Morgan Township: Pages 315 - 320
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In the year 1826 and 1827 that portion of the Miami Canal between Cincinnati and the Miami fields above Middletown were constructed, passing on the east side of the town of Hamilton at the distance of nearly a mile from the Miami river, and about half a mile from inlots of the town. On the first day of July, 1827, the water was let into the Miami canal by the feeder, two miles above Middletown. The first boat on it was built at Middletown by Robert L. CAMPBELL, and called the Samuel Forrer. On the fourth day of July, the water having reached Middletown, the canal-boat made several trips from Middletown to the canal feeder. The canal filled slowly, so that it took more than a month before the water reached Hamilton. In August the canal-boat Samuel Forrer came down to Hamilton, and remained some time, making trips with ladies and gentlemen for pleasure to Middletown and to the neighborhood of the big pond below Hamilton.

In December, 1827, the citizens of Hamilton and Rossville had a public meeting at the court-house in Hamilton, at which they passed resolutions setting forth their grievances in consequence of the location and construction of the Miami Canal, and appointed Robert B. MILLIKIN, John REILY, and Thomas BLAIR their agents to memorialize the board of canal commissioners on the subject of a lateral canal from the main canal to the town of Hamilton was made by Jesse L. WILLIAMS, an engineer on the Miami Canal, and now living at a good old age in Fort Wayne, which was forwarded to the board of canal commissioners, together with a memorial by the agents on behalf of the citizens, praying that the board would, on behalf of the State of Ohio, make a location of a lateral canal and basin at Hamilton, and grant the citizens the privilege of its construction, and give them such pecuniary aid as they might deem proper. Jesse CORWIN was appointed by the citizens to proceed to Columbus and lay the memorial before the board of canal commissioners, and represent the case as well to the board as to the Legislature. Dr. Daniel MILLIKIN was afterwards associated with him to second in his efforts.

On the presentation of this memorial, the land of canal commissioners, at a meeting held at Columbus, on the fifteenth day of January, 1828, passed the following resolution:

"Resolved, That in the event of the General Assembly granting to the board of canal commissioners the authority to lay out and construct side cuts, or lateral canals, as suggested in the last report of the board, the acting commissioner be authorized to lay out and establish a die cut from the Miami Canal to the town of Hamilton, and upon the construction of it by the inhabitants of said town, in the manner he shall prescribe, to pay towards the cost of the same to the persons properly authorized to receive it, a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars."

In compliance with the request of the citizens of Hamilton, the Legislature of the State of Ohio, on the eleventh day of February, 1828, passed a law authorizing the canal commissioners "to construct, or permit to be constructed, a navigable communication between the Miami canal and the town of Hamilton, in the county of Butler, and if they should deem it inexpedient to construct such communication at the expense of the State, they may permit it to be done at the expense of individuals desiring such communication under such regulations and restrictions as will secure the interest of the State."

On the passage of this law subscription papers were immediately put into circulation, and a sum deemed sufficient to complete the work was soon subscribed. When this was accomplished, on the application of the citizens, Micajah T. WILLIAMS, acting canal commissioner on the Miami line, on the thirty-first day of March, 1828, entered into a contract with Andrew McCLEARY, of Rossville, to construct the basin at seven and three-fourths cents per cubic yard for embankment.

The length of the Hamilton side cut, or basin, from the main canal was fifty-three chains and sixty-two links. The natural surface of the ground on which the basin was constructed being some four or five feet lower than the bottom of the main canal, it was laid out of such a width as to admit of the earth and gravel being taken from the center to construct the banks. The basin was one hundred and twenty feet wide at the bottom, and one hundred and forty-eight feet wide at the surface of the water, having an average depth of about eighteen feet. On each side was a towing path eight feet wide, which, with the slope of the banks, made the whole width occupied by the basin from the outside base of one bank to the outside base of the other bank about two hundred and six feet. The surface of the water in the basin being about five feet above the general level of the town, it presented a beautiful appearance.

Mr. McCLEARY, the contractor, commenced the work immediately on his closing the contract, and prosecuted it with vigor, so that the whole was completed by the 13th of December, 1828, and the water let into the basin a few days afterwards. The bottom of the basin being a very loose gravel and the banks also gravel, it required a considerable length of time to fill it and some care to prevent the banks from giving way. The water leaked through the banks and at the bottom, rising up in High Street and the low ground on the north, so as to overflow to the depth of three or four feet in the street in the front of Mrs. CALDWELL's residence, doing considerable damage to property in that part of the town, until a drain was dug down Basin Street to convey the water to the river. The leakage continued for several months. Mr. McCLEARY paid at that time for a man and two horses and a scraper only seventy-five cents per day, and notwithstanding the cheap labor, he lost over one thousand and five hundred dollars. The whole cost of constructing the Hamilton amounted to the following sum:

For 80,413 cubic yards o f embankment, at 7 ¾ cent per yard	$6,232.00

For grubbing, safety-gate, bridges, and other work,		     575.52

For puddling, securing safety-gate, digging ditch to drain water to the
river, and other expenses necessarily incident to the construction of      695.50
the work

Two thousand dollars of which was paid by the State of Ohio and the remaining sum by the citizens of Hamilton and Rossville.

An office for the collection of tolls was established at the east end of the Hamilton basin, on the main line of the canal, in March, 1828, and Pierson SAYRE appointed collector, with a salary of two hundred dollars per year. He then lived in East Hamilton, and continued in office until the first of April, 1830, when he resigned, and William BLAIR was appointed in his room, with a salary of three hundred dollars per year.

In March, 1832, the office was removed to the west end of the basin. On the first day of March, 1832, William BLAIR resigned the office and Robert HARPER was appointed in his stead, who served until the first day of March, 1836, when he resigned, and John CRANE was appointed, who continued in office to 1844. On the 27th of January, 1844, the Legislature passed a law declaring that the collectors of canal tolls should be entitled to receive such compensation as shall be allowed by the board of public works, not exceeding two-thirds of the amount now allowed. The salary of the collector of Hamilton was reduced to two hundred dollars per year.

The following persons succeeded Mr. CRANE: William C. HOWELLS, Daniel SKINNER, James GEORGE, and James DOUGHERTY.

The following is the list of the original subscribers:

Isaac ANDERSON		$10.00
A.P. ANDREWS		  10.00
Jonas BALL		    3.00
John BEACH		  10.00
Thomas BLAIR		100.00
James BOAL		100.00
William BLAIR		  50.00
Geo. P. BELL		  25.00
Thomas BURNS		  25.00
C. & H. BOWERS		  20.00
Russel BURROWS		  10.00
Jas. BROADBERRY	    4.00
Geo. BURNAP	 	    5.00
Jacob BURNET		  51.00
Morris CRANE		  25.00
Samuel S. COLE		  75.00
M. & A. CONNER		  25.00
Est. of CALDWELL		  50.00
David CLARK		    5.00
Jas. B. CAMERON		  15.00
Jesse CORWIN		  25.00
O. S. CALDWELL		  10.00
David CONNER		    5.00
Samuel DICK, Jr.		  10.00
Caleb DeCAMP		  25.00
John C.DUNLEVY		  25.00
Nicholas DAVIS		  15.00
William DANIELS		150.00
Samuel DICK		  30.00
Richard EASTON		    5.00
H. S. EARHART & Co.	  10.00
Wm J.ELDER & Co.		  10.00
Thos. ENYEART		    5.00
David K. ESTE		  44.00
Isaac FALCONER		  10.00
Daniel FLENNER		150.00
Thomas FAWCETT		    5.00
Isaac FISHER		    5.00
Jacob FLICKINGER		    5.00
John D. GARRISON	100.00
Israel GREGG		    5.00
HUNTER & NUTT		  10.00
Peter HELWIG		    1.00
John HUNTER		    5.00
Robt. J. HOWARD		   20.00
Isaac HOWE		   10.00
Robert HEWES		     5.00
Matth. HUESTON		   10.00
Henry JACOBY		     5.00
William JONES		   10.00
John JOHNSTON		     5.00
Aaron JEWELL		   50.00
Robt. JONES and John
Joel KENNEDY		   50.00
Wm. A. KRUG		   10.00
Thos. KENWORTHY	   15.00
John LINE		   10.00
Joseph LASHHORN	   20.00
Joseph LANDIS		 100.00
Philip LANDIS		     5.00
Jas. C. LUDLOW		   40.00
William MOORE		 100.00
Robert. B. MILLIKIN	   50.00
Andrew McCLEARY		   25.00
Stafford MORGAN		   10.00
David MacDILL		   10.00
John McKEEN		   15.00
Benjamin MOSES		   10.00
James McBRIDE		 100.00
Dav. McMEHCAN		     5.00
Dan. MILLIKIN		 100.00
John McCLURE		     5.00
Robert MARTIN		   10.00
Thos. & Wm. McMILLEN	   10.00
Sam. MILLIKIN		   10.00
Jos.  McMECHAN		   10.00
Phil McGONIGAL		     5.00
Sam. McCLURE		   10.00
Thomas MELONE		     3.00
John MOOREHEAD		   10.00
Azur R.  MILLS		     5.00
Jas. O'CONNOR		   25.00
Isaac OVERPECK		     1.50
Isaac PAXTON		   10.00
Isaac POINER		   10.00
Thos. PETERKIN		     5.00
Jonath.  PIERSON		   15.00
John REILY		 500.00
Loammi RIGDON		   25.00
John RINEHART		     5.00
John L. RITTER		     1.00
Jacob SANDOE		     5.00
Morris SEELY		   10.00
Wm. H. SPALDING		     5.00
Lawrence SMITH		     5.00
Silas SMITH		  350.00
Thos. SINNARD		    25.00
Chas. K. SMITH		    25.00
Oliver STEVENS		    25.00
	in cloth		  100.00
Chas. SNIDER		      5.00
Jasper SNYDER		      5.00
Samuel SCOTT		    10.00
William TAYLOR		    25.00
John TRABER		    25.00
Thomas M. THOMAS	    25.00
Benj. VANGORDEN		      5.00
Edward VICKROY		      3.00
Geo. VANDEGRIFF		    20.00
Wm. B. VAN HOOK		  100.00
I.P. VANHAGAN		      5.00
Hiram WRIGHT		    10.00
Samuel P. WITHROW	      5.00
Hugh WILSON		   100.00
John WINTON 		   200.00
John WOODS		   100.00
Charles WALKER		     10.00
Isaac WILES		       8.00
Isaac WATSON		       5.00
Michael YEAKLE		       8.00

The basin did a very useful work for many years, and it was a mistake to have done away with it so soon. Undoubtedly the canal, of which it was a branch, will some day, not far in the future, also be disued and filled up. But that time has not yet arrived, nor in our judgment had it arrived for the basin in 1877. There were many complaints of disease said to have originated from it exhalations, and it did comparatively little business. The business men, as a rule, opposed its removal, but the question was submitted to the people of the city, and they voted against retaining it.

An act was passed by the General Assembly, April 27, 1872, for cutting it off, which provided that the measure should be approved by two-thirds of the voters of the city; that the city council should procure the written consent of the lessees of the public works to the cutting off, and obtain a release from them of all claims for damages from the State; the city of Hamilton to be liable for all damages to property occasioned by the filling up. To ascertain what these damages might be council was required to give thirty days' notice of its intentions to cut off, and within thirty days afterwards persons claiming damages were required to present to council a written application clearly setting for the ground on which damages were claimed, and the amount.

On the application of council, the judge of the Court of Common Pleas was to appoint three commissioners, who should have authority to examine witnesses under oath, to audit the claims for damages, and within one month after their appointment, make a report to council of the amount of damages, if any, awarded.

Under the requirements of this law, an elections was held on Tuesday, may 18, 1875, with the following result:

		First Ward	183		218
		Second Ward	385		 84
		Third Ward	522		 84
		Fourth War	426		 16

		Total	           1,516		402
		Total vote		            1,918
		Majority for cutting off	            1,114
Or more than two-thirds in favor of cutting off.

The lessees of the public works withholding their written consent to the proposed cutting off, Mr. NEAL, at the next session of the Legislature, introduced a supplemental bill to remedy this defect.

About 9 o'clock Tuesday night, June 19, 1877, a force of a hundred men appeared at the neck of the basin with wheelbarrows, picks, shovels, etc., and proceeded to fill up the basin at that point. The men were divided into squads and thoroughly organized, as if they had prepared themselves for the work some time before. At the meeting of council, the night before, the matter of cutting off the basin was laid over indefinitely. This was done in order to mislead those who were opposed to it. If any time for filling had been fixed the opposition would have been ready with injunctions to stop the work, and might probably have delayed it for months. As soon as filling up the neck was commenced, a report that the work was in progress spread like wild-fire throughout the city, and it was not many minutes before a crowd of two thousand people was collected on the basin banks. The men worked well, and a little after 12 o'clock the job was completed.

It is said that some of the men opposed to the cutting off made an effort to procure an injunction, but the judges of both the Common Pleas and Probate Courts were out of town.

The citizens generally were pleased, and in a short time the excavation was filled up. The expectations of those who favored its removal have not been realized; fevers still exist in Hamilton, and the land is entirely waste.


Taylor WEBSTER was born in Pennsylvania, and when a child immigrated, with his father and mother, to Butler County, Ohio, in 1806. He received a limited education in the schools of that early day, and for a time pursued his studies at the Miami University, when that institution was in its infancy.

Mr. WEBSTER was identified with the press of Butler County for a long time. From about the year 1828 until the year 1836, he edited and published the Western Telegraph, which was the organ of the old Jackson Democracy. Subsequently the Telegraph was carried on by John B. WELLER. During the first part of this period the Hamilton Intelligencer, the opposition paper, was edited by John WOODS, and subsequently it was edited, printed, and published by Lewis D. CAMPBELL. These four Hamilton editors all represented the district in Congress—Mr. WOODS four years, Mr. WEBSTER six years, Mr. WELLER six years, and Mr. CAMPBELL, the only survivor, eleven years.

In 1829 Mr. WEBSTER was elected clerk of the House of Representatives of the Ohio Legislature. In 1830 he was the representative of Butler in the Ohio Legislature, and elected speaker. In 1832, 1834, and 1836 he was elected representative to Congress from the district composed of the counties of Butler, Preble and Darke. In 1838 he was succeeded by John B. WELLER. Subsequently he was the successor of John REILY, deceased, as clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, and of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio for Butler County.

During the administration of Jackson and Van Buren when he was actively in the field of Ohio politics, he was not such a leader as were William ALLEN, John BROUGH, or John B.WELLER. He was not an orator, but in a less ostentatious way he performed more telling service than either of them. Their great powers were displayed in haranguing the multitude and exciting their friends to action without, perhaps, making very many converts from the opposition. Mr. WEBSTER's great strength was in what was called the button-hole and fence-corner system of electioneering. He had not superior in the Miami Valley in organizing political forces in detail during a campaign and bringing them into action when a decisive battle was to be fought. He was naturally of a mild and unassuming disposition—calm discreet, and a considerate in action. He was always temperate, industrious, and persevering, and he discharged with honesty and fidelity the functions of the various official positions with which he was intrusted. He died on the 27th of April, 1876, at the residence of his son, in New Orleans.


Cyrus FALCONER, physician and surgeon, was born January 21, 1810, in Washington County, Penn. His parents, Isaac and Nancy (WILKINS) FALCONER, were natives of the same place. In 1812 the family removed to Ohio, passing down the Monongahela to Pittsburg, and thence on flat-boats down the Ohio to Cincinnati. Rossville (now West Hamilton) being their point of destination they started for that place, crossing the Big Miami by ferry-boat where the iron bridge now spans it. The doctor's father rented a hotel opposite to where the STRAUB House now stands. The building was erected as early as 1806, and still remains a land-mark. Mr. FALCONER conducted this hotel and the ferry till 1816, when he erected the frame building now occupied by W.C. MILLER as a drug-store. It was known as the "Falconer House," and was conducted by Mr. FALCONER until 1838. Besides his hotel business, he for several years carried on the cabinet-maker's trade, which he had learned while young, in company with Mr. Thomas ENYEART. He was among the first to build flat-boats on the Miami, and for many years carried on an extensive trade down the Ohio and Mississippi. He made several trips to New Orleans, the last one being in 1827, with a load of furniture of his own manufacture. Mr. FALCONER built one of the first saw-mills in Hamilton (Rossville), which he carried on for a short time. He also was engaged in farming, to some extent. He was drafted, in 1814, for the second war with Great Britain, but before reaching the seat of hostilities the conflict was over. He served for several years afterwards as captain of a military company. He died in 1840, age sixty, while his widow survived him fourteen years, dying at the age of sixty-four. But one brother of Dr. FALCONER's, John H. FALCONER, ever grew to manhood. He was a tailor and hotel-keeper in Rossville for several years, and afterwards a farmer in Illinois, where he died in 1866. His only sister was Mrs. Louise M. DESHLER, widow of the late John G. DESHLER, of Columbus, who was a very prominent and wealthy banker. Dr. FALCONER received his primary education in the schools of Hamilton. At the age of fourteen he began studying Latin and the higher branches in a select school conducted by John L. WATKINS. In 1826 he entered Miami University (then in its infancy), and was in the class with General Robert C. SCHENCK. He remained at this institution until the Fall of 1827. To add a little experience and knowledge of the world to his book learning, he accompanied his father on his last trip to New Orleans on a flat-boat down the Ohio and the Mississippi. It was on this romantic trip that he became instilled with abolition principles. He witnessed slavery in its worst form; and the cruelties and degradation seen by him made a lasting impression upon his mind. Upon his return in the following Spring he began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. R.B. MILLIKIN, father of Mr. Thomas MILLIKIN, at present the oldest practicing lawyer of Hamilton. During 1830 and 1831, he took a course of lectures at the Ohio Medical College, at Cincinnati. In 1832 he was licensed to practice medicine by the Second Senatorial District Medical Society, and immediately opened an office in Hamilton. In the Fall of 1834 he entered into partnership with Dr. L. RIGDON, brother of Mr. Sidney RIGDON, made famous by his association with Joseph SMITH, of Mormon notoriety. The Winter of 1837 was passed by the doctor in traveling through Texas on horseback, shortly after the capture of Santa Anna by Sam HOUSTON, prospecting for a new location. A tour was also made through Illinois and Iowa, when he returned to Hamilton, and in the Autumn of 1838 he entered the Cincinnati Medical College, from which he graduated in 1839. He now resumed his practice in Hamilton, opening an office on the grounds where his residence now stands. In 1846 he took as assistant Dr. L.J. SMITH, and in 1850 received him as partner. In 1859 this relation was dissolved, and it was not until 1878 that another and last partnership was formed, when Dr. Lee CORBIN became associated with in practice for one year.

It is just half a century since Dr. FALCONER entered upon the duties of his profession, which gives him the distinction of being the oldest practicing physician in the county, while but few in the State can lay claim to a professional career of equal length. No physician in Butler county is more widely or more favorably known than Dr. FALCONER, not only by his acknowledged skill as a physician and surgeon, but also as a man of prominence outside of his chosen profession. His early education was liberal, and from studious habits and a naturally inquiring disposition his mind is replete with a store of knowledge that constitutes him one of Hamilton's most cultured citizens. He is a ready writer, which from time has enabled him to furnish scientific and medical journals with able articles. His first contribution was a report on cholera in Butler County, published in 1834 in Dr. Drake's Western Medical Journal. Another article which attracted considerable notice was furnished the same journal some years afterwards, describing a Caesarian operation performed by him.

Doctor FALCONER has been a prominent member of the Ohio State Medical Association ever since 1845, shortly after its inception, and is one of a few of its oldest members now living. He has been its vice-president repeatedly, and in 1881 was nominated for president, but was defeated by a small vote. He has also been a member of the American Medical Association since 1859, and was a delegate to the first international medical congress, which was held in Philadelphia in 1876. The medical profession in Butler and surrounding counties owe much to Doctor FALCONER for his efforts in their behalf. He was the active founder of the Butler County Medical Society, composed of the physicians of Butler and Preble Counties, Ohio, and Union, Rush, Wayne, and Fayette Counties, Indiana. Doctor FALCONER for many years has had a very large practice, and every thing intended for the advancement of medical science in the surrounding country has had his hearty support and the benefits of this long and successful experience. Upon the first draft of soldiers in 1861 he was appointed examining surgeon of this district. For the past three years Doctor FALCONER has been carrying on a farm in Hanover Township in connection with his other duties. During R.B. HAYES's first term as governor of the State, Doctor FALCONER was, by his appointment, trustee of the State Agricultural College, and was also appointed by Governor NOYES.

Ever since the inception of the Republican party Doctor FALCONER has been an enthusiastic supporter of its principles, although his first vote was cast for a Democratic candidate General JACKSON, in 1832. Between that date, however, and the birth of the Republican party his affiliations were with the Whigs. He figured conspicuously in politics in those days and was sent as a delegate to the Whig National Convention at Harrisburg, in 1839, which nominated General HARRISON for President, and took an active part in the campaign following.

The doctor has been one the leading members of the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton for a great many years, having been associated with that Church since 1845, and for the past thirty-two years one of its elders. In 1857 and 1864 he was a delegate to the Presbyterian General Assembly, at Lexington, Kentucky, and Newark, New Jersey, respectively.

He was early identified with educational interests of Hamilton, and was one the organizers of the union school system in this place in 1851. He was one of three of the first board of school examiners, in which capacity he served for nine years.

Doctor FALCONER married his first wife, Miss Mary, daughter of the Hon. John WOODS, October 8, 1839, who died September 18, 1870. Eight children were born of this union. The oldest, John W., born September 30, 1840, was killed at Appomattox Court-house, April 9, 1865, thirty minutes before the flag of truce was raised by General LEE asking a cessation of hostilities from General GRANT. He was a captain of a company of United States colored troops, and was leading the skirmish line which checked the last effort of the rebels to escape, when he received a mortal wound. The second son, Jerome, born March, 1844, was also shot at Stone River, in August, 1863. He died at his home, in Hamilton, seven months afterwards. William R. (or P.) was born May 14, 1847. Louise, wife of General Eugene POWELL, of Delaware, Ohio, was born February 15, 1852. Helen, wife of Captain O'BRIEN, of the Seventeenth Regiment in the regular army, serving at Fort Yates, Dakota, was born December 9, 1853. Cyrus, Jr., was born March 5, 1856. Scott, born May 12, 1858, died, aged two years, and Mary was born May 22, 1863.

The date of his second marriage was February 1, 1872, to Miss Margaret McKEE, of Columbus, who died September 15, 1878. He married his present wife, Miss Ella CRAWFORD, of Hamilton,, May 20, 1880. Of this last union one child, a son, was born, February 16, 1882.

Doctor FALCONER, although of advanced age is firm and elastic in step, vigorous in movement, and displays the same activity and quickness he did thirty years ago. His face is very marked in its outline, and his head is crowned with an abundant growth of white hair.

He has been very concerned in nearly every public measure which affects the interests of Hamilton, and has been distinguished in his action by originality of views. He is but little affected by the ideas of others, and pursues his course regardless of popular clamor. Often he has been the most unpopular man in town, but time has generally shown the correctness of his opinions. He never shrinks from maintaining what he believes to be true; neither does he mince words in branding a falsehood.

For the last fifty years he has taken a decided stand in every thing that can affect mankind in this neighborhood. He was an ardent Whig and is now an ardent Republican; he is unremitting in his attendance on the ordinances of religion; he is an active Sunday-school teacher; he has on occasions delivered addresses on patriotic and professional subjects; in committee work he has done a great deal; he has exposed wrong and fraud wherever he has met them, whether intended to defraud the taxpayers of Hamilton or of the country. He attends every public meeting at which it is desirable that good citizens should turn out and he had not been backward in putting his hand into his pocket when desired to do so for the good of the community. For many years he has been regarded as among the first three or four citizens of the town.