A Part of Genealogy Express

Welcome to
Greene County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

Transcribed by Sharon Wick

Embracing the
Organization of the County, Its Division into Townships,
Sketches of Local Interest Gleaned from the Pioneers from
1803 to 1840, together with a
Roster of the Soldiers of the Revolution and the War of 1812,
who were Residing in the County.
A Roster of Ten Thousand of the Early Settlers from 1803 to 1840.
By George F. Robinson.
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.


` W. L. MILLER.  Among the younger members of the legal profession in Xenia is W. L. Miller, but his years seem to be no bar to his progress as an attorney for already he has won success as a lawyer that many an older practitioner might well envy.  He was born at Trebein, Greene county, Ohio, Aug. 2, 1872, and is the second son of W. J. and Sarah E. (Steele) Miller, also natives of Greene county.  James Miller the grandfather of our subject, was one of three brothers who came to Ohio from the vicinity of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and located on Beaver creek in this county, thus becoming pioneer settlers of this portion of the state.  James Miller was a carpenter and farmer and possessed considerable mechanical ingenuity.  His son, William J. Miller, carried on the business of farming.  He wedded Sarah E. Steele, a native of this county and a representative of one of its pioneer families.  They became the parents of six children, of whom five are now living, W. L., of this review; Jessie, at home; Clarence O., who is now employed as a bookkeeper but makes his home with his parents; James A. and Elizabeth, who are also at home.  By a former marriage the father had one son, Grant, who now resides at Trebein, and is engaged in farming.
     W. L. Miller continued his education until he had completed the course of the township high school and then engaged in teaching in the district schools of his township.  He afterwards spent three years as a student in the law office of Little & Spencer, of Xenia, and then became a member of the senior class in the law department of the Ohio State University, in which he was graduated with the class of 1895, but in December of the previous year he was admitted to the bar.  Immediately after his graduation he opened an office in Xenia and has since been engaged in the general practice of his profession.  He soon demonstrated his ability to handle intricate litigated interests and now has a good clientage, which is continually growing.
     Mr. Miller served for four years as United States commissioner for the southern district of Ohio.  He is a member of Xenia Lodge, No. 49, F. & A. M., and Xenia Chapter, No. 36, R. A. M.  He is also identified with Xenia Lodge, No. 668, B. P. O. E., and is a member of Silver Star Lodge, N. O. 668, K. P.  He is a member of the Reformed church, and his cooperation is given to many movements and measures for the general good.  He is a representative of a high type of American manhood resolute, ambitious, determined, and energetic, interested in matters of citizenship, enjoying the pleasures of social life and alert to business opportunities and advantages.
Source: History of Greene County, Ohio by George F. Robinson, Publ. 1902 - Page 912
  MATTHEW V. MORRISMatthew V. Morris, who follows farming in Sugarcreek township, his home being near Bellbrook, is a native of the locality in which he resides.  Here he was born Mar. 23, 1836, one of the children of William and Priscilla (LeCompt) Morris; the former a native of Maryland and the latter of Delaware.  They were married in her native state and in the '20s came to Ohio, residing for a time in Franklin, Delaware county, above Columbus.  Subsequently they again came to Greene county, and conducted a hotel in Bellbrook, after which the father became the owner of a half interest in the Washington mill near Bellbrook.  When he sold that he retired to the farm upon which our subject now resides, making it his home throughout his remaining days.  He had about one hundred and seventy acres of land in that place and his landed possessions altogether aggregated six hundred and twenty acres, for as his financial resources had increased, he had made judicious investments in property.  He became a prosperous man, yet all that he had was acquired after he came to Ohio.  His parents had died in the east and as he was the eldest of the family he cared for the children, providing for their support.  He also brought them with him to Ohio and thus a heavy burden devolved upon him, but he bore it uncomplainingly.  Strong resolution and determination at length enabled him to overcome all the difficulties and obstacles in his path and gradually he worked his way upward to prosperity.  In addition to the operation of his mills he conducted a distillery and marketed his products in Cincinnati.  At the time when Andrew Jackson vetoed, the national bankrupt bill, the money stringency which followed this measure caused him to become a bankrupt.  He was one of the two most extensive business men in the county and his efforts resulted not only in promoting his own success but proved of value in promoting the general welfare.  He had been a Democrat up to the time of Jackson's administration but never afterward voted that ticket.  While he did not become identified with any church after his removal to Ohio, he believed in the Baptist faith.  Although he suffered financial disaster, his honesty was never called in question and it was well known that he was a man of his word and did the best that he could.  In his family were eight children who reached maturity and of whom Mr. Morris of his review was the seventh.  They were as follows:  Thomas, who married Johanna Stipp, died in Xenia, leaving one child.  Sarah owns the old homestead.  William, of Xenia township, married Rebecca Wilson and has one child.  Frances is deceased.  James, who married Sarah Earl of New York, by whom he has one child, now makes his home in Liberty, Indiana.  Mary resides in Columbus.  Matthew V. is the next younger.  Carrie is the wife of F. Benjamin Atkins, of Columbus, and has one son.  George has passed away.   The death of the father occurred Apr. 21, 1875, and the mother died Nov. 19, 1876.  He had served his country as captain in the war of 1812 and was ever loyal to the best interests of county, state and nation.
     At an early age Matthew V. Morris took his place in the fields, working at the plow through a long period.  When winter came and the crops had all been harvested, he entered the common schools, there acquiring his education.  He remained with his father most of the time until his marriage.  A period of three years was passed in West Jefferson, Ohio, where he owned and operated a sawmill.  He also purchased land there which is now under a high state of cultivation.  His home farm comprised sixty acres of land, on which is a good residence and modern improvements that stand as monuments to his enterprise and industry.
     On the 19th of October, 1871, Mr. Morris was married to Miss Laura V. Clements who was born on a farm near Ingleside, in Queen Anne county, Maryland, a daughter of Joel and Louisa (Jarrell) Clements.  Mrs. Morris was reared in the state of her nativity and after attending the common schools, continued her education in the Wesleyan Female Seminary in Wilmington, Delaware.  In 1869 she came to Ohio where she formed the acquaintance of Mr. Morris, but their marriage was celebrated at her home in Maryland.  They have two sons: Herbert Earl, born on the home farm, Sept. 29, 1872; and Charles Clements, born Sept 5, 1874.  The former is a graduate of the home school of the class of 1891 and at the age of eighteen years entered Antioch College.  The latter completed the high school course in Bellbrook with the class of 1891 and when sixteen years of age entered Antioch College with his brother.  He spent two years in the preparatory department and one year in the collegiate department.  The elder brother became a student in the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the fall of 1894 and was graduated with the class of 1898.  He then remained upon the home farm for a year and in the fall of 1899 entered the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati where he will graduate with the class of 1903.  After leaving Antioch College the younger son taught school for a year and in the fall of 1895 matriculated in the State University of Michigan where he was graduated with the class of 1899.  The same year he accepted the seat of mathematics in the Mount Herman Boys' School at Mount Herman, Massachusetts, in which capacity he is still serving.  Mr. Morris exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party, and he and his wife and their son Earl are members of the Methodist Protestant church, in which he has served as trustee, steward and Sunday-school superintendent.  Their son Charles is a charter member of Mount Herman University Congregational church, which was established in memory of Moody in the year of the death of that great evangelist.  The sons are both young men of excellent ability and strong mentality, of whom the parents have every reason to be proud.  Mr. Morris has set them an excellent example, for throughout life he has been true to manly principles and has conscientiously performed every duty that has devolved upon him.
Source: History of Greene County, Ohio by George F. Robinson, Publ. 1902 - Page 769
  WILLIAM S. MORRISWilliam Spinning Morris was born near Lebanon, Warren county, Ohio, Feb. 17, 1811, a son of Benjamin and Mary (Spinning) Morris.  The Morris family came originally from England.  Isaac Morris, the grandfather of our subject, lived in Morristown, New Jersey, prior to and during the Revolutionary war, and during that contest he served as a private with the minute men of the Morris county, New Jersey militia.  He married Rebecca Hathaway and they became the parents of five sons and two daughters, of whom Benjamin, born Feb. 20, 1774, was the second child.  At the close of the Revolutionary war the family removed to the Northwest Territory, as Ohio was then called.  The route chosen was by way of Pennsylvania, and several weeks were required in making the overland journey through the wilderness and over the mountains to Redstone, near Pittsburg.  After tarrying there for a few months they embarked on a flatboat with all their possessions and floated down the Ohio river, landing at Columbia, near Cincinnati, in the year 1790.  This site was afterward abandoned because of the frequent overflow of the river, and they went north ten or twelve miles to a place called Round Bottom, on the Little Miami river.  In order to protect themselves against the Indians they at once began the erection of a fort.  Benjamin Morris, then sixteen years of age, assisted in its construction.  A small patch of ground was cleared and such grain as they hand brought with them was planted.  While at work, whether sowing or reaping, two men were kept on duty as sentinels, yet the settlement suffered from occasional attacks by the Indians until after General Wayne's successful campaign in 1795.  To add to their hardships smallpox broke out among them and carried off several of their number, including the young wife and infant child of Benjamin Morris.  He had married a Miss Tichener.
, the eldest son of Isaac Morris, joined St. Clair's forces against the Indians and was among the victims of that awful defeat.  When General Wayne was organizing his army Benjamin Morris removed from the fort and enlisted as a pack-horse man, thus taking part in the campaign.  After peace had been established Isaac and Benjamin Morris removed from the fort.  The former purchased a tract of land about four miles west of Lebanon, Warren county.  He died in his eighty-eighth year.  He was a man of small stature and somewhat original in his religious views.
     Benjamin Morris bought a farm a short distance north of that purchased by his father and occupied in throughout his remaining days.  He wedded, for his second wife, Mary Spinning, a daughter of Matthias and Hannah (Haines) Spinning, who lived about two miles west of Lebanon.  The Spinnings trace their ancestry to Humphrey Spinning, who came to America in 1639 with the Puritans.  He was one of the founders of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the year 1665.  He was married Oct. 14, 1657 to Abigail, daughter of George and Mary Hubbard, and his death occurred in 1689.  He was the father of nine children, six sons and three daughters, including Edward, the father of Matthias Spinning.  The last named was born in the year 1750 and died in 1830.  He had three brothers and two sisters, including Judge Isaac Spinning, of Montgomery county, Ohio.  Matthias Spinning was a quiet and peaceable man of sterling worth.  He served in the Revolutionary war as a private minute man of the Essex county, New Jersey, militia, and suffered much for the cause of American liberty.  He and his brother Isaac were captured and carried to New York, where they were confined for several months within the loathsome walls of what was called the Sugar House, famous as a place of confinement for the American prisoners of war.
     The children of Benjamin and Mary (Spinning) Morris were ten in number - five sons and five daughters, of whom the subject of this review was the eighth in order of birth.  The father died in 1861 at the home of his son, near Bellbrook, Greene county, whither he had come on a visit.  After the death of his wife, Mary Spinning, he had married again, the third union being with Sarah Weaver, of White county, Tennessee.
     The subject of this sketch was born on his father's farm, where his boyhood days were also spent.  His educational privileges were those afforded by the common schools.  The first schoolhouse in which he was a student was a log structure with slab seats.  Sections of logs were cut out and the apertures covered with greased paper, which served as windows.  Writing desks were made of slabs laid on pins driven into the wall.  Only quill pens were used.  His early education was afterward supplemented by study in the schools of Lebanon, Ohio.  Mr. Morris was a good student in all branches, but showed particular aptness in mathematics and geography.  He began teaching school at the age of twenty years and followed that profession for eleven years, mostly in Warren and Butler counties, Ohio, with a short period in Richmond, Indiana.  During that time he also studied civil engineering and land surveying, and in the former capacity was employed on the Warren county canal for about three years.  About 1838, in connection with others, he surveyed the road from Lebanon to Dayton, also from Dayton to Springfield.
     On the 1st of December, 1844, Mr. Morris was united in marriage with Mary Pence, a daughter of William and Martha (Hunt) Pence.  He then gave all of  his attention to farming and land surveying.  In 1858 he purchased a farm of one hundred and seventy acres near Bellbrook, Greene county, to which place he and his family removed the same year and one which he spent his remaining days.  Politically he was first a Whig and then a Republican.  In early life he became a member of the Church of Christ, or Disciples church, as did his wife, and throughout the years of his Christian life he was deeply interested in church work and much devoted to the denomination of his choice.  In his home life and personal deportment he was gentle and good, and also showed firmness and resolution.  He was the father of twelve children, of whom two sons, William Hayden and Benjamin Franklin, died in infancy, while one daughter, Lucy Elvira, died in early childhood and two others, Clara and Abbie, died in young womanhood.  Two sons and five daughters few to maturity.  For these he made every necessary sacrifice to educate and make useful men and women of them.  In all this he was ably seconded by his wife, who was ever ready to surrender her own personal comfort that her children might equip themselves as thoroughly as possible for the battle of life.
     Through his declining years Mr. Morris spent much of his time in reading.  At eighty-seven his mental faculties remained unimpaired and he was interested not only in things pertaining to the welfare of his own neighborhood but shared with intelligent appreciation in the larger interests of the county and humanity.  He died Apr. 3, 1898, and his wife died Oct. 19, 1886.  Their surviving children were:  Olive and Wickliffe Campbell, who resides on the old home place, and the latter has two daughters, Bertha Lucile and Frances; Martha, who became the wife of Samuel E. Raper, of Dayton, Ohio, and died June 7, 1899, leaving one son, William Morris Raper; Mary Alice who became the wife of J. Wilbur Fulkerson of Spring Valley, Ohio, and died Oct. 13, 1901, leaving an infant son, Morris A. Fulkerson; Lucy, the wife of W. Calvin Williamson, who resides near Bellbrook, and by whom she has a son, Calvin Morris; Clara Jerusha, the wife of Frank C. Thomas, who resides near Spring Valley, and by whom she had four children - Olive, now deceased.  Homer, Morris, George Huber and Margaret; William Spencer, of Dayton, who married Luella A. Scarff and has two sons, William Stanley and Howard Laverne.
Source: History of Greene County, Ohio by George F. Robinson, Publ. 1902 - Page 846


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