Madison Township was originally a portion of Lemon. It lies on the north border of the county, and is divided from Lemon by the Miami River, which flows from north-east to south-west, and separates the two townships in such a way that the lower part of Madison is very narrow. Nearly the whole distance north of Trenton the hills border on the river; but below the bottom spreads out, and forms a wide alluvial plain. At Middletown the river divides in two parts, the old and the new, the latter increasing in volume year by year, and the former lessening. The bridge across the river here is precarious, and liable to be washed away by the flood at any time. A couple of miles west of the river the hills rise to a great height, and afford beautiful views.
Settlement was begun about 1802, when the lands were offered for sale; but there were a few squatters there before. The first compact settlement was at what is now known as Trenton. This is the most considerable village in the township. Other places are known here as Miltonville, Poasttown, Madison City, and Woodsdale. Astoria is a local name applied to a neighborhood in the west center, where there was formerly a post-office. Elk Creek is the principal stream beside the Miami; but all the brooks and creeks are liable to sudden overflows, and then become torrents of no mean magnitude. The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad passes through the length of the township near the river bank, and is of great value to the inhabitants.
Samuel DICKEY, wife, and four children emigrated from Franklin County, Kentucky, and settled on Section 28, Township 2, Range 4, east, April, 1799, where Isaac DICKEY was born in the same year, being the first white child in that township. He was followed by Jesse MCCRAY in 1799, and Edward GEE and Job GEE, in the same year; Joel MARTIN, Llewellyn MARTIN, Llewellyn SIMPSON, and Bambo HARRIS, colored, in 1800; Alexander CHAMBERS and William BALDWIN, in 1801; Adam DEEM and Thomas ISRAEL, in 1803; the widow WHITE and Daniel DRAKE, in 1804; Andrew WAGNER, Henry HUFFMAN, Noah LONG, Gideon LONG, and David LONG, in 1805.
The following settlers came before the war of 1812: Noah LONG, Gideon LONG, David LONG, Abraham MILLER, John SNYDER, Sen., John MILLER, Jeremiah MILLER, Abraham MARTS, Jacob FRANCIS, Jacob SNYDER, Jr., Samuel SNYDER, John SNYDER, George SNYDER, Daniel KEMP, John KEMP, Jacob KEMP, Philip KEMP, Nathan DOUGHERTY, Adam DEEM, John H. DEEM, John DEEM, Sen., John SARVER, John CHAMBERS, Alexander CHAMBERS, Andrew GARISON, Jacob WIDNER, John WIDNER, Samuel WIDNER, John LINGLE, Sen., John LINGLE, Jr., Philip LEFFLER, Adam LEFFLER, Thomas LEFFLER, Leonard LINGLE, Thomas LINGLE, Michael DE BOLT, Henry WEAVER, John THOMAS, Joseph HINKLE, Elias COMPTON, Thomas ISRAEL, William WEAVER, Noah LONG, Gideon LONG, David LONG, John LUCAS, Samuel LUCAS, David BANKER, John BANKER, Soll BANKER, Jacob TEMPLE, Christopher REED, Andrew WAGGONER, Henry HOFFMAN, John FRANCIS, Christian COON, John WEBBER, Edward GEE Job GEE, Samuel DICKEY, Llewellyn MARTIN, Joel MARTIN, Daniel DRAKE, William BALDWIN, Bambo HARRIS.
The first grist-mill was built on Elk Creek in the year 1800, by Bambo HARRIS (colored). It was on the south-east quarter of Section 18. Previous to that time, the pioneers of Madison Township had to go near the mouth of the Little Miami River, in Clermont County, to get their corn ground for bread.
The first saw-mill was built on Elk Creek in 1801, by Joel MARTIN, on the south-east quarter of Section 7. The first manufactory was built by George DICKEY, on Elk Creek, in the year 1819, where wool was carded, cloth dressed and pressed, and flax-seed oil made. The oil was shipped to New Orleans on flat-boats.
On the north-east quarter of Section 17, belonging to the heirs of Thomas LINGLE, deceased, is a remarkable red sulphur medical spring, which is visited every few days by people from a distance, with kegs and jugs for water for their health. On the north-east quarter of Section 33 are two remarkable fresh water springs. They are about forty feet apart, one on the north side of a hill, the other on the south side of another prominence, facing each other. The amount of water from each spring would fill a three-inch tube.
On the north-east quarter of Section 33 is a rock which is forty-three feet one inch in circumference. About two-thirds of this rock is in the ground, and six feet above ground. On Brown's Run, in Section 34, on the land of Lewis WAGNER, is a cedar tree about four feet in diameter. The tree has been recently discovered. A part of the tree is in a hill two hundred feet above the part in the bottom of the creek.
Near the mouth of Elk Creek was a mill built about the year 1810, by Mr. GUNKEL. The building was made of hewed logs and had three run of buhrs. A saw-mill was attached. The next flouring-mill was built at what is now Miltonville, about the year 1814, with a saw-mill also; and a third was built by a Mr. MORRISON on Section 19. The third merchant mill on Elk Creek was built by Jacob SNYDER, on the north-east quarter of Section 18, with three run of buhrs, and a saw-mill also.
The SNYDER mill manufactured more flour, which was shipped to New Orleans, than all the other mills on Elk Creek. These mills have gone down, except the one in Miltonville, which confines itself to grist work. The VAIL mill, on the Miami River, was for many years the prominent merchant-mill on this portion of the Miami River.
Trenton is situated on the corners of Sections 5, 6, 31, and 32, about a mile from the Miami, on the great highway which passes east and west, and was formerly known as the State road. It sprung from a colony of New Jersey people, who came here about the year 1800, headed by Deacon Michael PEARCE and Elder Stephen GARD. Some of the members of this colony had come out previously, and their attachment to their native State was shown by the names they conferred upon the village which afterwards grew up there. Bloomfield was its first title. It was named after Governor BLOOMFIELD, of New Jersey, who was one of the early successors of William LIVINGSTON, and who was also a United States Senator. Its plat was dedicated about 1815, but there was a cluster of houses there previously. When it reached the dignity of a post-office it was found that there was another Bloomfield in the State and the name was changed to Trenton, also in honor of New Jersey.
Here existed in the first year of the century a Baptist Church, originally a little west of the town, but afterwards moved in. This was the earliest Church organization in the county, and it is still in existence. Here in this village lived the Rev. Stephen GARD and Dr. Squier LITTELL, the first resident minister and doctor of the county, Trenton, indeed, is an older settlement than any other in our limits, except Hamilton, Rossville, and Middletown. The Rev. Mr. GARD organized the present Church at Trenton in 1800, and was its pastor at his death, August 14, 1839. He organized the present Church at Trenton in 1800, and was its pastor at his death, August 14, 1839. He organized nearly all the Baptist Churches within the Miami Valley -- Trenton, Middletown, Franklin, Hamilton, and the First Church of Dayton, and some others. He was born November 3, 1776, in Essex County, New Jersey. He received his education in a common school, except a few months in a private classical school in his native county. He was married to Rachel PEARCE in 1801. He emigrated to Ohio about the end of the last century, making a temporary stay at Columbia, and moving to Trenton the same year. He came to Ohio in company with his father-in-law and family, Dr. LITTELL accompanying them.
Michael PEARCE was in good circumstances, and he had a large family of daughters. Mary married Squier LITTELL. She was a very excellent woman. Rhoda and Sarah married Joseph TAYLOR; Rachel married Mr. GARD; Phebe married Joseph GARD; Elizabeth married Alexander VAN PELT; Anna married James URMSTON. Mr. PEARCE had two sons, Squier and John. John died here, and Squier died in Laporte County, Indiana.
Deacon Michael PEARCE died at his residence in Trenton on Monday, the fourth day of June, 1838, in the eighty-ninth pear of his age. He was born at Scotch Plains, Essex County, New Jersey, in August, 1749, and lived there for many years, and married Phebe SQUIER, of the same place, by whom he had eleven children, ten of whom lived to be men and women. He served as a deacon of the regular Baptist Church more than forty years and died, as he lived, full and strong in the faith of the Gospel. He was a firm friend to the liberties of his country, and bore arms in the Revolutionary War. He was eighteen years a merchant of Morris County, New Jersey, and with the pioneers of the West removed with his family to Cincinnati in the Summer of 1792, entered land in Butler County, and removed on it in 1804, where he remained until taken away by death.
The Rev. Stephen GARD's daughter Eliza married William WILSON, of Middletown. She is dead. WILSON was a merchant, afterwards going to Laporte, Indiana, and buying two sections of land. Phebe married Wilkeson TAYLOR, brother to Joseph TAYLOR. Dr. Isaac N. married Louisa TODD, of Newport, Ky., and Dr. FAIRMAN married Lucy, a sister of Louisa. Sarah married John C. POTTER. Mary L. married Ezra POTTER, and Rachel died unmarried. Rev. Mr. GARD was twice married. His second wife was Mary VAN HORN. By here he had one child, William V. GARD, a physician in this county and in Warren.
John SMITH was the first tavern-keeper in the place. Report says that 'Squier LITTELL and Stephen GARD were the first store-keepers, and Clark POTTER the second. They were succeeded by James PATTERSON and MCKNIGHT & Lee. Ezra POTTER, of Hamilton, was a store-keeper there for a long time. Stephen GARD was the first man who had shingles on his house. The town has had a very slow growth, and now only numbers about three hundred inhabitants. There are three stores. Henry BURKE kept store here twenty years, but is now deceased. Frederick M. BURKE occupies the same building, and has carried on business a little more than a year. Dill ANDREWS and Joseph EICHER are the other store-keepers. There is one hotel, kept by John KINZEL, and six drinking saloons. Jacob HINKEL, in the carriage, buggy and spring-wagon manufacture, has been in the business for eighteen years. MCKINNEY also carries on the blacksmith business.
Trenton has four churches. The Baptist Church was founded in 1800, the German Reformed in 1868, and the Evangelical Lutheran was remodeled in 1878. It is the finest structure in Trenton. The Roman Catholic Church is very pretty, and is situated on high, elevated grounds. There are four cemeteries, all of which are adorned with monuments and slabs scarcely equaled elsewhere by any similar place. The place takes deep interest in education, and has a fine school building, which is two stories high and has six rooms, all well furnished, and about two hundred pupils, J. W. COYLE is the superintendent.
At the railroad, there is an elevator carried on by DEITZ, GOOD & Co., merchants and grain dealers, which cost $6,000. It was put up in the year 1877, and has a capacity of thirty thousand bushels of grain, The building is eighty-four feet long by forty feet wide, and has a large steam-boiler and engine to operate it. It also moves a grist-mill.
Jeremiah MARSTON was born in Kennebec County, Maine, March 19, 1798. His father was a Methodist minister, and as is generally the case with the clerical profession, had but little of this world's goods to bestow upon his children. Jeremiah left his native State in the year 1819, and came to Butler County, where he passed the remainder of his days. In June, 1821, he was united in marriage with Miss VAIL, with whom he lived happily for thirty-five years. From this marriage eight children survive them.
Mr. MARSTON was strictly an upright man. Industrious an persevering in business, economical in the management of his affairs, he was enabled to accumulate a sufficiency of this world's goods to live in easy and independent circumstances, so far as wealth is concerned. Kind and generous to the poor and unfortunate, and honorable in all his dealings with his fellow-man, he had an extensive circle of friends. In politics he was a Whig while that party had a living existence; thence he was found acting with the Republican party. At one time he held the appointment of associate judge. He died about the beginning of the war.
There is an association in Madison Township that can lay some claim to antiquity. The subscribers met on the 28th of October, 1843, at Trenton, and appointed Jeremiah MARSTON president, and Ezra POTTER secretary, and resolved that they would organize and form themselves into a society for the purpose of protecting their property against thieves and counterfeiters, and that they adopt a constitution and by-laws. The names of the organizers were Jeremiah MARSTON, Ezra POTTER, Ellis MILLER, Robert BUSENBARK, Aaron BALL, John HUNT, Samuel LANDIS, John GOOD, Henry GOOD, David PAULIN, Silas LONG, Henry SELLERS, James LAW, and Francis CORNTHWAIT.
The society has held its meetings quarterly for thirty-three years. It has had upon its roll of members fifty-seven names, and now numbers thirteen members. It had for a protection fund in 1876 three hundred and twenty-four dollars. It is a regularly incorporated company, by the name of the "Trenton and Miltonville Benevolent Protection Society." It is generally nicknamed "Horse Company." The members in 1876 were John HUNT, Henry GOOD, John GOOD, Elias MATTIX, Theodore MARSTON, Benjamin De Bolt, Elias LONG, Henry GAUTCHY, John LAW, Peter THOMAS, John THOMAS, William RICHTER, and J. G. LONG. The admittance fee is three dollars.
The following persons are buried in the cemetery of the German Reformed Church:
Henry SMITH, born 1788, and died 1872; aged 84. John M. YAGER, died March 11, 1867; aged 72.
In the Lutheran grave-yard are the following:
Henry SELLERS, died February 23, 1879; aged 82. Catherine, consort of Henry SELLERS, died July 29, 1871; aged 76. Henry BERK, died 1881; aged 65. Barbara BERK, died April 23, 1877; aged 62. Jacob WIKEL, died January 23, 1878; aged 76.
These are in the Mennonite grave-yard:
Jacob AUGSPURGER, died November 2, 1867; aged 56. Catharine AUGSPURGER, died October 2, 1856; aged 17.
In the Trenton cemetery the first burial was in the year 1801. The name is Phebe GARD. The stone is so worn by time that the full inscription can not be given.
In memory of Reverend Stephen GARD, who died August 14, 1839; aged 62 years 9 months and 11 days. Rachel GARD, wife of Rev. Stephen GARD, died April 1, 1816; aged 36 pears. David GARD, son of Stephen GARD, died February 6, 1807. In memory of Mary MAXWELL, formerly Mary LITTELL, died February 5, 1813; aged 62 years. Sarah KERR, died June 15, 1835; aged 80 years. Michael PEARCE, died August 27, 1838; aged 88. Phebe PEARCE, died March 27, 1832; aged 76 years. Rhoda TAYLOR, died April 2, 1819; aged 27 years.