The Pioneers and Their Descendants
The pioneer generation and its children endured
many hardships as they transformed Madison Township from a land of forests
to one of agriculture. Many of its first settlers had fought in the
American Revolution where they learned many outdoor skills which aided
them in conquering a new, wild land. The settlement of the lands of Lemon
Township east of the Great Miami took place several years before that west
of it. Daniel Doty had built the first crude log cabin in the area on the
east bank of the river sometime during the winter of 1791-92, on land he
had purchased from Judge Symmes.
This was due to the fact that the Great Miami River was the dividing line
between the Symmes Purchase lands, which were located between the Little
and Great Miami Rivers. West of the Great Miami, the land was still owned
by the U.S. government. Since the land west of the river could not yet be
purchased, it remained under control of a few Indians. However, a few
unauthorized "squatters" began to explore sites west of the river in
anticipation of a future purchase. Samuel Dickey was the first such person
in Madison Township coming up the Great Miami past Morrell's Station along
Dicks Creek, where Dr. Calvin Morrell had erected a blockhouse. After
stopping at the Doty cabin, Dickey crossed the river and picked out a site
for a farm, where he built a log cabin to house his family. In April 1799
he moved onto the land. Soon a son, Isaac arrived, the first child to be
born in the township.
The Land Act of April 25, 1800 provided for the sale of government lands
and the setting up of a land office, the closest one being at Cincinnati.
Here Dickey purchased his land in 1801, but it was not that he had
originally chosen to settle within view of the Dotys. Malaria fever was
common in the lowlands therefore Dickey sought higher ground along Elk
Creek in Section 7.
Samuel Dickey was a remarkable man from sturdy stock that can be traced
back to a Scottish clan in Ayrshire. Three Dickey brothers left Scotland
for Ulster, Northern Ireland. One of these brothers after marrying left
for America. On the boat a boy, John, was born. John grew to manhood and
had a son, Samuel.
Samuel was born in 1753 on the family farm which was near that of the
Boone family in western Pennsylvania. When the Boones moved to North
Carolina the Dickeys went with them. Squire Boone had a son named Daniel,
who was much older than Samuel, but much admired by him.
Perhaps Daniel's story of his exploits in the Indian wars led Samuel to
volunteer for the Revolutionary War, where he served with the Continental
troops under Gen. George Washington's command. He was with Washington
during that terrible winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. During the war
Samuel was once taken prisoner by the Indians and was twice in a British
After the war, Dickey joined his friend Daniel Boone in Kentucky. Later he
decided to emigrate to the new Ohio country. By this time he was the
father of four children. When the Dickeys first came to what was to be
Madison Township, the children often played with those of the Indians.
Samuel Dickey later moved to another farm in Section 28 in Madison
Township. In all records showed that he owned 370 acres of land in the
The Dickey family whose name is memorialized on a road sign remained
residents of the township. Samuel himself died in 1812 at the age of 56 as
did his wife of the same age--the former Catherine Sexton--and both are
buried at Elk Creek. A son, George Dickey born in 1794, farmed some of the
George then learned the millwright trade and built a woolen mill along Elk
Creek in 1819 where wool was carded and cloth manufactured. He also built
a mill to extract oil from flax seed, sending the oil by flatboat down Elk
Creek to the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers on to New Orleans. A son of
George, Samuel M. Dickey born in 1818, became a farmer and a lumber dealer
in the townships. Another Dickey descendant served as Justice-of-Peace in
Although the Dickey family was the first to settle in the township, they
soon had company. That very same year-- 1799-they were followed by the
families of Jesse McCray, Edward Gee and John Gee. They also rushed to the
land office when it opened to buy their farms, and are listed in the
special 1807 Census of Butler County. The Gee's soon left the township but
the McCrays remained in it for several generations.
The next year in 1800 other pioneers arrived: Joel Martin, Llewellyn
Martin, Llewellyn Simpson, and Bambo Harris. Harris was the first African
-American to settle in the township, and was by trade an engineer. Since
the township was originally part of Lemon Township the first settlers are
listed under that heading in the 1807 Census. James McBride's history of
the county notes the families living in Madison Township before the War of
1812 as those carrying the surnames of. Baldwin, Banker, Chambers,
Compton, Coon, DeBolt, Deem, Dougherty, Drake, Francis, Garrison, Hinkle,
Huffman, Israel, Kemp, Leffler, Lingle, Long, Lucas, Marts, Miller, Reed,
Sarver, Snyder, Temple, Thomas, Waggoner, Wagner, Weaver, Webber, Weidner.
About one-fourth had left the township by 1830. By this time, however,
many more families had moved into the township, and they are recorded in
the Censuses of 1820 and 1830 available at the local library.
After having studied the biographical material published in the History
of Butler County 1882, Miami Valley Memoirs Vol. 3, 1919, and
many other sources the writer has selected items that provide glimpses
into the lives of the people who lived in early Madison Township. These
books also provide other names with bare genealogical facts of special
interests to descendants, who should consult indexes at the library, as
well as cemetery and old church records.
As a four-year old girl, Nancy Mattix arrived in Madison Township with her
parents in 1818. Her grandfather, Samuel Mattix had served in the American
Revolution and her uncle in the War of 1812. When she was eight years old,
she was already able to run a spinning wheel. She had completed her
schooling; which consisted of 6 months attendance at the log schoolhouse.
She watched her father cut down the trees and clear the land for farming.
According to legend Daniel Mattix killed the last bear in Madison
Township. His children had run to him telling of a large black dog up in a
tree. Their father grabbed a gun and shot the big dog, in reality a black
David Banker came to Ohio in 1800, settling in Madison Township in 1819.
He purchased the mill-site of Elijah Mills, who had built a small mill
around 1800, for which he received a land grant of some 1100 acres. John
Lucas then purchased some of the tract as did Banker, who built a larger
mill. One of Banker's millstone has been preserved at the small memorial
near the firehouse at Poasttown. David Banker's grandson, also named
David, son of Jacob, served during the Civil War. He was a member of the
Thea Indiana Cavalry and was on
duty as an aide at the White House at the time of Lincoln's assassination.
The Banker property finally went out of the Banker name in 1943 when
purchased by Edgar Moorman for a Sand and Gravel operation. It is now
operated by Weidles.
Jacob Temple's parents, Michael Temple and Catherine Heffner, migrated
from Frederick County, Maryland where he had been born July 10, 1799. His
father was a Revolutionary War veteran and 3 of his brothers fought In the
War of 1812. They arrived in what would be Poasttown in 1804 traveling by
covered wagon pulled by a four-horse team. They are thought to have been
the first family at Poasttown.
When he was 23 he married Catherine Gebhart, daughter of John and
Catherine Gebhart who came to the area in 1808. They had 12 children.
A New Jersey millwright, George Bennett settled at Miltonville, where he
built a saw mill and a grist mill, run by the waters of Elk Creek. Joseph
P. Eckert arrived at Miltonville in 1824. Having learned the potter's
trade at age 13, he continued in that trade until his retirement at age
S. B. Berry at the age of 10 had to leave his Madison Township home to
earn money to help support the family, there being several children
younger than he. He was apprenticed to Jacob Simpson at LeSourdsville to
learn the blacksmith trade. Despite only a few months of schooling, he
made a good living and was later elected a member of the Ohio General
Born in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1832, John W. Finkbone came to
Madison Township in 1842. He settled on a farm in the Browns Run area, and
became a well-known farmer who applied a scientific touch to his work. A
son, George W. continued his work and became a long-time member of the
Madison Township Board of Education.
Henry Hursh left the farm in 1844 and after a short time as a clerk, set
up a tailor shop in Trenton then moved to Jacksonburg to pursue his work,
but returned to farming in 1851. But he had another career, that of
teaching music. It came to him naturally. At age 5, he was singing and by
age 10 had learned to play the fife and flute. He studied vocal music and
taught it almost 40 years. lie conducted singing schools throughout
Southwest Ohio in the winters at churches and schoolhouses, each of his
students paying a small fee.
Hampton H. Long born in 1843, was the son of John G. Long who was born in
Madison Township in 1815, being, in turn, the son of Armel Long one of the
township's earliest settlers. John Long married Hannah C. Squires. The
Squires family had emigrated from New Jersey. They came down the Ohio
River in a flat boat, arrived in Cincinnati in 1800, settling in Madison
Township in 1802. Mrs. Squires' father was Ezekiel Ball, the first
postmaster of Middletown who was elected to the County Commission in 1804.
Ezekiel Ball was related to Mary Ball, the mother of George Washington.
Hampton Long took over the old family homestead, made improvements and
added to its acreage. On the farm is located the largest mound in the
county, described elsewhere.
Migrating to Madison Township after serving in the Revolutionary War,
Isaac Huff heeded the advice of his commander, General Washington to go
West. fie obtained his land through a land grant for his serving as a
soldier. On April 11, 1839 he was buried in a family cemetery on his farm
near Miltonville. Its location is filed with the Adjutant General's
The Marts family was a longtime resident of the township with Abraham and
Mary Reed Marts settling here in 1808. Abraham served in the War of 1812;
as his father before him had
served in the American Revolution at the Battle of the Brandywine. When
Abraham came to the area he often recalled that there were only a few log
cabins, miles apart. He was widowed three times, remarried each time and
was the father of I I children. He served as township treasurer for 20
years and was on the County Commission for 6 years. Purchasing his land in
1806 Thomas Lingle and his family lived under an oak tree for 6 weeks. It
took that long for neighbors to get together to raise a cabin. The Lingle
children played with the Indian children in the neighborhood. Bears,
wolves and panthers were common at the time.
Christian Mosiman, a member of the Mennonite Church, moved into Madison
Township after his marriage to Anna Kissinger. He became a well-known
farmer and was elected a School Director. A road is named in honor of his
Another early family was that of Homer and Elizabeth Phillips. One of
their sons, Homer, enlisted as a private in the 167th Regiment of the Ohio
Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War and was assigned Guard duty in the
Kanawha Valley. Another Madison Township man to serve in that war was
James Sinker. Jonathan Schenck born in the township in 1835 was the son of
William Schenck and Jane Marshall, who arrived here in 1822. They founded
a family that was to live in the township for generations.
Middleton Selby of French descent, was born in 1793 in Maryland and moved
to Ohio with his family in 1802 settling in what became Madison Township.
His father was Zachariah Selby born in 1758 and his mother Mary Catrow.
The Selbys came to Ohio with another family in a covered wagon. The women
slept in the wagon, the men near it on the ground. One night when snow was
still on the ground, one of the children in the wagon awakened during the
night, arousing his mother. She looked out to see a bear between the wagon
and the men. The next morning when she spoke to one of the men about what
she saw, he laughed at her, until he noticed the bear tracks in the snow.
Middleton received a grammar school education, and after only eight years
of study, took the teachers' examination, which he passed and began to
teach school. In 1816 he married Rachel Coon Temple and they purchased a
farm along Browns Run. For years he taught school, even writing his own
textbooks. He was justice-of-peace for 24 years and a township trustee for
16. He and his wife Rachel, were parents of 14 children, many of whom
married into other Madison Township families such as the Barkalows,
Bankers, Schencks and Hinkles. Selby acquired considerable property owning
several farms at his death. The family was important in the township for
over 150 years.
William Weaver arrived in the county at age 5 in the year 1800. The family
a few years later bought land in Madison Township. Weaver married
Elizabeth Clark, and they were the parents of 8 children. Three of them
served in the Civil War one a captain in the 83rd OVA, fell at the Battle
John Weikel, a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania arrived in the
township in 1802. He cleared the land of trees and brush and put it under
cultivation. He was the father of nine children, one of whom was Jacob.
Jacob purchased his own land in the township and in 1844 erected a fine
brick house. All the brick was made on the farm and the lumber for it was
cut in the forest. During the Civil War Jacob commanded a company of
militia. He was the father of 9 children, one of whom was named in his
honor. Many of the Weikel children remained in the township and the name
remained prominent for generations.
Christian Fall lived on a farm along Eck Road and his son Wilson Fall
continued the farming tradition, but a son, Herbert left the farm to study
Christian Augspurger arrived in Butler County in 1819, first settling in
Milford Township, but in 1829 purchased a large tract of land in Madison
Township in the southern part. He was an Amish Mennonite. His story and
that of his people is detailed in the book by Doris Page and Marie Johns
entitled' "The Amish Mennonite Settlement in Butler County, Ohio." Henry
Augspurger's farm was just west of the village, while another family
member lived south of it. Wilda C. Augspurger, son of Harry, lived just
east of Miltonville. For many years he ran a fruit farm and a nursery that
was widely patronized.
Jacob Kemp, a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania, purchased a large
tract of land just west of the Great Miami in Madison Township. It was all
in forest, where bear, deer and wolves roamed. A few Indians had lived and
hunted the land. Kemp took part in the War of 1812, transporting army
supplies, going north to Lake Erie. A son, Jacob was born in the township
in 1819, who became an attorney and helped organize the United Brethren
Church. Emigrating from Germany in 1842. John Kennel arrived in Madison
Township in 1842 and married Anna Augspurger. A son, F.A. Kennel taught
school and then went into the farm implement business at West Middletown.
He served for a time on the Madison Township Board of Education.
Peter Hetzler, son of George Hetzler of Pennsylvania, a Revolutionary War
veteran, came west to the township where he settled on a farm on Browns
Run. The family were among the founders of the Union Chapel, now a
Methodist Church along Keister Road. The road was named for Samuel F.
Keister whose farm faced it.
The Williamson family of Dutch descent had migrated to Ohio from
Pennsylvania by way of Kentucky arriving here in 1798. Head of the family
was Hendrick Williamson who had married Caroline Henderson, whose father
John Henderson had been captured by the British during the Battle of
Monmouth. Hendrick's own father had fought in the American Revolution. The
family first settled on land in the Miami Purchase on the east side of the
Great Miami River. When the new military tract west of the river opened
up, younger members of the family purchased land along Browns Run where
Arthur Williamson had large holdings which were passed on to a son,
After marriage to Margaret Jefferson, one family member, David Williamson,
decided he wanted to rear his family away from some of the fevers of the
lowlands. He purchased a farm in 1815 atop the West Middletown Hill and it
remained in the family over 100 years. The late Harry Bowlus, whose family
had taken over the old Williamson farm along Browns Run, one day had
picked up a box turtle and found an inscription on its back. It read
simply: "1780-D.W." Bowlus realized it had been inscribed by an ancestor,
David Williamson, born in 1780. He had lived on until 1855, but the turtle
had outlived him, for Bowlus picked up that turtle in 1917.
When Gabriel Thomas settled his family in the northeastern part of the
county around Carlisle, he was to find that this section would be ceded to
Warren County. Thomas had come to Ohio by flatboat down the Ohio River,
and brought his wife and six children by wagon to his land. He cleared the
forest, and began farming while he followed the trade of blacksmith. Eight
other children would be born to him and his wife. Joseph Hinkle was born
in Pennsylvania in 1787, being the son of Benjamin Hinkle, related to
inventor Robert Fulton. Benjamin purchased a farm in Madison Township,
just off Winchester Pike. The family would become a leader in the township
for several generations. Daniel and John Gebhart were other early settlers
of the township. The Gebharts were from Berks County, Pennsylvania. The
family had traveled by flat boat down the Ohio River, which at the time
was so low they ran into occasional sandbars. After resting at Cincinnati,
the family walked north to Middletown and settled in Madison Township in
the very early 1800's. John was drafted in the War of 1812, served two
years as a private before he was released because of illness. One of his
sons married Christina A. Lingle, daughter of Leonard and Mary Gowker
Lingle, who had arrived here from Berks County in 18 10. The Gebharts
settled near Poasttown and John once recalled working on building the
State Dam in 1825. The family shipped hogs to Cincinnati by way of the
Miami Canal. One of John's sons, George, married Caroline Williamson.
Jeremiah Pylon born in Pennsylvania began life as a seaman, then decided
to settle in Madison Township to rear a family. He along with his son,
Isaac, developed farmland out of forests and became owners of several
farms in the area.
Lewis Wagner, born in Germany, emigrated to the United States. He was
fluent in seven languages. During the Civil War he purchased and operated
a hotel in Middletown. He owned a 160-acre farm in Madison Township. It
was one of the best along Browns Run with considerable level land.
Andrew Zimmerman, emigrated from Virginia before the Civil War. He was a
contractor and constructed several roads in southwest Ohio, including
Winchester Pike out of Middletown. William P. Walker, born in Middletown
learned the blacksmith's trade and set up shop at Jacktown.
Born in 1805 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Jacob Bake came to Madison
Township, settling along Kemps' Run in Section 15. lie married Hannah
Weidner also of the township. Christian Halderman migrated to the township
from Pennsylvania, later settling in Middletown. John Beach, his son
Robert and grandson John Calvin lived on a farm in Madison Township along
Hetzler and Michael Roads.
John H. Crout was the son of Henry and Rachel Bake Crout. Henry had
settled in Madison Township in 1825 eventually purchased the Bake farm on
which he raised grain and tobacco. He was one of the earliest tobacco
growers. John's grandfather was Peter Crout from Pennsylvania, who had
settled in Lemon Township after serving in the War of 1812. He was a
millwright and carpenter who erected the Dickey mill at Amanda.
Born in 1783 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Jacob Huntsbarger
purchased a farm on which he raised crops and also built a distillery. At
the time many farmers had distilleries using them as a means of disposing
of surplus corn, since whiskey could bear the cost of transportation. But
Huntsbarger was always careful to pay the government excise tax on his
whiskey. He remembered that as a youth of 13 he had watched the troops of
the Pennsylvania militia marching down the road to Washington County to
suppress the Whiskey Rebellion of 1795. Huntsbarger later recalled that
"the soldiers passed by our house on the way to Red Stone country, where
the trouble was. The insurrection was caused by the refusal of the
distillers to pay a tax levied on the whiskey ... it was settled without
the firing of a gun."
In his later years Huntsbarger shared some of his memories with others.
When Jacob was about 19 years old, he attended memorial services for
George Washington at Middletown, Pennsylvania. In 1804 he recalled casting
his first vote for Thomas Jefferson when he was running for his second
term. Huntsbarger would later personally meet Jefferson, when as
expresident he came to Ohio on private business, to purchase some land
near Cincinnati for investment. Jefferson always traveled by carriage and
was greeted by crowds of people at every stop. Huntsbarger was a loyal
Democratic voter all his life, having a perfect voting record until 1884
when at the age of 103 due to inclement weather, he was unable to cast his
vote for Grover Cleveland.
In 1825 Huntsbarger married Mary Ann Gipp and moved to Ohio. All their
goods were carried in a one-horse wagon with wooden springs. He purchased
a farm on Browns Run. Two grandsons, John and George Francis moved to
Franklin, but two granddaughters, Naomi Eisele and Alice Hollenbaugh
continued to reside in the township. Jacob died Dec. 19, 1886 at age 105
and was buried at Germantown Cemetery.
Perhaps a record for farming the same land as his ancestors was set by the
late Richard E. Walter of Madison Township who died Sept. 5, 1995. He was
the 6th generation on the same farm owned by his pioneer ancestors. In
1980 part of the farm was sold as Walter retired, reserving land along
Hurst Road for a new home for himself, as well as 5acre lots for a son,
Dwight, a daughter, Evelyn and a grandson, Paul Brandenburg. Evelyn and
Dwight built homes on their lots, making Dwight the seventh generation of
the Walter family on the land. Given names of the Walter clan going
backward to the pioneer forefather are Dwight, Richard E., Ralph B., Peter
K., William R., John S., and Tyler Schuyler, who arrived in the township
Tyler S. Walter was born in Monmouth Co. New Jersey on Mar. 7, 1818, the
son of John Schuyler Walter and Anna Schenck. His great-great grandfather
fought in the French and Indian Wars. William R. Walter settled at
Jacktown where he started a blacksmith shop. His business grew rapidly and
he opened a shop in Middletown "running 5 fires".
Richard Walter and his wife Eleanor resided on the old homestead.
Eleanor's grandfather was Leroy Webber, an active part of Madison Township
life. He was a minister, school teacher and served on the Board of
Walter who sold the house and half its farm land at 6150 Elk Creek Road in
1980, at the time stated in a Journal interview that changing times--"high
taxes and government regulations dealing with farming" were some of the
reasons he decided to sell. He also admitted he had been "getting older."
The family did move from the homestead, taking cherished antiques with
them. One unique piece of furniture was a washstand which Walter's great
grandfather had built.
Eleanor Walter, commented: "This is the last farm in the area that has
stayed in the same family so long." The farm had been awarded a Century
Farm Citation. Transactions on the farm were recorded, according to Mrs.
Walter in large ledgers kept by the family.
The earliest settlers of Madison Township had come from the cast, mostly
from Pennsylvania, Berks County in particular. But by the 1830's
immigrants from Germany began to find the township and by the 1840's they
made up over half of the immigrants settling in Butler County. Among the
first was Christian Iutzi who had come from Middlehof in the province of
Hesse-Cassel. In Feb. 1832 he purchased a 195-acre farm in Section 17 in
Madison Township, paying $25 per acre. At the time Iutzi had a wife and
The Iutzi family was one of means, and was able to bring with them many of
their possessions. While they and their household goods had come down the
Ohio river by flat boat, at Cincinnati, they were able to charter a canal
boat--the Miami Canal had opened in 1827--to transport their belongings
north. Among their possessions were pewter mugs, plates, books, linens and
quilts. They also brought musical instruments including a piano, which is
now on display at the Butler County Historical Society Museum at Hamilton.
Once on his land, Iutzi cleared the timber and built a house. He called
his estate "Mittelhof" after his former home in Germany. His house still
stands, an example of Mennonite construction. Two sons were born at his
new home. After Christian's death in 1857, Peter Kennel, a son-in-law
purchased the homestead.
The foregoing brief sketches provide a mosaic of early life in the
township but a journal kept by Jeremiah Marston provides a longer more
The once prominent name of Marston has disappeared from the local
directory and phone book. Even the old homestead, which once stood west of
Miltonville burned down in 1945 just 100 years after it had been built.
Descendants of the family on the maternal side include Robert Flickinger
and David Flickinger of Trenton, but the Marston name, itself, lives on
elsewhere. Jeremiah Marston was born at Mt. Vernon, Maine on March 19,
1798. His father, Theodore, after serving in the American Revolution
became a Methodist minister. In 1819 reaching the age of maturity,
Jeremiah, as many eastern-born youth of his day, decided to seek his
fortune in the West. His father wished him well, giving him in advance his
share of the patrimony which amounted to then, the considerable sum of
$400. He also had received a gold watch probably for his 21st birthday.
Jeremiah began his journal, Aug. 15, 1819 with this paragraph: "I set off
from my Father... with $412 in money together with a horse, saddle,
bridle, valise, and port bags ... which together with my watch and money
makes up about $500. 1 left my people all well and in prosperous
By nightfall, Jeremiah had arrived at his Uncle David Marston's home at
Monmouth. After bidding farewell to him and other relatives along the way
by Aug. 18, he was at Portland, where he had his "silver money changed for
U.S. paper." On Aug. 20 he arrived at Deerfield where he said goodbye to
his 99-year old grandmother. On Aug. 30 while at Groton, he found another
man headed for Ohio, so the two agreed to travel together. His new partner
had a wagon, so Jeremiah put his baggage in it, making it much easier for
his horse, which now had to carry only him. On Sept. I they were at
Stratford, Conn. moving on to Hartford. Here Marston came down with a
common traveler's disease, with a fever and considerable pain.
The journal continues to map his progress through New York and
Pennsylvania. Finally reaching Wheeling on Sept. 26, the two travelers
crossed the Ohio River on a ferry and headed for Zanesville. Then across
the Muskingum River headed for Lancaster. On Sept. 30th they had reached
Columbus, Ohio. On Oct. 2 the two travelers parted company each setting
off alone to his individual destination. Jeremiah reached Springfield the
next day, and went south to Dayton where he stopped at the Yankee Tavern,
seven miles out of town.
By Oct. 5th Marston after passing by Franklin went on to Princeton in
Liberty Township where a sister lived. It had taken Jeremiah from Aug. 15
to Oct. 5 to reach his destination. He had traveled between 1000 and 1100
miles averaging over 30 miles a day, and had spent, according to his own
calculations made in his journal, a total of $31.
By Nov. 1820 he was back at his sister's home, after a summer of touring
the region, looking for good land purchases. Then he "took a school in
Middletown for one quarter during which time it averaged 45 scholars at $2
each." He boarded at Hugh Vail's and met his sister, Mary Ann Vail, whom
he married June 18, 182 1. Their father was Stephen Vail, founder of
Middletown. He continued to teach until 1826 when he purchased land in
Madison Township near Miltonville. Here he settled down for life, rearing
8 children. He died in 1857. Highly respected throughout the county, he
later served as a Judge of Common Pleas Court. He also won fame as a
horticulturalist, planting a fine orchard and vineyard. A son, Theodore,
born in Madison Township in 1828 married Susan Flickinger. After a time,
Theodore purchased the homestead.
Another family that typified the rugged Madison Township pioneers was that
of the Schlobigs.
As a young man, Henry Schlobig decided to seek his fortune in the new land
of Ohio. He had heard that Richard Brown had settled in a small, rich
valley along a stream, which bore his name--Brown's Run. It was a mere
rivulet, confined to a narrow channel with a band of adjoining fertile
soil. It was here that Henry settled, bringing his young family, which at
that time included a son, William.
His father had been at the battle of Trenton. Gen. George Washington had
crossed the Delaware that historic Christmas night, surprising 10,000
celebrating Hessians who were in the pay of the English army. With other
enemy troops, he was confined to a prison in Pennsylvania. When freed, he
decided to stay in America. He purchased land along Browns Run and on this
same land his son, William, was to live out his 102 years.
He helped clear some of the virgin forests for fanning. As a boy he often
had to watch the flock of sheep to protect them from an attack by wolves,
bears or wildcats that roamed the hills.
One of Schlobig's earliest recollections was voting for James K. Polk for
president in 1844. While not quite 20 years old at the time, he was
challenged at the polls. He replied, "Well, you consider me old enough to
work on the roads to pay my road tax so I consider myself old enough to
vote for president." His vote was counted.
During the Civil War, Schlobig was one of the volunteers from Brown's Run
who made up a posse to track down the daring Rebel invader, Gen. John H.
Morgan, but Morgan eluded them.
Among William Schlobig's five children, one, Val, came to a tragic end. It
all seemed so senseless. It was murder and it happened in Middletown.
Val was just a country boy and was minding his own business, walking
quietly down a city street. Two men who had been drinking too much saw
Schlobig and taunted, "Here comes a Country Jake. Let's get him." One of
the men picked up a boulder and hit Val, who started to run, but fell to
the ground--dead. the two men were sentenced to prison.
Schlobig spent his life on a farm along the road which now bears his
somewhat shortened name (Sloebig). He died at age 102 on Sept. 15, 1927
and is buried in Elk Creek Cemetery.
In 1838, historian, Dr. S. P. Hildreth in writing a history of pioneer
days in Ohio noted that the sturdy generation, many of whom had just been
mustered out of the Revolutionary War army, accomplished in 50 years what
had taken other regions of the earth, centuries. He wrote: "In the brief
period of the life of a single man, the whole valley bordering on the
prince of rivers, the calm and majestic Ohio, from Pittsburgh to
Louisville, has been changed form a dark and shady forest to a cultivated
and productive country."
Reviewing the appearance of the land when the pioneers first arrived, Dr.
Hildreth noted that those living pioneers remember it as a land where the
Indian had built a rude wigwam and chased the bison, the deer and elk. In
the bottom lands could be found big, fat wild turkeys. Often as many as 30
or 40 buffalo were seen at a time grazing on the grasses in a wild meadow,
where grew the wild rye, blue grass and clover.
The origin of these meadows, plains or prairies, as they were known in
this area, goes back to the Red Man. Indians lived in villages, and as
these areas became infested with rats, mice and insects, the natives moved
to another spot perhaps three or four miles away. Here they again cleared
the forest and built another village. The clearings left behind became
known as old fields. In the Miami Valley these old fields were often found
along the river.
One of the large prairie lands of the county was found in the Trenton area
stretching westward to Hickory Flats and southward to Woodsdale. On the
west end of the land once known as the Great Prairie today is the Miller
Brewery. In their landscaping project, the company planted prairie grasses
that were indigenous to this area in 1800.
However, despite the prairie lands, almost 90 percent of Madison Township
was covered by forests, that were so dense in early times that farmers had
to carefully protect sheep from attacks of wild animals. The size of the
trees is illustrated by these examples. An oak tree on the Crout farm was
so large that when cut, 4 horses could stand abreast on its stump. Another
tree felled in 1852 near Poasttown measured 21 feet in circumference at
the stump. At 57 feet from the ground, it measured 13 feet in girth. It
made 18 cords of wood. Frank Cox later used the hollow stump for a grain
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