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Greene County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

Green County 1803  - 1908.
Edited by A Committee of the Home Coming Association -
Xenia, Ohio -
The Aldine Publishing House
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

Pg. 89

By Rev. H. B. Belmer.

     This township is the northwest corner of the county.  It was organized in 1807 and extended originally two miles further north, into what is now Clarke County.  It has eight churches, so located that all the people are within three or four miles of a church.  The Bath Presbyterian church is in the western part of the township; the rest are located in towns.  There is also a township high school, about half miles from Fairfield, central in the township.  It occupies a fine building erected only a few years ago.  Both Osborn and Fairfield also have their own high schools.
     OSBORN is an incorporated village of about 1000 inhabitants.  Traveling men say it is one of the best kept towns of its size in the State.  It has cement sidewalks, graveled streets, water and electric light, and fire department.  Both the Erie and Big Four Railroads pass through it, as also the Ohio Electric Railway, which is now working to have a continuous line from Cincinnati to Toledo and run through cars between these points.  A visitor will notice the large number of beautiful homes with their surroundings kept in neat trim.  This is largely due to the fact that most of these homes are occupied by their owners, and most of the renters even follow their good example.  The village is ten miles from Dayton, making it convenient for many employed in Dayton to live here.  A number of school teachers employed in the township and elsewhere also live here.  There are four churches in the place.  The Lutheran church was organized in the Fairfield Methodist church in 1848.  In 1850 the railroad now called the Big Four was built and the town of Osborn began to spring up; some foresaw that Osborn would become the more important town and the Lutheran congregation was transferred to that place.  But as there were members of various other denominations in that neighborhood a union church was built in 1853.  The Lutherans used the building half of the time only till 1872, when they secured entire control and ownership of it.  This church was remodeled and virtually rebuilt in 1898 and is now a

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Photo by O. A. Wilson

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very neat and churchly structure.  The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1858, being an offspring of the Fairfield church.  Its building was also reconstructed and added to some years ago and it is in a prosperous condition.  The Presbyterian church was organized in1865 and has a substantial brick building affording a very good audience room.  All these churches are located on the main old residence street which, though its proper name is Johnson Street, is often called Church Street.  The Catholic church, though having a substantial membership, is generally served by priests coming from Dayton.
     The four groceries and two dry-goods stores of this place are well stocked with first-class goods, supplying both town and country for miles around. Osborn also has three flouring mills and two elevators. These mills have the best of modern machinery and make the highest grade of roller process flour. The elevators handle and ship great quantities of corn; very little wheat is shipped away, as the country around does not furnish enough for the mills, which are kept busy day and night the year around. Two of these mills are run by water power, furnished by a dam in Mad River a mile above the town. Great quantities of both hard and soft coal are shipped here for use in the town and surrounding country. There is also a whip factory employing some thirty hands (there are only four whip factories in the whole State of Ohio). This factory makes whips in price from $1.50 a dozen to $25 or more for a single whip. The benevolent orders are represented by a lodge of the I. O. O. F., the K. of P., and the J. O. U. A. M. There is a weekly paper, The Osborn Local.

     FAIRFIELD is the oldest village in the township, with a some­what peculiar history. Settled in 1799, in the early days—earlier than 1840—it was a thriving, growing town. Such it would have continued to be but for one mistake of its people and neighboring farmers. When the now Big Four Railroad was being located they wanted to pass through Fairfield. Now the general direc­tion of this road from Dayton to Springfield is northeast, cutting diagonally all farms it passes through. The farmers did not want their fine farms spoiled in this way, and they fought off the rail-

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M. E. Church - Street Scenes - School Building.

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road successfully. As a result Osborn sprang up and became the flourishing town  Fairfield would have been; and instead of merely standing still, Fairfield even lost some of the business it formerly had. It had no railroad convenience till the Dayton and Springfield electric road was built through it. The population of Fairfield is given in the last census as 312. It has a Methodist and a Reformed church. The Methodist church seems to have been the earliest organized, though its date has not been ascertained. The Reformed church was organized in 1843, and is the offspring of the Byron church. It has been in a prosperous condition from the beginning, having begun in a great revival, a spiritual impulse felt to this day. The village also has a lodge of Odd Fellows, and Steele Post No. 623 Dept. of Ohio G. A. R. This Post attends to the decorating of soldier graves on Memorial Day in eight different burying grounds.

BRYAN, on the Yellow Springs pike, is an old hamlet that has less business and importance than formerly in earlier times. Its dozen or so houses are now without the store, post office, and saddler's shop of former days, but a blacksmith shop remains. Byron's chief honor is the church and cemetery near it. Here are buried many of the old settlers, reaching back even into the 18th century. The Byron Reformed church dates back to a very early day; it was formerly a union church, the Lutherans owning and using it jointly with the Reformed.

(Editor's note:—Fairfield may take comfort in the reflection that if it has fallen behind in the race for population and business it has preserved its fine old houses and streets and is the most picturesque town in the county. We regret that the views do not give an adequate idea of its charm. Since 1904 it has held an annual reunion and home-coming).



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