Union Township was settled principally by Marylanders, Pennsylvanians, and Virginians. The uplands were taken up and settled by resident owners, while the low and swampy lands were purchased and held in large tracts by wealthy parties, such as Judge BURNET, Isaac HUNT, the STOCKTONS, and others, and were in a manner vacant for a long time. About the year 1838 Abraham and Lot SWIFT built a fine merchant and grist-mill on the Miami Canal, in the township, and in 1840 the swamp lands were ditched. About the same time the Great Miami turnpike road was made through the township. These improvements, together with chopping the cord-wood and shipping to Cincinnati at a high price, created a new ambition among the people. Property of all kinds, especially lands, went up to two and afterward to three prices; but the bank panic in the Fall of 1841, which set prices back to what they were 7 years previously, broke up almost every person that had bought land 2 or 3 years before that event.
July 4, 1791, Joseph McMAKEN made application for a volunteer 6th section in the north-east corner of the 4th section in the 2nd township, east of the Big Miami, in the 2nd entire range, which was the property of John N. CUMMINS. He moved on the land 8 days before Christmas, 1795, meeting on his way General WAYNE returning from the treaty at Greenville. Mrs. Elizabeth McMAKEN came out to live with her son some time before 1800, her children having all been married off. After being out here 6 or 7 years she died, in 1801, at the age of 101. Joseph McMAKEN died on the 10th of February, 1818, from injuries received by the breaking off of a limb from a tree. It struck him on the skull and fractured it. Mrs. McMAKEN died in September, 1836.
The earliest settlers in the township were Captain COX, on section 22; Joseph McMAKEN, Section 4; George VAN NESS, Section 5; Thomas HURON, Mr. TRAVIS, Section 35; and Brice VIRGIN, who afterwards went up to Princeton. AYRES settled just south of Westchester; IRWIN settled in the south part of the township, and was an old acquaintance of McMAKEN's, coming from the same neighborhood in PA. SEWARD came out in 1797, and lived in McMAKEN's house while waiting for his own cabin to be put up.
Samuel SEWARD, an old Revolutionary soldier, died on the 22d of April, 1828, at his residence, in the 74th year of his age. He left upward of one hundred descendants. The previous day Mr. Abraham MONTGOMERY, also a soldier of the Revolution, had died. Mr. SEWARD and Mr. MONTGOMERY had been in their boyhood schoolmates. Together they joined their country's standard, and in the army they were messmates. Upon the close of the war, they retired from the army, and resided in the neighborhood of each other, in Union Township, Butler County. They departed this life only separated by death about four hours.
The justices of the peace of this township have been William SYMMES, 1803; Michael AYERS, 1809; James CUMMINS, 1818; Joseph H. McMAKEN, 1823, Michael AYERS, 1824; Joseph H. McMAKEN, 1826; Walter P. MEAD, 1829; William PARRISH, 1830; Walter P. MEAD, 1832; William PARRISH, 1833; Samuel McLEAN, 1835; John WAKEFIELD, 1836; Mark C. McMAKEN, Michael DALTON, John WAKEFIELD, 1839; Mark C. McMAKEN, 1841; Robert W. McCLELLAND, 1843 and since that date, John WAKEFIELD, Z. P. GARD, Alexander MILLER, James PATCHELL, James MIDDLETON, William PERINE, Perry WRIGHT, W.W. VAN HISE, James V. SPELLMAN, Z.W. SELBY, and A.S. HUTCHISON.
The following are the post-offices in this township, and the names of the postmasters:
Westchester. - This place was originally known to the post-office department as Chester. Under that title it had two postmasters. Enos SINGER was appointed Apr 1, 1824, and James FREEMAN, Aug 2, 1826. On Oct 2, 1826, it was changed to Westchester. Abram BREWER was appointed Nov 4, 1828; John S. DAVID, Sep 21, 1830; James VAN HISE, May 24, 1845; Daniel PERINE, Jul 5 1849; James JACKSON, Mar 4, 1852; Zadock WHARTON, Apr 4, 1855; William W. VAN HISE, Apr 15, 1858; David W. WILLIAMSON, Jun 2, 1863; Charles W. SNYDER, Mar 27, 1866; David W. WILLIAMSON, Feb 25, 1867; George SNYDER, Jan 6, 1871; James S. JEFFERS, Oct 2, 1871; Dana L. TAYLOR, Mar 14, 1874; and Edwin P. JACKSON, Nov 24, 1875.
Pisgah. - William W. VAN HISE, Dec 21, 1843; David CONOVER, Dec 12, 1850; William W. VAN HISE, Aug 8, 1853; David CONOVER, May 31, 1854; James MIDDLETON, Jan 9, 1862; Samuel L. SPRINKLE, Jul 10, 1876.
Port Union. - James PATCHELL, May 11, 1850; David STILES, May 8, 1866; Cornelius W. MURPHY, Apr 13, 1864; James V. SPELLMAN, Jan 9, 1871.
Maud's was first known as Shoemaker. Its postmaster was Richard MAUD, who received his appointment Aug 22, 1872. On the 19th of May, 1874, it was called Maud's. Calvin T. WILLIAMS was made postmaster Jun 11, 1877; Fred. C. WAGNER, Mar 25, 1880; Daston M. FLUMMER, May 4, 1881.
Gano. - George L. PIERCE, Dec 19, 1872; Henry FOX, Oct 6, 1873; Charles L. GANO, Dec 9, 1874; John J. WILLIAMSON, Feb 7, 1881; Lewis W. SCOTT, May 23, 1881; Thomas H. BURGESS, Apr 4, 1882. This office was discontinued one week in December, 1874.
The town now contains a population of about 80 souls, has 2 grocery stores, 2 or 3 shops, and a church. James V. SPELLMAN has had a dry goods and a grocery store here for several years. One is also owned by Frank RATZ. Mr. SPELLMAN is of the firm of SPELLMAN & VINNEDGE, grain dealers of this place.
The hall of the I.O.O.F. was built in 1878, and is a brick building. The lodge has a membership of 30. The building cost $2,000. Its lower part is a hall, sometimes used as a lecture room by the public. The Knights of Honor, a society of 30 members, lately chartered, meet in this building twice a month.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Union has a membership now of about 88. The present building is a frame erected in 1856. The membership at that time consisted of but 41 full members and 11 probationers. The Rev. W.H. SMITH is the present pastor, and J.V. SPELLMAN is the present Sabbath-school superintendent. This Church was organized Dec 17, 1853. It was then in the Cumminsville District. At that meeting M.F. WEST was secretary, and there were present A. EDDY, presiding elder, and the Rev. Messrs. GLASSCOCK and Daniel GRIFFIS. J.M. WALDEN, of the Methodist Book Concern, of Cincinnati, was first licensed to preach at Port Union, Jun 3, 1854. The local elders were Samuel GOSLIN, Nathan WHITTLESEY, Brumfield BOON, William MARSH, Thomas JEFFRAS, William MOORE, Samuel D. SPELLMAN (founder of the society), Manning F. WEST, Samuel SPELLMAN, Samuel WINNINGS, and Samuel HARD. Mr. Samuel D. SPELLMAN came here in 1843, but now lives in Indiana.
James PATCHELL, one of the oldest settlers of the township, occupies a farm on Section 5, in the second township, second range. He is a son of James PATCHELL and Elizabeth CANNON, who were natives of Ireland. He was born on Oil Creek, Venango County, PA, Jul 9, 1814. His paternal ancestors were French Huguenots, who emigrated to the northern part of Ireland in 1568, 4 years before the massacre of St. Bartholomew. As early as 1515 the principles of Luther and Zwinglius had gained an entrance into France (especially that part bordering on Switzerland), as well as the doctrines of Calvin, which were embraced by the PATCHELLS, a very numerous and influential family living near Vassey. In the struggle between the Bourbons and the 5 princes of Guise, they espoused the cause of the former; but it was not until 1560 that there was anything like an armed opposition to the tyranny of the latter. A plan was agreed upon by the Huguenots to seize the Guises on a certain day, when a number of them were to present a petition to the king in person (who then lived at Blois), asking him to grant them the right of free exercise of their worship. The plan was betrayed and 1200 Huguenots were executed. Of that number 7 were PATCHELLS, where the name first occurred in French history. Bloody scenes were the result, and the massacre of Vassey in 1562 was the immediate cause of a continued civil war between the Catholics and Protestants in that part of France for over a century.
In leaving France and settling in Ireland, the PATCHELLS did not better their condition, for the same bloody scenes were there enacted, though of a local and not a national character. His 4th-great grandfather was one of the gallant few who served under that famous Protestant clergyman, George WALKER, in the heroic defense of Derry Against King James. For bravery in the battle of Boyne, he was presented with a gold medal, now in the possession of Samuel PATCHELL. His grandfather, Edward PATCHELL, was keeper of the forest under Lord Fitzgerald. This nobleman was killed by the Catholic tenantry, in the insurrection of 1788, in Derry County. He also owned a large farm 5 miles from Londonderry, and would have shared the fate of his lordship had he not been secretly released by a man named Dunbar, whom he had befriended in several ways.
In 1792 he emigrated to America, settling in PA. In 1800 he bought 1000 acres of land of the Holland Land Company, through which Oil Creek runs, on which are some of the largest oil-wells in the state. His father, James PATCHELL, was next to the youngest of a family of 2 sons and 3 daughters and was born in the county of Derry, Ireland in 1772, and married Elizabeth CANNON in 1800. She was also a native of Ireland, and was born in the county of Tyrone, in 1783. By this union there were 8 children: Edward, William, Mary A., Jane, Eliza, Jemima, James, and Joseph, all of whom are now dead but James, who resides at Port Union.
In the war of 1812 he was a major in the PA militia, and during the winter of 1814 was stationed at Erie, PA. His brother Edward was a brigadier-general in the PA line during the war of 1812. He was also appointed by President Jackson, during his second term, the issuing commissary-general of the Army of the Southwest, with head-quarters at New Orleans, which position he held for 3 years, when he resigned on account of ill health. At the time of his death he was one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of Pittsburg.
In the Spring of 1816 James PATCHELL, in company with several other families, descended the Alleghany and Ohio Rivers to Neville, Clermont County , OH, in a keel-boat. He was driven to this course on account of going on the official bond of his friend Samuel PLUMER, as sheriff of Venango County. He defaulted in office, for a large sum, and his security could not pay this without selling his farm, which he had inherited from his father. He left it in the hands of his brother Edward, to sell and pay the debt. A short time after coming to Clermont County he purchased a farm in Tate Township, where he resided until 1830, when he removed to Butler County, where he died in 1844, and his wife in 1846. He was a man of great energy and strong will-power. Although a Democrat in a Democratic county and township, and possessed of a good education, he would never consent to be a candidate for any office. These, combined with honesty and good judgment, made him a man of more than ordinary ability.
James PATCHELL, the son, was born on the 9th of July, 1814 at Oil Creek, Venango County, PA and removed with his parents to Clermont County, OH in 1816. He came to Union Township in 1830. On Aug 28, 1842 he was married at Port Union to Mrs. Belinda McCLELLAN SMITH, widow of Dr. G.M. SMITH. Her maiden name was McCLELLAN, being the daughter of James McCLELLAN and Anna GIFFIN, and she was born in Hamilton County, OH, Oct 8, 1815. Her father was a great-uncle of General George B. McCLELLAN. They have 6 children. Joseph C. Was born Dec 14, 1843; E. Jennie, Aug 4, 1847; James E., Aug 29, 1850; Stephen C., Jan 29, 1853; Edward W., Aug 14, 1855; and Rosalinda, Dec 6, 1858. Joseph C., who is married to Lizzie GERWIG, now lives in Cincinnati, and is a dentist in good practice; E. Jennie is married to Samuel B. DEAN, and lives at Collinsville; James is married to Ollie CUTLER, and lives at Port Union; Stephen is married to Jennie EASTON; Edward W. Is married to Mollie HOWARD; Rosalinda was married Sep 28, 1881, to George Milton ROUDEBUSH, of Newtonville, Clermont County.
Mr. PATCHELL began with about 80 acres of land, but has since added steadily to it, until he now has 246 acres in a state of high cultivation. He was trustee of Union Township from 1843 to 1849; justice of the peace from Nov 3, 1849 to Dec 13, 1846 in all 15 years; postmaster of Port Union from May 11, 1850, to Oct 1865, and notary public since Jan 25, 1866. He was assessor of real estate in the township in 1859 and also in 1880, and revalued them in both years. From 1855 to 1877 he settled nearly all the estates of deceased persons as administrator, and acted as guardian of minors within the township, their estates amounting in gross to nearly $200,000. His family has had a long and honorable connection with the history of this valley.
Hugh CANNON, the eldest brother of his mother, was killed in St. Clair's expedition, Nov 4, 1791. Another brother of his mother, Thomas CANNON, married Elizabeth SCOTT, a sister of General Winfield SCOTT. They had 1 son and 2 daughters. The son, William Scott CANNON, died in New Orleans in 1834. The oldest daughter, Jane Gray CANNON, married James SWISSHELM, a farmer's son living near McKeesport, and afterward became famous as an editor and political and social writer. The other daughter married Zachary MITCHELL of the same place. The CANNONS and SWISSHELMS were early settlers of Pittsburg and that part of the state. Mrs. SWISSHELM was born and reared in the city of Pittsburg
James V. SPELLMAN was born in Hamilton County, OH, Nov 16, 1823 and is the younger son of Henry SPELLMAN and Charlotte GALLER, natives of NY, of German Descent. SPELLMAN was one of the pioneers of Hamilton County, settling in 1807, near Redbank. He died in 1850. Mr. James V. SPELLMAN was brought up as a farmer, being occupied at home until his twenty-first year. He was married Dec 1, 1842., to Angelina WARREN, a native of Hamilton County. They are the parents of 6 children, 3 of whom are living. Althea J. Was born in 1843, and is now the wife of Dr. L.M. GRIFFIS, of Hamilton; J. Warren, Jan 18, 1847, now assisting his father in Port Union, and Clara V., Jul 25, 1855.
Mr. SPELLMAN was in trade in Cincinnati for 8 years, and being employed in farming in 1854. He came to Port Union in 1860, and engaged in farming and trading, entering the mercantile business in connection with James BEATTY. Since 1870, when Mr. BEATTY retired, the firm has been Spellman, Vinnedge & Co. They have a general store, and are extensive buyers of grain. Mr. SPELLMAN is a member of the Board of Trade of Cincinnati. He was township trustee for several years, justice of the peace for one term, and is now a member of the board of education. He was postmaster of port Union for 10 years. He had no early pecuniary advantages, but now owns in addition to his store, 75 acres of land adjoining the village.
The third house built in this place was a little pole cabin, erected not later than 1835. It was put up on the ground now owned by ĦSquire WRIGHT, and in his garden, and stood until about the year 1852. Andrew HOUGH occupied this house, afterward, and built a little pole cabin on the north-west of the two roads where he had a store, the first one in Tylersville. It was kept by him for a few years, when John SULLIVAN took possession, tore the store away, and built a little frame. Part of this structure is still standing.
Mr. Abram SHARPE, a German, was the next merchant of the town, and was very successful in the business, which he followed for 20 years. His store was begun on a small scale at first, but increased to that of a good country store afterwards. During his reign as chief merchant, an opposition store was started up by Mr. George SHEPPARD.
The sons of Mr. SHARPE are at this time leading merchants in New York and Louisville, Mr. John WHITTIKIND, a German, has a country store in the village; the business of the place, however, has decreased.
Besides the SHARPE boys, who did so well, Nathaniel JEFFRAS, now of JEFFRAS & SEELY, Cincinnati, was here formerly as a poor boy, working for ĦSquire WRIGHT at $8 per month. His father, Thomas JEFFRAS, was an active man in the building of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the place, and was one of its class-leaders for 35 years.
The building was erected in 1850. Mr. JEFFRAS, the Rev. Nathan WHITTLESEY, and Mr. JEFFRAS˘s mother, a true Christian in every sense of the word, were the organizers of the Sabbath-school also. The membership of both the church and Sabbath-school was greater formerly than now, owing to removals and deaths.
The log schoolhouse was the second building in the town proper. It contained an old-fashioned fire-place that would take in a stick of wood eight feet long. The seats were made of slabs, pins supporting them on the floor. The windows were on either side of the house, and from ten to twelve feet long, occupying the length and width of one log. These windows were on either side of the house, and from ten to twelve feet long, occupying the length and width of one log. These windows were protected by shutters, and were fastened by strong hook-and-eye hinges, in such a way that when opened the shutters were raised from below and stood propped up. This house was built about 1830, and probably Elisha DALTON was the *first master* who held sway with the rod. CALDWELL, Ames SEDAM, and James S. WILES were also early teachers. The house was used for singing-schools, church purposes, etc.; but in 1840 the little brick schoolhouse was erected, and stood until 1866, when the present brick structure was built. The present attendance at school is not so great as formerly. It does not now exceed 40 pupils in average attendance, while in pioneer times it was not uncommon to have 75 pupils.
William WRIGHT and his son John came to this place from PA in 1816, and settled on Section 11. William WRIGHT was an officer in the Revolutionary War, and drew $20 annually as a pension, but was entitled to more. He was an Indiana fighter in PA in 1763. He was married twice, his second wife being Miss Rhoda WHARTON, by whom he had 6 children. This marriage was in 1820. ĦSquire Perry WRIGHT, of this place, was named after Commodore PERRY. Thomas JEFFRAS came to this portion of the township from MD in 1805, and settled first near Middletown, but soon afterwards removed to Tylersville. Michael DALTON came as early as 1805. He was for many years a teacher of the public day-school, was a justice of the peace, and withal a sturdy pioneer of the wilderness. Isaiah WHARTON settled first where Gano Station is now. His daughter Rhoda married William WRIGHT, of Tylersville. ĦSquire WRIGHT, her son, now living in Tylersville, was born in 1827; has been justice of the peace 9 years and is also a good farmer. His farm adjoins the town.
The country about the village is high, the soil good, and a high state of cultivation prevails. The land is rolling and a little uneven between this point and Westchester. Almost every family in early times had a loom, and did their own weaving. They always hired the tailor and shoemaker. The teacher of the school was generally an Irishman. There was a grave-yard on Section 35, near Tylersville, at a very early date, but many were buried at Springdale.