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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Historic Lytle Off The Beaten Path

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 107
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

There is a quaint little town named Lytle that lies just off the beaten path of modern civilization. No interstate, no U.S. highways, just a few country roads pass through this historic town. It lies in the northwestern section of Wayne Township just on the border of Wayne and Clearcreek Townships. The roads that pass through are: Lytle Road, Lytle Five-Points Road, Lytle Ferry Road and Township Line Road.
(Much of the information in this column was taken from an article written by Mr. Walter Kenrick.)
Lytle's first name was Raysville, named after Alexander Ray, who came to the area with his wife, Debra, and six daughters about 1807. Ray purchased, from the founders of Waynesville, Banes and Heighway, a complete section of land consisting of 640 acres. He sold some lots, but was unable to give a clear deed because the original owner of the land, John Cleves Symmes, could not give a clear title.
Passage of the Enabling Act by the Government allowed the purchasers a clear title, but not without paying an extra two dollars per acre. By 1810, many changes were made to the town. The population was made up mostly of people from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Expansion of the village was commenced in the form of tradesmen setting up their own businesses. Wagon makers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, tailors, hat makers, coopers, grain makers, auger makers, and plow manufacturers made up the bulk of the enterprises.
At this time more than forty covered wagons reached the County from Pennsylvania. The main road through Lytle was then called the Pinckney Road. This road was started prior to 1804, being possibly an old Indian trail. Part was called Raysville and part was called Pinckney Road. It is now Lytle-Ferry Road.
The first nursery was established by Silas Wharton. He acquired twenty-two and one-half acres for $91 in the northeast quarter of the section.
Edward L. Kenrick established a store in 1827. Sales recorded for March 12, 1827, were:
Thomas Wharton, 42 pounds of iron at seven cents per pound, $2.94 and a mole board for $1.75; John Belsford, two pieces of glass, eight cents; Elizabeth Jackson, credited with 11 dozen eggs at two cents per dozen and seven and a half pounds of butter at five cents per pound. Coffee sold at 22 cents per pound, tea at $1.25, molasses at forty cents a gallon. The Wharton brothers were blacksmiths and wagon makers; Thomas Goodell was the tailor and Biddle Hay made Quaker hats.
Cornelius Morford built a sawmill and was operated afterwards by William and Richard Duke, and after them by Frank H. Duke.
The forest of the area at that time was thick with walnut trees and the mill supplied the means for the building of many of the houses.
Raysville was platted in 1856, with twenty-two lots, by Mahlon Mills and his brother, Owen. The Mills brothers owned eleven of these lots and for a number of years ran a pork packing business. They butchered as many as 100 heads of hogs a day and also acquired dressed hogs from the neighboring farmers. Their manufacturing facilities were set up to make lard, barrel it and pork, which was sold in Cincinnati.
A story goes that a farmer brought in a four-horse wagonload of dressed hogs, but because of the cold weather the hogs were frozen solid. The meat was covered and allowed to stay in the wagon. Six weeks later it thawed enough to be processed.
The Mills brother's establishment kept two cooper shops busy making barrels for their packed goods. One of the cooper shops was located in town and the other was near the intersection of S.R. 73 and Township Line Road. These shops were also known for making whiskey barrels. (As we all know a cooper is a barrel maker or one who repairs barrels. The sides of a wooden barrel, or strips of wood are called staves.) The staves are wider in the middle than at the ends, which makes the wooden barrel bulge in the middle. The reason for this bulge is strength. The barrel is then bound together by metal or wooden hoops. The heads, or top and bottom of the barrel, are formed by flat wooden circles that fit into grooves near the ends of the staves. In the neighborhood of Lytle white oak trees were plentiful. The coopers selected these trees as prime wood.
The Dayton, Lebanon and Cincinnati Railroad came to Raysville about 1883. An official name was then needed for the village because of this event, and the addition of a post office. Mr. Walter B. Kenrick suggested the name Lytle, which was taken from a shoebox from the Lytle Shoe Company of Cincinnati.
The first post office was opened June 5, 1882. The first postmaster was John A. Kelsey. Other postmasters and dates were: Elmer E. Keever, July 15, 1895; Samuel L. Williamson, February 5, 1896; and Charles E. Johns, December 16, 1897. The postal service was discontinued November 30, 1918, which was then moved to Waynesville.
A new store was built in 1867 opposite the Methodist Church. The name of the original owner or builder is unknown. However, in later years it was bought and operated by Isaac Sellers and his son-in-law, J.A. Kelsey. The general store of Sellers and Kelsey was moved, in 1885, to the area of the railroad where they operated it for a number of years. The business was sold in 1894 to Elmer Keever, who later sold it to C.E. Jones, who in turn sold it to Elbert Wallace of Red Lion.
In the early days, as repair was being made on a stone bridge, a family of minks was uncovered in the bridge. The town was then referred to for many years as Minktown rather than Raysville.
The first religious meetings were held in the homes of individuals until 1824, when Charles Hall sold to the trustees of the Raysville Methodist organization land in the area of the Pinckney and the future Franklin Road. A log structure was used for over 20 years for the first church. This was replaced in 1847 by a frame building. In 1860, a large frame church was built which was destroyed by fire some 12 years later. The present church was completed in 1873.
Some years later, in 1915, a complete remodeling was done. An addition of an entrance hall, two small rooms in the west end of the building, and a belfry was added. A basement, an assembly room, a modern kitchen, and rest rooms were added in the year 1952.
A log cabin also served as the first school for Lytle students. This was located at the southwest corner of Section 16. Another school was located one and a half miles northeast of Raysville towards Ferry. The Raysville students had a walk of about two miles to attend school. The roads at this time were atrocious. After a period of time, and many squabbles over this long walk, a new school building was constructed just east of town in 1876.
In 1895, an operation was initiated which would organize a special jurisdiction to include District No. 4, 12, and 3 in Wayne Township and 10 and 11 in Clearcreek. When accomplished a successful school district was in utilization for about 20 years. Due to an increased teaching staff, which was required by the State, and a small tax duplicate, they were forced to close the school and return to the township method, and some years afterward were relocated into the Wayne Township precinct at Waynesville.
The railroad's appearance changed the town somewhat. Morris Silvers bought an acre of land from Jacob Lamb and built a grain elevator. Purchasing five more acres from Lamb, Silvers added a lumberyard. After three years, Silvers made an assignment to a lawyer named Dechant, who sold the assets of the business at auction and the property to Mrs. Morris Silvers. Mrs. Silvers sold the property on August 31, 1883, to John Simonton and his son, Lon, of Lebanon. Lon later inherited the business and conducted a successful firm for 37 years. He afterward sold the enterprise to Everett Early on June 23, 1923.
Early expanded his establishment by enlarging both the buildings and business. He became one of the main shippers on the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern and Dayton Lebanon & Cincinnati Railroad lines. Harvest time saw the business receiving as much as 100,000 bushels of wheat for shipment. Early incorporated the business in 1937, the corporation name being Early Elevator, Inc. Under this name he branched out into several other lines, which included liquid nitrogen. He later sold, in 1952, to Carl Pitstick.
Edwin Sweny and Josiah Hough constructed a tile mill in which they manufactured and sold many rods of tile. The mill was later sold to Frank Hamilton, and then to Sidney Coon, and later to J.M. Stacy, who sometime later concluded the making of tile. Everett Early bought the land, on which he had a coal and feed business for five years, from the Stacey heirs.
Dr. Dyche opened an office in the early 1880's for his medical practice. Attending the locals for several years he later sold his business to Dr. James W. Ward, who at that time was a newly trained medical student. Dr. Dyche tended the community for about 25 years in a sufficient fashion, and, in 1911 he retired to his farm near Harveysburg, where he died in 1944, leaving his widow, Dora Nelson Ward, who died two years later.

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