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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Crossroads Open Door To Mainville's History

Dallas Bogan on 19 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

October 5, 1997

A while back (September 20) my wife and I traveled to Maineville and attended their "Crossroads" celebration. While there, I became acquainted with Dr. Steve Harmon, pastor of the Maineville Baptist Church. We began conversing about the book he had just published, namely, A Pictorial History Of The Maineville Crossroads. I purchased a copy and was given permission by the author to write a history of Maineville (originally called "Yankeetown") taken from his works.
Robert Brenner wrote a book regarding Maineville that was published in 1950. Dr. Harmon used Brenner's material, along with his own written additions of Maineville, and incorporated both into a masterpiece of the village. Included are all 118 pictures from the original book, plus those of Dr. Harmon and others.
It appears that John Wilson cleared the first tract of land in the vicinity of Maineville in 1802. For some unknown reason, Wilson's clearing was abandoned and the area grew into a dense growth of hickory and other native trees.
Peter Wilson, in 1804, discovered that some springs, located about one-half mile south of the present site of Maineville, contained a saline ingredient. Wilson communicated with Gen. William Lytle, to whom some 3333 1/3 acres were given in the area because of his Revolutionary War status, and convinced the General to invest in a project to sink some wells on his property.
An extra large furnace was built in order to handle a number of oversized kettles. This operation enabled the operator to obtain salt by the process of evaporation. However, the salt content was too low for the project to be profitable, and the enterprise was soon abandoned. (Salt Run Creek took its name from the saline substance of the water in that vicinity.)
John Gillis discovered the salt springs on the north side of Salt Run Creek, and in turn used Peter Wilson's furnace and kettles to make salt for his tanning business, meat-curing process, and for other purposes.
Established in the hog business, Gillis' meat was cured with salt made at Salt Springs. After the War of 1812, he traveled by flatboat down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans, taking with him a load of home cured meats; through this enterprise much profit was secured. His route home was by way of the Natchez Trace from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, and then across country.
The first dwelling in Maineville was a log structure that was erected by a blacksmith named Carr, who utilized the building for his vocation. His prime work was that of making axes, for which he was well noted. (This house stood about where the Robert Testerman house now stands, the residence presently housing an insurance office.)
Elder Moses Dudley and his family traveled from Phillips, Maine, in 1815. He owned some 300 acres of land south of what is now Maineville Road. He constructed the first frame house in town; Ephriam Stevens converted the house in 1828 from frame to brick. (Rev. Dudley started the Baptist Church in his home around 1817.)
Dr. John Cottle removed from Farmington, Maine, in 1818. He was a medical college graduate and was the first to practice medicine in Hamilton Township. He is known to have performed what was probably the first successful breast surgery for cancer in the locality.
His nearest competitors were from Deerfield (South Lebanon), Goshen and Sycamore Creek. His travels led him to Clarksville, where he kept an extra stable, and then on to Wilmington.
Dr. Cottle constructed the first brick house in Maineville, the bricks being fired on the same property.
Samuel Brown migrated from Winthrop, Maine, in 1823 and started a grocery store 1 3/4 miles east of Maineville, the business lasting until about 1850. Store merchandise was brought from Cincinnati on horseback, the treacherous roads being the greatest obstacle.
Seth Greely, before arriving in Maineville, assisted in settling Phillips, Maine. Greely and Robert Blackstone opened a foundry and shop west of the town building where engines and other useful products were to be manufactured. Just one engine was assembled, the foundry closing because of the extreme expense of ore shipping. However, the shop was used for wagon and carriage construction for many years.
Josiah Tufts arrived in the town in 1817, while brother Benjamin Tufts, Sr., and family arrived in the fall of 1822. Rev. Francis Tufts, the father, traveled from Farmington, Maine. with the Samuel Knowlton family, arriving in 1831.
A story was written by E. Dudley Foss describing his journey from Maine to Maineville in 1834 and entered into the book. (Mr. Foss was 96 at the time of his writing and was assisted by others.) In one section the story goes:
"We do not have room for the description of the immense traffic on the road between Harrisburg and the Ohio River - four horse wagons, each carrying four tons going east and west. The cattle and hogs going east.
"The horses drawing their heavy loads up the mountains, step by step one foot at a time, and after going 50 rods stopping to rest, when the behind wagons block the wheel. The landlord of one of the big taverns on the Alleghenies told Foss he often had 200 wagons overnight in his wagon yard, 100 of them drawn by four horses."
Maineville was surveyed by H.C. Dwinell and incorporated on February 26, 1850, the plat being acknowledged by Silas Dudley and Seth G. Tufts.
The first town elections were held April 2, 1850, the first officers being: Silas Dudley - Mayor; Sherman Knowlton - Recorder; R.Y. Blackstone, Benjamin Tufts, Henry Cook, Jesse Baldwin, and H.L. Clinton - Councilmen. (A complete list of Maineville mayors is given in the book.)
Moving along in the book we find that coal oil burning streetlights were installed shortly after an ordinance was passed on April 9, 1883. Gasoline was next used in firing the streetlights in the early part of 1902, and remained in service until 1910. Electricity came to the village in 1923. In 1940, a single street light was installed at the intersection of Main Street and Hopkinsville-Goshen Road, and, in 1949, electric street lights were installed in the entire village.
Apparently a person of electronic skill, Joseph Knott built several radio sets, the first to be used in Maineville.
The first telephone was installed in Maineville in the office of J.C. Redman in 1886, the exchange being located in Lebanon. On June 3, 1907, telephone service was established in town with 12 subscribers signing-on.
Seth Greely had the distinction of owning the first horseless carriage in Maineville, a Wayne.
Individual church histories are highlighted in the book that covers not only Maineville, but also surrounding Hamilton Township.
The first schoolhouse in Hamilton Township was constructed about 1804, and was located near the present site of the Bethel graveyard at Murdoch. At a later time, the Baptists used a log schoolhouse located at the present Maineville cemetery. It was constructed by the Dudley family and used in the early 1820's.
The first schoolhouse in Maineville was a log building located near where Uncle Ben's Place formerly stood, now the home of Dr. Larry Smith's Salt Run Veterinary Clinic. The first brick schoolhouse was built about 1849 and was still in use until the early 1870's; it was called District School No. 3.
Dr. Harmon's book has many Maineville school pictures inserted with most pupils identified. A fine history of the Maineville Academy is described in the book.
The first Maineville band was organized on February 4, 1857, and within two years they gave their first concert at Mason. S.G. Tufts Carriage Shop performed construction of the band wagon. He designed and constructed the running gear, while the band members assisted in building the wagon body.
Described as a colorful band and wagon, the assembly performed in Dayton several times, as well as entertaining at the Cincinnati Exposition in 1888. It won several premiums at the Warren County Fair as well. The original band continued until 1906.
Jesse Innis was the booster for Junior Lodge O.U.A.M. that was started October 14, 1908. The Lodge prospered for many years, but, due to the depression, it lost many members. It was discontinued in 1942.
The Women's Auxiliary, the D. of A., was organized in 1924 and was discontinued in 1949.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union was established at the home of Mrs. Frankie Stevens on November 20, 1908, and was discontinued in 1933. Original membership was 64 with Mrs. Alfaretta Moss as its first president.
The Sons of Temperance and Daughters of Temperance organizations were active in the 1850's to the 1870's.
Thomas Foster organized the Hamilton Township Grange No. 2415 in March 1927, with a membership of 58. The book goes on to describe the history and function of the organization. A description of many other organizations, businesses and groups is described in detail in Dr. Harmon's works.
I have just touched the surface of the book's contents. Dr. Harmon sells the softcover books for $30 and hardbound for $40, and can be reached through the Maineville Baptist Church in Maineville.

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This page created 19 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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