Also see SUPPLEMENTARY
for additional information
The present township of Mill Creek is bounded on the south by the city of Cincinnati, on the east by Columbia township, on the north by Springfield township, and on the west by Green township. It is named from the stream which flows through it from northeast to southwest, almost bisecting the township. The Indian name of this creek was Mah-pet-e-wa. The shape of the township would be a regular parallelogram, six sections long by four broad, but for a little more than a quarter section, still belonging to Mill Creek township, projected by the Avondale corporation south of the north line of the city, between Corryville and Woodburn, and for the projection of the city into the township, in its turn, about two miles and a half, by, the annexation of Cumminsville. The present acreage of Mill Creek, originally very nearly an entire surveyed township, is but eleven thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine, of which almost one-third is covered by village sites, leaving but eight thousand and ninety-seven acres in strictly rural districts.
Previous to 1810 the inhabitants of this territory were partly under the jurisdiction of Cincinnati and Springfield townships; but in 1809, upon the petition of the commissioners of Hamilton county, Mill Creek township was set off upon that part of the SYMMES purchase known as fractional range two, township three. A glance at the SYMMES plat shows that this township then contained nearly thirty-six sections (square miles), the fractional sections being numbers one and seven on the Ohio river. Its southern line was on the parallel along which now runs Liberty Street, Cincinnati.
The first election for township officers was ordered by the county commissioners for February, 1810, at the house of Peter MAYS. Since then Cincinnati has encroached upon the southern part of the township, taking into the city two rows of sections (twelve square miles). Cumminsville has also been taken into the corporation of Cincinnati, so that Mill Creek township proper now contains something less than twenty-two square miles.
The surface of Mill Creek township, is hilly in the western part, the level lands lying along the creek and. to the east upon low hills. Of the grand old forests, beneath whose shade the Indians roamed in freedom, not more than a thousand acres remain, the rest having been long since cleared away to give place to the farms, gardens, and busy corporations which cover the land.
Soon after the organization of Hamilton county, in January, 1790, so great was the influx of pioneers and adventurers from abroad, that Cincinnati, cramped in by the towering hills, as the village was, could give neither employment nor subsistence to the people, and it became a practical question with many, whether to remain and starve in sight of Fort Washington or fight their way to the north, through woods, wolves, and Indians. Many chose the latter alternative, and the rapidity with which the pioneers extended themselves north from Cincinnati to the Great Miami is easily accounted for.
The campaigns of HARMAR in 1790, of ST. CLAIR in 1791, and of WAYNE in 1794, were all planned in Cincinnati, and the expeditions were composed, to some extent, of men from Columbia, Cincinnati, and North Bend, together with many from Kentucky. The soldiers went on foot and on horseback. The right wing of the armies extended as far east as the present Lebanon pike, while the center and left wings moved north on the present Hamilton pike, reaching towards the west to Mill creek and to the foot of the hills beyond. Upon these expeditions those who were fortunate enough to return had ample opportunity to acquaint themselves with the lay of farm lands, the supply of water for mill purposes, the locatior4 of springs and stone quarries, the best sites for buildings, natural means of defense; and also the shortest and safest communication with the parent settlements. So strongly did the beauty and advantages of the Mill Creek valley impress the early surveyors, the hunters, and the soldiers, that within three years from the first landing at Columbia in 1788, LUDLOW's station and mill, at the second crossing of Mill Creek, with WHITE's and CALDWELL's blockhouses and mills at Carthage, offered both protection and subsistence to all who were pushing towards the present sites of Hamilton and Dayton.
A good notion, as to the rapid settlement of the town- ships north of those on the Ohio, may be gained from a few statements. In June, 1790, a force of one hundred and forty men landed at Cincinnati and commenced the erection of Fort Washington on the spot afterwards made classic by the bazaar of Mistress TROLLOPE. In December of the same year General HARMAR came with more troops, increasing the garrison to four hundred and forty, and these, with the "eleven families and twenty- four batchelors," made up the population of the village. In 1798 (October 29th) Governor ST. CLAIR gave notice to James SMITH, sheriff of the county, requiring the free male inhabitants of the townships to meet and elect representatives to serve in the territorial assembly. This
In the governor's proclamation he states that "sufficient proof has been given me that there is a much greater number than five thousand free male inhabitants" in the district. In the following year the population bad increased so much as to entitle the people to two more representatives, and an election was held September 12, 1799, at which five hundred and thirty-six votes were cast. From 1800 to 1805 Cincinnati's population increased two hundred, while near twenty-five thousand immigrants passed on into the upper counties.
In 1840 the population of Mill Creek township was six thousand two hundred and forty-nine, and forty years later, at present date, it is but one thousand two hundred and thirty-five.
Previous to 1810 the history
of the people who inhabited Mill Creek township is inseparable from
of Cincinnati. Before the sales of lands by Judge SYMMES, in what is
Mill Creek township, adventurers would slip out from Cincinnati, put up
rude cabins, clear little patches of ground, make war on wolves and
and maintain a precarious existence until driven back to shelter under
Fort Washington. These hunters and squatters frequently entered parts
sections as "actual volunteer settlers," and sometimes laid claim to
Forfeit Corners by right of occupancy. As early as 1795 purchasers from
SYMMES would find their deeds scoffed at by prior claimants, who had
titles by starvation, peril, and perhaps blood-letting, which titles
assigned from one to another, until claim and pos- session were
and given by the courts of law. Abstracts of title in the Miami
date back to the first sales by John Cleves SYMMES, but from 1788 until
final purchasers received their deeds, perfected in full possession.
the purchasers of the original SYMMES sections in range two, township
were many men and women who labored, suffered, and died in obscurity.
lives were unwritten, and now, when the laborer's spade or ploughman's
share turns out their skeletons, our inquiries start, but no answer
ever come to tell us who they were.
Among the names which appear frequently in the history of the Miami purchase, and upon the land records of Hamilton county, is that of LUDLOW. The brothers, Israel and John LUDLOW, were prominent men in their day. Israel LUDLOW became surveyor, and a joint proprietor, in place of the unfortunate FILSON, with DENMAN and PATTERSON, in laying out the village of Losantiville. He was captain of the Cincinnati militia in 1790-1, and .his descendants are widely and reputably known. John LUDLOW and family came from Buffalo to Cincinnati in November, 1789, occupying first a double-roomed log cabin on the northwest corner of Front and Main streets. The following year he became the first sheriff of the county, and in 1798 was elected to the first territorial legislature. The first execution was done by Sheriff LUDLOW, James. MAYS being the condemned man, and costs were allowed him by the commissioners, for "gallows, coffin, and grave- digging, fifteen pounds, eight shillings and nine pence." William D. LUDLOW, son of Sheriff John LUDLOW, comrnunicated to the writer of this, two or three incidents of early life, which are here given:
I came to Cincinnati in 1789, when a boy five years old, and soon became used to the hardships, the frights, the incursions of savages, and the tramp of soldiers, who were either drilling, going to, or returning from war. All persons were obliged in those days to be industrious, and I learned to work when quite a little boy. Sometimes I went to school, and the first master I knew was an Irishman by the name of LLOYD. His school-house was on the river hank, now the public landing, near Main street. We children were sent to school on the safest side of the village. One day in the spring of 1791 the Indians came over the hill-tops right down in sight of the fort, and fired away, killing Henry HAHN, a Pennsylvanian, who was clearing a lot. My uncle Israel gave chase with his militia company but did not overtake them. HANNAR's expedition did not intimidate the Indians, but made them worse; and while I was a boy in Cincinnati I saw armed men and soldiers every day, and heard Indian stories every night.
When there was service in the village church I went with my parents, and every man was obliged to have his gun by his side. I remember once my father's colored man was sent up over the hills to look for our black mare, which had strayed away. The Indians had taken her from the outlot, and got away with her as far as where LUDLOW grove now is. The thieving fellows had taken the bell from her neck to decoy those who should be sent after the mare. The darkey was led on and on by the tinkling bell, for he was one whom they would rather capture than kill. Feeling sure of him, they put the bell on the mare's neck, tethered her and secreted themselves. Just as he walked up the Indians jumped out after him, and the race began. The darkey was a good runner, and kept ahead of them to the top of Vine street hill, where the Indians gave up the pursuit. The darkey, however, improved his chances un til he reached our house, where, pale with fright and gasping for breath, he shouted, " De black mare gone, gone! Massa John, you neber see dat black mare any more, suah 1 De Injuns got her!"
I do not remember ST. CLAIR' start on his campaign in 1791, but remember the return, the arrival of the wounded, and the funeral of Captain ERAIKE who died of his wounds in Isaac MARTIN's house, next to my father's. The turnout of the soldiers, the black pall, the coffin, the slow pace of those who carried his body, and the dead march sadly and solemnly affected me.
The Indians were continually hanging 'around, watching along the Miamis, stealing from cabins and horse-lots, from Columbia to North Bend, and back in the country from the river, wherever any one had ventured to fix a stopping place. Once our horses were missing from the wood-lot. Pursuit was given at once by four men, Jobn and James SPENCER, John ADAMS, and Peter COX. These were known as the " northwestern spies. "COX had a new rifle, and as they started COX called out to my father: "'Squire John, the Indians shall never get this rifle unless they kill me at the first fire." These men found the horses and Indians just north of Spring Grove cemetery, near Platt EVANS' house, and fired into them, killing two. The Indians returned the fire, disabling COX. Knowing he could not escape from the twenty or more who came after him with a veil, COX told his companions to go and save themselves. The last seen of COX was with the muzzle of that new rifle in hand smashing it to flinders against a tree, as the savages closed upon him. In my school-boy days I used to pass that sugar tree and look upon the mutilated hark, where poor COX had smashed the stock and lock of his gun the moment before the tomahawk fell upon him. While General WAYNE was drilling his troops at "HOBSON's Choice," preparatory to his campaign against the Indians, I was a frequent witness of camp and field proceedings under the iron-countenanced old general, and on Sundays I used to perch myself in the top of a beech tree and look down upon the sham battles below.
General WILKINSON usually commanded the riflemen, who, as whooping Indians, filled the woods, while WAYNE directed our soldiers. These sham battles were often exciting, and I shall never forget old WAYNE's appearance, his warlike manner, and his stentorian profanity, which could be heard above the noise whenever anything displeased him. This year (1794) WAYNE's army left the town, going up Main street, over the hill and up the Mill Creek valley, the footmen and horsemen crossing the central parts of Mill Creek and Springfield townships, the left wing passing over the present sites of Cumminsville, Spring Grove, Carthage, and Springdale.
Soon after the army left, my father moved his family out to the country, at what is now known as Ludlow Grove, where my brother John so long resided. The ford here became known as LUDLOW's ford, or the " Crossing of Mill Creek," as WAYNE's army crossed here on the route to the "Third Crossing," at WHITE's station, in northern Carthage. I was ten years old when we came to LUDLOW's place, and soon learned that we were in an lndian country. Captain Jacob WHITE, Thomas GAUDY, Sarah FREEMAN, Abby COCHRANE, riding horseback, and several wagons came with us from town. These pushed on towards WHITE's station, two miles above. In less than an hour we heard the cry, " Indians! Indians!! " and soon came those on horseback, together with some running on foot. Thomas GAUDY, the lawyer, and the ladies mentioned, rode on by to Cincinnati, but Captain WHITE swung his hat, hurrahed for WHITE's station, and left with a fighting party to attack the Indians. They reached the station, however, without seeing anything of the savages. In this affair two of our men were killed at the first fire, the Indians shooting from behind some burr oaks which stood on the west side of the road, close to a run, not many feet from the brick school-house which stands there now. The two men were buried just south of the stream, near Allen HUFFMAN's present residence, and my father called the stream "Bloody Run,' which name it bears tq this day.2 The Indians were only stragglers who did not care to meet General WAYNE. Like other guerilla parties, tbey preferred to straggle about and steal, watch the roads to the mills, fire into a station from safe distance, kill men, women, or children, pick up what the armies might have lost or thrown away, and make themselves troublesome generally without getting killed or hurt. At one time they came to my father's house in the middle of the night, and tried to force an entrance. Our seven men inside stood ready, with weapons in hand to receive them; our dogs outside attacked them, dividing their attention and skill. After failing to pry open the doors, they left.
Shortly after this they stole our only good horse and five broken-down pack-horses. One afternoon the men had been rolling up log-heaps for burning, which my father and I fired in the evening. After the men had gone up the ladder to bed in the loft they saw seven Indians about the log-heaps, but a rifle-shot among them sent them off in a hurry.
Notwithstanding WAYNE's victory in August, 1794, these depredations continued for months afterwards. A party attacked WHITE's station and were repulsed, leaving several of their dead in sight of the station. I saw some of their swollen bodies on the north side of Mill creek, soon after the fight. They lay in the bottom land west of the Miami aqueduct, near the ford, and were partially covered with stalks, weeds, and earth. One lay with his head pillowed on the root of a tree; by his side was a new rifle, and on his bosom was tipped up a piece of looking-glass, reflecting his dead face. Few persons of today can form any just conception of our constant apprehension, our constant sense of danger in those days. My father made it a rule for each of his men to have his rifle loaded and in hand on going out in the morning, and the supply of ammunition was to be constantly attended to. The plowman carried his gun on his back; the man with the hoe placed his gun from time to time against the first tree ahead, and when engaged rolling or raising logs, sentinels were placed in the outskirts to prevent surprises.
The narrator of the foregoing was one of the best men that ever lived -- truthful, honest, kind and obliging. In early life he was united in marriage with an estimable woman, Charlotte HAND, by whom he had twelve children, but few of whom are now alive. His wife dying in 1846, he was afterwards married to Mrs. Abigail BONNELL, one of the pioneer women who came to Columbia in early days. With Abigail he lived happily during the remainder of his life. William D. LUDLOW was industrious until the infirmities of age forbade longer labor. His last years were devotedly given to work in the Christian church at Carthage, where, by pastoral work, by prayer and exhortation, he endeared himself not only to the congregation, but to all who knew him. He fell dead on a street of Carthage in 1863, aged seventy-nine years. His last words were spoken to Mrs. Elizabeth BONNELL, a moment before he fell "Good morning, Sister Elizabeth," said he; " just taking a morning walk -- never felt better, and enjoy the sunshine. My work for life is about done; my house is in order, and I am ready to go whenever the Master shall call." A moment after, he fell dead. His remains lie in the cemetery at Reading, close to the grave of his friend and Christian brother, James DILL. They had previously chosen their last resting- places, and now sleep together. Among the earliest to break the forest in Mill Creek township were the Columbia schoolmaster, John REILY, and his companions. He bought his tract of land, comprising part of the present site of Carthage, in 1791, but did not associate himself with PRYOR and others for improvements in this region until 1793. The short story of their attempt in the wilderness is thus told in the sketch of the life of Mr. REILY, in MCBRIDE's Pioneer Biography:
Their land being entirely in timber, they spent the first week in making a small clearing and building a rough shanty, and the second in digging a well.. They then continued clearing their land. Their horses were stolen by the Indians, but, not discouraged, they procured others and continued their improvements. After some time Mr. PRYOR, in company with two other men, engaged to make a trip from Fort Washington to Fort Hamilton, with provisions, on pack-horses, the usual mode of transportation in those days. On their way they encamped on a branch of Pleasant run, four miles south of Hamilton. . . . .In the morning they were attacked by the Indians, and Mr. PRIOR was killed.
Mr. REILY was so discouraged by the death of his associate that he stopped his improvements and returned to teaching in Columbia, removing afterwards to Cincinnati, and finally to Hamilton, where he died. We shall hear more of the PRYOR family when the history of Springfield township comes to be related.
A belief in witchcraft, singularly strong and persistent, prevailed in parts of the Mill Creek to a comparatively recent day. About the year 1814 a wealthy and respectable family resided on the creek and owned a number of fine horses, some of which died of a strange and unaccountable distemper. No remedy for it could be found, and the conclusion was arrived at that they were killed by witchcraft. A sharp lookout was consequently kept for sorcerers or fortune-tellers, and, means were taken to punish them, if any there were, by boiling certain herbs and other ingredients over a hot fire in a cauldron, with pins and needles, which were believed to prick the witch or wizard, at however great a distance. While a mess of this disinfection was boiling furiously at the residence aforesaid, the head of the household happened to take a view from a door which overlooked a large part of the farm, and saw his daughter-in-law at the moment hastening from her cabin, about a quarter of a mile from the house, to a spring, for a bucket of water. His excited imagination at once connected her movements with his calamities and incantations, and he ordered his son to remove his family from the farm. He suspected an old and feeble woman named GARRISON, residing eight or ten miles from his place, to be the author of all his troubles; and, having been advised to shoot a silver bullet into the next distempered horse he had, which would kill the witch and cure the animal, he prepared one and shot it presently into a very fine brood mare which was affected with the disease. Contrary to his expectations, the shot
Thomas GOUDY, esq., the Cincinnati lawyer mentioned in the Indian story, had a flouring mill on the creek, whose capabilities and facilities for work he set forth in a long advertisement in the Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette for May 15, 1799, closing as follows:
As to disposition of business, I need say no more than that Mr. JESSUP had three and one-half bushels ground on her [sic] in precisely eight minutes. I hope to gain a general custom, but she is absolutely idle for want of work at present.
From the same region, forty years afterwards, as Mr. CIST notes, a surplus of three hundred thousand barrels of flour was sent annually to New Orleans.
Some time before 1826, DUVALL's
paper mills, owned in Cincinnati, were in operation at Mill Grove,
in the Mill Creek territory.
James SISSON, Robert MENIE,
Abraham WILSON, James LYON, Joseph MCDOWELL, 1819; Robert MENIE, John
Bela MORGAN, Jacob STEWART, 1825; Jacob STEWART, John LUDLOW, John
Nathaniel WILLIAMS, 1829; Enoch JACOBS, William BOWMAN, E. P. JOSEPH,
BOWMAN, JOSEPH, John A. RUDEL, 1866; JOSEPH, RUDEL, Henry ERCHEL,
JOSEPH, ERCHEL, J. C. CROSS, 1869-70; JOSEPH, 1871-2; Samuel KEMPER,
A. C. KAYLOR, Elon STRONG, 1876-8; KAYLOR, J. N. SKELIMAN, 1879;
Solomon TICE, 1880.
After the erection of the First Presbyterian church in Cincinnati (1792), religious services at or near the out- posts were only such as -- fathers or mothers conducted in their families, or when, upon appointment, a few would meet at the rude home of a neighbor to listen to a wandering preacher, who, with Bible, hymn-book, and rifle, was going through the forest wilds to gather together the Lord's people. Previous to the year 1800 very many had never listened to a sermon by a regular preacher, except at a funeral. When peace was practically acknowledged after WAYNE's treaty, the preachers rode or walked. from post to post, from cabin to cabin; and meetings began to be held once a month, or once in three months with something of regularity. The early preachers made themselves known at the country weddings, at the bed- sides of the sick and dying, at the solemnities of the grave, and at the "big meetings" which were held for days at a tire, and in the woods, when the weather permitted. Some of these preachers are remembered by the children of those who first attended the services in Hamilton county, and a few of the names here given have deserved .ly found their places in the ecclesiastical annals of the country. Among these were the Rev. Messrs. RICE, KEMPER, SMITH, BURKE, WILSON, ROBINSON, ROOT, SIMONTON, STONE, LYON, GRAVES, CAVENDER, WETHERBY, CHALLEN, O'KANE, SCOTT, DUDLEY, WORLEY, and RUNSELER.
In connection with Mill Creek
township, which was a part of Cincinnati township until 1810, it may be
said that the membership of the different denominations in that year
less than one hundred. Fifteen years later -- that is, in 1825 -- the
representation was made by the several agents at the distribution of
|Methodist Episcopal church, William D. LUDLOW||73|
|Presbyterian church, James LYON||62|
|Christian church, William SNODGRASS||22|
|Baptist church, Thomas COOPER||14|
in all one hundred and seventy-one members, to whom was allowed from the fund fifty-one dollars and thirty cents, or thirty cents a member.
In 1835 distribution of the
fund was made as follows to the church agents:
|Methodist church, A. L. COOK||24|
|Lane seminary, Presbyterian, James LYON||26|
|Christian church, John LUDLOW||99|
|Walnut Hills Presbyterian church, E. G. Kemper||14|
|Baptist church, John H. Davis||15|
|Methodist church, Elijah Wood||125|
in all three hundred and three members, to whom was allowed one hundred and fifty dollars and fifty cents.
In 1850-1 the church lists
showed the following:
|Methodist Episcopal church, Fulton, E. H. Filmore||246|
|Christian church, Fulton, A. D. Filmore||46|
|Walnut Hills Presbyterian church, F. A. Kernber||37|
|Asbury Methodist Episcopal, Cincinnati, John C. Nye||101|
|Walnut Hills Methodist Episcopal church, W. H. Wheeler||17|
|Baptist church, Lockland, David McFarland||7|
|Christian Church, Carthage, John H. Sheehan||61|
|Presbyterian church, Mt., Healthy; William Cary||77|
|Christian church, West Fork, William T. Roller||50|
|Methodist.-Episcopal church, Cumminsville, J. G. Smith||44|
|Reformed Presbyterian church, Archibald Burns||6|
|Presbyterian church, Cincinnati, 1. C. Clopper||23|
|Presbyterian church, Reading, A. Ruffner||9|
|Methodist Episcopal church, Carthage, A. L. Cook||31|
in all seven hundred and seventy-five members. This number shows very nearly the total of professed religionists in the township, being less than the real number, inasmuch as there were some others who, not having organized churches, did not apply for the ministerial aid.
As before stated, the first services were conducted in private dwellings, in barns, in school-houses, and often in the woods. The beautiful groves at Carthage, its easy approaches by the old beaten roads, its accommodations an4 hospitalities, made it the great rallying place for the Methodists, the Campbellites, as they were called, the Millerites, and some others; and, from the earliest times to late years, Carthage was known for its religious gatherings, as well as for its political meetings, horse races, fairs, and militia musters.
Soon after Alexander Campbell
became known as a leader, some of his adherents found their way to Mill
Creek township, and about 1830 the Rev. Messrs. CAMPBELL, STONE,
and others began to visit and preach throughout the neighborhood.
were held in the Carthage school-house, in Solomon ROGERs' barn, in
woods (now SCHMUCKER's), and in 1832 a band of fourteen enrolled
under the leadership of Walter SCOTT, a colaborer with CAMPBELL in the
work of tearing down human creeds and building up churches on
In the words of the church scribe Robert RICHARDSON, afterwards a professor at Bethany college, Virginia), "as the word of the Lord prevailed, many were added to the church." The words of the historian were true; the congregation prospered, and remains to this day, in faith and practice, with the children of the pioneers. In this old church the Millerites proclaimed the end of the world, and in 1842 pitched their tents in the adjacent grounds and, posting their proclamations and pictures on the trees and rocks, awaited the fulfilment of their vain expectations.
This place lies in two townships, having the larger part, one hundred and fifty-five acres in Mill Creek and Carthage, but fifty-eight (two hundred and thirteen in all) in Springfield township. It had one thousand and seven inhabitants by the census of 1880. In 1818 Edward WHITE, sometimes called Edward III, laid out the village of Carthage, on the "forfeit corner" of section twelve, in the northeast part of Mill Creek township. The recorded plat is dated December 23, 18I5, In the previous year Levi FRAZEE had sold the east forty-six acres of the forfeit corner to Captain Jacob WHITE for six hundred and fifty dollars, who immediately disposed of it to Edward for the same sum, six hundred and fifty dollars. The next year the town was laid out and the lots advertised for sale. It was then bounded east by Dayton street, south by Deerfield and west by the Hamilton road, which then bore a little east of north, on the beaten track of St. CLAIR's and WAYNE's armies, which passed north from Fort Washington in the years 1791 and 1793. The north boundary of the town plat was the east and west line between the townships of Mill Creek and Springfield, established in 1809-10. Previous to 1815 WHITE's mill, on Mill creek, just above the town, and GRIFFIN's Station, on the west near by, were as well known in the early days as Columbia or North Bend. These mills and stations were the principal -places for safety and supplies between the Miamis north of Cincinnati. A wagon road connected White' Station with Columbia, crossing Harmar's trace one mile south- east of the present village; another led east to COVALT's Station, on the Little Miami; and another road, on the old Indian trail, passed near GRIFFIN's (CALDWELL's Mill), westward to the Great Miami, and on to North Bend. This road connected almost directly with DUNLAP's or Colerain Station on the Great Miami. Between WHITE's and GRIFFIN's Stations (in upper Carthage), passed the great road from Fort Hamilton, southward to Ludlow's Station (North Cumminsville), and thence to Cincinnati.
Limited space prevents, in this place, a digression upon the natural advantages of the Mill Creek valley around White's and Griffin's; and the names of those who first fought the red men here, who first cleared the forest away, must also be passed reluctantly over. The names of the greater landholders will, however, lead to important dates. The present corporate limits of the town enclose the corners of four sections, six and twelve in Mill Creek township, and one and seven in Springfield. Section seven, the northwest corner of the present corporation, was entered by warrant in 1792, by David GRIFFIN, and in the same year GRIFFIN also entered section one, in behalf of Jacob WHITE. Section six, (Mill Creek), was entered in 1789 by Samuel BONNELL, Moses PRYOR locating on the "forfeit corner" of said section. The same year David TUTTLE recorded his warrant for section twelve (Mill Creek); and soon after we find Richard S. CLARK vacating the "forfeit corner" of said section twelve because of a debt which he owed to John VANCE, who established his claim thereupon.
In close relation to the four mentioned, Daniel GRIFFIN, Jacob WHITE, Samuel BONNELL and David TUTTLE, appear the names of James HENRY, Joseph John HENRY, Israel SHREVE, Moses and Luther KITCHEL, Henry RUNYAN, James MOTT, Silas CONDIT, Robert HARPER, Darius C. ORCUTT, John BRAZIER, Daniel COOPER, Samuel MARTIN, Moses PRYOR, Samuel DUNN, Stephen FLINN, Caleb CAMP, James FLINN, Richard HAWKINS, Zebulon FOSTER, Jacob DUNGAN, Edward and Amos WHITE, James CALDWELL, William LUDLOW, Benjamin LUDLOW, Robert and Richard DILL, Samuel WILLIAMS, Silas HALSEY, John WALLACE, Andrew GOBLE, James WINANS, James CUNNINGHAM, and some others, who, though not crowded uncomfortably close, were neighbors and frequenters of White's and CALDWELL's Mills. These men were mostly land owners, holding entire sections, halves, or quarters, on "forfeit corners." The Whites were a numerous family, as were also the FLINNs, while the LUDLOWS had located claims through out the SYMMES purchase. Many of the names above are no longer continued on the county records, and have vanished from the memory of the living.
There were one hundred and
fifty-two lots sold to fifty-eight different purchasers. Many of these
Sidney and Ephraim KHOWLTON were early pork merchants and storekeepers, and were afterwards in the canal business. Their boat, the first one here, was "The Hannibal, of Carthage."
Benjamin IRWIN, property holder and first storekeeper, at the corner of Fourth and Main streets.
Leicester NICHOLS and James HEFFERMAN, were the first carpenters.
John SHANKLIN was the first wagonmaker. He died in a few years, and was followed in the same business, in 1829, by Richard RANCEVAW, who still resides in the village.
The MILLERS -- Isaac, Thomas, and Adam -- were early residents, owned property, and had a saddler-shop on Hamilton street.
Rev. Isaac FERRIS was the preacher from Duck creek; and Solomon ROGERS, a retired, wealthy steamboat captain, was also ever engaged in good works. Mr. ROGERS established a silk cocoonery, and endeavored to develop the silk business, but failed in the enterprise. He improved his property, however, and did much for the village.
Andrew SMALLEY owned thirty-five lots, kept the Clifton house (afterwards BELSER's tavern), was the first postmaster, encouraged the county fairs, and delighted in horse racing.
Joel TUCKER and Nathaniel WILLIAMS were blacksmiths on Main street. Their successors in iron working were Messrs. BURNS, CASTNER, and TUCKER. The TOWNSENDS -- James, John, and Pernal - were coopers and carpenters. .
The WILLIAMS family -- Nathaniel, Miles and Martha -- were lot owners.
In 1821 Thomas McCAMMON & Sons, from Cincinnati, came to the neighborhood, and are remembered as the first cabinetmakers.
At this time (1821), there were only a dozen houses in White's Carthage, and but five or six in sight west of the village. These were the houses of Major James CALDWELL, Richard DILL, Abram WILSON, and Thomas McCAMMON, and the Bull's Head tavern, south of WILSON's, on the Hamilton road. In 1826 Samuel CALDWELL made an addition of seventy lots, on the west side of Hamilton road, opposite old Carthage, the same year that the Miami canal was cut through the east side of the village. Many strangers came to the place, some bought lots, many new houses were put up, and the town began to present an appearance of thrift and prosperity. The children, who had been attending an old-time school far below the village, in what is now South Elmwood, were better accommodated in a comfortable brick school-house, east of the canal, at the corner of Second and Mill streets. This was one of the first three brick buildings at that time in the neighborhood, and remained standing until recently, when modern demands put it away for the more pretentious school edifices which are now conspicuous in Carthage.
For a while church services were occasionally held at private residences, or in the school-houses, or groves; but in 1832 the Christian church, organized by Walter SCOTT, built a brick meeting-house on the corner of Jackson and Fourth streets, whereon the new edifice, erected in 1878, now stands. The first officers of this church, co-workers with Alexander CAMPBELL and Walter SCOTT, were Solomon ROGERS, William MYERS, Richard DILLINO, Hezekiah WOOD, Elijah BRADY, and John LUDLOW. Dr. RICHARDSON, later a professor at Bethany college, was clerk of the church. In connection with this church a Lord's Day school was established; and the names of the first verse reciters -- children then, old men and women now who memorized and recited twelve thousand three hundred and ten verses, are here given, as worthy a place in, the history of Carthage and its neighborhood -. Noah WRIGHT, Stephen DILLINO, Boyd THOMAS, William EVANS, James HARVEY, Boyd DILLINO, John SCOTT, Isaac CHASE, William HEFFERMAN, Thomas WRIGHT, David PIGG, Nelson DERBY, Ephraim KNOWLTON, Jonathan, John, and Benjamin BONNELL, William SCOTT, Isabella McCAMMON, Ansenith HARVEY, Mary Thomas, Elizabeth and Emeline DILL, Emily SCOTT, Charlotte MYERS, Elizabeth WRIGHT, Lucinda CHASE, Joanna BONNELL, Isabella FELTER, Louisa MAYHEW, Sarah FLINN, Elizabeth PIGG, Caroline RIGGS, and Emily BALDRICK.
Many of them are still alive, though widely separated. Their parents and grandparents were among those who landed at Columbia, Cincinnati, or North Bend, in the earlier days. One of those named, Jonathan BONNELL, is now leader of the choir in the village church, a place he has filled almost continuously for forty-five years.
The instruction of the common school was supplemented in private schools by that of the academic, wherein mathematics, philosophy, Latin, Greek, painting, and music, were taught, and good students made.
Walter Scott edited and published a paper in the village, and, being a notable orator in things divine, classes were formed in theology, under his direction, and at least a respectable number of professional writers and speakers of today date the beginnings of scholarship and goodness to the classical and religious instruction received in Carthage fifty years ago.
Among the early teachers
were Messrs. ARMITAGE, MATTHEWS, WHEELOCK, WOOD, WILEY, Jehial
Isaac GOODWIN, William PINKERTON, Providence WHITE, Mrs. Sophia WRIGHT,
Mrs. HAYES, Mrs. Eliza McFARLAND, Elizabeth J. DILL, and Flavius
HOUGH -- all previous to 1850. Of all these the longest and-best known
of the village teachers was Mrs. Eliza McFARLAND, who, in a long
of thirty-five years, taught two generations -- the childrens' children
-- and, in 1877, at the
Going back to the days of the first school-house (1830) wherein occasional church services were held, it appears that Anthony Cook and wife were industrious workers in behalf of early Methodism in the place. They conducted a little Sunday-school, entertained itinerant preachers, labored for the establishment of their church, and are remembered as pioneer Methodists in Carthage --only remembered, the writer is obliged to say, for the most industrious inquiry fails to obtain anything of recorded facts. The cause, however, for which the first Methodists labored, did not fail, although the church never numbered more than a few, and the services have not always been continuous to the present day. About the year 185o a neat meeting-house was erected on East Second street, opposite the old brick school house, and herein was formed the little society of the Methodist Episcopal church in Carthage. The building of the house was largely the work of John K. Green, esq., who, with his family, regularly attended for years, taking an active part in the Sunday-schools and in the revivals which occurred from time to time. Mr. Cook and Mr. Green were wealthy, and contributed freely to the support of the church. With their names are associated Godfrey PETERS and family, William GIBSON and wife, Henderson WARNER and wife Rosanna, Caleb THAYER and wife, Mr. and Mrs. STEPHENS, Mrs. LUDLUM, John SWEENEY and wife, Miss Hannah RADCLIFFE, Mrs. Maria WILSON, Henry HART and family, and a few others. Death and removal have taken away nearly all of these, so that not one of the early Methodists remains a worshipper in the congregation. At present the Rev. Mr. WHITE conducts Sunday night services, and a Sunday-school in the morning is well attended. It is much regretted that no records of this church can be found.
In 1869 the Catholics, by Archbishop John B. PURCELL, purchased the block on the northeast corner of Fourth and Lebanon streets, and put up a neat church edifice, with rooms for a school. The total cost of lots and house was ten thousand dollars. 'I'he trustees were Edmund OBERIE, John TICKERS, and Henry LAMINERS. The church was formally opened and dedicated in 1869 by the archbishop and numerous assistants, after which Father John ALLBRINCK was installed as the local priest. After him came priests Henry RECKEN, Benjamin BROERING, and Henry BRINKMEIER, the last in 1879. Father BRINKMEIER recently took charge of the convent west of the village, and the church and school of St. Borromeo are now under the control of the Franciscan Fathers. The communicants number about sixty, the day school thirty, the latter being managed by two of the Sisters.
In 1871 John W. SPRUNG and John H. EGGERS donated the lots on the northeast corner of Sixth and Lockland avenue to the society of German Protestants, and a church building and a pastor's residence have been finished thereon. The congregation numbers forty, and the Sunday-school fifty. The Rev. Mr. BAUM is now the resident minister.
Previous to the establishment of schools and churches the people entertained themselves much with shooting- matches; firing at turkeys at sixty and one hundred yards, county fairs, and horse races also commanded full attention. The first race track was on the township line, east and west, between Springfield and Mill creek, from western Carthage, near DILL's, to the hill on the east, where the grounds join MORRIS' grove. This was a line well known, and still not known, to numerous lawyers and surveyors, who almost yearly measure, calculate, and wrangle over the property rights on both sides of the line. The Miami canal cut this track in two in 1826, when another was laid out from KNOWLTON's corner, at the Second street bridge, northward to WHITE's station on Mill creek. After this SMALLEY's track, on what is now Major CALDWELL's farm, became a noted place for races and militia musters. On these first tracks, in early times, the boys coming to CALDWELL's and White's mills, used to speed their "quarter nags," furnishing a good deal of amusement and occasional opportunity for "chances" and "odds," with money attached.
Here racers and riders became famous; the political conventions and fairs drew large crowds, and the place acquired a wide reputation for good displays, hospitable entertainments, and horse races. "Old SMALLEY" was a noted equine practitioner; so, also, were HAMER, HUTCHINSON, COFFEEN, STUBBS, and WADE. Among the riders, "Jockey" PRYOR and Shep SMALLEY were up in reputation, and when a youngster got a "whip-around" on Kenton, Yankee Tom, or Deacon WADE's horse, Orphan Boy, he gained an enviable notoriety. While many persons came to see the governors of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois, who were often here, and to listen to the speeches of Colonel Dick JOHNSON, General HARRISON, Henry CLAY, Bellamy STORER, Toni CORWIN, DUNCAN, and other celebrities, it was plain that excitements on the track; and discussions on blooded stock had much to do in persuading attendance.
In SMALLEY's stables, and for many years later in BELSER's and VANKIRK's, good horses were kept the year round, and when Kentuckians chanced across to talk about speed and put up the money on their horses, they were generally accommodated, and the nags put upon the track.
As an index to the crowds who came to the first Carthage entertainments, it may be stated that the stables at BELSER's and VANKIRK's were always ready for the accommodation of a thousand horses, and the tavern tables, in order the year round., were ready on short notice for as many horsemen or hungry politicians. These races and old-time fairs continued up to 1850-4, when they gave place to the modern expositions and trotting races on the Hamilton County fair grounds, in northern Carthage. The later fairs commenced in 1854-5 by the purchase of extensive grounds and the erection of expensive amphitheatres. They are fully set forth in the printed reports of the County Agricultural society.
The more tragic history of
Carthage begins with the killing of Moses PRYOR and his two children,
the Indians, in 1792-3, and the murder of the pack-horsemen at Bloody
just south of the present village, in 1793.
1 The material for this chapter has been supplied very largely through the intelligent industry of Thomas M. DILL, esq., of Carthage, and much of it is given in his own words.
2 In later years, while making improvements here, two skeletons, supposed to be those of the murdered men, were exhumed by the workmen.
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©2003 by Linda Boorom & Tina Hursh