Also see SUPPLEMENTARY MATTER
for additional information.
Columbia is the oldest born of the townships of Hamilton county. Upon its soil, as originally constituted, was planted the first colony in the Miami Purchase - the first white settlement, indeed, anywhere in the Ohio valley between Limestone or Maysville and the falls of the Ohio, otherwise the mouth of Beargrass creek, or Louisville. From this lodgment of Major STITES and his people near the mouth of the Little Miami, and his designation of the cluster of cabins by the patriotic title then (1788) much more in vogue than now, the subsequent township of course derived its name. The history of that settlement, and to some extent of the gallant men who founded it, will be told very fully in the chapter devoted to Spencer township, with which Columbia, as a country village, was last associated, and to whose history its own seems properly to belong.
Columbia township was erected by the court of general quarter sessions of the peace, in 1791, at the same time Cincinnati and Miami townships were formed; but seems to claim priority by virtue of its cattle brand, which was fixed to be the letter A, the others taking respectively the letters B and C. The boundaries of this town were then assigned as follows:
"Beginning at the foot of the second meridian east of Cincinnati, on the Ohio bank; thence north to the third entire (or military) range; thence east to the Little Miami; thence down the Miami to Ohio river; thence down the Ohio to place of beginning."
This was a vast township, larger than some counties are now. Cincinnati and Miami townships, with it, included the whole of Hamilton county on the Purchase, south of the military range. Beyond their north line, in the Miami country, there was probably at this time not a single white settler, and the extensive boundaries of the township were supposed to be sufficient to include all probable settlement on the east side of the Purchase for years to come. It was not many years, however, before the call was made for the erection of townships in the further tracts of the Purchase now covered by Butler and Montgomery counties, as settlement rapidly progresssd in them.
Upon the reconstruction of the Hamilton county townships in 1803, after the erection of Butler county by the first State legislature, the boundaries of Columbia were thus changed:
"Commencing at the southeast corner of Cincinnati township, thence north to the northwest corner of section thirty-six in fractional range two, township four; thence east to the Little Miami; thence south to the Ohio; thence westward to the place of beginning."
This arrangement gave the township just the entirety of its present territory, with the whole of the later Spencer township, including so much of the city as is now east of "the second meridian east" of the old city of Concinnati. The voters were at this time required to meet at the house of Samuel MUCHMORE, upon the present site of Madisonville, and elect three justices of the peace.
The first officers of
township, under appointment of the quarter sessions court in 1791, were
Ephraim KIBBY, clerk; John GERRARD, John MORRIS, constables; Luke FOSTER, overseer of roads; James MATTHEWS, overseer of the poor.
The following memoranda
justices of the peace for Columbia township have also been found:
1819, John JONES, Abner APPLEGATE; 1825, Abner APPLEGATE, William BAXTER, James ARMSTRONG; 1829, William BAXTER, Batia EVANS, Eleazer BALDWIN, John T. JONES; 1865-8, Francis A. HILL, William TINGLEY, James JULIEN; 1859-70, F. A. HILL, Leonidas BAILEY, L A. HENDRICKS; 1871, L. A. HENDRICKS, C. W. MAGILL, Louis W. CLASON; 1872-3, CLASON, MAGILL, HILL; 1874, same, with E. W. BOWMAN; 1875-7, CLASON, HILL, TINGLEY; 1878, CLASON, HILL, William ARNOLD, Charles S. BURNS; 1879, CLASON, ARNOLD, George REITER; 1880, CLASON, REITER.
When Spencer township was formed Columbia was cut down to its present limits, and lost the famous old village from which it took its noble and high-sounding name. The township is now bounded on the west by the "second meridian line" aforesaid, to a point about a mile and a quarter north of the Ohio, separating it from Mill Creek township; on the north by the old line of 1803, from the northwest corner of section thirty-six in the fractional range two, township four, to the Little Miami, dividing it from Sycamore and Symmes townships; on the south by that river, Spencer township, and a part of Cincinnati, and on the east by the same stream, which separates it from Anderson township and a short front of Clermont county. It is nine miles long on its north line, which is the greatest length of the township; and but four miles and a quarter in its shortest length, at the south of the township. It is five miles broad on the west, and for more than four miles thence to the eastward, and is then of variously reduced width, according to the windings of the Little Miami, until, on its eastern border, it is less than two and a half miles wide. The Little Miami River, with its ins and outs, has a bank of about nine miles in this township. Forty sections, twenty-nine whole, and eleven fractional, are included in the present territory of Columbia, making
The topography of Columbia township, for picturesque and varied character, and eligibility for suburban purposes, is scarcely equaled anywhere else in Hamilton county. The valley of the Little Miami stretches broadly along its eastern and southeastern districts, with the heights beyond Milford and Newtown in the distance, and others closer to the course of the stream-in one instance, near the northeast corner of Anderson township, coming down close to the course of the stream. Across the entire length of the township, in a general east and west direction, spreads another great, deep valley, evidently very ancient in its formation, but now with no large stream in its bed-probably an old channel through which the waters of Mill creek found their way to the Little Miami. The township may be said to consist pretty nearly of this and the Miami valleys. The result of the great operations of nature, by which they have been channeled, has been to afford a very large number and variety of beautiful sites for human habitation. Indian Hill and the Norwood Heights, Pleasant Ridge, Oakley, Madisonville, Mount Lookout, and indeed, almost every square mile of the higher ground in the township, are excellently adapted to the purposes of suburban residence, as well as for farming. Neighborhood to a great city has naturally called attention to these advantages, and every one of its numerous villages has more or less of the suburban character.
Apart from the Little
Columbia has no stream of size within it or upon its borders. Duck
and perhaps a dozen other brooks and rivulets, traverse some part of
township, most of them toward the Little Miami, but two or three, in
northwestern part, making their way to the valley of Mill creek. The
& Cincinnati railroad enters the township near Norwood, about a
and three-quarters from the southwest corner, traverses about half its
breadth on a general east and west line to Madisonville, whence the
makes rapidly northward and northeastward to its emergence from the
beyond Madeira station near the southeast corner of Sycamore township.
About seven miles of the course of this railroad lie in Columbia. The
Miami railroad has about the same length along or near the river in
township, entering at the southeast corner, at Red Bank station, and.
by the Batavia junction, Plainville, and several other points, to its
from the county at the northeastern corner, opposite East Milford, and
a mile and a half further, crossing the river and leaving the county
The Cincinnati & Eastern narrow-gauge railroad tracks also
the southern tier of sections; but its arrangements for entering
from the north and west are not yet consummated, and the road is not
used west of Batavia junction, where it connects with the Little Miami
railroad. The Cincinnati Northern narrow-gauge, now in course of
crosses the township from south to north, entering from the direction
Walnut Hills, and passing through Norwood. Several fine turnpikes, as
Cincinnati & Wooster, once the main line of communication eastward;
the Madison, the Montgomery, and others, with many well-kept, ordinary
wagon-roads, add to the facilities of communication with the city and
country. Upon some of them, as over the Montgomery pike to Pleasant
lines of omnibuses are regularly run to and from Cincinnati.
One of the richest fields for antiquarian research in the world, for the extent of it, is presented in this township, notably in the eastern and southeastern parts of it. It has been industriously and very intelligently worked during the few years last past by the members of the Madisonville Scientific and Literary society; and in this sketch we freely use the results of their labors, particularly as set forth in Dr. Charles L METZ's article on the pre-historic monuments of the Little Miami valley, in the Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History for October, 1878, and his chart accompanying the paper.
I. Dr. METZ and his co-laborers arrange the works in groups. Group A is mostly upon the property of Charles F. STITES, one mile west of Plainville, between the Wooster turnpike and the Little Miami railroad and river, upon the second bottom or plateau, in section nine. This plateau has a general elevation above the river of nearly two hundred feet; and above it, at a height varying from ten to twenty-five feet, is a narrow ridge, mainly composed of reddish sand, upon which the most notable work of the group is situated. This and the remaining works in this locality are thus described by Dr. METZ:
Commencing at the east end of the ridge, and in a wood known as "STITES' grove," we find an earthwork consisting of a circle, central tumulus, and an oval-shaped tumulus impinging on the outer southeast edge of the circle. The following extract, from an article entitled "The Mound Builders," by Mr. Florien GIAUQUE, published in the Harvest Home Magazine, August, 1876, describes this work as follows:
"In the grove in the 'picnic woods' owned by Mr. Charles STITES, of Columbia on the top of this ridge, there is a circular enclosure made by a ditch and an earthen embankment outside of and immediately adjoining this ditch, and no doubt made of the material which was taken from it. From the bottom of this ditch to the top of the embankment, the present height is five and one-half feet; the diameter of the ditch from deepest cut on either side is seventy-five feet; the enclosing embankment, from crest to crest, is one hundred and five feet; and the diameter of the entire work, from outside to outside, is about one hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty feet. On the east this embankment is enlarged into a regular mound, about forty-eight feet in diameter and about six feet high above the adjacent ground. At the southeast part of the enclosure there is left an entrance-way about ten feet wide - that is, there is here neither ditch nor embankment. This entrance faces and is about forty feet away from the edge of the terrace or bluff, which is here quite steep, and about one hundred feet (estimated) high above the river, which is here quite near the foot of the bluff. The edges of the terrace and ridge coincide here."
The ridge to the east of this work slopes gently until it reaches the general level of the plateau. On this slope numerous relics are found. The above-described work was explored by Mr. GIAUQUE and others, and several fine relics were found. The finding of one he describes as follows:
"One of the trenches was begun about the north of the mound, and the writer [Mr. GIAUQUE], while working here, hardly a foot below the surface of the mound and about seven feet from the centre of it, found
I have measured the circumference of some of the larger trees growing on this work. An oak has nine and one-half feet, beech eight and one-half feet in circumference on the central tumulus, maple six and three-tenths feet, an oak six and seven-tenths feet in circumference.
Northwest of this work, and about two hundred feet distant, at the foot of the sand-ridge, and on the general level of the plateau, is a mound which has been recently explored. Its diameter east to west is forty-five feet, elevation seven feet. An oak tree on its western slope has eight and seven-tenths feet, and a beech on its eastern slope five feet of a circumference. An interesting account of the exploration of this mound, by Mr. GIAUQUE, was published in the Harvest Home Magazine, in the article from which I quoted above. The circumstances of exploration are of considerable interest to the archaeologist, and I make the following extracts from Mr. GIAUQUE'S article:
"About eleven feet from the outside and two feet above the original surface, the shovel, hitherto working pretty freely in clayey sand, struck the first big stone. It was a flat limestone, possibly brought from the neighboring hill about a half a mile away, as there was none nearer; and it was much reddened and softened by fire, the fossil shells in it being whitened or more nearly calcined than the other parts. This, together with charcoal and ashes, pieces of bone, pieces of bowlder broken by fire, were very encouraging indications of a 'find.' Further digging showed that the rock struck, was the part of a stone arch, rudely made of undressed limestone.
"That part of the arch first found was removed, and under it was found a skeleton, the tibia (shin-bone) being the first part of it discovered. The arch was then entirely uncovered, the earth removed between it and the skeleton, and the skeleton taken out.
If the mound had been divided into four parts, by drawing a line through its centre from north to south and another similarly from east to west, the arch would have been entirely within the northwest section of the mound, and the skeleton which it covered lay with its head nearly towards the northeast (N. E. E.) Perpendicular sections of the mound, as dug away that day, showed from the bottom upwards:
"I. The skeleton resting on or near the original surface, which was a sandy clay, quite compact and hard.
"2. About a foot of sandy earth, possibly mixed with ashes, but no charcoal nor pieces of bowlder or bones, and, especially in places where the rock above had relieved it from pressure, quite loose and soft.
"3. The arch, hitherto so called for convenience, but perhaps hardly entitled to the name. This was made, as has been said, of undressed but flat limestone, averaging about twenty to thirty and six to eight inches in length and breadth, four inches in thickness, and approximately most of them being about a medium between these extremes. The arch was about seven feet long and five and a half or six wide, its highest part being in a line with and directly over the body, and arching downward on either side till its edges on the right and left of the skeleton nearly reached the clay on which the skeleton lay. But the stones were not set up on edge, so that the structure, while really an arch in form, was probably not self-sustaining. It contained three layers of stone, one over the other, making about a foot in thickness.
"4. A thin layer of sandy earth, about one inch on the highest part, and increasing in thickness toward the sides.
"5. Charcoal and ashes, the charcoal not plenty nor in large pieces, this indicating that the fire had burned out before being covered up with earth. This fire was hot enough to color all the top rocks, as mentioned of the first one found.
" 6. A layer of sand about fifteen inches thick, with pieces of fire-cracked bowlder, burnt limestone, and pieces of human bones, much decayed - or were they partially burned?
" 7. Another layer of charcoal and ashes similar to the one below, about three-fourths of an inch thick.
"8. Clayey sand to the top, so soft as to be shovelled without loosening with a pick, and nowhere over two and a half feet thick. No ornaments or implements of any kind were found in this mound."
West and to the south of this tumulus, and on the same continuous sand-ridge mentioned above, are four or five elevations or tumuli, with an average height of three to four feet, being from two to three hundred feet apart. The ridge is here under cultivation; numbers of relics, flint chips, and broken boulders, are ploughed up on this ridge.
Northwest of these tumuli, and on the general level of the plateau, one-fourth of a mile distant, is a mound which has a circumference at base of two hundred feet, and an elevation of seven feet. It is as yet unexplored, but cultivated annually.
Four hundred yards to the northeast of this mound, and at the junction of the Wooster and Madison turnpikes, can yet be traced a circular work, which has a circumference of six hundred feet; twenty years ago, I am told by an old settler, the circle had an elevation at that time of three feet, and there was a mound four feet in the centre; at present it is almost obliterated. Its northern side in places has an elevation of eight to twelve inches. On the south and eastern side, the work can be traced by the yellow color of the soil. The northeast side is occupied by the Madison turnpike.
Continuing on the southwestward of the small tumuli, and along the previously described sand ridge, we come to what is known as the 'Pottery Field.' Here the ridge slopes gently to the south and southeast, with an elevation of from sixty to eighty feet above the level of the Little Miami river. This field is a plateau of about four acres in extent, sloping back to the higher ground. On this plateau fragments of pottery are found in great abundance. Flint chips, arrow points, broken bowlders, burnt limestone, and the shells of the fresh- water muscle (unio), are found all over the surface. Human remains have been found in the adjoining ravines and on the slopes; the graves were isolated and shallow, and the method of burial was not uniform. Bones of various wild animals are also found.
Two hundred yards north of the Pottery field are several small turmuli. The largest has a circumference at base of about one hundred feet, height five and one-half feet; this mound has been dug into, but not yet explored. The Pottery Field, and also the tumulus, are situated in sections nine, Columbia township, in what is known as FERRIS' woods, in 'Still Home Hollow.' The largest trees on the Pottery Field measure as follows: A walnut, fifteen and one-half feet in circumference; an oak, twelve feet in circumference; a maple, nine and one-half feet in circumference, and an elm twelve feet in circumference.
A quarter of a mile farther west, in section fifteen, on the estate of Joseph FERRIS, and just southeast of the family homestead, is a circular work, with an inside ditch and a central elevation. Its circumference is about two hundred feet; diameter from east to west about sixty-five feet. This work is almost obliterated. It is distant from the river half a mile, and elevated above it about eighty feet.
2. The group B is situated partly in sections fifteen and twenty-one, in this township. The remainder of the works belonging to and forming much the larger part of the group are in Spencer township, and will be described in another chapter. Our scientific authority gives a full account of the group, from which we extract at present that portion relating to Columbia township:
One-half mile north of Red Bank station, on the second bottom or plateau of Duck creek, immediately southwest of the western end of the Cincinnati & Eastern railroad trestle, is a mound eight feet high and two hundred feet in circumference at base. It has not been explored, but is cultivated annually. Half a mile to the northwest of this mound is another, with an elevation of five feet and circumference of about one hundred and seventy-five feet. It is on the same level as the foregoing one, and on the lands of the Dr. DUNCAN estate.
The hill northwest of Red Bank station, and distant about two hundred yards from it, has an elevation of about two hundred and fifty feet. This hill is terraced on its eastern and southern slope; the terraces are five in number, and are undoubtedly the work of human hands. On the top of this hill is a mound. Its present elevation is about four feet, and it has not been explored.
3. Dr. METZ's group C lies altogether in Anderson township, and its several works have been described in the chapter devoted to that subdivision of the county. Group D is also mostly in Anderson, comprising the enclosure and mounds in the northeast corner of the township, and also interesting works in southwestern Col-
No. 6 of this group is a small mound, situated in section twenty-two, Columbia township, on an elevated ridge known as Gravelotte, on the estate of T. R. BIGGS. It is situated in a corner of a large embankment. Its height is three- feet, circumference one hundred and fifty feet.
No. 7 of this group is located in section twenty-nine, Columbia township, one-fourth of a mile west of Camden, just south of the Wooster turnpike. It is now only one-third its former size, it being partly removed in the construction of the Wooster turnpike. Its present dimensions are: Height nine feet, diameter seventy feet.
In the southeast corner of section twenty-nine, at the village of Camden, and three hundred feet east of the south line of Mr. GALLOWAY's residence, is the corner of an embankment which extends east and south to the river. It extends three-fourths of a mile east, until it reaches the bank of the river, which is here about forty feet high, the other running south until it reaches the edge of the gravel ridge, and then runs east to the river. It incloses from eight hundred to one thousand acres of ground. This embankment, fifty years ago, was six feet high and twelve feet wide. It is now scarcely traceable; but can be seen in spring time and just after plowing, when the peculiar color of the soil discloses it.
At the northwest corner of section twenty-eight, half mile south of the mound No. 7, between the two headwaters of a little stream setting into the Miami, is a cluster of seven small mounds.
4. Some miles from any one of these groups, upon the farm of M. C. BENHAM, on section thirty, near Pleasant ridge, is a fine, large mound, eight feet high, by two hundred in circumference at the base.
5. On the same
the Montgomery, which passes near the BENHAM mound, but a mile and a
to the southwest, on Norwood Heights, is the famous mound of
one of the most notable ancient works in the county. It is nine feet
and two hundred feet in base circumference; and its summit commands an
extensive view of the surrounding country. From it signals could be
or otherwise communicated to similar points of observation in the Mill
creek valley, and thence rapidly far up and down the valleys of the
Miami and the Ohio. Many stone implements, as axes, fleshers, gorgets,
chissels, flint arrow-heads and chippings, and also mica, have been
in the neighborhood and through the valley.
For the following items of township history we are indebted to the interesting work entitled "Surburban Homes," prepared and published in 1874, by Professor Richard NELSON, now president of NELSON'S Business college, Cincinnati:
Though the records of the township have been kept at Madison, we have found it difficult to obtain much information regarding the early settlement of either town or township. The first record of township officers was made April 4, 1803, when Samuel SHEPPARD was elected chairman, and James MURCH, clerk, and James MCKNIGHT, N. S. ARM- STRONG, John SEEMAN, and John ELLIOT, trustees. Two years afterward, the whole number of votes polled in the township was thirty-two.
During the early history of the township, it was customary to board the poor at the farm houses, the pauper being sold at auction to the lowest bidder. Some of these bids, we noticed, did not exceed one dollar per week. It was also the province of the constable to notify strangers that were supposed to be in indigent circumstances that the township would not he responsible for their support. The following we extracted from a record made in 1826:
"An order to John JONES, constable, for warning B- R- and family . . . .to depart the township; also; for warning five supervisors to attend to be sworn into office."
Among the annals may also be seen a book containing the records of the " ear-marks " for stock. These marks are represented in diagrams, which are accompanied with a key, and in 1791 numbered up to one hundred and seventy. The last record stands thus:
"Moses OSBORN, having removed out of the township, his mark is transferred to Henry LOCKWOOD; which mark is two slits in the right ear."
The oldest of these private marks for animals, recorded as No. I by Judge William GOFORTH, February 7, 1791, was "a penny on the left ear, and a half-penny the under side of the same." This is accompanied, as in other cases, by a diagram showing the form and position of these marks upon the ear.
A leaf from one of the old justice dockets, bearing dates of August 22, 26, and 30, 1816, shows for what petty sums suits were sometimes brought in those days. In the case of William IRWIN against Singer SMITH, judgment was rendered against the defendant for two dollars. In that of Moses KITCHELL vs. Christopher LEMAN, judgment was given the plaintiff for "the amount that, I found between them," as the magistrate puts it - which amount was seventy-seven and three-fourths cents! The "bale " and a witness in one of these cases was the well-known Isaac GIFFIN, who receives further notice under the head of Madisonville. He is but recently deceased, and is remembered, among other characteristics, for his inveterate habit of ruminating, or chewing his cud, the same as a cow.
The following document is an interesting but rather painful reminder of its time, as showing for what trifling delinquencies an unlucky debtor could be lodged in prison. It is some satisfaction, in this particular case, that the endorsement upon this writ shows that the debt and costs were paid without recourse to the last resort of an infuriated or determined creditor.
THE STATE OF OHIO,}
To John JONES, Constable of Columbia Township, Greeting;
WHEREAS John ARMSTRONG, treasurer, obtained judgment against John and Rachel WITHEM, before me, a justice of the peace of said township, for a debt of two dollars eighty-three and one-half cents, and ...... dollars ...... cents costs, on the first day of June last. - You are therefore commanded to levy the said debt and costs, and costs that may accrue, of the goods and chattels of the said John and Rachel WITHEM, by distress and sale thereof, returning the overplus, if any, to the said John and Rachel WITHEM, but for want of such property whereon to levy, then take the said John and Rachel WITHEM to the jail of the county aforesaid, there to he detained until the said debts and costs that may accrue, shall be paid, or . . . . .otherwise legally discharged: And of this writ make legal service and due return.
Given under my hand and seal, this twenty-second day of April, in the year eighteen hundred and seventeen.
The following is a partial transcript of the original pauper record of Columbia township, kindly made for this work by Louis W. CLASON, esq., of Madisonville, to whom its readers are also indebted for many other favors. He has exhibited an interest and public spirit in the mat-
This Book bought by Wyleys PIERSON and Joseph REEDER, overseeers of the Poor for Columbia Township, A. D., 1801.
To the Commissioners for the County of Hamilton North West of the River Ohio.
The overseeers for the Township of Columbia and County aforesaid.
This is to certify that on the fourth day of May, 1801, we sold Thomas McCORMICK, one of the poor of said Township, for one year, for fifty-one dollars and ninety-nine cents, George GALASPE, Sen., being the lowest bidder.
Likewise, on the sixteenth day of May aforesaid, we sold Sarah FRIER, one of the poor of the township, aforesaid for fifty-nine dollars, until the first Monday in May next, the lowest bidder being Susannah PRICE. Sold by us, Joseph REEDER, and Wyleys PIERSON, overseeers of the poor for the township aforsaid.
1801. On the third Tuesday of November we held a town meeting to vote in Freeholders to audit the accounts of the overseers of the poor for the township of Columbia and County of Hamilton, which is to be done every year for the same purpose. On that day was voted in William LOGAN, Perry CRATCHEL, and John MANN.
An account of money
to maintain Moses TRADER, according to an order obtained from two
of the Peace for that purpose 29th December, 1801.
|Paid Noah STRONG for two weeks' board, at two dollars per week||$4.00|
|Paid Noah STRONG for three weeks, at $1.50 per week||4.50|
|Joseph REEDER allowed him one week||1.00|
Witness} Joseph REEDER, } We have received in part three dollars to be Wyllys PIERSON. deducted as above.
The above account for necessaries furnished the poor of Columbia Township, allowed by the Court the 2nd March, 1802. at six dollars and fifty cents.
The above three dollars that we rec'd was from Major Benj'n STITES, a former overseeer.
1802. Rec'd of Wyllys PIERSON twenty-five cents, for searching record and making of the within account, 5th May, 1801, for John S. GANO, Clerk.
This is to certify that, on the third day of May, 1802, we sold Thomas MCCORMICK, one of the poor of said Township, for one year, for the sum of fifty-two dollars, Robert FLACK being the lowest bidder. Likewise we sold Sara FRIER, one of the poor, for one year for seventy-five dollars on the same day as the above, the lowest bidder Susannah PRICE.
Sold by us, Wylleys PIERSON and Joseph REEDER, Overseeers of the Poor, Columbia Township.
1802. May the 13th,
settled with the Trustees or auditors, and our accounts allowed by
Hamilton County, }................................................... JOHN COMINGS,
Columbia Township ................................................. JOHN SEAMAN,
................................................................................. JOSEPH MCCORMICK.
and Joseph REEDER, overseeers of the poor for the township of Columbia,
both this day made complaint unto us, John ARMSTRONG and William BROWN,
Esqrs., two of the justices of the county assigned to keep the peace;
hath reported that Jonathan COVINGTON, of said township, is lying sick
with a consumption and hath not enough to support himself; and these
therefore to require you, the said overseeers, to administer relief to
the said COVINGTON in such manner as the law in such cases directs. In
testimony whereof we have set our hands and fixed our seals at Columbia
the 29th day of January, in the year 1803.
To the Commissioners for the county of Hamilton, Northwest of the River Ohio.
Whereas we obtained an order from John ARMSTRONG and William BROWN, Esqrs., two of the justices for said county aforesaid at Columbia, the 20th day of January, 1803, to sell one of the poor named Jonathan COVINGTON, and we sold him on the eighth day of February, 1803, according to law, until the first Monday of May next, for twenty-three dollars and seventy-five cents, the lowest bidder being Elizabeth FERRIS. Sold by us, Joseph REEDER and Wylleys PIERSON.
[On page five of the record I find the first entry of notice to depart the township. - L W. C.]
June 14th, 1806. A Warrant issued warning John HANNAH to depart this Township.
October 14. A Warrant issued warning Mary HIGHLANDS to depart this township.
November 77. A Warrant issued warning Jonathan NARREE to depart this township.
[On page forty-nine I find the following entry. - L. W. C.]
24th. Raatis EVANS brought from Columbia to James JOHNSON'S, and died, at one dollar per day.
The oldest graveyard in the present township of Columbia is at the foot of West Indian hill, on the premises of the Joseph MORTON estate. It has not been used for more than half a century. Some. of the first bodies interred therein were taken from Columbia village, as several members of the WARD family, who were among the first settlers in that region. About the same time with them came John HARBAUGH, who seems to have been an inveterate enemy of the WARDS, since he gave directions before his death that he should not be buried in the old cemetery, where their remains reposed, lest the devil, while searching for the body of a WARD, might make a mistake and get him!
The first church built
probably that put up for the Duck Creek Baptist church in 1804. This
was a colony from the church in Columbia, and the secession created a
quarrel which makes considerable figure on the records of the Miami
association. The difficulty was amicably settled by a council, however,
before the next meeting of the association. The two earliest pastors
the Rev. William JONES, 1805-14, and Rev. John CLARK, 1814-16.
One of the small
stations against the Indians, called NELSON'S station, is mentioned
in an account of Madisonville; but it makes very little figure in the
of the early day, and we suspect was little more than an ordinary
with perhaps some special preparations for defence.
The MCFARLAND settlement was made in sections twenty-four and thirty, near the northwest corner of the township, in the spring of 1705, by Colonel John MCFARLAND, an emigrant from Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He took here a tract of nearly one thousand acres, comprising the whole of the first-designated section and the east half of the second, upon which the village of Pleasant Ridge now stands in part. Near this site MCFARLAND made his first clearing and put up his cabin, which he seems to have fortified somewhat, as it is sometimes remarked as being the last station established in Hamilton county. Life there was comparatively uneventful until some twelve years after the beginnings, when an incident
In the year 1807, on what is now known as Norwood Heights, in the immediate neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge, and almost four miles south of the present village of Reading, then known as Voorheestown, there lived a man named Daniel WOLVERTON, with a family consisting of a wife and three children - Jemima, about six years of age; John, nearly four; and an infant but a few months old. They lived in an humble cabin on the spot of ground now occupied by the stately residence of Mr. John W. SIEBERN, a well-known merchant of Cincinnati.
It was the afternoon of a pleasant autumn day that the two children, Jemima and John, by permission of their mother, went out into the woods to gather nuts. This was by no means an unusual occurrence; the children were accustomed to the woods, which at that day sur- rounded every cabin in the neighborhood - in fact, the whole country was one continued forest, except here and there a spot laid bare by the woodman's axe. The mother took little heed of her children until near the close of the day, when, as twilight set in and they did not return, she grew anxious, and, going into the woods, called loudly for them, but, receiving no answer, her mind became filled with forebodings of evil. Darkness now came, and the husband, who had been absent during the afternoon, having returned, both parents made diligent search through the adjacent woods. Again they called the names of their little ones, until their voices reached the neighboring cabins and alarmed the whole settlement; still no answer came, save the echo of their own voices. Soon the neighbors came and joined the parents, and the entire night was spent in a fruitless search. The woods throughout the settlement resounded with the voices of men and the firing of guns, but all to no purpose; morning came, but no tidings of the lost ones.
The entire neighborhood was now alarmed, and a large assembly of people met at the cabin of the distressed parents and determined to continue the search. That the canvass might be more thorough and cover a greater territory, they arranged that each person should go alone, or at most in couples. It was agreed also that each party should carry, what was then a common article in every cabin in the country, a 'dinner-horn,' which, it was agreed, should not be used until the children were found, and then the successful party should sound a blast that would be responded to by others, and thus the news be conveyed to all exploring parties, and reach as a joyous signal the almost distracted mother. This also served the purpose of keeping all parties upon the search, as all would know that so long as the horns were silent the object of their pursuit had not been found.
Though small bands of Indians passed through the country occasionally, but little fears were entertained that the children had met with violence at their hands, for they were quite friendly. There was the greater danger from starvation, or death from fright or grief, or from the sting of the deadly serpent. The woods, too, abounded with wild animals. The wolf and the bear were regarded as dangerous; and panthers, though not numerous, had been seen in sufficient numbers to make them a terror to all mothers. With the knowledge that the children had been exposed to all these grave dangers for the entire night, little hope was left of finding them alive. Still, it was thought that whatever their fate, it was better to have it known and put all doubts at rest. Even should they have been devoured by wild animals, it was confidently hoped that at least a portion of their remains would be found within a circuit of a few miles.
With these preparations and these thoughts in their minds, the neighbors went forth again into the forest, some afoot and others on horseback, each party taking different directions; and it would now seem that a few hours would crown their efforts with success. But the day wore away, and evening came; some of the hunters returned, bringing, however, no word of cheer to the grief-stricken parents. The footprints of the children had been seen and followed for some distance down a small ravine leading from the settlement into the Mill Creek valley; but soon the tracks turned upon the high ground, after which all traces of them were lost, and, what appeared stranger still, the children had not been seen by any one, although quite a number of cabins must have been near the range of their travels.
One of the neighbors, named Ralph AUTEN, had proposed in the outset to put his dog, a fine, noble-looking bloodhound and said to have been a very sagacious animals on the track of the children, but this was objected to upon the supposition that should the dog find the children, be might attack, or at least frighten them seriously, so the project was abandoned. Notwithstanding the protest of his neighbors, however, Mr. AUTEN, on resuming the search in the evening, took with him his dog.
A second night was spent in the forest, guns were again discharged and fires were kindled, but still the horns hung silent by the side of the hunters, and a pall of grief over the cabin of Daniel WOLVERTON.
On the approach of morning AUTEN and his comrade found themselves on the hills east of Reading, near the present site of Mount Notre Dame. The dog had been absent for some time, but now returned and manifested a strange and unusual anxiety. He turned upon his master a sagacious look, and uttering a few whimpering barks, ran again into the forest, but soon returned to repeat his former expressions. The men followed, and had gone but a few hundred yards when they observed the dog leap upon the trunk of a fallen tree, and there sit uttering his plaintive whimperings. On reaching the tree there the men discovered the children lying huddled together, their legs partly covered with leaves.
The signal blast was promptly given, which was taken up and responded to by others, and soon the monotone notes of the dinner horn sounded and reverberated through the forest, along the hills and in the valley, until the glad tidings reached the home of the distressed parents, bringing to their hearts for a moment a thrill of joy. These moments of gladness were brief, however, as a second thought saddened their hopes with alternate fears. The children had been found, there was little doubt - but, oh! the momentous question, whether alive or dead, none could answer.
The suspense that followed for an hour or more was intense and painful, not only to the father and mother of the little ones, but also to the multitude that had assembled to await the return of the successful party, and partake of the joy or sympathize in the grief of the parents. Finally AUTEN and his party returned and restored to the arms of the mother her babes, alive and, though suffering somewhat from fatigue and the effects of hunger, comparatively well.
When found the children were in a state of partial stupor, though they did not seem to have suffered greatly from hunger. The men gave them water and they were somewhat revived, but they still appeared timid and nervous, and it was some time before AUTEN and his comrade could gain their confidence; but on arriving home and receiving the proper care and nourishment they soon fully recovered.
The little girl could give but an imperfect account of their adventure. The first night she said they walked until they became very tired, sill the time expecting to reach home; at last the little boy stopped and could go no further. They sat down under a tree and both cried until they fell asleep. When they awoke it was daylight, and they set out again for home. They ate some acorns and nuts and drank at a little stream. They again became tired and sat down by the fallen tree where they were found. The little boy complained of being cold and she gathered leaves and put around him. At one time she heard people calling and saw them pass, but was too weak to answer. After this she remembered nothing more.
©2000 by Tina Hursh & Linda Boorom