From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882
By Christopher Gish, M. D.
It having by petition been made to appear to the Commissioners of Montgomery County that it was necessary to erect a new township by setting off that part of Randolph which was in the original surveyed Township 6, Range 4 east, June 8, 1825, it was ordered by them set off and declared to be a new township, and to be known by the name of Clay. And at the same session notice was given to the electors of said township to meet at the house of John Rohrer July 4, and elect township officers. In position it is in the extreme northwestern corner of the county, and bounded as follows: On the north by Darke and Miami Counties, on the east by Randolph Township, on the south by Perry, and on the west by Preble County. The general level of the subdivision is about 1,000 feet above the level of the sea, and about 500 feet above low water in the Ohio River at Cincinnati. The surface of the country-is slightly undulating, but no elevations that can properly be termed a hill appears. Much of it, was once lower than at present; the low places have been filled up with humas and the debris from rains and frosts washed in from the higher points, until they have reached almost the level of the surrounding country. The land thus made is called "black land," and is best adapted for corn and tobacco. While the process of leveling has been going on, the creeks and "babbling brooks" have by their erosive and transporting effects produced undulations, by which agencies the surface is being gradually removed, so that in time it will reach the level of the sea. The surface geology of this section indicates that the surface rocks are sedimentary, and mostly calcareous, and that they are new Silurian, and belong to that division called Niagara. These rocks, as sand and mud, were deposited as sediment in the bottom of a deep Silurian Sea. The upheavals and depressions since that period have been many. Numerous and interesting fossils are found in this formation, such as characterize it elsewhere. The fauna consist principally of radiates and mollusks. Very fine specimens of trilobites, ammonites and crinoids of osthoceras and pentamerous, together with many other crustacean mollusks, are found. During this deposit, however, no vertebrates yet existed. The fauna consisted of a few seaweeds, which were of a very inferior organization. Land plants were then only beginning to be unfolded. No coniferous or arboraceous trees existed. The new Silurian rocks are superimposed upon the old Silurian, or Cincinnati limestone, but are not exposed anywhere in the township. The thickness of the Niagara limestone in this township varies, owing to the inequalities of the horizon of the surface rock. Neither wells nor quarries nor creeks have penetrated through it, yet from outcroppings elsewhere it is thought to be from one hundred to two hundred feet. The limestone of this township is mostly carbonate of lime, carbonate of magnesia and silica, and some other chemical ingredients which make it, when disintegrated by "weathering" and other causes, an excellent mineral manure, which is an inexhaustible source of wealth to the owners of the soil for all time to come, as a part of the drift is limestone pebbles and sand. This, when exposed to the air by plowing, becomes disintegrated so as to be made in a condition to be used as plant food. At various times since the settling of this region, lime has been burned of these stones, but the business has never been carried on persistently; not, however, because of its quality, for that is good, but simple because the demand was not great, and the owners of the quarries saving large farms, and consequently much work to do. These lime kilns are located in the east side of the township. The stone quarried as yet is not the best for building purposes. The good building stone lie beneath the level of the quarries, and will in time be reached. Along the eastern side of the township, the rocks lie near the surface, and in Section .14, on the Solomon Worman farm, crop out. In this section are quite a number of fine springs, and on the farm above named is one that in former years was of sufficient size to furnish power for a saw-mill.
Wells dug in Sections 24 and 26, and in adjoining ones, show that the rocks lie within a few feet of the surface. In digging wells in these sections for culinary purposes, the rocks have to be penetrated to get a sufficient quantity.
The water of wells and springs is all "hard." In the center and western part of the township, wells dug do not reach the rock. Upon the rocks lies the drift which is the result of glacial ice erosion centuries ago. The drift is composed of clay, sand, gravel and bowlders, both foreign and native, the former predominating in numbers and size. The clay between the red clay and rocks is blue, from the prussiate of iron, and is sometimes known as "bowlder clay." from its having more bowlders, but not so large as those in the clays next above it. The writer has never seen a native bowlder in them, yet this does not disprove their existence. This blue clay is the water-bearing clay, pockets existing in it which are filled with sand, gravel, granite bowlders and water, and sometimes with the other contents of these reservoir, of water are found pieces of wood and arboraceous leaves. For the supply to be permanent and cool, it must be got out of these pockets, except that coming from the rocks. The water obtained for house use in the south, west and north parts of the township comes from this formation This clay is very compact and tough, and mostly impervious to water. When the pockets are penetrated, the waters often rise above them, and sometimes come to the surface. In Section 34, where the west fork of Wolf Creek runs on the blue clay, are numerous springs, which, including several wells on the farm of the writer, a little above Brookville, flow out at the top. Between the blue and red clays next above it, is an inter-glacial space which contains rolled and smooth limestone pebbles, sand and granite bowlders, parts of trunks of arboraceous and coniferous trees, together with leaves and bark. The bowlders are round and smooth, and possess other evidences of movement. It is not known that the fossils of the large tropical vertebrated animals are found in this space in this region; but it is said that they have been elsewhere. In digging wells, more or less of the above fossils are encountered. These accumulations are, therefore, morainal. There must have been two glacial epochs as indicated by the geology of this township. The red clay next above is made so by the admixture with it of carbonate of iron. Bowlders, large and small, native and foreign, are imbedded in this. The natives are of Niagara limestone of all sizes, with sharp corners, which indicate that they have been shoved along, and not rolled as the granite bowlders. These granite bowlders, together with much else that is of a mineral and earthy character that are imbedded in the clay, have been transported from Canada in glacial ice. The large surface bowlders scattered over the surface doubtless have been transported in icebergs from Greenland in the existence of a deep post-glacial sea. There are a great many of these in the township, and of great size, which are being utilized in the construction of foundations, cellar walls, etc. In all parts of the township are found very fine specimens of the lithological work of the aborigines, both neolithic and lithic, the workmanship of which surpasses our comprehension. Many of these were evidently utilitarian, while others were ornamental. These pre-historic relics have not excited that attention that their importance demands as ethnological curiosities.
The surface soil is superimposed upon the red clay, but, however, in places it has an ash color. To obtain good water and in abundance one must, in digging wells, always dig through the red clay. On account of the carbonate of lime in this clay, the agriculturist should always plow a little deeper than formerly, which fact the farmers are beginning to understand. For ages to come, this clay will be a source of wealth to the farmers. It makes good pottery ware, tiling and splendid brick, there being in it sufficient iron to give them a rich, red color. In this township are several morainal gravel pits. On the farm of Peter Razor, in Section 21, is an extensive deposit of this kind, which has afforded considerable material for road making, but as it is derived from the soft surface rock it is not very durable. The sand and pebbles in this pit are limestone plainly stratified, showing that water as well as ice had something to do with its formation. Other inter-glacial deposits of this kind are found, but there is too little of it, and it is too easily changed by use and frosts into yellow clay to amount to much. The alluvial gravel is much better, but very little of it is found in this township, but exists in great quantities along Twin and Wolf Creeks. This region is drained by the three western forks of Wolf Creek, which flow from about the center of the township in a southeasterly direction, watering that locality; by the head waters of Bear Creek in the south; by Twin Creek in the west, and in the north by the head waters of Ludlow Creek. This township, as is seen from the above, forms a kind of water-shed. The soil is as good as the average of the Miami Valley, and is composed of three kinds, namely, red, black and ash-colored. At the first settlement of the township, all kinds of timber peculiar to the Miami Valley were found there--white, red and burr oak, white and yellow poplar, white and red beech, white and red elm, white and blue ash, white and sugar maple, rough and smooth bark hickory, black walnut, sycamore, wild cherry and mulberry. Some years ago, the timber became diseased and died to an alarming extent, this being mainly due to the vicissitudes of the climate, caused, in part, by the removal of a large portion of the timber, thereby exposing that still standing to the extreme changes of climate. The process of draining has had its influence, too, by withdrawing from the roots of the trees the accustomed amount of water. Then, the depredations of the caterpillar were keenly felt. As will be remembered, these insects, in the year 1873, made their appearance in our forests in almost countless numbers, and infested the trees for three consecutive years. These worms denuded the trees of leaves, which ultimately destroyed many of the finest trees, mostly of oak, hickory and elm. As the leaves are to trees what the lungs are to animals, they can no more live without them than can animals without lungs. From this larval condition, these disgusting worms rolled themselves up in a web of their own spinning on leaves whose edges they drew together with the same thread. After remaining in this chrysalis condition for a few days, they were then metamorphosed into a white moth which lived for a brief period only. These worms or insects came into this region from the North, and slowly disappeared, moving southward, being three years in passing a certain point. This is the only period in the history of the township that our forests have been visited by them. As but few healthy trees are now to be found, the woodman should not forget the in junction, "Woodman, spare that tree." Forest culture will soon have to be resorted to if the supply is to be kept up. Permit us to proceed further in this line and state that within a few years have made their appearance in this vicinity, the currant and gooseberry worm, which is likewise the larval condition of a white moth, and very destructive to the leaves of those bushes, thereby injuring the fruit.
This portion of Montgomery County was not settled as early as other localities, for it was not until the year 1804 that we have any evidence of arriving emigrants. This year from Virginia came Joseph Rohrer, with family, and settled a little to the northeast of the center of the township, entering land in Section 14, which is considered the best in the township. The records show that prior to 1810, Mr. Rohrer had entered 480 acres of land in Sections 13 and 14, namely: the southwest quarter of Section 13, and the southeast and northeast quarters of Section 14, and also the northwest quarter of Section 24, and that the land was in his possession that year. In 1805, from the same State emigrated John Spitler, who in a few years married a daughter of Mr. Rohrer, and settled on Section 14, where both passed the remaining years of their lives. A daughter of Mr. Rohrer rode from her native State on horseback, when the family came out. About the year 1805, one of Pennsylvania's sons, in the person of Michael Baker, effected a settlement in Section 26, which section he entered. In 1810, Nicholas Beesecker owned 100 acres of this land located in the northwestern quarter of that section, and George Emert owned the sixty acres of that tract referred to. On this section there was an Indian camp when Mr. Baker arrived. Here, on these lands, the parents shared life's joys and cares together until silvered had become their hair, and were claimed by death. From the same State came Jacob Michael, who, in 1810, possessed 400 acres of land in the southern part of Section 25. This land had been entered as early as the year 1805, by John Bowman, who had entered, in addition to Section 25, forty acres in the southeast corner of Section 24. The latter, in 1810, was owned by Frederick Smith, and 250 acres in the northern part of Section 25 by Daniel Razor. The Michael tract is now in possession of Jacob, Jr., who was born on it. A little later than 1805, the northwest and southeast quarters of Section 34 was entered by Daniel Gripe, a Pennsylvanian. In 1810, the former quarter section was owned by Daniel Eyler. Mr. Gripe lived to a green old age, and before death settled a son and son-in-law, the latter Joseph Mikesell, on parts of the original tract.
About the year 1805, Andrew Lasure entered and moved on the northeastern quarter of Section 33. During the same year, John Pippenger settled in Section 35, entering the northeast quarter of the same, but soon thereafter sold it to John Minich. Daniel Krider entered a portion of Section 24. He immigrated to this locality in 1808, and in a short time sold the land to John Niswonger and entered a tract in Section 36. This land he improved and lived thereon until death. Daniel Krider, a son, is now occupying the old premises. All the above entries were located on the three western branches of Wolf Creek, in consequence of which the land was well drained and the springs, which were numerous, every farm having one, were never failing; and, again, these tracts were nearly all in the southeastern portion of the township. The cabins of these sturdy old pioneers were generally erected close by the numerous springs above mentioned. John Niswonger, prior to the year 1810, entered 320 acres in Section 23, as follows: The northwest and southeast quarters. The latter quarter section was owned in 1810 by Samuel Niswonger. Niswonger (John) also entered the northeast quarter of that same section, making in all 480 acres entered by him. David Miller, 80 acres situated in the northern part of Section 30, which in 1810 was owned by Elijah Wood. Miller also entered 80 acres in the southern part of the same section, which in 1810 was owned by Robert Wood. A Mr. Replogel entered quite a body of land in Sections 27 and 34, which in 1816 was the property of Daniel Gripe. Lewis Circle was the original proprietor of the southwest quarter of Section 23, and Daniel Razor of the northwest quarter of Section 13. Among other pioneers were Abram Wambanch, Christian Somers, Charles Fiet, Camdon Riley and Jacob Horner, all settling in the southwestern part of the township. In the northern part a number of families by the name of Thomas, who were connected with the Society of Friends or Quakers, settled early. Emigrants kept coming in from various quarters, and settlements were made throughout the subdivision. The Government land was all disposed of and taken up prior to 1830.
Our pioneer fathers had much to contend with, and necessarily underwent great privations. They lived far away from the sources of supply. The market for what little they had to sell was distant and the roads thereto mere bridle paths and indicated by blazed trees only. The necessaries of life were only obtained by hard labor, and such things as luxuries were unknown to them. Their wants were few and hard to supply. Their mutual dependencies made their social ties strong. They were neighborly and very social. Frequent were their visits to each other's cabins. They met often to assist one another in the erection of cabins and stables, in log raisings and log rollings. They were hospitable to new-comers--the "latch string" of the cabin doors was ever out. In illness they were dependent upon their medical resources, which seem to have been efficacious, as their lives were characterized by great longevity. Instead of being then cursed with too much professional medicine, as are the people of to-day, they by their arts assisted nature, which is now by too much medication often thwarted. Then each man was his own physician and priest, and every one was a law to himself. There were no vagrants or vagabonds among them. They had no use for court houses or jails. Religious sectarian dogmas and political dissensions did not disturb them. Far and near the people would go to visit the sick and dying. Everybody went to funerals in that day, and the sorrow manifested thereat was real and heartfelt. No particular etiquette was then observed. It was not so expensive to die then as now. Now it is too expensive to live, and costs too much to die. They were unostentatiously honest and charitable to a fault. They wore what they earned, ate what they got, knew no such word as hate and envied no man's goods. The first settlers of this region have all paid that debt from which none are exempt. Of them it might be truthfully said, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Many, too, of the first born of the township have grown old in it and have been gathered to their fathers. These pioneers have made themselves worthy of the township in which they resided. They have made their mark. Their work is as "bread cast upon the waters, to be seen many days hence." From a personal acquaintance and intercourse with many of these the writer can testify to their merits.
The first schoolhouse of which we have been able to get any knowledge was one that stood in the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of Section 13, on the present site of the cemetery there. It was built about the year 1815, and was constructed of unhewn logs. Within, in the way of heating apparatus, was an improvised brick furnace or stove located in the center. Slabs were used as desks and for seats or benches. The first schoolmaster of the house and the first teacher of the township was a German, by name John Holsmiller. Not long after the erection of this house, was built another in Section 26 on the Michael Baker land, about one mile northeast of the present village of Brookville. A few years later, another house was built near the center of Section 34. This was probably about the year 1820. All of these houses were built on the same plan, which did not differ from the usually rude log schoolhouse of pioneer times, full descriptions of which will be found elsewhere in this work. In these schools were taught no German, nor geography, nor geometry, 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. Two sections of land were reserved for the support of schools. These have been sold and the proceeds, with the local and State tax, are amply sufficient for the provision of good schools, with which the township is well supplied, there being now nine substantial brick schoolhouses, three of which are two stories high, and in them are taught graded schools. Two of these, at Brookville and Phillipsburg, are independent as special districts. The furniture of these houses is of the best. There are now in the township 1,000 youth of school age, which is an average of 111 to each schoolhouse. For the year 1880, $6,458 were expended for school purposes, or $6.50 to each pupil; that, together with the interest of the money expended in the construction of the houses, makes it not less than $8.50 to each scholar per annum; the maximum wages of teachers is $3.25, and the minimum $1.25 per day. The first "meeting house" built in the township was erected in the vicinity of the present village of Phillipsburg by the Society of Friends; however, this was not until, comparatively speaking, a late day, in 1828. Prior to this, all denominations worshiped either in the meeting-houses of the neighboring townships or in schoolhouses, each other's cabins or barns, and in the summer in the woods. Among the early families settling in the southern part of the township were quite a number of the German Baptist persuasion. There are located here now some thirteen churches, the greater number of which are situated in the villages. Thus is afforded a house of worship for every 235 inhabitants of the subdivision.
There are here quite a number of villages, which follow in their chronological order: Phillipsburg, situated in the northeastern part of the township, has a population of 232. Ten lots were laid out by James Hanks, a surveyor, January 30, 1836, for the proprietors, Philip Studybaker, John John, John Thomas and Nemiah Thomas, and it derived the name of Phillipsburg from Studybaker. In the year 1828, the Friends' meeting-house, before spoken of, was built here. Wm. Thomas was the first preacher. The denomination of Friends who here worshiped are now of the events that "have been," the society having long since disappeared. Peter Rhodebauch was a merchant in this vicinity in 1835. The post office was established in 1846, with Peter Smith as Postmaster. In 1836, a schoolhouse was built, and in the same year the Rev. Elijah Williamson, as an expounder of the doctrines taught by the Christian denomination, preached to the people in a cabinet-maker's shop. Four churches now grace the village-Christian, United Brethren, Lutheran and Evangelical. The merchants of to-day are A. H. Baker and J. M. Beason. There is one saw-mill in the village. One of the two voting precincts of the township is at this point. South Arlington, situated near the center of the township on the National road, was laid out November 19, 1838, by Slingsby L. Barnes, into sixteen lots, which were platted July 8, 1839. Edward Green opened the first store soon after the village was laid out. The United Brethren Church located here was built in 1852, with Rev. Cosharine as the first regular preacher. The village is now the center of a large area of tobacco culture, and in it are two blacksmith and one wagon-maker's shop, and a saw-mill, built in 1841, now operated by D. A. Baker. It was formerly one of the voting precincts of the township. The population is 149. Bachman, situated about one and one-half miles west of Arlington on the Dayton & Union Railroad, and on the National road, was laid out by C. Bachman, the proprietor of the land, April 1, 1842, the surveying being done on that date by W. G. George. It has a population of sixty-six. It has a store and warehouse, where is located the post office; proprietors are the Hammel Brothers. One Dougherty is the "village smith." The village of Dodson was laid out by B. H. Dodson, April 15, 1851, hence the name. It is fifteen miles northwest of Dayton, and at it is formed the junction of the D. & U. with the D. & W. R. R. Its inhabitants number seventy-seven. At this point, in 1874, the Catholics erected a church. The people have the benefit of a post office, telegraph office, a warehouse and general store kept by Messrs. Williamson & Albert. Brookville, the principal village, located in the southern part of the township, on the Dayton and Western road, was surveyed and platted by Jacob Frees April 13, 1850, for Jacob Flory, the proprietor of fifteen lots. In 1831, a dry goods store was kept on the site of the village, by Warren Estabrook, for whom it was afterward named. Joseph Mikesell was an earlier merchant on the same site. Additions were made by one Root, and by Noah and Benjamin Baker. The village is pleasantly situated on the west branch of Wolf Creek, and is about 250 feet higher than the city of Dayton. From this village diverge in almost every direction good and free turnpikes, which the township in general is well supplied with. The first funeral sermon preached where now is the village was under a forest tree, standing on the present site of the house of G. Stonebarger. In 1852, the Methodist Church was erected, and the house dedicated by Rev. A. B. Wambaugh. A little later, the Lutheran Church was erected by the Presbyterian congregation, which is now lost sight of. Of the three warehouses now located here, one was built in the year 1852, by Benjamin Baker. C. Burlin was the physician of 1853. The post office was established in 1855, with Moses Wagaman as Postmaster. The present incumbent is L. S. Smith. This same year, the first regular hotel of the village was built, by G. B. Adams. This became an independent school district in 1873, and the following year the village was incorporated (September 9, 1874). James Smith was the first Mayor. James Stewart is now the Village Mayor. The schoolhouse is a large two-story brick, with four apartments. The teachers are Samuel Minich, Laura Duckwall, Silas Fox and Minnie Smith. In 1879, the largest and most commodious church edifice was built by the United Brethren. Rev. Mr. Miller was the first, and is still their Pastor. Revs. Mr. Grow and Michael Kaufman officiated respectively in the Lutheran and Methodist Churches. The physicians are Drs. J. C. Conner, A. Dove, C. Gish, William Mundhenk and Moses Pretzinger. The Village Justice is L. S. Smith, and J. Smith is the telegraph operator and ticket and freight agent. The Brookville hotel is kept by Charles Riley; the "Eureka" by Noah Baker; and the "Eagle" by J. C. Hidinger. Other business enterprises are as follows: A steam flouring-mill, two saw-mills, a large carriage manufactory, owned and operated by H. N. Gagle; a wagon-maker shop, carried on by John Siebert; dry goods and grocery establishments, carried on by Richard Riley, H. Albert and Samuel Barnes; two tin shops, by David Kinsie and Stephen Ellen; one saddler shop and one barber shop, two drug stores, kept by William Sanford and Moses Pretzinger, and two houses where are kept agricultural implements. Jacob Overhalser and R. Roller are the blacksmiths. The population now numbers 565. It is one of the voting precincts.
West Baltimore, lying partly in Preble and partly in Montgomery County, being in the northwestern part of the township, was, surveyed by Jacob Frees, June 22, 1852. The proprietors of that part situated in Montgomery County were Peter Snyder, Isaac Schauff, Rinehard Bens., William S. Reed and Boyer, Fritchey & Co. In 1835, on the present site of the village, John Fritz sold dry goods, and in 1839, a United Brethren Church was erected. The village is on the line of a turnpike, running through it east and west, and at the north end of one running south.
Wenger Lawn is a flag station on the Dayton & Union Railroad, one mile from Bachman. In 1876, a store and warehouse was opened by Solomon Good. The same year, a United Brethren Church was erected. Mr. Good is the Pastor. In 1853, the saw-mill now owned and operated by William Long was built by Daniel Lasure.
Clay is prominently a grass township. Figuratively speaking, grass is "king" here. The soil is well adapted to both foreign and native. The latter is present everywhere and, at times, takes the place of all others. It comes early in spring and lasts late in autumn, and is more nutritious than any other. It is best for flesh and milk. 'Tis said, "all flesh is grass." Clover and timothy make the best hay, and the former is especially good for the recuperation of the soil. About 85 per cent of the whole are plow lands, leaving only 15 per cent as wood and pasture land. This, in the opinion of the writer, is not right. At least 30 per cent of the whole should be left in pasture and woodland. The farmers are now understanding the importance of the rotation of crops, and of clover being one of them for manure purposes, in consequence of which there is being brought about a marked improvement in the agriculture of this region. Live stock is to a greater extent being inclosed in winter than in former years, which not only adds to their comfort but is economy to farmers. It is being understood that for every load of grain, hay, straw or tobacco taken off of a farm, a load of manure should be returned. Manure put upon this land is like "bread cast upon the waters to be seen many days hence," as there is no washing and an impervious sub-soil which prevents leaching.
As land is the basis of all human operations, either in the shape of lots, lands or farms, and as population increases, so will the value of lands and lots increase; consequently there is an increased desire on the part of the people of the township to own land. Every foot of it is available for agricultural and horticultural purposes. There is no waste land in it. The soil was originally good, but now the fertility of it is being improved by ditching and tiling. 'Twas once said, "Young man, go West." Lands here are as cheap, considering the locality and quality, and improvements, as they are anywhere else. But few people now move away to buy cheap lands. With two exceptions, the roads are on section lines, and the farms square. The expense of fencing is therefore at a minimum, costing about $92,160 to fence the township in forty-acre lots, this being $4 to the acre, the interest on the gross amount being $5,529, or $3 to the individual of the rural part of the township. When the stock law is fully enforced, as it will be in a few years (now 'tis only partially), then the cost of fencing will be less. For farm boundary fences, hedging is now being planted extensively.
Formerly, when the country was new, and the surface partially covered with timber, weeds and water, and agriculture in its infancy, malarious diseases were then quite prevalent. Forty years ago, when the writer of this, as a physician, first became acquainted with the township, malarial disease was more or less common every year, and some years more or less of it in every family. But now, since it is mostly cleared and cleaned of brush and weeds, and ditched and fairly cultivated, it compares favorably with any other part of the Miami Valley in this respect. Good housekeeping, as well as good husbandry, has done much to bring about this state of affairs. The social and moral condition of the people of this will compare well with those of any other township in the county. No murder has ever been committed here, and there is but little litigation. Indeed, the morals would be exceedingly good if it was not for the intoxicating liquors sold.
According to the enumeration recently taken, the population of the township is 3,060, being 85 to the square mile, an increase of about 20 per cent during the last decade. The village population is 1,130. This is a gain of 237 during the last decade, being a gain of 20 per cent also. In fifty years, at this rate of gain, the population of the township will be double what it is now, or 6,120. That of the villages will be 2,260. The population of the rural district is 1,930, being a gain of 282, or 14 per cent since 1870. Thus we see that it takes the rural population fourteen decades or one hundred and forty years to double itself, while the village population will be double in fifty years. This is unfortunate, as village life is more demoralizing than rural life. The idle and profligate drift into villages. If these were industrious and economical, they would have no trouble to find homes in the country.
There are thirty-six sections in the township and 23,040 acres of land, being seven and a half acres to each inhabitant; 18,626 acres of this is plow land. The balance, 4,414 acres, is woodland. Much of this is used for pasture, as it is all inclosed.
There is a little less than twelve acres of land to each inhabitant outside of the villages.
The population of Brookville, the principal village of the township, is 565, being a gain of 165 in the last decade. Of Phillipsburg it is 232, being a gain of 45 in the last ten years; of South Arlington it is 149, being a gain of 25 since 1870; of Dodson it is 77, being a gain of 30 in the last decade; of Bachman it is 66, being a loss of one in the last ten years. At this rate of decline, this village will be "wiped out" of existence in 660 years; of Wenger Lawn, it is 41, a clear gain in the last ten years.
The lands of the township have just been appraised (for taxable purposes) at $55 per acre with the buildings, and at $50 per acre without them, making in the aggregate $1,267,200 with buildings; without buildings; $1,152,000. The buildings are valued at $115,200. This makes $415 to each inhabitant for land with buildings.
The total value of the real estate in the villages of the township is $131,330, being $116 to each inhabitant of villages.
Of personal property, there are in the township 667 horses, valued at $37,610, averaging $56 to the head.
Of cattle, there are 1,134 head, valued at $15,434, being a little over $13 per head.
There are 19 mules, valued at $910; 313 sheep, valued at $971; 2,417 hogs, valued at $5,684, and 467 carriages, valued at $17,908. There are also 86 watches, valued at $792; 37 pianos and organs, valued at $1,165; the average merchandise is valued at $1,650; values of money subject to draft, $8,414; credits after deducting bona fide debts, $90,052; dogs, 290, valued at $175.
Total value of all taxable personal property, including cereals and tobacco, $418,750.
The total value of all the property in the township, real and personal, is $1,717,110, being $561 to each inhabitant.
Total amount of all taxes paid in the township for all purposes is, for 1880, $20,974, being nearly $7 to each man, woman and child, and being nearly 82 per cent of 1 per cent of the whole amount.
There are eleven distinct turnpike roads in the township, making in the aggregate thirty-five miles, and a little over three miles to the road. These roads are all "free pikes," no toll roads are in existence in the township. At the rate at which "pikes" have been made, it will not be many years till all the principal roads will be "piked." The average cost of these free pikes is about $1,500 per mile. Bridging is not expensive, as there are no streams of any size in the township. The ditches on either side furnish excellent drainage to the adjacent lands. These turnpikes are paid for by bonds hypothecated on a tax placed upon adjacent lands, to be paid in installments. These roads add greatly to the comfort of living and to the value of the lands. 'Tis therefore, for the farmers, a judicious investment. Two of these pikes are on township lines.
In the township are nine variety stores where are kept dry goods, clothing, groceries and all kinds of ware; seven warehouses or grain depots located on the two railroads that cross the southwestern corner of the township, namely: the Dayton & Union and Dayton & Western, by which is afforded excellent facilities for shipping the various products and for travel. A great amount of wheat, corn, oats, barley, tobacco and hogs are handled annually at these warehouses. Five saw-mills, a large carriage manufactory, wagon-maker's shop, eight blacksmiths, a large flouring mill, tile factory, a store where agricultural implements and machinery are kept, eight physicians and surgeons--one for every 382 inhabitants. Unfortunately for the morals of the people, there are eight saloons, and four hotels, and two drug stores, making fourteen places where ardent spirits are dispensed--one for every 218 persons. The laws for the protection of the people from the evils of drunkenness are not enforced, neither will they be until it is made the duty of officers in authority to see that they are enforced.
©1999 - 2009 Brookville Historical Society, Inc.