from, and settled in the vicinity of where Chambersburg now is. His wife was Mary Barnett. Daniel and Stephen Jones were from North Carolina, and the former entered 160 acres of Section 32, Township 3, Range 6. Holderman was a Pennsylvanian, and entered 477 acres in Section 11, Township 3, Range 6, and, before he was married, lived with Richard Sunderland. His wife was Elizabeth Blickenstaff. The Cobles were from North Carolina. The father was Nicholas Coble, and had the following sons and daughters: Anthony, Nicholas, Emanuel, Margaret and Hannah, some of whom were married prior to their settling here. They were also from North Carolina. Anthony entered 160 acres in Section 18, Township 3, Range 6, and a quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5. Crowel was from Virginia, and had there married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Cress, and to them were born sons and daughters seven, namely: John, Mary, Jacob, David, Polly, Abraham and Henry. He entered a quarter of Section 12, Township 5, Range 5. Woodhouse was from the South. His entry was a tract of 160 acres in Section 33, Township 3, Range 6. Insco was from one of the Carolinas, and entered a quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5. James Reed, whose wife was Mary McMahon, emigrated from North Carolina, settling in Section 3, Township 2, Range 6, where he entered 160 acres of land. Both were buried in the Reed Graveyard. In 1817, the Gallohans, William and his brother Ned, lived on the farm now occupied by the Grays. Evans was from one of the Southern States, and entered several hundred acres of land in the township. Mooney was from Virginia. Kizer and Stokes settled in the vicinity of Section 23. Fryback entered 534 acres in Sections 23 and 24, Township 3, Range 6. Fox was from New Jersey. William Miller settled in Section 35, on the Great Miami. Rhodelhamer entered 160 acres in Section 24, Township 5, Range 5, and 160 acres in Section 34, Township 3, Range 6. John Sloan was a native of Pennsylvania, from where he emigrated and settled on the southwest quarter of Section 28, Township 3, Range 6, which was entered by him, His wife was Elizabeth Rummage, and their children were Martha, Jane, Mary, John, Elizabeth, William and Sarah. The father and mother died in 1833 and 1832 respectively. Michael Engle settled in Section 13, Township 5, Range 5, where he entered 160 acres of land. In 1810, Mary Johnson, a widow, with four children, John, Jesse, David and Mary, came, from North Carolina and located in the northeastern part of the township. Some time prior to this, two daughters had settled in Miami County. William Newman entered the northeast quarter of Section 13, Township 3, Range 6, prior to 1811. This same year, the Thomas Newman above spoken of owned the old John Quillan tract in Section 11. Jacob Staley owned forty-three acres of land in the township as early as the year 1811. William Anderson, a native of Pennsylvania, settled here that year. His wife was a native of Warren County, Ohio, born in 1798. She died January 23, 1881. Mr. Anderson died November 23, 1867. Not later than the war of 1812, Abraham Cox, the McKnights, John and Alexander, John Williams, William Kennedy, Robert Hosier, William Mason and William Snodgrass had settled here. Kennedy came from Pennsylvania in the year 1812, and entered the northeast quarter of Section 28. He served for a, number of years as County Surveyor. Hosier was from Virginia. His father, Abram, entered land at an early day in the vicinity of the present village of Beavertown, where Robert was married to Nancy Compton. Robert's family was quite large, several of whom now reside in the vicinity of the old homestead. Kennedy and Hosier, as will be seen further along, laid out Chambersburg. Isaac Hosier, a brother, entered 160 acres in Section 27, Township 3, Range 6, adjoining the tract entered by Robert. In 1797, Smith Gregg, a native of Pennsylvania, immigrated to the present site of Shakertown, in Van Buren Township, settling on Beaver Creek, where he remained until 1814, when he removed his family to what is now Butler Township, having entered 160 acres of land in Section 32, Township 3, Range 6. Mr. Gregg served in the war of 1812. His wife was Sarah Ramsey, who, too, was a native of the Keystone State, and their children were James, Martha, Margaret, John, William, D. H., Andrew, Smith, Julia, Elizabeth and Sarah. William is residing near the Friends' Meeting-House. John Furnas emigrated from the State of South Carolina in 1818, with his father, who settled in Miami County. He was born April 12, 1796, and died July 13, 1874. His wife was Sarah Evans. In 1835, Mr. Furnas was the Whig candidate for the Legislature, and was defeated by one vote. However, afterward, he was elected to the Legislature, and served one term; also served as County Commissioner. Samuel Wells, a native of Maryland, emigrated from Albemarle County, Va., in 1817, and located in Miami County, and in several years removed into what is now Butler Township, of which he has ever since been a resident. His wife was Mary Johnson, a daughter of the Widow Johnson before mentioned. They were married September 18, 1822, and, should they live until the coming September (1882), will have been sharing together life's joys and cares for a period of sixty years.
The following-named persons were the original proprietors of the land opposite their names, which had been taken up or entered prior to 1818: Prudence McMunn, 160 acres in Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; Thomas Jay, 160 acres in Section 2, Township 5, Range 5; Conklin Miller, 160 acres in Section 34, Township 3, Range 6; John Miller, 162 acres in Section 32, Township 3, Range 6; Adam Coffin, 342 acres in Section 28, Township 3, Range 6; Robert Scott, 160 acres in Section 14, Township 5, Range 5; John Cox, 160 acres in Section 19, Township 3, Range 6; William Lowe, 160 acres in Section 19, Township 3, Range 6; Joseph McKinney, 158 acres in Section 3, Township 3, Range 6; Joseph Cooper, 162 acres in Section 32, Township 3, Range 6; James Lowrey, 160 acres in Section 23, Township 3, Range 6; David Sidwell, 160 acres in Section 24, Township 5, Range 5; Joseph Miller, 160 acres in Section 19, Township 3, Range 6; J. Woods, 160 acres in Section 29, Township 3, Range 6; Samuel Dinwoody, 1.60 acres in Section 10, Township 3, Range 6; Jesse Johnson, 160 acres in Section 3, Township 3, Range 6; Josiah Lamb, 160 acres in Section 12, Township 5, Range 5; Edward Thomas, 160 acres in Section 12, Township 5, Range 5.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
The following-named persons were elected Justices of the Peace of the township as set forth below:
William Kennedy, June 12, 1818; James Miller, October 12, 1819; James Ensley, April 2, 1821; re-elected April 5, 1824; James Reed, December 3, 1825; James Ensley, April 2, 1827; Samuel Maxwell, October 28, 1828; James Ensley, April 5, 1830; Davis Waymire, October 11, 1831; John Hale, April 1, 1833; Davis Waymire, re-elected October 14,1834; John Hale, re-elected April 4, 1836; John Pearson, October 11, 1836; Benjamin Furnas, April 20, 1839; Davis Waymire, October 12, 1839; Robert Brown, April 4, 1842; Davis Waymire, re-elected October 11, 1842; Benjamin Furnas, re-elected November 19, 1842; Davis Waymire and Benjamin Furnas, October 14, 1845; Levi Hamaker, October 12, 1847; Davis Waymire, November 7, 1818. James O. Swallow, October 8, 1850; John R. Limbert, October 14, 1851; James O. Swallow, October 11, 1853; Davis Waymire, October 10, 1851; James O. Swallow, October 10, 1856; Davis Waymire, October 13, 1857; James O. Swallow, October 13, 1859; Davis Waymire, October 9, 1860; James O. Swallow, October 14, 1862; Davis Waymire, October 13, 1863; James O. Swallow, October 10, 1865 (special election); Davis Waymire, October 9, 1866; James O. Swallow, October 13, 1868 (special election); Davis Waymire, October 13, 1869; John W. Underwood, October 10, 1871; James O. Swallow, October 8, 1872; Jacob Smith, December 16, 1873; J. W. Underwood, October 13, 1874; Davis Furnas, April 5, 1875; J. IV. Underwood, October 9, 1877; Davis Furnas, April 1, 1878; J. W. Underwood, October 12,1880; Jeremiah Sebold, April --, 1881.
The Stillwater and Miami settlements, like all others dating back to the beginning of the century, had many difficulties to overcome before much progress could be attained in the way of education. Lessons in the rudimentary branches were at first given in the cabins of the pioneers, and, in some instances abandoned cabins were used as places of holding school. In the western part of what is now Butler Township--that part next to the Stillwater known as Township 5, Range 5--there stood at an early day a house in the northeastern quarter of Section 12, in which school was kept by Edward Easton. Another of the early schoolhouses of this vicinity was built in the northeastern quarter of Section 24. John Hutchins, William Milikin and Jim Wright were the teachers. Davis Waymire, whose name is frequently mentioned in connection with the sketch of the township, received instruction under their tutorship, This was the first school he remembers of attending, and these schools the first that he had any knowledge of. He was born in the year 1802, and became a resident of that vicinity in the year 1806. We leave the reader to fix the dates of these schools. Along the Miami, in the eastern part of the township, on the Jacob Stokes farm, there was a school in session in the year 1811, taught by a Mr. Brown. His given name cannot now be recalled by the few left who were once his pupils. Mrs. Samuel Wells, one of Butler Township's pioneers, who came in the year 1810 as "Mary Johnson," was an attendant at this school, and well remembers the fact that on one occasion a problem in arithmetic was too much for Master Brown, and was finally solved by Billy Sunderland, who retired himself to an old stump just in the rear of the school house, where the task was accomplished. Mary Johnson, as it was then, boarded, while attending that school, with Uncle Billy Snodgrass, the distance from her home to the school being too great to walk. In the southern part of the township, school was taught in the Friends' Meeting-House, which was erected where now stands their brick church, about the year 1809 or 1810. The first who pedagogued there of whom we have any account was a Mr. Bratton, who was succeeded by the following named, and in the order given: Christopher Furnas, Benjamin Coffin and John Huff.
We have given above the several schools of what is now the territory under consideration as nearly as the facts could be arrived at for the period embracing the first decade of the century. To undertake to give anything like an accurate account of the numerous schools of this region from that period to the present would be almost impossible, as the records kept, until of late years, were meager indeed. Therefore, we close what further is to be said under this head with the schools of to-day. There are now in the township ten school districts, besides the Vandalia District, which is independent. District No. 1, in which are the schools of the village of Chambersburg, has two schoolhouses--one brick, having two rooms, and the other a frame, the latter being for the colored youth of the township. In each of the other districts there is a one story brick building. The average cost of the houses is about $1,200 each. The average number of months in which school is held during the year is eight; the number of scholars enrolled (January, 1882), about 500; daily average attendance, 78 per cent. The appropriation for school purposes for the year 1881 was $4,200--i. e., for the ten districts, the independent district being supplied by the corporation of Vandalia and immediate neighborhood.
CHURCHES AND GRAVEYARDS
The pioneers gave early attention to religious matters. The Friends or Quakers of the settlement not too remote from the Stillwater region worshiped, prior to the year 1809, on the west side of the river, where had been organized, two years before, a meeting known as "Rocky Springs." The Friends attending services there requested a meeting among themselves, which was granted by West Branch Quarterly Meeting of Miami County, and a meeting was sot here in 1809, and a rude log meeting-house erected the same year or the year following (1810), and stood a little west of the present brick church, on ground deeded to them by Sylvanus Swallow for church and graveyard purposes--in all, about four acres. The small one-story brick now standing near the center of Section 29 was built in 1824 or 1825, and is quite antique in appearance, having an entrance on either end and on one side, and its windows being "square." Some of the names of those composing the second meeting were: Abijah Jones, Benjamin Hutchins and his sons Isaac and Benjamin, Jr., John Curtis, James Hutchins, Sylvanus Swallow, Joseph Beeson, Christopher Furnas, Stephen Macy, Stephen Jones, Isaac Cooper, Henry Yount and Samuel Barnard. The reader will notice that many of these were a part of the early fathers, who were the first residents. Subsequently, others moved in, and the meeting was increased and became large, but of late years it has been weak, and is now languishing. Many of the members coming as they did, from North Carolina, it received the name of Randolph Meeting, from one of that name there. The first recorded minister was Abijah Jones, next came Prudence (Cooper) Teague, who is still living, and now resides in Grant County, Ind.; Isaac Jay, son of W. D. Jay, follows; other names are Daniel H. Hutchins and Smith Gregg. In connection with this church, we will say a word or two relative to the graveyard, inasmuch as they are almost one. The ground, as has been seen, was deeded for both, and it is reasonable to infer that burying began there as soon as deaths occurred. Assuming this to be the case, it is certainly the oldest burying-ground in the township. We know interments were made in it prior to 1814, when William Gregg came to that vicinity. It is said that the first wife of Benjamin Hutchins, Sr., was the first person buried there. The remains of many of the pioneers rest by that little brick church on the hill, beneath whose roof they had so often raised their voices in praises to Him, the Giver of every good gift, and who ever doeth all things well, and the appearance of whose crumbling walls reminds us that they, too, are mutable, and to the coming generations will be lost. Probably the next earliest church organization effected in the township was that of the Lutheran denomination. Of this there are no records that we, after diligent search, could learn of, and of the few yet surviving who were in that vicinity in the early years of the society, none can remember much about it. From Davis Waymire we learn that, as early as 1816, there stood at the old burying-ground in the southeastern corner of Section 13, Township 5, Range 5, a hewed log church known as the Lutheran Church, but how long prior to this the society worshiping there was organized, or by whom, he cannot state. The ground upon which this meeting-house was constructed, and the graveyard thereabout, was deeded by Emanuel Coble. Among the early ministers who preached for these people were Revs. Mow, Henecker and Spence, and of the early members were Nicholas Coble and wife, Jacob Staley and family, Jacob Frybarger, John Cotner and mother and the Crowel family. Services were held in the log meeting-house until not far from 1830, when it was replaced by a frame church building, and this, in 1842, by a one-story brick, under the pastorate of Rev. D. P. Rosenmiller. In the summer of 1873, this was torn down, and the material taken to what is known as Spankertown, about one mile and a quarter southeast, and there rebuilt that same summer. The church at the graveyard was called Stillwater Lutheran Evangelical Church. The new building at Spankertown, a one-story brick, having a spire and bell, the latter weighing 600 pounds, and was cast at the Johnson Foundry, in Dayton, erected at a cost of $3,000, is known as St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, and was dedicated November 30, 1873, by Elder D. Summers, assisted by Rev. Dr. Ort, of Wittenberg College, since which the charge has been served by the following pastors: D. Summers, E. D. Smith, W. M. Smith and A. M. Barrett, the present incumbent. The membership now is about sixty.
July 30,1816, was organized a religious society, by Elders George Shideler and John Plummer, known as the Lower Stillwater Church of Christ. Jonathan Newman and William Pearson were chosen first Deacons, and Frederick Hoover, Clerk. The original members were: George Sinks and wife, Sarah; Samuel Martindale and wife, Elizabeth; John Quillan, Richard Cox, Emanuel Coble and wife, Rachel, Fanny Cox, Mahala Newman, William Skinner, Anna Gallohan, Mary Millin, Anthony Coble, Nancy Pearson, Catharine Cress, Margaret Reed, Elizabeth Millin, and Mary and Sophia Waymire. Services were held at the residences of the different members and in the old schoolhouse formerly standing on the site of the one now at Polk Church. The cabin home of old Daniel Waymire, now the Henry Waymire homestead, was the great preaching-place for this society, and, in later years, at Emanuel Coble's. The church was re-organized by Elder Caleb Worley July 6, 1839, and in the summer of 1844, a one-story brick building was erected on the west half of Section 13, Township 5, Range 5, and, while in state of building, was called Polk Church, which name it still bears. This was owing to the fact that the majority of the men engaged in its construction were for James K. Polk, whose name was then before the national convention held at Baltimore, as a candidate for President of the United States. On receipt of the news of his nomination, poke-berry bushes or branches were waved from the scaffolding and walls, and suspended therefrom in great profusion; hence the name. In this connection, permit us to state a fact that will bear repetition in this and in all coming histories, namely: The convention by which Mr. Polk was nominated was held at Baltimore, Md. On the 29th of May, 1844, the news of the nomination was sent to Washington by the magnetic telegraph. It was the first dispatch over so transmitted, and the event marks an era in the history of civilization. One acre of ground, upon which the church was built, was deeded in 1843 to the Trustees for church and public burying-ground, by Anthony Coble. In 1877, the building was enlarged and remodeled, and it is now a model church, It was dedicated on the second Sabbath of November of that year; sermon by Elder William Gross, who is yet serving the charge. The membership is now in the neighborhood of sixty. The following is a list of pastors since 1844: Elders Elisha Ashley, Peter Banta, Elijah Williamson, Alexander McClain, Richard Brandon, Asbury Watkins, William Pearson, Albert Long, Hiram Simonton, Thomas Wells and William Gross.
Sugar Grove Christian Church, located in the center of Section 1, Township 5, Range 5, was organized August 24, 1850, by Elder William Furnas, in the one-story frame church building now standing there, built in 1849. The original members were William Pearson and wife, Nancy, Henrietta Hall, Elizabeth Campbell, Dortha Wolverton, Joshua Hall, Mary Stucksberger, Cynthia Macy, Jane Hall, Nancy Stoner, Amy Pearson and John Davis. The pastors of this congregation have been William Furnas, J. G. Reeder and William Jay. In 1878, the year of the building of the church at Frederick, in Miami County, this society went thither, where they now worship. The ground upon which the frame church stood, inncluding that of the graveyard (one-half acre in all), was deeded to the church by John Furnas. The remaining religious history of the township will be given in the respective villages.
In addition to the burying-grounds about the several churches spoken of above, and those following given under the head of villages, are those in Sections 3 and 11 of Township 3, Range 6. The former, known as the Reed Graveyard from its situation on the Reed land, is quite ancient, and in it sleep a number of the first settlers. The wife of James Reed, having selected the spot where she was desirous of interment, was the first buried there, and from this fact it became a place for burials. The latter is for the same reason styled the Holderman Graveyard, John Holderman having given about a quarter of an acre, to which was added by purchase another quarter, and the yard regularly laid out into lots. On the 18th of April, 1879, a cemetery association was formed, and a purchase of seven acres of ground, lying in Section 13, adjoining the graveyard at Polk Church, made of Solomon Coble for $700. The following officers were elected: President, O. P. Waymire; Directors, Isaac, John and O. P. Waymire, John Ludy, Robert Martindale and Charles Jackson; Secretary, Henry Waymire; and Treasurer, Isaac Waymire. The ground is rolling, and has natural beauty, and is also beautifully located. It is regularly laid out into lots, and has wide avenues leading through its various parts. Already steps have been taken in the direction of adding to and increasing its natural beauty by the planting of trees and shrubbery, and in it have been placed several fine and substantial monuments. It is styled Maple Grove Cemetery.
MILLS, DISTILLERIES, ETC.
Butler Township seems to have had its full quota of mills, distilleries and woolen factories, for along Stillwater and the branch forming the dividing line between Township 5, Range 5, and Township 3, Range 6, and emptying into the river below Little York, are numerous evidences of such enterprises. As early as the year 1807 or 1808, Abijah O'Neal and Joseph Cooper built a sawmill on the river in the vicinity of the grist-mill at Little York. Several years thereafter, Andrew Waymire, having purchased O'Neal's interest in the sawmill, and, later, that of Cooper, built a grist-mill on the site of the present Oliver Heck mill. Waymire operated it for some years, and it passed into the hands of Daniel and Andrew Yount and Benjamin Iddings, who erected and operated, in connection therewith, a distillery, and at about the same time, Robert Russell built a still-house near by, which, years later, was converted by George Huffman into a tannery. The Younts and Iddings replaced the old grist-mill by a new one, the work being done by Felty Waymire. The saw mill was then abandoned. The mill passed through various hands, and finally fell into the possession of Oliver Heck, who is now the miller at the old Waymire mill at Little York. John Heikes also built and carried on a distillery there. Daniel Yount built an early saw-mill on the branch named, which was by him operated for a number of years, then carried on by Richard Sandham, who built there a large woolen factory. On this branch, south of the above-named mill, Andrew Yount erected a grist-mill, which was converted into a woolen factory by John Wenger, Sandham also built, above the Sandham factory, a grist-mill, which is still in operation. Prior to this, a saw-mill had been built on the same site by Andrew Waymire. Still further north, on the same branch, John Mast erected a saw-mill, now the Coover mill. Above the latter was built a saw-mill by Joseph Staley, which became the property of Henry Waymire. William Long was carrying on a saw-mill and corn-cracker in the western part of the township, on Stillwater. On the other side of the township were also numerous mills. David Fox operated a saw-mill near the mouth of Poplar Creek. Eli Compton built a saw-mill in the southeast quarter of Section 22. Such mills were also built by John Mills, James O. Swallow, and the Sunderlands, Richard and James. Copper stills were operated by John Holderman, James Miller & Son, David Fox, Samuel Maxwell, and many others, as such stills were numerous and in almost constant use.
The village of Little York, situated in the southwestern part of the township, was laid out by Andrew Waymire October 13, 1817, and is by far the oldest village of the subdivision. The plat shows that the original number of lots was forty-eight. Davis and John Waymire were present at the sale of the lots. The village sprang into existence from the fact of the presence of the mills at that point. A house or two had been erected by Andrew Waymire for the miller previous to the laying out of the lots. The first merchants of the place were Christopher Coon and a Mr. Sloan. Among the early inn-keepers were Meredith Hutchins and Abraham Fry. Henry Huntsinger was then the village blacksmith. As to when the post office was established, and who was the first Postmaster, we have been unable to learn. We failed to find a record of it, and all knowledge of the fact seems to have been lost to the yet remaining pioneers of that vicinity. It was not, however, until several years after the laying out of the village. The present Postmaster is Perry Rankin, who keeps, in connection with the office, a general store. A grist-mill is there in operation, owned by Oliver Heck. Cartner & Brussman are dealers in agricultural implements; George Fair is the grocer, Charles Dresdo the shoemaker, and Jacob Brussman the blacksmith.
Chambersburg--Is situated in the southern part of the township, and was laid out by Robert Hosier and William Kennedy, January 26, 1830. The Dayton & Troy pike passes through it from north to south. The object of these men was to secure a post office and other conveniences, such as stores, a blacksmith, etc., as a village would afford. It was so named after a town of the same name in Pennsylvania. Early inn-keepers of the "burg" were Peter Fox and John McDargh, the latter holding forth where the post office now is, and Fox on the present site of the hotel kept by William Harlow, who has also a grocery. The first merchants of the village were Peter Fox and Benjamin Wilhelm, and the blacksmith was William Martin. Other interests are now carried on by William Compton, a grocer; Washington Barnhart and Isaiah Broomscotch, both "smiths," giving attention to repairing in their line. The Christian Church located here is a one-story brick, and was erected in the summer of 1849. The organization was effected in November of the same year, by Elder Peter Banta. The following-named ministers have since served the charge: Elders C. Morse, Peter McCullough, David Johnson; Hiram Simonton, Warren Weeks and William Gross. This church, though at present without a pastor, and with a membership of only about thirty, was once in a very flourishing condition, having upward of one hundred and fifty enrolled. The church was built by subscription, and was to be a neighborhood place of worship, its doors to be open to the various denominations. The post office was established at this village in 1834, with John McDargh as Postmaster. Since then, so numerous have been the Postmasters that it would be almost impossible to give them by name in proper order, since there has been no record of them kept in the county. The present incumbent is Henry Westerman, who has been in office the greater part of the time since 1862. His predecessor was William Jackson, who served many years.
Vandalia--This, the largest village of the three, is located in the eastern part of the township. It is regularly laid out, and its streets are at right angles. There is considerable of the spirit of enterprise manifested by the inhabitants, as is evidenced in the several manufactories, imposing church buildings, new dwellings, etc. The village dates back to August 1, 1838, when thirty-three lots were laid out by Benjamin Wilhelm, who was the first merchant of the village, and subsequently became its first Postmaster and Mayor. In the fall of 1838, Jonathan Skinner, a blacksmith, erected one of the first houses, which stood on the present site of the residence of William Murphy. Here Skinner carried on his trade, and was the first in that line, Abram Earhart, of the same pursuit, coming next in order. William Baggot and one Kent were early tavern-keepers. Vandalia was visited by the cholera during the year of 1849, and probably suffered as much by that scourge in proportion to the number of inhabitants as did any place in the United States, as the following figures will doubtless show. The village then had a population of about two hundred inhabitants, some fifty of whom took flight for safety, and of the remaining one hundred and fifty, fifty fell victims to the disease, leaving 50 per cent that withstood the calamity. The act incorporating the village was passed February 7, 1848, and the first election for corporation officers was held March 22, 1848, when Benjamin Wilhelm, the chief "figure-head" of the village, became its Mayor. His re-election occurred on the same day and month in the following year, and again at such date in 1850. Other Mayors, as far as could be obtained from records, elected as the dates following their names show, have been: Ezra T. Leggett, March 22, 1851; re-elected March 22, 1852. In August, 1852, Mr. Leggett resigned, and on the 11th of that, month, William Huffman was appointed to fill the vacancy. Otho E. Lucas was elected April 4, 1853, and on the 2nd of April, 1855, William Huffman was again chosen. Mr. Huffman was again elected in the spring of 1856, and was re-elected the following April; I. C. Felter, April 5, 1858, and April 4, 1859; I. R. Bittinger, April 1, 1861; J. T. Roll, April 7, 1862: J. N. North, April 15, 1863; William Jennings, April 12, 1869, John Kunkle, in April, 1871 and 1872; James O. Swallow, April, 1873, who died in office, and was succeeded by William H. Murphy; Mr. Murphy was re-elected in 1874 and 1875; Richard Krewson, in 1877; Daniel Foreman, in 1878; and William H. Murphy, the present incumbent, in 1879.
It was not for several years after the laying out of the village that the people thereof had the benefit of a post office. . We are unable to give the exact year, but can, from reliable source, state that Benjamin Wilhelm, the first Postmaster, was serving in such capacity in the year 1845. Mr. Wilhelm's successor was William Baggott, and in regular order came the following-named: William Satcamp, J. W. Murphy, Dr. A. Curtis; J. W. Murphy; and the present incumbent; Mrs. Rebecca Weidman, who took possession October 1, 1865. There are three churches here, which are given below in their chronological order. Of two of these, no record can be found, hence a brief sketch only can be given, and that alone from the memory of some of the old members. About the year 1839 or 1840, the United Brethren society erected a one-story brick church, on ground deeded to them by Benjamin Wilhelm. This church, at completion, was dedicated by the Rev. William Collins, The society was organized some years prior to the building of the church, and meetings held at the house and barn of Christopher Shupp, also at other private residences, but at that one given more frequently. Some of the early families of this society were the Shupps, Wilhelms, Covers and Beards, and among early ministers that served them were Joseph Hoffman and William Collins. During the years 1834, 1835, 1836 and 1837, extensive camp meetings of the United Brethren denomination were held in this vicinity. The church building was rebuilt in 1868. It is a very neat one-story brick structure, with spire and bell; cost about $4,000. The charge is in a very flourishing condition; membership, about two hundred; pastor, Rev. Swaim.
The German Evangelical Church society was organized in 1844 or 1.845, and among the first members were the families of Henry Klauer, Henry Erber, Frederick Shaeffer and M. Kronemiller, and the first pastors were Revs. Peter Goetz, G. Wolpert and John Honecker. Preaching was done at the residences of the members until the building of the present one-story brick church, in 1853. It was dedicated in the spring of 1854; sermon by Rev. A. Shaeffer. Rev. Jacob Miller is the present pastor; membership, about twelve.
Lutheran Church, erected in 1864, is a one-story brick, with cupola and bell. The society formerly was a part of the membership of the old Lutheran Church before mentioned, and, in 1858, withdrew for convenience, and effected an organization under the pastorate of Rev. Jacob Shower, and, up to the erection of the building at Vandalia, worshiped occasionally in the United Brethren Church there. The following families were among those constituting the organization: Ryders, Kunkles, Stoffers, Tobias, Ratcliffs, Randals and Alspachs. Revs. A. S. Sink, Solomon Wiles, D. W. Smith, J. J. Welch, Sanders, D. Somers, Ritz, E. D. Smith, W. M. Smith and A. M. Barrett, the present incumbent, have served the charge. Present membership, about fifty. The church was dedicated in October, 1864, by Rev. T. T. Titus, of Springfield.
The graveyard is as old as the village, the proprietor of which, having deeded to the Trustees of the United Brethren Church two-thirds of an acre of ground for burial purposes, but not to be used exclusively, by that denomination. It was never thought to be a very choice place of burial. However, it has been pretty well filled, but it is now abandoned, and the new cemetery used. This is styled Poplar Hill Cemetery, and is comprised of eight acres of ground, lying about three-quarters of a mile south of the village, on the Miami and Montgomery road, purchased of John Farrell at a cost of $652. The association was formed and organized in March, 1814, and the following Trustees elected: Henry Kunkle, C. W. Eby, D. J. Brandenburg, W. C. Randal and J. D. Kenney, with R. L. Coffman as Clerk. The grounds are regularly laid out into lots, leading to which are walks and avenues. Trees and shrubbery are being planted, and the day is not far distant when it will become a beautiful spot.
As was stated under the head of schools, Vandalia is an independent school district, in which is located a two-story brick building, erected in 1869, costing $3,300. The teachers now employed are J. P. Nine and Lizzie Wells, and have enrolled (in January, 1882) thirty-six and forty-six scholars respectively. The common, along with some of the higher branches, are taught. There are located here two lodges of the I. O. O. F.--Vandalia Lodge, No. 657, instituted August 25, 1876, with twelve charter members, under the following officers: John B. Fagor, N. G.; John Kunkle, V. G.; Michael Bennerd, R. S.; George C. Waymire, F. S.; and Isaac Brandenburg, Treasurer. The lodge now numbers eighty-one. The present officers are: George Kinchner, N. G.; Joseph H. Taylor, V. G.; John V. North, R. S.; Charles Maxton, F. S. Eden Lodge, No. 123, was instituted July 20, 1880; with twenty-one charter members, and the following officers elected: George C. Waymire, N. G.; Anna Jackson, V. G.; Kate Dabler, R. S.; Mollie Sinks, F. S.; present membership, sixty; and officers elect are: Hettie Wells, N. G.; Mollie Sinks, V. G.; Mary Anderson, R. S.; Sarah Altermer, F. S.; and Cynthia North, Treasurer.
The physicians of to-day are Drs. Corbin and Patton. There are two hotels, namely, Eagle House, kept by La Fayette Westerman, and the Emery, by J. M. Agenbrond. Two carriage shops are carried on, one by J. & T. North, and the other by D. J. Brandenburg, and a wagon shop carried on by Richard Krewson. Other business interests are as follows: A grocery and dry goods, by North & Briggs; a steam saw-mill, by J. I. Anderson; a boot and shoe store, by Alexander Jordan; a grocery and store, by Davis Brothers; blacksmithing, by J. W. Wells; drug store, by H. W. Emrick; grocery, by La Fayette Westerman; meat store, by Henry Reuss; another, by John Kees; custom work in boot and shoe line, by E. Surrell; merchant tailoring, by J. Eschbach; and barbering by the tonsorial artist, Henry Garrison.
On the Dayton & Michigan Railroad are two stations, namely, Tadmor and Johnson's. At the former is kept one store, which serves as depot and post office. There is also at this station a grain elevator. At Johnson's is one store.
There is another post office at a place known as Spankertown. In the neighborhood of twenty-five years ago, Branston Hutchins established a carriage shop a little east of Little York. Here were manufactured what were known some years ago as the "Spanker" wagons, hence the name which the cluster of houses afterward built at this point received The office was established here April 14, 1880, with Isaac Brandenburg, Postmaster, who, shortly after Mr. Hutchins was established, became his successor, and has since carried on the business. The merchant of this place is Peter Fetters.
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