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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Waynesville's First 200 Years In New History Book

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 28 August 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Waynesville will be celebrating its 200th birthday on March 8, 1997. This week we shall preview the excellent book the Waynesville Historical Society has published, namely, "Waynesville's First 200 Years."
This book not only reveals the village's early history, but also is a credit to the whole county. Its subjects are authored by many contributors, far too many to mention in this column, who have chosen to reveal their knowledge of the village.
The publication tells of the early history of Symmes land speculation, and Waynesville's first settlers.
A group of historians, so-named The Miami Valley Pioneers, were an early organization that met and had great speakers of the times. An early history of the town and the early roads was read by Samuel Rogers on August 6, 1887, and inserted into the book. Also G.T. O'Neall wrote of the history of the early mills, millers, and the pioneers' trials in getting his corn or wheat ground. He describes one event:
"One hot day in August, Ezekiel Cleaver went to the mill with a sack of corn which he wished ground, and as the supply of meal at home was exhausted, he had no alternative but to wait until his grist was ground.
"The miller emptied the corn into the hopper, and Cleaver waited. The machinery moved slowly, the corn dropped grain by grain between the lazily revolving stones, and the customer grew impatient.
"Time after time he visited the meal-chest and watched the attenuated thread of meal as it fell, until he became well nigh desperate, and in sheer desperation he started to walk off his impatience. His walk lay along the race-bank, and a hundred yards from the mill he found Billy Mills' old sow enjoying the luxury of a cold bath, lying prone full length in the race.
"Her bulk was sufficient to dam up the water and cause it to flow over the bank and away down the hill. He stoned the old sow out and off over the hill. On returning to the mill, he found the unobstructed flow of water had set things moving merrily. Soon he had his meal and went away rejoicing."
Waynesville was known for its Underground Railroad stops. An account of the escaped fugitives and stopping-off places is portrayed.
Also submitted is an account of Cadwallader Hall, which served as the Town Hall and Opera House. It was located on the northwest corner of Main and Miami streets in Waynesville, and was used as a Town Hall from 1874 to 1921.
The Hall, from 1874 until about 1890, was very simply furnished. Two cannon type wood-burning stoves heated it. Lighting, which included the stage footlights, was by kerosene oil. The audience was seated on long wooden benches that graduated from low in front to high in the rear. Described in the book are many of the performance companies as well as the individuals who performed.
Also detailed in the publication are the many early physicians who served the community as well as the countryside.
Waynesville possibly had some clock makers in its early days.
The community was the home of the first Quakers in the Northwest Territory. Abijah O'Neall, Robert Mills, David and Jesse Pugh all brought their families to the area in 1797. Many others came in 1799.
Church histories are also highlighted in the book and are well written.
A fine history of the Caesar's Creek Meeting House was written. It was established along Caesar's Creek (located just off old New Burlington Road in Wayne Township) about 1807. The original House was partitioned with the men and women worshiping on opposite sides. In 1905, the partition was removed, making one large room for worship.
In 1868, a cemetery was added that was enclosed by a stone fence. Because of the lake project, the last service in the building was held November 20, 1967.
The Meeting House building was moved to its present site at Pioneer Village in 1975. The cemetery and stone fence are still intact at the original site, and are being maintained by family members. The book goes on to describe the evolving of the church.
A history of Waynesville's Miami Gazette newspaper is depicted in the book. Pioneer Village and its founding is focused upon.
Corwin, Waynesville's neighbor to the east, has a story submitted concerning Corwin Station, which was a stopover for the Little Miami Railroad, and, after 1869, the Pennsylvania Railroad.
As we head south from Waynesville on U.S. Route 42, we have possibly noticed the many skydivers performing their stunts. An excellent history is inserted into the book concerning the Waynesville airport.
The Miami Cemetery, located just above the hill at Corwin, has a rather unique history. The book states that beneath the stunning landscape are buried the relatives of Daniel Boone, William Jennings Bryan, Betsy Ross, U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington; John B. Stetson, Tennessee Williams, Annie Oakley, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Lowell Thomas.
Noted personalities who are buried here are Coates Kinney, nationally acclaimed poet; William Henry Venable, Ohio Educator and Author; George Smith, co-founder of Phi Beta Pi Fraternity at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Maurice Collett, who originated the Old Dutch Cleanser logo; and Rachel Ward, an African-American woman who was Collett's model for the Old Dutch woman.
The Caesar's Creek Soaring Club, a gliderport, has been operating at 5385 Elbon Road since 1972. A gentleman named Marv Frost formed it in 1948 from the Soaring Society of Dayton. A splendid history is contained in the book concerning this acclaimed facility.
An outline of the many schools, their histories and teachers is most interesting. It is chocked full of pictures which would be of special interest to the many who can remember, or have heard stories from the old-timers and their relationships with these buildings of education.
In the "Remembrances" section one finds many personal stories as told by the area locals.
One rather unique story in the "Events" section tells of the village's "Medicine Show." Beginning in the early 1920's through 1946, the village was visited on a regular basis by this traveling exhibition.
The show was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bartone and was known as the "Bartone Medicine Show." It would pull into town on Friday and pitch the big show tent that day. The next morning a procession of little circus-type wagons would parade through town and back with their menagerie of wild animals. At mid-day, people would become quite attentive to the parade. It seemed to be an impressive gala of events for young and old alike.
An exceptional history of the annual Sauerkraut Festival is possibly of special interest to the multitude.
Many residences, their owners and histories are emphasized. Especially interesting is the family history portion. It contains quite a presentation of the early families and their genealogies.
Obviously this article can only touch on such an important contribution to the village of Waynesville. The book is well done and a tip of the hat should go to all its contributors.
If any of the readers are interested in purchasing "Waynesville's First 200 years," they should contact the Waynesville Historical Society, Waynesville, Ohio, 45068.


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This page created 28 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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