This township lies north-west of the center of the county, and is bounded on the north by Preble County, on the east by the township of Wayne, on the south by Hanover, and on the west by Oxford. The township was organized in 1805, and originally formed a part of St. Clair.
The justices of the peace were the leading men of the township for many years. We, therefore, give the names and dates of these first men: In 1806 Robert OGLE and Robert LYTLE; 1809, Marsh WILLIAMS and Robert LYTLE; 1810 Matthew RICHARDSON; 1811, Marsh WILLIAMS; 1813, Matthew RICHARDSON; 1815, John WHITE and Matthew RICHARDSON; 1818, John WHITE; 1819, Matthew RICHARDSON; 1821, Marsh WILLIAMS; 1822, Matthew RICHARDSON; 1824, Morton IRWIN; 1825, Matthew RICHARDSON; 1827, Morton IRWIN; 1828, Abraham F. DARR; 1830, Morton IRWIN; 1831, Abraham F. DARR; 1833, Morton IRWIN; 1834, James HARDIN; 1836, A. OGLE and Morton IRWIN; 1839, A. OGLE, Morton IRWIN and Ebenezer BLOSSOM; 1841, John McAULEY; 1842, John CLARK and Morton IRWIN; 1844, Joel W. HARRIS, and since that date Richard L. GARD, William IRWIN, William H. CRUME, James L. CHAMBERS, Amos COOK, Philip BROWN, Samuel SCOTT, James COOK, A. P. YOUNG, Jonathan CROWLEY, Jonas P. RANDALL, John CLARK, James SHEARS, A. J. ERWIN, Edward B. SHIELDS, James SHEARS, Cornelius CONARROE, J. P. RANDALL, S. B. DEEMS.
Milford Township, in 1820, had a population of 1,501; in 1830, 1,808; 1840, 1,868. Many of the early settlers of the township have passed away. Their names may be partially summed up with this list: GRIMES, GLIMES, GARD, HANCOCK, HAYNES, HINSEY, JONES, IRWIN, KREAMER, KENNEDY, LYTLE, LIPPENCOTT, MARSHALL, MARKLE, OGLE, McCLEARY, McMECHAN, BROWN, McNEAL, PUGHE, ROBINSON, REED, RICHARDSON, STOUT, RYNEARSON, SIMMONS, SCOTT, STEEL, SIMPSON, TAYLOR, TEEGARDEN, WALTERS, WHITE, WILLIAMS, WATTERS, WALDEN, DARR, and YOUNG.
Milford has a variety of soils and surfaces. In the south-west Four-Mile Creek cuts a portion of the township, by flowing easterly with variations for four miles and a half, then entering Hanover, and finally joining with Seven- Mile to empty into the Great Miami. Along this stream fine bottom lands produce nearly all the agricultural products in great abundance. In early times corn was grown in large quantities, and is still raised, but the yield is not so great as formerly. Four-Mile has for its principal tributary Darr's Run, which flows from the north, and is but a short distance east of Darrtown. These two streams have here a beautiful and productive valley. Most of the western part of Milford is hilly, but produces well if properly tilled. Darr's Run drains a considerable portion of this part of the township. There are other streams of some size, but only of local importance.
In the north-east, Seven-Mile cuts the township similarly to Four-Mile, though it is a stream somewhat larger in size. The valley which extends along this creek is very productive, and in some places is over a mile wide. As the stream begins to leave the township and enter Preble County the bottoms narrow, until finally they can scarcely be called such. About Somerville the country is hilly on the north and east. Between Seven-Mile and Darr's Run a ridge divides the waters, flowing in in either direction.
St. Clair's route to the north passes through Milford Township. Mr. Dennis POTTENGER entered the western half of Section 2 in 1804. About the same time James SUTTEN entered the east half of Section 3, which two entries were the first in this vicinity. At that time Indians remained upon their hunting- grounds, one of whom was called Tom KILLBUCK, who assisted Mr. POTTENGER to raise his log cabin. Mr. POTTENGER was with General WAYNE six months when he defeated the Indians at Fort Discovery, and was living in 1847, aged seventy- seven years.
In 1805 Abel STOUT bought and settled on Section 20 in Milford Township. He and L. R. COUCH served an apprenticeship to Stephen DECATUR (father of Commodore DECATUR), on board a vessel, and were on the old ship "Rising Sun" when she was cast away.
From 1803 to 1806 the settlers were tried by the pinches of poverty. Most of them had to travel fourteen miles through the wilderness to mill; McCullough's, at that time, being the principal one, which was situated on the Big Miami, about two miles above Hamilton.
The Indians begged "ochpon" (bread), "monako" (milk), and "quis-quish" (meat) from nearly all the settlers, and were very annoying. Some of them often appeared in full war dress, painted, and the scalpingknife by their side. Others wore the uniform of an officer, whom they had previously killed and robbed. Two of them were known by the names of Bill KILLBUCK and MISHAWA, the latter a Shawanee chief, who is believed to have been killed at the battle of the Thames, by Colonel JOHNSON's men.
In the Fall of 1804, Robert CRANE and Isaac SIMPSON, who had been to mill, and who were returning home, raised the well-known Indian yell. The neighbors took fright, some fleeing to Robert OGLE's and others to L. R. COOCH's. Before morning the little settlement had collected for resistance, but the cause was found out, and all was quiet again.
During the same Fall a Baptist preacher, by the name of PATTERSON, from South Carolina, a traveling minister, preached, at the house of L. R. COOCH, the first sermon ever delivered in that part of the township.
Some time in the Summer of 1805, John PATTERSON, but not the traveling Baptist minister, with three or four others, came to Mr. COOCH's house, with a man tied on a horse, who they said knew where some stolen property was secreted. The conditions were, that if the thief would tell where the property was hidden, he would be released. "Away they started, my father with them," said Mr. COOCH, "equipped with horse-blankets, gun, and tomahawk. The company took the old trace past where Oxford now stands, and so on west until they struck Whitewater, but found no horses. They then proceeded down the river, until they got among the hills near what is now Brookville, Indiana, and still finding no horses, began to think they were deceived. Whereupon they stripped the thief naked, bent down a sapling, tied him to it, cut off the top, and swung him up like a dead deer. They coaxed and threatened, but all to no purpose. They finally resorted to going off about eighty rods, each firing two shots at him, but none of which took effect. He was finally let down, his clothes returned, and released. He said he felt the wind produced by Patterson's last bullet. The company returned, after being absent five or six days. This was the only way the first settlers had to recover stolen property, and was about the only way they had to punish crime."
During the Summer of 1806, a traveling Baptist preacher visited and preached in the western half of the township five or six times. In the Summer of the same year, Joel COLLINS removed from Kentucky and settled on a part of the Beeler, section, which is in Oxford Township. Here he erected a powder-mill, on what is now known is Collins' Run. A year or two he was afterward he was elected captain of a company of riflemen, composed of members from all parts of the county.
In August, 1812, Captain COLLINS, in obedience to a call of his country, rendezvoused the troops that he enlisted at Hamilton, and on Sunday following marched out to a shade near the west end of the Hamilton basin, and listened to a sermon preached by the Rev. Matthew G. WALLACE. COLLINS and his men served a six months' tour, received an honorable discharge, and returned home.
Between the first of the year 1798 and that of 1802, William HARPER settled with his family, consisting of wife and five children, on Section 19, in Wayne Township. For the purpose of hunting, he built a cabin near a large spring on the lands owned, in 1852, by Philip RAY, and not far from Wayne's old trace. The Indians were numerous, and visited Harper frequently.
In the Spring of the year a number came here for the purpose of making sugar, and an old squaw became very intimate with Harper's family, especially with little Elizabeth who was about three years old. The squaw would take the little girl by the hand; and seat her upon her lap, until finally they became very much attached to each other. One evening Mrs. HARPER sent two of the children out to bring in the cows, and their three-year old sister followed. When they had gone some distance into the woods, the little girl cried for them to stop, but in their hurry they gave her no attention. After returning home Elizabeth was missing. Search was immediately made, but the little girl could not be found. The next morning the neighbors, though few, gathered in and further search was made. The Indians were all gone and suspicion was placed upon them at once for carrying the girl away. Little footprints were found in the mud where she had crossed the run, and close by them, moccasin tracks. These tracks were traced a few rods further a sugar-tree, where they were again very plainly be seen. In the tree the Indian made a niche with tomahawk, where he had stuck it while picking up the little girl. These evident marks satisfied the people that the babe had been stolen, and the trail was followed about ten miles, when it was lost, the Indians having scattered, in order to baffle pursuit. The hunting party wandered about for two or three days, finally returning home without the lost child. The little girl was never found, although her father and mother visited all Indian settlements on the Maumee, Sandusky, and about Detroit; also most of the tribes on White River and Wabash. The family finally became resigned to their fate. Mr. HARPER died on his return from a search his child, and his good wife in 1819. She is buried the cemetery west of Darrtown. Mrs. PRICE, their daughter, was living in 1855; their son William died of cholera, in Rossville, in 1849.
About 1842 a gentleman who was a near neighbor Harper's, and who was well acquainted with the family, saw Elizabeth; he knew her by the family likeness which they all possessed in a very remarkable degree. She had been married to an Indian warrior and had two children. She afterward went, with her tribe west of the Mississippi, and was never heard of again. As to the truthfulness of the above story there is not a shadow of doubt.
When this township was first settled snakes were common, but the only or principal poisonous one was the yellow rattlesnake, which was found in considerable numbers. They were from three to four and a half feet in length. Some dens were found from which large quantities were taken. One of these wintering places was by Jedediah JOHNSON, who settled on the north-west quarter of Section 12, at the foot of a hill near a spring which passed from beneath large flat rocks. Under these rocks, secure from frost, the snakes were located. Another den was found on the south part of Section 23. From it one to two hundred snakes were taken early in the Spring before the animals went abroad.
As soon as the township began to fill up with settlers there were roads opened, the first and principal ones leading to Hamilton. The road from Darrtown followed pretty much the same route as the present pike. So did the pike leading from Somerville via Collinsville and Seven-Mile.
Matthew RICHARDSON, in 1802, entered the land on which Collinsville now stands. RICHARDSON was a Marylander, and came to this part of the county with a five-horse team, overland, bringing three colored people--two men and one woman. One of the men was afterward drowned while coming from Hamilton, in attempting to cross the stream near the old Matthew HUESTON farm. This was the beginning of what is now Collinsville--the entering of the land by RICHARDSON. The first lot sold was bought by Charles COLLINS, an Englishman, a wagon-maker by trade, from whom the town received its name. He immediately began to work at his trade, and in 1839 sold out to W. H. CRUME. COLLINS now lives in Preble County, where for many years he carried on the wagon-making business, and was also an undertaker.
Colonel Andrew P. YOUNG was an early store-keeper. He was succeeded by James STEEL, who was also the village postmaster with YOUNG. Eli MURPHY and James CROZIER, a Scotchman, opened a blacksmith shop in 1837. The latter removed to Morning Sun, in Preble County, and afterward to Texas, where he engaged in the cattle trade. David McMECHAN opened a dry-goods store; he sold out to Thomas BROWN, who built a new house opposite. Johnson DAVIS built, about 1843, the dwelling-house and store-room now occupied by John SLONEGER, a German.
The first school teacher in Collinsville was an Irishman by the name of William HEWETT, who taught here in 1818, continuing for about twenty years. For many years he was a leading member of the Presbyterian Church. William SIMPSON, Moses DOUGHERTY, William McMECHAN all taught in the old log-house. This building had a fire-place in the middle of it, while a brick chimney carried out the smoke through the rafters. The second house, a frame, was erected somewhere in 1838. Joel HARRIS was a teacher in it. The third and present building was erected in 1876, a handsome two-story brick.
Collinsville's first physicians were Dr. ROBINSON, of Preble County, who remained with the people for about three years and then removed to Iowa; Dr. KLINE came next, who stayed for two years, followed by Dr. SMILEY, an Irishman, from Hamilton, here not to exceed three years. He married a daughter of Samuel DAVIS, and now resides in Pickaway, Ohio, where he still practices medicine. Dr. E. C. WOOLEY was the most prominent of all the early physicians. He came from Symmes's Corner, and was a wagon-maker by trade. He is now in Paris, Illinois. Dr. SILVER, of Clermont County, came here some six or seven years ago.
James YOUNG's saw-mill was built in 1811. The grist-mill was erected three years afterward, and though often repaired, the old frame is yet in the present structure. The first saw-mill was destroyed by fire. This mill has always remained in the family, but since 1860 has been abandoned. In 1836 Mr. Young had a large distillery close by, where be fattened many hogs. The building is now gone. As early as 1813 Oliver had a saw-mill on Seven-Mile, two miles below Collinsville. It was run by an undershot wheel. He also erected a grist-mill at the came place in 1808, but which in 1820 was destroyed by fire. About 1828 David YOUNG built a saw-mill, carding-machine, and oil-mill on the Seven-Mile on the east side, in the north-east corner of Section 25. The former of these establishments stood below the latter. All were sold after the death of Mr. YOUNG, in 1848, to Joseph HURSH, who continued to do sawing until about 1853. Samuel and David YOUNG built an undershot saw-mill one mile below Somerville, about forty years ago. The latter also had a fulling-mill and machine at the same point; all have disappeared.
The Collinsville Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1843. Among the early members were David SIMPSON and James GRAY, the latter of whom was one of the early class-leaders. At the time of this organization this Church was on the Germantown, but is now on the Camden Circuit. The house was begun in the spring of 1844 and completed in the Fall of the same year. The Rev. William H. SUTHERLAND was the first minister. Jeremiah B. ELLSWORTH and John W. STEEL were preachers in charge in 1844. Prior to 1844 the Church worshipped in the frame school-house which stood half a mile south of Collinsville, on the Hueston road. The log school-house stood ten rods West of the present Presbyterian Church. About ten years ago the Methodist Church was abandoned, on account of deaths and removals. In its best days this Church had about forty-five members.
The Seven-Mile Presbyterian Church at Collinsville was erected or organized in 1810. It was a frame building and stood eight rods west of the present house. Some of the early members were Samuel DAVIS, Robert IRWIN, Sen., Matthew RICHARDSON, Ralph BROWN, Robert SWANN, Oliver SMITH, father of Samuel SMITH (who now lives in Seven-Mile, eighty years of age), John ARMSTRONG, and Samuel YOUNG. The land on which the house stood was given for this purpose-- two acres, including the graveyard--by Matthew RICHARDSON. The house was about thirty by forty feet, and was furnished with slab seats, with legs for supports; from James YOUNG's saw-mill. In the course of time better seats were put in, and the pews were sold, but this practice was soon discontinued, because of the dissatisfaction which it caused. For the choir-leader the class had Daniel CORSON, who stood close to the pulpit and "lined" the hymns, and Matthew J. RICHARDSON, who pitched the tunes. The Rev. Francis MONFORT was one of the first ministers.
Subjoined are a few inscriptions from the Collinsville cemetery: Philip RAY, died October 7,1849; aged 61. Samuel DAVIS, died March 27, 1843; aged 72. David YOUNG, died August 21, 1849; aged 52. Rev. James McMECHAN, Sen., died October 1, 1819, in the 59th year of his age. Mary McMECHAN, died in April 1813, in the 40th year of her age. Alexander YOUNG, born September 22, 1794; died July 13, 1861. James E. YOUNG, died February 6, 1873; aged 60.
Conrad DARR and Robert and William OGLE, all from Pennsylvania, entered Section 28, on which Darrtown stands, in 1802. After making the entry, they returned home, and in 1803, brought their families with them, and divided the section. DARR took the south half; William OGLE, the north-west quarter; and Robert OGLE, the north-east quarter. The section cost $1.25 per acre. In 1814, April 4, the former of these gentlemen laid out Darrtown, and called it after himself.
Abram DARR was the first resident of the village. He kept a store on the east side of the street, near the center of the town, in a frame house. This building burned down in 1820. John DEEN built the second house, about 1817, which is now used for a grocery by William SHEARS. In 1825 Willis DAVIS was in the house as a store-keeper, also as a saddler. In 1820 Henry WATTS built a log-house in Darrtown, opposite the Davis property. HERRON & FENTON were in this log building in 1827 as merchant tailors. The venerable building has long since disappeared. Mr. PERSAILS, a hatter, from Hamilton, was here many years ago. John COOK, a blacksmith, from Pennsylvania, came here in 1825, with a large family; remained fifteen years, and died in this county. Stephen COOK, his son, followed, in the same business, for five or six years. David and John KNEE were also early, blacksmiths. Abram DARR built a frame house, where ZIMMERMAN now keeps, in 1817, and began the tavern-keeping business. He continued for ten or twelve years. In 1832, he opened still- house, two hundred yards east of where Hiram Darr now lives. His corn was ground at the old carding-mill on the corner south of the Lutheran Church. This distillery continued for a number of years. Mr. DARR removed moved to Iowa, in 1844, and in 1852, while in Cincinnati, died very suddenly.
Aaron CHAMBERLAIN, a native of New York, rented a store-room in 1826, and began to accommodate the public. His store stood on the east side of the street in the middle of the village. He afterward opened a tavern in the store building, continuing for six years. He also worked at the wagon-making business for some time, and died in Pike County, Illinois some time after 1840. Henry BRANNER was a blacksmith in Darrtown from 1817 to 1827, in a log shop opposite site Chamberlain's tavern. PATTERSON and MARTIN had a store, in 1828, where ZIMMERMAN's saloon is. Stephen KENDALL came to Darrtown in 1825, built a tavern in the lower end of town, and continued until 1844. He was by trade a shoemaker, carpenter, and wagonmaker. William KIRKPATRICK kept a tavern in Darrtown in 1845 in the house now occupied by his son Samuel as a tavern and saloon. Henry KRIGGER was another blacksmith from 1826 to 1832, south of the widow CARNAHAN's house on the east side of Main Street.
Mitchell MARSHALL had a large three story still-house, from 1845 to 1852, one fourth of a mile east of the center of the village. The capacity of this establishment was fifteen barrels per day. Many hogs were fattened at this distillery, and many cooper-shops were in active operation near at hand. Sylvanus OCHS built the store where Peter WINSON now keeps, in 1840. His brother Josiah was a tailor in the same house for six or years. Stephen IRWIN was also a country merchant the same building about 1855. Mr. WINSON began as a weaver in Darrtown about 1840.
Dr. WYMAN, from New York, introduced the common domestic willow at Darrtown about 1845, five years after his arrival. The growing of willows in this vicinity is a leading industry with a number of the people. Dr. YEAMAN, from Hamilton, came to Darrtown in 1827, remaining two or three years, and then removed to Crawfordsville, Indiana. Dr. WILSON, from New England was here in 1833, and remained five years, removing to Rossville, Indiana. Dr. CRUIKSHANK, from near Cheviot, Ohio, came here about 1832, remained seven or eight years, and sold out to Dr. MACK, who continued to practice here until his death a few years ago.
In the Spring of 1806 the first school was made up in this part of the township and taught by George HOWARD. The house stood a quarter of a mile north-west the center of the town. It was a log building, with a large fireplace in one end, logs cut out for windows, roof covered with clapboards, which were held down by weight-poles. This house lasted and was used for twenty-five years. Among the teachers were John BLACKBURN, Enoch MORRIS, and Robert McMANUS, an Irishman, who was a fine scholar and a gentleman. The IRWIN boys, the KEGARDs, STOUTs, HAYNESes, PRICEs, and DARRs were among the scholars.
The second school-house was a frame, which stood on the public square, erected in 1830, or thereabouts. Abram DARR and Philip BROWN were among the first teachers. This building was used for about eight years. For the third school-house the Darrtown people had frame building which stood near DARR's distillery. The house is now used for a dwelling, near the center of the town. William HEWETT and David P. NELSON were two of the first teachers.
The fourth school building, a frame, was erected about 1848, and occupied a site two hundred yards west of the center of the village. This building was used until the present brick was put up, with an Odd Fellows' hall above, but which has been sold to the school directors for school purposes. Richard CHAMBERS and Gardner DARR were among the first teachers. Mr. Cornelius JONES, of St. Charles, is the present teacher. There an average of seventy scholars.
John MILLS built a carding-mill, in 1822, in Darrtown, and continued for five years. He sold out to Abram DARR, who used the old machinery for grinding his corn for the still-house. The power was supplied by a large tread-wheel, turned by oxen. In 1858 and 1859 a sawmill and a small grinding department was in operation in the village, owned by Benjamin HAWK and Joseph KECK. The buildings stood where the Lutheran Church now is. The establishment lasted but for eight or nine months.
In early history the settlers went to James BROADBERRY's saw and grist-mill, one mile and a half below town, erected in 1818, and continued for twenty- five years. BROADBERRY also had a log still-house, in 1817, which was replaced by a stone building. WALLACE and BRYANT came from the neighborhood of Colerain, Hamilton County, in 1816, and erected a saw-mill, a grist-mill, and a fulling-mill, all run by undershot wheels, on Four-Mile, now known as LANE's mill. The latter member of the firm was the fuller. WALLACE did sawing for eight or ten years; also carried on the grinding department. He sold out to James SMILEY. The property now belongs to his son-in-law, W. L. LANE, of Oxford. The mill is a three story stone building, and was erected about 1850 by William ELLIOTT, who was accidentally killed.
GRIFFITH's mill stood on Four-Mile Creek, where the bottom road from Oxford crosses the stream, in 1817. There was a sawing and grinding department, both of which continued to run for twenty-five years. Half-way between LANE's mill and Darrtown, Thomas COOCH built, in 1818, an overshot saw-mill. He had also previously erected an overshot grist-mill, thirty-five feet wheel. Thomas COOCH, Jr., with his father, also had a large distillery. All three of these establishments continued up to 1835, when the mills stopped. The still-house was carried on for five years longer. Pearson STOUT had a still- house in 1840, on the farm now occupied by Ebenezer BROWN, one mile north of Darrtown.
The Darrtown town hall was built in 1826 or 1827, to be used bv all religious congregations as a place of worship. Conrad DARR gave the land on which the house stands. Among the leaders in this enterprise were Joseph HAYNES, a blacksmith, who lived one mile east Of town; in 1814, and perhaps was the first within this part of the township; Jacob OGLE, a man of many excellent parts, and James WALDEN, who lived on the farm now owned by Huston KIGER, the latter of of whom has a large steam saw-mill. At that time the Baptists were the most prominent. This Church was organized in 1806 at Thomas COOCH's. The first preaching was under a shade in the Summer, and at COOCH's house in the Winter. The first preachers that might be called regular were Stephen GARD and William TYNER. In 1816 the society built a frame meeting-house in the old or present cemetery. This society flourished for a while, and was then broken up. Among the members were Israel DeWITT, Thomas COOCH, James WALDEN, and Mr. BLACKBURN. When the town hall was built this society sold their church to Abram LAWE, who removed it to Darrtown, and it is now used for a dwelling.
The cemetery was laid out in 1806 by Thomas COOCH and Mr. MARKLE. The former gave one and the latter half an acre of land. The first interment was that of Harriet, daughter of Thomas and Hannah COOCH, September 6, 1806. About the same time the Baptist Church was organized the Methodists began to have preaching in the neighborhood, and some time thereafter built a log church on the Beeler section, at the foot of the western slope of "Chaw Raw" hill. This Church has since become very numerous and respectable, now worships in a handsome frame building in the village. There are a number of graves near the site of the old church, but the house has long since disappeared.
The New School Presbyterians organized a Church in Darrtown about 1848. The first preacbers came from Oxford. In its most prosperous days, this organization numbered thirty-five members, of whom Stephen KENDALL, Hiram DARR and wife, Susanna and Sarah COOK were the most prominent. The Rev. B. W. CHIDLAW organized the first Sabbath-school in Darrtown, about 1840. Joseph CURTIS, of Hamilton, was the first superintendent, followed by Gardner DARR, who was also the chief officer of a similar organization, at the same time, at McGonigle's.
The Lutheran Church in Darrtown was organized at Jericho, four miles north on the Hamilton and Richmond pike. The original place of worship has since been destroyed by fire. This resulted in the erection of the church in Darrtown. George KRAMER and wife Barbara, old Mr. KNAPP and wife, Daniel SHOLLENBERGER and wife were among the first and leading persons who gave the Church its present healthy constitution. There are now over sixty members in good standing. A Union Sunday-school is carried on, with alternate meetings at the Methodist and the Lutheran Church.
Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 47, was chartered June 10,1871. The charter members were W. H. HARRIS, A. J. MORTON, W. L. LANE, Joseph and David KECK, R. G. and William KENDALL, and George MORTON. This society is a branch of the Somerville Lodge. There are now thirty-two members. The hall where the society meets was built for a select school, and was owned in shares, which were bought at a small figure from the stockholders. A. J. NORTON was the first N. G.; W. H. HARRIS, the first vice-grand.
Old Mr. COOLEY settled in the lower end of Darrtown in 1815. He was from Kentucky; his family consisted of but himself and wife. The same year be built the stone house now occupied by Mr. WAGONFEED. Conrad DARR, in 1815, began a tanyard, carried on for seventeen years, in the upper end of the village. He was followed by his son Hiram, who continued in the business of his father for nine years, and also carried on boot and shoe making, on a small scale, for fifty years.
Enos CAMPBELL, a soldier of the Revolution from Pennsylvania, came to Darrtown about 1810, and remained for ten years. David RATTERY, a Scotchman, came to the village in 1825, and left in 1835, Samuel FINCH, from Massachusetts, was a settler in Darrtown before 1818; he remained four years.
At an early day two flat-boats were built at Broadberry's mill on Four-Mile, by Jacob OGLE and the proprietor of the milling establishment. When the creek rose, on account of a freshet, the boats were floated to Hamilton empty, and loaded there for New Orleans.
James ANDERSON came from Pennsylvania to Darrtown in 1817; built the house now occupied by John GRAW, and close by opened a still-house, in 1820. He remained for ten or twelve years, and died afterward in Oxford Township.
Somerville was laid out by Jacob F. ROWE, October 7, 1831. John and Marsh WILLIAMS, from New England, were the first village store-keepers, in a log house in the southern part of the town. John removed to the West, where he died. Marsh, after several years in the village, opened another store half mile west, where his son Benjamin now lives. The WILLIAMSes came to this township in 1803.
Benjamin FOX and Luther TAYLOR were village store-keepers after the WILLIAMS brothers. Mr. FOX bought the saw-mill, and run it for some time. Ford HUFF was a store-keeper for ten or twelve years. He also engaged in cutting pork for two seasons, Benjamin MYERS, now of Camden, Ohio, was a Somerville store- keeper in 1840, under the old Odd Fellows' hall. He sold out to David DAVIS, who cut pork and shipped it to Cincinnati on the canal from Hamilton. DAVIS is now in Louisville, Kentucky. Edward OGLE was also a pork merchant, but failed, removing to Illinois. One of the old pork-houses stood on the west side of the old cemetery, and was forty by fifty feet, one-story and cellar. OGLE and FOX did their packing in a hewed-log house, built in 1837 or 1838 by Samuel ELLSWORTH for a pottery. It stood opposite the Methodist Church. At the time the pottery was built ELLSWORTH was keeping tavern in Somerville.
William MOREY, father, of Lee and Ellwood MOREY, was a hatter in the village, in 1827, one door above where John YOUNG's drug-store is. He was followed by others, the last of whom was James CRAIG. C. H. NEWTON began as an apprentice in April, 1832, and served four and a half years. He is now the only man living in the corporation who was here in 1832.
The Somerville mill originally stood above the depot, and was an old establishment in 1832-a frame building. It was run by the JONESes, who were Quakers. A saw-mill stood a short distance above, which was torn down about ten years ago. JONES sold to Jacob F. ROWE in 1839, removing to Michigan. John Irwin became next owner, from Pennsylvania. Since this time there have been a number of owners, among whom were Benjamin FOX, William FOX, and James YOUNG. The present owner is John Muff, who bought the property of the John ANTRIM estate in 1879.
Solomon WHITE was the first tavern-keeper in Somerville; he was in a frame house opposite the Odd Fellows' hall in 1827. By trade WHITE was a carpenter; he also carried on a blacksmith shop in the village in 1832.
Jacob ANDREWS had a tavern in the village in an early day, on the south-east corner of the depot and Main Street. He was followed by David MILLER. L. J. SAUCER followed ELLSWORTH, and David HOLMES succeeded SAUCER.
The Somerville Presbyterian Church is a branch the Seven-Mile Presbyterian Church at Collinsville, which was organized in 1810. The first pastor was the Rev. M. G. WALLACE, who served the Church from 1810 to 1820. The Rev. James HUGHES then supplied the Church for one year. He was followed by Francis MONFORT for ten years. The congregation was then supplied for a short time by the Rev. William B. SMITH, and in the Fall of 1834 the Rev. Thomas EDGAR became stated supply. The church was erected during the same year. Here the people assembled regularly, still under the control of the Seven-Mile Church. In 1843 the Oxford Presbytery appointed elders for Church. After the organization the Rev. Mr. HUGHES continued to supply the two Churches until his death in January, 1864. Over two hundred persons united with the Church during his ministry. In 1864 Rev. James W. McCLUSKY entered upon the pastorate, which continued for eighteen years. In the year 1874 the old house was declared unsafe, and in the month of December of the same year a new house, which cost about $5,000, was dedicated free of debt. In 1875 seventy-six members were added to the Church register. The ruling elders have been Daniel CARSON, Caleb BAKER, Jonathan CROWLEY, Benjamin BOURNE, John BEATY, Howard YOUNG, A. P. YOUNG, Jacob EARHART, James R. H. BERNARD, William CRUME, Mahlon D. HINSEY, and G. F. COOK. Some of these have rested from their labors and upon their reward.
For the first school-house Somerville had a which stood on the Jacksonburg road, on the bank of Pott's Run, in the field now owned by John YOUNG, five rods from the road. William MACK was one of the early teachers. The second school building stood in town; so also does the third.
In August, 1861, Somerville was overflowed by Seven-Mile, and considerable damage done to the property. Stock was scattered and fences were displaced beyond cognizance.
Dr. WILLIAMS, here in 1825, was the first resident physician in Somerville. He remained about eight years. Dr. WAUGH, from Maryland, came here in 1828 and remained three years. He married while here. Dr. ADAMS, a New York unmarried man, was with the people for four or five years. He went from Somerville, married, to Eastern Ohio. Dr. MENDENHALL succeeded Dr. ADAMS, who was also his pupil. He was a resident physician at two different periods.
Dr. EASTON came here in 1840 from near Cincinnati, and in 1847 went to Evansville, Indiana, where he died. The other physicians have been Dr. CRIGHTON, from Dayton, Ohio, here about five years; Dr. SIMPSON, Dr. MILLER, Dr. BROWN, Dr. COOK, and Dr. CAREY. Dr. ALEXANDER, from near Camden, practiced here more than a quarter of a century ago, and was the first resident botanical physician in Somerville. Dr. FERGUSON was another of the physicians here for three or four years. Dr. HAIR was also a citizen at the same time. Dr. BROWN was the first physician in this section of country, and was here three-quarters of a century ago. His home was in Preble County, two and a half miles north-west of Somerville.
The Free-will Baptist Church was organized in 1835 or 1836. This building was erected with the understanding that all religious denominations should use it if desired. Thomas MURRAY, Cephas BLOSSOM, and Mr. FOREMAN were the trustees on the part of the Church. John CLARK, Dr. EASTMAN, and Harrison PERHAM were the trustees on the side of the people. The house was a frame, and stood on the east side of Mound Street, a few feet from the first alley. Jacob ROWE and wife deeded the land--about one-eighth of an acre--for church purposes. Alexander KELLER now occupies the house as a dwelling, two and a half miles west of the town. The Rev. Benjamin SKINNER was organizer of the Church, and afterwards served the people for ten or twelve years.
Odd Fellows' Lodge, No. 54, Invincible, was organized in December, 1845. The charter members were John WOODSIDE, Henry DOVE, Daniel BOYER, J. WESTERMAN, Jr., William NEWTON, Miles MINGES, and Abram CLARK. The first meetings were held in the third story of a house built by Mr. NYE, of Cincinnati, who came here and built a store in 1838. The third story was added by Ford HUFF, to whom he sold out. The present membership numbers about forty-five. HUFF's room was used for three or four years. A room was then leased of Benjamin MYERS and occupied for twenty years. The present hall was built in 1850, costing $2,500, and occupies the site of the first place of meeting.
In 1832, Jacob F. ROWE and Benjamin BOURNE donated about one acre of land to the Presbyterian Church. The first person buried in it was John, son of Daniel and Anda PERRY, who died April 26, 1832; aged nine years, ten months and fourteen days. The leading burying-ground for the early settlers was in Preble County, just over the line.
In December, 1875, the Collinsville cemetery enlarged at a cost of $2,125, for seven acres, after a great deal of vexatious bargaining. The same month and year Somerville ground, four and four-fifths acres, was likewise enlarged by the township buying three acres at a cost of $1,000.
In 1850, three miles west of Somerville, John WRIGHT, a millwright, who worked for Ezra BELL, erected the mill that is seen standing idle in the southern part of the town, for want of capital and work. The original structure cost $2,900. Six years after thereafter the establishment was removed to the village. A small grinding establishment was added. Everything is now in dilapidated condition. As far back as 1828 Mr. ROUSE, of New Jersey, began to tan on Marcy's Run of Seven-Mile. He continued for ten years. John AIRY opened to tanyard in Somerville, opposite the present post-office, in 1832 or 1833, which has continued to run with many changes in proprietorship, for forty years. Robert YOUNG had a still-house one mile south on a branch of Seven-Mile, at an early day.
Cornelius HINSEY came with his brother William and Archibald ARMSTRONG, from Delaware, in 1802, and entered Section 9, which was afterward divided among themselves. As early as 1810 the former of these men opened a still-house, which he carried on for twenty years. The distillery was on Hinsey's branch of Seven-Mile. David UNSICKER had a distillery on Section 9 in 1839. On Section 16 Joseph AUGSPURGER had a whisky-making establishment in 1825, on the farm now owned by John SLONEGER. The water was pumped by a big dog, and the corn ground by horse-power. Moses CAMPBELL also had a still-house on Section 16, but it was not very important; it was known as a "family concern." Samuel YOUNG had another on Section 10 (which he partly entered) at an early day. Christopher AUGSPURGER had a similar one in 1824, about three rods his house. He was followed by his son-in-law, Joseph KISINGER, who carried on the business extensively. His corn was ground by cattle.
Somerville was incorporated in 1832. Thomas MARTIN was the first mayor, and Benjamin HUBBARD, now a lawyer of Eaton, seventy-two years old, the first clerk and recorder. Among the other mayors were Ebenezer BLOSSOM, R. L. GARD, Henry DOVE, J. P. RANDALL, who served four terms, Daniel PETERS, W. R. WOODSIDE, Cornelius CONAROE, and M. W. DeCAMP, the present officer, who has held the office for ten or twelve years. Council meets in the town hall, erected in 1863 or 1864, and cost, including the lot, $850. Erastus and Joseph MAREY were the contractors.
The following, are the postmasters in the township of Milford, since they have been appointed:
Collinsville--Matthew RICHARDSON, March 26, 1826; Andrew P. YOUNG, June 12, 1837; James H. STEELE, May 11, 1850; Stephen B. SQUIRE, May 27, 1858; George HIPPARD, November 30, 1861; Pierson CARL, October 31, 1863; Stephen R. BONNELL, January 17, 1867; Oscar BISCHOFF, December 22, 1868; James G. YOUNG, February 1, 1869; Daniel McLAIN, February 7, 1870; Stephen MORRIS, July 18, 1870; James E. YOUNG, November 4, 1870; Daniel McLAIN, April 11, 1871; Jacob H. SHALLENBARGER, December 15, 1880.
Darrtown--Abrabam F. DARR, January 18, 1825; Sylvanus P. OAKS, April 14, 1836; John McMECHAN, July 27, 1839; James SHEARS, June 17, 1853; Philip STOVER, June 3, 1854; John McMECHAN, November 28, 1854; Benjamin F. STEVENS, June 4, 1858; John E. BAGSLEY, December 31, 1858; James G. CLEMENTS, March 4, 1859; Cynthia A. DAVIS, December 28, 1859; John McMECHAN, June 13, 1860; William B. KENDALL, January 24, 1871; James G. CLEMENTS, December 19, 1872.
William's Store--John WILLIAMS, January 27, 1824; Jeremiah S. WAUGH, January 20, 1834. Changed to Somerville, February 28, 1834.
Somerville--Jeremiah S. WAUGH, February 28, 1834; Thomas MARTIN, May 26, 1836; Martin TOLBERT, September 25, 1839; Reuben WHITE, November 11, 1839; John W. KLINE, January 25, 1841; Ford HUFF, May 11, 1842; William LANGE, March 18, 1843; James COOK, March 29, 1855; William LANGE, December 16, 1856; Andrew S. RIDENOUR, August 28, 1871; John P. WOODSIDE, July 15, 1872; Andrew P. YOUNG, March 14, 1873; Mahlon D. HINSEY, June 21, 1875.
Martin BAILOR was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1826, and, came to this county with his parents, George and Sophronia BAILOR, in May, 1831. He was married November 16, 1880, at Hamilton, to Elizabeth SIMMONS, daughter of Thomas and Nancy SIMMONS. She was born in Butler County, February 1, 1832. Her parents were among the early settlers of Milford Township. Mr. BAILOR is a retired farmer, owning three farms.
Hezekiah BRADBURY was born in Butler County, April 22, 1809. His parents came to this county in 1805. The grandfather was from England, settling in New England, in a wild portion. In one of the forays of the Indians, all his buildings were burnt. Three of the family were in the War of 1812--James BRADBURY, Simon BRADBURY, and an uncle, and Dr. Patterson THAYER, his wife's father, died in the army. Hezekiah BRADBURY married on the 22d of April, 1837, to Maria THAYER, daughter of Patterson THAYER, M. D., and Anna Beatty MORE, who came to this county in 1816. Mrs. BRADBURY was born September 13, 1816, in Pennsylvania. They have had five children. John W. BRADBURY was born in 1838; Nancy Eleanor BRADBURY, July 18, 1841; James K. BRADBURY, June 4, 1844; Elizabeth BRADBURY, June 4, 1844, a twin with the preceding, and Anna M. BRADBURY, April 16, 1851. Elizabeth died February 18, 1863. Each of the children have been given six thousand dollars apiece. Mr. BRADBURY moved to where he now lives in 1846.
Zebedee BROWN was born in Virginia, January 1808, being brought hither in 1811 by his parents, Benjamin and Phebe BROWN. Mr. Benjamin BROWN settled close to the Fair-Play Mills, then taking a lease on some land at Black Bottom. He stayed there seven years, and then moved on what is called the Springdale Pike, on the Enoch Chambers firm. On this he lived two years, then buying seventy acres of ground, now owned by Mr. SPRINGER. He died of the cholera in 1838, his wife surviving, and living to the great age of eighty-eight. Zebedee BROWN was married to Margaret VINNEDGE, daughter of David and Elizabeth VINNEDGE, August 11, 1833. His wife was born in this county April 5, 1815. They had nine children. David V. BROWN was born June 23, 1834; Mary TEIGUE, August 16, 1836; Catherine SCOTT, May 31, 1838; Benjamin BROWN, June 22, 1840; Wilkinson BROWN, September 9, 1842; William BROWN, March 24, 1844; Jeremiah BROWN, August 24, 1847; Sarah E. BRADBURY, November 24, 1849, James R. BROWN, September 24, 1856. Upon Mrs. BROWN's death he married Rebecca SPIVEY, daughter of James C. SPIVEY and Catherine SPIVEY, who was born in this county in 1827. She has had two children, Charles and Russell. The former was born January 29, 1868, and the latter, May 11, 1870. Wilkinson BROWN was in the late war. David VINNEDGE served in the Revolution, and Mrs. Rebecca BROWN's grandfather, John WALKER, was in the battle of Tippecanoe.
James BROWN, now a resident and practicing attorney of the city of Mankato, Minnesota, was born in Milford Township, Butler County, Ohio, on the 14th of March, 1821. His parents emigrated from near Belfast, Ireland, to America in 1810, and on their arrival at Cincinnati his father purchased of Martin BAUM a quarter section of land one mile south of the present village of Collinsville, and in June, 1810, the family settled in their new home, in the midst of an almost unbroken forest. The family, at that time, consisted of the father and mother and their three daughters. His mother's maiden name was Mary McMECHAN. She had four brothers who came to America. One was the Rev. James McMECHAN of Hamilton, Ohio, the father of Mrs. Jane H. CORWIN and Mrs. Ellen A. SMITH. Another was Col. David McMECHAN, and the others were John and William McMECHAN.
The first duty of the settler in the wilderness was to provide a rude log cabin for his family, and this was quickly done. In those days the pioneer settlements were few and far between. Robert LYTLE, afterward one of the associate judges of the county, Matthew RICHARDSON, who was one of the county commissioners in 1805-6; Jesse SIMPSON, and the SCOTT brothers, James, Robert, and John, were the nearest neighbors of the new settlers.
Amidst this frontier life the boy was reared. At the age of six years be was sent to the district school, then taught by an Irish teacher, William HEWETT. The discipline of the school was severe, and the use of the rod of daily occurrence. The building in which the school was taught bore but a faint resemblance to the modern school-house. It was a log cabin about twenty feet square, covered with clapboards and weight-poles. Stoves were not in use, and the room was heated by a huge fire-place in the middle of the house. On three sides a log had been removed and glass substituted, and by this means the room was lighted and ventilated. The seats were of slabs from the nearest saw-mill; and the writing-desks were simply boards, placed along the sides of the building, resting on long pins set in the wall. The course of instruction was about as imperfect as the house. It consisted of spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Geography and grammar were not much thought of. The reading books were the New Testament and a few copies of the Introduction to the English Reader. At the end of each week the master assigned to each scholar a "task" for the following Monday morning. This consisted, in most cases, in memorizing a certain number of questions from the Shorter Catechism of the Presbyterian Church. And as the Presbyterian Church or meeting-house, as it was called, stood only a few rods from the school-house, the pupils from the school were, on the fast days which preceded the communion, marched in a body, under the leadership of the master, to the meeting-house to hear a long sermon from the minister. The schools were by subscription, and a dollar and a quarter per scholar for a term of three months, was the customary rate.
In October, 1840, be obtained admission as a student in Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio, graduating in the class of 1845. His college education, however, like that of so many other young men, was obtained only by the greatest self-denial on his part, owing to his poverty. On more than one occasion he was compelled to leave his place before the close of the college year, that he might be able to teach a term of school to raise the necessary means for the ensuing year. One such term he taught in the Summer of 1844 for fourteen dollars per month, boardiug himself. Having, while still at the university, chosen the legal profession as the one he desired to follow, he devoted all his spare time in the senior year to the study of Kent's Commentaries, Walker's Introduction, and other elementary text-books.
On leaving college he entered the law office of O. S. WITHERBY, of Hamilton. He remained as a law student in the office of Mr. WITHERBY about six months, supporting himself, meantime, by writing in the office Captain James GEORGE, then recorder of deeds of Butler County, and lately all attorney-at-law of Rochester, Minnesota, whose death occurred very recently. On the 26th of March, 1846, he was admitted to practice before the circuit court of Union County, Indiana, his law license being signed by J. T. ELLIOTT and Jeremiah SMITH.
After visiting many places, recommended as suitable for a young lawyer, he finally selected Winchester, Indiana, as a location. On the 26th of May, 1846, he took leave of his early home and youthful companions for his new home. His outfit of books was exceedingly meager, consisting of Blackstone, Chitty's Pleadings, and Swan's Treatise; these, with a Bible, the gift of a mother's love, and a copy of Rollin's Ancient History, made up his whole stock of books. With this library, thirty dollars in his pocket, and a single suit of clothes, the young lawyer settled into his new home. It is needless to recount the embarrassments that met the young attorney, for they were infinite. But his resolution was superior to all discouragements. Applying himself diligently to his profession, he soon began to attract friends and business. On the 14th of September, 1846, be married Miss Caroline IRWIN, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert IRWIN, of Muncie, Indiana, a lady of accomplished manners and excellent education. She was a granddaughter of Mr. Robert IRWIN, who moved from Woodford County, Kentucky to Butler County in 1809, and settled in Hanover Township, on the farm afterward known as the Col. ROBINSON farm. The new-married pair, though rich in affection, were poor in purse; but with the firm faith in God they boldly took their place in the struggle of life, resolved to succeed. At the election in August, 1849, he was chosen to represent his county, Randolph, in the State Legislature. This was the more flattering from the fact that the county was politically opposed to him by several hundred majority. He served his constituents well with credit and ability, and, as a member of the Judiciary and Corporation Committees, took an active part in the legislation of the State.
By close attention to the business of his profession he soon attained a leading position at the bar of his circuit, and in 1854 he was appointed by the governor of the State, Joseph A. WRIGHT, judge of the Court of Common Pleas of his district. He held this office but a single term, and was succeeded by William A. PEELLE, afterward secretary of state.
He took an active part in the educational interests of his county, and was for many years county examiner of schools, and secretary to the board of trustees of the county academy. In 1848 he was ordained a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church of Winchester, and was chosen by the presbytery of Muncie commissioner to the General Assembly that met at Columbus, Ohio, in May, 1862, and served is a member of that body.
In the dark days that preceded the civil war he took an active part in the Union meetings that were then being held in various parts of the State, as well as elsewhere, in the hope that something might still be done to avert impending war, and restore fraternal feeling between the North and South. But it was in vain! War was the result. When the conflict came, and conciliation was no longer possible, he took an active in the support of the Union cause. Realizing the peril of the hour, he sought to use his influence as a leader in the Democratic party only to allay partisan feeling, and to rally all to the support of the Union. As evidence how effectually this was done is the fact that Company "E," of the Eighty-fourth Regiment Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Captain M. B. MILLER, which was raised chiefly by his exertions, was composed almost exclusively of Democrats, ninety-six of the company being of that political faith.
At the Democratic State Convention of 1864, he was chosen presidential elector for the Fifth Congressional District; and about the same time he was nominated by the Democratic convention of his district candidate for Congress. His opponent was George W. JULIAN. The district was Republican by several thousand, and Mr. JULIAN was elected by about the usual majority. The campaign of that year was an exceedingly bitter one. To be the Democratic standard-bearer at such a time was a position not to be coveted. At New Castle, Henry County, Indiana, where he had an appointment to speak, in connection with Garrett DAVIS, of Kentucky, the speakers were interrupted by an armed mob of angry men, the meeting broken up, and they followed to the depot by a howling crowd. Time and again he was threatened with mob violence and the destruction of his residence.
The health of his wife having suffered severely for some years past, he resolved to remove to the State of Minnesota, on account of its superior climate; and leaving a home, consecrated by the memories of eighteen years of active life, he, with his family, consisting of his wife and five children, M. Cornelia, Charles I., Marcella, Henry W., and Robert E., arrived in Mankato on the 19th of August, 1865. Since going to Minnesota, he has confined himself closely to the practice of his profession. In January, 1866, he and the Hon. J. A. WISWELL, entered into partnership, and as such have continued in business up to the present time, with great success.
Hiram DARR was born in Darrtown, Ohio, on the 6th of October, 1806, and is the son of Conrad and Catherine DARR. They came to the county about 1802. He was married May 13, 1827, to Harriet SITHENS, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth SITHENS, who was born July 4, 1807 in New Jersey. They have had twelve children. Abraham was born March 24, 1828; Hiram, April 7, 1829; Gardiner, May 7, 1830; Isaac Thomas, March 17, 1832; George Washington, March 3, 1834; Lucy Ann, October 16, 1835; Harriet Eliza Murphy, November 6, 1837; Matilda Durth, September 21, 1839; Emily Marshall, January 28, 1842; Louisa, May 6, 1844; Mary, January 17, 1842; John, March 27, 1852. George W. DARR joined the Union army August, 1861 served eighteen months and was dischnrged, on account of disability. He applied for a pension, and his claim was allowed November, 1880. Mr. Hiram DARR is a farmer and willow cultivator.
Edward HINSEY was born August 1, 1830, on the farm on which he now lives. His father was Albert HINSEY, and his mother, Sarah MORRIS. They came to this county April 5, 1804. Mr. Hinsey was married May 21, 1857, to Julia MURRAY, born October 31, 1832, and has had three children. Clarabel was born June 5, 1862; Ida May, March 2, 1864; and Nancy Tenny, January 1, 1869. Mr. HINSEY has been supervisor for six years. He is a farmer, owning sixty-five acres of land that has had it crop of grain on for seventy-five years, no fertilizer ever having been applied. The crop of 1881 was beautiful and abundant. Mrs. HINSEY is the daughter of John and Sarah ANTRIM, who came to this county in 1814.
William HANCOCK, son of Elisha and Bertha HANCOCK, was born in Preble County, September 9, 1818. He came to this county in 1847, and was married in Rush County, Indiana, January 31, 1840, to Elizabeth JONES, daughter of William and Mary JONES. They have had five children. Elisha M. was born January 16, 1842; John, April 4, 1844; Isaac, August 20, 1848; William Thomas, June 30, 1850; and Wiley Ellsworth, March 1, 1864. Elisha and John were in the war of the Rebellion. Elisha HANCOCK, the grandfather, came here in 1812, and was burnt out the first Winter. Mrs. HANCOCK was a seamstress and tailor. The present Mr. HANCOCK is a farmer.
Robert HARRIS settled in the county in 1810, having been born in Kentucky, November, 1809. His parents were Joseph and Sarah Jane HARRIS. Among the remembrances of his childhood is that of being lost. A great search was made, and his parents prepared to go after him, as it was supposed he was in the hands of the Indians. He was married December 11, 1833, to Julia McCAINE, daughter of Robert and Jane McCAINE, who came to this county in 1798. The former was a brave soldier in the War of 1812. His grandfather LYTLE was in the Revolutionary War.
Mr. and Mrs. HARRIS have had seven children, of whom the oldest is dead. Mary Jane was born January 20, 1837; Joseph, November 28, 1838; Robert, November 22, 1840; William, June 28, 1848; Rebecca, February 6, 1845; Henry, April 22, 1848; and George W., February 22, 1854. Joseph and William HARRIS were engaged in the last war. William was in the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was reported missing one day, and is now supposed to be dead. The children are all well to do. Mr. HARRIS has lived on his present farm since 1876.
Henry HERRON is one of the oldest settlers in the township. He was born in South Carolina, November 17, 1801, and was brought to this county in the Fall of 1806 by his parents, Thomas and Nancy HERRON. They came of long-lived families. Mr. HERRON lived to see his eighty-sixtb birthday, and Mrs. HERRON her eighty-third. Her father was ninety-two, and her mother lacked only a few days of being ninety-nine. They were honest, upright people, and highly esteemed. Mr. HERRON commanded a company of militia for a long time, taking it when a mere skeleton, and building it up until it was the the best in the regiment.
When he had reached twenty-five he thought it was time for him to marry, and in June, 1826, he was united to Margaret CRAMER, daughter of George and Barbara CRAMER, who came to this county in 1816. They had eleven children, of whom six are living and five are dead. George HERRON is the oldest; he was born May 26, 1827. Catherine COLTER was born January 9, 1829; William HERRON, January 11, 1831; Thomas HERRON, January 2, 1833; Barbara HERRON, August 25, 1825; Nancy HERRON, December 10, 1837; Margaret HERRON, December 11, 1839; Mary Jane HERRON, March 1, 1842; Martha Ellen EMRICK, March 1, 1844; Sarah Jane, August 7, 1847; and Louis D. Winfield Scott HERRON, October 31, 1852. They have lost Barbara, Nancy, Margaret, Mary Jane, and Sarah Jane.
William and Thomas served in the last war. Thomas was made a prisoner, being aboard of the "Indianola" when it was captured. He was taken all over the South, and finally got in Libby Prison. He remained there about ten days, and was then exchanged. He commanded one of the guns on the "Indianola." The morning after the surrender an offer was made for an exchange, but was not accepted. He was liberated after many months of terrible suffering. Henry HERRON, it is needless to say, is a farmer, and a good one. He has never held office.
George W. HOOD was born in Darke County, in this State, August 7, 1840, and is the son of Samuel and Catherine HOOD. He was married October 1, 1861, to Catherine, daughter of William and Rebecca CAMERAL. He has seven children. Elmira was born May 17, 1864; Lueetta, February 14, 1870; Erminia, November 20, 1871; William E., April 18, 1873; Ralph Allen, February 6, 1875; Susan P., October 10, 1877; and Harvey T., November 17, 1879. He is a farmer, and removed to this county in 1868.
John IRWIN, son of Martin IRWIN and Anna IRWIN, was born in Butler County, September 11, 1812. His father came west in 1798, settling in the neighborhood of the Big Pond, in Fairfield Township, and two years after moving to Milford Township, which then had no highways. He settled two miles and a half north of Darrtown, afterwards cutting the road from Darrtown to his farm, being a part of the same road known as the Hamilton and Richmond Pike. His father cut the first tree ever cut by a white man on Section 17, Milford Township.
John IRWIN was married December 28, 1838, to Caroline HOMER, daughter of Nathan and Deleon HOMER who had emigrated to this county in 1808. His children were Josephine VAN ENDLING, born March 12, 1840; Cornelius, born February 25, 1842; Deleon, September 1, 1844; William, May 14, 1846; Harriet J., 1849; Frank P., February 6, 1852; and Caroline KING, December 12, 1854. Deleon and Harriet J. are dead. Mr. IRWIN lost his wife in 1854, and since has lived single. He has a fine farm, situated on the Fair Haven and Hamilton Pike. He has been trustee of Milford Township for twenty years. His grandfather, John IRWIN, served in the Revolutionary War.
James Arthur STEPHENS was born in Hamilton, January 15, 1827. He was married in Somerville to Rhoda N. NORRIS, daughter of Benjamin NORRIS and Lena LABOYTEAUX. They have had four children. Edward Fitzeller was born May 11, 1856; William Bynn, September 2, 1858; Benjamin Norris, January 1863, and Samuel Sholmanson, July, 1863. Mr. STEPHENS is now a manufacturer and dealer in boots and shoes. He was out in the late war, acting as captain of the One Hudred and Sixty-seventh Ohio National Guards. George W. STEPHENS was in the Eighty-third. Captain STEPHENS is the son of George STEPHENS and Catherine Barkalow, who came to this county in 1834, and are now both dead.
Edward T. STEPHENS, son of Andrew A. STEPHENS and Catherine C. NORRIS, was born in Germany, of which country his parents were natives. They came to this country in 1867. He was married in Somerville on the 22d of September, 1877, to Anna Elizabeth STEPHENS, daughter of August RITTER and Catherine COLTER. She was born in Middletown. They have had two children. Blanche Cornelia was born January 21, 1879, and Arthur Franklin, April 21, 1880. Mr. STEPHENS has been a highly successful farmer, and has served as supervisor for one year.
David SOMMER was born in Montgomery County April 26, 1823. His parents, Peter and Anna, came to this county in 1839. He was married on the 22d of April, 1850, to Barbara KINTSINGER, daughter of Joseph and Magdalen KINTSINGER, who settled in this county in 1819. Mr. and Mrs. SOMMER have had ten children, all happily spared to them. Jacob A. was born March 28, 1851; Magdalen, January 30, 1853; Josepb K., April 8, 1855; Peter, October 16, 1857; John G., December 8, 1859; Anna R., April 15, 1862 Mary Ann, October 9, 1864; Cynthia J., May 10, 1867; Kate A., November 24, 1869; William L., September 6, 1872. Jacob A. lives in Franklin, Warren County, as does his brother Joseph K. Mr. SOMMER was for ten years treasurer of Milford Township. He is a farmer, and has been successful in his calling.
James Findley STOUT, son of Abel and Theodosia STOUT, was born in Butler County, July 18, 1805. His father moved here in 1803. The Indians were numerous at that time. He was lost when only two years old, and was not found for two days. He was married in 1870 to Winnie GORDON, daughter of James and Catharine GORDON, who came to this county in 1845. Their daughter was born in Ireland in 1842. Mr. STOUT has three children. James Findley was born November 22, 1871; Mary Ann, April 28, 1872, and Caroline Myrtle, January 3, 1875. Mr. STOUT lives'on the farm his father entered, and has never parted with it. His memory is clear, and he recollects events of the War of 1812. His father, Abel STOUT, was in the Revolutionary War, and his nephew Abel was in the Mexican War. It is a family of soldiers.
Frederick SMOYER, son of Frederick and Susan SMOYER, was born in Butler County, March 27, 1825. His father was married in Scioto County, coming to Butler with himself and wife on horseback. They arrived here in 1814. August 7, 1849, Frederick SMOYER, Jr., was married to Phebe, daughter of Isaac and Hannah COOK, who came to this county in 1816. The daughter was born the 19th, of July, 1897. Their children were four. Anna was born March 21, 1860; Carrie, October 28, 1865; Ada, October 8, 1868; Eli, October 7, 1872. Mr. SMOYER is a farmer, and served as trustee of Milford Township for six years. One of his uncles was with WAYNE's army.
Andrew P. YOUNG was born in the county in 1806. His parents were James YOUNG and Janet SCOTT, who emigrated to Ohio in 1796. He was married in July, 1830, to Julia H. BUTLER, daughter of Samuel and Barbara KIRKPATRICK. They had four children: Janet, Barbara, Rebecca, and Maria. Mr. YOUNG is a merchant. He has been postmaster and justice of the peace. (see note)
John W. YOUNG is the son of Howard and Jane YOUNG. He was born in Somerville, October 25, 1849, and was married in Camden, July 17, 1879, to Sally HONSKER, daughter of Robert A. HONSKER and Ann HONSKER. Mr. Young's occupation is that of a druggist.