SUGAR CREEK TOWNSHIP
boundary lines of Sugar Creek Township, were cast by the
first organized court of the county, which convened on the
10th day of May, 1803, and is, therefore, one of the
original townships of the county organization.
Originally, it embraced what is now Spring Valley Township,
until sometime in the year 1856, a separation was made, and
the township formed from the eastern portion, taking the
name as above mentioned. It is situated in the extreme
southwest of the county, having the county lines of
Montgomery, and Warren for its west and south borders, with
Beaver Creek on the north, and Spring Valley on the east,
and contains all of sections 34, 35, 36, town four, range
five, all of sections 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, with fractional
parts of 32, 27, 28, town 3, range 6. These sections
form almost a perfect parallelogram running north seven, and
east three sections inclusive, to which must be added on the
northeast, a part of what is known as
THE "VIRGINIA MILITARY
one time, all this then "western wild" belonged to
the state of Virginia, but was granted to the general
government with a reservation, which included all that
territory between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers
This reservation was made by the state to pay her soldiers,
to whom she was indebted for military service.
Warrants were issued for a certain amount of land somewhere,
and anywhere between these two rivers; no survey being made
by the state, so each claimant located his claim wherever he
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and consequently many of the claims over-lapped each other,
from which arose great confusion of titles, leading to a
great deal of litigation, ending eventually in the
compromise adjustment of boundary lines as represented on
The Little Miami River enters the township at the
northeast, is a tributary of the Ohio, and flows southward
to more than half the extent of the township, when it
suddenly turns eastward, and enters Spring Valley.
Little Sugar Creek, a small stream, extends from the extreme
northwest, toward the center, where, at a point just south
of Bellbrook, it joins Big Sugar Creek, which flows from the
west. At this juncture the uniting streams become
simply Sugar Creek proper, and flowing in a southeastern
direction, empty into the little Miami. From this sall
stream, or from the abundance of sugar timber of this
locality, the township takes its name. The whole
extent of the township is considerably broken, especially
along the river, but eastward and south are the high,
rolling lands, with beautiful and fertile valleys
interspersing "the grand old hills." The soil of the
highland is of rich clay, with limestone base, especially in
the north, while in the south this clay soil has a sandstone
base, and is especially adapted to the production of all
kinds of fruits; in the valleys or bottom lands is found the
black, sandy alluvial. The principal productions are
wheat, corn, oats, rye, and tobacco; considerable attention
is given to the cultivation of the latter; superior grades
commanding good prices are raised in this locality.
The woodlands, of which a considerable portion ahs
escaped the woodman's ax, abound mostly in sugar, walnut,
oak, ash, and poplar. The chief industries belong to
the agricultural department, though there are two flouring
mills on the Little Miami, good building of Bellbrook, and
at present a considerable amount of good building limestone
is being quarried in the north part of the township.
Bellbrook is the only incorporated village, though
there is a closely settled neighborhood in the extreme
south, called Clio.
Many railroads have been projected though this
township, from all quarters and at divers times - indeed at
one time two surveying parties for two different routes
crossed their chains in the south-western part of Bellbrook.
This has always been considered a good omen, but as yet no
road has been built, nor is the future more hopeful than the
past. Communications with the near cities are
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now well piked, and good gravel roads extend throughout the
The census of 1880 gives the township a population of
1,588, a gain of one hundred and six since 1870.
first settlement in this township, and, indeed, the first in
Greene County, was made in the extreme southern part of the
township, near what is now known as the village of Clio.
It was here that the first white human habitation was built,
and where the first page of the history of Greene County
In the spring of the year 1796, George Wilson,
Amos Wilson (two brothers), and Jacob Mills, came
up from the neighborhood of Cincinnati, and located in the
southwest part of section 4, town 3, range 5, about
three-fourth miles east of Clio, on what is now known as the
Gauze property. Here they built a temporary hut
about twelve feet square, without floor or chimney, which
was intended as a temporary shelter for these men while they
were engaged in clearing the land They cleared about
three acres near the hut, and planted it in corn, when they
returned to the vicinity of Cincinnati to care for their
harvest which they had there. In their absence,
Daniel Wilson, another brother, came and settled just
west of Clio, on the farm now owned by his grandson,
Abner Wilson, being southwest part section 10, town 3,
range 5. He cleared two acres of land, and got the
logs ready for his cabin. In the fall of the same
year, George and Amos Wilson, with another brother,
John, returned to their former settlement, and
immediately began to build their cabins. The first of
these was built for Daniel Wilson, about sixty rods
west of the village of Clio, on the this, on the farm now
owned by John James; another for Amos, just
north, on the farm now owned by Thomas J. Brown.
After the cabins were completed, they returned to their
former homes for their families. George and Amos
returned again with their families, to their new homes in
the wilderness, in the latter part of the winter.
Daniel did not arrive until the 3d day of March, 1797.
Soon after the Wilson brothers had settled,
their father, John, came to visit them, and was so
well pleased with the new settlement, that he concluded if
the "boys" would build him a house,
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he would locate with them. The proposition was gladly
accepted, and they immediately erected a two-story hewn-log
house, with puncheon floor and quite an extensive
fire-place, which took up the whole west end of the house.
The house is now standing on the site of its first erection,
about three-fourths of a mile east of Clio, southwest
section 4 (3.5), and is, no doubt, the oldest house now
standing in this township, if not in the county, having been
built in 1800-1.
WILSON, SR.., father of Daniel, George, Amos,
and John, jr., was born in Pennsylvania, in the year
1738 or 1739, and came to this township about 1800, after
the settlement had been made by his sons, as above
mentioned. He had purchased the lands on which the
settlement had been made from John Cleves Symmes.
He (Wilson) was a delegate to the convention, in
1802, which framed the first constitution of the State of
Ohio. He attended as delegate from Hamilton County, to
which this part of the country then belonged, as Green
County had not then been organized.
Daniel Wilson, oldest son of John Wilson,
was born Apr. 21, 1759. He came to this township in
the fall of 1796, and settled on the farm, as before
mentioned, where he lived until 1811, when he removed to
Montgomery County. He had four sons, John S.,
James, David, and Andrew.
George, Amos, and John Wilson, jr., all
removed from the township at a very early period.
SUTTON WILSON, son of Daniel Wilson, was born in
Pennsylvania, Dec. 29, 1786, and died May 24, 1879. He
had three sons, Samuel, Abner, and David.
From the papers he has left behind him, we gather all
that is known of the early settlement of this locality.
He was a pious, conscientious man, and has left, written in
fun, many of the hymns taught him by his mother, and the
early settlers in their religious worship, and thus handed
down from generation to generation. Many incidents
connected with early times, are found among these papers,
but we regret that the want of space precludes the most of
them from these pages.
JAMES BRELSFORD came from Pennsylvania, in the year 1811,
and purchased the Daniel Wilson farm, where he lived
for the period of fifty years. He is remembered as one
of the upright, substantial citizens of this locality.
He had two sons and two daughters, John, William, Mrs.
Jarvis Stokes, and Mrs. Jonathan Austin.
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John Brelsford left no children. The
descendants of William were Horace, James R.
(Dr.), Samuel, John, Mary A., and Effie J.
DANIEL CLARK was the first minister of the gospel in this
locality. He was a Baptist, "after the strictest order
of his sect," preaching here as often as once every month.
His salary was made up of whatever the settlers could give,
and consisted mostly of deer hides, which were then
considered a very acceptable legal-tender, and was the
common material for clothing.
the year 1802, JAMES CARMAN, also a Baptist minister,
settled on the George Wilson farm. He performed
many of the marriage ceremonies of these times, receiving,
in some cases, the then liberal fee of two dollars. He
is remembered as a zealous and faithful minister.
the farm of THOMAS J. BROWN, just north Clio, section 10 (3.
5.), then owned by Amos Wilson, was located the first
mill for grinding corn in this township, if not in the
county. It was propelled by hand, and operated by the
neighbors, as they, in turn, would grind their own corn,
from which that well-known article of common diet, called
"mush," was made. One of the stones of this mill is
now in the possession of Mr. Brown, and is about
fourteen inches in diameter.
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EARLY SETTLEMENT AT
In the early spring
of 1797, Daniel Wilson, as he was returning to settle
permanently near Clio, overtook Joseph C. and John
Vance, in the valley south of where Lebanon now stands,
who were then on their way to this locality, and hence they
were the first settlers. Joseph entered the
land extending along east side of what is now Main Street,
Bellbrook, being part of sections 31, 32, (3. 5). He
built a log cabin on the site now occupied by the carriage
manufactory of Willoughby and Davis, on the southeast corner
of Main and Walnut Streets, Bellbrook. This was the
first building in this locality, and was erected sometime in
the year 1797. It also was the building in which the
first store was kept by James Gowdy, who came from
Xenia, but owning to scarcity of money in this same house by
James Clancey. Joseph C. Vance
removed from this locality after surveying, and laying out
the city of Xenia. In the fall of 1803, he went to
Champaign County, where he died in 1843. His son
Joseph Vance, was elected governor of Ohio, in 1836; was
defeated in 1838 by Wilson Shannon. Among the
old settlers of this county, were Nathan Lamme,
James Snowden, Ephraim Bowden, John Hale, Joseph Hale, James
and Robert Snod-
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grass, James Barrett, John McLain, Stephen Bell, James
Clancey, Boston Hoblet, and Henry Opdyke.
NATHAN LAMME came from Virginia, some time in the
year 1797, and entered lands in sections 33, 27, (3.6),
northeast of Bellbrook. He built a cabin on the hill,
just north of Washington Mills. He served as a
volunteer in the Lord Dunmore war, and participated
EPHRAIM BOWEN and JOSEPH HALE, both came from Kentucky in
1802. The former settled where Andrew Holmes
now lives, southeast section 3, (2. 6), and the latter where
Daniel Holmes lives,
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northeast section 3, (2. 6), to which Jacob Huffman
succeeded, of whom Mr. Holmes purchased. They
both removed from this locality at an early period.
JAMES and MOSES COLLIER
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William Morris, Michael Swigert, Thomas Bigger, John C.
Murphy, Jonathan Austin, and Jeremiah Gest,
subsequent settlers, are remembered as prominent men in
THE PINKNEY ROAD.
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Many of the
original religious organizations had their burial grounds
located near the church buildings; hence, in various
localities throughout the township are found many of the
almost deserted grave-yards. Notably among these is
the Pioneer-Associate Grave-yard, north of Bellbrook, and
the Sugar Creek Grave-yard, southeast. In these
grounds many of the pioneers of this locality are buried,
and watchful friends still keep their places in respectable
In 1850, the "Bellbrook Cemetery Association" was
organized, as a joint-stock company, Benjamin Bell, A. B.
Hopkins, James Brown, Silas
Hale, and R. D. Rowsey, trustees, and John G.
Kyle, clerk. Constitution and by-laws were
adopted, and incorporation effected in this same year.
The association immediately proceeded to purchase land (four
acres) about half a mile north of town, which was laid off
in lots and streets, and otherwise improved, for burial
purposes. From year to year these grounds have been
repaired and beautified, until now they compare favorably in
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"SLEEPY TOM," THE
horse having achieved more than a national reputation in the
American speed ring, deserves special mention in these
He was foaled at the hotel stable in Bellbrook, and is
now (1880) about thirteen years old; is a stoutly bred
horse, sired by Tom Rolph, he by Pocahontas; his dam
was sired by Sam Hazzard. Tom was a very
unpromising colt, both in gait and appearance, and led a
vagabond's life in his early days, being racked about the
streets of his native village as a common "scrub." His
dam being a natural pacer, and as he showed inclinations
toward that gait, which were more manifest as he grew older,
his owner, Isaac Dingler, put him in training, but
with indifferent success; when, seemingly, to end poor
Tom's career forever, he lost his eye-sight, becoming
totally blind. He was then withdrawn from the track as
worthless, and was traded and sold from hand to hand, at one
time changing hands for thirty dollars and a bottle of very
poor whisky. Finally he fell into the hands of his
present trainer, Steve Phillips of Xenia, who again
put him in training for the speed ring, with the success now
so well known. The sightless horse seems to
understand, and obeys perfectly every word spoken to him by
his driver, as, in the race, he leans over him and incites
him to renewed effort. "Go in, Tom, and win," are the
words that spurs the intelligent horse to his fullest speed
at the last quarter stretch in a close race, and well does
he heed it. He is the brightest star of the splendid
pacing quartette of 1879 - Sleepy Tom, Mattie, Hunter, Rowdy
Boy, and Lucy, which three were beaten at Chicago, Illinois,
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24 and 25, 1879, Tom taking the third, fourth and fifth mile
heats in 2:16½, 2:16, and
2:12¼, for a purse of $15,000. The last heat he
recorded the best time known in the world in any gait, and
Sleepy Tom's name immediately became a household word, and
his fame spread throughout the world.
JAMES H. BRADFORD
G. W. GRIFFITH
GEORGE M. HARMEN
W. A. HOPKINS
LEWIS A. KEMP
WILLIAM S. MORRIS
S. B. MURPHY
JOHN M. STAKE
JOHN TURNBULL, M. D.
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