Early among the first arrivals in this part of the township was Cornelius MURPHY, the father of Peter MURPHY. He settled near here as early as 1800, and lived till a comparatively recent period.
Among the oldest settlers of the county now living is Daniel GRIFFIS. His father, David GRIFFIS, who was a Revolutionary soldier, subsequently moved to the banks of Shady River, VIrginia, where, after clearing up a farm, he found the title to his lands worthless and left, going first to the Ohio River, where he took passage on a flat-boat for Cincinnati. He here bought a dumpling of a pony, a small pair of oxen, and a rickety two-wheeled vehicle, and after loading up all his effects made out for the wilderness.
After reaching a point about a mile north of Princeton his cart broke down. He then made his way alone to Lasourdsville-leaving his swife and infant son, Daniel GRIFFIS (born Aug 9, 1800,) then but nine months old, where he stopped. At Lasourdsville he found Abram FREEMAN, who persuaded him to settle where he broke down. He then went to Cincinnati, and made arrangements with Judge SYMMES for land that is now a part of Daniel GRIFFIS's farm, and here it was he settled and opened up the first blacksmith shop in the township. Mr. GRIFFIS had but few neighbors. Peter MURPHY lived near, as also did Brice VIRGIN. James MCLEAN then lived where Luman GRIFFIS now resides.
David GRIFFIS erected a pole cabin, and in this house Daniel GRIFFIS lived to manhood. He went to school when not large enough to pick brush. This was a mile and a half south-east of Princeton, the first log school-house in the twp. There being no roads at that time, the trees were blazed to indicate the direction to and from school. The second school-house cabin was built near Lewis MURPHY's, on the hill, and was made of buckeye logs. John HOLDEN then lived on the west side of Gregory's Creek, one mile and a half south of the old Lebanon road. He came prior to 1797. Thomas FISHER was the second teacher in the twp. Mr. GRIFFIS had two sons who were preachers, one of them now being dead; one who is a dentist in Hamilton, and two farmers.
Peter MURPHY is the son of Cornelius MURPHY and Eleanora WINDSOR, now both dead. His parents were early settlers of Liberty Twp, and moved there when Cincinnati was but a mere village, and the pike now leading from Cincinnati was but a mere village, and the pike now leading from Cincinnati to Dayton was nothing but an Indian trail. Mr. MURPHY volunteered in the War of 1812, but was wounded in the knee with a tomahawk while drilling, and was discharged. Peter MURPHY was born in Liberty Twp, on the 1st of October, 1820, and was married in 1844, to Cyrena VAN GORDEN, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth VAN GORDEN. She was born in March, 1820. They have six children. Sallie Maria, the eldest, was born in 1845; Lewis D. was born in 1847; Cora E., in 1851; Willie E., in 1857; Harry, in 1859; and Clarence, in 1862. Sallie Maria, Cora E., and Willie E. live in Preble County, and the rest in Liberty Twp. He was sheriff of Butler County from 1851 to 1855, four years, and was State senator from 1871 to 1873, in the Butler and Warren district.
Princeton, now known as Clawson Post-office, was laid out by Samuel ENYART, in 1812. Benjamin ENYART built in this town prior to 1820, and his house is still standing. He kept tavern up to about 1830, and subsequently this house was occupied by Dr. HITCHCOCK. Dr. OPDIKE was here previous to HITCHCOCK. There are two physicians now in the place.
Princeton ws a lively business center in early times. Mr. CUMMINS owned a tanyard that brought its quota of custom. A carding-machine was in full blast before 1820. here were some distinguished personages. Benjamin VAN GORDEN came here in 1810, served as justice of the peace full forty years, and represented the county two terms in the State Legislature. He was also county collector for several years. Christopher HUGHES resprented teh county in the Lower House of the Legislature at the same time Peter MURPHY did the Senate. Benjamin VAN GORDEN and Daniel WOODMANSEE represented the county in the Legislature as early as 1825.
The first brick house was built as early as 1830. It was erected by William CARROLL, who burned the brick, laid them into walls, and did the carpenter work himself. James CLAWSON, now in the 87th year of his age, was the first shoemaker in the town. He was also a weaver. His son Stephen lives in the town, and is in 63rd year of his age. The RUSSELLs were also early settlers in Princeton. BALDWIN and GOWDY packed pork here in former times, and then sent it off in wagons to Cincinnati. Whisky was also a large product of the township.
The Princeton Methodist Church was built in 1835, Samuel BAYLISS being the grantor to Benjamin VAN GORDEN, Thompson L. BRING, Alexander MCDONAL, Robert DOTY, Solomon FLENNER, William B. PECK, and James BULLION, trustees. In 1848 a revival brought into the society about 75 additional members. The new brick was erected in 1859. The lot for this building was formerly owned by Pearson CARL, who bought it from the county when sold for taxes.
The Universalist Church in Princeton was built in 1851. Uriah WALTER donated the ground. The trustees are Richard SEWELL, Christopher HUGHES, and Elias STICKLE; David BASCOM is pastor. The membership is small, and during the was the services in this church were suspended.
Auburn Church was built on Rudolph FLENNER's land after the erection of the Methodist Episcopal building in Princeton, but owing to some dissensions it is now abandoned, and there has not been a Sabbath-school in the place for 20 years. A successful revival was held there last Winter.
The list of the justices of the peace of Liberty Twp does not include all who were elected from that twp, as prior to 1823 the justices of Liberty were also those of Union, as both townships were then one. We have given, in the list of Union Twp, those who were then residents there.
Isaac SWEARINGEN, William HAYS, Peter WILLIAMSON, John AYERS, Michael AYERS, Benjamin VAN GORDEN, James CUMMINS, John MORROW, Joseph WORTH, John MCLEAN, Linus PARKHURST, John GIBSON, David PEARCE, Stephen B. SQUIER, Richard SEWELL, Joseph BREADEN, Silas WILLIAMSON.
Below will be found a list of the postmasters of the twp:
Hunstville- John HUNT, Apr 1, 1817; Eliphalet STEVENS, Apr 3, 1826; John MCLEAN, Aug 12, 1837; Elijah ELLIOTT, Oct 4, 1841. Changed to Bethany Jun 24, 1844.
Bethany- Peter WILLIAMSON, Jun 24, 1844; Elisha G. LESOURD, May 10, 1870; John LESOURD, Mar 8, 1880; Isaac P. CLARK, Dec 28, 1881.
Fontana- James R. KYLE, Aug 22, 1872; B. F. KYLE, Aug 18, 1879. Changed to Kyle's, Aug 29, 1879.
Kyle's- Jesse P. LITTLE, Aug 29, 1879; Stacy B. BRANT, May 30, 1881.
Princeton- Samuel BAYLISS, Dec 27, 1816; Benjamin VAN GORDEN, Apr 24, 1826; Cyrus OSBORN, Jan 8, 1830; Samuel HITCHCOCK, Apr 17, 1832; Benjamin VAN GORDEN, Oct 27, 1848; Stephen B. SQUIER, Nov 25, 1854; Joseph BREADEN, May 25, 1857; Charles S. DRAKE, May 16, 1860; James H. KRONMILLER, 1864. Changed to Hughes's Station, Dec 9, 1872.
Hughes's Station- Elmore T. ANDERSON, Dec 9, 1872; Joshua E. HUGHES, Apr 22, 1873; Augustus E. WILLIAMSON, Jun 9, 1875; Samuel W. STEWART, Apr 30, 1877; Augusta E. WILLIAMSON, Jan 26, 1880. Changed to Hughes, Sep 19, 1881.
Hughes- Augustus E. WILLIAMSON, Sep 19, 1881.
Clawson- John W. CORNELL, Dec 20, 1881.
Jericho- Robert STEELE, Mar 8, 1852. Discontinued Dec 28, 1855.
Ephraim BAKER was born in NJ, in Essex County, on the 4th of March, 1779, and died Sep 9, 1845. He married, in 1801, Nancy EASTON, born in NJ, Feb 28, 1786, who died May 21, 1831. They had nine children, of whom one is living, Clark BAKER. Ephraim BAKER came to Butler County in 1802, and settled in Liberty Twp. His father had purchased 270 acres of John CLeves SYMMES, and gave 90 acres of it to him, and 90 acres each to Matthias BRANT and John C. LONG, his sons-in-law. He was drafted for the War of 1812, but sent a substitute. His father was a soldier of the Revolution, and his brother David was pressed with his team. He was only 14 years of age, and was taken to drive the horses. His son, Clark BAKER, was born in Liberty Twp, Aug 8, 1807, and married in Shelby County, OH, to Sarah LAWRENCE, a native of Liberty Twp, where she was born, Mar 12, 1812. He had 7 children, of whom four are living. Ephraim V., Clark L., and Moses E. are married and live in Liberty Twp. Margaret is the wife of Clark A. BAKER. He received a little property from his father, but he has since acquired 228 acres in Butler County. He now resides on the farm his father settled.
John BAKER was born in Essex County, NJ, Mar 14, 1774. He was married in that State, on the 22d of March, 1795, to Jeannette HAND, daughter of Stephen and Mary (MORGAN) HAND. She was born in Essex County, June 5, 1772. They had six children, of whom only one is living, Rachel, wife of William VAN SCOYK. He moved from NJ to MD in 1795, and remained there about 8 years, coming, in 1803, to Butler County. He settled on Elk Creek, in Madison Twp. In the Fall of 1805 he removed to Liberty, and settled on the farm where his daughter Rachel still lives. He had means when he came here, and purchased a quarter of Section 22. He was a member of the regular Baptists for many years, and was repeatedly a delegate to their yearly associations. He died Jan 4, 1852, and his wife died Nov 27, 1851. He came overland to Pittsburg, and floated down the river to Gallipolis on a flat-boat.
John Peter BECKER was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Nov 6, 1826, and was married in the city of Hamburg in April, 1856, to Henrietta (ARNHOLD) MILLER, widow of Armand MILLER. She was born, in Beckow, Prussia, Apr 8, 1824. She had two children by her first husband, one of whom is deceased. William is married and lives in Mississippi. She had three children by Mr. BECKER, two of whom are living. Henrietta, born Sep 6, 1858, is dead; Matilda, born Jun 11,1863, and John R., born Aug 6, 1865. Mr. BECKER emigrated to America in 1856, and came to Hamilton, where he remained about two months, working a few weeks at wagon-making. He then moved to Furmandale, Fairfield Twp, where he worked as a hand in wagon-making and blacksmithing for three months. He then began business for himself in the same line, and remained there about three years. He then removed to Woodsdale, and carried on a cooper's shop, saw-mill, and wagon-maker's shop. He also went into the canal business, owning boats, and buying cord-wood and shipping it to Cincinnati. He stayed there two years, and in 1863 he rented of William B. SMALLEY the farm he now owns, and which he purchased in 1865. There were 160 acres to the tract then, but it is now enlarged to 240 acres. He and his wife are members of the German Lutheran Church.
Adam BENDER was born in Nassau, Germany, on the 8th of March, 1821. He was the oldest son of Anthony BENDER and Margaret APP. He was educated in the public schools in Germany, receiving a fair education. At fifteen he commenced an apprenticeship of three years at the baker's trade, which he thoroughly learned, afterwards being employed as a journeyman in various places in Germany for some 12 years. He was married on the 3d of November, 1848, to Katrina ERNST, born May 23, 1820. Mr. and Mrs. BENDER were the parents of four children, of whom but one is living, Katie, who was born Apr 18, 1874. After marriage he remained in Germany for four years and came to America in October, 1852. He arrived in this county in January, 1853, having come here from Cincinnati. He conducted the farm then owned by David GIRARD for one year, then buying a horse and wagon and engaging in huckstering for some six months. He carried on the David SHEPHERD farm for four years, and then occupied the James BECKET farm for eight years. In the Spring of 1867 he purchased the place where he still lives, the SHARP farm. He has on this a handsome family residence and ample farm buildings. He owns 113 acres of finely improved land. he had some start in life, but has been industrious and economical. He is a Republican in politics. He is a member of the Roman Catholic Church at Hamilton.
William CURRYER was born in MD, Jul 24, 1778, and was married Jan 24, 1804, in MD, to Sarah POCOCK, also of that State, where she was born June 6, 1787. They had six children, only two of whom are living. Edward F. was born Dec 15, 1805; Elizabeth S., Dec 10, 1806, marrying Stephen SCUDDER; Charity, Dec 28, 1808, marrying William LINCOLN; Rachel, Jan 31, 1811, marrying William SMITH; Daniel, Jun 25, 1813; and Sarah, Oct 2, 1814, widow of Stephen SCUDDER. The four former are dead. Mr. CURRYER came to OH in the Fall of 1812, and settled in Liberty Twp, where he purchased a part of the old homestead. He volunteered for the War of 1812, but was not called out, as the war ended soon after. He died in Liberty Twp, Apr 8, 1814, and his widow died Sep 17, 1857. His father, William CURRYER, was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. He was an Englishman, coming over with the British troops, and stayed in America after the close of the war.
Daniel, the son of the second William, was married Nov 10, 1836, to Phoebe D. HUNT, born in Huntsville, Liberty Twp, Aug 9, 1817. She died in Shelby County, OH, Jul 31, 1848. She had five children, three of whom are living. Joseph C. was born Nov 7, 1857, in Shelby County, OH. He is a dentist, and lives in Minnesota. Ira H. was born Aug 23, 1842, and William F. was born June 5, 1845, and lives in Thorntown, IN. He is a dentis. Mr. CURRYER was married the second time Mar 22, 1849. His wife was Rachel SQUIER, who was born in Lemon Twp, May 14, 1817. She died Jul 2, 1855, having had two children, of whom one died an infant. The other, Mary C., who was born Sep 12, 1852, is the wife of George C. SMITH, and lives in Liberty Twp. Mr. CURRYER was married for the third time to Rachel J. CARL, widow of Samuel IMPSON, who was born in Butler County, Aug 22, 1826. They had six children, four of them living, and two of them dying in infancy. John S. was born Sep 6, 1856; George W., Jul 10, 1859; Annie B., Dec 11, 1861; Charles V., Jan 13, 1865.
Daniel CURRYER's father died leaving his business unsettled, and his widow lost considerable money by the bank breaking. She had to sell the original purchase, and bought 62 acres, on which she reared her family of six children, so that Mr. CURRYER was obliged to begin for himself pretty early. He received only a common-school education. He learned the cabinet-maker's trade when he was about 17 years of age, and stayed at it four years. In 1834 he began cabinet-making in Huntsville for himself, being thus engaged for two years. Then he removed to Shelby County, following the cabinet business till 1842. He purchased 80 acres while in Shelby County, and on his return to Butler County bought a portion of his mother's farm, which he owned till her death. He then sold it and divided the proceeds among the heirs. He has traveled over a large portion of the United States, and has been to the Pacific slope. He has held the office of twp trustee, and been school director for 17 years. He is a member of the Masonic order. Mr. CURRYER is a strong believer in spiritualism, although in early life he was a skeptic. His daughter, Mary C., in 1866, developed signs of a medium, which convinced him of its truth. She is one of the principal test mediums, and has given many extraordinary manifestations in Cincinnati, Hamilton, and other places. Other members of the family have also become mediums. His son John, when twelve years old, was a medium, and also George W.
Abijah CHEESEMAN was born in Monmouth County, NJ, Aug 1, 1798, and was married in that State to Hannah PARKER, daughter of William and Sarah (SHEPHERD) PARKER, on Feb 5, 1821. She was born Nov 24, 1803. They had eight children. Sarah was born May 13, 1823, and is the wife of William KYLE, who lives in Lemon; Anna, born Oct 8, 1825, is the wife of Stacey BRANT, and lives in Liberty; Lewis, born Oct 13, 1827; Elizabeth, bron Sep 16, 1830, is the wife of Peter SHAFOR, and lives in Liberty; John, born Feb 15, 1833, is married and lives in Lemon; Lydia, born Nov 7, 1836, died Mar 31, 1849; William, born Dec 13, 1841, is married and lives in Lemon; Mary Jane, born Feb 18, 1845, wife of Samuel MULFORD, lives in Lemon. Mr. CHEESEMAN left NJ in 1835, forming a party of his mother, brothers, and sisters, and his wife's mother, brothers, and sisters, fourteen in all, in four wagons, and came overland the whole way, taking four weeks on the road. They spent that Winter near Franklin, Warren County, OH. In the Spring of 1836 he purchased on 102 acres in Liberty, where he has resided ever since. He had a farm of 200 acres in NJ which had belonged to his father, which he sold to divide among the other heirs, and wih his share, amountin to about $2000, settled inLiberty. He has been a school director for many years, and also twp supervisor. His father, William CHEESEMAN, was born Sep 24, 1753, in JN, and was married Apr 11, 1781, to Lydia DEY, also born in that State, Sep 20, 1863, and had eight children: Lawrence, Margaret, Reuben, Mary, Enoch, Sarah, Abijah, and Joseph, all now dead but Abijah. Enoch came to this county and returned to NJ, and Sarah died here. William CHEESEMAN died in NJ, July 6, 1834, and his wife died in Liberty Twp, Nov 5, 1844. He was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and was promoted to lieutenant. His wife received a pension till her death.
Andrew CLAWSON, the son of Cornelius CLAWSON, father of James, and grandfather of Stephen, was born in Middlesex County, NJ, in 1766, and removed to this county in 1802. His wife was Mary RUSSELL, who was born in PA, in the year 1776. They were married in the latter State in 1794, and were the parents of nine children. James is still living in Fairfield Twp; Rachel died in IN; John died in MO; Joseph lives in Morgan Twp; Elizabeth died in Lafayette, IN; Nancy lives in Liberty Twp; Martha and Mary died in this county; and George is living in Hamilton County. The first three were born in PA, and the others in Butler County. When he first came here he settled in Madison Twp. He died in Liberty Twp in 1852, at the residence of his son James, at the age of 86.
Almon DAVIS was born in VT, Sep 4, 1814, and was brought hither by his parents in 1816. They were Moody and Rebecca MORGAN DAVIS. Almon DAVIS was married on the 7th of Apr 1841, in Westchester, to Maria HARR, daughter of Henry HARR, born in Lancaster County in 1802, and Elizabeth BRWER, born in MD in 1819. They came to Butler County in 1826. Mrs. Almon DAVIS's grandfather (John BREWER) was a captain in the War of 1812. Moody DAVIS was at Lake Champlain, but too late for the engagement, as he was delayed in returning by the illness of his mother. A brother of his was in the battle, being on Commodore MCDONOUGH's vessel.
Mr. DAVIS, in 1819, built the mill known as the John ALLEN mill, and in 1821 was given the use of it for two years for building it. Wihin that time he loaded a boat with flour, and started for New Orleans. It had only gone a small distance when it struck a snag in the middle of the river, about half-way between the mill and Hamilton. John LINE and David VINNEDGE were the pilots. After getting it off, they ran it near the bank, all jumping off except Moody DAVIS and Seneca SWEET. Going a little further, when nearly opposite Millikin's Island, now known as Campbell's Island, the craft struck a stone in the river and broke one of the gunwales in two, filling with water to the edge. All control of it was lost. When it was within half a mile of the Hamilton milldam, Mr. DAVIS swam off, Mr. SWEET remaining. It went over the dam and they pulled it ashore with ropes. The flour was repacked in a warehouse, where J. MORGENTHALER's carriage shop now stands. Mr. DAVIS built a new boat, or rather finished one already begun, loaded it with new flour, and again set forth on his voyage. The flour was sold in Natchez at four dollars per barrel, affording a good profit, as the four hundred bushels of wheat had been purchased from Nicholas CURTIS for 15 cents a bushel. This was all thrashed out with a flail. Major William ELLIOTT, of Westchester, now living, hauled this grain to the mill. Every barrel of the damaged flour had to be emptied, and was sold to a starch manufactory. After drying the barrels, the other flour was packed in them. While the repacking and reloading was going on, Joseph HOUGH boarded the men at his own house as an act of friendship and accommodation.