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Near the Doty Christian Church a log school-house was built fifty years ago, on Levi GOODWIN's farm. GOODWIN was a chair-maker by trade, and many of the old chairs and tables, bedsteads and stands in this twp are specimens of his workmanship. The house was removed in 1846 or 1847, after having been in use for ten or twelve years. Some of the early teachers were Robert ORR, who was from Union County, IN, Andrew C. and David MCDILL, all men of much respectability. A one-armed man by the name of SMITH was also among the first teachers. The MARTINs, ADAMSes, and DOTYs were the scholars.
The frame house was built in 1847, one-fourth of a mile south of the church. William SWAN and Jay PROCTER were early teachers in this house. The present brick house was built eight or ten years ago on the foundation of the old frame building.
The township, in 1845, was divided into ten school districts, and about 1,000 dollars was annually collected from the citizens and appropriated for educational purposes.
The first frame house and barn erected in the twp are now to be seen. These two buildings were put up in 1817 by West BONNEY, the father of Wales B. BONNEY, of Oxford, who was born in 1799, and who is, perhaps, the oldest man in the twp. They stand on the College Corner pike, one mile and a quarter from Oxford. The house is eighteen by forty-two, and one and a half stories high; the barn is thirty by forty feet. Both are in a good state of preservation.
Aaron AUSTIN's grist-mill, on Four-mile, was erected about 1815. This building was a frame, three stories high, and was supplied with power by a sexteen foot overshot water-wheel. This mill was used for about thirty years, when it furned down. SOme time after the erection of the grist-mill, and its successful operation, a saw-mill was built near by. Both of these establishments stopped at the same time. Franklin AUSTIN, a son of the old gentleman, built the second mill, which was also a frame, three stories high, a year or two after the first mill was consumed by fire. Young AUSTIN was a mill-wright by trade, and, like his father, was possessed of many sterling qualities. The same power was used in the second mill as in the first, though the machinery was greatly improved. Franklin AUSTIN, it appears, had nothing but a son's interest in the grinding department, for we find his father selling out his property, and soon after James BROADBERRY became the owner. This gentleman carried on the flouring department for about three years, and a little time after, Samuel MOLLYNEAUX conducted the mill. He, in turn, disposed of his interest. J. B. PUGH, the present proprietor, has been in possession for about fourteen years. This mill has four sets of buhrs, and does a large business in country work and merchant flour.
Aaron AUSTIN was an early settler on Section 23, where he owned over 200 acres of fine bottom land. This portion of the twp is very fertile, and in the course of 75 years has apparently lost none of its native strength.
The first house built in College Corner was a log hemp-mill, erected by the neighbors in 1811, or thereabouts, for the purpose of pounding hemp. The site of this mill is now occupied by Ridenour & Bake as a storelot. This mill was used for eight or ten years. But the mill was built before the land was entered, the farm on which it stood being taken up by Chrisley KINGREY, of VA.
There was a blacksmith, a Mr. BRIGHT, here many years ago, who remained for three or four years, a few rods east of the old hemp-mill. Some of those by whom he was succeeded were John MURPHY, whose shop stood on the ground now occupied by Ramsey's store, and who stayed with the people for 25 years. His residence is now supplanted by the home of Dr. MCCHRISTY, who has been here for 15 years. David MONTGOMERY was here as a blacksmith 50 years ago, in a shop the site of which is now opposite Bake & RIDENOUR's store.
The first store, however, which was kept in College Corner, was in a hewed-log two-story house, which stood where Samuel RAMSEY now lives. Thomas FORBES was the store-keeper. Samuel RIDENOUR was the second man who engaged in the same branch of trade. He succeeded FORBES by buying him out, remaining three years. The elder RIDENOUR was followed by his son, J. M., in the same house, for fifteen years. J. M. RIDENOUR then removed across the street, in the brick house which he built in 1847, and which is now occupied by the SHERA brothers. College Corner was never of any importance until Samuel RIDENOUR became engaged in mercantile pursuits in this neighborhood. He was a man who dealt largely in hogs and cattle, and in all the industries of the community toook a leading and active hand. His sons followed their father in many respects, and are now honored citizens of the place.
For the first tavern-keeper the village had Gideon HOWE, who began in the house now occupied by Oscar SCHLENK for the same purpose. This house was built in 1830, and HOWE continued in it for ten or twelve years. Joseph BECK was also a tavern-keeper in the same building for ten or more years. Ezra SMITH was here in 1852; William H. RIDENOUR, in 1853, remaining for three years; David LONG, Charles RUFFIN, and Michael GAVIN, the latter in 1872.
The first school-house was a hewed log building, which stood a few feet south of the store of Ridenour & Bake. This building was used for a number of years, and then sold and removed. Some of the teachers here were Mr. THOMPSON, 'Squire HOWE, who was from the East, also his sister Charlotte, and Mr. MACMEAN. Among the scholars were J. M. and C. P. RIDENOUR, J. M. C. HOWE, James LONG, and his sister Sarah. All these persons have since achieved considerable distinction.
The second school-house, a brick building, one story high and twenty-five feet, stood fifty rods northeast of the first house. Among the prominent teachers here were James JONES, James WELSH, Franklin B. BROOKBANK, and Charles B. RUFFIN.
The third school-house in College Corner was a brick building the same size as the second house, erected in 1855, or thereabouts, and stood twenty-five rods southeast of the second building. The present school-building was erected in 1872, and is a two-story brick costing $3,000.
The post-office was first kept in a frame building south of Ramsey's store, on the site now occupied by a tin-shop. George WIDENER, the tinner, has been here for fifteen years. The second post-office was immediately south a few feet of the first. The site is now occupied by a drug-store and town hall, the latter occupying the second story. The building is owned by John HOWEL, a dealer in real estate, but it was built especially for the purpose for which it is now used. All the other post-office buildings were owned by the postmasters.
Before the War of 1812 Samuel RIDENOUR resided half a mile south of the village, where he died in 1850, of erysipelas in the hand, contracted while cutting grain with a sickle in the harvest field. His death was deeply lamented by the entire community.
John MILLER, of Rockbridge County, VA settled one mile south of College Corner, on a farm now occupied by George WILSON, in 1806. Tobias MILLER, of the same place, came in 1809. Jacob BAKE came in 1809, and took up his residence one-half mile below Tobias MILLER's. Colonel John MILLER, of VA, came in 1809, and took up his residence among the people in this section of the country.
Joseph KINGREY, who came from VA, settled one mile and a half north-east of College Corner in 1809. Samuel and James HUSTON, of VA, esttled between KINGREY's and the Corner at an early day.
John PATTERSON settled one mile north of College Corner in 1810. Peter RIDENOUR settled one and a half miles north-east of the village in 1810. Captain LONG took up his residence in IN, one mile west of town, more than 70 years ago. The farm is now owned by Barney BRIGHT, on which LONG lived, and which he, no doubt, entered some time thereafter. Samuel MCDILL and David BONNER took up their homes south of College Corner many years ago. Jonathan PAXTON has a still-house on a branch of Four-mile many years ago. Samuel RIDENOUR had a similar concern in 1820 at his home. The first saw-mill in this part of the country was owned by Tobias MILLER, in 1820. His mill sawed much of the lumber for the Miami University. MILLER aso carried on tanning extensively. His tannery ws built in 1815, and continued to run until 1837. Both the saw-mill and tan-yard were kept going at the same time.
One of the curiosities of pioneer life is found in a hat shop or manufactory, which existed in a very prosperous manner, in College Corner, soon after it was laid out. Mr. John TILFORD was here in 1835 or 1836 in this business, who was from Franklin County, IN. He remained but about two years. His place of meeting his customers was in a little frame house where Charles COKEFAIR's drug store now is.
John LEACH was a tailor in the village in 1837, in a frame building where Ridenour & Bake's store now is. One of the most distinguished of the early citizens of College Corner was General Ambrose BURNSIDE, who was a tailor here before 1835. General BURNSIDE is remembered by some of the oldest citizens as at that time being a very promising young man.
Odd Fellows' Lodge, No. 224, was chartered March 28, 1861. The charter members were Ira MAXWELL, A. S. HALL, Finley EGBERT, J. E. Tucker, John TWEEDY, J. M. RIDENOUR, Samuel RIDENOUR, Jun. The first meetings of this society were held in the present place of assembly, which is a leased building. The first officers were Ira MAXWELL, N. G.; A.S. HALL, V. G.; H. C. PETERS, R. S.; T.M. RIDENOUR, Treas.; John STEPHENSON, W.; Joseph E. TUCKER, Con.; E. HOWE, I.G.; John TWEEDY, R. S.; Finely EGBERT, L. S. Vice Grand supporters: S. B. MCKEE, R.S.; Marion HARTER, L.S. Some of the leading present members are George BARGELT, who is now and has been secretary for nine years; George CLARK, John CAMPBELL, Finley EGBERT, J. C. GILMORE, A. S. HALL, M. C. JUDKINS, F. M. JACKSON, Philip JACKSON, J. D. JOHNSON, M.C. KEFFLER, George HANDLEY, George MONTGOMERY, W. H. SHEPHARD, H. KIGER, W. C. MILLER, and William RIGSBY. At present the membership numbers about forty. J. D. JOHNSON is the present N. G., and H. KIGER, V. G. In January, 1882, six hundred dollars was stolen from the society safe, the combination of which some persons had previously learned. An effort was made to detect the thief, but it proved unsuccessful.
In the Spring of 1837 the Rev. George M. BESWICK, of the Indiana Conference, organized the M. E. Church at College Corner. BESWICK has now been dead these twenty years. This Church was organized at the house of John J. MURPHEY, in a little log house east of Ramsey's store. Thirteen members constituted the original roll, as follows: John and Desire MURPHEY, Samuel and Barbara RIDENOUR, Brice and Eliza PURCIL, Broomfield BOONE and wife, Joseph KITCHEN, who was a local preacher, and wife, Mrs. Margaret RIDENOUR, Caleb SHERA, and Sarah his wife. Mrs. Barbara RIDENOUR, Mrs. BOONE, Mrs. KITCHEN, Mr. and Mrs. SHERA are still living. For a few years this point of worship belonged to the Centerville circuit, but was soon changed to the College Corner and Liberty circuit, which name it still retains. The parsonage is located at Liberty.
Among the first preachers were Mr. HASTY, of Indiana, who was here in 1837; John KIGERS and Landa HAVENS, both here two years, the former of whom is still living in IN; Greenbury R. BEEKS, who was with the people for two years, and who is now dead; Mr. KELSO, who traveled with BEEKS; Joseph TARKINGTON, who was here for one year, and who now lives in Greensburg, IN; William HIBBEN, who died in Indianapolis one year ago; W. W. SNYDER, who was here after 1845, and who stayed for two years, now of South Bend, IN; John S. WINGATE, another traveling preacher, who was here for three years altogether, and now of Greensburg, IN; and Mr. FALKINBURG, here in 1855, who was the pastor in charge for two years. P The first place of worship this society had was a frame building, erected in 1838, which cost $800; the second house, a brick, was put up in 1855, and cost $3,500. It stands on the old site. P This society is a branch of the Oxford Methodist Church. The land on which the house stands was given by Samuel RIDENOUR. THe present preacher is the Rev. R. R. BALDWIN. The membership numbers about two hundred.
One mile and a half south of College Corner an old log meeting-house, owned by the Methodists, was in use in 1821. This house stood about nine rods north of the present school building. The second church, a frame building, was erected in 1841. In 1860, on account of deaths and removals, the soceity divided, part of the members going to Oxford and part to Colleg e Corner. The old church is now partly used as a dwelling. Some of the first members of the Bethel Church, the name by which this society was known, were John BROWN and wife, both of whom are now dead; old Mr. DOLLAHAN and wife, Wm. SHERA and wife Eleanor, Margaret RIDENOUR, Broomfield BOONE, and Joseph KITCHEN. THis church, from the time of its building to the time it was abandoned, belonged to the Oxford circuit.
In 1845, or thereabouts, the Presbyterian Church was organized in College Corner. Joseph STEWART was a ruling elder for a number of years; so also was Josiah WILSON, who is now dead. Sarah HOWE was one of the leading and erly lmembers. Professors John W. SCOTT and Charles ELLIOTT, of Oxford, wre instrumental in the organization of this society. When the Church was first formed the professors from Oxford supplied the people with ministers. Before the society was organized the Rev. James GRAHAM ofted preached to the people. He was a man of considerable ability, and did great good. He belonged to the New School Presbyterians, and was a resident of Oxford. This Church now has about sixty members and a capacity to seat two hundred and fifty people. The Rev. Wilber CHAPMAN, of Lane Seminary, preaches to this people every fortnight; also at Liberty.
As early as 1840 Samuel RIDENOUR gave one and a half acres of land for burial purpose, but it was not until 1880 that the heirs of this liberal- minded gentleman deeded the ground to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Samuel RIDENOUR died June 30, 1850, aged 57 years, 9 months and 3 days. He was in every way a man of the highest order, qualified for almost any undertaking, and so constituted as to win the cordial esteem and regard of his fellow-man. John M. RIDENOUR, a son, was at the time of his death a captian in the Twenty-eight United States Infantry. He was wounded by the explosion of a mine at the Battle of Petersburg, VA. He was then taken prisoner and held in captivity for three months, and during two months of this time lay in prison at Castle Thunder, dying afterwards from the effects of bad medical treatment. He died November 25, 1869, aged 32 years, 3 months and 23 days. In the cemetery are:
Rev. H. B. COLLINS, a member of the Southern Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, born May 4, 1829; died Sep 4, 1864. Mr. COLLINS was a fine scholar and preacher, and at the time of his death was highly esteemed by all those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Robert HOWELL, died Apr 24, 1862; aged 62. Jame HOWELL, died May 28, 1881; aged 83. Both were natives of England. Dr. Brice PURCIL, born Dec 2, 1795; died Dec 8, 1866. David MONTGOMERY, born Jun 15, 1809, and died Jun 12, 1852. Thomas JONES died Jun 10, 1875; aged 77. William R. DUCKETT, died Dec 30, 1866; aged 86. Grace, wife of William R. DUCKETT, died Aug 25, 1849; aged 71. Tilghman DUCKETT died Apr 27, 1873; aged 66. Thompson WILCOX was born Sep 28, 1791, and died Sep 25, 1876. Caroline WILCOX, his wife, was born Jan 3, 1821, and died Sep 25, 1876.
The Old School Presbyterian buring-ground was given for this purpose by Joseph HARTER, a gentleman of many good deeds, but who did not belong to any religious society. He had three wives. We give their lives and his in brief:
Joseph HARTER died Aug 11, 1863, aged 76; Rosannah HARTER was born Mar 2, 1800, and died Apr 21, 1876. Mary HARTER died May 3, 1839; aged 32. Catharine HARTER died Apr 27, 1849; aged 36. These other two epitaphs are from the same yard: Calvin B., son of Gideon and Sarah HOWE, a member of the Sixty-ninth Ohio Regular Volunteer Infantry, Company B, died March 23, 1862; aged 25. Sarah, wife of Ebenezer HOWE, died Oct 25, 1865; aged 88.
Between the time when those lands were offered for sale and the time the location of this township was made, two and a half sections lying on Four-mile had been purchased by individuals. Section No. 25 was entered by Colonel Samuel BEELER, and the west halves of Sections Nos. 11, 14 and 24 were purchased by Matthew HUESTON. In the Summer of 1803 Colonel BEELER removed to his lands, and made the first improvements in what is now the Township of Oxford; and about the same time Colonel HUESTON sold off the other halves of the sections which he had purchased in the twp to James ADAMS, Zachariah P. DE WITT, Nathan HORNER, and Thomas WHITE, who severally made improvements and settled on them about the same time. In the year 1806 Captain Joel COLLINS purchased a part of Colonel BEELER's section, and settled on it. Colonel BEELER afterwards removed to Illinois.
The location of this township for college purposes having precluded all further purchases, it consequently remained unsettled, with the exception of the families above mentioned and some few squatters who dwelt along the bottoms of Four-mile Creek; amongst whom were Robert TAYLOR, called Buffalo Bob, Edward LYTLE, Henry HALL, David LEE, John SLACK and Mr. PERKINS, and perhaps a few others. At this sale some of the abouve men became purchasers of the land on which they had settled; others abondonded their improvements and removed farther west.
On the sixth day of February, 1820, the Legislature of Ohio passed a law by which the board of trustees of the Miami University were directed to cause the town of Oxford to be laid off on the Miami College lands. in pursuance of the instructions contained in this law, the board of trustees, at their meeting in March following, appointed a committee of their body to make the selection and cause the town to be laid out. This committee proceeded, on the 29th day of March, 1810, to the Miami College lands, and, after a careful examination of the whole township, selected the present site of Oxford for the location of the town, which was laid out on the 10th of the month folowing. The town is one mile square, and when laid out contained 128 in or town lots, and forty four-acre out-lots on the south of the in-lots. in July, 1827, an additional number of lots were laid off, and in November, 1831, a further addition on the east of the former lots and north of the University Square was made.
In the east of the town is laid off a plat of ground containing 56 acres, which is designated the "University Square". It is reserved for the erection of buildings for the use of the institution, to lay out such gardens, avenues, and promenades, as may be found necessary and convenient. In the north-east corner of the town plat is also reserved a tract of about forty acres, designed for a botanical garden.
Oxford is situated half a mile west of Four-mile Creek, on an elevated piece of ground about eighty feet above the level of the channel of the creek. The lots in the town of Oxford were disposed of by the trustees of the University at public sale, in a manner similar to the lands of the township; only with the exception that the purchaser was required to pay the amount of the price bid for the lot, on which being complied with he receives a lease for ninety-nine years, renewable forever; subject, however, to the payment, annually, of a quit-rent of six per cent of the purchase price of the lot, in the same manner as the other lands of the twp.
The first sale of the lots in Oxford was held at Hamilton, on the 22d and 23d days of May, 1810, when the lots then laid out of an uneven number were offered for sale. At this sale eleven in-lots and eight four-acre out-lots were sold, the in-lots at prices from $16.66 2/3 to $25.90 each; the four-acre out-lots at the rate of five dollars per acre.
On the 28th and 29th of August ensuing a second sale of lots in Oxford was held in Hamilton, when the residue of the lots then laid out were offered for sale. At this sale only three in-lots and three out-lots were sold, at about the same price as the first sales.
During the Summer of 1810 the tall trees which then covered the site of the town began to be cut down, and a few cabins commenced. The first house erected in Oxford was built by Samuel MCCULLOUGH, on Lot No. 1, being the lot on which Captain Joel COLLIN's house stood in 1838. It was built of unhewed beech logs, and for several years was the only house of entertainment in the place. It disappeared many years ago. On the lot adjoining the public square was shortly afterward erected a hewed log house by William MCMAHAN, which was also removed many years since. According to the census of 1830, the population of the village amounted to 737 souls.