OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS
A Part of
SHELBY COUNTY, OHIO
History & Genealogy
History of Shelby County, Ohio
Evansville, Ind. -
1913 - 947 pgs.
THE TOWNSHIPS (IV)
Creek, Van Buren and Washington
of Salem township took place June 5, 1826, when the
county commissioners ordered that all that part of Perry
township lying on the northwest side of the Miami river be
formed into a new township and named Salem. It lies in the
eastern tier of townships and its boundaries are Franklin
arid Jackson townships on the north, Logan county on the
east, Perry and Clinton townships on the south and Clinton
and Franklin townships on the west
While the surface of Salem township is somewhat hilly
along the water courses, it may be generally described as
rolling. The soil is varied, with clay in some sections
and in others rich black loam. The early settlers found
here plenty of wood and water, this township being made
green and fruitful by an abundance of springs which feed
larger bodies of water here, including the Great Miami on
the southern border, Rum creek in the feast, Count's run
in the central part and Plum creek on the east. This
township is noted for its fine gravelled roads, the gravel
being found in many places in the township.
The first white
settler in what is now Salem township is supposed to have
been Charles Weeks, who located in section
20 about 1810 or 1811. He was followed several years later
by the Hathaways and Gilberts. Prior to 1818
the following people had come as pioneers: Jesse
Jackson, Alexander Jackson, Elisha Kirtland and
Caleb Goble. Adam Counts and Jacob LeMasters
came in 1818 and within the next two years followed
William Roberts, Samuel Taylor, George Morrison, Benjamin
Beden, Joseph Donaldson and William Skillen.
John Hathaway, in 1814 or .1815, built his log cabin
near the spring at Port Jefferson. Alexander Jackson
had the distinction of; building the first hewed log house
and John Johnston of erecting and living in
the first frame one. The first road in Salem township was
the Sidney and Bellefontaine road, which was surveyed by a
Mr. Thompson. Later surveyors and. civil
engineers in Salem were Daniel G. Hull and Col.
Of the three
towns surveyed and platted within the confines of Salem
township, Port Jefferson, Tileton (now Maplewood) and
North Salem, one —North Salem, platted in 1836—has long
Port Jefferson, situated on the northwest bank of the
Great Miami river, was surveyed and platted August 11,
1836, by Jonathan Counts, deputy surveyor
for Ezekiel Thomas and Abner
Gerrard, proprietors, and contained 93 lots and
fractional lots. It is situated at the head of the Miami
extension canal feeder, and was incorporated as a village
in 1842. Its first mayor was E. H. West. The first
settler here was John Hathaway. The first
store was kept by Albert K. Hathaway, who
was succeeded by John Ogden, other members
of the Ogden family subsequently continuing the
business. The present proprietor is Chas. W.
Ogden. The first hotel at Port Jefferson was kept by
Samuel Anderson and the first physician
registered here was Dr. L. A. Davis. The. first
postmaster was Alexander Jackson and at that
day the mail was carried, on horseback from Sidney to
Marysville. During the palmy days of the canal, Port
Jefferson, being situated at the head of navigation, was a
booming village and had a most brilliant prospect. Five
warehouses were in operation and the cooper and stave
shops employed at least 150 men. There was a grist mill,
two asheries for the manufacture of potash, which paid
seven cents a bushel for ashes, an important source of
income to the farmers. There were also five stores doing a
flourishing business. With the advent of the railroad,
however, all this was changed. The canal as a means of
transportation was abandoned and Port Jefferson's hopes of
a brilliant future were blasted. The present population of
the village is 233.
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES
Although it was
not until 1858 that Port Jefferson was organized as a
special school district, schools had been maintained in
the township for many years previously. At first they were
subscription schools, each householder paying his due
proportion of the expense. Later taxes were assessed for
school purposes. It was a long time before adequate
buildings could be provided and even then only through
some particular display of public spirit, while at the
same time it was often a difficult matter to secure
competent teachers. After the organization of the special
school district at Port Jefferson, a one story brick
structure was large enough to accommodate the students,
but later it was enlarged to two rooms, and in 1877 a fine
brick schoolhouse was built, at a cost of $7,745,
exclusive of furniture. At the time of erection of this
building, which was at that time one of the most modern
and complete in the county, the board of education was
made up of the following members: R. B. Conklin, M. J.
Winget, J. B. Nettleship, J. F. Miller, J. C. Ogden
and William Manning. An account of the
present educational facilities in Salem township, with
interesting details in regard to the number of schools,
enrollment, etc., may be found in the chapter on
Methodist Episcopal Church.—The records of the
first organized society of Methodists at Port Jefferson
have not been preserved but antedate 1830. The earliest
church edifice was of log construction and stood near the
old. cemetery east of the town. Later it was removed to
give place to a frame building, which sufficed until 1862,
when a new building was completed and. dedicated by
Rev. R. D. Oldfield, then pastor,. A Sunday school was
established, which proved an important factor in the
growth of the church and. the building up of its
The Miami Christian Church—In 1849 Rev.
James Skillen and Joseph Warbleton
organized the Miami Christian church at the home of
John Mulford, the first members being Amos
and John Mulford and their wives, Jacob
Near and wife and Samuel
Wiles. Much interest was manifested in the society and
its membership grew rapidly. The first place of worship, a
log church, was built in 1852, on land in Logan county,
owned by Jacob Near, and continued to be
used until it was destroyed by fire in 1871, when a frame
structure was erected on Henry Kemp's land.
This church has had an important influence on religions
development in the township.
has never had any disturbances concerning its government.
Its present trustees are: H. J. Stockstill, John Stout
and S. M: Knoop, while H. L. Haney, of Port
Jefferson, is township clerk. Its justices of the peace
who have served in the interim between 1836 and 1911 have
been representative men, as follows:
|1836 - Hathaway, A. K.
1837 - Gamble, S.
1839 - Hathaway, A. K.
1840 - McGinnis, Theodore resigned in May, 1842
1840 - Gilbillen, James
1842 - Robbins, Thomas
1843 - LeFevre, Elias
1844 - Knox, A., resigned 1845
1845 - Thompson, Silas A.
1845 - Guerin, Vincent
1848 - Guerin, Vincent
1849 - Comer, Joseph
1851 - Guerin, Vincent
1852 - Haney, James
1853 - Mitchell, George J.
1856 - Mitchell, George J.
1858 - Comer, Joseph
1858 - Ferree, Daniel
1859 - Stout, H. M.
1861 - Shinn, William, Jr.
1862 - Stout, H. M.
1864 - Forsythe, J. P. & Shinn, Willialm
1865 - Mitchell, G. J.
1866 - Simpson, Robert
1867 - Forsythe, J. P.
1868 - Mitchell, G. J.
1869 - Simpson, Robert
1870 - Forsythe, John P.
1871 - LaFevre, Jacob
1871 - Dunlap, William
1872 - Ailes, H. M.
1872 - Mitchell, W. H.
|1873 - Simpson, Robert
1873 - Manning, F. L.
1875 - Ailes, H. M.
1875 - Dunson, A. A.
1876 - Conklin, R. B.
1878 - Manning, S. L.
1878 - Dunson, A. A.
1879 - Conklin, R. B.
1881 - McCormick, B.
1881 - Manning, S. L.
1884 - Manning, S. L.
1884 - Thompson, J. F.
1887 - Redinbaugh, S. B.
1890 - Haney, James
1890 - Retter, A. S.
1890 - Clark, Albert
1893 - Haney, James
1893 - Epler, Jacob
1896 - Haney, James
1896 - Retter, A. S.
1899 - Haney, James
1899 - Retter, A. S.
1900 - Harrison, E. L.
1903 - Epler, Jacob appointed to fill vacancy caused
by refusal of W. E. Smith to serve
1903 - 1906 - Honnell, E. B.
1903 - Retter, A. S.
1904 - Reeves, John
1906 - Retter, A. S.
1908 - Reeves, John
1911 - Reeves, John
1911 - Retter, A. S.
Stokes Lodge No.
"305, F. & A. M.—This lodge was organized March, 1858,
under the name of Stokes Lodge, in honor of Horace M.
Stokes; who at that time was grand master of the
state. The lodge worked under dispensation until October,
1858, at which time the following officers of the grand
lodge were present, viz.: Wm. Fielding, W. G. M.;
W. C. Fielding, Dept G. M.; W. W. Skillen,
S. G. W.; F. A. Pool, J. G. W.; Alex. Green,
S. G. D.; Irwin Nutt, J. G. D.; H. O.
Sheldon, W. G. C; T. E. English, G. T.; J.
S. Read, G. S.; and Jacob Young, T. Earl Lodge
No. 365, I. O. O. F.—A charter was granted by the grand
lodge of the state of Ohio to W. B. Sandoe, J, Comer,
E. H. Hopkins, J. F. Black, Wm. Dunlap, and
Isaac Strahlem, May 15, 1861, to organize Earl Lodge
No. 365, of I. O. O. F.
The first meeting of the lodge was held at Port
Jefferson, July 13, 1861. G. M., W. F. Slater took
the chair. The following officers were elected: W. B.
Sandoe, N. G.; E. H. Hopkins, V. G.; Wm.
Dunlap, R. S.; Joseph Comer, treasurer.
After election they proceeded to the Methodist Episcopal
church, where Grand "Chaplain D. E. Thomas
delivered an address, and the officers-were installed by
the grand master. The lodge room at this time was over the
store of Joseph Comer. Some time later
another lodge room was secured, which was afterwards
burned, together with nearly all the furniture of the
lodge. Meetings for a number of years were held in a
room over the store of S. T. Thirkield. In the fall
of 1832 the lodge secured the privilege from E. L.
Kraft of building the second story on his new store
building for a lodge room. This room they finished and
furnished at a cost of about $1,600.
TURTLE CREEK TOWNSHIP
township was organized in 1820, but since that date
has undergone some change in its boundaries. It occupies a
position in the second tier of townships from the west,
and has Van Buren and Franklin townships on the north;
Franklin and Clinton on the east; Washington and McLean on
the south and McLean and Cynthian on the west. The surface
is mainly level except along Turtle creek and its
branches, where it is somewhat broken. The soil is black
loam. In March, 1821, the township was laid out in road
districts and in 1822, when organization was probably more
complete, it was divided into four road districts.
According to the early records life in this township was
peaceful and public affairs were/conducted ably and
honestly by its leading citizens—heads of families which
in many cases are still represented here.
Among the settlers who came here in 1812 or earlier
were the following: John Kennard, a Kentuckian,
took up land on the south half of section 31; William
Carddingly entered the northeast quarter of section
18; Cephas Carey located his log cabin near
what is now Hardin, and on the present site of the town;
Thomas McClish established himself on the
present site of Hardin and William Bush
became his near neighbor. These settlements were near
together and the location was no doubt chosen because of
the abundance of wood and water. The winters might be cold
but with an abundance of fuel close at hand the little log
cabins could be kept warm, while the flowing streams
watered the land from which the timber was cut and the
cattle and stock, which then, as now, made up a large part
of the pioneers' prospective wealth. In 1815 Richard M.
Cannon came here from his former home near the present
city of Sidney; Richard Lenox and John
Lenox came, both having families, and in the same year
arrived Joseph Steinbefger. In 1816 Kentucky
contributed William Davis, who settled in
section 30; John Stephens settled in
section.28 and Jeremiah White in the same
section, while William Grooms established
his home in section 29. In 1817, Basil Burton,
David Coon and James Davis
became residents and in 1818 the families of James
Thatcher and Joseph Lyons came here.
After the organization of the township it is probable that
its advantages became more widely known and among the
families who soon after became settlers may be mentioned
those of Thomas Shaw, Edwin Barker,
Joshua Cole and James A. Graham.
In the face of what must have appeared almost
.insuperable difficulties, the early settlers sturdily
went about improving their section of the county and there
seems to have been a great unanimity of sentiment
concerning many of the enterprises of a public nature.
Roads were among the first necessities and in 1816 the
Hardin and Wapakoneta road was laid out and a few years
later William Davis did much of the cutting.
The second road in the township,. connecting Hardin to
Sidney, was laid out in 1817.. As a fine quality of gravel
was at hand, it was net long before use was made of this
material and at the present time there are many miles of
some of the' finest turnpike roads running through the
township. Among the principal ones may be mentioned the
Turtle Creek Valley pike, the Sidney and Hardin, and the
Russel, these running north, south, east and west and
intersecting, with turnpikes from other counties. Hardin
Station, which is located one mile south of Hardin village
was established by the C. C. C. & I. railroad, which runs
along the southern boundary of the township.
Transportation. is no longer a problem in Turtle Creek
township and many of the residents own stock in organized
companies of this nature. In 1831 William Davis
built the first brick house, the first frame one having
been erected by Joseph Steinberger in 1829.
On June 3, 1818, occurred the first marriage in the
township, Cephas Carey, justice of the
peace, uniting Richard M. Cannon and Mary
As soon as the
actual necessities of life were provided, the residents of
Turtle Creek township began to consider ways and means to
provide for the education of the children. After a
primitive round log structure was erected, Arhich was
accomplished in 1816, a Mr. Gibson became
the first teacher arid among the other early instructors
were. Richard Lenox, Mrs. Eliza
Wells, Mr. Cohoon and Mr.
Rosby, a second building having, been put up in 1820,
on the bank of Turtle creek in the village of Hardin. In
1824 a third school building was erected on land belonging
to R. M. Cannon. The cause of education has never
since languished in Turtle Creek township and here reside
some of the county's best informed and most intelligent
citizens. Further information in regard to the schools may
be found in the chapter on education.
The town of
Hardin has been the principal center of affairs in Turtle
Creek township from the beginning of community life,
although its present nearness to larger centers of
population has had its influence in limiting expansion.
At the organization of the county in 1819 it became the
seat of justice but in 1820 that honor was transferred to
Sidney. The name of Hardin was given in honor of Col. John
Hardin, whose prominence as a man and soldier need not be
more than recalled in this connection, every Ohio history
dwelling on the life and exploits of this brave explorer
and victim of Indian treachery. He was assassinated on the
spot on which the village of Hardin now stands, in 1792,
and it seems appropriate that a memorial should be thus
preserved of one who so deserved the admiration of his
fellow countrymen. The original plat of the village of
Hardin bore date of October 5, 1816, and consisted of.
thirty-six lots, exclusive of the public square. The
original proprietors were Thomas McGlish,
Joseph Steinberger and James Lenox.
The first merchants were Robert Aldrich and
Aaron Harkness; Hezekiah Stout
kept the first hotel and travelers were satisfied with
even its limited capacity and accommodations; William
Herr found a public needing his work as
cabinetmaker, his business including the making of
coffins; Robert Brodrick was the first
village blacksmith and Lewis Steinberger
probably the first carpenter. The first wagon shop was
built in 1840 by Joseph Jackson and C. P. Lenox
and W. H. Stephenson were among the early
shoemakers. In 1854 William and Hugh
Patten built a sawmill near Hardin, on Turtle creek,
which was later operated by the Wilsons until it
was destroyed by fire in 1868. In 1869 William,
John and Frank Thomas built a mill on
the. east bank of Turtle creek. It burned down some years
later, was rebuilt and then burned down again, after which
it was not rebuilt. In 1880 the firm of Ewing &
Dinsmore established spoke and bent works at Hardin
Station, one mile south of the village, it being in the
hands of Ewing Brothers for a number of years. The
business, was abandoned about 20 years ago, and the old
frame building, bought by H. V. Wilson, is now used
as a barn, it having been moved to a location half a mile
south of Hardin. Hardin Station is chiefly important as a
shipping point for stock and grain and as a station for
the village of Hardin. The latter place constitutes an
independent school district and has a substantial school
building. Capable professional men are among its
residents and church bodies are well represented. Its
present population is 146 individuals. There are two
general stores and one blacksmith shop. At Hardin Station,
one mile south of Hardin, there is an elevator and grocery
Uno is a small settlement of about
twenty-two persons in the northwestern part of the
Methodist Episcopal Society—As early as 1819 the
Methodists organized a society with a class of eighteen
members, who met for worship in private homes. Between
1832 and 1834 they erected a church edifice on a lot
donated by Thomas McClish, in the southeast
part of Hardin village. In 1865 a commodious and
structurally beautiful building was erected in the
northern part of the town and when it was dedicated in
August of that year, Rev. Philip A. Drown was the
pastor. To this church belong the_descendants of the
Careys, the Davenports, the Whites, the
Bushes, the Carters, the Stephens,
the Shaws, the Thatchers, and the Cannons,
and other well-known families of Turtle Creek. Rev.
Parker is present pastor, as also of Cole chapel.
Cole Chapei Methodist
Episcopal Society—About 1832, Rev. John
Stewart organized the above society at the home of
Joshua Cole and until a building was erected
the members met at the home of Mr. Cole. In
June, 1865, a frame church building was erected, at a cost
of $2,000, near the Turtle Creek Valley pike, in section
5, in which services were subsequently held, to the
advancement and growth of life in the community. .
White Feather Christian
Society—This church organization- was founded in 1839,
by Elder Joseph Warbington and
others, who met at the home of Samuel
Harshbarger. The membership was but nine individuals
at that time but the spirit of this little body never gave
out and while the society did not feel justified in
building a church edifice until about 1855, it was ever a
vital and influential body of Christian people. The first
church building was on the southwest corner of the
northwest quarter of section 2, this land, for building
and also for cemetery purposes, being donated by Samuel
Harshbarger. In 1881 a more commodious building was
erected on the Sidney and St. Mary's turnpike road, in
section 1, much of the cost of labor being freely given by
the members. Services have been discontinued by this
society for several years.
Turtle Creek Presbyterian
Church—In 1865 the Presbyterians in Turtle Creek
township decided upon plans to erect a suitable place for
their religious meetings. Prior to the completion of this
building meetings were regularly-held at the residence of
William Patton. The edifice then erected
cost $4,500, is of brick construction and is located a
short distance north of Hardin Station. A number of able
and convincing pastors have been in ministerial. charge
here. Rev. S. A. Dean is present pastor.
There is also a Catholic church in the township, located
at St. Patrick.
At various times
scientists have shown much interest in Indian relics found
in this section and doubtless many museums have been
enriched by gifts of the same. There can be little doubt
but that at one time the gravelly elevations where the
majority of these relics, including bones, skulls arid
such vessels as Indians were known to have the habit of
interring with their dead, were Indian burying grounds,
but of how ancient a date it has probably never been yet
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
The following is a list of justices of the
peace who have held office in Turtle Creek township:
|1819 - Lenox, James
1820 - Williams, Elisha
1822 - Lenox, James
1823 - Davenport, A.
1834 - Aldrich, Robert
1824 - McClure, John
1825 - Lenox, James
1827 - Cannon, Richard M.
1827 - Brodrick, Robert
1828 - Lenox, James
1830 - Williams, D. P.
1830 - Cannon, R. M.
1831 - Lenox, James
1832 - Graham, James A.
1834 - Carey, David
1834 - Lenox, James
1836 - Cannon, R. M.
1839 - Hutchison, John
1839 - Cannon, R. M.
1842 - Doak, William
1842 - Lenox, James
1844 - Doak, William
1845 - Cannon, R. M.
1845 - Hutchison, John
1847 - Williams, John
1848 - Doak, William
1848 - Hutchison, John
1850 - McQuilty, F. C.
1851 - Critton, William
1851 - Lenox, C. P.
1853 - McQuilty, F. C.
1853 - Hutchison, John (resigned in 1855)
1854 - Doak, William
1856 - Sharp, S. M.
1856 - Lenox, C. P.
1857 - Sharp, Julius
1859 - Yinger, Casper
|1859 - Hutchison, John
1860 - Graham, John W.
1862 - Hall, Fleming
1862 - Yinger, C.
1863 - Heston, J. P.
1865 - Bell, Edwin A.
1866 - Lenox, C. P.
1866 - Doak, William
1869 - Lenox, C. P.
1869 - Doak, William
1872 - Lenox, C. P.
1872 - Quillin, George
1873 - Bell, Richard F.
1875 - Lenox, C. P.
1876 - Johnston, Isaac
1876 - Hamilton, Joseph
1878 - Wilson, John R.
1879 - Rauch, Noah
1881 - Wilson, John R.
1884 - Guin, Andrew
1884 - Wilson, John R.
1887 - Hensel, Jacob M.
1887 - Bell, H. E.
1890 - Allton, A. G.
1890 - Shaw, A. N.
1891 - Hensel, Jacob
1893 - Shaw, A. N.
1894 - Hensel, J. M.
1896 - Wilson, Mark
1897 - Hensel, J. M.
1899 - Farley, James
1899 - Wilson, Mark
1901 - Ike, S. D.
1903 - Brown, F. B.
1904 - Ike, S. D.
1908 - Huffman, J. J.
1910 - Beery, Isaac
1912 - Huffman, John D.
township officers are: L. A. Richards, of Sidney,
clerk; and A. W. Buirley, Watt Loughlin and
James E. Burress, trustees.
Situated in the northwest
corner of Shelby county, Van Buren township has for its
northern boundary, Auglaize county; on the west lies
Auglaize county and a part of McLean township; on the east
Dinsmore and Franklin townships, and on the south, Turtle
Creek and McLean. Although, in 1912, it contains
thirty-six full sections, it was originally still larger.
At a meeting of the county board of commissioners held at
Sidney, December 1, 1834, a petition was presented, signed
by sundry persons to the number of seventeen, praying for
the setting off of a new township of the following bounds,
viz.: Commencing at the old Indian boundary line at the
southeast corner of McLean township, thence east with said
line to a point so as to take one tier of sections off of
the west side of range 6, thence north to the Allen county
line, thence west to the northeast corner of McLean
township, thence south to the place of beginning. The
board being satisfied that legal notice of the
presentation of said petition had been given, and that
said petition was signed by a majority of the householders
residing within the boundary of said proposed new
township, and believing it necessary to erect said new
township, they therefore ordered that said new township be
set off and known by the name of Van Buren. Notice
was given to the electors of the new township to meet at
the home of Moses E. Baker, January i, 1835, for
the purpose of electing township officers. From that date
until the present, Van Buren township has been well
governed, its officials being men of sterling character in
their neighborhoods. A list of those who administered as
justices of the peace from 1835 until 1912 is as follows:
|1835 Jun. 24 - Park, Joseph H.
1835 Jun. 24 - Baker, Moses E.
1838 Apr. 30 - Baker, Moses E.
1838 Apr. 30 - Harner, Elias
1841 Apr. 16, 1844 Apr. 11 - Speaker, George
1847 Apr. 20 - Baker, Moses E.
1848 Apr. 17 - Quinn, Michael
1848 Jun. 24 - Ried, Robert
1851 May 1 - Reese, Samuel
1852 Apr. 17 - Park, Joseph H.
1853 Apr. 14 - Speaker, George
1859 Apr. 12 - Grothaus, William
1859 Jul. 2 - Speaker, George
1862 Apr. 22 - Grothaus, William (resigned Mar. 17,
1862 Apr. 22 - Speaker, George
1863 Apr. 17 - McCullough, S. M.
1865 Apr. 14 - Speaker, George
1866 Apr. 11 - McCullough, S. M.
1867 Apr. 5 - Speaker, P. W.
1869 Apr. 12 - McCullough, S. M.
1870 Apr. 8 - Speaker, P. W.
1872 Apr. 5 - McCullough, S. M.
|1878 Apr. 11 - Speaker,
1875 Apr. 9 - McCullough, S. M.
1876 Apr. 20 - Quillhorst, Harmon
1877 Oct. 19 - Baker, William M.
1879 Apr. 17 & 1882 - Maurer, Charles
1880 Nov. 10 - Baker, William M.
1883 - Baker, William M.
1885 - Maurer, Charles
1886 - Quellhorst, C. F.
1886 - Baker, William M.
1889 - Quellhorst, C. F.
1892 - McKinley, Jr.; Maurer, August
1892 - Baker, William M.
1895 - Meckstroth, E. H.
1895 - Baker, William M.
1898 - Meckstroth, E. H.
1898 - Wood, John
1901 - Meckstroth, E. H.
1901 - Wood, John
1904 - Meckstroth, E. H.
1905 - Wood, John
1908 - Meckstroth, E. H.
1908 - Drees, Michael
1910 - Meckstroth, E. H.
In 1912 Julius
Kettler was elected township clerk to succeed Henry
Roettger, deceased. In the above year the board of
trustees of Van Buren township consisted of William
Henkener, Christian Therman and Henry
SOIL AND DRAINAGE
Van Buren township, situated-
as it is, on. the .watershed, has superior advantages as
to drainage, while it is well watered by Loramie creek and
numerous other streams. Loramie creek is the most
important body of water, passing through the township from
the east and flowing in a south westerly direction and
emptying into the Loramie reservoir, a part of which is
situated in this township. On this account the Loramie is
not a rapid stream, the reservoir to some extent damming
the water at the outlet. With level surface and fertile
soil, agriculture can be successfully carried on here and
in many sections modern methods have produced phenomenal
crops. Farming engages the attention of the majority of
the residents and in 1875 Van Buren Grange No. 269 was
organized. It continued in active operation until 1879,
when, for various causes, the work was dropped until 1883
when interest was revived and it enjoyed a new growth.
The first settlements within
the present limits of Van Buren township do not date as
far back as in some other localities, 1832 probably
witnessing the first permanent locations. Elias
Spray was a resident here in the above year and a
Mr. Cory lived for about a year on land owned
by Judge Marshall, and also, among the
transient settlers of this year were the families of
Moses Redman, George Goins,
Humphrey Clinton and some others. By 1833 many
others had come to this part of the county, its natural
advantages attracting those who proposed to become
permanent home builders, and the names that have been
preserved are: Moses E. Baker, Richard
Elliott, Mrs. Philip J. Maurer, Adam
Paul, Adam Braun, John
McCullough, Jackson Traverse, Morris
Jackson, Andrew Sanders, Robert
Reed and Henry Van Brarigan.
Others who had become landowners here prior to the
organization of the township were Victor
Schnelle, Christian Brockhoff,
Frederick Abler, Victor Lanfersieck
and another family by the name of Bather than that already
mentioned. In the fall of 1833 occurred the birth of the
first white child, Charles Maurer, and the
first wedding ceremony was performed by Moses E. Baker,
justice of the peace, uniting Allen Lupton
and Sarah Rush. As in other settlements the
first buildings were of logs and frame followed and in
1841 Joel Goins put up the first brick
house, for which he made the brick.
Van Buren township has two
villages—Kettlersville and McCartyville. Several
others have been platted at different times, as Pulaski
(1837), Molike, and Rumley (1837), but these never
1873 Christopher Kettler laid out and
platted the village to which he gave his family name. The
tract consisted of seven lots, to which, subsequently,
Christopher and William Kettler added
forty-five lots, Here in the spring of 1882 was organized
the German Evangelical Lutheran church, with thirty-five
members under the pastoral guidance of Rev. A. Merkley.
In 1883 the society erected a frame church edifice at a
cost of $3,500. Kettlersville has good schools, the first
schoolhouse in the township having been erected on the
land of George Speaker. The present
population is 149.
The village of Rumley was surveyed May 19, 1837, for
Amos Evans, proprietor, and the first hewed log
house was built by Colonel Evans and was
utilized for both store and dwelling.
is a small village with a population of forty-seven. There
is considerable wealth in Van Buren township and. many of
its citizens have served creditably in public office. The
township is well provided with churches of several
This township was originally
named Grayson, by Col. Jesse Wilson,
in honor of his native county in Virginia. The township
was settled many years before its organization in 1825.
The petition for organization was filed with the
commissioners in March of that year, and an election of
officers was called for April at the home of Joseph
Stewart. The election was postponed until September
of that year, however, owing to an appeal being taken to
the common pleas court on the creation of the township.
The township was created from parts of Loramie, Turtle
Creek and Clinton townships, and is a small township,
containing twenty-five square miles, but is possibly the
best watered and drained, in Shelby county. The Miami
river forms nearly all of the township's east border line,
besides which it is penetrated by Loramie creek, Turtle
creek and numerous smaller streams. The Miami and Erie
canal with it feeder crosses the township. The feeder
enters the canal at Lockington, the summit of the canal,
from which point water flowed both ways. It was a highly
important point in the active days of the canal and of
distinguishing characteristics. The Big Four railroad
crosses the township along the north boundary and affords
The settlement of what now is Washington township
antedates that of any other part of the county, at least
James Thatcher, who made actual settlement
in the northwest part of the township in 1805, is
generally accredited with being the first to take up
permanent residence here. The following year, John,
Joseph and David Mellinger took up
their abode near the present village of Lockington, and
Thomas Earl also came in 1806. In that early
period, new arrivals were few and far between, but from
the meagre facts available, it is fairly certain that
John Wilson settled along the bank of Turtle
creek in 1807; Samuel Marshall came in 1808;
Samuel McClure in 1810; the Lenox
brothers, Richard, James and John,
came in 1811. The manner of life they led, the hardships
and privations, also their homely pleasures, are handed
down in the history and traditions of every newly
developed community. That they were men of the right type,
brave and hardy spirits, has been demonstrated by their
accomplishments as well as those of their progeny, in the
years that have intervened. Julia Ann
Lenox, daughter of Richard Lenox and
afterward wife of William Stephens, has
always been accorded the honor of being the first white
child born .in Washington township. The first marriage is
supposed to have been that of William Manning
and Ruth Julian. In 1816, John
Wilson built a brick house, the first of that
construction here, and the first sawmill in the township
or county was that of Samuel Marshall on
The following is a list of the justices of the peace of
the township and the respective years of their election:
William Mellinger, 1835 and in 1838:
|1839 - Guthrie, James
1841 - Munsey, John
1842 - Guthrie, James G.
1843 - Mellinger, William
1844 - Munsey, John
1846 - Dinsmore, Robert
1846 - Mellinger, William
1849 - Dinsmore, Robert
1849 - Mellinger, William
1852 - Dinsmore, Robert
1855 - Mohler, Amos
1855 - Guthrie, Harvey
1858 - Mellinger, William
1858 - Guthrie, Harvey
1861 - Burns, William L.
1862 - Wilson, M.
1864 - Burns, William L.
1865 - Guthrie, Harvey
1867 - Stewart, John N.
1869 - Dinsmore, Robert
1870 - Johnston, John
1872 - Dinsmore, Robert
|1873 - Everly, Jacob
1875 - Betts, Isaac
1876 - Johnston, Joseph
1878 - Dinsmore, J. K.
1879 - Johnston, John
1881 - Dinsmore, J. K.
1884 - Dinsmore, J. K.
1885 - Johnston, John
1888 - Johnston, John
1888 - Dinsmore, J. K.
1891 - Mellinger, J. L.
1891 - Williams, J. D.
1894 - Dinsmore, Robert J.
1894 - Dinsmore, J. K.
1897 - Dinsmore, R. J.
1897 - Adams, Charles
1900 - Parents, Gordon
1900 - Everly, Jacob
1902 - Adams, Charles
1905 - Warwick, A. T.
1907 - Warwick, A. T.
1908 - Everly, Jacob
Washington township has been
fortunate in its schools, each district being provided
with a good building and the instruction being of the
highest character. This condition was not brought about in
a day, but represents generations of progress and
improvements. This subject is dealt with more fully in the
chapter on education, to be found on another page of this
In its churches also
Washington has been fortunate, and of the various church
societies few have passed out of being. Those that did, at
one time flourished and their records show much in the
accomplishment of good. The work of the church in the
early period reflects much of the. life the pioneers led,
as church and social life were closely interwoven.
The Methodist Episcopal denomination was active
here long before a church was built. We find missionaries
of that faith visiting the community at the very earliest
settlement. However it was some few years before there
were any regularly organized societies. Even then they met
for worship first in one cabin and another until they were
somewhat more firmly established. No records being kept,
such knowledge as we have of the church in those pioneer
days has come through the vale of years by word of mouth.
In 1825 or thereabout, a class consisting of James
Thompson and wife. Jane
Thompson, Joseph Caldwell and
wife, Jane Patterson, Thomas Plummer and
Amos Travers, was organized at the home, of
James Thompson, who was the first class leader.
After some years meetings were held at the home of John
Legg, upon whose property the society built a hewed
log church building in 1838, dedicating it as Ebenezer
church. The church held its own for many years, but as
other more conveniently located churches became
established, inroads were made upon its membership until
in 1872 it ceased to exist, most of the members joining
the Lockington body.
The Lockington Methodist
Episcopal church was organized at the home of
Wilkinson Post, in December, 1847, by Rev.
Jacob W. Young, the first members being: Wilkinson
Post and wife, Isaac W. Legg,
who was the leader, Mrs. Patten, Mrs. Munson and
Mrs. Harper. A subscription was taken for a
church building in 1848, but owing to an epidemic of
cholera it was not until 1850. they completed their frame
edifice, which was dedicated in June of that year by
Rev. Michael Marley. It was a good substantial
building and has been remodeled and enlarged twice since,
in 1881 and again in 1812. Rev. Mr. Stafford is the
The United Brethren church in Washington dates back to
1844 when Rev. James Winters organized a society at
Rock Run, the original members being Francis Bailey
and wife, Sarah Rasor,
William Dunlap and wife, John Bower and wife, and
Blakeley Dunlap and wife. Francis Bailey
was the leader. Although they kept up their organization
for years, they never built a church and the members
gradually joined with other societies which had churches.
In 1850, the society at Lockington was formed by the
Rev. Henry Toby and for two years or more they
worshipped in a schoolhouse. In 1851 they erected a new
church, which was dedicated in 1854 by Rev.
Henry Cumler. The first leader was Jacob
Rasor and the following were the members:
William Valentine and wife, W. Furnce
and wife, C. Beadle and wife, Abraiii Rasor and wife,
Jacob Rasor and Stephen Alexander and
wife. The building served them well until 1887,
when the present edifice was erected. The present pastor
is Rev. J. H. Mayne.
The Disciple church in Lockington was organized in 1871
by Elder John M. Smith, with the following members:
Joseph T. Wilkinson, John P. Johnston and wife, S. A.
Johnston and wife, C. Johnston and wife, Joseph P.
Barkalow and wife, William Beauchamp, Henry P. Johnston
and wife, Mrs. Molly Melliiiger, Harriet Johnston and
Sarah A. Johnston. For a year they
held meeting in a schoolhouse, at the end of which time
they bought the building and remodeled it. The first
elders of the church were Joseph T. Wilkinson
and Christopher Johnston. The first deacons
were William Beauchamp and S. A. Johnston.
Lockington, once known by
the name of Lockport, was a flourishing little place
and a point of much interest in the old days of canaling.
The last census accorded it a population of 166. It was
surveyed by Jonathan Counts, in 1837, for
its owner David Mellinger, and the plat
recorded on December 18, of that year. Upon petition to
the county commissioners, Lockington was incorporated as a
village on September 9, 1857. Its first municipal election
was held April 1, 1858, and the following officers
elected: W. S. Burns, mayor; G. A.
Gillespie, recorder; Jacob Rasor,
treasurer; John Agenbroad, marshal; and
W. B. Valentine, F. Whitby, D. K. Gillespie, Thomas
Wilson and N. B. Boust, members of the council.
The present mayor of Lockington is Thomas Bailey,
an old and respected resident of the village.
About all of the industrial activity of Washington
township has been centered at Lockington. About the year
1830, a man named Steinberger started a small flour
mill on Loramie creek near where the village now is
located, and in connection operated a sawmill which a man
named Aldrich had previously built near by and
abandoned. John Brown became the purchaser
of these mills in 1837, and in addition conducted a woolen
mill. It was sold to Robert Ewing, who in
1844 built a new flour mill and ran it until 1859. It was
subsequently operated successively by D. K. Gillespie,
John Johnston, John Fuller and O. C. Horton,
the latter having it in. 1872 when fire destroyed it.
Rasor & Brother, having bought the site,
erected a new mill the following year, which continued in
operation until some fifteen or sixteen years ago.
The first sawmill in Lockington was built by William
Stephens about the year 1845, and was later sold to
Reed Brothers, who closed it down after a
few years. The site was sold in i860 to Daniel
and Jacob Rasor, who erected a new mill,
with a corn crusher and chopping burr attached. They
operated it until 1873, then sold out to the Summit Paper
Mill Company, who sold it a few months later to Francis
Bailey and two sons. They continued the business until
1876, when it was sold to J. T. and H. P. Bailey,
who operated it with success for years. The mill was
burned down some eight or ten years ago and was never
At the present time there is located in Lockington the
grain elevator of C. N. Adlard, which was
established by D. K. Gillespie and came into the
hands of the present proprietor about eight years ago.
With respect to storing capacity this elevator is one of
the largest in the state. It is a modern building in every
respect and was substantially improved by Mr. Adlard
Vogler & Hershey conduct a general store here and
keep a wagon on the road, selling and buying produce.
G. A. Pope, who is postmaster, also conducts a
general store, and in summer has a good ice cream
The Buxton Pattern Works were established here
about four years ago, Mr. Buxton devoting
his personal attention to the designing of special
Lockington Tent, No. 68, Knights of the Maccabees, is also
TABLE OF CONTENTS >
- History of Shelby County - Publ. 1913 -