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History & Genealogy

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

Chapter XXII
Pg. 381

Salem, Turtle Creek, Van Buren and Washington Townships


     The organization 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. J. Counts.


     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 since disappeared.
     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.


     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 education.
     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 membership.
     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.


     Salem 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 Greek 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 Brodrick.


     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 store.
     Uno is a small settlement of about twenty-two persons in the northwestern part of the township.


     Hardin 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 decided.


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.

     The present 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, 1863)
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, P. W.
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 Blanke.


     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 attained importance.
     Kettlersville.—In 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.
     McCartyville 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 different denominations.


     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 transportation facilities.
     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 Turtle creek.
     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 G.
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 work.


     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 present pastor.
     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 rebuilt.
     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 in 1912.
     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 business.
     The Buxton Pattern Works were established here about four years ago, Mr. Buxton devoting his personal attention to the designing of special machinery.
Lockington Tent, No. 68, Knights of the Maccabees, is also located here.

- History of Shelby County - Publ. 1913




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