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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Historian Recounts 18th Century Warren County Events For Readers

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 22 July 2004
Source:
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland:Heritage Press, 1979) page 1
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

The earliest landowners between the Miamis (this land was originally called the Miami Country) were owners but not residents. John Cleves Symmes began sales to the pioneers in 1787, but because of the constant Indian raids, possession was next to impossible.
Wayne's victory over the Indians on the 20th of August 1794 (Battle of Fallen Timbers), slowed down the frequent Indian commotion and disturbances. Still, occasional uprisings, horse thievery and frequent engagements with the whites led to no type of permanent agreement.
The treaty of peace, or the Treaty of Greenville (concluded August 3, 1795), virtually put an end to the Indian/white man engagements.
Before the peace settlement and shortly thereafter, protection from the Indian attacks was needed. A site was selected and entire neighborhoods would join in and erect what was called a blockhouse.
Small cabins were built which would surround the blockhouse; log pickets were built as fence lines for protection. This type settlement was called a station.
About a month after the peace agreement, on September 21, 1795, two groups of surveyors left Cincinnati to explore the Mad River area near Dayton, one under the command of Daniel C. Cooper, and the other under the surveillance of John Dunlap. William Beedle was assigned to Dunlap's party. Beedle's purpose was to begin a new settlement. In his possession were a wagon, tools and provisions.
The party followed Harmar's Trace to Turtlecreek where Beedle, with his brother Francis, left to begin his community.
(The actual location of Beedle's Station stood west of present S.R. 741, north of the Hamilton Road, or County Road 13, east of Station Creek, and about one and three-quarters mile south of S.R. 63. A marker stands at the east side of the O.D.O.T. location, Division 8 building, noting the settlement.)
Beedle's Station was, according to most local historians, the first permanent settlement in Warren County. In Beer's Warren County History, the Hamilton Township section states that William Mounts and five other families settled in the County October 1795.
William Mounts and Martin Varner purchased the land from Robert Todd. No blockhouse was erected, but several cabins were built in a circle surrounding a spring.
It was called Mounts' Station. (There is a stone monument in honor of this occasion located just south of the Little Miami River and across from the gravel pit on lower Stubbs-Mills Road.)
The names of the early families in this group were: William Mounts, wife and six children; Thomas Forsha, wife and children; Thomas Leonard, wife and six children; and Thomas Watson and family.
(Spelling of the Beedle family name is varied in different forms such as: Beedle, Bedle, Bedell and Beadle. However, in William's will and his deed from Jonathan Dayton, it is spelled Beedle. This spelling is a general acceptance in Warren County.)
In Littell's Early Settlers of the Passaic Valley of New Jersey, the following is written:
"William Bedell sold out his lands in October, 1792, to his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Littell, and with his sons-in-law and son, and their families, removed to a section of land that he purchased for $250 of Daniel Thompson, between the Miami rivers in Warren county, Ohio, where they all settled."
Beer's 1882 History states:
"William Bedle probably purchased from Daniel Thompson a land warrant issued by Symmes, as his deed for Section 28, Town. 4, Range 3, was executed by Jonathan Dayton and dated November 30, 1795."
Beedle's blockhouse was a dwelling built of round logs. Various ways were used in the construction of a blockhouse. The stockades were built with posts or logs solidly set in the ground and sometimes sharpened at the top, and arranged so as to enclose a region.
The stronger blockhouses were generally built conforming to each angle, and the lines between them filled with stockades or with cabins, one connecting the other, thus completing an enclosure.
The heavier built fortifications were constructed of heavy hewn timbers, and were sometimes of two or even three stories.
The smaller stations were built to accommodate fewer families and had a single blockhouse with cabins close by, and sometimes were without pickets.
The secluded blockhouses between the Miamis were typically crude buildings made with nothing but the common ax. The materials consisted of straight round logs, notched at the ends and hewed on the upper and lower edges to lie close together.
One identifiable characteristic of the blockhouse was that the upper part of the structure, above the height of a man's shoulder, was extended outward for about a foot or two over the lower part. This reasoning was that rifles could be thrust into the openings and defense of the blockhouse/station could be stabilized.
Judge Jacob Burnet describes life in the stations. He writes:
"Each party erected a strong block-house, near to which their cabins were put up, and the whole was enclosed by strong log pickets. This being done, they commenced clearing their lands and preparing for planting their crops. During the day, while they were at work, one person was placed as a sentinel to warn them of approaching danger.
"At sunset, they retired to the block-house and their cabins, taking everything of value within the pickets. In this manner they proceeded from day to day and week to week, till their improvements were sufficiently extensive to support their families. During this time, they depended for subsistence on wild game, obtained at some hazard, more than on the scanty supplies they were able to procure from the settlements on the river.
"In a short time, these stations gave protection and food to a large number of destitute families. After they were established, the Indians became less annoying to the settlements on the Ohio, as part of their time was employed in watching the stations.
"The former, however, did not escape, but endured their share of the fruits of savage hostility. In fact, no place or situation was exempt from danger. The safety of the pioneer depended on his means of defense, and on perpetual vigilance.
"The Indians viewed those stations with great jealousy, as they had the appearance of permanent military establishments, intended to retain possession of their country. In that view they were correct: and it was unfortunate for the settlers that the Indians wanted either the skill or the means of demolishing them."
Most of the early emigrants of the Miami Valley were Presbyterians. The Turtlecreek Presbyterian Church, built about 1798, was located a mile north of Beedle's Station. This was one of the first churches in Warren County, its members being mostly from New Jersey. (Isaac Miller and Francis Beedle were among those persons credited with starting the church.)
The church grew by leaps and bounds and became a strong congregational influence. Richard McNemar, its pastor, became involved in the great Kentucky revival and led nearly all the members out of the Presbyterian denomination, changing the church to New Light.
The Shakers, not long after the split in the church, accepted McNemar and many of the congregation into the Shaker faith. William Beedle, an elder in the church, followed McNemar into the New Light religion, but not into the Shaker denomination.
Completely renouncing the new Shaker sect, no part of Beedle's land was given to the Shakers, but his son, James, and his sons-in-law, Jonathan Davis and Elijah Davis, were declared in the Shaker records to be among the earliest converts.
One of the demands given by the mob of 1810 against the Shakers was that William Beedle be allowed to see his grandchild, a son of Elijah Davis. The reply was that the child was in the hands of his parents and the Shaker leaders had no control over the situation.
William Beedle's will, probated February 14, 1814, and rewarded the family members who rejected Shakerism, while it left a very small inheritance to those who favored it.
He left title to his land, over 800 acres, to two daughters and two grandsons. His wife, Esther, would have the use of one-third of his estate and the occupancy of the best room in his house so long as she remained his widow.

His son, James received $10 in cash, and his daughters, Susannah Davis and Lydia Davis each $5.00 in cash, these children being Shaker converts.
His daughter, Phebe Mulford, was given a total of 186 acres.
Mary Holle, another daughter, received 180 acres.
William Beedle's grandson, John Davis, inherited a total of 200 acres.
Another grandson, John Beedle, was awarded about 250 acres.


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