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Welcome to
Greene County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

History of Greene County, Ohio
Together with
Historic Notes on the Northwest
The State of Ohio
Gleaned from Early Authors, Old Maps and Manuscripts,
Private and Official Correspondence, and
All Other Authentic Sources.
By $. S. Dills
Dayton, Ohio:
Odell & Mayer, Publishers

(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

Pg. 408


       Inasmuch as Xenia City was the county seat, and the nucleus around which most of the subsequent settlements clustered, and, by natural sequence, the reservoir from which the greater portion of the earlier county history has been drawn, it was, therefore, unavoidably blended with the absorbed in the same, leaving facts for an individual history almost as anmic as King Psamis's mummy in Csar's reply to Clodius over the Greek girl Zoe.  Xenia should not, therefore, be jealous, or feel slighted, if she loses the luster of individual history in the more exalted flame of the initial point of county history.
     We may say, with Milton, "That other shape, if shape it might be called, that shape had none distinguishable" in corner, line, or angle.  Beginning at the northwest corner, it runs east one-half mile, thence north one-half mile, thence east about one and one-half mile, thence south one mile, thence east to the river, thence in a southeast line one-half mile, turning abruptly southwest; again, southeast about three miles, then following a line a little west of south about a mile, then on an irregular line nearly east, a straight line south one-fourth mile, thence east bearing south, thence in a general south line bearing west to about a mile south of the Cleveland and Columbus Railroad, thence southwest one mile, southeast one-fourth mile, southwest one-fourth mile, southeast one-half mile, southwest three fourth of a mile, southeast one-half mile, thence, with Csar's Creek, about three miles, to L. Peterson's farm, thence with Csar's Creek, about three miles, to L. Peterson's farm, thence north three fourths of a mile, thence west, a little north, three miles, thence northwest one mile, thence north, about four miles, to the river, thence with the river about two miles, thence north one mile, west one-half mile, north one mile, west one-half ile, north one and one-half mile to place of beginning.  These distance may ..............MORE TO COME LATER.......





     John and James Stephenson are, by some authorities, said to have settled in this township, a few miles form Xenia, in 1797.  They came from Virginia, and bringing with them the aristocratic principles of the "Old Dominion," became influential men.  The land on which they settled was formerly owned by John Paul, and sold to Jos. C. Vance at the less than one dollar per acre.
     According to Mr. Hugh Andrew, who came from Kentucky to this township in 1804, Matthew Quinn came from Kentucky in 1803, and settled about six miles north of Xenia, and was his nearest neighbor when he and his brother-in-law, Robert Armstrong, a Methodist preacher, first settled here, near the present site of the powder ills, in 1804, as above stated.
     Ezekiel and David Hopkins came from Virginia, and located here in 1803.  A man by the name of Spencer came this year, and squatted in Xenia Township, remained a short time, and removed to another township.  James Clinsey settled in this county, and owned land partly in this township and partly in Sugar Creek; but this is doubtful.  John Gregg made him a home in the woods, on the present site of the road from Oldtown to Clifton.  Thomas Simson one-half mile from him on the right of the present road to Clifton.  David Laughead on Clark's Run, eight miles east of Xenia.  Also, a man by the name of John Ellis, came this year cotemporary with 

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him.  Also, we find John Galloway, James, and George, on the Little Miami, near the present site of the powder mills.  A short distance this side, Solomon McCullough cleared out a little patch and put up a cabin.  David Mitchell bought land on Clark's Run, about eight miles east of Xenia, and lived on it till he died.  The Congregation of Rev. Robert Armstrong entered into a league to come in a body and form a colony in the country, and in pursuance of which they sent commissioners to select a location.  Reporting favorably, they all came, except Thomas Scott and a man named Milligan, whose wives would not sign the deed for the conveyance of their land in Kentucky.
     Mr. Hughs Andrew, now living in Xenia, emigrated to this township from Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1804.  The country then was in a perfect state of nature.  They route over which he traveled, with a four-horse team, in company with William Gowdy, who moved his brother-in-law, Robert Armstrong, was wild and rough; no road nor trails.  Camping out every night, they made their beds in the forest, with no house but the canopy of heaven; and while the moon glinted through waving branches of the forest, they enjoyed that sweet repose, that perfect health, a clear conscience alone can give.  Mr. Armstrong selected and cleared out a location near the present site of the powder mills, on the little Miami.  At this time game of all kinds was abundant, such as deer, turkey, with wolves, wild cats, and an occasional conger.  The Indians made their headquarters at Roundhead's town, on Stony Creek, and about the first of May they camped along the Little Miami, and fished and hunted along the stream.  One of their favorite methods of capturing deer was to place a large bush in the front part of their bark canoe; immediately back of this fix a torch light, then pushing their light craft noiselessly over the water, from behind this screen they could at night approach within easy shooting distance of the deer that came down to drink.  The strange appearance of the light floating on the water would attract, and being very inquisitive animals, they would raise their heads to gaze upon it, and thus afford the hunter a fair mark, which he seldom missed.  It may be a matter of wonder to some how a canoe could float on the Little Miami, but in 1804 the channel was much narrower, deeper, and contained more water, than now.  The church used by Reverend Armstrong and his congregation was built of round, peeled hickory logs, without floor or windows.

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     The first winter buckskin was worn a great deal, which did very well in dry weather; but when it became wet it was entirely too affectionate, and when the breaches were hung up to dry they became so stiff that they required a goodly amount of beating before you could persuade them to go on, and then much coaxing to allow you to navigate without responding in many a pinch between the folds.  Mr. Andrews says he was very anxious to have a buckskin suit, and persuaded his brother-in-law to get him two skins, and he hired a tailor to make them up.  He wa very proud of them until they got wet, and then he wished he had never seen them.  One of the first houses in Xenia was next door east of the present site of the First National Bank.  The first court in Xenia was held in it.  Mr. Andrew remembers it the more distinctly because an enterprising merchant had a bag of peaches at the root of an oak tree, and it was here, he says, he got his "first good fill of peaches in Greene County."
     In 1805 Major Morrow settled about eight miles east of Xenia, in the neighborhood of the Kyles.  William and Robert Kendall settled about two miles east of Xenia.  A shoemaker named Alexander Ruff was the first man buried in ____ Cemetery.  Another man, by the name of Stephen Winters, built a cabin on Oldtown Run, and in company with his brother James, lived there for some time.  In the following year James Andrew came from Nashville, and settled about one-half mile from the powder ills, on this side of Yellow Springs.
     Here there occurs a hiatus in Father Andrew's memory, and we pass over to 1812, when John Jacobi came from Pennsylvania, and bought the Oldtown mill.  About this time, also, came the Kendalls.  The little settlement now received accessions from South Carolina, in the Fergusons, who settled on the Clifton road.  The settlements after this, as the Indian troubles abated, increased too rapidly, both by accession and internal growth, to be followed specifically.


     "Between the years 1825 and 1828," says Captain Ben Nesbitt, "I was walking along the road leading to the present village of Alpha, on the Dayton pike, when I saw a man approaching, mounted upon a flea-bitten, gray horse, whom I soon recognized as one

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Lewis Davis.  Mr. Davis was on one of his annual visits from Cincinnati, to see his son Clabourn who bore the amphibious surname of Shingledecker and Davis.  Being well acquainted with the captain, then quite a boy, the old gentleman entered into a familiar conversation upon topics of general interest, among which was the improvement, growth, and future prospects of the surrounding country, and its great development since he first visited it.  Growing enthusiastic, the old gentleman climbed down off his old horse, and sitting down by the roadside, and in the course of his conversation upon the early settlers and their individual peculiarities, Jonathan Paul was mentioned, who, he said, in an early period entered land and built a cabin.
     Upon one of his previous trips to see his boy, 'Claib,' he chanced to meet Paul, who told him that on his tract of land he purposed laying out the county seat, backing up his assertion by illustration the feasibility, advantages of location, etc.  Davis, who was a large land owner and veteran pioneer, and seemingly possessed of an intuitive knowledge as to the direction of greatest development in a country, disagreed with Paul's opinions, and informed him that there never would be a county seat there.  Taking his map from his pocket, and spreading of his dissenting.  Premising by the remark that county seats naturally located themselves upon thoroughfares between points on the Ohio on the south, and Lake Erie on the northern.  Then placing the butt end of his riding-whip on Cincinnati, he dropped the small end on Sandusky, which, upon examination, cut the county at the forks of Shawanoes Creek.  Placing his finer upon the spot now occupied by Xenia, he said, 'There will be the county seat."  He then pushed on to see his boy 'Claib.'  After remaining a week or so, he returned to Cincinnati; but upon approaching the cabin of his friend Paul, he found it vacant and locked.  A few days subsequent he learned that Paul had, immediately after the conversation above mentioned, gone to Cincinnati and entered all the land in the vicinity, and upon which is located now the city of Xenia.  Thus it would seem, from the conjunction of facts and prediction, that Xenia was located in the above manner.
     In the selection of a county seat, the preference seemed at first in the direction of Caesarsville; but upon due deliberation the

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present site of Xenia was determined upon, and on the 4th day of August, 1803, Joseph C. Vance was, by the court, then sitting at the house of Peter Borders, appointed to survey the seat of justice.  Giving bond in the sum of fifteen hundred dollars for the faithful performance of his duties, with Joseph Wilson and David Huston as sureties, he proceeded to lay out and survey, in the autumn of the same year, the present city of Xenia.  The surrounding country then was a wilderness, in which the native denizens of the forest held high carnival.  John Paul had previously bought this tract, and donated for public buildings, it is said, that portion bounded by Main, Market, Detroit, and Greene streets.


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was elected street commissioner for two years.  With one brief exception, Mr. Cline has been a permanent citizen of this county for over fifty years, and a citizen of Xenia over forty-five years.






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the grand lodge, May 10, 1871, restored the charter.  The present number of members is eighty.






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     Boundary Lines. -

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     Ruling Elders. -

     Trustees. -

     Pastors. -



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     First Baptist Church. -

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     Methodist Church. -

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     Lutheran Church. -




     Upon examination it has been found that the earliest record of union schools is dated Sept. 28, 1838.
     At this time Xenia was organized into what might be termed a corporation district, and William Ellsberry, chairman, David Monroe, treasurer, and Alfred Trader, were constituted a board of Education, David Monroe giving bonds, in the sum of two hundred dollars, for the faithful performance of his duty.

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     "Primarily, Wilburforce University was projected in the summer of 1856, by the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal

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Church.  Its board of trustees was originated at Xenia, Ohio, in the office of Lawyer M. D. Gatch, then a senator of the General Assembly of the State of Ohio.  They were twenty-four in number, of whom four were colored men, namely, Rev. Lewis Woodson; Mr. Ishmael Keith, of the Baptist Church; Mr. Alfred Anderson, a member of the congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Hamilton, Ohio, and the writer.  Among the twenty whites was Governor Chase, of the State of Ohio, subsequently secretary of United States Treasury, and late chief justice of the United States.
     "The institution was formally dedicated to the holy work of Christian education by Rev. Edward Thompson, D. D., LL. D., then president of the Ohio Wesleyan University, and late bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  This dedication occurred in October, 1856.  Its first principal was Rev. M. P. Gaddis, jr., of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who managed it until June, 1857.  He was succeeded by Mr. I. R. Parker, an able and experience educator of youth, assisted by his wife, as matron, and other competent teachers.  His services continued till June, 1859, when he was succeeded by Rev. Richard T. Rust, D. D.  Under the skillful management of the doctor, the institution flourished until 1862, when the civil war drew its chief patrons into the ranks of the rebel army.  These were southern planters, who had sent their natural children to be educated at Wilberforce.  There were at that time about one hundred students in attendance, among whom were about one dozen from several of the best families of the North.  Among these were Rev. W. H. Hunter, our present book manager, who, by the way, has thus far proven himself one of the ablest who ever had charge of our book concern; also, Rev. R. H. Cain, congressman at large of the State of South Carolina, who, we hope, will prove himself not only an honorable, but a very efficient representative of his adopted state in the deliberations of the national congress.
     "President Rust was rapidly developing the institution from a primary school into a college, but inasmuch as its chief patrons at that time were slaveholders, and they had entered the rebel service, its incomes were not sufficient to cover its expenditures, and having no endowment, the trustees were constrained, in June, 1862, to suspend operations.  Thus, under the first regime, Wilberforce came suddenly to an end.  On the 10th of March, 1863, the property was sold to the agent of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

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for its indebtedness, namely, the sum of ten thousand dollars.
     "The land upon which the buildings were constructed embraced fifty-two acres, heavily timbered; five excellent springs, impregnated with oxide of iron, flowed in the ravine which traverses great number of trees being cut down for fuel and other purposes.
     "The original college buildings .......................


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