Hanover Township: Pages 439 - 443
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HANOVER is a township six miles from the south & west lines of the county, bounded on the north by Milford, on the east by St. Clair, on the south by Ross, & on the west by Reily. It is made up of thirty-six sections.

The justices of the peace have been: 1812, James JOHNSON, John RAINEY; 1815 to 1818, Matthew HUESTON, James BEATY; 1824, John RAINEY, Matthew HUESTON, Reuben BLACKFORD; 1829, Andrew LESTER, John RAINEY, Reuben BLACKFORD; 1832, John MORSE, John RAINEY; 1833, Reuben BLACKFORD; 1834, John MORSE; 1835, Reuben BLACKFORD, Daniel RUMPLE, M. BOWERMAN; 1841, Reuben BLACKFORD, Abraham BERCAW, John MORSE; 1842, Henry DILLON; 1844, R. BLACKFORD, John MORSE; and since that date Henry DILLON, Reuben BLACKFORD, John MORSE, William HUESTON, Samuel SNELL, Jacob BOTTENBURG, Joseph HILEMAN, Robert MOORE, Frederick SHAFFER, Michael KUMLER, Henry A. STRAWHAVER, Wm. R. COCHRAN, George B. TOBIAS, I. M. WARWICK, J. M. JOHNSTON, W. B. DAVIS, Henry KELLER, & J. W. BOATMAN.


The climate, soil, & surface is pretty much like that of the other adjoining townships. There are no villages within the borders of Hanover. The first settlements were generally made in locations favorable to farming. A dividing ridge extends across the township from the south-east to the north-west, causing the water to flow either towards Four-Mile, which passes diagonally through the north-east corner, or into Indian Creek, which also cuts the south-west corner in a very similar manner. Both these streams are of considerable size, and have numerous small tributaries. The most important branch of Indian Creek is Salmon's Run, which derived its name from William SALMON, an early settler, who lived on its bank and carried on distilling. Another stream of considerable size, a tributary of Indian Creek also, is Zeigler's Run, taking its name from Samuel ZEIGLER, who settled on its head-waters three-quarters of a century ago. Four-Mile has for its main inlets Stony Run & Beckett's Run, the latter from Robert BECKETT, a man who settled here in the woods far back in the beginning of the century. The dividing ridge from which these and other lesser streams flow is a table-land of deep, rich loam, where all the staples are grown in abundance. The south side of the township is a fine rolling bottom, which gradually reaches up to the higher lands, except the south-east corner, where the surface is hilly. In the north the surface is more broken, and, if any thing, the soil is less fertile than anywhere else in the township.

One of the old landmarks in the township is an elm, four feet in diameter, with tall head and spreading limbs, at the original voting precinct at Hanover Station. It is at least one hundred & forty years of age, for when the first settlers knew it, its size was the same as today.

In 1809 Andrew LEWIS killed one of the largest deer ever seen in this section. Its horns were enormous, and old hunters pronounced them the largest they had ever seen. Game abounded here between 1800 and 1820. Mr. LEWIS says he could have killed fourteen deer one morning going from his home to Millville--all broadside shots. "I have caught hundreds of wild turkeys in turkey-pens, and have seen this country fairly alive with squirrels, ground-hogs, opossums, raccoons, foxes, wolves, and deer." He also says, "I have often caught as many as a dozen turkeys in a single day, and I remember once that I took out of my pen twenty-seven large gobblers at one time; the smallest would not weigh less than fifteen pounds."


Millville was laid out May 23, 1815, by Joseph Van HORNE, who previously had taken up his residence in this community. There soon gathered around him and his grist-mill, erected in 1805, by Joel WILLIAMS, a large and busy class of people, all intent upon making money and buying land. The first roads, therefore, naturally led in the direction of Van HORNE's mill. From Hamilton to Reily and on to the State line, the first road, part of the time, followed the dividing line of the townships to Millville, but zigzagged through the woods in a very irregular course. From Millville it took the same direction pretty much as the Reily pike now does, and ended, as far as Butler County is concerned, near where Walker Chapel stands. This highway was one of the roads which tapped the bordering counties, and, forming a junction with the Oxford road near Millville, poured a constant stream of produce into Cincinnati, by the way of Venice. In 1810 Obadiah WELLIVER kept a tavern-stand on this road above Bunker Hill, on the bank of Indian Creek, east side, where, until his death, he fed many a hungry hog-driver and teamster. Another road, but of less importance, ran from Darrtown to Hamilton. The Oxford road, perhaps the most important highway in the township, was located about where the present pike runs. It was here as early as 1820, and at that time was used by a large traveling public. These roads named are now the most important, as they were then, in the county.

David DONER, on Section 27, on a little branch of Indian Creek, known as Kumler's Run, had a still-house at an early day. William SALMON had another here on Section 19, on Salmon's Run, early in 1808. This still-house was in operation for twenty-five years. Alexander MOORE, on Section 22, was here in early times. Philip McGONIGLE and Richard MARTINDALE had distilleries in 1830, on Section 7. Robert BECKETT had a very large whisky manufactory in Section 14. Michael YEAKLE had another on the north-west corner of Section 8. John MORSE had one on Section 22, and James WILLIS another on Section 23. J. HEITZMAN was also in the same branch of business on Section 26. Philip SHAFER was also a distiller where Alexander EMRICK now lives. Near the tollgate, on the Riley and Oxford pike, Michael HAWK had a large steam distillery in 1827. George SHAFER had a still-house as early as 1820 on Section 33. From 1820-1850, Andrew LEWIS, Sen., had a large still-house on Indian Creek on Section 30. Most of these establishments were in operation from 1810 to 1830. Many had grist-mills connected with them, or at least the necessary machinery to grind corn for meal.

Matthew HUESTON, who owned all of Sections 1 and 2, and a quarter each out of 11 and 12, had a grist-mill, built by Joel WILLIAMS in 1809, on Four-Mile, in the south-west corner of Section 1. WILLIAMS was a millwright by trade, who came from the East about 1803, and built six mills in the Miami Valley, near Hamilton. Mr. HUESTON afterwards added a very extensive still-house to the grinding department. These he continued to run, adding a saw-mill in the mean time, for many years, though the property passed through several members of his family as to ownership. The grist department was propelled by a large undershot water-wheel. It is yet standing, but used for a stable, and is scarcely recognizable.

Andrew LEWIS, Jr., and brother built an undershot saw-mill on Indian Creek, Section 30, in the south-west corner in 1827. One of the shares was soon sold to James LEWIS. In 1830, or thereabouts, the still-house was added. These establishments went down in eight or ten years. There are a few remnants still to be seen. Andrew LEWIS's, Jr., still-house was on the same site as his son's. One of the remarkable features connected with these establishments was a stream of water from a one and a quarter inch iron pipe driven into the ground to the depth of twenty feet, from which water still runs with undiminished regularity. When the pipe was first put down the water rose to the height of ten feet. It is strongly tinctured with iron.

Ezekiel and Maxwell ROSS built a tub-wheel grist and saw mill on Indian Creek about twenty rods below the Bethel Church, in 1815. The ROSS mill passed into possession of Jacob ZINN, and from him to Robert MOORE and P. B. SHAFER in 1847; in one year the former became owner, and in 1861 the mill ceased to run altogether. Nothing remains to mark the site but a race overgrown with willows and weeds.


Jacob STILLWELL's corner was known far and wide in Butler County fifty years ago. In the forks of the road, one of which takes the direction of the State line and the other toward Oxford, in Section 7, was a frame steam grist and saw mill and still-house. The still-house was built about 1830, and the mills in 1835 or 1836. The flouring department was three stories high. For many years this mill ground the grain for a large section of the country. Mr. STILLWELL was also engaged as a tavern and storekeeper, the former about 1854. Richard MARTINDALE afterwards rented the property of Mrs. Thomas McCULLOCH, and carried on the tavern-keeping business for twenty-five or thirty years. The old tavern stand is now occupied by Thomas ROLL.

In 1837 Thomas and John NICHOL had a horse-mill on Stony Run, which lasted for a considerable length of time.

Near the ZEIGLER grave-yard, in 1805, James RAY carried on blacksmithing. He is supposed to have been the first resident blacksmith in the township. By birth RAY was a Pennsylvanian.

About 1825, when Bethel Church was in her prime, William CALLOWAY carried on blacksmithing near the mouth of Salmon's Run. Daniel SORTMAN and Michael EMRICK were early blacksmiths on Section 29, in the north-west quarter. John REESE, in 1815, was blacksmith on Section 21, in the south-west corner, where he owned twenty-eight acres of land. In the east end of the township, a Mr. MURPHY carried on the same trade along in the twenties.


Hanover Township is made up pre-eminently of farmers. These men, with their wives, were not long in establishing a system of education. The first school in the neighborhood of Bethel was a log-house which stood between the church and the mouth of Salmon's Run. Andrew LEWIS, Jr. (the present old gentleman), was the teacher here in 1809 or 1810. After him came Alexander MARTIN, when the house burned down. The house was rebuilt half a mile below on the same road, near where the Oxford and Reily Pikes unite. This house was here in 1817. Some of the teachers were Griffith and Evan MORRIS, residents of Paddy's Run. Previous to 1817 a school was conducted in a little log-house where Mr. LEWIS now lives, on the Oxford Pike. It was a hewed log-house in which the school was kept, standing here until 1830.

The first school-house in the central part of Hanover stood near the old voting precinct on the State road from Hamilton to Oxford, on the north-west quarter of Section 22, then owned by John MORSE. The house was hewed log, put up about 1825, before the township was districted; and at the time districts were created was made one of those subdivisions. This house lasted for twenty years, but is now gone. Among the teachers here were Andrew LESTER, Joseph DOUTY, and Jasper BRANDEN, a Yankee, all men who left a deep impression on the boys and girls who made up their schools.

On the north-east corner of Section 26 a school was taught in a log house, without a floor, in 1820. This house stood on the bank of Two-Mile Creek; the teacher was John DUCAT. After one year the house was used for other purposes. Some of the scholars were Robert MOORE, born in Hanover Township in 1815, and residing there all his life; the WICKARDs, who were from Pennsylvania; the DONERs, of Pennsylvania; the children of Henry WANSON and J. HEITZMAN. On the section lying north, No. 23, a school was kept by John W. CALDWELL in 1825, on the farm now owned by J. H. BELL, on the old State road. This house burned down. The scholars here were those taught by DUCAT, except some members of the MORRISON, PELLAM, and VESTRY families.

Thomas NICHOL, or "Uncle Tommy NICHOL," as he is generally called, says he "attended five schools in the north-eastern part of the township that had no floors, no loft, no window-glass, and none of your modern seats, desks, globes, and maps." These houses have all disappeared.


Bethel Church, or as it was called from 1815 to 1818, Indian Creek Church, is one of the most important religious institutions in the western half of Butler County.

"On Sabbath Day," the Church record says, " June 24, 1815, Rev. Mr. HAYDEN preached and appointed a meeting of the congregation on the succeeding day for the purpose of organizing a Church. June 25th the congregation met agreeable to appointment. After the sermon was preached, the congregation proceeded to the election of members of the session. Rev. Mr. HAYDEN was chosen moderator; when Ezekiel ROSS, Joseph Van HORNE, Smith WILLIAMS, Daniel BAKER, and William MITCHELL were elected, after which Joseph Van HORNE was appointed clerk of the Church for the purpose of recording the proceedings." The record goes on and says, "Mrs. Juliet G. TUMOR had a child baptized. Sabbath, July 30th, was a day appointed for the administration of the Lord's-supper. On Saturday preceding, the widow Margaret CRAVEN had two children baptized, as also did Mr. Catharine ROSS, wife of Aaron ROSS. Two of the elders elected, Joseph Van HORNE and Ezekiel ROSS, formally ordained, proceeded to form or constitute a session. Among the members were David BAKER, his wife Fanny, and family, from Duck Creek Church, Ohio; Juliet G. TUMOR, David ROSS, Alexander CRAGMILE, John and Margaret HARPER, Joseph and Martha Van HORNE, Miss and Mrs. Rebecca Van HORNE, Garrett Van AUSDALL, Sen., William MITCHELL, Matthias ROLL and Mary, his wife, and Martha DICK, from the Hamilton Church; Margaret CRAVEN, from Harmony Church, Pennsylvania; Ann HAWKINS, from Rahway Church, New Jersey; Ezekiel and Ruth ROSS, Amos, Lydia, Mrs. Catharine, and Mrs. Maria ROSS, from Westfield, New Jersey; Smith and Mary WILLIAMS from Cincinnati Church; Mrs. Charity STINEMAN, from a church in the forks of the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania, and Hannah MARTIN, from Millintown Church, Pennsylvania. The elders first elected were Smith WILLIAMS, David BAKER, and William MITCHELL, but the latter declined to serve. The first ordinance was administered by the Rev. William GRAY and the Rev. John THOMPSON. There were 31 communicants of the congregation, besides several from neighboring Churches. In May, 1816, at the invitation and request of the congregation of the Indian Creek Church, the Rev. John BOYD came and settled a stated pastor. Joseph Van HORNE was appointed to attend the next meeting of the Presbytery, May 28th." In April, 1817, there were 43 members.

David MONFORT, one of the most successful pastors which the Church ever had, preached his first sermon to this people the 14th of September 1817. He was chosen in the preceding August at a salary of $350.00, which was made up by subscription. The first death in the Church occurred on the 13th of September 1817. On the 31st of January 1818, the Rev. Mr. MONFORT preached at the residence of Nehemiah WADE, and baptized his daughter, Letitia CHAMBERS, who was born the 25th of November preceding. In 1818 there were reported to the Presbytery 83 members; and in October 1819, 91 members. It is here we find the first mention of the name Bethel, which must have been changed from Indian Creek Church early in the year. Mr. MONFORT was continually preaching throughout the county and baptizing many. In 1820 there were 127 members; 1821, 127; 1825, 184. Mr. Van HORNE was an excellent penman and kept the proceedings of the Church in a full and handsome manner. The pastorship of Mr. MONFORT was very successful. Under his preaching the Church prospered wonderfully, as evinced by the membership in 1825.

Bethel Church stands on the Reily pike, about two miles and half above Millville, very nearly on the line which separates sections Nos. 31 and 32, equally distant from the east and west side. An old toll-gate formerly stood opposite the church. From 1815 to 1843 the importance of this point as a place of holding preaching was very great. When people first began to assemble here, along in the '20's and '30's, they brought their dinners with them, and put in the day attending divine worship. The site of Bethel was selected because, at that time, there were no Presbyterian Churches for miles in all directions. From Venice came the WADEs, BUTTERFIELDs, HUNGERFORDs, WILLEYs, CLARKs, DICKs, ANDERSONs, and others; from the direction of Hamilton came the KUMLERs, WICKARDs, MOOREs, EMRICKs, TIMBERMANs; from the north, the GRAYs, WARDs, STEPHENSes, BRADYs, and dozens more; many of whom have long since passed beyond; from Paddy's Run came the people of that enterprising community in great numbers. These persons made a congregation of great respectability; and henceforward the Church continued to prosper. Services were often held in distant farm-houses, at the bidding of a score of the members.

In 1828 the Rev. A. B. GILLILAND, father of Carey GILLILAND, now of Venice, took charge of Bethel. In the mean time a parsonage had been erected, now occupied by Mr. Robert MOORE, where the ministers took up their abode. Here they were always found, ready to lend a helping hand and administer to the wants of the unfortunate. GILLILAND was a man of large intellect and an excellent singer.

As the membership continued to grow under Messrs. GILLILAND and John S. WEAVER, and a number of less prominent pastors, there naturally sprang up a desire in the hearts of many of the members to have a Church nearer at home. This feeling resulted in the Venice Presbyterian Church in 1828, and some time afterwards a Church at Reily. These Churches reduced the attendance and membership somewhat, but still the old Church was full of life. Not until 1873 was Bethel abandoned, when the Millville Presbyterian Church was erected. The old church had grown out of date, with its old-fashioned furniture.

The Bethel Church at Millville is a handsome brick building, capable of holding 600 people. It is nicely furnished. The building is principally an addition to the old school-house, with the walls raised and a vestibule and steeple added. The line dividing the townships of Ross and Hanover passes through the north-west corner of the house.

The following are inscriptions from the Bethel burying-ground, which was given by Andrew LEWIS's father. The ground on which the old church stands was from Ezekiel ROSS. Mr. LEWIS is the only member of the building committee--composed of three members--who is yet living.

A large monument reads: Samuel DICK, departed this life August 4, 1846, aged 82. Martha ALLEN, consort of Samuel DICK. Ezekiel ROSS, the father of a large and respectable posterity in this and other townships, departed this life February 13, 1845; aged 88. Ruth ROSS, his wife, died November 10, 1819, in the 62d year of her age. Among the first burials here was Smith WILLIAMS, one of the original members of the Church, who departed this life April 22, 1819, in the 57th year of his age; also his wife, Polly WILLIAMS, who died April 11, 1828, in the 61st year of her age. Nenian BEATY, a large land-owner among the pioneers who lived on Section 33, immediately north of Millville, was born March 26, 1787, and died February 21, 1857. Jane, wife of Nenian BEATY, was born November 12, 1785, and died March 8, 1838. A very peculiar block of marble, in the shape of a full-size coffin reads: James BEATY, died February 26, 1863; aged 78 years. Jane, wife of James BEATY, died November 26, 1864; aged 68. In memory of Jacob DENMAN, who was born January 5, 1782; died November 13, 1834. Also, his wife, who was born December 12, 1783, and who died April 13, 1848. Both natives of Essex County, New Jersey. Here lies another pioneer: Nathaniel BRIANT was born in Westfield, New Jersey, October 18, 1776; died September 18, 1859. Elizabeth, wife of Nathaniel BRIANT, a native of Westfield, New Jersey, died October 27, 1856; aged 77 years, 2 months. Ellis HAND, a native of New Jersey, died March 20, 1837; aged 82 years, 1 month, & 5 days. Hannah, his wife, died February 19, 1858; aged 87 years and 4 months. In memory of John DUNGAN, who departed this life January 29, 1843, in the 71st year of his age. The ROSSes were old men in this part of the county in 1800, as witness these: William ROSS departed this life January 12, 1831, in the 91st year of his age. Jacob ROSS, born August 13, 1781; died March 13, 1859.

In the north-west corner of the yard we find: Mary, wife of Dr. R. D. HERRON, who died January 26, 1847; aged 29. Margaret, wife of Charles CHAMBERS, departed this life May 21, 1847; aged 77. In memory of Margaret HINDMAN, who died August 22, 1836; aged 76 years. Robert CRAWFORD, born December 4, 1788; died August 21, 1864. Elizabeth, wife of Robert CRAWFORD, born April 5, 1798; died April 29, 1853. Andrew LEWIS, Sen., native of Ireland, and an early pioneer in the West, died March 26, 1847; aged 84. Martha, wife of Andrew LEWIS, Sen., died February 22, 1852; aged 77. All the above, from Mrs. Dr. HERRON, are in the north-west corner of the yard.

Thomas TRACY died July 5, 1849; aged 80. Rebecca, his wife, died October 29, 1851, in the 66th year of her age. Adam BOWMAN, died September 11, 1853; aged 92. Mary, wife of Adam BOWMAN, born November 23, 1789, died July 27, 1835. Joseph Van AUSDALL, died August 7, 1834; aged 49. Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Van AUSDALL, died October 15, 1825; aged 43. In memory of Lewis WILLIAMS, who died August 29, 1840; aged 69. Chloe, wife of Lewis WILLIAMS, departed this life March 11, 1833, in the 64th year of her age. In memory of James HASLET, who died November 28, 1834; aged 65. Sacred to the memory of Mary, wife of James HASLET, who departed this life March 2, 1826; aged 44. John SCUDDER died April 7, 1839; aged 37. Susanna SCUDDER died October 28, 1862; aged 92. David BAKER, Sen., died April 11, 1855; aged 83. Fanny, wife of David BAKER, Sen., died June 3, 1831; aged 59. Benjamin JAMES departed this life November 11, 1848; aged 74. In memory of Jane, wife of Benjamin JAMES, who died March 1, 1853; aged 76. Here lies another of the ROSS family: Sacred to the memory of Carmon ROSS, who departed this life July 25, 1834, in the 54th year of his age. Elizabeth, wife of Carmon ROSS, died July 11, 1865; aged 83. Sacred to the memory of Randolph ROSS, who departed this life January 30, 1834, in the 32d year of his age. Ellis JOHN, died September 3, 1859; aged 94. Margaret, wife of Ellis JOHN, died October 10, 1833; aged 33.

These complete a partial list of some 275 persons who have been buried here. Bethel is seldom used now.

The Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church stands in the extreme south-west corner of Section 7, almost on the township line. It is supposed to be one of the oldest societies on the circuit, but the exact date of its organization is not known. It is improbable that this Church was organized as early as 1817. The first meetings in this neighborhood were held in private homes. In 1822 a log church was built, a few feet north of where the present church stands. It was dedicated by the Rev. John P. DURBIN. The brick house was built in 1833. Thomas A. MORRIS, presiding elder, afterwards bishop, preached the dedication sermon. This house, in 1869, was the strongest point on the Venice circuit. In 1867, during the pastorate of Rev. W. N. WILLIAMS, an effort was made to build a new church and locate it at Woods' Station. A considerable amount of money was subscribed, but the enterprise failed. In 1868 the Rev. N. C. PARISH introduced the first catechisms into the Sunday-school. The pastor in charge catechised the school once in four weeks.

One of the most prominent of all the early members of this Church was Ebenezer WOODS, an exhorter, who settled about one mile south, on one of the tributaries of Salmon's Run. It was after Mr. WOODS the Church was named. The ground on which the church stands, containing one acre, both for the house and burying-ground, was a part of a body of land comprising 88 acres, owned by Mrs. Elizabeth MOORE, whose husband made the presentation. Some of the other members were Corey CONKLING, Hiram GRIFFIS, John MALONE, the latter of whom is living, and their wives, with portions of their families. Among their ministers were John BAUGHMAN, Arthur W. ELLIOTT, John WATERMAN, all of whom were able men. The Rev. Messrs. FLINT, STEEL, & TIBBITTS were here in early times. A full list of the preachers of this circuit will be found in the history of the Venice Methodist Episcopal Church.

During the last decade Ebenezer has undergone many important changes. About 1854 the Old and New School and the Associate Reformed Churches united and built a church at McGonigle's. The members of the different societies were from Bethel, Oxford, and Darrtown Churches. For several years this congregation was prosperous, but in time there came dissensions which resulted finally in the abandonment of the church. There were also removals and deaths. Some of the members were Samuel LINTNER, William ELLIOTT, Michael YEAKLE, James SIMLEY, James BECKETT, Thomas NICHOL, David P. NELSON, a man of ripe culture, who graduated at Oxford, and afterwards filled the position of principal of the Millville High School. Rev. Daniel TENNEY, of the Oxford Female Seminary, represented the New School Presbyterians; Rev. Dr. PATTERSON, the Old School Presbyterians, and Rev. Mr. CLAYBAUGH, the Associate Reformed.

After the abandonment of the Union Church by these three denominations, the Methodists, who formerly worshiped at Ebenezer, took charge of it, with such reservations as the Presbyterians thought proper to make. This was in 1878, since which time there has been preaching every fortnight, and Sunday-school weekly. "Old Ebenezer" is seldom used, mainly on account of its unfavorable location and failure to meet the wants of the more modern worshipers. The Church at McGonigle's is prosperous. We give inscriptions from the grave-yard connected with the old church:

In memory of Rachel, consort of William S. STEWART, who died September 3, 1835; aged 42. William HAMER, a native of Pennsylvania, who married Isabel VANDERHOOK, September 11, 1796, & who died May 4, 1811. Archibald ADDISON, a native of England, died March 12, 1846; aged 63. Mary, wife of Archibald ADDISON, died February 18, 1868; aged 82. Timothy MEDER died December 8, 1853; aged 62. Nathaniel MEDER died September 5, 1841, in the 56th year of his age. Samuel WEAVER died September 13, 1868; aged 61. Lydia, wife of Samuel WEAVER, died February 12, 1875; aged 57. Peter WILSON died March 20, 1863; aged 72. Abigail, wife of Peter WILSON, died October 8, 1855; aged 58. Jonas JONES died December 26, 1853; in the 67th year of his age. Henry HALL, Sen. died February 1, 1858; aged 84. William CHANEY died August 15, 1834; aged 60. In memory of Samuel MARSH, who died February 12, 1838; aged 68. Hannah, wife of Samuel MARSH, died July 29, 1847; aged 75. Gabriel STEAD died June 27, 1849; aged 41. Rebecca, wife of Gabriel STEAD, died April 29, 1855; aged 46.

There are, perhaps, 100 burials here. The yard is overgrown with bushes.

The Samuel ZIEGLER Church of Hanover Township will be treated in a connected manner in the history of Millville.