From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882
BY JACOB ZIMMER
In the latter part of the year 1795, a surveying corps under the charge of Daniel C. Cooper, located a road through the dense forest up the east bank of the Miami, from Fort Hamilton to the mouth of Mad River, and early in 1797, the territory now embraced in this township began to be settled, as in that year William Hole located on 150 acres of land in Section 25, east of the present town of Miamisburg. In the following winter his parents, Zachariah and Phoebe (Clark) Hole, came from Virginia, accompanied, by their family, and located on the same section as his son William. The children, were as follows: William, who, married Ruth Crane; Daniel, who married Polly Beedle; Dr. John, a sketch of whom will be found in Washington Township; Zachariah, who married Hannah Delay; Polly, who became the wife of David Yeazell; Sarah, who married a Mr. Eaton; Betsy, who became the wife of John Craig and Phoebe, who also married a. man named Eaton. All were born in Virginia. In the summer of 1799, a block-house was erected on a part of Zachariah Hole's land, around which was thrown a stockade for protection against the Indians, and this became known as "Hole's Station." It was soon recognized as a point of considerable importance, a kind of headquarters for all who came to this region while prospecting for or locating land. The elder Hole and wife died and were buried in the vicinity of the station, while the younger members of the family subsequently removed to other portions of the county and State.
During the latter part of 1797, or early in 1798, Maj. George Adams, Anthony Chevalier, William Van Arsdale and James Drew settled in this township. Of the two latter little is known, only that. Drew lived at Hole's Station, and Van Ausdall with his family lived southwest of the mouth of Holes Creek. Maj. Adams entered a large tract of land in the present vicinity of Carrollton along the bank of the Miami River. He played a prominent part in the war of 1812 in defense of the frontier settlements, and bore the scars of many battles. Previous to his settlement in this county, he had lived in Butler County, from where he removed to Montgomery. Chevalier was a native of France, one, of those intrepid bands of patriots who left their native land under the leadership of the gallant Lafayette, to fight for American independence. He served throughout that struggle against English oppression, and at its triumphant close settled in Virginia, where he married Rachel Scott, a cousin of Gen. Winfield Scott; lived subsequently in Kentucky, and from there came to this county. He settled at Hole's Station, from whence, after a few years' residence, he removed to Section 15, and is yet well-remembered by many old citizens.
In the early part of the year 1800, Col. William Dodds and family settled in Section 21, near where the town of Carrollton is now located. He was a native of Pennsylvania, who there married Isabella McGrew, and toward the close of the eighteenth century came to Cincinnati, where he lived a few years, thence to this township; with him came his wife and seven children, viz. Joseph, who was killed in the war of 1812; William, John, James, Margaret, Polly and Catherine; two were born subsequently, Thomas and Martha. At the same time, his brother Joseph and fairly also located in this township. Col. Dodds and wife lived and died on the farm which they settled, leaving many descendants who honor their memory. He was a man of vigorous mind, who did much toward the speedy settlement of this portion of the Miami Valley. Another of the pioneers was Alexander Nutz, of Pennsylvania, who with his family located on Section 36, one mile south of "Hole's Station," in 1800, and who is well remembered by old men now living in the township, who were small boys during the war of 1812, and who vividly recollect that Mr. Nutz had a good orchard as early as that struggle. In the fall of 1802, William Lamme with his wife and five children came from Kentucky, and settled on Section 9, in the northeast corner of the township. He erected the first grist-mill in this locality, in a narrow gorge between the hills on Hole's Creek, which site was long ago abandoned, and a more suitable place selected, where his eldest son, David, built and operated a mill. He was also a native of Kentucky, and was about eighteen years old when his parents came to Montgomery County, and here on the 7th of August, 1804, he was married to Margaret Dodds, a daughter of Col. William Dodds, who is spoken of previously. She was born in Pennsylvania, and came to this county with her parents. Of this union were born two sons and eight daughters, only two of whom are living, viz., William J. and Katy E. David Lamme was a Justice of the Peace for many years, and in 1840 was elected to the Legislature; he was one of the Commissioners under whom the court house at Dayton was built, and died August 22, 1855, his wife dying December 28, 1868. In 1802, John Craig and family came to this township, and erected a log cabin on the site of the present residence of H. C. Hunt, on the Springboro road. The same year Samuel Boltin, a Dunkard preacher, settled in Section 35, on the west bank of the Miami River. He was born in Philadelphia in 1767, and there married Elizabeth Brown of that city, and about 1795 removed to Kentucky, and two years later to Clermont County, Ohio, thence in 1802 to this county. He brought with him his wife and five children, viz., William, Mary, Jane, Sarah and Henry; after coming to this county, four others were born as follows: Stewart, Annie, Samuel and Phoebe. Mr. Boltin, besides preaching the Gospel, was one of the pioneer school teachers of this region of country, and died in 1839, his wife surviving him a few years. Phoebe Makain, the widow of James Makain, is the only one of his children now living; and Henry's three sons, Samuel, Cornelius and Henry, are the only members of the family name residing in Montgomery County.
During this year, or the year following, Alexander Scott and family, of Kentucky, settled northwest of the station, but subsequently sold out and moved to Indiana. In 1804, George V. Stettler, wife and five sons--William, Henry, Daniel, George and Jacob--natives of Berks County, Penn., located one mile southwest of "Hole's Station," where George V. died April 23, 1815. His son, Daniel, was born in Berks County, Penn., in June, 1773, and about 1810 was married to Catherine Gehres, also a native of the Keystone State, but who came to Butler County, Ohio, with her family in 1805. She was born in 1783, and had four children by her union with Mr. Stettler, only two, Philip and Hannah, now living. Daniel was in the war of 1812, and died in Miami Township, in June, 1853, his wife surviving him until November 27, 1863. It was at the cabin of the Stettler's where one of the early churches was organized in 1806, which organization is yet in existence; during 1804 came Jacob and John Ungerer, who settled in Section 30; Andrew Small, who located a little east of the Ungerer's, and who was an old Revolutionary soldier, and one of the pioneer school teachers of the Miami Valley; and James Pettigrew and William Long with their families, who settled southeast of the station; also Tobias Whetsel, his wife, Catherine, with five sons and two daughters, came from North Carolina and settled in the vicinity of the Gebhart Church, where they had born to them after coming, one son and two daughters; Mary and Catherine are now the only survivors of this large family.
It was in the spring or summer of 1804, that John Shupert, wife and six children, Christopher, Frederick, Jacob, Eva, Peggy and Tena, came from Berks County, Penn., locating about one mile southwest of "Hole's Station," where he and wife lived until death. Christopher was married and had one son, John, when the family located here, the latter of whom is now residing in the township. In the same colony from Berks County, Penn., came Peter Gebhart, wife and two children, John and Elizabeth, settling a short distance southwest of the station, where Peter died the same year. His son, John, now a very old man, is still a resident of Miami Township. Most of this colony from Berks County settled in German Township, and the record of their settlement will be found under that heading. Henry and Mary Strader, natives of North Carolina, also came in 1804. Their son, Samson P., was born in Guilford County, N. C., in 1796; married Mary Benner in 1817, a native of Maryland, born in 1796, and daughter of Jacob and Mary Benner, also early settlers of this township. They had five children.
In the fall of 1804 came one of those men who have done so much toward building up the moral interests of this valley, and who have molded and crystallized its religious sentiment. His name was John Jacob La Rose, a minister of the Reformed Church, and a native of Lehigh County, Penn., born in February, 1755. His parents were John L. and Anna K. La Rose, natives of Germany, of French extraction, who came to America about 1740. Early in life, young La Rose manifested a deep interest in religious matters, which developed with the passing years, and in the meantime he learned the tailor's trade, which he followed for a livelihood. In September, 1776, he enlisted in the army of Washington, underwent the sufferings at Valley Forge, and participated in the memorable battle of Trenton, N. J., December 26 of that year.
In 1777, his term of enlistment having expired, he went to North Carolina, finally settling in Guilford County, where about 1780 he married Mary B. Gift, to whom were born five sons and three daughters, viz., Philip J., Louis V., Jacob, Daniel, John, Barbara, Elizabeth and Catherine. Here William-La Rose followed tailoring, farming and teaching school, and in 1795 was licensed to preach the gospel by an Ecclesiastical Body of the Presbyterian Church, there being no such body of the Reformed denomination nearer than Pennsylvania. He had, however, acted in the capacity of a preacher of the Word long previous to receiving his licentiate, and for seven or eight years subsequently preached for the Reformed Church in Guilford County. In September, 1804, he started with his family, in a four-horse wagon, for Ohio, arriving at "Hole's Station" November 4, of that year, and immediately entered 160 acres of land about one mile south east of that point, upon which he erected a log cabin, and began his life in the valley of the Miami. In the early part of 1805, he resumed his ministerial duties by preaching to the scattered pioneers, wherever and whenever he could gather a few to listen to the Word, and thus he passed several years preaching and teaching throughout this region of country. In 1812, he removed to Highland County, Ohio, where his wife died in 1813, and the following year he returned to this township, and made his home with his son-in-law, Emanuel Gebhart, who then resided on the "old homestead," which Mr. La Rose had entered; he afterward lived with his children in Preble County, Ohio. On the 22d of May, 1820, he was examined and ordained by a committee of ministers, appointed by the Synod of the Reformed Church for that purpose, and until 1826 was engaged on missionary work in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. In that year, he retired from the practical duties of the ministry, although preaching occasionally until 1830, after which he preached no more. He died (in the same house which he had erected forty years previously) November 17, 1844, in his ninetieth year, the last fourteen of which he had spent in happy retirement, such as writing articles upon religious subjects, reading, meditation and prayer. He inherited a healthy, vigorous body, with a strong vital force, possessing great tenacity of constitution and power of endurance, and was well adapted for pioneer work. Among his neighbors he bore the name of "Peace Maker," and was recognized as a conscientious, thorough Christian, a man whom all loved and respected. It was he who organized the Gebhart and Stettler Churches, in 1805 and 1808 respectively, and St. John's at Germantown in 1809. For this sketch of William La Rose, we are indebted to the Rev. Isaac H. Reiter, D. D., who kindly furnished us with all the data and facts as to Mr. La Rose's life and labors.
Henry and Elizabeth Moyer, natives of Pennsylvania, settled in Section 35, on the west bank of the Miami in 1804, where Henry died the following year. Their son, Peter, was but fifteen years old upon coming to this county, having been born in Berks, County, Penn., September 7, 1789. Married Elizabeth Heck, of Jefferson Township, October 8, 1812, who bore him ten children. Both spent their lives in this township.
In 1805, Valentine Gebhart and family came to this township from Berks County, Penn., and with his sons, Andrew, Philip and Daniel settled at Hole's Station and whose descendants are among the most respected citizens of Montgomery County. In the same year came John Gebhart, wife Christine, and four children--Catherine, George, Jonathan and Elizabeth--from Berks County, Penn., settling in Section 24, and after coming, had born to them Mary, Daniel, Christine, Elias, Salome and Lydia. Mr. Gebhart died in 1842, in his sixty-fourth year, his wife surviving until 1870, dying in her ninetieth year. Jonathan and Elias are the only survivors of eleven children. With John Gebhart came his wife's parents, George and Margaret Gebhart, also two brothers-in-law, George Gebhart with his wife, Elizabeth, and seven children, and Jacob Gebhart and wife Salome. In 1808, Jacob and Catherine Baum, natives of Maryland, who had been residing in Kentucky previous to this date, came to what is now Miami Township, and located north of Hole's Station on the east bank of the Miami River. They brought with them nine children, viz.: Martin K., Mary, Elizabeth, John, George, Susan, Barbara, Jacob and Joseph; the mother died about 1808, and the father about 1830. Jacob, Jr., the only survivor of the family was born February 4, 1801, and is now eighty-one years old, but the ravages of time have made sad havoc with his once sturdy frame, and his days on earth must indeed be few. He was married to Elizabeth Cramer, who bore him three daughters--Margaret, Eliza and Mary, the eldest of whom is the only one living, she being the wife of John H. Schaffer, of German Township, with whom Mr. Baum makes his home.
In 1809, Emanuel Gebhart, with his wife Elizabeth (who was a daughter of the Rev. John Jacob La Rose) and family, from Pennsylvania, settled on the La Rose farm, and here spent their entire lives in the vicinity of Miamisburg, she dying December 28, 1887, aged eighty-three, and, January 22, 1888, her husband followed her, and they now sleep side by side in their last earthly home. With Mr. Gebhart, came his son-in-law, Jacob Kercher, and wife Margaret, who bore him after coming to Ohio, two sons and eight daughters; the two former and one of the daughters are yet living. Jacob died in 1855, and his wife a few years later; he owned land east of "the Station," and Miamisburg was partly laid out by him on this land. At the same time that Jacob came to Ohio, his brother John, who was single, also came and made this township his future home. The "Old Dominion" now responded to the call for early settlers, sending in 1809 Peter Eagle, his wife Annie, and nine children, who settled in Section 19, east of Miamisburg. The sons were Henry, Jacob, George, Peter and David; the daughters were Polly, Eve, Betsy and Sarah. Two were born subsequently, viz., John and Annie. Peter, Sr., died in 1820, his widow marrying again and surviving him many years. Peter, Jr., and David are yet living, the former of whom married Mary Whetsel fifty-nine years ago, and they are now residing in Section 19, hale, hearty and happy in the enjoyment of each other's society. John and Elizabeth Neibel, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Virginia, came, with three children, to this township in October, 1810. Upon starting from Virginia they had four children, but when a couple of days on the road, the wagon was upset and one of the sons was killed. Mrs. Neibel died in May, 1847, and her husband in December, 1855. Their son William, who was but five years old when they came to Ohio, is residing on Section 8, and is one of the representative farmers of the township. In 1811, William and Catherine (Sutphin) Conover, natives of Monmouth County, N. J., with three children--Ida, Abraham and Ann, located in Section 29, on the east bank of the Miami. They had born to them in Ohio, Deborah, William, C. S. and Maria. William Conover and wife resided in this township all their lives, excepting a short period at an early day which they spent in Warren County. They were a successful and very worthy pioneer couple, and their children stand among the most respected people of this county, intelligent, progressive and honest.
In this year came Drs. Peter and John Treon, from Berks County, Penn., and located at "Hole's Station," and who afterward helped to lay out Miamisburg in 1818. Dr. Peter died many years ago, but Dr. John is yet living and one of the oldest men in the county, being now close to his ninety-first year. There are few men of Montgomery County living or dead, who had a greater success in life financially, than Dr. John Treon, and there never has been a physician in this region of country, who did a more extensive business or traveled over such a vast extent of country in the practice of his profession. He was born in Berks County, Penn., March 25, 1791, studied medicine under his father and in Philadelphia, and as stated came to this township in 1811 penniless. He was married November 13, 1818, to Eve Weimer, who died May 20, 1873, and was again married to Mrs. Elizabeth Black, who now watches over him in his helpless old age.
Peter Hetzel, wife Catherine, and family settled in Section 10, in the northeast corner of the township in 1812, and David, his son, is now a resident of Miamisburg, and one of its best and most progressive old citizens. In the same year came Philip Huiet and family, who built a grist-mill on the Miami north of "Hole's Station," and also Henry Yeazell and family, who settled in the bend of the Miami, in Section 30, across the river from the present town of Alexanderville. Another settler of this period was George Parsons, who with his family located in the Dodds' neighborhood, but no doubt many came whose names cannot now be remembered, and those we have given have been obtained by the greatest difficulty, yet some may be left out who helped to civilize and develop this valley, but whose names or time of settlement is lost to the historian of to-day.
ERECTION OF MIAMI TOWNSHIP
On the 9th of December, 1829, it was ordered by the County Commissioners that Washington Township be divided, and a new township erected, to be known by the name of Miami Township, the division line to commence on said county line, at the section line between Sections 3 and 9, and running thence north on said section line to the northern boundary line of said township, between Sections 4 and 10, the western boundary of said new township to be the Miami River. On petition of sundry inhabitants of Dayton Township presented March 7, 1831, the Commissioners of Montgomery County attached fractional Sections 19, 20, 29 and 30, in Township 1, Range 6, in the southwest corner of Dayton Township, west of the Miami River to Miami Township, and at the same time a portion of German Township was attached to the new township of Miami as follows: Beginning at the Miami River on the line between Montgomery and Butler Counties, at the southeast corner of German Township, and running in a westerly direction on said line to the southwest corner of Section 28, Township 2, Range 5; thence north on the section line to the northwest corner of Section 4, Township 2, Range 5; thence east on the line between Jefferson and German Townships, to the northeast corner of fractional Section 2, Township 2, Range 5; thence with the Miami River, to the place of beginning. August 21, 1841, Section 34 and fractional Sections 35 and 36, were attached from Jefferson and added to Miami Township. The present boundaries of Miami Township are as follows: On the north by Van Buren, Harrison and Jefferson Townships; on the south by Warren County; on the east by Washington Township, and on the west by German and Jefferson Townships. The first election was held April 5, 1830, at the house of Charles Connelly, a large frame tavern which stood on the northeast corner of Main and Ferry streets, in Miamisburg. This building was removed many years ago, and its site is occupied by the residence of Hon. Emanuel Shultz.
The judges of the election were John Neibel, Adam Shuey and Phillip Keller. Clerks, John Conley and M. S. Blossom. The latter is the only survivor.
The following officers were elected: Trustees, John Neibel, Fletcher Emly and Benjamin Sayre; Clerks, Thomas Morton; Treasurer, Charles Connelly; Constable, Andrew Treon.
April 21, 1830, William Sawyer was elected Justice of the Peace, receiving 155 votes; John Burk, 64. Total 219.
October 12, following, there were 231 votes cast for Governor, viz.: 143 for Robert Lucas, and 88 for Duncan McArthur.
December 6, 1830, there was an election held for State Representative, in place of William Smith, deceased.
School districts were established the same year, from No. 1 to No. 9, inclusive. Additions and changes have frequently been made since.
The following is a list of the number of house-holders in each school district in that year, viz.: No. 1, 32; No. 2, 20; No. 3, 4; No. 4, 5; No. 5, 29; No. 6, 40; No. 7, 45; No. 8, (Miamisburg) 104; No. 9, 30.
January 17, 1832, District No. 8 was divided into two districts. Market street and the Centerville road being the dividing line.
The early educational facilities here, were as elsewhere in frontier life, on account of meager population to form satisfactory school districts, having a sufficient number of pupils to justify the employment of competent teachers, will be apparent. The teachers also, in many instances, were of a type that antiquity might have been proud of. Hence, the people of those days should have credit for what was accomplished, and not charged with what was not done. The first school was taught at the Gebhart Church, at an early day. It was not until the enactment of the law of 1852, that this interest received a fresh impetus. The Township Board of Education, consisting of the clerks of the school districts, in a few years after the passage of the law, commenced to build new houses in nearly every district. The log-cabin schoolhouse was abandoned, new and comfortable quarters, with the modern improved seats and desks, took the place of slab seats and log fires.
The cost of the buildings and furniture ranged from $10 to $1,500.
The law of 1852 also provided for a higher grade of teachers, and a consequent advance of compensation. The County Board of Examiners had the effect to drop all the incompetents. The result was manifest in a few years. Better teachers took the place of those who were formerly employed, and advance steps among the youth were the results, in a few years. Some opposition was manifested at first, on the part of parents, upon the proposed progressive steps, but in a short time it subsided, until now, all join in urging the work.
The laws of the State required the election in each township, every year, of two Overseers of the Poor, also "Fence Viewers."
To show the operation of the Poor laws at that date, the following is given, which explains itself:
To WILLIAM GOUDY, Constable of said Township, Greeting:
WHEREAS, We, the undersigned, owners of the poor of Miami Township, have received information that there has lately come into the township, a certain poor and destitute woman named --------- --------, who is not a legal resident thereof, and will be likely to become a township charge.
You are thereupon commanded forthwith to warn said -------- -------- to depart out out of said township, and of this warrant make service as the law directs.
Given under our hands this 22d day of January, A. D. 1836.
Overseers of the Poor.
On the back appears this indorsement:
This writ returned, served reading 23d January. Cost; 18¾ cents.
The following is a copy of the "poll book" at an election held for township officers at the spring election in 1833, viz.:
Record of poll book of an election held in the township of Miami, Montgomery Co., on the 1st day of April, 1833, for township officers.
The following persons were elected: John Neibel, Henry Gebhart and James Morton, Trustees; Isaac Hoover, Constable; John Conley, Clerk; Peter Richard, Treasurer; J. W. Kothe and Lewis Hasselman, Overseers of the Poor; Gooding Hollaway, George Kiser and Samuel D. Loree, Fence Viewers; Perry Pease, John Reeser, John Garrett, John Betson, Jacob Benner, Thomas Dodds, William L. Smith; John Penrod, Henry Gebhart, Jacob Root and John. Dodds, Supervisors.
I do hereby certify that the above persons were duly elected.
(Signed.) JOHN CONLEY, Clerk.
The Miami River passes through this township from north to south, taking a southwesterly course. It is fed by many small branches, the most important of which are Hole's and Bear Creek, the former running across the northeastern corner of the township, and emptying into the Miami on Section 18. It took its name from the Hole family, who removed from the "Station " in an early day, to land located on its banks. Big Bear Creek enters the township on Section 34, takes a southeast course, and empties into the Miami at the north limits of Miamisburg.
The first flouring-mill in this township was erected by William Lamme, on Hole's Creek, in a narrow gorge between the hills. This site has long since been abandoned, and a mill built by his son, David, west of the old location, and which is now in Washington Township. The next mill was that built by Philip Huiet in 1812, at "Hole's Station," an account of which is given in the history of Miamisburg. Many mills have been erected in this township since that time, an account of which would be of little interest or worth to the general reader.
The products of the soil are wheat, corn, rye, flax seed, broom corn, etc. Orchards were planted of the apple soon after clearings had been opened, mostly seedlings. Peaches yielded well. Wild plums and grapes were plenty.
The cultivation of tobacco was introduced by Ralph Pomey, south of Carrolton, about the year 1841. This article has become one of the chief products, and has extended into neighboring counties. The product amounts to several thousand cases annually in the township.
The soil rests on blue limestone on the hills. Drift, or gravel and sand, cover the valleys, the surface soil being a clay loam, and has been very productive.
THE GREAT MOUND
This is located on the upland about one mile southeast of Miamisburg. It is one of the largest in the Northern States. The one at Grave Creek, on the Ohio below Wheeling, being about equal in dimensions.
In 1869 a number of resident citizens formed a syndicate to explore it. In July of that year they commenced operations, and sunk a shaft of five or six feet in diameter from the toll to two feet below the base.
At eight feet from the top, a human skeleton in a sitting posture, facing due east, and directly west of the line of excavation, was discovered. A cover of clay several feet in thickness, and then a layer of ashes and charcoal, seemed to have been the burial. A deposit of vegetable matter, bones of small animals, wood and stone, were also found surrounding it.
At the depth of twenty-four feet, a triangular stone, planted perpendicularly, about eight inches in the earth with the point upward, was discovered. Around it at an angle of about forty-five degrees and overlapping each other like the shingles upon a roof, were placed stones averaging about a foot in diameter, all rough, but of nearly uniform size, and similar to those quarried in the neighboring hills.
The work of sinking the shaft continued from day to day until a depth of sixty-six feet was reached. This was down to two feet below the natural surface as surveyed, over twenty feet having been cut from the cone in former explorations, thus making the height eighty-four feet. It measures about eight hundred feet around the base. The elevation of the land at this point is over 150 feet above the Miami.
It had been determined to remove the skeleton before closing up the shaft, but upon close examination it was found in condition to render it impossible, and it was therefore abandoned.
The Miamisburg Bulletin published a series of articles at the time, in relation to the subject, to which the curious reader is referred for a more lengthy account of it.
This town contains a population of about 2,500, and is beautifully located on the east bank of the Miami River, from which it took its name. It was known to early settlers, as "Hole's Station." Rude paths led through the dense forest to this point. The Red Man roamed at will in these days, and wild animals and game of all sorts was in abundance. On the farm of E. Shultz, west of the Miami River, at the north end of town, an Indian camp was located in an early day, and on a cleared circular piece of ground, opposite Market street, on the west side of the river, the Indians held frequent assemblies to perform the war dance. Miamisburg is well laid out, has broad, well graded streets, good sidewalks, excellent drainage, and is surrounded by a beautiful, well-improved country. Few towns of its size are so fortunate in shipping facilities, for besides the canal, which has proven an inestimable blessing to business men, it has two railroads, viz., C., C., C. & I., and the C. H. & D. R. R., both first-class roads, supplying every comfort and convenience to their patrons. Miamisburg possesses good residences, business houses and manufacturing establishments; it has a good town hall, an excellent public school, and several handsome churches, all of which are due to the energy and enterprise of its citizens It is claimed to be as healthy a town as any-in the Miami Valley, and its officials look well after its sanitary condition, thus preventing and checking disease. The people of Miamisburg have good reason to be proud of the prosperity of their town, for its growth, although not rapid, is marked by stability. The largest portion of the town is located upon the site of an ancient earthwork. We assume the beginning near the north end of Main street, about sixty to eighty feet west, thence south, parallel with said street, to a point about 150 yards south of the corporation line, thence northeast across the canal about one-fourth mile, thence northwest, to the promises now owned by C. Weber, thence west to place of beginning. The embankment was of yellow clay, similar to that at other places, about six feet above the surface, and fifty feet at the base. At this time, scarcely any traces of this work remains.
In February, 1818, the first town lots were platted and sold by Emanuel Gebhart, Jacob Kercher and Drs. John and Peter Treon. A number of plats were added subsequently.
The first brick house was built in 1826, by Rev. Dechant, on northeast corner of Bridge and Water streets, now owned by M. S. Blossom. In 1827, the bridge across the river on Bridge and Water streets, was built by M. Johns for a joint stock company, who collected tolls for many years.
Prior to the construction of this bridge, a ferry boat was in service, owned by John Yeazel; the location was at and opposite Ferry street. During low water, the river was forded opposite Lock street.
A second river bridge was constructed adjoining the north end of town in 1859, partly by subscription and partly by the county, no tolls being charged, and about this time the lower one was transferred to the county, and also made free of tolls.
The town was incorporated February 11, 1832. The first election for town officers was held at the house of Jacob Winger (now the Washington House), May 7, of the same year. The following persons were duly elected, viz.: Gooding Hollaway, Mayor; Phillip Keller, Recorder; James Fisk, James Morton, C. Beck, John Burk and William Sawyer for Council. There were eighty-eight votes cast, the Mayor elected receiving all but two. J. A. Hartman acted as Clerk.
On May 21, the Mayor and Council met and proceeded to establish the boundary lines of the corporation, which was done by taking territory one-half mile east from the river, and one mile north and south. On the same day, the Council appointed John D. Mullison Marshal, and John Conley Treasurer.
At a meeting on July 2, C. & E. W. Madison presented a petition to the Council, asking the privilege to burn their chips and shavings in the street opposite their shop. This was granted with the proviso to burn them in the morning, and should any fire remain in the evening, it should be carefully extinguished.
August 6, Council passed an ordinance to establish sidewalks on Main street. Ordinances were also passed during the year in relation to town plats, the firing of canon and small arms in the streets, fires, obstructions of streets, sidewalks and alleys, show licenses, etc.
In 1833, ordinances were passed regulating the markets. Two additional market ordinances were passed in 1835. The year following ordinances were passed to grade the streets.
In 1837, a gambling ordinance was passed. No more appear on record until 1840, when a lengthy ordinance was passed in relation to burying grounds.
In 1843, ordinances were passed prohibiting the selling of liquors without a license, also an additional gambling ordinance. A fire engine, hook and ladder having been purchased, companies were formed to take charge of the apparatus, and ordinances were passed in relation thereto.
A new market house and town hall was built in 1851.
SHIPPING AND TRAVELING FACILITIES
Some years after the settlement of the country, about 1818, flat-boats were run from this place on the Miami River to the Ohio, thence to the Mississippi and New Orleans. The cargoes of these vessels consisted of flour, whisky, bacon, etc. The owner and crew, prior to the running of the steamboats, made the return trip on foot, occupying many weeks.
Common road wagons were also employed in carrying merchandise to and from Cincinnati prior to the construction of the Miami & Erie Canal; this was finished in 1829 from Cincinnati to Dayton. Canal packet boats carrying passengers to the number of fifty or more, and freight boats, relieved the burden of teaming on mud roads.
The Great Miami Turnpike from Dayton to Cincinnati is located on Main street, and was constructed in 1840. The completion of this road added a number of daily stage and omnibus lines from Dayton to Cincinnati, and shortened the time very much between those points. The time of the canal packet boat requiring twenty to twenty-two hours, that of the stages five to six hours.
In 1851, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad was completed from Dayton to Cincinnati. Upon the opening of this road for travel, it was found that the time was again cut down; competition therefor was useless; all the canal packet boats, stage and omnibus lines were at once withdrawn. This line of railroad is on the west side of the river, but a few hundred feet from the lower river bridge, where the depot is located.
The Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railroad which is located on the east side of the town, was completed in 1872. This line is on the east side of the Miami, crossing the river twice between this place and Dayton. This road added still more facilities to the traveling public.
Two turnpikes, one to Centerville, the other to Springboro, in Warren County; were constructed many years ago, by joint-stock companies, collecting toll, but have been made free some years since. The ordinary roads leading from the town are generally in good condition.
The first flouring-mill at this point was built by Philip Huiet on the Miami, in the north part of the town in 1812. This mill was run by various owners until 1872, when it was removed to its present site, by L. Magenheimer. Within a year, it was bought by Shultz & Manning, and the water-power used to manufacture paper, and now remains unoccupied. Mr. Huiet had a contract for 500 barrels of flour for the army in the year 1812. A large flouring-mill was built near the canal lock, soon after the completion of the canal, by Madison Bros., in 1829. This mill has, under various administrations, done good service ever since. It is now owned and operated by M. Engleman.
A cotton mill was built on the east side of the canal, a short distance above the flouring-mill, by Cassady & Strong, in 1830, and was in successful operation until 1852, when it was totally destroyed by fire. It was a frame building.
An oil mill, of brick, was then built upon the site the same year, by Cassady & Stewart. This was in successful operation until 1871, when Michael Cassady died. The mill was continued in the interest of the heirs and Mr. Stewart until 1874, when it was operated as a flouring-mill until 1880, when it was sold to Weiser, & Schupert, who occupy it as a grain warehouse.
A distillery was erected in 1836, on the lot adjoining the Sycamore Creek culvert, on the west side of the canal, by Simon Huiet, who carried on the business until 1842, when it was sold to M. D. Whitridge, who continued it until 1849, when it was changed to a tannery and continued until about 1867, then abandoned and the buildings taken down.
In 1835, Allen, Watson & Allen commenced the manufacture of grain separators on the northwest corner of Bridge and Canal streets. The power employed was a one-horse tread wheel. This firm was changed in 1841, when D. H. Hoover took the place of the Messrs. Allen, the firm being thereupon, Watson & Hoover. This continued until 1855, when Mr. Watson retired, Hoover continuing alone until 1859, when the firm was changed to D. H. Hoover Son. In 1848, the establishment was removed to the east side of the canal, having purchased the shop of N. T. Beals. In 1866, the firm was again changed to Hoover & Co., C. R. Allen assuming an interest. In 1870, the senior partner, David H. Hoover, died, and thereupon William Gamble be came a partner. In 1878, C. R. Allen died, his interest, however, remaining in the firm. This establishment has grown to large proportions, from one to two thousand mowers and reapers being turned out annually, giving employment to 125 men. Within a year or two, the manufacture of a patent twine binding reaper has been added, of which many hundreds will no doubt be built annually, the demand at this time being greater than the supply. In 1880, a large three-story brick building, besides many smaller additions in buildings, were added and supplied with the most improved modern machinery, to facilitate the demand of this thriving business.
In 1869, J. C. Smith commenced the manufacture of grain drills. His product is several hundred per year.
About 1834, a brass foundry was commenced near the canal lock, by D. Altic. This was carried on a number of years, when he removed to Dayton, Ohio.
G. F. Ellis established a woolen factory at the lock about the same time. He continued to do business for a number of years and then removed to Terre Haute, Ind.
The cutting and curing of pork was extensively carried on from about 1830 to 1845, by Harris, Platte, Dukert & Hoff.
In 1849, D. Bookwalter commenced the manufacture of buggies and carriages on a limited scale, at the north end of Main and Water streets. In 1866, the property was partially destroyed by fire; his business, however, increased rapidly every year. In 1864, the business of manufacturing wheels, spokes, hubs, and other carriage material was commenced, and the establishment removed to Canal Street. In 1871, a company was incorporated under the firm name of Bookwalter, Brother & Co., consisting of D. Bookwalter, B. F. Bookwalter, H. C. Hunt, A. A. Hunt and Samuel Mitchell. A. A. Hunt died in 1880. A large amount of material is turned out annually and shipped to all points of the compass. There are fifty men employed.
The paper mill of Schultz & Manning was built in 1871, Mr. Lewis, of Dayton, Ohio, having an interest; he remained in the firm, however, but one year, when he sold his interest to them. This mill employs fifty persons. It is furnished with all the modern improvements for manufacturing first-class book and news paper. In 1879, a fire destroyed the west end of the mill and machinery, but was immediately rebuilt; being fully covered by insurance, the loss was nominal. The power is obtained from the Miamisburg Hydraulic Company, who have a fall of over twenty feet from the canal to the river at this point. This firm lately merged this mill into an incorporated company, consisting of Messrs. Shultz, Manning, Abel Hoover, William Gamble, and John T. Bell, of Franklin.
The Ohio Paper Company is incorporated and consists of Wiser, Lewis, Lyons, May, Lyons and Albrecht. The mill was built in 1879, derives its power from the Miamisburg Hydraulic Company, is equipped with the most improved machinery for making the best book and news paper, and employs seventy operatives.
David Groby built a sash, blind and door factory on the east side of the canal, north of the Sycamore Creek canal culvert. The power is leased from the Miamisburg Hydraulic Company. This mill has been in successful operation and employs fifteen men.
The Hunter Cutlery Works were built a year prior, and were in operation until 1878. They have quit business and sold out their mill to the Ohio Paper Company, who have converted it into a pulp mill in 1873, a mill for the preparation of flax was removed from the west to the east side of the Miami River, on the Hydraulic basin, and power leased from the company. This has been in operation since; it was owned by X. Glosser, since deceased.
In 1876, Theo. Siminton commenced the manufacture of buggies and carriages on East Market street. He turns out a number of new vehicles every year, besides repair of vehicles; he makes good work, and employs five men.
In 1855, H. Groby & Co., consisting of H. Groby, E. Shultz and George A. Grove, commenced a lumber yard, and carried on the business very largely until 1866, when they sold out to Grove & Catrow.
The latter firm have continued the business since then, and have, within a year or two, added coal to the lumber business.
The firm of J. Kauffman & Sons originated in that of D. and B. F. Bookwalter and J. Kauffman, who commenced the manufacture of carriages and buggies on North Main and Water streets in the year 1869. In 1879, D. & B. F. Bookwalter sold their interest to J. Kauffman & Sons, who have continued the business since. About fifteen men are employed. Reliable work is turned out, and success has attended their efforts to please their customers.
The house of G. S. Hoff is a continuation of the firm of Hoff & Deckert, who, in 1839, commenced the business of selling dry goods and groceries on the corner of Main and Bridge streets. In 1847, this firm was dissolved, each of the partners doing business on opposite corners of the above streets. In 1858, William Hoff having built the block of business rooms on the corner of Main and Market streets, removed his store to the corner room, the present location. In 1858, the present proprietor became a partner, the firm thereupon being Hoff & Son. In 1876, William Hoff died, but the business was continued without interruption. This house has been highly prosperous, having run a career of high commercial integrity for nearly a half century.
Samuel Deckert continued to do business for a number of years, acting as Postmaster in connection with his business, and removed to Springfield, Ohio, some years ago.
James Schock commenced business as a tinner on South Main street in 1834. The next year he removed to Bridge street, where he continued until 1855, when he removed to the present location, corner Bridge and Water streets. Mr. Schock worked up from small beginnings.
M. S. Blossom came to Miamisburg in 1827. He commenced business on North Main street in saddlery and harness making line, and continued without interruption until 1873, when he visited California and was absent until 1875. This gentleman may be classed among the pioneers, as the town and the country had made but little progress in improvements on his arrival. He has been successful in business and is one of the few remaining of the past generation.
In 1845, G. W. Weaver commenced business on North Main street, and removed to Main and Market streets in 1854. The removal to the present location (southeast corner of Main and Market streets) took place in 1860. His business consists as dealer in fancy and staple groceries, queensware, hardware, sewing machines, buggies, wagons, farming implements, robes and livery supplies. Two large rooms and outbuildings are stacked with every article in his line of business. A rare degree of prosperity has attended this house. David Wolf commenced business as a dealer in boots and shoes in 1852; is located on South Main street, and does a large business. Prior to that time, he had been associated with H, Heckerman in the same business from 1844 to the above date.
The following is a complete list of the Postmasters of the town and is believed to be correct as to time of service of each incumbent.
Adam Shuey, twelve years; Phillip Kellar, eight years; William Brooks, four years; George Perry, four years; Mrs. P. Keller, two years; D. Winebrenner, two years; John Kiser, four years; S. Deckert, five years; J. Vogle, three years; Henry Boltin, twelve years.
The first public house or "tavern" was located on South Main and Lock streets-the old Daniel Gebhart House-as early as 1811. This location was near the landing of flat-boats.
Charles Connelley succeeded Gebhart; was there a number of years and then removed to the corner of Main and Ferry streets, and kept public house there until 1831, when he removed to the house now known as the Miami House; in 1833, he again removed to his old stand or, the corner of Main and Ferry streets, and there died. The Daniel Gebhart House has been used as a boarding house since then, but of late years very little business has been done there.
Jacob Winger was the proprietor of the Washington House for many years after 1830; then sold to S. Zehring, and then to F. Gwinne, the present owner.
In 1833, John Zimmer purchased the Miami House of Charles Connelley, and it was occupied by him as a public house until 1840, when he sold out to Jacob Zimmer. It was rented to Goode & Campbell for three years. In 1843, Jacob Zimmer took possession, and remained until 1853, when it was again leased to H. McCanby. A few years after this, it was sold to H. D. Black, who continued until he died in 1868, and was then continued by the widow, and enlarged in 1872 and 1873, and then rented to Charles Baum, who remained a few years, and was then leased to N. Bickford, then to Mr. Pushaw and recently to I. H. Hager.
The Valley House was built by N. Clark in 1856; was sold to F. Jacobus in 1860, and in 1868 he retired from business and then leased it to D. Young, who remained a few years, and it is now leased to F. Schwartztrauber.
The Baum House was built by Charles Baum in 1877 and 1878, and on its completion was occupied by him, and is doing a good business.
In October, 1839, "The Washington Social Library" was organized as a banking concern. President, John Treon; Vice President, Ed. L. Jones; Directors, John Treon, Ed. L. Jones, William Hoff, William L. Smith and C. P. Huber, of Miamisburg, Christian Taylor, of Germantown and John Mooney, of Franklin. It ceased to do business in January, 1841. In 1866, Henry Groby, E. Shultz and George A. Grove organized a private banking house on Main street, under the name of H. Groby & Co., which continued without change until 1880, when Mr. Grove retired and N. G. Catrow assumed a place in the firm.
THE REFORMED CHURCH
The early settlers, except a few from Virginia and North Carolina, were principally from eastern Pennsylvania, and in a religious point of view, mostly of the Reformed and the Lutheran Churches. Educational and religious advantages and privileges were then few, but these gradually improved as the population increased.
The history of the Reformed Church in this community dates back to almost the beginning of the present century, and the earliest congregations were generally organized in connection with the Lutherans. Among the earliest Reformed congregations organized in this region were the St. John's in 1805, the Stettlers in 1806, and that at Germantown in 1809, by the Rev. John Jacob La Rose. The Reformed Church at Miamisburg was organized of members belonging to the St. John's and Settlers' congregations, in the spring of 1820, and had no regular pastor for the first four years, but was served as a kind of missionary point. When organized it numbered only about ten or twelve members, all of whom are now dead. Zion Church, in Section 10, was organized in 1820 and has remained a "Union Church " from its organization up to the present, both Reformed and Lutherans worshiping there.
The Reformed Church at Miamisburg was incorporated conjointly with the Lutheran in 1822, and the first trustees elected in that year were Jacob Baum, Emanuel Gebhart and Frederick Gruendner.
In 1823, some efforts were made to build a house of worship, but without success.
In 1818, the year of the first town plat of lots, a frame schoolhouse was built and was used both for school purposes, and also as the first place of worship in town. The Reformed congregation worshiped in this house from 1820 to 1833.
In 1830, a brick church edifice, thirty-eight by forty-six feet, with gallery and belfry, was erected, but for want of means it was not fully completed until in the spring of 1833, and was then dedicated with appropriate religious services, May 12. The total cost of this structure was $3,200. The congregation worshiped in this church until November, 1862.
During this time, the congregation was served by different pastors and made more or less progress, being joint owners with the Lutherans of the property, and occupied the church on alternate Sundays.
The following is a list of the pastors who served the Reformed Church at Miamisburg, together with the period of their service:
Supplied occasionally from 1820 to 1824; Rev. David Winters, from 1824 to 1833; Rev. Jacob Descombes, from 1835 to 1837; Rev. Elijah Kuhns, from 1836 to 1838; Rev. George Long, from 1840 to 1851; Rev. William K. Zieber, from 1852 to 1854; Rev. Isaac H. Reiter, from 1854 to 1874; Rev. William McCaughey, from 1875 to 1882.
A constitution of the Union Church, consisting of the Evangelical Lutheran and German Reformed Churches,* was adopted August 7, 1830. The corner-stone was laid on the same day. The purport of the articles of the constitution was for the joint occupancy by these congregations of the house about to be erected.
* By a formal action of the Synod of the Reformed Church of the United States of America, a few years ago, it wag agreed that the word "German" be dropped, the title therefore being, the "Reformed Church" in the United States.
The first formal action in regard to the new house of worship of this congregation was had May 14, 1860, a subscription was commenced and about $5,000 subscribed in a short time.
The congregation dissolved the joint occupancy with the Evangelical Lutheran congregation, July 28,1860, by an act of incorporation, according to the laws of the State. They sold their interest to the Evangelical Lutheran congregation January 12, 1861, for about $600. Rev. I. H. Reiter preached the last sermon in the old house to the congregation November 18, 1862.
A lot for the place of the erection of the church edifice was purchased from Dr. John Treon, for $300, and deeded to the Trustees March 16, 1861. A constitution was adopted by the congregation April 24, 1861. The plan for the building was agreed upon by the Trustees August 21, 1861.
The foundation was completed November 7, 1861, by Benjamin Fornshell.
A contract for the superstructure complete was made with Beaver & Butt, of Dayton, Ohio, January 22, 1862. The corner-stone was laid June 27, 1862, and the building completed January 1, 1863, at a cost of about $11,000.
The church was formally dedicated with appropriate divine services, February 22, 1863.
The first sermon preached in the new building, by Rev. I. H. Reiter, was January 11, 1863, in the basement.
A Sunday school was organized Sunday, February 1, 1863. In 1876 the church was frescoed and painted. The congregation numbers 300 to 400.
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
The first congregation of the above church, at Miamisburg, was organized A. D. 1821, by Rev. John C. Dill, who came to Ohio at an early day, and assisted in the organization of the first Lutheran Synod in this State in 1818. He had charge of the Miamisburg congregation from its organization until his death, August 24, 1824. From this date until January 1, 1826, the congregation was without a regular pastor, when Rev. C. H. D. Heincke accepted a call from it.
The place of worship was a frame building, located west of the old graveyard, adjoining the M. & E. Canal. It was built where the canal is located, and was used jointly with the German Reformed Congregation, and was also used as a schoolhouse. When the canal was excavated, this house was moved east a short distance. It is still in existence, and is located on South Locust street, near the large tobacco warehouse, now owned by S. Luventhal & Co. Rev. C. H. D. Heincke was born in the Kingdom of Hanover December 15, 1793, and emigrated to America in 1817, arriving in the city of Baltimore after a voyage of two months, and soon after came to Ohio. He had received a liberal education in Germany, and devoted some time in the study of theology, under the direction of Pastors Dechant, Dill and others.
In the fall of 1820, Mr. Heincke, having sustained a creditable examination before the Lutheran Synod of Ohio, he received authority to preach the Gospel, being received into the ministry without a dissenting voice. He served the congregation from 1826 to July 10, 1859, a period of thirty-three years.
The present pastor of the congregation, Rev. C. Albrecht, a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, of Columbus, Ohio, took charge April 1, 1860. Thus it will be seen that this congregation had but three pastors in a period of fifty-four years.
In 1830, this congregation, jointly with the German Reformed Congregation, laid the corner-stone of a brick edifice, thirty-eight by forty-six feet, with gallery and belfry. This was completed and dedicated in 1833, and occupied the site of the present church.
The joint occupancy of this building was dissolved July 28, 1860.
The corner stone of the present building was laid August 30, 1861, but was not completed until August, 1864. Its dimensions are fifty by eighty-eight feet. The Sunday school rooms, in the basement, are conveniently arranged. The audience room is finished in good style, tastefully frescoed, and supplied with a fine organ. Total cost, about $20,000. The congregation numbers over four hundred.
Saint John's, after the erection of the new building in 1862, ceased to be a "Union Church," the Lutherans remaining and the Reformed members going to other points for worship. The Rev. W. A. Bowman has charge of the Lutheran Congregation at this and Zion Church, each having about 125 members.
The Stettler Church also ceased to have a Reformed congregation since 1865, and has a society of about fifty Lutherans, under the charge of the Rev. H. L. Ridenour.
GRACE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
The society known as the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Carrollton bought and remodeled a schoolhouse into a place of worship in 1876, the same being dedicated by the Rev. W. A. Bowman, July 23 of that year, who also organized this congregation, Charles Miller, Jacob Geiger and John Peiffer, being the first Trustees. The pastor has received about twenty-five members since he organized the church, and the property is valued at about $2,000. As previously stated, Mr. Bowman also has charge of Zion and St. John's congregations, but resides at Carrollton, where he has about fifty members.
This congregation is small. Their house of worship is located on the corner of Main and Lock streets, Miamisburg, opposite the Catholic Church. This organization dates back a number of years, but has no resident pastor, being attended from Dayton.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
A congregation of this church was organized at Miamisburg in 1834. The first ministers who visited the town were the Revs. J. P. Durbin and A. Brown. The former was quite a young man, and had just entered the Methodist Seminary; he became an eminent minister, and was the first "Missionary Secretary" of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
For many years this church made but little progress. The increase has been gradual. The membership now numbers 230.
The first stationed minister was the Rev. J. J. Hill. The list since then as near as can be ascertained, is as follows: Revs. Finley, Walker, Malay, Baker, Latta, Owen, Sergeant. Merrick, Callett, Dillon, Neff, Hartley, Thompson, Quarry, Kenedy, Tibbats, Beall, Schultz, Dustin, Davis, Mason and Clemans.
The Society have a good church and parsonage, valued at $8,000.
The Sabbath school numbers fully as many members as the church.
The organization have received several bequests from deceased members, amounting to $3,600. D. H. Hoover, $2,600; and Mrs. J. S. Huber, $1,000. The former also bequeathed $2,600 to the Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Carrollton, was organized about 1845, at Alexandersville, and a lot was bought whereon to build a church, but the location was subsequently changed to Carrollton, where, in the fall of 1847, land was purchased from Horace and Perry Pease, upon which a building was erected the following year. The first Trustees were James McGrew, John F. Prugh, Isaiah Allen, Albert Marlatt and James Bowles, They have now a flourishing society, with the Rev. Mr. Dille in charge.
The Presbyterian Church of Carrollton erected a building in 1846, which was dedicated by the Rev. William C. Anderson, of Dayton, and the church organized April 26, 1847. The building cost about $1,500, and the first Trustees were Thomas Dodds, Julias S. Taylor, Jonathan K. Brice, Joseph H. Dryden and Wilson Lamme. The pastors who have had charge of this church are as follows: J. B. Morton, J. C. Mahon, John Bellville, Gilbert Haire, Samuel Ramsey, F. M. Wood, G. W. Hays, Samuel Findley, Rev. Mr. Atkins and G. E. Gowdy, the latter of whom is now in charge, with a membership of about forty, including many- of the best citizens in this vicinity.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
For more than thirty-five years after the first settlement at "Hole's Station" there were no members of this church who located permanently in this vicinity, but in 1834 Michael Meyers and family settled at Miamisburg, and may be called the pioneer Catholics of the present congregation. In 1840, Mr. Swisler and family came, and four years later Nicholas Meyer, a brother of the former one mentioned, and who is yet a resident of Miamisburg. In 1845, George Shoup and family located here, and in June, 1847, George Becker, with his family, concluded to make Miamisburg their home, and was followed in the fall of the same year by Peter Hart and family, and John Kuhn and family. In 1848 came Richard Wilhelm and Andrew Engebrand, with their families; also a few others whose names cannot now be remembered, but as far as we can learn, all were Germans, whose faith was taught them in the dear old Fatherland, and although a few may have grown lukewarm in the faith and recreant to the church of their fathers, the vast majority have remained firm and true to the teachings of Catholicism, and their love for the mother church has grown with the passing years. The first Catholics who settled in Miamisburg had to go to Dayton to attend divine worship, and it was not until 1851 that they had service in their own town, but in that year the Rev. Henry Damian Juncker, of Dayton, celebrated mass at the houses of Peter Hart and Mr. Swisler. Father Juncker became Bishop of Alton, Ill., in 1857, and died in 1868. From this time the Catholics of Miamisburg had services at irregular intervals at the houses of members, Fathers Schiff and Menge being among those priests who visited this point. In the fall of 1852, Michael P. Cassilly, a zealous Irish Catholic, of Cincinnati, donated to the Bishop a two-storied brick house and large lot, between Main and Old streets, for the use of the Catholics of Miamisburg and vicinity, This building was fitted up for a church and pastor's residence, by Michael Meyers, at his own expense, the chapel being in the second story, and was dedicated to the worship of God, and the first mass celebrated in it by Father Juncker, in the fall of 1852, receiving the name of "St. Michael's Church."
Different priests came from time to time to minister to the spiritual wants of the Catholics of Miamisburg, Father Mauclire, a native of France, taking charge in 1861 and remaining until 1873, in which year the first resident pastor was stationed here in the person of the Rev. Anton Leitnir, a native of Tyrol, Austria, who performed the first baptism for this congregation, January 18, 1873. He remained until June, 1877, when he was succeeded by the Rev. John F. Kalenberg, who was born in Westphalia, Prussia, August 26, 1839, receiving his primary education in the schools and from the clergy of his native place. In the spring of 1854, he entered the Gymnasium of Paderborn, where he remained five years, graduating in the fall of 1859 with first honors. He immediately entered the Theological and Philosophical Academy of Paderborn, where he remained until the spring of 1862, when he came to America and finished his studies at Mt. St. Mary's of the West. He was ordained by the Right Rev. John B. Purcell, in the spring of 1863, and after a short stay at Reading, Ohio, took charge of missions in Gallia, Meigs and Athens Counties, residing at Pomeroy, where he established the Sisters' School of the Sacred Heart. When Father Kalenberg entered upon his duties at Pomeroy, he found about thirty pupils in the school, but left it with over 200, and in a prosperous condition. He also finished and had the pleasure of having dedicated to God's service, St. John's Church, of Athens County; also beautified and enlarged the churches at Pomeroy and Gallipolis, Ohio, in all of which places he had flourishing schools. In the spring of 1870, he took charge of the congregations at Greenville, Darke County, and New Paris, Preble County, Ohio, completing and paying for the church already commenced in the latter place; tearing down the old church at Greenville, he erected a handsome edifice and furnished it with a splendid pipe organ, and there remained until appointed to the charges of Miamisburg and Franklin. At the latter city, the church was deeply in debt and the building in a dilapidated condition, but in less than four years, under the energy and wise financial administration of Father Kalenberg, the debt was paid off, the building remodeled, and to-day the congregation is in a flourishing condition. Comparatively little had been done by former pastors toward the material interests of the Miamisburg congregation, owing, perhaps to the scarcity of funds, although all were zealous men in the cause of Christ and His church. Dissatisfied with the poor church accommodation at this point, Father Kalenberg, in 1880, concluded to erect an edifice to the honor and glory of God in which his people could assist at divine service in a more fitting manner. He immediately began the work; the corner-stone was laid June 6, 1880, by the Right Rev. Bishop Elder, of Cincinnati, who also dedicated the building to the service of the Most High, July 10, 1881, giving it the name, "Immaculate Conception."
The structure is of Roman architecture, thirty-six by seventy-five feet in size, built of brick with stone trimmings and has stained glass windows. The interior is handsomely decorated, the frescoeing having been done by William Tehan, of Cincinnati, and the paintings, by John Schmitt, of Covington, Ky. At the summit of the nave over the altar is a beautiful representation of the Immaculate Conception; on either side of the nave St. Joseph and St. Anthony, and at the altar end of the church facing the people are two scenes representing our Savior as the good Shepherd and Christ giving the keys of his church to St. Peter. The building has cost up to the present $4,500, and Father Kalenberg intends furnishing the church with a furnace and other necessaries which will run the cost to about $5,000. All of this he has done, by his, own untiring energy, being the architect, overseer, and financier of the whole undertaking from the beginning., His congregation, although at first fearful of the risk, have stood nobly by him and are now proud of the beautiful Temple of God, which stands as a monument testifying to the zeal of their worthy Pastor in spreading the Gospel and building up Christ's Kingdom on earth. The church will seat about 400, is well furnished with nice pews, choir gallery, and organ, and in fact is one of the most beautiful little church, edifices in the diocese. The congregation numbers about seventy-five families, most of whom are liberal supporters of their church and pastor; as well as worthy communicants. The property is worth about $10,000 and comparatively free from debt, which facts speak louder than would mere praise of the pastor and his congregation. In reviewing the history of Catholicism in Miamisburg, we are forcibly struck by its steady growth; and the progress it has made since the first mass was celebrated at this point, in 1851, may be truly likened to the Gospel parable of the mustard seed.
The first schoolhouse erected within the corporate limits was located directly west of the graveyard next to Grove & Catrow's lumber yard, on ground now occupied by the Miami & Erie Canal. This was built in the year 1818, and was used jointly as a schoolhouse and place of worship by the German Reformed congregation.
When the canal was dug the State removed the building eastward out oft the way, and it was afterward removed south on Locust street, west side, where it yet remains. It is a frame building.
The second schoolhouse was built of brick, on Canal street near Bridge, and is yet standing, but used as a dwelling.
The third schoolhouse was built in 1834 on North Canal street, west side. It has been taken down to give place for a dwelling house. It was also of brick, and was used a number of years as a cooper shop by Samuel Dubbs.
In 1848, a meeting of citizens was held in the house on Canal street near Bridge, for the purpose of voting yea or nay on a proposition to tax the town $2,500 for the erection of a new schoolhouse east of the canal, on Market street. This was carried, nearly unanimously. The town, was then organized into one school district, and the following years substantial two-story brick house was built on a large lot. In 1867, the district was re-organized, by the election of a new school board, who, step by step, made advancements in the management and efficiency of the school. A high school department has been added.
In 1848, additional buildings were erected, and since then, a two-story frame building, detached from the main group, was built.
The educational facilities of this town are, no doubt, as good as those of other towns anywhere in the State.
The early history of the press in Miamisburg is as brief as the story of the "Three Wise Men."
The first newspaper published in the town was the Gridiron, edited and printed by John Anderson, of Dayton. It was a small folio with an engraving in the title representing a human skeleton on a gridiron. Few copies of the sheet are yet in existence and none are now accessible to obtain dates. Anderson was a stirring writer, and attracted considerable attention in the community by the personal nature of his articles. There was nothing however, to warrant or sustain his enterprise, and it was suspended. Subsequently an unsuccessful attempt was made to revive the Gridiron, and the following announcement was issued:
BY JOHN ANDERSON, OF DAYTON, OHIO.
roast meat burn,
By the united and firm patronage promised to me, by friend and enemy--I feel half inclined to think I can justify myself, and ROAST to some profit--my former, of some sixteen years past, to the contrary notwithstanding. 'Tis my idea, that there is 'something stale in Denmark'--and would needs BROILING.
"My time spent in the kitchen, for years back, will enable me to serve up some SAVORY DISHES. I have now numbered my twenty-fifth year as Grand Master of the Quizzical Society of Ohio--also my tenth year as High Priest of the Anarogeon Phalanx. The aid of both societies at any time are at my service. The fact is, the whole field is my own, and 'needs must when the Devil drives,' so 'twould be well to keep up good fences.
"We are a sturdy Democrat, but in this case all will be FISH that comes to MARKET.
"Our paper will be furnished to resident subscribers, on Saturday evening, each week, and mailed in usual form to non-residents.
"We will print in a fine medium sheet--Price, Two Dollars per annum--one Dollar in advance, the balance at the end of six months. We will furnish sundry legislative proceedings--also some good Congressional smart things."
THE MIAMISBURG UNION
The establishment of this paper was the second journalistic venture and was published in 1856 by Isaac Pepper. The office was located on second floor of what is now known as Weaver's Building, in public square. The Union was a six column folio, neatly printed, and politically, intensely Democratic. Mr. Pepper was assisted by three sons, who were practical printers: the office was supplied with a large assortment of type and material, and the paper was liberally patronized by merchants of Miamisburg and Dayton. The paper gradually weakened financially, however, and finally the establishment was moved away.
THE MIAMISBURG BULLETIN
This paper was established in 1867, by Blossom Bros. The members of the firm are A. H. Blossom, C. E. Blossom and Miles Blossom, sons of M. S. Blossom, Esq., one of the few pioneer citizens of the town yet living at this writing. The Blossom Brothers were born and reared in Miamisburg, and under their supervision the Bulletin, now in its fifteenth volume, under one management, has grown from a half-sheet of twenty-four by thirty-six to its present proportions.
The Bulletin is an independent, local newspaper, and recognized authority on tobacco, being the oldest tobacco journal of the State, published in the center of the extensive seed-leaf producing district of the Miami Valley. The equipment of the mechanical department of the Bulletin is first-class, affording a wide range of execution in artistic letter-press and general job printing, including stereotyping. The establishment is lighted with gas and the machinery is driven by a powerful gas engine, burning crude petroleum.
THE MIAMISBURG NEWS
The News is one of the institutions of Miamisburg and vicinity, which has achieved gratifying success since its inception and inauguration. The News is published by the Miamisburg Publishing Company organized and incorporated in March, 1880. Charles E. Kinder, formerly connected with the Putnam County Sentinel, has been editor and manager since its publication. Mr. Kinder is the son of the late John E. Kinder, and is a descendant of one of the oldest pioneer families of the valley. The paper is an eight-column folio, with a fair advertising patronage, and a constantly increasing subscription list. The News has a reputation as a good and faithful local newspaper, and is closely identified with all the best interests of Miamisburg and the Miami Valley. The tobacco- growing interests are always represented in its columns by quotations and reports. The News is Democratic in politics, and while being devoted to the advancement of the Democratic party and principles, it is ever willing to accord to others the same freedom of opinion it asks for itself. This paper is now entering upon the third year of its existence, and has, by the industry of its editor, attained a fair standing among the county papers of the Miami Valley.
This town was platted in April, 1815, by John Taylor; population, 120. One dry goods and grocery store, one box factory, one public house and boot and shoe shop comprise the industries of the town. The inhabitants are mostly engaged in the cultivation of tobacco.
An extensive earthwork, similar to those that are found in this part of the State, adjoins the town. The group comprises three separate and distinct works, and although they are characterized by a state of singular incompleteness, it does not appear probable that a union of the three was contemplated. The assumption would be more clearly comprehended by an accurate delineation of the works, but, in the absence of this, the following description will convey a tolerably clear conception as to their form and magnitude:
I. The circle commences on the bank of the Miami River, at a point near the northern limits of the village, the wall bears off obliquely, in a northeast direction, curving gracefully to the right, meeting all the points of the compass in its circuit to its abrupt termination (which is several hundred yards from the river), where it bears northwest. The entire length of this wall is 3,987 feet; diameter of the circle is 1,950 feet. There are five gateways, and probably a sixth occurred where the pike cuts it. These openings are at irregular distances.
II. The square is situated south of the great circle, separated by a space of about 200 yards. Its sides, which are equal, measure 1,150 feet, enclosing an area of thirty-one acres. Midway in each wall there is a gap, and, where completed, in each corner. The walls are not in line with the cardinal points, and a large vacant space on the southwest corner indicates the abrupt arrest of the converging walls.
III. The nondescript commences at a point about 200 yards north-west of the square. It starts out in a nearly due-east direction, tending toward the south, it gradually curves to the right, to the point of intersection with the pike, where it bears off north-northeast, forming thus a large are of a circle, with a diameter of 875 feet, thence bearing east northeast by an abrupt curve to the right, its course is parallel with the turnpike a distance of 120 yards to the southern limits of the village, thence north-northeast by another direct line of 100 yards to the canal, thence north-west by an abrupt curve to the left, it crosses the canal at right angles, but suddenly curves to the right, with a tendency toward the northeast where it abruptly terminates between the canal and river.
The entire length of this wall is about 700 yards. Two hillocks appear to indicate the contemplated direction of this member of the group. The serpent, it is probable, was here intended to be represented.
It is deeply to be regretted that so little interest has hitherto been manifested in the preservation of the grand old monuments of a forgotten race. As these walls, with the exception of an inconsiderable deposit of soil, are constructed of pure clay, the temptation to utilize it in the manufacture of brick was irresistible; hence the interesting vestiges have been defaced, and in some instances wholly obliterated, and, apparently, with as little compunction as though they had been ordinary diluvial deposits.
Part of these earthworks are located upon the farm of the Binkley heirs. One of the family (S. H. Binkley) has devoted much time to the collection of specimens of prehistoric races. A rare collection may be seen on the premises. He has also a large collection of geological specimens.
A number of small mounds have been explored by this gentleman, assisted by C. E. Blossom, with interesting results. In one explored by himself, on the farm of Jonas George, one and a half miles west of Alexanderville, valuable specimens of crania, implements of bone and horn chert, arrow heads and a perforated implement of limestone, were discovered.
Mr. Binkley has contributed liberally of his collections to the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C.
Soon after the completion of the Miami & Erie Canal from Cincinnati to Dayton, this town became an important shipping point. Large quantities of produce were received and forwarded annually to Cincinnati. An area extending eastward as far as the Little Miami River, and even beyond, were drawn to the point of shipment. The Little Miami Railroad on its completion cut off this trade.
A large business in dry goods and clothing was done here forty or fifty years ago. This trade, however, has been diverted into other channels.
This town was laid out April 27, 1830, by Moses Smith, Alexander Grimes and H. G. Phillips. Additions have been made since then. The Miami & Erie Canal affords extensive water power at this place, there being two locks. A large flouring-mill and distillery was established here about 1835, by H. & P. Pease, and continued until 1864, when the establishment was bought out by the Messrs. Turner, who continued the business until 1872, when they sold out to G. H. Friend, who converted the property into paper mills, manufacturing a heavy paper of straw and other material for roofing, siding, etc.
Large numbers of hogs were fattened annually in connection with the distillation of whisky.
The paper mills of Mr. Friend were enlarged a year ago, and give employment to seventy-five persons.
The people in the town are mostly engaged in the cultivation of tobacco. Population, 250.
This village and Alexanderville form one school district, and in 1876 built a fine house half way between the towns. The educational facilities being all that could be desired.
This town was laid out April 19, 1831, by Vincens Antouides. Population, fifty. It lies west of the Miami, opposite Miamisburg. Owing to the location being liable to overflow by the river, about half of the lots have been vacated.
In the first settlement of the Miami Valley, the pioneers buried their dead in any convenient spot which they fancied, as a last resting-place for their loved ones, but such graves, in most cases, were afterward either removed to some regular graveyard or lost in oblivion; yet, here and there a grave may be seen in a corner, or out-of-the-way place, containing the bones of some sturdy pioneer, who braved the dangers of frontier life to make a home for himself and family; or, perhaps it is that of the loved wife and prattling babe, who cheered him with loving words or smiles.
The oldest regular cemeteries in Miami Township are the one at Gebhart Church, in Section 19, east of Miamisburg, and that at the Stettler Church, in Section 15, southwest of the town, both of which were begun as early as 1805, and are yet in a fair state of preservation. About 1815, a cemetery was opened on land donated for that purpose by Jacob Kercher, and which was afterward incorporated within the city limits. The exact date of the first burial in this graveyard it is impossible now to learn, but one old head-stone bears the date of 1820, and pioneers yet living tell us that it was at least five years previous to this when the first grave was opened at this point. One of the early churches was built here and afterward removed, upon the opening of the canal. A stone wall surrounds this cemetery, but the ground bears, a general appearance of neglect and abandonment, and although strenuous efforts have been made to remove it, they have not, as yet, been successful, and bodies are sometimes interred there. In 1820, upon the organization of Zion Church, a cemetery was also laid off, the land being donated by Peter Hetzel and Henry Diehl, and is located in Section 10, in the northeast corner of the township.
The cemetery at Carrollton was the next in order of time, and was begun many years before its organization under the State laws, which occurred May 25, 1859. It was called the "Carrollton Cemetery Association," and the incorporators were Julius S. Taylor, Moses, Smith, Alfred Pease, James Dodds, James M. Dewey, Perry Pease, Squire Yeazel, Nicholas Prets, Samuel H. Binkley, George Pease and W. W. Clark. The ground was platted by John Beaver, and the first Trustees were Moses Smith, George Pease, James Dodds, Nicholas Prets, E. D. Andrews, John Yeazel and Samuel H. Binkley. The President was George Pease; Clerk, Julius S. Taylor, and Treasurer, Moses Smith, the latter being subsequently appointed Superintendent of the grounds, which are now nicely fenced and decorated, with ornamental trees and shrubs.
The Council of Miamisburg passed an ordinance, February 3, 1840, that the ground purchased by the corporation, in the eastern part of the town, be laid out into three divisions, which were to be platted in blocks and lots for burial purposes, one division being designated as the Potter's Field. A sexton was to be appointed yearly, who was to look after the bound, attend to all burials, and keep a record of the same. This cemetery contains about four acres, and is yet used by lot owners.
In 1856, the "Miamisburg Cedar Grove Cemetery" was organized under the laws of Ohio, and seven acres of land purchased from Mrs. Conley, it being a part of the Jacob Kercher estate. It was fenced, platted and planted with trees, and, when purchased, was believed to be well adapted for a graveyard, but a few years subsequently it was discovered that the ground, in places, was wet and therefore unfit for burial purposes. Lot owners became dissatisfied, and, upon the organization of the new cemetery, the ground was sold and most of the bodies removed, there being but a few now remaining.
On the 7th of October, 1863, a meeting was held by citizens of Miamisburg and vicinity for the purpose of taking subscriptions toward the purchase of ground for a cemetery, which they deemed a necessity, a number of whom subscribed liberally. Pursuant to a previous understanding, the following members of the proposed Cemetery Association met at the Town Hall, November 20, 1863: Dr. John Treon, Jacob Zimmer, William Goudy, David Hetzel, Louis Keifer, G. W. Weaver, Henry Brehm, John Leiss, Lewis Mease and H. Gilbert; and the meeting organized by appointing William Goudy, Chairman, and Lewis Mease, Secretary. The subscriptions entered into at the former meeting were-accepted, and the committee reported that they had contracted with C. Shuester and Valentine Benner for cemetery ground, which purchase, on motion of Jacob Zimmer, was accepted. At this meeting, notice was given for the election of Trustees and Clerk of said association at an early day as practicable, and December 19, 1863, the following gentlemen were elected Trustees: Michael Cassady, Lewis Mease, Jacob Zimmer, Dr. John Treon and D. B. Neibel; and for Clerk, William Goudy. The cemetery was named the "Miamisburg Cemetery Association," and was so placed on record by the Recorder of Montgomery County. At a meeting held January 9, 1864, articles of association and by-laws for the government of the same were presented and adopted. January 20, the Board of Trustees met and appointed Jacob Zimmer President of the Board, and David Hetzel, Treasurer; and February 6, the board employed L. G. Perry to survey and plat the cemetery. The first sale of lots was made March 16, 1864, Col. George Keiser being the auctioneer. The ground was nicely fenced, bridges built, roads graded and graveled, trees planted, and the cemetery generally beautified. In 1873, a receiving vault was built, and two additions have been made to the original purchase, which had a residence that has been utilized for a Sexton's house. The present officers are Jacob Zimmer, John Buehner, David Hetzel, Henry Groby and Daniel Bookwalter, Trustees; Jacob Zimmer, President; S. H. Hager, Treasurer, and B. F. Hecker, Clerk.
In the fall of 1877, the Catholic Church of Miamisburg, through Father Kalenberg, purchased two acres of land a quarter of a mile northeast of town, which they had fenced and platted. It was consecrated by the Rev. Charles Lange, a Passionist Father, and has since been used by the Catholics of this vicinity as their burial, ground. Its entire cost was about $500. It is well planted with shade and ornamental trees, and has many neat monuments marking the graves of those who are asleep in the Lord.
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