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History & Genealogy

History of Shelby County, Ohio
and representative citizens
Evansville, Ind. -
1913 - 947 pgs.

Chapter XIX
Pg. 332

Historical Sketches of Clinton, Cyhthian and Dinsmore Townships - Organization - Early Settlement - Villages - Schools - Churches, Etc.


     The township, which lies southeast of the geographical center of Shelby county, was at first organized as a part of Miami county, in which, as elsewhere stated, the whole of Shelby county was formerly included.  It still however retains its original name.  It is bounded north by Franklin, east by Salem, Perry and Orange, south by Orange and Washginton and west by Washington and Turtle Creek townships.  The territory embraces portions of town 8, range 6; town 1, range 7; town 1, range 13, and town 7, range 6.  This comprises sections and fractional sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 19, 22, 23,24, 25 26, 27, 30, 34, 35, 36 and 3 and 10 repeated being of different towns or ranges.  Sine its organization the township has undergone numerous territorial adjustments and readjustments, account of which may be found in the report of the county commissioners' proceedings.
     Clinton township is drained by the Great Miami River, which enters at the northeast corner and flows south by west, and then, running southwest, becomes for a distance of about two miles the boundary line between Clinton and Orange township.  Side by side with the river flows the Miami feeder with its water supply, which it carries to the canal at Lockington.  Tawawa creek enters the Miami opposite Sidney, coming from the east, while another small tributary, flowing in the same direction, joins the large stream about a mile south of the mouth of the Tawawa.  Three small streams enter the Miami from the west within the bounds of the township.

     The township is crossed north and south by the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, and east and west by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, which two roads cross at Sidney, the county seat, the town lying on the west side of the Miami. The canal leaves the river for a certain distance in order to pass through the central portion of the town. The chief importance of Clinton lies in its possession of the county seat, which attracts population, though throughout the township farming is carried on extensively and the inhabitants in general are prosperous.
     The lands bordering on the Miami river are in particular noted for their fertility. The surface is broken, rolling away Westward; and while not jagged or precipitous, is still broken and even hilly along the river. The Infirmary farm comprises the extreme southwest quarter of land in this town­ship, being the southwest quarter (160 acres) of section 10, range 6, town. 7.


     At an election held in the township of Clinton by order of James Wells, Esq., auditor of Shelby county, on the 25th day of October, 1821, agreeably to notice given, the following township officers were elected:
     Trustees, Philip Coleman, Robert McClure, and Rufus Carey. Clerk, Harvey B. Foote. Overseers of the poor, John Tilbury and James Forsythe, Fence viewers, William Drake and Benjamin Mapes. Treasurer, George Poole.
     Thomas Lambert appeared and gave bond, with William Drake and Thomas W. Ruckman, conditioned as the law directs, and was duly qualified to perform the duties of constable for Clinton township according to law, November 3, 1821.
     Monday, March 4, 1822. The trustees met according to law, and agreeably to order of court of the 4th of February they proceeded to select W. Cecil, Jacob Sclosser, Wm. Johnston, Philip Coleman, Rufus Carey, Nathan Coleman, and Elias Carey as grand jurors (7), and also John Tilbury, Archibald Defrees, Robert Blakeley, John Whitmire, and John Johnston as petit jurors (5), to serve the ensuing year, the list thereof returned to the clerk's office the same day.
     The trustees allow B. S. Cox $1.00 for services as clerk of the first town­ship election in this township; order given on treasurer.
     John Lenox, supervisor for district No. 6, Turtle Creek township, as appointed by the trustees before the township was divided, made his return. and charges nothing for his services. Return filed.
     Ordered, that it (the township) be divided into three 'districts (road); Sidney, No. 1: Plum Creek, No. 2; and Mile Creek, No. 3. No. 1 to work the road from the ford below Ruckman's mill to the public square in Sidney, the road leading to Hardin, and the one from Dingmansburg to Sidney. No. 2 to work the road from the public square on the road that leads up the river past Wm. Johnston's and Talbert's to the township line, and the Plum Creek road to the township line. No. 3 to work the road that leads from Sidney past Rufus Carey's to the township line, and the road from where it intersects the aforesaid road leading past Mr. Levalley's as far as the township line. John Blake supervisor district No. 1, N. Coleman of district No. 2, and a supervisor to be elected in No. 3.
     Ordered that the clerk advertise according to law for an election to be held on the first Monday next to elect one clerk, three trustees, two overseers of the poor, two fence viewers, two appraisers, one of whom shall be lister as well as appraiser, one treasurer, two constables, and three supervisors, to serve the ensuing year (1822) for the township of Clinton. A true record.
                                                            Attest. Harvey B. Foote, Twp. Clerk.


1823 - Williams, Elisha
1825 - Coleman, J. H.
1825 - McCreight, John
1831 - Coleman, James H.
1834 - Lenox, John
1835 - McGrew, E.
1837 - Stuart, Alex
1837 - McCullough, Sam
1838 - Stuart, Alex.
1840 - McCullough, Sam
1840-1 - John Shaw - resigned
1841 - Frazer, J. F.
1841 - Stuart, Alex
1843 - McCullough, Sam
1844 - Frazer, J. F.
1844 - Wilkin, Stephen (never qualified)
1846 - Byers, J. H.
1846 - Robinson, Fred
1847 - Frazer, J. F.
1848 - Nutt, Irwin
1849 - Robinson, F
1850 - Frazer, J. F.
1851 - Hale, M. C.
1852 - Robinson, I. F.
1853 - Frazer, J. F.
1854 - Walker, Wm. D.
1855 - Newman, M. B. (resigned Mar. 8, 1857)
1855 - Robinson, F.
1856 - Frazer, J. F.
1857 - Hale, M. C.
1857 - Rinehart, D. B.
1859 - Frazer, J. F.
1860 - Hale, M. C.
1860 - Rinehart, D. B.
1862 - Mathers, Samuel.
1863 - Hale, M. C.
1864 - Robertson, A. J.
1865 - Mathers, Sam
1866 - Hale, M. C.
1867 - Frazer, J. F.
1868 - Leckey, S. Alex.
1869 - Hale, M. C.
1870 - Nutt, Irwin (resigned July 2, 1870)
1870 - Rebstock, A. J.
1871 - Leckey, A. A.
1872 - Hale, Mathew C.
1874 - Guthrie, Harvey
1874 - Rebstock, A. J.
1875 - Hale, M. C. & Hume, H.
1876 - Hatfield, S. J.
1878 - Hale, M. C.
1878 - Buch, Daniel L.
1881 - Stephenson, J. G.
1881 - Bush, D. L.
1881 - Bunnelle, Geo. H.
1884 - Hale, Mathew C.
1884 - Wyman, Wm. C.
1887 - Hale, M. C.
1887 - Wyman, W. C.
1890 - Ailes, H. S.
1893 - Ailes, H. S.
1893 - Wyman, Wm. C.
1896 - Hale, M. C.
1896 - Nessler, Chas. W.
1899, Wyman, Wm. C.
1899, Nessler, Chas. W.
1902 - Conklin, J. W.
1902 - Hale, M. C.
1904-1905 - Higgins, Ben D.
1905 - Elliott, G. W.
Appointed Apr. 24, 2907 until successor elected - Hess, C. R.
1908 - Hess, C. R.
1908 - Needles, Emanuel
1911 - Needles, E.
1911 - Hess, C. R.

     The present township clerk of Clinton in is Karl F. Young.   Trustees - William Salm, F. M. Hussey and George Ehrhart.


Cynthian township is one of the west tier of townships. It is oblong in form, contains 32 sections and extends four miles north and south and eight miles east and west. McLean township bounds it on the north, Turtle Creek on the. east and Loramie on the south, while Darke county lies on its western boundary.
     Cynthian has a more rolling surface than any other township in the county. Its soil varies, in some parts being clay while in others black loam and sand are found. Its fine gravel beds furnish excellent material for highway construction. Almost centrally from north to south flows Loramie creek, other streams being Buffalo run, Lawrence creek and Salt Lick. Close-to and parallel with Loramie creek runs the Miami' and Erie canal and Great and South Panther creeks empty into it from the east. The farms and residences throughout the township present abundant evidences of prosperity on the part of its inhabitants.


     There is evidence that Cynthian township attracted settlers as early as 1815. In that year Thomas Butt, John Wise and Conrad Pouches had established themselves with their families, but it is still a question which came first.  Nevertheless they soon had other neighbors for between that date and 1824 the following pioneers—some from the older states and others from countries across the sea—took up their residences in the township: Leonard and Tobias Danner, Henry Hershaw, Zachariah Hurley, John and Alexander Miller, Samuel and Benjamin Leighty, Jacob Seerfauss, John Barker, John Gates; C. Stoker, William Hicks, George Harman, William Jerome, Charles Lovell, George Moyer, Jacob, John and Andrew Wise, Robert Steen, J. Shagley, Robert Chambers and John Borden.
     As in other sections, the pioneers in Cynthian township lived at first in log cabins and while these primitive dwellings were adequate to their early needs, as they grew more prosperous, frame houses were erected, which still later gave place to those of stone and brick.  The first frame house in the township was erected on the present site of Newport by Josias Reaser but he did not, apparently, occupy it, selling it to Cyrus Reese. George Butt was the first to build a brick house, probably burning the brick on his own land.  A saw mill—one of the first necessities—was built by Conrad Pouches, and a tannery—another desirable enterprise in a pioneer settlement—was started by Stephen Blanchard. William Mills was the first blacksmith and in the vil­lages which rapidly grew, other lines of business were started so that, within the first quarter of a century from the time of settlement, civilized conditions prevailed all over the township. Very early the people began to agitate the "subject of schools and the first building especially dedicated to the cause of education was built on land owned by Jacob Wise. The United Brethren appear to have been the first here in the religious field. Originally this town­ship belonged to Loramie but was detached in 1822. The first township election was held at the house of Alexander Miller, July 4, 1822.


     Four towns—North Port, Newport, Cynthian and Basinburg—have been platted at different times in the township's history.
     North Port—The plat of North Port (incorporated into Newport?) con­tained twenty lots and was located on the west half of northeast quarter of section 30, town. 10, range 5 east and was surveyed for Richard Short, its proprietor, in June, 1839. It was laid out with four streets: Main, North. Elm and South.
     Newport was surveyed and platted in the same year as North Port, for Nicholas Wynant. It is situated in section 30, on the Miami and Erie canal and at present has about 140 inhabitants the population having decreased con­siderably in the last twenty-five years. The first frame house as mentioned above was located-here and was used as a hotel by Cyrus Reese, who built a second one in which he conducted a grocery store. Pilliod Brothers, C. Belt and John Link, were early business men here and E. Pilliod operated the first steam saw and grist mill. In 1881 O. O. Mathers, of Sidney, established the Newport Flax Mill, which he operated in connection with the Sidney Flax Mill. This mill is still standing but has not been operated for a number of years.
     Cynthian—On September 14, 1819, a town was platted, surveyed and recorded, at the Loramie crossing, in section 30, on land which subsequently was owned by the Sweigert family. It was named Cynthian village and a few-lots were sold but not enough to make possible a village organization. In 1825 all hope of this was dissipated and the land was purchased by William Mills, who devoted it to agricultural purposes.
     Basinburg—There was a time when Basinburg had prospects of becoming a considerable business and social, center for the township but progress was slow and its village organization is no longer evident. It was laid out in 1839 by Herman Mier in the northwest quarter of section 18, town. 10, range 5 east, the plats showing sixty-five lots, the sixty-fifth being donated to the citizens as a site for a church edifice. Its main streets were Main, Canal, Basin, Water, East and South Lane.
     Oran, formerly a postoffice, is. now a settlement of about thirty-eight people, located on the line between sections 27 and 28, and receives mail through Dawson.


     The people of Cynthian township are well supplied with school facilities, there being eight special school districts, the officials of these being selected from among the leading men of the township. Hope well special school district's officers for 1911 and 1912: S. M. Winemiller, president; F. B. Miller, clerk, William Wiley, treasurer, and Charles Snow and Nathan. Cromes, in 1911, the only change in 1912 being that Henry Bodemiller took the place of Nathan Cromes. Grisez special school district for 1911 had John P. Lallemand for president; John Grisez for clerk; Henry Achbach for treasurer, with Blaize Cardo and Philip Cardo as other members of the board. The officers and members for 1912 were: Jesse Barder, president; John Grisez, clerk; J. P. Lallemand, treasurer, and? Xavier Cardo and Henry Achbach. Turner special school district's board of education for 1912: Henry Sherman, president; Peter Eilerman, clerk; Frank Turner,: treasurer, and N. A. Paulus, William Kloeker and Jacob Batty. Basinburg special school district in 1911 had John Swartz as president, Michaei Loy, clerk, Henry Harrod, treasurer, and Joseph H. Kessler and John Martz, while in 1912 the board was as follows: J. H. Kessler, president; Michael Loy, clerk; Henry Harrod, treasurer, and Frank Lindhaus, John Lengerich and Joseph Wurtz. Short special school district board for 1911 had Henry Eilerman for president; Henry Holscher for clerk; Charles Broerman for treasurer and G. W. Short and Joseph Winner, no change being made in 1912, except that John C. Short took the place of Joseph Winner. Forest? special school district for 1911 elected J. H. Rhodehamel as president of its board; Charles C. Snyder, clerk, David A. McKinstry for treasurer and Robert and Leander Wright as the other members. In 1912 the officials and members were: Leander Wright, William Jelly and W. W. Widener, the same officials serving. Oran special school district's board of education for 1912 had D. W. Christman .as president; George Wyatt as treasurer; E. J. Enyart as clerk, with David Swab and, A. Fagan as other members. Other school statistics may be found in the chapter on education.


     Methodist Episcopal Church—In 1872 through the efforts of Dr. Reaner and Mrs. Henry Sweigart, a Sunday school was organized at Newport, which developed into the Methodist Episcopal church at that place.. A brick edifice was completed in the fall of 1873, the congregation then under the ministerial charge of Rev. Rauch. In spite of the decreased population of the village this church has maintained its organization and. has always been active in Christian work. Rev. Parker is the present pastor.
     Oran Christian Church-This church originally known as Cynthian Christian church, was founded in 1833, its first members being Samuel Penrod and wife, Isaac Short and wife, Isaac Mann, and George and Samuel Butt and their wives. A church building was erected in 1851 and the congregation is now presided over by Rev. Cain.
     The Loramie German Baptist church was organized in 1848 and for a number of years the faithful gathered at stated times in private houses and in the Christian church. In 1865 the membership in the township was augmented by a number who came from other, sections and in the next year an edifice for church purposes was erected and this society was known until 1877 as the North Branch of the Covington Society. In that year they became a separate congregation, Rev. Jacob Hollinger being elected the first minister.
     The United Brethren have a church in this township and there is also a Dunkard church, presided over by Rev. McCokle.
     St. Peter's and St. Paul's Catholic church at Newport was erected in 1856, and the same structure is still standing. It has been kept in good repair, and is now a modern structure and a church of which its members should feel proud.


     Between 1835 and 1910, Cynthian township  has been served by fifty-three of its representative citizens in the office of justice of the peace, a list of the same being herewith given:

1835 - Penrod, Michael
1837 - Miller, John
1838 - Hale, George
1840 - Miller, John
1841 - Short, Isaac
1843 - Miller, John
1844 - Murphy, G. G.
1846 - Clawson, Josiah
1847 - Gloyd, H.
1847 - Murphy, G. G.
1848 - Miller, John
1853 - Gloyd, Harry
1854 - Skillen W. W.
1855 - Johnston, James R.
1858 - Short, Isaac
1859 - Chrisman, J. S.
1861 - Short, Isaac
1862 - Pilliod, Eugene
1864 - Short, Isaac
1865 - Pilliod, Eugene
1867 - Merrick, M.
1868 - Short, Isaac
1869 - Barker, George
1871 - Pilliod, Eugene
1871 - Mann, Charles
1874 - Huston, Edward
1874 - Mann, Charles
1877 - Huston, Edward
1877 - Mills, N. W.
1877 - Leckey, A. H.
1880 - Foust, Julius
1880 - Turner, Francis
1883 - Luckey, A. H.
1883 - Turner, Frank
1886 - Carpenter, John
1888 - Moorman, Frank (resigned in 1889)
1889 - Mann, Charles
1890 - Marshall, Anthony
1890 - Foust, Benjamin F.
1892 - Carpenter, G. W.
1893 - Harrop, R.
1893 - Foust, B. F.
1889 - Sweigert, E. B.
1899 - Nisewonger, O. W.
1902 - Withringham, J. F.
1902 - Turner, F. H.
1903 - Galley, J. P.
1906 - Spraley, Wilbur
1906 - Pickering, John H.
1909 - Short, H. H.
1910 - Emert, J. F.

     The present township clerk is E. B. Swigert.  Trustees: Joseph Barhorst, Nathan Cromes and James Wolaver.


     Although this township was very late in its settlement and organization, its development was steady and its progress, along every line, rapid. It boasts of the two most important towns in the county, aside from the county seat, in Botkins and Anna, although the latter is partly in Franklin township. It is regular in its outline, being six miles square, and is centrally located in the northern tier of townships of Shelby county, its north line being bounded by Auglaize county. The commissioners' records show the township to have been independently organized on December 3, 1832. Pursuant to an order by the commissioners of the county, the citizens of the township met at the home of Joseph Green, December 25, 1832, and elected the various township officers.
     Dinsmore township is level, practically speaking, and the soil is such as to attract agriculturists, being well adapted for the growing of the various grains and grasses. It is drained by a number of small streams which take their rise in the township. It seems the first real settlement was made here in. 1832, which marked the arrival of a number of families, but it is reasonably certain some located farms here the previous year, notably William Blakely, of Franklin county, Ohio, and Silas D. Allen, of Pickaway county, Ohio. There has always been a diversity of opinion as to who was' the, first to take up residence within the township, many according the honor to George Turner, who came from Greene county, Ohio, in 1832. The latter did not remain long at that time, owing to the prevalence of milk sickness, but in 1837 again returned but took up a different farm. Mr. Turner was followed, in the same year, by Joseph Green, from Warren county, Ohio, who with his wife and five children; located on a farm in section 28; on a part of which the village of Anna is partly located; John Munch, of Greene county, Ohio, whose farm also lay in section 28, and was partly included in the village of Anna; Richard C. Dill, of Hamilton county, Ohio, who brought his wife and eleven children; Samuel Blakeley, of Franklin county, Ohio, who came here from Franklin township where he had settled in 1830; and Richard Botkin, who came from Hamilton county, Ohio. The following year, 1833, witnessed the arrival of: Alfred Staley, of Montgomery county, Ohio; Hector Lenion, of Chester county, Pennsylvania: Joseph Park, of New Jersey; Erasmus B. Toland, of Miami county, Ohio; Philip Good, who came from Greene county, Ohio, but was a native of Pennsylvania; and Philip Hagelberger, a native of France. In 1834, there came: Jacob Wilford, his wife and five children, from Virginia; Philip Brideweiser, from Franklin county, Ohio; David Taylor, his wife and eight children, from Greene county, Ohio; Peter Boling and family, from Montgomery county, Ohio; William Ellis and family from Virginia; Frederick Oxburger, of Germany; and Samuel and William Elliott, who located in section 4; Thomas Iiams and family came from Warren county, Ohio, in 1835; Cornelius Elliott, of Licking county, Ohio, in 1835; Daniel Toland, of Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1836; William H. Abbott, in 1836; John Fahr, of Perry county, Ohio, in 1838; and Diedrich Schulte. in 1838. This is by no means regarded as an exhaustive, list of those who came during the period mentioned, but time has thoroughly obscured facts once so easy to obtain. Settlement was quite backward in the early years, largely because of milk sickness, but became very general in the forties, and as a whole those who came were of a wholesome and progressive class.
     Henry Hildebrant was the first justice of the peace of whom there is record, the year of his election being 1835, and he was succeeded in turn by Richard Botkin, in 1837; Henry Hildebrant, in 1838; John Elliott, in 1839; Richard Botkin, 1840; John Elliott, 1842; Elias Horner, 1842; Samuel Elliott, 1843; John Elliott, 1845; Jacob Wilford, 1846; John Elliott, 1848; E. F. Mede, 1849; John Elliott, 1854; Jacob Wilford, 1855; Samuel Elliott, 1855; Joseph Hildebrant, 1858; Sarauel_Elliott, 1860;. Samuel Elliott, 1803; D. E. Morgan, 1864; Isaac G. Stafford, 1866; D. E. Morgan, 1867; Samuel Elliott, 1869; P. Hunt, 1870; Samuel Elliott, 1872; P. Hunt, 1873; Samuel Elliott, 1875; William Munford, 1878: P. Hunt, 1879; Lewis Applegate, -1881; S. Wilken, 1882; J. M. Carson, 1882; S. Wilken, 1885; R. B. Dill, 1888; J. B. Stolly, 1888; J. B. Stolly, 1891; R. B. Dill, 1891; George W. Hensel, 1892; J. B. Greve, 1894 George W. Hensel, 1895; J. B. Greve, 1897; George W. Hensel, 1898; J. B. Greve, 1900; M. A. Roth, 1901; George W. Hensel, 1910 ; George W. Hensel, 1904; M. A. Roth, 1904; J. B. Stolly, 1908; George W. Hensel, 1908; George W. Hensel, 1910; and J. B. Stolly, 1912.. At the present time, LeRoy F. Hemmert, of Botkins, is township clerk, and the trustees are Jacob J. Fogt, John B. Schulte and Frank J. Marx.
     Farming has generally claimed the attention of the rural residents of Dinsmore township, and such industries as have been fostered have been mainly in the villages. There was in earlier years considerable sawing done, but timber, too quickly disappeared for that industry to be other than a small one here. A very successful plant, established in Dinsmore, on the William P. Davis farm, in 1871, was a tile yard which was given the name of the Montra Tile Yards, being three-fourths of a mile west of Montra. It was started by William P. Davis and M. Merkling and was operated by them some years before passing into other hands.
     In 1849 a saw mill was established in section 26, operated by a forty-horse power engine. Silas D. Allen and George Duff, the original owners, conducted it until the death of the former in June, 1850, after which the latter carried on the business until in 1851. He then sold a half interest to Michael Fogt and the firm of Duff & Fogt continued for several years. It was then operated by several owners until 1861, then existed in a state of disuse until it was finally torn down. In 1874, Messrs. L. Davis and J. C. Linton established what was long known as the Linton steam saw mill, they conducting it in partnership until 1878, when Mr. Linton conducted it alone. The business was dis­continued here many years ago, the proprietors moving to Dayton, Ohio.
     The citizens got together in the organization of a branch of the Patrons of Husbandry, Estey Grange, No. 924, being organized May 25, 1874, by Deputy Johnson. It originally had twenty-four members and experienced a healthy growth.


     The first regular school in the township was conducted in • a crude log structure, about twenty feet square, with puncheon floor and seats. A large fire-place extended the full width of the building, on one side, and there was a stick chimney and a one-light window. It was built in 1836 and the first teacher there was William D. Johnson. A second building of similar type, except as to windows, was built in section 23 in 1840, and here William Wilson and E. T. Mede were early teachers. The third schoolhouse, also log, was erected in section 14, and became known as the Beck schoolhouse, the first teacher there being James Beck. The buildings of the next period represented the advancement from the round log to the hewed log and frame type, and were variously located throughout the township. A uniform plan of locating them came into being, a building being erected in the center of every four sections, thus making nine schools. An additional school was established for the colored children, but in 1870 race segregation was abolished. As new school laws came into effect, the districts were much changed from time to time. More detail with regard to the schools may be found in the chapter on Education.


     Anna, a station on the C. H. & D. Railway, was surveyed for John L. and Fletcher S. Thirkield, in 1867, and lies in Dinsmore and Franklin townships. The name, Anna, was given it in honor of Mrs. Anna Thirkield. It is a prosperous place, the last census showing its population to be 460, and it is steadily growing. The plat of the town was recorded April 25, 1868, and in 1877 a petition was presented to the board of county commissioners for its incorporation as a village, the signers being: A. Glason, F. S. Thirkield, Lewis Kah, P. W. Young, J. D. Elliott and thirty-two others. The petition was granted June 26, 1877, and recorded as granted September 3, 1877. The first board of councilmen consisted of L..Kah, M. Norcross, A. Clason, M. Billings, Dr. Lefevre, and J. Weatherhead. The first mayor was L. Applegate, and the other first officers were: J. C. Koverman, marshal; Dodfrey Kembbld, treasurer ; and F. W. Stork, clerk. The first postmaster was F. S. Thirkield, but his service long antedated the incorporation of the village. Anna has an adequate fire department, the equipment consisting of a gas engine, hose cart and ladder. The present mayor of the town is R. D. Curtner.
     Among the principal commercial industries of Anna are the following: H. C. Hagelberger, clothing, tailoring and gents' furnishings; business established nine years ago; R. D. Mede, stoves, tinware, tinners' supplies, metal work, roofing, buggies and carriages; Mr. Mede has been established in business here for the past thirty years, and in addition to the commercial lines mentioned above, he is agent for the Oliver plows and cultivators.
E. B. Ballinger & Company are conducting the business established by J. L. Applegate, thirty-nine years ago, the present business style being assumed August 17, 1912. The concern deals in furniture, carpets, mattings, linoleum, window shades, lace curtains, curtain poles, and sewing machines. Mr. Ballinger also conducts a business in undertaking and embalming. A. Weller, druggist, also dealer in stationery, wall paper, etc., has been established in Anna for the last twenty years.
     P. W. Young is dealer in general hardware, farming implements, stoves, paints, oils, glass, etc. This business was established forty-one years ago by Elliott & Young; the former partner, Mr. Elliott, died about twenty-five years ago.
     The Farmers and Merchants Bank Company was established in 1907 by parties from Columbus, Ohio. On May 29,1910, it was incorporated by Daniel Runkle, R. D. Curtner, William C. Heinrich, George D. Fridley and E. M. Martin with a capital stock of $25,000. Its present officers are: Daniel Runkle, president; R. D. Mede, vice-president, and A. W. Fridley, cashier. The directors last elected are: C. C. Toland, J .W. A. Fridley, W. M. Runkle (since deceased), E. M. Martin (not sworn in), R. D. Mede, Daniel Runkle-, and George C. Schiff. The bank has undivided profits of $1,600.
     Finkenbein & Manning, dealers in grain, feed, flour and, seeds, are proprietors of a grain elevator, the present firm having been established January 1, 1912. The business is an old one, having been established forty years ag6 by K. H. Stock & Company, who were succeeded by L. Finkenbein, who had been a partner with Mr. Stock, and who conducted it for a number of years. In 1895 it came into possession of L. Finkenbein, Jr., which proprietorship was continued until the present partnership was formed. The firm has an adequate plant and is doing a successful business.
     Martin Manufacturing Company are successors to the William Johnson spoke factory. They are now putting in new machinery and will engage in the manufacture of staves.
Milton C. Fogt is conducting a prosperous hardware business. Miss S. E. McCullough is proprietor of a millinery and notion store. M. H. Ailes conducts a general insurance business.
     The grain business now carried on by C. C. Toland was established fifty years ago, the elevator being built at that time. John Thirkield conducted the business for fifteen years, his successor being Frank Thirkield, who was proprietor for about five years. The property was. then leased to Farrington, Saluson & Nelson, by whom it was carried on for five or six years. The next proprietor was judge Bowersox, of Sidney, from whom the business was bought by C. C. Toland. The business was conducted for some time as a partnership concern, under the style of Toland & Ludwig, but about twelve years ago Mr. Toland bought out his partner and has since been sole proprietor. Mr. Toland deals m" grain, seeds, salt, etc., and is doing a prosperous business.
     Other business enterprises of Anna are Fred Woehrle, groceries; George Fleckinstine, drain tile; L. Finkenbein, groceries, dry goods, notions, etc.; C. McVay & Son, livery, established twenty-two years; B. F. Martin, notions, Mr. Martin being the successor of his grandfather, R. Martin, who established the business; Rembold Brothers, W. T. and J. G., boots, shoes and rubber goods, have been established four years, the business haying been previously carried on for seven years by W. J. Rembold alone.


     Botkins, which is located on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway, near the north boundary of Dinsmore township, was platted as a village for Russell Botkin, who owned the land, in July, 1858. It was certified by J. A. Wells, surveyor, and acknowledged July 31, 1858. The town became a prosperous trading center and had a steady growth. It aspired to the dignity of an incorporated village in 1881, a petition being filed with the county commissioners on March 7, of that year. Although strenuously fought by some of the citizens, through remonstrance and protest filed, the proposition was carried through, a majority of the people being in favor of it. The petition was granted August 2, 1881, and was recorded January 3, 1882. A special election was held, at which the following officers were elected: P. W. Speaker, mayor; H. H. Varner, clerk; F. M. Hemmert, treasurer; J. B. Staller, marshal; and John McMahon, Dr. G. M. Tate, Dr. P. K. Clienhens, Alexander Botkin and J. B. Hemmert, councilmen. Since then the growth of the village .has been slow but steady. There has been no marked "boom" but business in general has flourished and the citizens are prosperous. Though some former industries and commercial enterprises have passed out of existence with, the mutations of time, others have taken their places, and present conditions, on the whole, mark a satisfactory advance.
     For a town of its size, Botkins has a very complete and efficient fire department, with a good engine house. The apparatus consists of a Howe gasoline engine, hook and ladder wagon and hose cart with several thousand feet of hose. There is also an old hand engine which can be used when required. There is a good water supply, the water being obtained from cisterns (50 by 25 feet), which are sunk at convenient places on the streets. These cisterns are supplied from an artificial lake, covering two acres of ground and from twelve to fifteen feet deep, which is owned by the corporation. The department consists of a volunteer company numbering forty men, under the command at the present time of Chief John Morris.
     The Botkins Herald, a six-column quarto weekly, was established about fifteen years ago by Adam E. Blakeley, who conducted it until his death, in January, 1911. He was then succeeded by his son, Lowell E. Blakeley, who is the present proprietor. The paper is independent in politics and has a considerable circulation throughout this part of the county. A job printing office is run in connection with the plant and does a good business. A new cylinder press has recently been installed, and the office is supplied with all the latest faces of job type. The proprietor, Mr. Blakeley, is the present post­master of Botkins.
     Among the principal commercial industries of Botkins at the present time are the following: The Botkins Hardware Company, John C. Koenig, proprietor, are dealers in hardware, stoves, roofing, fence, pumps, buggies and implements. The business was established by Mr. Koenig about seven years ago and is in a flourishing condition. The store is large and well supplied with an ample and varied stock. H. W. Weigert & Company, dealers in clothing, dry goods, shoes, groceries and general merchandise, has been established about two years ago and gives promise of a successful future. W. C. Zaenglein & Brothers are proprietors of a well-equipped department store. W. H. Brideweser, dealer in harness, has been established in Botkins nearly eighteen, years and is conducting a successful business. Thomas Kennedy Implement Company deals in hardware, stoves, wire fencing, fence posts, implements, cement, lime, plaster, etc., and has been doing a successful business for ten years or more. . William Oppeman conducts a well-appointed livery stable. F. G. Gutnian conducts a general store. J. H. M. Schurr, undertaker and furniture dealer, is successfully carrying-on the business established by his father, Christian Schurr, twenty-four years ago. B. A. Steinke is proprietor of a black­smith shop. There are also several other stores, including the Blakeley Millinery, one or two barber shops and several saloons. A saw mill has been conducted here for a number of years by M. A. Roth, who also does ditch contracting. The Paul & Shafer grain elevator is an up-to-date concern and is doing a good, business. The old mill was built by Taylor & Marx, who were its proprietors for about five years, the business then being bought by Mr. Shafer, who conducted it under the style of Shafer Grain Co. About a year later, July 6, 1911, it burned down, but in the same year the erection of the present mill was begun and in October, 1912, it was opened for business. In the meanwhile, or July 1, 1912, Mr. Paul became a partner with Mr. Shafer and the firm adopted its present style of Paul & Shafer. The concern deals, in-grain, seeds, salt, flour, coal and fence posts and building tile, and are buyers and sellers of live stock. The elevator is a commodious and up-to-date structure.
     The Botkins Product Company was organized in the spring of 1911, and was incorporated with a capital stock of $5,000.. the following being the incorporators: J. M. Sheets, Louis Zimmerman, H. E. Sheets, Walter A. Looker and J. B. Reineke. J. M.. Sheets was elected president; Louis Zimmerman, vice-president; H. E. Sheets, treasurer; and Walter A, Looker secretary. The company was formed to engage in the manufacture of "Kob Korn Krisp," the parching of corn on the cob.
     Sheets Manufacturing Company, of Botkins, was established in 1903, by H. E. Sheets, who remains sole proprietor of the business. The. concern has a large factory well equipped with up-to-date woodworking machinery and is engaged in the manufacture of bent rims and spokes for wagons, implements, carriages and automobiles. The factory contains 20,000 square feet of floor space and employment is given to about eighty-five men. About 10,000,000 feet of lumber is used annually, most of which is worked from the log to the finished product, the latter being shipped all. over the United States, besides a considerable amount that is exported.
     The Sheets Grain Company .was established about, thirty years ago by Philip Sheets, who continued the business until his death in 1905, when his sons, E. S. and H. E. Sheets, continued the business. The company handles grain, feed, seed, etc, having an up-to-date elevator in Botkins, and also own other elevators outside the county, namely, one at each of the following places in Auglaize and Logan counties: Wapakoneta, Lakeview, Waynesfield, Geyer and Gutman;
     The Shelby County Bank was established at Botkins about 1897, by Philip Sheets, who conducted it as sole proprietor until his death in 1905, after which time the ^business passed into the hands of his sons, E. S. and H. E. Sheets, who continued it as a private bank until 1912. It was then incorporated, with a capital stock of $25,000, with H. E. Sheets, president; Philip. Sheets, Jr., vice-president, and E. S. Sheets, cashier, which is the official board at the present time, January, 1913.
     M. A. Roth is proprietor of a saw mill established several years, and is also engaged in ditch contracting.


     The greatest civilizing agency we have, the church, was not long in establishing itself, in fact before the township was more than sparsely settled. Brief mention is here made of the history of the various congregations:
     St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.—-One of the most beautiful church edifices in the county is that of St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran at Anna, which was dedicated August 4, 1907. The birth of this church was eighty years ago. in 1832, when a few Lutherans, strong in their faith, settled in the virgin forest near Anna and the. first preacher was the Rev. Henry Joesting, whose parsonage was a log structure of one room, which served as a residence, a sehoolhouse, and a place for Sunday services. The names of John Altermath, Michael Altermath, Louis Bey and John Moothart, appear on the records, and they were soon joined by Germans of like faith.
     In the fall of 1833 their number was increased by Philip Jacob Hagelberger, John Fogt, John Jacob Finkenbein, John Jacob Zimpher, Frederick Knasel, Henry Breitweiser, Henry Schaefer, Samuel Schaefer, and Benjamin Werth, with their families. A log church was erected in. 1835-36, thirty-six feet long and twenty-four feet wide, for which the contractor, Jesse Weistch, got $100 for his labor. The seats were boards on trestles. It was built on the site which afterwards was the Lutheran cemetery, David Swander giving the land.
     The first class was confirmed in 1836. The Rev. George Klapp served the church from 1840 to 1844, the Rev. Hursh till 1850, and the Rev. Spangler followed with a pastorate of seven years.
     The congregation outgrew their old log church of twenty years and dedicated a new one October 21, 1855, which cost $1,100. The church, made of brick, stood its ground for seventeen years and eventually was torn down and used in the building of a tile mill. The Rev. Christian Sappes was pastor in 1857, followed by the Revs. Gottfried Loewenstein, J. F. Grassie, and John Bundenthal, and was followed by a theological student from Columbus, from 1871 to 1877. The brick church was' soon found too small for it was such a Lutheran nest that if an inhabitant in that vicinity got scratched the chanches were Lutheran blood was spilt, so a frame structure 60 by 40 feet was built in 1870 and 1871 at a cost of $5,000.
     Rev. John Michael Meissner served as pastor from 1877. to 1889,. the longest term in its history. He baptized 303, mostly babies, for race suicide was not on their program,-; and he confirmed no. The Rev. E. H. D. Winterhoff took charge in 3889 and was succeeded by the Rev. R. C. H. Lenski, the editor of the Syhodical Journal. At the time the present church was dedicated there had been during his pastorate of seven years 200 bap­tisms and 210 confirmations, 33 of whom were adults, making the number of communicants 550.
     The sacred frame structure could not begin to hold the crowds fired with Lutheran zeal, and so a building committee consisting of the. pastor as chairman, George C. Schiff, C. E. Fogt, C. C. Fogt and George Hagelberger signed the contract with the builders, Newmier and Hemmert, of Wapakoneta, for $17,490.70. The architect was R. C. Gotwald, of Springfield. The congregation was as harmonious as a colony of working bees, after the drones had been disposed of, and as the building progressed new and more extravagant ideas were advanced and approved until everything was done to make the interior of the church as artistic and perfect in its appointments as one could wish. Could the early saints in the Anna congregation be permitted to visit the earth again they would almost wish to leave Heaven for awhile to worship in so sweet a place. On Tuesday after the dedication the Rev. Emanuel Poppen, of Sidney, with 100 of his congregation, took charge of the past dedicatory services, his wife bringing out the possibilities of the new pipe organ with good effect.
     The Rev. Lenski accepted a call to Columbus in August, 1911, and was succeeded by the Rev. C. J. Gohdus, who served a year and he was followed December 8, 1912, by Rev. H. J. Schuh, the present pastor, who came here from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he had served a pastorate of twenty-eight years. The congregation now numbers 579 communicants.
     Botkins Methodist Episcopal Church — The congregation of this church was in existence some years before a church edifice was erected. It was organized in 1833 or 1834 at the home of Richard Botkin, by the Rev. Daniel D. Davidson, assisted by Rev. James Smith. Among the prominent early members were: Richard Botkin and wife, Henry Hildebrant and wife, Cornelius Montfort and wife, Cornelius Elliott and wife, and Samuel Elliott and wife. For several years services were held in the home of Richard Botkin, and subsequently in a log house, in Botkins until 1841, in which year they erected a hewed log church, on ground donated for that purpose by Richard Botkin. This was in i860 replaced by a frame church, building, dedicated in the fall of that year by the Rev. Wilson, assisted by the local pastor, Patrick G. Goode. In 1881 they erected a substantial brick building at a cost of $2,040, and this was dedicated June 18, 1882, by Rev. J Watters, assisted by Rev. J. S. Ayers, presiding elder of the Bellefontaine district. This church has since maintained its organization and has a live membership. Services are held Sunday afternoon and evening alternately. The present pastor is Rev. J. W. Miller.
     The Lutheran church, Botkins, Rev. A. Pflenger, pastor, holds alternate services Sunday mornings and evenings, with Sunday school in the forenoon.
     Anna Methodist Episcopal church, originally known as Mt. Gilead Methodist Episcopal church, was organized at the home of Richard C. Dill, in 1833, Rev. D. D. Davidson and Rev. James Smith. Services were for some years held in the homes of Mr. Dill and Joseph Park, and from 1840 until the completion of a house of worship in 1841, at the home of Mary J. Young. It was built a quarter of a mile north of Anna, was of the hewed log type, and served the congregation until a frame structure was erected some years later, in the same vicinity. The latter was dedicated in July, 1858, by Revs. Wilson and P. G. Goode, the latter being then pastor. Among the original members were Mrs. R. C. Dill, Jane Dill, E. B. Toland and wife, Thomas Iiams arid wife, Mrs. Forsha, John Lucas and wife. The present Methodist Episcopal church in Anna was dedicated November 1, 1886. The church is a brick structure, with slate roof, stained glass windows and having an audience room, lecture room, and two class rooms. The regular preaching services are held one Sabbath morning, the next Sabbath morning and evening and so alternately. The church now has 126 members. Rev. J. W. Miller is now in his second year as pastor, having succeeded Rev. W. W. Motter.
     Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Botkins, Ohio.— The history of this congregation dates back more than six decades, when a. few Roman Catholic families settled in the vicinity of the present town of Botkins. They were all German immigrants, and hence possessed but scanty means wherewith they might contribute toward the erection of a church, and the support of a pastor. Missionaries, however, came at regular intervals from surrounding well settled communities, and provided for the spiritual wants of their poor brethren. Divine service was held at first in the residences of some families, later on in an old schoolhouse, and subsequently in a log church, which finally was replaced by the present church. The first church organization was formed in 1865, and immediately preparations. were made and measures taken for the erection of a suitable house of worship. Two years afterwards in 1867 the zealous people of the congregation worshiped for the first time in the new edifice. The church, which had been erected at a cost of about $8,000, is a handsome brick building of 85 by 45 feet, crowned by a neat steeple. In 1875 the congregation purchased the home of Andrew Gutman, which was first occupied by the reverend pastor but later became residence for the teachers. Clemens Huber, a pioneer of the congregation, donated in 1878 two acres of land for a new cemetery. The want of a school was provided for in 1881 by the purchase of the old Methodist Episcopal church, which has received an annex at the cost of $800. In 1887 the new parsonage, a two-story brick building, was completed at a cost of $3,000. The church was remodeled and highly embellished by the brush of the able artist, F. H. Hefele; 1898, and but one year later new beautiful stained glass windows were put up to give the renovation a finishing touch.
     Father Joseph Goebel was the organizer of the congregation, and remained in charge of it till 1871. when he was succeeded by Rev. Henry. Daniel. In 1873, Rev. Nicholas Eifermann, a pious and energetic priest, was appointed pastor and he fulfilled his duties most successfully until his demise, June 24, 1893. Since that time the Rev. Henry Daniel has reassumed the pastoral charge of the congregation.
     St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church, Rheine.—This church is located near the southwest corner of section 36, Dinsmore township, three miles east of Botkins, on the Botkins pike. With about twenty families, Father Henry J. Muckerheide started a congregation in 1856, and held divine service for them in the schoolhouse of sub district No. 1, Dinsmore township, until another and more spacious building could be erected. At a cost of about $2,100 the newly organized congregation reared a new church of brick structure 50 by 40 feet, and in the autumn of 1858 Rev. H. J. Muckerheide was already enabled to dedicate it to the service of the Most High. In the spring of 1893 the cornerstone for a new church was laid, and on Christmas following it was successfully completed. The beautiful edifice as it now greets the eye of the traveler is a massive, yet handsome, brick building of 80 by 43 feet, which had been erected at a cost of $12,400. The solemn strains of bells invite all to enter its hallowed walls. Moreover, new altars, and the excellent frescoing by F. H. Hefele have embellished the interior aspect, while a new furnace has helped to increase the comfort of the church. Most Rev. Archbishop Henry W. Elder, of Cincinnati, dedicated the new building with grand ceremonies, August 26, 1894. A two-story brick schoolhouse, 48 by 36 feet, was erected in 1878 at a cost of about $1,800.
     Several fraternal orders have lodges in Botkins. Botkins Lodge No. 903, I. O. O. F., organized four years ago, has now between fifty and sixty members. They hold regular meetings in their own hall.
     The Rebecca Lodge, I. O. O. F., has been established for the last three years and holds meetings in the Odd Fellows hall.
     Summit Camp No. 131, Woodmen of the World, was established here six years ago and now numbers forty members. They also have a hall for meeting purposes.
     The Knights of St. John, a Catholic order, was instituted in Botkins fifteen years ago and have their own hall.
     The Catholic Knights of America, a Catholic insurance order, flourishes under the auspices of the "Catholic church. The members meet at. the Knights of St. John hall.

- History of Shelby County - Publ. 1913




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