Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan
|Dallas Bogan on 28 September 2004|
|The following is taken from Dallas Bogan's book, "The Pioneer Writings of Josiah Morrow."|
|Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan|
As an incorporated village Maineville is sixty years old, but the town is
more than three score and ten, being known as Yankeetown for sometime before
it was incorporated. It derives its name from the fact that its first permanent
settlers came from the state of Maine, a fact which makes it important the final
"e" in the first syllable of its name should not be omitted as is
not in- frequently done. It is the only town in the United States bearing the
name, but there is a Mainville in Columbus county, Penn.
The town grew up at the intersection of two roads, is centrally located in Hamilton township and has long been the largest, most important and only incorporated village in that township.
The Virginia military survey in which Maineville is situated did not attract
many settlers in the early history of the county. Early in the last century,
a man named Wilson (one writer says his name was John
Wilson and the date was about 1802), began an improvement in this survey
and made an extensive clearing where the house of B.F. Tufts now stands. For
some reason he abandoned his improvement and his cleared land was left to grow
up with grass, bushes and young trees. I have often heard my father who was
born in 1800, say that when a boy he would sometimes find his father's strayed
cattle in Wilson's clearing on the site of Maineville, three miles from his
home and on the other side of the river eating grass which they preferred to
that grown in the shade of the forest trees. When the first permanent settlers
came after the war of 1812 they found this clearing a dreary place with an undergrowth
of bushes and young trees so dense as to be an almost impenetrable thicket.
A man named Carr was an early settler and built a log house at the place. He was a blacksmith and gave his attention to the making of axes, and Carr's axes became well known in the neighborhood.
At the close of the war of 1812 emigrants from Maine began to settle at the place. Moses Dudley with his family came from that state in 1815 and made his home on the south side of the road, where Captain David Whitten afterward lived. Dudley owned some two hundred acres of land on the south side of the road and built the first frame house in the village.
Dr. John Cottle came from Maine and settled at the south side in 1818. He was a well educated physician and in 1830 his practice was believed to be the largest of any physician in Warren county.
In 1822 Benjamin Tufts came from Phillips, Maine, and settled on the north side of the road in the eastern part of the town. He was the father of Benjamin, Moses, and Seth G., all prominent citizens of Maineville. Other families came from the same state, and soon there was a considerable colony of way-down-east people and the place began to be called Yankeetown. Among the early industries was a wagon-maker's shop, of which Josiah Greeley and Robert Blackstone were the proprietors.
The first church at the settlement was that of the Free Will Baptists organized about 1823 with Elder Moses Dudley as the first pastor. It was first called Salt Spring church and held meetings at a school house near where the cemetery now is. Its brick meeting house in the town was built about 1840.
The Methodist church was organized about 1842 and built its house of worship about 1844.
For a number of years Hopkinsville, situated on the Montgomery pike, was the place of holding elections in Hamilton township and the only post town in that township, but in the 40's Yankeetown became a larger and more important place, tho without a turnpike or a post-office. The first edition of Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, published in 1847, in describing the villages of Warren county, gives most space to Lebanon, Franklin and Waynesville; less space to Harveysburg, Springboro and Palmyra (Mason), and names as villages Deerfield, Roachester, Butlerville, Morrow, Ridgeville and Yankeetown.
Some years before the town was incorporated its leading citizens determined
to change its name. In 1847 a joint stock company was formed to establish Maineville
Academy and the academy building was ready for occupancy the next year. The
institution was opened with John W.F. Foster, a young graduate
of Kenyon College, as principal on Monday, September 25, 1848. It speaks well
for the enterprise and progressive spirit of the inhabitants that such an institution
could be established before the little village had a corporate name, a graveled
road or post-office. They had, however, the assistance of farmers for miles
around the town. Governor Morrow, who resided on the west side
of the Little Miami was the most liberal contributor in the erection of the
academy and the first president of its board of trustees.
The academy was patronized by students from all parts of Hamilton township and from every adjoining town- ship. At one time a considerable number of students from the west side of the river walked to it every morning. It maintained a useful existence for a longer period than any other academy ever established in Warren county and several of its pupils became distinguished. The names of its principals were John W.F. Foster, Charles W. Kimball, N.F. Cotton, Robert Milliken, Frank Tufts, Rev. I.J. Wilson and Dean Babbitt. The improvement in the public school system and the free public high schools made the continued existence of the academy inadvisable, and in 1874 its building became the property of the Maineville school district. My father, John Morrow, was the last president of the academy trustees.
The academy building was of brick, two stories high, with two school rooms below and a hall on the second floor. The hall served the purpose of a town hall and in it some of the early county teachers' institutes were held, and many public entertainments given. The building stood fifty-three years and was demolished in the spring of 1901 to make way for a new public school house.
It having been determined to incorporate the town, a plat containing seventy
town lots was surveyed by H.C. Dwinell. The plat was acknowledged
by Silas Dudley and Seth G. Tufts on February
26, 1850, and was received for record March 27. An act "To incorporate
the town of Maineville in Warren County" was passed by the legislature
March 23, 1850. By this act all the territory included within or that might
thereafter become part of the recorded town plat was declared to be a town corporate
by the name of Maineville.
The first election of officers of the village was held on April 2, 1850, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Joseph Dennett and Joseph Whitney Knowlton as clerk. The following persons were elected; Silas Dudley, Mayor; Sherman Knowlton, recorder; R.Y. Blackstone, Benjamin Tufts, Henry Cook, Jesse Baldwin and H.L. Clinton, councilmen.
The first meeting of the council was held on April 7, and was called to order by the mayor. It appearing that the mayor elect, did not wish to serve in that office, and that in case of his resignation the council would be called on to fill the vacancy, a motion was made and carried that the citizens of Maineville be requested to deposit their votes at Knowlton's store for the person of their choice for the office of Mayor in case of the resignation of Silas Dudley. On April 9, it was reported that R.Y. Blackstone had received a majority of the votes left at the store, and thereupon Mr. Dudley resigned as mayor and J.B. Greeley had been chosen councilman in place of Blackstone.
At a meeting of the council on May 2, Silas Dudley was chosen the first treasurer of the village, Seth G. Tufts, the first marshal and Joseph Dennett the first road commissioner.
The first question on which the council was much divided in opinion came up at three meetings in June. This was on the levy of a tax of five mills on the dollars upon all the property within the corporation. A motion to reduce the levy to 3 mills was lost by a vote 2 to 3, and another motion to reduce it to 4 mills was lost by the same vote. The first tax levy in the village was then fixed at 5 mills by a vote of 3 to 2. At the same meeting S. Knowlton, the recorder, was requested to draw up and circulate a subscription paper to secure means to improve the sidewalks.
One of the most important offices in the newly incorporated town was that of street commissioner. Fences and buildings obstructed the sidewalks and the council directed the street commissioner to notify all persons who obstructed the streets to remove the obstructions. These notices in some cases had to be given more than once. The construction of sidewalks was soon ordered, the walks being four feet wide and constructed either of stone, brick or plank. Early in the 50's a plank walk was by the liberality of some of the citizens constructed from the town by the road side to the railroad at Fosters, a distance of one and three-fourths miles.
The following is the list of the early mayors; Silas Dudley
(declined), R.Y. Blackstone, O.M. Kilbourne,
C.W. Harvey, O.O. Morrill, J.B. Greeley,
James Ford, Joseph W. Perryman, E.L.
Tufts, Harry Eastman, T.D. Gilman,
J.C. Redman, Charles Ford, P.D. Cottle.
In the first record book of the village is preserved a list of the voters and the officers elected at most of the elections for twenty-eight years after the incorporation. The number of votes increased from year to year. At the first election in 1850 the names of the voters are not given; in 1851 the number of voters was 28; for the next five years, the numbers for the successive years were; 24, 27, 32, 36, and 37. In 1860 the others numbered 47 and in 1878, 64.
In the summer of 1850 the town and surrounding country suffered from a severe visitation of the cholera and the death roll numbered more than fifty within a radius of two miles from the village. Some prominent citizens died, among them Sherman Knowlton, merchant and first recorder. On May 25, 1855, an ordinance to prevent hogs from running at large in the village was passed, an evidence of civilization at an earlier date than in some larger towns.
The road leading westward turned to the north and entered the Hopkinsville turnpike. Some enterprising citizens secured a road direct to the railroad at Fosters.
The citizens were unable to get a post office nearer than Hopkinsville for several years. On January 14, 1854, Maineville was made a post town with Col. James Ford, first postmaster.
In 1900 after an animated contest the people of the school district by a small majority voted to erect a new school house for the graded school of Maineville.
In 1905 the most costly improvement ever made by the village authorities was authorized by a unanimous vote of the council. This was the construction of concrete sidewalks on both sides of the two principal streets, the total cost of which was $3,614.27. The assessment on individual lot-owners for this great improvement averaged about $60 each. In two cases the individual assessments were more than $200 each, and in two other cases, more than $100 each. The improvement, costly as it was, was completed without a law-suit or serious protest.
The town is without factories but is a quiet and pleasant place for residences. The houses and their surroundings exhibit trimness and neatness. A former prominent citizen of Lebanon, who often passed thru the place, said to me that he knew of no village of is size which was more attractive to a man of moderate income seeking a home.
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This page created 28 September 2004 and last updated
28 September, 2008
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