HANOVER is another station on the railroad, but of less importance than the above-named. This place is a voting precinct for the township. There are no stores here, nor any thing else which deserves notice.
Henry WAUSON, who 50 years ago lived on 50 acres in the north-west corner of Section 26, was one of the most remarkable men who ever became a resident of the township. He claimed to be a water-witch, and often boasted of his power to find water when all other experiments failed. WAUSON was well known throughout the country on account of his wild, roving, careless disposition. There were in the family three sons and one daughter. He was a cripple, caused by his horse taking fright at a flock of wild geese.
In 1829 corn sold to the distillers at six and a quarter cents per bushel, and few sales at that figure. The growth of corn at that date formed a leading business in Hanover Township.
The soil in this township is now largely held by Germans, who have supplanted the original settlers.
As soon as Matthew HUESTON was able he began working around the farm, and at fifteen went as an apprentice to learn the trade of tanner and currier, continuing at that employment for several years. When he became a journeyman he saved up his money, and, in 1793, made a small venture of stock, with which he went down the Ohio River. On the 17th of April he landed at Cincinnati, but after a few days went down to the falls of the Ohio. He returned by way of Maysville, again floating down to Cincinnati, where General WAYNE's army had arrived in the mean time. Soon after arriving he sold out his goods to a man named McCREA, who, however, decamped without paying him. He then went to work in a tannery, being the one afterwards owned by Jesse HUNT, and afterwards went with Robert and William McCLELLAN, who were engaged in driving a brigade of pack-horses from Cincinnati to Fort Jefferson. Completing his first trip, he drove a number of beeves from Fort Washington to Fort Jefferson, and then super-intended the killing of the cattle and putting up the beef, which was designed to subsist the men the next Winter. There being no salt at the garrison, the meat had to be hung up in the open air around the fort to prevent it from spoiling, until salt could be procured. This caused a delay in the business for a time. Soon after Mr. HUESTON was appointed commissary at this post, at the pay of $30.00 a month. The next Summer he returned to Fort Washington, and went out with WAYNE on his expedition, being issuing commissary until the Summer of 1795, when he resigned.
He then furnished himself with a stock of groceries and other articles, and began as a sutler, following this up until the year 1796. He had one store at Greenville and another at Cincinnati, in the latter having a partner. The business was very profitable, and he soon accumulated twelve to fifteen thousand dollars. In the latter part of 1796 Mr. HUESTON was taken sick, remaining in his bed for three or four weeks. When he had sufficiently recovered, he set out for Cincinnati, but found his affairs were in a wretched condition. His partner had become dissipated, had squandered most of the property by gambling, and had finally sold out the stock, going down the river, and leaving Mr. HUESTON to pay the debts of the firm. This he did, and found that, after exhausting all his means, he stilled owed $400. Undiscouraged, he persevered in his industrious way, and again embarked as a drover. He drove a large number of cattle from Cincinnati to Detroit for $2.50 a head, and was successful in delivering them all, although the route was a complete wilderness. He returned in 40 days. This business he followed till the year 1800, when he had paid off all his old debts and had accumulated fourteen or fifteen hundred dollars in hard cash. This he laid out in land.
He brought a tract of 200 acres, four miles south of Hamilton. It was then altogether in the woods, but now the railroad, the canal, and the Cincinnati turnpike pass through it. In a few years he had a large farm under cultivation. He built a hewed log-house, in which he lived and kept entertainment for travelers a number of years. At the United States land sales in 1801 he purchased, or entered, three sections of land and two fractional sections, on the west side of the river, comprehending in all about 2,600 acres. To these purchased he added from time to time, so that he eventually became the largest owner of land in this county.
On his farm south of Hamilton he began to reside in the year 1802, and on the 15th of April married Miss Catherine DAVIS. He remained here till 1813, when he removed to his farm on Four-Mile Creek, in Hanover Township. Here he built a large stone mansion, and attended to his agricultural interests for many years. He then removed to Rossville, taking up his abode there in October, 1834. This is in the house now occupied by his son-in-law, Robert HARPER.
At the beginning of the century the militia was better organized than it is now. Mr. HUESTON became captain of a company of light-horse, from which he was afterwards advanced to the office of colonel of the 2nd Regiment. When HULL surrendered Col. HUESTON volunteered his services, and went with a number of others to Ft. Wayne, which was then besieged by the enemy. After serving two or three months, he was made purchasing agent for the contractor of the Northwestern army, acting in that capacity until the conclusion of the war.
In 1808 he became a justice of the peace in Fairfield Township, remaining so till he removed to Hanover, where, after a few months, he was again elected. In this position he served until his removal to Rossville, holding this office for 23 years. In no case was his judgment reversed on appeal. He was commissioner of Butler County from 1826 to 1835. He died on the 16th of April, 1847, in the 76th year of his age, and was buried near the Presbyterian church in Collinsville. The services were conducted by the Masons.
He had four sons and five daughters. They were William, Eliza, Mary, Samuel, Thomas, Eleanor, Robert, Cynthia, and Catherine.
After this he and nine others returned to Pennsylvania, where General WAYNE was then recruiting an army, and enlisted under him. With him they came to Cincinnati, and after a period of service were discharged. He went back to Pennsylvania for a brief season, but soon was on his way west again, locating in Campbell Co., KY, about seven miles from Newport, on the Licking River. In March, 1804, he came to this county, cutting his own road to Ross Twp. There were only three cabins the whole distance, one at Cumminsville, another near BEVIS's tavern, and one and a block-house near Millville. There were no houses between his place and Hamilton. He entered half of a section, or 320 acres. After three years he bought a quarter of a section more. He followed farming until his death, which happened in 1847. His wife died February 12, 1852. He had 8 children: Jane, Andrew, Robert M., Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, and Clarissa.
Andrew LEWIS, the second child, remembers the time when the county was a vast wilderness. Indians used frequently to go by, occasionally stopping. At one time Captain PIPE, a renowned warrior, came along from Hamilton, where he had been drinking whisky pretty freely. Stopping at Mr. LEWIS's house, he asked for some more, but was told they had none. This infuriated the Indian, who replied that they had. Mr. LEWIS again asserted that they had none, when Captain PIPE drew his long, glittering knife, and began flourishing it around his head. He was very angry, and told Mr. LEWIS that he had seen him before, and knew he was bad man. On being asked where, he replied that it was in WAYNE's army. He continued flourishing his knife until forbearance ceased to be a virtue. Mr. LEWIS determined to put a stop to it, and took down his rifle. No sooner did the Indian see this than he began to run, and Mr. LEWIS after him. How far they went the boy did not know, but they were never troubled with the presence of Captain PIPE again.
Mr. Andrew LEWIS remembers when the first church was built in the township. This was in the year 1815. It was completely surrounded by the wilderness. Indians were very numerous for several years after they came here, and he has often played with them. They were regarded as very treacherous.
He was married on February 23, 1823, to Mary McCLEARY, daughter of Samuel McCLEARY and Mary YOUNG. They came to the county in 1804. Mrs. LEWIS was born January 9, 1796, in Pennsylvania. They had seven children, all now living. Robert was born December 10, 1823; Mary, October 13, 1825; Martha, December 13, 1827; Nancy, February 14, 1830; Dorcas, July 25, 1832; Sarah Jane, January 27, 1835; and Hannah E., June 16, 1837. Robert was in the hundred days' service in the last war. A grandson, James JACKSON, was killed in the struggle. Joseph A. BEATTY, a grandson, served three years, and a son-in-law, A. H. MILLER, was in the hundred days' service. All Mr. LEWIS's children are now living; all have been married, and all are living in Western homes but one, who is now a widow, Mrs. Dorcas L. BURKE. She lives with her father. Her husband, Addison M. BURKE, died March 17, 1860, leaving her with two children, John L. and A. M. BURKE, the latter being only nine weeks old. The oldest one is now Auditor on the Dayton, Delphos, and Toledo Railroad, and the younger one is a teacher in the public schools. Mr. LEWIS has had 49 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, and only six of the number have been lost. Mr. LEWIS has through life been a farmer, although for many years teaching school in the Winter season. He was a supervisor for a number of years, never receiving any money for it. His uncle, Richard MONTGOMERY, was in the War of 1812, and Robert LEWIS, another uncle, was a captain of light horse in the Revolutionary War. Mr. Andrew LEWIS was always fond of his dog and his gun, and spent much of his time in hunting, being very successful. Future dwellers in Ross will never know the hardships and privations that the first settlers endured.
The following have been the names of the postmasters:
Stillwell. Jacob G. STILLWELL, December 31, 1831; Willis R. DeWITT, August 16, 1842; George KYGER, March 8, 1847; Jacob G. STILLWELL, June 10, 1847; Sheldon A. CAMPBELL, February 28, 1850; Jacob G. STILLWELL, January 6, 1851; Silas ROLL, November 19, 1856; changed to McGonigle's Station, September 14, 1859.
McGonigle's Station. James McGONIGLE, September 14, 1859; changed to Wood's Station, November 24, 1863; revived with James McGONIGLE as postmaster March 13, 1866.