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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Beedle's Station As Told By Josiah Morrow

Dallas Bogan on 29 September 2004
The following was written by Josiah Morrow and inserted into the Western Star, dated, June 17, 1915.
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

In the history of Ohio the question of the first settlement by white men in a county, township, city or village is always one of interest. Who was the first settler in a county is often involved in such obscurity that the authors of not a few Ohio county histories have been compelled to leave it unanswered. In other cases where there is general agreement on the name of the earliest pioneer, the exact time of the first settlement cannot be fixt. Dates given by the early settlers themselves in their old age from recollection are often untrustworthy. Diaries, journals or memoranda of events as they occurred were not kept by many of the pioneers. Few of them ever dreamed that the date on which they felled the first tree for a home in the woods would ever be a matter of historic interest.
In Warren county, it is generally agreed that William Beedle from New Jersey, with his son and sons-in-law, in September, 1795, built the only block-house in the county as a protection against the Indians. This block-house stood about two miles south of Union Village and it is generally agreed that here was made the first permanent settlement in Warren county. While it is probable that little clearings had been made and cabins erected on the forfeitures in Deerfield township at an earlier date, it is not probable any family with women and children attempted to make a home in this county prior to the erection of Beedle's station. For years during the Indian wars emigrants were cooped up in the fortified stations near the Ohio waiting the time when they could safely settle upon the lands they had purchased in the Miami valleys.
It is an historic landmark that the first settlement in Warren county was made at Beedle's station in September, 1795, the month after Wayne's treaty of peace with the Indians.

A Pioneer's Journal.

The date of the building of Beedle's station has been preserved, not by being written down by any of the men who erected it nor by any legal document on record in our court here, but from the manuscripts of one of the earliest pioneers of the Miami valley who was never a resident of Warren county. During the greater part of his life this pioneer kept regular memoranda of events which occurred about him and, happening to be in the party with which Mr. Beedle traveled on his way to make his settlement, this fact with the date were recorded.
The pioneer was Benjamin Van Cleve who had a most eventful and interesting career. He came when seventeen with his father from New Jersey to Cincinnati in 1790. His father was soon killed by the Indians and the youth found employment in hard, rough work in the quartermaster's department of Fort Washington at fifteen dollars per month. He was at St. Clair's defeat and during the Indian wars; he made long journeys in the employ of a contractor for army supplies. After Wayne's victory he was with some surveying parties undergoing the privations of a life in the wilderness. In all his adventures he kept such memoranda that he was able to write out a most valuable manuscript journal, parts of which were printed after his death. The part which we are now concerned was first printed in the American Pioneer in 1843.

An Extract.

Van Cleve was one of the first settlers at Dayton where he lived until his death. As a preparation for the settlement at Dayton two parties set out from Cincinnati for the mouth of Mad river. One was to cut a road from Fort Hamilton northward, the other to survey a large tract between Mad river and the Little Miami purchased by the projectors of Dayton. In his journal Van Cleve says:
"Two parties of surveyors set off on September 21 (1795), Mr. Daniel C. Cooper to survey and mark a road and cut out some of the brush, and Captain John Dunlap to run the boundaries of the purchase. I went with Dunlap. There were at this time several stations on Mill Creek, Ludlow's, White's, Tucker's, Voorhees's and Cunningham's. The last was eleven miles from Cincinnati. We came to Voorhees's and encamped.

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This page created 29 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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