From The History of Montgomery County, Ohio by W. H. Beers & Company 1882

Brookville Historical Society, Inc. 2003

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP

The history of this civil subdivision of Montgomery County is, to a great extent, identical with that of the city and township of Dayton; fourteen sections, whole and fractional, or nearly one half of the territory included within its present boundaries, were originally a part of the famous tract known as "the seventh and eighth ranges," which were the scenes of the operations of Patterson, Ludlow, Dayton, Cooper, and others.

A faithful perusal of the "field notes" of the surveys made by Col. Israel Ludlow, in the years 1802 and 1803, develops the fact that there were no less than thirty-five or thirty-six different tracts of land in what is now Van Buren Township that were known as "pre-emption" tracts; this is a fair indication of the extent of the settlements at that date, as pre-emption in those days implied an actual residence by the person or persons in whose names the lands were held.

The Miami River was the great frontage for nearly all the early settlements in the county, and especially those which were made at and near Dayton as a common center, immediately after the arrival of the permanent colony in 1796; that a portion of the lands now included in Van Buren Township were selected and occupied by members of that first band of pioneers is evident from the relative situation, the traditions of to-day, and the meager and somewhat obscure records which are now available.

D. C. Cooper appears to have held several tracts of land here and there in the township, as his name is entered upon the early records as one of the "original proprietors." Job Westfall settled on a sixty-acre lot in fractional Section 13, Town 1, Range 7; this was down on the river road near where the residence of the late Leonard Miller now stands. Col. Ludlow's field notes mention this as "a large improvement." Another settlement was made on the river just above the Westfall lot, and adjoining it; these lands seem to have been pre-empted by James and Abraham Barnett, but were sold to James Adam Miller, Sr., in 1816. Miller came from Schuylkill County, Penn., and settled, as above stated, in 1816. His sons were Daniel, John, Leonard, Jonathan and John Adam, Jr. This property is now mainly in the hands of the descendants of the first Mr. Miller.

A settler named Dean was located on a small lot on the river, north and east of the Catholic Cemetery. One of the very early settlers in the Dayton Colony was John Folkerth; he owned land where the Insane Asylum now stands, and lived in that vicinity until his death. He was a prominent business man in Dayton for many years. In 1797, Smith Gregg, a native of Pennsylvania, emigrated to the present site of Shakertown, settling on Beaver Creek, where he remained until 1814, when he removed his family to what is now Butler Township, where he entered a tract of 160 acres of land. Mr. Gregg served in the war of 1812. His wife was Sarah Ramsey, who, too, was a native of the Keystone State. Their children were James, Martha, Margaret, John, William, D. H., Andrew, Smith, Julia, Elizabeth and Sarah.

One of the earliest points settled in Van Buren Township was in the vicinity of what is now known as Beavertown. Ebenezer Wead came from near Lexington, Ky., in 1798; he entered lands in Section 24 (fractional), Town 2, Range 6, at the United States Land Office in Cincinnati in that year, and in the following year he made it his permanent home, having begun some improvements in 1798. His sons were: (1) John, born in Kentucky, married Sarah Schoffe; their children were Ebenezer, James, John, David, Fannie, Elizabeth and Margaret. David is now living near Beavertown. (2) Robert, born in Kentucky, was a tailor by trade, and came with his father in 1799; worked in Dayton, and as a journeyman "from house to house," until 1805, when he purchased eighty acres of land of John Folkerth, where the asylum is now located; this he settled on and improved, and afterward added to, until he owned 320 acres. He married first, Jane Gibson; second, Mary Gibson (a sister to the first Mrs. Wead), and became the father of ten children; viz., John S., Ebenezer G., William M., James W., Samuel, Joseph, Mary J., Eliza W., Harriett P. and Margaret. John S. Wead is now living on a fine farm in the southeast quarter of Section 32, Town 2, Range 7, and is the only member of that family of Weads now living in Van Buren.

Two of the Weads, James and Ebenezer, were "out" in the war of 1812.

Two other settlers, named Musselman and Shell came about the same time that the Weads came and settled near them, in the neighborhood of Beavertown. James Riddles settled on Section 30 (fractional), directly west of the Wead settlement. His son James, Jr., went with the Wead boys into the army in 1812.

John Bradford, Sr., came in 1801, and located first north of the Wead place, in Town 2, Range 7. His sons were Robert, George S., John, Jr., James G., William, Samuel D., David D., and Allen. The descendants of this pioneer are among the most numerous in the township.

Adam Coblentz settled on fractional Section 36, Town 3, Range 6, in the year 1807.

John Shroyer, from Maryland, came in 1810, and located near Beavertown.

John Pough, was a Marylander, and settled in the township in 1813, having purchased 160 acres of land.

John Ervry was one of the pioneers who came some time during the year 1810, he was east of Beavertown.

David Stutzman came from Washington County, Md., to Greene County, Ohio, in 1811, in 1813 he settled in Van Buren. His sons were Jacob, David, Jr., Andrew, Nicholas, John and Abram. David Stutzman, Sr., died at his home in Van Buren in 1824. John is one of the well-known and prosperous farmers of the township, and delights to recall old pioneer incidents; the writer is indebted to him for many facts.

David, Thomas and Asa John were quite early settlers near Shakertown. The family were of Welsh extraction, and came about 1812, after having lived in Pennsylvania and in Kentucky, from which latter State they moved to Van Buren.

Among the early settlers and proprietors of the township, the following have been picked up here and there, during an effort to learn the details of the pioneer history of Van Buren. There is, no doubt, more or less of an interesting story connected with each, but time and the changes it has wrought, have obliterated all traces of the varied experiences of these sturdy frontiersmen, so much so that even the traditions are doubted by the people of to-day, in many instances.

Samuel Bowsher, James and Daniel Baxter, John Booner, Michael Burns, Ralph Braddock, Owen Davis, Robert Edgar, John Elwood, George Frieberger, Richard and Robert Gray, William George (a surveyor), Charles Morgan, Michael Hager, Lewis Leshlider, Joseph Wilson. John Weaver, David Riffle, Robert Ewing (a surveyor).

David Warman, from Fredrick County, Md., settled about two miles south of Dayton, in 1805; he has two sons and four daughters.

Edward Newcom, a native of Ireland, and a brother of Col. George Newcom, bought 160 acres of land of a Mr. Huston, and settled on it in 1810. He was the father of ten children, two of whom, Charles and Edward Newcom, Jr., still reside in the township. Since the above was written Edward, Jr., died, his death occurring suddenly, March 23, 1882.

Leonard Snepp and family came to Van Buren about 1805. His sons were Philip, Rheinhart, John, Daniel and Peter.

James Magrew, an Irishman, came with his family about the same year (1805). He was a first-class citizen and good neighbor.

Charles Smith and family were among the pioneers.

Jacob Coblentz is said to have been an early settler, though the name may be confounded with that of Adam Coblentz, who has been mentioned.

Philip Rike came from Maryland in the fall of 1812, and settled in the middle southern portion of the township. The next spring he bought 172 acres in the southwest quarter of Section 23, Town 2, Range 6, for which he paid $1,400. It is supposed that he purchased this of Samuel Bowsher. This pioneer was the father of six children, five sons and one daughter, of whom J. W. Rike, now living on the old farm, is the eldest; he relates that he attended school at Beavertown and had to pay $1.50 per quarter for tuition. At the time of the elder Rike's purchase of this land there was only about thirty acres improved, and a log barn on the premises. Five or six other families moved west in company with Mr. Rike, when he came, in 1812.

Abraham Hozier came from Virginia, in 1806-7. He entered his land, which was located in the southeast quarter of Section 23, Town 3, Range 6. Hozier was the father of thirteen children.

Abner Prugh came from Maryland, in 1812. He remained four years and returned; in 1816, he settled permanently in this township; he was the father of eleven children, of whom five were sons. The Prugh family are among the most numerous and influential citizens of this township at present.

Among those who settled at a later date, but while the county was yet in a primitive condition, were John and Vandivier Moler. They came from Jefferson County, W. Va. Vandivier Moler came in 1823, and bought land of Huston in Section 17, Town 2, Range 6. This gentleman relates many- interesting incidents concerning the social and religious habits of the people in those early days. He was a blacksmith by trade and used to "change work" with his neighbors, i. e., he would leave his plow and go into his shop to do a job, while his customer would plow for him. He says the practice of helping each other was so common and so extensive that "if a man managed to do two days' work in a week on his own land, he considered himself fortunate;" all kinds of heavy work was done by a "bee," and woe be to the luckless settler who tried to evade the turn-out.

Mr. Moler was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was one of the early opponents of the common use of liquor at the "bees," and upon other occasions. Upon one occasion it was given out that Moler's wheat might rot on the ground if he refused to furnish liquor for harvesting; he partially conceded and offered 12½ cents per day more for hands that would not drink than for those who did. Next season he resolved to use no liquor at any price. His opponents vowed they would not help him, and gave out word to that effect; the report reached the ears of a stalwart stonemason named James Dean, who lived in Dayton. He was as much of a temperance man as Moler, so he made up a party of his own kind and surprised Mr. Moler by appearing, sickles in hand, to harvest his wheat; the result was that Moler's grain was harvested as soon as that of his neighbors, and that without the use of whisky. Some of those who had opposed the movement, when they saw how promptly Dean and his party had accomplished their task, engaged them to harvest in their fields also, but upon going to the house and discovering a bottle of liquor on the breakfast table, Dean came out and remarked, "She's there, boys," whereupon himself and friends started for Dayton, leaving the bottle and its friends to do their own harvesting.

Produce was worth little or nothing in those days. Mr. Moler says he exchanged two and one-half bushels of wheat for one pound of coffee, with Jonathan Harshman, of Dayton. Corn and oats, and ordinary products, were worth nothing, there being no market for anything but wheat, and not much of one for that.

Game was plenty as late as 1825. The same gentleman says: "Wild turkeys were plenty; one Sunday morning, a large flock of them lighted on the fences close to the house; there was a loaded rifle standing close by, but I did not use it, though the temptation was strong, so I says to them, 'you dare not come tomorrow.' "

The house of Mr. Moler was a place of meeting for the Methodists for several years; when the crowd was too great, they moved to the barn, or out into the woods. Mr. Moler is now living in Dayton. He is in his eighty-fifth year.

John Moler came a year or two later than his brother, but settled across the line in Greene County, where he now resides; he is ninety-four years of age.

SHAKERTOWN

This is the common appellation which distinguishes one of the oldest and best conducted neighborhoods in Montgomery County. Few persons know it by any other name, or that it has a history as old almost as Dayton, or Lebanon, On the old maps it was called "Watervliet," on the records of the society it is denominated the United Society of Believers of Watervliet, and is thus mentioned.* This Beaver Creek settlement, where the church is now located, was commenced in the year 1800, by emigrants from Kentucky, mostly from Bethel Congregation, on the North Elkhorn, between Georgetown and Lexington.

"John Patterson and family came in 1799, and spent the winter on the Great Prairie* (where he had raised a crop the summer before) and in the following spring he moved his family to this place (Shakertown).

*From the old Review Book in the possession of Elder Moses Eastwood.

"John Huston, a single man, entered a quarter section about the same time. In the spring of 1801, John Buchanan came with his family. James Milligan and William Stewart and their connection came in 1803; all these being respectable members of the Presbyterian Church, united with others and formed a congregation called Beulah, and were taken in charge of the Presbytery, and supplied with occasional preaching in common with others.

"This congregation became much interested in the reports of the great revival, which took place in Kentucky, in the year 1809, and expressed frequent desires for an extension of the work to Beulah.

"Richard McNamer came to Turtle Creek, near Lebanon; in November, 1801, on his return from a meeting of the Presbytery, at Cincinnati, Ohio. The work began at an evening meeting at Elder Francis Bedles.

"In 1802, McNamer moved to Turtle Creek, and from there he preached in various places."

The first public meetings at Beulah were held about the last of May, 1802, at James Patterson's house. In June, 1803, a camp-meeting was held under the general leadership of Robert Marshall, of Kentucky. He was assisted by James Kemper, Richard McNamer and John Thompson.

The most notable thing connected with this meeting was a division of the people upon a question of doctrine. Kemper was a sober-minded Calvinist, and was supported and followed by a portion of the assembly.

"On Saturday, Kemper preached from Isaiah, xxii chapter and 23d verse. Making predestination the nail in a sure place. On Sabbath morning, Marshall followed, and literally fulfilled the context (verse 25) to that extent that Kemper and his followers retreated homeward."

The result of this division was the establishment of a church or society under Kemper, and the preliminary organization of the Shaker Church at Watervliet.

In March, 1806, the society was visited by the celebrated revivalists, known as Isachar and Benjamin, who completed the organization of the Watervliet people.

Concerning the individuals who were connected with the early history of this society, the record informs us that "In 1805, John Huston, a wheelwright by trade, opened his mind and became a firm supporter of the faith." Phoebe Patterson, Peggy Buchanan, William and Sally Stewart, James and Betsey Milligan, Caty Stewart (a sister of John Patterson) and John Southard; these were associated for meetings, and John Stewart appointed first in care (or Elder); he held the place two years and about four months.

In 1806, three principal families, viz., James Milligan's, John Patterson's and William Stewart's, formed the main head of the society at Watervliet. This was followed (1807) by an effort to found a society up on the waters of Mad River, but this never flourished to any great extent, and was finally abandoned.

John Eastwood "opened his mind" in July, 1807; in August following, Caty, his wife, "opened her mind," and the family became a part of the society; four of the sons remained in it, and one of them, the venerable Moses Eastwood, is now "first in care," or Elder, at Watervliet.

James and Peggy Dewit and David Gromman and wife, joined in 1808; Benjamin Simonton and family, and Alexander Hughey and family in 1812; John Rue and family in 1813; John Davis and family in 1814; John Jackson and family in 1815; Thomas Williams came in 1816; William Philips and family came in 1821. Other families and individuals came to the society in after-years, while others removed from it, or changed their faith.

The industry of the members is directed to general husbandry, mainly. Sheep-raising and wool-growing was at one time the principal interest, and other varieties of live-stock have been raised within the last few years. Garden seeds were formerly raised to a considerable extent. There is on the premises a carding mill, where more or less woolen fabrics are produced yearly. In 1812, a gristmill was put in operation, this was burned and rebuilt, and again destroyed by fire, since which it has not been reconstructed.

The society owns about eight hundred acres of excellent land; this is highly improved and well cultivated. The principal buildings are near each other on an elevated ridge of land overlooking the valley of Beaver Creek and some of its tributaries. There is an air of neatness about the whole establishment that strongly impresses the visitor with the cardinal qualities of "order, cleanliness and quiet."

There are at present (1882) about forty or fifty persons connected with the society. They have a school of their own, and a place of worship, and are maintaining their original standing, so far as numbers and form of worship are concerned.

The records of the society are few and simple, yet the chain is unbroken for a period of about eighty years, and affords much information upon the obscure subject of the every-day life of the people of that neighborhood, when it was a pioneer settlement.

"DAVID'S" CHURCH

This is the name given to a society of worshipers who assemble in the southern part of the township, on the Lebanon Turnpike, in what is called the Creager neighborhood.

About the year 1825 or 1826, a society of "Reformed Church" people, that had been organized for some years previous to the above date, became divided upon the question of language. A part of the congregation were German and a part English. The Germans were opposed to having the services rendered in the English tongue; so those who were desirous of having English services, united and formed an church of their own.

The original church was known as Zion Church, and was located down on the Bottom-land, near the river, but across the line in Miami Township.

The new society was organized by Rev. David Winters, and assembled at various private houses for worship, until a place of meeting was provided. Among the prominent movers in this enterprise were Lewis Lechlieder, Henry Rike and John Rike, his son, Samuel Himes, Jonathan Whipp, Henry Diehl, Henry and Christian Creager, a family named Hork, the Snyders, and others. Christian Creager was the first Elder. He gave the land for the new church, and the logs to build it with. He was a carpenter by trade, and did the necessary work in that line, while others contributed in various ways, so that they soon had a church of their own. This was named "David's" Church, in honor of Rev. David Winters, who was the first pastor, and for over fifty years the only one who labored with them. The present pastor is the Rev. M. Loucks.

The present church building is of brick. It is finely situated in a quiet spot, not far from the main road. It was built in 1850 or 1851. Adjoining the church lot is the "Creager" burying-ground, a well-ordered rural cemetery, which is a continuation of one of the early graveyards of the same locality.

BEAVERTOWN

This is the name of a small village about five miles southeast from the court house in Dayton; it is one of the oldest points in Van Buren Township, and was formerly known as Buddsbury. Ephraim Arnold, a blacksmith by trade, came from Maryland about 1807, and settled in Dayton, where he remained until 1812, when he located where Beavertown now is; it is related that he, with others, were building his cabin, when the news of Hull's surrender came--just at the time they were sawing out the logs for the "chimney hole," and all hands started at once for Dayton, leaving the saw sticking in the "kerf," where it remained three or four days, until the party returned.

Arnold was a clever mechanic, and was pressed into the service at Dayton, to repair arms, etc., for the troops; he returned in a short time and commenced work at his trade. It is altogether probable that he was the first blacksmith who ever worked in Van Buren Township, and the first settler in what is now Beavertown, this cabin, which was so suddenly deserted, being the first building erected in that village. Arnold owned but six acres of land, and was the father of a family of seven or eight children, all but one of whom were girls. He died at the age of eighty-four.

The first physician who located at Beavertown was Dr. Sample; his son is now in business in Dayton, as a dentist. Dr. Sample is also supposed to have been the first resident practitioner in the township of Van Buren.

Dr. Thomas Himes opened a general store in Beavertown in 1836 or 1837, but the venture did not prove successful.

There are two stone quarries near the village, at one of which the stone for the "locks" on the canal were taken out, about 1826 to 1828; this quarry was then owned by Jacob Lechlieder. The other quarry was opened by John Wead, about forty years ago; it was never worked very extensively, except for one year, when Hamilton County had it leased, and employed about one hundred hands in its working.

Beavertown was a post office at one time, but it was abolished about twenty years since, and the mails are received at Dayton and distributed by the voluntary service of those who chance to go back and forth between the two towns.

The first church building at Beavertown was a stone structure, erected in 1823; it was used jointly by the United Brethren and the "New Lights." Nathan Worley was an early preacher of the latter denomination. Dr. Antrins was one of the first ministers who represented the United Brethren here; others who came later were Rev. Huffman, Rev. Crager, etc. This old stone church was vacated in 1853; the building was destroyed by fire about twenty-five years ago.

The United Brethren Society, as has already been stated, was formed quite early, and has had a long and successful career. In 1853, the society erected a fine brick church building on a lot purchased in Beavertown, since which time important additions have been made, sheds erected, grounds improved, etc., until they have a pleasant and commodious place of worship. The continuous details of this church history are not at hand now, but it is known to have accomplished a good work among the people whose sentiments it represents; its membership at present amounts to about 100 persons.

The third house in Beavertown is said to have been a brick building; it was built by James Dean.

Arnold's old log house was torn down only a few years ago.

There appears to have been a log schoolhouse at Beavertown at quite an early date, it was on the northwest part of the land owned by John Stutzman; he relates that he attended a school taught by John Russell; and paid about $2 or $2.50 per scholar for tuition. A man named Thompson was the next teacher, and he was followed by another teacher named Robert Charles.

About 1820, the public schools were established, and of course schoolhouses were provided. There was one at Beavertown, either by purchase or construction, as the meetings were held in the "schoolhouse" before the old stone church was built (in 1823), according to the traditions of to-day.

The cemetery east of Beavertown (formerly known as the "Ervry Graveyard") is without doubt the oldest place of interment in Van Buren. By perusing the account of the Shaker Society (Watervliet) it will be seen that the followers of Kemper went off by themselves; it is understood now that these people continued to assemble together at a place not far from where this cemetery is, and that it was a place of burial before the ground at Watervliet was so used; from the character of the memorial stones in the ground it is fair to infer that it is the most ancient one in the township.

The Beavertown of to-clay contains about 175 inhabitants, with the usual number of business places, and mechanics generally found in like villages. J. R. Sourbray is the maternal grandson of Arnold, the pioneer blacksmith; he learned that trade and followed it for many years, when he engaged in the grocery trade. He is one of the foremost men of his community in social matters.

The United Presbyterian Church is one of the oldest in this portion of Montgomery County. It is said to have been organized in Bellbrook about 1804 to 1806, and was originally known as a "Seceder" Church. Its first place of worship was a log building at the above-named place. Rev. Robert Armstrong was the first pastor. Some years later it was moved into the Bigger neighborhood in Greene County, and about 1871-72 it again changed its location, and the congregation erected the present edifice on grounds given by P. L. Prugh, who now owns the farm of which this church lot was formerly a part.

Rev. J. B. McMichael was pastor until about the time the society removed to its present location, when he accepted the Presidency of Monmouth College, Illinois, which position he yet holds.

Rev. W. S. McClure is the present pastor.

The, church building is a snug, one-story brick structure, and cost $4,000.

MILLS

The first mill in Van Buren was a "corn cracker," built and operated by D. C. Cooper. It is mentioned in the county history in connection with the history of Dayton and the first colony.

There was a carding-mill on the same site, after the corn cracker was demolished. This carding-mill appears to have been built about 1814 by one Patterson. This was burned, and he built a stone mill about 1816, near where the car stables are.

The Shakers built a mill on Beaver Creek in an early day, as is related in the account of that society.

The Snyder Mills are in the southwest part of the township, and were built after the canal was constructed, in 1827-28, or may be a year or two later. There have been several steam mills, of one variety or another in the township, but they have no particular history worth transcribing, though, of course, such enterprises mark the progress of a territory.

TOPOGRAPHY, ETC

The general surface of Van Buren Township is rolling, with level and wide bottom lands along the water-courses. The exceptions to this are the high bluff-like ridges and spurs which mark the water-shed between the Great and Little Miami Rivers. These elevations are, in a general way, parallel to the course of the Great Miami, and are distant from that stream from one and one-half miles to only a few rods in places. There are also a few isolated hills of moderate height, and others of much less altitude scattered over parts of the township. These form excellent building sites, being, for the most part, of easy access on all sides.

These knolls or hillocks are composed of drift, and yield an abundance of gravel, which, with the limestone before mentioned, afford all the convenient materials for the improvement of the public roads. This has been utilized by the people of this township to that extent that the common roads are, in many cases, as well provided with good "permanent ways" as the turnpikes of some localities are.

The township is watered and drained by several creeks, the principal one being Beaver Creek and its tributaries. These streams flow into one or the other of the Miamis.

The civil township of Van Buren was organized from other territory by an act of the Commissioners of Montgomery County, at a special session held June 26, 1841, at which time its boundaries were fixed and provision made for the election of township officers, and such other business transactions as became necessary in the case.

The township contains an area of about twenty-four or twenty-five square miles; nearly the entire portion of this is of the best quality, and is highly improved. Portions of the area are underlaid by valuable formations of fine limestone, which are extensively quarried for building purposes. This creates an important industry, and contributes materials for roads and turnpikes, and other public improvements.

Van Buren is said to have been named in honor of President Martin Van Buren. The story goes, that there were two political parties pretty evenly tied in numbers, at the election of the first Justice of the Peace, or some other officers, and it was agreed that the party who polled the most votes should have the selection of the name. The Van Buren men were ahead, and decided accordingly. The entire northern part of the township is, to a great extent, a suburb of Dayton. There are several points of interest, which will be treated of elsewhere, that are located in this township. The Catholic Cemetery, Saint Mary's Institute, Southern Ohio Asylum for the Insane, etc., are among the number.

Oakwood is a suburb finely situated on the Lebanon Turnpike, on the highlands immediately south of Dayton.

The Canal, and the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railroad traverse the western end of the township, on the level ground, between the river, and the ridges. The new Narrow Gauge Railroad line runs through the eastern portions, near Beavertown, and across the Watervliet Society's lands, so that there is hardly a farm now, in Van Buren, that is out of sight or hearing of the locomotive, and the progress it represents.

The public schools have the usual history common to those of every part of Ohio. There are seven school districts, with an equal number of modern schoolhouses, where schools are maintained during the regular school year provided by the systems of the State. In February, 1882, there were twelve teachers in the public schools of this township, which, at the date of the last enrollment, contained 603 children of "school age," all of whom are white persons.

 

TOWNSHIPS, CITIES, TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Number of Acres

Value of Land

Acreage val. of land

Value of buildings

Aggregate value of lands and buildings

Average value per acre, including build'gs

Van Buren Township

16,017

$1,000,891

$62.49

$192,080

$1,192,971

$74.48

Beavertown.....

........

..........

........

.........

..........

........

Oakwood .......

........

..........

........

.........

..........

........

Total..........

16,017

$1,000,891

 

$192,080

$1,192,971

 

 

TOWNSHIPS, CITIES, TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Value of city town and village lots

Value of buildings

Aggregate value of lots and buildings

Aggregate value in each twp. city town or village

Aggregate value real estate on duplicate of 1880

No. acres of arable or plow land

No. acres uncultiv'd or wood land

Van Buren Township

.......

........

........

$1,255,246

$1,093,280

13,906

2,111

Beavertown

$3,553

$9,778

$13,329

..........

.........

.......

........

Oakwood ..

33,560

15,386

48,946

..........

.........

.......

........

Total.....

$37,113

$25,162

$62,275

$1,255,246

$1,093,280

13,906

2,111

The above exhibit is from the Decennial Appraisement of real property for 1880.

STONE QUARRIES

One of the elements of wealth that has ever contributed to the prosperity of the city of Dayton in the past, and which will for ages be a source of great income to her people, are the rich stone fields of Van Buren Township. Within a radius of probably two miles in the north central part of the township are located the stone of Montgomery County, as the celebrated Dayton stone, or Dayton marble, as it is sometimes styled, are here quarried. With the incoming of the present century began the opening of these quarries. Operations were first begun in the northern part of the radius above. described, and, in what later was known as the "Dickey quarry," and, probably, the first quarrying was done, or the first use of the stone made in the construction of the old Frybaurger House, the first built of that material in the township. The next quarry opened was on the adjoining farm, owned by Valentine Frybarger, and has always been known as the Frybarger quarry, adopting the name of its possessor, who was one of the pioneers of that region, and a prominent citizen of the county. But a few years intervened between the opening of these quarries, which were extensive, though now exhausted. The Dickey quarry was the larger of the two, a surface of about twenty acres having been worked over, and perhaps 120,000 perch of stone taken out. In comparison the Frybarger quarry was about one-half the size of the Dickey quarry, with a proportionate yield of stone. From these two quarries came the stone used in the construction of the locks of the canal, and the Dayton Court House, which has been so greatly admired by visitors from all quarters to the beautiful city. The yield of these quarries in money has amounted to at least a half million of dollars. The stone was fair but not excellent. In chronological order next, was opened the Fauver Quarry, located near the asylum. Some eighteen acres have been worked over, and extensive quantities of good stone removed. From this quarry probably come the largest stone of the township, and are used extensively for steps and platforms. The quarry continues to be worked. Another quarry, though not exhausted, but from which now no stone are taken out, is located on the Wead Farm, and, consequently, is known as the Wead quarry. The Hamilton County Court House at Cincinnati was constructed of stone quarried on this farm; the Commissioners of that county having leased the quarry. The Wead Quarry is not now, worked, for the reason that its working is attended with difficulties.

Adjoining the Fauver on the east is the Bosler quarry, now worked by Marcus Bosler. This is a continuation of the old Harshman quarry, and from it and the William Huffman quarry are exhumed the very best Dayton building stone. The two quarries are now furnishing the beautiful large stone that are used in the construction of the new Dayton Court House, the greater number being taken from the Huffman quarry. Following the Bosler quarry was opened the Jones or Spring Summit quarry; lying east of the asylum and about a half a mile from the corporation line of the city. The farm upon which it is situated in size is comprised of forty acres of land, about twenty acres off which are underlaid with the Dayton limestone, and is the property of L. B. Jones, of Dayton. This quarry has taken its name from its position lying on the dividing ridge between the two Miamis, and the waters of the springs found upon the east side flow into the Little Miami, and those upon the west side contribute their waters to the Big Miami, hence, the name "Spring Summit." This quarry was remarkable some years ago for the quantity and quality of the rock taken out. It then showed a working face of 1,500 feet from north to south, which was much the largest face of any of the quarries. The average depth of drift or stripping as quarrymen say; for the 1,500 feet face, was about eleven feet, and was composed principally of yellow clay, now and then stratified with a vein of fine sand. The stone, at first, were of extra good quality and size, but they are now only of medium quality. Samuel Fauver at present operates this quarry. The William Huffman quarry above referred to lies next to and west of the Jones quarry. The stone quarried there are similar to those quarried on the Bosler place. The Niagara formation consists in all cases of even-bedded limestones and marls, it is true, but the limestones have very different degrees of purity, while in hardness, compactness, color and the presence or absence of fossil contents, they have a very wide range. The celebrated Dayton stone may be assumed as the standard of excellence in this series. In the county the lower layers of the Niagara rocks are always the firmest and most valuable. The varying thickness of the formation in different localities has been given as from five to fifty feet.

A number of firms in and about Dayton are engaged in quarrying the stone, and the aggregate of their operations is very large. The supply of the rock is inexhaustible; but the expense of transportation shuts out from the general market almost all of the quarries that are more than three or four miles from Dayton. The stone has for years been shipped to many of the cities throughout the State and country. At this writing, from the quarries in general, above spoken of, are sent to Dayton and elsewhere daily, for eight or nine months in the year, about 200 perches of stone, worth about $800 per day, or $150,000 per year. In the last half century, stone has been quarried from the township, amounting at least to $5,000,000 or $6,000,000.

Brookville Historical Society, Inc. 2003

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