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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Lebanon Almost Had Its Own "Redskins"

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Source:
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland: Heritage Press, 1979) page 327
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

With the controversy over the changing of the name of Miami University "Redskins" because of alleged racial discrimination, the writer feels it appropriate to insert an article on the history of the founding of Miami University.
The College Township Road was an old Indian trail that started at Chillicothe, Ohio, passed through Lebanon and then extended to Oxford in Butler County. The Legislature of Ohio, February 18, 1804, established this road. It ran from Chillicothe through Clinton County to a point west of Cuba, and a mile and a half southeast of Clarksville. It next ran through by Smalley's cabins and Fort Ancient to Lebanon, crossing Todd's Fork at Smalley's. (Smalley's cabins were located between two trees that exist in a now-cultivated field on the northwest side of Route 350, 0.5 of a mile from the intersection of Route 350 and the Pennsylvania Central Railroad tracks in Clarksville.)
Fort Ancient-Clarksville Road, which runs through Turtlecreek and Washington Township (S.R. 350), is part of the College Township Road. (Part of the road is now vacated in the vicinity of Lebanon.) This road picks up at Greentree Road in Turtlecreek Township and extends into Butler County on Oxford State Road, which ultimately leads to Oxford, home of Miami University.
George Crout, Middletown area historian, says that in some parts the road must have run north of the present S.R. 73 in Butler County, which seems to be a shortening of the original road. It seems to have followed the Middletown-Oxford Road at some points. State Route 73 has been rebuilt in places, especially near Oxford.
There is quite a story surrounding the name of this roadway. When John Cleves Symmes made his acquisition of land between the Miami's, an agreement was made to set aside an entire township in which a commitment was made for an institution for learning. Symmes failed to locate the township and the consequence being that, when Ohio was made a State in 1803, Congress granted another township in-lieu-of for the same purpose, which was to be located west of the Great Miami.
In February 1809, the Legislature passed an act "to establish Miami University," proclaiming that the institution should be established "within that part of the country known by the name of John Cleves Symmes Purchase, which university shall be designated by the name and style of Miami University." This act appointed three commissioners, Alexander Campbell, Rev. James Kilburn and Rev. Robert Wilson to locate grounds for the institution with their meeting place at Lebanon. These men were, after taking an oath of affirmation, to seek a positive location within the Symmes Purchase. Cincinnati, Hamilton, Dayton and Yellow Springs, along with Lebanon, contested for this institution. All were within the Symmes Purchase at the time.
The first Tuesday in June 1809, was the schedule for the three commissioners to meet and decide upon the location of the school. One commissioner was absent due to sickness (Rev. Mr. Wilson). However, a decision was made. Lebanon would get the new university. This action being confirmed by Judge Burnet, concreted the decision.
Icabod Corwin donated a parcel of land, being 40 acres, at the western edge of Lebanon. A large walnut tree was marked, as stated by A.H. Dunlevy, on the western portion of the grounds to designate the area of ground on which the main college building was to be erected. (Supposedly, this spot was the gravesite of Thomas Corwin, Ohio Governor, Senator and United States Minister to Mexico.)
Many of the residents of the different selected cities were disgruntled over the decision to locate at Lebanon. At the next meeting of the Legislature, after Lebanon had been selected, a Mr. Cooper of Dayton suggested that lands upon which had been selected, "in lieu of," be designated as the location for the college. This property, chosen in 1803, was located in western Butler County.
The township of Oxford, yet to be named, was a wild and untamed area with just a few squatters as residents. It took two days through the woods for the residents of Cincinnati to reach these locations for a look-see.
The Ohio General Assembly on February 6, 1810, instructed the trustees to lie out a town to be called Oxford, and to choose a campus site within the college lands. This land, being filled with forests, now had a definite foothold on civilization. The changing of lands definitely, according to Lebanon residents, tended to violate the original law providing for the residency of Miami College. No attempt was made, however, to relocate the college.


FOOTNOTES: [a place to add additional information that you might want to submit]

6 Nov 2004 Chuck Muchmore

Dallas wrote that the College Township ran to a place a mile and half south east of Clarksville. That is correct but at that point the trail split with the left fork going south of where Clarksville would later be located and entering Warren County and running along what I believe today is Fordice Road, past where Union Cemetery is located and then on to Montgomery & Cincinnati. This became known as the Montgomery Road. The stretch from St. Rt 350 to Fordice Road has been abandoned.

The College Township continued west along what is today ST. Rt. 350, through where Clarksville (Main Street) is and then ran between Smalley's house and his mills. From Fielder Harris's writings I believe it met the Bullskin very near Smalleys and the two joined and went up out of the Todds Fork Valley about a quarter mile east of where 350 leaves the valley today. It was along this stretch that the Emily Cemetery was located.


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