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The original Sycamore township was a new creation of the general reorganization of the townships of Hamilton county, after the erection of Ohio as a State and the setting off of Butler and other counties from the territory of Hamilton county. It was defined as comprising "all that fractional township No. 5, in the first entire range, and four tiers of sections on the eastern side of town four, same range; also, so much of the second entire range as lies north of the same." These tracts include the whole of what is now Symmes township, and all of the present Sycamore township, except the two westernmost tiers of sections. The township was but little larger then than it is now, having thirty-nine full and twelve fractional sections, the latter lying altogether on the west bank of the Little Miami river.
Sycamore township is now bounded on the east by Symmes, on the south by Columbia, and on the west by Springfield townships. Butler county bounds it for about two and a half miles on the north, and Warren county for three and a half miles. It is an approximately exact parallelogram of seven sections long by six broad, thus containing forty-two sections. Some unevenness is manifest in the original running of the section lines, and the section corners on the east line of the township are considerable north of the northwest corners of the same sections in Sycamore. This breaks up the north line of the township badly at the northeast corner; it otherwise is pretty nearly a right line. The present township comprises the whole of town four, in the first entire range, and the southernmost tier of sections in town three, of the second entire range. Sections numbered only seven, thirteen, nineteen, twenty-five, and thirty-one, are thus, as in Springfield, duplicated in the township. It is the largest township in the county, having a total of twenty-nine thousand two hundred and ninety-one acres, or nearly a square mile more than forty-two exact sections contain. Springfield, which is the next township in size, and contains just as many sections, has but twenty-five thousand eight hundred and ninety-six acres -- one thousand five hundred and fifty-five less than Sycamore, and nine hundred and eighty-four, or more than one and a half square miles, less than it would have were all its sections full and exact. The irregularity of surveys in the purchase could hardly be better illustrated.
The Miami canal leaves the township at the northwest corner of
thirty-two, in Lockland, having flowed through all the westernmost tier
of sections north of that, in a course of nearly six miles. The
& Springfield railroad, -- otherwise the Cleveland, Columbus,
& Indianapolis, or Dayton Short Line railroad -- comes into the
at the south part of Lockland, half a mile south of the canal, and runs
diagonally across the two western tiers of sections and part of the
leaving Sycamore about two and one third miles from the northwest
after traversing the township a length of a little more than six miles.
The Marietta & Cincinnati railroad has only about half a mile of
in Sycamore, crossing the extreme southwest corner, between Madiera
in Columbia township, and Allandale, in Symmes. The Miami valley, or
& Northern railway, spans the entire township with nearly eight
of track, crossing the Montgomery pike and entering Sycamore exactly at
the centre of the south township line, and making gradually
until it leaves the township precisely one mile west of the northeast
or two miles east of the point of entrance. The Montgomery, Lebanon
Dayton turnpikes, with an abundance of admirable wagon-roads and
intersect the township in all directions. No stream of large size
the township. The East fork of Mill creek, with one of its larger
heads in the counties to the northward, and flows through the northern
and western townships to a junction with the West fork a little way
the township line, near Hartwell. Carpenter's run flows toward the East
fork from the direction of Montgomery. Three or four small affluents of
the Little Miami, on the eastern side of Sycamore, penetrate the
to the breadth of one to three miles. The southernmost tier of sections
is almost altogether devoid of water courses. The general character of
the surface of the township resembles that of Springfield and the
county plateau. On the west, however, the Mill Creek valley in which
the Miami canal and the Short Line railway, is broad and flat; and
of the southeastern and eastern districts are on the low ground of the
Little Miami country. The rest of the township is emphatically hill
though not of a description unfitting it for the production of large
valuable crops and for stock-raising. Most of the township is given up
to farming, not much of it, away from Reading, being devoted to
residences, and this place, with Montgomery and Shawn, being the only
of account in the entire township.
In the creative act of the county authorities in 1803, the electors
of the new township were directed to meet at the house or John AYRES,
the village of Montgomery, and choose three justices of the peace.
The following memoranda of Sycamore justices in later years have been preserved:
1819 -- Peter BELL, Benajah AYRES, Hezekiah PRICE, Jonathan PITTMAN.
1825 -- James J. WHALON, Nicholas SCHOONMAKER, James ROSEBROUGH.
1829 -- SCHOONMAKER, AYRES, Matthew TERWILLIGER, Henry MORSE.
1863-9 -- James AYDELOTTE, Daniel B. MYERS, Michael WILLIAMS.
1870 -- MYERS, AZDELOTTE, L. MELENDY.
1872 -- Same, with William A. AYDELOTTE.
1873-4 -- MELENDY, the AYDELOTTES, John TODD.
1875 -- MELENDY, TODD, W. A. AYDELOTTE, Okey VAN HISE.
1876 -- AYDELOTTE, VAN HISE, TODD, Jacob VOORHEES.
1877 -- VOORHEES, TODD, VAN HISE, F. MOSTELLER.
1878-9 -- MOSTELLER, VOORHEES, TODD.
1880 -- TODD, VOORHEES, Thomas W. MYERS.
James CARPENTER was also a very early comer to the sections embraced in Sycamore township. He located on section fifteen, west of Montgomery, probably in the autumn of 1793, or the spring of the next year, and removed thither from Columbia. Adjoining him on the west was Price THOMPSON, a soldier of the Revolution, who located a land warrant on the northeast quarter of section twenty-one, November 26, 1792. Other pioneers here were David and Abner DENMAN, whose sisters married THOMPSON and Benjamin WILLIS. Another of this party, Elihu CRAIN, a distant relative of THOMPSON's; and Richard and Samuel AYRES. For the sake of company and mutual protection they put up their cabins near each other, where the sections fifteen and sixteen corner with sections twenty-one and twenty-two, or about where the Plainfield school-house is. Others who came to the settlement after Indian hostilities ceased are mentioned by Mr. OLDEN in his Historical Sketches, as James and John MATHERS, Daniel and Nathaniel REEDER, Joseph McKNIGHT, Morris OSBORN, Moses HUTELINGS, Matthias CROW, Henry, Benjamin, and Isaac DEVIE, Nathaniel JARRARD, and Samuel KNOTT, all of whom date by residence here back of 1797. He adds that "the settlement was never annoyed by Indians, and there was nothing to encounter but the wild animals and the almost interminable forest."
John CAMPBELL, who built a fortified station on the Great Miami, opposite Miamitown, also made a settlement In Sycamore, probably in the summer or fall of 1793, on the forfeiture part of section twenty, southwest of CCUNNINGHAM's. But few settlers clustered around him for years; he did not consider it necessary to fortify his cabins; and the history of his improvement here is wholly uneventful.
Some other early settlers of Sycamore were John GOLDTRAP, on section twenty-two, where now is the Jacob SHUFF place; James and John WALLACE, on section twenty-one, now the COOPER farm; the PARK brothers, with or near CUNNINGHAM, on section twenty-eight; and near Montgomery Ely DUSKEY, Moses and Joseph CRIST, Joseph TALLMAN, and Andrew LACKY.
William R. MORRIS was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 12, 1836.
His father is of Scotch extraction, and his mother of Irish descent.
R. MORRIS, sr., married Sarah Lydia POWERS, sister of Hiram POWERS, the
sculptor. William R. MORRIS, jr., was one out of a family of nine,
sons only surviving to maturity. In May, 1865, he married Hattie,
of Captain Charles ROSS, of Cincinnati, one of the old pioneers. Mr.
is the father of three sons and four daughters. Educationally, he
St. Xavier college, Cincinnati, and Oxford college, for three years
preparing himself for the bar. For several years MORRIS engaged in the
wholesale grocery business at Toledo, though he is now a gentleman of
enjoying the fruits of his industry, residing at Carthage, Ohio.
The only pioneer outpost in this direction which seems to have been
occupied as a regular station-house was
Mr. RUNYAN remembers the first school-house in the neighborhood. It was built of buckeye logs, and stood in the field south of Mr. John RICK's present residence. It was a rude cabin, with the ground for a floor. The benches were made of slabs, with wooden pins for legs. A few openings were left in the sides of the cabin, which, being covered with greased paper, served for windows. There Mr. RUNYAN took his first lesson in Dilworth's speller and reader.
The first religious meetings were held in the woods, where the people seated themselves on logs or on the ground, as they found most convenient. The first preacher that came to the settlement was a Mr. COBB. The men dressed in the hunting-shirt and knee-breeches, and the women wore the petticoat and short gown, all made of linsey-woolsey, or homespun cloth.
The principal sports or recreation among the men
had at the log-rollings and cabin and barn-raisings, and consisted
in wrestling, jumping, pitching quoits and target-shooting. Spinning
sewing-parties, apple-bees and corn-huskings, after the country had
settled a few years, were frequent, where not only the young of both
but often the old and middle-aged, were brought together, when, after
the work which the company had been invited to perform and partaking of
a bountiful supper, they all joined and spent the remainder of the
and often the entire night, in plays and dances that formed the social
glee. The dance consisted of
but the genuine old Virginia reel. And those who joined in the dance paid the fiddler, whose charges were fixed and well established at a h'penny bit, or six and one-fourth cents, a reel.
No trouble is known to have occurred with the savages at RUNYAN's station.
VOORHEES' station was situated upon section thirty-three, near the present towns of Lockland and Reading. It was not a block-house, or even stockade, but a large, strong log cabin, which answered for both residence and defence, and was frequently mentioned in the early times, in speech and print, as VOORHEES' station. This cabin is said by Mr. OLDEN to have been situated on the west side of the East fork of Mill creek, several hundred yards east of Mr. BRECK's residence in Lockland. He further says: "This old house was torn away in 1817 by Thomas SHEPHERD, who then owned the place, and the logs sold to Adrian HAGEMAN, who used a portion of them in the erection of a house on lot No. 49, next south of where the new Catholic church stands in Reading. This house is still standing; it was weatherboarded many years ago, and is now occupied by John O'NEAL, the constable.
It was a strong family which made this improvement -- almost enough in itself to make an effective garrison. Abraham VOORHEES was the head and front of it; and with him were his sons-in-law, Thomas HIGGINS and John RYNEARSON, with their families, and his five sons, Abraham, Miney, Garret, John and Jacob. They began their improvements in the spring of 1794, and in the fall of the same year moved their families to the station. They were soon after joined by another and still larger family, nearly all of them adult persons. The parents were Henry and Margaret REDINBO, of the Pennsylvania German stock, who removed from Reading, in that State, in the spring of 1795; their eight sons were Solomon (drowned on the journey westward), Frederick, John, Phillip, Samuel, Andrew, Henry and Adam; and the daughters were Ann, Barbara and Margaret. In August of the same year they obtained a deed from Judge SYMMES of the south half of section twenty-seven, west of the VOORHEES tract, built a cabin and log barn on the property since owned by Dr. Thomas WRIGHT, and there settled. The parents both lived to the age of ninety-four years, and died in the same year, 1828 or 1829.
The younger Abraham VOORHEES was a blacksmith; and as soon as the progress of settlement, or the near prospect of it, would justify, he built a shop near his cabin, on the east side of the new road running from WHITE's to RUNYAN's station. Mr. OLDEN says this shop was "at a point where now stands the dwelling and storehouse of James BROWNE, on the northeast corner of Main and Columbia streets, in Reading. There he carried on his business for several years, using a hickory stump as an anvil." He also, in partnership with his brother Miney, built and ran a pioneer saw-mill on the west bank of Mill creek, in what is now Conklin's addition to Lockland. The elder VOORHEES laid out upon his land the adjacent village of Reading about 1798, and had it called at first Voorhees-town, but allowed it afterward to be named Reading, at the suggestion of the senior REDINBO, from the latter's birthplace in the Keystone State.
Another incident of this period, occurring south of the present site of Reading, is thus related by Mr. OLDEN:
During the autumn of 1794, William MOORE, who was a
hunter, and who made his home at COVALT's station, on the Little Miami
river, while out on one of his hunting excursions, wandered to the
Lick, as it was then called, about a mile and a half east of White's
and on the lands now owned by John HAMEL, in the southeast quarter of
thirty-two. He there killed a deer, which he skinned, and had prepared
the saddle for packing, and while in the act of washing his hands in
brook, and at the same time amusing himself by singing an Indian song
had learned while a captive among the Shawnees, he was suddenly alarmed
by a voice joining in the song in the Indian tongue. He instantly
to his feet and ran for the thick wood on the west, closely pursued by
several Indians. As they did not fire, they evidently intended
him. The foremost in the pursuit was quite a small Indian, but very
on foot. He was gaining rapidly on MOORE, when, fortunately, they came
to a large fallen tree, the body of which was some four feet in
MOORE placed his hand upon the log and leaped it at one bound. The
being unable to perform this feat, was compelled to go round the tree.
This gave MOORE a fresh start, and after a long and closely contested
he reached WHITE's station, with the loss of his gun and coat, and also
Two miles west of Montgomery, on Carpenter's run, is the site of the
church building erected by the first
Some of the early settlers near Montgomery -- as the CRISTS,
DURKEY, and LACKEY -- organized a church in their neighborhood very
which was known as the old Sycamore Presbyterian church until 1803,
it changed its designation to the Hopewell church.
It is thought by some that inroads were made upon the forest and improvements begun by white men upon the present site of Montgomery as early as the fall of 1794; but the earliest trustworthy date is fixed one year from that time, when a colony of six families came in from Ulster county, New York. They were headed, respectively, by three brothers FELTER -- Jacob, Irominius, and David -- Cornelius SNYDER, Nathaniel TERWILLIGER, and Jacob ROSA. All were FELTER families, indeed, in this, that the three brothers sired one-half of them, and their three sisters -- Mesdames SNYDER, TERWILLIGER, and ROSA -- were mothers to the other three. It is seldom that a pioneer colony is thus uniquely made up. SNYDER bought of Thomas ESPY, June 27, 1796, the whole of section four, for one thousand four hundred and forty dollars. Here the first improvements were made by the party. August 1st of the same year TERWILLIGER bought of Judge SYMMES the southwest quarter of section three, upon which section Montgomery is situated, and began the clearing of that tract shortly after. Nearly five years afterwards -- May 5, 1801 -- he also bought the north half of the section, and upon it laid out the town of Montgomery. It was surveyed in 1802; but the recorded plat of this bears date the ninth of August, 1805. It is situated on the Montgomery pike, two and one-half miles from the south line of the township, and one and a half miles from Montgomery station, in Symmes township, on the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad. The old State road from Columbia to Chillicothe formerly passed through it. When the Montgomery turnpike was established the State road was straightened, leaving Main street, upon which are the oldest houses in the village, out of its line, and creating State street upon its new line.
The following interesting passages are taken from Mr. Richard NELSON's work on Suburban Homes. Mr. NELSON was formerly a resident at Montgomery:
Like most towns of its size Montgomery has no written history. Situated on a leading road, it became a resting place for teamsters and travellers, and so grew up from a single tavern to what it now is, a town of five hundred inhabitans. A log cabin formed the first tavern of the place. This was situated on the southeast comer of Main and Mechanic streets, on what is now known as the Station road, and kept by John OSBORN. A man named YOST opened another tavern on the diagonel corner. Some idea of the extent of travel, or the drinking habits of the people of that time (1809), may be formed when we state that a fifty-barrel supply of whiskey for the year failed to meet the demand upon YOST's bar.
In 1806-7 a number of citizens from Montgomery, Orange county, New York, came by the way of Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), and Columbia, and settled around this point, as a good place for trade and farming, Among these were Jacob and Cranmer FELTON, Cornelius SNIDER, grandfather of James SNIDER; John Z. WELLER, Nathaniel TERWILLIGER, Joseph TAULMAN, H. CRIST, Jacob ROOSA, and others. Coming from Montgomery, they naturally named the new place in honor of their old home. In 1810 a company of these men was organized for the purpose of erecting and running a grist-mill. Some of the names were ELLIOTT, CRIST, SNIDER, and SEARS -- the latter was the millwright. Soon after commencing business in the mill they opened a store on the corner now occupied by Mr. R. PARROTT.
In 1816 additions to the town were made by Joseph TAULMAN and Lodwick WWLLER, and subsequently two more by Daniel HAYDEN and Eli DUSKY.
As early as 1807 a rifle company was formed, and Montgomery soon became a place for battalion muster. Quite a military spirit was excited, which was maintained for many years afterward.
Schools were not neglected in the early history of the place, though the buildings were as primitive in design as in finish. Within one hundred yards of the writer's residence was the first school-house built in Montgomery. This was so constructed that openings were left in the logs to serve as windows. In summer these were left without sash; in the winter sized newspapers subserved the double purpose of sash and window-glass. A mode of punishment, equally primitive, called for another opening of six inches in the rude floor. Into this offenders were required to thrust a bare foot and keep it there until released by the teacher. As snakes were numerous in summer and the ground under the house open, the discipline proved effective.
In the course of some years the Montgomery academy was organized. This was a classical school, and was under good management, Professors HAYDEN, LOCKE, and MOORE were some of the teachers. It was in this academy that Dr. William JONES had his education before entering upon the study of medicine. James SNIDER was also a scholar of this as well as of the more primitive school, where he acquired some prominence during a "barring out" adventure.
Some of the early industries of Montgomery, besides those mentioned, were the manufacture of wagons for the southern market, pork-packing, and cabinet-making. Henry SNIDER conducted the wagon-making business, and built his own boats to carry his freight. The gunwales of these boats consisted of logs fifty or sixty feet in length, and were hewed in the village. To get them to the river they were placed upon wheels and, being hard to manage, required a steersman as well as a teamster. To steer this caravan, a pole was inserted in the centre of the hind axle and made to project backwards; this was the tiller, and the man on foot behind the logs was the steersman.
One of the oldest citizens of Montgomery is Abraham
who is seventy-nine years of age. His father, Jacob ROOSA, and family,
came out from New York in 1799. With him came also a man named AYRES,
was one of the builders of the first ocean vessel, a brig, built at
In Abraham's boyhood wolves had not been exterminated; and as cattle
allowed to run at large it was necessary to have them brought home in
evenings and securely penned. As soon as Abraham was able to handle a
this duty devolved upon
Montgomery has contributed her quota of public men. For the early militia she furnished a general of note -- Cornelius SNIDER. John SNIDER she sent to the legislature many years ago, and Dr. Alexander DUNCAN to Congress. California is indebted to her for a governor -- WELLER was a Montgomery boy; and the legislative halls of the State were reinforced by Dr. William JONES, on more than one occasion, and by George CRIST, of the firm of Creighton & Co., at another time. In the Presbyterian church the Rev. Daniel HAYDEN served with distinction, and in the Universalist church the Rev. A. LAWRIE, who was ordained in the Montgomery church, was a distinguished advocate of the doctrines of his denomination. Thirty-eight years of practice of medicine in the vicinity entitles Dr. NAYLOR's name to a place here.
Of Dr. DUNCAN's history and habits we learned something from Dr. JONES, and had the pleasure of examining his portrait, made by a young artist named SWEET, who carried it across the Atlantic and over Europe as a specimen of his skill in painting. The doctor's history is an interesting one. He was a lover of public life, and an ardent advocate of Democratic measures. He was also attached to outdoor pleasures, driving and fishing, and when in company with a friend, would often not exchange words for miles of travel, and when he did break silence it would he by the utterance of some remarkable statement, or by pro-pounding some difficult problem. It was the doctor's custom, when about to engage in a fishing expedition, to catch his minnows in Sycamore creek; but some said that he was often fishing for votes when he was supposed to be engaged in legitimate piscatorial pursuits. Accordingly the knowing ones would account for his absence from home by saying he was "catching minneys in the Sycamore."
A remarkable man, of very different stamp, was Eli DUSKY, whose "mark" may he seen in the records of the county. Eli was noted alike for industry, simplicity of character, and the limited amount of intelligence, with which he managed to transact the business of life. In politics, religion, and business, he was guided rather by instinct than knowledge or reason. He believed in ghosts and hobgoblins, if not in a future state; and fairies were the great facts, as well as mysteries, of his creed. This was known to the neighbors -- to the men who were boys in those days, and to the boys who were men; and the latter were not slow in taking advantage of such notions, nor the former in encouraging the fun. On a certain occasion, Eli had a prosperous sugar-camp in the rear of where Mr. SMITH's house now stands. His blazing fire was rapidly converting the sugar-water into delicious syrup, and his barrels were waiting for their first installment, when, the shades of evening approaching, he slackened his fire, prepared his camp for the night, and went to his home, ruminating over his probable good luck in securing a big crop of molasses. Supper disposed off, Eli retired to his quiet couch, but had scarcely experienced his first nocturnal vision (for he was a great dreamer), when he was aroused by the barking of his fathful dog. Quickly dressing, he sallied forth, and soon was in plain sight of his factory, where, to his consternation he beheld, flitting about in the dim light of the subdued fire, the figures of full-grown elfs to the number of half a dozen. Spectres they were, sure enough -- full-fledged fairies! Eli did not hesitate long in selecting a line of retreat. The house reached, the door was soon opened and again securely fastened, and Eli DUSKY was safe from entrusion. That night the fairies enjoyed a rick feast, and got home in time for a sound nap before daylight -- larger boys might have fared worse.
Montgomery was not so unimportant a settlement as to be overlooked by the showmen of the day. As early as 1812 the leader of a troupe and proprietor of a menagerie, with Barnum's enterprise and Robinson's pluck, entered the great town of two taverns, procured a stable and provender for his menagerie, and board and lodging for his troupe. Next day he advertised his great show, and the news was blazed abroad throughout the entire settlement; and the wagons and horses, men and women, boys and girls, came to the number of fifty. The exposition was a complete success. Exposition Hall was crowded to the hay-mows, and the mulatto man, with his docile elephant, were the finest troupe that had ever acted, and the greatest show that had ever been exhibited in the town of Montgomery.
This village was founded in 1805. Its growth was slow for many years. It had but two hundred and seventy inhabitants by the census of 1830. About 1872, however, its prospects improved by the advent of city people looking about for eligible sites for suburban residences; older citizens began to improve their property, and some to build. The demand for building material led to the establishment of several new saw-mills, and in due time a new and more nearly straight road to Montgomery station was made. Since then a number of suburban homes have been made at the village. Its population, by the census of 1880, was two hundred and ninety-eight.
The Presbyterian church at Montgomery was organnized in 1819. Rev. Daniel HAYDEN was the first pastor. His successors were, in order, the Rev. Messrs. L. G. GAINS, C. HARRISON, David McDONALD, Jonathan EDWARDS, D.D., G. M. HAIR, J. STEWART, J. H. GILL, -----McKINNEY, and T. F. CORTELYM, who held the pastorate for many years after 1862.
The Methodist Episcopal society here was organized very early. It occupies a good frame meeting-house, to which a bell of half a ton's weight was added in 1873.
The Universalist church was organized in 1837, and built a church edifice soon after. The first regular preacher was the Rev. Mr. PINGLEY. The Rev. J. H. HENLEY was among his successors.
The Masonic and Odd Fellows' orders are well represented in Montgomery. A lodge of the former was organized here in 1828, with S. W. ROBINSON, W. M.; James G. CROSS, S. W.; and Abraham CRIST, J. W. The Odd Fellows' lodge was constituted in 1865.
The first notice of this place in literature probably occurs in Thomas' Travels Through the Western Country, a record of journeyings in 1816. He says in this:
At Montgomery, a village of a dozen houses, twelve miles from Cincinnati, we stopped to see a carding-machine which was turned by the treading of a horse on a wheel. A circular floor is attached to the upright shaft, which is so much inclined as constantly to present to him a small ascent. He is blindfold, and his traces are fastened to a beam. On stepping the wheel moves towards him.
Near this place peaches and apples load the trees, especially those on the hills; and this pleasing appearance continued.
About ten years after this the village was visited by an august wayfarer, in the person of his highness Bernhard, duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach, who deigned to give the hopeful hamlet a call and a notice in his book. His readable volume of Travels Through North America During 1825 and 1826, contains the following paragraph. His august highness, however, probably bunching his recollections together, has located Governor Jeremiah MORROW at Montgomery; when, as a matter of fact, he never lived there, but outside of the county, in Warren county, but eight miles above Montgomery and four miles from Loveland, at Foster's Crossing, near the old State road. He lies buried, however, in this county, at the old Sycamore church in Symmes township:
Fourteen miles from Cincinnati we reached a little
town -- Montgomery -- of very good appearance, surrounded with handsome
fields. A few years past there was nothing but woods here, as the roots
which still exist bear testimony. They cultivate Indian corn and wheat.
which is said to succeed better here than in the State of Indiana. The
dwelling of the governor consists of a plain frame house, situated on a
little elevation not far from the shore of the Little Miami, and is
surrounded by fields. The business of the State calls him once a month
to Columbus, the seat of government, and the remainder of his time he
at his country seat, occupied with farming, a faithful copy of an
Cincinnatus. He was engaged, on our arrival, in cutting a wagon-pole,
he immediately stopped his
This, by far the largest village in Sycamore, containing nearly one-third of its entire population, is situated just east of Lockland, on the east side of the East fork of Mill creek, and upon the Dayton Short Line railroad and the Lebanon turnpike, about one and a half miles from the south. It is one of the oldest villages in the county, having been laid out February 2, 1804, by Abram VOORHEES, one of the very earliest settlers in this part of the township. It is said, indeed, that lots or small tracts of ground for residence, was offered for sale here as early as 1798 and '99. The village has been more fortunate than other old villages in the Mill Creek valley, having risen to be the most populous village in the county. In 1830 it had a population of but two hundred, but in 1860 had one thousand two hundred and thirty-five, in 1870, one thousand five hundred and seventy-five, and in 1880, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-three. No other village in the county exhibits such a growth.
The great industry in Reading is the manufacture of ready made clothing, for which there are eleven shops here, employing more than a hundred hands, with a large weekly pay roll. Their product is disposed of mainly in Cincinnati, which is the greatest clothing mart in the world. There are also marble works, stone yards, and quarries, a cigar factory (formerly two such factories), several carriage and car manufactories, a planing mill and lumber yard, and other industries. From the founder the place took in early times the name of Vooheesetown.
In 1809 a teacher from Newport, Kentucky, subscribing himself "Robert Stubbs PHILOM," who was, or became the editor of Browne's Cincinnati Almanac, took a tour through parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, the notes whereof were published in the almanacs for the next two years. As he neared Cincinnati on his return he passed through Reading, to which he gives the following notice:
From Lebaum I passed to Reading, a town laid out on the North fork of Mill creek by Mr. Abraham VOORHEESE; on which account it is well known by the name of Voorheese-town. Here are two or three taverns, and about twenty houses. The adjacent country is very thickly settled. Mill creek is a fine stream, on which are several mills; and the bottoms through which it flows are of a very rich soil.
The following named gentlemen have been numbered among the mayors of Reading: 1866-8, 1870-4 -- C.H. HELMKAMP, 1869 -- Louis MELINDA.
The Catholic church of Saints Peter and Paul, in charge of the Rev. Fathers J. BRUNNAN and E. FISHER, is located in Reading. Its present church edifice was built in 1860, at a cost of nine thousand dollars, upon the site of an old one, which was then torn down. A handsome pastoral residence is also owned by the church. The school-house belonging to the church, was built in 1863, and cost over three thousand dollars. It is occupied by a large parochial school, with four departments, and an attendance of about three hundred. The confraternities of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Rosary, also the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, are connected with the church. The Mount Notre Dame Young Ladies' Boarding School, and the Catholic Institution, is situated near Reading.
The German Lutherans are also numerous in Reading. They have St. Paul's church, under the pastorate of the Rev. L. BUCHOLD, and St. John's, ministered to by Rev. A. J. SPANGENBERG.
The pioneer church here, however, was the Presbyterian, which long since took its departure "beyond the Rhine," or to the west side of the canal, at Lockland, in connection with which its later history has been related. Its earlier annals, drawn from the same source, the historical discourse of Rev. W. A. HUTCHISON, are briefly as follows:
The Rev. Daniel HAYDEN, from 1817 to 1820, and possibly later it is thought, preached once or twice a month in a little brick school-house (sixteen by twenty-four), on the hillside in the eastern part of Reading, near or upon the present school lot. He resided a mile east of Reading. Rev. L. G. GAINES, of Montgomery, preached about as often from 1820 until the Presbyterian church of Reading was organized Friday, August 29, 1823, with Jehiel and Margaret DAY, John and Elizabeth ROBERTSON, Robert BOAL, jr., and Rebekah BATES as members, and Jehiel DAY and Robert BOAL, jr., as ruling elders. John GAMBRIL was the first member received on profession; Ann and Jane BRECOUNT were the second and third so received. A brick church was put up in 1825-6; the Rev. Benjamin GRAVES called as pastor March 25, 1827; a notable "grove meeting," held sometime after, which resulted in the admission of fifty-seven members at a single service, and eighteen more within the next month; another in a grove at Sharon in 1831, where seventy-five were converted; a colony sent off to form a church at Sharon, July 2, 1836, to which the Reading pastor also ministered; and admission into Old School and New School wings sustained in January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine, both, however, under amicable, written agreement, continued to occupy the same building, and each experiencing some growth. Each, in due time, had its own meeting-house, located not far apart.
In April, 1850, the Lockland Presbyterian church was organized, as a colony from the New School society in Reading; and the main growth of that branch in the two villages being here, the two New School societies were united October 14, 1870, Rev. Dr. J. G. MPNTFORT, with Revs. T. F. CORTELYM and James F. GILL, officiating at the union. Its history has since been that of the Reading and Lockland Presbyterian church, related in the history of Springfield township. Its property in Reading was deeded to the cemetery authorities, and the receiving vault in that "God's acre" is built of brick from the old church building.
The Rev. Mr. Graves, pastor before mentioned, served
Meanwhile the Old School branch had successfully maintained its
existence. It was formed January 3, 1839, under the auspices of the
L. G. GAINES, of seven members -- James G. and Margaret MOUNT, John and
Margaret McGREW, David McFARLAND, Maria ROBERTSON and Agnes GORMOND.
and McFARLAND, with David LEE and John R. DICK -- two of a band of
who joined a few days afterwards, were the first ruling elders. After
to occupy the brick church jointly with their New School brethren, they
met for a time in a neighboring and vacant log cabin, then in a brick
owned by David LEE on Main street, and continued to meet there until
when their own church building, still standing in Reading, near the
of the older Presbyterian edifice, was completed. For some years the
was united with that at Pleasant Ridge, and for three years from 1855
the Montgomery Presbyterians. The church grew in numbers and influence
for many years, and had not fallen seriously into decline when,
the union of the Old and New School wings at the general assemblies of
1869, the church at Reading was united with the New School branch at
October 14, 1870, under the union name of the Lockland and Reading
church. Among the clergymen who ministered to the society during the
of 1839-70, Mr. HUTCHINSON enumerates the Rev. Messrs Adrian ATEN, S.
MILLER, H. R. NAYLOR, Samuel CLELAND, Edward WRIGHT, Samuel HAIR, C. P.
JENNINGS, John STEWART, John McRAE, L. D. and S. S. POTTER, W. H. MOORE
and J ames McGILL. The last named of these was in the pastorate at the
time of the union, and ministered for several months to the united
He had been in charge of the Reading church as long before as 1853, but
resigned to enter the service of the board of missions, and did not
his pastorate until January, 1866. Since his retirement in 1871, the
of the church have been but two -- the Revs. W. A. HUTCHINSON and S. C.
PALMER. The rest of the story has been told in the history of
©2005 by Linda Boorom